Trailer Episode

Evolving Against Sea Change with CFO Lee Westerfield

The challenge of a CFO’s role is more than just being the pillar of confidence and stability in any organization: their hands are on the financial tiller. They must be the cornerstone that a CEO can draw confidence from. Whether navigating downturn conditions, balancing your company’s runway with its growth, or keeping your team strong despite the competitive hurdles, they must always be on deck.  

These and more are matters in which Lee Westerfield - Chief Financial Officer, strategic financial advisor, and Columbia alumnus - is intimately experienced. With his depth of insight and his passion for knowledge, he keeps both eyes on the ever-shifting horizon of success in today’s economy.

In this episode of The Modern CFO, Lee talks with Andrew about how things never really change, and why staying committed has kept him both competitive and successful.

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Please note that the transcript is AI-generated and may contain errors. The content in the podcast is not intended as investment advice, and is meant for informational and entertainment purposes only.

[00:00:00] Andrew Seski: Hello, everyone. And welcome back to The Modern CFO podcast. I'm your host, Andrew Seski. Today, I'm joined by Lee Westerfield. Lee, thanks so much for being here.

[00:00:09] Lee Westerfield: Good to be with you.

[00:00:10] Andrew Seski: Lee is a career CFO, and I'm so excited to have him with us because he's got such a unique vantage point, having started his career in banking in the 90s and becoming a career CFO through a bunch of different types of firms and different financing structures.

[00:00:26] Andrew Seski: So I think what I'm most excited to talk about today is really twofold. One, in the unique applications of the finance role during innovation booms, like the internet revolution and through different market cycles, and something much more consistent - trends of how to deal with a CEO, how to manage that relationship successfully. So I'd love to go back in time: post undergrad, you've got your first banking role, what's going on in the world and what does that look like? 

[00:00:54] Lee Westerfield: Well, the world in the 1990s, it was quite a bit different, of course, than today. Novel then was the penetration of cell phones into the marketplace and simply for audio purposes.

[00:01:05] Lee Westerfield: But I would say the things that were true in the 1990s that hold water continually today are matters around innovation and technology, particularly in the areas of media distribution systems. In those days, cable - today, internet distribution. And more significantly in the area of extending intellectual property business models.

[00:01:24] Lee Westerfield: In those days, if you're looking at again, maybe the media sector or the advent of a lot of new software development in the 1990s as packaged software distribution meant really gaining access to desktop laptops and servers and of developing period of connected infrastructure. That meant to being able to adapt to eventually cloud infrastructure.

[00:01:47] Lee Westerfield: But I would say two other things. First, I was fortunate enough to come out of college and actually work for Time Warner in innovation, under Bob Pittman, who - in some phases of his career - founded MTV and went on to serve as president of AOL, if anyone can remember that name. And in that regard, I was fortunate enough to see a lot of innovation from inside large conglomerate median entertainment companies, particularly Time Warner in that case. And then as a banker - that was a little simplification, I appreciated it a lot - actually served as the equity analyst, covering media, and then internet back in the day when names that are still true-ish today: Disney, Viacom, CBS, eventually Google and Yahoo came to fruition.

[00:02:32] Andrew Seski: So was that predominantly on the East Coast then? Or were you out West when you were working with some of these media companies? 

[00:02:37] Lee Westerfield: Well, again, you know, we're going back at a generation, in some way. In the 1990s, face-to-face mattered a lot. And so, I traveled extensively to meet with investors, meet with the company management, get to know from the inside how operations and how business models and management teams at the executive level performed their work and came to decisions. But there was an important other matter here, which was depending on where you start the clock but sometime during the early-mid 1990s, internet evolved from being a wizard’s chop-funky tool for scientific experimentation and communication among a handful of university research scientists to becoming an infrastructure on the comeup for mass use.

[00:03:20] Lee Westerfield: And the reason that was significant back in the 1990s - and I admit some of this is easier to see in hindsight - business models of so many intellectual property-based companies, particularly Hollywood, rely upon new distribution systems. And in this case, the mother of all new distribution systems, of course, interconnected server infrastructure and ultimately computing capabilities. What was missed, or I should say what was novel and inventive and missed a lot by a lot of media executives at that moment in time, in the mid-1990s, was the sea change that would be brought about upon their businesses that had been successful to date: in print in book publishing, in print in newspaper publishing, over airwaves through broadcast radio and television, across coaxial cable and cable, all of those bundled or distributed business models that were reliant upon fixed infrastructure were really attractively high margin.

[00:04:18] Lee Westerfield: What was missed was how open the web would permit new and much, much lower cost information and intellectual property-based distribution. And thus, massively change how the companies that I was researching in those days - again, names like Disney and Viacom and CBS, and some of the radio and television and ultimately, newer internet names, how massively those companies would be upended and create new value.

[00:04:47] Andrew Seski: From an investing standpoint, do you see some consistent trends amongst the explosions of the TikToks, the YouTubes? I feel like if you are really passionate about that space and then switch over into an investor role, all of a sudden your focus goes from operational efficiency to that measuring margins and then new distribution channels.

[00:05:08] Andrew Seski: It seems as if there have been different waves and cycles of new distribution channels that are expanding still today from, you know, the 90s and early 2000s technology boom. I'm wondering if you're still seeing that value creation, maybe at a different clip, but it seems as though they're still new today, extreme examples of major innovations and distribution channels that get investors excited.

[00:05:31] Lee Westerfield: Well, first I do see significant change that is fascinating and very promising for the coming decade, let's say. And I will say, there are basically two threads of common trend(s) across decades that I'll highlight in the effort to try to point out some things - forest for the trees. And the one is that innovation for distribution and for brands that really capture large use.

[00:05:58] Lee Westerfield: You mentioned TikTok presently, you might have mentioned Facebook in a prior decade. You might have mentioned Nickelodeon in a much further back in the day, generation. And what you're really saying is that there are brands that will become adopted and identifiable with a group of people who are 10 to 20 years of age.

[00:06:17] Lee Westerfield: And that is much as things change, they stay the same. New brands layered on top of and accepted by younger audiences. Now, the things that really remain the same are that the manufacturer - and you can think of Hollywood as a manufacturing company-town - that the manufacturing of intellectual property - movies, shows, series - is labor intensive, is creative, and is multiple disciplinary. Meaning, the ability to be successful in the creation or manufacturing of intellectual property depends upon being able to assemble groups and disassemble groups for projects. And then, distribution changes. Distribution under Netflix streamed, distribution previously under coaxial cable, cable operators, and their networks, and sometime in the very near future, as you want to expand your ideas about what TikTok can accomplish, through TikTok, and I've left aside a major category there of user-generated content of course.

[00:07:19] Andrew Seski: So when you were initially attracted to moving into more of the equity analyst then research role, what were some of the things that you identified that felt unique at that time that got you excited for moving back into the operator standpoint of going back onto finance teams of, you know, different types of companies?

[00:07:40] Lee Westerfield: Oh, definitely say two things here. One, that the skill sets of executive management at large conglomerate companies are generally the skills that were needed in the prior decade. In order to rise to seniority, you had to have been successful in that, which was previously really, really valuable. And so, in the 1990s and early 2000s, in the media sector, those were companies that the talent that was required was the ability to consolidate programming, consolidate distribution, cable operators, consolidating and so forth.

[00:008:11] Lee Westerfield: And that created a blind spot, a blind eye across most of the conglomerate entertainment companies to perceive that consolidation and capital structure were less, if not unimportant, in the future of their businesses, but rather what would be important would be identifying how to adapt in manufacturing costs and distribution, as we've been talking about, to non-linear channels in 2022. They sound very conventional, otherwise known as the web. 

[00:008:40] Lee Westerfield: And so, what I suspect, and this is both an opportunity as well as potentially a sea change for some companies. And it is what I perceive over the next decade is the advent of Meta: both the company, but more significantly the trend that is to say, virtual living environment on the web and that trend will, as it gradually unfolds, build—if you will ever repeat of those things that have occurred in the past, which is to say completely change the manner in which relationships between content creators and the distribution system of a new platform, in this case, Meta—will build and, by the way, erode value. Build for new companies and erode for incumbents. 

[00:09:24] Andrew Seski: So, if you are trying to think about some of the parallels that would be useful for preparing modern CFOs today in terms of these sea changes, and they seem to be happening more frequently and look with more aggressive volatility, both in the public and private markets, but also in tech innovations, it seems that they're more volatile and more extreme and happening more frequently.

[00:09:46] Andrew Seski: Is there anything that you could pinpoint that either was a mistake that was now very obviously made, or what are the better strategic decisions that helped continue innovation and helped have a 30,000-foot view on how to consistently accept innovation in a way that was slowly preparing you with these sea changes? I know that's a very broad question. 

[00:10:06] Lee Westerfield: Well, I'll try to answer the question with some specificity. Here we go. For my confederate CFOs trying to see our way through growth and innovation, from a finance operations point of view, my one recommendation would be to embrace novelty and rapid change, including systemically upending a lot of your own business models in favor of the recommendations, perhaps coming from CTO or chief strategy officer or CEO, of course.

[00:10:41] Lee Westerfield: And the reason I'm mentioning this is because we finance people, we become often wedded to repeating and improving upon the things that have been done recently and in the past. And why? Because those are the revenue-generating pieces of the business, and they tend to be the things that our boards of directors are most attentive to when CFOs are speaking to the board. And it is quite difficult to engage as the CFO in the idea of dismantling, in some cases, an existing business model in favor of innovation.

[00:11:17] Lee Westerfield: Now, again, I'm very sympathetic because these are terribly difficult things to do. Basically, if you take my words literally, dismantle your existing business model and replace it with something new, a more attractive way to say that is to augment your existing business model in the form of transformation, but would it really all -  no matter whether you do it concurrently or in parallel is to say embrace the idea that your business model will significantly change over the coming half-decade, let's say.

[00:11:51] Lee Westerfield: Last thing I'll say on this topic: in that regard, CFOs are often thought of as finance business model managers, and I suggest slightly different language for the purpose of innovation, which is to think of one's role as financial architect and the architecture I'm referring to here is drafting the blueprint of a future construction project known as your future business. I certainly wanted to do that in collaboration with all the executive team, but in principle, financial architecture, as opposed to financial model, is the way I think about my line of work at this point.

[00:12:35] Andrew Seski: I think that may actually sum up the perfect definition of the modern CFO. And I want to tease out that idea a little bit more because the last time we spoke, you had this really, really great idea that there could be a financial architect in the C-suite as a CFO, and also an editor for the CEO's novel, I believe you said.

[00:12:55] Andrew Seski: Can you help articulate that notion and kind of walk me through some of the times you've been able to do that successfully and maybe give some examples so that you can help really take your definition of the modern CFO and then tie that into how it's super, super important to have a productive and collaborative, ongoing conversation with your C-suite and especially your founder, CEO?

[00:13:18] Lee Westerfield: Absolutely. I’ll do my very best here for you. So personally, I like to think of metaphors to be relatable to the work one does, but of course, metaphor’s a little limited and relies upon both people understanding what they mean. I have been the CFO for six venture companies that have all scaled really well, some even stronger than others, but all scaled quite well. And I have been fortunate to have been allowed to have some imprint on each of those companies, and significantly with CEO, board and team.

[00:13:56] Lee Westerfield: And to greater lesser success, the thing that has resonated, I think, well, has been to think that the CEO, or co-founders, is an author - maybe an author of a novel trying to write the chapters as he moves along, he or she. And I tend to then think, what does a good editor, a really effective editor, do in relationship with a profound author? You can read for the typos, if you want to, or make some grammatical corrections. Or to be a more contributing editor, you tease out and think with the braining activity of the CEO so that this idea of - as I mentioned in the last question - this idea of a financial architecture meshes with the direction, strategic direction, the CEO, co-founders see in their vision of the future.

[00:14:58] Lee Westerfield: That's basically to sum it up, to say the original innovation and vision coming from co-founders and CEO is being authored, but the challenge is how can you help that authorship and not weigh too heavily on it? Because the role is to help that authorship come to effective outcomes. And so, anyway, that's a metaphor. I hope it resonates. 

[00:15:25] Andrew Seski: Absolutely. I really like it. I think that just tying us back in today's—I know it's a very challenging thing to take that metaphor and then be able to apply it day to day if you're still learning, or you're even an aspiring CFO. So I was thinking about the current markets right now, a bit of a meltdown we're talking in, end of June here and I think that when there's some market strain, valuations are getting slashed, some of these ideas can get really tested. And I'm curious as to how you've dealt with different types. You said most of the work that you've done as a CFO has been with venture-backed firms. I think the venture-backed community may be in a very unique spot for the first time in the last maybe decade or so.

[00:16:10] Andrew Seski: And seeing these valuations really get sliced down really aggressively. I'm wondering how you would consider the CFO role in terms of supporting communications with VCs when it comes to fundraising? What are some of these lessons that you've learned through different market cycles that may be particularly relevant right now?

[00:16:30] Lee Westerfield: I've worked through quite a few cycles in the broad course of time. Web 1.0 collapsed in 2020, 2002 range of time. Web 2.0, while you still might argue it's in place, there was the little interruption called the global financial crisis. And during each of those two periods of time, I was an equity analyst. I was CFO in the second one. The venture financing evaporated. And that's not the case in this particular downturn, at least not as yet. I don't think it will be by the way. The lessons I've learned and the recommendation I would make is there is a functional part of what one has to do, which is to preserve cash while still encouraging growth.

[00:17:12] Lee Westerfield: And then there is the “manage the company as a head case” role as well, which is to say: in nervy times, the one person who cannot exhibit nervousness is the CFO. So it may be stormy seas, but the person at the financial helm really needs to exhibit stability, conviction, earnestness, honestness, openness, and transparency.

[00:17:44] Lee Westerfield: Those things are always true, but a very steady keel in the hands on the financial tiller. And that is because everyone else already feels nervousness in downturn conditions. It's [the] finance seat to hold steady. 

[00:18:03] Andrew Seski: You're describing somebody with extreme IQ and EQ, which is a difficult leadership position in the CFO seat. But I think it also draws a unique type of personality to be able to handle that kind of pressure and remain somewhat stoic when it comes to your leadership style. But I think that you fall into this category. It's been a number of the episodes that I've had so far. There are different types. There's either banking or big 4 audit, or even as far as - we've had Navy pilots on as well.

[00:18:35] Andrew Seski: So there's always this unique interdisciplinary and really unique talent level that goes into the CFO role where you can have all of this crisis management, all of the leadership, and still have the ability to be a financial architect as well. So it's just such a unique group of people I get to speak to.

[00:18:52] Andrew Seski: So I feel very fortunate. One of the things I wanna talk about right now is we're thinking about, in the year to come, what gets you most excited? And then I'd love to draw that out over the next three to five years, what you're looking for, either in different CFO roles or what you're thinking about in just the general markets. Just really, what's getting you excited right now? 

[00:19:12] Lee Westerfield: In the short run, in that 12-month period or so that you're speaking about, I'm gonna try to make them lemonade out of lemons here. Any time that there is a valuation downturn or such as we're seeing right now, the competitive landscape tends to thin out.

[00:19:29] Lee Westerfield: That's a very polite way of saying the marginal handful of competitors in a particular sector, all going after the very similar addressable market - the third, fourth, fifth, sixth competitors, weaker products, organizationally shaky or difficult go to market formulas - they disappear. And that sounds harsh.

[00:19:51] Lee Westerfield: But the bright side of that one is that those that are stronger in their - presumably in their product and delivery - are going to emerge coming out of this particular downturn in a much healthier position, going to a chink in the competitive landscape. And so I hate to say that's what gets me excited, because I don't really wanna see people experience misery. But it does actually encourage me, that rationalize some markets that have gotten overly funded and maybe overly competitive in the last couple of years.

[00:20:34] Lee Westerfield: So that a few of the emerging players are very stronger and just kind of crush it. I look forward to that. You wanted to look at longer-term trends too, but I’ll take your questions. 

[00:20:45] Andrew Seski: Yeah, I was thinking about when there are tighter cycles - I feel like the pandemic hitting - I think there are still plenty of geopolitical and even domestic instability arising. And when it feels like these swings in marketplaces feel tighter and tighter, I'm wondering: how you're thinking about maintaining some of that excitement over the next three to five years, but also what you're thinking about in terms of growth from different sectors and maybe even some sectors that are just burgeoning now, maybe in a specific technology or in a type of investment? Just kind of curious is if there's any of those maybe broader ended tech or yeah, trends that you're looking to, you know, capitalize on or be a part of? 

[00:21:35] Lee Westerfield: You know, the sweeping themes that people are speaking about most are Web 3/Meta, are FinTech revolution, are climate and environmental, which is so badly needed. And I'm gonna try narrow the scope of what we're talking about here, because: do we really need one more evangelist saying Web 3 is cool?

[00:21:54] Lee Westerfield: And we're all very encouraged by changes in climate science that can be commercialized - and we are. But to narrow the scope and to say where I have some particular interest, they line the area of cyber security, in health technologies, and the application of blockchain. So, little subsets of some of the things we're saying, big themes and did those in reverse order. In health technology, AI-driven data science applied to, layperson's terms, unconventional medical data, but in the health tech world, that's called real-world data, is enormously encouraging for the potential for more effective and lower cost treatments and even more significantly, changes in the business models between health insurers and providers of health treatments - meaning hospitals, doctors, and, and pharmaceutical companies. 

[00:22:53] Lee Westerfield: So when I said a little earlier in this conversation about thinking about the advent of business model or financial architecture, business model change, financial architecture, there are some profoundly interesting changes on the come that will arise as a result of - it's known as real-world evidence - but the application of AI and data science for the business models of some of the largest sectors worldwide and in the United States, that's to say health insurance and medical practice. In area number two, in the area of the application of blockchain, the significant change for my eyes will be in the utility of blockchain, applied to something more than simply exchanging forms of value. Thus far, crypto is quite cool as CFO and vice chairman of the board of one of stronger companies in that space for a while. But thus far, it's really - environment's about decentralized exchanges of value.

[00:23:56] Lee Westerfield: What it isn't useful for yet is paying your bills and doing things that ordinary people do with their lives. Mass adoption by consumers will depend upon usefulness and particularly payability. And here's where blockchain applied becomes so significantly interesting: in the areas of contract management, in the area of B2B to C applications, the knock-on effect of smart contracting as it was referred to a couple years ago is a way to open up the adoption of financial technology change. And [to] hear it a little bit like the other industries that I've seen in the past, particularly in media; when consumer adoption massively expands, the incumbents disappear, but more significantly, value productivity for newcomers in a space emerge.

[00:24:56] Lee Westerfield: And I strongly suspect that something like the proverbial next $100 billion company in FinTech is a name that none of us has heard of yet because of the scope and timing of have changed that's ahead of us in that sector. And I'll be much more brief on cybersecurity. Often, cybersecurity's thought of putting a perimeter and barriers and policies and all that's important in the protection of value and intellectual property and privacy at the perimeters of [a] company's information systems, which is all well and good. But the significant change, it will be in the area of dismantling the business model and thus disincentivizing cybercrime.

[00:25:42] Lee Westerfield: And there's some really interesting companies of one impugnment that is in the area of upending the economic value to even getting into the business of cybercrime. And so I think that's a trend that we'll see significant improvement on in the next several years. 

[00:25:58] Andrew Seski: I mean, I think that's why I was so excited to talk to you today is because you have pinpointed a few really unique sea changes, but also from a financial architect of either incentivizing growth, ensuring that there's continued innovation and figuring out how to create business models that either attract viral movement or new distribution channels or disincentivizing to create a more secure environment to do so.

[00:26:25] Andrew Seski: So I really appreciate that. I'd love to go into my favorite question of the podcast. It's always a unique way to allow guests to take the conversation wherever they'd like to go and open up to what you feel may be most underestimated in the world today. And if you have something top of mind, maybe, is there an individual that's tackling that problem already or has yet to be addressed whatsoever?

[00:26:51] Lee Westerfield: I will be very excited to see the budding young genius who's actually here at the dawn of trying to figure out how to solve our world's climate issues, but I'm afraid I don't have the rookie rising star that we all wanna sign as our free agent. But if I did, I certainly invested in that person.

[00:27:11] Lee Westerfield: In the broader point, I think, societally, we tend to look at problems that confront us and we should - hinted at climate change here several times. There are others of similar magnitude and because it moves crowds, moves populaces, we tend to speak about these issues as worrying issues. Climate is worrying. Clearly, the friction between democracy and autocratic forms of government is worrying, to say the very least, and it’s worry that tends to move populaces.

[00:27:45]  Lee Westerfield: Again, however, I would try to put a little sunnier light on the day here. I tend to think that we humans [are] particularly adept at changing our environment in a manner that is more effective for the crowd in providing resources and improving ways of life. And fortunately, that seems to be occurring more on a global scale now than perhaps it did in the 20th century, where it occurred predominantly in the Western Europe and the United States. And without pontificating too much longer, I'm basically saying in the area of climate science - in particular, the magnitude of investment and innovation and attention by innovators that is taking place there - that'll hold this to one and a half degrees, but more likely positions humanity on a course trajectory to continue to thrive.

[00:28:40] Lee Westerfield: And by the way, live harmoniously with the rest of the planet. Anyway, there's my happy talk for the day and I hope it - and I do sincerely mean it. I could be more specific, but I thought I'd just give you those themes. 

[00:28:52] Andrew Seski: No, sure. I'd love a little bit more specificity. I feel like there's so much still to be excited about with some very sobering realities today at the same time.

[00:29:01] So I feel like trying to balance them as society - there are issues that are so pressing and right in front of our faces, that it's very difficult to think in a longer-term capacity. However, it would be, I think in the best interest of everyone to think with a bit of long-term nature. And I think we see that in different investment styles. You could look at the public market being more sentiment-driven or more reactionary. You could see some of these new climate venture funds raising billions and billions of dollars to reinvest into hardware, which is not always great venture dollar applications.

[00:29:38] Andrew Seski: So I think it's is shifting a little bit in terms of landscapes and different focuses. But even to call that not reactionary would be maybe misspeaking. So I do think there is something to tease out there if you've got specific ideas on what you just mentioned.

[00:29:55] Lee Westerfield: Then let's focus on the effect of the transition from petroleum to power distribution through electricity, which has to be generated ultimately through something that's renewable and whether it's wind, solar, [a] combination thereof, hydro, and so on.

[00:30:08] It's the knock-on effect that occurs as adoption takes place in some of those areas. An example I'll borrow from some other people's estimates, but somewhere in the neighborhood of 60% to 70% urban real estate is devoted to the combination of parking spaces and underground garages and - said more plainly - the storage of vehicles.

[00:30:36] And, as you start thinking about knock-on effects of changes in electrical automobiles - and more importantly, autonomous automobiles, which is kind of redundancy by the way, autonomous automobile - you realize, you actually don't need 16 and a half or so million automobiles to manufacture in the United States.

[00:30:55] Lee Westerfield: You need more like 4 million, maybe 5. And more significantly you don't need to have cars parked in your garage around the street. You can open up two car lanes for the parking spaces in New York. You can open up a lot of car lanes in LA and just in the use of our physical space that we've already developed, start finding, uh, significant efficiency without having to, you know, pave new landscape that somewhere in the world's still untrammeled. I don't know how to calculate the economic value to global economy for that kind of a sea change, but it is perceptible that the amount of asset globally that sits in four-wheeled automobiles that are parked and garages most of the time are driven by individuals - as that begins to become more rationalized against self-driven automobiles and battery power. You really start opening up a lot of scaled-down production, necessity, and, in hardware.

[00:32:06] Lee Westerfield: I'd like to bring it back, if I could, to: how does the CFO make any use of this stuff? And taking the large and thematic points to what we do with our jobs as CFOs, like this conversation - making it permissible in your organization to talk about, and I bring ideas to the table that are outside your conventional job description, if only in order to encourage your culture and your people to think widely, openly, and without the artificial barriers of their job description? Now, people should do the work that fits into their job description, but think way outside their job description in order to bring innovation.

[00:32:52] Andrew Seski: I typically say this every once in a while on a podcast. And I love when I get the opportunity, but there's that little ‘back 30 seconds’, and I would recommend all the listeners just to listen to that once more. I think it's so important to inspire innovation, even permissibility, like you mentioned, amongst your team to drive culture.

[00:33:10] I think that can make or break organizations, especially through different types of cycles, especially during downturns. And I think one thing that I would love to wrap up on - and I'll share myself a little bit as well - I feel like it's very difficult on social media to curate news and exciting updates in a way that's not distracting.

[00:33:29] I think I've done an okay job. I'm pretty excited about some of the things I'm reading. I'm kind of an old soul. I still get a physical Wall Street Journal to bring into the office some days. That's very weird of me, I know. And I listen to the Journal’s podcast a lot and a few other podcasts. One of my favorites is the Acquired podcast.

[00:33:47] Andrew Seski: If you're not familiar, they do very deep dives. I'm not sure I'm supposed to be promoting other podcasts on The Modern CFO, but I think it's really fun because we've had such an intellectual conversation across bigger themes and how to apply those themes into practical actions. Is there anything you'd recommend or anything exciting you're looking into about either how you get your content on a day-to-day basis or anything that you've been reading lately that's been sort of inspiring or just taking you down a path that you wouldn't expected?

[00:34:16] Lee Westerfield: What I would say about that is if your old school version is to have a printed version of the Wall Street Journal. My old school version of that one is I love meeting with people. I really believe that five-minute to one hour kind of conversation with someone - you can meet 'em over coffee, take a walk in the woods - if that's a thing you do, whatever that is. For me, those are bankers, analysts, investors, venture capitalists, private equity firm, guys, folks that are inventing companies. I hope that other people would benefit from some ideas that I have in those conversations. But I thrive off of the very old school idea of actually meeting in person with people.

[00:34:58] Andrew Seski: Well, I hope that we get to talk again and maybe we'll be able to meet in person to do this in the very near future. But I wanted to say, thank you so much for joining The Modern CFO podcast. Lee, I know we'll be in touch soon. Is there any way that people can get in touch with you, maybe by email, if they'd like to talk to you about any of the ideas we covered today?

[00:35:14] Lee Westerfield: Oh, I'm an open book, and I'd love to talk as you've just heard. And so, I'd love to hear and listen too. My email is lee@westerfield.org. How about that? 

[00:35:27] Andrew Seski: Perfect. Excellent. Thank you again, Lee. 

[00:35:29] Lee Westerfield: It's good to be with you. Thank you for your time.

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