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Susan and her guest Rob Stewart, EVP of BlocPal, explore the ups and downs of building a successful business. Gain valuable insight and be inspired by their experience.

-Rob Stewart

Raw And Real Entrepreneurship with Rob Stewart

Topics covered in the interview

Rob’s first business

The hardest part of pivoting

Handling wall kicking moments


Rob Stewart’s Bio

Rob is a corporate executive with extensive experience working in both start-up and larger operating businesses. He brings an educational background in marketing and human resource management. Rob began his career working in management consulting before joining the McLean Group of Companies as Vice President, Business Development, where he was responsible for revenue, profitability and strategic growth.

Over the past decade, he and his wife have grown a successful nutritional sales organization. Currently as Executive Vice President with BlocPal, Rob has successfully guided the company through all their private equity raises, M&A transactions and has supported business development efforts; bringing many of the key strategic partnerships that have driven the company’s rapid growth.

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Show Notes

Read Full Transcript

Susan Sly 00:02
This is Raw and Real Entrepreneurship, the show that brings the no nonsense truth of what is required to start, grow and scale your business. I am your host, Susan Sly.

Susan Sly 00:16
Well hey, what is up Raw and Real Entrepreneurs, wherever you are in the world, I hope you're having an amazing day. I know my guest is having an amazing day. He was up since 5am. He's worked out he's been in the sauna, he's crushing it already. And, you know, in addition to everything I'm gonna say about this particular co founder, we've been very good friends for a long time. So I have no idea which direction the show is gonna go in. For those of you who have listened to the show, Canada is not the number one listening audience in the world. Shame on you, Canada, it's actually United States, UK sometimes is number two, and then Canada's up there. But my guest today is also Canadian. So you know, anytime I have a guest on that's from Canada, we always end with Canadian fast facts. So you'll, you'll see, you'll see where we get to, but my guest today is a corporate executive and co founder with extensive experience working in both startup and larger operating businesses. He brings an educational background in marketing and human resource management and he began his career working in management consulting before joining the McLean group of companies as vice president of business development, where he was responsible for revenue, which is very important friends, profitability and strategic growth. Over the past decade, he and his amazing wife, Nicole, have grown a substantial sales organization in the nutritional space. And that's actually where we met. And currently he's serving as executive vice president and co founder with BlocPal. And he's successfully guided the company through all of their private equity raises, M&A transactions, and has supported business development efforts, bringing many of the key strategic partnerships that have driven the company's rapid growth. My guest today is the one and only Rob Stewart. Well, you are the one and only Nicole, your wife. Thanks, God. You're the one and only, Yeah.

Rob Stewart 02:10
Thank you. Thank you. Yeah, there's a lot of Robert Stewarts in the world. If you look up in the phone book, I think there's about 4 million of us, but no, thank you. And I'm just honored to be on the show. I mean, we've been trying to get this organized for a while and been chatting, but ya know, it's great to connect, and, you know, let's riff.

Susan Sly 02:26
Absolutely. So Rob, one of the questions that, you know, this is a family show, so we have a lot of kids who listen, your dad, you know, there's this whole debate about are entrepreneurs born or made? And so how old were you when you started your first business and what was it?

Rob Stewart 02:43
Oh, you know, that's actually a really good one. So I actually was, I don't believe I was born an entrepreneur at all, like, I have a lot of great traits. But you know, I think that, like, my wife is truly more of an entrepreneur than me. And I've learned a ton of things from her. So, you know, starting our first business, really, I worked corporately. I was sort of hired to work for people. And, you know, I think I learned along that that journey, that was it was fantastic. You got to see these, you know, risk takers, you know, highly successful multimillionaires or McClain family were almost billionaires. But, you know, for me, it was a learning of like, you know, I could only get paid so much, right. So, you know, they love my skill set. And a lot of the old guard, they didn't want to necessarily give you a skin in the game, right. So they love to, you know, obviously, leverage you pay, you have beautiful salary, bonuses, and all that, but you know, you weren't, you know, necessarily getting the upside, right. And so actually, I came into entrepreneurship with my wife through that nutritional business and watching her operate in that field. It was, you know, I think it was pretty humbling actually, to see because, you know, I could always walk in with a title, you know, making good money, you know, behind a backing of, you know, a multimillion dollar company, and to start something, you know, completely from scratch is hard. And so what I've learned from her, and you know, when I try to, you know, bring to every day as I don't try to get too high or too low. I think a lot of times as entrepreneurs, we get, you know, really excited, and it's like, yeah, I'm having a great day, and I'm ready to go. But you know, oftentimes, it can be a tough day, right? And so it's sort of like just not getting two up or two down. I think that's really, really important. And what I also have learned from her and just watching other successful entrepreneurs is that it's consistent action. Right? So, you know, a lot of people you know, they don't know what to do. So they have a great idea, right? Or they're comfortable focusing in, you know, that one part of the business and for me, what I really tried to do is I just tried to like action. That was top three things every day, and I just like to move things forward. And I think that applies for no matter what business you're in. Doesn't matter what venture. It's like, you know, what are your top priorities and just taking that daily consistent action is what's going to move things forward. So, you know, as an entrepreneur, I think it is something that's learned, you know, I have some great, you know, skill sets, but like as sort of a, you know, executive, co founder, team member, you know, we need a team, right. It's difficult to do by yourself, you know, you got to know what your strengths are. And, you know, I've learned to focus on those, and then, you know, it's having great people around you, right, so. But yeah, I mean, I respect entrepreneurs, and like, you know, the ones that are born and have that risk taker mentality and are willing to fly close to the sun. And, and, you know, I love it, but you know, something that I, you know, I'm learning as I go so.

Susan Sly 05:46
Well, and entrepreneurs, it's, I think there's a range of risk, right? So the entrepreneurs willing to take the most risk who are successful at it, because 90% of all star startups fail. And here's an interesting statistic that 90% of all first time founders fail, but 90% of the second opportunities always succeed. And so it's that, you know, that willingness to take the risk and do it over and over again, but the entrepreneurs I know, who are willing to take the most risk, surround themselves with people like yourself, who understand cash flow and balance sheets, and de risking the risk, so to speak. So let's get back to 2017. And you and I, oh, my gosh, I don't even know how long we've known each other and like a very, very, like 18 years, I don't know, a long time. 18 years, I don't know, so in 2017, BlocPal starts, Radius starts. And you and I both go through this career pivot to suddenly say, Okay, we're co founding tech companies. And BlocPal is a company that is in the FinTech space, there's AI enablement, and full disclosure, you can see on my website, I'm an investor in BlocPal . And I think my my first question for you is, what was the hardest part about pivoting? Because you had, in your previous life there was like, Oh, we feel like going to the Bahamas, we go to the Bahamas, or we do whatever we want. And then suddenly, now you're in a job kind of sneaking. But you have like, what was the hardest part of pivoting for you?

Rob Stewart 07:29
Yeah, that's a great question. I think there was some angst in my life, you know. I felt a little bit like, yeah, you feel comfortable, right. And you also just feel like you're missing something. And, you know, it was funny I've, Well, I don't have much hair anymore. But I would go see my hairdresser. And she cut my hair. And I think when I finally told her, I was going to jump into BlocPal , she laughed, because she said, Well, you've been talking about doing something for like, three years. Right? So like, I think I was telling the universe I wanted to pivot, I really felt like I could, I needed a new challenge. I felt like I had, you know, a lot of skills that I developed, you know, corporately, and again, right, when you sort of ride a business, like, you know, our nutrition business was great. It was a beautiful residual income, it still is, right, you know, but, you know, we just weren't putting that gas pedal down anymore. So to do it, it was a little bit scary. And again, my wife, Nicole was the one that really pushed me. I think she saw what was sort of coming together. Like she, you know, she's always one that kind of sees it first. And then I, and I kind of see it after but you know, when we reconnected with Nick Mellios, who is co founder of BlocPal, I've known him for 30 some odd years. Incredible guy, and as you know, entrepreneur, serial entrepreneur, you know, literally, you know, had a company that was, you know, exploding times and then was humbled right, and then started another one and was like wildly successful, like you said, right? First one sometimes don't succeed. And then just seeing what he wanted to create, and just that vision and being at that age, where we just felt like, you know, we had the wisdom, you know, we've sort of gone through the ups and downs and the ego and all that. We really wanted to create something special. Right. And so, you know, Nicole really bought into the vision of what he was creating with this company BlocPal. And you know, we really wanted to like, empower and, you know, unlock and provide access to financial services to people that don't usually have that access. Right. And, you know, I mean, obviously, banking is transforming, you know, right in front of our eyes right now. It's a wild time, but this has been kind of happening for a while, right. And so it's just been exciting to be a part of this growth and it's been rapid growth. You know, it's grown really quickly. At the beginning when we first dove in actually, we had a different vision for the company. And, you know, I guess one of the things we've learned is you got to adapt, and you know, we kind of adapted you know, based on what was happening in the market. And we got fortunate, you know, based on our network, and you know, our shareholder group, again, like I think for, you know, all the, all you sort of founders, co founders, people that want to start a business, like you gotta go out and really find strategic investors, and not just people that want to give you money, but people that really support you, right? They want to see the business grow. And so lucky enough, like through the world that Susan and I come from we, you know, we know a lot of people, and you know, a lot of great people. And so they happily invested, but not only invested, they wanted to make connections. They like, genuinely wanted to open up their network. And that's really how life works. And so that's how, you know, my opportunities in Mexico, opening up that market happened was through, you know, a guy that I met 15 years earlier, who was looking for his first break in marketing, and ended up building a huge business, and he was the one that connected us there. And then in India, you know, which has been just an incredible market for us. Similar, right. So, you know, it's been an interesting journey, like diving into this, but just trusting the process. And again, like I was saying earlier, like, I used to get really up and down, and just realize you just got to even keel and you just got to keep on pushing through, right, no matter what's happening in the market. Right. And I don't mean to keep on rambling. But like, you know, the markets been hard, right? It's been a hard year, last year for a lot of companies. And, you know, it's, you know, how do you ride the storm, right through the storm. And, you know, the strong ones survive, right. And so, anyways, it's been just a, it's been a crazy three years. And, you know, we're not where we want to be, but you know, I'm just blessed to be challenged, right to even dive into this. So.

Susan Sly 11:50
I love what you said, you know, that your hairdresser is like, okay, you know, like you've been talking about that for a while. Like, there's so many people listening right now, who have been thinking about pivoting. And you know, it's not, the myth is that you just jump in and do it. You know, like, Elon Musk was thinking about buying Twitter long before he declared he was going to buy Twitter. It's just the, this, you're thinking about it, you're ruminating on it. But that anxiety that comes with the actual pivot, and to your point, we both know a lot of people who are incredibly supportive and amazing. And then there are also people who probably didn't get it. Could you think back to someone, maybe you don't, obviously, please don't name any names. But I was listening to Montel Jordan, who actually, the this how we do a guy, is actually a pastor now. And he was talking about how the, you know, the people who support us to one level because it's convenient, are not always the people who support us, because when we shift, you we're being it no longer fits their agenda. Right. So can you think back to maybe lack of support that kind of stung?

Rob Stewart 13:11
Sure. Yeah. I mean, I think it happens all the time. You know, I, you know, I feel that, like, you know, I come from the right place, I think most entrepreneurs do, right. And as long as you're staying connected to that real vision of what you're creating, you know, again, it's being detached from that result. And that's something you know, I've learned over the years again, it's, you know, watching some great entrepreneurs, but it's like, sometimes it isn't for everybody, right? And, you know, some people like it to feel them, like, you know, sure the ego, like if someone says, you know, you're never gonna make it, this is garbage. And we've had that. I've been in meetings sitting with guys that were, you know, egomaniacs basically laughing at us, right? And sure, like, as, you know, competitive people, you want to prove them wrong, but I think it's just a waste of energy. Right? There's too much happening right now, there's too much opportunity, too many great people that want to support you, you gotta let it go. Right? It's like, you know, it's sort of like, share, put your heart out there. But if it's not the right timing, and someone wants to crap on you, that's I mean, every entrepreneur understands that's been successful. Right, Susan? And, you know, I mean, I think the most successful people that sit around a table, they never talk about all the money they made, all the successes. They talk about all the, all the like, the failures, right? And the pain right? But anyways, I mean, I think there's nothing that stands out. I think it's something I've learned to deal with and move through. Right?

Susan Sly 14:39
The Nos are, since this is Raw and Real Entrepreneurship, the Nos like I I've definitely had some wall kicking moments, but then I'll step back and go, I feel sorry for people who aren't investing, right? Like I, for the, you know, the VC who's like, Oh, this isn't a good fit or you don't, you're too big or too small or you know, Like, whatever and you're checking boxes and you think about the founder of Canva. And she was rejected by 200 VCs. And then my friend Karthik, who was on the show was rejected by 75 VCs before he got his B round, right? And it's like, if you think about that, and you do have to have this resilience. So how do you handle those wall kicking moments? Like, what is your sense, since it's Raw and Real Entrepreneurship say, so like, how do you handle it?

Rob Stewart 15:29
So I'm, again, I'm a little bit more emotional, right? Like I am, I have highs and lows. And so like, so Nick Malleus. Again, founder of block Powell. He is so incredible. Like, you know, someone, I heard, when I've known him for 30 years, one of his colleagues years ago said, they call them the cockroach. I said, Oh, that's a terrible, what do you mean cockroach? He goes, No, no, I don't mean that. That way. I meant, he meant if there's new killer Holocaust, like the cockroach still lives, like he just keeps on moving forward. Like nothing kind of stops him from moving the business forward. And I was like, wow, like, so true. Right? Like, because, again, it's not that, you know, the good times are easy. It's like, how do you get through the hard times? And so for, I guess, for me, you know, I just tried to, I just try to reconnect back and I, again and let go, right? It's like, let go, it's not about me, right? I just say a mantra to myself, whatever it is, right? You know, and it's letting it go to the universe. And again, you know, there's so many great people that support you, that's all you need. Right? So these VCs, these analysts, like you know, like, I'm not a big fan, I mean, we need them and I love you guys, whoever's watching, but you know, it's their job, right? They just see all these, it's like, they're looking at a resume and trying to, you know, just tell you, you know, tell, you know, describe how, you know, this person is not a fit without even meeting them, or really even giving it the time, right. So, you know, at screen assault, right? And the only need one, right? Let's be honest, like, we need one big VC to support you, or one big high net worth investor or whatever that looks like, the investment bank, so you don't need everybody, or hate to, you just need a couple. And that's, I mean, that's the typical story of these unicorns or any successful business. Right?

Susan Sly 17:11
Absolutely. And that, that I, you know, I think about the, all the pitches that I've done. You just get better and better and better. And at the end of the day, you invest, you've heard this, that you invest in the team, more than anything, and I know like, even as an investor, when we were talking about BlocPal, I'm like, oh, it's Rob. He's gonna like, he's that guy that loses everything, is on a street corner in Vancouver, and by that night, has cash in his pocket, a roof over his head and a belly full of food. And like, because that's the, you bet on the team. And so I you know, even as an investor myself, and what I look for, is that resilience. Was anyone a professional athlete? Because having been one, there's a lot of resilience, like, what have they done in entrepreneurship before. It's just knowing, you know, knowing what you've done, what you and Nicole had done. It was like, that's a, that's a no brainer. So let's talk about BlocPal. Because here we are, you know, six years later in the company, and it has, it has transformed for a variety of reasons. But for a person listening who has no clue what BlocPal is, tell everyone all over the world, like what is BlocPal? What does he do?

Rob Stewart 18:30
Yeah, so what we're, so BlocPal is really sort of evolved over the over the years. So like, how it actually founded was, so Nick Mellios, Founder, CEO of BlocPal, was in the gaming space for a number of years, and they became, you know, real experts at back office management, you know, cybersecurity, KYC. Like, they were just masters of that. And they did extremely well, but they were in the space where a they didn't, they didn't love it, right. It was a, it was a very highly competitive space. It was, you know, unregulated in a lot of ways, right, which they didn't enjoy. You're at the whim of what's happening in different countries. And you know, but through that time, they built this beautiful platform, right? And they were like, we want to do more, right? We think we can serve more, we think we can take this to a another level, another market. And that's where, you know, he was really looking at fintech. Right? And they weren't sure like, how that was going to look and what market they were going to play in. But they knew some fundamentals of what they really wanted to do. And one was obviously like, really find a way to provide access to financial, relevant financial services to people that don't have it. So right now, I think in the world, there's like 1.4 billion people on planet earth that are unbanked still, right, literally have no access to banking. And I don't know how many are unbanked. I assume it's even, you know, so I say underbanked. I don't even know if it's, you know, double that but, you know, you know with that, there's still, everyone having mobile phones, right? We knew that the internet was now you know, covering almost the entire planet Earth. So banking was going to transform, right. And a lot of these people at the same time don't trust banks, right? Like we grew up with, you know, we're living in North America or Europe, in these first world countries, we're used to setting banks you can go to. And even us, we don't go do it a lot, we do digital banking. So, you know, we knew there was an opportunity. And then with BlocPal, it was always focusing on that it being like, you know, business to customer, we were like, really wanted to do the b2b thing, again, business to business, and we really wanted to like, own that whole end to end solution. Right. So, you know, it's really important, it's hard sometimes, I mean, of course, you partner with the big guys, but like, we wanted to have control of our own destiny. And so as this thing evolved, we got involved in Mexico and partner with a group there that had over 60,000 retail locations, where they were doing recharge for, you know, their cell phones and bill payments. And that's where it all started. We started building a retailer banking app, right. And really, that banking app is where they can go and do all their, their banking services, relevant banking services they need at their corner store where they buy their milk and eggs, right? They trust the store owner, more than they trust the bank. And so it was a sort of aha moment. And then when India sort of appeared by, again, just through network and destiny, a lot of times, right, we found a good partner there. And now we have over 150,000 locations. We've done well over $2 billion in transactions, we're doing about $750 million a month in transaction volume. We're really growing and it's just again, about providing the sort of relevant banking services. So we have about 20 different banking services, people can come in and deposit money at the at the retailer, withdraw, they can send money, they can, you know, they can pay for their insurance, you name it, they can get micro loans, investment accounts. So it's been a really rewarding, you know, hard process in a lot of ways, but it's been incredible to see that momentum of growth, right. And so, you know, really, we're becoming a, you know, a real digital banking network, right. So we're really be, you know, we can't say we're a bank, because we're on a bank yet, but we're obviously playing, you know, fully regulatory, looking at all our licenses, but we're really just that end mile between the bank and that customer. And so, you know, the world is so vast, there's so much opportunity, and we just are fortunate to be in India, and Mexico right now. But we've been seeding projects in Nigeria, we've been looking at, you know, Lebanon, Middle East, you know, Vietnam, there's this lots of opportunities, but we're just kind of, you know, again, slowly, just making sure we do it right. You know, it's like really seeing the partner, seeing the project, you know, doing it the right way instead of racing, but, and again, you need money, right, to do these things. So.

Susan Sly 22:59
Oh we definitely do.

Rob Stewart 23:02
Yeah, and that's where the challenge, and I think that's funny, you know, I've always heard Business School, I've never seen it before, but like, we're, we had such rapid growth. It was like, you know, we had to keep the font, because, you know, again, we were growing and we were, we're not profitable yet, you know, we're going to be to positive EBIT and profitable at the end of the year, that's really our target. And the markets have changed where they really, you know, they're demanding that right, we're while it was about growth, and so, you know, we've had to be smart and figure out how we're going to do these things. But yeah, we were growing so quickly, that, you know, it's like, you have the Ferrari, and we have the Ferrari, and we had the GPS, we knew where we're going, but we just needed more gas, right. And so, you know, that's the constant struggle is the entrepreneur, right? So you're either got lots of gas, and you're trying to fix a Ferrari, right? Or you may have the gas in the Ferrari, and you still don't quite have the great business plan to get to where you want to go. Right. So just getting all that together. And so yeah, BlocPalck right now we're, you know, we're, I think we're constantly growing, you know, we're, again, being strategic about where we're going. And I guess the last one, which is really great part of our project. So we have India, we have Mexico, and Canada, we're partnered with a group called One Feather. And they're an indigenous First Nations group in Canada, incredible group, they do a lot of like governance and voting for different bands and nations. But we're going to be now distributing, helping distribute some of the money that they send out, the federal government will send out or, you know, some of the bands will distribute cash, and we're just giving them again, it's a relevant way that because a lot of them don't have the same access to banking, right, depending on the rural locations where they're living, the fees they're paying. So we've been working on this for a couple of years with this group, and we're, we're very close partnering with the federal government now and I'm really excited to see that that sort of launch as well. So.

Susan Sly 24:59
That's so awesome. And for those people like, you know, listening, and you might think about Canada being so cosmopolitan, but there's massive population that lives in areas where, even if there was a bank at some point, those banks are closing up their locations. And so digital banking and having access to digital banking is massive. And so, I mean, I love the vision of BlocPal. And you and I have been having some conversations, and we're just close just about, like, so many opportunities to really impact lives and to make a difference. So you're in fundraising mode, and you have a company to co run. A lot of people, one of my mentors said to me, Rob, last week, he's like, Susan, your co CEO of the company, you know, in Radius, we have 100 team members globally. So your co CEO of the company, ran the company, and you're raising money, he's like, who's helping you make sure that the VC stay interested, and you're seeding them the information and keeping them excited? He's like, because that's a full time job. I'm like, oh, it's me. And he's like, so you're working 60 hours on top of your 70 hours? I'm like, basically, yeah. Right. It is a lot. There's no question. So while you're going through the fundraising, and the global expansion, what keeps you up at night?

Rob Stewart 26:23
You know, I think what keeps us up at night, or keeps me up at night is again, you know, you can't control the global markets, right. And, you know, a lot of it again, is, you know, it's very macro, right, in terms of even some of these VCs and investment banks are looking at the world, right. And so, you know, for us, I mean, ultimately, to fulfill the vision we have as a company, you know, we need to, we hate to see need, we need to secure though, some larger funding, and we're getting there, right, we were there almost last year. And then we pulled out jointly because of the, you know, Ukraine was happening, the markets were crumbling, and we didn't want to go public at the wrong time, right. At the end of the day, like, you know, I like, what keeps you up at night is I care so much about our shareholder base, and I want to make sure that we have return on investment, and everyone's happy that, you know, that's, I guess, that's what sometimes keeps me up at night. But at the same time, I know that if we continue to do the work, and we continue to, again, balance, growing the business, maintaining the business, and getting out there and casting the vision, we'll find a partner, you know, we're close, we're close. And in the meantime, we've had incredible high net worth investors that have been, that have been coming in and see our vision and see that we're really undervalued. And they see, you know, obviously opportunity to see a nice ROI, but be involved in a project that they, they can get behind too, right, that they can see the vision around. So yeah, so that's what I guess what keeps me up at night. But it was also appeals me right. Like, you know, I appreciate when you said that, you know, you believed in me, and when you invest in something, I'm the same way and invest in a team, right? Like, I sort of get what they're doing, but I'm like, number one, you know, I look at the group. And so our group is just, you know, we're just not going to stop, right? Like, we're gonna make it work. And I think that's the entrepreneur spirit. Right? You know, you're not, like, don't, you know, pushing something that's not gonna work. But like, we know, everything's there, everything's there in place. And we're just continue to move. And I think it's made us stronger. Like, I think last year, seeing the markets really get hit. It's been the best thing ever for our company, even though after like, we cry about it, but it made us leaner, made us stronger. It just made us more clear on the vision, we had to sort of tighten up on areas. Like oftentimes you focus on areas that aren't profitable, but your ego gets in the way and everyone fell, we were able to kind of clean up and we just had this really beautiful foundation for a company ready to, ready to really take that next step. So.

Susan Sly 28:58
I love what you said about being undervalued because one of our shared mentors, Jim Coover has always said, you know, grow big quietly. And I remember sitting in a board meeting for Radius and saying, you know, let's grow big quietly. And then this year, Rob, when we went to National Retail Federation, so we had the only booth, the world's largest retail show, that did live AI. And then suddenly, we were not quiet anymore. And we had like all these major retailers and we still have them reaching out to us. And there's this point where, you know, a company goes through it's like, that's what you dream of, but at the same time, it comes with a whole bunch of different optics because different people are looking at you and then you know, there's investor expectations and all of those different things that it takes and you know, so it is a very, and to your point, it's a very interesting time to raise money, the you know, but I believe, exactly what you said, the right investors are out there. So can you find them? It's like anything. And so yeah, I totally hear you. So this comes to the fun point of the show where we're gonna have some Canadian fun.

Susan Sly 30:10
Okay, cool. I like Canadian funs.

Susan Sly 30:14
So my first question is who shaved the eyebrow?

Rob Stewart 30:18
Oh, geez. Yeah, it's a Canadian, English-Canadian guy. It was in Kelowna. And I don't want to say anymore but and he's never admitted it. He actually tried to, you know, throw somebody else under the bus. And then when he left the next day to Australia, you know, I think he's sort of, you know, I mean, it wasn't hard to figure out who it was. But yeah, I'm not going to drop his name. Because he doesn't, I don't want anyone else to

Susan Sly 30:45
No, no. And you know, this is the whole thing like, I am ridiculously nervous about partying with you all where there's possibility that I'll wake up was part of my eyebrow missing. Yeah, that's an inside story. Okay, so switching gear, yes, favorite Canadian rock band or singer of all time?

Rob Stewart 31:11
Oh, good one. I mean, we always did say The Tragically Hip. I've always been a huge fan. But you know, I mean, there's so many, so much good music. You know, I don't know. I mean, you know, Bryan Adams was my, so when I was living in West End recently, Bryan Adams was our neighbor at the time and Michael Buble lived across the street so, not that I'm a huge Michael Buble fan but amazing guy and, and so I'd say Bryan Adams as well.

Susan Sly 31:38
Every year we like, the girls and I start in November with Michael bootlegs Christmas and it drives us crazy. And we have to have like this. You know, it's just yeah, it's tradition. And it's important. The hip is, in my opinion, the right answer, because obviously I'm biased there. Okay, favorite Canadian food, and why.

Rob Stewart 32:02
Good question. Okay, so, let me think about that. Like, you know, everyone says, poutine. I don't like love poutine. I'll eat it, right?

Susan Sly 32:11
It was really good in Montreal when we had it. that yeah, we we're laughing so hard. I can't even remember that song we made up.

Rob Stewart 32:20
Yeah, that was good.

Susan Sly 32:21
I have a video of that, though.

Rob Stewart 32:25
I don't, you know, it's funny, I think, I mean, I don't really have like a favorite Canadian food. Honestly, like, I I like to eat everything. I don't know what's really, I mean, you tell me what's your like, because you're living in the US, I'm in Canada, so I sometimes forget. So what's your favorite like, chocolate as a candy like chocolate? Or do you miss up?

Susan Sly 32:42
I don't eat sugar, but I would say a good poutine a hundred percent! And cheese curds like, I can't, I don't do really well with dairy. But like, if you have poutine you have the cheese cards. You have the french fries and the gravy like, Yeah.

Rob Stewart 33:01
Oh, yeah. No, I mean, yeah, no, I think it's, and it's so gourmet now. Right? It's like, you gotta go like gourmet Montreal. Gotta find it. Yeah, I like it.

Susan Sly 33:10
What, Okay, final question, what typical Canadian stereotype that foreigners have about Canada do you wish was really, really true?

Rob Stewart 33:23
Oh, yeah. I mean, I think that they, well, I think it is sort of true, but people always say how nice we are, right? We're just the nicest people and, you know, obviously doing global business, like, you know, it was a real advancement, a real learning for me for the last years of dealing with you know, Mexican business, compared to like India, and everyone has a different way of of doing things. And I think with, like, maybe I'm speaking for myself, but I think it's Canadian, as we kind of want to cut through the crap. Like, I don't want to play poker. And sometimes we're doing that, we give up a little bit, right? But we just want to get down to it because we're just, we're nice people that want to do a win win deal. Right. And so but you know, I don't know how nice we are. I think we're a little passive-aggressive. And, you know, there's, you know, everyone's you know, like, US people, you know, I mean, the Americans love us and, but, you know, we're like that little brother, probably your sister, right, that they don't really pay too much attention to and we're not always nice and cute, but you know, you know, but fine, you know, we'll take it.

Susan Sly 34:22
Yeah, exactly. Like, we're like Ryan Reynolds. You know, Ryan Reynolds can do a rom com and then you know, he can be Deadpool.

Rob Stewart 34:31
Yeah, yeah. There you go. I love it. That's actually perfect. Hilarious. That's great.

Susan Sly 34:38
Well, Rob, thank you again so much for being here. And if you're an investor or you are someone who has a you know, massive amount of screens and taking companies into foreign markets, go to and check it out. And Rob, I know I just had Bernadette Butler on the show, another amazing Vancouver entrepreneur, and we're all supposed to go out for martinis and Timbits. So we'll have to have video of that. I don't know if I'll have the Timbit, but the Martini,

Rob Stewart 35:11
Martini, I'll do too, I'll do that as well. I'm not a Timbit person, but you know, I'll maybe have one after a martini, I don't know. But no, that sounds great. I'm looking forward to meeting her. And again, it's been great to be on the show and appreciate, you know, I think everyone appreciates what you're doing here. This is impactful for people and, and just keep doing what you're doing. So appreciate your support.

Susan Sly 35:32
Well, thanks, Rob. All right, everyone, with that if you haven't left a five star review, get your butt over there and leave us a five star review. If you're gonna leave a nasty review, just don't leave one. I'm sure your mother told you if you have nothing nice to say don't say it. And that's the way I feel. And if you would like to share the show, tag Rob and I, would love that on social. And all of Rob's contact information and BlockPal's information is in the shownotes or check it out on With that, DoGodbless, go rock your day and I will see you in the next episode.

Susan Sly 36:04
Hey, this is Susan and thanks so much for listening to this episode on Raw and Real Entrepreneurship. If this episode or any episode has been helpful to you, you've gotten at least one solid tip from myself or my guests. I would love it if you would leave a five star review whereever you listen to podcast. After you leave your review, go ahead and email Let us know where you left a review. And if I read your review on the air, you could get a $50 amazon gift card and we would so appreciate it because reviews do help boost the show and get this message all over the world. If you're interested in any of the resources we discussed on the show, go to That's where all the show notes live. And with that, go out there, rock your day, God bless, and I will see you in the next episode.

Susan Sly 36:56
Are you currently an employee looking to start your own business? Maybe you've been thinking about it for a while and you're just not sure where to start? Well my course, Employee to Entrepreneur combines my decades of experience as an entrepreneur with proven methods, techniques and skills to help you take that leap and start your own business. This course is self paced, Learn on Demand and comes with an incredible workbook. And that will allow you to go through this content piece by piece by piece, absorb it, take action, and then go on to the next module. So check out my course on Employee to Entrepreneur.

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Author Susan Sly

Susan Sly is considered a thought leader in AI, award winning entrepreneur, keynote speaker, best-selling author, and tech investor. Susan has been featured on CNN, CNBC, Fox, Lifetime, ABC Family, and quoted in Forbes Online, Marketwatch, Yahoo Finance, and more. She is the mother of four and has been working in human potential for over two decades.

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