Aug. 12, 2022

Ted Cheney, Experiential Nomad, Missionary, Father

Ted Cheney, Experiential Nomad, Missionary, Father
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Have you ever wondered what it's like to be arrested by the KGB for taking pictures of ducks? It happened to our guest Ted Cheney and he tells us about the lessons he learned from that and more while he lived in russia for eight years to run an orphanage.

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So that's the story behind, you know, how I got arrested by the KGB for taking pictures of ducks.

Welcome to another episode of Chewing the Fat. I am your host, Big Robb. Thank you so much for tuning in, downloading, following the podcast on Instagram, listening on Spotify and Apple Podcasts, or wherever you find your podcast at, I appreciate it. And thank you for the folks recently who wrote reviews for the podcast. That means so much to me that you care enough to actually say, hey, this is making an impact. I love what I'm hearing. And it helps more people to find the podcast. So thank you so much for your support in that way.

I'm excited about my guest today. I've known Ted for maybe over just two years. We work in retail together. We have a lot of the WebEx calls to have to keep in touch pretty much on a weekly basis, but he has such an interesting backstory. I cannot wait for him to share it with you. Please welcome Ted Chaney. Hey, good afternoon, Robb. How are you doing today? I'm doing good, Ted. Thank you so much for taking some time to sit and talk with me, man.

enjoyed getting to know you over the past couple of years. Just the little bit that I have and I just love your backstory and I love your heart and I can't wait for this opportunity to share it with folks. You've got such an interesting background. Yeah, you know, it's kind of cool too, I think, the fact that we've never met face to face, but yet we have a really, really good knowledge about one another, what really drives one another. And so,

It's cool that we live in a society that really has that kind of capability. And so I'm super stoked about this. When I find out you had a podcast, I'm not gonna pique my interest to something that I've always been interested in, but then to find out more about it, then for you to extend an invitation beyond and dive in a little bit deeper. I just, one, I think you do an incredible job. I've listened to a bunch of them and I'm just stoked about your, I'm a process guy. I love seeing process. I love how you set this whole thing up. So

I'm just glad to be here. You've made it super, super easy to do so. Oh, well, thank you, Ted. To get some background on you. So you're calling in from the Atlanta area right now, correct? If I live in Roswell. So, okay. Not the New Mexico one. No, not the New Mexico one, but now this is the closest I could get to aliens. So where are you from originally, though, Ted? You know, I, you know, I was born in Pensacola, Florida, but when asked that question, challenged with that. I tell people, I'm an American.

and because I have lived in every part of this country. I've lived in New England, I've lived in the Mid-Atlantic, I've lived all over the Southeast, I've traversed the bread basket of America multiple times and I've lived in the deserts of Nevada. So I've been to extended stays out in California, Chicago, New York, Boston. So I've lived everywhere. So. Do you have some place that you call home more than where your feet are currently

planted or it's not the pillow is it really really is wherever that pillow is is that's where I've got a favorite pillow so wherever that things that is where I'm gonna be hanging out but no my both my kids live here in the Atlanta area they had gone away but they kind of come back it's just nice to have them in the area my grandson my first grandson he's two and a half you know we spend a lot of time with him so you know we like this but you know my whole life we always grew up you know with relics being a long distance away

So, you know, I've learned to do that. I've got a brother who lives in Mississippi, one in Alaska, and my dad lives in California. My mom passed away here in the Atlanta area 10 years ago. But he's remarried. My step-sister lives with them. So it's just, you know, it's just, I don't know where to say, you know, the places, every place I've lived. Well, I have had so many.

So much fun. Everything is different. And so I think that's a big part of my perspective on life as well too is, is, you know, you can limit whatever it is in the past or what I'm missing or I'm an adventurer. You know, I, you know, I would have been in the 14, 15, 1600s, I would have been saying, Hey, how do I get on one of those boats and go looking for a different place and a different adventure? That's awesome. Yeah. You seem to have that kind of nomadic soul. Like I said, that that something was like, what else is out there? What else can I experience?

I find, as we were talking and finding out more about your background, of course, one of the things that piqued my interest was your time that you spent in Moscow, and we'll get to that in just a few minutes, but prior to that, until you sent me some of the stuff, your highlights on your bio, which you can find on the website, and I'm not wanting you to read through your bio, but you've done so much when you talk about all of that and moving. What was the reason

move. Are you a military kid or? Yeah, yeah, I'm a Navy brat. My dad, my dad was a Mustang in the Navy. That means he started out and enlisted as an enlisted guy, made it to chief. And he did that right around the time of World War II. The Vietnam War was really building up. And so they had, you know, this huge influx of college students or college graduates in their, their officers core,

They had school smarts, but they had no military background whatsoever. So the Navy had a program called NCEPS where what they did was they took the best of their enlisted, gave them a college education, and filtered them into the officer's course well too. So I was a benefactor of that and the fact that I don't see it as we moved around a lot. It was always a new school. I was always in a new kid and class. But for me, it was always, hey, something new.

something I haven't experienced before. That's just the way that I took it. Now, that's kind of like a learned behavior than it is something I think is naturally what it is. But, you know, you can, you can sit there and analyze, you know, logically, what am I going to do here in this situation? And what's best for me? And I could, like I said, I could be a sad sack and just really pull back and just long for something that I won't have. Or I can make the best of the situation or us. And so I

developed a skill set for talking to people, learning about them. You know, oftentimes there's some cross link because I've been so many places, you know, I know what it's like to be a kid in New England. I know what it's like a kid to grow up in the desert. There's just so many different things. It's just, you know, who I am. So when you started to get a little bit more mature, so you're getting out of high school and you're trying to find a career path

for yourself. Were you able to take some of that kind of flexibility and personality and kind of decide which way you wanted to go for a career? Yeah, I had no idea. And I remember my senior year of high school, I was finishing up, I had met this girl that I really liked in high school. She's now my wife. We've been married for about 42 years. But we had just moved there. I had just moved there. My senior year in high school, I moved from Nevada to Central Florida,

Florida. And, you know, six months in, living there, I meet her, you know, three months after that, I'm working at her mom's bank, because I think her mom liked me. And so I was working part-time there, getting ready to graduate, had no idea what I wanted to do. I knew that I wanted to go to college at some point, but I had moved around so much. And I didn't want to be the new kid in class again. Now, I didn't remember freshman college

college, freshman college classes, everybody was a new Kaden class. But, but, you know, I didn't think about that, but I didn't know what I wanted to do. And so I remember it was like, one weekend afternoon, I came home from work and my dad was there and he'd retired from from the Navy. And he was not working for Piper aircraft in Lakeland. And he helped design the avionics packages for the couple models of planes that flew out of that they built out of that factory there.

And we were talking and he goes, so, you know, he asked me that very question. Rob, he said, what do you, what do you want to do with, you know, I'm 18. When are you leaving? So that's not what he was saying. But because he was, you know, I have a great mom and dad. They were so supportive and everything. I mean, they weren't wealthy rich, you know, we got along well. But we were lived in military housing most of my life. And so it's just, you know, well, just

moving around. And he said, you know, what do you want to do? And I said, you know, dad, I have no idea. It's just I've been exposed to so many different things. You know, I love so many different things. I'm having a hard time narrowing it down. And he said, he said, you saw, have you ever thought about the military? Because, you know, recently I actually have and he said, well, what would you join? And I said, well, first of all, I am not a Marine. I that's not my mentality. You know, I respect those guys. You know, you know, everybody

different. That's the one thing I've learned. Everybody is different. Everybody's built differently. Everybody has their unique strengths for giftings. Some of it's God-given, some of it's God-given, and they've built on it. Other parts of it, they've really worked hard because this is something that, you know, whatever, however they got there. For me, it was, I didn't know what I wanted to do. And so I was not a Marine. I was never a big fan of the Army. It just seemed like it was a big

I didn't know, I didn't know it. You know, I knew them. I knew the Navy ranking system and what that life was like. And I thought, hey, you know what, I think I could handle that. But it was definitely not the Army. I knew it was definitely not the Air Force because being my dad was in a lot of aviation air stations and being at those. And then sometimes crossing air stations or Air Force stations. They just always seemed boring to me. I just like it was always everybody was inside a building or inside of a hangar. There was nobody doing anything outside.

seemed too academic for me. And so I said, I'm thinking about joining the Navy. And he goes, well, why haven't you considered the Coast Guard? And I thought, hmm, well, I wanted to join the military. And he goes, well, no, the Coast Guard is a military. I didn't know. I didn't know at all. So I thought, he goes, yeah, he says, as a matter of fact, during the time of war, they come out

transportation at the time. Now they're, what do you call it? I'll think of it in a second. But, but there's avert under the department of Navy. So I kind of scratched my head and I said, you know, let me think about all this. I don't know what I want to do. And so it was a valuable conversation. And one of the things that he said to me that really caused me to think seriously about the Coast Guard was he says, you know, all the other branches of service you've talked about, they're always practicing for something you hope they don't have to do. And that's go to war.

you know, and I'm talking about their core mission. And so I thought, but he said the Coast Guard's doing their core mission 24 seven every day of the week, every week of the year. And I thought, hmm, so, you know, this is this is 1979. I've just graduated. I'm 18. It's just

It's just an interesting time. Legal drinking age in Florida at the time was 18, so now I can legally drink, I could vote. The 80 election was coming up. So there's all these things that as a young man, you're just, I don't want to say you're being bombarded with, but there are choices that now you've got to deal with. And a life goal or a life mission was one of them. So I went to work. I was now working full time at the bank.

It was after I graduated and there was some time in mid June and the closest recruiter, there was no internet. So you had to look in the yellow pages and the closest recruiter was downtown Tampa, which was about an hour drive. I had a car. And so when I went to work that afternoon, I was Thursday, I said, Hey, can I have tomorrow afternoon? I need to go over to Tampa. And I didn't tell them why.

And so that Friday afternoon, I got my car after lunch and just drove to Tampa, showed up at the recruiting office and just started, you know, they had big posters everywhere and counters. It was just, you know, it was really well done. It won me over graphically. And I'm very, very visually driven. And started out and the guy came over and said, I'm just looking around, you know, shopping for what I'm going to do for the rest of my life.

career shelf. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Try this one. There's a money back guarantee on this one. So.

So anyway, I sat there and I went over to him. I said, so tell me, what do I got to do to join? I'm kind of very interested. He says, well, what do you want to do? And at the time growing up with a buddy out in the desert, we had both said we wanted to be doctors. And I thought that I did. I thought that I had the chops academically to do. I was a B minus student, but that's because I didn't apply myself. Things came to me very, very naturally.

my dad, my mom and my dad had prepared me well through school and took, you know, they provided all the nurturing conditions to make me grow intellectually, all that stuff. Nothing special. They left it to me. And so I was just always into something different. And so I said, I was thinking about, I was thinking about, you know, sometime maybe in the future, go into college and become a doctor. And he says, well, we have a, we have a, we have a Corman school that would be really close. But you know, it requires a certain great

an educational level or a vocational level. So I want you to take this test and ask Fab or Armed Forces Vocational Battery Test. Yeah. So I so I took it and he said, here go and go. The soda machines are over on this floor or whatever. So I went and grabbed a soda and a snack, some crackers and came back. And he said, wow, he said, you can be anything you want in the Coast Guard. You passed all the all the levels. And, you know,

At that point, I didn't think about anything else because that was kind of where I was leaning. So he said, here's what we can do. He says, we've got this delayed entry program or what you'll do is, you have your summer off, just don't get in trouble and you'll come back and in the fall, October 4th, you'll start boot camp and you'll get out just in time in front of Christmas, take your 10 days off and then show up right after the new year

guaranteed Corment School. You're ready to go, it's just straight in there and off you go. And I thought, well, that's cool. So I signed up, you know, and said, we went home and the next day, Saturday morning, I said, hey, I signed up for the, I signed up for the Coast Guard yesterday. And so my dad's talking to me about it and filling me in and I tell him, and I even got guaranteed Corment School. And he goes, what are you doing that for? He said, why are you taking a guaranteed school? And I said, man, you know,

I thought you would have been, you know, super stoked that I did that guaranteed. I'm locked in ready to go. And, uh, and he goes, he goes, no, he goes, um, you don't know what you want to do. Um, it's, so you've kind of like pigeonholed yourself into that spot. He said my recommendation would be for you to call up that recruiter, tell him you don't want the guaranteed school and just go to a ship and then watch everybody, what everybody does on the ship.

what interests you the most. And then in the military, or at least in the maritime services in the Navy and the Coast Guard, you can strike, they call it. So it's like on the job training where you say, you get to the ship and let's say you wanna be, and this is what happened to me. I got there and I loved what was going on around the, where they steered the ship, the helm. That would just, all that was going on there, and the quarter masters,

and those guys were looking at their maps and their plot and their angles and where they're at. And whenever there was something going on, they were right there in the thick of it. They knew what was happening. So I thought, you know, information, a challenge, being there with all the action, I thought that's what I wanna do. So, but right now I'm still signed up for guaranteed Cormid school. My guess is just call up the recruiter and say you don't wanna go. So I thought about it for another week and I called up the recruiter

Hey, I still want to join the Coast Guard, but I don't know if I want to go to this guaranteed school. And he goes, what? Well, how would you do? Well, how would you want to go to a ship? So that, you know, I just want to do it. He says, I'll tell you what, I'm going to leave that guaranteed school in case you change your mind. You get to boot camp when they ask you where you want to go for your orders to say, I don't want to be Cormorant School and they're not going to waste the resources on you. So so that's how I got in the Coast Guard. And I I'm so glad that I did what my what my dad recommended.

It just turned into a completely different area. And it's what drove me into electronics is through being on a ship, seeing some things happen and said, you know what, that's where I want to be. So when you got off the ship, where did that take you then? You say it took you into electronics. Yeah. So I came out of boot camp, not going to guaranteed school, and they sent me to the Chula, which is stationed out of Atlantic Beach,

Carolina. What a beautiful place. What a cool, I, you know, I was, I lived a charm life. I, you know, my first year in the military, I got married to Linda and she moved up there with me. And we're living in a beach house on the Atlantic, you know, I could walk to work. She'd come by, we had one car, she had gotten a job as a teller to local bank. And, and so we were going out to see and this is 1980. And the summer of 1980, the Cuban boat lift happens. So

Jimmy Carter is now president. He had won the election. And the humanitarian crisis that was going on in Cuba at the time was just really escalated. And Carter for a limited period of times opened up our southern border so that the Cubans could come in and they were they were coming over just loaded in as many boats as many people in a boat as you could. And, you know, for

eye-opening experience to be just in the thralls of, we're literally 20, 30 miles offshore off the keys and we're coming across these little teeny boats that have 20, 30 people. The gunnels just barely above the waterline and there's people in there, others are sinking. It's just, it was just a high opening experience. You couldn't believe what it was. It was a beautiful setting. I mean,

sunny, sunny Florida day, nice puffy white clouds. The blue water was so blue, it was flat. Maybe sometimes a little bit of a chop, but it was just, you'd pick them up. And we were, what they call it, freeboard, which is how far it is from the water line to the gunnel where you could pull somebody up over that ledge was a good 10 to 14 feet. And so for somebody to climb up

a web, somebody that's not in any kind of shape climbing up a web ladder up the side of a boat, there's rocking at sea, it's physically strenuous. And we were like monkeys, we were going up and down grabbing these grandmothers, basically strapping what they call a painter's chair, which is just a wooden board with two pieces of rope coming out of it on each side and a carabiner.

center of our chest, put the grandmother in there and just walk up the side of the boat with our hands behind her, just holding her so she doesn't flip over backwards. And just, we have a couple hundred people on our, you know, just pulling a couple hundred people on our boat, putting them on the fantail and then zipping into Key West to drop them off. So that was such a cool experience and eye opening. But shortly after that, a, we had to Medevac, somebody off the plane, they'd had a hernia or some kind of medical disorder.

stress. And so I was trained in how to, you know, when they landed that basket on the deck, how are you supposed to handle it so that you didn't get electrocuted with the static electricity? Because there's tens of thousands of volts in there and a lot of amperage that'll kill you if you don't handle it properly. So they dropped that on the deck and I went out there and we loaded this guy in there and they went off and I just remember when that when that

30 feet off the ground. He's just sitting there hovering. I'd never been under prop wasp of a Hilo before. And it was just like, you know, you're sitting there and it's really loud and it's really, you know, windy. And then all of a sudden, soon as you're underneath the tip of that, of that rotor on a helicopter, all of a sudden, your environment just changes. Now it's all of a sudden, there's no noise, just because you're in this really super high pressure center. So your hearing is kind of diminished and all the noises

washed away. Now it's to breathe instead of having to. Now you had to you had to really push to exhale and all you had to do is just relax and your lungs would fill up with air. It was just completely different. And it was real. It was mesmerizing. It's just sitting in the sky sitting there in an orange, no mix flight suit with an orange white helmet. And he's got the little sunglass visors coming through. I have never seen anybody cooler in my entire life.

that Hilo 30 feet above my head. And I mean, what a stud that guy's picture presented. He was just I thought, oh my God, I've got to be an aviation. This is what he's doing. What I was born to do. I wanted to I wanted to join and do what he did. So soon as we secured from that, I ran down below and on the starboard, I mean, on the port passageway, there was a little

information. And I knew on that billet board was a list of all the gear of all the schools that you'd go to and as an enlisted man had the rating and how long the waiting list was for it. And so all the aviation billets started with an A. So I went and there's like eight of them or not 10 of them or 11 of them or whatever. And I didn't even know what the billets were. I was just looking for one with the shortest list the shortest waitlist. And there's one with two weeks and it was an AT. I had no idea what an AT was. But I ran down to the

the Yeoman's office and said, hey, take me off the list for being a quartermaster. I want to go to I want to go to AT school. And he looked at me and he goes, that's the hardest school to get into. That's why the waiting list is so short. You got to be a genius to get in there. And I said, well, the recruiter told me that I could get into any school. And he goes, there's no way. I said, look at my look at my jacket. So he opens up my records. He looks in there and he goes, son of a bitch, you can't go to AT school. So now it took me.

two weeks. It took me about eight months to get off the ship. But I went to aviation. It was an aviation electronic technician. So as soon as I found out what it was, when we pulled into port, I went to Radio Shack, which was a big store back then. That was the electronic stores. It was like, you know, in my eyes as a kid growing up, Radio Shack was like 10 times what it was like to go into an Apple store. It was just because there were there were electronic tubes in there. My dad

and he would troubleshoot our TV by going through and replacing the tubes out of Radio Shack. And I would buy all these electronic kids when I was a kid and soldered them together. Had no idea what was going on, but I knew how to build them and they were fun to play with. So, but that was just a little bit of who I was. So I went and got a couple books and just started studying and graduated number one in my class in AT school. So. That's awesome. That is so awesome. That's how I got going in that regard.

Yeah. So, so was so after AT school, how long how much longer did you say in the military? I was just in four years. I stayed in I stayed in for four years, four and a half years because I had to to go to go to AT school. I had to extend a little bit because it was coming up on it was going to push me past the two year mark and they want to be to be at for at least two years. Gotcha. So, or it was either that or to make great to me because I made it to made it to E five. So I was an aviation electronic.

second class. So I was one step away from first class and then you could go to chief. And you know, I thought if I stayed in, I'd do that. But now I was, you know, as as much as life would challenge me. You know, I was, you know, relatively newly married two or three years. And, you know, the responsibility, you know, I'd learned, you know, the military for me, the best thing I learned was this idea of authority and how you're how you need to serve the authorities above you.

And that by successfully doing that and making them successful, I learned that you would be successful as well too. So I really, that was something I learned early on. I learned that you could, and if you were, excuse me, if you were in that kind of state, you could, you know, hardworking, dependable and constantly trying to drive to become an expert in your role.

quickly learned that if they had a special assignment, you know, they'd reach out to the guys that were hard charging. And so I was identified as one of those. So it benefited me in a lot of different ways in my military career. And when I wanted to get out, they let me out a little bit early so that I could go to so I could start my first semester college, which was up in East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tennessee, which is where my folks lived.

and just fell in love with being a college student, not from the traditional gaming stuff, but it was this idea that I had direct access to some people that were really, really top notch in their area, and I wanted to learn as much as I could. And so it was really for me very, very rewarding experience. And in that, I found a natural love was related

to electronics, which was chemistry, specifically organic chemistry. I loved it. Started working in a lab there very early in my science career, started working towards maybe even just blasting right through a BS and moving to a master's or a PhD in chemistry. When a lady ran a red light, hit me, put me in the hospital for about a week, and I was putting myself through school, me and my wife, and it just became a delicate financial balance.

It was a delicate financial balance the way we were doing it. I was working part-time at Radio Shack and she was working full-time for Merrill Lynch as a initially sales assistant and then as an advisor, you know, beginning advisor. And it was just, you know, things were tight and she had an opportunity for a job move. And we made that and the area we went to was a mistake. We, I'm not going to mention it, but we just didn't like the area. It just felt more backwards and more separated

from family than we wanted to be at the time. So we moved back and at that point, the way we were able to move back is I got a job with a computer company. It was a Apple developer. Oh, wow. First, at first in sales, B2B sales, and then on into, and I moved into product management and that's what started all of that. So. Now we're, and I'm assuming, you know, what I know of you is you are very, well, again,

from our, from our WebEx relationship that we have. Is you're a very empathetic and caring person. And I know that is That's 100% my mom. Really? That's where it came from? Yeah, that's my mom. Wow. Wow. There's no, you know, just thinking about it, you know, I'm tearing up because she was a, she was a special lady. She was a Navy's wife, you know, so she, uh, an officer's wife. So she's, you know, there's, there's hardship

associated with that dad would be overseas for six months and she'd have three crazy boys running through her house, you know, ages, you know, I was in, let's see. So I was, when dad went overseas, when I was in high school, which was probably the hardest time for her, I was, let's see, I was in the ninth grade. So my brother, I had my young brother was in the seventh grade and he was a handful and I had a baby brother that was like in about third grade.

It was second, third grade. So we were, you know, we were a handful. There's no doubt about it. But she was the most, she was so much fun. She was the most empathetic. She held you accountable. There's no doubt about it. I mean, if you, you know, if we, if we messed up, you would just wait till your dad gets home and we'd get spanked. I mean, there was, you know, so I, you know, I learned not to get spanked real soon. I didn't like that experience. And so the best way to do that was, you know, there were my, you know, there were, there were the ones foot

bill if you want to think of it like that. And, you know, as a kid, you know, they were my parents, I wanted to, I wanted to be not a burden, but some, but some help. So, you know, I learned, you know, when we're when dad was away to, to be something that might to be a person that my mom could depend upon. And that that was a shaping influence in my life was my mom and just the way she would deal with issues and problems. But in that,

You know the going through you know, I had five kids we had Friends we homeschool our kids and if you're part of that that early homeschooling movement And why I don't know but it was a fantastic preparation for when we decided to move to Russia Well, and that's what I was gonna say is how did you go from you know programming operating systems to? Going I was a how was it programming operating systems? I understood what the programmers were having to try to do

If I was working for a company at the time that was an Apple developer, we had a special relationship with Apple and a whole bunch of software developers. But the way we talked about it in that company was we were always living on the bleeding edge. We're not living on the leading edge. We were out. We were, you know, we were, we were test pilots really. And in the biggest sense of the word from a, and so there was a lot of risk that the CEO of the company took on for Daystar Digital. His name's Andrew Lewis. I have the best.

Greatest admiration for that because I learned so much from watching him really try to build a, you know, 100 million annual sales plus company in a, you know, a really competitive rapidly changing technology environment and so that Working for them and always at that pace. It was just always going my kids were young, you know They were they were five and three. There's two years apart five and three

six and four. And it's about the same time. And this is a completely different story. But Steve Jobs comes back, our company loses its license with Apple for a Mac OS system because Steve's taken in a completely different position in a killer company. Just absolutely decimated us, decimated a lot of people. A big part of that was, you know, at the time Apple had so many different models, there was so many different product lines and they were all competing against one another.

same time that I went to Russia, it was about the same time Tim Cook came to Apple through Steve and Deidre. His goal was, what he did was they had so many vendors, my understanding is that he helped with regards to Steve Jobs' responsibility was to contract the company, to try to save it, and really focus on some key products, and that was going to be the

initially and really cut out that out. I think Tim Cook's big success to driving Apple to profitability was really tightening up the logistics side of it with regards to vendors. And so I think a lot of what he did then is benefiting the company now because he understands intimately what that looks like when we're in the market is globally constrained,

And what you see happening with that company now is I think just a testament to his skill set that he developed those many years ago. So was that around the time? Do you think that the, you know, when you say I was burned out, the company does, right? So you just decided you need to find something completely different and on the other side of the world? No, I started, well, I started out, I started out working for another software company. It was kind of a cool story. Really kind of unique position.

tool. So life pace was a lot easier. It was a lot smaller company, a ton smaller company. And it had some I had some it had some great opportunity. But personally, I think it was more and this is where life balance is really important is listening to my wife's cues and recognizing, you know, that I had, you know, my career had been driving all the decision chain decisions in the family. And our girls had some needs as well too. And one of

that we wanted to do was to try to expose them to things a little bit differently. And one of them came up in the fact that we had heard about this nonprofit, a ministry that during Christmas, they'd go over to Russia and Moscow and they had this outreach to retired school teachers. They would just love on them. And that sounded like a great way of exposing my kids to something really cool. And so it was just supposed

about seven, 10 days is what we had envisioned. And so my wife started calling to find out, hey, we found out about it around Christmas time. So in January, we recalled, so this is January 98, she called to find out a little bit more about it. So she's sitting there talking to the guy and she calls me up. This is cell phones for the modern man, kind of a novel thing. I think I had a business one

but you're paying per minute and they were really expensive. So she called me on my work line and she said it. She goes, Hey, I just had the most interesting conversation. I said, Well, what did he say? He said, Well, the part that I want you to call him about was he said, Why don't you go early and stay late and to this Christmas trip. And I go, What the hell does he mean by that? He goes, He says they need they need families like ours to go over there and live and work in his orphanage and that you would have kids in your family.

almost like family style living with a, almost like a foster care program. And at the time we were foster cares in state of Georgia for, we didn't have any kids at that time, but we'd had them like about six months before and we were trying to evaluate what we wanted to do, moving on to the next, whether we wanted to continue to stay in that program, whatever. So that was just a part of who we were. We had two boys and a girl that had last lived with us. And they had, there was,

legal issues with their parents and there was trouble there. And so they had lost their parental rights. And so they were just waiting for some family members with regards to making a decision how they want to do it. So they were with us for a couple months, but they went to a really nice program up in North Georgia. But so that was going on school. And then we got this invitation to go. So we just, you know, we, you know, I'm a, I'm a believer. I'm not, you know, I'm not extreme fight

different track for a completely different thing. But I felt that as a family, this might be the direction we were being pulled. And so we prayed about it and it's unbelievable how many doors opened up. And so that August, I'm talking about from January, February to August, we had sold everything that we had, put it all on the table and said, we're all in and God continued to

to meet all of our needs for the next nearly eight years through other people. And that's a humbling experience as well too, to be dependent upon others, not knowing, there were times when we were down to like, no money whatsoever. And we weren't getting paid to be over there. We were paying to be there. Oh wow. And so, God just miraculously opened up windows of heaven. And it wasn't like you pour down like this guy that just got $743 after taxes and this lottery deal.

he just had in Ohio or Illinois or where it was. But it wasn't that it wasn't that strong or steady. And I don't think he would have given it that given it to us that way because it made us learn to be dependent upon God in a kind of unique and special way. And so we we ended up being in in Moscow for nearly eight years from 1998 to 2006. And it was the most rewarding experience, you know, as most you learn

you're not the smartest guy in the crowd. There's always something out there that's better than you and there's always something going on in the world, both evil and good, constantly vying for your attention. And so it was just such a cool experience. I'd still be there, but one of Putin's major goals was to drive outside influence, to get it out of that country with regards to control in the media, controlling the narrative, controlling the police. It was an amazing

thing to be a firsthand witness to all that was taking place. Yeah. And you know, you tie that to what's going on now You know, we still got good friends over there that we really can't communicate with because we don't want to We don't want to endanger them in any way We can keep up by looking, you know, you know an occasional post that shows up in a Facebook or an email or a word from a friend that they talked to somebody so You know, it's you know I think the whole problem over there is caused by the

hand fuel hand by a handful of really self-centered evil individuals and the holding a vaccination In the dark, so some of them don't even realize how badly they're being Betrayed by there at the people that are over them. Yeah, that's my personal belief But it's in its evident and just to see in the way things are shaking out so so in that preparation to go over there because

There was no preparation. It was so fast. We're boom. We were there all the preparation took place over there So it's on the job training. I was I was gonna say did you learn a lot of Russian when you were there? When I got there when I got there I couldn't even state say Shtrasvich which is hello the formal way of saying hello. I I just I couldn't roll my arms I was just that was clueless. Well, when I got over there was fun I was so we were so we were so we were working with kids that were you know I I had two daughters, so I got over there thinking now

they're gonna give me girls and they hand me six boys, ages first grade to fifth grade. And I had a third grader and a first grader, my two daughters. And it was wild to have to go from a nice, quiet, I'm in control home and now I'm living in a community filled with all kinds of different families

for these Russian kids that some are true orphans, some their parents have lost custody, some their parents don't have the capability of maintaining a relationship with them. So it was a whole mismatch of things and quickly learning the language to the best you could. It's a very phonetic language, which is again for me being an analytical guy. I've learned that a lot of languages, the written aspect of it,

a consonant vowel pair. Just all those just lined up. So once you learn the trick, you can speak the language, even though you may not understand it. It makes it easier to interpret and understand. My wife and I were blessed to have there. They had some Russian students, the high school students that went on and became

interpreters, our tongues to speak. And I had two phenomenal ones. The one that was there was very caring and almost like a young daughter type of thing. The other one, so that was Maria. And then there was Galina. And Linda and I were so blessed by that lady. She was young, she had got her law degree in Russia. And when I would speak, she was my voice.

And I learned how to use that dialogue to where I could say something and think about what I was going to say next while she interpreted it. And as I learned the language, I could hear the way she was presenting it and that helped speed my understanding. I still, I spoke poorly, but I could understand okay enough to where, you know, I knew I was in trouble or I wasn't in trouble. So, but there's so many, there's so many amazing stories for the guards to revolve around the language and the stuff

we did there, it's another episode, it really is. But God, I love being there. And I'd still be there, I think, if they just hadn't made it so difficult for us. There's no way to maintain a ministry with regards to the imposition they were placing on being able to be in the country at the time. So. Right, right. Well, if you had to pick just one quick story that you could share right now from that time, what's something that lights you up? Yeah.

And you probably have heard this. So you haven't heard the backstory to this story, but I've often told people, you know, when they ask, sometimes I ask you, so tell me one strange, you know, tell me one thing that nobody knows about you. And so I like to say, well, I was arrested by the KGB for taking pictures of ducks. And they looked at me and they go, of all the people that had just said what was so strange to them, that's the one that wins every single time I guarantee it. And what was happening was in 2004,

Actually, 2003, this lady had come up from southern Russia near the Ukrainian border. And they were trying to develop a ministry or an outreach to these local neighborhoods, local orphanages. Whereas we have a foster program here, the way the Russians dealt with it with a social mindset or socialism mindset was they put them in orphanages. And it's a horrible situation. It really, really is.

that are in the program and then what happens to them after they get out, after they're released into the wild. They're not prepared. They are preyed upon. They're given resources that are stolen or they're killed over it. It's just a, it's horrible. And, but going down there, I had developed a relationship with a director of an orphanage that was in this little small border town called Chokina. It was just back to back to back with the Ukrainian border

This is in 2004. So the Orange Revolution is going on right now and I'm not really paying that much attention to it because I'm not really dealing with Ukraine. And, you know, I know there's stuff going on over there, but I'm not thinking about how I'm influenced or the area that I'm in is being influenced by that geopolitically. I'm just down there and this guy needs a bathroom rebuilt for his orphanage because it's just horrible. It is absolutely horrible what it looks like in there.

where they bathe these kids. There's sewer gases just bending directly into the room. It's cold, it's dank, it's dark. It's just, thinking about it as a kid, me and my brother's playing in the bathtub and flashing around and mom laughing and soap bubbles on our heads and stuff like that. And there's nothing like what these kids were being exposed to as adults. And it was such a shaping influence in my love for my brothers, what they're going through and the horror

and just the physical environment that it was in was just, I would have been scared to take a bath in that place. It was just horrible. It was dark. I mean, they were using a wood-burning kiln to heat the water that they'd mixed with the cold water and this moldy, rusty, cold, dark place. So he said, you know, I'd really like to get this rebuilt. And I thought, I don't know how I'm

visit him. This was like, you know, about the last time we could get in there before, you know, the heavy winter sense and you don't want to travel the couple hundred miles that I had to travel to go see these guys. And again, like I said, it's just sitting right on the border. So we show up, we show up in the spring and I drive up, like in March, and where this place is, we're supposed to rebuild, he's already torn it down.

where they bathe these kids anymore. They've got a little makeshift one upstairs, but I am committed to rebuilding this bathroom now because I got my word. So, and I was coming there to think about how I was gonna do it. Now my hand was forced, but it was not, you know, God's in control and he was able to help me get the resources. And so in May, we were down there to rebuild it. And it was a lot of fun. I learned a whole bunch. My biggest, I expand from language capability

ever being down there by myself without, you know, the real help of any interpreters. And we're sitting there and we had been down, there was another orphanage down the street that had some vision impaired kids. And we were like going down there and visiting with them, knew a bunch of the kids from lots of visits. And we'd been down there, we knew when they had, when the older kids had recess. And so we were down there to play soccer with them. And we were down there playing,

having a good time, getting a van, drive back down to our orphanage. And all of a sudden this military Jeep comes pull up in front of us and this guy with a machine gun strapped in front of him comes out of a come flying out of the car and says, let me see your papers documents, you know, and so and everybody that's with me knows that that when we when I am talking to them to the authorities, and again, this is part of that authority story. Don't interrupt.

for me, don't be a part of it. The only way that you'll ever go with me is you in these situations, I'm the one that's in charge. And even if I don't understand the languages, I'm trusting that God's going to protect me in this situation in the country. He's going to protect you. So just sit back there, don't say anything, we can talk about it afterwards, but don't try to help me. And it was in that company. So the guy wanted my papers and I knew what he had asked for, but I gave my car papers and he throws them right back in my lap says, Nope, this is not what I want.

He wanted to see the reason why I was in his country. And so he looked at my papers and he looked at, and I, there was, there was.

There was two other Americans with me. One of them was a Jedi. He was my contractor. He knew what we were doing. I'm just the figurehead getting us there. And then there was another guy that had a close relationship. I'd brought a couple of young men from the orphanage that were older, that were sober minded, and they were going to be great helps. We're going to use the strength of their youth is what we were going to do. And they were part of it. They wanted to be a part of it. They thought it was fun. They liked being around me. We were going to have a good time. We were going to be working.

we're going to have a good time. So we, so in that process, they, we got, we got detained and they, they brought it up. I say KGB, the KGB didn't exist anymore, but nobody knows that fewer people know the FSB, which is basically their FBI, if you will. And, and they are had a lot more power than the KGB ever did. And so they, they say, Hey, we don't want you to go anywhere. We're going to stay here.

tomorrow morning, we want you to be here. And they interrogate us all day. And so what happened for the next week, we just basically went from the smallest outpost all the way to the state capitol with regards to their FSB dudes along the way trying to figure out what we were doing down there. They were concerned about what was happening on the other side of the border. And there were three Americans walking around and one of them had a camera. Well, I didn't actually have a camera. It was one of the Russian boys. And that's kind of what saved us

a little bit. One of the Russian boys, some family had given him a digital camera and he was, now I had my camera, but I was just filming around the, our work site and just documenting what we were doing. But they were on the border taking pictures and they want to know what we were, you know, what's the US Americans doing down there when, and this is the whole region that is in conflict right now with all the bombing, the Dumbos region. And and so I found out what was going on was there was a note. So what you had to do.

were out, it's still a very close society. If you're traveling in Moscow or in Russia, whenever you stop in a particular state, you have to register so they know where you're at. So I had done that, I had met the requirement in the region that I was in, and then we had transferred from there and we had told them we're going to be at this, at this orphanage, I'm rebuilding the bathroom. And so it was documented in their paperwork, it's not automated. And these guys pulled up because they had heard somebody had said something about us

We're here in the area. And so the guy said, you know, we've been looking all for you. And I said, all you had to do is ask any kid in this village. And they knew exactly where we were at any moment of the day because they love playing with us. And which is true. We'd help. I'd help the guy with his soccer team to get him over to a game, all kinds of stuff. Just they knew that, hey, go ask the crazy bald headed American guy. And he'll help you out. Whatever you want to do, he's going to join in. Because that's how I was. Yeah.

And so we got detained. The worst part about this was, so I was so worried about the director, the orphanage that we were helping out because they were threatening him for not letting them know what we were doing and that we were there and getting permission to do it. And they were just strong arming him. And when we pulled into one of these, it's one of these stations that I checked in before when we were staying at a different place. And so the military guy that was in charge

knew we were there or knew, knew us or knew of me. And I'd been there several times and he'd been invited into his office and sat down in front of him and he grilled us on what we were doing and he was doing his job. But we went in while they're taking spec, they sat in there and the guy, the, his attendant knew that who I was and he said, just told me go in there with my guys and sit down. So we're all sitting down in front of this guy's desk and I look behind his desk and there's like a piano wire that's strung up

and it's got two pieces of burlap cloth hanging for this. And they're like makeshift curtains. And behind it was the piece of plexiglass with a map behind it of that region. And there were all kinds of X's and O's and lines and stuff like that. And it was their battle plans to defend in case it got, in case we got overrun. This is what they were gonna do. Wow. Now I had no idea. I was just, I didn't really pay that much attention to it. I just looked up and looking around and just this guy's gonna wait. And I hear him walk in and hear him thumping through.

and can you hear the Russian voices in the other room? And he comes walking in and he walks in and he looks over and he looks at me. And as soon as he sees me and he sees all the guys sitting behind me, all of a sudden he looks up on the wall and he can see that his map is exposed. And he kind of like, you can see him like freeze for a second. He walked over and he grabbed those two curtains and he closed, slammed them shut and said, I'll be right back. And he goes out and he just yelling his ass off with regards, well, what are they doing in there?

You know, this is all he's just going off and it was then when it was later I wasn't sure at the time what was going on, but I started thinking about it. That's that's what we're in trouble for They they were worried about what was going on With the orange revolution and I thought we might be trying to recoy her Ways for NATO to bust through into their into their motherland. So So anyway, that's how I got me. So that's the story behind, you know I got arrested by the KGB for taking pictures of ducks Wow

Wow, that's just crazy.

I mean, I'm so glad that you're here and you made it through. Because at any point in that story, it could have went a completely different way. I had no, I had a lot. I had I had more danger with the guy, which is the military police over there because they, you know, it's the graft and corruption over there. So amazing. And I don't care who you are. Soon as they soon as they get kind of get any kind of whiff that you might be a victim, the police will pull you over and they're looking for a bribe. I had. Yeah. I had.

So much fun thwarting those guys and And I never paid a bribe never single never, you know other other my other of my Co-conspirators is probably the best way to think about it Have thought of ways to have paid the bribe just because it was expedient, but I never did I but I tell you what I pissed off a whole lot of guy. So So Ted you're

back here, you're doing some amazing things. What is bringing you joy right now? Oh, you know, I'm a pretty upbeat guy. Somebody asked me, how's your day going? I asked, you know, a pretty common answer is phenomenal. You know, because I'm vertical. I've got all my capabilities, you know, I have a good job, I have a solid stable family.

I really am blessed. I could not ask for anything more. You know, I was really kind of hoping to win the lottery last tomorrow, last night or night before last, but I didn't. So I will live again. But I'm just, for me, every day is an adventure. And I'm always, you know, I'm an impromptu guy because I love the spontaneity of the situation. Perfect example, another Russia story

We were spending the summer there and there was nobody in the orphanage. They were all, we had pretty much everybody was out. We were just basically caretakers for a big facility that had hardly anybody in it during the summer months. A lot of times we'd get families in the United States to host kids for the summer. What that did is it helped accelerate their language skills. A Russian orphan, the best tool that we could ever give them was the ability to use the

to speak, write, read, and understand English and Western culture because they were able to skip the line because of their language skill in that country. It was so sought after and desired. It still is. So we'd send them to the states and then they'd come back in the fall. But so we just recently got them off. It was kind of like the doldrums of summer, if you will. It was kind of like laid back. It was a nice, easy pace.

I got up and I told my family, which was my wife, my two daughters, and two Galena and another young lady, Rachel. I said, you guys come on, we're going somewhere. And they said, where are we going? I said, just pack your stuff for picnic lunch, we're going. So everybody got ready and everybody knew that when I said to do something like that, it was going to be adventure. So there was a little bit of overpacking. There was a little bit of anticipation of something fun happening. And

station and I told him, I said, hey, we're going to take this train out of town. So I told my team, I said, you guys go ask, say, hey, if you could go anywhere today and just spend a day there, what would it be on this train rail, on this train line? And so that so everybody went off and they, it's a fun game for them. So they're all off, you know, everybody can speak Russian at this point. My, my girls, especially, uh, my wife's not playing the game because she's my wife, she doesn't have to. Um, but everybody else is out looking around and the report comes back three

or Sonsana, it's this little village that everybody wants to go. It stands for literally, the city of sun or the sun city. And so I said, okay, so we went bought two round trip tickets to Sonsana for everybody, or round trip ticket for everybody of Sonsana. And so we get up there and we find out Winston's last train coming back into town so that we knew we had to be back at the train station. And it was like right around six o'clock or six 30, something like that. So we land in Sonsana, we get out and I said, all right, now you gotta ask,

supposed to be here in Sonsen. Now you gotta go find out where are we supposed to be here? We found out there's this little reserve or lake and there was a campground near it. And so we found a guy that took us there, dropped us off and came back. So it was those types of adventures. We had, it was just the most pleasant day. We just sat there, we cooked on that little grill, grill some chicken and had a, you know, fabulous meal and just sat around and played and talked and laughed. And just, it was just a beautiful day in the sun on a summer day, so as a family.

All right Ted, this is the second segment of the show. This is where we dive a little bit more into you. We talk a little bit more about mental health. I'm a very big proponent believing that these conversations help people being able to acknowledge that pretty much everybody, even if we are positive, optimistic people, there are times that we may have a down day or a day that just we feel the weight of things on us. But knowing that everybody goes through that helps us to get through that, to feel, you know,

But for you, Ted, how do you keep the darkness at bay? That's a great question. And I know it's something that a lot of people struggle with. And as a kid, I did too, and through early adulthood. But it's my faith and a savior, Jesus Christ, is what I know. I was in my early 30s when I got saved.

And so, and I have since then, I think developed a really, really, really close relationship with God and that's acknowledging that He's the authority in my life and that He's here to protect me, to provide for me. And when I learned that that's the relationship that I have with the Creator of the universe, you know, I have difficult times. There's no doubt everybody does, you know, interpersonal. I don't care what your wife.

kids, your work, fellow employee, you know, friend. It's, you know, anytime, anytime that there's two people involved, there's an opportunity for something to go wrong, and for somebody's emotions to get hurt, or for somebody to get hurt, or taking advantage of. And it's, it's by having, you know, I think an understanding that, that ultimately God's the one that's in charge. And so whenever I see something happening around me, and I really learned this,

I got a PhD, I got my degree in theology, my PhD or a PhD or whatever you want to call it, and over in Russia because there was so many times I was so dependent upon God at that instant for direction, for an answer, advice on what to do in that particular situation, for his protection because I could no way to control it. And man, he came through every single time. So whenever something's going wrong, I have to think about, okay, I asked myself,

Why possibly could God be letting this right now? I remember, and it doesn't matter whether it was there or here, that's the way I live my life now. And so whenever I get discouraged, it's pretty much, doesn't take that long for me to check in with the person that literally has saved my life over and over and over and over again. And that is, you know, with God through prayer to say, what do I do here?

I've read the Bible inside and out. I'm an analytical guy, so I look at the word study. And so if you ask me to quote a verse, I'm really bad at it. You ask me to talk about the theme of what God was trying to say to me through it. I know what that is. I've learned those lessons. And so that's where I apply it. And people say, well, Ted, that's a pretty easy out. No, no, no, it's not. It is so much harder to turn control over to something you can't physically see or

You can't physically know, but there's a sense of hope or faith that's embedded in that. And then when you so consistently, statistically, are blessed because of this, you know, upfront, I live a very blessed life. And you know, in our current culture, there's, you know, there's a lot of people that feel guilty for having the life that I have.

that, but I know that there's somebody in charge of society and he has really guided me to where I'm at right now. So as long as I, you know, I, I listened to a podcast, I'm a, you know, I went to school several years back to become an economist. Um, just because I love an aspect of economics called behavioral economics, that's why do people make the wrong decision when it's in bed, they're better interest to do something else economically. So that's really cool. It's a really cool study. But in, in that whole

of studying for that. I learned so many things about how how how you can be

in ways that you don't expect. And so just really trying to go back to the answer, to find my way back to that answer real quick, but it was just,

this idea of darkness is that I can become a victim. I can just really let it take over my life or I can partner up with the people that God has surrounded me with and say, hey, this is the situation. Let's work through this together. And that's where, I tell you, I learned it from my mom. That's where the idea of this empathy comes through is that there's so much going on.

little opportunity to influence it. If you develop a strong following of beliefs and you apply those consistently, it's just going to benefit you. Just like my military career did, just like the way it did through all the different product development jobs, the time in Russia, all the other jobs that I've held, you just see that pattern over and over and over and over and over.

that relationship you have with God, was there a time, you got saved in your 30s, what was that defining moment where you said that I need this? It was no great, big, huge flash boom kind of thing. For me, it wasn't... I didn't have the Paul experience in Damascus.

I wasn't just knocked off a horse and didn't know anything for three days until all said, you know, I think I figured this one out. I think he said something to me and it was a lot more gradual for me. And it was just taking a smaller step in faith and that direction. And then I go, you know, that kind of worked out. Okay. You know, maybe there's something to this. I wish it had been, I wish I'd gotten $743 million like that. And I said, thank you God. But that's not what happened.

And when we went to Russia, knowing that we were basically paying for our way there, getting it there, that made me dependent upon God and His people. And I didn't ask, I didn't say I was going to do this. It just stuff started showing up because I had emptied my pockets out. I had emptied out my 401k, my wife's 401k. We sold everything. We sold every percent. My kids sold their beanie babies. And we just put it all together in the pot. And we had

of our first year there. And they said, well, what are you going to do about the other? I said, you know, hey, I don't know. I put everything I can in. I'm dependent upon God and to do the rest. And he, man, he showed up every single time, every single time. So in miraculous ways and miraculous ways he saved us while we were there. And since I've been back, he's he's met. I know that when we went over there, I knew that I was going over in the prime time of my

And I said, you know, I told my wife and I, we had this conversation, you know, we could, we could play it safe. We could stay here. You know, we could put the girls in school. We can do this. We can do that. I can find another job. We can move some, you know, whatever, you know, any thousands of things we could have done. But I said, you know, if we do this, I believe that, that even though this is going to delay my retire to build assets for myself, I'd rather do this right now in my youth.

38 when we went over there, my wife was 37. My kids were not even teenagers yet. You know, they're adolescents. That the experience as a family together would be that much richer, that much greater, and it would provide for them so much more opportunities in the future as far as my two daughters than if I'd played it safe. And so we gave it all to God said, here it is, you know, we're all, you know, what's next?

And he guided us step by step. It was like I said, it was just, it was funny. A good friend of mine had left when our day start got shut down, he left and he got a job opportunity at Dell, really nice job doing the exact same thing he was with tremendous amount of opportunity. Dell was really hot at that time. You know, the Apple market was just, Apple was almost ready to close. Stock price was, I don't know, four, three, five, six, seven, nine dollars, something like that.

nothing. And that's since splits and all kinds of stuff. It was nothing. And I got a phone call from David, he'd gone there and he said, Hey, they're looking for another product manager. I'd love to work with you. You know, I can provide some influence. You want to do this? And I've, you know, we've already got airplane tickets over there. It would have been easy to just say, you know what? Yep. Here's it. Here's a safer job. Let's go do this. And I talked to Linda and we just felt like,

Like it was, that was just the test to determine whether we were really all in or not. And so matter of fact, my company told me that I was working for so that they were gonna lay out a couple people. And I said, don't do that. I said, I haven't told you guys yet, but I'm moving to Moscow, Russia, because this is what God's telling me to do. I'm gonna be running orphanage over there. I said, I've still got two months before we go, but instead of that, instead of paying me, these guys are more benefit,

to be more critical for your company's success than you paying me for the next two months and me leaving. I'd hold on to those guys and pay them. And if you don't have the money to do it, don't bother paying me. So they didn't. And I worked for two more months as I helped transition out of that role. But they kept their jobs. And I think God blessed me and honored me, gave me that test. But he knew we were there. We were in it to win it. And he could count on us and we could count on him.

I'm kind of hanging in for that for my own personal, for my own personal retirement plan is, is that I'm gonna be dependent upon God. I'm gonna work later than I, you know, than a lot of people and they said, you know, that's for financial planning. Well, I'm saving, I'm doing everything that I can, but I'm invest, I invested in a completely different security system than a lot of people do.

All right, Ted, this is the third segment of the show. This is time now for the fast five, the fast five. This time now for the fast five, fast five. Fast five is powered by Poddex. It's an app created by my friend Travis Brown. It's great for podcasters, it's interview questions, but it's also got some great ice breakers in there. There's an app you can find in any of the app stores that are out there, but you can get physical decks as well. They're really cool for like, like I said, ice breaker questions. Keep a cute couple in your wallet, you know?

You just gotta speak in front of, you know, a corporate meeting or something. It's a great way to just break the ice. As a matter of fact, if you go to the website at slash poddex and use the promo code CHEW, you get 10% off of your physical decks. But I'm going to use the app. It's five questions. Just first thing comes off the top of your head. No wrong answers. All right. You ready? Looking forward to it. Awesome. All right. Question number one.

This is Mark, if it's seen as you were in the Coast Guard, if you were a captain of a ship, what would you call it? I'd call it gentleness. One, it's one of the fruits of the spirit, but two, it's something that as a seafaring man, there's nothing more than a gentle sea that's more relaxing than, you know, having to fight your ass off to stay afloat. So I'm serious, I've been in some storms. I mean,

when I was in the Coast Guard, we were intercepted a ship carrying a whole bunch of drugs up off the coast of Boston. We got caught in the North-Easter and we sat there and we sat there, you know, we got saltwater in some of our electric motors and so we were, we had diminished capacity, the boat that we had busted had diminished capacity. Three quarters of the crew was sick because we were rolling starboard to port. It was 45 degrees starboard, 45 degrees port,

all night long, all day long for four or five days in a row. It was miserable. So I'll take gentle. I didn't just see six. So I was one of the fortunate few that got to stand six hours on six hours off. Um, because everybody else was under the weather. It was just miserable. Wow. So gentlemen, that's what I'd call it. That's what, that's what I'd name it. That's awesome. That's awesome. Question number two.

What was the last book you read? Oh, a great book, a couple of them. I've read, like, I read a lot and sometimes they're intermixed. There's a, damn, let me, I gotta, I'm looking at my phone because I wanna make sure I get the titles right. One's called Influence, which is from a podcast. I love listening to Freakonomics and Freakonomics has multiple ones. Great podcast as well too. But I love

There was a book in there by a guy named, I wanna say Caldean, give me a second here. But it's basically the subtitle is how to get anybody to do anything. And it talks about this idea of things that you can control in a relationship in order to influence the decision-making process. Again, going back to my behavioral economics ideas. Yeah, can you use it? Can you use it to manipulate a situation? Yeah, he even addresses that in the book. He said his brother's kind of like

But there's some other aspects of it that I think they're super sharp that really make a big difference. There's another one that I read recently. I re-read it. It's called by a guy named Bob Goff called Love Does. I don't know if you've never read that book. It's a bunch of little short stories. Fabulous. It talks a lot about a lot of things that motivate me and the reason why I do them. And then I'm always reading some nonprofit book. Not not.

book. I love, I love thrillers. I love Jack Reacher stories. So Lee Child love Matt Dame. I love the, um, all the, um, all the born identity books, any thriller. I'm actually got an idea for one that I've actually written a couple of chapters on. Oh, very cool. Yeah. So very cool. Awesome. All right. Question number three.

If humans came with a warning label, what would yours say? Mine would say I break things easily. So, uh, no, I mean, yeah, it's just any situation. I, you know, you, you can, you go, you go charging in, you can mess up up real fast. If you don't just take it, take a second back and pause. And, you know, I've in all of my episodes, I've all, all my incidents or life lessons has been learning from the mistakes that you make with other people. Wow. Wow.

That's awesome. All right, number four. All right, number four.

You can choose anyone in the world to become friends with. Who would you choose? Oh, God, I can't answer that one. There's just so many different people and I have so many different interests with regards to the things that I'd like to do. You know, I can I can always do the Miss America or the Miss World or what answers with regards to that. And, you know, I'd like to go to have dinner with Gandhi or something like that. But, you know, the guy, there's a guy that's got a

Instagram following humans of New York, that guy, love reading stories of people that he's interacted with. So, you know, oftentimes there's just these people that are just all around you that are doing some amazing things or have had some amazing tragedy in their lives. And you know, what, and for me, you know, yeah, I've got friends that are going through

times, my kids, my wife at different times have had difficult times. Just going back to the idea of empathy, just have compassion for people and seeing what's going on. So who that would be, there's a lot of people that, Mother Teresa did cool stuff like that or this guy or that guy. But just, I don't know, instead of picking one person, I'd rather just run into them by chance and say, wow, that was a fantastic move counter.

I'd love that. That's a great answer. All right. And number five

What's the disadvantage of playing things safe? Oh my God, what a great question. That's right there. That's, that's, that's got to work right there. With regards to, you know, my dad, I love my dad to death, but he was a play it safe kind of guy. He was never one to put it all on the table and take a big risk. And

life. My dad's been somebody whose opinion I really value and oftentimes as an adult man, I sought him for answers that for his life made a lot of sense, but for mine, by me following him, there was an opportunity missed. So I think I've started over so many times doing so many different trades and I've had such a great life doing it because I've been exposed to so many

things. If I hadn't gone to Russia, my life would be completely different. And it was completely against his advice. And we've had that conversation. He knows that. And I still think to this day that some of the hair brain ideas that I've thought of from a product or company idea, there were opportunities where if I would have taken more of a risk, I would have been a different situation. But like I said, I don't, I don't, you know, I mean, I'm not sure. I don't know. I don't

Very early on in this podcast, I said, you know, I don't really look towards the past. You know, I just, you know, I'm going to take every opportunity and every adventure as it comes on. And I'm going to pursue it with all my gusto until God calls me home. So that's awesome. Ted, that is our fast five. And that is the show. Thank you so much for being here, spending some time with me today. I really appreciated learning more about you and being able to deepen our

If folks want to keep up with you, what's the best way they can find you? I have a YouTube channel. That's probably the best way because I try all my personal stuff. I try different things through it. So, but the thing that I think consistently has, has me and I, I'm pretty positive. I sent it. I gave it to you in the links. It's my YouTube channel and I want to do more vlogs where I tell, I tell more of the stories about the things that I've experienced.

not to build me up with a guy who's just great adventurer. This person is important. But to encourage people to, like you had asked on this very last question is to not take the easy way out to challenge yourself, to push a little bit harder. That's gonna, if you're thinking about your career, that's gonna deepen your career. You're thinking about your personal relationships. You don't wanna take risks there, but oftentimes you're gonna get advice that other people think's better for you, but you know in your heart,

If you have some guidance and some wisdom, when you make those kinds of decisions, don't do the stupid thing. Don't always go for the way it between the analytical and the emotional. And I think your life will be a lot better off. Awesome. Awesome. Well, I'll make sure to put link to your YouTube channel on the show notes, as well as you can find out more about Ted and all his links on the guest page at you and the fat again. Ted, thank you so much for being here, man. I really appreciate it. Robb, I had so much fun.

cool. You know, it's a great aspect of what I mentioned before. So see what you do and how you do it. I'm, you know, I'm a new follower and I encourage anybody that's listening to this to become a follower too. And to reach out to Robb. If you've got something to say, we all want to hear it. I appreciate that, Ted. And if you would like to help support this podcast financially, I'd appreciate it if you bought me a coffee at But until next time,

Next time I look forward to the chance we have to sit a spell and chew the fat.

Ted CheneyProfile Photo

Ted Cheney

Dad, Adventurer, Storyteller, Friend, Humanitarian

Ask Ted where he’s from, and he will tell you that he’s truly an American. That’s because he lived in 10 different states before graduating high school. He’s lived everywhere and done everything. He started as a lifeguard in the desert. He’s been called a product manager for a host of Apple developers, including the company that has gotten a license from Apple to build the first multi-processor macOS computer. For nearly eight years, Ted, his wife, and two young daughters lived and worked in a Russian orphanage in Moscow. He was the director of that orphanage for the last six years. He’s done a stint as the executive director for a male juvenile drug rehabilitation center housed in a log cabin on a multi-acre Christmas tree farm. In college, Ted fell in love with organic chemistry. There was part of a drug research lab that was working on anti-viral approaches to combatting that initial wave in the battle against AIDS. A couple of years ago, Ted returned to college and earned an economics degree to satiate his interest in behavioral economics and its impact on business-to-business sales and marketing campaigns. On any given day, ask Ted what he loves, and he will gush about his wife, two daughters, his grandson, stories about them, the friends he’s made, his laid-back and impromptu adventures that span five continents, several oceans, lots of seas, and even a ditch that he would like to forget.