Recently I had the honor of being invited out to Las Vegas for a podcast interview with John Bartolo at K-Var Corp. I've know John for a few years now so our industry relationship has grown into a true friendship. And frankly, that is what lead to this being such an epic interview; easily the best of my time as CEO of 221B Tactical.
Most people only get to see the final product; the video on YouTube and the podcast on iTunes and Podbean. But what most don't get to see is everything that happens behind the scenes. Although the actual interview was the highlight of my time in Las Vegas, my experience from the moment I got picked up at my hotel, all the way until the time I got dropped off later that afternoon, was nothing short of incredible.
Upon arriving to their highly secured, state-of-the-art facility, I immediately noticed the attention to detail. The minimalist modern design, the immaculate cleanliness and the professionalism of every member on staff I encountered en-route to the podcast studio, all made for an impactful first impression.
Shortly after arrival, I was given a tour of the facility by the owner himself, Vartan Barsoumian, CEO of K-VAR and Arsenal USA. This was not only an honor but also an absolute privilege in and of itself. Many times in situations like this, the owners are too busy (or can't be bothered) to engage with guests. Not the case here. Vartan personally guided me on a tour of the facility and showed me some of their incredible firearms. But it didn't end there. Following the tour, Vartan, David, John and I all sat down to discuss business, the state of the firearms industry and even donuts. Yes...donuts!"
After a short break, it was time to fire up the mics and get down to business. Because John and I are such good friends, we were both confident that the interview was going to flow like water. Interviewing people live on air is not an easy task. If you're listening to or watching an interview and it looks smooth and effortless, it's because the one doing the interviewing knows what they're doing.
What nobody in the studio (with the exception of John and "Q") was ready for the depth and "realness" of the conversation. Because of my level of comfort with John, I really let go of many inhibitions and spoke more freely than I've ever spoken before in an interview to date. And to make things even more interesting, we tackled topics that most steer way clear of. Nothing was off limits.
We got into the down and dirty of police work. The truth about police brutality. The uncomfortable truth about black on black crime. The dark past of The NRA. NFL players and others kneeling for our national anthem. And why some of the most dangerous cities in our country have been that way for so long and why the leaders of those communities are to blame just as much as those who live in them. Oh and it didn't end there. Once again, nothing was off limits.
Following the interview, John and David took me out for a meal that I'll never forget. It was probably every bit of 10,000 calories...but it was totally worth it! Those waffle fries though...
I look forward to my next trip back out to Las Vegas and K-Var Corp. Based on the reaction to the last interview, I'm fairly confident a follow up interview is on the horizon. There are more topics to be tackled, more incredible guns to check out and definitely more donuts, Quest bars and waffle fries to eat!
A huge thanks to Vartan, John, David, "Q" and the entire K-Var Corp. - Arsenal USA team for providing me with an experience I'm sure to never forget.
If you want to check out the interview, click the links below. But be prepared...things are about to get REAL!