DiscoverCreator Lab - interviews with entrepreneurs and startup founders
Creator Lab - interviews with entrepreneurs and startup founders

Creator Lab - interviews with entrepreneurs and startup founders

Author: Bilal Zaidi

Subscribed: 2,190Played: 24,487


Conversations with leading entrepreneurs, non-profit founders, award winning designers, educators, artists and everything else in between.

We dig deep into their stories, have honest conversations about how they made their ideas come to life and the lessons learned along the way.
52 Episodes
Gagan is the co-founder & former President of Udemy, an online education company that's worth more than $2bil. He later co-founded Sprig, a food delivery startup & went on to become the interim head of growth marketing at Lyft. Gagan recently announced a new education startup with Wes Kao. They've raised $4.3mil from investors like First Round Capital, Naval Ravikant & Li Jin. Let us know what you think on Twitter: @bzaidi @gaganbiyani Watch the full interview on YouTube: In this conversation, we discuss: lessons in building Udemy + Sprig, from high-highs to low-lows why cohort-based courses will play a major role in the future of online education what it was like being fired by a co-founder the impact of financial struggles & the unique pressure of being the child of immigrants perspective gained from traveling to all 7 continents Timestamps: 00:00:00 Intro 00:02:47 Who is Gagan Biyani? 00:05:20 Udemy Origin Story 00:10:54 Starting Up a Business When You Have A Work Visa 00:12:57 Setting A Timeline 00:16:54 Parental Pressure + Traditional Careers 00:20:53 Struggles 00:26:54 How Do You React To Financial Troubles? 00:29:27 Living Within Your Means 00:30:34 Being Content 00:33:27 Getting Fired By A Co-Founder 00:42:20 The Rise & Fall of Sprig 00:44:05 Chamath: "You're Going to Fail" 00:50:07 Failure + Cognitive Dissonance 00:52:40 3 Years of Travel 00:57:20 Finding Hidden Gems 00:59:24 Figuring Out What's Next 01:00:59 Naval's Advice 01:04:51 Evaluating Business Ideas 01:07:28 Gagan's New Startup: Cohort-Based Courses 01:13:37 Opportunities In Online Education 01:17:29 Formats That Work Best 01:21:19 Wrap-Up
Andrew Wilkinson is the co-founder of Tiny. He owns 30+ companies, including Dribbble, Metalab, Girlboss & Castro. Collectively, these businesses bring in $100mil+ in annual revenue. Andrew took WeCommerce public the week of this interview, with the most recent market cap hitting $800mil Canadian dollars (Jan 2021) He's a leading expert in buying, starting & growing online businesses. Let us know what you think on Twitter: @bzaidi & @awilkinson Watch on YouTube: In this conversation, you'll learn: why Warren Buffet + Charlie Munger's approach inspired Andrew to create the Berkshire Hathaway of the internet how mental models like "inversion" can help you think more effectively the 4 types of entrepreneurs + understanding which type you are how to hire key employees + a CEO to replace you the importance of incentives + how to align employees around a shared vision Timestamps: 00:00:00 Snippet 00:03:32 Who is Andrew? Buying, Building + Growing Companies 00:07:41 Mental Models: Studying Warren Buffett + Charlie Munger 00:10:22 Inversion 00:12:12 Make A Few Good Decisions A Year 00:13:54 The New Zealand Approach 00:15:30 Fishing Where The Fish Are 00:22:11 Controlling Emotions 00:24:50 When Deals Don't Go To Plan 00:26:07 How 2020 Changed Andrew's Strategy 00:27:40 The Value Of Service Businesses 00:32:08 Incentives 00:34:09 4 Types of Entrepreneurs 00:37:13 How to Hire a CEO 00:40:21 Working With Recruiters 00:41:42 Lessons on Firing 00:43:35 Incentivizing CEOs 00:46:20 Creating A Shared Vision 00:50:39 The Art of Delegation 00:53:33 "Twitter should be milking money" 00:56:38 Lessons From Shareholder Letters 00:58:49 The Future of Local News 01:00:39 Wrap-Up
Polina Marinova Pompliano is the author of The Profile, a newsletter that profiles the world's most successful people. She spent five years at FORTUNE, where she was the author + editor of Term Sheet, an industry-leading newsletter on dealmaking. Polina has interviewed some of the most influential dealmakers in the world, including: Melinda Gates, Steve Case, Chamath Palihapitiya and others. Watch & Subscribe on YouTube: Let us know what you think on Twitter: @bzaidi @polina_marinova Full show notes on In the conversation, you'll learn about: the rise of independent writers + the creator economy evolution of the media landscape future of media monetization her writing process + the art of the edit actionable lessons from The Profile, featuring: Malcolm Gladwell, Charlie Munger, Anthony Bourdain, Ira Glass, Elon Musk + more Timestamps: 2:47 Intro 5:03 "Oprah is not JUST Oprah" 9:54 Leaving Fortune Magazine 15:44 Background On The Profile 19:09 Expectations vs Reality 23:43 Why Polina Uses Substack For Her Newsletter 27:13 Evolution of Monetization in New Media 36:20 Writing Process: Summarizing 128 Books 40:53 The Art of The Edit 44:13 Building Your Initial Audience 45:50 Growing An Audience Lessons From The Profile: 48:30 Gladwell: "3 Hours of Thinking for 1 Hour of Writing" 51:55 "Interesting, Not Perfect" 53:54 How To Find Meaning In Your Work 55:32 Ira Glass: "Great Stories Happen To Those Who Can Tell Them" 58:00 Charlie Munger: Inversion + Avoidance of Stupidity 59:29 Survivor vs Victim 1:00:46 The Bourdain Principle 1:05:46 Lessons From Shonda Rhimes 1:09:02 "I'm No Longer Looking For An Enemy..." 1:11:23 Guy Raz: Stories We Tell Ourselves 1:13:32 Elon Musk: The Chef vs The Cook 1:16:34 Thinking From First Principles 1:19:04 Unconcious Bias 1:20:25 Human Hardware vs Software 1:22:16 Wrap Up
Courtland founded Indie Hackers, one of the leading entrepreneurship communities on the internet. Indie Hackers was acquired by Stripe in 2017. He's a Y Combinator alum & graduated from MIT. This conversation is broken up into two parts. In part one, we discuss: the indiehacker philosophy optimizing for freedom + becoming a time billionaire capitalism + the american dream diversity, race + culture equality of opportunity vs outcome Part Two - Business Idea Framework (starts at 1hr mark): a four-step framework for brainstorming business ideas difference between product ideas + business ideas how to think about distribution from day one finding a door before making a key how to create an innovative solution Timestamps: 00:00:00 Intro 00:02:52 Who is Courtland + what is Indie Hackers 00:04:24 Background + Getting Acquired By Stripe 00:09:51 Differentiating 00:12:47 Unbundling Platforms + Creating Alternatives 00:16:03 Experience at Y Combinator 00:21:49 The Indiehacker Philosophy 00:25:02 "The Time Billionaire" 00:27:20 Skin In The Game 00:31:11 The Evolution of Capitalism 00:36:04 Equality of Outcome vs Equality of Opportunity 00:39:28 Objective Thinking + Confirmation Bias 00:41:40 Going Beyond Performative Diversity 00:44:32 The Nuance of Culture vs Race 00:51:10 The Value of Examples 00:54:48 Getting To The Root Of The Problem 00:59:13 Does The American Dream Exist? Part Two: Business Idea Framework: 01:03:44 4 Part Framework: Problem, Distribution, Monetization, Solution 01:04:58 Product Idea vs Business Idea 01:06:38 What Makes A Good Problem? 01:08:53 Tribes, Channels + Distribution 01:14:17 Courtland's Checklist To Evaluate Problem 01:18:18 Where to Look for Problems 01:20:29 Sources To Find Rising Trends 01:25:23 Distribution From Day One 01:27:12 How To Share On Indie Hackers 01:32:55 Doing It Well vs Perfectionism 01:34:48 Wrap-Up
Tim Urban is one of the internet's most popular writers. His blog, Wait But Why, attracts millions of visitors including famous fans like Elon Musk. His talk on procrastination is the #1 TED talk on YouTube with 33mil+ views. Subscribe + Watch on YouTube: Let us know what you think on Twitter: @bzaidi @waitbutwhy FIVE THINGS YOU'LL LEARN: his writing + research process first principles thinking + lessons learned from Elon Musk + Tony Hseih (Zappos) techniques to overcome low confidence + find your authentic voice how he'd start from scratch today how to explain complex topics like AI + Neuralink through storytelling SHOW NOTES + TRANSCRIPT: TIMESTAMPS: 00:00:00 Preview 00:02:05 Intro + Tim’s Cuddly Toys 00:04:38 How Elon Musk Became A Fan 00:05:33 11yr Old Tim Meets The Internet 00:07:17 Trip Down Internet Memory Lane 00:09:39 “Underneath The Turban” + Finding A Creative Path 00:14:07 Micro + Macro Happiness 00:15:22 Finding A Voice + Getting Traction 00:17:39 “What Could I Do With 60hrs A Week?” 00:19:04 Tim’s Research + Writing Process 00:25:33 “Neuralink Is A Magic Hat” 00:26:53 Tools + The Magic of “Text Edit” 00:31:53 Talent vs Craft 00:34:12 “Writing For a Stadium Full of Tim’s” 00:36:42 Adam Grant’s Antidote to Paranoia 00:38:47 Vicious Cycle of Confidence 00:42:07 Headlines 00:45:36 Example: Fermi Paradox 00:47:58 Creativity vs Promotion 00:50:33 Starting From Scratch Today 00:51:51 Facebook Ads In 2013 00:53:57 Owned, Rented + New Platforms 01:01:01 Dream Person To Interview 01:03:37 First Principles + Learning From Elon Musk 01:08:37 Manage A Business Like Elon Musk 01:10:37 Latest on Neuralink + AI 01:15:37 Re-Thinking A Cyborg From First Principles 01:16:23 Memories + Lessons From Tony Hseih (Zappos) 01:22:19 Tony Hseih’s Relationship Ripple Effect  
Let me know what you think on Twitter: @bzaidi Subscribe + watch on YouTube: Chris Kuenne started Rosetta & grew it to become the largest independent digital agency in the world before selling to Publicis for $575mil. Now he runs Rosemark Capital, investing in companies with revenues of $30–60mil. Chris teaches high-tech entrepreneurship at Princeton University. In this conversation, we discuss: how Chris pre-sold $1mil of contracts before launching his agency four personality types of builders the opportunity to solve expensive problems + merge software with services how acquisitions fueled growth before selling for $575mil lessons in hiring 1200+ people breaking down implications of money raised + liquidation in his sale TIMESTAMPS: 00:00:00 Intro 00:02:23 Behind A $575M Deal 00:07:08 What Would You Do Differently? 00:11:01 Turning Down A Larger $600M Offer 00:13:49 How Much Does A Founder Keep After A Huge Sale? 00:19:18 Venture Waterfall + Preference Stack 00:22:13 What Changed After the Deal 00:26:45 Early Years At Rosetta 00:31:22 Pre-Selling $1mil In Sales Before Quitting His Job 00:34:55 Find An Expensive Problem - The Mckinsey Approach 00:38:36 Expensive Problems To Work On In 2021 00:41:27 Using Data To Create A Quantitative Persona 00:43:21 Opportunities To Combine Software + Services 00:45:35 Who's Doing It Well In SaaS? 00:50:01 Lessons In Hiring 1200+ People 00:56:40 The Right Way To Fire Someone 00:59:19 4 Builder Personalities: Driver, Explorer, Crusader + Captain 01:01:04 The Driver: Apple 01:03:44 The Explorer: Facebook 01:04:52 The Crusader: Google 01:05:50 The Captain: Alibaba 01:08:11 Wrap Up
Matteo Franceschetti is the founder of Eight Sleep, the sleep fitness company at the forefront of sleep tech. They’ve raised more than $70mil, came out of Y Combinator and are one of the leading companies at the forefront of sleep technology. Time magazine named their product one of the best inventions of 2018 + 2019. Watch + subscribe on YouTube: Let us know what you think on Twitter: In this conversation, you'll learn: how they’re using AI + machine learning to improve sleep the challenges of building hardware + software (smart mattress) unit economics you should think about when launching a DTC brand future plans to control oxygen levels, humidity + light to improve sleep balancing organic growth vs paid acquisition successfully partnering with influencers actionable ways to improve deep + REM sleep TIMESTAMPS: 00:00:00 Intro 00:03:07 What Is Eight Sleep? 00:04:34 Coming To America 00:08:01 4 Factors To Improve Health + Sleep 00:09:49 How To Start a DTC Company 00:12:05 Indiegogo Launch + Raising Money 00:13:07 Focusing On Thermal Regulation 00:14:10 Future Of Sleep Technology 00:15:58 Brand Partnerships 00:17:01 Using AI + Machine To Improve Sleep 00:18:02 Temperature's Impact On Sleep 00:21:14 Marketing a DTC Product 00:22:46 Organic Growth + Influencers 00:23:24 Balancing Paid Acquisition + Organic Growth 00:27:04 Reverse Engineering + Diminishing Returns 00:30:59 Measuring Word Of Mouth + 7 Touchpoints Rule 00:32:27 DTC Unit Economics 00:34:06 Peloton, Tesla + Price Sensitivity 00:37:38 Pros + Cons of Going Public 00:40:42 How To Get Better Sleep 00:42:30 Stages of Sleep: Light, Deep + REM 00:44:32 Sleep's Impact On Hormones + Junk Food 00:45:42 Factors To Improve Sleep 00:49:24 Stop Your Mind Racing 00:52:19 Caffeine + Alcohol 00:54:50 3 Roles Of A CEO 00:58:55 Board Meetings + Close
Shaan Puri is an entrepreneur, investor & top 50 podcast host. He was the CEO of Bebo when they sold to Twitch (Amazon) where he's now a senior director of product. He invests in startups + recently raised $2.5mil for his "rolling fund" in 11 days, just from a tweet. Watch + subscribe on YouTube: Let us know what you think on Twitter: In this conversation we discuss: solopreneurship vs high growth startups ideas + blueprints for solopreneurs creating a life vision + the 3 stages of "becoming" selling your company by creating your "Amazon buy button" lessons in building trust, persuasion + social dynamics how to get unstuck + the A, B, Z framework why you should work like a lion, not a cow how Shaan makes $50k/month by "working in public" Timestamps 00:00:00 Intro 00:01:51 Shaan's Background 00:05:58 Startups vs Big Company 00:10:38 Babies, Teenagers + Startups 00:13:13 "Stay Hungry, Not Thirsty" 00:16:02 How To Correctly Slip Into The DMs 00:18:06 Raising $2.5mil In 11 Days From A Tweet 00:21:24 "Create An Amazon Buy Button For Yourself" 00:23:56 "Companies Are Either Bought Or Sold" - Selling To Amazon 00:31:02 Social Dynamics, Persuasion + Lessons From "The Game" 00:37:54 How To Come Up With A Life Vision? 00:45:19 $50k/Month To Work In Public – "1000 True Fans" Moment 00:48:24 Importance Of Emotional Juice In Decisions 00:51:33 Soloproneurship vs High Growth Startups 00:58:04 Ideas + Blueprints For Solopreneurs 01:03:14 Behind The Mind – A, B, Z Framework 01:10:27 "Work Like A Lion, Not Like A Cow" 01:14:22 "You Either Win Or You Learn" 01:15:15 Navigating "Should I Be Doing This?" 01:23:09 Feeling Down + How To Get Unstuck 01:30:11 3 Stages Of "What Do I Become" 01:31:26 Closing
Steph Smith leads Trends at The Hustle. She’s a serial indie maker, writer + marketer. She’s been a nomad since 2016 & has traveled to 50+ countries while working, learning to code + creating. Watch + subscribe on YouTube: Let us know what you think on Twitter: What You'll Learn: how to pre-sell + validate your idea economics of self-publishing vs traditional book deals what you can learn from games like chess defining your personal monopoly finding your first 1000 users writing for humans vs google leveraging communities + viral platforms Timestamps 00:00:00 Intro 00:02:00 What You Can Learn From Chess 00:07:39 Chess vs Real Life 00:13:33 Pre-Selling An Idea 00:17:51 Economics of Book Deals vs Self-Publishing 00:19:23 “Steph is an animal…in a good way” 00:21:19 Healthy Competiton + Sibling Rivalry 00:25:38 Lifestyle Creep + Golden Handcuffs 00:27:14 Steph’s Book: “Doing Content Right” 00:29:09 Avoiding Scammy “Online Marketers” 00:34:08 Personal Monopoly + Your Differentiator 00:39:04 Example: Costco’s Differentiator 00:43:17 “What You Wouldn’t Do In Person” 00:46:34 Growth Models To Grow Efficiently + Compound Over Time 00:48:02 Bedrock Channels: Importance of SEO 00:51:09 Example: Writing For Humans vs Google 00:55:46 How We Do Keyword Research 01:01:43 Tools To Use + Ranking For Keywords 01:04:38 First 1000 Users – Do Things That Don’t Scale 01:08:40 Leveraging Communities + Viral Platforms 01:12:06 “How To Be Great? Just Be Good, Repeatedly” 01:15:25 The Power Of Building In Public 01:19:22 Wrap-Up
Mubashar Iqbal aka Mubs is a prolific creator. He was Product Hunt’s “maker of the year” + has built 90+ products including Pod Hunt + Founderpath Watch + subscribe on YouTube: Let us know what you think on Twitter:   Five Things You'll Learn: knowing when to take on a new project vs calling it quits why “founder-product-fit” is as important as “product-market-fit" example business ideas + how to validate their potential how NoCode tools can get your idea off the ground how to avoid procrastination, stay motivated + deal with fear Time Stamps 00:00:00 Introduction 00:02:43 Who is Mubs? 00:07:48 90+ Projects 00:17:18 Most Important Factor When Taking On A New Project 00:19:13 Founder-Product Fit 00:23:55 Knowing When To Move Onto The Next Project? 00:27:31 Dealing With A Lack of Energy + Enthusiasm 00:29:12 How to Sell Your Projects 00:31:29 How To Value A Business 00:35:23 Business Idea Examples 00:39:54 Our Business Idea Lists 00:42:25 How To Validate An Idea? 00:45:20 Bilal's Idea: Real Estate + Airbnb Tool 00:49:58 Pros + Cons of NoCode Tools 00:52:34 FounderPath – SaaS Debt Funding 00:56:05 How Nathan Latka Pitched Mubs + Equity vs Salary 00:57:07 "Pay Is Not Always Financial" 01:01:27 Future Of Remote Work 01:03:26 Avoiding Procrastination + Dealing With Fear 01:06:54 Understanding Your Why 01:08:58 Wrap Up
Pomp is a partner + co-founder of Morgan Creek Digital. He hosts a top 10 podcast, has an audience of ~400k followers on Twitter + writes a daily letter to 80,000 investors. Watch + subscribe on YouTube: Let us know what you think on Twitter: @bzaidi @creatorlabfm @apompliano Five Things You'll Learn: actionable ways to grow a Twitter, YouTube & e-mail audience subscriptions, ads + the future of media monetization “digital art” + emerging trends to invest in the pros, cons + innovation of "rolling funds” staying motivated + perspective gained from serving in the army Timestamps: 00:00:00 Intro 00:02:12 Who is Pomp? 00:04:13 “Having an Audience is the New Currency” 00:06:08 Building an Audience is Hard Work 00:07:32 One Platform At A Time 00:11:48 Pomp’s Daily Routine + Staying Consistent 00:15:30 How To Get Twitter Followers 00:16:58 “Twitter Is What Linkedin Should’ve Been” 00:18:01 Links Hurt Virality 00:20:53 Behind The YouTube Algorithm 00:23:47 Editing For Social Media 00:24:52 How Pomp Grew His YouTube Channel 00:27:40 Writing Eye-Catching Headlines 00:30:36 Podcast Discoverability 00:32:06 Complete vs Perfect 00:35:52 “Trigger Fingers Turned To Twitter Fingers” 00:37:48 Navigating Platform Risk + Organic Reach 00:40:26 Future Of Monetization: Substack, Subscriptions + Ads 00:42:14 Investment Approach 00:44:13 Pomp’s 4 Rules To Wealth 00:48:21 Investing in Digital Art? 00:52:13 Why Use A Rolling Fund? 00:55:22 If Money Was No Obstacle… 00:58:08 Perspective Gained From Serving In The Army 00:59:52 Wrap Up
Dr. Emily Anhalt is a psychologist, co-founder + chief-clinical officer of Coa, a mental fitness platform + community. She’s conducted research with prominent psychologists + entrepreneurs on how leaders can improve their emotional fitness. She's collaborated with companies like Google, Asana, TEDx, NASDAQ, Bloomberg, + True Ventures Watch + Subscribe on YouTube: Let us know what you think on Twitter: @bzaidi @creatorlabfm @dremilyanhalt @joincoa FIVE THINGS YOU'LL LEARN: (1) how to be proactive about your mental health + emotional fitness (2) identifying + dealing with anxiety (3) actionable tips to deal with imposter syndrome (4) dealing with co-founder breakups (5) survivor guilt, sublimation + other psychological concepts that may impact your life TIMESTAMPS 00:00 Intro 00:02:09 About Emily + Coa 00:06:41 About Anxiety 00:10:04 Difference Between Depression + Anxiety 00:11:45 Where to Start with Therapy 00:14:19 Where to Find Therapy 00:16:59 Dealing with Anxiety 00:19:21 Trust Future You to Deal with Future Problems 00:20:25 Identifying Triggers for Anxiety 00:21:29 Healthy and Unhealthy Reactions to Adversity 00:24:22 Common Work Conflicts 00:28:12 Survivor Guilt 00:30:28 Does Gender Play a Role in Conflict Resolution? 00:33:11 Co-Founder Conflicts 00:38:02 Co-Founder Breakups 00:39:20 Imposter Syndrome 00:45:08 How Childhood Experiences Influence The Present 00:48:13 Affordable Therapy For All? 00:49:36 Wrap Up
Sam Parr is the founder & CEO of The Hustle, an 8 figure media business. They have 1.5mil people subscribed to their daily email newsletter + are on track to hit 8 figures in revenue with their paid newsletter, trends. Sign up for trends here: Five Things You'll Learn: how he’d build an audience differently today starting a paid newsletter business + finding talented writers copywriting + persuading people through the written word incentives + the future of media being emotionally stable while having a chip on your shoulder Let us know what you think on Twitter: @bzaidi @creatorlabfm @thesamparr Timestamps: 00:01:58 Intro 00:03:10 Sam’s Hot Dog Stand 00:07:53 The Hustle + Trends 00:11:01 Finding Great Employees + Writers 00:14:19 “The Dumbest Millionaires are in Real Estate” 00:15:50 Equity Splits In His Business 00:18:06 “Buzzfeed + Vox are Horrible Companies” 00:20:24 Subscriptions + Ads 00:24:23 Ad Incentives + Fake News 00:25:42 Free vs Paid Products 00:27:52 Example: Start a Million Dollar Paid Newsletter 00:34:20 Biggest Mistakes in Starting A Newsletter 00:34:46 Finding Traction 00:37:35 “Give People What They Need, Not What They Want” 00:38:37 Paid Ads For Growth + Sponsoring Dave Portnoy 00:40:04 Giveaways For Subscriber Growth 00:41:43 Paid Newsletters Category Ideas 00:44:24 How Copywriting Helped Sam Meet His Wife 00:47:01 AIDA + The Funnel 00:49:55 How To Write A Compelling Headline? 00:52:55 Finding Ideas To Write About 00:55:07 Editing + Content That Resonates 00:59:09 Platforms + Distribution: E-Mail, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok 01:04:37 Platform Risk – Owned vs Rented Channels 01:07:44 YouTube Algorithm: Views vs Time Spent 01:08:35 Sam Interviews Bilal: YouTube Growth From The Inside 01:11:25 Seeing Android Grow From 4% to 80% Market Share 01:13:42 Being Emotionally Stable 01:18:12 Dealing With The Chip On Your Shoulder 01:20:50 Chilling On 50 Mil
Jack Butcher is the founder of @VisualizeValue, a Twitter/Instagram account he's grown to 100k+ followers in less than 2yrs. His business brings in $100k+ month with 99% profit margins. Five Things You'll Learn: building an audience from scratch transitioning from selling services (time) to products (value) how to tell better stories leverage, compounding + other ideas that changed his world view naval’s tweetstorm on building wealth Let us know what you think on Twitter: @bzaidi @creatorlabfm @jackbutcher @visualizevalue Timestamps (YouTube) 00:00:00 Intro 00:01:49 Jack's Background 00:05:08 Naval's Tweetstorm 00:09:23 $100k/mo + 99% Profit Margins 00:11:27 Starting Visualize Value 00:15:16 Communicating Complex Ideas 00:17:37 Building an Audience from Scratch 00:22:09 Difference Between Twitter + Instagram Audiences 00:27:28 Constraints + Creating Consistently 00:29:49 Keeping A Brand Fresh 00:30:49 "Good Advertising Wears In, Not Out" 00:34:00 Finding Your Own Voice 00:36:54 Power of Visual Content 00:37:38 One Platform At A Time? 00:42:03 Platform Risk + Organic Reach 00:47:52 Jack's Creative Process 00:57:08 Lessons In Storytelling 01:02:45 How to Stay Consistent 01:08:07 Joe Rogan's First Podcast 01:10:17 Internal Motivation 01:11:30 The Future of Visualize Value 01:14:04 Behind The Mind: "Seek Wealth, Not Money or Status" 01:20:16 "Do You Love The Poor or Hate The Rich?" 01:23:49 Understanding Leverage 01:26:26 Employee vs Owner Mindset 01:30:30 US vs UK culture 01:36:17 "When You're Finally Wealthy, You Realize It Wasn't What You Were Seeking in the First Place" 01:39:19 Wrap Up + Book "The Almanack of Naval Ravikant":
Who is Josh? Josh Clemente is the founder of Levels. He’s a mechanical engineer, CrossFit L2 trainer + previously leads teams at Hyperloop + SpaceX where he developed life support systems for astronauts going into space. In this conversation, we discuss the importance of optimizing your metabolic health, how software can drive behavior change + the future of health tech. Full video on YouTube: Topics We Discuss what is metabolic health + why is it important? stories from working with Elon Musk at SpaceX & Hyperloop why you should monitor your glucose the myth of the “balanced diet” know who to trust when it comes to nutrition science actionable advice on improving nutrition, exercise, sleep + stress how software can help drive behavior change Full Time Stamps (YouTube) 00:00:00 Intro 00:01:21 Welcome 00:02:26 What is Metabolic Health? 00:03:54 SpaceX 00:06:28 Hyperloop 00:08:21 Inspiration for Levels 00:17:17 The Myth of a Balanced Diet 00:21:29 Why You Should Monitor Glucose 00:25:07 Knowing Who To Trust On Nutrition? 00:27:52 Using Levels 00:36:50 Price Per User + Team 00:44:55 Funding Levels 00:47:04 The First 3-6 Months 00:50:52 Branding + Finding An Audience 00:54:03 Marketing Lifestyle Apps 00:57:25 The Future of Health Tech – Integrating Health Data 01:02:18 Collecting Health Data + Influencing the Health Care System 01:06:56 4 Parts of Health: Nutrition, Exercise, Sleep + Stress 01:15:08 Wrap-Up
Subscribe + watch on YouTube: Let me know what you think on Twitter: Who is Jim? Jim McKelvey is an entrepreneur, glass-blowing artist + philanthropist. He’s most well known as the co-founder of Square, the financial payments company he started with Jack Dorsey (founder of Twitter). Jim also co-founded the non-profit “Launch Code” and he’s an independent Director of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Jim’s book, The Innovation Stack, is available for purchase. Or sign up to the email list at the bottom of this post to win 1 of 5 copies we’re giving away to listeners Topics We Discuss: the origin story of Square Square's 14 part "innovation stack" that allowed them to win in this tough market reducing the cost of a card reader from $1000 to $0.97 going up against Amazon + winning examples of innovation stacks from other companies the unbanked + underbanked his thoughts on digital currencies invention vs innovation entrepreneurship vs owning a business if "billionaires should exist" + his "billionaire moment" why being a billionaire ≠ happiness Book Giveaway We’re giving away 5 copies of Jim’s book to email subscribers, details here: Timestamps (YouTube) 00:00:00 Intro 00:00:49 Welcome 00:01:50 Early Career as a Glassblower 00:03:10 Meeting Jack Dorsey 00:05:59 Beginning of Square 00:10:59 Underserved Markets 00:15:13 Studying a Market for Something That Doesn’t Exist 00:19:03 The Unbanked + Underbanked 00:24:49 Square’s Innovation Stack 00:28:21 Invention vs Innovation 00:30:21 Getting Square's First Users 00:33:38 What Were The Large Existing Players Missing? 00:42:22 The Delusion of Innovation 00:45:26 How Square Went Up Against Amazon + Won 00:50:43 Entrepreneur vs Business Owner 00:52:32 His “Billionaire” Moment 00:54:52 Being Treated Like a “Walking Wallet” 00:56:33 Should Billionaires Exist? 01:00:21 Industries That are Ripe for Innovation 01:05:30 Digital Currency 01:08:13 Advice on Investing 01:10:30 "If you inherit wealth, you're not rich" 01:12:24 Being Rich ≠ Being Happy 01:13:44 Philanthropy 01:16:39 Dealing with the hardest period of his life 01:19:33 Wrap Up Thank you to our partner   This week's episode is supported by InstaSleep Mint Melts, the drug-free, convenient sleep aid.   They’re easy to take without water & melt in your mouth like a mint. They’re designed to help you fall asleep faster & wake up without feeling groggy in the morning.   If you’ve had issues sleeping like I have, try them out - available at select Walgreens stores and their website:
Subscribe + Watch on YouTube: Let me know what you think on Twitter: Who Is Kat Cole?   Kat is one of the most impressive business leaders in America. Fortune magazine named her on their 40 under 40 list & her story is often cited as an example of the “American Dream”.   She worked her way up from being a waitress at Hooters aged 17, to an exec at 26 and a president at 31.   Today, she’s the president of a parent company doing $4-5bil in sales in 60+ countries, across 6500+ locations. Their 7 brands including Cinnabon, Carvel & Jamba Juice.   In this conversation you’ll learn how she thinks about growth, adapting products to emerging trends, using brand partnerships to grow & the factors that go into expanding internationally.     Five Things You’ll Learn Lessons In Leadership – how to establish credibility, even as a young leader, to lead a team through any situation. Emerging Trends + The Innovation Adoption Curve – how she thinks about adapting to emerging trends for brands like Cinnabon + Jamba Juice. Finding your place on the innovation adoption curve while holding onto where you came from. Impact of Lockdown On Malls + Airports – how recent events have impacted their 6500+ locations in malls + airports, and where she sees opportunities International Growth – the factors you should think through when expanding internationally, stories of mistakes made, and examples of situations she navigated in Argentina, Turkey + UAE Brand Partnerships – controlling your brand when expanding with partners, and when to consider licensing vs franchising vs joint ventures   Time Stamps (YouTube) 00:00:00 Preview 00:02:04 Welcome 00:05:01 From Waitress to Vice President of Hooters 00:08:41 Invaluable Lessons In Leadership 00:14:18 “I’m Friendly, But Not Your Friend” 00:16:49 Blending Humility + Confidence 00:20:57 Scale + Revenue of Focus Brands 00:22:12 Case Study: Turning Around Cinnabon 00:29:23 Opportunity = When Your Company Says “No” 00:33:03 Approach To Testing New Products 00:35:10 Adapting to Trends: Jamba + Cinnabon Example 00:42:11 Jamba + The Innovation Adoption Curve 00:48:54 Mall Traffic In 2020 00:51:47 Prediction On Airport Traffic 00:53:22 Increased Search Demand For “Near Me” + “Delivery” 00:54:35 DTC vs Third-Party Delivery Services 00:57:25 International Growth: Hooters in Argentina 01:01:11 Importance of Cultural Context: Turkey Example 01:04:47 International Context – Asking the Right Questions 01:06:29 Factors To Consider When Expanding Internationally 01:12:08 Growing Through Licensing, Franchising + Joint Ventures 01:14:51 Brand Partnerships – Controlling Your Brand 01:17:34 Wrap-Up Thank you to our partner   This week's episode is supported by InstaSleep Mint Melts, the drug-free, convenient sleep aid.   They’re easy to take without water & melt in your mouth like a mint. They’re designed to help you fall asleep faster & wake up without feeling groggy in the morning.   If you’ve had issues sleeping like I have, try them out - available at select Walgreens stores and their website:
Who Is Ryan? Ryan Begelman co-founded Summit Series, described as “TED meets Burning Man” & “The Davos of Gen Y” by Forbes They’ve become known for hosting incredible events with thousands of leading creators like Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos & Jessica Alba. Summit acquired Powder Mountain, America’s largest ski resort after pre-selling the opportunity to their community. Ryan also bought into Bisnow Media, became CEO & sold for a reported $50mil+, all without venture capital. What You’ll Learn Part 1: Business Frameworks + Backstory Framework For Business Ideas – a technique to generate ideas: marketing, monetization + markets Bootstrapping + Buying A Mountain – how they pre-sold an idea to their community to buy a mountain for $50mil + why you should consider bootstrapping too Joint Venture Waterfalls – applying a concept from private equity to real estate + businesses Dealflow – four ways to think about generating deal flow: hunting, trapping, farming, trading Replacing Yourself – how to find, hire & train someone to replace you Part 2: Holistic Entrepreneurship, Philosophy + Mental Fitness Redefining Wealthy + Holistic Entrepreneurship – creating a well-rounded, fun & meaningful life through entrepreneurship “Software For The Brain” – train your brain for mental fitness, developing awareness + neuroplasticity Practical Philosophy – concepts from greek philosophy, Buddhism & stoicism to help you be less reactive + less annoyed The Story of the Chinese Farmer – a parable about nature + grounding yourself in truth Ego – is wanting to leave an indelible mark on humanity a form of ego or something to strive for? Time Stamps (YouTube) 00:00:00 Preview 00:01:54 Welcome 00:04:16 Summit Series 00:10:12 Buying A Mountain 00:12:18 Revenue & Size of Summit & Bisnow Sale 00:15:28 Holistic Entrepreneurship: The Trap of Venture Capital 00:22:43 Life Cycle of Real Estate Investing 00:25:34 Joint Venture Waterfalls 00:31:22 Business Idea Framework 00:34:42 Pickleball Example 00:41:01 Finding Trends 00:42:39 Dealflow: Hunting, Trapping, Farming, Trading 00:47:20 Hiring Someone to Replace You 00:50:43 Part 2: Mental Fitness, Philosophy & Holistic Entrepreneurship 00:58:16 Mindfulness 01:05:53 Developing Awareness 01:08:30 The Story of the Chinese Farmer 01:11:14 “Don’t Be the Tree Limbs, Be the Trunk” 01:14:12 Assumptions and Biases 01:17:02 Dropping Your Concept of Right and Wrong 01:18:48 Appeal of Stoicism: Controlling What You Can Control 01:22:56 Training Your Brain 01:24:36 Getting Out Of The Worst Phase Of Your Life 01:28:37 Relationships Aren’t for Happiness 01:32:11 Dealing with Ego 01:34:00 Training Himself To Complain Less 01:35:40 Is Making An Impact On The World Driven By Ego? 01:37:30 Avoiding Unsolicited Feedback 01:38:22 Alternative To Jumping To The Solve 01:39:13 Wrap-Up   Thank you to our partner   This week's episode is supported by InstaSleep Mint Melts, the drug-free, convenient sleep aid.   They’re easy to take without water & melt in your mouth like a mint. They’re designed to help you fall asleep faster & wake up without feeling groggy in the morning.   If you’ve had issues sleeping like I have, try them out - available at select Walgreens stores and their website:
SUMMARY: In this episode, we discuss the world of micro private equity, buying existing companies with little money down & the philosophy of becoming an owner. Ryan has a growing portfolio of 7 products, including, a popular SaaS Shopify app. He’s doing 7-figures in revenue, all while living a nomadic life traveling the world, coding on-the-go & making music. SHOW NOTES: WATCH + SUBSCRIBE ON YOUTUBE: WHAT YOU'LL LEARN: importance of ownership of your actions + becoming an owner in a business building from scratch vs buying an existing company thinking through career transitions + knowing when to leave your job how to work with a romantic partner partnering with investors to buy companies his opinion on self-funding vs raising investment why job security isn’t about the company you work for breakdown of his first 6 figure acquisition why someone would sell a business in the first place, and what to look out for what is seller side financing + how can you use it to buy a company with little money down SBA loans + how you can use one to acquire a company dealing with people who have negative energy scaling a team beyond yourself   TIME STAMPS FOR VIDEO: 00:00 welcome 01:42 why ryan landed in korea 04:46 learning languages 05:57 not pitching 08:43 ryan's background 09:31 learning to code + becoming an owner 11:40 bootstrap vs venture capital 15:07 pros + cons lists 17:14 raise to make your vision bigger 18:51 nuance + balance from extremes 22:42 importance of becoming an owner 25:33 54 side projects + 7 companies 28:13 7 figure revenue, 70% margin 28:49 running a business with a romantic partner 34:27 knowing when to leave your job 45:52 job security + your own skillset 48:42 why buy vs build from scratch 51:57 do I need money to buy? 53:22 buying with no money down 59:23 how to value a small business 1:03:23 what is seller side financing? 1:04:33 what is a clawback provision? 1:05:33 why would someone sell a business? 1:07:43 "it's too good to be true" 1:11:32 two types of people, which one are you? 1:14:27 dealing with negative energy 1:16:36 debt vs equity to buy companies 1:18:01 using SBA loans to buy companies 1:26:26 business returns vs real estate vs stocks 1:27:31 be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful 1:29:57 partnering with investors to buy a company 1:32:59 scaling a team beyond yourself 1:37:32 being conservative in tech 1:39:47 types of luck 1:43:28 what's stopping you?
Who Is Emily? "Most Important Entrepreneur of The Decade" - Inc Magazine Emily is a true branding expert. She's helped to build brands like Allbirds, Casper & Boxed from the ground up & paved a new path for entrepreneurs building in the direct-to-consumer (D2C) space. Win A Free Book We're giving away 5 free copies of Emily's new book: Obsessed: Building a Brand People Love From Day One Sign up here for details: What You’ll Learn The approach Emily and her team use to create brands that people love from day one. Real-world examples from brands like: Apple, Nike, Warby Parker, TOMS, Allbirds, SoulCycle, Everlane, Thinx, and more. You’ll learn: 3 pillars of brand strategy: mindset, key problem, brand idea what you can learn about brand storytelling from stand up comedy getting to the consumer need & “the why test” knowing when you’ve got to the “core brand idea” the difference between functional vs emotional brand storytelling the best way to get customer feedback how consumer expectations are being redefined why brand consistency is no longer the only approach to take in 2020 how subtle language can make a huge difference in the tone of your brand communication Time Stamps: 00:00 intro 1:24 who is emily? 2:00 equity vs agency fee 3:09 branding book 4:15 what is the importance of brand? 5:05 defining brand 9:08 3 parts to brand strategy 14:40 customer interviews 20:33 beyond functional benefits 22:51 casper + core brand idea 25:30 airbnb + the why test 29:50 evaluating brand idea 30:30 boxed + comparing to competition 32:30 allbirds examples 37:40 nike + laddering up value 38:10 apple + green text 41:35 soulcycle brand juxtaposition 42:50 breaking the rule of consistency 44:30 thinx 47:40 non-profits + cause 50:50 toms shoe 53:10 warby parker 53:37 bombas 54:55 everlane 59:40 cancel culture + consumer expectations
Comments (20)

maryam sadr hoseini

l like it

Nov 26th


Love the show, keep up the awesome interviews Bilal.

Aug 8th
Reply (3)

aviel eidels

great episode. congratulations Bilal.

Aug 5th
Reply (1)

Cole Damian

thought I commented

Jul 16th
Reply (3)

Bilal Zaidi

Watch the 4min grand finale trick here:

Jul 15th

Bilal Zaidi

"Why going viral isn't a strategy" - 3min snippet video clip from this interview:

Jun 29th

Bilal Zaidi

Thanks Alex! Trying my best to challenge myself with bringing on all sorts of people and even though I didn’t agree with everything Nathan said, I learned so much from that convo and will continue to try and bring different folks on the show. Appreciate your message! Amazing episode dropping in the next couple days with the #1 ranked angel investor in the world. We talk about the science of happiness, minimalism, how he invested in 500 companies, marketplace/platform businesses and so much more! Hope you have a chance to check it out and some of my fav episodes from the backlog include: ep. 2 with Scott Harrison from charity: water, ep. 5 with Erin, ep. 14 with Gary Vee and the recent one with Erika was a great chat too. Very lucky to have only top quality guests so I think you’ll find some you’re interested in. Cheers!

Apr 1st

Peter Mcilwain

ignorant right wing views that cause great damage. you need to balance this with someone who actually knows economics. have a listen to Pitch fork economics and see if you can interview the guy on that (who by the way was an investor for Bezos)

Mar 19th
Reply (3)

Emmanuel Galanos

Terrible way to start a new podcast with ads and rattling off all the contents. 3 minutes in and no content yet. unsubscribing

Dec 26th
Reply (1)
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