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

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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.
29 Episodes
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I met Christophe when I first moved to New York. I was drawn in by his infectious energy, French charm and distinct sense of humor. He had started multiple companies and our friendship grew over chats about life in America & the world of entrepreneurship. One evening after an epic meandering night out, we landed in Koreatown to chow down on plates of bibimbap & bulgogi. It was a few days before his life was about to change with the birth of his daughter and I asked Christophe about any regrets he had from the past…he started to share this story: “This one time, I had a call from the CFO of Groupon and they had made an $80mil offer on our company, Totsy! It would have been a 10X return for our investors and it was going to be a life-changing moment for me”… The table went silent as we crept towards the edge of our seats… “But then my board blocked the deal, we had to say no! A short while after, we got crushed by Zulily and had to sell for much less. I made nothing from the sale.” It was the sort of honest conversation you could only have with real friends. And yet, it was a familiar outcome that 90% of founders face when starting a company. The type of story that hasn’t been perfectly crafted by a PR machine or used as the tee-up to the inevitable “but look at me now!” It was just plain, honest, truth. In this episode, we revisit that story in more detail to share the stark reality of entrepreneurship – the high highs and the low lows, what it takes to bounce back and move on to a new adventure. We also get into how his world has changed since having a baby daughter, why he thinks being a parent can make you a better entrepreneur and what his new company, UpFlex, is focused on. I hope you enjoy the honesty that Christophe shares in this revealing conversation – if so, shoot me a note, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Five Things To Listen Out For: Ups and Downs of entrepreneurship – the true reality for many entrepreneurs who start companies $80mil acquisition offer – what really happened when he had to reject this offer and what you can learn from his experience Being a parent and a founder – how to find your own balance and why Christophe says it makes him a better entrepreneur Leaving Your Company – when and why you might ever leave the company you started Upflex – his new company and why there’s a need for “Workplace-as-a-Service” Subscribe and watch on YouTube.com/creatorlabfm Full show notes: https://www.creatorlab.fm/christophe-garnier-totsy-spark-labs-upflex/ Social: Instagram: @bzaidi212 @creatorlabfm Everywhere else: @bzaidi @creatorlabfm Thank you to our sponsors who help make this show possible: SquareFoot, where growing companies find their place, check out SquareFoot.com/creatorlab to find your next office space
Full video on YouTube: https://youtu.be/KCjMwDpDm7g Steve Schlafman is a Partner at Primary Venture Partners. He’s been an investor in the NYC startup ecosystem for the last decade. Prior to his roles in VC, he was the Director of New Ventures at The Kraft Group, owners of the New England Patriots. He’s worked at startups like Turntable FM & began his career at Microsoft. Steve has worked on investments in companies like TheSkimm, Bowery Farming, Breather, Giphy, Percolate & SmartThings (sold to Samsung). He also works with founders & CEOs as a qualified leadership coach. In this revealing conversation, we discuss how he thinks about personal + professional growth, building healthy habits, navigating your career, the fear of death, dealing with anxiety, overcoming “functional addiction”, sobriety & why the best performers – people like Eric Schmidt & Lebron James, all work with coaches. Five Things To Listen Out For: Cornerstone Habits – habits that create a domino effect in other areas of your life What Lebron James & Eric Schmidt have in common -we discuss why you might feel resistant to the word “coach”, what a coaching practice looks like & examples of common discussions you might have Being A “Functional Addict” – dealing with addiction & why Steve has been sober for many years Dealing With Anxiety + The Fear Of Death – how Steve has consciously worked on his anxiety and coming to terms with death 360 reviews – why Steve recommends doing this after a recent experience, dealing with constructive criticism & how you can do this too Subscribe to watch the episode on YouTube here. Steve:   https://www.schlaf.me/ https://www.primary.vc/ https://twitter.com/schlaf Bilal: @creatorlabfm @bzaidi212 (Instagram) & @bzaidi everywhere else Full show notes:  https://www.creatorlab.fm/steve-schlafman-primary-venture-partners/ Thank you to our sponsors who help make this show possible: SquareFoot, where growing companies find their place, check out SquareFoot.com/creatorlab to find your next office space
Oz Pearlman is an Emmy award-winning mentalist & magician. He captivated millions across the world as the runner up & finalist on America’s Got Talent.  In this episode, listen carefully as Oz baffles the senses by performing mentalist tricks live on air. From reading Bilal’s mind, to elaborate tricks that you have to see with your own eyes to believe (youtube.com/creatorlabfm) & an epic conversation discussing human psychology, non-verbal communication & turning your side-hustle into a lucrative business – there’s so much to take away from this revealing conversation. Five Things To Listen Out For: Tricks – 3 mind-blowing tricks performed live Side Hustle – Turning a side hustle into a lucrative business – from hustling in restaurants as a kid, to captivating millions on TV Social Dynamics – from cat string theory to time constraints & appearing to be a scarce resource Remembering People’s Names – how Oz approaches this in his work & what you can take from it Psychology – behind success + happiness Subscribe to watch the episode on YouTube here. Social: @OzTheMentalist @creatorlabfm @bzaidi212 (Instagram) & @bzaidi everywhere else Full show notes:  https://www.creatorlab.fm/oz-pearlman-mentalist-magician-interview/ Thank you to our sponsors who help make this show possible: SquareFoot, where growing companies find their place, check out SquareFoot.com/creatorlab to find your next office space
Nigel Eccles is best known for being the co-founder of FanDuel, a company that pioneered the daily fantasy sports market in the US. You may have seen their high impact commercials on TV, heard of them becoming one of the few unicorn $1bil startups to come out of Europe or their eventual sale to Paddypower/Betfair for $465mil. You may have even seen him featured in the infamous John Oliver “This Week Tonight” episode covering the industry he helped to create! It’s safe to say – there are not many people on the planet that have the experience that Nigel has – after starting & selling multiple companies – he’s been around the block & back as a serial entrepreneur. At Fanduel his experience includes raising $400mil+ in venture capital, competing with their closest rival, Draft Kings who raised over $1bil+, to investing hundreds of millions of dollars in customer acquisition on channels like TV, radio & paid digital. In this revealing conversation, he opened up to share his perspective on: how to come up with business ideas in the first place raising venture capital vs bootstrapping how to accelerate paid customer acquisition & measure your marketing effectively building a high growth team the highs & lows of selling a company & lessons learned why founders & early employees might not always make a return from a sale because of preferred vs common stock creating a new market vs capturing an existing one why “going viral” isn’t a good strategy for paid products what to do if you’re a non-technical founder the process of taking an initial idea & evaluating its business potential applying the same logic to his new company, Flick, going after the podcast market Subscribe to watch the episode on YouTube here. Join the Creator Lab group on Nigel's new app, Flick: https://flickchat.page.link/emPvGZnT7XwKGgz76 Thank you to our sponsor who helps make this show possible -SquareFoot, where growing companies find their place, check out SquareFoot.com/creatorlab to find your next office space    
Watch the full episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/muxEUNAaLTE How many times have you heard bitcoin, crypto, blockchain and thought to yourself – “what the hell are they talking about?”  Well, you’re not the only one. This is a topic that has a lot of value but too often you’ll find so-called “experts” using complicated jargon to make things sound more complicated than it is. In this conversation with Ali Hassan, an ex-Goldman Sachs banker & venture capitalist, turned entrepreneur – we try our best to simplify and discuss what bitcoin and blockchain is in simple terms and explore the practical applications of this technology. Going beyond definitions – we discuss real use cases, why the value of bitcoin fluctuates so much, if bitcoin is a direct alternative to the traditional money supply system, comparing it to other assets like gold, and how his team has developed one of the leading passive index funds for investing in cryptocurrency Here are five things to listen out for: What is Bitcoin? And what is Blockchain in simple terms? – Ali describes in easy to understand language and with examples, what bitcoin is and why it’s a valuable asset & technology   Comparing Bitcoin to Gold – what makes an asset like gold valuable and why that idea can be applied to an asset like bitcoin.   Real World Applications – where can bitcoin and blockchain be useful in the real? From the idea of a bitcoin being a store of value, to ethereum helping to automate processes through smart contracts, to helping the unbanked people of the world – we discuss where blockchain could provide real utility in the long run   Comparing Ethereum to the Apple app store – we discuss in simple terms what ethereum is and why it’s allowing people to build on top of their ecosystem, similar to how Apple did with their app store   Creating An Index Fund For Crypto – why Ali and his team left their traditional finance roles at companies like Goldman Sachs & VC firms to create a leading passive crypto index fund, Crescent Crypto. Subscribe to Creator Lab videos on YouTube here. Thank you to our sponsor who helps make this show possible, SquareFoot, where growing companies find their place, check out SquareFoot.com/creatorlab to find your next office space      
Watch the full episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/SGPMfHxFmgo Fabrice Grinda has been called the most prolific angel investor in the world, even being ranked #1 in Forbes based on investment volume + number of exits. He’s exited hundreds of millions of dollars from 500+ investments in companies like Alibaba, Viagogo, Tencent, Airbnb, Betterment, Uber, Fanduel & Palantir. Before setting up his “startup studio” & investment fund, he started and sold multiple companies including OLX, the leading “Craigslist” marketplace of countries like India, Brazil & Pakistan. But things weren’t always so rosy. Fabrice shares stories of living on $2/day, living in his office because he couldn’t afford an apartment & missing payroll 27 times! We also discuss the future of marketplaces, how he’d think of business ideas if starting today, the science of happiness, minimalism, and why we’re still at the very beginning of the tech revolution. Here are five things to listen out for: Reasons to be optimistic – why we’re the luckiest people in the world to be alive at this time and why we’re only at 1% of the tech revolution Minimalism – from living on a 20-acre estate in Bedford, New York, to “island shopping” and then selling all his possessions – Fabrice has lived both extremes and shares his perspective on a healthy balance The Science of Happiness – factors that make people happy and hacks to maximize your own “mean level of happiness” The Future of Marketplaces – 3 trends in marketplace businesses and a framework for thinking about business ideas How Venture Capital Works – the typical startup fundraising cycle, from initial investment to venture capital at series A, B, C etc. CONNECT ON SOCIAL: https://www.instagram.com/creatorlabfm https://www.instagram.com/bzaidi212 Full show notes: https://www.creatorlab.fm/fabrice-grinda-fj-labs-interview/ Thank you to our sponsors who help make this show possible: SquareFoot, where growing companies find their place, check out SquareFoot.com/creatorlab to find your next office space Instasleep Mint Melts, the drug-free sleep aid that melts in your mouth. Use the code “creator8” to get 20% off your order on Amazon.
Watch the full episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/Lc07mxx3CII Nathan Latka is making more than $100k/month from 30+ revenue streams. We go into all of the details documented in his book: “How To Be A Capitalist Without Any Capital” From his approach to building systems that scale beyond himself, growing his podcast to 10+mil downloads, investing in real estate, food trucks, buying software companies, building teams around the world and even landing a TV show – there’s so much packed into this conversation! We also go into why someone should be a capitalist in the first place, the pros, and cons of capitalism and the many creative ways he's finding success in many different areas.  Nathan is a true capitalist in every sense of the word & a savvy entrepreneur that likes to break the rules.  You can check out his WSJ bestselling book, “How To Be A Capitalist Without Any Capital”, on Amazon here Five things to listen out for: Capitalism vs Socialism – why you would want to be a capitalist in the first place and the pros & cons of a purely capitalist society. Making $100k/month – why he chooses to spread his risk by working on many things at once and examples of investments you can make to generate income Systems vs Goals – why you should focus on building, multiplying & stacking systems instead of setting goals “My Podcast Is A Massive Front” – how he’s developed a piece of code to automatically turn his daily podcast into a database that he sells to VCs for $20-30k/month His Book – what you can expect, including specific page numbers you can skip ahead to CONNECT ON SOCIAL: https://www.instagram.com/creatorlabfm https://www.instagram.com/bzaidi212 Full show notes: https://www.creatorlab.fm/nathan-latka-capitalist-book-interview/ Thank you to our sponsor, Instasleep Mint Melts, the drug-free sleep aid that melts in your mouth. You can check them out on Amazon here 
Watch the full episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/qpA2CEoDg-M Faraz Zaidi, is the founder & creative director of Profound Co, a multi-million dollar fashion brand that sits at the intersection of streetwear and high fashion. Profound has built a loyal following over 10yrs+, with celebrity fans like Rihanna, Kendrick Lamar and Justin Bieber wearing their clothes. They’ve been featured in Time, Fast Company & Forbes and have collaborated with leading musicians & major brands like Pepsi. In this in-depth conversation, Faraz shares the full backstory of their humble beginnings, scaling their business and how he would approach building a fashion brand from scratch if he was starting again today. Five things to listen out for: Genesis – how Faraz started with a couple of t-shirts & a printer Starting a Brand – how he would start a brand from scratch today Celebrities + Influencers – how a Profound intern landed a connection to Rihanna and their approach to working with influencers Retail – getting into physical stores like Selfridges & boutiques around the world. Struggles – examples of when things haven’t gone so well, mistakes made and how he mentally deals with the lows CONNECT ON SOCIAL: https://www.instagram.com/creatorlabfm https://www.instagram.com/bzaidi212 Full show notes: https://www.creatorlab.fm/profound-aesthetic-co-faraz-zaidi/
Subscribe and watch the full video interview on YouTube: https://youtu.be/GZAgTCFPxxk Tyler Riewer (head of creative at charity: water) shares 5 principles that can make you a better storyteller. We discuss the concept of the "hero's journey" and how the best brands, writers & politicians use this idea to tell effective stories. Five Things To Listen Out For: Role of storytelling – and its impact on every part of an organization The Hero’s Journey – how savvy brands, politicians, and writers use the concept of the hero’s journey to tell effective stories 5 Principles – that Tyler has picked up along the way as a professional storyteller that you can apply to your own life and work From Concept to Campaign – how they took an inspirational letter from a 6yr old and turned it into a successful brand campaign through the principles we discuss Stories from his travels – and the stories that make up the 663 million people that lack access to clean drinking water SOCIAL: https://www.instagram.com/creatorlabfm https://www.instagram.com/bzaidi212 TYLER: http://tylerriewer.com https://twitter.com/tylerriewer charity: water Watch The Spring: https://cwtr.org/2lJhZix Nora's story: https://www.charitywater.org/world-wa... Full show notes: https://www.creatorlab.fm/where-do-good-stories-come-from-tyler-riewer-charity-water/ Thank you to our sponsor, Instasleep Mint Melts, the drug-free sleep aid that melts in your mouth. You can check them out on Amazon or instasleep.us 
Watch the full video interview & subscribe on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgDgNfvm4qY Jane Lu has been named “Cosmopolitan’s Girl Boss of the Year”, “Forbes 30 under 30” and her company, Showpo, was crowned Australia’s “Online Retailer of the Year” in 2018. But rewind a few years and Jane was struggling for motivation in her accountancy career. We discuss what it took to take a risk to go all in on her business while having to hide it from her parents while living in their house! We dig into the details of how she took her first steps, grew the company with zero investment, built an audience on social with millions of followers, and how she would approach starting an e-commerce business from scratch today. Show Notes Here are five things to listen out for: Leaving her job + keeping it a secret from her parents – how Jane plucked up the courage to leave her job in the middle of the financial crisis Her first failed business – connecting the dots from her first failure, getting out of debt and launching Showpo Working ON her business vs IN her business – how a trip to Ultra Music Festival forced Jane to replace her work by hiring someone full time and the lessons from that experience Growing to $60mil with zero investment – we go into detail from when she was bringing in $5k/month, and the things she did to grow step-by-step, why she chose to never raise money, keep control and grow If she started again today – how she would start an e-commerce business today & actionable tactics around growing a social following, paid vs organic, youtube content strategy & more Thank you to our sponsor, Instasleep Mint Melts, the drug-free sleep aid that melts in your mouth. You can check them out on Amazon or instasleep.us 
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Comments (25)

ocularmagic

Love the show, keep up the awesome interviews Bilal.

Aug 8th
Reply

Bilal Zaidi

Samuel Anderson Thanks Sam appreciate it! New episode dropping very shortly

Aug 14th
Reply

Bilal Zaidi

ocularmagic Thanks very much! Some amazing guests coming up. New episode launching as we speak!

Aug 14th
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aviel eidels

great episode. congratulations Bilal.

Aug 5th
Reply

Bilal Zaidi

aviel eidels Thanks Aviel glad you enjoyed this one!

Aug 6th
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Simplelife

Do you livestream as well?

Jul 20th
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Simplelife

Bilal Zaidi lol me too Bilal..but il follow u to be notified..u can do the same

Jul 23rd
Reply

Bilal Zaidi

Simplelife Ah cool will be sure to join next time I see it. I go live ad hoc, usually after I release a new show

Jul 23rd
Reply

Cole Damian

thought I commented

Jul 16th
Reply

Cole Damian

Cole Damian lol

Jul 18th
Reply

Bilal Zaidi

Joanna Francis Hah I guess you did comment Cole!

Jul 18th
Reply

Bilal Zaidi

Watch the 4min grand finale trick here: https://youtu.be/XN93O4wIYW0

Jul 15th
Reply

Bilal Zaidi

"Why going viral isn't a strategy" - 3min snippet video clip from this interview: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6550031345777692672

Jun 29th
Reply

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
Reply

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
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Bilal Zaidi

Alex Strauss Also looks like you’re from Australia so you may enjoy the amazing chat I had with Jane Lu in ep. 20 - cheers mate

Apr 1st
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Alex Strauss

Bilal Zaidi Nice response Bilal, I was scrolling through the home screen of my podcast player and saw this comment. You handled it well, I'm gonna give your show a listen.

Mar 30th
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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

Bilal Zaidi

Emmanuel Galanos Thanks for the feedback Emmanuel - were you referring to the "five things to listen out for" in the first few episodes? When I first started the show I used to share some highlights but scrapped that after a few episodes in. Hope you'll have a chance to check out some of the latest ones, but thanks either way for giving it a listen in the first place :)

Mar 25th
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