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Bestselling author Fabrice Testa is an exponential thinker, innovator, serial tech entrepreneur, business angel investor, trusted advisor, public speaker, author, and highly sought-after mentor. He has successfully founded, co-founded, or participated in the launch of multiple companies that created hundreds of jobs and generated multi millions in revenue. 

He is the creator of the Superpreneur Blueprint framework and has developed a set of cutting-edge strategies and tactics that enable super-entrepreneurs to materialize crazy ideas, build breakthrough ventures, and solve the world’s biggest problems. After helping more than 100 companies excel in their fields, Testa is making this proven methodology publicly available in Super-Entrepreneurship Decoded to help super-entrepreneurs everywhere transform our lives—and the planet.

This was such dynamic and informative chat. I highly recommend the book (which I read multiple times because it was that good) so make sure to follow the links to grab a copy yourself. 

Super-Entrepreneurship Decoded: https://amzn.to/3pYlL6M 

Connect with Fabrice at https://fabricetesta.com 

Follow Fabrice on Social Media here:







Super Entrepreneur Instagram

Transcript powered by Happy Scribe

Welcome to the show. My name is Eric Wright. I’m the host for your DiscoPosse podcast. I hope that you liked this one as much as I did when I recorded it with Fabrice Testa. Fabrice is an author, an entrepreneur or an investor, and somebody who genuinely is using technology and business to bring good to the world. It was such a fantastic opportunity to really delve into his book Super Entrepreneurship Decoded. I loved it so much that I actually read it multiple times in preparation for the interview, and it was just that good.

So you definitely got to get a copy. Hit the links that are on the website episode page. You can also hit us up on the YouTube definitely reach out. I’m going to be running a contest on my YouTube channel. If you want to get a copy of this book, drop me a comment on the YouTube channel. It’s YouTube.com/c/DiscoPossePodcast and I’m going to be giving away a bunch of copies of this fantastic book. So just check the YouTube page for the details on that one. All right.

And before, speaking of, how do we make stuff like that happen? It goes without saying that the fine folks that make this podcast happen include people like VM Software who have been longtime supporters and who I support because they have a fantastic set of products. As far as data protection goes, they got you covered. Everything you need for your data protection needs, whether it’s in the cloud, whether it’s in containerized platforms, whether it’s SAS, whether it’s on premises, virtualized, even physical servers, all that stuff needs to be backed up and needs to be saved from things like ransomware and all sorts of naughty things that are going on in the world.

So, it could just be Pete in accounting that accidentally deletes a file. It could be somebody who erases a team’s message that shouldn’t have gone away. So get that stuff protected. All right, just go to vee.am/DiscoPosse and it’s just that easy, vee.am/DiscoPosse. And speaking of protection, make sure you protect your data when it’s in transit as well. Easy way to do that is you can use great products like ExpressVPN. The reason why I use VPN is because I like to make sure that I can do my best to protect my identity, protect my data.

And also it’s just fantastic for web testing. If I need to test like, remote location to make sure that it works as expected from different regions. So it’s really, really great. I use ExpressVPN for that very purpose. If you want to check it out yourself, go to tryexpressvpn.com/DiscoPosse and you can get it for yourself. All right. This is Fabrice Testa. I hope you like the show. He is amazing. Get his book.

Hey. Hello. It’s Fabrice Testa and you are listening to DiscoPosse podcast.

This is perfect. What a great way to start the year. This is fantastic. So Fabrice, thank you very much. I’ve been engulfed in the school of Fabrice now for a while. I was really pleased when I had the opportunity to put you on as a potential guest. And I really enjoyed. First, I read your most recent book, which is the Super Entrepreneurship Decoded. Fantastic book. Went a lot through the rest of your history, of course. And leading up to that book, you have so much to bring and you’ve brought so much to the world already.

But for folks that are brand new and who don’t already know you. Fabrice, if you don’t mind, let’s just get a quick bio. We’ll talk about the book and a really good exploration of this concept of the superpreneur.

Yes. Thanks Eric, for welcoming me on this show. Yes. So I’m Fabrice Testa, and actually I’m Belgian. I have also some origins from Italy. So I live in Belgium, but I work mostly. My business is mostly in Luxembourg, so in Europe and I have, of course, travel all over the world during my career. And basically I’m an entrepreneur. So I co-funded different companies in the space sector in the digitalization. One of them achieved 100 million Euro turnover, 200 people. Then this company was sold and after that I funded also a company in the satellite service company, Luxembourg.

And after three years that company was also sold. And after the sale of this company, I had no new entrepreneurial projects. So I started some new life as an investor, a business center. So I did different investments again in different technologies, space, artificial intelligence, ICT, et cetera. And then, I started also to be a coach and mentor to help other entrepreneurs because I wanted to give back somehow and to help other entrepreneurs by sharing my experience. And let’s say those successful strategies and tactics that was working for me.

I also created by that time a blueprint that I call the Superpreneur Blueprint to help entrepreneurs to become what I call superpreneur. And maybe we will discuss more about this and to solve some big problems by materializing crazy ideas. And actually I met a young Dutch entrepreneur in 2017 and he came with a crazy idea. So for me it was the opportunity to also be again involved in a kind of superpreneur venture. So we co-founded with other people in 2019, the company called Maana Electric that is also mentioned in my book.

And now this company is working well. So today I spent my time between this company as a co-founder and shareholder. I also spent time mentoring, coaching, speaking at several events to explain this super entrepreneurship movement that I launched. And I wrote a book, this book, Super-Entrepreneurship Decoded, because I think that one thing was missing in the Superpreneur Blueprint. It was a method, because the Superpreneur Blueprint gives the core pillars, the guiding principles and the key characteristic of this kind of venture, but it was not telling how to do it.

And so I try to analyze what super entrepreneurs and super achievers, how they do it. What is their secret to succeed? Why others fail? And in the book, I unveil five secrets that I think can help entrepreneurs to maximize their chances of success. Of course, it’s not a guarantee of success, but I think it’s a way to maximize the chances of success. They put all these five secrets around a method that I call the crazy method. So that’s a bit of my story and the origin of the book.

I really appreciated the beautiful use of acronyms. So, we’ll talk about crazy as a method. People think, is he meaning literally crazy? But it’s a perfect pairing because it allows us to assign a memorable name to it. And it’s not far off of, you know, these real sort of crazy and moonshot type of ideas. If we take it in this literal sense of the word and then a pathway to execution that’s been tested and proven that you’re bringing this methodology, you’re bringing a framework to the world that you’ve lived and experienced, which is, I think, one of the best things that people need to appreciate about the book.

This is not a Harvard Airplane NBA guide that you read between New York and Boston flights. This is a lived experience that’s brought down and distilled into effective, meaningful steps that you can implement with great analogous references that are meaningful and helpful. And, of course, likes to bring your personal experience. I trust it. I think Nassim Taleb says the greatest way to be a philosopher King is to be a King first and then a philosopher second. Too many times these days, when you go through the business section or these sort of self help sections, it’s a lot of people who are straight from school and their PhD year was writing from research.

And while it’s a beautiful thing, ten years later, when they go back and revisit their early work, they’re like, ‘Oh, wow. I was naïve a lot of times in what was written’. Your book, first of all, tells a beautiful story. And like I mentioned before, we talked, it is you telling the story. It really comes through as a person telling me how to achieve this from their own experience. And I said, it’s a refreshing change because I’ve read a lot of books of this style that aim to do this, and they often come back as the same three things that I already sort of knew, and it’s a little bit reinforcing, but it was very well done.

So I honestly can’t talk enough. We’ll have links, of course, in all the show notes for people, they should absolutely pick up the book.

Thanks, Eric. I really appreciate it. It’s always nice to hear nice words like this, but I think I wrote the book as I would like to read a book, because I also read a lot of non fiction books, maybe between 50 and 60 books, you know, per year. I like book support, entrepreneurship, business, etc. Some are very good, and some, I think are less good because it’s true that there are a lot of, maybe they tend to have some frameworks, et cetera. But you don’t see really how to apply it.

And what I wanted with the book is to give a very simple framework because I think the framework is very simple in essence. Now the difficulty is to apply it in real life, and it’s why I provide in the book worksheets so that people can apply, let’s say the principles of the book, try to answer a lot of questions and try to put in practice the principles of the book. And it’s also why I’m just launching by end of this month, a companion course to the book, which will be called The Crazy Method Launch online course.

And it’s an online coaching program on twelve weeks. Every week there will be a module and we are mostly following, let’s say, the method which is in the book, but I’m going really to dive deep into each of them, which of course, I could not do with the book, because in the book you are obliged a bit to scratch the surface, unfortunately. Because the book will be indigenous and will be much too big. But with the course, I think the people will have really the opportunity to go really, to dive deep into the principles of the book, to put in actions the method that I propose in the book, and hopefully like this, they can really materialize their breakthrough potential.

They can really have a solid plan if, for example, they want to launch this kind of breakthrough venture that I’m suggesting in the book.

The thing that we need to look at, too, and that’s why I appreciated the references throughout and very specific stories that are called on from other parts of the industry as well, is the proof in execution elsewhere. Right. It gives us a chance to have a reason. Why is the book built to last? One of the most popular ones is because it’s five familiar brands that we know, and that familiarity breeds the belief that I can achieve it. There’s something to be said about this, but when you get into the moonshot areas and these very big ideas, it’s a little more difficult to find meaningful, real existing references.

Looking back now, it’s funny that in two years, three years, you’ll look through those stories in the book and they’ll be like it’ll seem obvious, but at the time when you’re writing this, of course, these are still moonshots. We look at Elon Musk, not just in a single moonshot, but in multiple ventures that he’s achieved. You, of course, coming from supporting and investing in space technologies and being in that ecosystem, there’s a lot of these sort of hidden, there’s a hidden world that’s existing that most people are not going to be aware of until it’s already on their phone or wherever it is.

They just take for granted all of this other work that’s happening to support the thing that makes the news or that makes the big story. So I just realized, too, by actually coincidence, I was wearing a SpaceX shirt. My wife and I are both space fanatics. And last time I got a chance, we actually went to watch the Delta Four Orion launch in Florida. It was fantastic. There’s nothing like an in-person launch. And being aware of how seemingly unrealistic that idea is to most people and why the super entrepreneur has to and is somehow able to put that aside and say, this needs to get done.

And despite advice and despite doubt, we’re going to do things to get back to like this, it can be done. So maybe let’s start there describe to me Fabrice, what is the super entrepreneur or the superpreneur?

Yes, I think it’s a good question indeed, to start somehow the conversation. What I call super entrepreneurs are people that they want to solve some big problems. Because I explained in the book that in 2007 we enter in what I call ‘The Edge of Exponential Acceleration’. So everything is really going very fast. Mostly technology is going exponentially, which is a good thing, because today we have many technologies that have achieved a good level of maturity, and they are used by this kind of innovators and inventors to build some amazing solutions.

But at the same time, problems are also accelerating at an exponential pace of change. If you look at climate change and unfortunately, you know, these disasters in Colorado, for example, I strongly believe that this is a consequence of climate change. And we see that we have now more wildfires, more flooding et cetera. In Belgium, for example, we have terrible flooding in the summer. So I think that we must do something. And unfortunately, most of the conventional solutions have proven their limits. So it’s time for radical solutions, what we call crazy ideas, crazy solutions, solutions that initially seem impossible.

But what I try to always explain is that today at the edge of exponential acceleration, nothing is really impossible. And at the edge of the exponential acceleration, impossible becomes possible. And this kind of entrepreneurs, I call them super entrepreneurs because they probably believe that nothing is really impossible. And they are ready to dedicate ten years, 20 years of their lifetime to solve such kind of big problems and to come with some amazing solution that will solve this problem. And, for example, to give a very concrete example to your audience.

There is, for example, this guy in the book that I described, Joseph Pescounty. He is Italian but living in Barcelona, in Spain, and he discovered that he could use some technology used for 3D print human tissues, et cetera. That he could use the same technology to 3D print food and so now he’s using this technology to 3D print food. Imagine that today is, of course, still a very small scale. But imagine that tomorrow he can build machines, he can scale these machines to produce tons of food and 3D print tons of food.

This could be really a big solution for solving hunger around the world, because today, unfortunately, in the world many people, they have only access to one meal per day. So I think at the 21st century, we are always saying we live extra ordinary times, et cetera, which is true. But how can we admit that today in our civilization that some people, they have only access to one meal per day? So I think we need to come with some solutions. And it’s not with the traditional solutions that we will do it.

But with this kind of breakthrough solutions, it will be possible. And so it’s why I call them super entrepreneurs. And just to be clear, I don’t want to oppose one kind of entrepreneur to another kind of entrepreneur. I’m an entrepreneur, and I respect all kind of entrepreneurship. It’s just that these kind of people, I think they are super because they want to really solve big problems, to dedicate a big part of their lifetime to this, to work on moonshot things that others may think are impossible.

When I met this young entrepreneur, Joost van Oorschot, that is also in the book that came with this idea behind Maana Electric. When I met him first, my first reaction was also to say, wow, it’s crazy. He wants to turn sand into solar panels into a machine. This is impossible. So my first reaction and I’m also in this movement. But my first reaction was to say that’s impossible. So our first reaction, because we have a linear mind is to say it’s impossible. And if we go to an exponential mind, then we see the thing is possible, because in the exponential world, you know, if you can go ten times, if you have ten doublings, it’s a grow of 1000.

If it’s 20 doublings, it’s a grow of 1 million, you know. If it’s 30 doublings, is 1 billion growth. So it’s going very fast. And today we see with this progress of technologies that many things are possible. So I think we need to have a mind shift and to really shift our perspective and see. Okay, if I would have a magic wand, how I will solve this problem. And it’s what I recommend to innovators if you would like to solve this problem, what would you do? Don’t think that with possible solution.

Just imagine if you could do it or you will do it. Like, for example, I said this 3D printing machine, like we seen some science fiction movies, you know, that the food is printed or appears directly like this. And this is really something that we think with a magic wand that it could be possible. But today the reality is that it’s probably feasible and it will happen. I’m pretty sure that it will happen in the coming years that it will be at this time.

To take it back to this first principles thinking approach, which I think is obviously the fundamental to the folks that are achieving these sort of grand visions is because they’ve gotten rid of linear thinking. They have to shed the belief that everything is one to 1.1. It truly is this sort of zero to one. Go back to raw materials. And I think Elon Musk was recently on Alex Friedman podcast. He talked about that. The only way you can approach this is simply look at the costs of the raw materials, and the goal in the end, is always to the cost of manufacturing will be asymptotically close to zero above the raw materials.

And it’s just a matter of the work that you do to get closer to that raw material cost. And that’s ultimately what led to battery technologies. And we’re seeing this with solar. But you’ve proven it out right in that very idea that if you just said, well, we have to just make it slightly better than the current lithium manufacturing, right? That can’t be it. You had to go to what seems like a crazy idea, as Joost brings and say, okay, what if we actually could do this and then you realize you always could with the right, first mindset and then second, which is why the book is important, executing the approach in operations as well, because there’s lots of big ideas.

But then having the team, the growth, the understanding to financially survive to execution is where, it’s a long distance from idea to execution. So that’s why where do we learn this? Is it as rare as it seems to be able to have this thinking?

Yes, I think you are right, Eric. When I met again, when I met you the first time, I was thinking, okay, that’s impossible to transform sand into solar panels. All this will be impossible. But then I go just 1 minute after. Yeah, but let’s imagine that it can work. Okay. So I asked some people, do you think that it’s possible? And many people told me, look, it’s not against the laws of physics, in sand, you can find everything to transform it into Silicon and then into solar cells and glass.

So basically it’s possible from just a physique standpoint. And so this was for me, the confirmation. Okay, that’s probably possible. So now let’s dive a bit deeper into that. So I did my due diligence. I analyze more. I try to understand also the business model, et cetera. What was the plan? I was also impressed by your master plan. It’s a notion that I explain also in the book, what were the big goals, etcetera. And to be honest, we are just following the big milestones right now.

And then you are right. I think an idea remains an idea until it is materialized and so what I see so many times is entrepreneurs. They have a lot of ideas, et cetera. But they never take action, or if they take action, they take the bad action. So it’s why I always say first, you need to really know, okay, what do you want to achieve? What do you want to create in this world? What is your true purpose? Okay. And after that, you need to press your crazy ideas that these crazy ideas will really allow you to materialize somehow your big dreams and you have to dream big and bold.

Many people are unfortunately not audacious enough. These kind of super entrepreneurs or super achievers. They have dream. They have big dreams. They believe in their big dreams, and they are bold. They take the necessary actions to materialize their dreams. But you are right that the proper execution is key, because without a proper execution, without what I call a flawless execution, you cannot, unfortunately, materialize because these kind of moonshots are very complicated, to be honest, to be achieved, to be materialized. So it’s why it’s very important to have a flawless execution.

And these kind of super entrepreneurs and super achievers, they are master at execution. They really try to see anything that can help the business. And now the secret one of the secret to succeed this flawless execution is to have a good preparation. The preparation is key, but now you have not also to spend months and months just in preparation and never take action. So I think there is a good balance to have when you think that your plans are good enough, then you have to act and maybe to revise a little bit your plans, et cetera, iterate.

Of course, move forward because I see also a lot of entrepreneurs. They have big ideas. They create big plans, but at the end they have the fear to fail. Or maybe they try to perfection their plans, but at some point they never do it. And they have very nice pitch deck. Or they have very nice business plans, or they have even very nice products. But they never ask the customers about their products or they never try to sell their products. So they have fantastic products. But at some point they never question also the business case for the product.

Again, it’s nice to have big ideas, but you need to go from a big idea, from a dream to a plan and then to some execution. Again, it may seem very simple, and I think the basics of the business is simple. Business is what an entrepreneur is there to solve a problem with a product or service that you want to sell to some people and you make some profits. I think the basic of business are very simple. The realization is something which is more complicated because there are so many parameters and these kind of super entrepreneurs and super achievers, they have a holistic approach about how to manage the company and they try to minimize the flaws in every aspect of their business.

Now you bring up a very important point when without customer validation, this is quite often the death knell for product management and bringing products successfully to market, because if they wait too long before they expose to their buyer and their user and their true technical consumer, they go far down the path to what they believe is the correct thing to build or method to use. And then you have the double problem of number one. They’re now pot committed or too far invested into this. And so they then start to discount the customers ideas like, ‘oh, no, but you don’t understand. We know what we’re doing better. We built it.’

But then the counter problem exists now, Fabrice, where in moonshots, quite often the customer doesn’t exist in a way when you’ve got an idea, you have long plan as to when a customer will be able to test it. How does that gap get bridged in your experience dealing with very early emerging tech?

Yeah, that’s, of course, a good question. And it can be a problem, actually, it’s also something which is well known. And I re-explain also in the book is the technology adoption lifecycle. So initially I think for this kind of, because mostly what I describe in the book are what is called deep tech companies. So it’s really very long. Let’s say moonshot venture that will take probably 5 to 10, if not 20 years, because there is a lot of research and development up front, et cetera. And for these kind of deep tech companies, generally, what you need is to have the validation, at least a kind of validation or pre validation from early pioneers.

So early pioneers are really people that are visionary that love new things, et cetera. That maybe see beyond, they like futuristic things, et cetera. And let’s take the example of Lilium, for example. It’s a company also that I described in the book. What they want is to have a small electric plan to make inter regional, let’s say, or intercity flights. So this will be perfect. It’s a bit like also Uber Air. So it’s these kind of companies that want to make some flight taxis, et cetera.

And you are right. Is there today customers? No. But there are some people that they may question some people and say, look, if this would be available, will you take it? Will you be able to pay for it? And I think there are many people that will say, yeah, I love Uber Air. That for example, in LA, where there is a big traffic jam, maybe I would have the possibility to fly instead of going on the road. I will love it. And I will be ready to pay for it.

So I think you can always find some people that at least validate your, let’s say, your proposition. Now, the difficulty for this kind of companies is that after two pioneers or what we call the early majority that will adopt, let’s say, their product, it will be to go to the mass market. And they might be more complicated. But, yeah, it’s all the difficulty of creating a business that can scale et cetera. But there are some, of course, fully, some strategies to do this. But I think in the case of Lilian, for example, they now went on the stock market.

I think it’s on the Nasdaq, their value at 1.5 billion. So the market believes in what they do. And I think there is a strong, let’s say, thinking among the population that, yes, this kind of solution at some point will take off, which is the right word will take off as long as, for example, the barriers related to air regulations, et cetera will be removed. But early validation is very important. And I like to give a very simple tip to start up, which is the Starbuck tip.

So if you have an idea, you go into Starbucks and you ask someone, ‘Look, I pay you your latte, but you spend ten minutes with me. I explain to you what I want to do, and you just give your honest feedback about what I want to do. If you think that it’s completely crazy, tell me that it’s completely crazy. If you think that you will never pay for it or that it will never work. Just let me know if you think that it’s amazing. Just let me know, et cetera.’

But you know what? Recently, a company in Luxembourg. I met them in an event and they talk about this idea. And I said, Did you validate your idea? “Oh, no, we don’t know exactly yet. We have not talked with potential customers yet, et cetera”. And I told them, look, go into a coffee shop and do this, and they did. And they receive an incredible validation of their solution. And many people said, look, if this would exist, it would be fantastic. And since then, they just won some prices, et cetera.

And they started doing well, because now they are convinced that there is a real market behind. So I do believe that early market validation is very important. But you are right that for this kind of companies, it’s not always easy. I think they have to focus on the pioneers, the early adopters, if at least they have this validation, it’s already a good sign. But after they will have some challenges, of course, for sure.

And I think an important thing that obviously plays out in the book. And with all the work you’re doing and the upcoming courses is, I often call it framework over firepower. That the old saying goes that plans are useless, but planning is essential and being able to adjust pivot, deal with changes in inputs. But if you do not have a framework in which you can apply these methods and you’re lucky more than you’re right in the execution. And this is the belief that we can just sort of throw.

If I scale my engineering team by 100, then I will suddenly be 100 times more productive. And it’s the mythical man month, as they often used to call it a mythical person month, of course, but more politically correct now, because you cannot just throw human firepower at it or money firepower necessarily and have it scale. The framework is incredibly important because then it becomes the methodology that anyone in your team can apply and that it also comes from vision and principle of the company. And I guess when you’re creating your own framework and you’re using your own method here Fabrice or you’re looking to entrepreneurs, especially as an angel investor, what is it that you look for in that, this is an idea and I trust these people to be able to scale towards this solution.

Look, before I make an investment. I use what I call the four T’s. And it’s not because my name is Testa. It’s around the T. And again, I like acronyms et cetera. But here it’s very mnemonic system for me to remember what is important. The first tier is technology. So is this technology really something breakthrough? Is it really something unique? Can this technology really create a big value? So that’s the first tier that I look into. Then I look at the second T, which is traction. And for me again, traction means market.

Is there a big market enough for this? Now, referring back to the previous question, sometimes it may be a bit complicated, but at least, is there some early pioneers, early adopters that, let’s say, that are quite excited about this solution and it’s what I call the traction. Then the third tier is the team. Is there a team able to materialize this big idea within this big market? Because for me, this is essential. It’s the execution. Is the team available today or maybe with some other people to execute the vision?

And then the fourth tier is the timing. Is it the right timing for it? Is it too early or is it too late? It’s a notion that I explain also in the book because I think this is really paramount. And there is a famous person that, unfortunately, I forgot his name. But he did an analysis of many ventures. What were their success factors, et cetera. And among, let’s say, all these startups et cetera. I think the video is available on YouTube. He found that, actually, timing was the key success factor.

So yeah, because why? Because sometimes some people, they have a very good idea, but they come too early and they are going to burn a lot of money before the market is ready. It’s maybe a bit the case, for example of Lilium, that I was talking about previously because I think they have a fantastic solution. But today the market is not fully ready, so they need a lot of cash. And it’s why, for example, they did an IPO to have enough cash. If you are too late for the market, the market is already over, and that’s done.

I think probably you will have some late people that might, let’s say, what we call the late majority that might eventually buy your solution. But the market is over. So it’s finished. So I think the proper market, the proper timing is very important. And what I have observed is that most of these super entrepreneurs, they are able to really sense, ‘Okay. What are the moods of the time? When is the right timing for it? And they launch the solution at the right timing. For example, I think Elon Musk, he was a master in that when he launched Tesla.

I think he really perceived that there was something missing on the market, that it was a time for electrical vehicle. But there was a need for some new kind of electrical vehicle, et cetera. He was right when he launched SpaceX. And you have dealt with SpaceX. It’s also in the right timing because there was all the start of the new space, et cetera. There was many projects of multi constellation, et cetera. And he was right to say, okay, if I can have a solution, which is maybe cheaper, et cetera, I can give a boost into this new space edge.

So I think the timing is very important. So I use these four T’s, the technology, I have the right technology, the right market, the right team, and the right timing. And for me, these are the basics after that. Of course, there are many things, but I think these are the four basics. And if at least a company has these four green lines into these four pillars, then for me, I can try to investigate a bit more.

Yeah, the timing is very interesting, and it’s often, it’s difficult to know until you run the other side of it. But if we take anecdotal experience, combine it with data, and I believe that we are going to be better. And we are today better at predicting that timing and ability to execute into that market. Of course, I brought up Built to Last. The funny thing about Built to Last is most of the stories in Built to Last actually led to pretty deep failures, years after the book had come out because the markets completely shifted away.

And it was sort of the idea that while they were successful in this pivot of those companies, they then failed to pivot soon after, and they suffered because of the belief that it was now stabilized. And they languished what they believed they already achieved what they needed to do to survive. But survival, like most things, is a continuous effort, especially in business when you’ve got funding. In the end, they often say it’s like startups fail for two simple reasons. The money runs out or the founders give up.

Yeah. Exactly. Dispute between the founders, or they give up or the lack of cash. Yes, these are the two main reasons, for sure.

But the four T’s that you talk about are the reason why the second part will occur most likely, right. Because we joke about pets.com and the original.com era. They all would have been fantastically valued and successful today, of course. But we’ve now succeeded on the backs of their failure. And I think that’s what as humans and as learners, in business and in tech, if we take those learnings and we say if given the right timing, if we change the approach, if we go back to first principles, could we bring this back to the market and be successful in it?

It’s good. I like that entrepreneurship as well as being celebrated. We saw a long period where it’s a bit of a tough word when you say the Uber of something. Right. Uber was this fantastic thing. But then it became synonymous with a negative view of the founder, of the specific founder. Right. That story was unfortunate because it truly did taint the incredible thing that was done to change the market to create something that just didn’t exist. And so I like that now entrepreneurship, we’re going to see more and more people that are successful with it, because I think further down towards the school system.

They’re studying these things instead of General Motors and Vodafone and the early technology creators as the case studies. They can now use case studies from the last five to ten years, which are fundamentally different than what we had 30 years ago, which were the case studies that were put in print and treated as the gospel of schooling, at least. And I’m curious on this one, Fabrice. Is there enough further down, even like in high school and secondary education, that is being done to make entrepreneurship a viable future for people?

I feel like we’re still not there yet, but I’m curious of your experience as well, talking to especially early founders.

Yes. I strongly believe that we need more entrepreneurship and not only to create profit ventures but also nonprofit ventures. I think anyway, the same principles of entrepreneurship can be applied also for nonprofit. So we need more people with an entrepreneurship spirit. I think when you have an entrepreneurship spirit, you can achieve anything you want in life because you have some capacity to convince others. You have some tolerance, let’s say, to risk. And maybe again, to things that are impossible. Things that are possible. And unfortunately, I don’t think that today the education system prepares enough for entrepreneurship, at least at primary or secondary school.

Of course, after that, there are some masters in entrepreneurship, et cetera. But yes, when the children are very young, I think there should be more kind of entrepreneurship, which is taught to our children. So, for example, to learn them, how to make great presentations, how to maybe have a small business which can be a profit or nonprofit, but at least to try to put in place of projects. So project management is very important. How to test their hypothesis, how to make experiments. That failure is not a problem.

I think there are many, many notions that could be to learn, for example, the exponential technologies. It may seem complicated, but it’s not, you know, a 3D printer is not so expensive and they could play with the 3D printer to build stuff, et cetera. AI, for example, coding in Python, et cetera. It’s also not expensive. So I think there are many things that could be taught in virtual reality, and that are sold today. This metaphors, et cetera. Again, just simple glasses, et cetera for virtual reality is not so expensive.

So I think today again, because in this age of exponential acceleration, we also seem a decrease of many costs, et cetera. So it’s the zero marginal cost society that has been well described by Jeremy Rifkin. And so, today many of these technologies are not so expensive if you want just to experiment a little bit. So why not to create in school some kind of living lapse where children, they can play with this. They can also try to put in place some projects and to pitch their projects in front of an audience, et cetera.

Maybe to fundraise also because sometimes they ask to the parents, or they ask to the teachers, but why not to the children themselves to try to fund raise for their school. And we should also learn the principles of personal finance to children because it’s something which is also not taught. And I think it’s unfortunate. So I think there is a lot to do in that space, unfortunately.

Yeah. You are speaking the words that I think of and said so well to this idea that there are things that we do not teach. And I guess there’s an assumption that the parents, it’s on the parents to teach these principles. But in the end, if it’s not promoted through the school system where they spend the majority of their time learning where that’s the most formal part of their day to day education. By the time the parents get around to it, they’ve spent a day learning or a day in some kind of programmatic method.

The last thing you’re going to do is suddenly, hey, let’s explore creating a pitch deck. And it’s funny that when I work with my kids and I recall here that you have kids as well.

Yeah. Four kids.

There you go. I know your number too. I’m the same. And my older kids when they would come to me for money, I would say, okay, what can we do? So that if I give you this money, we can turn it into a way that it can create more money. The first thing is what’s a repeatable thing that we can do. So rather than just go and buy this thing once and at least just to introduce critical thinking and them having to explain why they really wanted something to me.

They would often become more confident, like, okay, so I’ve got this idea. I need $40 for something. But I’ve got an idea. What I’m going to do is I’ve got a bunch of stuff in my closet. I’m going to maybe do a garage sale. And so I would say, well, tell you what, I’ll save you the trouble. We’re going to donate it. And I’ll give you the money so that we can win twice because you’re going to help somebody in need. And you’ve pitched your case.

I’m now your VC is when you give them, though, that freedom to create an idea and to push to get towards it, they feel good. And you can tell in the next thing they ask you. Now they’ve got an approach. They’ve got a method, right. So I think next time they go to their teacher, they’re going to say, I need more time on this. But here’s my proposal. I’m going to run a study group. This is entrepreneurship in the smallest way. I love that spirit, and you can see it in the kids.

They know it’s in them. It’s not for everybody for sure. There are many kids who they also think and act and learn differently. And we should support that as well. But for those kids that can take that to the next level, I really think we should be putting stuff in place to help them and nurture that.

No, I like it. And I try to do the same with my kids. For example, one of my son said, ‘There is this business that I know some friends. They do it’, et cetera. I said, you can do it, but I need some capital to start. I said, ‘Look, I will make your sponsor. I will give you the initial money and then you have to try. Then if you make profit, that’s fine. And let’s see how it works’, et cetera. I like it. But you are right.

The parents, of course, that maybe are educated can do it. But many parents probably are not businessmen, or they are not entrepreneurs. So maybe they just don’t think or they don’t have the knowledge to learn to their children. And it’s why at some point, the school should try to learn this kind of principles to the young generation, because I strongly believe that we need and it’s all, you know, my mission. I try to elevate a new generation of young entrepreneurs because I think that entrepreneurs can really shape a better future for humanity.

I think it’s through entrepreneurship, through building new things, et cetera, that we will build a better world, as I always say, build the world you love. I think if you wait, that others, build the world that you love for you, it will not happen. You have to do it. So what the book is also called with more doers more builders that can really shape a new world that will be better for the next generation. I’m a father of four kids, and what I want is that when I pass away, the world will be a bit better than the one that I knew because I want my children and my grandchildren that they live in a better world.

And so I think it’s a collective responsibility. So it’s why I call so this super entrepreneurship, a super entrepreneurship movement. I hope that many people will read the book. It will inspire them. Again, it’s not a guarantee of success, but maybe it will give ideas to some people. Okay. Maybe now it’s my time to start. I will follow some principle of the book, and I will try to take my chance because I think it’s never too late and we have one life. So why not to try at least?

Now, some people will fail. And I also had some failures like everyone that’s perfectly normal. But you need just to say, okay, I fail. What I can learn from this failure. And I can try differently next time. But maybe during this journey, some people will meet some investors or some team members, and maybe the next time they will do another venture with these investors or these team members, and it will work. So I think that’s normal. I think failure is part of the journey, but it’s not a reason to not try.

And I think we need more people that try new things, try to change how things are done. So we need more game changers at all, let’s say, levels of the society, we need more game changers, people that don’t accept the status course. I think there is too much acceptance. Let’s see how things are done. And again, at this age of exponential acceleration, everything is going fast and there is no reason why we could not do things differently and change how the world is going. Again, I think there are many things that are going well.

So I’m not pessimistic at all. I think we live probably much, much better than 100 years ago, for sure. But there are anyway, many problems. And I think it’s the collective responsibility of all of us to try to find some solutions to solve these problems.

Yes. An interesting quote is from Penn Jillette of the magician duo Penn and Teller. And he says two things are invariably true. The world is getting better and people think it’s getting worse. There’s an incredible amount of media attention to negative news stories. It’s very easy for that to spread and to us feel engulfed in this. But as you said by most measurable factors, we are better off economically, better off as far as distribution of food. There are many things we have a long way to go, and it happens by people like yourself and people like the superpreneurs and the people that are ready to give whatever to give back. We can continue to exponentially affect the world and at the same time making it commercially viable to run the organizations that can create these systems and solutions that can give back.

It’s an interesting dichotomy of celebrating sort of the free market capitalism to grow a business fund, development fund, research fund, delivery of new things, and then balance that with making sure that we give back. And I’m optimistic of what’s ahead. But I’m also careful about my optimism. Nothing is automatic for sure. You brought up a great point Fabrice. I’d like to quickly touch on this, too. Failure is an important part of the process, and we’ve all had levels of failure at some point in our life.

For those early entrepreneurs, do you find, is there any risk that a lack of exposure to failure can be problematic? I’d say for them as they begin this entrepreneur journey because they’re maybe not prepared for that first hit, that first thing that could set them back. How do you prepare somebody for adversity when they haven’t experienced it yet?

Yes. Look, let’s be honest. Who likes to fail? I think nobody. I think we all like to win and to never fail, that’s for sure. So I think unless you are wrong, I don’t know people that like to fail, but for me, it’s not a reason not to try. Now, all these super achievers or super entrepreneurs are they let’s say, overcome failures is through their massive transformative purpose. So they know what their true purpose is and they are fully committed to this. So it’s what gets them off the bed every morning and they know why they are doing this. For example, to solve hunger or to try to contribute to climate change, et cetera.

And it’s their strong motivation. So with this, they know that, okay. I have to try. I want to pursue my moonshot. It will take time. I will face setbacks. I will face many years. I will have failures, but I will need just to continue, because what I do is great. What I do can be great for humanity. So I need to just continue, even if I face some fears. I think for me their true purpose is their tool to always keep the true north and to always go, even if there is snow, there is rain, there is a lot of things.

They just continue on their track until they achieve their goals. And this is what I have observed. All these guys took Elon Musk and he waited probably 20 years before SpaceX is a great success. And many rockets just crashed and exploded. So he had a lot of failures. But he just continued. At some point he was almost broke. But he continued again and again. I think it’s just the secret. It’s only the secret to succeed is never give up. Like Winston Churchill was saying, never give up.

But I think it’s true. And these kind of super entrepreneurs and super achievers. They have a relentless, let’s say pursue of their dream or their objective. They will never give up until they reach their dream. Now, at some point, if they see that really, they need to take some other route to go to any way to achieve their dream, they will do it. They are not stupid too, so pivot or to try to change a bit and adapt the plans are also possible, for sure. But generally they are very relentless.

And even if everybody around said, look, you will never succeed, they just continue. Steve Jobs was well-known like this. He was saying, no, we will succeed, we will do it, et cetera. Everybody around was saying, no, it’s impossible. Again, it’s impossible. And he was saying, no, it’s possible. I think it’s really a question of mindset. And if you are fully convinced yourself, I think you can convince others. But if the founder says things that he will not succeed, I’m not sure that it’s going to work, et cetera.

How can he convince his team that it will work? So I think the best super entrepreneurs, they have a very strong belief that what they do will succeed and it’s all. They can convince investors, they can convince team members, they can convince customers because they say no, I’m sure it will work, it will work, et cetera. It’s what I’ve observed. I have known some guys, they were incredible. Even if everybody was believing that it will never work, they will continue. No, I’m sure it will work.

And they were demonstrating why it will work, etc. And they can bring some convincing arguments. Just people follow them. Why? Because dreaming is nice too. And so you try to also believe in these dreams too, because you want to be part of the big dream, because if you don’t have a big dream yourself, but you want to help someone else, maybe to make their dream come true. So I think that’s something which is fascinating.

Oh, definitely. And the most important thing and why I will implore people to pick up the book. And I’ll say that either through the blog or through social media, I want to make sure that people get access to this. So I’m going to offer up to buy up a few copies myself on people’s behalf and make sure that I get more people exposed to this. If you take something that’s executed successfully at scale and bring it down to a human level, that’s what makes day to day entrepreneurship accessible.

If we use the practices and the successes from incredible moonshots and bring them down where there’s less risk and there’s less things but use the methods. This is fantastic. It’s much harder to take traditional business methodologies and then scale them into an area where no one’s been exposed before. This is why it’s such a beautiful opportunity to take the lessons from the book and then put them into day to day. And when I read it, it immediately made me want to revisit a few things that I’ve got active.

I’m an advisor to a start up, and I’m doing other things, and it just lit up an incredible creative spark in me to shed the unnecessary things that are being worked on. And let’s go to core principles. Let’s go to what needs to get done. So I found it to be a very inspiring read, and I sure hope that other folks do. And it’s funny just to further that one thing you talk about SpaceX landing rockets. I use this in presentations all the time recently at a customer talking about how today’s stuff that we see as normal was not that case two years ago, even because Blue Origin, they sent people to the edge of space and back, and they landed the rocket.

So they land the first age of the rockets, and it wasn’t even in the news because it’s normal now. So SpaceX has normalized landing the first stage of a rocket, which was unfathomable five years ago.

Now for sure. And if I tell you that there is a way to land rockets without using any fuel, because SpaceX is using fuel to land rockets. But if I tell you that there is today, a means to do it without using any fuel. So a very sustainable way to reuse a rocket. Will you believe me or will you say that it’s impossible? I can tell you that it’s possible because I’m now part of a venture which is a German entrepreneur, fantastic super entrepreneur. And he just demonstrated very recently with a drop test on a small scale that it works.

It’s a kind of an inflatable parachute, if you want that enveloped, let’s say the rocket and it works, but it’s not using any kind of fuel, et cetera. And so it’s a fully sustainable solution to reuse rockets. So you see, it’s going so fast. What I wanted also to say maybe about the risk is that there are some techniques also to minimize the risk, and it’s part of the good preparation. And I explained a little bit in the book and in this course, the crazy method launchpad that will start end of this month.

I will also give much more explanation about these tools, but there are some tools that exist also to try to have a very good preparation to analyze all the possible risk, et cetera. So that again, the risk of failure still exists, but at least you try to minimize it. And I think that again, maybe some entrepreneurs are fearful to do something because they say it’s going to fail, and sometimes it’s a lack of preparation. I think if you are well prepared, if you have well evaluated risk, and if you see what I like, this principle of asymmetry of risk.

Okay. There are some risk, but they are minimal compared to the reward that can be provided by what I want to do, then it should be always the decision. Okay. I’m going to do it because what I’m going to do if I succeed will just be great for the planet. By the way, if I succeed, I can even have a billion dollar company. Why not? And the risk is quite small. Or at least I know what I can do because I have some backup plans, et cetera, to minimize the risk.

If eventually they would happen.

Well, I look forward to seeing the outcomes from the first cohorts in the crazy method launchpad, so Fabrice will stay close for folks who do want to get in touch with you. What’s the best way they can reach you in order to get in contact?

Yeah. So I think the best way is to go on my, I have two websites, but my main website is fabrictesta.com, where you can find all the information. You can reach out to me on this website. I have also another website, which is superpreneurblueprint.com. I’m also available on all social media networks, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube. So just feel free to connect with me if you need some advice for your startup. If you need some mentoring, coaching if you want to follow this new course, if you want anything, I try always to be available for entrepreneurs because I love entrepreneurs and I want also to give back by helping them so that we built a better world.

That’s fantastic. Yeah, I wanted to spend some time talking to mentoring, but I didn’t want to take away from what we wanted to talk about here. Mentoring is incredibly close to home to myself as well, and I’ve definitely seen the advantages that come. And so thank you for giving back to the entrepreneur community. In doing that, it’s more and more. I’ve now spoken to a couple of hundred entrepreneurs through the course of this podcast life, and invariably the successful ones always say my success is because of the lessons that were given to me by others through mentoring and effectively, we can save each other risk.

We can save each other pain. We can share. It’s not all just about pat on the back. You’re doing a great job, kid, and that’s really not what mentoring is about. Mentoring is about having a good, critical voice partner to share ideas with, and I’ve seen it myself as a recipient and also in mentoring I’ve done in the community as well, so it’s great. Hopefully we’ll come back. I’d love to have you back on again in the future, and we can talk a bit more deeply about mentoring.

With pleasure, Eric. It was a great conversation, great questions. And I really enjoy very much this conversation. Thanks a lot for inviting me.

Ladies and gentlemen, Fabrice Testa. Thank you very much.

Bye-bye. Thanks.

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Michelle Seiler Tucker is a #1 bestselling author and leading authority on buying, selling, fixing, and growing businesses.  Michelle joined forces on her new book, Exit Rich, with Sharon Lechter, finance expert and co-author of Rich Dad Poor Dad, to create a must-have guide for all business owners – whether they’re gearing up to sell a business now or just starting to build out their company – to sell for huge profits in the future.

We explore tons of solid lessons in buidling and growing a successful business, the reasons the market data you think you know are wrong, and so much that is needed as real truths in business for startups and major organizations everywhere. Thank you Michelle for sharing so much great info! 

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TRANSCRIPT – Powered by HappyScribe

You’ve brought a lot of great information to the market. You’ve got a recent book called Exit Rich. We got a lot of stuff we’ll talk about. So with that, Michelle, do you want to give yourself a quick a quick bio to folks that are brand new to you? And then we’ll talk about the book and in your background, what brought you to write it?


All right, so I’m not sure what you want me to say on my M&A mergers and acquisitions, Michelle Seiler-Tucker been in business for best selling companies a little over 20 years. I personally sell 500 businesses. My team has.

So my myself and my team have sort of a thousand companies and we’ve done thousands upon thousands of valuations. I also specialize in buying, selling, fixing, growing companies. So I’ll buy businesses, flip them. I partner with business owners, investing my time, energy effort and capital and resources to put business owners on a bill to sell program. And like I said, what we really specialize in doing is fixing businesses because eight out of 10 businesses will sell, according to Steve Forbes.

And so we fix businesses, we grow them. We put them on a bill to sell model and we merge businesses and sell businesses.

So that’s what we do at any given time. On five to 10 businesses, I’m actually building to sell.

Now, that obviously has come from you’ve effectively built a strong system around what it is you need to do to be successful in this.

I’m curious, Michelle, what was the background that brought you to to taking this on as a as a task in your first time show? And I forgot to mention, I’m an author of three books.

That’s right. Yeah. Not just one book. Of course, it’s a rich the most is one we’ll talk about, but we’ll talk about the others as well. You’ve got it. You’re very prolific. What brought you into being in the business of buying business and mergers and acquisitions? Michelle.

So I’ve always been an entrepreneur of all many different companies, even from a very young age. And I did go into franchise sales, franchise development and franchise consulting and sold hundreds and hundreds of franchises.

But I kept having lots of buyers ask me for existing businesses and how many existing businesses, because I was selling new franchises and I was actually partners in different franchise laws and equity partner. Then I decided, you know, there’s so many buyers out here for good existing businesses versus new startup franchises that I should start my mergers and acquisitions firm. And that’s really how I got started.

Now, the you talked about being an early entrepreneur, what actually gave you the the entrepreneurial bug? Was it because I’m imagining you? Probably that’s something we we develop, but we learn about often quite early in our lives.

Yeah. I don’t say there’s anything that gave me I didn’t really grow up in a family of entrepreneurs. My dad had a couple of businesses. He wasn’t really I wouldn’t say he was very successful, but he had a few businesses. Other than that, I didn’t really grow up with entrepreneurs.

I just knew from early on that I didn’t like to be told what to do and I want to do my own thing, march to the beat of my own drum. And I just knew I always knew I wanted to be my own boss, I guess.

Yeah. My favorite thing is founders often described themselves as unemployable just because it’s like they they know what they want to achieve and they certainly are. They can’t take direction in order to get to it. So, yeah, I mean, we still got to be employed by our clients, right? Our clients. Employers don’t we don’t listen to our clients and don’t follow our client’s instructions. Sometimes we can become unemployed very easily. So rather, you want to be employed or be told what to do.

Even if you own your own boss, you still are answering to somebody.

Now, when you were working through in the franchise area, you know, which is developed on the idea of using a systematic approach. When did when did you sort of see that as an opportunity to go outside and bring that systematic approach than to, as you said, like existing businesses? And I’m curious that that first one or the first few that you you decided to take on.

What I’m sorry, what systematic approach are you referring to, or just like when do you when did you see how you could take the practices that you had learned from working in the franchise and then bring this that sort of those methodologies to an existing business?

Yeah, so it’s extremely different. And if you’re not familiar with it or most people aren’t, it’s very different. I mean, becoming a partner with a new franchise or a franchise or and doing a franchise sales franchise development, franchise consulting is extremely different than selling existing businesses and fixing and growing and going to sell existing businesses. There’s really very little similarity. The only similarity is maybe in the existing franchises or because existing franchises are really has to operate on what I call the six P’s, the six P’s that we talk about in my book, Exit Reg, if they don’t build a vault, a solid foundation of solid infrastructure on the six PS, they’re not going to they’re not going to be sustainable.

They’re not going to be able to scale. They’re not going to be able to stay in business for very long. So there are some similarities there. As far as the main franchise corporation, as far as selling new franchises, new franchises is completely different than selling existing businesses is really zero similarities because for a new franchise, for new franchise, we’re looking for the franchisee or qualifying the franchisee in a financial capacity and our skill sets. We need to do that with existing businesses.

You qualify buyers on their financial capacity and their skill sets. But with a new franchise, we’re also really strongly looking at demographics and what we should place. This new franchise, you know, where they want strip mall location, we should put it in, you know, and then we’re helping them hire their people and we’re hiring. We’re helping them really based our business and start their business on what I call the Steve six PS with an existing business that we have the location already have the people in place.

Right. They already have and are operating on many of the six figures, maybe not all, but some of them. So there are some similarities, like I said, in a franchise or type of it. But as far as our new franchises, compared to existing businesses, it’s completely different.

When you saw the and the opportunity to affect somebodies growth and, you know, help, as you said, like to build towards sale, you know what what was what’s exciting to you about seeing that? You know, obviously there’s a there’s both a business and a people impact. I mean, I’d love to hear, you know, what what drew you to be able to bring people through that journey to prepare them for sale?

You mean for existing or for different existing? What prepared me, I think it’s already many different companies in many different verticals sitting behind a desk knowing what works, what doesn’t, you know, really figuring out. Doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, the six PS or the six PS and they they you know, it’s a foundation that you really need in every vertical regardless. And I think that’s kind of what prepared me to seeing what works, what doesn’t work.

And, you know, most business owners, a lot of business owners are not sellable. Like I said before, 80 percent of businesses don’t sell. And the reasons for those are all similar. It’s not necessarily make the same mistakes over and over and over again.

And so that’s, you know, spending 20, 20 plus years in the trenches is selling franchises and then selling businesses.

I think all of that is what prepared me, not to mention my own company is that I’ve done I’ve operated.

And that’s the the interesting thing. As you said, a lot of it’s repeatable things that you see.

And but for those business builders and owners, I think the tough part is they’re so they’re they’re very sort of myopic in their view. They can’t see outside of their own set of of running the organization. It’s probably and this is why they need, you know, you to come in and say, look, I’m I’m looking into what you’re doing and I’ve seen this play out and it’s not going to play out well. Right.

What’s the what’s the reception when you begin to consult through that process and have to kind of show people the works of the challenges that they’re facing?

So some are open to change and some are not. I always say you can only grow the business as much as you can grow the owner. I don’t know if you’ve ever watched the show. Marcus Lemonis The profits on CNBC, but he gives them clear instructions of what to do and what to change, and they all push back. I don’t think anybody just takes it and does it. Nobody really follows his lead and his instructions, even though he’s really clearly the expert.

And same thing with me. I’m clearly an expert at what I do, you know. So, yeah, we get a lot of pushback because, again, they’re entrepreneurs. They don’t want to be told what to do. They don’t want to answer to anybody and, you know, like us. And it’s tough because you’re right. I mean, they don’t see things when you’re in your fog, it’s foggy and you really need an outsider’s perspective, you know, to to help really read the warning signs and keep you out of the danger zone.

But business owners have to be willing to listen. They have to be willing to, you know, get advice from experts, somebody who’s been on the road before.

And they have to be willing to to change and make change. And some are. Some aren’t. You know, I’ve I’ve sat in meetings and told business owners, don’t tell your employees that you’re selling your business, and the next thing to do is turn around, tell their employees. And then I wonder why 50 percent of the workforce quit sooner.

So it’s just.

Is it just business owners want to do things their own way, so it’s really our job to to try to get the business owners to understand that this is for your own good. This is for your protection. This is to help protect your company and help maximize your value. And that’s what we do. You know, we we don’t go in and force things. We do it from a educational perspective versus just trying to slam something down their throat.

And luckily, you’ve got the believability because you’ve got proof in execution, right, and I think that will hope that that helps those those founders to at least trust.

But like you said, there’s a there’s the psychology of the founder.

They’re there.

They’re pretty sure they’ve got the right idea in the market.

Just isn’t ready versus.

Yeah, maybe you need to meet in the middle with the markets. Right?

I mean, put yourself in their shoes. You know, if you’re running your business and the day to day doing all this stuff and somebody comes out and says, you’re doing everything wrong, the first thing you’re going to do is push back. That’s right.

So you don’t want to go in there pushing because then you’re going to automatically get pushed back.

So you want to really go in there and and look at all the things that they’re doing. Right. And highlight all the things that they’re doing right. And then come in and bring in the areas of opportunity to where they can really affect change and growth.

When you raised it earlier already, you talked about it like we have to listen to our clients and ultimately our customers, right. And it’s that is something that quite often it’s also it’s a dichotomy of the founder that they have to be very like they have to be aiming towards a vision that strong, you know, a mission that’s that’s big quite often. And it’s a weird thing of like they have to listen to the market, but they also have to create a market sometimes.

So when when you’re working with founders, like, how do you kind of merge the reality of the market that they’re facing and yet help them to make maintain their original vision? Is and or is it possible? I’m just curious in in how that’s played out in some of the examples you’ve gone through.

How do I help? I’m trying to understand your question.


So like when because like a founders vision is often built on like we are preparing the world for what it doesn’t know it needs, like they did when he came back to Apple.

Right. But it’s a tough thing when you have to they have to survive in order to execute that vision. And how do you bring the reality of market economics and survival to still staying on the path to executing those big visions?

Well, you know, I tell you, I don’t know how much research you’ve done on the business landscape in the United States, and I think I’m going to take a few minutes to educate. But when I wrote my very first book, Sell Your Business, for what it’s worth in 2013 and did the research back then. Ninety five percent of all startups from one to five years will go out of business. Right. Right. So when I wrote Exit Rich in twenty nineteen, twenty twenty before the pandemic occurred and did the exact same research, I learned the business landscape has actually flip flopped.

It’s only 30 percent now of startups that will go out of business. Those one to five years are not at great risk anymore. Only 30 percent, which is good news to Startup Nation. However. On a twenty seven point six million companies, those businesses have been in business ten years or longer. Seventy seven zero percent will go out of business.

It used to be, if you’re in business five, 10, 15, 20 years, you’re in business for the long haul. Not anymore.

The longer you’re in business, the more you’re at risk of going out of business. Now, you’ve heard about the big public companies, Toys R US being in business. Seventy five years goes out of business.

Steinmark, been in business forever, goes out of business. Pier one, Montgomery Wards is in trouble. J.C. Penney’s is in trouble. Jeanne-Marie goes out of business. Godiva chocolate closes down fifteen hundred locations. GNC closes down nine hundred locations. You know, Blockbuster went out of business because I saw Netflix. I saw the writing on the wall that opportunity by Netflix. And they did nothing, nothing at all and end up going out of business.

That’s the big public companies.

What you’re not hearing about, all because the media doesn’t talk about it. All the private companies on every street corner, in every town, in every state across our great nation, these business owners are all going out of business. They’re exiting poor, not rich. Like my book says, they’re selling for pennies on the dollar. They’re closing our business and many of them are filing bankruptcy. And they’re losing not just our business assets, but the person wants us to because most business owners pierce that corporate bell.

So why is that? Why is that? Well, I’ll tell you why that is the number one reason why the business landscape has changed and flip flopped before the pandemic is because business owners stopped doing one thing. They stopped doing a lot of things.

But the biggest thing is lack of aim.

Aim is always innovate and market, always innovate and market. And many of these business owners get stuck and their ideas of the way they started their business. And they want to do things the way they’ve always done them. You’re either growing or dying. There is no in between growing or dying like Blockbuster did nothing different. Toys R US did nothing different in seventy five years. So business owners have to continue to innovate. If you don’t innovate, you will die.

If you don’t innovate and market, you will die. So to answer your question, I educate business owners on, OK, this is how you started your business. This is the basis of your innovation, but you haven’t done anything new in 20 years.

And here’s the bottom line.

Consumers don’t purchase products and services the way they used to. Whoever makes it easier for the consumer to do business with is a company that’s going to win.

Amazon is winning because Amazon.

Amazon doesn’t really innovate. Think about it, what does Amazon do they make it so easy for the consumer to purchase products, you can practically buy anything, including a horse, and have it delivered to your house in two days.

So not only do you have to innovate, you have to go back to the consumer and ask the consumer, what do you need? What do you want? How can I make it easier for you to do business with our company? Business owners stop innovating, they stop marketing, and most importantly, they stop asking the customer, the client, the consumer, what do you need? What do you want? Or be preemptive and figure out what they want, what they need, like Steve Jobs did.

Here’s the other thing. If you’ve been in business 20, 30, 40 years, your customers are probably aging out, right? You’ve done nothing new and nothing innovative in which to keep those consumers doing business with you.

But more importantly than that, going after the other generations, Generation X millennials.

Right, yeah, now this is interesting and like the statistics you talked about, like there’s a definite a total inversion and unfortunately people are still hung on the metrics they remember they know the stats of yet 95 percent plus of startups will fail. We still quote those numbers.

So it’s it’s wrong, right?

This is this is the horrifying thing about, you know, in the same way people always say you never get fired for buying IBM. I know 11 people that have been fired for buying IBM. It’s because in the end, the week we take this kind of like withI sort of stat that we can have and it outlives its reality, so. What’s missing, Michelle, because you’re you’re in front of the stuff all the time, like how is the how is the market and definitely the media, you know, not grabbing on to this story and talking about it because it’s a huge opportunity for folks to get started.

And that’s what’s so shocking to me, too. I’ve had this conversation with my publicist. Why isn’t the media talking about this job? And he’s like, because it’s not big news. Toys R US is big news.

Kmart goes out of business.

Big news, Godiva closing everything on location is big news. But the private company now has one location that’s been in business for 20 years. Who cares? Media doesn’t care. It’s not big news for them. And so nobody’s really talking about this stuff. That’s why I wrote Exit Rich. That’s why I wanted to start the conversation.

That’s why I wanted to really help as many people as I can. You know, I’ve been on over to on a podcast in the last month or two so that I can get the message out there that so many businesses are failing. And these are the reasons are valid. I mean, small businesses, the backbone of our economy. There’s thirty point two million businesses in the United States employing over half the US workforce. If we lose small business in the United States, we lose jobs, we lose jobs, lose spending power.

You’re spending power. More businesses shut down. It’s a domino effect. You lose even more jobs.

So if we don’t get behind small business, help small business owners, help entrepreneurs, stay successful, build a sustainable business that’s scalable, that is sellable, one day you’re going to have more and more and more bankruptcies, I mean, over more bankruptcies and twenty nineteen even before the pandemic than in any other year.

Well, and that’s that’s always the the interesting thing, and of course, through the course of the pandemic, the world has been shaken up and and it’s hard for us to measure, you know, when the effects will be felt. But this is an, again, interesting that you brought up. Right. Like the bankruptcy said, ridden, but had risen to incredible levels, pre pandemic. So this was already in play.

And people don’t see that.

They just look and say, oh, well, of course, bankruptcy went up.

We’ve been in a global pandemic like, no, no.

This was the the writing was already on the wall.

Yeah. All these statistics have, according to you, is right before a pandemic is even more gloom and doom now. But I mean, you do have more and more businesses have started up in twenty, twenty than any year before.

And some of these startups are really doing well. And like I said, startups only have a 30 percent risk of going out of business. Now, the big difference between startups now and startups before the pandemic are a lot of these entrepreneurs are solving problems.

And they’re not just opening up another coffee shop on a block where you already got six coffee shops or another ice cream ice cream store on a street when you already got 10 other ice cream stores.

They’re actually solving problems or doing online, you know, open up e-commerce businesses, manufacturing, online businesses.

You know, they’re really solving problems. And that’s what entrepreneurship is all about. It’s not just about over another ice cream store and cannibalize in the marketplace. It’s about going out and figuring out what the problem is and then coming up with a solution. That’s what entrepreneurial ism is all about.

It if you look at today, you know, the the the the needs to build a start up and sort of the the capital impact of so different than than they were when, like a 10 year old business, even especially 20 year old business. Right. To to build a company today is, you know, an online process. And, you know, it’s you know, how exciting is it to like what we’ve got ahead of us right now, Michelle?

Like, you can just you can come up with an idea, you can build a business and you can be online before the day is done. Yeah, it’s so exciting because, you know, when I started, gosh, when an online bubble start, what year was that?

The first one. Right. The two thousand and one dotcom one.

Yeah. Yeah. Nowadays is so much easier to start a business. I was talking to a gentleman in Australia yesterday. I was actually on his podcast and he’s like, oh, it’s so easy to start a business. I think he’s got like one hundred online businesses and it really costs you nothing.

And you don’t necessarily have to have employees or assets or inventory. I mean, you can pretty much start an online business without investing too much and be really successful. Now, turning around and trying to sell that online business might be another thing. If you don’t have the solid infrastructure and you don’t have the business built on what I call the six PS, then you might not be able to maximize value. But anybody really. There’s not anybody. Let me not say anybody any you know, somebody who has that entrepreneurial spirit, really, it’s much easier now to start a business than it’s ever been before.

And I think, you know, again, the bottom line is look around us, figure there’s opportunity everywhere, you know? But unfortunately, there’s also people walking around like zombies that they’re not really, you know, conscious and not really looking at things and and thinking about things about what can I do, how can I solve this problem?

And some of the best entrepreneurs in the world are the ones who solve the biggest problems.

And entrepreneurship breeds entrepreneurship, like, you know, I have a coffee shop store, right leg, an online coffee company that I built on Shopify. So because you.

Yeah, because so because the people who built Shopify solved a problem that needed to be solved. And as a result, it allows me to solve a problem that needs to be solved. Right. And and like I somebody wrote a tweet the other day and it was it’s it was unfortunate the way that the response was. They said, look, you can start a business today for under 500 dollars like that. And it’s a wondrous time to be able to do this.

And a lot of people like replied back in a really negative sort of sense of like, this is not true. You know, I’m like and I I didn’t even want to get in the conversation like, no, I legitimately started a business for seventy dollars and it has immediately become profitable. So it’s and it is totally possible to do this stuff, which is why I’m excited. But I’m curious on your thought, Michelle. Where do we need to bring this, like, is this something that we’re missing in education, like in like getting people to recognize that this is a new way of building society and, like, opportunity?

Yeah, I want to address up to two ways. I’ve had many of these online companies come to me.

One was a coffee company and not yours.

And now they’re not for sale yet.

But the problem is with some of these online, a lot of these online businesses is they don’t have any infrastructure.

They don’t have any people, you know, and if you go to my six PS, which I think we should, that’s in my book and to educate your listeners, you know, the number one is people.

And this this coffee company and people that have subcontractors and they didn’t want to let their subcontractors, independent contractors, I’m sorry, independent contractors go along with the business because I want to keep those independent contractors for the next on line business.

So that’s a problem when you’re building a business, any business, whether it’s online sales, business, brick and mortar, you got to have an infrastructure if you don’t build it with an infrastructure. Number one, how sustainable are you really going to be? And can you scale? And more importantly, can you sell and maximize value?

Yes, maybe you can sell to somebody else who wants an online business and are going to work that business as their job. But you’re never really going to be able to maximize value because you don’t have people you don’t really have the infrastructure of what a business really operates upon. And so you’re really never going to maximize value. So all businesses SACE online, brick and mortar, all businesses need to really follow the infrastructure that I talk about in my book, Rich.

That, to answer your question is where do we educate these people?

I think it starts in school.

You know, it needs to start in school. I’m educating my daughter. You know that you want to make money. You don’t just go work for money. Let’s get creative. Let’s get entrepreneurial. That entrepreneurial spirit. What can you do? Well, you got all these toys sitting in the attic. Why don’t we box up those toys and sell them?

Yeah, we can sell them or, you know, we can donate them. But anyway, we really got to get our kids thinking about entrepreneurship early on. And I’m not sure if I’m answering your question, but, you know, I’m actually interviewing Indoctrinated Cobain later today. And he is president of Lazy Boy, I think Panera Bread Company and about a bunch of other companies. And he’s also president, my high point university. And the Virginia campaign has probably got one of the only schools that I feel really teaches entrepreneurship, has business, has classes where they teach you how to go out there and start a business by business.

You know, what business ownership, what business entrepreneurship is all about how to go out and solve problems. And I think it just starts as our kids are little to start teaching them. Kind of like Richard I bought out by Robert Kazuki, you know, just really teaching our kids to think differently. It’s all about really thinking differently.

Well, and even the the opportunity today, like you talked about before, like this is this is an incredible world that we can do things in a different way, even if we look at some of the sort of the even rich dad, poor dad as example, effectively needs a new addition because the world has adjusted. Right. There’s other folks that are, like we call it, the new rich writers. Yeah, it’s we didn’t hear there was no Bitcoin back there.

That’s right. Russia for Florida was right. And, you know, I’m so fortunate that Sharon Lechter, who coauthored which Jeb fought out with Robert Kiyosaki as my coauthor for my book, Exit Rich, because Sharon Lectors, a New York Times best selling author, five times from a shepherd, plus a CPA financial literacy expert and adviser to many different presidents.

And she teaches financial literacy as well. But, yeah, they need another version because there’s there was no online back then. Know there was no Bitcoin back then.

There there were there were not a lot of things. It’s so much easier now, I believe, to become an entrepreneur than ever before.

And even if we look at it like great books, like Built to Last, which were used as effectively like a tome of describing the potential for for taking on a blue ocean strategy in an opportunity. Well, if you look at almost every one of those stories effectively turned over and they’ve actually shed that portion of the business in order to survive. So that built to last wasn’t built to last because the world adjusted, you know, no offense to course, Jim Collins and the folks that did it, it was at a point in time, if you take the context, it was right.

But we have to adjust context to availability of the world today. Right. Right.

So let’s you talked about the the the peace, right, so having six method people is number one, if you don’t mind, Michel, let’s kind of brush through what the what the six message.

And I spent a little bit of time on people because this is where a lot of e commerce businesses, online companies, are getting it wrong. You know, and you got to you don’t look, you don’t build a business, you build people and people build a business. Right.

If you want a business that’s going to be sustainable, scalable and one day sellable, you do have to have the people in your organization. And a lot of online businesses have independent contractors, but they love their independent contractors, so they want to keep up its makeup. So the next new, you know, business that they’re building.

So you really have to have that people component. You always say that entrepreneurs. And that’s one reason, you know, that that coffee shop, they wanted a lot of money and the coffee business, not coffee shop, coffee business, they wanted a lot of money for it, but they had no solid infrastructure. And it’s only been in business for a few years. So there really wasn’t much history there. Does that make sense? Yeah, no.

We’re talking about how an exit, which is all about business as a sustainable business, as scalable so people is huge. You know, a lot of entrepreneurs, they want to do everything themselves. They want to control everything. And I always say you can’t grow unless you let go of the control. So entrepreneurs really need to focus on their strengths, how the weaknesses. But the biggest thing is put the right people in the right seats. And if you are building a business to sell and not just run your business to pocket as much money as you possibly can, then build that solid infrastructure and then the people you really need to ask the question who you know, who handles customer service, marketing, legal, accounting, manufacturing, distribution, environmental, etc.

. The list goes on and on.

The clue, Eric, is that you should never be next to the WHO because you really want to build the business without you. A lot of these online these online businesses, e-commerce businesses, they don’t have any people, right? They don’t. And that makes it very, very, very difficult. A harder to sell because the buyers who are going to pay the money that these e-commerce businesses want because they want a multiple of their EBITA, which is understandable, but but the buyers are not going to run that business.

So you have to have the people in place that been running the business are going to continue to run the business and you can’t just take your people with you and leave the business people because now you have no business. Does that make sense? Absolutely.

And it’s it’s I’m very close to this as I look at like, how do I build this for scale? And you can see how the trap is easy to fall into of like, look, I can just do more stuff and subcontract it out and I can hire people off up work. I can do whatever. Yeah, but that doesn’t build sustainability and it ultimately doesn’t build long term value in what like measurable, you know, sellable value even as measurable growth value.

It’s it’s it may look like it’s working because the graph seems to be going up into the right. But the moment you break the system, the moment you slow down or change. Everything can go in the wrong direction, right, and then let’s say you have independent contractors and subcontractors, Eric, and you’re paying them this, but then the buyer says, I really like the business. I like what you do, but we need to have employees.

Employees are going to cause this.

So that’s going to automatically subtract from Ebola, which is already differential taxes, depreciation and amortization. And that’s going to lower your sales price immediately because buyers pay a multiple of EBITA. So you really got I don’t care if it’s an online business. I don’t care what kind of business it is. You got to build the infrastructure, you know, and that’s why so many of these e-commerce businesses are not selling. Or if they are selling, we’re not selling for maximum value.

I could sell them for a lot more if I had a solid infrastructure in place.

That makes sense.

Absolutely now and this is a good lesson for folks, and I’m always amazed, too, when you look at the like you look at these different sized companies and different e-commerce businesses, you have to very much use that lens to look at how they grew to the point where they’re at today.

Because, you know, look, Facebook has grown with independent contractors and subcontractors actually giving Google has gone with independent contractors and subcontractors. You know, Facebook does have companies that they contract with that have the employees employ the employees, but they still have people, you know what I mean? And I still have a bunch of subcontractors and independent contractors that come and go. So any of these businesses you look at, they have a foundation, they have an infrastructure.

So people is number one.

Number two, because here’s the bottom line, too. If it’s just the owner, like in this coffee business that really was just the owner, they wanted to take everybody else with them, you know, and buyers and buyers don’t want a job. And so really, that really is a job. And many business owners, instead of creating a business, they’ve created a glorified job and wants to go to work at every day versus a business actually works for them.

So people’s number one product is number two.

So product is your industry, your product. It is your service. You have to ask, is my industry product service on the way up all the way out?

Meaning to. Do you have an Amazon at the prime of your game or do you have a blockbuster and you’re about to go bust? And so product is huge. You know, there’s a lot of industries that were dying before covid that are now crushing and vice versa, those industries before Kova that were killing it and dying.

So I always tell my clients to ask these three transformational questions during product because remember, 70 percent of businesses are going out of business, have to be in business 10 years because they stop innovating. In order to innovate under product, ask yourself these three questions from a one. What business are you in this in the 90s, is that some sense, what business, what we had and I said, what?

Booksellers will fulfill book orders. And then Amazon said, this is a question your own or your listeners, not your owners. Your listeners are asking, what is your core competency? What do we do really, really well, better than everybody else. What is there a USB or unique selling proposition? And Amazon said. We do fulfillment better than everybody else. So then the third obvious question is, what business should we be in? Should an Amazon said we need to be in a government business, not just for selling boats, were selling everything for everybody.

Now, Amazon is not really a huge, innovative company, are they? What have they made? What have they innovated?

It’s it’s there are things, but in effect, they’ve basically they just they took on processes that nobody else wanted to take on, processes that nobody else took took on. They figured out what they were really good at, which was fullfillment. They’re not out there making the widgets. They’re not manufacturing and widgets. They’re not creating, you know, the next the next best cell phone. They’re not out there creating.

They’re out there fulfilling what everybody else creates. Yes or no.

Right. Yeah.

You know, those transformational questions is really what transformed Amazon from a small bookseller to a multibillion dollar worldwide conglomerate that they are today. You know, my good friend Jeff Hoffman was standing in the airport line to try to to get his boarding pass so he could board his plane. This was decades ago. And he said he waited almost two hours to get to the agent to hand in this little, teeny thin piece of paper so he could get on the plane and just said, I just missed my plane, has handed me a piece of paper and Jeff went out and created the airport kiosk.

The kiosks approach your boarding passes so you don’t have to wait in line and miss your plane. That’s innovation. But as in the case of Amazon, you don’t always have to be the creator. You and now Amazon is the creative fulfillment, right, because they do it better than everybody else, but that’s what that’s what the essence is back in the 90s. What do we do so well is that we do that and that’s how they got so big.

So all business owners really should go back and ask themselves three questions. I don’t care what vertical you’re in, e-commerce businesses. You know, ask yourself, what business am I in, what I do really well, better than everybody else on my business, should we be? In some sense?

It does. It does. And then it’s interesting that they’re there. It always sounds simple, but it’s a very difficult, introspective thing for a business owner to do to really evaluate what’s the actual business where we’re in and what’s the thing that we can do. Right. And it really it really is. And a lot of times, Eric, you have to have an outsider’s perspective, because, like I said, when you’re in your fog, it’s foggy.

And a lot of business owners are transactional versus transformational. They’re are working in the business in the day to day, putting out fires constantly that they don’t really have time to sit there and think about what this is. I am what I do really, really well. And did you ever watch your movie, The Founder, based upon the McDonald’s?

Yes. Yeah, yeah. It was Michael. Michael Keaton was the star that we had. Really, really good. Good movie.

You remember when Michael Caine and Ray Kroc was in the bank trying to borrow money? Because he had already taken a mortgage out on his personal house, right?

He wasn’t making any money.

And it makes you like I’m like a legend. More money. He walks out and then a gentleman that followed him out of his name, he said, What business are you in?

And I said, I’m in the restaurant business right now. All right. What business are you? And he finally said, you need to be in the real estate business. You are not in the restaurant business, not in a hamburger business. You have to be in a real estate business. You have to buy the land, build the buildings, listen to the franchisees or franchisees are not compliant. You avoid our franchise agreement and you get another franchisee in there.

And then these franchisees are paying you rent. Those questions right there is what got Ray Kroc to have the leverage over the McDonald brothers to basically take the company away from them. But is the reason why McDonald’s is the largest holding company, real estate holding company in the world? So a lot of times you get a very a very valid point, Eric, is that. It’s hard for a business owner to have the infrastructure to do that themselves. You’ve got to have an outsider’s perspective like Ray Kroc that require would have never figure that out on his own.

And the interesting thing, too, and we look like let’s take the the greater story out of it, but like in general, so the like that business effectively was became what McDonald’s was, not what it was built from because they couldn’t answer those three questions. I don’t think like they they didn’t have the vision to do this bigger thing versus now, Ray, through this also third party help was able to really see what the future of the growing business is, which is and it’s funny, like brothers, the two brothers did not want to let go of the control and will never grow without letting go of the control.

The reason is that they tried to have multiple locations, but they wanted to control everything and then they all fell apart. So they’re like, OK, we’re just going to focus on our one restaurant, but you got to let go of the control. You got to get good people. You got to get good integrators. You go back to the people. You don’t build the business. You know, people may the business right. Got the right people.


I can’t do it all by himself. Right. So the therapy is processes, and I can still use a founder movie based to illustrate processes, you know, because back in the 50s, most business owners get this wrong. Most business owners design the processes around their own agenda, not around the customer experience.

MacDonald brothers back in the 1950s said, We want to build a fast food restaurant. We want our processes to be centered around, be designed with the customer experience in mind. So do you remember when when the McDonald brothers went out to the empty tennis courts? That’s right. Employees to talk through it all on a tennis court. How their employees moving around, bumping into each other. One of the McDonald brothers was on a ladder, really orchestrating how they move and kept redesigning it until they really had a symphony of systems and processes designed with the customer experience in mind.

The customer experience the McDonald’s brothers came up with, as we want our customers to experience great tasting food.

That’s hot, fast, 30 seconds or less. Even of those processes were designed back in the 50s and tweaked along the way, you can eat at a McDonald’s anywhere in the world and really get the same experience. Yeah, right.

Have you ever dealt with a company? We have to talk to three people, four people, 10 people to tell them the exact same story of your problem to try to get some resolve. Banks are notorious for this. Pharmacies, retail, social media companies are notorious for this, that they are not designing the processes with the customer experience in mind. They’re designing customers to alienate US and business. And here’s the bottom line, if you don’t create raving fans, then your competition will.

And you’re not going to create raving fans by having broken processes not designed with the customer experience in mind, so processes must be designed with the customer experience in mind and must be productive, efficient. And they must be well documented policy and procedure menus, McDonald’s can fire somebody on the front line and hire somebody within 30 minutes, have them working because they have S.O.P checklist is easy to follow, understand and implement. So you’ve got to have this policy procedure manuals as a checklist, employee handbooks, non competes, you know, all the documentation.

You never sell the business with all this documentation. Plus you need it to scale. You’ve got to have these processes to scale. So the fafi and this is the highest value driver, Eric, so businesses have it even under a million dollars? Well, typically sell for one the four times multiple. Probably one to three, more like it, just as well over a million dollars in EBITA, which could go for four or five and up. However, the more proprietary assets you have, so the fourth is proprietary, the more proprietary assets you have, synergies you have, the more we can sell your company for a get you a much higher value.

There’s six pillars to proprietary. No one is branding the mobile brand and your company as and what I can sell it for as long as your brand is relevant in the mind of the consumers. Is Blockbuster relevant in the mind of consumers is anybody can pay money for blockbuster brand. Now, because they went bust, raising them, their most valuable brand in the world is, do you know, the biggest brand, the most valuable brand in the world is?

That’s a good question. I mean, it’s funny, I’m looking at a Nike square in the back, there’s an example of someone that jumps to mind. But I mean, they’re not wearing a top 10, but they’re not the most valuable. Yeah. Oh, boy, we’ve mentioned it several times on the show today.

Oh, my, it would be our friends at Amazon.

Apple. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

I look at a MacBook and an iPhone and they all surrounded by Apple devices. They’re actually such a part of it. I wouldn’t think of going outside, but it’s funny that is that is hugely a brand impact, right?

It is. I mean, the brand alone is worth two hundred fifty five billion dollars billion. That’s just a brand. That’s not the assets. Demitri Cash. Well, real estate receivables, that’s just the brand alone. So build your brand. And then the other thing is trademarks. Trademark your company name. You know, trademark your slogan, your trademarked exit, rich.

Yeah, you know, trademark your podcast.

But here’s the big mistake the business owners make when trademarking. They go and they get a trademark for the state that they’re setting up the business up there in California. They start a business in California and get a California trademark, but then they go to GoDaddy. They make sure they get that dotcom, but they never check the federal database to make sure that that name is available. Right. And I’ve seen clients in business for years and all of a sudden receive assistance, this letter, and they have to stop using that company name.

And, you know, I’ve seen clients hiring attorneys with lots of money and ended up losing. So go spend fifteen hundred to two thousand dollars and protect your proprietary stuff. You know, and even products are not just your name and slogans and what’s unique to you, even products and have clients. His business for selling the 50 to 60 million dollar range. They have 12 different products. Each one has a different federal trademark.

Each one is exclusive to Wal-Mart, exclusive to Target, exclusive to different retail chains. So TJX will pay more money when buyers are five different types of buyers. When buyers look at buying businesses, they look at synergies. What synergies? It’s going to catapult my current business to the next level. They’re buying synergise. Patents are huge, if you’ve ever watched Shark Tank, every single shark always ask. Get a patent on that, do you have a patent pending?

Do you have a utility patent? In fact, offers are contingent upon patterns of business for 18 million dollars. And that business was was not really making money, but they had 18 hands on drugs or another one. That’s really big manufacturing contracts, distribution contracts. There’s another thing about e-commerce business.

It’s online businesses.

They don’t have people. Some of them have processes, it’s iffy. Most of them never, ever have contracts like coffee cup I was selling at a manufacturing company, no contracts as somebody else making their coffee. No contract.

You know, you really need those contracts. So you have protection. And the buyer buying the business knows that this manufacturing relationship can continue on. This distribution company can continue on. Does that make sense?

Drugs are huge. You know, vendor contracts, distribution, manufacturing, any type of exclusive contracts. Franchise owners who have franchise contracts are really valuable. Client contracts are extremely valuable because buyers want to make sure that there’s revenue coming into the business, especially the contracts. And e-commerce businesses are good at this, getting a subscription model for reoccurring revenue. And when you have reoccurring revenue, I will pay a higher multiple for subscription models. Here’s a caveat to contracts.

I have never met a business owner in over 20 years that actually has the transferability language in their contract that says this contract is transferable to the new entity.

Oh, OK.

And about ninety nine and about ninety ninety nine percent of all sales in the United States are asset sales, not stock sales. And so if your buyer refuses to do a stock sell and your and your clients refuse to do consent to transfer, your job can fall apart. So you need to make sure you have that transferability language. The other thing is database’s Facebook page, 19 billion dollars for WhatsApp and WhatsApp was hemorrhaging.

Yeah, they were not they were not profitable on that.

They are not profitable. And they were hemorrhaging, but they had a billion users. So they had a synergy that Facebook wanted to buy. Facebook knew they can monetize in order. Why that investment?

Celebrity endorsements are big. You know, if you look at rooms to go, who’s a celebrity there, Cindy Crawford. Have you ever seen her in any of the furniture company? No. And then we have a client who’s got products endorsed by Oprah. Well, Oprah is like the queen of everything.

So strategics, who have some more products, will pay more money for that Oprah relationship because, you know, it’s all about relationship capital because they want to get their products in front of Oprah. Same thing with radio personalities like Glenn Beck. Know the cake product show.

Yeah, these these celebrities and radio personalities can only endorse one vertical at a time. Otherwise they lose credibility. Jennifer Aniston’s face is all over Aveeno. You don’t see her face on any other skincare line, right? And then e-commerce businesses back to my e-commerce businesses, when they have the top positions on Wayfair, it’s Etsy, Amazon, eBay, Monan that shoots up in price because as prime real estate, the strategics want to get their products and those placements.

That makes sense.

Yeah, the new real estate is placement on page and in research results now instead of just physical location in the town.

Absolutely. Probably even more valuable than physical location in the town. That’s where that’s where consumers are shifting to, because most consumers, you know, because of Amazon, whoever makes it easier for the consumer to do business is it companies is going to want Amazon wins because they make it so easy. But the pandemic has also changed the way consumers purchase products and services now. Wal-Mart and Target did not have a membership in a program where you can order online and to deliver groceries to your doorstep is because Amazon acquired Whole Foods and Whole Foods has that program.

You know, the interesting thing, too, and like you talked about the you know this, every business is now a global business in effect. And what we try to be like those these brands are are no longer like the reach is not limited, but nor is the they have to effectively go beyond their streetcorner. You know, it’s it’s almost a responsibility as a business to be able to go, yeah, there is no limit anymore where you can do business.

The limit is right here in your mind.

FFP, I’m sorry, go ahead.

Yeah, no, sorry, I just realized I, I wanted to double check because I know we talked about so we’re five peas in.

And first of all, like I say, Michel, this is incredible.

Like, this is if anybody hasn’t already started writing this down, number one, they’re going to buy the book. And if they don’t, I’ll buy the bloody book for them. They need to write a fantastic book.

But like you are, you are sharing a ton of really, really strong lessons here. And I want to thank you as we’re going through this, because it’s it’s it’s a rare treat to have somebody that can really be, as you know, informed and share as much, even though, you know, obviously there’s a lot more that’s in the book than just simply listing out what we’re talking about here.

Right. Thank you, Eric. And so the fifth is patrons, patrons is your customer base. And most businesses follow the 80 20 rule where 80 percent of their business comes from 20 percent of their clients.

And you’ve got to be very careful on customer concentration. What you really want is customer diversification and e-commerce businesses get in trouble doing this as well on. Coffee company Dow is talking about ninety nine point nine percent of all the sales came from Amazon. What happens if the relationship with Amazon fails? Then they just lost their entire business, so it’s not just, you know, customers that you have customer concentration and it’s also the marketing channel that you’re using. And if all of your sales are through Amazon now, I know there’s a lot of Amazon sellers out there that only sell on Amazon.

And that’s OK, but it’s risky when I looks at that they’re going to want to mitigate the risk because what happens if Amazon decides? Not to do business with you, right, or Amazon decides to get in the business you’re in and effectively evacuate that channel for you now. Right, exactly.

So you should always be diversified in your client base and how you get clients. So if you’re getting all your clients from Amazon, I’d be very careful. You need to have multiple concurrent resources like your own website, you know, like maybe Etsy or something else. You have to have sufficient resources course being in the grocery store, et cetera. So anyway, this is customer concentration we want. So I’ll just give you a quick case study.

We had a business or manufacturing business we were selling that has 70 percent, 60, 47 percent of the revenue tied up in the BP contract. We appraise this company for nine point eight million.

We had over five hundred and fifty buyers.

We narrowed it down to 12, Alawi’s a lot of intense. Every single letter of intent had a condition in there that if you lose BP, then we’re not paying you. This isn’t this and that’s because we’re going to mitigate the risk.


However, we found a strategic that very similar products and services in a strategic. Didn’t care about the risk because the reward for them was far. Greater on the upside, because they’ve been trying to get their products and services into BP for decades and never could get their feet in Utah, it’s like, oh, this is perfect. We’re in there with this company we just acquired. Now we can get our other products and services in there.

Does that make sense?

Yeah, they were willing to pay 15 million for a company that was a price for nine point eight. Fifty million for 70 percent of the business, which is one hundred and twenty six percent more than that price price for the company for 70 percent. So we can sell a business with customer concentration. It just makes it much more difficult. We have to find a buyer of a needle in a haystack type of situation.

Yeah, that was a real unexpected value, but it’s an important one. It’s it’s hard to match those. But and also as well, like you talked about before, like the the outside view in is the only way in which they will discover that, because if they are simply looking at their own internal channel, that’s all they can be focused on. How do they possibly seek out a buyer who’s looking for a bidirectional access to the channel and sees a greater value than they even realize they’ve got?

So that’s and sometimes it doesn’t always work out. I think we had we had a media marketing company that were selling 10, 15 million range. They have five clients are only five, and they’re in the process. They lost two of the five. And the reason they have five is because of were casinos that cater to casinos and in marketing for the casinos.

It was so such a risky business because casinos will do the math. They bring on a new, you know, a new agent that makes the decisions and they will do the math and say, oh, we can do this in-house cheaper. And the marketing company. So they lost two clients out of the five. The revenues dropped in half or even have dropped in and they were no longer sellable. I ended up having to merge with another media and advertising marketing company.

So it doesn’t always work. How do you want to make sure you have customer diversification? And then the last piece, the most important thing, all entrepreneurs is profits. And I was like, Michelle, where do you put this last? The reason for profits last is because of that lack of profits is never the problem. Lack of profits is never the problem if you’re not making money. Lack of profits is not the problem.

It’s a symptom.

And the operating on one of the other types of clients that come the mail is that much of a profit problem. I’m like, no, you have a people problem or no, you have a process problem. You don’t have lack of profits is not a problem. It’s a symptom.

If you are running your business on all five PS, I can promise you you’re going to make money.

What’s that was a great example of never far from profit, they were as far from profit as you can get while still be considered in a business worth buying. But they had of the other five fees and majority of what was needed to bring value to their buyer. Right. That’s incredible.

That’s the sixth phrase. That’s your infrastructure. And you can see there’s infrastructure on the six fees. I can work for e-commerce businesses, right? Yeah.

Yeah. When it’s and it’s amazing. Like you said, it’s these practices apply to brick and mortar. They apply to e-commerce. They apply to locals to global site there.

It’s that’s right.

The methods play out and the importance is you have to just look at the overall methodology and make sure it all comes together. So like with that, I know, Michelle, we we’re coming up to time. And this has been fantastic. So Exit Rich is I highly recommend people people need to get this. If you’re at all involved in business, even if you’re not thinking today that you’re building towards exit, we have to understand we all are right.

The viability and sustainability is maybe your exit, maybe it’s your own personal exit. Are you creating something that’s sustainable to be worthwhile to the next person that’s going to take it over? Even if it’s not necessarily a sale, it could be the next CEO.

So we’ll have links to get get the book and Eric and I tell everybody the value that they get paid by the state.

Absolutely. That would be fantastic. Yeah.

And I’m sure your listeners want to hear about the extra gold nuggets, extra value we’re offering.

I like this even better.

So it’s so Rich launches in June towards the end of June. And Steve Forbes has endorsed the red state as a gold mine for entrepreneurs, as most entrepreneurs live way too much money on the table when they’re selling their business. Kevin Harington original Shark on Shark Tank wrote the foreword lectures my coauthor. So you don’t have to wait till June to read exit rate. You can go to exit. Which book?

Dotcom now for twenty four dollars and seventy nine cents, which is less than Amazon.

We will email you to digital download so you can start reading today. We will send the hardcover to your doorstep to anybody in the United States for no additional shipping cost.

We will give you a lifetime membership into the book club where there’s video content and made doing transformational questions and talking about strategies and techniques and doing deep dives in all these different things that I teach over the last 20 years, plus documents, documents to run a business necessary business. We have simple employee handbooks, not Kupets or charge licensing procedure manuals. We also have sample letter of intent. Purchase agreements, due diligence, checklist, closing documents, all of these are there not just for review, but you can download the templates and start using them.

If you want your attorney to try to recreate all these documents would cost you over thirty thousand dollars and all available to you just for buying the book at twenty four dollars and 79 cents.

Plus, we’ll give you a 30 day membership into Club CLS, which is an entrepreneur mastermind that we started to really help business owners build that sustainable, scalable and when already sellable business so they too can get rich. And that’s an rich book.

Dotcom, if there’s if you if you got twenty four, seventy nine to spend, which everybody does, then go, go there.

Yeah. Because if you’re going to McDonald’s save you save the burgers by the book.

Save the Quarter Pounder with cheese.

I can probably say I was lucky enough and thank you to your team actually sent a preview and I read it. It’s fantastically written, beautiful lessons. Like you said, you and Sharon did a great job and coauthoring this and like the book alone, well worth the value that that’s attached on that cover price. But the fact that you go far beyond it with what you’re giving and sharing, I really appreciate it. So, yeah, definitely folks do do go there and get the rich book.

This is this is a must have. And like I said, it’s it’s a manual that everybody doesn’t even realize they need until they start to read it. And don’t don’t wait until you’re looking to sell before you start to try and look backwards at what you needed to do along the way. It’s it’s like a manual for success.

So thank you for for bringing this to market.

Thank you. Thank you for having me. Eric has been an absolute pleasure. My main website, if anybody wants to contact me, Michell at SeilerTucker.com and then https://ExitRichBook.com.

Excellent. Yeah, I’ll make sure I got links to the show, notes. Michelle Seiler-Tucker, this has been an absolute pleasure and thank you so much. I appreciate it. And I wish you all the best. With the official launch in June. I’m looking forward to my hard copy cover arriving at my doorstep so I can put it on the bookshelf, but I’ll read it from end to end in the meantime anyways in advance, because it’s it’s an absolute must read for sure.

Thanks very much.

Thank you, Eric. It’s been a pleasure.

Sponsored by the 4-Step Guide to Delivering Extraordinary Software Demos that Win DealsClick here and because we had such good response we have opened it up to make the eBook, Audiobook, and online course, more accessible by offering it all for only 5$

Sponsored by our friends at Veeam Software! Make sure to click here and get the latest and greatest data protection platform for everything from containers to your cloud!

Want to ensure your privacy is protected? I sure do. Privacy is a human right and the folks at ExpressVPN make sure of that. Head over to ExpressVPN and sign up today to protect your safety and privacy across any device, anywhere.

Sponsored by the 4-Step Guide to Delivering Extraordinary Software Demos that Win DealsClick here and because we had such good response we have opened it up to make the eBook, Audiobook, and online course, more accessible by offering it all for only 5$

Sponsored by our friends at Veeam Software! Make sure to click here and get the latest and greatest data protection platform for everything from containers to your cloud!

Want to ensure your privacy is protected? I sure do. Privacy is a human right and the folks at ExpressVPN make sure of that. Head over to ExpressVPN and sign up today to protect your safety and privacy across any device, anywhere.

Sponsored by Diabolical Coffee. Devilishly good coffee and diabolically awesome clothing

Daniel H. Gallancy is the CEO and a founding member of Atakama, a NYC-based software company. Atakama hardens security by providing a fully distributed cryptographic key management system as well as the elimination of shared secrets (passwords, ID numbers, etc.)

Our discussion spans the deep technical side of distributed key, passwordless security, the people side of security and privacy, plus we dive into blockchain and cryptocurrency and much more. 

Check out Atakama here: https://www.atakama.com/

Connect with Daniel on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gallancy/

Sponsored by the 4-Step Guide to Delivering Extraordinary Software Demos that Win DealsClick here and because we had such good response we have opened it up to make the eBook, Audiobook, and online course, more accessible by offering it all for only 5$

Sponsored by our friends at Veeam Software! Make sure to click here and get the latest and greatest data protection platform for everything from containers to your cloud!

Want to ensure your privacy is protected? I sure do. Privacy is a human right and the folks at ExpressVPN make sure of that. Head over to ExpressVPN and sign up today to protect your safety and privacy across any device, anywhere.

Warren Shaeffer is the CEO and founder of Knowable, the world’s first audio learning platform for the podcast generation.  Warren and his team are truly rethinking and reinventing learning with not only how they are delivering content but in how he shares personal and business lessons to help the future entrepreneurs build and succeed.

This was a real enjoyable and in-depth chat on the science of learning, building a startup, and making what Warren perfectly describes as nutritious content for the mind. 

Check out Knowable at https://knowable.fyi and on your mobile platform!


Hey everybody, welcome to the DiscoPosse podcast. My name is Eric, Wright. I’m going to be your host. And this is a fantastic episode by somebody who I’ve been so lucky to actually connect and then since reconnect with this has been really cool to see a lot of stuff going on in this ecosystem. So we’re going to be here in a second from Warren Schaeffer. But before we get into that, I want to give a huge shout out to our fans, friends and supporters and our sponsors, this podcast, including Veeam software.

I say this because I’m a user of the platform. I really enjoy the team and the way that they approach the challenge and dealing with the way that we have to back up and protect our data.

Now, this includes everything from your on premises, environment, physical servers, virtual servers, up to your apps, out to the cloud, and in fact, even cloud native backups beyond that, actually. What about that SaaS? Don’t forget, if you’ve got seven Office 365 Microsoft teams, it’s not actually protected.

Definitely easy to make a mistake. And in fact, let’s not even talk about ransomware and all the other craziness that can go on. So if you want to find out more about everything you need for your data protection needs, then you want to talk to the folks at VM, go to vee.am/discoposse they’ll take your right to a page and you can actually check it out for yourself again. Go to vee.am/discoposse

Also super happy to see that we’ve had great uptake from the book. This is something that I’ve built and shared out and I got really good peer review feedback and in fact I got lots of customer review feedback. So thank you very much everybody who has downloaded and bought the book. If you want to learn about the four step guide to delivering extraordinary software demos that teaches you how to better connect with people, they make sure you can engage with customers, prospective customers and how to really tell a story and get people emotionally invested in the ability for your platform or product to be able to solve a problem.

This is great for product marketers, for folks that are in technical sales. Definitely something that I’ve been very happy has had a really good response. And if you want to find out more about that, you can easily go to the landing link for that one, which is velocity closing. So we go to velocityclosing.com. It’ll take you right to the four step guide and look for some really cool, neat stuff coming up around rebranding and a neat new thing I’m doing with a company called RapidMatter.

And now let’s jump right into the Good Stuff, which is Warren Shaeffer.

So Warren is the CEO and founder of Knowable, which is an audio learning platform that is really and truly trying to reinvent and rethink the way we do learning through an audio engagement. Really, really cool. So Warren’s just a fantastic human, somebody who had a great conversation with and like I said, I’ve been lucky enough to reengage with him in a couple of other forums and stuff enjoyable on clubhouse as well as Twitter spaces recently.

So Warren is really prolific and he and his whole team are doing some really, really neat stuff. You’re going to want to check out Knowable as well. They’ve got courses from Scott Kelly. They got course from Alexis Ohanian, startup founder of Reddit, an investor. Anyways, so much to talk about it, but check it out. And here is Warren Schaeffer.

Hi, I’m Warren Shaeffer. I’m the co-founder and the CEO of Noble. We’re an audio first learning platform. You’re listening to DiscoPosse.

You’re listening to today’s days, the. And with that, we begin, Warren, thank you very much. This is definitely one of the areas that I really enjoyed being able to get into. I’ve long time it often, obviously, as a podcast or of audio, as an opportunity to get into people’s daily lives.

And when I got winds that you are going to be able to join the show. I was really excited because knowable is really cool.

But before we jump into we’ll talk about knowable. We’ll talk about a lot more. Let’s talk about you. You’ve got such an incredible storied history. But for folks that don’t already know you just give yourself a quick introduction and we’ll we’ll get rolling.

Well, first off, Eric, thanks for having me on the show. Really excited to be here. I will give you the quick background. I grew up in Southern California. I’m a first generation American. My parents immigrated a couple of years before I was born from communist Romania and landed in an Orange County of all places. And I went to Harvard for undergrad. When I was a teenager. I got introduced to audiobooks and I, I think I’d like to say before they were even cool on tape.

And and so that is what led me to eventually want to start knowable, which is an audio first learning company. As I mentioned, the top after Harvard, I spent a few years working in finance. I worked for a big bank in New York, JP Morgan, and then I worked for a private equity firm on the investing side in San Francisco. And I moved back to L.A. to be closer to family, teamed up with my current co-founder, Alex, and we ran two companies together, Nobilis, our third company.

We were a venture backed company. We launched about a year ago. And I’m happy to talk about any of it.

Yeah. And so there’s just little I could do a podcast on any one of the things you just talked about and easily fill a long and good hour, but we’ll kind of cover as much as we can.

So you you talked about your first start and your three time founder. And my guess is that there was probably even a lot more that happened before that.

But let’s talk about knowable and what you and the team are doing there, and then we’ll kind of start to go backwards in time as to what led up to that where you are today. Yeah, so as I mentioned, I’ve been lucky to work with the same co-founder across a few different businesses, and when we exited our last product, Badme, which which got a quarter of a jiffy, we thought about what we long and hard about what we wanted to do next.

And we had this list of one hundred different company ideas from everything from men’s skincare products to vinyl records to you name it.

And at the end of the day, we looked at ourselves and thought, what do we really believe is important to the world today? What’s going to sustain us for at least a decade of arguably some of the best years of our life and some of those productive years of our lives? And Alex, my co-founder, his father was a professor at Caltech. And both of us have seen firsthand how a great teacher can have a huge impact on the trajectory of somebody’s life.

And so we gravitated towards this idea of education. And there’s this great quote by H.G. Wells, who’s a sci fi writer. And in nineteen twenty nearly a century ago, he wrote that history is becoming more and more a race between education and catastrophe. And I think that’s more true than ever today. There’s so much information in the world, but a lot of people aren’t getting access to useful knowledge that they can apply in their life. So we really built we really went into the idea of this venture as what can we do in the education space?

It’s going to be interesting and actionable and helpful to the world at large. So when we looked at the space, though, we saw that pretty much every player was focused on video masterclass due to me, Skillshare, even YouTube. Right. All predicated on this idea that if you want to learn in a structured way, you have to stare at a screen in order to do so. I become a new father and my time was short and I realized I don’t have time to sit down and watch these lengthy video courses.

But I do have a lot of audio time. And same with Alex when we were both listening to a lot of podcasts and there was sort of this aha moment of, well, what if we made an audio first learning platform and we dug deeper and we realized that the number one reason that people say they listen to podcasts is because they want to learn new things. And yet there was no company which had established itself as the place for good for you audio.

So we’re building knowable to be that place.

And it’s it’s such a it’s always interesting when you hear the story and like the most people, the first thing I think is like of course, like it makes sense, but there is very much it’s a it’s a leap to get into an area because like you said, we’ve we have this sort of sensation in society.

That video is the way in which we learn we have to visually and aurally engage. But the truth as it really is, like more and more, that’s what I find.

I mean, especially I live I’ve got two young kids, and so I walk around our four and one and a half and I’ve got a 19 year old and a 17 year old. So I got a whole range.

So I don’t have the older ones. They I listen to podcast because they don’t want to talk with me and then the young ones because they can’t wait to get back.

But the really fun part of it is that I’d be putting my youngest daughter to bed and, you know, just walking around with her and I would just pop on an audio book. And I was listening to book after book over the course of a couple of months.

And and it became a real good way.

And that helped to really influence a lot of my day to day stuff because I was picking up, like you said, it’s like I was picking up lessons. I was learning about how people founded businesses and engage with people.

And it really helped to either reinforce stuff or pick up, you know, new new ways of doing things.

And I look so talk about first of all, the methodology is fantastic, right? They say audio is effectively this Gutenberg revolution now in what we can do around engaging with people.

But you’ve not only said we’re going to do this as a methodology, but you’ve really immediately reached out and got some fantastic people involved as far as the content.

So when I’m curious, sort of when you thought about yours, here’s a method, then we’ve got to think about the technology, then we’ve got to think about what we put in this platform. How did that all kind of come to fruition as you started the design phase?

Like everything, it’s a work in progress and a trial by fire. So take look, we took our best guess and really the the mission statement is let’s go and find really, really enthusiastic teachers and encourage them to share their inside knowledge, the lessons that could really change the trajectory of somebody’s life. So, for instance, we’ve got a course, our pilot course, as launch a startup, and it’s led by Alexis Ohanian, who’s the co-founder of Reddit and has gone on to become an investor at Initialize Capital and now seven, seven, six capital.

And he’s he’s really had a front seat over the past 15 years to some of the most transformative companies that have been built in our in our country and world and. What we did was we really question to say, what’s the stuff that you wish you knew when you were starting out as an entrepreneur? And and so that’s an example of somebody who we’re just so excited to have. We also have a course on speaking with confidence. And that’s led by Celeste Headlee.

She’s an NPR host and she also has one of the top ten TED talks of all time. And it’s on the subject of communication. And so she’s written books on the subject to communications, is truly lived and breathed How to be a Better Communicator. And she shared similar similar things. She shares exactly what she knows and and all the inside things that she learned over a decade plus of expertize in the field. So it’s a little bit manual in the beginning, but we’re we’re kind of slowly and gradually opening up the marketplace to allow other people to share their inside knowledge.

And, you know, the beauty of audio is that you can find an audience that there’s lower production costs. Right.

So somebody who has expertize can with the right tools, I’m sure that knowledge with a lot of people at the right time when you get into it’s funny that I’ve only just recently started to add video to the elements of the podcast purely on the YouTube side, because it’s you know, people have said it’d be kind of neat.

And, you know, I’ve made the choice to give it a whirl.

And for the most part, it’s definitely audio is is the strongest format. And it’s so much easier to do because you can just have a microphone. You don’t worry about a perfect room set up like it’s if I took a picture of the room surrounding me, it probably horrified by how it looks just because it’s I’ve got a dedicated studio, which is right next to my very small children during the day. So clearly a bad place to try and do a very tight recording, especially when you just get knocked on the door going, Daddy, why are you in there as well with young kids?

You know you know, finding time that’s dedicated is a is a challenge unto itself as it is.

Yes, certainly. It should be a noble cause just on that.

Well, and so and the other thing, too, is I I noticed that you also recently did kind of an AMA style where you’re you’re engaging with folks and and I love that you led with this thing of like, well, this could influence ultimately a course on, you know, startup founding.

And so it’s not just that you’re going with, like, pure produced content, but you have a real opportunity in that you can kind of test things out and then, you know, work it into a course from there, which is which is pretty cool. How did that one come to, you know, your mind when you were thinking, all right, let’s just let’s give this a whirl?

Yeah. I’m glad you asked about that, Eric. I actually listen to a course called Branding for Founders. That’s unknowable. And it features a couple of guys who started Robinhood Surtaxes newsletter, and they really had this statement but stuck out, which is people follow people. They don’t follow brands. Right. At the end of the day, Elon Musk has way more followers than Tesla does. And that’s just because we’re all humans.

We we care about the story of the person behind the company and said that that was sort of an aha moment for me where I realized I should really put myself out there more and and be you know, I’m so enthusiastic about what we’re building available. I use the product. I get so much value from it. And so why not share that enthusiasm directly with people? And so so I started to become more active on Twitter over the past few months.

And I’ve just seen so much value from building and learning and teaching in public. And and I think when you. Bring people into your process, they become more invested and excited, and it’s just so much more. Fruitful and and cumulative when multiple people are sharing their input as you build, so, yeah, what you mentioned is yesterday I just said, hey, I’m thinking of doing this course I’m fundraising. I’ve been fortunate to raise over a million dollars from top investors in Silicon Valley.

And I want to share everything I’ve learned in this course. And again, that same premise and what do I wish I knew when I was starting out? But why don’t you join me for a live presentation? It’s going to be a dry run. It’s not going to be flawless and perfectly rehearsed. But that way I can also answer questions live. I can get I can hear what people are curious about, what people are confused about, and that will inform the course.

And also it will help me generate interest from people up top. So I’m a huge fan of this this direction. And I think it’s something we’re going to be doing a lot more of where we talk to people live and then in the process, crystallize what the course should be about.

Yeah, it’s it’s definitely such a it’s the real multimedia approach in that you can have the the structured, you know, formal, you know, like read and edited, you know, ultimate course. But then in the meantime you get the off the cuff stuff with the albums and the Ozz. But it’s a real conversation that you’re effectively being a part of.

And the fact that can be interactive as well is so cool because, you know, and it’s I I did one myself. I just did a small, you know, e-book to talk about how to better engage with people through doing technical demos. So it was a thing I hear every day. I’m Lillian calls all the time.

And I’m like, OK, look, we got a teacher in the box, right? Yeah. And so I said, OK, fine. I said I Wrage wrote the book. I spent like four days just like hammering out content. Yeah.

And then I did it and then I did the audio book for it and then I, I do now I’m actually doing these kind of in that style of like, you know, monthly Amma’s where like just invite people on and because then we can say, OK, let’s actually talk about it, because even the audio book or like the straight course, I don’t want to do a full form chorus until I know what’s actually resonating from the content.

So it’s I love that interactivity and I love that you’ve taken a real choice to to go that route, think they’re like, yeah, I love that phrase.

Wrage wrote, I am looking I, I, I felt so inspired after I did the flight yesterday and I thought, oh I really want to turn this new book and I really want to have this crystallize and have the audio format in the courts from the video format, because there are this multimedia, there’s this realization that just different people want different formats.

And so I think that I’m so curious how you to hear more about the book and where did you publish it?

Oh, yeah, that was a neat thing. So the there’s actually a platform called Sam Kart and it was funny. It was literally like, this is proof that Instagram advertising works.

And it was one of these things where it’s effectively like kind of a one page funnel style of of hosting platform takes care of everything. But they actually had a full, full course on like how to actually build a compelling, you know, the pitch, you know, how to actually build your content.

They have a really, really great course.

So I’m and I said, OK, I’m in, I’ll do this thing, you know?

And it was funny. When you go through it, you realize this methodology is obviously widely used and they’re just one place to go. So I but they actually have the hosting for it. I used a company called Beacon for the publishing, so I just wrote the content self, published their beacon and then publishes a PDF and then hosted on Sam Card. So it’s a fairly low lift.

You know, once I did it because I’ve written stuff before, it was a little easier because I knew what the editing process and what the publishing process was. So for a first timer, it would probably be a little bit more daunting. I was lucky enough to have been through the mill with O’Reilly Media and a few other publishing companies.

So but yes, it was fun because I have said, OK, what’s the what’s the short version? You know, I didn’t want to go through this like super like 200 page manual of of things. I said let’s just hammered out and make it fun.

And that’s why I like I did the audio book, too. I was like, OK, let me just read my own book. It was actually kind of funny to do this. I’m sitting there like looking at my own content, reading it back like, oh, that sounds like it’s me.

And where did that where did that where did you put the audiobook? That’s actually the next one. So I, I definitely did not research well on how to do this is the best way today. I actually just like literally send it directly to subscribers when they buy the book. It’s actually part of the bundle. So I Lilium sending empathy’s around but I’m investigating, you know where to host it because you know I’d rather have a place where they can go and then individually, you know, just grab the audio book and then get the associated PDF so you can kind of come at it whichever way you you wanted to be.

I know where you can put it. You put it unknowable. I think. I know. A good place to go. I was and it was funny, I was actually researching the like how to become a contributor and so I to be able to put my name alongside of the likes of Scott Kelly and Alexis Ohanian, I would be I would be honored to be among this crowd and and you like.

So platform is amazing. What you’re doing is really solid. Like you’re really this is a great way to give back and empower people through a format that’s is just a really great opportunity.

Obviously, you put a lot into this, it’s your third startup, so I’m going to go way back in the Wayback Machine and I’m going to imagine that you were probably a young person and you had an idea long before most people would think that it’s a good time to start a business.

No one’s a three time founder. There are 12 time founder and even venture funded.

So entrepreneurship is part of your in your bloodstream, I’m betting.

That’s right. Yeah. I mean. I as a kid, my first experience with making money was the classic lemonade stand, and we put one there was basically this one artery into this residential neighborhood and we put a lemonade stand on one side and then we realized, oh, we should have a lemonade stand on the other side so we can kick people when they come and when they go. And then we ended up, my friend and I, my friend had a younger sister and we basically employed her to run the rival lemonade stand across the street, across the artery.

And and then we just hired some more of her friends. And that was my first foray into scaling a company. And it was really exciting. And I think I’ve had that itch since since I was a kid.

I really like the Howard Schultz of lemonade stands monopolized by competing quarters. Yeah. How you’re doing. Lemonade stand on every corner. You’ve got to catch them on the driver’s side. You’ve got to catch the side. It’s all well.

And it’s it’s very interesting. And even when you talked about, you know, you’ve effectively got a founding team that that you and your your founding partner work with. And it was neat when you describe that you like we said, OK, we’re ready. I’ve got like 200 ideas. Which one should we go with? So the one thing is, it’s not about what you do. It’s about what you do. You’re always iterating. You’re always like you must always be thinking.

And then how do you actually sift it down to what, you know, needs to can actually potentially do this or to zero to one opportunity or whatever however you want to describe it?

Like, which is where do you put your focus when you have all of these ideas?

It’s a huge question. I don’t think there’s I don’t think I have a super simple answer for it, but I will I’ll take a guess at it, which is I think I’ve had the realization and probably too late in life is that you don’t actually want to focus on your solution. You want to focus on a problem that you’re passionate about solving. To that. To me, that was and that’s really the aha. Moment that for for this business was look, we don’t know exactly what the right format is for education.

The end all be all solution. Right. But we do know that we want we see an opportunity to improve, to unlock learning time for people around the world. Right. And so that problem, this idea of, oh, I want to keep learning, I want nutritious content in my brain, but I don’t have time.

I’m a busy parent. I’m a busy entrepreneur. I’m a busy nurse or doctor. Right. That that’s that feels like a really big, tangible problem. And so starting with the problem that you have and that other people have, I think that’s the truest way to to find clarity on whether it’s an idea that you want to work on. Right. So start with the problem. Don’t start with the solution. You said something really interesting, and I love this phrase, nutritious content for the brain.

That’s probably not the first time you said that. What when you thought about this, what was? Because what was the first thing you thought? This is what I would love to be a host, a platform for.

Yeah, I love there are a lot of podcasts that I love. And I went around the time when, you know, a little was birth. I was listening to a lot of how I built this episode with Guy Raz. He’s a great interviewer and show. Yeah, great show. And he interviews founders with amazing stories. But I realized that that show doesn’t teach anyone how to actually become an entrepreneur. There is no tactical advice on how do you find a co-founder?

How do you select an idea? How do you meet a venture capitalist? How do you hire a lawyer? Which lawyers you hire? There’s none of that. And so what felt missing was this useful knowledge is applicable or actionable knowledge. And that’s that to me felt urgent. And I think it comes down to that problem statement. Look, if you’re busy, you don’t have time to sift through hundreds of episodes of every podcast, even though there might be great and fun to listen to.

You want you want the essence. You want it to be boiled down into what can I take from this that I can go apply to my own life, that can change the trajectory of my life in a positive way. And it’s it’s very interesting. Yeah, and the idea of distilling down, you know, meaningful stuff and it’s in fact, one of the areas I’m looking at right now is like, how do I distill out all of these amazing lessons that have been collected over the years, you know, now in the podcast.

But there’s a lot of really cool conversation wrapped around. It won’t make it into book form, like unless you’re Kevin Smith and you go and you just take the smart cast and you put it into a written form. That’s all well and good.

But I think he had the audience and they effectively would have you know, he could have effectively published most anything and it would have been well received just because he had such a really sort of loving audience that was ready to receive any of the content.

It was great content. And he was, you know, Tim Ferriss have a similar style that let’s just transcribe what we’ve got.

But I love this idea of like founders at work. That was the other one as well, which is a great, great book. And it was effectively long form interviews that were then and the same group of questions were asked. Yeah.

And they were put into and it was that sort of style, like you said, one of it’s not just talk about the success stories, like let’s actually talk about the the ways, the methods, the lessons, like actual actionable things.

Yeah, there’s way too many like oh it just works, you know, or it was really hard to write what was really hard, what worked. I’m not I’m not richer for having listen to this thing.

You just told me that you had a problem. I don’t know how you got through it.

Yeah. Yeah. I think it’s and it’s really common, right. When at the end of the journey, it’s hard to remember all the details and and the practicalities. Right. It gets glossed over and repackaged. And that’s, you know, Hero’s Journey story that doesn’t always mirror the actual nitty gritty of, you know, what was involved. Yeah.

It’s like the Dick Wolf who’s there to the creator of all the Law and order franchises. He says, like, great drama is when you take all the boring bits out and compress the rest down to an hour.

Totally. Right. You don’t see them go to the bathroom or eat a sandwich like that just doesn’t happen. There’s no time for that.

What’s interesting is actually, if you if you watch a law and order which has done far too much of in my life, what if you look at it every time you hear the countdown is a date at the bottom on the screen.

If you actually look at it, it shows that these basically elapsed over like 18 months, which shows you really. But it’s so subdued in like subliminal almost in the way that it’s done.

You think it’s happening all at once? Yeah, like it’s happening over a week, but it’s actually OK like 11 months, right?

Every time it takes too long. Yeah, right.

There may be the first forty eight, but they don’t tell you about the other four thousand nine hundred and twenty two, which is really where the the work happens to get it right.

So the, the other interesting thing too was you ledwith talking about being a first, you know, you know, first time born, you know, in the US and and you talked about your your family’s history and where they came from since that that led the discussion and the way you described yourself.

It must be important in kind of how you see the way you come to the world. Yeah, I I think that’s a good observation. I think founders come in all shapes and forms and all ages and all backgrounds, but there’s a unifying characteristic that I’ve seen great founders have, which is that they had grit. They have this desire to overcome obstacles, and often they’ll see challenges as opportunities. I think that’s really a characteristic. I think a lot of immigrants and first generation and maybe even second Asian-Americans have that sense of grit and still where things you don’t expect things to come easy.

And and so that, I think, has shaped my lens of the world in many ways.

And certainly how I think about building a business do it’s always funny that you hear the amazing stories of our grandparents and parents who, you know, as they came to the country, you always hear these stories of literally you’re getting on a boat with like 12 dollars in their pocket. You know, people would do right now if they had 12 dollars in their pocket.

They got on a boat, they’d go to the Starbucks and they would spend eight of those 12 dollars it.

And yet it’s so it’s so interesting that, you know, when you’re close to it, you see so many of these stories.

But in the broader sense of how many people are, you know, either founders or even more so distill it down to successful founders and are able to go through that facing adversity.

And like, if you’re anybody that tells you, you know, I’ve got this great idea and I’m going to make a business out of it, most people tell you it’s a pretty fundamentally terrible idea.

Like it’s not the ideas bad, but making a business out of it is not going to be. There’s nothing easy about this.

You know, the.

Yeah, I think the that’s also why I like you said, you know, let’s actually go through some of those stories and and get further into where it works, where it doesn’t.

Yeah. So how many lessons when you were thinking entrepreneurial and then you chose you went to Harvard. When you were going to Harvard, this is also one of the other sort of like hero stories we always hear is the, you know, the founder that goes to Harvard and then leaves or whatever, like there’s all sorts of stories about, you know, whether you should or shouldn’t go to university.

You know, how does it inform your future in entrepreneurship?

I’m curious, Warren, as you went, you made the choice to go and then when you came out, you got into investments and venture. What was your mindset on either side of the university experience? I don’t think when I went to college, there was so in vogue to think about not going to college, I think that’s becoming more that’s a more recent topic of discussion. I my parents went through a lot of financial difficulty and actually ended up living with friends for four 1/2 of high school.

And I was fortunate to to win over thirty thousand dollars in scholarships and get really generous financial aid to to go to Harvard. So it was. I hadn’t really entered my mind to not go to college, and I sort of had this road map in mind, which was I knew I wanted to do something entrepreneurial or something creative or both, and but I wanted to drink and have, you know, make some money early in life, be able to invest it and compound it and then take a quote unquote, risk a little bit later.

So I don’t know exactly when that game plan got for me that I think I read a lot of books and I think I probably came across some book that basically showed me the value of compounding money. If you’re 20 versus when you’re 30. Right. You’re going to put some money in the stock market. When you’re 20 versus 30, it can be triple. You know what it’s worth when you want to retire. So that that is how I sort of hedged, I guess, my my life risk and.

It’s telling in the way you described it as well, that you drink before you take on risk, and that’s another successful founders sort of lesson in what I’ve talked to a lot of folks is that most of founding and operating a company is spent in continuously drinking the environment.

That’s right. Yeah. And the faster you can drink, the better. And this is something that it’s so hard. And even for me and my staff to continue learn, this is and this is going back to why build a course in public. Right. You want to get validation super fast. Before I spend six months making a course on raising some money, let me see if anybody even cares if I’m getting free. And it’s like, will anyone join?

And, you know, look, 250 people signed up. And that was a really strong signal to me, like, wow, there’s real demand here for this topic so that the faster you can be risk, the better, whether it’s financially or intellectually. I think that’s a great heuristic to look for. And obviously, you were definitely in the risk and risk business when you got into the investment side coming at a school, so taking on risk at scale, you jumped right in.

You know what? What was that early part of it, you know, as you now could take the successes of what you’re effectively what your family gave you, you know, this this heart to do this thing. And now here you are. You can you can said you won, you worked to get scholarships. You got through this. Now, you know, the side must have been a pretty proud thing, but also a fairly daunting task to take on.

Right. That you are suddenly OK. We did it. Now what what was that like on the other side now when you got into the investment world?

Yeah. So when you say I did it, are you referring to getting a job in finance or what?

Yeah. Yeah, just like that. You literally pushed right through versus you know, you know, you didn’t take a journeyman’s job and then just choose to ride it out until retirement.

You you went right into an area where you you could pretty much affect the outcome, which is again, sort of a bold, you know, choice in that you knew you were taking on risk.

But, you know, you obviously had both sides of it. In your mind.

Are you saying the decision to leave finance, to go work and you and your finances, as did that route, like you got right into the game? Oh, yeah, money.

I mean, I think, you know, I. I really again, it goes back to this idea of drinking to take risk. I really thought, well, this is a great opportunity to learn some hard skills, no matter what finances is the underbelly of any venture. So and coming out of a liberal arts college, I thought it’d be great to have that practical, tangible skill of knowing how to financial model and understand thinking about investing and really what investing is.

It’s maximizing rewards and minimizing risks. And and when you extrapolate that out of finance, you realize that basically every decision is an investment decision. You have a limited amount of time and attention and you have to decide where to invest it. Right. And the people who think about investing their time versus spending their time, those are the people who end up being really successful because those little micro decisions compound. Right. So if you spend time, you’re basically doing something where you’re not learning, you’re not adding value to anyone else.

You’re not really treating yourself your body in a healthy way. That’s time spent. If you’re investing time, you’re there reading or learning. You’re writing, you’re teaching, you’re meeting somebody new. Those are things that accumulate and compound. So, I mean, I think you go back to your question. The risky thing to me, I realized, was. And I got this because I read a lot of books was ending up at the end of life and and wishing I had taken done something else and tried.

And this is such a cliche now, but it’s so important that people know that most people on their death bed, they regret the things they didn’t do, the things that they didn’t try. And so I knew that I would regret not taking a chance and that I would actually be risky not to take a quote unquote risk by going and trying something different. And like that, I like that thought process, it’s it’s tough for us, I think, as humans to look far forward and then regret is such a driver.

You know, you look at all of the work around the heuristics and behavioral economics, and one of the biggest drivers is regret. You know, we will make decisions.

We will do make choices wholly based on our sense of potential regret, more so than the value that we would get at it. But we are much more driven by the wish that we had something, which is why when you make bets and you know, you look at the sort of works of conmen and Tversky, yeah, so much of it was wrapped around this pervasive effect that Regrette has on human decision making.

Yeah, I mean, the whole field of behavioral economics that they pioneered is so powerful. And once you once you become aware of these cognitive limitations, you can work around them. Right. Because I don’t like loss aversion and sunk costs and confirmation bias. I mean, that’s a that’s a great book. Or I mean, I read the Michael Lewis Oh, The Undoing project. That is so good. Yeah. Story.

I wept like a baby at the end of it when when I won’t give the spoiler but is just such a beautiful human story.


Oh yeah.

I’ve, I studied it was a fine as I had studied a lot of of cornerman Tversky and sort of pinker and a lot of I was very deep into that game on self study for a long time. Yeah. I when I got the Michael Lewis book I was like, oh wow, this totally makes sense now.

Such a profound, just emotional story about how they approached it.

And it’s funny that, you know, they were it didn’t make sense that it even happen that the fact that here we are, a behavioral psychologist that would win a Nobel Prize for economics.

And yet we think it’s standard game these days, right?

Totally. Yeah. I was everyone. It was up until then it was, oh, people are rational. Oh, no, no. We’re very far from it.

Fairly far from it. In fact, we’re predictably irrational.

Oh, so funny now. This is interesting as well, you know, there’s a lot of sort of timing that works out and being able to bring a business, you know, and obviously the technology’s there to do this and knowable has such a great opportunity.

So bringing knowledge and, you know, nutritive brain injections effectively in an attention economy, you know, how do you approach things knowing that you are effectively fighting for a cohesive time blocks in somebody’s day? Great question.

Yeah. Our our vision statement, our why the reason for being a company is we want to live in a world. I want to live in a world where daily actionable learning is as addictive as social media is today. And so we know that, look, social media is so addictive. It is it’s weaponized distraction. And we want to push the bounds of of how people spend and invest their time, because it’s so easy for people to spend their time on social media to just end up scrolling.

And, you know, there’s a lot of benefits to the platform, but so many people just get sucked in and end up consuming and and not taking knowledge and applying it and actually improving their lives. So we think a lot about how do we use those behavioral psychology hacks that social media platforms are using to make mobile more addictive. And look, we’re in the early days of our product development, but we think things like streak’s and habits and social pressure, that’s all getting built into the product to really create this atmosphere of, hey, when I go to knowable, I know that I’m doing something good for myself and it’s also fun and feel good.

I get that reward right. You probably read some of the habit books like Atomic Habits are Right. Expect to have a reward is so important to talk to creating a habit. And so that’s something that we’re working on, building more into the product so that you’re not just doing it for them, but for the knowledge sake, but because there is some productize gamification and makes you feel invested and good in the process. Yeah.

And the the the real truth of the they call it the click were like it’s the thing that just gets triggered, you know, of like these are their behavioral things that are baked into us and using it for positive results, which is which is interesting.

Like they said when we describe it, we talk about time spent in social media, how much time you’re spending in social media. No one says how much time are you investing in social media?

They know it is spending purely I mean, look, it’s like any tool, right? You know, a hammer can be used for a nail or it can be used for for for.

More or less the purpose. So it depends how you use it. I mean, I think there are ways to invest time in social media, but I think a lot of people cross over the border pretty fast and pretty far. And so spending their time.

Yeah. What’s interesting, too, is as a student, at least in reading of it, I didn’t actually attend Stanford, but of B.J. Fogg and sort of this whole idea of persuasive computing. I studied that for quite a while. And then, you know, you see the stuff that’s Tristan Harris is doing around human computing and you ethics in A.I. The tough part was that more people will use B.J. Fogg’s material as the wrong side of the hammer then than the right side, which is unfortunate.

You know, especially when you see kids like you’ve got little kids, you see them like I can watch my my youngest son pick up an iPad and just tap know what to do like they built it makes complete sense to him. Yeah.

And then along comes an ad and like so the funny thing is I taught him to skip commercials real quick.


What like the fact that he just sits through it now and it’s like yeah.

How did. I don’t know how this happened.

It used to be a lot of smart people applying that those behavioral. Inefficiencies. Yeah. If only they would build enterprise software that way, then it may actually get adopted. Well, yeah, I think that I think that is happening.

I do think we are kind. Funny you mention that, right? With Noble, we’re seeing a lot of opportunities on the enterprise side where, hey, we can employees. You know, L.A. is really important for four big organizations today. L.A. stands for learning and development and and upskilling. But look, if you ask somebody to sit and watch a training video at their computer that’s competing with their work time, but if you give somebody something that they can listen to when they go for a walk or on their commute, that that opens up a lot of enterprise time.

So. So that’s something that we’re thinking about actively, too, of how do we actually make workforces better? How can we create a diversity and inclusion course that makes you really want to listen and make a difference?

Yeah, and I think using those techniques in any way in the learning development space, especially in the enterprise, like because we all know everybody who’s listening to this, who’s works for a company, and you get that annual it’s like, oh, it’s the compliance training ranty, anti money laundering training. Right.

And there’s like you just horrified with the fact you have a waste like five hours of your day and you’re like fast forwarding as much as you can, and they make it so that you can’t fast forward, you know, but they have to actually make it engaging.


And make it worth their time. And that’s effectively what you’re doing, is you’re giving them a sense of worth. Yeah. For having done it.

That’s right. Yeah. I think there’s certainly room for improvement there. Now, the the things that you. You’re doing it definitely is a very positive spin in so much of what you do, and it’s like it’s natural, even when you tried to describe a bad thing you could do with a hammer, you really got stuck.

And it’s so cool because. You it must be, again, sort of like baked into you that what’s the most positive thing I could do as a result of what I’m about to do? Yeah, I think, you know, it’s funny, I just started reading the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, and it’s I it’s amazing. This guy just truly the the OG of self-improvement and positive thinking. And I think there’s so much power to it. And it really is just what filter to you apply to the world, because you can see things in many different ways.

And I do think one of the benefits are argument brains is that we have the ability to decide how we react to things. Right. There’s a there is a a control mechanism between stimulus and response. So I think the more we can view things to the positive lens and see problems as opportunities, that the better will all be.

They had tried to get in front of the old amygdala hijack, as they call it, right? Yeah, right. Whether brand useful, sometimes very useful, but oftentimes gets in the way and modern society.

Yeah. And it’s it’s very interesting that I’ve even through my team at work, we’ve gotten we’ve had to make a lot of really heavy decisions lately. And it’s it creates some rather animated group discussions. And I say that like, you know, ten year version ago of me would have said like some really crazy arguments.

But they really, truly are animated discussions. And we’ve become as we age, I think, much better at like recognizing when.

So what I’m hearing you saying is this and when you start to respond to things, it’s very different than, know, 20 year old me would have been like, look and like my favorite thing to be with, say, like if you’re writing an email and it sounds like you’re going to begin with, look, comma, you’re going to want to get up and walk around for a bit before you finish that sentence.

That’s right. Yeah. You don’t send emails when you’re emotional. A hundred percent. I think that I mentioned this course unknowable called Speak with confidence. And Celeste Headlee, one of the other experts in that court is Julian Treasure. This guy has 80 million views across his TED talks on the subject of communication. And he’s written this book basically about how to listen. And there’s this big realization of most people when they’re in a conversation, they’re listening to respond.

They’re not listening to understand. Right, and what you just did, what you said is so great, which is repeat back, kind of paraphrase back what somebody says because it helps you actually understand what they said. It moves it from the one part of the brain to the other. And then it helps them also feel heard, which is fundamentally what most people want. They want to feel heard, appreciated and understood. And so I think improving as a listener is is a huge way to become a better communicator and conversationalist and learner and person and friend and partner.

And that’s something that I still still work on. I’ll give you one take. We have another course that’s led by an improv comedian named Will Hines. He’s part of the Upright Citizens Brigade, which is the Amy Poehler start, as we did, of course, in partnership with them on improv. And and I had the chance to interview him after the course was done. And he shared this great bit of wisdom, which I really liked, which is after somebody finishes talking horse for half a second.

Before you respond, because it gives your brain time to actually think about what they said and then allows you some time to think about how to reply so that you’re not spending the whole time when they’re talking, wondering, OK, let me here’s what I want to add to this. Yes, that’s we most of the time is more like your turn to talk, your turn to talk. My turn to talk to your dog eat dog. It’s like.

It’s like what am I going to say? I can’t wait to tell him about this thing I did was like, would you do improv?

My fear I messed around with with a group of folks and we they they were doing improv stuff and I got to jump in for a while and it was fun. And the whole thing is like, yes. And right now it’s like the whole idea of like carrying this forward. And I would just for fun, just coming to say like, no.

Yeah. Just completely shut it down. It’s funny, but the way in which you effectively pick up the conversation, you have the chance to either. Yes. And carry forward or, you know, and even like you said. When you listen and you want to say something back to somebody, tell them what you heard and because the way in which you say it is important, it’s not just that.

What you’re saying is what I’m hearing you say is, yes, totally.

It sounds like to me it feels like. Right. You’ve put it through your own personal lens. It’s yeah. I found this very helpful for for marital conversations. I have we have three kids under four, and so we’re short on time.

And so we really have to get better at how we talk with each other and really listen, because it’s so easy to just. Try to be understood and not try to understand what’s the default and it’s a continuing thing, like even therapists need therapists, like it’s not like no one’s no one’s perfect that the stuff we’re always trying to figure it out. And it’s harder on some days than others and. Yeah, but I think.

This is where this kind of growth mindset versus fixed mindset, I think it sounds like that’s what you’re alluding to, right, is this idea of, well, it’s a skill that you can get better at. You don’t aligning.

A lot of people approach certain things like relationships as insider works or doesn’t. It’s binary. And don’t take on the idea of, oh, I can improve at this. Right. I can I can learn to manage this relationship better. And that growth mindset, I think, is really powerful. And the more people have it, I think the better our society will be.

Yeah, there’s there’s a lot of things, stuff like journaling, future authoring stuff where you’re effectively envisioning, you know, kind of what’s what’s ahead. And then you it helps you to actually define it, because when you’re working it out in a session, you’re physically writing it out. It does imprint it effectively on your mind that, like, this is a goal.

And it’s it’s kind of neat. And that’s a thought question for you one. Where how do you go from idea to eye?

We’re going to do more with this idea, what’s that process look like as an example?

So as it relates to startups, there’s this common commonly thrown around acronym, which is minimum viable product and the. Basic concept of it is, is that you want to learn as fast as you can whether anyone is going to care about what your idea is, what your solution is. Right. So, again, I’m going to repeat it, start with the problem. Start with a group of people who have a problem and figure out, OK. Is this solution going to solve their problem or are they going to?

Is it sufficiently different or better for them to care? And when they pay me money, or would somebody else pay me money at some point if enough people used this solution that I’m putting up with the world and you want to find that out as soon as possible. So rather than waiting six years and making your perfect dating app that you just tried manually to figure out, OK, can I connect to people and are they going to care? Right.

I’m using my quote unquote algorithm. Can I connect to people. Right. And and so so you really want to do things that in the beginning that don’t necessarily scale and that’s OK. But you’re looking for a signal. You’re looking for a sign that you’ve made something and somebody else cares about it. And the best signal in my mind is. You make something, you give it to somebody. And they share it with somebody else unsolicited, right, that’s such a clear sign of, oh, wow, I made something useful.

That’s that’s what you’re looking for. So you read a book and you give it to one person and they give it to five more people. That’s that’s that signal, yeah.

And take on the reading side of it, and, you know, if I look at what I really love about your platform and your content approach is that when I get an audio book, it’s read by a professional reader, like a professional voice actor, and even you get to know them when you listen to enough of them, like, oh, yeah, I don’t know their names, but I’m like, I remember another book that they read.


So what I love is that when you’re doing a course by Scott Kelly, it’s Scott Kelly.

It’s not Scott Kelly wrote this and then a professional voice actor is hammering out in a in a small, soundproof room. You are you’re getting the real deal. All of your content creators are they create the content. They voice the content.

That’s right. So cool. Right. There’s nothing better than when you get an audio book that’s read by the author, especially when they’re a personality, you know, because, you know, they invested the time to do it.

Yeah. And it feels that feels more like you’re actually sitting in the room with them.

And so I’m so I’m so on the same page. I think we’re not not everyone agrees with us there. I think there are some people who just prefer the professional narrator. And but I am totally in the camp of I want to hear Jerry Seinfeld read Jerry Seinfeld’s book. I want that voice. They don’t want some random person who doesn’t appreciate comedy. Reading that book, you hear professional voice actor.

So what’s the deal with you?

Like, no, it’s got to be his thing, right? Yeah. Yeah, there’s definitely there’s there’s so many nuances that and it’s funny at the end of it to you very much feel a part of their story. Totally.

Yeah. You feel like you just spend time with them. I mean they’ve been in your brain, they’re so intimate. It’s in your ear canal. Right. And they’ve been whispering sweet nothings. You’ve been walking and driving for the world.

Yeah, but what does blow it up, though, is that I’ve definitely gotten to the point where I listen to a lot of books at like one point seven, when you hear somebody talk and they sound like they’re talking very like you don’t sound like that at all.

Like button. Yeah. Yeah.

Because you say yes. So we’re going to to talk about this because you’re just trying to get it in as quickly as possible.

That’s the downside to, you know, that long, really long form book content is that when you see one in, you’re like 17 hours, you’re looking down into this like I’m not ready if I know if I’m ready to take this one on.

But luckily, I think like Netflix opening up the idea of like episodic content, being able to consume in batches or across time, like there’s no right way to consume episodic content.

And then this audio content follows the same format, like in the 70s, later told us that no one will go more than thirty minutes and retain interest in the program.

Right. When our programs was like, I don’t know if this is a good idea. You know, people love Lucille Ball, but I know they’re going to love an hour of her. They do love seventeen straight hours of her. If it truth was all right, if we actually let them try it so, so cool that we can be now.

You can, you can go you can get a knowable you know. Of course underway. Yeah. Take a break.

You can. That’s right. Yeah. Kind of at your at your own pace. And you know there’s certainly been times where I had a long drive and I was so grateful to have a seventeen hour audio book right today. I don’t I’m not commuting so I don’t want but I want the short three version. Yeah.

And this is the interesting thing is you’ve, you know, been, you know, the platform, it’s been been going for a while. Did you see sort of a marked difference in in patterns of utilization as we saw the world kind of shift the way we operated?

Yeah, I think I think it has halted some of the acceleration and audio consumption. Certainly, I know for myself, because I’m not reading and listening to less audio just now, I think a lot of people are in the same boat, but I think that it will come back. I do think that people will also just get screened for TI. And and going back to this idea of how what we really want to inculcate is this idea that noble is something that you can go take on a on a break.

Right. You can go for a walk or a run and put on your headphones and know that you’re going to listen to something that has a potential to a lesson that can change your life for the better that we can. So I think that we’ll see new behaviors and patterns emerge.

And I think that is the. That’s what I love about what you’re doing, and like I said, when it comes out in so much of what you the way you even describe it, you can just tell it’s in there. It’s like we want to know what’s a meaningful, positive impact that I can have as a result of the content. This is it’s going to be fluff.

I mean, good on right, everybody. There’s Harlequin romances for a reason, right? Somebody somebody out there loves that side of the story. Yeah, fantastic.

But, you know, we have such a great opportunity and especially when we’re in this real sort of challenge, detention economy, when we don’t have time away, like you said, that, you know, you realize we all despised commuting, but once we learned how to do things while we were commuting. That was a real opportunity sometimes to learn, to read or even just detach and going for a run. So I’m a cyclist and I love one of my favorite things is that the moment that I put my leg over the crossbar and I clip in my pedals and I start turning the pedals, I’m immediately in a different mindset because I know for the next four hours I have no way that I can type.

I have no way that I listen.

I have no I’m literally it’s me and an introspective mind for four hours, which can be a really dangerous place depending on what your mindset is.

But it’s it’s this beautiful sort of forcing function. Like when I get in a plane, that was my thing. When I get into a plane, people are like, you know, what I hate is that the Internet on planes is really terrible.

I’m like, you know what I, I love, but I’ve never found out because I, I when I’m on a plane. Yeah, it’s me. White noise. I can actually do other things.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m the same, I’m the same way. I think that downtime is really important and it’s just forcing yourself or putting yourself in situations where you, you don’t have the willpower to resist the weapons of mass destruction. That’s right out of the smart, smart way to design environment.

You talked about UCB and I know from reading a bit about you were in that you you took a little time on the microphone yourself on on improv and stand up, OK, talk about minimum viable product and finding a product market fit making material, you know, two minutes on a microphone at an open mic feels like an eternity.


So cool. But it’s like, oh so what what drove you to take a run at that and what was the experience like.

I have always I’ve always been a fan of humor. I think humor is such a great tool in the chest of life and it feels like people have a great sense of humor. They’re able to. Go over the bumps of life so much better and easier and right and so I’ve just always appreciated comedians because my parents are immigrants. I think they let me watch a lot more TV than I probably should have. And I watch. And then when I was a kid.

And so that really. Influenced my my style of humor. I think I know what I think I’m squarely medium funny. Sometimes I can can make someone laugh and most of the time it’s it’s a mess. So I but it was something that scared me. And I really like this idea of doing things that scare me, because often on the other side of that is a sense of growth. And so I agree. I think it’s really scary to go up on stage and just have a microphone and talk to a roomful of strangers and try to get laughter.

But I think it’s also such an exciting format because the feedback is so objective. Right. And a world where there’s a lot of subjective value. Right. You don’t know. Well, how how good am I? Did I do a good job or are people just being nice, having being able to say something and then hear whether or not somebody laughs or not, you know, whether how you perform. And so I think that objective feedback is also exhilarating and exciting.

And a bit of advice I got on standup was talk about the stuff that you’re embarrassed about, because that’s the stuff that it’s honest. And most people will relate to it in some way or at least a certain subset of people relate to it.

And I think that’s humor is usually a byproduct of a sense of relief. Right. This idea of like, oh, you have that, OK, and that’s it. Yeah.

Yeah, it is. Because you effectively you’re just like anything, you know, when you’re you’re laying yourself bare. Right. You are going on a stage to present your you’re going to do stand up your you’re surrendering yourself to the audience for that period of time and hoping that they will carry you through this ride. And it’s very much an interactive experience, which is what’s funny. People always ask me, like it’s like I’ve been lucky enough through the course of my career to do a lot of, like public speaking and getting some large audience.

I used to be in a band years ago, so I was fairly familiar with being on a stage, but it still scares me all the time. And because you don’t know, it’s it’s a dynamic experience.

And I would and I would describe it and I help people with coaching for public speaking.

And I would say I call it listening to five thousand people at a time, because what you’re doing is you’re effectively letting them guide your talk. You may already have some kind of points you want to hit. Right.

But you have to let them steer you. You’re looking in the audience. You’re seeing the person in the front row who’s like leaning back and chuckling.

When you say a joke and you’re looking at the person who’s in the third row, who’s looking down in their phone all like from the moment you start, like, OK, I’m not watching that person for guys because they are not invested in it. Yeah, but it’s the audience themselves, you know, and at standup especially, they’re already invested in a way to the upcoming hour. Right. Five minutes, whatever, because they’ve made a point. I’m in this chair.

Yeah, I’m giving you a chance, kid.

So let’s see what you got.

Totally. I like that listening to find finance some people at the same time. That’s a good way of thinking about it in the end.

Is this as well as well, even the hour like when you see a comedian and they do an hour, what I see is eleven months of somebody doing five minute bits and two minute bits, like just testing it out and working it out and that real like they truly call it working out material.

It’s a gym membership, you know, going every day and trying it out and you’re testing in small rooms and on your family and friends wherever.


And eventually you glued together stuff that’s in a flow that’s in an hour.

It’s so when you. You know, when you’re a people based business, it sounds to me like that’s been a focus of you, is that you’ve always looked at a personal effect as an outcome of anything that you create. Absolutely, yeah, we are all west of us. So I think keeping that in mind and thinking about how do you want someone to feel, what’s the outcome that you want when they use your your product or service, I think is as a great.

System level way to think about what you’re working on. And sadly, it’s more rare sometimes than than we realize. I mean, I don’t think it truly is like we hear, of course, some of the tough stories and like it. I mean, there’s obviously, like you said, when you get into venture where people say like, oh, yeah, like congratulations on your venture funding, you almost want to say like, no, no, no.

Means to an end. Yeah, yeah. That is a person who’s betting on you to get an outsized return on their investment. And you’ve got the timer is ticking now.

Yes. Yes. It’s definitely a double edged sword, for lack of a better phrase. I think that. Yeah, I think a lot of entrepreneurs confuse raising money with succeeding at a business, and I you know, really the goal is to not have to raise money, right? The goal is you have a business. The people they love so much are paying you and you’re funding through your customers. But, you know, there are certainly advantages to funding.

And I don’t want to I don’t want to dismiss it totally or be ungrateful to work with great investors, which, you know, I certainly am. But but there are there are downsides and it is a calculated risk like anything else.

Yeah. And it’s there definitely is, as you say, sort of this idea of like a revenue funded business is fantastic. But of course, there’s going to be limitations.

There’s going to be advantages, disadvantages. And. Yes.

And, you know, like in your folks that you’ve worked with, you’ve chosen people that have been successful. They’ve got a high bar for their ethics to the way that they approach it, which is important as well. Right.

Because there are a lot of places that people could go to get money that are purely, you know, just accounting driven.

And so I like that in looking through sort of your investors and the folks that you work with in the market, I can appreciate their approach to it because I’ve seen, you know, their impact on the world and is really we are trying to do good things, you know, through technology and such. Yeah, absolutely, I think that in general, finding partners who are playing a long game is so valuable, who are playing multiple rounds because the firm, they care about, the reputation they cared about doing, supporting businesses that are doing good and aren’t just totally bottom line focused.

Right. Because they know that their only funding businesses that hurt people that long term, their value will diminish. So so I think fine people who play the long game, whether it’s a financial partner or a business partner, a life partner. When you chose to start your own venture and get into funding it and such, obviously your I should say I, I shouldn’t say obviously I shouldn’t lead with that.

Like, it would seem to me that your history in finance would have helped you to inform how to approach that part of the business building. How important was it that you had been intimate with the industry of finance as you went to actually raise funding? I think I think it’s helpful to know your customer and whatever situation you’re in, and so when you’re trying to capitalize your business, what you’re effectively doing is you’re selling equity. So it is by definition, you’re doing it.

It’s a sales process. And one of the best things that the best sales people do is they have empathy for their counterparty. And so really putting yourself in the shoes of the investors is helpful because you understand what are their needs and how can I fulfill them. So I did this presentation yesterday. I’m doing this course on fundraising. And my second tip is basically know your customer and know what venture investors want and how their math works. And the way their math works is they’re really trying to find the next Facebook, the next Pinterest and Snapchat, the next multibillion dollar company, because that is what really drives the returns.

There’s a Scott Kapoor is a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, put out a book recently called The Secrets of Sandhill Road. And he has this chart in there which shows that 60 percent of the returns for venture investors come from six percent of the deals. So when you’re pitching to investors, you really want to pitch this idea that you can be one of those six percent companies, that you’re going to be that company that can really drive outsized returns. And knowing that and having empathy for what the investors needs and wants are puts you in a better position to find a partner who you’re going to to jive with.

Yeah, that’s actually such a good read that will scare you out of ever going to where adventure because you realize how much is behind the scenes of the age of the funds, the the percentage of returns that have already come back in.

It is an incredible set of mathematics and and behaviors that will drive how an investor will comment at a particular point in time.

So it’s it is a very, very, very well done. And I love how transparent Scott was as part of the discussion, because it’s not often that people kind of share the math and the process behind the math.

Right. Which is which is pretty wild. I agree.

So for folks that want to find out more and I will make sure they do, I will be we’ll talk beyond here about, you know, how I can help to expand the brand. You know, Noble is just so fantastic. And I appreciate you taking the time with me today. Warren, this is a real pleasure.

And you’re you’re doing good things. And like I said, it’s sadly, it’s is more rare than than it should be. But it’s so nice when you see people that are becoming successful as a result of the good things they’re doing. And it’s well deserved.

Thank you so much for the kind words. I really enjoyed the conversation. It’s nice. It’s really energizing and fun to talk with someone who is so well rounded and so interested in and learning. And I’m sure we get to talk for multiple hours easily. And I look forward to continuing the conversation.

We’ll have to have we’ll do a knowable course on how to have a two way conversation on financing and venture capital. But it is this was really, really cool.

So, again, for folks, if they want to connect with you online, Warren, what’s the best way that they can reach out?

The best way to find me is on Twitter. My handle is at @wwshaef and you can also find knowable at knowable.fyi and the best places to find me and no perfect.

Yeah, I’ll make sure we have links in the show notes as well.

And, and I’ll, I’ll definitely be albe before long before we got to today, I wanted to test her to talk about things, you know, through the course of the discussion. But I’m definitely I’m keen, you know, if it’s valuable, I’d love to contribute content towards the platform. It’s just such a such a great opportunity. So absolutely.

Yeah. Let’s talk more about your book, because I think that’s a really easy way to get started. So we should have an offline conversation about that.

We’re in good shape. Warren, thank you very much for spending the time today. And I’ll say happy twenty, twenty one. We’re we’re we’re we’re around the corner on a lot of things and we’ve got some some good stuff ahead.

And for folks, definitely, if you want to hear great stuff like this, head over to knowable because you get to hear it from the from the creator’s voice, which is in my my view, one of the best ways to learn.