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Brock Blake on Helping Communities, Keeping Doors Open During COVID: More Intelligent Tomorrow, Episode #18

January 15, 2021
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· 3 min read

The COVID-19 pandemic has rocked small businesses around the world. Brock Blake, founder and CEO at Lendio, recently joined Ben Taylor, Chief AI Evangelist at DataRobot, on the DataRobot More Intelligent Tomorrow podcast and described the ways his company has been helping keep small businesses stay afloat, the realities of living the entrepreneurial lifestyle while married with children, and the importance of an efficient schedule that includes rest.

Brock describes how he worked with Dave Saylor, a restaurant owner in San Antonio who ran into financial difficulties during the pandemic. The Texan delivers food to the homeless and has a staff of more than 75 people. 

“He was going to have to do layoffs. The rippling effect that…would have on that community because of the good that he does in that community would have been significant.”

After Brock and Lendio were able to help Dave secure a PPP loan, they received effusive thanks. 

“He sent us this video of his story and told us about how much it helped him and how grateful he was…that’s where it becomes incredible…when it’s not just a number, it’s not just a loan. It’s the life of an individual and the lives of his team members and the community that he’s impacting.There’s just story after story like that of how we’ve been able to help these business owners keep their doors open.”

Ubiquitous Data Will Revolutionize the Lending Industry 

Brock understands how vital loans are to small businesses. He also believes that data will change the way people can apply for financing. 

“The data will become so ubiquitous, and it will be available so that you will always be able to [access] an always-on-application—I’ll always be able to see [if] I’m eligible for a $100,000 loan [and then] I can draw on it at any time. As your credit score decreases, your eligibility might decrease or it increases, but it’ll be kind of ever-present and you won’t have to go through what is traditionally known as an application process today.”

Proving He Can Be a Husband, Father, and CEO

Brock repeatedly emphasizes the three elements that sustain his success: family, a well-planned routine, and getting enough exercise and rest. 

He shares the story of a meeting with a Bay Area investor who offered his team a term agreement. Before putting pen to paper, the venture master bluntly asked, “In my history with…CEOs…I’ve really found that you either are a successful CEO or…a successful husband or father. Which would you choose?”

Brock was taken aback by the Faustian bargain. He didn’t sign the term sheet, but the meeting helped him establish his priorities. 

“I’m going to set out to prove that you can be a successful husband, father, and successful CEO—and be great at both.”

Brock, who coaches his son’s football team and has regular date nights with his wife, also stresses the importance of a morning routine and efficient work: 

“I wake up in the morning and I do a personal scripture study slash meditation time. I need to get a workout in the morning. Then when I’m actually at work the hours that I’m spending at work, my efficiency—it may be less hours—but they’re the most effective hours.”

To hear more about the ups and downs of entrepreneurship and how data is helping lenders across the globe, check out Datarobot.com/podcast or http://datarobot.buzzsprout.com/. You can also listen everywhere you already enjoy podcasts, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Podcasts.

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Brock Blake: The Weight of 10,000 Payrolls
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