Episode 29: Full Transcript

[00:00:00.45] ALAN RINGVALD: I'm also an immigrant. I came here when I was four years old, and didn't know any English. And actually, my parents couldn't afford a babysitter, so they actually bought cable. So I grew up watching movies. It kind of is who I am.
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[00:00:17.86] SPEAKER: This is the Insurance Technology Podcast, where we bring interesting people from across the insurance ecosystem to discuss and debate technology's impact on the industry. Join us each episode for insights and best practices from industry stewards and tomorrow's innovators.
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[00:00:35.21] CHRISTEN KELLEY: Another startup in the hot seat. And today, I have Alan Ringvald.
[00:00:40.85] ALAN RINGVALD: Hey, Christen. How are you.
[00:00:42.27] CHRISTEN KELLEY: Good. How are you?
[00:00:43.03] ALAN RINGVALD: I'm good.
[00:00:43.31] CHRISTEN KELLEY: So just kind of wanted to get to know you a little better. And we'll do some work and some personal as well. So when it comes to work, is there a boss or mentor that has made a true impact in your career and why?
[00:01:00.20] ALAN RINGVALD: Yeah. I'd say like unofficial boss was my grandfather on my dad's side-- entrepreneur, immigrant himself. He actually moved from Hungary to Uruguay during the whole World War II thing and started a travel agency. And I kind of grew up working with him.
[00:01:22.31] And even as a little kid, I was out there selling with him, and kind of watching him do his thing. And I think he rubbed off on me a lot. So I'm going to stick with that, my grandfather.
[00:01:34.92] CHRISTEN KELLEY: That's cool. It's an industry you don't hear many people going into anymore, right?
[00:01:39.17] ALAN RINGVALD: You know what? It's actually coming back now, just because of how terrible travel is-- kind of want some help. But, yeah, totally. It kind of went away there.
[00:01:49.43] CHRISTEN KELLEY: Kind of like insurance. You realize that you need an advisor to help you get the best thing.
[00:01:54.56] ALAN RINGVALD: Exactly. Exactly.
[00:01:57.74] CHRISTEN KELLEY: So this could be work or personal, but best advice you ever got and from whom?
[00:02:04.07] ALAN RINGVALD: Yeah. No, that's a good question. Yeah, I'm going to go to history for this one to my good friend, TR, Teddy Roosevelt. I just thought he was so cool. I read a lot about him. And he always said this one thing that stuck with me, even as a little kid, it was get action.
[00:02:23.39] So just like the idea of just going out there making contact with the world and seeing what happens from there-- I always thought that was super real and valuable. It's like always better to go out and do stuff than talk about it or think about it kind of a deal. So that's one.
[00:02:40.13] And I think kind of like maybe some early work experiences. So I worked-- I'm not going to say the company name. But I worked at this place where we hired all these like top executives kind of when I was younger in my career, and I got to work with all of them. And they were super touted, big names, like C-level people from large corporations.
[00:03:01.76] And in working with them, I was like, wow, nobody knows anything. It's not just me. It's like we're all just kind of out here making stuff up as we go along, and no one is better than anybody else at anything. Anyone can kind of do anything.
[00:03:16.22] And that really was an impressionable thing for me to really understand at a young age, that just because you're some big title doesn't mean you know better than anybody else. So yeah. I don't know if that's useful, but it's just the truth.
[00:03:32.93] CHRISTEN KELLEY: No. I think there's definitely been situations in my own career that you kind of see that, that we all have the ability to bring something to the table.
[00:03:43.34] ALAN RINGVALD: Exactly.
[00:03:44.00] CHRISTEN KELLEY: Yeah.
[00:03:44.39] ALAN RINGVALD: Exactly. Yeah.
[00:03:46.19] CHRISTEN KELLEY: All right. So these are some of the quick hits. So favorite movie?
[00:03:51.53] ALAN RINGVALD: You know, I grew up-- like, movies are actually kind of-- so I'm also an immigrant. I came here when I was four years old and didn't know any English. And actually, my parents couldn't afford a babysitter, so they actually bought cable. So I grew up watching movies it kind of is who I am. So it's like a very deep question, actually. It sounds like simple.
[00:04:15.66] So I don't actually have a favorite. But if you really want to-- if we're going to boil it down, it's probably like Back to the Future II, or like Karate Kid, the original-- like I, II, and III-- not IV. So yeah. Yeah.
[00:04:34.31] CHRISTEN KELLEY: Yeah. I think Back to the Future, it kind of just reminds you of-- I think of a certain generation that was part of us growing up-- all of those movies.
[00:04:42.91] ALAN RINGVALD: Exactly. Exactly. As a kid, I was like, that's a perfect movie. Nothing's ever going to be better than that. So yeah.
[00:04:50.84] CHRISTEN KELLEY: Yeah. And now I show my kids, and they're like-- because they're so used to, like, the way that all the special effects are now really funny.
[00:04:57.41] ALAN RINGVALD: I know. Totally.
[00:04:59.30] ALAN RINGVALD: Yeah. Yeah. Still want that Sports Almanac, though. Still looking for it--
[00:05:03.17] CHRISTEN KELLEY: Yeah. There you go.
[00:05:03.88] ALAN RINGVALD: --that thing. Yeah.
[00:05:04.50] CHRISTEN KELLEY: [LAUGHS] So do you have a favorite music genre?
[00:05:09.68] ALAN RINGVALD: Also a very tough question. I kind of like grew up-- like, the reason I even love music is just like listening to the Beatles growing up. Like, that was-- even from the early stuff all the way through, it was always the most impressionable.
[00:05:23.48] But as a child of the '90s, it's like I could not not say, like, '90s hip-hop would probably be like-- just like literally growing-- being like-- I'm aging myself, but kind of growing up in that era, I was like, this is incredible. This is the best. And I still at the end of the day go back there, even without anything new. So yeah, kind of like, I don't know, those two, probably.
[00:05:48.30] CHRISTEN KELLEY: Yeah. That's-- I mean, that's a wide spectrum, right? But I guess that's common for most people. There's not just one type of music that you listen to. It kind of depends on your mood or what you're trying to do, so--
[00:05:58.68] ALAN RINGVALD: Exactly.
[00:06:00.93] CHRISTEN KELLEY: So the last event that you purchased a ticket for and attended.
[00:06:07.44] ALAN RINGVALD: So I'm in Cleveland, Ohio right now. I actually just went to a Guardians game. It's a new name. So that was fun. I'm not a huge baseball guy, but I love sports, and I love going to live sporting events. And it was not disappointing. It's always super fun, mainly because I get to eat. It's almost like calories don't count at a professional sports stadium. So kind of went nuts there. Yeah.
[00:06:34.95] CHRISTEN KELLEY: So what do you get at the concession stand?
[00:06:37.65] ALAN RINGVALD: You get definitely a hot dog. You have to get multiple hot dogs, a lot of popcorn, some peanuts, just everything. Like, yeah. Just close your eyes and chomp on something. Yeah.
[00:06:51.27] CHRISTEN KELLEY: Yeah. So I live in Massachusetts, and so going to Fenway-- I would not consider myself a huge baseball fan, but there's something about the energy of going to the stadium to me. It's awesome.
[00:07:01.44] ALAN RINGVALD: Totally. Exactly. Exactly.
[00:07:04.41] CHRISTEN KELLEY: All right. So-- and, again, this would not be a podcast that Reid would be a part of we didn't talk about cars. So the first car you, I guess, drove-- whether you bought it, or it was given to you, but the first car you ever drove.
[00:07:19.77] ALAN RINGVALD: Yeah. No. And Reid's going to be disappointed, because I am not much of a car guy, but-- and so this might be an embarrassing answer. But my first car that I bought was actually-- and I don't know why-- but a Nissan Xterra, if you remember those cars.
[00:07:35.04] CHRISTEN KELLEY: Yes.
[00:07:35.28] ALAN RINGVALD: Kind of a funky looking-- it was white. It was bad. It was not a good idea looking back. And yeah, so not proud, but I just got to be honest with you.
[00:07:46.65] CHRISTEN KELLEY: It got you from point A to point B, right?
[00:07:49.05] ALAN RINGVALD: It did. It did. In some style, for sure. Yeah.
[00:07:53.31] CHRISTEN KELLEY: All right, and so what's your current vehicle?
[00:07:56.58] ALAN RINGVALD: Don't have one. Don't have one. Like, I've been-- I lived in LA for a long time. I'm kind of transitioning out of there, and not sure exactly where. But so I kind of gave everything up. And so Uber has been my primary mode of transportation. So I know I'm going to get beat up for that, but yeah. That's the truth.
[00:08:17.21] CHRISTEN KELLEY: I think it also depends on, like you said, where you are. You just-- you don't-- if you have a place that has decent public transportation or Uber access, there's really no need for it.
[00:08:29.55] ALAN RINGVALD: Yeah. Well, I appreciate you saying that. I'll get one eventually. But also, cars are like crazy right now. Like the supply chain, it's like-- I might have to wait. It's almost like buying a house. Like, now is not the time. You know, like, you got to wait till things settle. So yeah.
[00:08:44.97] CHRISTEN KELLEY: Yeah. All right. Well, I guess-- so my last question, why did you agree to be on the podcast with Reid?
[00:08:52.95] ALAN RINGVALD: I think Reid is a super interesting guy. He's just like-- he'll say what he thinks, and I appreciate that. I'm kind of the same way-- super transparent. And I think we're just going to have a blast just talking to each other.
[00:09:08.58] CHRISTEN KELLEY: All right. Well, we are looking forward to having you, and thanks for spending the time with us. And we'll have the longer interview with Reid coming up.
[00:09:17.18] ALAN RINGVALD: I can't wait. Thank you, Christen.