#27 -Ali Pourghassemi Internal Revenue Service Industry Liasion
My Super Power is that I am a People Connector
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Internal Revenue Service,Industry Liaison Ali Pourghassemi joins Phillip Naithram for the DC Local Leaders podcast Episode 27!
In addition to being an entrepreneur of many small ventures himself Ali Pourghassemi is a professor at the University of Maryland teaching Management and Organizational Theory to the next generation of #Leaders. He shares how is personal experiences with an entrepreneurial father and supportive mother along with his individual challanges allow him to impact the lives of others in his community.
Ali brings with him years of service with U.S. Census Bureau , US DEPARTMENT OF LABOR OSHA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to the #IRS . His past responsibilities allows him to be of maximum services to the small businesses community while navigating the procurement process with the Internal Revenue Service.
The DC Local Leaders Podcast produced by SHIFT | Media Studios
Learn from the #Mindset, #Motivations & #Habits of Executive #Leaders in #Technology | #Government | #Military. Their experience helps us align with our #purpose , continue to #grow and achieve our #goals.
Phillip K. Naithram: well, Ali Pourghassemi.
Ali Pourghassemi: Yes, Pour Ga Sammi. you know, 12 letters in the last name. It was a learning experience, trying to learn how to spell this thing.
Phillip K. Naithram: I really appreciate you being on the podcast and, and spending some time with us today.
Ali Pourghassemi: I’m really happy to be here. I really was thankful that you reached out and we had great conversation. Definitely wanted to be a part of this, and I really like what you’re doing here. And like we’re going with this and connecting folks and, and finding those synergies and opportunities to spread innovation and great ideas. And this is a great platform.
Phillip K. Naithram: I appreciate you saying that. So, you’re with the IRS now, but you were with a few other agencies in the past, right?
Ali Pourghassemi: I’ve done my musical chairs. Right. So, I’ve been at commerce census bureau department of labor interned at SBA at one point and also most recently department of health human services, HHS. And now at the internal revenue service part of the department of treasury
Phillip K. Naithram: so, you’re with the IRS, but that’s not the only thing that you do. You’re, you’re actually pretty entrepreneurial. You do like four or five other things.
Ali Pourghassemi: I wear a few hats; you know I have a passion for entrepreneurship myself. My father is an entrepreneur. He was a he came over here when he was 18 from Iran. With basically, you know, the clothes on his back, a little bit of money in his pocket to go to school. So, he had a difficult time here initially and he, he couldn’t find a job he’s on a student visa and growing up with him. He’s taught me a lot about entrepreneurship. So, in turn, you know, I went ahead and pursued that and I do real estate. I’m a realtor. I do a lot of Airbnb property hosting. I also teach at university of Maryland university, or they changed the name now university of Maryland global campus. I teach management organizational theory.
So, it just keeps me, you know, in the loop I’m a master at nothing, but I’m really good at a lot of things like to say.
Phillip K. Naithram: And it gives you an opportunity to mentor a lot of other people cause that’s the undergraduate program at a university of Maryland, correct?
Ali Pourghassemi: absolutely. You know, it’s undergrad program, a lot of adult learners Folks trying to figure out, get their feet wet. What do they want to do? And I kind of feel like I bring a lot of real-world experience to the classroom, just sharing with them. You know, this is what the book says, but this is what’s happens when the rubber meets the road in real life. So, we have a lot of great case studies. And then I like to add, you know, real time scenarios to the classroom, challenging students to ask questions, think outside the box, you know, not your typical cliche you know, one way communication in these, in these classrooms.
Phillip K. Naithram: So being with the IRS, what, how do you get to influence the small business community that’s how we met. I was given your name by a colleague of mine. As someone that I need to get to know just because you. You take that passion that you just talked about with the university of Maryland and everything we do, and you bring it to the small business community. What let’s talk about. Some of those things that you’ve been up to, to really help solidify, you mentioned technology and all the things you’re doing for the IRS.
What’s the most gratifying thing recently that you’ve been able to help someone do, any one of those companies, or just someone that came to you with a challenge and you were able to be there as their resource and their support system that helped them do that.
Ali Pourghassemi: So, to be honest with you, it’s just getting there. I see that the table, their voice heard, you know, a lot of times people respond to these, you know, generic email boxes on, you know, any government site and. did my message get read. Did somebody see it? Did the, decision-maker see it, did it influence or see it? So, when folks were applied to me or respond to my messages, or when I asked the industry for some feedback you can be guaranteed that I’m sharing that with the SCS folks, the folks that make the decisions that they like, they need to know what the people in the field are experiencing and seeing. And I’m an advocate for continual feedback. And fortunately, over here at the treasury the OSDBU director, Donna Gucci, she wants to know how we can improve, how we can do better, how we can better serve as the small business community. So, it’s great to have leadership on your team that is receptive to this type of feedback and looking to improve, you know, so I’m really fortunate that that she’s there at the OSDBU and then also our chief procurement officer Shannon. They invest a lot of time and money and resources in getting industry feedback from our annual industry survey we’re going to push it out and we want you to keep us honest, tell us how we can improve, tell us what you need to be successful. You know, when you send me a message, that stuff is not going to fall on deaf ears. Like I’m like advocating for you very strongly. Like almost a lot of times in IRS. The program officer’s business units. I remember one time they asked me, did I work at the IRS because I was leaning on them or pushing a little too. I don’t know, maybe a little too strong because I wanted to get the information to the people who need it.
Phillip K. Naithram: We were kind of chatting earlier and you know, you use this phrase. My parents were like that too. They’re like you only have one job and you feel like you can’t even get that done. I’ve got four
Ali Pourghassemi: I mean, sometimes, you know, I’m not going to lie. Sometimes I’m overwhelmed with this, the number of jobs I have, but it keeps, I feel like it keeps me sharp. It keeps me on edge. Like, so I’m involved with a number of different things. So, there’s never necessarily downtime.
Right. So, and I feel like I can leverage things. I learned in my teaching right over into my, my real job. And I feel like there’s just a value adds there. I mean, you got an eight, you have eight hours, quote unquote at work during the day, but you have 24 hours in a day and you got to leverage all of them to the fullest extent possible and I feel like one of the greatest strengths I have is just connecting people because you know, if I meet Phil, you feel, and then I know Jose over here. Similar things that you’re looking to do. I like to be that connector to plug you guys in, make, make those synergies happen. So, you know, that’s where ideas happen.
That’s where good conversations occur. That’s where the synergies, I mean, People got to don’t always do that. I find they don’t like to share information or introduce people. A lot of times people are introverted too, but I used to be like that to myself, shy, very shy.
Phillip K. Naithram: I think it comes from fear, right? Fear, shyness. A little bit of shame. I talk a lot about mindset I I’m glad we were talking about that as we were talking about relationships and how that works, you you’re open-minded to just connect to other people without fear of what will they think or whether it works or it doesn’t work. And there needs to be an awareness of those people. Or a lack of shyness. I mean, I don’t want to say lack of shyness. It’s some people we are where we are, but we can always improve. And it sounds like you came out of your shell at some point from being a shy person to now, what were some of those things that were happening?
Let’s I really want to dig into that. Like, how do you become who you are? Right. You’ve got four different things that you’re doing. You’re also a father of four children, you know, there’s gotta be a process or a routine, or do you read, I want to get all the way into that.
Ali Pourghassemi: So, to unpack that, you know, it’s, it’s a lot, you know, it’s about putting yourself out there and being vulnerable. And, you know, one of the best things that ever happened to me was getting fired from a job. I got fired. That was time. I was in high school. Working at Kmart. I don’t know if you remember Kmart. And one day I went there to get my check. I went there to pick it up and the lady says you’re supposed to be working today. And I said, really, I didn’t see the schedule. It wasn’t up. When I left. She said, well, it is up now and you’re fired. That’s what I’m fired. I said, okay. that’s a small example, but I just had to figure it out.
Phillip K. Naithram: but what that feels like you just got fired. I mean, especially as a teenager
Ali Pourghassemi: a teenager there and then, and in my adult life, you know, I had a lot of disappointments, you know, with business opportunities that didn’t go right. And it just puts you in a position that you got to figure it out. Right. So. When I was working at, I used to work at Wells Fargo, doing loans and banking and selling mortgages and subprime mortgages at that during the first collapse that we had back in oh nine. So that industry dried up quick, right? So, I had to figure it out. I didn’t have a job for a while. And in those jobs, a lot of it is cold calling and you might hear 50 no’s and legit. those three yeses would carry me through the week. You know? So, putting myself out there, not being afraid to hear the word. No, I want you to tell me now. So that’s, that’s one thing I like to tell people too, like you gave up, did they tell you? No. No, they didn’t tell me. No. Well, why did you give up, make them tell you? No. Before you move
Phillip K. Naithram: What do you think that does to us psychologically when we just, when we be, when we’re able to become resilient in a way. By constantly hearing. No, because that is entrepreneurship that’s business. You’re going to hear no, maybe 60 or 70% of the time. And you just have to be able to be used to that and understand that’s part of the process because that 30 or 40% that you do when it
Ali Pourghassemi: feels good.
Phillip K. Naithram: It feels good.
Ali Pourghassemi: It feels really sweet. You can’t have a sweet without the sour. The sour is to know. And when you get that, yes, I tell you, you can ride that wave, but then you have to keep going. So, you know, I feel like entrepreneurs they know that they have this like blue blood hustle in them, you know, they’re, they’re resilient. They bounce back. You know, as an entrepreneur, you’re going to be down more than you’re up. But you know, it got to ride the wave and no one to attack and no one to seize an opportunity and you always got to be ready. I think I’d take some of that mindset into the federal government position. And I want to share the knowledge with you all to be successful because I actually, I get a little high off seeing like a small business when a contract, like it feels really good.
Phillip K. Naithram: Does it feel gratifying knowing that you, you help them get there?
Ali Pourghassemi: Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, there was times at HHS when there were, I wasn’t necessarily the liaison agent just at the time. I was a program owner. I had a little budget and I went to our OSDBU guy and I said, I need some small businesses that can do this and then inevitably I wore the contract to one of the small branches that he shared with me, but I never shared that with him. Right. And then later on, he said, did this vendor get a contract that I introduced you to us? And then they’re actually doing great. They’re killing it. He said, why didn’t you tell me that that’s great news. And I was. I didn’t even think of it. I’m sorry. But there, they’re tremendous. And I wouldn’t even have known about them if you didn’t share. And so that little story there is like, what I try to transfer over at IRS is like, I want to put you in the rooms to be successful. I want to get you in front of the people who can, you know, who have the requirements who have the money, who can make the decision. And a lot of times people are just looking for the opportunity, right? Like, I can get you in the room, but you got to sell yourself, but that’s all. They just want the opportunity,
Phillip K. Naithram: put me in the
Ali Pourghassemi: put me in the room and I can do the rest. And I feel like that myself personally, and then that’s why I like to get folks in the room, you know, sink or swim.
Phillip K. Naithram: is no.
Ali Pourghassemi: Right. Because they are entrepreneurs appreciate that. They want to know they’re talking to the right person and there’s value in that.
Phillip K. Naithram: And I think we get better. The more we hear, no, because then you can follow up and ask what, why was it? No, not why, not me, but like what were the things that were not included that should have been, or what can I improve on?
Ali Pourghassemi: Absolutely. And that’s why I encourage folks to always ask for a debrief, like why not see, why not see how you can improve? And, and it’s good for feedback for the next proposal, you know, and it’s good for government too, so they can know, you know, they can be transparent. It’s all about transparency, right?
Like they can share why your proposal wasn’t the winning proposal. And this helps you improve upon the next one. And then it saves money in the long-term for. The government period, you know, better proposals, shorter PALT times, better acquisitions, more innovation. Like it’s just all about, I mean, each year you got a new president’s management agenda and you always hear innovation doing more with less working smarter, not harder like these, all these buzz words, but it starts with folks like the industry liaisons, the OSDBU offices, the leadership, engaging with the vendor community and, and being transparent. That’s where it starts. That’s where the rubber meets the road. And I think at IRS, we are moving in that direction where program and business unit owners and leadership, they get it right. They want to engage. They want to talk. They want to, they want you to help shape the requirement. So, when it goes out on the street, we’re getting what we asked for.
Right. That’s we want, we want what we want, but we don’t always put it together in the right way. What.
Phillip K. Naithram: what do you think is like the most impactful. Moment that shaped that sort of thought process in your mind. Like, was there something, when you were a teenager, you know, we talked about Kmart, but like, you know, think back seventh grade elementary school, what solidified that mindset of entrepreneurship or that resilience to the word? No. Or just, I have to, I’ll, I’ll just keep asking the questions to as many people, because now you have that message to share, but you got that message from somewhere. What do you think there were? Was it?
Ali Pourghassemi: Well, Phil actually is from my mom. Mom.
Phillip K. Naithram: Was she an entrepreneur?
Were either of your parents?
Ali Pourghassemi: my dad, my father is entrepreneur. He came to the country, like I said earlier, 18 years old. He worked one job as a bell man at a hotel in New York. And he didn’t like how the customer treats. let me throw a bag at him. And he threw the bag back at their feet and young, these guys from Iran, he spits on the ground. It’s like, I’m not working here anymore. Then he got into construction and he learned how he’s an engineer by trade. He graduated his engineering degree from temple university, but he can, my dads built a house from the ground up legitimately. So, he started with one, he sold a house. Then he bought several. Then he bought a store. And that’s just his mentality. He, he never wanted anyone to be able to tell him what he could or could not do. And he came here with an agenda and you know, he’s been retired. Well, he’s retired now. I mean, he works when he feels like it. Whereas my mom she’s always had a nine to five job and she hate working and she’s the one who instilled in me. You know, you don’t know what you don’t know, make someone tell, you know, ask the questions. Like I’ve never. I was like I said, I was a really shy kid. I would go into buildings and restaurants and not want to order, put my head down. And she just would push me to, she wouldn’t do it for me. She never would do it for me ever.
And she always, you need to do it. She, even if it’s uncomfortable, you need to get out there and do it. Order your own food, go in there and return your own stuff. It doesn’t do the shoe doesn’t fit. Tell them it doesn’t fit. Thomas the wrong size. Tell them it’s wrong. She always pushed, pushed, pushed us to do things on our own.
She didn’t hold our hands a lot. So, it was almost like a tough love in a sense with, with her. So, I think I’ll a lot of it to her just breaking me out of my, my shyness. Embarrassing me is some sometimes to be honest with you, but I look back and I’m really grateful that she did that.
Phillip K. Naithram: Right. And I think, you know, and even, even with your dad, like you are the child of an entrepreneur, so it’s no wonder that you are entrepreneurial and then you have this other, this other influence on the other end with your mom of, you know, making you. Speak up for yourself, building that muscle memory and those synapses that like I have to, I have to speak up.
It’s okay. To be afraid. It’s okay to be shy, but do it anyway. just keep doing it. Just keep trying, make them tell, you know, like that’s a message that you got from her through actions. And, and so you’ve carried that into your adult life and it sounds like you’re influencing other people with those same messages.
Ali Pourghassemi: And that’s what I try to do. I try to inspire and motivate people to step outside of their comfort zones. Right. Because there’s no growth in your comfort zone. There’s no growth in your box. So, you know, if you don’t put yourself out there, you don’t even know what you’re capable of doing, you know, and you know, there’s been times in my life where legitimately, I didn’t know where. I was going to get my next paycheck, you know, in my adult life, because after the mortgage industry collapsed, I decided that I was going to just do real estate and I didn’t work for, I don’t know, nine months I had saved up maybe like 80 grand from the houses. And then I just was figuring it out and then
Phillip K. Naithram: married at this time?
Ali Pourghassemi: No, no, no, no married, no ladies, just, when I got down to my last $10,000, cause I legit squandered a lot of money investing in different things that didn’t pan out. I went back and got a job, right. And I was working at PNC bank and Philadelphia and I wasn’t a manager there. So that at Wells Fargo, I was a manager, but I had to get back into the workforce. I needed a job. They offered me a job, was a paycheck. And that humbled me to
Phillip K. Naithram: was that a blow to your ego a little bit?
Ali Pourghassemi: I don’t want to say it was blow to my ego as much as it was an opportunity for growth for me, because it humbled me a lot. Right. Totally humbled. Me and I was working downtown Philadelphia and old city, fourth and market.
I met a number of people from the community. The people who come in the bank are small business owners. Those are the only people that come into the bank. Like people don’t come into the bank. So, I met a lot of members of the small business community and it was gratifying for me and it, and it told me like my passion was assisting and helping those people the people who want to do more, the people who want to give back to people who want to reinvest in their staff and their employees, because, you know, you might have. Restaurant, like, I don’t know, uncle Julio knows that’s a chain, but if you see like mom-and-pop Thai food, those people are really working hard and looking to give back to their staff, to their community. There’s a, there’s a sense of I don’t know, community in those types of areas. And that’s when I knew I just needed to help small business owners get access to resources or just know what’s available to them. In order to be successful. It’s I know it’s cliche. Knowledge is power, but it is like, you need to know what is out there at no cost. Because a lot of times its information is hidden on these government websites. It’s more than three clicks deep and people aren’t finding this stuff. So that’s why I like to push it out and share. That’s why I created the IRS industry flash to get information out to the community so they can see it in real time. Three clicks deep or be subscribed to multiple different lists serves like I’m going to, I’m going to feed you to your full, as I like to say.
Phillip K. Naithram: and you learn that you learn that. on your own, it sounds like you learned that lesson well, from your, from your mother and from your father. Right. But you learn that in, in an opportunity where it was actually not what you were looking for at the time. I mean, you were at PNC bank. I don’t think you were planning to be a banker forever.
Ali Pourghassemi: No banking was not for me. I mean, when this whole FinTech stuff, now I’d be surprised if we even see banks in the near future. But, you know,
Phillip K. Naithram: But that’s where you found your passion for doing what you’re doing now.
Ali Pourghassemi: It is in
Phillip K. Naithram: In the most unexpected place.
Ali Pourghassemi: And in the most random place they’re sitting at PNC bank fourth and market looking out the window at the coffee guy at the food truck cart. I mean, that guy inspired me. You know, he told me his story about coming here with nothing and getting a food truck and a cart. And that guy was out there every day. 5:00 AM to 5:00 PM, feeding his family, working in a food truck, selling coffee bell made a good relationship with that guy. Like I w I was used to tell him about opening an account in the bank and making your money work for you.
But another story that comes to mind is my parents didn’t give me anything either. Like my dad, wasn’t a big person that like, just give us stuff. Like he, he would make us earn it or he made us understand, like, you know, these sneakers cost $100. Do you know how much do you make an hour at your little Kmart job? I said $7. He said, so you want to work all day for these sneakers. Does that make sense to you? Well, no, it doesn’t. He said, well, that’s why I’m not going to buy them for you. You need to buy them yourself. And I was like, well, I don’t want them. He said, exactly. Why do you want them? I said, I don’t want them, you know, I can’t afford this. It doesn’t make it’s
Phillip K. Naithram: funny, those small lessons that at the time, I bet at the time it probably hurt. Cause he probably somewhere in you, you wanted those, those
Ali Pourghassemi: I really wanted those Reebok pump, blacktop sneakers. I did. I remember them.
Phillip K. Naithram: And at the time it probably was like, I’m on my dad. Just buy them for me. But now it’s like, you understand a little bit better about why he wouldn’t just buy it for you.
Ali Pourghassemi: Totally understand and appreciate the lesson that he tried to give me then.
I mean, my dad always told me I’m giving you free advice. You’re my son. I love you. I give you free advice. Anyone else I charged for this? I don’t waste my breath. This is free advice for you when I stopped giving you free advice, need to be concerned. I said, okay, then I really appreciate that. You know, just little things, not getting snack. When you’re young to go to school. So, I remember one time I was at the dollar store in somewhere outside of Philly. And are you familiar with cabbage patch, kids, garbage pail kids. So, they were selling garbage pail kids, 30 pack in the dollar store for a dollar. I bought the pack for it. I went to school and sold each pack of cards for 50 cents. And that’s how I got my snack money. And then I gave my sister snack money because my mom didn’t give a snack money because when we got up to get on the bus in the morning, she was still asleep. You know, she and D get rest to go to her job that she had to commute an hour to write her nine to five, that she hated everyday
Phillip K. Naithram: did you know that you were starting a business at the time or did you just figure, well, I need to supplement my snacks and I want to figure out a way to do it.
Ali Pourghassemi: I just needed popcorn. I wanted white cheddar popcorn and it was 50 cents and I was buying it two times a day and I said, well, I don’t have any money.
Phillip K. Naithram: That’s a dollar per day. So, five bucks
Ali Pourghassemi: And so, I saw an op, then my mom said, why do you keep wanting to go to the dollar store? Well, I need to buy more packs of these cards. And she said, what are you doing with these cards? Well, I’m trading them at school. You’re trading them. I’m trading them for money. Get it. You’re saying, oh, okay, well, there you go. And then finally, you know, that, that was how I got, kind of got started just with this whole entrepreneurial mindset. I love being a public servant and like finding a meaningful role within IRS where I’m actually helping people. So that gives me great pleasure to see other people be successful. So that’s why I do keep the job within the federal government. And then also do things on the side because I have to feed myself as well. Like when I say feed myself, it’s just feed my spirit, my soul. Like I enjoy doing these things and the job that I have within the governor. I feel like a job to me. You know, like people say, well, you don’t make a lot of money working for federal government and no guess what we don’t. Right. It’s just no secret. That industry makes a lot more money, but there’s, there’s value in what I’m doing in getting the connectivity with the small business owners and, and seeing them be successful at legitimately brings a smile to my face.
Like I really want to see them win. Like I get it. And I think that’s because my day. Struggled to find his way, you know, and the real estate ended up being his way, but he’s like a really smart guy, but, you know, he was bound by limitations coming here on a student visa and then finally becoming a citizen you know, within the last 10 years. So, something to be said there. I mean, when my mom’s still working, my dad’s not working. My dad came here at 18. My mom was born here. It’s just a mindset. Everyone doesn’t have this mindset.
Phillip K. Naithram: Do you think it’s cultural at all? Like your dad being from Iran and immigrating here?
Ali Pourghassemi: I think that when you come with less, you want more, right? So, like, I think like sometimes if you’re, if you’re born here, you’re from here. Not everyone, you know, let’s be clear, but you realize the scarcity of opportunities. When you’re coming from a foreign land here, you have to be successful. You don’t have a choice, right? Like where are you going? You going back to. I don’t think so, you know, so that mindset, and that goes back to what I was saying earlier, putting yourself out there in uncomfortable position, uncomfortable space, you will figure it out. Like you have to figure it out. Sometimes you have to figure it out. And I think innately, you will figure it out if you. It’s like their fight or flight syndrome. That stuff kicks in like, whoa.
Phillip K. Naithram: Are you a U Tony Robbins fan at all?
Ali Pourghassemi: I like Tony Robbins. I like Tony Robbins. I mean, be honest, a few. I’m asking you to fill out like Kanye west. I think he’s a little nut and he’s a little app. But I liked that. I like his story. He, he, he, he never let anyone tell him, no, they told him he couldn’t do fashion. He couldn’t do designers shoes. He couldn’t do this. He can only do music. He should just be a producer. He couldn’t be a rapper. So, he produces for Jay Z. Then he starts rapping. Then he becomes the bestselling, Grammy award winning rapper. Then he goes over to Paris. His line doesn’t do well. And then. Then he partners with Nike. They don’t want to give him the creative runway that he wanted. So, he leaves, Nike goes to Adidas, this Yeezy sneaker. It’s a billion-dollar, $6 billion company now.
Phillip K. Naithram: And there’s nothing special about it.
Ali Pourghassemi: There’s nothing special about it. It’s him. It’s his, his brainchild, his branding, his ideas. His relentless pursuit of not hearing. No, you can’t do that. Who are, you kid from Chicago? Single mother raised them. Like, I mean, come on. Anything is possible. You just got to want it. And, and entrepreneurs that are do well. They want it. They’re hungry.
Phillip K. Naithram: I, you know, the reason why I was asking you about Tony Robbins says he often says this thing where if you want to take the island burn the boats, and that made me think of your dad. there’s no motivation, like no alternative,
Ali Pourghassemi: no. Right. And you know, the guy I look, I was Dave, David, David, Goggin’s, Scoggins,
that guy is fricking great. Anytime I’m feeling down like, you know, I can’t figure. I turn on Goggin’s and I’m like, what am I doing?
Phillip K. Naithram: You know, he really does have that, that appeal. And it’s maybe it’s not for everyone. No one is for everyone. Right? Whatever you, I the I’m a big believer in finding what resonates with you. Like there’s a lot of podcasts on mindset shifts in perspective leadership, all those things, but maybe something that we talk about here will resonate with you differently.
Same thing with Goggin’s. And, but he is one of those people that I can watch any one of his videos, or just hear him. And it just from his journey of weight loss and the military and going through buds like three or four times, but never saying no. And just continuing to put himself in difficult situations safely. Right? Sometimes most of the time, hopefully, but opportunities to grow opportunities to do something that is uncomfortable and that, you know, we use this term figured out, but it’s really like, you have to just learn all the lessons that are required to be successful doing the thing that you’re trying to.
Let’s talk about your kids. You’ve got four kids,
Ali Pourghassemi: I do. I can’t believe
Phillip K. Naithram: Do you think that your, your entrepreneurship mindset is wearing off on them? The way that your parents, both your mother and your father, do you see yourself doing the same things they were doing, or are you even thinking about that?
Ali Pourghassemi: It’s so funny. You make you say that just yesterday. My daughter, you know, she was born and raised in LA. So, she has kind of like this Hollywood mentality. This is a 15-year-old and she has like clothes. She doesn’t like anymore. There’s nothing wrong with the clothes. She just doesn’t like them. Right. So yesterday I she’s in the basement, snapping pictures of her jackets or clothes. She’s never warmed. Like, what are you doing? I’m putting this stuff on this site called Postmark.
I’m going to sell it. I’m like you’re going to sell us and stuff. She’s like, yeah, Well, that’s pretty cool. Let me help you out. Like so, and it also explaining to her the concept of kind of like what my dad told me. Like she would ask for like expensive. I don’t know. She likes easy sneakers. They’re $250.
And I said, you don’t even have a job. Your job is school right now. I pay her back and if she gets straight A’s, then she can get what she wants, you know? But my point is I was really taken back that she even looked at it in that perspective, you know, any, even in the morning, sometimes I get coffee every day.
I get Starbucks every morning on my app, legit every day she says, dad, we have a coffee maker here. There’s a curate K-cup thing on the fridge. Why don’t you just buy the pods and make your own coffee? You can save a couple dollars. You’re you know, you’re right. But I really like this coffee. And so, I, and I told her, I said, listen, in this life, you pay for convenience.
If it’s convenient, you’re going to pay for it. You know, of course I can make it myself, you know? It’s convenient. I go to Starbucks. I like, I like the baristas. We talk, we, I like people. I like talking this pandemic has been super tough for folks like myself. I’m extroverted. And I’ve really took for granted that the level of engagement that I got from just sitting enjoying time with my coworkers and then people say by the water cooler or by the.
Those things really matter, right? Like that level of engagement, like I I’m, I’m so happy to be sitting here with you talking to a live person, looking at your face and not being on zoom or have my camera off. You know, like I feel like these social interactions are critical to, to, to us as human beings, the interconnectivity You know, like it goes back to what we said earlier, relationship building, how difficult is it to solidify and build a relationship as a small business owner through a zoom, right? Because body language is what, 80% it’s like tough. Right? Like, I don’t know if this feels listened to me on the other end of that zoom or it’s IRS, are they really engaged? Are they really listening to what I have to?
Phillip K. Naithram: We speak with our bodies. Just as much as we speak with the sound coming out of our mouth. Absolutely. So, if I can’t, if we’re just, if you’re just sitting there still, I might catch an eyebrow here and there or a facial expression somehow. But look at me, I’m moving side to side, just even saying this so you can tell I’m animated when I speak. And I think most people are. And we’re just being able to view, to mirror them or view those cues when they’re leaning back. Now I know that they’re comfortable and we’re having a good conversation, but if they’re folding their arms and they’re guarded or like, you know, I can tell, you can tell when someone’s actually listening to what you’re saying or they’re thinking in their head, something totally different than just waiting for you to stop talking
Ali Pourghassemi: Absolutely.
Phillip K. Naithram: Well, Ali look, you’re one of these people that I think that I can speak to all afternoon. right? And I really appreciate you taking some time and sharing some of the mission of the IRS, but then also getting to know you as an individual and some of the things that you know, why you should. In the lives of small business owners. And I hope that everyone listening, I hope they reach out to you and get to know you.
Ali Pourghassemi: I encourage you to reach out. I mean, I’m not a person who’s going to hide behind an email address and not reply. If you send me an email, I will reply.
Phillip K. Naithram: And what’s that email before we go.
Ali Pourghassemi: Ali.firstname.lastname@example.org. Shoot me an email. I’ll reply. I’ll get back to you. I will connect you with the people that you want to talk to. I will give you the opportunity to be heard and know that your email is seeing your capability statement is definitely going to be shared with folks in procurement, with program owners who have a potential requirement. I will do that for you.
Phillip K. Naithram: Well, thanks so much, Allie. I appreciate you being
Ali Pourghassemi: here Definitely Thank you. I really appreciate it. Thank you.