• Type:
  • Duration:
  • Category:
  • Average Rating:

6| Army Airborne Ranger / Angel Investor Dan Kanivas

Half the City
Half the City
6| Army Airborne Ranger / Angel Investor Dan Kanivas

Dan Kanivas is a true Renaissance man.

As an Army Airborne Ranger, he spent time as an artillery officer near the DMZ on the Korean peninsula and later worked closely with Iraqi officers during the Iraq War, where he trained a 130-soldier Iraqi Army unit while serving as a strategic advisor to senior Iraqi Army officers.
He has since shifted his sights toward both public investing and angel investing with Triple Summit Advisors, all while prepping to summit Mount Rainier.

Show Notes

Triple Summit Advisors

WeWork’s Veterans in Residence Program, Powered by Bunker Labs

Follow Dan on LinkedIn

Theme music by: Ruel Morales

Episode remastered by: Pascual Marquez

Audio Transcript

Brian Schoenborn  0:01  

Hello, Hello, everyone. Our guest today is a true Renaissance man. As an Army Airborne Ranger, he spent time as an artillery officer near the DMZ on the Korean peninsula. And he shifted his sights toward both public investing and angel investing while prepping to summit Mount Rainier. Give it up to my friend, Dan Kanivas.

Brian Schoenborn  0:25  

My name is Brian Schoenborn. I’m an explorer of people, places and culture. In my travels, spanning over 20 countries across four continents, I’ve had the pleasure of engaging in authentic conversations with amazingly interesting people. These are their stories, on-location and unfiltered. Presented by 8B Media, this is Half the City.

Brian Schoenborn  0:52  

So what’s up, Dan, thanks for coming out. Appreciate it.

Dan Kanivas  0:55  

Yeah, thanks for having me on the show, Brian. It’s great to be here. 

Brian Schoenborn  0:57  

Awesome. You know I’ve always had a respect for Airborne, Rangers, right? Stuff like that, you know, you’re watching the movies, the 101st Airborne, you know, dropping down from the skies on like D-day or whatever else. You know, Hollywood’s done a really good job, kind of, I don’t wanna say romanticizing, but like maybe, you know, telling your story anyways. Right? 

Dan Kanivas  1:24  


Brian Schoenborn  1:26  

And when you told me the other day that you’ve done both Airborne School and Ranger School, I was like, wow, this guy is legit. And you never would guess because he is one of the most calm, cool and collected dudes. I think that I know anyways. 

Dan Kanivas  1:40  

I appreciate that.

Brian Schoenborn  1:43  

So, um, so why don’t you tell me a little bit about like, you know how you made that decision to join the Army. How you made the decision to move towards Airborne School, Ranger School. I’d love to hear about you know the challenges of each. 

Dan Kanivas  2:02  

Yeah. Alright, so let’s start. That’s a, that’s a multi part question. So let’s, let’s start with the decision join the military. So I grew up in Scarsdale, New York, which really nice suburban community in the suburbs of New York. I was very lucky, as were other members of the community, to have the resources, whether it’s great school, safe neighborhood, very great public services, etc. Caring community where children were put first, and students were put first. And so as a result, we had every opportunity available to us. And I was very grateful for that. And I felt like a system and a country that could produce something like that was worth defending. I wanted to give back and show my gratitude for it. 

Dan Kanivas  2:45  

There are a lot of ways to get back, whether it’s public service, volunteering, whatever it might be. In my case, I’d always had some interest in military history and I was athletic enough. I said, Okay, I wanted to give back by serving. I felt like that was my way where I could show my gratitude and then continue with the rest of my life. Luckily for me, that’s basically how it worked out. And I did four and a half years of service and active duty as a field artillery officer in the US Army. 

Brian Schoenborn  3:15  

So for those listening, you know, For the uninitiated artillery is what? The big guns? 

Dan Kanivas  3:21  

The big guns, that’s right. 

Brian Schoenborn  3:22  

Like the cannons, 

Dan Kanivas  3:23  

and the rockets, etc. And so I had the privilege of serving there with some fantastic soldiers, fantastic leaders. And I had overall a great time in the military and there’d be very few things I trade it for. For me, my path towards Ranger and Airborne School started with my initial training as an artillery officer. So at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, we got the option while we’re doing our officer basic course for artillery. We got the option of trying out for Ranger School. 

Dan Kanivas  3:59  

And what that entails is showing up in the morning to do a lot of PT physical training, a lot of exercise with the instructors that we had. So I was a lieutenant of time and there was a captain who was an instructor who, at the artillery school who also happened to be Ranger qualified so he had gone to Ranger School. This is back in 2005. 

Dan Kanivas  4:24  

The instructor and instructors, there were multiple of them by the end of it, would lead us through training just to get us familiarized with some basic things that would be required of the, required of us at Ranger School, but mainly it was a lot of physical training. And so the first day of the training, maybe half the class showed up and on purpose just like they do in other military schools, the instructors, to use the military terminology, smoked the hell out of you. Right.

Brian Schoenborn  4:54  

They’re trying to separate the men from the boys.

Dan Kanivas  4:56  

They purposely make it difficult in the first day because they want to see who wants to come back the next day. So, yeah, so the I had a pretty big class at the officer basics course. And I want to say we had class with 120 or 130. Somewhere around those lines. So maybe 60 people showed up the first day. 

Brian Schoenborn  5:14  

And it was all officers? 

Dan Kanivas  5:15  

It was all officers, all lieutenants. Yeah. And then the next day, 30 people showed up. And so the, the group of people who are training for Ranger School was cut back quickly. And we did this for the whole entire five or six months that we were there. And I think in the end, we ended up sending somewhere between 12 to 15 people who made it through that pre-Ranger prep program.

Brian Schoenborn  5:39  

So you’re talking like 10% ish, of the original, like 120 that showed up for the for that signed up for it.

Dan Kanivas  5:47  

Yeah, maybe 60 people showed up the first day, so maybe 20% of them, or so made it and made it through them and 25% and then I think we ended up graduating from Ranger School, those 12 or so people who went, I think we end up graduating maybe six, seven or eight, something like that. I know at least one guy I was friends with, couldn’t make it through at that time or have to drop out but then he subsequently went back and so good for him. I think he’s still in the reserves actually. 

Dan Kanivas  6:17  

But anyways, yeah, that was the process of, of getting there of starting it. And in my case, it was never a gigantic goal of mine.  Some people were gunning for it and they had to do it. 

Brian Schoenborn  6:30  

Yeah sure.

Dan Kanivas  6:31  

You know, the kind of the two leaders in our class who I’m still friends with today, who are, you know, corralling us all, encouraging us all to, to do this pre-Ranger prep. They they were gunning for they they knew that this is what they wanted to do. In my case, I just put one foot in from the other. And a lot of it’s just about not giving up, right? At Ranger School, they they call someone who quits not, they don’t say it, it’s you quit because you couldn’t, you know, handle the technical aspects of it or something like that, or because your muscles were too weak or something. They say you quit because you are an LOM: lack of motivation. 

Brian Schoenborn  7:09  

There you go. 

Dan Kanivas  7:09  

Right? And so you put one foot in front of the other, you’re not guaranteed to succeed and graduate. Definitely not. But it is the main part, in my opinion of being able to graduate from Ranger School is putting one foot in front of the other.

Brian Schoenborn  7:23  

Yeah, you know, I kind of relate it to my own experience, right? Like I was a marine. And, and there’s statistics somewhere, like, I heard this before I joined maybe it changed in the last 20 years. But before I joined, I remember seeing or hearing a statistic, talking about, like, one in five recruits that enter boot camp don’t make it.

Brian Schoenborn  7:47  


Brian Schoenborn  7:49  

And for the Marines, you know, it’s one of those things where, you know, you’ll be able to do the physical stuff. 

Dan Kanivas  7:56  


Brian Schoenborn  7:56  

As long as you can pass the minimum physical fitness tests. Which is like three pull ups, you know, 60 crunches in a second, like a five k in like less than 20 minutes or something. It’s not like extreme. As long as you can pass those minimum PFT requirements, you know, it’s really more mental than anything. 

Dan Kanivas  8:15  

Sure. Yeah, absolutely. I think a lot of a lot of military training military schools are very mental, very psychological. And that’s intentional. that’s intentional. You do leave Ranger School, and this is not a new sentiment that I’m expressing other people express this too, you do leave Ranger School, if you pass it feeling like you’re fairly impervious to things that life can throw at you.

Brian Schoenborn  8:41  

Oh know, for sure. It’s the same with the Marines.

Dan Kanivas  8:45  

Put it lightly right

Brian Schoenborn  8:46  

You get through there and you’re just like, “I could do anything. I’m Superman!” 

Dan Kanivas  8:50  

Exactly. Exactly. And so that that is the whole intent. That’s the whole intent, right, of any Military School. And so… 

Brian Schoenborn  9:02  

Last thing you want is somebody going into, you know, going into fire potentially with any sort of self-doubt. 

Dan Kanivas  9:09  

Right, right. 

Brian Schoenborn  9:10  

Hesitation will kill you.

Dan Kanivas  9:11  

Right. That’s completely the idea and the military, US military is fantastic at training people to be able to do those sorts of things. To act against your basic instinct of self-preservation and do things that are essential for the survival of the team, the accomplishment of the mission. 

Brian Schoenborn  9:30  


Dan Kanivas  9:31  

So anyways, that was me at Ranger School, which took me a little while to get through. I didn’t get through it right away. I didn’t I wasn’t a true blue just pass every phase the first time ago. took me a little while but I got through. 

Brian Schoenborn  9:45  

And that’s perseverance and resilience. 

Dan Kanivas  9:46  

There you go there. Yeah, that’s right.

Brian Schoenborn  9:49  

There’s a lot of bunch of character. 

Dan Kanivas  9:50  

There you go. That is one way to look at it.

Dan Kanivas  9:53  

And then for airborne school, a lot of people go to Ranger School already Airborne qualified meaning they’ve successfully passed Airborne School, but in my case I didn’t. I got sent to Ranger School first. 

Brian Schoenborn  10:05  


Dan Kanivas  10:06  

Basically once you pass Ranger School, you’re already at Fort Benning when you when you finish up which is the home of the infantry and also the home and Airborne School, and they’re going to give you — the the people who are responsible for processing you — give you orders Airborne School after that, because oftentimes those two things go together. The Airborne Ranger, you know, the missions go together. And, they generally had extra slots to give right there at Fort Benning, and so I just got a slot for the next one. 

Dan Kanivas  10:37  

And so, typically every school certainly is an intense school, you’re jumping out of airplanes, right? And safety is paramount and taking care of, of your buddies your teammates is paramount and certainly the instructors there are not, not kind about any any infractions, right? 

Brian Schoenborn  10:55  

I’m sure. 

Dan Kanivas  10:56  

But given the experience, I just previously gone through Ranger School, Airborne School was relatively easy. And so I I use it as mainly a three-week vacation.

Brian Schoenborn  11:08  

So you got your Ranger School and you’re just like, “Yeah, I’m good. I’ll just breeze right through here, chill on the beach.”

Dan Kanivas  11:13  

Yeah, I wouldn’t have felt that way that I’m not just been through that experience, but because I had it felt that way to me. It’s all about relative intensity. 

Brian Schoenborn  11:22  

You’re seeing these guys struggling and you’re like, psh!

Dan Kanivas  11:25  

Yeah, I wouldn’t go that far. We’re still, I still out there in the you know, the in the Georgia heat and in June, but yeah, 

Brian Schoenborn  11:33  

I mean, all due respect to everybody.

Dan Kanivas  11:34  

Yes, of course. 

Brian Schoenborn  11:36  

Of course, you know, it’s all relative, like you said.

Dan Kanivas  11:38  

That’s right. It’s all relative. It just happened to be that I was coming out of…

Brian Schoenborn  11:42  

of a different situations. 

Dan Kanivas  11:43  

Yeah, right. Exactly. So and yeah, and that was the that was my training in the military. It took a year for me to get through six months of my Artillery School and then Ranger School and Airborne School and there’s some kind of downtime in between all these things. So yeah, I spent a year and training. And then they sent me off my first actual duty station, which was Korea where, again, the privilege of serving for two years. 

Brian Schoenborn  12:09  

So we’re so so this was near the DMZ, right? 

Dan Kanivas  12:12  

Yes. So at the time, the I’m not sure where where everyone’s stationed now. But at the time I was stationed north of Seoul, but not quite the DMZ. At two different bases, Camp Red Cloud and Camp Casey, who my dog’s name after, by the way. At those two duty stations, I served with the second Infantry Division the whole time, but specifically the artillery unit that I was with at Camp Casey was 138 field artillery, which has rocket launchers. MLRS, multiple launch rocket system, rocket launchers as its primary weapon system.

Brian Schoenborn  12:54  

So were, I’m just trying to get an understanding of like, where about you? I mean, you said you’re near the DMZ, But like, can you maybe show me on a map? 

Dan Kanivas  13:02  

So yeah, sure. So… 

Brian Schoenborn  13:03  

So audience listening at home, you could just just kind of visualize it.

Dan Kanivas  13:06  

So if you pull up Google Maps and zoom in on Seoul, which is towards the northwest of South Korea.

Brian Schoenborn  13:13  

Yeah, I’m looking at it as it’s I mean, I’ve been to Seoul yet. So it’s it’s literally like, what 20 miles or something?

Dan Kanivas  13:19  

Yeah, from from the border. 

Brian Schoenborn  13:20  

From the border, from the North Korea border? 

Dan Kanivas  13:22  

And Seoul is well within artillery range of the North Korean artillery. That’s near the border. And as a result, that means all the American troops and ROK, Republic of Korea troops, who are north of Seoul, also within archery range of the North Korean guns, and so… 

Brian Schoenborn  13:40  

…and that’s what, the 49th parallel?

Dan Kanivas  13:43  

I think so i think so. 

Brian Schoenborn  13:44  

49 or 47th, something like that.

Dan Kanivas  13:45  

I think so. Yeah. And so you see this Wejunboo here? 

Brian Schoenborn  13:48  


Dan Kanivas  13:49  

That was,that is where Camp Red Cloud is located. And so I was stationed there for a little bit and then further north in Tongduchun there is where Camp Casey’s located where I was stationed for my second year. 

Brian Schoenborn  13:59  

Huh, yeah, so that’s literally I mean, that was like, probably no more than like 20 miles.

Dan Kanivas  14:05  

Yeah, it’s it’s pretty short. It’s it’s not a lot of distance. And while you’re stationed in Korea, you also had the opportunity to do the JSA tour, if you saw these…the JSA stands for Joint Security Area. If you saw the news footage about Donald Trump crossing into North Korea. That’s exactly where you where you do it. And so you can as a US service member, go and visit there and take a tour and you know, the US service members and Korean service members who are there, both maintaining the area and protecting the area will take you on a tour of the area. 

Brian Schoenborn  14:41  

So do they allow you to cross the border?

Dan Kanivas  14:43  

Technically, I’ve crossed into North Korea technically, yeah.

Brian Schoenborn  14:46  


Dan Kanivas  14:46  

What they do is there’s these buildings, which again, you can see in the footage with Donald Trump. They’re these buildings where the negotiations between the two sides have historically happened. These buildings are bisected by the border, by the actual border. 

Brian Schoenborn  15:00  

So like, is there, like, a demarcation line or something like that?

Dan Kanivas  15:04  

There is. If you look at any pictures of it, you can see there’s a line. And so what the on the tour, what they’ll do is they’ll take you on the tour, and they’ll go, one of the Korean guards will go and check the building and go lock the far side door that’s in North Korean territory. And then you go inside the building, and when you’re inside the building, you can see all around the building and technically cross into North Korea. 

Brian Schoenborn  15:27  

You know, it’s interesting, because I’ve heard so many stories of like, you know, North Koreans trying to defect and crossing the border and right, you know, getting shot or something like that. 

Dan Kanivas  15:37  


Brian Schoenborn  15:37  

So like, you know, so everything that I’ve heard throughout the years is like, the DMZ, like that line border is like the most dangerous border in the world, because there’s never officially the war has never officially ended.

Dan Kanivas  15:49  

Right. It’s still under an armistice. And so it is they’re there. It’s a heavily guarded border. You wouldn’t cross there at the JSA because there’s a lot of attention at that location, but I imagine there are other points along the border where there the defenses are softer. It’s less monitored at any given time. Also, defectors go through China as well as Russia. Because both of those countries border North Korea. 

Brian Schoenborn  16:18  

Well, I’ve heard there’s actually a whole like, almost like an underground railroad to us like an American historical reference. 

Dan Kanivas  16:24  

Yes. Right. Yeah. Yeah. 

Brian Schoenborn  16:24  

But there’s you know, there’s like this whole network of people that like help get people through. The northern border. Through China. And and yeah, maybe down to like Southeast Asia or something like that. Back to the south. 

Dan Kanivas  16:35  

Exactly. Yeah, exactly. That’s that’s exactly how that underground railroad works.

Brian Schoenborn  16:41  

Yeah, in essence, right? Pretty much the same thing? 

Dan Kanivas  16:43  


Brian Schoenborn  16:45  

I wonder like, so so you cross over the border. 

Dan Kanivas  16:48  


Brian Schoenborn  16:51  

And…how do I say this? So what was the experience like? You said heavily heavily guarded is it also like, you know, let me put it this way. When I was living in China, all right? I was in Beijing. I’ve got a lot of friends that have visited North Korea. Americans, English, other expats. Americans can only fly in. 

Dan Kanivas  17:19  


Brian Schoenborn  17:19  

For example.

Dan Kanivas  17:19  

Okay, they can’t drive into the Chinese border? 

Brian Schoenborn  17:22  

They can’t take the train through the Chinese border. 

Dan Kanivas  17:23  


Brian Schoenborn  17:24  

I forget the name of the city, Dongdan or something. 

Dan Kanivas  17:27  


Brian Schoenborn  17:28  

But if you’re if you’re English, you can take the train. 

Dan Kanivas  17:31  

Okay. Yeah. 

Brian Schoenborn  17:32  

If you’re American, you have to fly in. And from what I understand, like it’s the most eye opening like, surreal experiences they’ve ever had.

Dan Kanivas  17:42  

Yeah, that’s what everyone says. Yeah. Right.

Brian Schoenborn  17:44  

You know, like, it’s one of those things where you can only go the tour group. 

Dan Kanivas  17:48  


Brian Schoenborn  17:49  

And you do absolutely everything. 

Dan Kanivas  17:53  


Brian Schoenborn  17:54  

That they tell you to. 

Dan Kanivas  17:54  


Brian Schoenborn  17:55  

You don’t do anything else. 

Dan Kanivas  17:56  


Brian Schoenborn  17:57  

I’ve got some friends at ran the Pyongyang marathon. 

Dan Kanivas  18:00  


Brian Schoenborn  18:00  

Right? Which they’ve done every year for the last, I don’t know, five years at least, something like that. 

Dan Kanivas  18:05  

Okay. Yeah.

Brian Schoenborn  18:06  

But it’s one of those things where the North Koreans run first.

Dan Kanivas  18:10  


Brian Schoenborn  18:10  

So that way they 

Dan Kanivas  18:11  

So they win…Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Brian Schoenborn  18:15  

North Koreans get the head start. Um, but I’ve got friends that have done that and I’ve got a, I’ve actually got a friend, I think he’s still in Beijing, but he owns and operates this tour group in North Korea. In fact, he actually he was the tour group operator that was heading this group in which Otto Warmbier was arrested… 

Dan Kanivas  18:46  

Right, for potentially doing…he was accused of…

Brian Schoenborn  18:49  

Apparently apparently what happened is he tried to steal a poster or something. Like, apprently a propaganda poster or something. 

Dan Kanivas  18:55  

Right, right. Right. 

Brian Schoenborn  18:56  

We don’t need to get into all that, like it’s just kind of a, I know some people that have significant experience in North Korea, that’s the point that I’m making. So when I hear that it’s like a surreal experience, you know, I’m just kind of curious if you’ve had anything similar like that in your experience crossing the border, even though it may have been limited since you’re in this building. 

Dan Kanivas  19:17  

No, no, I did not have any experiences like that every. I think most people who have that JSA Joint Security Area experience is going to be very similar to mine. 

Brian Schoenborn  19:26  


Dan Kanivas  19:27  

It’s very scripted. Designed to be that way. 

Brian Schoenborn  19:33  


Dan Kanivas  19:34  

It’s still a singular experience a unique experience, because there’s not too many other places in the world where…

Brian Schoenborn  19:44  

I don’t know if there’s any place in the world that’s like that.

Dan Kanivas  19:45  

Exactly, right. There may be not there may not be right. But it’s not anything like actually going to Pyongyang and running a marathon there. That’s, I can’t imagine what that’s like. 

Brian Schoenborn  19:55  

Well, maybe even something like that, like from what I hear from what I’ve heard, um like, as soon as you land or arrive in North Korea, the police or the guards, whatever. They’ll take your phone and they’ll go through all your photos. 

Dan Kanivas  20:08  

Yeah, I’m sure. 

Brian Schoenborn  20:09  

And makes sure that there’s nothing that’s like wouldn’t be in line with the North Korea’s values. 

Dan Kanivas  20:14  

Yeah, I’m sure. 

Brian Schoenborn  20:15  

And I guess they check your footagae, you cameras, and all that stuff as you’re leaving. 

Dan Kanivas  20:18  


Brian Schoenborn  20:19  

Make sure you’re not you know, it makes you like there’s there’s apparently there’s only one way you can take pictures of the  dear leaders. 

Dan Kanivas  20:24  


Brian Schoenborn  20:25  

Right? Things like that, so so if you’re like, even veering off from that a little bit, you’re screwed. 

Dan Kanivas  20:30  

Yeah, yeah. I, this is not a level of risk that I would be comfortable taking, but more power to the people who want that sort of adventure in their lives. 

Brian Schoenborn  20:40  

You know what’s funny is, a couple of my friends were like, yo, let’s do the Pyongyang marathon. And I’m like, Oh, that sounds sweet. Let’s do it. Like, I’ll fall in line and do absolutely everything that you know, not color out of the lines.

Dan Kanivas  20:52  


Brian Schoenborn  20:53  

Right? And I put a message on Facebook. I was like, I think I’m gonna go to North Korea and my mom and my older sister were freaking out, dude. 

Dan Kanivas  21:02  

Yeah, sure. 

Brian Schoenborn  21:03  

They’re like, Oh my god, Brian, you’ve done some like, you know, you’ve done some crazy things in your life, but please don’t do this. 

Dan Kanivas  21:09  

Right. Right. 

Brian Schoenborn  21:11  

So I buckled in our didn’t go. 

Dan Kanivas  21:13  

Yeah, yeah.

Brian Schoenborn  21:15  

So what do you think you’re kind of bringing back to this this DMZ thing? You mentioned? You know, Donald Trump stepped over? 

Dan Kanivas  21:22  


Brian Schoenborn  21:24  

What do you kind of make of all of that sort of curiosity? 

Dan Kanivas  21:28  

I don’t have much an opinion on it. I’m not a Trump supporter. 

Brian Schoenborn  21:33  


Dan Kanivas  21:34  

And so… 

Brian Schoenborn  21:35  

I’m not trying to be too political, but it is a historical moment. 

Dan Kanivas  21:39  

Yeah. I don’t know. How much intention was behind it. I don’t know generally what his strategy or lack thereof is with North Korea. 

Brian Schoenborn  21:49  


Dan Kanivas  21:50  

All I know is I’m not a Trump supporter in any way, shape, or form.

Brian Schoenborn  21:54  

Yeah, no, I mean, same here. You know, I feel like he’s he ramped up this crisis unnecessarily, in my opinion. 

Dan Kanivas  22:04  


Brian Schoenborn  22:06  

And now he’s going to try to find a way to put it back the way it was before. And, like, claim the victory.

Dan Kanivas  22:11  


Brian Schoenborn  22:13  

Like he’s done with so many other just like, Jesus, dude. Sorry, anyways, we can we can move on from that. What other stuff did you do as an artie officer? Like where like, were you, were you other places as well, or..? So you mentioned you’re there for like two years?

Dan Kanivas  22:29  


Brian Schoenborn  22:29  

How long were you in the service overall? 

Dan Kanivas  22:30  

So four and a half years in active duty. So I mentioned one year and training two years in Korea, where most of the time not the whole time I was actually doing an artillery job. I was also a general’s aide for a little bit. And then after that, I got orders to go to Iraq on a military transition team and what those what those teams are, MIT teams for short. Acronyms for everything in military, of course. On the MIT team, we were responsible for training Iraqi security forces, be they Army, be the police, so that we could eventually pull out. 

Brian Schoenborn  23:06  


Dan Kanivas  23:06  

And they can be self sufficient. And so this was back in 2008. I got I got the orders 2007, but I deployed in 2008, after some training at Fort Riley, Kansas. And while…you have a question? 

Brian Schoenborn  23:20  

Yeah, well, I’m just thinking like 2008 we’re were we with the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts? Was that during like the counterinsurgency plan, or…? 

Dan Kanivas  23:30  

Yes, it was, it was during the surge, and so the unit I relieved, the MIT team that I relieved, was just coming down off the surge. They’d been there for the surge, and I was relieving them. And so luckily, I think history will show this to be true. It certainly felt that way to me over there, the surge worked, it worked. The additional deployment of troops and also more importantly the deployment of a strategy to solve the root problem of, or help solve the root problem, or trap the root problem of what was going on in Iraq at the time, which is that there are a lot of unemployed, underemployed, especially males, young and otherwise. 

Brian Schoenborn  24:20  


Dan Kanivas  24:21  

Right, who couldn’t feed their families because previously they had a source of patronage that the US took away. The US restored a lot of that patronage, hired the Sons of Iraq and things like that, to pay them essentially to not attack not just us, but also their fellow countrymen and provide some light security duties. And that in conjunction with additional US troop deployment, actually did the trick. And so when I got to Iraq in 2008, I spent the year in 2008-2009, doing training for two different Iraqi Army units. One didn’t really need us anymore, the mission was essentially considered more or less accomplished, they were trained. And so we spent about six months down before I was sent up further up north east to a brand new unit in Kirku. 

Dan Kanivas  25:09  

And this is where I most of my experience I remember, most of my experience there, it’s more vivid there, where we’re trying to help stand up a brand new unit. And try to help them do simple things like get concertina wire to string around their perimeter. 

Brian Schoenborn  25:25  

And what is concertina wire? 

Dan Kanivas  25:27  

So is barbed wire, the military version of barbed wire.

Brian Schoenborn  25:31  

It’s like the spiral? 

Dan Kanivas  25:32  

Yeah, the spiral with with the barbs on it. And it’s much more intense than…well, it’s what you see above prison, a chainlink fence in prison. 

Brian Schoenborn  25:42  

That’s right. 

Dan Kanivas  25:43  

So more intense than you’d see perhaps in a pasture. So getting concertina wire around the perimeter, getting their soldiers to get the proper uniforms, getting their soldiers to learn how to put on the proper uniform, so it’s like that. 

Brian Schoenborn  25:54  

Essentially setting them up for success. So they can be self-sustaining. 

Dan Kanivas  25:58  

Right, so basic things like that. I’ll say a few things about this, the Iraqi officers that we worked with, who almost by definition, to the last man had served under Saddam. Almost by definition, not everybody, but almost all of them, because in order to be that senior, had the experience, they had to have served under Saddam. They were very professional in general. Some of them, you know, had less experience and they were more political appointees, had less, were perhaps less professional that way. 

Dan Kanivas  26:27  

Most of them were very professional. They generally knew what they were doing under their own system. But like all bureaucracies they never could get all the supplies they needed. They could never get all the ammo they needed, the training they needed. The manpower, the money.

Brian Schoenborn  26:41  

Basically various extremely important choke points, bottlenecks.

Dan Kanivas  26:45  

Exactly. So we made due with what what we had. Luckily, again, at the time, the surge, I was a beneficiary of the surge having worked out pretty well. So my time in Iraq, generally, was pretty peaceful. Generally. 

Brian Schoenborn  27:00  

Let me ask you, kind of in general, about the Iraqi people. 

Dan Kanivas  27:04  


Brian Schoenborn  27:04  

Right? So like, I didn’t go. I was medically discharged or, you know, whatever you can listen to RELENTLESS and hear that whole story. But I was discharged one week before my unit went to Iraq. Post 911. My unit was the first to go to Iraq, we fought they fought in Fallujah. 

Dan Kanivas  27:23  

Yeah, right. 

Brian Schoenborn  27:24  

It was fucking crazy. 

Dan Kanivas  27:26  


Brian Schoenborn  27:26  

But I never got my I never got the opportunity to I was never there. 

Dan Kanivas  27:32  


Brian Schoenborn  27:32  

Right? Let’s put it that way. So I’m just wondering, you know, like you hear on the news all the time about like, the terrorists and like, you knows, which ties in with like anti-muslim sentiment and stuff like that. I’m just curious, like, you know, you spent like, a year and a half over there or something like that?

Dan Kanivas  27:49  

A year. Yeah. 

Dan Kanivas  27:50  

A year? Okay. 

Brian Schoenborn  27:50  


Brian Schoenborn  27:51  

So you spent a year over there, um, any work with some of these generals and high ranking officers. I imagine you probably interacted with some of the people, like, the everyday civilians as well, a little bit or no? 

Dan Kanivas  28:03  

Not as much, sometimes we did, but not not too too much. My job wasn’t that I wasn’t on patrols trying to learn about what was going on at the village chief’s house or something like that.

Brian Schoenborn  28:17  

Well, I guess I mean, I’m not necessarily saying that I’m kind of thinking more like, you know, what was your general impression of like the culture and like the people like at their core, even you know, even if they were some of Saddam Hussein’s henchmen or whatever you want to call them, right hands. I’m just kind of curious, like, what the, the, the the, the overall feeling?

Dan Kanivas  28:39  

I suspect that it would be the overall feeling that you would have in a lot of other countries that are foreign to you. 

Brian Schoenborn  28:49  


Dan Kanivas  28:50  

So people will keep to themselves that they don’t have any particular business to be dealing with you. I mean, I was rolling around in heavily-armored via with machine guns.

Brian Schoenborn  29:01  

So you stood out a little bit.

Dan Kanivas  29:02  

Yeah, right. So, but that’s dead. I can’t remember single instance where I did interact with people and folks were angry at me or there’s a mob yelling at me or something like that, that that never happened. I remember one time we broke down in the middle of a small village, small town that was along the roads that the road that we often traveled through, and we broke down. So we had to perform recovery operations to get our vehicle moving again, we essentially towed one of the back to the base. No one gathered around us and started anything, they just left us alone. 

Dan Kanivas  29:42  

And I think generally that is the attitude that most people would take, because there’s not a lot of advantage, I think. to be gained by interacting with heavily-armed people unless you’re trying to harm them or otherwise have a mission related to that. People just want to be left in peace, they want to take care of their families. Right? And they want the same things for their families that that we would want for ours. 

Brian Schoenborn  30:08  

You know, it’s curious that you mentioned that, you know, with your experience during more time, right? You know, like, I’m always curious about this stuff, because in my travels, you know, like I’ve been to I traveled through Vietnam, for example. 

Dan Kanivas  30:23  


Brian Schoenborn  30:23  

Three weeks backpacking Vietnam. 

Dan Kanivas  30:25  


Brian Schoenborn  30:26  

I lived in China for over three and a half years. 

Dan Kanivas  30:28  


Brian Schoenborn  30:29  

Right? And one of the things that surprised me most about Vietnam was how friendly, how genuine the people were, and and how much they love Americans. 

Dan Kanivas  30:41  


Brian Schoenborn  30:42  

Or just people in general. You know? They’re a very warm welcome, people. 

Dan Kanivas  30:46  


Brian Schoenborn  30:46  

And then like in China, I remember when I first came back home like six months after staying in China. I ran across this lady that I grew up with in church or whatever. And she goes, “Brian, what are you doing?” And I go, “Oh yeah, I’m living in China or whatever.” She goes, “China? China? Brian, what are you doing there? I’m so scared. China’s communist, like, are you okay?” 

Dan Kanivas  31:08  


Brian Schoenborn  31:09  

And I go, “I fucking love it there. You know like the government’s, yes CCP, all that stuff, right, authoritarian, whatever you want to call it. 

Dan Kanivas  31:17  


Brian Schoenborn  31:18  

But most people don’t really pay attention to it. 

Dan Kanivas  31:20  


Brian Schoenborn  31:23  

Most people in general are very welcoming, you know, they want to share their culture with you.

Dan Kanivas  31:30  


Brian Schoenborn  31:30  

Right? They wanna share their food. 

Dan Kanivas  31:32  


Brian Schoenborn  31:32  

They want to drink with you. 

Dan Kanivas  31:33  


Brian Schoenborn  31:34  

China’s a heavily smoking country. 

Dan Kanivas  31:35  

Oh yeah. 

Brian Schoenborn  31:36  

They want to they want you to try their regional cigarettes. That’s why smoke again. It’s ridiculous but you know, like this very warm, welcoming people.

Dan Kanivas  31:45  


Brian Schoenborn  31:46  

And essentially what it what it sounds like you’re telling me is like you know, place in Iraq, even with all the propaganda that we receive, right? People, pretty much anywhere you go, whether it’s an enemy or whether it’s a country that we’ve fought before, or whether it’s a people that were fighting at that moment? 

Dan Kanivas  32:06  


Brian Schoenborn  32:07  

You know, people are essentially people. They all want the same stuff. 

Dan Kanivas  32:10  


Brian Schoenborn  32:10  

Right? They have to they want to be able to provide for their family. 

Dan Kanivas  32:13  


Brian Schoenborn  32:14  

Right? They want to live in a safe environment. 

Dan Kanivas  32:17  


Brian Schoenborn  32:19  

And they want to, you know, and they want to have a small little group of family and friends, like people can be successful, right, like people want to have some sort of value, right? 

Dan Kanivas  32:28  

Yes, absolutely. 100% I think it’s human nature.

Brian Schoenborn  32:32  


Dan Kanivas  32:33  

Cultures affect the expression of that. But ultimately, that’s human nature, and it’s going to be universal. I didn’t have the good fortune of interacting as much with the average Iraqi while I was over there, because my mission just didn’t take me there. But the Iraqis I did interact with, whether they were military, or they were soldiers that I was serving with, advising, or otherwise helping, or our interpreters who were with us. I generally had a good experience with them. And I have, you know, nothing. I have nothing negative to say about that interaction. 

Brian Schoenborn  33:16  

And I think that’s really, um, I think that’s poignant. Because when you’re fighting in different you know, when you’re when you’re at war with another side easy for all that stuff to get lost.

Dan Kanivas  33:28  

Sure, yeah. 

Brian Schoenborn  33:28  

Because what whichever side you’re on, you know, they’re they’re propagating to turn this turn this group of people into an enemy or whatever. 

Dan Kanivas  33:35  


Brian Schoenborn  33:35  

And dehumanise them.

Dan Kanivas  33:36  

Sure, sure. Yeah. 

Brian Schoenborn  33:37  

You know, and, you know, you may you may have disagreements on like fundamental beliefs. 

Dan Kanivas  33:42  


Brian Schoenborn  33:43  

But at the core, we’re all the fucking same. 

Dan Kanivas  33:45  

Yeah, and part of my mission was to do the exact opposite, that not dehumanize but understand that we were fighting the same fight on the same side, of most people anyways. And that we had shared interests and shared values they gave us, the military gave us, a fair amount of cultural training before we went. I, I can, not today, but at the time, I tried to conduct as much of my conversations with my counterparts, my Iraqi counterparts in Arabic as possible. I always had an interpreter with me, obviously, I don’t speak Arabic. But I tried to pick up phrases here and there. 

Brian Schoenborn  34:27  

Yeah, sure.

Dan Kanivas  34:28  

That would be helpful. 

Brian Schoenborn  34:30  

And that goes a long way too, right? 

Dan Kanivas  34:31  

Oh, yeah, it goes a long way. It goes a long way. A long way.

Brian Schoenborn  34:34  

When I was in China, like, I took one lesson. But everything else I picked up. You know, the emergency Chinese, survival Chinese, that sort of thing. But even if I could just say “hello” in Chinese, there like, “Oh, my God, you know, you get us.” 

Dan Kanivas  34:48  

Yeah. Yeah. 

Brian Schoenborn  34:50  

It goes a long way, man. Um, yeah, I think that’s I think that’s pretty interesting. I think that’s pretty interesting. But I do want to move on to some other stuff. 

Dan Kanivas  34:58  

Okay, yes, absolutely. Let’s do it. 

Brian Schoenborn  35:00  

We could talk about that and get as deep as we want them off that as long as humanly possible. But I think the biggest point for me on that is, you know, it’s pretty interesting shit, and you know, something that you’ve realized is that people are people are people. 

Dan Kanivas  35:17  

Yep. 100%. 

Brian Schoenborn  35:19  

And I think that needs to be made more known. 

Dan Kanivas  35:21  


Brian Schoenborn  35:24  

When you’ve got people like our current president threatening to wipe Afghanistan off the face of the map.

Dan Kanivas  35:29  

I did not catch him say that. But if he did say that, that’s very wrong.

Brian Schoenborn  35:33  

So he was meeting with the leader of Pakistan. I think his name is Mohammad Sharaf or something. 

Dan Kanivas  35:38  


Brian Schoenborn  35:39  

I forget his name, exactly. They were in the White House or Oval Office with the camera opportunity. Like he’s been doing where he’s got this leader, but he’s really just talking about his own stupid agenda. 

Dan Kanivas  35:50  

Of course. 

Brian Schoenborn  35:50  

Right? And he, someone asked him about Afghanistan, and he goes, “Look, I have all sorts of options with Afghanistan. If I want to, I can wipe Afghanistan off the face of the map.” He’s like, “I don’t want to kill 10 million people. But if I had to, I could do it.” 

Dan Kanivas  36:09  

Awful just, awful. 

Brian Schoenborn  36:10  

And so Afghanistan comes back and they’re like, “Fuck you, dude, how could you possibly say that?” 

Dan Kanivas  36:15  


Brian Schoenborn  36:15  

And everybody else do like, seriously. You know, it’s called soft power. 

Dan Kanivas  36:20  

Incredibly bad. Incredibly bad. 

Brian Schoenborn  36:22  

Obviously we can do that, but you don’t talk about it. 

Dan Kanivas  36:25  

Incredibly bad but that’s but it’s unfortunately par for the course here.

Brian Schoenborn  36:31  

I know. It’s not fair. Why?

Dan Kanivas  36:37  

You know, the scary thing too is that there’s a lot of writing, articles, etc, from news sources that are typically considered liberal that are saying that Trump will probably win reelection, which is just scary to think about. 

Brian Schoenborn  36:56  

Well, I think right now. Again, without getting too political or topical, but I think right now, the democratic field is so big. 

Dan Kanivas  37:07  


Brian Schoenborn  37:08  

That it’s hard for that base. To really consolidate around one person. 

Dan Kanivas  37:15  

Right. I agree. I agree with you.

Brian Schoenborn  37:19  

So I think as various candidates drop off, you know, that will consolidate itself a little bit more. And, you know, hopefully, hopefully that madman is dethroned. 

Dan Kanivas  37:34  

Oh, I I thoroughly hope so. 

Brian Schoenborn  37:36  

You know? Cuz I think he’s setting us back a long way.

Dan Kanivas  37:41  


Brian Schoenborn  37:43  

But, you know, we’ll have to wait to see you know, like, last last cycle, or last presidential cycle. You know, everyone thought that Hillary was gonna kill it.

Dan Kanivas  37:51  

Yeah, right. I remember where it was that night on election night. 2016. And I remember exactly what it was. was like and what it felt like in the depths of depression that we all went through then. So yeah. 

Brian Schoenborn  38:05  

Yeah. I remember I was sitting in Beijing watching this thing going, “I’m not coming for the next four years, maybe eight.”

Dan Kanivas  38:15  

Yeah, I contrast that with how I felt, I was in Iraq in November in 2008, and I remember being in the dining facility at the time. We got news that Obama had won. And wow, the feeling of excitement then, was great.

Brian Schoenborn  38:34  

Yeah. You know, what’s weird is like, I actually I was a registered Republican for like, 10 years. I was always like, fiscally conservative, socially liberal kind of guy. Not that any of this matters, but I voted for Romney and McCain. 

Dan Kanivas  38:51  


Brian Schoenborn  38:51  

Right, so I didn’t vote for Obama either time, but I’ve since dropped my affiliation. But I also believe that Barack Obama is probably the best president we’ve had in our generation.

Dan Kanivas  39:06  


Brian Schoenborn  39:07  

I think hands down. 

Dan Kanivas  39:08  

I agree with that.

Brian Schoenborn  39:09  

Yeah, I mean, you know, there’s there’s positives and negatives that you can say about anybody, but that’s kind of how I feel. 

Dan Kanivas  39:15  


Brian Schoenborn  39:15  

Um, so I want to move out, move on, like move out of military stuff a little bit. Because I know you’re up to some really cool stuff. 

Dan Kanivas  39:21  


Brian Schoenborn  39:22  

I mean, you’ve managed to maintain your, your physical endurance activities, that kind of stuff. 

Dan Kanivas  39:30  

Trying to, trying to, yeah. 

Brian Schoenborn  39:32  

I know, you mentioned something about Mount Rainier. Can you tell me like what you’re planning to do? And like how this whole thing came about? 

Dan Kanivas  39:39  

Yeah, sure. So last year, one of my friends texts me and says, “Hey, Dan, do you want to climb Mount Rainier?” And I said, “Okay, I’m interested. What What does that entail?” He’s like, “Well, we can go with guides and they’ll take us through it. It’s a four-day program. It would be next August, but you have to decide now. And you have to decide, like right now basically today.” And I said, “Okay, let me go ask my wife.” And so I said, she said, sure, that sounds good. And I said, “Okay, all right, I’m in.” 

Dan Kanivas  40:18  

I had no idea what it entailed. I had zero idea would entail. So my friend who, who, who asked me to do this was my friend from the Army who was in Korea. He just recently got out of the Army. So he’s in much better shape than I have than I am. Than I am. I’ve been out for almost 10 years now. But we’ve been training. We’ve been training for trying to summit Mount Rainier next month. So actually, tomorrow, we are headed out to Mount St. Helens, again for the second time this season, to do our last big training hike before Rainier, when we attempt that, and so that is something I’m definitely looking forward to. Come, you know, one way or the other is going to it’s all going to culminate here in a few weeks. 

Dan Kanivas  41:06  

I’m looking forward to that. Of course, I hope I’m successful. Of course, I hope the weather cooperates and I have the endurance and the fitness and the ability to, to make the summit and all that stuff. But ultimately, I’m looking for just the general experience. 

Brian Schoenborn  41:22  

Nice. Well, so let me let me clarify for our listeners right now. So we’re currently in the city of Seattle. 

Dan Kanivas  41:30  


Brian Schoenborn  41:30  

Right. So Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier. Those are the two of the those are the biggest peaks, right? 

Dan Kanivas  41:37  

Rainier is the tallest one here in the state of Washington. St. Helens. I don’t know where it ranks, but it’s up there. 

Brian Schoenborn  41:43  

It’s up there, right? 

Dan Kanivas  41:43  

It’s up there. Yeah. 

Brian Schoenborn  41:44  

So like how, and they’re not far, they’re like an hour, two, or three something like that.

Dan Kanivas  41:48  

You can drive north-south througn the state of Washington, you know, comfortably within hours, not two hours, but they’re all within driving distance of Seattle, yes. 

Brian Schoenborn  42:01  

Okay yeah um so so they’re close by but they’re like huge.

Dan Kanivas  42:05  


Brian Schoenborn  42:05  

You can see them on the horizon and see at least Rainier. Do you have an idea like how like how tall these are like their peaks or whatever? 

Dan Kanivas  42:16  

Yeah I don’t know St. Helens off the top of my head. 

Brian Schoenborn  42:19  

Is it like a 10er, 10,000 foot-ish?

Dan Kanivas  42:21  

I want to say it’s like eight or nine something like that, but Rainier is over 14,000. 

Brian Schoenborn  42:26  


Dan Kanivas  42:26  

Yeah, so it’s it’s definitely tall. It’s some serious altitude. When you do it, I’ve been told that, I haven’t done it yet that you do feel the effects of altitude sickness. Yeah, so it’s, it’s definitely going to be a challenge. 

Brian Schoenborn  42:44  

So Mt. St. Helens is a pretty good prepper. 

Dan Kanivas  42:46  

Yeah, I think it’s it’s definitely on the training plan for a lot of folks and Mount St. Helens. Because it is popular for people to hike and climb, you have to get permits during the season in order to be able to hike it. So, I’m going with some other friends of, same group of people who I’m training for Mount Rainier plus, we’re adding on a few more to do Mount St. Helens again in two days. 

Brian Schoenborn  43:10  

Oh cool. Two days? 

Dan Kanivas  43:12  

Yeah so Saturday is what we do is we will take off tomorrow afternoon from Seattle head down their, bed down for a little bit, and then start alpine start two am, something like that, so that we can start start headed up to the top of St. Helens while still while it’s still dark out. Still cool out. And then if we’re lucky, depending on conditions we might get to glacade down St. Helens. 

Brian Schoenborn  43:38  

What is that?

Dan Kanivas  43:38  

So yes, this is the funnest part of and the payoff for climbing. So you get to the top and there’s snow. And what people have done rather than walk back down is you ride the snow back down. 

Brian Schoenborn  43:54  

Dude that sounds so awesome! 

Dan Kanivas  43:56  

Yeah. So so that that I’m excited for Hopefully that will happen. That’s what we did last time, but we also went May when I suspect there was a lot more snow. This time, there should still be plenty of snow to glacade down, but I don’t actually know.

Brian Schoenborn  44:11  

How are you? How are you sliding down on this? Like snowboards, toboggans, just like the little $5 plastic sleds, like the saucer slows? What do you, uh, what’s going on there?

Dan Kanivas  44:20  

All of the above. Some people bring their snowboards, some people bring their skis. You can just do it in hardshell pants. You can even take, and this is what I did last time, you take a trash bag and just ride down on a trash bag. 

Brian Schoenborn  44:32  

Dude, that’s sweet.

Dan Kanivas  44:33  

It works. And it’s sure as hell beats walking down. 

Brian Schoenborn  44:39  

I bet.

Dan Kanivas  44:40  

You don’t want to walk anymore after you reach the top. So yeah, glacading down is is pretty fantastic.

Brian Schoenborn  44:46  

But that reminds me of, I’m doing these Nicaragua stories right now. That reminds me this time I summitted a, it was a short volcano. 

Dan Kanivas  44:55  


Brian Schoenborn  44:56  

Right. But it waas an active volcano. 

Dan Kanivas  44:58  


Brian Schoenborn  44:58  

One of the world’s youngest volcanoes. 

Dan Kanivas  45:00  

Okay, yeah. So it’s millions and millions of year old, but it’s one of the world’s youngest.

Brian Schoenborn  45:05  

No, no, it’s only like 150. 

Dan Kanivas  45:06  

Oh really? 

Brian Schoenborn  45:07  


Dan Kanivas  45:07  

Oh wow. 

Brian Schoenborn  45:08  

Okay, it actually sprung up out of the cornfield in like the 1800s. 

Dan Kanivas  45:11  

Oh, it’s a 150 years old? Not a 150,000? 150 years old? 

Brian Schoenborn  45:18  

Yeah, and apparently it blows up, it blows like every 15 years or something like that. 

Dan Kanivas  45:21  

Oh okay. 

Brian Schoenborn  45:22  

And when I was there it was around 15 years I don’t know if it’s it didn’t blow up when I was there but it was definitely active. 

Dan Kanivas  45:28  

Sure, sure, sure, yes. You see gasses and…

Brian Schoenborn  45:30  

At the summite could see a little, in the crater. And you could see gasses coming up out of the ground. 

Dan Kanivas  45:35  


Brian Schoenborn  45:36  

So we went to the top of it. 

Brian Schoenborn  45:38  

Yeah. And we had a fast way down too. Yeah, we we with with the tour group. They gave us this backpack. And you can choose between a snowboard-looking thing. And like a mini toboggan-looking 

Dan Kanivas  45:51  

Yeah, nice. 

Brian Schoenborn  45:52  

And we volcano surfed. 

Dan Kanivas  45:55  

Yeah, that’s fantastic. Yeah. I like the outdoors a lot. I generally don’t say no when people want to do outdoorsy things but I almost never wake up and say to myself, “I really need to get outdoors today.” 

Brian Schoenborn  46:10  


Dan Kanivas  46:11  

I for better for worse live in my head a lot. I love to read. I love strategy games, things like that. Right? So I don’t feel compelled to go and get outdoors. However, I’m almost never, I almost never regret it. Because there’s so much fun to be had outdoors, including volcano surfing. That’s awesome.

Brian Schoenborn  46:32  

You know, like, like, well glacading or volcano surfing. I mean, what else can you do that is there’s only so many volcanoes. It’s not like they’re everywhere. I mean, they’re they’re all over the world. Yeah, but they’re only in very specific locations. 

Dan Kanivas  46:46  

Yeah, they’re very, they’re very cool experiences. A lot of people I’ve talked to about, you know, our pending Mt. Rainier adventure here are very curious about it because they do realize that, okay, yeah, there’s not a lot of other ways to kind of express this sort of desire to experience nature and experience your own backyard, your own environments in a very in a unique and very singular sort of way. And so you just got to go out there and do it right and you have which is fantastic.

Brian Schoenborn  47:25  

I’ll never forget that. That sounds fucking awesome. I’m super looking forward to hearing about all of it.

Dan Kanivas  47:31  

Yeah, fingers crossed it all goes well, so yeah.

Brian Schoenborn  47:33  

I got a pretty good feeling about it. You mentioned something about strategy stuff? You do strategy games? That kind of caught my attention. 

Dan Kanivas  47:44  

Yeah, yeah, yeah. 

Brian Schoenborn  47:44  

Can you dive into that? What do you what kind of games you into like? Like for me, me and my brothers and my dad. We have a tradition every time we go home for the holidays, we play Risk. And we get super into it. 

Dan Kanivas  47:56  

Yeah, sure. 

Brian Schoenborn  47:57  

Like we used to like pretty much be out for blood for each other. 

Dan Kanivas  48:00  

Oh, sure. Yeah, sure. 

Brian Schoenborn  48:01  

Um, I think there might have been some fistfights. At one point where my mom was like she took it away, and she banned us from playing Risk for like 5 years. But I’m just curious, like, what can I hear the strategy stuff? What are the strategy games and other, you know, tell me like what kind of stuff to do.

Dan Kanivas  48:17  

So, growing up, definitely my favorite type of video game, for example, was role playing games. So RPGs, Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, that sort of thing. And if I had more time now I still play them because there’s no shortage. There’s no shortage of fantastic stories that are told through these through these media, right? Through those mediums, right. And they get you so invested and they know how to get you invested. These game designers know how to get invested. In college I played a lot of poker for various reasons: socially, also to try to attempt to win money mainly to lose it, but that things like that was a large part of my college experience. 

Dan Kanivas  49:04  

And also as a kid, 12 years old, 11 years old that that sort of timeframe. It was around 94, 95, 96. So Magic the Gathering has just come out.

Brian Schoenborn  49:16  

Magic the Gathering? 

Dan Kanivas  49:17  


Brian Schoenborn  49:18  

You know, I’ve heard of that game. I think I’m a little bit older than you. I was, you know, I was active duty in the Marines in 2000, 2002. So I’m fucking old.

Dan Kanivas  49:26  

I was born in 1983. 

Brian Schoenborn  49:27  

Oh I’m two years, about two years then. I remember, I think it was early in high school, you said seventh or eighth grade? 

Dan Kanivas  49:36  


Brian Schoenborn  49:36  

So that would put me in high school. Right? So I remember hearing about magic together. But I was kind of at that point where it was, I don’t know, I just, I wasn’t. I wasn’t there at that point. 

Dan Kanivas  49:46  

Yeah. Oh, yeah. 

Brian Schoenborn  49:46  

You know, yeah, it was a different spot. 

Dan Kanivas  49:48  

Oh, yeah. 

Brian Schoenborn  49:48  

But my younger brother. He was born in 83. 

Dan Kanivas  49:50  

Oh, yeah.

Brian Schoenborn  49:52  

Huge into Magic the Gathering. Shout out to Dave.

Dan Kanivas  50:00  

Being born at a certain time or being a certain age, in that timeframe, made all the difference. If I was actually a if I were actually a year older or two years older, it may have worked out that, you know, I may missed it just like you. Or I could have gotten in on even a little sooner. And had I done that then some of those cards from those era, from that era, which I missed by just about a year are invaluable now. 

Brian Schoenborn  50:31  


Dan Kanivas  50:32  

They’re quite, they’re quite expensive. Yeah. Because it becomes collector’s, collector’s items. 

Brian Schoenborn  50:36  

They’re what, like baseball cards or something? 

Dan Kanivas  50:37  

Yeah, that that idea that they’re not being made anymore. So anyways, so I played for a little bit back in those days, as a middle schooler, and, you know, as the nerdy kid who was looking for something that was popular to do the time, well, mainly with other boys. This was, you know, spoke to me strategy games and the the fantasy portion of it, you know, dragons and, and demons and angels and stuff like that. That’s pretty cool. Like, that was that kept us interested, but life moved in other directions. I got involved in sports, became more active socially, especially with the fairer sex.

Brian Schoenborn  50:39  

Sure, of course.

Dan Kanivas  50:40  

And so, you know, Magic disappeared from my life. 

Brian Schoenborn  51:22  

And that’s where I was at but just out of curiosity, do you recall like playing the game? Like, can you can you, cause, I don’t know anything about it. Like, can you kind of give me like a high level, like the highest level overview like how it works?

Dan Kanivas  51:40  

Yes, sure. So it’s a card game, that you take a set of cards and you build decks with them. And the idea is that you and your opponent is typically played one on one. Typically. You and our opponent are both powerful wizards, and you cast spells to try to defeat each other. The game was actually created by a grad student, I believe UPenn, a mathematics grad student at UPenn who had a lifelong fascination and love for games. And though, his name is Richard Garfield, though he’s brilliant, this is going to be his legacy on Earth. 

Brian Schoenborn  52:24  


Dan Kanivas  52:24  

So not mathematics or anything else. Most likely it’s going to be this game, which is going to be very, very popular. 

Brian Schoenborn  52:30  

It’s pretty impressive legacy. 

Dan Kanivas  52:31  

Yeah, absolutely. And he’s still active in making games and things like that. But anyways, so that’s the basic gist. You can use these cards, cast spells to try and defeat each other. And you know the game, though I left the game a long time ago, it grew and grew and grew and grew. And in 2018, last year, one of my friends who I worked with right out of business school, turned out that he has some cards. I talked to him about He’s like, “Hey, Dan, did you know there’s an online platform for this now that it’s pretty nifty?” 

Brian Schoenborn  53:05  

No way.

Dan Kanivas  53:06  

Yeah. And, you know…

Brian Schoenborn  53:09  

So like 15 years. 

Dan Kanivas  53:10  

Yeah. 20 years. 

Brian Schoenborn  53:11  

20 years? 

Dan Kanivas  53:12  

Yeah 20 years. Had I not had that conversation? I don’t think I would have rediscovered it but now it’s 100% my guilty pleasure to play Magic the Gathering Arena Online. And it takes away a lot of the issues of having to play with paper cards, not that I don’t like to play with them, I do. But it’s one of these things where you don’t have to do it in a room full of other people. You can do it from your bed, or from your desk, or on a train, right? Just on your laptop. 

Dan Kanivas  53:44  

And what I thought I liked before about the game, the you know, the again, the fantastical aspects of it, right, the the dragons and stuff, actually turned out not to be the exciting part of the game for me. What I thought the game is how deep strategically it goes. It combines the the deep strategy of a game like Risk or Chess or Settlers of Catan, things like that, right? Where each choice you make really matters. It combines that with randomness. Again, that’s, that’s involved in Risk or Poker, right, where the top card of your deck that you don’t know what it is, will change the outcome of the game. 

Dan Kanivas  54:32  

And so the combination of those two things, the skill and the luck, the roll of the dice in Risk keeps people coming back for more, because it makes every game you play different. Which is really really cool. And it goes very, very deep. So I’m, I am a newly, newly reintegrated player.

Brian Schoenborn  54:55  

That’s interesting you know, I’ve heard I’ve heard some people have been kind of resurging with like Dungeons and Dragons and stuff like that too. I dabbled with it, but I was never really like that into again that was my brother’s sort of thing. 

Dan Kanivas  55:06  


Brian Schoenborn  55:08  

But I’ve heard that a lot of people like kind of our age, have been getting back into these things. So it must be, must be interesting to play against these people with that new perspective and that level of knowledge and experience that you’ve gained. The thought process and all that. Got to be pretty cool, bet you can get some, like, if you were to play if you had some buddies that like are in the area, and they have like a deck of cards it would probably be pretty cool to have like a dude night a dude Magic the Gathering — a person, a friend night I guess — I don’t want to be gender bias or whatever. 

Dan Kanivas  55:42  

For for better, for worse, and this is actually a big topic of discussion within the community. Not just Magic, but gaming generally. Right? And gaming is gigantic, it’s exploded. And my wife works for a gaming company, like it’s everywhere. 

Brian Schoenborn  55:55  

Oh cool. Yeah. 

Dan Kanivas  55:56  

And so yeah, gaming is, unfortunately, very biased towards males. And as a result, oftentimes, there are people in the community slash the companies and the, you know, the policies that inadvertently get set up, I don’t think it’s intentional, at least from a company standpoint, are exclusive unfortunately, right? And they’re not not always integrative and not always inclusive. 

Brian Schoenborn  56:27  


Dan Kanivas  56:27  

And so there’s actually to Magic’s credit, they really do try to be inclusive, you see it in the artwork, you see it in their messaging, you see it in how they treat people who are not inclusive. Which is great. 

Brian Schoenborn  56:44  

I think that’s fantastic, you know, because like I tripped up and said, “Oh, dude, you know, it’s a dude thing”, but it’s finally not, and it shouldn’t be you know? It’s games you’re having fun, it’s strategy. Like, you’re using you’re using your mind, you have little bit of a social environment. Like that’s not. 

Dan Kanivas  56:59  

Yeah, I don’t I don’t picked up at all, I think this is a real issue. And it’s something that the community has to figure out. If you if you go have a boardgame night with friends, which like you said, it’s kind of you’re seeing a resurgence of people around our age doing this. I think there’s several reasons for it. One, it’s if people have families, it’s a pretty low-key way to get together and… 

Brian Schoenborn  57:22  

You’re not going crazy. 

Dan Kanivas  57:23  


Brian Schoenborn  57:24  

You’re not getting super wasted playing Magic the Gathering, maybe a casual beer. 

Dan Kanivas  57:27  

We’re not going to Coachella because we have kids. Right? 

Brian Schoenborn  57:29  


Dan Kanivas  57:30  

Exactly. Right. So you know that that’s a great way to get together and like I just played actually last weekend. Settlers of Catan with I have friends around here. While we’re out in Walla Walla, you know, on a wine country trip. It was great. It was one of the highlights of the trip. It’s always fun playing with them. And so, you know, it’s a very enjoyable, easy to get into, and social thing to do. I think this is why board games should be around for a long time. And also in this day and age with the digital stuff that we always have, it’s so easy to sit there on your phone and be anti-social, right?  This forces you to be social. 

Brian Schoenborn  58:08  

It’s kinda nice to go analog once in a while. 

Dan Kanivas  58:09  

No, yeah, absolutely 100%. It’s really nice. 

Brian Schoenborn  58:12  

Kinda unplug a little bit.

Dan Kanivas  58:13  

It’s really nice go analog. And the more you do it, the more you’re like, wow, I want to do this again. And so I think that there are a lot of social games that and actually, Brian, you and I and your brother Dave, and whoever else wants to do it, we can do this together. There are a lot of social games where there are spaces, especially here in the Seattle area, that are welcoming and really, really conducive to doing that. Like, there’s one store I’m thinking about in particular, they have a spot in Seattle and also out in Bellevue, closer to where I live, called Mock’s Boarding House and they have a full-on restaurant, tons of beer on tap, large tables to play games on, and yeah, it’s it’s it’s basically mecca for gamers. 

Brian Schoenborn  58:56  

That sounds pretty again, not to be gender bias, but it sounds like a man cave. 

Dan Kanivas  59:02  

It does and then you get there and you’re like wow, this is actually pretty gender diverse because a lot of people go there to play certain games that are not don’t have as much of a stigma or much of reputation as being just just male. So again, Settlers of Catan is a good one.

Brian Schoenborn  59:21  

So I feel like when we drop this episode, I’m going to get a bunch of women that are like, what the hell What about us? But dude, guys, I’m like, super, like welcoming to everybody. 

Dan Kanivas  59:33  

Oh, yeah. Brian, I don’t think you have that reputation for for being exclusive at all. 

Brian Schoenborn  59:40  

Yeah, I’m pretty inclusive. So when I say things like man cave and stuff, I’m not saying no girls allowed.

Dan Kanivas  59:44  

But that’s the impression that people get.

Brian Schoenborn  59:47  

Just using commonly understood terms. 

Dan Kanivas  59:49  

For sure. So yeah, we’ll do that sometime. Actually, I have here because I knew this was going to come up at some point in the conversation I have here two decks of cards here for you and your brother, since I know your brother used to play, and he can teach you how to play. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:00:03  

Oh wow, I remember what these things look like. I remember Dave had so many of these things, and I was like what are you even doing with this? Can you maybe like I’m just I don’t know randomly pull one out and kind of like tell me, like, explain like what this thing is about all right it’s just out of curiousity. 

Dan Kanivas  1:00:19  

Oh, it’s going down.

Brian Schoenborn  1:00:20  

I’m not saying we’re gonna, we’re not gonna open them and play a game right now, but I’m just trying to you know, open my eyes a little bit, open the ears for people that are listening at home or wherever they might be. 

Dan Kanivas  1:00:31  

This is something that’s very basic in the game and… 

Brian Schoenborn  1:00:34  

I’m gonna I’m gonna look at it really quick. Yeah, so this card says swamp. 

Dan Kanivas  1:00:40  


Brian Schoenborn  1:00:41  

And then below it is like a, a design an image of a pretty hellacious looking swamp. 

Dan Kanivas  1:00:49  

Yeah. That is what they’re trying to convey.

Brian Schoenborn  1:00:52  

For lack of a better term. Something like basic land, dash, swamp M19 to the right, and then there’s a skull below it.

Dan Kanivas  1:01:02  

Yep. And so this is the part of the storyline of the game is that the wizards, who are the powerful wizards who are dueling against each other, using these spells, need to pull the source of their magic from somewhere, okay, and it actually comes from the land. So if you are a black mage, a black wizard, you can pull magic from the swamp.

Brian Schoenborn  1:01:24  

So how do I know that I’m a black wizard? And how do I know I can pull magic from the swamp?

Dan Kanivas  1:01:29  

It’s your choice. It’s your choice. Yeah, it depends. Everyone kind of has different styles. And there’s five different colors, five different sources of mana they call it in this game. So the swamp is one, plains are another, islands are another, forests are another, and the fifth one is mountains. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:01:46  

So you have to like choose to specialize in one or can you just be like, Oh, no, I’m a rainbow warrior. 

Dan Kanivas  1:01:52  

You can be a Rainbow Warrior. Absolutely. The problem with it is and again, this is part of the beauty of the design of the game, is that the more colors you play, the less of a chance that you’re going to draw the right type of mana to be able to cast your spells. And so let’s say you are a Raindow Warrior and you have cards of all five colors in your in your deck, but you only have these two lands in front of you, a plains and a swamp in your hand, and you have a green card, which is cast with forst, you can’t cast it. If you can’t cast spells you lose because I’m going to start casting spells. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:02:18  


Dan Kanivas  1:02:27  


Brian Schoenborn  1:02:28  

Kick my ass. 

Dan Kanivas  1:02:28  

So the more the more power you try to pack into your deck, the less consistent your deck’s going to be. And this is again, part of the reason why the game survived so long, these fundamental mechanics were built into the game through the various getgo 25 years ago, and those things have not changed. And that is part of the reason why this this game has, you know, apparently, if the statistics are to be believed, is played by or has been played by almost 40 million people.

Brian Schoenborn  1:02:59  


Dan Kanivas  1:02:59  


Brian Schoenborn  1:03:00  

That’s a couple of commas. 

Dan Kanivas  1:03:02  

Yeah, yeah. There’s a couple of comments there. Yeah. Yeah. And again, this, the digital platform is without it, I would not be. We would not be having this conversation. They’ve done a fantastic job with it. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:03:13  

Well, I see you shuffling the deck. And like I said, I’m not trying to give you a game right now. But yeah, we’re on. In the future. I want to play.

Dan Kanivas  1:03:23  

Yeah, okay. We’ll go have beers.

Brian Schoenborn  1:03:24  

Dave, I’m coming for you.

Dan Kanivas  1:03:27  

Yes, I hope you guys enjoy. And this brings back some good memories for Dave and I also build some new ones for you. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:03:34  

Yeah, cool. I’m down.

Dan Kanivas  1:03:35  

All right.

Brian Schoenborn  1:03:36  

I just sit there and I think about who, I saw, I was watching one of those late night talk shows. And this guy, this actor, Joe Manginello, I think it was, and he was the one that was talking about how he’s super into Dungeons and Dragons. And he’s married to Sofia Vergara. And he mentioned how like, she was like, “Oh, I want you like something like low key to do like, you know, take it easy.” And he found a bunch of his Hollywood friends and he built this like D&D cave in their basement with like horns, and like all this other stuff.

Brian Schoenborn  1:04:13  

So I just sit there and I go How cool would it be like even with like Magic the Gathering or something like that and like actually create like your own little like, you know, arena. Magic cave in the basement of your house, just like bring bring the dudes bring your friends over.

Dan Kanivas  1:04:31  

Yes, bring your friends over, bring your friends over yeah. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:04:34  

Bring a keg or a bottle of booze or whatever. Just like, I don’t know, destroy each other.

Dan Kanivas  1:04:40  

So certainly some people have and again, as I mentioned there are at least two stores here in the Seattle area that have very conducive environments for that. And, you know, for a lot of people this is a very exciting thing, especially as I’ve gotten older. As a kid, you know, I I bought cards with the allowance that I had, or that my dad would give me for dropping off his cards, that sort of thing at the comic book shop. But now with a little bit more means you can do things like really enjoy different aspects of the game. So, the original artwork for this stuff will sell for, most pieces sell for a minimum of a grand, the original artwork. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:05:21  


Dan Kanivas  1:05:21  

The most expensive pieces just this year have gone for over 30 grand, the original artwork, and they’re not particularly big. They’re certain you know that to be a certain aspect ratio that fit in the cards, but like the original painted oil, you know oil on canvas artwork goes for a lot of money because there’s a lot of collectors who either grew up with the game or got into it and happen to have money from other sources, typically other sources, that are now into it because it’s they they value it that much. 

Dan Kanivas  1:05:50  

And I mentioned you know there’s a there’s some of the cards that are iconic that are that go back all the way to the beginning of the game and are not producing anymore you have the perfect, you know, mint copy of this. I think one went for auction for almost 200 grand this past this past year. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:06:10  


Dan Kanivas  1:06:10  


Brian Schoenborn  1:06:11  


Dan Kanivas  1:06:12  

Yeah. So, you know, my, my job nowadays is partially as an investment analyst, if you look at the gaming industry, especially any company that’s involved in digital gaming, they are printing money. They print money. And so you can imagine some of those folks who are creating the stuff who’ve been who’ve benefited from the profits that generated then go around, then go and reinvest it in the, you know, the the things that came up for them that inspire them to go into this field to begin with, whether it’s the childhood or later on life. Yeah. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:06:48  

So it’s interesting. So that kind of is a nice, it’s a nice segue into the next piece. I mean, so mean you’re talking about the strategy of this game, right? You’re talking about the investment value of these cards. You mentioned you do investing as well. So like you’re you’re a public investor as well as an angel investor, correct?

Dan Kanivas  1:07:06  

Yes. Yes. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:07:07  

So is there some like overlaps and parallels between, say, like, Magic the Gathering and stuff that you’re doing now?

Dan Kanivas  1:07:14  

So interestingly enough, one of the, one of the best players in the history of Magic, currently runs a hedge fund, his name is Jon Finkle, he’s out of New York. And so he’s just recognized as one of the all time greats, maybe the greatestm maybe number two, something like that. And there are a lot of skill sets that go together. I have another friend of mine who shall remain unnamed. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:07:41  

Shout out to guy.

Dan Kanivas  1:07:42  

That I that I knew knew from college and he currently works and you know, has a high profile job at an investment bank in New York. And he you know, we talk Magic from time to time, right? The, if you like strategy games, it doesn’t have to get Magic. Doesn’t have to be Chess or whatever. A lot of the same concepts of being able to think logically being able to sequence different events together, being able to project into the future. Being able to think in probabilities that absolutely…

Brian Schoenborn  1:08:15  

Hedging your bets. 

Dan Kanivas  1:08:15  

Yeah, 100%. A lot of magic players play poker as well, because the skill sets are completely complimentary. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:08:24  

Ah I got it.

Dan Kanivas  1:08:25  

It’s, it’s, you’ll, if you follow poker, which is much more followed than Magic. You might know some names. And if you dig into them, these famous poker players, actually it turns out they’re also known in the Magic world too. Yeah, absolutely. So anyways, those things do go together. And so it’s like I said earlier in the show, I just live inside my head. That’s generally where you know, I tend to go and as an investor, it’s created say, it’s a pursuit where a lot of thinking tends to be rewarded. A lot of logical tends to rewarded over time. And I got bit by the investing bug a long time ago. 

Dan Kanivas  1:09:04  

Basically my story is, I started earning my first paycheck from the Army at the tender age of 22. Back when I graduated college 2005. And at the end of the first pay period, which has all its government servants, or former government servants know goes from, is on the 1st & 15th of every month.

Brian Schoenborn  1:09:24  


Dan Kanivas  1:09:26  

At the end of the first pay period, I had money left over. So I’m like, What am I gonna do with this money, right? And I started reading about it and start realizing, oh, I’m supposed to invest it and let it compound over time. So from age 22, that when I retire whenever that be, it’ll become a lot of money. And slowly but surely, I started with that at age 22. And before I knew it, it became not just something that I did because money was leftover something I was actively seeking to do something I really liked something that became a little addictive, because it felt good.

Brian Schoenborn  1:09:59  

For sure, man. It’s kind of like hitting, you know, kind of like winning in a casino in a sense. I mean, it’s differenlty, obviously.

Dan Kanivas  1:10:05  

Oh yeah, yeah yeah.

Brian Schoenborn  1:10:07  

When you’re playing blackjack, and they give you 21. You know, you’re like, Oh, sweet.

Dan Kanivas  1:10:10  

Yeah, absolutely. And now I’m at the point where, you know, I am lucky enough to do it as a profession doing financial planning. And also money management, as part of a duo at my firm, Triple Summit Advisors by my partner is Wei Want who I went to college with.

Brian Schoenborn  1:10:32  

What’s the website?

Dan Kanivas  1:10:33  


Brian Schoenborn  1:10:35  


Dan Kanivas  1:10:37  

And so, you know, we’re fortunate, privileged enough and have the honor of taking care of 120 different clients, for whom we manage over 25 million. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:10:49  

Awesome dude. That’s great. Can you tell me a little bit about the current environment? I guess when it comes to like your company and the stuff that you focus on, as well as the, I mean, you do some Angel stuff as well, right? So as far as like a startup environment as well. Are you focused primarily in Seattle for either or both of these, or you pretty open ended it and where you’re at? 

Dan Kanivas  1:11:13  

So I’m not focused on Seattle solely because I happen to be here. I had a meeting yesterday down in Tacoma, for example. And I drove down there and drove back from Kirkland down to Tacoma. And, you know, I’ll do that because it happens to be nearby me, but also take a meeting in New York or DC or in Chicago, depending on the need for that. We we don’t discriminate or close our doors to clients who are out of state and my partner happens to live in Massachusetts. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:11:45  

Oh, cool. 

Dan Kanivas  1:11:45  

So we have clients across many states. As far as the environment, and I should clarify that for our business, for Triple Summit Advisors. We do public market investors, not private market investing, because that’s the mandate that we have with our. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:12:04  

Yes. So so it’s like stocks on the Dow Jones, S&P, NASDAQ, that sort of thing? 

Dan Kanivas  1:12:10  

Yes, yes, generally, we can do some things that are a bit smaller and more obscure, but it depends on the message. And of course, financial planning is something that we believe is the cornerstone of any relationship with us. Because without having a good plan, your investments are going to take you where you want to go. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:12:27  


Dan Kanivas  1:12:28  

So anyways, that is the Triple Summit side of things. On the angel investing side of things. That’s just something I pursue. myself. I was in the tech industry for a little bit. And my wife works in the tech industry now. Being here in Seattle, and previously I was in the Bay Area for eight years. You can’t get away from it. It’s around you all the time. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:12:48  

Pretty thriving startup scene in both places, right? 

Dan Kanivas  1:12:50  

Now we’re recording this in South Lake Union, which is the home of Amazon and it’s

Brian Schoenborn  1:12:56  

Literally a block away from the Google, the new Google offies they’re building.

Dan Kanivas  1:13:00  

Yeah. So there you go, you just you cannot get away from it. And so I’ve been interested in, I can’t say I’ve had any success in it yet, but because these things take a long time. But I’ve been interested in over the last two years, finding companies that I can understand where I think the team is the right team for the right market and the right product. And the where they’re small enough where they can take the check for me, that still matters to them. If you get too big, then my check doesn’t count anymore. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:13:33  


Dan Kanivas  1:13:34  

And so that’s the intersection of those things is what I look for. And that actually precludes a lot of companies. Whether I understand them or not, there’s a lot of them that I don’t whether it’s the right team, the right product, right market,

Brian Schoenborn  1:13:50  

I mean, that just those two things right there is a pretty stringent filter, right?

Dan Kanivas  1:13:54  

And then and then add on top of that they have to be small enough for me to actually, for them to actually want me to be part of the story.

Brian Schoenborn  1:14:01  

And it’s kind of like, like, it’s one of those things where if you find something that’s simple or easily understandable. And if you find a team that’s strong, it’s hard to find them at the right point in the business cycle before they start really taking off. 

Dan Kanivas  1:14:17  

Absolutely, absolutely. Yeah. And this is not a problem that I faced solely. The largest firms out there. If they have 100 million dollars to deploy in a single investment, they still have the problem of how do we find the right investment that wants our money, wants us on the team at the right time that we also believe in? 

Brian Schoenborn  1:14:40  


Dan Kanivas  1:14:40  

Right. It’s it’s a problem that applies throughout and there’s no one who’s solved this issue. Every every, the most well known VCs out there still have networks of people just trying to find the right deals.

Brian Schoenborn  1:14:50  

Well, it’s needle in the haystack stuff, right? 

Dan Kanivas  1:14:52  


Brian Schoenborn  1:14:52  

Like, I remember. You know, like when I when I was in grad school, when I was in business school, I got my MBA in finance. And we did some, we did some project in one of the classes about like, you know, startup investing, you know, VC Angel type stuff, a little bit. So I’ve got a little bit of knowledge behind it. Not a lot of practical experience. 

Dan Kanivas  1:15:11  


Brian Schoenborn  1:15:12  

But, you know, when I read in school, in, God it was almost 10 years ago. In 2009-2011. So just to give you some insight there. 

Dan Kanivas  1:15:23  


Brian Schoenborn  1:15:23  

At that point, they’re looking at what the theory was, you know, kind of cast a wide net, and hope that one or two hit really big. 

Dan Kanivas  1:15:34  

Yeah, right. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:15:35  


Dan Kanivas  1:15:35  


Brian Schoenborn  1:15:35  

To make up for the loss of the other ones.

Dan Kanivas  1:15:37  

That’s right. That’s right.

Brian Schoenborn  1:15:39  

So then I you know, take that theory. And then over the last 10 years or so, I’ve been pretty deeply ingrained with the startup ecosystem.

Dan Kanivas  1:15:47  


Brian Schoenborn  1:15:48  

Whether it’s been here at Seattle, not so much. I haven’t really been here that long anyways. 

Dan Kanivas  1:15:52  

Yeah. But we met through Bunker Labs, right. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:15:54  

Well, exactly. In essence, it’s a startup ecosystem. Right? 

Dan Kanivas  1:15:58  


Brian Schoenborn  1:15:59  

But I was, I kept myself pretty familiar with the startup area in Boston when I was there, New York when I was there. 

Dan Kanivas  1:16:05  


Brian Schoenborn  1:16:05  

I was heavily involved in Beijing. 

Dan Kanivas  1:16:07  


Brian Schoenborn  1:16:07  

And the process is all pretty much the same. 

Dan Kanivas  1:16:09  


Brian Schoenborn  1:16:10  

You know, in fact, even with what I do now, like as a producer and a storyteller, it’s similar, just different. It’s different content.

Dan Kanivas  1:16:16  

Yeah, absolutely. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:16:17  

Right? Various investors, VCs, angels, whatever, Google, right, Startup Grind by Google that kind of stuff. 

Dan Kanivas  1:16:31  


Brian Schoenborn  1:16:33  

They try to put out as many networking events, as many accelerators, incubators. Try to get those things going because they know that people are gonna be coming at them like crazy. 

Dan Kanivas  1:16:44  


Brian Schoenborn  1:16:45  

“I’ve got the startup idea. I’ve got this one. Oh, this is gonna be great. It’s gonna change the world.” 

Dan Kanivas  1:16:49  


Brian Schoenborn  1:16:50  

Everybody’s got this idea is going to change the world. 

Dan Kanivas  1:16:52  


Brian Schoenborn  1:16:52  

So they’re coming at you. Kinda like as a producer. People are coming at you going, “Oh, my God. I’m going to tell the story. I’m going to tell the story.” 

Dan Kanivas  1:16:58  

Sure, sure, sure, sure. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:16:59  

It’s one thing to let I have the idea for it’s another thing to actually be able to put it into a concrete framework. 

Dan Kanivas  1:17:07  


Brian Schoenborn  1:17:08  

Whether it’s like a, like a script, or whether it’s like a business plan. 

Dan Kanivas  1:17:12  


Brian Schoenborn  1:17:13  

Right? It’s another thing to put it into that concrete framework. It’s a whole other ballgame to be able to turn that in action.

Dan Kanivas  1:17:21  


Brian Schoenborn  1:17:22  

You know? 

Dan Kanivas  1:17:23  


Brian Schoenborn  1:17:23  

So I think a lot of what the like those accelerators, incubators, the networking things, the classes where they get, you know, presentations on elevator pitches and whatever else. You know, I think a lot of that is two, for one, you know, it’s a service. 

Dan Kanivas  1:17:39  


Brian Schoenborn  1:17:40  

Right? So people can have people have an opportunity to kind of network. 

Dan Kanivas  1:17:43  


Brian Schoenborn  1:17:45  

Get some experience and some of the stuff to get some insight into what investors are looking at. 

Dan Kanivas  1:17:51  


Brian Schoenborn  1:17:52  

But on the other end of it, it’s a chance for the investors to filter…

Dan Kanivas  1:17:57  

Oh, yeah,

Brian Schoenborn  1:17:58  

To filter out quickly and efficiently. 

Dan Kanivas  1:17:59  


Brian Schoenborn  1:18:00  


Dan Kanivas  1:18:00  

So the most famous accelerator out there, Y Combinator. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:18:04  

YC yep. 

Dan Kanivas  1:18:06  

…will have a demo day where their startups in the current and their current cohort and current class will pitch. And when they do that the investors who attend know that these companies have been vetted out of the thousands of applications they’ve gotten. These are the best ones that YC has determined, right, and they’ve survived the process. 

Dan Kanivas  1:18:29  

And so, in doing that, those investors have a lot of, a lot more confidence that the starting point for their evaluations are already going to be good. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:18:40  


Dan Kanivas  1:18:41  

And time is we all we all have 24 hours in a day, right? And so they have to — investors, whether big or small, how to allocate their time in a certain way in a way that they think is going to make the most sense and so that’s, that is a tremendous service that a good accent. elevator or good sort of source of warm leads can can provide.

Brian Schoenborn  1:19:07  

Yeah. And then even that, even after going through that whole process, that filtration process of finding these companies that they want to invest in. 

Dan Kanivas  1:19:14  


Brian Schoenborn  1:19:14  

Even still, it’s a crapshoot. 

Dan Kanivas  1:19:15  

Oh yeah. 100%. Yeah.

Brian Schoenborn  1:19:17  

You know? 

Dan Kanivas  1:19:17  

It’s, it’s well know.

Brian Schoenborn  1:19:18  

They’re lucky if they get one out of 10, one out of 100 that really hits.

Dan Kanivas  1:19:21  

Yeah. Yeah. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:19:22  

You know, probably closer to one out of 100. Right? 

Dan Kanivas  1:19:24  

That is absolutely the model in in VC and venture investing. And the reason why is because it’s so difficult to tell ahead of time. And also, you know, it makes sense that if you were to buy shares of Coke, let’s say, right, Coca Cola. The risk and return profiles will be very different from making an angel investment. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:19:49  

Oh sure.

Dan Kanivas  1:19:50  

In a, you know, company with no revenue. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:19:53  

Right. But so like, if you were an investor, if you were to invest in a company like Coca Cola. If you want to use like, I’d like I like to use a baseball analogy on this, right? So if you invest in a company like Coca Cola at this stage of the game. 

Dan Kanivas  1:20:06  


Brian Schoenborn  1:20:06  

You’re essentially bunting, hitting singles. Right? You’re going to get some return, but it’s not going to be that much.

Dan Kanivas  1:20:12  

Yeah, it depends. It depends 100% on your analysis…

Brian Schoenborn  1:20:17  


Dan Kanivas  1:20:17  

…of the business, where it’s going, and the valuation at which valuation matters. So I’ll give you an example of this. Buffett, Warren Buffett famously bought shares of Coke. I want to say it was the late 80s, early 90s timeframe when he was accumulating and despite having been very familiar with Coke for many decades prior to that he chose to buy at that time, because he saw the economics of the business were fundamentally strong, and Coke in the 90s, despite having already penetrated many markets around the world, was still about to go on another rapid expansion. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:20:55  

That was about the time they were going into China. 

Dan Kanivas  1:20:57  

Right, right, exactly. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:20:58  

A bunch of other markets. 

Dan Kanivas  1:20:59  

And so he saw that and profited handsomely from that. And this is Coke, a company’s been around at that point for, I think, almost 100 years. And so you can absolutely still make great returns from established companies. But the conditions have to be right. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:21:16  

Yeah, sure. 

Dan Kanivas  1:21:17  

So, it depends on what it is you’re looking for. Ultimately, what everyone should be looking for is how can I get the highest return taking the least amount of risk? 

Brian Schoenborn  1:21:27  

Right. Well, so that’s what I’m saying was like to Coke example, right? Like, with Coke, maybe he saw that right. But at the very minimum, he’s hitting singles. 

Dan Kanivas  1:21:37  


Brian Schoenborn  1:21:37  

So so, if he’s at bat, and he goes to swing for a single and it goes over the fence? Great. Worst case? He’s on first base.

Dan Kanivas  1:21:44  

Right. So So, yes.

Brian Schoenborn  1:21:46  

So with the angel stuff, even though even though you go through all that filtration process, right? You’re still a home run only power hitter guy, like you’re either slugging it over the fence or you’re striking out. And as you may be aware of the most big home run hitters that, you know, that have the lower batting average, the higher number of strikeouts. 

Dan Kanivas  1:21:47  

Yeah, right. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:22:07  

You got to get through those to get to the to get to the home. 

Dan Kanivas  1:22:11  

Yeah, I think I think that analogy is apt, is quite apt here, yeah.

Brian Schoenborn  1:22:15  

Right on man. How’s the startup scene in general? I think we’re getting close to the end. 

Dan Kanivas  1:22:19  

Yeah, sure. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:22:20  

Feels like a pretty good ending point. But I’m just kind of curious, like, you know, talking about investing a little bit, but like, you know, what, kind of, I guess I’m just curious about the current state of startups like what, you know, what sort of, you know, sectors, are you industry in…’are you industry’. What kind of sectors are you interested in right now, like what kind of things you do you see, um…

Brian Schoenborn  1:22:43  

What are the ones that interests you, you know, like, what are the ones that you think have, the areas that have potential? yYou know, you don’t have to get into specific investments obviously.

Dan Kanivas  1:22:52  

That’s a great question. And I’ve I don’t think that thematically about the tech world and the world of innovation. The reason for that is my day job, where I spend the bulk of my effort doesn’t necessarily, necessarily tilt that direction. Again, I’m hoping to hit more than singles, but I don’t necessarily need to hit home runs in a row to do my day job. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:23:19  


Dan Kanivas  1:23:20  

So, you know, let’s let’s, let’s be generous here and say I’m looking for doubles and triples. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:23:25  

So those are all star MVP caliber players too. Right?

Dan Kanivas  1:23:29  

Right. And so as a result, I can’t say that I know that much of the themes of like, say, let’s say, AI or robotics or hyper fast transportation logistics that might be changing the world, or solar or whatever. I can’t see him super knowledgeable about those, those more emerging technologies. What I will say is that for me, I, again, try to get that intersection of company I understand, team, product, market I like and, and the need for me at this level, right? 

Dan Kanivas  1:24:10  

And so I get I get pitches all the time I hear from companies all the time I’ve had just to this week, which is not a lot necessarily for someone who’s active in the space, but for me where it’s not my day job that takes time, right? And for me, they were both “no’s”, they were just both “no’s”. I… 

Brian Schoenborn  1:24:27  

How quickly did you make that decision? 

Dan Kanivas  1:24:29  

So Warren Buffett talks about having the too-hard pile, where rather than trying to spend extra hours, extra days trying to solve the puzzle that’s too hard for you and outside of your, this is his term too, “circle of competence”. You just put in the too-hard pile you say, I don’t understand this, and… 

Brian Schoenborn  1:24:48  

It’s gonna take too much effort to figure it out. 

Dan Kanivas  1:24:50  

Yeah, and there’s there’s plenty of fish where I’m fishing, why go fish over there, let somebody else make that money. And so he talks about this all the time, where he’s like, okay. They missed out on Netflix, right? They didn’t invest in Netflix. And they don’t really feel bad about that. I’ll just use that example. They’ve never said, him and his partner, Charlie Munger, that we feel bad about missing out on Netflix, even though there’s a lot of money to be made there. But they do feel bad about missing out on Google. 

Dan Kanivas  1:25:22  

Why? Because their businesses were paying Google 1, 5, 50 dollars a click. Right? So they’re like, “Wow, we’re spending tons of money on Google. We’re happy to because we get ROI on this.” But they didn’t then turn around and say, “We should buy shares of Google”, right? And so Charlie Munger is in public records about this saying that, hey, this was well within our circle of competence, and we missed it. And that’s, you know, that’s on us. Right? 

Dan Kanivas  1:25:48  

So if it’s outside of something, I understand, I don’t even bother with it. Within if I get an opportunity that I do understand, and I just and I’m like I really like this, but I don’t want to do it for XYZ reason. Then I’m going I beat myself up at night, if I miss out on something that’s really big. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:26:03  

So what are some of these areas that are like in your circle of competence? 

Dan Kanivas  1:26:07  

Yeah, sure. So my first love in the world investing is always going to be consumer products and things like that. Because something I understand very well as a consumer, as someone who’s used these things for these sorts of products for all my all my life. So very generally easy to understand, going through some major shifts right now with the rise of Amazon reviews and the internet and direct to consumer as opposed to going through retailers and other distribution channels. But still, strong brands are definitely important. So that’s always going to be my first love. And always gonna be a huge part of how I look at investing, things like that. 

Dan Kanivas  1:26:45  

After that, it’s going to be companies that are generally b2b, but that have a product or service that no one else can really replicate. And I’ll give you an example of this. And this is not a recommendation to buy anything. This is just An analysis of what I think is compelling about the economics of a company. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:27:05  

The company’s unique selling point, or USP. 

Dan Kanivas  1:27:07  

So most people don’t even know what this company is other than that it was involved with financial crisis somehow, but Moody’s right? 

Brian Schoenborn  1:27:15  

The ratings company? 

Dan Kanivas  1:27:15  

Right, right, the ratings agency. So Moody’s is an oligopoly with S&P, and to some extent, Fitch, which is another ratings agency. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:27:26  

But there’s not a lot of them, hence the oligopoly. There’s just a couple of them. They, basically, for the listeners that aren’t familiar with this, these ratings agencies, you know, they analyze public, probably private companies too, but they definitely analyze public companies and they give them like a credit rating. Or like a buy or sell rating or something along those lines. 

Dan Kanivas  1:27:48  

It’s a credit rating in this case, yes. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:27:49  

It’s a credit rating in this case, and and this will determine the types of rates they might get if they need investment. 

Dan Kanivas  1:27:55  

If they need to borrow money. Exactly.

Brian Schoenborn  1:27:58  

Right? Like with bonds, things like that.

Dan Kanivas  1:27:59  


Brian Schoenborn  1:28:00  

And their credibility is tied as far as their ability to pay it back. 

Dan Kanivas  1:28:03  

Yep, yep. Yep. And so if you are a large corporation, you are an Apple, you are a Verizon, you are a Netflix.

Brian Schoenborn  1:28:16  


Dan Kanivas  1:28:16  

And you want to get a gigantic bond deal done. You have to go to these companies. You don’t have choice. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:28:21  


Dan Kanivas  1:28:22  

Because there has to be a rating assigned, because that is how the investors start their analysis for, is this company…what do we charge in this bond deal? What sort of rate of interest, right? And other terms, and things like that. And so every, every time someone wants to do a large debt deal, these companies get a cut of it. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:28:45  


Dan Kanivas  1:28:45  

It’s it’s a, it’s a toll on the road of capitalism, if you will. And that’s exactly how Buffett describes it. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:28:54  

It’s like the Lord of the Rings. It’s like, “You shall not pass!”

Dan Kanivas  1:28:57  

That’s right. That’s right. That’s right. Unless you pay me a small fee, which is only a tiny portion of the deal. But that fee is mostly margin, mostly profit for these companies. And you have to go through this toll. And so they have fantastic economics. And again, they’re oligopolistic. There are tons of companies that would love to break this oligopolies. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:29:19  


Dan Kanivas  1:29:19  

But even the financial crisis can bring these companies down, where they have some role to play in misrating these bonds, these subprime bonds and things like that help to, you know, bring the economy to its knees, right.? So they’re still there back and, you know, doing as much businesses ever. Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway, about this company owns a significant portion of Moody’s and he’s been long on public record about, you know, how fantastic it is as a business. Again, not a recommendation to buy anything, but just an analysis of economics of the business. 

Dan Kanivas  1:29:57  

So that’s, that’s the type of stuff I look for: businesses where there’s a, a product or service that you sell that the customer can’t do without. It’s better if the customer really, really likes it and really, really wants to pay for it. But even the customer doesn’t really want to pay for it. Sometimes it’s still a good business. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:30:15  

Well, even utilities are, can be good investment opportunities, right? I mean, you’ve got to pay the bills, right?

Dan Kanivas  1:30:20  

Yeah, they can be. And it’s just looking for the right combination of growth and price.

Brian Schoenborn  1:30:28  

Yeah. Interesting.

Brian Schoenborn  1:30:32  

At this point, I think like I said, it’s pretty, pretty good natural point of stop. 

Dan Kanivas  1:30:36  

Yeah, absolutely.

Brian Schoenborn  1:30:38  

I appreciate your time. Like, this has been really insightful. We’ve talked about a lot of different things. And I hope people get a little bit out of all of it.

Dan Kanivas  1:30:47  

Yeah, me too.

Brian Schoenborn  1:30:49  

Real quick before we go.

Brian Schoenborn  1:30:51  

Anything you want to plug? I know you mentioned the website already. Might. Might as well mention that again. Unless there’s anything else you wanna push?

Dan Kanivas  1:30:58  

Yeah. So, absolutely. So Two things actually, we didn’t touch on this too much. But as I mentioned, you and I met through Bunker Labs, which is a nonprofit focused on helping veterans and military spouses. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:31:12  

Shout out to Todd Connor. 

Dan Kanivas  1:31:14  

Yep. The co founder of Bunker Labs. It’s we’re a nonprofit that’s helps veterans and military spouses to start their own businesses or nonprofits, their own organizations. And we’re national with chapters in a lot of different cities all around America, including here in Seattle, where I’m a city leader. I’m a volunteer, and if anyone wants to reach out to learn more about Bunker, I’m always open for that. And I’m going to give out my email here in a little bit. 

Dan Kanivas  1:31:42  

So the other thing I want to mention of course, my business, which we’ve already talked about: Triple Summit Advisors, that is my day job. We’re at www.triplesummit.com and you can reach me directly at dan@triplesummit.com. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:31:56  

Nice. Appreciate that. And you’re right. We didn’t mention Bunker Labs and the Veteran in Residence program too much. I just want to leave a quick blurb about that. 

Dan Kanivas  1:32:04  


Brian Schoenborn  1:32:05  

You know, I was accepted into the Veteran in Residence program, powered by Bunker Labs, which essentially gave me six months of free office space, including this makeshift studio that I’ve set up to begin interviewing some of these guests. So they’ve done a lot of great things for me, like the value that I’ve gotten out of it so far has been immeasurable. 

Brian Schoenborn  1:32:25  

So if there any other veteran entrepreneurs out there that are, you know, interested in being part of a veteran entrepreneur community, this is a good place to look. Alright, again, thanks a lot, Dan. Appreciate it. Everyone give it up for my friend Dan Kanivas.

Dan Kanivas  1:32:40  

Thank you, Brian.

Brian Schoenborn  1:32:41  

You’ve been listening to Half the City with Brian Schoenborn presented by 8B Media. Be sure to subscribe to this podcast, share it with your friends and leave a solid five-star review to ensure these stories get spread far and wide. For more information, as well as listen to other shows, including “Relentless: a Survivor’s Search for Passion, Purpose and Inner Peace” and “Beyond Relentless”, be sure to check out 8bmed.com. Thank you for listening.

Related Episodes

1| Green Beret Lt. Col. (Ret.)
Chris Schmitt

2| From Cult Escapee to Culture Consultant, Daniella Young

5| Elite Performance and Learning Expert Dr. Joseph Trachtman

Leave a Reply

Scroll to top