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How to Feel Safe with Dave Selinger

George Grombacher August 25, 2022

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How to Feel Safe with Dave Selinger

LifeBlood: We talked about how to feel safe, finding the right mix of discipline and safety to make others feel comfortable and protected, why approaching every interaction with a genuine curiosity goes a long way, and how to get started, with Dave Selinger, Founder and CEO of Deep Sentinel, early Amazon employee and CoFounder of RedFin. 

Listen to learn how finding a common good is easier and more important than we realize!

You can learn more about Dave at DeepSentinel.com, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.

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Our Guests

George Grombacher


Dave Selinger

Episode Transcript

george grombacher 0:00
Come on blood This is George G and the time is right welcome today’s guest strong and powerful Dave Sally Salinger. Dave, are you ready to do this?

Unknown Speaker 0:18
I am 50% ready and we’ll get the rest of the way there in real time.

george grombacher 0:23
I like it. Dave is the founder and CEO of deep Sentinel, they are the only security system that delivers the experience of a personal guard outside of every customer’s property is also or he was early Amazon employee working directly with Jeff Bezos. He co invented Amazon advertising and co founded and ran Redfin. Dave, we’re excited to have you on tell us a little about your personal life more about your work and why you do what you do. Sure, happy

Unknown Speaker 0:51
to be here. Thank you for having me. So I am well, I mean, let’s just do it right. I’m a married, mixed male. I’m 44 years old. I live in Pleasanton, California, I’ve got a wonderful wife of I think about 15 years, we’ve got four dogs, and two kids, a rabbit, a fish that we all hate, and are generally pretty happy as a family together, we’ve all got our little quirks. And like you said, I run a number of different technology companies. And in the last number of years, probably about eight years, my wife and I have spent a lot of time talking about the concept of safety. And I don’t just mean, you know, in the relationship of deep Sentinel and physical security in our homes. She when I met her was engaged in the foster care system. With two young boys, they were their twin brothers. And our observations about the way that they view the world have been a huge binding point for us in our relationship that we talked about all the time in terms of just the fact that they from the age of two, in the moment of sentience really have never had a sensation of safety at any point in their lives, and how much that frames how they eat, how they talk to strangers, how they interact with people at the bus station. And it is it’s just been something that’s been life changing for me when I met her and something that’s become a huge passion for us and our family together. Got it?

george grombacher 2:33
Well, you sort of took us on a roller coaster there, Dave brought the funny and the funny intrigue and then brought it all the way to the most serious thing that I’ve heard in a very long time. So let’s start with funny. Okay, fair enough. What’s What’s the fish’s problem?

Unknown Speaker 2:50
It’s the fishes problem.

george grombacher 2:51
He said he said the fish Oh, yeah. Oh

Unknown Speaker 2:54
my gosh. Okay, so the fish’s name is Sandy. We don’t talk about Sandy. We try not to as much as possible. We used to have three fishes and the other two were these amazing really cheap the the 25 cent goldfish is that you get one of them we got at the fair and one of them I crap you not. We got as a party favor at our friend’s birthday. Can you imagine going to a birthday party you’re like, I’m gonna get cake. I’m gonna give this kid a present. And then we’re done back home. And we got a freaking goldfish, which lived for nine years. Yeah, so it’s it’s the gift that kept on giving. But anyway, we liked our goldfish, whatever. But we had this sucker fish in the aquarium and as soon as the goldfish showed their first sign of weakness the next day, we would find them on their side happy. And so Sandy, is I don’t know if that’s considered a cannibal because they’re both fishes or if it’s not a cannibal because they’re different species. But Sandy is pretty brutal. And Sandy just hides under this rock not fun doesn’t entertain us doesn’t interact with us the goldfish amazing. Seven years old, big swims around waves to you when you walk by and Sandy just eats them. And so now we’re left with just Sandy and that’s all we’ve got left. And so it’s it’s a horrible family choke but we’ll we’ll you know we’ll be sitting watching TV and you can hear the aquarium it’s kind of loud. It’s annoying. And one of the kids just say should we just kill Sandy today? And you know it’s a horrible thing right? It’s a living being you can tell like that’s meaningful to the family. But we’re kind of serious about it because we all kind of hate Sandy.

george grombacher 4:35
Yeah, yeah, I don’t know if cannibal is a term but certainly murderer.

Unknown Speaker 4:41
I mean, literally like the fish will just be like a little bit slow one day and next day it’s boom and the whole like left side of it will just be lacerated in gone.

george grombacher 4:51
Sandy calling the culling the herd. All right. Well, I’m gonna leave that up to you. You’re in charge, but I I mean, I am a justice is one of my core virtues. So

Unknown Speaker 5:06
no, we never thought about applying virtues to this conversation was really just about it’s a living thing. But if we look at it from a justice perspective, let me know what we’re gonna have. We have a family meeting on Sunday sometimes. And I think we can talk about justice. That’ll be our that’ll be our topic.

george grombacher 5:20
There you go. I was talking to this guy. And he said, We should kill Sandy. All right. So

Unknown Speaker 5:29
murder burger by kind of general opinion. Right? It’s cool. Yeah.

george grombacher 5:33
I mean, we somebody

Unknown Speaker 5:36
has worked for a long, long time, right? We get up to the town square. And if one person was chanting, hang on loud enough, everyone would be like, Okay, hang up. And then sure enough, right, Monty Python rules, and it’s the duck and it’s a witch, and it floats and they’re dead.

george grombacher 5:52
Boom, there it is. And Alright, so how old are these kids now, we’ll pivot by

Unknown Speaker 5:59
13. Both of them are girls, that they are as different as they come. One of them’s like a very drama, unique stand out. I don’t care how many friends I have, as long as I myself. And then the other one is, like, very popular and, you know, social and bubbly. And rides horses, and it’s awesome.

george grombacher 6:24
So what what part of that experience? It was was was was that a motivator for deep Sentinel? Is that just heard that just happened at the same time? How has all these conversations and your thoughtfulness and mindfulness and putting yourself in their position or trying to view the world through their lens and all that important stuff? How, like, how has that really changed you?

Unknown Speaker 6:48
Yeah, so I mean, I love I’ll tell you like the, here’s the punch line version of that, because I have kids, I really think about safety, I want to protect them. And that’s true, right? To be completely, like, Let’s peel that onion back and show the dirty underwear underneath it. So my older daughter is the one who doesn’t really care about other people’s opinions very much, right? And if little babies only had one finger, hers would have been the middle finger like the first shirt, right? It’s just like, here I am. And there you are. And I’m done with you anyway. And so my wife and I went to parenting classes and these parenting classes. We didn’t go the ones that your listeners probably went to like, it’s like, Oh, yeah. And you support your kids? No, we went to like the intervention. Here is how you control a child that is out of freakin control. And the messages that we got, we got two really big messages. The first one is it’s your fault, not the kids fault. Good to know. They’re probably right, right. And by the way, parents, like, if you’re listening, that would be the one message I would share with you. And I think most parents in kind of a middle America. It’s the school system. It’s society like it’s you get so Sorry, bad news on George’s show today, it’s you. So then the second message, though, which is the one that’s related to safety is that the way to communicate with children is to create and control this environment of safety. Meaning that if you if you let’s let’s use the extreme example that I grew up with, if you beat the crap out of your kid, which is what my parents did, just Yeah, bam, you are removing that sense of safety, and you have a different way of communicating with them. And that certainly kind of get something done right. It creates a core memory, it’s very striking you you definitely kind of like recall it. And in today’s day and age of parenting, what we learned was that that veil of safety still remains the most important thing you can manage for your child. And in our choice we want to do is keep the child feeling safe, but still penetrate into their core, understand how do we stop them from continuing to do what they do, and spankings, break that continue doing what you’re doing because the child doesn’t feel safe. Now, if we want to have the child continue to feel safe, but then still break the behavior, what are some other mechanisms and so the entire discussion was about how important is safety and then, you know, because this isn’t an intervention type parenting class, it’s called the Parent Project. And it was designed by a cop to intervene in kids that are going into like drugs and gangs, which is thinking it’s not our situation, but we wanted to get kind of the hardcore view of this. The other thing that we learned was that in a lot of these families, where the kids are generationally repeating, incarceration, most of those parents don’t want to repeat that generational pattern. And, you know, I think a lot of people are like, Oh, well, you know, they grew up in that and that’ll just continue. I think that’s just Jen. Usually not true. And police officers get experienced with that they pick up a kid that’s starting out gang activity, they go to the house and they meet a former gang member, that’s the dad. And more often than not, you know, maybe the get dental break down crime, but it’ll say, hey, yeah, I mean, you’re a cop, I hate cops. But if you know how to help me fix this, I, I’d at least listen, because I don’t want my kid to go down that path. And, you know, it breaks kind of societal rules, let’s put people in boxes and like judge them based on that box. But but it’s very, very true. And what that police officer learned, and what this entire program is about is about both creating safety and those families where those families typically did not grow up learning how to create safety for their kids. And then at the same time, let’s introduce really serious discipline. And it’s a neat model. And it’s a long answer your question, but that’s that actually became the seminal moment for our entire family, to create these two things that in general, in parenting, we think they’re the opposites, right, you either take away the child’s safety by spanking them and create discipline, or you kind of have the everybody gets a ribbon parenting model where there is no discipline, and the child feels super safe. And then they grew up and turn to the crappy kids in high school and college. But the ability to create both of those, you know, what the, from a business perspective, what I look at that as doing is removing the false choice, you don’t have to choose between discipline and safety. You can create both. And that really became, for me and for our family, a really watershed moment and became the foundation of my career and what we were building as a family and a snack business.

george grombacher 11:45
Nice. Well, I appreciate that is, it is possible for two things to be true at the same time, which I don’t know that we’ve actually forgotten that as a society. But it certainly seems like maybe we

Unknown Speaker 11:56
certainly feels that way. If you if you read anything about our society today, created by our society, you might reach the conclusion that you can’t do that.

george grombacher 12:03
Right? It is not possible. And I’ve got a soon to be six and three year olds, and it’s all my fault. Now there’s very little that it’s, it’s all on me this, this, this is a child that we are dealing with no matter how it is that they’re acting. So I appreciate that. All right. So you, you go and you learn this, this, this, this, this approach, and now you’ve been practicing it for years. And so you feel like, it’s it’s been proven out this, this is the way to do it.

Unknown Speaker 12:39
I don’t know. I mean, we’re horrible parents, right? I mean, it’s, but it’s, I feel like we have found a vehicle that does a couple of things. One, it brings my wife and I together, right that we believe you can have discipline and safety together. And I think that’s one of the most important things, right? Because if you have parents, whether you’re divorced parents or your you know, a single family together, having that conjoined view helps the child not feel confused. It also helps the child not play the system. Which again, if the child is playing the system, that’s your fault, not the child’s fault that human beings are wired to do that that is not their fault, they’re going to do that. Number two, is that I think it allows us to engage in a discussion that is addressable in almost all of these situations where how do we provide safety? And how do we continue to intervene and stop any sort of kind of dangerous behavior. The final thing it did was because this is a program that’s designed for kids that are like really far out there, right, kids that are having first contact with police at the HMI, they’re doing drugs by the age of eight, they’re selling drugs by the age of 11. Which is, again, for those of us that live in our, our nice suburban homes. Oh my gosh, that exists out there yet. That’s real, right? That’s very, very real. And those are the types of problems that I and we as a family are committed to learning about and being part of the solution for and, and knowing where our kids sits on that spectrum prevents us from like, freaking out over kind of the mid stuff. So like, Our older daughter got some bad grades this last year, and he’s put it in the context of her life instead of in the context of like, this is the end of the universe, which is the way I grew up. I grew up in a half Chinese half Jewish family we’re in a minus was the equivalent of I mean, I don’t even know that we didn’t even have language to describe a minuses in my household because you’re dead by then. Is your parents guilty? So

george grombacher 14:33
yeah, it was disappointing. Probably.

Unknown Speaker 14:37
Disappointing isn’t a without commendation. But

george grombacher 14:43
child dead to me.

Unknown Speaker 14:46
Yeah, I’m sorry. I did. Was there a David that lived here at some point? Could we have the mail redirected, please, we don’t need that anymore.

george grombacher 14:54
Do you see as as we look at some of the things that we’re struggling with If as as a society if it’s the homeless problem, homeless situation, whatever that language we’re interested in using, how we police, our communities, these the approach that you’ve learned and have absolutely mastered as a parent, do you see that would transfer over two other problems?

Unknown Speaker 15:20
Oh, man, for sure. Um, one of the framing books I have that I think about is a book by Thomas Friedman, Thomas L. Friedman, called Beirut to Jerusalem. I don’t know if you’ve ever read that have not. So the one of the core concepts that Thomas Friedman talks about is the the, in a negotiation in any situation where you disagree with someone and you’re trying to find common ground, that the largest predicting variable about whether you find any common ground is whether both participants enter the conversation, believing that it is a zero sum game, or a nonzero sum game. And Thomas Friedman’s basic thesis is that the way that the world has framed this Islamic versus is real problem and the way that the West, namely, I think Britain in the way that they cut up the land, framed this as a zero sum game sets it up so that no matter what we do, we’re going to have trouble finding common ground, and that the greatest agreements are framed when you’re able to see something in the future that is better than today. And that both parties can see something in the future that is better than today. And, you know, you made the kind of offhand remark about, and I guess I did as well that, like, it’s, it’s very common for us right now, in the news to read about a nonzero sum game situation, whether that’s gun control versus school safety, whether that’s, you know, the cost of gas, whether that’s my political candidate versus your political candidate. The sense of safety is so cool, and has been introduced in these conversations. Because the Oh man, I’m gonna say the media news outlets, like that’s because human beings have an emotional response to something that makes them feel unsafe, which means they click or read it. And the journalists who are creating content and fighting against other journalists for our intention, or to make money, or creating content that makes us feel unsafe. And it addresses issues that make us feel unsafe. And we are consuming it, we are choosing to consume that repetitively, because it triggers these, you know, reactions inside of our brain and in our bodies. And I, for me, and again, for our family, we have realized that for ourselves, we will go down that path, like when my wife and I were initially dealing with these issues with our daughter, we were fighting like tooth and nail, the only thing we’re going to leave on this planet is our daughters. And so if I don’t get my way, it’s going to be the worst child in the world. Well, let me tell you how those conversations went. super freaking Well, right. And by the time our attorneys got involved, you know, we were super happy with each other, but you just you cannot find any common ground. But if you if you actually really look at this, yes, my wife wanted to give our kids everything they wanted and didn’t believe in any form of discipline. And yes, I believe that every form of discipline was an acceptable form of discipline. But we both had the same goal, which is to raise great kids. And we still have disagreements, I mean, we still go to the mat sometimes for sure. But we’ve found that if we can stay focused on this, this common goal where we both believe we can be doing better than today. And then, if we’re aligned in doing something better than today, our kids will benefit from that, man, our conversations or you know, certainly against a one out of 10 still kind of spiraled out of control to a certain degree, but it’s not nine out of 10 or 10. And so, my that’s been my guiding principle. And again, it’s a you know, Thomas Friedman is more of an economist in terms of the way he views these things. But, man, if you can take that concept and apply that to your your relationships with your neighbors, your relationships with your police department, your relationships with your community, your relationships with our neighbors. How far you can go, I had a conversation this morning, actually with the

Unknown Speaker 19:34
former SWAT officer, he’s working on the issue at Uvalde. And he sits on one side of the political spectrum and I sit on the other. And I said, Look, I’m gonna ask you a question, because I want to know what your answer is now, and it’s going to be a political question. I’m going to ask you, what do you think that our politicians need to do to prevent Uvalde from happening, and I know that I disagree with you kind of at our high level politics, but I’m going to commit to you right now to listen to you Do not challenge anything you say, because my goal and asking the question is not to prove you wrong, it’s to understand what you have to say. And he proceeded then, in a non defensive fashion to spend 25 minutes of his time, really explaining all of his views, and I am the better for it. And that to me, like, I loved that I enjoyed that conversation so much. Whether I changed my views or not, I’m not sure. But I am going to I’m going to listen to everything you said, every question that he boys that’s worth thinking about it, I owe him and I owe myself and I owe our society, the time to think about

george grombacher 20:37
that’s all really well said, certainly makes a ton of sense to me that you have to have that common ground with the other person, the other human being who you’re speaking with, particularly when you are on the opposite side of the best way to approach a problem or what your and desire is, to be able to see that there is a better future for all parties involved if we can come together. So I guess the question is, Sally, when are you running for President of the United States?

Unknown Speaker 21:08
Oh, my gosh. Oh, man, I mean, look, I aspire to that exactly. Zero, let me just be really clear about that. I love spending time with my kids that lets me I do wish politicians had the time and energy to ask those questions. So I

george grombacher 21:26
do think that they don’t

Unknown Speaker 21:31
I know that they don’t ask them in a way that they’re willing to listen to the answer. I’ve volunteered for both Republican and Democratic candidates to try to understand what’s going on. And, you know, my very personal observation is that they’re both bound to their campaign finance. And both the left and the right, right, like you go to the left, and there you go to a fundraiser. And sure enough, there are union saying that we’re going to create more union jobs. And I really think we’re gonna create more union jobs, you know, sorry, like, nothing against the unions, nothing against the Democrats, but like, I don’t think that’s gonna go to the right ring fundraiser. And sure enough, there’s the NRA. Right, and like, they both have their checkbooks. They may not be open at the time, but they’re certainly carrying them to remind whoever it is that speaking that they’re there and their checkbook is there with them. And, and, you know, it’s just very real. And so, you know, I think that’s why folks like Bernie Sanders, and Trump had such an appeal was that they were unwilling to be, you know, held to those financial standards. And I get it, you know, I mean, again, whether you’re over here or over here, like I get it, I absolutely do. And I wish somebody who both being kind of a more right leaning person myself, who was less crazy than that particular individual could represent those same interests. That’d be sweet. I think we’d all benefit from it. Yeah.

george grombacher 23:00
Where’s the common ground with Sandy? Dave?

Unknown Speaker 23:04
Wow. No, I think Sandy feels bad about what Sandy has done, right? I mean, to you, most people that murder, whether they admit it or not, they feel bad about it. And so I think if I can help Sandy reconcile those issues in Sandy’s last couple of seconds. gasping for breath, you know, in a couple of inches of soil. I think I think that’ll be Sandy’s positive moment. I regret telling you the name of our fish like me it’s it’s a daily

george grombacher 23:47
Sandy’s gonna get hit up on social media.

Unknown Speaker 23:51
We should make an Instagram page for CZ is today’s car these last days just let the internet vote and decide Sandy’s fate every single day. Wow. It’s a bad place to end wouldn’t make it one day if we didn’t love it.

george grombacher 24:04
I love it. Well, let’s bring this thing home. Dave. We got to ask people already for that difference making tip. What do you have for them?

Unknown Speaker 24:13
Gosh, um I had when when we started and I’ve completed a lot. I’ll be honest. Give me a second to think on this for a second. For sure.

george grombacher 24:33
We covered a lot of ground.

Unknown Speaker 24:35
We did. We went left and right when I wasn’t expecting to so. You know, I think back a lot. I went back and spoke at my high school a couple times. And I think back a lot of the decisions that we make in high school that kind of matter, right. And the people that mattered to me the most in in high school didn’t necessarily gave me kind of intellectual advice or helped me become smarter. They they did, they made me feel safe, they made me feel good about myself. Not because what I didn’t necessarily was right, but that I needed to feel safe in order to digest. Let’s say I got grounded, or I got suspended for something which I, you know, unfortunately did get get both of those things couple times. But it was the people that helped me say, look, let’s create a space where Here you are, you have your whole future ahead of you. And this may be a bad moment, but let’s work on that. Like, I’m not going to spend more time making you feel bad about what just happened. I’m not going to let you off the hook. But I’m going to create a space where you can come to United Teachers, his name is Marty’s Atolla. Come to my office, sit down, just chill. I’m not going to talk to you. I’m not going to berate you, I won’t talk to you at all, you don’t wanna talk about it, but you can feel safe here for the next hour and a half. And then if you have something you want to say, I’m going to relate to them spend the time doing the end. And Marty was my English teacher. It wasn’t my morality feature. I like that. But he created that space for me. And I was a kid that was wrestling with a lot of issues. And so if you have an opportunity to work with a kid, that is at these kind of formative moments that may or may not be your kid, I very much believe that it takes a village and one of the things that I believe that we don’t provide enough of for kids, we provide lots of opportunities to learn how to program we provide opportunities, how to get smarter at school, we don’t provide a lot of opportunities for kids to to have that, again, that combination of safety but then reality and to vent and analyze how they can take these moments. Truly as learning moments. It’s either punitive, and that’s your frickin learning moment. Bam, right? Or it is, you know, here’s your honorable mention ribbon, one of 5000s. And to create that middle ground is just I think so incredibly powerful. And I I still talk to my high school English teacher Marty’s Atolla because of that.

george grombacher 27:05
Well, I think that that is great stuff that definitely gets come up. Dave, thank you so much for coming on. Where can people learn more about you? How can they engage with you? And where can they learn more about deep Sentinel?

Unknown Speaker 27:15
George, thanks for me. Um, I didn’t talk about deep Sentinel at all. But if you want to learn about deep Sentinel, we’re a camera company that prevents crime. You can learn about that on YouTube, go to our YouTube channel called Deep Sentinel on YouTube. You want to learn about me I posts you know personal thoughts and business comments and things like that. The best place to do that is on LinkedIn and at Steve Salinger. And on LinkedIn, you can follow me and I post something about once every week or so.

george grombacher 27:40
Excellent. Well, if you enjoyed as much as I did show Dave your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas follow deep Sentinel on their YouTube channel. I’ll link that in the notes and then follow Dave on LinkedIn and his name is Dave seling. Our thanks good Dave.

Unknown Speaker 28:01
George has asked awesome thank you much sir.

george grombacher 28:03
And until next time, keep fighting the good fight. We’re all in this together.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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