Big Finn and Santa's Roadies - Big Business & BIGGER HEART (Toby Mathis Podcast)
Hi guys my name is Toby Mathis and you're joining the Anderson. Business advisors podcast, today I have, with me Mike. And I'm gonna butcher your last name Finetti ro Jenna. Carol you got a pretty close yeah see. Mike's. Actually you're from you're from Philly too right Philadelphia. Sir, yep, and so, some. Of you guys know that that's, where I hail from but. In Vegas. For a lot of years but where I started. Was, was. Back in the good. Old, awesome. That was back in that seventies but it was Philadelphia back, in this clip yeah good times. Anyway, so Mike welcome. First off thanks, buddy good morning yeah, hey it's an awesome day and, we're. Just really lucky to have you so I wanted to bring, Mike on board, just. To give you, guys some, brain, food for. Folks that actually, go out and start their own businesses, and how you. Know when. They start hitting that critical mass and about to take off and so Mike's. A great example of somebody who is. Really. Starting to see some amazing. Things with this company that he put himself in a position so, he could actually do it so I just kind of want to go on there so, miked up first, off tell, me a little bit about yourself, where you're from I already know Philly but tell, us your, kind of journey into entrepreneurship, I. Grew. Up in Philadelphia like, like we're just saying there worked at a lot of peach shops when I was a kid after school into. The wee hours of the morning saved. My money and bought. My first DJ. Kit and started coming. Together entertainment. At age 18, and just. That, way bigger than it actually was, just, really. Got, out there and tried to really, make it seem like we were this big company, that was doing Hollywood, parties when I was an 18 year old kid working, out of a you, know a row home and. Saved. My cash. Rolling. With that business, for a while and so I got into the live, entertainment industry. With George, Clinton and p-funk and I, really. Had an impact on me doing that live show and seeing how everybody, would. You didn't. Peek for him I did, that was my first live show wispy, phonto pian like, I remember, looking out into the crowd and just seeing all. People. All shapes, sizes colors, everyone. Was. Just getting along and it really was you call him still playing with him Bootsy. Wasn't but I actually have a picture of myself and Bootsy hanging a hanging. In my place here I met Bootsy on a tour. I did back. In the day and that was definitely a moment cuz I was a bass player at the time as well so that was a holy cow, I saw. Bootsy, it at, the rock candy in Seattle, would it still existed. Yeah. That's Korea all right so you did I didn't even know this I love finding stuff out so if. You can't tell him Mike does production, he's a production. Guy out here in Vegas all over the country is that fair to say that is fair to say all over the go all over the continent, all the all the planet, I should say all over the place where, everywhere yeah. So, what what is the production company, dude just to give everybody an idea all, right so a little bit of background I mean our our. Heartbeat was always music, concerts, things like that festivals. We, used to work Coachella, a lot a, lot, of the EDM that started coming up in like. 2008-2009. That kind of stuff and we, took all that experience, of getting these large shows set up efficiently. And fast and we actually tied it into the corporate world our, first job and the corporate aspect, was Ford, hired us to start doing their auto shows in Detroit. Chicago, Washington. DC, we. We. Did a lot of those big, massive, industrials. And that, led more into the tech market over the years a, lot, of the, product. Launches for Apple. Google. We, just build a big booth for them over at CES, that was really talked. About all over the industry I mean we built basically a theme park ride for, corporate, channel people to go through and it, was super Consumer. Electronics, Show is the largest, Electronic. Show in the planet right yeah it is it brings people from all over the world coming, to find out what the new latest greatest, products. Are going to be so we, tapped into that market as well we basically do the, corporate.
Corporate, Product launches, me, being. General. Sessions. After. Parties I mean we do all that in conjunction with our we, call it rock and roll that's basically the term for all music. Music. Work that we do we. Tie this all together and we just created this production company here and Vegas seems to be a good spot for us that's. Pretty cool yeah so so. You've started when you were 18, so I just want to go through the progression so you started drinking out of your own out of a row house and in Philly. Did. You just do this in your individual, name and, just do it as a like, just like everybody kind when they start they just kind of do stuff and I have, a great I'm gonna this is a great story for a good advice for people out there that are starting companies, okay so back then back in the day was come together entertainment, but then I did. Rock and roll for about ten years I was on the road touring, with these bands and I started when, I realized I didn't want to stay on the road forever I started my first. Russian. Company, which was mike finn productions, and we did well we got gigs like I said we got cakes with Ford, we lit up the Pope when, he came to America that, was a big one for us you. Know, it. Was amazing, yes yeah that was the one my mom was proud of we. Did we did the Pope there we did we. Did a millennium, show we. Millennial. Show for, Bill. Clinton we. Did some shows with Paul McCartney so, did, pretty well with Mike Finn productions, but as I got older I talked to us some people in the on. The legal. Aspects, and they said get your name out of there okay they said go go create an entity, otherwise. People are gonna expect to see you on every show your. Names in there you're it's a liability like, just get it out so Mike Finn Productions did well but. We rebranded, as big Finn productions, in 2015. And let me tell you once, we created that entity things. Blew. Up farther, than I could ever possibly imagine. I mean the past four. Years we, have just grown exponentially. So, that's a good tip for people out there that are starting in business create. An entity so it could be larger than yourself, in a in every aspect, and not just in the name aspect, but as a. Concept, you want to have an entity that is behind you and supporting, you so how long did you do, Mike. Finish. Gr o productions. What we did Mike's in productions, no a/c just.
Anna. I always know, everybody. Did that that's why we started the might fin thing when I was a kid they be like nobody could remember me who's that kid that Mike fettuccine kid hire him he's good he always messed up so we want to. Might fin and. That. Really caught on and then we went to big fin and I we, could make fin productions, for about I want, to say 12, years, and. Then we did we've been in big fin productions, for four years and like I said the growth has been exponential, since we, became the entity, I mean it's amazing yeah. You take it away from yourself and, you let people actually buy the brand okay. Let's. Go back in time and say what is what are some of the biggest mistakes you made that you wish you'd like like knowing what you know now you had gone back and changed. Alright. Though the, name thing that's a good one right there yeah but I think first and foremost is. Don't. Wait, to get things started I mean that's the one thing that if I could go back in time I would have started sooner, I mean a lot of people have. What's. Ahead you started, in 18 how much you really could you started, like in the womb rocking. Out with your mom I don't, know I always think though I'd be farther along now if I would have started earlier so I think you know I mean maybe I'm the exception, there like at the young age but I think some people are in their 30s 40s 50s, are nervous I mean there's no time like the present like, just. Get it going don't, don't, wait if you have an idea and something you believe in and. You think that the the, market needs like. Go after it you. Might you can start a company in Raleigh. It's. Funny and I don't, mean to steal your story but, when. I became an attorney I hung my shingle, out the day that I got my, license, because. I was convinced, that I had talked to so many attorneys, and they said the same thing you're saying they said I wish I'd been. Out earlier. I said oh then I'll just as, soon as I can and, I got a crappy, for. A few years. You're brand new and then the people like the, experienced guys would just dump so much paperwork on you anytime they saw your name pop up they're, like oh this all practitioner. Brand new let's. Make him earn his way and then what you're learning you're learning as you doing that, absolutely. Yeah look at you now right hey, I would say the same thing to anybody else yeah you're gonna you're gonna, take your lumps but. You're gonna learn from everything and it's yours, it ends, up being yours, it's, your knowledge, it's your experience and you, benefit from it instead of some other company, yeah that, is something I tell people a lot is that you can make anything happen if, you're willing to take the, lumps. They come with. It I mean that's the, only limitations, is if you can take if you could take what it is to keep moving forward you're gonna get to where you want to be all. Right any any other big like big what's, what are your biggest mistakes, that you've ever made okay so you've worked with some big acts and I've got to I got to assume that there's been one of those shows, where you're like nothing's. Going right. We. Always make it happen, I mean I'm thinking, hard they're all hard hey you, know there's none of them that are that, are just oh you, know what all right I go, I. Got one one. For you there, I was put in a situation. That I did not want to be put in. Using. Somebody's gear on a DC show once and I advised, everyone, don't use this company this is bad gear I know this year don't use it and I was forced to use it well there. Was an electrical fire okay, with this I see okay. So. The we're. In the Auto Show the, sprinklers, are going off I mean nothing. Nothing good about this so, we. Literally, put our fires out okay. Get, control the situation take everything back to where it should be and here's the mistake that I made in. Writing I went, ahead and just blasted. This company, and then it was it was something tangible, that uh that. I wrote, in the heat of the moments, and, and, I sent out there so my advice is think. About things a little bit if you're gonna be reactionary do something maybe write yourself an email send, it to yourself calm, down a little read it later and see if you I mean it cuz once you put it out there it's, out there did, it come back and bite you in the future it, could so that would be.
Mistake. That I made and I got over and I mean it took me a little bit but it's definitely there was a little wow, that guy really blew up though you know on paper it was it was young young. Angst, I don't know I was on fire back then so the older you get you mellow a little bit you learn from your mistakes, well you had a fire. Not. To use and I think you're probably justified. I was, like, the back Dementors it's, good advice when you put in as we're learning every day we see. People's emails, and letters, and things. That they've written come back into, their life 10 years later oh yeah. You. Know so if you put it out there even. On video you know. It's. Out in the public view and it's. It's to be consumed, for all eternity itself, and that represents, yourself, and your companies so always remember that as, your eyes are growing that just be careful. What you're putting out there will be associated with your brand hey. How about biggest, successes. Biggest. Successes, I mean I. Don't. Know there's been so many times where I stood on stage and looked out and saw half, a million people out there just, enjoy. Themselves, I mean that always hits me close to the heart. We. Started a. Charity. Called Santa's roadies back in I mean I think we're honor maybe let's. Say wrong maybe a thirteenth, year now but watching, that grow over the years and how its benefited. So. Many people and the enjoyment. That it brings everyone, that's in our organization. That's. Been a huge success. Seeing, lives changed not, just through the charity but through our companies watching, kids. That really didn't have much, of a direction, cuz that's a lot of a lot. Of that. Out. Cast, I want to say or people didn't really fit into a group in school tend to go to the production industry, for whatever reason, they come here they don't really have a place with the different Breakfast Club groups will call them you know and they they, come to us and we get them in this organization, and we give them a direction and a way, to grow, and support their family and have a good quality of life I mean to me that success, looking. At all the kids that I knew when they're 17 and now they're you, know in their 30s, and they have a family, and a house and that all came from some. Of the guidance that I gave them combined, with thought. Willing. To put in it mean that's a huge success today that's. Pretty cool so, there's. A few things a few good nuggets there by the way. When. I got into into. Business it was because of a gentleman by the name of Jean Thompson up, in up. In Seattle Washington and he had a bunch of franchises. He used to do minute lubes in Subway's and now, they're Quaker blue, but he, was a friend of my father and he. Had said something he goes the best thing about having a business is when. You have an employee or somebody that you like or a client or customer, or whatever if. You want to send them to if you want to you know say, here dinner on me and send. Them to the nicest restaurant in town or something that they wouldn't ordinarily treat, themselves to you can do it sure. That's, probably the most rewarding thing is that I can do things I have the freedom to do whatever I feel like it actually has a pretty big impact dumpee it does it changes their. Lives you know the littlest things you can do to change their lives immensely. Speaking. Of that and you, know here's the thing you mentioned, say Santa's, roadies which I want to dive into a little bit, most.
People, That have a degree of success. Will. End up transitioning. Somehow, that, into, helping other people out, unless, they are just completely, you. Know about themselves and all about the dollar which, in my experience most people are successful or not they're usually about adding value to society, um. But, let's say that you know so with you the. Santa roadies explain, what that is for. Folks and why. It came about and what you do. Alright. So a little bit of background there like going back even before I was working on the pizza shops up single. Single mother raised us raised me and my sister we were you, know a really tight-knit group there and, we didn't have a lot of money I mean straight up I remember people knocking on the door and delivering some food to us for Thanksgiving that kind of stuff I mean it really stuck. In my head and as, Mike, thin productions. First. Started, some success, I, I. Knew. I wanted to give back and at that time I had a two-year-old daughter and I, wanted. To teach her a little bit. About Christmas. And that it's not just about gifts. Gifts gifts for us it's, about giving the real the real meaning there so way, back in the day there I went, out and I, loaded, up my trunk with toys bought. Myself a Santa Claus suit and I had a little daughter with me and we literally at that point just drove. Around we went to the Children's Hospital we. Went to, Salvation. Army shelter we, just throw around and gave out toys and that was kind of the the, beginning of this. Process. And. Order. Was kind of young but she still saw, what was going on and over the years we continued, that each year, and I watched it kind of click in her brain that it's about giving I'd have her dressed like a little elf ax she got a little older she's handing out candy canes and, getting, responses from some of these needy. Children that. Were so happy just to have a candy cane okay and that I'm getting chills as I'm having this conversation right, now like I, remember. Seeing it clicking her in her eyes and we just grew that over the years I mean. Two. Years ago we had 43, families that we took. Care. Of I mean we got them we found out what that kids wanted for Christmas we wrapped the presents, we played but names on it we've done we did everything to really make it a special moment and I, really resonates with me when you see some of these little kids that truly, believe that you are Santa Claus and because, they're opening their gift and they're seeing exactly what they wanted, it's. A touching moment year after year so as no, show up and just a sleigh though you have you like you're you're pimped out. So. Over the years I've collected, some Cadillacs, I mean that's part of the big fit name and to me is it as a little, kid that was a little, as. A science. Was, finned Cadillacs, like that was success. To me that's what I saw the guys drive in the neighborhood always, had a Cadillac I mean the ones with the fins were always the coolest so that was always a personal, thing for me that, I always wanted so now I have five I mean, I just I have to say that's it's just a passion of mine I've grown it over the years but now, we take these Cadillacs, and we load, we load them up with presents, so the kids really see this, whole.
Vibe. Of somebody showing up in a cool Cadillac, and Santa gets out he really cares and he's there giving, them their. Dream gifts, you know and as as its. Come together, more, and more and we've seen more success, as a production. Company and. We. Have more people, involved we, we, actually started, a non-profit now, enough money before was just me with a trunkful it's waste now. We're a legitimate nonprofit. And we're, looking at the bigger picture of how to take this into the future so it's something that I mean hopefully long after I'm gone my children, are still running this and taking. Care of families, in need and we're moving beyond just presents, now were we, were giving. The whole Christmas experience, the the, dinner the Christmas, tree the presents, everything and we're taking it this year particularly, as the first year we're going into Thanksgiving, now. We're donating. I mean. Quantities. Of, turkeys. And food to shelters and, homes I mean we're really trying, to stretch. This thing and, make it about. The whole holiday. Season and who knows where it gets to I mean maybe. We're doing Easter you know in a decade from who. Knows what this thing's going to turn into but you know I want these families, and these children especially to. Feel. Special, at the holidays and anything. We can do to help that is just. Putting good energy out into the world and anybody, can do it I mean it can start so simple, and you. Can grow a passion, project of something that you want to take care of and as, you form into a non-profit I mean the process was. Fairly. Simple, all your. Office helped us get things organized I mean it was really a really, smooth. Into. It yeah yeah, it was it was I mean it's much, easier than you would think and again all these things you. Just got to commit to it and you can do it I mean it's it's out there it's not as, scary as most people seem seem, to think it will be you, can do anything you can change the world if you put your mind to it yeah it's pretty interesting so I'm going to just, kind of tail off on that when. Businesses. Are out there and they a lot of times people, are doing something that's really good for society but they get zero benefit, so the, the best example, I can give you right, now what we're seeing the, way the tax laws are is about, ninety percent of people are using the standard deduction or, it's gonna be between 80 and 90. Which. Means they're that eighty percent of the people who, give money are. Getting zero benefit, for giving the money like they're they they would have to exceed their standard deduction before they get a dollar benefit, so. You're giving money to charity and you're really getting not getting any benefit when you're in the business and. You're you're doing things for other folks where you're using like again you went out and bought a bunch of toys and things if, you do that as an individual, you're not going to get any benefit that's just a gift there's. No tax benefit, to you if, you give the money to your own charity, and the charity goes out and does these things then you do get a tax benefit you get the amount that you contribute, and. That. Clicks, with. People after, they've been doing it long enough and I've seen this over the years somebody. Will go out and they'll be doing something, and they have the right heart and the. System, is somewhat, punishing, them and holding them back I had a fantastic. Gal. We just did a podcast with Meg boozing, who. Was, literally, you, know. Scraping. By in her world trying to give back because she suffered, from a traumatic, head injury and to.
Watch Her explode, and, and become very successful with, what she's doing, which. Is a business, it's just say happens to be a non-profit business, was. Really rewarding and I hope the same is true with you I I have no doubt that it will be that. You're using big. Thin production, and. As they grows bigger it's it's, like you always, see this you see large. Ronald. McDonald, House you, have a profit. Entity and what is it doing it's channeling, some of its revenue, in a, tax advantaged, way to help, society, out and frankly that's you know it's, way better it's, a win-win yeah. It, is a win-win. That's. Pretty cool yeah when, you were talking about the Easter thing all I could think about is somebody. Saying hey the Easter Bunny stole Santa's. Hey. Sharon, I. Was. Like what, happened to this Santa's, that Santa's, car you, to him right now is funny. Twisted. Thinking. Hey. Kind. Of finish up I want to hear a little bit about your favorite, shows I'm like it's not just me but I'm sure anybody listening to this is gonna say alright, you did some Paul McCartney, the Pope yeah. George. Clinton, like you were with some pretty cool acts what are your favorites, like if, you had like. You said we've, done a lot of good ones but my go-to cuz I do get this question you thought fairly. Frequently, so, we worked with McCartney, uh you, know I was always a fan this isn't this is a good story so when I was 17, years old I slept out for McCartney tickets at JFK Stadium, I slept out for two, videos don't understand, this we had to wait in line for tickets back, in the day we did, but, the bottom line at the end of the show I jumped, on stage with, 17. Years old right. Who's. The end it, was a whole thing but years later I get a call to duel McCartney show at Carnegie, Hall my first like interaction, there with him and uh we, did this show went well I kind of you know my life was complete at that point I couldn't leave I got a check for it I mean it was just it was an amazing time so, soon. After his. Production, company called said you know hey we're doing a private event or, he's doing a surprise show at, the Highline Ballroom which, is a very small venue maybe, 600,000, people it's, more like a bar and.
We Would like you to be involved on. There. And I did that show and this is the highlight, moment, there is we're, in this tiny, club, and you have Paul McCartney, on stage with this young band and the ribbon through all these early Beatles songs I saw, her standing there I mean all these amazing. Songs but. What do you went into Hey Jude. And. He's, singing Hey Jude and you have this whole club. Singing, hey Jude with the guy that wrote the song like it. Made the hair stand up, on the back your neck I mean that that was a moment, where I looked around to a lot of these hardcore road guys. They. Were standing, there feeling the same thing I mean it was very impactful. That was definitely, uh definitely. The highlight of. Experience. That I'd had at the live show that was a good one, that's pretty intense I can only imagine I hope you have some some selfies with him. No. No selfies, but I got some good autographs, to film in. The office he's on there right now so I think he's coming to Vegas actually, in June, so if you haven't seen him get out there every song I. Would, pick him up I just it was funny I just this, is completely a sigh but I just went and saw Gordon Lightfoot, with what if I. Love. It the guy is 80 years old days up there you, know that you're seeing something that may not be around much when people are screaming out you, can do it Gordon you can do it. This. Guy is really work at it. Anyway. I just that's. Pretty cool I'm just a lawyer so all this stuff all of all. The production that you guys do it's, absolutely. Mind-boggling, thanks. I appreciate that yeah, so I just hey, I was you, know I look at little things like you go to the Golden. Knights when they went to the Stanley Cup game. Game, one and they do this huge production. Thing where it's best coming out of the ceiling oh yeah all, that, is just amazing, with all the stuff that. Production. Companies are able to do it's just, yeah. It brings, the people into into, the experience. It's, important, you know just above and beyond watching your show the, production, value really pulls the people in and give some little surprised absolutely, so, alright so I'm going to end on one one question and that is if you could go back in time what would you tell a little Mike Finn and.
What. Advice would you give them going forward. First. Thing comes in mind always follow your gut, you. Know you hear that a lot from people but I don't think there's a truer statement like, you know you know what's right or wrong you know you might be nervous about something, but if you feel like it's good, go. For it you know and just continue, on that path I mean that's that's. What I would tell myself I, mean I stuck to it pretty good but you know there's always times where you had your doubts, you. Can make anything happen you know and that's that's what I would tell young likes it yeah. Fantastic. Well thanks for joining us this I'm, just going to say Mike Finn big. Thing Productions not. Online. Amazing. Company amazing, story love you support. Santa santa's, roadies you, got we're gonna do actually a charity, again coming up here in the fall so i'll make sure you, guys know when that's happening, absolutely. But. Yeah i'm game a web presence percentage, roadies or we're, in the process like that we are saying we just kind, of started, the nonprofit end, and, made it an. Official. Entity, of i. You. Know my people so we're working on all that presence, and that will definitely be out by that time, also, there's always big Finn Vegas and big productions, online always have reference, and let you know what's going on with that world perfect. Well thanks for being with us you, got a place always a pleasure Toby you guys take care cool, thanks, alright see you buddy.