April 26, 2021

109. Introducing “What Can I Do?”

109. Introducing “What Can I Do?”

In Episode 109, Quinn & Brian try to help answer the eternal question: What can I do?

Our guest is Frank Buncom IV, Head of Product Management at AIRx Health, a ground-breaking digital health and remote monitoring service for patients with chronic conditions and COVID-19.

This episode is the first in a series of organic conversations with up-and-coming world changers. Frank is just 24 years old — barely out of college — and already has a passion for solving challenging problems that the world needs solving. 

As if revolutionizing healthcare wasn’t enough, Frank’s also working on prison reform, sustainability, and climate change. And he meditates! Jesus, Frank. It’s enough.

We talk about what drew him to the healthcare industry, adjusting the systems we build as we collect more data on how they work, and how identifying what you care about is the first step to creating lasting change.

Have feedback or questions? Tweet us, or send a message to questions@importantnotimportant.com

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Important, Not Important is produced by Crate Media

Transcript

Quinn:

Welcome to Important, Not Important. My name is Quinn Emmett, and this is science for people who give a shit. We usually give you the tools you need to fight for a better future for everyone, the context, straight from the smartest people on earth, and the action steps you can take to support their work. Today's a little different, and I'm really excited to get to it. Before we do a friendly reminder, you can send questions, thoughts, and feedback to us on Twitter @Importantnotimp, or start a conversation. You can also email us at questions@importantnotimportant.com. You can join tens of thousands of other smart folks to get the latest news analysis and what you can do about it from our free weekly newsletter at importantnotimportant.com.

Now, again, this week's episode is, it's a new thing, and I'm really excited to dig in. It's a new format, much more organic, so please bear with me, but it's the first in hopefully a new series of conversations with up-and-coming world changers, people who are just getting started. And, oh man, the first guest is just so indicative of what the young people around the world believe in and are capable of. His name is Frank Buncom IV, and I'm very excited for you to get to know him. So let's go do that now.

Our guest today is Frank Buncom IV, and together we're going to kind of start a new series of conversations here starting with Frank, I guess, with the name I'm making up right now, we can call it What Can I Do? And it's a question that I get so often, whether it's climate, or COVID, or healthcare, whatever it might be, philanthropic stuff. And I couldn't think of a more perfect guest to kick this off than my man Frank. Frank is driven, and kind, and curious, and I'm very excited to get into his work and his dreams and all his visions today. Frank has about 400 side projects and we're going to get into it. Frank, welcome.

Frank Buncom IV:

Thank you. I appreciate it. I'm excited to be on today and to talk about a few of the 400 side projects that we have cooking up.

Quinn:

I get it, man. I assume after our conversation that you're, whether you have the big whiteboard on the wall or notes docking, whatever it is, that's me, it's just like 40 things that were supposed to happen yesterday. And then there's the other things that did happen. And then the things that didn't, and that's just part of it. And that's how it goes.

Frank Buncom IV:

I'd say it's something like that, except it's all crammed in a big Notion document somewhere.

Quinn:

Perfecta. Notion, you've gone-

Frank Buncom IV:

I'm a big fan of Notion. Yes.

Quinn:

I got to get into it, man. I feel like I missed the boat on that thing. It's all the stuff in one place. Right? That's the whole thing?

Frank Buncom IV:

Yeah, that's the whole thing, and I like it. It's surpassed Google Drive for me. This is not an ad, but it's definitely past Google Drive for me.

Quinn:

That's awesome, man. All right. Well, you can sell me on Notion too. Let's do it. It's one of those things that, again, I'm like, "I'm going to do this," but I can't do it in five minutes a day if I'm going to commit to it. I need to take a week off and throw everything in there. All right. Hey, Frank, tell the people real quick who you are and what you do, in sort of the brief version. We'll explore everything. Tell us what you're working on.

Frank Buncom IV:

Yeah, absolutely. I run product management at AIRx Health right now, which is a health tech startup doing remote patient monitoring, essentially connecting doctors to their patients from home, so that can triage individuals for physicians. And we're currently focusing on chronic conditions such as chronic lung disease or COPD, blood pressure, hypertension management, as well as congestive heart failure or CHF. So we have an algorithm that can predict a patient's deterioration based off of their vitals and symptoms that they report to us. And then we use that information to alert their physicians so that they can hopefully handle these situations before they end up with their patient needing to be hospitalized.

So it's been a fun journey to work on. It's a lot of fun being on the product side and running the product management team, and kind of having this understanding for healthcare, which can be a complicated interweb of who's paying for the product, who's using the product, who's the product being used on. So it's really fun to detangle those things because it's tough. And I think myself, like a lot of individuals, like to handle or deal with and solve tough problems. So it's a lot of fun, and that's my day job. And of course, I'm certain at some point we'll make our way down the list of some other things that I'm working on as well.

Quinn:

For sure. Awesome, man. Tell us, you are, compared to me, a youthful human full of energy and passion for the world. Tell the people, how old are you and where were you before were at your current job?

Frank Buncom IV:

Yeah, absolutely. I'm 24 years old and I am relatively recently out of college. Two years. I graduated from Stanford University two years ago in which I played football there. And football has always been a massive part of my life. So sports, I'm still incredibly passionate about. I just don't put nearly as much time into it as I have since I was six years old. So yeah, I'm relatively young in the grand scheme of things. And this is my first gig out of college. I started with this company when we were about five months old and working on the product management side, and then kind of grew with the company and within it and taken on much more than I can chew at times. But I've started to learn how to consume more things that are on my plate, and as Quinn knows at this point, I like to have a lot of things on my plate. So it's definitely been fun experience for me.

Quinn:

That's awesome. Just wait until you have children. We'll have another conversation about all the things on your plate then.

Frank Buncom IV:

Yes, I might have to throw a lot off my plate at that point.

Quinn:

It literally just gets all dumped out the window. Awesome, man. Well, thank you for sharing that. Usually what we frame our main conversations is we have a little quick context for the topic at hand, whether that's like ocean acidification, or vaccines, or astroid deflection, or pediatric cancer, whatever. And then we dig into some action oriented questions. And then we talk about what everyone out there can do to support you in your mission and things like that. And we are going to do some of that, but again, it's a little different. So you and I are going to kind of fill this thing out together. I do want to retain the question we usually use to set the tone for these conversations. And it's a little ridiculous, and usually people laugh, but then we usually get some really great answers out of them. So instead of saying, "Frank, tell us your entire life story." I like to ask, Frank, why are you vital to the survival of the species?

Frank Buncom IV:

You would think I would be prepared for this question after listening to a few podcast episodes, but boy, I did not prepare for this one.

Quinn:

Come on, you even cheated. You should be ready.

Frank Buncom IV:

I should be ready.

Quinn:

Be bold, man, be honest.

Frank Buncom IV:

You know I should be ready, but I think this is a tough one to answer, but I think I am vital to the advancement of our species. I personally believe that each of us are here for a reason, for a purpose to fulfill, and our planet, whether that is progressing our species, protecting our planet, our earth, that gives us life and sustains us. So I think I'm one of the many puzzle pieces that fits into that journey. And I think that makes me unique and vital in a sense. But I think that can be extended to each and every one of us, which I know we'll talk more later about what each one of us can do, no matter how small or large that role is, whether we're leader of a Fortune 500 corporation, or the janitor at that Fortune 500 corporation, we all kind of fit into the larger scheme of things. And I'm excited that I'm starting to find my role and find my path in that. So I don't know how well that answers your question, but-

Quinn:

It's great.

Frank Buncom IV:

... that's kind of how I see things through that lens.

Quinn:

I love it, man. I love it. Thank you for sharing that. It's a weird one to be put on the spot. I think Brian asked me once and I just completely dodged the question. So I appreciate you actually answering it.

Frank Buncom IV:

Of course. I almost wanted to say, "I don't fucking know. I have no clue."

Quinn:

But that's a great answer too, man. I mean, we get some great people who are newsflash like, "I'm not," but then they go on this three-minute thing, not dissimilar from what you said, which is like, "Everybody's got a role to play. Everybody's a piece of the puzzle, we just don't know where the hell it goes yet." And that's pretty important. We're all trying to figure it out. Even if, like you said, you're already some CEO, or the janitor, or a college grad, or whatever, we're all trying to figure this thing out. So listen, this is the part where we usually, again, set up some context and give medical statistics, or ocean statistics, or whatever it might be. I want to talk about one thing that I think you're really going to get into. So, have you ever heard of Bell Labs?

Frank Buncom IV:

I have, yes.

Quinn:

Yeah. So it was this joint, years ago in the mid 20th century, that drove a lot of this sort of technological innovative stuff. And it was famous for, and you hear about like Pixar modeling it when Steve Jobs built the building for Pixar where you go down the hallway and you've got chemistry here, and mathematics here, and physics here, and whatever it might be. And the point is they all kind of got to run together and it can spawn more ideas and more innovation. Right?

Frank Buncom IV:

Right.

Quinn:

And so Pixar does the same thing, where there's like two bathrooms in the entire building and everybody has to run into each other, and you'd think like some conversations are going to come up and people are just going to spark new ideas.

So, there was this guy, and I wrote a piece about this a couple of weeks ago, by the time this comes out, there was a guy, this mathematician who was amazing, his name was Richard Hamming. And so he gave a speech about his time at Bell Labs. And I think it was 1986, I believe, 1989, something like that. And he described, among everything else, and we'll put this in the show notes, a pretty brutally honest series of lunch conversations he had with these guys from the chemistry department, keep in mind he was in the math department. So as he put it, and I'll kind of read this part of the speech, he said, "I went over and I said, 'Do you mind if I join you?' In the lunch room." And he said, "They can't say no, so I started eating with them for a while. And I started asking, 'What are the important problems of your field?'"

Now, just to stop there, you have to understand this is a very curious person, but he was also interested in knowing if they knew what the important problems of their field might ... And then he said, "After a week or so, I said, 'What important problems are you working on?' And after some more time, I came in one day and said, 'if what you are doing is not important, and if you don't think it's going to lead to something important, why are you at Bell Labs working on it?'" And I think it's this really interesting way of looking at all these just enormous complex, comprehensive, systemic problems that we've got in the world, right?

Frank Buncom IV:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Quinn:

We can say like, "Oh, we have to fight climate change," which is actually 7,000 different things that all interact in a huge variety of different ways, right?

Frank Buncom IV:

Right.

Quinn:

Or like, "We've got to fix public health," which is just enormously complicated, from food, to water, to air, to treatment, to insurance, all this different stuff. Right?

Frank Buncom IV:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Quinn:

Most of the systems were designed by white guys. They're pretty racist, and that's coming through in all of these different manifestations, but it requires both understanding your field, understanding how your field interacts with other fields, understanding the first principles of these problems. Like what are the immovable pieces of it? And then looking at them and going like, "How can I actually work on those things?" And in the context of us talking today and how I have conversations with, again, offline in sort of coaching with some of these CEOs and such, it's thinking about, is this a moment where you, or your company, or your industry can ask, "What do we make and why do we make it?"

And if it's not contributing to fixing those problems, or even identifying those problems, much less working on them, it might be a good moment considering all the transformational things that need to happen and are going to happen, to ask like, "Should we start over?" Right?

Frank Buncom IV:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Quinn:

And some people shouldn't start over. Some people are already doing the thing. Some people are at the beginning of their journey like you, and are doing one thing and filling out 400 others. Some are volunteering or doing it through philanthropy. There's all these amazing ways. Right? But the key is, there's so much to do, and we're in such an amazing place, we're in such a potentially fraught place, and every single one of us, like you had in your answer, can contribute to any of these world's most important problems in really a fundamental way. And it starts with sort of identifying like, "What are my values? What are my skills? What brings me joy?" All this different shit. Right?

Frank Buncom IV:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Quinn:

And I'm really interested in, like we said before we got going, about the thousands and frankly millions of folks like you who are just getting started doing awesome shit. So I'm happy to keep doing sort of this side coaching and all this stuff, generalists like, "This is how the world is changing," and stuff. But I'm really excited to really hone this method of helping folks like you understand like, "Where can I have an impact? Why do I want to have an impact? What is influencing me to do this? How do I like to work?" Et cetera, et cetera, what can you do essentially?

So, for your case, Frank, this job that you're working on, that's so cool, and couldn't be better time for something like COVID, frankly, it's ridiculous, it's working on one of those important problems. Right? And I'm curious, why do you do that job? What made you take the role? Let's start with the company itself. Actually, let's back up. Let's start with the industry itself. Why are you working in healthcare?

Frank Buncom IV:

Yeah, absolutely. First, I love how you framed that, with that story. I think that is definitely incredible. And it can ground you to really sit and have those, kind of take that time to think about if what I'm doing is important. I think that that in itself is important to take that time to do so, but I think why I'm working in healthcare, I grew up wanting to be a neurosurgeon since I was roughly seven years old. And it took me a while to kind of figure out exactly why did I want to be a neurosurgeon from such a young age? And I think YouTube was pretty popular when I was young. Obviously I'm not that old. I used to grow up watching YouTube videos of brain surgeries. I'd just go and type in brain surgery.

Quinn:

What?

Frank Buncom IV:

And this is like 11 years old just watching-

Quinn:

Frank, what?

Frank Buncom IV:

... like a skull be removed. And my dad, who is just complete weak stomach individual, he can not watch it, I'd just be sitting there like, "I don't know, am I off?" Maybe. I'd definitely watch them while I was eating too. It doesn't affect me at all. So yeah, I grew up with this pool and was always fascinated by the brain and neurosurgery. And it didn't fully crystallize for me until probably quite a few years later. I think when I was in high school, my dad kind of had the thought, and I think right around that time when I was seven, a little bit after that, my grandmother passed away from pneumococcal meningitis, which is essentially the infection of a pneumococcal bacteria and her brain and the surrounding tissues, like the spinal cord, et cetera. And she passed away pretty quickly from it.

It was rather sudden, she was in her 60s, lived a full life. Well, full-ish, almost knocking on a door, a full life, but it was pretty sudden, and I don't think I fully registered that as a child, but maybe subconsciously I did. And that's where my draw to healthcare came, as I see how you can impact lives and really change not just the individual's life, but their loved ones. Then that really drew me to healthcare so much and I think that's why I'm still in the industry and see it as my number one passion.

Quinn:

I appreciate you sharing that, man. So you used to sit there and eat lucky charms and watch brains be removed from skulls? So we're different in that respect.

Frank Buncom IV:

Yes.

Quinn:

When your grandma was diagnosed and then passed away from something that I, from what I, again, I have extremely limited understanding of, how did that, because she didn't just get cancer. Right?

Frank Buncom IV:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Quinn:

Which is something that can be very complicated, but is almost more commonly understood in a layman's version. Did you feel like this thing that you'd nerded out on so hard about prepared you for something like that, and how do you feel that affected you over those next few years?

Frank Buncom IV:

Yeah. It's tough to say given my youth at the time, exactly what was correlated with one another, but it definitely gave me probably more of an understanding of what was happening than the average ten-year-old at that point. And it was a damn moment when it happened, particularly because my grandmother lived two houses down from me. Actually, I'm here home in San Diego right now and the house two houses down from mine, we still call my grandma's house, it's a house where one of her brothers lives in the home now, but we also refer to it as my grandma's house. So we're definitely very, very close. I'd see her every single day. So it was a big change in the life of a child, and I'm not too certain how the hell it affected me, but it was like, "Fuck, she's gone and she's gone for a reason that is related to these random, strange videos that I'm watching for a reason that I couldn't even tell you." So it crystallizes something strange, but I can't put my finger on exactly what the hell it was.

Quinn:

Sure. I mean, people get into things for a thousand different reasons, right?

Frank Buncom IV:

Right.

Quinn:

I mean, some people get into the medical profession or to be an attorney because it's good money, or because they like to work long hours, or because they like contracts, or they like beating people in a courtroom. It seems like you have, besides rubbing these YouTube videos in your dad's face, it seems like you've always wanted to help people. Do you feel like that continued or was enhanced after that? And how do you feel that translates to taking the job you did in healthcare?

Frank Buncom IV:

Yeah, I think it was greatly enhanced by that, to be honest. Maybe a year or two after that, when I first started at the very beginning of high school, my sister and I started up a small organization that we called Young Christians Making a Difference, in which we'd make basic sandwiches and go out and hand them out to individuals experiencing houselessness in San Diego, or we would sell candy illegally at our high schools. I actually had to talk to my principal about that. We'd sell candy at our high schools in order to raise money for an orphanage in Tijuana, Mexico called Hogar Infantil La Gloria. So I definitely think that kind of sparked something within us, within my household, and this nature feeding into wanting to give back and to help. And I think that's kind of tied into, that like the overarching theme of all of my side projects that I work on.

They're in various sectors, obviously my full-time job is in healthcare. My side project that's taking most of my time right now, at least cognitively, is in the social justice prison reform space. And I'm also working with a clothing brand that has a mission to inspire others. And the brand is called Feed Love, and it has the mission to inspire others to give love. And we also do some small events as well, which I was just this past weekend handing out some food to individuals experiencing houselessness in San Diego. So, that bit has been a theme throughout my life. So all of these things, these areas that I'm touching, I think the central theme would probably be trying to help others.

Quinn:

I love that. I love how early that started for you. I love that it got you in trouble with the principal. I mean, I got in trouble with the principal for entirely different reasons. So I'm thankful for people like you out there. It seems as though giving sandwiches to folks who are homeless, working on clothing, helping with prison reform, your specific job at your specific telehealth, for lack of a better word, company in a healthcare industry, all seem to fit this practical niche of specifically helping folks who are without something, who are already suffering in a specific way. When you're homeless, I mean, look, this country says it provides for the ability to pursue life, and liberty, and happiness, but you can't do that without clean air, and water, and food, and shelter, and we do a poor job of those things.

So you were giving food to people who at least didn't have two of those things, shelter and food. And again, maybe you can go over the details of what your job is and what your company does, this first company you're working for, which is providing this remote monitoring for folks who are suffering. When we do a poor job of, so much of our system is designed to be reactive, and that's such a big part of our problem, right?

Frank Buncom IV:

Exactly.

Quinn:

Is everybody just goes to the emergency room. We don't emphasize wellness. We don't emphasize primary care physicians. Everybody doesn't have insurance. Doctors only get four hours of nutrition training in school. Everything is designed to be reactive in surgery and medicinal. But what you're doing is you're trying to help people who already have these conditions along the way. Does that feel like that fits in there?

Frank Buncom IV:

Yeah, absolutely. And you hit the theme right on the now. That's what our company is trying to transform our healthcare system from its reactive state to being more proactive. So in a sense, a lot of physicians, especially these elderly patients that I work with with chronic conditions, you might see them every few months, if not every year. And then the other times that you see them are when they're hospitalized, whether that's going to the emergency room or coming in a little bit too late, and then their issue requires hospitalization. What we're trying to do in effect is be able to monitor these patients in a way that doesn't add too much of a workload onto our physicians. And because that's just a non-starter, it can be burdensome on their workflows, or their nurse practitioners, or whatever.

And essentially what we're trying to do is create a platform that can monitor these patients and then send a physician a meaningful alert when a patient is trending in a direction, their disease state is trending in a direction that we don't want it to go. So that practitioner has the ability to interact and engage with that patient, whether that's a telehealth visit or that's having them come in in person for a visit before they require hospitalization. And that should have been great benefits for everybody. The patient is able to lead a healthier life. Hopefully we can reduce mortality as well as morbidity. So just that oftentimes with these patients in their disease state, as they get worse ... You and I, we get a cold, we're at our baseline health, and we get a cold, we're a little bit less healthy. We get over our cold, and then we get back to where we're at healthy. Oftentimes with these disease states, they get a little bit worse and then that's their new baseline. You don't get back to that old state of healthy.

So our hope is that by preventing these hospitalizations, that we can increase the amount of time that these patients get, where they're healthy, where they can be active. And hopefully we can make our mark here in this country, obviously. But the aspiration is in the long-term to help on other countries as well, and kind of shift our healthcare infrastructure on its head.

Quinn:

So, you always hear about these typically white male, Silicon Valley founders who are investing in defeating aging, living longer, things like that. Well, a huge majority of our country doesn't have healthcare. And we just had this wonderful conversation, two recently, but one that sticks with me, because of how immediately impactful it is, with Congressman Lauren Underwood from Illinois about she's working on this act called the Momnibus Act, and it's 12 bills around black mortality for mothers for soon to be mothers and new mother, because black moms around pregnancy and then the year after die at three to four times the rate of white moms in this country.

And so it's about making sure that these women get to survive, but as usual, and especially with COVID too, we focus a lot on just the deaths. And the percentage, the multiple of people who suffer, even if they don't die, and it's the same thing with COVID, with long COVID, things like that, or diabetes, or whatever it might be, or like you said, COPD, or mental health, there's a huge percentage of people that are suffering. And it seems as though, with what you do at this company, you're trying to, and again, it's a little bit of the reactive, right? Which is intervening before it becomes too big of an issue, right? This active monitoring, because there's some reaction that's always going to be necessary, it's the degree, and it's getting there before someone has to go to the hospital, right? Whether they've taken care of themselves or not, whether the system's taking care of them or not.

It's almost like increasing the quality of life as opposed to just the longevity. Right? And you talked about how, when you have one of these issues, one of these conditions, whether it's inherited or not, or comprised of both, that, like you said, there's a new baseline once you have them. And that's not too dissimilar from going to prison, is it?

Frank Buncom IV:

Right. Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah.

Quinn:

Which is that we not only put far too many people in prison and far over index on black Americans, but even when you get out, there's a different baseline than when you went in, before you went in for the first time. And that's a big piece of reform. Why don't you talk a little bit about what you're doing there and why that matters.

Frank Buncom IV:

Yeah, absolutely. I'll definitely jump further than that before that. I'm really glad that you pulled on that thread of this focus on life extension, because I definitely think it's a really interesting one. And like you mentioned on the COVID piece, mortality is important. It's important to think about the deaths that COVID has caused. But oftentimes that argument is used to try to dismiss how impactful COVID has been on us as a society, because morbidity or the conditions that people live with after just gets completely overlooked, it's like people aren't dying at a crazy rate, so whatever. But I think that misses, like not talking about morbidity, misses the point by a mile, because like you mentioned, the long COVID and so on and so forth.

And just in regards to the life extension piece, really what is five more years at the end of one's life if they're all heavily disease-ridden years. And that's what we're trying to avoid and trying to work towards is that obviously reduction and mortality as well, but making sure that there's an emphasis on morbidity and living long healthy lives, and not just long lives, because as Drake said, "He's here for a good time. Not a long time." I like to find myself somewhere in the middle. I want to be around for decently long, but I want it to be a good time to show. So I want to go a little bit more middle ground on that one. But yeah, shifting a little bit to that new baseline piece that you mentioned in regards to prison, and that, my God, that industry, kind of that complex.

A lot of the work that I've been doing there is with a group called Forbes IGNITE. I'm not sure if you're familiar with it? It's a relatively young company, it's an affiliate of Forbes Magazine. Essentially a social change making organization for people looking to connect with other folks, hoping to try ambitious and novel concepts, which I'm trying. So one of the main things that I'm focusing on is how can we shift prison revenue modeling from receiving stipends for housing inmates, towards tying it to recidivism rates? I'm huge on incentive structures. I think incentive structures run the world innocence, and we're all playing into these incentive structures. That's why there's the whole capitalism, versus socialism, versus communism, all debate, blah, blah, blah. It really just boils down to like which incentive structures are you creating, what the different isms that you want to debate.

Quinn:

Sure, and look at what we've designed so far. You've got the prescription industry, that the incentives are based on how much of what that you prescribe, or that were based on surgeries, or that the charters of public companies are specifically to return value to shareholders. And they've succeeded at every one of those, but unfortunately now the seas are rising and it's a nightmare. So we have to recalibrate those things.

Frank Buncom IV:

Yeah, absolutely. We are surprisingly good as a society at accomplishing all the incentives that are set in front of us. So I think we do the best that we can at setting them at the groundwork. Obviously hindsight is 2020 innocence, but we need to do better at restructuring these incentive modelings as we get more information, and we get more data. We do that with everything else, right? Like with our machine learning, we get more data then we restructure the model. Why aren't we doing that with some of our systems as well? So that's what I've been working on in regards to trying to shift prison reform.

And my goodness, it is hard as hell. It is hard to test that hypothesis, to structure it. And because these systems are so entrenched, and I'm trying to leverage Forbes IGNITE and some of their connections, but what potential ward in our municipality is going to talk to this 24-year-old kid with this idea that wants to prototype and see how the hell to make it work. So it's been a long haul. It's definitely tough. And I think at this point, I just need to talk to more people about it, because I think there's potential for realigning this infrastructure there, it's just hard as hell to make any traction on it.

Quinn:

So on that note, I would love for you to be a little more specific about what is your typical first step for attempting to have those conversations. And I guess, what is the typical obstacle, again, if you can be specific on what you're running into.

Frank Buncom IV:

Yeah, absolutely. So essentially like I said, in short, prisons are getting paid for how many people they house. Incentive is to house more people. Just plain and simple. And I'm not certain how familiar individuals are with recidivism, but it's essentially individuals that leave prison and return, and the lower your recidivism rate is, which should be tied to being a rehabilitation center, like our carceral system claims to be, claims to rehabilitate individuals so that they can pay their time for whatever they did, their debt to society, come back out into society and be functioning members of society. But that isn't often the case.

Often individuals come out of these institutions worse off, like you mentioned, Quinn, with this lower baseline, and some of the biggest issues that I've gotten, the biggest obstacles that I've run into, has been, not to mention any specific individuals, but I've gotten a few initial kind of meetings with some individuals at various municipalities. And in short, the conversation essentially ends with, "This is impossible," in regards to the prison industry or the lobbyists wouldn't let this happen, in a sense. So that-

Quinn:

Sorry, this is when you're meeting with the municipality, not with the specific prison itself?

Frank Buncom IV:

Yes, exactly. that may be where I need to shift kind of who I'm talking to in a sense, but the power lies with the municipalities that are actually more so probably higher up in the state level, and the state and federal, as far as that's who writes the checks. The prisons are the ones cashing the money, but the people who write the checks are the states and the federal governments. And so that's the angle that I was trying to talk to initially. But essentially they're saying, "This would be far too difficult to accomplish," at least the initial individuals, and that's the obstacle that I've been running into thus far.

So it's been tough to build any traction, and I haven't had an opportunity yet to engage with individuals who are running prisons, like wardens or correction officers within facilities. I haven't had that opportunity yet. I would think that they wouldn't jump at the opportunity, but I could be incredibly wrong. And I want to be positive and kind of optimistic. So I could be incredibly wrong. So that might be next step for me.

Quinn:

I appreciate your dedication to realistic optimism, but also your dedication to hoping that you're wrong, which is sort of the goal of science, isn't it? Which is just like, "I don't know, we'll find out."

Frank Buncom IV:

Yeah. And I've been waiting for somebody just to tell me like, "This is a bad idea. This is not a good idea." And I haven't gotten that yet, which tells me there might be something there.

Quinn:

So you're not being defeated on the idea. You're being defeated sort of at the first door of this wouldn't work.

Frank Buncom IV:

Yes. As far as, not necessarily idea, but this would be too hard to implement. We have other things that we're trying to accomplish.

Quinn:

Did they give specific reasons?

Frank Buncom IV:

Primarily does a lot of other things that they're trying to accomplish, especially oftentimes we're talking to elected officials, and elected officials, usually when they're campaigning, they've made certain promises or guarantees to their constituents that oftentimes are high priority. And if the promises that they made to their constituents aren't necessarily prison reform, then generally isn't the top of their list. They want to get their things knocked off that they told so hopefully they get reelected, and that's kind of the incentive structure of politics for better or worse. I mean, we want our constituents to be accountable to the people that voted them in. So I don't know if that's a good or bad thing in a sense, but it's just something that I've definitely run into a few times now.

Quinn:

It seems like maybe trying to get into the ear of some of these folks running for office or existing incumbents, so that you can be the prerogative on that sense, versus some of ... I'm sure there's, again, prison reform is an enormously complex issue. And so there's a thousand different inputs and a thousand different things that do need to be fixed and work together. I mean, untangling things like this, like climate or public health, are incredibly complicated and there's going to be a lot of obstacles and roadblocks and trial and error. But it seems like there shouldn't be any reason why this shouldn't become something that is discussed so that it can come a little more top-down. If the obstacle seems to be top-down, then it seems like that's where we might need to go.

Frank Buncom IV:

Yeah. I definitely think so, but there's definitely been some super useful things that have come out of these conversations, outside of just me feeling a little bit defeated. There's definitely been some optimism. And one kind of thread that came up that I hadn't thought about previously was in regards to how we think about upskilling and reskilling inmates, so that we can truly have rehabilitation centers that rehabilitate and give the inmates a skill so that when they leave the carceral system, that they can be a functioning member of society.

And the one thing that I heard that really resonated with me, was like how can we see the individual's crime and turn that into a positive that can be used within our society? And one that came to mind was like a drug dealer, whether it's a low level or a mid tier drug dealer, and seeing that drug dealer as potentially a logistics expert, because that's what they were doing in a sense. I'm like, what could they potentially be connected with an Amazon, or a FedEx, or any of these huge logistics companies that we have and translate those skills, because I'm certain those skills are probably quite translatable. So yeah, that's another interesting thread that I've been trying to pull on as well.

Quinn:

It's interesting. My sister has gone back and forth over the past 10 years or so from working on both Obama campaigns to being a teacher for learning disabled marginalized kids. It's like teaching times three, to going back to doing data science and some more policy type things on the corporate and philanthropic level. And then back down to one-on-one. It seems like you didn't become a doctor yet. I mean, you're only 24, Jesus, you have a thousand years left. It's ridiculous. I'm so tired. You have so much time. But it seems like you're trending a little more towards, you're also not a criminal defense lawyer, it seems like you're trending a little more towards, again, finding ways to raise that baseline for folks who are suffering and doing that on a bit of a broader scope. Because you're not a doctor, you're not working on one person at a time. Do you feel like that was a conscious decision? I mean, again, you're 24, it's been like six months.

Frank Buncom IV:

Yeah, I appreciate that, man. My body definitely feels older than it is, probably because of years of playing football.

Quinn:

I mean, I have thing that I have lost in my office since you graduated college, it's ridiculous. I don't even understand. But I'm curious, because again, you can go back and forth and people do that and it's great. I mean, no one stays in one job or one field or one application of the things that they're good at for a long time. And if you're working at a corporation, let's say your company becomes much bigger, or gets acquired, you would work your way up the ladder. And as you work your way up the ladder of these things, you actually work less on the nitty gritty and more on broader mission type things. But it's good to have both things, but it's interesting. It seems like you're a little more focused on, I don't want to say policy, but sort of the practical implementation of these broader implications, that are still very definable, but it's not one-on-one. Do you find that that's become more attractive to you?

Frank Buncom IV:

Yes. You couldn't have described that more perfectly.

Quinn:

Great. I'm done. See you.

Frank Buncom IV:

I think that the biggest reason why I think I decided not to take the plunge directly into medical school, because I did all the pre-med courses and such while I was at Stanford, and I think the biggest reason why I didn't is because I was unsure about how much I wanted to just focus solely within healthcare. And now healthcare is massive, and yes, you can do one-on-one patient care. You could also run a hospital. You could also be working within healthcare policy. But I think I was a little uncertain about if I just wanted to primarily be in this field and committing another four years in medical school, then another one or two residency. That always seemed like a hefty commitment for where I was at mentally. And now I can definitely say that there's a 3% chance that I go on to medical school, because kind of what we've talked about during this time, I have so many passions and interests that are broad, that are pretty broad-sweeping.

Like I want to continue to work within healthcare, but I want to also work within prison reform, and work within sustainability and climate and what we can do in that space, and all of these different areas. So I'm going to be honest with you, the thought has been in the back of my mind, I never saw myself as a politician. I still don't. And I don't know if I want to do it. But in the back of my mind, it's been simmering about how I can be more involved within policy, just because it touches everything. It truly does, whether it's healthcare, all these concepts that we've talked about, politics kind of seeps into our lives for better or for worse, or whether we want to or we don't.

So that's kind of where I potentially see myself heading in maybe 10, 15, or as you like to say, a thousand years maybe. Maybe I will end up being more in that space, whether it is being a politician and so forth or working more closely with organizations that do, such as like a Code for America, or organizations of that manner. I definitely see myself working towards the policy lens because the impact that you can have is just 10X whatever other industry in a sense, just because you can touch so many things, and I have so many interests.

Quinn:

Yeah, for sure. Do you feel like you have a pretty good sense of, and this is always interesting coming out of college, you were an athlete with a very busy schedule like I was. So I think it's definitely, I mean, athletics in college is an entirely different lifestyle than ... People can do a thousand different things in college. You can be very busy with clubs and you can be very busy with whatever it might be, or you're a TA, or whatever it might be. But athletics, it's a logistical nightmare. I mean, it's crazy. Just the pure volume of time, but also what that time takes out of you, right?

Frank Buncom IV:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Quinn:

Because you're just exhausted, and you're hurt, and you're broken, and you're traveling, and all these different things. And again, I realize that this was three days ago that you finished, but with having this important and very practical job that you're doing, and that you're invested in, and yet finding yourself attracted to these other things, that again are practical and are addressing a specific need, which is to reestablish sort of this baseline of how people are able to live their lives after they have suffered, or while they're suffering from whatever our systems have designed for them.

I mean, so many of these morbidities for people you treat, a lot of them are inherited, but even those things that they've inherited, or things that they haven't, don't have to be that way. I mean, there's entire societies that don't have these morbidities that we do. And we've seen that those then were extreme liabilities for these folks when something like COVID hits. Right?

Frank Buncom IV:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Quinn:

Do you feel like you have a good sense of how you're using your energy and your time? Do you feel pulled in a lot of different directions, or do you feel like it's manageable because you're young, and spry, and all of those things?

Frank Buncom IV:

I think because because I play collegiate sports and had that time drain, which it is, and commitment, and having to get so many other things done because the pre-med classes that I took at Stanford were not easy by any stretch of the imagination.

Quinn:

I mean, what do you even do? It's ridiculous. It's hard enough, man.

Frank Buncom IV:

I don't know what I was doing. I'm telling you, if I knew about three or four years ago that I was probably not going to go to medical school, man, my GPA would be a lot better, I tell you.

Quinn:

That's a different conversation for you and me to have. Yeah, I get you.

Frank Buncom IV:

But yeah, I think as soon as I decided that I was going to stop playing football, I had a lot more time for about a day, and then I started to pile that time back in with various different things. And I think maybe I'm wired that way. I like to be busy. I would often joke during college that I hate free time, but I don't necessarily see it in that sense. I more so frame it personally as using that free time to work on things, work on passion projects.

So after I finish my "day job", usually around 6:00 or 7:00 PM, I'll take a little break, eat some dinner with family, and then I'll start working on one of my passion projects for maybe an hour or two a night, a little bit on the weekends. And it brings me so much joy that I don't necessarily see it as work. So I definitely think from that football background of giving that so much time, I'm used to that because I'd get out of football practice at 6:00 PM, 7:00 PM, get treatment, because my body was beat up, get treatment for an hour, take an ice bath shower, go to dinner, and get back. And I was like, "Okay, it's 8:30 PM. Time to start my homework." So I'm kind of used to that life.

Quinn:

Side note. How much do you miss the training room?

Frank Buncom IV:

Oh, it was so lovely for my body.

Quinn:

It's the greatest thing in the world, right?

Frank Buncom IV:

Oh my God, yes. Yes. Actually, I hadn't gotten a massage since I stopped playing football, and I just got a massage this past Wednesday, and my goodness, wow.

Quinn:

Oh my God, right?

Frank Buncom IV:

Yeah.

Quinn:

You realize how much you take it for granted when you come out and realize like, "Oh," there were just a fleet of people, and machines, and hot tubs, and ice baths, and whatever you wanted, anytime of day, who were like, "Let me take care of you." And let me tell you, Frank, that's not how the rest of life goes.

Frank Buncom IV:

I'm already feeling it. I know you're saying it's three days ago, but I'm feeling it.

Quinn:

I get you.

Frank Buncom IV:

I think I might try to walk down the street. Might go right around Stanford, walk down the street, see if I could sneak in again and just act like I still play there.

Quinn:

I know, just take me back. So yeah, I mean, it's interesting, right? I really don't want to use these conversations as giving advice, because obviously we have entirely different aspirations and backgrounds and all these different things, but kind of like parenting. There's some universal things that are applicable. And one of the things about being sort of a former athlete when you've spent your entire life doing it. I played 12 sports, all these things, but especially college sports where you walk in on day one and theoretically for the very first time, your time is yours. You have all the time in the world, except for you have to go to practice and you have all these things and you've got to figure out how to make them work. And I know your family has a long history of exceptional athletics as well.

So it's interesting when you get to be the adult side and you're figuring out what you want to do and how you spend your time. We find ourselves feeling, and often it's true that we're very capable of doing a lot at once, because that's what we've always done, and we have figured that out. But it's very easy to make our load and our limit the same thing, which is to always fill up up to our limit, because that's kind of what we've always done and we've managed. I mean, Jesus, you did football and pre-med, which is just preposterous, and you had a life and all these things, but it's interesting and it's helpful to take care of yourself and be able to take a step back and go like, "Am I spending my time and my energy in a way that is hesitate to your self-care, but also in a way that considers like am I using this in the most productive way for myself and for these things that I want to do?" Because I'll tell you, again, as you go on and you get to parenting and things like that, the constraints come at you fast.

So, I'm going to say something to you, and I want you to respond with sort of the first instinct that comes to mind. And it's from a conversation we had, hell, I don't know, at this point, I mean, time is a flat circle, a year and a half ago, I don't know, with this wonderful author. I'm not going to say her name, because if you've read her, I don't want to give it away. She's an author, she's an editor, and she's a wonderful thinker, and there's this quote in her book that is something that she considers and uses to sort of guide her decision-Making about her work and how she lives her life and all that stuff. She's an old person like me.

Frank Buncom IV:

Stop it.

Quinn:

And I want you to respond with sort of the first instinct that comes to mind, and it is how can I be a better ancestor?

Frank Buncom IV:

I think the first step to becoming a better ancestor is first finding what you care about. There's a lot of important things that can be worked on that you can make your life's work to leave your legacy. Whether that is the planet, healthcare, lifting people out of poverty, et cetera, or it could be fashion and making clothes that make people feel empowered. There's a variety of things, infinite in a sense, and finding what you care about I think would be the first step to that. So then you can decide how do you divide your time in order to work on the things that you care about? And some people have things set up the correct way in that, or the ideal way, in that their job, what puts food on the table, is also something that they're incredibly passionate about. So that helps with a lot. But a lot of times that isn't the case.

So I'd say find what you care about, ensure that you're giving yourself the time to work on that if possible for you, and then pass those lessons down to your offspring, to the people that you raised, to the people whose lives that you touch. And then thinking about my ancestors, like my grandmother and the stories that I've heard about my grandfather, and some other individuals in my family, the main theme that I recall from all these stories that I learned about the individuals that came before me is I get to hear about what mattered to them, and why it mattered to them and what they did about it. And from my grandma in particular, education was huge for her.

She was passionate about education and what that could do for her children and change their lives. So she became a teacher and then was a principal at a school here in San Diego for several years. So that's the core theme that I take down from all of these lessons. So I think that is what I would want to bestow, as well as having a clear definition of what I care about, why I care about it, and what the hell I did about it. Because I think if you don't have that third one, and there's things that you cared about and you didn't do shit, I would hate to look back and like, "Whatever happens to the climate, happens, our world." And to look back and say like, "Well, I didn't do shit about it. I cared about it."

It's one thing if you don't care. Okay, if you don't care, you don't care, but if you care about it and you know why you care about it, and then you don't do shit, I wouldn't want to pass that down. So those three things and how they tie together, I think is the first thing that comes to mind for me.

Quinn:

Thank you for sharing all that. I mean, they do pass down all the positives and negatives, right? One of the best things, and the hardest things, and most helpful and empathetic things that happens basically over your next 10 years is discovering that your parents are real people, humans. And along that, and after that, these things get passed down whether you want them to or not. Right?

Frank Buncom IV:

Right.

Quinn:

How you're remembered as an ancestor get passed down. And that's one of the things I love about that question. And the author's name is Bina and she made this point, she said, "I'm probably not going to have children that don't have children," but this applies to my nieces and nephews, and it applies to the whole world. And this book, you would love, it's called the Optimist's Telescope, and we'll put that in the show notes. But it's such a practical question, whether you have kids or not, or you're a teacher, or whatever it might be, it's such a purposeful question, because again, there's going to be things where like, "Frank was really great. He did all these things. He fixed healthcare. There's nobody in prisons anymore. Everything is perfect. But boy, the way that guy brushed his teeth drove everybody crazy." There's always going to be things, right?

Frank Buncom IV:

Right.

Quinn:

But man, if you can find that question, whether you've got kids or not, or you're an old grandparent deciding what stories to share before you pass on, it can both selfishly influence your legacy, if we want to call it that. But it can also help, not dictate the future, but help show people this is what you can do with the time you have. I don't know how much of a super nerd you are like I am, especially with people who've come down to a lot of token this year, which is there's this great quote. And I think it's the original Fellowship of the Ring from Lord of the Rings where Frodo's complaining and he complains half the time about, "I wish this didn't happen to me. I wish it didn't happen right now." And Gandalf, the old wizard's like, "Totally get it. I get it. I feel you. But the only thing, we can't control all that shit." And this is very Buddhist too, right?

Frank Buncom IV:

Yeah.

Quinn:

And it's very stoic, essentially. A lot of people are on the stoicism these days, which is like, there's so much you can't control, man. All you can control is what you do with the time you've got. And you can start to both write that story for yourself, and also then later tell that story in a way that hopefully will have an impact later so that you're a better ancestor. You've not only raised the baseline. You've not only made your shoes bigger to fill, which is an awesome goal for folks, over frustrating it might be as a kid at first, you've raised the baseline for a lot of people because you are working on this really broad level, but in a really practical level, but you're also hopefully making that a little better for those kids out there. Like it sounds like your parents did and your grandma did for you. It's a really impactful question. I think about it all the time.

Frank Buncom IV:

Yeah, absolutely. And I'm definitely going to simmer more on that after as well, but I think it's an awesome question. The only thing that I'd add onto that is something that often comes to mind that I'm often thinking about, is I think a lot of people know the adage of people don't remember what you say. They remember how they made you feel. I find oftentimes it's truer and truer time and time again, especially when there's individuals that I haven't talked to in so long. I'm like, "I have no idea the last thing I talked to this person about. Can't remember a thing, but I can't wait to see that person again," just because I know how they made me feel.

So given that, I'd hope that my descendants, whether direct descendants or, I already have a niece and two nephews, that they feel loved, that they feel an overwhelming amount of love and care and thoughtfulness. So yeah, that's the only thing that I'd add, that they know what I cared about, why I cared about it, and what I did, and that they felt love for me.

Quinn:

I love that, man. I mean, if you're already operating on that wavelength, more power to you, I don't even remember being 24. So that's really good. But it does matter. It gives you a frame of mind, not to be all strict and you have to follow this philosophy or do this, but having these sort of, just these fundamental things that you check in with, can really help sort of guide you. And I'm a big fan of, again, former college athlete, I have all these systems, drives my wife nuts. Like my to-do systems and all this, and there's just some ... I'm both super productive, but it's just entirely too much, I have like 12 jobs. But I'm a big fan of, and I've written about you have to operate from the top, from the 30,000 feet values, all the way on down, and let those help dictate how you're spending your time and what the practical actions you're taking are. Like how does this thing I'm working on right now fulfill one of those three or four things?

Is it helping me be a better ancestor? Or what does that mean? Is it helping someone feel loved? Is it answering the question? I mean, quick secret, the single biggest thing you can use if you ever have a partner or get married, is the question, how can I help? It will make everything easier. But that also applies in a thousand different ways. And it seems like you, Frank, are almost already living that, which is, you're just coming to these situations of people whose baseline keeps getting taken down because of these systems we've designed, and you're going, how can I help with that? And that is, it's great, man. It's really inspirational.

Frank Buncom IV:

Thanks for that. I definitely appreciate it and the word life's work, I don't know if that's ... It's hard for me to contextualize the same way, like a trillion dollars is tough for me to contextualize mentally. Saying the word like life's work for myself is very tough to contextualize, especially since I got about a thousand years left. So it's tough, but I think that that's what my life's work is about. Hopefully I have quite a few more years left to keep running this race, and what it will continue to be about. So I definitely appreciate it. And obviously I love talking about it.

Quinn:

For sure, man. Listen, I'm not going to keep you forever. I've got a few questions we usually ask all of our people, and I think they still really apply here. Brian makes fun of me because we called it the Lightning Round. It's not, but it's not lengthy. It's not another hour by any stretch. First one is, Frank, when was the first time in your life when you realized you had the power of change or the power to do something meaningful?

Frank Buncom IV:

This is probably not the answer you're expecting.

Quinn:

I love it. It's better.

Frank Buncom IV:

The first time in life where I found I could do something meaningful or I could change something, it's kind of a funny story.

Quinn:

Hit me.

Frank Buncom IV:

And it is not profound by any stretch of the imagination, but I think the first time I was roughly seven or eight years old, roughly that age, and ever since I was young, I was always a tinker. I still am. Like I walk into, if I'm staying at an Airbnb, I'll walk into the Airbnb, I open up every cabinet, just because I want to know what's around me. I've always been like that. My parents say like as soon as I was tall enough to reach the gas canister on a car, I'd take it off just to look in.

And my uncle who lives down at my grandmother's house, which is two houses down from mine, had this truck that is gone now, so I can reveal this. He had a truck that you could turn the ignition part without the key. I don't know what happened to it, you can turn it on without the key. The key was completely unnecessary. And we were playing around on this truck, me and some of my cousins, and I'm maybe eight or nine years old, and I turned the car on, for whatever reason, I don't know. I turned the car on and I dropped the car from park to neutral. And my house has a little bit of an incline, it has a little bit of a slope, so the car just starts rolling.

So we freak out and we jump out of the car, we jumped out of the van, because the door was open, we jumped out, and this van rolls down the hill, picks up some speed, and crashes into my other uncles truck. And it was kind of a loud crash, neighbors came out, because the van picked up some steam, and obviously that didn't end too well for me, obviously there was some repercussions to be had. But I think that was the youngest moment I can think of when I thought I have the power to do things in the world and things respond to me. Like I can make things move, like big things. And me and my little self that then was very big to me. And I don't know how that may have affected my life trajectory, or that thought, that aha moment, but that's definitely the youngest time I can think of where I was like, "Damn, I did that." Although it was very bad things. Somebody could have been hurt, thankfully nobody did. Just some bent up fenders.

Quinn:

That's amazing.

Frank Buncom IV:

But maybe it set me on my trajectory, so you know what? It was worth it.

Quinn:

Yeah. No, man. You got to turn the ignition sometimes and see what happens. That's amazing. I have 7,000 of those, and I'm sure the repercussions were far worse. So, I'm glad you caused minimal damage. That's awesome. All right. Frank, who is someone in your life that's positively impacted your work in the past six months?

Frank Buncom IV:

One of my good close friends, Malik Antoine. He's actually a very recent Stanford graduate, and he was a year younger than me, and we played together on the Stanford football team together. And he's my guy, which if I'm thinking of a new side project, I'm like, "Okay. I need somebody who is going to just jump in with me, have no idea what we're doing together, who is smart, is going to be capable to figure things out. Okay, let me call up Malik." So we've worked on some projects together. We've crashed and burned together on some projects, which happens when you're trying to do as many things as we do. So he's definitely had a big impact on me and I love trying to engage and do things with that kid, especially because he's from Louisiana. So we were trying to figure out, "Okay. How can we raise the level of climate and sustainability consciousness within that state?" So that's definitely been an uphill battle that we're still climbing.

Quinn:

I'm sure that's a complicated one, Louisiana, boy, it's something else. That's awesome, man. You got to have your guy who's willing to crash and burn with you.

Frank Buncom IV:

Absolutely.

Quinn:

I love it. That's awesome. Frank, what's your self-care? How are you taking care of yourself these days?

Frank Buncom IV:

I'm a big fan of meditation. I actually just set my, I usually meditate at least three minutes every morning, which doesn't sound like a lot of time for people who are really deep into meditation. It was a journey for me, one minute, up to two minutes, now I'm at three. I think I'm trying to work to do one 10-minute session per week. But every morning I do at least three minutes of meditation to just calm my mind, scan my body, let my brain stop thinking, because I'm just always thinking about stuff. Whether it's a product advancement for AIRx Health, or there's one of these various projects, whether it's like, "Okay. I'm in San Diego for two weeks before I drive across the country to New York. Let me spend this time with my dad, this time with my mom, see this sibling, that one." So I just need to let my mind stop sometimes.

And in addition to that, I do a quarterly tech detox, is what I call them, where I'll take a weekend right after I stopped working on Friday evening, and I turn off all my devices. They all double-check, they'd all go to airplane mode and just power off for the whole weekend. They get turned on Monday morning. And those times, after every time I've completed, I'm like, "Why don't I do this more often?" Because it's just nice to get away from everything. Especially social media, which I'm not the one that say social media is completely bad, because I don't think it's totally bad. I think it provides some utility, which is why we use it. But it can definitely be overwhelming at times. So yes, my daily meditation and my quarterly tech detox helps reset me.

Quinn:

I love that, man. I need to get back on the meditation bandwagon. I used to be pretty good about it. But I am so annoyed because I will come from the frame of mind of like, "I got to find 20 minutes a day to do it." And it's like that's not at all how the brain works or how habits work. It's just never going to happen. So start with one minute and you just do it every day. And yes, it's good to see you on this as well. You're also just much more astute than I am. Last one, Frank, what's a book you've read this year that has opened your mind to a topic you haven't considered before or changed your thinking in some way?

Frank Buncom IV:

It's a book called Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture, and it was a tough read because they're individuals who are discussing their experiences with rape and sexual assault. So it's incredibly heavy, and I read ... It's an anthology. So it's a collection of stories and there's about 31 stories, I'm going to say, so it took me a month to read it. I read one story a day, just because it was so heavy and I'm wanting to sit with each one. And I always considered myself ... Check that. I did not always consider myself a feminist. I'd say middle school Frank was quite misogynistic. But probably freshman year of college and on started to really open my eyes. And since then, I've definitely considered myself a feminist. And reading these stories really allowed me to marinate in what I can do as a cisgendered man in creating safer spaces and speaking out on some of these topics so that these things that happen every day, but aren't talked about, so they just "happened in the dark", kind of get their light.

And these topics are, that we just don't touch on, are brought up and that book really crystallized some things for me. And it was just so powerful. So I highly recommend that read if you want to sit with something heavy and kind of just marinade in it as you're on whatever journey you're on within the feminism frame. I know some people have issues with mainstream feminism and the individuals that it might leave behind. But I think this book is definitely a great one.

Quinn:

That's awesome, man. I appreciate you sharing that. I will definitely check that out. We, on the wholesale, but especially CIS men do just a terrible job of educating ourselves on all of that, because it's so heavy. And I guess some people don't feel like they need to, but we do, and we need to do a much better job. So that'll go right in. We've got this great list of recommendations up from all of our guests and bookshop. So we'll throw that in there and I will add that to my list. Thank you for sharing it.

Frank Buncom IV:

Awesome. Of course.

Quinn:

Frank, last thing. Where can our listeners follow you on the social media that you're trying to just connect with?

Frank Buncom IV:

Well, my social media handle is BeastNamedFrank, and boy, don't give me any crap for that. My sister made my social media accounts right when they came out, right when Instagram was created, it was like 12 years ago, 13, 14 years ago.

Quinn:

Who knows?

Frank Buncom IV:

I'm not certain, and I just have never changed it. And I keep going through this like, "Frank, okay. You're 24 now, you're a business professional, you don't play football anymore. These things don't necessarily fit into your thing. Should you still be BeastNamedFrank? Time to grow up."

Quinn:

You're a healthcare monitoring beast. You're a prison reform beast.

Frank Buncom IV:

Exactly, so I don't think I'm changing it. I think it's just the thing, it's always been there, it's going to be there. And you can also find me, I just relatively recently released a personal website where I'm going to be sharing some cool organizations that I want to get behind it. If people are looking for organizations to donate to, or maybe volunteer with, or kind of ideas or inspirations, if they're on their search for different grassroots organizations to connect with, someone to be throwing some stuff up there. And my website is pretty easy. It's Frank, my last name has a com in it, so it's just frankbun.com.

Quinn:

Nice. Dammit, that's awesome

Frank Buncom IV:

So you can definitely head there to find some different organizations, things I'll be posting. Or if you're just curious about what the hell I'm passionate about, I'll definitely be dropping some things there on my own personal corner of the www.

Quinn:

The whole time you were talking, I was like, "No matter what he says, I'm going to be disappointed that the website's not BeastNamedFrank." And then all of a sudden it's frankbun.com, and I was like, "God dammit. That's so good."

Frank Buncom IV:

I appreciate that. That would have been funny to have it as BeastNamedFrank, but that thought didn't come to mind. I'm telling you this, it feels a little childish to still have my name, but I'm rolling with it. It's okay.

Quinn:

I love it, man. You got to keep that childish part. My office is filled with Star Wars and Indiana Jones stuff. My wife thinks I'm at 12 years old. She's not wrong. Frank, this has been so great, man. I really appreciate you making the time, coming to talk, being so transparent and honest about everything, and putting up with this sort of new conversation version. But it was really inspiring to talk to you, man.

Frank Buncom IV:

Yeah. Quinn, I appreciate you for reaching out. This has been a lot of fun. And yeah, man, looking forward to staying connected and thank you for having me on today.

Quinn:

For sure.

Frank Buncom IV:

This was awesome.

Quinn:

Awesome, dude. Well, we'll have to do a follow-up for sure. Thanks to our incredible guest today and thanks to all of you for tuning in. We hope this episode has made your commute, or awesome workout, or dish washing, or fucking dog walking late at night, that much more pleasant. As a reminder, please subscribe to our free email newsletter at importantnotimportant.com. It is all the news most vital to our survival as a species.

Brian:

And you can follow us all over the internet. You can find us on Twitter @Importantnotimp, just so weird. Also on Facebook and Instagram @Importantnotimportant, Pinterest and Tumblr, the same thing. So check us out, follow us, share us, like us, you know the deal. And please subscribe to our show wherever you listen to things like this. And if you're really fucking awesome, rate us on Apple Podcasts to keep the lights on. Thanks.

Quinn:

Please.

Brian:

And you can find the show notes from today right in your little podcast player and at our website importantnotimportant.com.

Quinn:

Thanks to the very awesome Tim Blane for our jamming music, to all of you for listening, and finally, most importantly, to our moms for making us. Have a great day.

Brian:

Thanks guys.