The James Altucher Show

The James Altucher Show

United States

James Altucher is a successful entrepreneur, investor, board member, and the writer of 11 books including the recent WSJ Bestseller, "Choose Yourself!" (foreword by Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter). He has started and sold several companies for eight figure exits. He's on the board of a billion revenue company, has written for The Financial Times, The New York Observer, and over a dozen popular websites for the past 15 years. He's run several hedge funds, venture capital funds, and is a successful angel investor in technology, energy, and biotech. He has also lost all his money, made it back, lost it, made it back several times and openly discusses how he did it in his columns and books.

Episodes

Ep. 43 - Peter Thiel: What the Future Looks Like  

If you listen to only one podcast this year than this has to be the one.  James and Peter talk about Peter’s brand new book Zero To One, which James says is the best business book, he’s read in a long long time… But they cover so much more.   Where is the next technological innovation? How to utilizing the 10x rule What characteristics of PayPal led to the PayPal mafia? Why working with your friends OK What did peter see in Mark Zuckerburg? What it was like turning down a billion dollars The Chinese refrigerator rule Will Über be a success? Where would Peter put his retirement money?   “I think that when people come out of super successful companies like a Google or a Microsoft, they’ve often experienced business as too easy, and then they’re set up to fail, whereas if you come out of a company that’s completely blown up and failed, you often learn to set your sights lower and your expectations lower, and so I think failure is also somewhat overrated in our society because, you know, it actually does damage people.  So I think PayPal was this intermediate case where people learned that it was hard but possible to build a great business. A lot of great friendships were forged and these were the bases for starting these new companies.”

Ep. 251 - Geno Bisconte: Let Yourself Laugh!  

Geno Bisconte is the most hilarious, high energy person I’ve ever met. He finds humor in almost every single sentence and he’s always in a good mood. He’s been a stand up comedian for more than fifteen years, headlining and hosting some of the most popular comedy clubs in New York City. He’s written for the Comedy Central Roasts, featured on multiple radio shows and was a cameo in HBO’s series Crashing. Every week he hosts his own podcast, In Hot Water with Aaron Berg on compoundmedia.com and his newest album, Uncle Geno Is Amazing is available to buy now on iTunes.

Ep. 250 - Alex Blumberg: The Shape of a Story: Building a Podcasting Empire  

Alex Blumberg is the founder and CEO of Gimlet Media. Before this, he was an incredibly successful radio journalist. He won multiple awards in the industry. Alex hosted and produced popular NPR shows, "Planet Money" and "This American Life". When he saw the new industry of podcasting booming, he risked it all and reinvented himself. He started his own company. Today Gimlet Media oversees and produces multiple podcasts at one time. Visit gimletmedia.com to discover a variety of new podcasts you can start listening to today!

Ep. 249 - Chris Anderson: TED - Tricks to Mastering Public Speaking and Storytelling  

After a long journalism career, Chris Anderson became the curator of the TED Conference in 2002. Since then he has expanded the conference to cover all topics including science, business and global issues. He introduced the TEDx initiative, giving licenses free of charge to local organizers who want to put together their own live event. In 2016, Chris published his book, “TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking”. It’s an insider’s guide to creating an unforgettable talk. Listen to thousands of free TED Talks on ted.com and follow Chris on twitter @TEDchris.

Ep. 248 - Noah Kagan: Stop Fighting What You Are Good At  

Noah Kagan was fired from Facebook. He was employee #30. “I think they made the right decision to fire me," he said. "One of the big realizations I’ve had in the past few years is that people need to stop fighting their natural skill. My sweet spot is getting things going. My sweet spot is promoting products I love. That was the lesson learned. What I was strong at was not what Facebook needed anymore.” He wrote about it in his free ebook “How I Lost 170 Million Dollars: My Time as #30 at Facebook”. I asked him "how does the average person know what their strong at?" That's what we talk about in this interview. Today, Noah is the CEO of sumo.com, appsumo.com and kingsumo.com. I use these sites to grow and market my business. He also hosts a great podcast, “Noah Kagan Presents” and writes for his blog, okdork.com. 3 min - Noah first came on my podcast 2 years ago. He gave me a challenge: go to a coffee shop and ask for 10% off. The cashier was confused. “You want what?” “10% off,” I said. And I didn't give a reason either. My face was emotionless. She asked her Dad. “We don't do that,” he said. I could feel myself about to throw up. I was going against the normal social protocol. And endangering my life. Any time you step out of your comfort zone and risk being thrown out of the tribe, it signals a reaction in your brain: fear. But now it's much easier. I do challengers almost everyday. Noah does too. And he shared them on his podcast “Noah Kagan Presents.” We talk about more challenges you can do in this interview. 6 min - “I've been experimenting with habits and figuring out how to focus on the essentials,” Noah said. “That's where I'm really starting to explore.” He gave me an example. “Look at your phone right now. What apps have you not used in the last 6 months? Delete them.” He does this with relationships, business, everything. “It helps me realize what really matters,” he said. And appreciate more of the people and places and things he interacts with. I did a similar thing about a year ago, but in a much more macro level. I got rid of everything I owned. Except 15 items. Noah asked me what I miss. “Nothing,” I said. I lied (by accident). A few special things came to mind. But, more importantly, it’s been a year and I haven't replaced it rebought anything I threw away.   9 min - After I got rid of 40 years worth of stuff, I had nowhere to live, so I started another experiment. I threw myself at the mercy of my friends… 10 min - Noah says he doesn't want to hate his week so he did a week of nothing. “I had no meetings, I had no one to be around and I was alone for a week.” He started at point zero. And added back the essentials. “What things really matter in my life? What places? What people?” 11 min - I told Noah what I learned from getting rid of all my belongings… 13 min - “People think of dieting only in health, but can you have a diet in friendships? Look at all the things that are weighing on you,” Noah said, “and start having a diet.” 16 min - Noah was the 30th employee at Facebook. “Why were you fired?” I asked. He told me about the guy who fired him. “He's rich,” he said. “But I think they made the right decision to fire me. One of the big realizations I’ve had in the past few years is people need to stop fighting their natural skill. I call it their sweet spot and my sweet spot is starting out.” Facebook didn't need that skill anymore. So they got rid of him. I wanted to know how the average person finds out what their sweet spot is... 19 min - Noah recommends trying these two strategies to find what you’re really good at. 24 min - I tell Noah one of my signature jokes from my stand up comedy… 27 min - Noah told me about his mentor, Jonathan Coon. He founded 1-800-Contacts and funded the movie Napoleon Dynamite. He has a strategy to “reduce friction in his life.” He goes to the same restaurants and overtips the waiters. They know to seat him at the same table and give him the same meal every time. 29 min - We talk about tipping. Noah said that if he’s ever feeling down, he just tips someone well. It makes him feel good. I take it one step further… 30 min - Noah’s mentor got an Uber. “I want your house,” the Uber driver said. “I’ll tell you exactly how you can get a house like this,” Jonathan said. He was even willing to give the driver the money to start a business that day. Here’s what happened… 35 min - We talked about podcasting. When Noah first started his show, “Noah Kagan Presents” he was recording on his iPhone. Then he asked for feedback and found out his audio quality sucked. “I think anyone can do a podcast,” he said. “But number one: can they do it for 4 years? Probably not. Number two: can they get feedback? Candid, honest feedback from the right people. You can get the wrong feedback from the wrong people, which is not helpful. And then three: can you actually improve it?” He said the key is to always ask for feedback. 37 min - Why EVERYONE should start a podcast. 42 min - Noah put himself out there. “Everyone should get their prostate checked,” he said. “Are you okay?” I asked. He’s fine. We kept talking about health. And how you can A/B test to see what’s really working for you. 47 min - Noah said he tried the 5am challenge. Now he gets up at 6 or 7am. But the challenge is what got him to move the day up earlier. Don’t set goals. Set challenges. 50 min - Noah told me about his no apologies, “choose yourself” challenge. He said, “Don't apologize for who you are.” 52 min - How to say, “no.” 53 min - I started wondering how people can get back on track, because again, a lot of people veer away from what they really want in life. And they recognize this. They veered away early. But want to be happy again. It’s hard because they feel this obligation as part of their day. I know it. I used to feel it too. Sometimes, I still do. But it’s rare. And I think the key to choosing yourself is closing the gap between what you want to do and have to do. Little by little. Day by day. So I asked Noah, “How do you get back on track?”   58 min - We discuss “the elements of a good day.” 1 hour - Noah talks about how he built his business. "If someone told me how long it took to get successful, I may not have ever started,” he said. But that’s why it’s good to be ignorant sometimes. And to just focus on what’s in front of you. "I like to work on problems I have in my life and create things I want to see exist in the world,” Noah said. We unpack this and how it relates to other areas of our lives. 1 hour 2 min - Noah’s tried to learn a bunch of new skills: chess, Hebrew, podcasting. He hired a coach or found a mentor for each one. So I asked him what he’s learned about learning... 1 hour 5 min - We talked about “beginner’s mind.” The feeling you get when something’s new. Or when you’re starting over. Noah moved to Israel after we did this podcast. “Changing relationships or jobs or locations, generally improves life,” Noah said. “For me, what I’ve noticed is that when I live in foreign countries or different cities and do work there, my curiosity is elevated.” 1 hour 7 min - We talk about uncertainty. Noah said that if you’re uncertain about what you should be working on, look to your past. And remember what made you happy. 1 hour 8 min - Noah and I discuss the benefits to hiring a coach or teacher when you’re learning something new. 1 hour 11 min - I explain how I personally use Noah’s business, KingSumo, and how it’s helped my businesses grow exponentially. 1 hour 15 min - Before I ended the podcast I needed new challenges from Noah. He gave me three he’s working on right now and he explains how I can incorporate each into my life.

Ep. 247 - Ramit Sethi: Challenge: Start Living Your Ideas NOW  

Ramit Sethi is a bestselling author, personal finance advisor, entrepreneur and author of "New York Times" bestselling book, "I Will Teach You to be Rich". He’s taught thousands to manage their personal finances and how to become rich on his website, iwillteachyoutoberich.com. He’s been featured in ABC News, CNN and the WSJ.

Ep. 246 - Ramit Sethi: You Have Something People Would Pay For Right Now...  

Ramit Sethi is a bestselling author, personal finance advisor, entrepreneur and author of "New York Times" bestselling book, "I Will Teach You to be Rich". He’s taught thousands to manage their personal finances and how to become rich on his website, iwillteachyoutoberich.com. He’s been featured in ABC News, CNN and the WSJ.

Ep. 245 - Mark Manson: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F---  

Mark Manson is a writer, blogger and author of the "New York Times" bestseller, "The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F-ck". Visit his blog, markmanson.net, to read some of his best articles on self improvement, dating and relationships, culture and life choices.   2 mins - I tell Mark why I didn't initially want him in the show... and why I changed my mind 4 mins - Mark and I first met at a friend’s poker game. then I ran into him a few weeks later. But I didn't remember meeting. “Hi I'm James,” I said. Then I remembered. And I realized he was the guy from the poker game… the guy who's name I kept trying to figure out all night. “I just thought you were a chill guy,” Mark said. We laughed. That's how I'd like to start all new moments in life. With a laugh. 8 min - Mark says where he got the inspiration to write his bestselling book, "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck" 10 min - We talk about what “giving a fuck” actually means. And how to decide what's worthwhile. “I joke around with a lot of people,” Mark said. “I say I wanted to write a book about values...but I knew if I wrote a book about values no one would read it. So I put the F word everywhere. Because essentially what giving a fuck is is you are deciding what you care about. You are deciding what you value in your life.” 12 min - So then I ask Mark how you get started? 14 min - We talk about people pleasing. And self absorption. “It’s very common in the self help world to say, ‘Be true to yourself and follow your feelings.’ That’s nice and everything, but if I went out to 6th Avenue and started peeing on the corner just because I feel like it…” I interrupted. “Is that your true passion? Peeing in 6th Ave. That’s your truth?” “Yes this is my truth at the moment…” Then he got serious. “We live in a society. We’re inner-dependent on each other in many ways. So there’s tension between what you yourself want and what’s also good for the community around you. And that’s hard. I think a lot of people suffer because that balance has gotten out of whack too far one way or the other. Either their constantly people-pleasing or they’re constantly selfish and self-absorbed.” 15 min - I feel everyone starts out people pleasing. And adulthood is when you cross into being more independent. Not necessary self absorbed, but the part of your brain that works to increase your livelihood and sense of survival kicks in. And the struggle is to let go of the “people pleasing” aspect. The part of you that needs approval. I still struggle with this. “Choosing yourself” is choosing to give yourself the stamp of approval. I try this everyday. 17 min - Mark sold drugs when he was 13. Someone told the principal and he got kicked out of school. Six months later his parents got a divorce. 22  min - So I asked, “What do you think your parents could have or should have done differently in this situation?” 28 min - There's a trick to having a good relationship, he told me… it's sort of an equation. Or a scale. 31 min - He fell into a “bottomless pit” of approval. He chased every woman on campus. And learned the rules of attraction. He told me about the really sleazy pick up lines he'd use. “Does that stuff work?”I asked. “It attracts  really insecure women,” he said. And that led to his dating theory: you end up attracting what you put out. 33 min - He took what he learned about dating to build a coaching business. 35 min - We talk about Tucker Max’s books and how they’re often taken the wrong way. 41 min - Mark started traveling and living off his online business. He got serious about his writing. 43 min - Mark explains the attachment theory 45 min - He read “The Four Hour Workweek,” by Tim Ferriss. And based his nomadic life around it.  But traveling forced Mark into avoiding intimacy. He kept leaving friends behind. And later learned what he really wanted... 47 min - I asked Mark, “When did you start giving a fuck?” 48 min - He told me how he got back to his roots to see what made him happiest 50 min - Mark explains how new and exciting experiences start to fade as you get older... 53 min - And he told me why putting down roots and building a community was his newly discovered biggest value. 55 min - Then I wanted to learn the art of. It giving a fuck. There are a lot of subtleties. So I asked, “What steps do I need to take today to stop insecurities and not care as much?” 58 min - People always ask me how to find customers or readers or a marker. The first rule is this: if you make something that’s valuable, people will show up. 1 hour 2 minutes - We talk about constantly finding different metrics to measure your success by. 1 hour 3 minutes - We talk about a chapter in Chuck Klosterman’s book, But What If We're Wrong?: Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past, on what survives and how it correlates with a chapter in Mark’s book.   1 hour 6 minutes - What is the subtle art, how do you do it? 1 hour 9 minutes - There are a few fundamental principles to stop giving time and energy into things that really don't matter to you. We break them down. 1 hour 12 minutes - Mark talks about starting to write his next book about relationships and how he’s already been comparing it to his first book… that's the death to all creativity. You need a free, unstressed mind to be creative everyday. Comparison is creativity’s heart attack. 1 hour 15 minutes - Every time you switch tribes, you switch the metrics of comparison. Pay attention to your tribes values. And disown any that don't matter to your heart. 1 hour 18 minutes - Your brain is always going to find a problem or a comparison, the trick it to figure out the game and trust it a little less.

Ep. 244 - Wally Green: He Was in a Gang at 13. Now He's Uniting The World Through Ping Pong  

DO SOMETHING YOU LOVE, TO BUILD A LIFE WORTH LOVING "I was shot twice by the time I was 13," Wally told me. "I owned six guns. Everyone I grew up with then is dead," he said. He then walked back to his side of the ping pong table. He took out his iPhone. Using his iPhone as the racket, he served the ball. He beat me 11-0. "Ok," he said, "everything you are doing is wrong." ------ The way I held the racket was wrong.  The way I stood with my legs was wrong.  The way I hit the ball and then the way I followed through after the hit was all wrong.  The angle of my wrist was wrong as I waited for the ball to come to my side was wrong.  The way I held the racket at a slight angle to the table was wrong.  My backhand was all wrong.  The way I had grown up and lived my life was mostly wrong. He kept streaming shots at me non-stop. "No, no, no," he said. "No! Go up!...No!...Close the racket...No!...Use the other foot to shift weight...No! No!" So we stopped. He came over to my side of the table. He was looking down. I was afraid he was thinking, "why am I doing this?" He stood behind me and grabbed my arm and moved it up as if I were hitting the ball. "See!," he said. "Like this. Like this." I wanted to be friends. ---- I've been playing ping pong for 40 years. I had a table as a kid. My dad and I would play every night. We would play for hours. And during the day, my friend Jonathan and I would play matches up to 100 every day. I thought I was good. Now, after taking lessons for several months, I realized that 100% of what I had been doing for 40 years was wrong. Everything. I was good enough to beat people who grew up with a ping pong table. But I was really bad. "When I went to North Korea," Wally told me and then he started laughing, "those players were scary good." ---- Wally started playing ping pong. Someone saw his skill, and, as these things go, sent him away. In order to come back you have to go away. He went to Germany to study ping pong with pros. Pretty soon he was the best. "I've played every sport," he told me. "Wrestling, basketball, boxing, tennis, paddle tennis. Ping pong is the hardest. "You have to think of everything. For instance, there's 1000s of ways to serve. And there's so many things to think about when you return the ball. You have to think several moves ahead." Wally has seen me play chess. "It's EXACTLY like chess. But also physical." We were having a three hour lesson that day. It ended with me doing a backhand-backhand-forehand-forehand, then forehand at the other end of the table - then random. Then start over. He shot 100 balls at me one after the other. "Again! Again! Good! No! No! No! Close the racket! You're crossing over when you follow through. Just go up!" Ugh. I had too many bad habits. I kept doing them. How do I stop the bad habits? 40 years of bad habits are hard to get rid of. It's like being afraid to say "no" after 40 years of telling everyone "yes". We took a break. "Why did you go to North Korea?" "I like to do things that are BIG. Every year I want to make sure I do something really big. Really special. "I saw the North Koreans were listing a tournament so I applied and I got in! I was the only non-Asian there. "Once I got there they took my phone. I had no way of getting in touch with the outside world for ten days. Couldn't call my wife. If something happened there was no proof I was even there. "So I just played ping pong. And they were GOOD!" ---- "Not only were the better than me," he said, "but the entire crowd was cheering for them and booing constantly at me. "So I decided, forget this. Let's have fun with this. Let's make crazy shots. Let's jump up and down after every point. Let's get the crowd laughing and jumping with me. I focused on the crowd. "At first they were surprised. And then they started laughing with me. They were cheering me. I was losing but it didn't matter. We were all having fun. "Even the other North Korean players, they didn't know what to do. They were afraid to talk to me but by the end they were hugging me. "That was my big thing that year." "What about this year?" I asked ---- Wally made a movie. "The Tables" about the ping pong tables at Bryant Park. "No matter what is going on in your life," Wally told me, "You could be homeless, an office worker, a ping pong champ, it doesn't matter...everyone has a home at the tables in Bryant Park. It's home there." I watched the documentary. It's good. "It's winning awards everywhere," Wally said, "I have to go to LA this weekend because it's winning at a festival there." One year Wally and some friends threw a weekly party, "Naked Ping Pong". They invited everyone they knew to a friend's apartment in Tribeca that was big enough to fit a ping pong table and the few people they thought would show up. It got mobbed. So they pitched the idea of a ping pong club to Susan Sarandon and other investors. And the club, "Spin" was born. That's where Wally has been giving me the lessons. Now Spin has locations all over the country. After one three hour lesson I was exhausted. I didn't think ping pong could be so tiring. We went upstairs. "I'm going to Israel next week because one of my students is in a big tournament there." --- It's a cliche to say, "Life is short". It's a cliche to say, "You only have one life." But if you take one chance a year, something unexpected, something you love, you build a life worth loving. So many times I've spent years just struggling for money, thinking it will buy happiness. What a waste! We scheduled our next lesson. Then Wally showed me his unicycle Segway. I think it's called a Ninebot. "I have to head off to the tables," he told me. "I always like to play there every day." He stood on the Ninebot and he started weaving in and out of the crowd as he cruised down the sidewalk on his robotic unicycle. Then he was gone. I was exhausted, I went down into the subway to practice doing standup comedy again with an unfriendly crowd. I want to do my special thing each year. I want my life to compound into wonder. I went into the subway. I opened my mouth and started...

Ep. 243 - Shawn Stevenson: The ONLY Health Podcast You'll Ever Need to Hear  

Shawn Stevenson, host of The Model Health podcast said, "In the lab, they found anti-depressants in the New York City water system." Anti-depressants! Ok, no problem. I'll drink tap water. Save on therapy costs. In NYC everyone has to go to therapy. It's a requirement. "This week my therapist said..." "There's also these other chemicals in water.." and he was about to list them for me. "No no no," I said. "Shhhh!" I put my hands on my ears. "I'm good. Don't need to know more." Shawn is obsessed with health. Every week he interviews the best people in the world on health. He's interviewed hundreds. And now I get to ask him for this BEST advice. Don't abuse what he tells you, James! Shawn was 200lbs overweight. He could barely get from room to room before collapsing with exhaustion and pain. He was diagnosed with an incurable spinal condition called degenerative disc disease. His spine was deteriorating to nothing. The way an old person leans over and over until they collapse dead. "You have the spine of an 80 year old," the doctor told him. "The doctors told me to wear a back brace. I kept getting worse. The doctors kept telling me nothing could be done. I was losing hope. Losing the will to live." So he chose himself. He CHOSE his health. He studied every aspect of health. He created the #1 podcast on health, The Model Health Show. He read everything he could. He changed his diet. His doctors told him don't bother. He exercised. His doctors said it won't help. "You're going to die of this." --- When he came on my podcast, he looked like a man in perfect health. He was muscular, glowed with health, had energy. He was something maybe I will never say. "I'm feeling great every day," he told me. And then he started dropping the most amazing health tips on me. I felt overwhelmed. Do I have the discipline to do all of this? I've had many health experts on my podcast. If you don't have physical health, it's 1000 times harder to be a success. The body feeds the mind and the heart. The body reduces stress. The body contains the basics for everything you want to do in life. You are alive in your whole body. Not just your brain. Not just in your bank account. The entire body has to be nourished and loved. For some strange reason he asked me to be on his show as well. I was really grateful he wanted to talk to me about how my own lifestyle improved my health. But more importantly, he came on my show and I was able to drill HIM with questions. Not that all doctors are bad. But I couldn't believe some of the things Shawn had to tell me. I list some of them on this infographic. I already thought I knew things about sleep, water, movement, exercise. I thought I already knew things about how health worked. About how health led to success. But he broke it down one step further. I needed that. I now live by it (we actually recorded this podcast about two months ago) and the results have given me enough energy to create new opportunities in my life that I would not have been able to do before. I have a formula now: 1% more health equals 100 more possible opportunities. Shawn! I'm grateful you broke your stupid hip when you were 20 and got Spinal Degenerative Whatever and gained 5000 pounds. I'm grateful the doctors told you you were going to rot and die. I'm so happy you collapsed, half dead, under the weight of your own bloated body. I'm really happy you almost died. Just don't do it again.

Ep. 242 - Shane Snow: The Smart Way to Succeed  

Shane Snow is a well known journalist, entrepreneur, co-founder of the content technology company, Contently, and bestselling author of "Smartcuts: The Breakthrough of Lateral Thinking". You can find his writing in "Wired", "The New Yorker", and "Fast Company" and a dozen more top publications.

Ep. 241 - Jason Calacanis: How to Invest: The Guidebook from an Angel Investor Who Turned $100K into $100 Million  

Jason Calacanis is an angel investor, serial entrepreneur, writer and blogger. He is the founder and CEO of inside.com. Listen to Jason’s podcast, "This Week In Startups", interesting stories from the world of entrepreneurship.

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.  

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