Fellow Midshipmen host DEFxAnnapolis. #popsmoke

Welcome to PopSmoke

My name is Matt Pagan and I’m the Founder.

I started PopSmoke because the Transition Assistance Program for veterans is outdated and ineffective.

I believe people transitioning are overwhelmed with resources and cookie-cutter solutions, and feel part of the solution is connecting with real people and having real conversations instead.

So I give veteran artists, creatives and entrepreneurs (ACEs) a place to deliver trusted transition training on The PopSmoke Show.

Subscribe to the show so you can learn from their insights and experiences on the go, wherever and whenever you want.

What gives you the right?

The following people gave me a shot to start, build and grow PopSmoke:

Michael Stezner: Host of Social Media Marketing World, the world’s largest social media marketing conference. Michael invited me to San Diego to discover the best social media marketing techniques from the world’s top experts. I learned techniques and strategies people can apply when leaving the military and transitioning into civilian life.

Michael Stezner

Michael knows how to host a conference.

John Lee Dumas: Host of EntrepreneurOnFire, a top ranked business podcast. John, a military veteran, has been featured in TIME and Inc. Magazine, and is a leader in the podcast community. John showed me how veterans can make an impact by starting their own podcast.

Me and John before the USS Midway party in San Diego.

Me and John before the USS Midway party in San Diego.

Cliff Ravenscraft: The “Podcast Answer Man,” has trained more people to podcast than any other person in the world. Cliff explained to me how your voice is the most intimate way to communicate.

“The human voice is the most intimate way to communicate.”

“No one knows what you know.”

Pat Flynn: Founder of Smart Passive Income. Pat shared with me how you can batch-task projects to maximize your time.

Pat Flynn Smart Passive Income

Pat hands me an ACE at the USS Midway after-party.

Lou Mongello: Walt Disney World author, host and speaker. Lou shared with me why you should mastermind with a group if you want to take your game to the next level.

Lou Mongello

Masterminding with Lou before his talk.

Brian Clark: Founder of Copyblogger. Brian shared with me how you can command attention, create engagement, and influence people as a powerful player in the new media revolution.

Brian Clark Copyblogger

Write to think.

Michael Port: A professional actor and New York Times bestselling author coached me one-on-one where he shared with me how people should perform to inspire; both the art and science of performance.

Michael Port Think Big Speak Easy

Me with Port at Think Big Speak Easy in Pennsylvania.

I have been blessed to have met such a long list of supportive mentors and professionals while preparing for my transition. My ideas and actions in life and business are built upon the lessons I have learned from them. They have inspired me. And for that, I would like to say, “Thank You.”

  • Marielle Covington, AutoDesk: “People 1st, culture 2nd, strategy 3rd. 100% of the time.”
  • Brad Feld, Startup Communities: “Have a long-term view. Patience is key.”
  • Todd Park, Obama’s CTO: “You can’t stand the idea of living without your idea. Be in love with what you’re doing.”
  • Steve Blank, Veteran Entrepreneur: “Regardless of your career, you won’t succeed alone.”
  • Norm Brodsky, Street Smarts: “The worst thing you can be is smart. Wise > Smart.”
  • Giovanni Feroce, Benrus: “Resumes are hardly worth anything…I want to build a multibillion-dollar brand.”
  • Sean Maday, Director TechStars Patriot Boot Camp: “Recognize an opportunity. Build MVP. Launch. Iterate.”

Short Bio

I’m a Marine Corps veteran with a logistics background. Before the Marine Corps, I attended the Naval Academy where I wrestled and studied Quantitative Economics.

Instead of giving you a list of adjectives that describe how great I think I am, here’s a list of things I’ve accomplished instead:

  • In 2012, I created an iPhone app called Total Pay, which combined passions for tech and finance. (Total Pay helps people view military pay.) Here my eyes opened wide because I tasted and imagined life outside the military.
  • In 2013, I completed both TechStars Patriot Bootcamp and Inc. Magazine’s Military Entrepreneur Program in Washington, D.C. Later that year, I attended the first Defense Entrepreneur Forum (DEF) in Chicago, Illinois.
  • In 2014, Michael Port, a New York Times best-selling author and professional actor, coached and prepared me for my talk on The Power of Sex Transmutation at DEFxAnnapolis. Later that year, I learned the latest info about today’s ever-changing tech and social world at Social Media Marketing World in San Diego and Defrag in Colorado.
  • In August 2014, RallyPoint interviewed me as a top transition source for the next generation at RallyPoint’s first conference in Raleigh, North Carolina.
  • In Oct 2014, I attended P. Diddy’s Revolt conference in Miami. Here I connected and learned from influencers and leaders in music, technology and branding.
  • In Nov 2014, I attended the Veteran Artist Program (VAP) in New York City. VAP continues to foster, encourage, and promote veteran artists pursuing creative endeavors.
  • In July 2015, I returned to TechStars Patriot Boot Camp in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Patriot Boot Camp’s an intensive 3-day program focused on helping military Veterans and spouses become technology entrepreneurs.
  • In Sept 2015, I attended HubSpot’s Inbound in Boston. HubSpot’s Inbound fuels the passion that drives the most innovative and successful business leaders of our time. At INBOUND, I connected with marketing and sales professionals from almost every industry imaginable and from all corners of the globe.
  • In Sept 2015, I also attended USAA’s DigitalMilEx in San Antonio. DigitalMilEx aims to provide you with resources to tackle the unique challenges facing the military digital community.
  • 2015 — Right now I’m on a scholarship learning Full Stack Web Development at Bloc’s Veterans Program. Plus, I host 3-6 PopSmoke Shows a month delivered once a week to you on iTunes, Stitcher Radio and Soundcloud.
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RallyPoint Conference

Interview with RallyPoint at their first conference. #popsmoke