Catch Corey Prator on the #PirateBroadcast - russjohns

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Introduction 0:03
Welcome to the pirate broadcast, where we interview interesting people doing interesting things where you can expand your connections, your community. #Kindnessiscool and #smilesarefree. And let's get this party started.

Russ Johns 0:21
And it's a wonderful week for the pirate broadcast and I wanted to invite you to join the pirate community, get involved, get engaged, get in contact with the pirates that are here and make those connections make those introductions relate to each other and start the conversation because the pirate community is growing. It's evolving and there's a lot of people that have a lot of talent that want to share it with you. And you know, one of the things that we do we love to do is interview #interestingpeople #doinginteresting things damn interesting people as Corey

Corey Prator 0:58
Yeah, I had to correct you on that, I'm damn Interesting.

Russ Johns 1:02
Damn Interesting. So today I'll be talking to a good friend from Houston. He's been in business world. He's been accounting. He's been a mentor. He's been a coach of mine. He's been just an amazing individual that's been in my life and I just wanted to share him with the Pirate community and bring him into the pirate status today. So, Corey, good morning, how are you doing my friend?

Corey Prator 1:28
Good morning, Ross. Thanks for the invitation. Looking forward to this.

Russ Johns 1:32
Well, you know, it's one of those things that I've been doing it for a couple of hundred episodes, you know, plus, and I just wanted to reconnected we connected when I was in Houston, we used to get together and stuff like that. And then we went back and forth. And we have mutual friends and Bill was on a call or something you were having a conversation with Bill and then you reached out to me with this video project and I thought I got to reach out to Corey and talk to him about what's going on and and you know some of the things that we had, we always have a great conversation. And I just thought, Well, I'd take 30 minutes and engage in a conversation with you. And we could talk about business and growth and meetings and memberships and communities and all of the things that we're looking at. And you're involved in. So I just wanted to share with you the community and give you a high five for all the work that you're doing in the consortium. And I learned, I want to work backwards, because you've been in business a long time, you've been software developer, building teams and products and putting things together. So give us an update on what you're doing right now. That's bringing you some excitement in your world.

Corey Prator 2:47
Well, the latest thing I've been working on is this concept called business-ease. It's a new business I've created and it's about the language of business. And here's a problem it solves. We as technologists, I really struggle with communicating to our prospective clients in plain Business English. And the problem is, is that we are extremely rational engineer type thinking people. And so we start listing of all the features and functions and things that are great about what we do that differentiate us. But the reality is, our customer doesn't understand us, or doesn't really care because we're our customer really wants is their problem solved, not what great things we can do. Let me give you an example. I thought I was in the software business, you know, custom business software is the name of the company. And you know, just for that, because we build custom software for business, right? You think that customers don't want software, they want the outcome that software will produce. So business-ease is a methodology I created on six questions, their first principle questions, what business are you in? I'm in. I'm in the outcome of making your business faster business. And these six questions, then get you clear on your message in plain Business English in a language your customer can understand, so that they can then decide whether you're a good fit and vice versa. So that's what I've been up to lately.

Russ Johns 4:28
Well, I love that and we had an extended conversation last week about this subject because a lot of business owners and myself included I've been guilty of this so many times is we start talking about the features and the function about functionality and we talk about, you know how great it is and everything else, and we sell them or we often forget that there's an outcome that a business owner would like to achieve. And sometimes it's, you know, a website that is crystal clear and tells A story and immediately allows the visitor to understand what the business does. Or it might be, you know, better proposals for their for their business goals. And you know, or it might be lead generation where, how can I have more conversations with the right people at the correct time. And these outcomes are the primary goal, and often is the business owner or the Creator, you know, because we talk about the creative process, the creative process is that I can, I can look how I draw my picture, rather than Isn't this great piece of art, right? Yeah. And so it's like, we have to kind of turn it around and think about it from another perspective and say, what is it that we have to, to generate in terms of language or messaging, or great questions that allow us to get to the source of the goal, which is the outcome so Business-ease is the process that you've developed for your business and helping other business owners clarify their products and services in a way that makes sense.

Corey Prator 6:12

Russ Johns 6:13
What's the process? What's the process that you use?

Corey Prator 6:18
Well, I mentioned these six questions in there based on the traditional problem solving questions or journalistic questions, or the six W's who, what, why, when, why and how, and know how it starts with age. It's got a W on the end, it's just you way to remember it, right? But these six questions aren't about you. trusted advisor they're about they're about your customer, your business outcome you're trying to create, why What's your purpose, understanding your purpose, what you're doing, whether you're apple or Microsoft, whether you want to think differently, or you know, be highly technical is to different audiences so understanding your why your purposes and those six questions or what to do now the problem is that if you try to do it yourself I found it's really hard to do you need someone on the outside because it's like being a fish in a fish bowl, you cannot or I think you mentioned one metaphor of the pickle jar

Russ Johns 7:19
I am the pickle in the pickle jar I can't read the labels

Corey Prator 7:22
Yes the pickle in the pickle jar and, and a different perspective someone walking you through it asking these questions. I'll give you a really good example that I use a method called your three year old son a have an understanding why remember a three year old they're gonna ask why. And then once you ask why again and you keep peeling that onion and you finally get down to what is your real purpose and meaning and why you're doing this. Because when you get that clear, then your message gets clear to who you're trying to reach.

Russ Johns 7:59
And it's amazing How you unpack that. We went through a brief exercise and I know it's not extensive. However, even our conversation that we had last week, I unpacked a few things. It's like, Oh, yeah, I, I totally get this. And one of the things that I think would be valuable to, to share with the Pirate community is that you're doing this for other business owners, you're coaching these business owners through the process and in, engaging the business owner in a conversation about business improvement overall. And it's not just necessarily the messaging, but it's deeper than that. I mean, you've been in business a long time, you've been doing a lot of different projects. You've been involved in large organizations and, the entrepreneurial space for a few days. Like I say, it's like you're, I'm not old, I'm vintage. And it's one of those processes that you've honed over the years. So if you're looking for if you're looking for business support and some assistance in your business and growth in, you know, process, process improvement, accountability, and some of these things that go along with that, growth, you know, talk to Corey connect with Corey. Corey is on LinkedIn, you can reach out, you can connect with Corey. And tell him Russ sent you so he knows where you are coming from, and make that connection. Make that conversation and take place.

Corey Prator 9:32
Yeah, just to reinforce it. I'm very accessible.

Russ Johns 9:36

Corey Prator 9:38
I'm easy to find and easy to get ahold of.

Russ Johns 9:40
Yeah. And also, I I introduced Corey to dub so I'm, working on one of his dub skills. So he's a he's adopted dub. And he and I love dub. I just, it's one of my favorite tools.

Corey Prator 9:56
So yeah, I've drank the Kool Aid. It's a very cool tool and you'll see more of that coming.

Russ Johns 10:02
So tell us about I want to shift gears a little bit Corey and talk a little bit about the consortium because that's a cool idea that I think needs to be shared with the Pirate community as well.

Corey Prator 10:16
Yeah, so um, it's interesting if it's counter-intuitive, because what it is it's a, it's a your, your competitors are in the room. consortium partners. This is a group of about 40 business leaders in technology where we get together socially now pre COVID, it was dinner and drinks once a month in Houston, Seattle and Los Angeles. And now we're doing it over zoom. Hopefully we'll get back to that when you know we can. What we end up doing is just getting to know each other socially, and and then referring business with ourselves. And what's unique about it is since we're all in the same industry, I will find another software developer in the room. In fact, the origin story is about me and my competitor going to Costa Rica. And the idea coming out of that, that journey together that created a consortium. And millions of dollars, no exaggeration, millions of dollars have been referred among ourselves in the past three years. We've been around since July of 2017. And, so what what goes on is we just kind of socialize and get to know each other. And when we get to know each other, then we become top of mind. And the fact that we're all in the same industry together, as, for example, my case, a software developer, a cyber security, manage IT. Will we know about that technology because we're in the same industry together. In contrast to say, for example, if you got a CPA and an attorney, they don't know anything about software, nor may our software developer know debits or credits, you know, for the mechanic perspective, right. I understand each other's business really well. So we are very acute at listening on other people's behalf. And we've been cobble together some things that have happened, ideas we've had where we needed support from someone else in the consortium, and all just getting together for dinner and drinks. You know,

Russ Johns 12:13
a bunch of damn interesting people as I remember.

Corey Prator 12:17
One of the things you have to do when you go into the event is be prepared because kind of a icebreaker in the room is what damn interesting things have you done in the past 30 days,crazy things going on? You know, one guy raising chickens and, you know, in downtown Houston in his backyard, and you know, the other one, I can make a trail with Machu Picchu. It's just a really cool, interesting stuff.

Russ Johns 12:43
Well and I've met a few, so it's, it's, I really, get excited for what you're doing. And I encourage you to continue that. And, you know, we've had conversation, you know, potentially in Phoenix this has taken place. I know that we've had those conversations. The past that it just the timing or whatever reason, it just didn't take off and so your time and attention has a lot to do with it and I think that as we have conversations you and I Cory, I think that this will probably evolve into the next level because I don't know when this pandemic is gonna, it's gonna evolve, it's gonna take a while I don't see it going away overnight or anything like that, I don't see normal coming back, I see it as evolving and staging in different phases. You know, as we go through this process, and we still have to do business, I mean, we still have business to take care of, we still have people to support we still have our communities to build up with and, and one of the things that I think is, is the thread through all of it, is maintain your relationships. You know, maintain the conversation, reach out and talk to people and just say hi Just let them know that you're here. You know, it's it's, it's not a big deal. It's like you don't have to have an agenda or a ulterior motive when you're having a conversation, you can just have a conversation for the reason of checking in with somebody.

Corey Prator 14:16
Yeah, we had our Houston chapter meeting last night and that was the feedback I got from there is what they look forward to is at least getting together and checking in and having some fun with among their friends and, and staying connected. That keeps people Top of Mind and it's fun.

Russ Johns 14:34
Yeah, it's fun. Well, that's what I have mastermind groups that same thing as like, because realistically, a lot of entrepreneurs, you know, solopreneurs or freelancers or people that are working remotely right now, they still need and desire and want the connection that we have in place. You know, it's one of those things that we we want to develop that connection we want to grow that connection. So it's important for us to maintain the conversation and reach out. And sometimes it's hard. You know, it's I like the term you used. The pullout the sofa moment, you know, it's like, oh, I just want to pull yourself out for a minute and just take a break, put it on pause and say, Okay, I'm going to take, a day off. And realistically, when you, when you get motivated, you get engaged and energized. It's not that difficult. And it only takes a moment. So I encourage you to reach out to somebody today. Reach out to somebody today. Here's the challenge, reach out to somebody today and let him know you're thinking about him. So simple.

Corey Prator 15:42
And everybody wants to meet some damn interesting folks. You can see consortium partners, just Google that there's a Contact Us page on there, reach out to me, and we can set up a zoom call. I can talk about it with you individually. And if it's a fit great, if it's not no harm, no foul.

Russ Johns 16:06
Yeah, no kidding. And all of these notes in messages and all of the things we talked about in this show will be placed in the post at afterwards, the stream, the podcast, the transcription, all of the links will be included. So don't worry, you have access to Corey going forward. So Corey, you know, Houston has been, you know, I enjoy Houston. My son still lives there. And I get back when I can, you know, and it's, really, it's, you know, I survived Harvey, you know, one of those things, you know, it's, it's one of those things that there's so much going on in Houston all the time, it seems like, how has it changed recently over the last six months? Is it shut down a little bit more? Or is it little collapsed or what's happening in Houston?

Corey Prator 17:02
Well, Texas has statistically been a concern around COVID. And my personal situation, I have hunkered down and so I really don't know what's going on very much. And I've chosen to, to distance myself as much as possible. I get out as you and I've done in the past, Russ walking Memorial Park, I continued to do that a lot. So that's how I get out. 100% of my interaction with folks like this through through virtual and so I really don't have a whole lot of visibility. I go to the grocery store once a week, and that's about it. But I would say that we are we've been hit by and trying to fix a situation here in Texas in Houston. And so you you're not seeing a lot of people out and about now. and I'm hoping that will continue until we get this under control. I think the nation is that way. And so I think pretty much where most people are. Yeah, fortunately, and a lot of what we do, we can do that we can. I've been working virtually, since. Oh, 20 years, for sure.

Russ Johns 18:23

Corey Prator 18:25
For me, so I do miss getting together face to face. But, you know, and I will do it on an individual basis if we keep distance. I've got a walk plan this evening, for example. Yeah. But I'm right now. I'm not going to get together with folks.

Russ Johns 18:47
Yeah, it's it's crazy. I imagine that Houston traffic is a little lighter than normal.

Corey Prator 18:53
No kidding. It's great I had to go to a doctor's appointment and you know, At probably the worst time rush hour, and it was a breeze.

Russ Johns 19:07
Yeah, it could stay that way for a while. Hey, I wanted to give a shout out to some of the pirates in the room. They're doing some great work here. So I want to I want to say hi to Angie, Angie is here today. She's from Wisconsin. She's doing some great work. She's always an awesome supporter and contributor to the community. And so we got Julius in the room. He's saying hi. Louis is saying Hi, good morning. Julia says I'm down here, founder of Health Advisory today, open to connect and sharing ideas. So the extension is there. Julius, thank you so much for being here. I just want to keep things going. Kathy Spooner, an avid supporter. Kathy, thank you so much for being here. I really appreciate you all gratitude in the world. We got Wendy. Wendy sent me a text message. She goes, do you know any developers? Yes it just so happens? Good morning pirates as much as I life experience is helpful in our growth, the best opportunities for us to come through people who are so different than we are but have a willing soul and a curious mind. Absolutely. You know, the diversity does create a great conversation. Don't you agree?

Corey Prator 20:32
Absolutely frickin lovely. Yeah,

Russ Johns 20:35
Wendy's a charm. She's, she's a movie producer. We get some things going on. And it's interesting to me. In fact, Wendy and I met she was doing she was flying through so we met in the airport. She was passed out she had a layover. And so we connected we had never met each other but the power of what we can do today is amazing and the fact that we can actually connect with people all around the world. And we can actually engage with people and have conversations started over a video session is always amazing. To me. It's always, a way to get the conversation started and meet new people and introduce yourself to ideas that other people are sharing. So, yeah, I appreciate the fact that you're here.

Corey Prator 21:24
And I and people love to connect. So take the initiative, and start the conversation and see what happens. It's amazing how that'll work. That'll take you. But all I'm saying is for all you out there in the pirate community, start a conversation, yeah. And see what happens.

Russ Johns 21:55
So what's the next what's the next adventure for you? In the next Six months 18 months with the consortium and the Business-Ease and what are your goals? What are your mission? What can we do to help you?

Corey Prator 22:10
So this is experimental, this Business-Ease and I just started about a month ago. So I'm playing around with that includes part of that is developing new skills that I didn't have, for example, artistic skills. So I'm messing around with Adobe Suite including illustrator and After Effects and that sort of thing. So I'm looking forward to exercising the rights of the brain. And I'm also getting into the reason you and I reconnected with I'm interested in video and how that can help. And what I want to do is raise the production quality of a video because it's more than just a talking head and I don't know what what it is, but it's got to be more than that, and it has to add value. So that's where I'm trying to go. So if anybody has any ideas around how to do that, I want to say I'm very coachable. I'm a very good student, great student. How to do that? Let's have a conversation. Yeah, that's kind of the direction I want to go on this thing. On a personal level. As you know, Russ, I used to do a lot of galavanting lived for the moment unfortunately, until travels a little bit more, less risky. I really missed that. And so my only way around that is I'm trying to do as many shows as I can in Houston to keep the exercise up. And there's plenty of interesting things to see around here.

Russ Johns 23:49
Oh, yeah. You're still playing piano, right?

Corey Prator 23:52
Yeah. So and I'm still taking jazz improv lessons. And so, you know, that's interesting. I love learning new things. So a dozen years ago I learned to play the piano now I'm at the point where I'm in probably doing improv in in jazz and Latin jazz bossa nova specifically. But just recently, I resurrected art. So our kids put my wife and I got us into a, an art class virtually. I had done it about 25 years ago and had to put them aside because of life, you know, raising family. Sure, sure, Doodle, but I got fairly good back then. And now this class got it started and then talk to a another friend of mine whose wife does zoom art classes. So I surprised My Bride of 36 years for a preemptive wedding anniversary of art classes. Now we're into that and so I'm starting to get really good at that and have action and good value and good lines and all and good shapes, so, it's a new and a new hobby, which I have that I'm adding to

Russ Johns 25:17
A new dimension in Corey's life. Very cool. Very cool. Yeah, I picked up I haven't picked up a brush for decades. So

Corey Prator 25:27
Oh, I didn't know you were ever into art.

Russ Johns 25:31
I was at one time. Then I folded more into the music side. So I I went into music more than art.

Corey Prator 25:39
So what instrument do you play?

Russ Johns 25:43
Well, I played drums for years and now I'm doing electronic music after I broke my arm. So it's one of those things that I just like to create, in fact, my goal I'd like to have a show where I talk and narrate about stories, storytelling with music that I had created, you know, sound effects and folly

Corey Prator 26:08
I have some of the same interests. So we should talk offline about that rest because I've got some I put together a jazz band before COVID a couple years ago. Folks our age that had learned late in life, how to play an instrument, and, so got that going on through a bunch of my friends. And I too, as I was trying to increase the production quality of this video thought, Well, why don't I lay down a track of my own art and music using a DAW digital audio workstation and that sort of thing to be able to create something until a tune that's going on in my head that I'm playing around with his take five, but doing it using a 12 bar blues. So 541, 541 pattern, as is the baseline underneath Five, four, and using an improvisation of take five improvisation on top of that.

Russ Johns 27:22
I like that. You know, that's the thing is, if you can just reach out at your fingertips and know what your brain is attempting to communicate, it'd be so much easier. It's like Leo Lu plugged me in teach me how to play it right immediately. I had a melody that I want to get out to the world. Yeah.

Corey Prator 27:47
Yeah. I will say though, that the journey is also fun too.

Russ Johns 27:51
Yeah. The journey is a blast. It's a blast. Just like the pirate broadcasts. You know, this was an idea that I started because I want too, I wanted to let people know that you have an opportunity, you're the media, you have a, you have a way that you can actually add value to the world at a legacy and share that information. And it's by creating your content, sharing it out with the world, and being in a position to help others along their journey. Because we all have experience, Corey. We all have some experience that somebody else is interested in learning more about. And it's like, okay, I don't have to learn everything from zero, I can ask somebody that has some business experience, and get coached by Business-Ease to be able to pull that back and not run into the brick wall, and know what's around the corner and not be the pickle in the jar that can't read the label. So this has been, this has been a pleasure. Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day Corey to join the pirate community and pirate broadcasting. So thank you so much for doing that. Any last words of wisdom that you want to leave with world?

Corey Prator 29:06
I'm very grateful for the invitation and looking forward to learning learning is a lifelong endeavor. So I would, continue doing that in life in all dimensions of life whether that's you know, your hobbies or your avocation in business, what have you, and you'll be amazed at what shows up.

Russ Johns 29:28
Yeah. Yeah Wendy said, I made sure we got a long layover. no accidents Connect face to face and magic happens. So true. Very cool. Well, thank you, Corey. I really appreciate you and pirates, please like, comment and share this content. Share Corey with the world. Let people know that he's around and available to connect. Reach out to somebody today, because it's the right thing to do. You never know what's going on with people in their world and it's nice to be able to reach out and connect and say, just checking in love to hear from you. And also reach out to Corey. All of the links, the connections, the things we talked about today will be in the in the post later today. So I'll share that out on LinkedIn. And also you can connect with us on Facebook, Periscope, YouTube, and on the podcast, where all great podcasts are available. So and, Corey Thank you so much. And as everybody knows, you know, #kindnessiscool, #smilesarefree and you #enjoytheday. Don't go away, Corey.

Corey Prator 30:46
Alright, amigo. Very good.

Exit 30:51
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