Cannabis Operations: Unlocking the Potential of Business Management Solutions with Aaron Ranka

In episode #12 of the Roots to Risk podcast, Eric and Isaac are joined by Aaron Ranka, the Chief Revenue Officer of Dama Financial, a leading provider of cannabis business management solutions.

Dama Financial is dedicated to assisting cannabis operators in effectively running their businesses, and their expertise in the banking space has positioned them as trusted partners in the industry.

With a strong focus on compliance and reliability, Dama Financial offers payment solutions that meet the unique needs of cannabis operators. By addressing the challenges faced by operators in accessing legitimate financial services, Dama Financial is actively contributing to a more transparent and reputable cannabis industry.

During the podcast conversation, Aaron highlights the exciting merger that Dama Financial underwent. By bringing together service and technology, this merger has created new opportunities for Dama to enhance their offerings and provide even greater value to their clients.

Additionally, Dama Financial is leveraging the power of data analytics to gain insights and improve their services, ensuring they stay at the forefront of the industry.

Overall, this episode of the Roots to Risk podcast sheds light on Dama Financial’s commitment to serving the cannabis industry and their dedication to constantly improving their solutions. It’s yet another informative and engaging discussion that leaves listeners with a deeper understanding of the evolving landscape of cannabis business management.

Transcription:

Eric:

This is the Roots to Risk Podcast hosted by Eric Schneider, alongside Isaac Bach. Roots To Risk brings you insights, the latest stories, and long form discussions about the cannabis industry. You’ll hear interviews with industry leaders and their perspective on current and future trends, how they’ve built success and what challenges they have faced. Our goal is to facilitate candid conversations and provide informative content for the cannabis community at large. Let’s go. What is going on, Isaac? How we doing today, brother?

Isaac:

I’m doing good. B How are you doing today?

Eric:

I’m good. You got, you got the old They are. I

Isaac:

Know. We’re repping both versions of the logo, the woman, your shirt’s a little bit better than,

Eric:

Isn’t it? Isn’t it wild? Like it’s, it’s hard because it’s, uh, it’s been quite some time, well, not really, it’s been only over a year, but it feels like so long ago. But when you look back at the old branding, it’s just like,

Isaac:

It’s not great.

Eric:

Yeah. But it, but we’re good now for

Isaac:

Insurance guys. It looks pretty good,

Eric:

There’s no doubt. Um, no, but, but really excited to, uh, jump on another one here today. I think we have a really interesting, uh, session on deck with Aaron Ronco from DOMA Financial, um, which I’m sure a lot of people have heard. DMA Financial, they’re a banking solutions platform. Uh, they also provide payments and po o s um, Aaron himself joined DMA in October of 2022 as head of payments. His primary role was to build out a payments platform and develop a sales department.

Eric:

Shortly thereafter, he was promoted to Cro o in charge of all revenue for Domo. Uh, Aaron has 18 years of payments experience, um, and was previously at Fiser, which is a leading FinTech company and serves him well in the new role. Um, so I’m interested to hear, you know, his take, given his background and payments for the last 18 years, um, in banking and how that compares to his role at doma currently, obviously with the landscape of cannabis banking is always a difficult topic of conversation, right?

Eric:

So, um, excited to hear his point of view as, as well as just maybe some additional things that are in the horizon for the next 12 to 18 months.

Isaac:

Yeah, I definitely think they’ll provide, uh, he’ll provide a good insight into, you know, the financial services side of things, which we’re, we’re one small part of, but, uh, we’re the part that no one really likes to talk about, and no one thinks they actually need until they need it when banking is kind of the hot button topic at all points. So excited to hear his, uh, his point of view.

Eric:

Hey, Aaron, how we doing today? Thanks for joining us. Hey, great.

Aaron:

Thanks for having me. Appreciate the opportunity. Looking forward to having a chat.

Eric:

Yeah, absolutely. It’s funny, we’ve been working with, uh, I think I mentioned we’ve been working with DOMA for, you know, the past three to four months and providing, you know, insurance solutions, uh, for, for some of the operators within the, the DOMA banking platform. So it’s great to finally connect and, um, learn, you know, we’re familiar with DOMA and, and know what you guys are doing in this space, but for, for our viewers and everybody listening, if you could just provide a quick overview of DOMA Financial, the different services, uh, that you offer, and, uh, and then we’ll talk about, um, how you got into space.

Aaron:

Yeah, love the opportunity. Thank you. So Domas a a really interesting brand to me. Um, you know, it’s, uh, the word means cannabis, uh, I think it’s in Cantonese. Um, so it really kind of focuses on the industry that we’re in. And the industry itself is really challenging to be in. Um, our vision, our focus is delivering products that help cannabis operators run their business. So core business functionality started off in the banking space. We are not a bank, as you guys know.

Aaron:

Uh, we’re a bank service company, so we represent, uh, multiple payments banks, uh, where we help cannabis operators park their money and, you know, try to provide traditional, like business services to cannabis space where we think that, you know, traditional banking, uh, is a lot more served than cannabis. So it’s one kind of core focus. We did merger of the company, uh, a year and a half ago or so, uh, through purchase called Growth Flow, which is point of sale.

Aaron:

And that point of sale is seed to sale. So wholesale operations, everything from tracking, traceability, transfers, um, you know, a lot of the states that we deal with, uh, seem to move the goalposts a lot on some of the, the manifests that they require and how we interact with them. So try to stay up, uh, as close to up to date as possible on those things. And then on the retail side of things, you know, every state has their own traceability system. Every state has their own requirements, you know, what package weights are required, legal limits, so on and so forth. So on retail, we’re really keened in on probably 15 or 20 states.

Aaron:

You know, we’re, we’re not trying to blow up every state particular, we’re trying to do every state really, really good. And then a big focus for us is consumer payments.

Aaron:

And pay tender is a product that we own, uh, market branded, which allows for e-commerce, um, you know, ACH transactions. And we also do, uh, debit as well. So a direct to penny solution that’s a, a relatively newer product that we created. Um, my background is in payment space, so, you know, I was really brought into the space to kind of finalize that product offering and manage the rollout. So that’s a, that’s probably our number one focus, uh, as we stand right now. We do have, obviously partnerships, um, you know, on the insured side of things, we’ve got partnerships on technology, we’ve got referral agreements, you know, all sorts of different programs.

Aaron:

But our, our big three is banking, p o s and payments, uh, top to bottom.

Isaac:

I’m curious, you know, as you guys have built out, as you guys have built out the banking side of things, um, you know, what has the education process been like with those banks? Are you guys focusing more on banks who are already banking with cannabis? Or are you trying to bring new banks into the space?

Aaron:

So, that’s a great question. Um, I would say that going back six years, and, you know, just I’ll say a little bit earlier, my background is in payments. And I’ve not been at DOMA long enough to have the full history. So I was not a founder. Uh, but, you know, six and a half years ago, DOMA was kind of the first bank service company. So there were payments banks that wanted to get in the space, and there are, uh, a whole host of more banks that wanted to get into it now. So DOMA really was the education provider for the industry on banking, how to do it, so on so forth.

Aaron:

We do spend a lot of time in Washington, uh, through consultants and with Michelle, who’s our chief compliance officer, really trying to understand, you know, the legality, the compliance issues, the risk, all the SARS filings.

Aaron:

So to answer your question, we’re probably the, one of the bigger educators of banks, um, out there. And, you know, we find ourself on conversations probably weekly with new banks that say, Hey, we want to get in the space. What do we do? Right? Um, our one bank, or one of the, kind of the main original banks, probably is looking to go do this on their own. Uh, and they, I would say they benefited greatly from the information that we’ve given them without, you know, name the names or saying anything in too much more detail.

Eric:

Got it. And I think, I think it’s interesting because in these emerging spaces, right? When you think of institutions like banks or like for us insurance companies, right? Like a lot of times similarly, we take a proactive approach and have to like sit down and educate these companies on the benefits, the risks, right? You know, what we’re seeing in the space, um, right now from a, an operations perspective, but also like, what’s to come in in the future, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I think it’s, uh, it’s important and I feel like now more than ever, it’s really important to partner and align yourself with ancillary companies in the space that have a focus in it.

Eric:

You know, we were, we had a, a podcast the, the other week with, um, the COO of work, uh, that does, you know, payroll, um, for the cannabis industry. And recently, you know, paychecks all of a sudden said, we’re just gonna drop all of our marijuana related businesses. Right? Right. And, and I think, you know, obviously what you guys have built at DOMA is, is no different. Right? Um, you know, it seems like you’re not going anywhere out of the cannabis space, cuz that’s what you primarily focus on.

Eric:

And I just think, you know, it’s really important for operators to align themselves with people that can provide the solutions that they need, but also understand the industry and what their pains are.

Aaron:

Yeah. So you mentioned something, uh, a minute ago. It’s a word that I’ve, I’ve built my sales career on its trust, right? And our, our sales training process, our advice to the market, our space in the wor in, uh, in Washington, kind of how we operate is all about trust, right? We wanna be the trusted advisor, trusted partner. We’re not gonna bring a product into the market, uh, that is gonna, you know, put our clients at jeopardy or damage a relationship with a vendor bank or payments bank or a sponsor bank or anyone that we’re doing business with.

Aaron:

We really, really vet out, uh, again, through Michelle, who’s our chief compliance officer, vet out everything possible top to bottom. So I always like to say, you know, we’re not first to market, but we talk probably are the most buttoned up by the time we get there.

Eric:

Got it. And, and one thing, um, that’s been a, you know, big topic of conversation with the, the reemergence of safe, um, in legislation. How does that impact doma? Is that, is that positive, if safe were to, to go forward? Is that, you know, a negative because then there’s gonna be an influx of of banks or, or competitors in the space, you know, what are your thoughts on that?

Aaron:

So personally, I think it’s a benefit, right? And, and our board and board, you know, some of our executive committee probably have differing opinions, but if you think about the big banks, let’s say Bank of America for example, they’re not gonna all of a sudden say, oh, safe Banking Act tomorrow. We’re gonna go roll out and we’ll be the cannabis bank right there. There’s reputational risks, there’s issues, there’s compliance with board of directors and investment companies. So much of that goes into it. Plus big operations like that aren’t just gonna turn on a dime, right?

Aaron:

So I think what you’ll see is if safe goes through, um, and, you know, we feel a little bit unlikely that it’s gonna happen this year, if it goes through, you’re gonna have obviously a pretty big runway for people to kind of get geared up and understand how it works.

Aaron:

Um, know the nuances of daily cash pickups or safe cash or provisional credit, or this state requires that law, uh, to really deal with. So I don’t know, I mean, maybe an opportunity where someone would use DOMA as a advisory to build a program, or maybe even there would be an acquisition. I’m not sure exactly how that works, but safe making is something that is more than likely needed for a lot of reasons. And if you think about just the, the, the physical cost of cash management in any business, whether it’s cannabis or traditional, it’s expensive.

Aaron:

Uh, it’s time consuming. It opens up for a liability and risk. Also, there’s competition, right? So as competition comes in the space, you know, you have to sharpen your pencil, either provide better service or lower your cost. And our, our theory is that, you know, cost is really a problem in the absence of value. You get more four or five banks that are really going after this hard, you’re gonna be better, you’re gonna be faster, more nimble, more educated, and you’ll provide better services. So everyone wins theoretically, you know, I don’t think the world stops if safe, safe passes tomorrow.

Isaac:

Do you think there’s any kind of lower hanging fruit legislation or anything else that has been brought up over the last five or six years that, um, could kind of start moving the needle that way? Or would impact what you guys are doing on the domic side of things?

Aaron:

I don’t know. I mean, safe has, has evolved over the last three or four years, couple different times, right? The 2017 and 2019 versions are relatively different. There’s some changes. So,

Aaron:

Like I said, I don’t think there’s anything that’s gonna really move the needle today or tomorrow. And it, let’s say it passes as is, right? It’s a standalone bill. It needs, uh, house and Senate support to get through. We think the house is probably not quite ready to, to move with it yet. We think the Senate probably wants to bring it through. Um, but as a standalone, it’s gonna require a ton of attention, ton of effort, and we just don’t know that there’s a bandwidth to, to get that done today. So from a low hanging fruit standpoint, you know, what do you see in, in government?

Aaron:

Uh, you wanna pass a bill, you just, you you attach it to another bill or incorporate pieces in some other thing that you’re trying to, to ram through. So, I dunno, it needs a lot of attention on its own. Probably don’t see that happening yet this year.

Eric:

And, uh, maybe for you, what, what was one or two moments when you obviously having a career in the payments, uh, industry, moving over to the cannabis space, are there any like two instances that stick out? Like this is just a very different beast than what I’ve worked with? Or was it very similar if you’ve worked in other, you know, uh, highly compliant in industries?

Aaron:

So it’s interesting, right? If you look at traditional payment processing as a whole, you’ve got, you know, let’s call it five to 10 big processing entities which own and write on their books, the paper, you know, their risk tolerance is different, their underwriting procedures are different. But it all boils down to the, the risk of chargeback and the cost of processing. So if you go into an industry that’s a little bit, you know, less stable or pot has a higher potential for a chargeback, say for example, adult entertainment, someone sees their credit card bill and it says such and such business name versus like Joe’s Bistro, they’re potentially gonna be upset.

Aaron:

Let’s say a spouse finds that credit card receipt, you’re probably gonna see a chargeback. So that type of stuff would lend itself to being in a high risk situation. Typically what you would find is sales reps would just say, well, this isn’t such and such entertainment place.

Aaron:

This is Johnny’s sports bar, right? And those would fly through and they would be lumped in with traditional payment processing standards and more or less people would never know. The big companies got wise to that. And they started saying, we’ll do dress matching, right? Eight years ago, six years ago, people would write cannabis shops or dispensaries as a newspaper stand with, you know, such and such address. No one caught it. And then finally the big company said, we’ll do an address match, or we’ll look at weed maps or, you know, cannabis and we’ll just validate this is really dispensary or not.

Aaron:

So then they got creative and said, well, we’ll just change the address. Right. And, you know, they were able to figure out, you know, those things as well. You’re seeing a lot of that same bad behavior in the space now in payments.

Aaron:

So very similar. Yeah, totally different. Unfortunately, people are, you know, falsifying MCC codes and changing addresses. Um, and I don’t think that’s gonna change. So it’s very similar to traditional. Probably the biggest challenge for me, or the biggest eye-opener was the sheer amount of work and effort needed, uh, by the business owner, specifically dispensaries, to get through all of the red tape and, you know, hullabaloo to actually do something. So the amount of time spent with regulatory, with their lawyers, with paperwork and just the redundancy is mind boggling.

Aaron:

And I give them a lot of credit for sticking with it. I mean, most people would just say, that’s just too much to deal with and we’ll move on. So paperwork is probably the biggest, the biggest challenge I would say.

Isaac:

Are there any of the states that you guys operate in, um, you know, or have partners in that have seemingly done a better job of reducing that red tape and paperwork and be a little bit easier? Or is it kind of universally a, a ping across the board?

Aaron:

Yeah, so the answer there is I haven’t, I haven’t maybe been around long enough or dug in deep enough to, to really answer that, but from my perspective in the states we’re in boarding deals, banking or payments or p o s, everyone has a significant amount of work ahead of them to, to be in this space. And like I said, give ’em credit cuz it’s a, it’s a big task.

Eric:

Yeah. Unfortunately, unfortunately, we see that as well, like insurance applications, uh, for, for cannabis operators are, are much, much, much more thorough. Yeah.

Aaron:

Um,

Eric:

Than than really any other traditional industry. Um, yeah. And I think a lot of it is like, you know, to your point, um, a lot having to do with compliance. Uh, and and how much due diligence does DOMA do when onboarding, you know, clients? Or is that more on the banks to do the vetting? Like, like who comes in and does like the K Y C monitoring?

Aaron:

That’s 100% doma. So we are, we’re a service company. I tried to get the board to follow me on this mindset, but you’ve got FinTech and you’ve got service, right? Do you identify as, you know, ABC company or do you identify as service? So try to merge the two and create a company or a company moniker called Serve Tech. Uh, it did not take off yet, so if it does, I’ll request TM rights later, <laugh>. But I would call DOMA a service company top to bottom. Well,

Eric:

This is recorded so we can dig

Aaron:

Back. Yeah, there we go. So it’s, uh, on the record officially, if it ever comes up, I get credit, I’ll buy a hat and put a logo on it. Um, so yeah, service and technology, right where those two meet is opportunity. We do a lot of the work on our client’s behalf. You know, one of the, one of the benefits of banking with DOMA is if you’re gonna go sign up for X, Y, or Z other product, we have a lot of information on file already. You know, client signs off on a disclosure saying, I give you access to go pull my docs and we do it for ’em, right?

Aaron:

So traditionally, let’s say a debit deal would take, you know, 20 documents to board, let’s say now if you’re banking with us, you might have to bring like two or three from a beneficial ownership standpoint.

Aaron:

Traditional banking says 25%, right? We want the top four owners. I would say cannabis banking goes to 16%, something like that. We probably take it to 10%. Uh, so we do 100% of the compliance vetting upfront. By the time you get through our onboarding process and our underwriting, we deliver a package to where it needs to go. And the buttons that says approve is, is hit more often than not. So, and the, the flip side of that is a little bit more work upfront on banking, but in six years we’ve not shut down one bank account for non-compliance reasons.

Aaron:

We’ve had to suspend a couple for, you know, subpoena issues or partnership problems or things like that. But we’ve not actually closed the lights on any cannabis operator, uh, for anything that would be non, uh, I guess important.

Eric:

That’s, that’s tremendous. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I mean, a lot of, you know, you hear it all the time, you know, operators, I think there was when, what was it? It might have been, um, the Silicon Valley bank with everything that, yeah. And, and do you have any impact on DOMA and, and your processes or anything like that?

Aaron:

Yeah, so when I’m really certain about something, I go specific on fractions. So, uh, 0.0 impact, top to bottom. We had, we had one board member who had some dealings with them, you know, in a previous company from an investment standpoint, but completely out of it. So none of our operators, none of our investors, no one that’s on the board. Um, you know, employees like me certainly don’t qualify for banking there, but none of us did that either. So we were good. And we did, we put a letter out pretty quick, a press release saying feel confident, you know, we have no dealings with that bank.

Aaron:

We’re pretty solid. The banks that we do use are solid. You know, we’re spread around from a compliance reason. We’re not heavily vested in one particular area. Um, and we’re continuing to sharpen the pencil on our bank relationship. So we were good credit to Michelle for that one.

Isaac:

Yeah, I was gonna ask, you know, given what’s going on with all the banks in Silicon Valley Bank being kind of, of the big name, you know, what is the process? And you don’t have to get too specific if you, if you don’t want to, but like, what is your guys’ ing process and how does that, you know, work for that side of things? Because I feel like it’s pretty common for people to understand the, the begging of the cannabis side of things, but it’s equally as important to make sure the banks are financially stable and, uh, things like Silicon Valley banker avoided as much as possible. Yeah,

Aaron:

Of course. Um, I don’t, you know, I’m probably the wrong person to ask on that since I’m not at risk or compliance. I’m a sales guy by nature. So I’ll just tell you that the process goes through Michelle and Michelle is a compliance rockstar top to bottom. So it’s not a very easy decision to say no to a potential partner, but if it doesn’t make sense, we understand that relatively quickly and, you know, we don’t proceed.

Eric:

Understood. And, and what are some things that are in the pipeline for doma or you’re most excited about, you know, over the next, you know, let’s call it 12 to 18 months, um, which as you know, in this industry, things are, are constantly changing. So wanted to just get your perspective on that.

Aaron:

So probably three things are, are paramount to me right now. One point of sale, right? So you see the mega competitor, like Dutchie for example, they own three point of sale systems. They’re big, they’re flashy, they do a lot of things really, really well, and they do some other things, maybe not so well. Our vision for our point of sale system is we catch up or surpass the capability organically, right? So we vet our top five 10 clients, we meet with them weekly, they’re multi-store, some of ’em are multi-state operators.

Aaron:

We ask ’em what they need and we build it for ’em, right? So we’re very responsive, somewhat nimble. You know, some projects are a little bit longer than others. Uh, there is a, a shift in the marketplace on the consumer side where acquisition of a cons a consumer is probably not as important as retention.

Aaron:

So loyalty plans, analytics around what consumer behaviors are, um, really going data specific, right? You can make a point of sale system look really cool and it can, you know, print out a report on paper that makes sense for you to read, but if the numbers aren’t accurate and you can’t do anything with it, then it’s really kind of pointless. So our point of sale system is going through, um, we’ll just call it for lack of giving away the secret sauce, some relatively healthy upgrades and mostly around consumer behavior and, and predictability.

Aaron:

So a lot of data analytics there. We are very carefully vetting out three to five new states that we want to enter, right? And the old doma, we used to say, if we get a lead in the state, we’ll go sign it, then we’ll build towards what they need. Right? That model probably wasn’t the best for a lot of reasons.

Aaron:

We are now, you know, two to three weeks, sometimes a month of really vetting out what estate requirements are before we enter market. So we get into market instead of 50 50, we’re probably 85, 90%, uh, in good shape for that market. So the consumer experience has been a lot better. Uh, banking itself, whether safe passes or not, there are some rel relatively big gaps in banking for cannabis lending being one, credit cards being two, um, overall cost and just functionality.

Aaron:

So the banks that are in cannabis now don’t have, you know, online portals that are really, really robust or lending tools. All of that type of stuff is being addressed. Um, so we’re looking at a couple new, uh, vendors on the bank side to really embellish the user experience for our consumers, for our, our clients. So pos new states and banking will, will be drastically improved,

Isaac:

I guess when you guys are looking to get into new states, what’s, um, you know, what are some of the things you’re looking for? Is it growth? Is it, you know, a legislation? You know, what kind of catches the I as you guys go? Obviously the, the revenue numbers coming outta certain states aren’t always attractive, but anything else, don’t money. Yeah. <laugh>. Um,

Aaron:

So yeah, revenue is obviously important. So we really got specific with our marketing strategy. You know, we probably, we probably shotgunned a little bit more than we, you know, shot with a laser. We’re trying to hone it into a little bit bigger of a laser somewhere between the two. So new states for us, where do we have connections? Where do we have feet on the street? It’s very important for us to have someone face-to-face with a client, right? As much as the world has gone virtual, we totally prefer face-to-face if we can do it. Um, so that’s a big factor.

Aaron:

You know, obviously revenue. We talked about that. Number of licenses, penetration of wholesale versus retail. Um, the MSO strategy. So like, you know, x, Y, z MSOs in these four states, right? So we board that potential client. We’ll have to be in those four states for one. So, uh, the last factor, uh, is really along the lines of board introductions, right? So our investment committee are board of directors. Those guys are on the board for a reason. They’ve got connections in different areas, and, you know, we’re certainly gonna utilize those.

Aaron:

Awesome. Yeah, probably that of all of those things, the most important, obviously, that I didn’t say would be, uh, integration with BioTrack Metric or if it’s standalone, right? So we’ve got BioTrack, we’ve got metric pretty good already. Uh, the standalones are completely different, right? Every state does their own thing. So we would probably lean a little bit more towards one of the established traceability systems versus another standalone. That’s a important factor. But, uh, you know, a little bit behind on that

Eric:

1, 1, 1 question that I had and, and something that’s, uh, a little bit more of a recent development. I, I don’t know if you’ve seen, um, the legislation like being proposed by like Oregon, Washington, and California for interstate commerce, um, and being able to like travel cross border. Yeah. Is that something that DMA like would, that would impact DMA as well? Like your ability to offer certain services?

Eric:

Like what are your thoughts on that?

Aaron:

Yeah, a hundred percent. So I’m an advocate for it top to bottom, and we’re looking at, uh, one of our particular clients expanding into New Jersey, and there’s a group of cannabis operators out there and advocates that want cannabis, uh, cross border and new, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut for the same reason. It’s gonna be pretty difficult to track and trace, you know, how those things work and integrate different systems. But I feel pretty confident that the engineering team that we have and the, you know, open source of kind of the industry, like the open APIs, we can make it happen.

Aaron:

I certainly think that the product, you know, from a competitive standpoint, you get more, more variety, you get better quality a lot of times, or, you know, maybe it’s less price, uh, but certain operators are hard pressed to find product, and some operators in different states have too much of something they can’t sell. So if you look at the, the system that we’re looking to incorporate into our e-commerce platform or the development work we’re doing there, you’ll be able to understand those products, right? And if it were cross state, we could trade data and say, well, in New Jersey, X, Y, z pre-roll doesn’t sell.

Aaron:

But in New York, right across the border, that thing sells like crazy 15 or 20 a day. So that’ll just improve efficiency for everyone.

Eric:

That’s perfect. No, and, and really appreciate the insight on, you know, doma, what you’re excited about over the next, you know, 12 to 18 months. I’m sure they’ll, we’ll definitely be, uh, a good amount of regulatory change. So, um, that’s why it’s really important to focus in the space, right? Yeah. It’s constantly changing. Um, and, and one of the main reasons why Isaac and I, you know, similar, very similar, right? Traditional services like banking, insurance, but highly specialized because of the nature of the industry.

Eric:

And I think, um, it’s just really important to partner with, you know, similar, similar individuals. So we’re super excited to be a partner of yours, um, and, and definitely believe in the product and the value that you guys add to the industry. Um, and thanks for hopping on today. Really appreciate it. Before we wrap things up though, Isaac’s gonna, uh, throw some, throw some fast balls at you.

Isaac:

Well, they’re fun. They’re not, they’re not work related. Good. Uh, what, what’s at the, uh, you know, what’s the song in the, the start of the morning gets you going for the gym, gets you going for a big meeting, you know, what’s the pump up song? Uh, the top,

Aaron:

If I said I had the tiger, you’d probably laugh at me, but it’s not that I, you know, I, I don’t sleep a lot, to be honest with you. I kind of think I’m like a, a thinker. So when I wake up at, first thing I do is jump in the shower and like, I just have these moments, right? And so weird ideas, different thoughts, things like that. And I just like the idea of how much change is coming and where we can take this, the space. I mean, who knows tomorrow could be completely different, could be completely shut down for all I know. Um, but the aim for a lot of people is to make it better for everyone without questions.

Aaron:

So that gets me flared up more so than a song or, you know, something. I love

Isaac:

It. You get yourself fired up, but I like it.

Aaron:

Yeah. No coffee needed for this one, <laugh>.

Isaac:

I love it. Um, what’s, uh, what’s one book that you’ve found, uh, extremely helpful that you think everyone should look into or read at some point, um, in their career, and one that you’ve maybe turned back to a few times?

Aaron:

So there’s a operating system that we run on, it’s called eos. It’s by, uh, Jean Wickman or Gina Wickman. It, it’s very practical, right? So it gives you tools that allow you to run the business. So a lot of these leadership books are like, here’s a strategy, here’s a thought process. This is very similar to that. In fact, it incorporates a lot of those different models and thoughts into the book. But it goes a step further and gives you an actual, a plan, right? And it says, cut the crap out, get you a clear operating, you know, model and manage it accordingly.

Aaron:

So we’ve imp implemented that at dma. It’s a, it’s a passion of our CEO outta Kansas City. He’s done it at two previous companies. Uh, we started operating on that model January of this year. And I can tell you that it’s, I’m not saying it’s changing the world necessarily, but there’s drastic improvements in just operations. So, uh, eos entrepreneur, uh, operating system, his name of the book, Gino Wickman, it’s also a little selfer cuz he’s close to, uh, he’s close to me in Michigan.

Isaac:

<laugh>, I like it. And then, uh, LA last one. What’s your, uh, what’s your favorite restaurant place that you love the most?

Aaron:

Uh, I’ll tell you, I’m not a big fan of chain restaurants, right? So I’m more authentic. And if I said in the name of a restaurant, you’d guaranteed you’d never heard of it.

Isaac:

Well, we love that we’re trying to build a list. So as people go to different, uh, parts of the country, they know where to go.

Aaron:

There’s a, there’s like three or four that are really close to me. One’s an Italian place called SI Gardens. It’s a, it’s literally no windows. It’s an Italian, uh, obviously an Italian restaurant. It’s across from an old steel factory site. The site’s torn down now, um, which is probably why they had no windows. But you go in there and it’s like everyone becomes family. Bit of a time warp. Uh, that’s a really big go-to for us. It’s one in Wyandot, it’s like a burger, you know, American food. They’ve got fish occasionally. They kind of do a bunch of different things really well called RP mc Murphy’s, uh, Wyandot Michigan.

Aaron:

And then the home of my favorite hamburger in the world, Royal Oak, Michigan called Red Coat Tavern. It’s literally like an old English pub you can add. I think they’ve got like a hundred thousand different topping choices for a burger, but it’s thick, it’s juicy. They’ll cook it how you want. Uh, it’s, if you’re in Michigan, you gotta check those out.

Isaac:

Nice.

Eric:

There we go. Well, uh, we’ll really appreciate it, Aaron. This has been, uh, an awesome discussion and, you know, excited to see what’s, uh, what’s on the horizon for doma and you know, as we, as we continue to build up this industry,

Aaron:

Love it, appreciate being on with you guys. Looking forward to partnership and really trying to traditional this thing for everyone.

Eric:

That was a really, really good session. I think it was, it was, uh, something that we haven’t really touched on yet, uh, in the podcast, right, in banking, um, payments and pos. I think as I mentioned earlier, it’s, it’s a critical component to any business, let alone, uh, cannabis businesses with the amount of restrictions that they have. So I’m interesting to hear his take on a few things like safe banking as well as, um, interstate commerce and, and what that poses for DOMA in the future.

Eric:

Yeah,

Isaac:

For sure. And I think, you know, given everything that’s happened over the last few months, um, you know, with companies leaving the canvas space with banks defaulting and all of those sorts of things, hearing from, you know, a company that focuses specifically in the financial service and payment space, um, provides great insight and, uh, you know, how the back, the back end of that stuff works and what they’re doing to avoid those kind of pitfalls that, uh, seemingly are impacting not only the cannabis industry, but businesses in general these days.

Eric:

100%. Unfortunately, it seems like nobody is really bullish on safe, which,

Isaac:

I mean, this is what, this is the 11th 11th go around.

Eric:

I

Isaac:

Know. So

Eric:

I don’t even understand, like yeah, I, I guess that’s why I’m not in politics and we do, you don’t have

Isaac:

Patience for such things, Mr. Schneider.

Eric:

Yeah, <laugh>, I dunno be between you and I, I don’t think it would take us 11 times, but I don’t know the ins and outs. Uh, but I do know us.

Isaac:

It takes a lot more money than we have. That’s all I’ll say. So <laugh>,

Eric:

That’s not a high bar. No, I’m sorry.

Isaac:

This,

Eric:

This is awesome, man. And, and I think another, another great episode, adding context on another part of the industry that we haven’t touched on previously. And I think that was the end goal of, of what we wanted to do here is bring together a lot of different components of the industry and provide education to viewers, um, as well as highlighting, you know, companies like DMA and what they’re doing in the space.

Isaac:

Absolutely. Uh, another, another good one in the books, right? For except Reving, except for the next one as well.

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