In this episode, Chacho is joined by Chris Lustrino, the founder and CEO of KingsCrowd. Together they discuss the importance of movement for CEOs, how to run long distances, running camaraderie, and more.
Highlights from their conversation include:
Backstage Capital is a VC firm that boasts one of the largest portfolios of underrepresented founders in venture. Read about the new strategic partnership with KingsCrowd here. To learn more about Backstage, visit backstagecapital.com.
Chacho Valadez 0:08
Hello, hello, everyone. Welcome to Running in Public. This is the weekly podcast that empowers you to build your running routine while also making strides in your career. I’m your host, Chacho Valadez, and this is my first ever podcast. I’m so so happy about it. In each episode, I sit down with a startup founder, operator, or leader to talk about their experience of running while they also build and run their companies. You’ll walk away feeling empowered to run your next mile while also making strides in your career. And honestly, we support any form of movement on the podcast that suits your lifestyle. So whether you like to run, walk, bike, or swim or whatever it might be, we’re all in this together.
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Hello, folks. Welcome back to Running in Public, your favorite running podcast. I’m really excited to have Chris here today, Chris Lustrino. I should have asked you before I started recording if that’s how you pronounce it. Is that right?
Chris Lustrino 2:01
Chacho Valadez 2:02
Great, cool. Chris is the founder and CEO of KingsCrowd and a little bit about KingsCrowd: They’re the first rating and analytics platform for the private markets. Over the past 20 years, some of the best-performing companies have been in the private markets and thanks to a lot of advance in technology and also improvements in regulation, there have been more and more retail investors or just everyday investors who can invest in private companies through platforms like Wefunder and Republic and KingsCrowd is the place to go to have all your analytics and insights and ratings on those companies so you can make the most informed investment as possible. Chris, thanks so much for joining me.
Chris Lustrino 2:46
I’m really excited to be here, Chacho. I think it’s gonna be a lot of fun.
Chacho Valadez 2:50
I agree. The first question is, tell me a little bit about yourself.
Chris Lustrino 2:54
Yeah, it’s a loaded question but I’ll try and be short here and hit you with some of the highlights, as they tie to running since we are on a running podcast.
I grew up in New York, was the youngest of three, played soccer growing up. When I was in high school, I saw my brother, he started running cross country. As the youngest brother, my tendency was always to want to do whatever it was that he was doing and it just seemed like this incredible challenge. I had never heard of anyone running 3.1 miles just for the fun of it, so I decided to join the cross country team with him and ended up really falling in love with the sport. I was absolutely the worst person on the team. In my first race ever, I came in second to last of probably about 400 people in the race. But I told myself, “Okay, that was second to last. Let’s just make sure I never finished last.” I ran throughout high school. I had an amazing coach that really pushed me (especially in junior and senior year) to places that I never thought I could go mentally. In senior year, I ended up running a PR at my last race that was like a two-minute PR. I think my 5k was around 23 minutes, which for me was a huge deal. I felt really, really proud of that so when I went to college at Boston College, I didn’t want to give up on running. I was so excited. I finally felt like I was not a bad runner anymore. I was the fastest in my gym class and the slowest on the team, but I was still much better than the average person and I just found it so rewarding and powerful. So I went to Boston College and found out that they had a running team that would run a marathon as bandits, aka we wouldn’t qualify, but we would run regardless. The cool thing was we were raising money along the way for children with special needs, so I did that for three years while I was at Boston College and it was a really incredible experience. Then when I left, the first company that I was at actually had a running club as well. You can see this underlying theme that wherever I go, running follows, and it’s become probably the most powerful mechanism I’ve had as a founder to keep things in check in my life, keep myself mentally sane, and able to get through the challenges of being a founder. Frankly, I think it really parallels the experience of being a founder. Anyway, that’s a little bit about me. Excited to get into the conversation, though.
Chacho Valadez 5:07
I appreciate it. That’s really cool, the way you got started. Have you ever raced your brother?
Chris Lustrino 5:16
So the cool thing is, my brother was so much faster than me and definitely a much more natural runner than I. If you look at my build, I’m like 5’8 and a kind of stocky like bigger guy, and he looked more like a real runner. For the first three, four years, he was definitely faster than I. It wasn’t until after high school, we were running on a summer vacation and I had been training all summer. That was when I started getting into marathon stuff. It was the first time that I ever slightly outran him. Other than that, he’s always been faster and I totally appreciate that.
Chacho Valadez 5:48
I’m the oldest brother and so I definitely have memories of sprinting across the yard and seeing if we can beat each other and that type of thing. That’s why I asked. I never let my brothers win. Yeah, just great memories there. Why do you run today?
Chris Lustrino 6:07
Why do I run today? From my perspective, a lot of people talk about meditating to get into a good state and to clear their minds and all of these things. What I found about running from pretty early on is that running for me is the most powerful way to clear my head and get to a really good place. A lot of the hardest problems I’ve ever had in building KingsCrowd, I’ve been able to solve on a run. We’ve acquired four companies along the way since they started this company with next to no money. That required a lot of creative thinking, nearly all of that was solved on runs. Running is my way, I can’t meditate. I’ve tried. I’ve tried a lot. You sit there and I’m like a fidgety person, I move a lot. So it just doesn’t do the trick for me. But I find that when I’m running, and my whole body is moving, what it allows me to do is it finally gets my head to just be able to like focus in and I’ll start a run. And when I start the run, my head is just so full of stuff. And for the first half-hour, 45 minutes an hour, it’ll just be thoughts flowing through my head and problems and I’m facing things I’m trying to figure out, and it’ll just constantly be going through my head. And the best part is, when I get to the end of a run in my head just clear. There’s nothing left. I’m like, Alright, I’m out of thoughts. Let’s stop reading right here. It’s really, really powerful to just keep me even keel feeling good. Solving problems in my life. Like it’s such a powerful tool in my life, so I don’t see stopping anytime soon. It really is something that has helped me build mental fortitude and work through a lot of things over the past many years.
Chacho Valadez 7:46
Yeah, I’ve definitely had that experience where I’m running and just there’s a lot on my mind. We’ve even had a founder, I think episode two, she talked about how sometimes in the middle of the day she just goes out on a run just to clear her mind. She’ll tell her team. “Okay, I’ll be back.”
Chris Lustrino 8:04
Yeah, I need to get out of here for a little bit. No, it really works. It’s like, I’ve never found anything that will if I’m really not feeling great. Like literally after three, four days say I haven’t gotten on a run or something. If my wife just says why don’t you just go for a run? I’ll just come back like this wholly new person. I just feel so much better. So it’s really powerful. Everyone has their thing. This is my thing to really clear my head.
Chacho Valadez 8:28
That’s funny. Yeah, I know sometimes if I get agitated or something or a little bit more agitated than usual or easier than usual, my wife says, you should probably go on a run. Yeah. Do you listen to music or podcasts while you run? Are you just in your own thoughts?
Chris Lustrino 8:46
Yes. So I do listen to music. Music is definitely something I enjoy listening to while on my runs. I will say that if I’m going for a really long run— So I did the Boston Marathon three times in undergrad. And then I’ve done a few half marathons. And then I just did the Chicago Marathon back in October. And I will say that when I’ve gone out for those long runs, sometimes after like an hour and a half or two hours of running, I just can’t even listen to music anymore. It just starts to feel like people are shouting stuff at me. And I’m like, I just need some peace and quiet. So I definitely have a balance but on shorter runs by pay 10k type of thing. I really enjoy listening to music, and it definitely gets me in the zone.
Chacho Valadez 9:26
Oh, yeah. How was the Chicago Marathon? I’ve always wanted to run it but haven’t had a chance.
Chris Lustrino 9:33
Having done the Boston Marathon three times— The cool thing about being at Boston College was that Boston College is actually a mile 21 Which is pretty famous because you spend mile 17 to 21 running up Heartbreak Hill, it’s literally a four-mile Hill. So when you get to 21 that in its own way is almost like a finish line. And it’s a really amazing feeling and literally to get to BC just becomes this massive downhill which is fantastic. And to BCC going crazy. So in our training, what we would do is every year we’d have about 300 people who would run the Boston Marathon as bandits. So in our training, what we would do is we’d actually drive out to the start line, and then we would just run back to BC because that was mile 21. Perfect training run. So I’ve actually run the first 21 miles to Boston six times, and the full thing three times. So the Chicago Marathon, the reason that I signed up for it was because I said, I just want a flat marathon, I think I I owe it to myself to have a flat marathon. So it was really fun. Chicago turned out it was a party all 26 miles, I got to know more about Chicago in that 26-mile run than I ever have gone there four or five times, I had the best time running around Chicago. The problem was my legs did completely and totally locked up around mile 13, which was the most devastating feeling because I was running this great time, I felt so strong. And out of nowhere, I went to grab water mile 13 I just felt both of my quads just locked up. And so the last 13 Miles was literally me like to thing and clawing my way to the end, I really didn’t know how I was going to make it to the end, except that I wanted to make it so that Ben took away a little but I won’t lie, it was definitely extremely rewarding to hit that finish line and be like, I can’t believe I made it.
Chacho Valadez 11:20
Do you know what happened?
Chris Lustrino 11:22
I’ve had this happen before, never on a race day never had the full thing. I’ve had it happen in mile-10, 12, 14 on my training runs, and I’ll just stop. And it’s just something that occurs from time to time in my life. I won’t say often, but it occurs from time to time. Honestly, I think it’s if I’ve been stressed, if I haven’t been sleeping well enough, all that type of stuff that was occurring outside of me training for the marathon, I think probably played a role. And then sometimes these things are just a fluke.
Chacho Valadez 11:49
Right. Yeah, just happens. Bad day. What’s your running routine look like today?
Chris Lustrino 11:59
It’s a total mix. When I’m not training for a marathon or some sort of long run, I typically will run anywhere between three miles and 10 miles, that’s my range that’ll go in, I rarely run less than three. And it’s kind of funny, a lot of people like three miles is one of their longest runs. But for me, it takes three to really feel good and start to clear that head. So yeah, I’ll do three to four times a week, I’ll run right now, after the marathon I, every time that I do a marathon, what happens for the six months after is I get into other stuff, cross-training a bit, actually doing more like sprints and things like that, just to change it up, because I get so tired of those long, tedious runs. So recently, I’ve been doing a lot of like, stationary bicycle few miles on the treadmill, maybe I’ll do like really hard to fit like an orange theory, things like that. I’ll go and do really hard sprints. So I’ve been enjoying mixing it up recently, during marathon training, I’m running five to six days a week, and going anywhere from three miles to 18 to 20 mile runs on the weekend. So it feels good to backpedal a little bit and just do those shorter, fun rounds.
Chacho Valadez 13:08
Yeah, the cross-training is super important too, because you’re able to actively sort of heal those muscle fibers while also getting in some aerobic exercise.
Chris Lustrino 13:24
I think one of the things for me is like when you’re training for a marathon, you’re training for one very specific thing. And so you get into this narrow view of what the world is. It’s like, oh, it’s all about just getting your legs to go further and further and further. And when you finally get out of that, it’s like, my core wasn’t strong enough. I had been working on my arms as much there were all these things that I let lag. And I think just like holistically if you looked at my whole body, it just wasn’t where I really wanted to be. Because it became so focused on I just need to make sure I can finish this race. So it’s actually felt good to get to a more balanced place and be doing the other stuff outside of just the running.
Chacho Valadez 14:04
Oh, yeah. I’ve definitely fallen into it. I’ll see you learned so much along the way. So on that, I guess what do people tend to miss about running that you find important, so something that people gloss over that is actually really important when it comes to running, especially these longer distances?
Chris Lustrino 14:23
More than anything, running is probably 90% mental fortitude. 10% Physical in many ways. And I say that because over the years I have met and talked with so many runners that I know all of them. I guarantee you are better runners than me. And they always say to me, Oh, I can never do a marathon like that. So cool. Like I give you so much credit and it’s like you could mentally you don’t want to or you’re not ready for and that’s absolutely fine. But physically they are so much more able than I am what I’ve learned over the years is that it really comes down to that mental strain, that willingness to say, I’m going to fight through the pain, the agony, all of that stuff. Because it’s not about running the fastest mile, it’s really about, can I hold up through this grueling process that can last four or five hours, if you’re not a super-fast runner, that is an incredible amount of time to just be out there with your legs, one foot in front of the other. If you don’t think you’re a runner, I’d say I think anyone can be a runner. You just have to say, am I willing to submit to that pain, submit to the things that come with it? And say, I’m going to push through that anyway. And I certainly am not recommending that I don’t think that’s a need or a necessary thing you have to do. I just think a lot of people don’t realize that we’re all capable of it. If you really dive deep down and say,
Chacho Valadez 15:48
I got this. Totally, yeah. And it doesn’t always have to be painful, either. I think there’s certainly if you’re going like on longer run towards the end, or maybe middle towards the end, it gets like, Okay, what am I why, what am I doing here, it’s like your brain starts like tricking you into stopping, wanting to stop at least. But if you’re running a little bit slow, and just taking it easy, maybe you’re listening to a fun podcast, then it’s actually really enjoyable, and doesn’t have to be always painful.
Chris Lustrino 16:21
Absolutely not, and I think there are two things that go to that. First off, if you’re already in a mindset of just like negativity, and I’m not saying you can’t start to run negativity and be like, I want to get to a positive place. But if you’re in a mindset of negativity, you’re just stuck, you’re in a rut on Sunday. And you don’t have a willingness to like hear yourself out. If that’s how you start to run, you’re probably gonna have a tough run, you just, if you’re struggling with what’s up here in your head, everything that you feel in your body, you’re gonna be like, Oh, of course, another thing, that’s hard. Another thing, it doesn’t feel good, and it’s gonna make it really terrible. You need to go in with some positive self, think about how it’s gonna go. And that really can change the game. The second thing that I really like to do, if you are training and you’re trying to get to longer distances, is you tell yourself, like, if you’re gonna do a 10-mile run, and that’s the longest you’ve done, work yourself out for like three days, like I’m doing 10 On Sunday, even like, tell people I’m like, Yeah, I’m gonna do 10 on Sunday. And when I get there, I’m like, so committed to 10. Then when I get to three, and I’ve never done 10, I don’t feel like that’s crazy. I’m like, I’m going to 10 Like, I feel good at three. And it’s amazing. If I tell myself, I’m gonna be three. I’m tired at two. But tell me somebody 10 I’m tired at night. So tell yourself where you’re going. And it makes it a lot easier than being like, Oh, I think I’m doing 10. But maybe I’ll do seven or if I’m tired, you’ll never make it.
Chacho Valadez 17:37
Sure. Yeah, I wonder the mental tricks I like to use is if I’m going on, let’s say 10-mile run. And I’m at mile six or seven, I just asked myself, have you run three miles before? Have you run four miles before, like, You’ve done this before? Like, you can definitely finish this. And so that really helps put a little bit of perspective in the middle run to be like, Well, I’ve done this before, you may have not run the 10 miles before but you’ve run three miles, or whatever it might be, or even it’s just half a mile. You’re just like trying to like continually, slowly progress along your way.
Chris Lustrino 18:10
I love that. One of my nerdy finance jokes is that it’s like economies of scale. If you run 10, what’s the big deal running 11? It’s like 1/10 of what you’ve already run inside. If you’ve run 12, why can’t you run 15? It’s only 15% of what you run. The numbers become smaller and smaller on a percentage basis as you grow. So it’s like, eh, it’s economies of scale. Don’t worry about it.
Chacho Valadez 18:33
Sure. Yeah, I think it is a good rule of thumb to, if you are getting up there—and I’m not a running coach, but from what I’ve seen—just add 10% Extra on your like weekly mileage per week. So if you’re running timeouts a week, only add one more, add one mile and run 11 miles the next week, and then slowly start to like, compound on that like compounding interest. That’s we’re talking finance. So what’s your favorite thing about running?
Chris Lustrino 19:02
My favorite thing is— I have a lot of favorite things, but one of them is the places it’s taken me and the things I’ve gotten to do with it. I got to run in the most prestigious, incredible marathon in the world in Boston three times. I got to experience Chicago this year. When I was in school, at BC, I ran my freshman and sophomore year, and junior year I was actually abroad. While I was abroad, I was literally at a dinner, we started getting these messages on our phone that the bombings had gone off in Boston. Had I been in that marathon at that moment— My friend who always finished about two to three minutes before me, finished two to three minutes before everything happened. And I just kept thinking I could have been there. I would have been there if I had not gone abroad. That really hit me in a big way, so I decided that I want to do something different to honor what had occurred. So I actually went off and ran a half marathon in Italy. It was this incredible half marathon literally running along the coast of Italy, you’re looking over Croatia in the water. And the coolest thing was it’s where my Boston collared shirt to honor Boston. They were honoring Boston in the half marathon like they were talking all about it, we had a moment of silence before the race took off all of these things. But it was an incredible experience a really beautiful one. I did a Tough Mudder right after one of my marathons and got to run up a mountain in Vermont with 20 of my friends and have this incredible experience. I’ve done a triathlon after school in Falmouth, Massachusetts, right on a beach, running across the beach. I’ve gotten to do all of these things because of running and have these really special unique experiences that have really been a big part of my life. And I wouldn’t have had them without running. So running. The beauty of it is that it’s a sport, that with no equipment with no money with nothing, you could just go outside of your house and go on a run. And that for me, it’s very accessible. And you can do it for life. And I think that’s really, really cool.
Chacho Valadez 21:09
Yeah, well, first of all, it’s so glad that you’re here. That would have been absolutely tragic. And that was tragic, of course. And thanks for sharing that. And I think it’s something that you just, it was just a terrible, terrible day. And I do love how running brings a community in a different way than other things, I guess. And I don’t know, anything else to compare to. I do really get the sense of like, anyone who’s running or walking or biking or whatever it might be like, there’s a sense of camaraderie around. Well, we’re all moving together, which is really cool.
Chris Lustrino 21:47
When I was at Boston College, we have this group, almost 300 of us that would run every year. And the coolest thing was right after the bombings, basically, the marathon knew that we would run as bandits and that we weren’t qualified to we didn’t have numbers. And they were okay with that. Because they loved all the colleges partaking. But after they said, Listen, we have to tighten security, we can’t do that anymore. But the coolest part was still about 200 students showed up the next year. And what we did was we ran the week before, because we ran for these students with special needs at this very special school on campus at the sea that teaches children with special needs. And we still raise the money. We did all of that we were a group that continue to go out on our long runs together. There was amazing camaraderie within that group. It was a really cool experience to run with so many different people and some of my friends. And we went out and ran the week before. And all of the families who were involved with the special needs students came out and provided us water along the course, they gave us medals. It was first time I ever got a medal because I wasn’t qualified. So I never got a medal. And it was just like, really, really special experience. But there’s something about going through that marathon and sticking together and doing it anyway, even though we couldn’t have necessarily the experience we wanted. It’s still showing up that it just tells you what the whole running thing is really about.
Chacho Valadez 23:03
Yeah, absolutely love that. Right now we’ll take a quick break to hear from our sponsor, Hire Runner.
Hey, thanks for listening to this episode. Don’t forget to check out our sponsor, hirerunner.co for all your fractional and temp-to-hire operations talent needs. Now let’s get back into the show.
Thanks, everyone. Glad to have you back. So right back into this interview here, Chris, how does running affect your work?
Chris Lustrino 23:35
I have to wonder what KingsCrowd looks like today, what KingsCrowd would like, would look like without running. I started the company back in May of 2018. So we’re coming up on four years here, we’ve raised almost $4 billion from about 3000 individual investors. We have several VCs invested, we have several really notable figures invested, we have 23 full-time staff. We have the former CTO Dow Jones, former Chief Counsel of Bank of America, revised by one of the former CIOs of Citi, we had just incredible people involved in this organization, we built a company that now has over 400,000 total subscribers. We’ve rated billions and billions of dollars of transactions with our proprietary rating algorithm. And we’ve created this trusted brand in this new market that didn’t even exist five years ago. And one of the ways in which we’ve done that is by acquiring four companies along the way that have become our data infrastructure, product offerings and user base. So much of the decisions that I’ve made along the way, have come while on a run and thinking through how can I make this thing that’s not working work? How can I make that acquisition when I have no money, no resources, nothing? How do I do this? How do I make these really hard things happen? It’s not sitting at a computer. For me, it’s all been about being out there and figuring out The hard problems and solving them over hours and hours of running and just thinking critically about how this would actually work. And when I’m on a run, my thoughts just be get become so much more creative. So anyway, I think that KingsCrowd would look very, very different today, perhaps not quite as successful had I not been a runner.
Chacho Valadez 25:22
That’s a powerful statement for sure. On that note, would you consider running as part of your role as a founder? Is running part of your job description?
Chris Lustrino 25:38
I’d like to say it is. I would say running is essential to doing what I do. I think so much of your role as a CEO is having a clear head, being able to think creatively, being able to get away from work and have a clear view of what you need to do and how you need to make things work. So much of that doesn’t happen. When you’re overthinking. You’re sitting at a computer for unending hours, all this stuff. One thing I would mention that I think is overlooked by founders is, well, I don’t have the time because I’m the founder. No, you absolutely have the time. In fact, it’s one of the most important things you can do. And if it’s not running, maybe it’s cycling, it’s not cycling, maybe it’s swimming, whatever it is for you, that gets you out of the office and thinking differently and getting some space. It’s so critical to the longevity of you doing your job. And frankly, I would say that running very much parallels your experience as a founder. When I was in the Chicago Marathon and my legs were like a mile 13 I just had the highest high I was feeling like oh my god, I’m gonna get a record time. I’m crushing it. And then I’m just completely demoralizing kick down. And he’s like, I don’t even know if I’ll make it and then struggle through end up with this sharpshooting data, my foot around mile 24 Be like, Are you kidding me? Do I need anything more to go wrong right now? And then a push through that and to see my wife and my good friends, like right near the finish line, it just took off and said, Screw it, I’m finishing this thing, and having the highest highs at the end. And then for a month after that dealing with excruciating pain in my foot. If you want to know what being a founder is like, it’s that right there. It’s the high, it’s the low, it’s the high, it’s the low. So really great training for understanding what the role of being a founder is like.
Chacho Valadez 27:24
I’ve thought that quite a bit, especially on those longer runs. But I’m like, is it just too corny to say that it’s so much like starting companies and building anything, really. There are always highs and lows.
Chris Lustrino 27:41
It is corny, it definitely is when you’re out there and you’re mile 18, you’re struggling through it feels less corny. You’re like, wow, I am battle-tested thing. This is really hard.
Chacho Valadez 27:53
Yeah. You mentioned making time for running. How do you balance your running routine with being a founder?
Chris Lustrino 28:03
I am not a big believer in this whole thing that you got to work zillion hours in order to be successful, it’s really easy to work a lot, it’s really hard to work smart. And say, I’m going to fit everything that I need to fit in within eight or 10 hours a day, being thoughtful about where you work, and what you do and what you handoff, and making sure that you’re empowering others to do the work so that you’re not doing everything, to make sure you’re not micromanaging decisions. I think that type of culture is just not one that I believe in. I believe in long-term sustainability. I tell my team all the time, I don’t think and I don’t want you to think in and I don’t think in days, months or quarters, I think in years and decades, if we are truly a successful company that’s transformative and helps hundreds of millions of people become empowered investors in this new world where they can invest in any alternative asset, you can imagine. That’s a 1020 30 year time horizon, for we could really make a massive impact. What you do today for a day ahead of schedule or something is not going to impact that long term. And that’s the curve that I’m working towards. So I believe really strongly in sustainability. I don’t think you should kill yourself and work a zillion hours, I think you should be thoughtful so that you can be around for the long term. I’ve been doing this for over four years now, since when I really started getting things going. I’ve been preaching this message day in and day out. And we’ve accomplished an incredible amount. And I do tell people a lot as well. You’ll always overestimate what you can do in a year, but you’ll heavily underestimate what you can do in three or four years. And if you said we went from idea on paper to 4 million raise 23 full time 100,000 subscribers, all this stuff. I wouldn’t believe you but here we are. And that’s because I’ve taken that long-term lens and everything that I do. You need to make time to make sure you’re balanced and taking care of yourself.
Chacho Valadez 29:54
Yeah, I absolutely love that. And it’s something that I truly believe in as well. The last question before we do this quick-fire round is, how do you have that sort of the same approach when it comes to your practice of running?
Chris Lustrino 30:11
Definitely. And it’s one of the things that sometimes takes me out of marathon training, is I’m not a believer in overdoing anything, I don’t think it ultimately leads the right results. The only time I’ve ever gotten hurt is during marathon training. Why? Because I’m pushing my body beyond where it really wants to go. So I do try and take a balanced approach. That’s why when I’m out of marathon training, really what I focus on is, is being balanced in cross-training and doing stairs and stationary bicycles and all that kind of stuff, just to mix it up and take care of the whole body, rather than just the legs in the
Chacho Valadez 30:43
running. Yeah, it’s so important. And anytime I’ve gotten injured is because I’m pushing myself too much.
Chris Lustrino 30:49
Exactly. Say we’re all victims of it.
Chacho Valadez 30:53
Yeah, I think as people who really strive for a lot, we really push ourselves one way or the other. So yeah, we’ll get into this quickfire round answers, I would say 60 seconds or less. And we’ll get right into it. So if you had to recommend one book to your younger self, what would it be?
Chris Lustrino 31:12
Whoa, one book to my younger self. It was one of the books that inspired me to start KingsCrowd. And when I was reading, it helped me get comfortable with this idea of like, taking risks, and it’s going to be really hard, but it’s worth it. And it’s by then, or what’s the hard thing about hard things. I read it pretty early on. I wish I read it even earlier.
Chacho Valadez 31:31
Thank you. What was your dream job as a kid?
Chris Lustrino 31:35
I wanted to be a sports journalist. I’m not actually a very athletically talented person, maybe why I like running is because there’s really no proxy for if I’m actually talented or not, in a way. But yeah, I wanted to be a sports journalist, I thought that would be the coolest job in the world. I was a massive Yankee fan growing up. I ended up starting this blog that blossomed into becoming KingsCrowd. I love writing. And that’s definitely a part of my passion as well.
Chacho Valadez 31:58
Do you still write today?
Chris Lustrino 31:59
I do. I’m actually trying to get back into writing for KingsCrowd and doing stuff that I was doing very early on, it’s hard to put out some, like more thought pieces on our market and what we’re working on.
Chacho Valadez 32:09
Cool. What was your first job?
Chris Lustrino 32:12
My first job, I was a maintenance guy at a summer community in upstate New York. And basically, I would cut the, I think it was like 50, 60 acres and take care of all the old houses. And it was mostly like 70 to 90-year-old. So taking care of whatever problem they asked me that day, whether it was carrying their groceries or cleaning their decks.
Chacho Valadez 32:34
Very cool. So fill in the blank here: running is blank.
Chris Lustrino 32:39
Running is an outlet to both clear my head and to provide me with the creative space that I don’t have elsewhere.
Chacho Valadez 32:47
Awesome. If you had to listen to one song and repeat for an hour-long run, what would it be?
Chris Lustrino 32:53
I think my college roommates will laugh at me for this one because I’ve done it before. Fast car by Tracy Chapman couldn’t tell you what it is about that song. But I could just listen to that thing on repeat.
Chacho Valadez 33:04
That’s awesome. What’s your go-to running app?
Chris Lustrino 33:10
My go-to running app is not having a go-to at all. I prefer to be free of all the gadgets and stuff. I rather just like be out there and not have to deal with thinking about the time, the miles, that stuff drives me crazy.
Chacho Valadez 33:24
Oh, that’s very interesting. I have to get out to talk to you more about that. When’s the last time you were proud of yourself? Can be professional or personal.
Chris Lustrino 33:34
Recently we did some feedback forms internally at KingsCrowd. And I received a lot of feedback from nearly all of our team members and there was one repeating theme, which was that I empower people and make them feel appreciated. And that was like, not a not like a button that they click that was something that they wrote down. And like, if there’s anything that I’ll ever be proud of, it’s that you make other people feel really good and feel appreciate and make sure that they know that. I don’t think there’s anything better you can do as a leader than that.
Chacho Valadez 34:04
That’s incredible. I love hearing that. And that’s a good segue into this last question here is what’s your favorite thing about yourself and why? I really appreciate my optimism, my view on the world, I don’t wake up every day seeing a problem as a problem or problem is an opportunity. And I’ve come to understand that that is not how everyone thinks I’ve come to understand it when you have a bad day and say I had a bad day, but I deserve to have a good one. So I’m gonna have a good one anyway. But that’s like not a normal behavior. I’ve come to learn that when you run, you come home and you’re super happy and you feel amazing. A lot of people never get to experience that. And so I’m just really thankful more than anything, that I get to be an optimist and feel really positive about each day when I wake up.
I love that. Thanks so much. Well, it’s been a pleasure to having you Chris and I know people are really gonna enjoy this episode and Where can people follow along your journey and learn more about KingsCrowd?
Chris Lustrino 35:04
You can always check us out at KingsCrowd.com if you want to learn more about what we’re building, you can check me out on LinkedIn, Chris Lustrino, you can look me up. And then I’m also on Twitter at simple innovative. I’m not a huge tweeter these days. I tend to be focused more on taking care of the business, but you could definitely check us out there, too.
Chacho Valadez 35:23
Thanks so much, Greg. Thanks for joining.
Chris Lustrino 35:25
Thanks for the opportunity. This is a lot of fun.
Chacho Valadez 35:29
Thanks so much for listening to this episode. I really hope you enjoyed it. If you have a chance, please leave us a review and let us know what you liked about the show, and if you want to follow along with future episodes, go to your favorite podcast platform and hit the subscribe button, or you can also go to runninginpublic.co where we’ll be updating the website regularly. I’ll catch you on the flippety-flip.