The James Altucher Show

The James Altucher Show

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Ep. 237 - Scot Cohen: The Best Networker in the World. PERIOD.  

Scot Cohen is the best networker on the planet. I have never seen anything like it. And he used that skill to make tens of millions of dollars, not only for himself but for many others.   I wanted him to explain, in detail, how.   But first:   I’m sorry, Scot. I am really, truly sorry. I am horrified at my behavior. A year of bad behavior.   Imagine: you owe someone a phone call and you say to yourself, “Ok, I’ll call tomorrow”.   And then tomorrow you say, “Well, maybe tomorrow”.   And then you delayed so much you feel awkward about calling. Because you know you have to apologize and you hate confrontation.   Stupid, right?   Let’s make this even worse: the person you have to call back has been incredibly generous to you. In fact, he let you stay in his apartment for three months for free. You’ve worked together for 14 years and he’s one of the most successful investors in NYC. And then you did this for no reason.   I’m an idiot.   ---   The day I threw out all of my belongings  and gave up my apartment I was sitting in a restaurant with my one bag and I called Scot Cohen. I said, “I’m just sitting in this restaurant.”   “Where are you going to live?”   “I have no idea yet.” I coudl’ve just stayed in a hotel. But for various reasons I was feeling a bit down. I just wanted to sit in the restaurant. I had no idea where I would live.   “Come on over,” Scot said. “Stay here.” And so I did. For the next three months I stayed in one of Scot’s several apartments.   I invested in Scot’s hedge fund in 2003. We’ve worked together on and off for 14 years. He’s one of the most successful hedge fund managers I know.   He’s made tens of millions, invested in dozens of companies that went up 1000s of percent, and I am glad that, in my own small way, I was able to help him in several situations. .   When you build your network over years, over decades, and your network is made up of good people, they help you out. They let you move in their apartment. You work on deals together to make money. You meet each others girlfriends who become wives.   And then sometimes you let them down and you have to apologize.   So I did. On the podcast.   This is how stupid and awkward I am: I hadn’t seen Scot in a year. I had stupidly avoided his calls. And so I said, “come on to the podcast and that’s where I will apologize”.   And then, I said, step by step we will break down and figure out   1. HOW YOU BECAME THE BEST NETWORKER I HAVE EVER SEEN 2. HOW YOU USED THAT SKILL TO MAKE TENS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS   Scot came to NYC with nothing. But he had a skill that is worth tens of millions at the highest level. It's networking at a level I've never seen before or since.   -----   One time, a year earlier, I was sitting in his apartment. Scot rushed in, changed into a suit and rushed out.   It was Sunday night, 8 o’clock at night. He was rushing  from tennis with one hedge fund manager to the wedding of one of his investors.   That’s how he made himself so successful. He networks seven days a week.   I just sit around and fall asleep early.   I asked him on the podcast how he did it. How can I do it? How can anyone do it?   We broke down his story: 1. Self awareness “Do self-work,” he said. “Really try to dial in on who you are and where you want to go, because if you don’t have that right, you’re never going to be able to get off first base.   “This is fundamental. It takes a while. You’ve got to have patience to play this out, so give yourself the time. You’re not going to get a quick fix. Nothing’s going to happen in three months, or a year. It’s going to take years. So get that fundamental work done on yourself first, and then you can start growing.”   2. Keep a diary Scot told me to write down where you want to go.   “If you don’t write stuff down, how are you going to go anywhere? You’re not going to remember where you came from.”   “I think it’s really important to be able to quantify what you’re doing during the day,” he said. “You’ve got to keep account of how you’re spending your time. That’s the most important thing.” 3. Meet people I asked Scot, “What else can they do? Should they start holding dinners? Should they start figuring out who’s good, and doubling down on those relationships? Should they start coming up with ideas to connect people? What should they do?”   His advice was simpler than that… just plant seeds.   “Surround yourself with great people. I don’t care if it’s a plumber. I don’t care if he’s a construction worker. I don’t care if it’s a teacher, a police officer, a guy in the gym, somebody that you met at the grocery store. It doesn’t matter, but just make sure they’re kind. Make sure they’re aligned with where you want to go...”  

Ep. 235 - Tim Kennedy: "Win Hearts and Minds" - A US Special Op's Reason for Serving  

We had nothing in common.   “We’re 30 seconds into the interview and we’re already disagreeing,” he said.   I tried to explain... It’s a creative challenge to figure out how to relate… He’s a US Army Special Forces sniper. He’s been to Iraq and Afghanistan. He’s an MMA fighter. And has multiple black belts. I have a total of zero black belts. I’ve never been to war. I’m not trained to kill. I’m not really trained at all.   So we have different instincts.   “I remember every moment of every gunfight I’ve ever been in,” he said. “And there are things that wake me up at night.”   “Like what?”   “In the movies, saving your friends and killing a bad guy is a high-five moment, right? No. You just took a human life. That is something that echoes with you through eternity.”   He told me about the decisions he had to make every day. And how his dad’s words rang in the back of his head, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”   There were four people in Tim’s unit. Each had a different job: communications, medicine, explosives, tactics. Tim was tactics. “Weapons tactic expert,” that was his job title.   He constantly had to assess whether or not to fire. Because the situation was never clear. Innocent people could be in the same room as the man with the machine gun.   “He was shooting at my teammates. He had a machine gun in the window.” And Tim didn’t know what (or who else) was on the other side...   Then he asked me, “Do you throw the grenade?”   I didn’t know. My instinct is to run.   “Run? The bullets are 175 grain and travel at 2,800 feet per second. Do you run 2,800 feet per second?”   He threw the grenade.   “Did you ever find out what was behind that window?”   “Yeah... the moment the grenade goes off and all you hear are women and children screaming and crying. I stayed up for a week with the women and kids that were in that room. We fight until the fight is over. But then we revisit and give them the best medical care that we can in the field and transport them to the best hospitals that we have access to. That’s the most beautiful thing about US Army Special Forces, ‘The Green Berets.’ We want to do everything by, with and through the indigenous people.”   “Every one of the guys I’ve ever had the opportunity of serving with are capable of tremendous violence... but also such remarkable compassion.”   He told why he serves... It’s not to kill. It’s not to defeat or conquer. There’s one real mission: “to win over hearts and minds…”   And then I realized we have more in common than I thought.  

Ep. 228 - Matt Barrie: CEO of on How to Make Extra Income NOW  

I almost changed forever the entire way people define relationships. The word "commitment" would have a new meaning. More babies would be born. I'm thinking BIG. Sometimes you want to try an idea and you don't let yourself think about money. If an idea is good, money is a side effect. Ideas are the real currency. I met a brand new couple for breakfast. J and K. They told me they just had the "going steady" conversation. "How'd you guys meet?" "J-Swipe". Or something like that. I forget. It was an online dating app. "What does 'going steady' mean when you are both in your 40s?" I asked. J was in his 40s. K wasn't. I wondered if 'going steady' meant that he gave her a ring or something. There's only so many more 'going steady's you have left in you at that age. They both pulled out their phones. They were looking at each other's phone and then showing me. "We deleted all of the dating apps on our phone," she said. But they were both peering at each other's firm. They needed confirmation. Hmmmm! Idea: The "Going Steady" App Both sides of the couple sign in to the app. Then they select the other person. Then when both sides select each other, the app deletes all the dating apps on their phone. If they ever download a dating app again, the other side gets notified by email. Or if they "de-select" each other from "Going Steady" then both sides get notified by email. Simple! Extras: - Notify FB and Twitter that they are "Going Steady" - Keep track of anniversaries, gifts, places they go, significant memories, etc. - Notify friends of anniversaries, etc. BOOM! The next day I wrote up the "spec", which was actually just similar to what I wrote above. I logged into I opened a new project and cut and pasted my Spec in there. It was weird to read prior chats I had had on the site. Since the last time I had uploaded a project in there was in 2006. A customer service representative popped up a window and asked if I need help. I said, "Sure, why not?" Meanwhile, within ten minutes I had about ten people bid to do my project. I included in the Spec that they had to not only complete the app in 30 days but upload to the Apple store, the Google Play store, and do basic marketing for me. People were bidding from China, India, and Kenya. The average bid was $1000. I chatted with each one of them to make sure they understood what I was asking. My basic test was this question: can an app on Android and Apple detect and delete other apps on Android and Apple? The customer service representative recommended a developer as well. This developer cost more than $1000. More like $3500. That's ok. I just wanted a good job done. A small price to pay to change the future of evolution. I asked this developer the same question. Some of the developers would not upload to the stores or do any marketing. I crossed them off. Others didn't seem to understand my question about detecting other apps on the phone. I crossed them out. I didn't want any communication problems with people from the opposite side of the world. Finally, the recommended developer said, "I know you can do this on Android but not sure on Apple. Let me research." Five minutes later he came back. "It's impossible to do this on Apple." We tried to figure out a work-around. Like if the device owner gave permissions, etc. But there was no work-around. "Ok," I said, "thanks for your help." End of idea. End of project. Total time it cost me: 45 minutes, from writing the spec, logging into the site, creating the project, talking to the developers. Total money: I paid $29 to have a customer service representative help me. Success? Failure? Neither. It was an idea. I did the execution basics to see if I should pursue further. It didn't. But I learned a lot. What it would cost to make an app, I learned a bit more about the Apple store, and I went through the process of trying to find a developer. Do one "execution step" each day and it compounds into success. I wrote J. "Remember that idea we spoke about? Here's what I did." And I described. He wrote back. "That's the difference between you and me. We had an idea I was a lazy sack of s**t and you went ahead and tried do it." Meanwhile, he's produced some of the best TV shows of all time. But I almost changed the worldwide definition of "Going steady". I almost increased the world population. Some people say, "Almost doesn't count". But I say, " 'Almost' is is better than nothing. And 'Almost' every day eventually turns into Everything."

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