Classpass Founder: Quitting My 9-5 Led To A $1 Billion Business: Payal Kadakia | E141 | Transcription
Transcription for the video titled "Classpass Founder: Quitting My 9-5 Led To A $1 Billion Business: Payal Kadakia | E141".
Note: This transcription is split and grouped by topics and subtopics. You can navigate through the Table of Contents on the left. It's interactive. All paragraphs are timed to the original video. Click on the time (e.g., 01:53) to jump to the specific portion of the video.
Could you do me a quick favor if you're listening to this? Please hit the follow or subscribe button. It helps more than you know, and we invite subscribers in every month to watch the show in person. - I think society goes, success is get this job, get married, get a house. What does that do to you? It just really makes your life feel small. - The founder of ClassBars monthly fitness program. - A billion dollar founder. - Wild, good day. - When I would watch my parents not really fit in, it sort of made me realize maybe I don't fit in and then be told I smelled or I didn't belong somewhere. Everyone wanted to box me into something and I just refused to be boxed. We spent half a million dollars building a product that didn't work. Was I exhausted? Yes, was I lonely? Yeah, I missed family things, I missed weddings. I was just not around. I have learned at this point, like time means more to me than money. I wanna make sure my priorities are more reflective of the human I wanna be in my life. If you go towards purpose, I guarantee your life will be more fulfilling. - Do you believe that everybody has a purpose beyond the nine to five? - I do. - How do you find it? - So first of all, - So without further ado, I'm Steven Bartlett and this is the Dyer over CEO USA edition. I hope nobody's listening, but if you are, then please keep this to yourself. - I am.
Journey To Entrepreneurship And Overcoming Challenges
What made you different? (01:26)
When I read someone's story, one of the first questions I try and answer when I'm reading through that, especially the early years, is I'm trying to identify what it is that made them either an anomaly or hungry. I have a kind of a thesis that much of people's drive and their ambition, especially the people that I sit here with comes from kind of some kind of pain or trauma or early experience that molded them. So my question to you is what made you hungry? - You know, when I was younger, I got to taste something that was so magical, which was dance. And it was this place in my life that it wasn't about the physicality of actually dancing. It was the ability to make other people feel through something that I did. And to be able to realize that as a human being, you can have that type of influence, power, connection to other people and to feel that when you are four or five years old was just this magical experience for me that honestly nothing else in my life could compare to it. And once I uncovered that, I always wanted to feel that in anything I did. And I strived in all the work I did and all of the different careers I've had in my life and the different art I've done, I've strived always to go back to that intention of how do I give to others and make them feel something in their life. And that's really been this anchor for me and its purpose at the end of the day. - And that started at five years old. - Yeah, when I was really young. - With a dance at a wedding? - Yeah, it was just a random dance performance that for some reason I started dancing and everyone started watching me. And it wasn't anything that was a structured performance by any means, it was very much just this organic thing that came out of me. And I really just loved it. And I realized actually in a deeper way that the other part of the hunger came from when I danced and felt that feeling, I felt like the most authentic version of me. And I realized that I was in so many settings where I didn't always feel like I could be me. And whether that was being an Indian girl in the middle of a town where no one looked like me, or sometimes being with my Indian community, but being in a town where I was a cheerleader and I didn't fit in there, I realized that so many parts of me never felt whole. And I was always showing up with one little strand of me, one little strand of me there here. And I felt when I performed and danced, especially Indian dance, I felt like the most whole version of who I was. - The resistance you felt and the struggle you felt of trying to, I guess, conform to two different communities at the same time. So tell me about trying to be an American in a town where there's 300 people at your school and you're the only people of Indian heritage. How is that? - I think one of the most interesting parts of it is so much of this comes from the parents, not really from the kids. And when I would watch my parents not really fit in, it sort of made me realize maybe I don't fit in. It was sort of this interesting way to look at my parents and know that they felt uncomfortable and then look at myself and be in different settings and realize, wait, I don't look like everyone else. And then be told, I smelled or my food smelled or I didn't belong somewhere because my hair color was different, was just a very interesting place to be. - Kids said that too? - Yeah, I mean, I talk about it in my book, but there were some really harsh moments, you know? And when you're young, you're impressionable, right? Things can scar you for a very long time. And I think for me, the goodness was that I did have this place of dance that made me feel grounded and made me feel whole because if I didn't have that, I think the trauma that I was probably going through by not fitting in would have just burned a hole so deep in me that I'm not sure how I would have been able to recover, but I had this light, right? And I think that's going back to what you were asking. It was the light that I saw, that there is something beautiful out there for me to go and do for the world if I can just hang on to it and fight for it. And it was a fight for me to even hang on to whatever my identity was, right? I mean, we talk about our identities in all these labels, which I really don't love, like whether it's Indian American, CEO, whatever all these labels are. It was really just, I think my whole journey in my life was a fight to be myself in any setting and not have people tell me what to do, right? I think we all struggle with that in our whole lives and probably why I had to be a CEO because I don't like anyone telling me what to do, but it really stemmed because I think throughout my life, everyone wanted to box me into something and I just refused to be boxed. - Did your parents want to box you into something? - Of course, I mean, my parents, you know, they sacrificed everything to come to America. They obviously wanted my sister and I to have successful careers, which, you know, amounted to a few different industries, like be a doctor, a lawyer, engineer, or, you know, and then the other part of it was get married, you know, obviously at like a normal age where you could cook for your family and be a good wife, right? These were sort of the, these were the expectations that were set in my life. And I think that's really the hardest part is when you are constantly brought in your life and saying that you need to live by the expectations of others, you end up either rebelling or you conform. And I always wanted to make my parents proud. So I knew I did what I felt was at the core part of the value. So for example, if it was getting education, I thought that was important too. I wasn't going to sit there and rebel from getting education, but there came a point in my career trajectory where I had to say, okay, like, I have checked every box in this, now I have to do it my way with the way I really want to feel and not conform and rebel. And I think that's really the whole formula of people knowing when to rebel and when to conform. - You referenced that you were looking for a different feeling after checking those boxes. What was the feeling you had when you were doing that job? - I had trained myself my entire life to do well when people told me to hit this mark in my life, right? And that's like in a way that's like how I developed the skills of my life to always propel myself and execute and make sure that I was able to be responsible and move forward and everything I did. But I felt no deep fire or passion or love towards it, right? I wasn't jumping out of my bed to go to my office to go and work for my clients, right? I was doing what I had to because I knew it was, it was again, expected of me. - When you hear, you've been with my friends that are living a life that is expected of them. And you can start to see as the years go on, the consequence of living a life that is expected of you. - Absolutely. - What would you say to those people? And what lessons have you learned about living a life expected of you? - I mean, that's not the way to have a fulfilled life. You can have a life and you can probably check all the boxes and make your people proud in your life, but you're gonna be on the other side of it and feel empty. And that feeling of emptiness is the worst feeling anyone can ever have. And I think people come to it at different points in their life. They either come to it when they're 20 or they come to it when they're 50. And that's because they haven't done the work to actually ask themselves, what are the expectations you want for your own life? And that's the problem. I think we're never taught that, right? No one's ever asked us what we want for our own lives. And I think society goes and tells us, okay, success is get this job, success is get married, get a house, have kids, you know? And especially for women, it's even, I think, even a bit more of a closed road. And that, what does that do to you? It just really, it makes your life feel small, right? Because it makes you feel like you can't get past it to go and live for your dreams. And ultimately, you know, and I've been there in my life where I have felt like the road has closed in and it's left me feeling hopeless. And that's the worst place in the world to be is feeling hopeless. The best thing you could do is feel like you can go and do anything, change the world. And I think the more you taste it, the more you want more of it in your life. - At that phase in your life, were you battling somewhat with your North Star, that light you referenced earlier, which was dancing, but also your, I guess your nine to five.
Battling between your passion and 9-5 (10:18)
- Yeah. - Tell me about that battle in how dance ultimately ended up winning. - I remember always having this bounce in my step. Like I would walk to work in the middle of New York City choreographing in my head, listening to the song I was performing. Like I, in a weird way, was like embodying this life that of what I wanted to be. And then I would get to the office and I would do my work and, you know, once again, like I love the Steve Martin quote of be so good they can't ignore you. Like, whatever work I do in my life, I will do 150% if I say yes. But I knew that something was wrong. I never, I didn't want to live like that. I didn't want to feel like I was hiding so much of who I was. And as my nine to five, which by the way, in consulting isn't a nine to five, you work like 80 hours a week. I mean, that was my life. And I, as I realized that if I wanted to commit to that career path, that that 80 was probably going to go to 90, it was going to go to 100, was going to be traveling. And I was going to have to say, no, more and more to the thing I loved. I just realized I wasn't willing to make that trade off. And I think that's sometimes the hardest thing people have to think about is what are you sacrificing? What's the trade off in your life that you're making? And I just wasn't willing to make it at that point. And I had done so much of my life at that point where I felt like I had achieved, according to everyone else, enough to start taking a little bit of a path to being rebellious, right? And I think that's really when I started to do a lot of work to say, what can I do to bring all parts of me to the table? - When you make that decision to leave Bain & Company, the management consultant firm in New York, was there like a series of catalysts, sort of moments or pivotal moments, near the end of your time there, that made you think, oh fuck this. - You know, like I read about a meeting you had, performance review. - Yeah, so it's literally the opening of my book, but a few things happen, I would say. So first of all, most people stay in consulting, like at this job for about three years, then you go off to business school. It's sort of the usual route people take. So I was in my third year there and a few people can kind of stay on and just continue there. I really wasn't interested in going to business school at the time. I wanted to live, I wanted to like be in New York City and feel the energy of it. And so in my third year, I had a performance at in the middle of Times Square for this big unveiling of "Ashbury Arise, Madam Too So" statue, which was an important thing. And "Ashbury Arise" is one of my icons, especially as a dancer, which is a huge Bollywood actress. And the week before a client meeting gets scheduled at the same time as my performance. And I'm, you know, my clients are big clients. These aren't, these are fortune 500 companies. These aren't small clients by any means. And we're meeting like the CEOs, you know, CFOs of the company. And I remember talking to my boss saying, "Hey, you know what? "I really want to go to the performance. "I'm not like a big part of this meeting." Is it okay if I miss it? And we talked about it really briefly. It wasn't a big deal. I didn't feel bad about it. I went to the performance. Went well. A few months later, we're sitting down talking about, you know, review and she's like giving me feedback. And she says this thing to me, which just triggered me. And it was, is this a job you really want? Like I don't think that you want to be a consultant. And I took that in my heart as, oh my gosh, she doesn't think I'm good enough, right? And I just kind of went through how throughout my life, I've been taught to be type A. Everyone tell me I've done a good job. And so my initial reaction to her saying that to me was, I'm going to prove to you how good I am, right? That's like the natural type A reaction is to say, no, no, no, what do you mean? Like I love this job. I really want to be here. And the more I started thinking about that, the more I realized she was right. I didn't want to be there. It was not the life I wanted. It was not the career I wanted. And that's when I decided to start looking at other jobs that would give me a bit more of the flexibility I wanted in my day to day, but still pay the bills. And that's when you move over to MTV?
Rebelling for your purpose (14:43)
I went to Warner Music Group. We Warner, all right, okay. And this is really interesting balance that I see in you, like which clearly shifts in your life where you feel like you're a-- and correct me where I'm wrong here, but you're quite a good like conformist in terms of expectation and then slowly rebellion starts to creep in. And it was just had me thinking about like the probably, if there is a right to balance of conformity and rebellion in our life, because conformity makes sense, you know, in some regards. You can't just be a total rebel. Right, right. You would all be living out in the desert or something. Right. But just the interesting balance I see in people like you that I meet of-- I mean, a lot of them start as kind of conformist or a little bit more people pleasing, especially first generation immigrant families. Right. And then that fails them. Yeah. In terms of fulfillment, happiness, mental health. And then that's where the rebellion starts to-- I think that's the key. It's rebelling for the right reason, if that makes sense. I always believe that I was rebelling for purpose. Right. Right? And if you're rebelling for purpose-- The strong force. I think it's exactly. It's justifiable, right? Dance wasn't something that was just, OK, pile, go and do this because it's a hobby. It was this place for me to bring together so much of my trauma, actually, from when I was younger. It was this place for me. And my dance company was this Indian American dance experience. And it was about me bringing together the pile who got made fun of with the pile who danced at her Indian festivals and bringing all of me together to say when the world doesn't want to accept the different parts of who I am, I'm going to show you what it can look like. Right? Like, that's really a big part of what I realized in my journey is when people have told me parts don't fit together, I find a way to put them together and show you even a more beautiful experience. Right? And I believe even ClassPass was really the epitome of that too in my life, is bringing parts of me together that I would never have been able to bring together in any other way. And I think so much of when we're rebelling, it's about fighting for something. I wasn't trying to rebel. I was fighting for my passion. I was fighting for my purpose. And I mean, isn't that what life should be about? Is fighting for something like that? Amen. When you leave Bain and Company, though, is there a part of you? Because that expectation is-- I mean, you never really fully shake it, right? Is there a part of you that whispers in your ear and goes, you failed. Ooh. I mean, what was hard was all my colleagues, right? That at that point, who had gone to Harvard, gone to Stanford, I was comparing myself to them. And I felt like I was taking a step back compared to what they were doing. But one of the other important things I learned during this time, and I think this is an important part for all of us at any phase, especially when we're going through these transitional times, is I also embraced a new community, right? So I obviously didn't just define myself by my Bain and MIT friends. I had this huge artistic dance community that was sort of like growing this Indian American community that was sort of coming around me. And that made me feel whole in a different way. So instead of constantly being around people, I felt less than. I went and found a community I belonged in, even though it wasn't the one that I would have, you know, naturally felt inclined to go to. And I think that's another important thing, especially when we're exploring these decisions and identities, is, you know, back to the light thing. It's sometimes it's not the people we think are going to give us the light, who give us the light. So find that new community that makes you shine.
Changing careers and finding new communities (18:24)
- It's such an unappreciated point of resistance for people that are trying to make an adjustment in their life. I hear it so much. People say, I want to leave that situation, but I'm scared of losing the community that comes with that situation. That could be a city, it could be a job, it could be a partner. Sometimes your life becomes so intertwined that you think, well, if I lose this part and if I lose this job or whatever, then I'm going to lose all of these people. And that really keeps people trapped. - I agree with that. That's a really good job. - That's a really good point. Yeah, I mean, and you can find new communities, you know? And I think you have to remember that the people you surround yourself with are your choice. - Yeah. - Right? And I've had different communities show up for me at different times in my life, right? For me, it was the different communities that made me the entrepreneur I was. It was my business community that helped me build class class, but it was also this girl who was going to ballet classes every single day with my dancer friends who also was thinking about the classes that they people need to take in their life. And it was that unique combination of my traits combined with the different experiences I was having that enabled me to build what I did ultimately. - You talk about, so you manage to get a, now a job you consider to be more of a nine to five, where you've got time in the evenings to dance and you end up setting up your own sort of dance company. How did you get from there to that pivotal trip to San Francisco that introduced you to the world of tech? - Yeah, so in those two years when I was at Warner Music Group, I started tasting leadership and entrepreneurship, right? I started tasting this idea of what life could look like when I was living to my own drumbeat, right? And we put on a few shows in New York City during that time that honestly, like just were so well received from people, the momentum of that, the feeling I felt for of my community support, it made me just start feeling confidence and my ability to go after my dreams, right? And I think this is an important part of the journey that we also forget is that it's the confidence in the small stuff that actually builds the confidence towards the big stuff, right? 'Cause it's not, it wasn't, okay, Pyle, just decided to go quit her job one day and start a company. It was this series of small steps, right? It was putting on a show for 150 people that went well, then putting on a show for a thousand people that went well, then saying, "Oh, wait, let me think about my life "in a bigger way." And that's sort of where I was at that moment. So I wanted to explore new career paths that I could take and that's why I decided to go out to San Francisco and it changed my life. - The point you made about the way confidence is built, I think is so, so important because I think a lot of people think they see people like you now, sat here, after all this, all you've achieved.
Confidence, purpose, and drive to success (20:54)
And they think, "How do I get from where I am, "sat on this sofa in this job that I'm in that I hate "to being her?" It seems like such a huge canyon I have to cross that it feels like you must be from another planet. So that, when people see you at the finish line, it can sometimes be quite demotivating. - Yeah. - But what you've just said there is, in fact, there's the small, it's a staircase, small, one tiny step at a time building, like subjective evidence in yourself that you can do a little bit more than you thought. And I'm curious as to what makes people like you take that small step. And it sounds like it's your just driven, this purpose is dragging you. - Purpose, 100%. If I wasn't driven to make an impact in the world, I wouldn't do it. I mean, yes, I could go and get a good job and do all of that and live the expected life and be fine, but that's not fire, right? That's not me taking my hours of five to 10 p.m. after work and reserving studio space and getting girls together or working till two, three in the morning to make reservations for people to get to class. Like, that's a very different why, right? And I think that's why I go back always to how do you find that why? Like, what is that light that your life is always about? And I think, and I feel very blessed that I found something that made me feel a sense of service so young because nothing compares to it. You know, no amount of money, no amount of like, you know, whatever press or, you know, any of that is ever going to compare to the feeling of touching somebody's life. - So many people might, like again, my DMs are like, how do I find my why? - Yeah. - And it feels almost like a privilege doesn't it for people that have figured that out. And there's people, I don't know, that will be listening to this in the morning watching the dishes driving up and down the country in a delivery van, whatever it is thinking. I know I'm capable in deserving of more, but I just don't know what it is. Do you believe that everybody has a purpose beyond the nine to five? - I do. - Yeah. - How do you find it? - Yeah, I think at the end of the day, it's already inside you. It's usually ourselves that are unwilling to listen to it, right? To ask yourself, what did you love when you were younger? When did you light up? Who were your role models and inspirations? What's that thing you look at for a second longer? Who's that person you wanna talk to for a few minutes more and why? There is something pulling you there and you have to be willing to go down the path of exploring it and trying it. And I think that's really the hardest thing is we put so many blocks on ourselves, right? And I get it. I mean, society tells us this is the way to live. It does not tell you to live purposefully and to go and chase your dreams. I mean, that's not, I mean, yes, we do. In the Instagram world of life and quotes, I get that. But the structure of our life is not actually built that way, right? And like you just said, I mean, you compared it to the nine to five, which is about making money, right? And I think actually, and I have a whole chapter where I talk about money because money is the most trapping thing. That's the reason people aren't willing to do it. Usually you know it. And I always ask people this one, they're like, I don't know. If you had all the money in the world, how would you spend your day tomorrow? That's like a very good way to start exploring. What would I do without one of the biggest constraints, right? That is probably on my mind. What would truly make you light you up, right? And it's not about like buying stuff, right? At the end of the day, like, I mean, anyone who wins the lottery, like, you know, they can go buy stuff, but that's not fulfillment. At the end of the day, it's a sense of purpose, right? And I think people have to just get themselves in a place where they're trying new things. And it does honestly feel like a privilege. And that's part of also why I started Class Pass. Was because I wanted people to, in a way, live a life that I knew I was. I was sitting there when I was in my early 20s, and I would spend my weeks performing for a show. I'd perform on Saturday night and invite people to come and watch me dance. And I remember I felt like I had, like I said, like this pep to my life and my step and all of that. And I want everyone to have that. And I remember thinking, wait a second, like you used to be an athlete, like you were training for the Olympics. Like you were this amazing singer. And you now just show up and go to work all day and don't think about finding time to even explore these things. So my contribution to that was honestly creating Class Pass. That was like part of my very big inspiration for it was, how can I give some of that to other people to go and try something and potentially have that same enlightenment in their life? So you kind of get out of your path and your routine and meet a teacher, right? That will inspire the growth in you and that reflection in you. 'Cause most of the times the hardest thing to do is to ask yourself what you love in your own life. - And how did you, when was the moment?
Why did you start ClassPass? (26:13)
'Cause I read in your book, you know, there's certain pain points we encounter where we realize, okay, I can solve this problem. And the sort of my manifestation of the solution is this app or this website. What was the problem that you encountered and when? That made you think Class Pass is the solution? - Yeah, so I was once again training in ballet at the time. I had my nine to five, but every day after work, I would go and train in ballet. And I'd have my ballet close to me and I'd been going to the same teacher for about six months at the time. And I wanted to try a new class. It was just like a very simple thing I wanted to do. I get on to my computer, I start browsing for this class. Two hours go by, it was just this terrible experience from an information standpoint, from not knowing what class to take. If it's close enough to me what time it starts, how do I register? And that's when I started looking at other models that existed, so there were things in the US, like Open Table, Seamless Web, that had just made this type of information so accessible. And so easy and convenient for a customer. That I started thinking, what if I could do this for classes? And therefore get people to get an hour out of their life that was out of their routine to go and do something fun and exciting. So that was really where it started. - Even that, you kind of glossed over that, but that's pretty extraordinary. Because a lot of people encounter a problem, the issue you encounter trying to book that class, and they go, "Oh, fuck, the world is not good enough." Oh, they think, they'll just think, "Oh, this is broken." And then they'll carry on with the rest. - Oh, let me caveat that. So I had come back from San Francisco, 36 hours before that. And when I was in San Francisco, I had met a bunch of entrepreneurs. And this is my first time ever meeting entrepreneurs, right? So going back to even the whole trying new things conversation, it was really important for me to take that trip to SF. I had been sort of stuck in New York City. I had been living this, the crazy dance life, the crazy nine to five life. And I had no time for anything else. So I was not trying new things. And I needed an epiphany. I needed something to change because the two roads I was on, like they were gonna crash at some point and it wasn't going to work. And I decided to go on this trip. I met me to a bunch of entrepreneurs and I come back thinking, "What if I could be an entrepreneur? Let me give myself two weeks to think of an idea." That's literally the mindset I was in when I encounter that. So 36 hours later, I happened to be searching for this ballet class. And that's, it was just like during this perfect period of my life. And honestly, like this is when I sometimes think, like does a universe make us do these things? Because what are the chances of all that happening at the same time, but it did. And I really remember in that moment thinking, I know I'm the right person to build this because of this background I have, the communities I've been around, the experiences I have, there's probably no one else who cares as much about dance who then also went to MIT in pain. - MIT, which is an amazing college for those that don't know. - Right. And it was sort of this perfect combination of things that made me say, "I gotta do this." And I went for it. - But that is extraordinary because a lot of people will encounter things. I'll encounter things today. I might sit on a chair and be like, "This chair could be better, but then I'll carry on with my day." You know what I mean? And then I'll open the fridge and go, "This fridge could be." - Yeah, that's true. I know that. - But that feels like the pivotal moment, which a lot of people who listening to this, they'll all notice things. Maybe they don't even notice them because there's something in, when you start looking, in your case you were actually kind of looking for it. - A problem to solve. - Yeah. - Yeah. - It takes a certain character makeup to say, "I can be the one to solve this." Also a little bit of delusion if you look at the stats. - It's fair. That's a very good point. I was definitely delusional at the time in thinking that. But you know what it was? It was more of, I wanna try to solve this problem. - Regardless. - Yeah, because it felt so tied to everything I had done in my life. I had literally fought to dance up for every year of my life up until that point. Why not bring the fight to everyone else? That's how I felt. I was like, I've already been doing this. Let's just go and make this happen. And by the way, I'm also used my left brain, which is my analytical side, to go and do the market research. And I was able to raise money. I definitely did this in the practical way too. And I was making sure that it wasn't just some crazy dream. There was substance to it for sure. I wouldn't have been able to raise the capital I did. I got into an incubator. It was a good idea. And it was, once again, it stemmed from a really deep why in me. And that was the most important thing. I think that's, we can talk a little bit about the failures and the points where the product didn't work. But I was never obsessed with getting a product to work. I was obsessed with solving a problem from day one. It's how do I get people to class and not make it so hard for people to get to class? Why is it important for people to go to class? Because then they can feel what I have in dance in their life. It was just such an important mission for me that I could just never stop on it. And every day it fueled me because it was just so real for me to say, I gave this to someone. And even today, we booked like 100 million hours of workouts at this point. And when someone comes to me and says to me, I just went and worked out because of class bus. It brings me joy because that's an hour of their life that was like what dances to me, right? That I gave them out of their routine or expectations or the way society wants them to live, that they did for themselves. And that is such a gift. And I think in my life, I knew fighting for that was always a win, whether it worked or not, right? But what if it didn't work? If it didn't work, I had a backup plan. I mean, when I say I had a backup plan, I mean, I went through my finances and my dad and I were very clear about how much money I had saved at that point. And I had to say, I had three years to build this. I had three years before I ran out of my own cash. - And you'd been a save-risis, isn't it? - I had saved. And so that's the other thing is, because money can be the biggest hurdle in going after our dreams, and if you know your dreamer, and I think I always knew I was a dreamer, whether I was gonna spend my money to build a company or put on a dance show, I knew I was always a dreamer. And so I didn't care to spend money on the smaller things in my life, right? Like I just didn't, like I said, I didn't travel, I barely went shopping. And by the way, these are decisions I made, right? I think it's so important. I'm not saying that because I want other people to do the same. It's about you knowing and thinking about it in a very deliberate way of how you're spending your money, right? And I was building up the savings, I didn't know what I was gonna spend it on, but then when this idea came and I got to sit down, I had three years to go after running towards something. - Were you scared? - I was excited. I mean, it was an adrenaline rush, you know? I mean, there were times where it was terrible and challenging and sucked. And, but I wasn't scared. If I was scared, I wouldn't have done it, you know? I think if my fear trumped my confidence, I wouldn't have, I don't think I would have been able to quit my job and go for it. - When you quit your job and go for it at Warner, right? You ever meet with a chairman, the chairman, you're 28 years old. He says something interesting to you, right? And I think this is, this is actually a people set, people will say to you, oh, they're like, but actually it's very much the opposite because he said that he would invest in it. - Yeah, so I mean, this goes perfectly with what we were just talking about is it's really, the reason I didn't get scared is because more and more opportunities and doors just kept opening for me. It was almost like the universe just started guiding me in the most beautiful way towards the mission, towards the purpose, towards the answer. In a way that I felt before I was blocking it, right? So the second I decided to go after building this company, one of the biggest things I had to do was quit my job. And on the day of quit, I decided to write an email to people I had worked with my company, some executives and the vice chairman of Warner Music Group says, hey, come to my office, I'd love to hear what you're building. Go up to his office, probably the second or third time I've ever met him in the two, three years I was there. Tell him about my idea. He says, great, I want to invest. Literally writes me a check for $10,000 and gives me an introduction into a big incubator that was in New York City. And I just remember thinking in my head, this was the scariest door I'd ever closed my life, quitting my job, but I'm literally walking out of here with a $10,000 check towards my next thing. - Why did he give you that check in your opinion? - Few things, one, so he was a former baby. So once again, reputation does follow you, right? Like this goes back to like everything I was talking about in the sense of it's always important to do good work because if he had ever heard, oh, Pyle is not good. I mean, he knew that I was a good worker no matter what I did, even though I didn't like, once again, love my job, I always did good work. And I know that reputation followed me and he knew that. - We call that invisible peer around here. - Yeah, there you go, right? It's so important. - It shows up. - It shows up. - Yeah, exactly. And I think that was one of the big things. And then, I mean, two, this was also like an ecosystem where entrepreneurship was a thing. But I mean, at the end of the day, he believed in me, right? And it was also because, you know, actually, this is one of my favorite things that happened on the day I quit, is I would go and tell people, right? Especially people I had worked with who were much older than me that I was quitting my job. And here I was 10, 15 years younger than most of them. And I remember everyone looking at me almost thinking to themselves, like, I wish I had the courage to do that. So I think you forget, like, me quitting that day was such a sign of courage and my capability. And I didn't even realize it at the moment, but being able to make such a bold decision at that age-- - 28, yeah. - It was a huge thing for even my vice-chairman to see it to say, wow, like, this girl is gonna go for it, right? And I mean, that was probably one of the first hard decisions I had to make in my life. I had to make so many more, but to sort of have that control over your life, your thoughts, your dreams, is such an important way to live. And honestly, the end of the day, to be a good leader, a good CEO, like, you need to be in control of your ship and in control of your life. - I asked that question about why he invested because in my time at my company, it probably had just over 1,000 employees, and there was two occasions where someone said they were quitting and they were leaving to start a business. And I went, I'm gonna invest in your business. And it was purely based on one thing, which is exactly what you've described, which was, and they're invisible PR. They might not even have known that I knew, but they were great. They always did great work. - That's why you have to always do good work. And it's like, I mean, it's such a, and I think in this day and age, people don't feel it as much. - Yeah. - Even though it might be a job you don't love. We all have to kind of, in a way, like you have to earn your, earn your, what is it called, like earn your marks? - Yeah, yeah, yeah. - You earn your stripes. - Earn your stripes, you know? And I think, I remember earning my stripes to take the leap for my dreams, whether that was in money or skills, or, and I don't regret any of that, you know? And I think when people ask me, how did you do it? I spent a, I mean, it goes back to the whole conforming rebellious thing. I was earning my stripes. So then when I felt like I could leap, I had built the parachute in the plane, you know? Like I wasn't taking a leap without anything around me. Like I had built a great structure that was going to then let me take the most rebellious of leaps what that came towards the mission, right? I didn't have to like rebuild all the stuff that was about my life and like worrying about money. And this is also an important thing, is like when you are starting a company, if I'm worrying about paying my bills, right? And if I'm worrying about like, do I have the skills that I'm not worried, or I'm not worrying about the most important thing, which is can I get someone to class, right? Like the number one thing for me to focus on was my business, not anything that was going on outside of that. And that's why I think it's setting ourselves up to succeed when we are leaders, when we are entrepreneurs to be in a place where we're not worried about the peripheral constraints in our life. We're able to focus on the most important thing at hand is so important for us to do. It's what's going to make us more impactful in being able to actually solve the most important thing. - I had a few words to say about one of my sponsors on this podcast. We're now playing in a world where the digital landscape is changing every single day. And to succeed as a small business, the most important thing you can do is stay informed with the latest trends. And that's why I've partnered with Vodafone Business. They genuinely want to help small businesses like you navigate this fast moving space. They've developed the V-Hub, a site containing everything you need to get up to speed with what's going on. And you can even ring up a V-Hub digital advisor for completely free and have a one-on-one conversation with them about your business. If you haven't checked out the V-Hub, I'd highly recommend you do so, as it will help your business navigate the changing landscape and keep you on the front foot. So go to V-Hub by Vodafone. You can search that anywhere on Google and check it out now. We are all looking for ways to live a little bit more sustainably and to make more conscious choices in our day-to-day routine. So when a brand like My Energy, who I've spoken about before, offered to sponsor this podcast, I felt like, and I knew deep down inside, that I had to help them share their mission to create an even greener world. It feels like there's not much more fulfilling than that. And their products provide an easy and cost-effective way to make a sustainable switch in your life. And they've got some existing new products coming out that I can't wait to use myself. And I'll let you know as I use those products how I get on. So, if you're a My Energy customer at the moment, let me know your favorite products down below in the comments section. And if you haven't checked them out yet, go to MyEnergy.com and find out a lot more about who they are and what they're doing. If you're one of those people that wants to make a sustainable switch, MyEnergy.com is the place for you. - Let's go to the start then of this, the class bus journey.
What difficulties did you face starting your business? (40:18)
'Cause I'm really compelled by, much of the reason I started this podcast was because I wanted to shine a light on the tough times in business. And I know when you're starting a business, especially a business in tech, it can be really, really difficult. 'Cause you're sort of jockeying and pivoting to find product market fit and to figure out like what your customers want. - Hard to say. - So how to deliver it. And I read that when I was reading about your journey, when you started, you quit your job in 2011, and then you go through a long phase of trying to figure out how to get people to use this thing, how to market it and all that nightmare. Talk to me about that nightmare. - So we went into the market with a very clear product idea and it was a replica of what had worked in another industry. So OpenTable, which allows you to book restaurant reservations. It seemed like the right parallel to what we were doing, go on search for classes. But what I didn't realize was that there was a very big missing part in it. And I mean, I'll spare everyone like the little details of it, but everyone has to eat, everyone does not have to work out, right? It was, and working out usually is something scary for people and it's more of an aspirational thing. It's not something that you have to do every single day. So there were sort of on different planes of people's psychology, which really became the biggest bottleneck to what ended up happening because we spent a year, we spent half a million dollars building a product that didn't work. And even though I had all this momentum, like I was saying, all these beautiful doors were opening for me and they were. And I had a lot of great, what I now call fall signals of success, like followers press, we ended up on the cover of Ink Magazine without launching a product. And all these things made me feel like I was succeeding, right? Because this is what success looked like to everyone else. And then I launched my product and no one went to class. It was like, it was, and no one bought a class, no one was transacting, it was crickets. It was just a really, it was, this was the hardest probably few months of the entire trajectory because I had never really faced failure in my life. I mean, going back to everything I just told you, I had sort of done things well. And I tried to make sure that this would go well, right? By doing everything that I knew how to, which was, let's get the press, let's build a beautiful product, let's get as many email addresses as possible. Those were like the obvious things that seem, you know, you would do when you're building a company. But I forgot to really ask myself if I was solving the problem I set out to. And I really think back to that moment. And even though it was the hardest, that moment is the reason I became a real entrepreneur. Like I don't think I was an entrepreneur before that day. I was excited about solving something, but the day I failed was the day I became an entrepreneur because that was the day I really had to think deeper about creating something in the world that didn't exist. And I think it's so easy to follow the blueprints of everyone else and realize that entrepreneurship is actually about having no plan and having, you know, not following anyone else's ideas of what success is. It's about figuring out what, you know, what is it to solve your mission or your, you know, your business model that you're going after. And that woke me up. And it was a month or two period where we were trying to be comfortable. Like it was this comfortable place we were in because we had raised money, we had just come out of tech stars. But I mean, it was not going well. And I knew we were gonna run out of cash if like we didn't, you know, figure out something in the next few months. And we just, I remember like after a few weeks of it, we sent this email, literally telling people to go to class for free, thinking, you know, okay, like this is gonna work. We're literally paying for the classes. People have to go and still know and when. And that's when I realized we had just gone the wrong direction. And I needed to like circle back up. I needed to break what we had built, just think a whole new way, re-energize my team around going about solving this problem in a completely new way, not worrying about what we had done, but worrying about where we're going to go. And that flipped everything. And I have been there now so many times where I've been okay with throwing away our past. I mean, people don't know this, but class bus has changed its name three times. It wasn't called class bus. I mean, even this time I'm talking about it, it was called something else. And I've thrown away names, like I've thrown away product ideas. Like we've thrown away a lot of stuff. We've changed our pricing, our plans. And it's because it's not about that, right? It's about solving the problem in the world and moving towards that and your mission. - So many entrepreneurs though, and this is probably the mistake I made when I was 18 and started my first off tech company was, they get romantic about that initial hypothesis being correct. - Exactly. - So it's like you've got this square shape thing and you're just trying to force it into this triangle, because like your ego and there's so much relying on it. And you know the runway, you know, you're running out of cash and you just, maybe I just push harder. And then all these vanity metrics can be kind of confusing. Oh, we've got lots of traffic. - False signals of success, yeah. - No one's buying anything, but we've got traffic. - Absolutely. - And as you said, like I'm on a magazine. But then certain entrepreneurs I think have the humility to say, in fact, it's not about being me, my hypothesis being right. It's about creating a product market fit. - Yeah. - And what was the moment when you started to get closer to that product market fit? - Yeah. And you know, one of the things I love saying about that is to be mission obsessed, not product obsessed. And I learned that through that journey. But, you know, we started then putting this discovery pass out there. So what we did learn is that, you know, we started finally actually going and talking to a lot of the studios and talking to customers. I think one of the things that happens in tech sometimes is you sit behind the tech that you don't like go and talk to real people, right? And it was funny because I was in a tech incubator. So we showed up, we were working from like six am to 10 p.m. every night, but sitting in an office. We weren't actually going to class and talking to studio owners and all of that. So once we started flipping that, we started realizing that, you know, a lot of the studio owners, they were offering a free class for people who were new. They want to new people in the door. And then customers, you know, knew about all these places, but they had fears. We were like, how do we break the fear? And so we started building this product, our second product, which also doesn't exist anymore. It was called the passport. And it was a discovery pass where you could go and try 10 different classes for 30 days. So you could go to like a spin class Monday, pole dance class Tuesday, dance class Wednesday. You can kind of, you know, it was like sort of this way for people for $50 to go and explore. This is sort of when we started realizing the whole love of variety that people had when it came to working out in classes, which was the magic of what we actually discovered in our second mistake of a product is that people loved variety. They wanted to really go and try new things. It's what motivated them. They didn't want to do the same workout every single day. - How did you learn that? The variety point. - Well, people started going in, like they started loving this pass, right? They started loving the 30 day pass. And then they tried to actually buy it over and over again for the next month. And you weren't allowed to. It was like a one month product. And we had literally gotten these classes for no money. It was very much a do this for a month. And then you're going to go find your favorite studio and buy a pass there. We thought it was lead gen for the studio. - No. - It ended up not being that at all. People literally were obsessed with the variety, wanted to do it every single month and not stop. And that's when we started thinking about what if we become a subscription. We weren't in a subscription at the time. It was just this one month product. And we then started experimenting with this idea of a class pass. It wasn't even class pass at the time. It was a class pass. And we launched it to about 50 customers in June of 2013. And they loved it the next month. It just kind of kept doubling. And then it was exponential growth. And it just, I mean, the sales of that took over our other products. And we just knew that the monthly subscription was the way to go and that that was the way that this model was going to work. - And that's two years in, right? - Three years in. - Three years in. So three years of stumbling around. - I mean, I went to San Francisco in July of 2010. And this is June of 2013. So three years. - Wow. One of the quotes from your book is that about failure being a data point, not an endpoint. And I really think that is, I wish someone had said that to me when I was 18. 'Cause I saw failure as a testament of my inadequacy or something as a person. Something I should be listening to. - Right. - And that's a sort of testament to your journey. And then, you know, throughout that period though, I think we've, how was your, as a founder, something again founders don't talk about, how was your mental health? 'Cause I know there's sacrifice there. - Let's see, a few things I would say. I mean, I sacrificed a lot, especially in those three years where we were trying to get the product right and it wasn't working. I mean, I missed family things, I missed weddings. I was just not around, right? I mean, I was literally at work all day long. And if someone on my team needed me, I gave my 150% to my company. So I felt fulfilled because I was doing something I loved. Was I exhausted? Yes. Was I lonely? Yeah. I mean, I thankfully like lived with a roommate who is one of my like closest dearest friends till today. But she was the only reason I would see outside of people at work. You know, I was living in this like closed circuit world. And I don't mind that. Like as somebody who has been on a mission before like has created dance shows where there, you know, there's this like intensity that happens for two weeks and you go really, really intense. You know, the thing that with the dance show is though, it's ends at some point. Like you have the show and it's over. The thing I didn't know, didn't realize about this one is, you know, it's a marathon, not a sprint. Like the dance shows can be a sprint. And that definitely got to me. And I, you know, one of the reasons I even developed this entire goal setting method was because three years in, so right when I was at this point where I realized class was gonna take off. I mean, it felt like amazing, right? It spent like three years. I was so focused. I'd literally like probably not talk to anyone in my life. And I found myself alone for the holidays. My sister was away. My parents were in India. And I was about to like literally about myself on Christmas. And it was one of those moments for me. I always hated the holidays as an entrepreneur because it was the one, like it was the time of my life where I couldn't work through my like my loneliness or through work through any of my issues. It was like the one time where everyone would go and do things with other people. And I would be that person who would finally have to realize that I was on myself, right? Because I wasn't cultivating relationships at that point in my life and I have time to. And so it was a wake up call and kind of going back to, my mom may have been pestering me about it for the years before. At that point in my life, I just started realizing, wait a second, like I knew class was gonna take off. Like I just knew we, I mean, we only had, we had less than a thousand customers, but I had caught lightning in a bottle. Like it was so magical. I knew it was gonna take over the world. Like it was one of those moments as an entrepreneur I could breathe, but I looked at everything else. And I'm like, everything else is a mess. My health is a mess. I could barely work out, which was crazy for me. I wasn't dancing. I was like, I was single. I had a few good friends, but I felt like I like, hadn't been there for them. And that's when I started really doing the school setting because I'm like, I need to have a bit more. I wanna make sure my priorities are more reflective of the human I wanna be in my life. - And how in like a practical sense, in terms of a time allocation sense, did you get from that place to living more in line with those values of connection, community love and health?
Living in line with your values (52:06)
- So I'll, the details of like what I did on that session, the first time I did it or in the book, but I will say this. So in the next six months after I started doing that, I literally met my husband a month later. - Really? - Yes. I decided to do a huge dance show at Alvin Ailey, six months later, and I sold out 1,000 seats at that. So I got to do a huge performance. - You're gonna sell so many books just by saying you found a husband. - I know. - I can buy something. - That's like, it's really crazy, but I literally changed my perspective around love and what I wanted, and I met my husband a month later, which was crazy. And I also, you know, I set goals around what I wanted to do with class class. I set goals around my health and how I wanted to live in the workout on a daily basis. And I did all those things. And I remember, this is always my favorite moment, six months later, I was flying home on a plane. And when I first did this goal setting method, I'd written it on a post-it note, 'cause I was on a plane. And I was on another plane ride, 'cause I was always traveling. And I took it out and I looked at it, and I had done everything on my dream list. You know, and sometimes just writing down those dreams is the most important thing, but it was just such an important moment because I felt more, I don't wanna say the word balance because that has so many, you know, wrong intentions with it. But I felt that I was very clear about my priorities and I went towards them and I missed things too, but I didn't feel guilty about them. And I just felt so proud of myself for saying, "Here's what I wanna do in my life "and I'm gonna go and do it." And accomplishing it, not just obviously professionally, but personally as well. - There's like an overarching theme here in your journey where the minute you become intentional about something, as you describe it, the doors open. - It's true. - Do you believe in that manifestation? - 100%. And it goes back to you saying, you know, we were talking about having a why. I think when you don't have a why, you go aimlessly and you, you know, I think you start living life, thinking that you want money, thinking you want to be famous, thinking you want power, and instead of thinking about like love and passion and purpose. And whenever I have made decisions that are about the former and not the latter, I've never been letting the right in the right direction. And, you know, if that's something people can take away from this, like, I think it's one of the most important points is if you go towards purpose, even if you are rebelling, right? And even if you might be pissing a few people off, I guarantee your life will be more fulfilling. - What would you like as an entrepreneur, as a leader and as a manager of people?
What were you like as a manager? (54:57)
- I would say I was very much, I had a lot of positive energy. I'm a small human, but I show with all of me. I expect a lot of people. I think because people have always expected a lot for me. So I'm sort of, when you start working with me, I can very quickly tell if someone's going to like sink or swim, you know, because I don't tell you a lot, but I like let you go. Because I think to me, that's what I've had to do is just kind of, I don't want to put a lot of boxes on you. I want you to just show me what you can be at your highest potential. And I think like that sort of, I liked giving people that room to be free and then allowing me to see what their capability is versus me saying, you need to be your best in this box that I'm giving you. And I've found really great talent in that way. I've had to learn how to like hire for my strengths and weaknesses. You know, I think that's probably the hardest, the hardest parts when you're coming in grows is you do everything in the beginning and then you have to learn to let go. And I've definitely learned that building a tribe around you of great people is the only way to succeed. - You struggle to delegate, right? In the early days? - I've gotten better at it. I've got, I've realized that there is no other way to success and to build big things and great things in the world without being able to delegate. So I've become much better at it in my life. And it's the only way I can do what is my magical thing, right? And I think I've put a lot of thought into that is what part of this company is something that only I know I can do, right? Everything else that I know someone else can do, I shouldn't be doing. - Is that why you delegated the role of CEO to-- - Yes, absolutely. At some point, a CEO title becomes a lot of, you know, managing investors, managing team, doing press. And I was like, this is not what I wanna be doing with my time. I wanna be solving the problem. I wanna be in with my customers, working on like interesting concepts, not spending my day in a bunch of meetings that didn't feel inspiring. So I think like, you know, and everyone's set up differently, you have to know how you work. That's another big thing is learning the insights of what motivates you. Like it's the work you do and why you do it that ends up really mattering, right? And any job you're in. And I remember there was a point where I remember being so just disheartened and not wanting to show up to build my own company. And I'm like, what is going on? It was because I hated the work I was doing. I loved obviously my company, but I hated the actual work that I had to do. And so I had to figure out a way to get past that. This is like 2016-17. I mean, we were launching like a ground the world. It was so intense. It was, you know, I mean, it was magical. Like I said, it was incredible to build up. But I remember, like I said, I was showing up every day dealing with like HR issues, legal issues, like needing to talk to my investors. I wasn't like around my customers and I wasn't going to class and around my product, you know? And that's what really fuels me as an entrepreneur and a founder. - Did you have email dread? Like I used to, at one point, I remember when my company was getting big because there was lots of chaos in my company and there was all kinds of cash flow issues. I used to like dread opening my emails. I was like, it's gonna be some other bullshit from like an investor or something. - Yeah, I mean, I definitely, I wanted to make sure that I had more to look forward to. And I think there came a point where I was looking forward to less and less, right? And I think it goes back to what I was saying about, I didn't want my whole day to be like, okay, there's like another competitor. Okay, we need to worry about this now. I didn't want my days to be about worrying. I wanted my days to be about dreaming, right? And by the way, you have to obviously, as a leader of any of this, it comes with the responsibility, right? So it's not that I didn't have to worry about those things. There were certain parts of it that I knew I had to worry about. I needed to be in my radar. But I knew there were certain things where I'm like, I can hire someone to really work on this and fix this. It doesn't need to take up my time and energy. And that's really where the combination is, or where the decision lies. So all of that passion, all of that love, driven by this really deep intrinsic why?
Why did you step away from ClassPass? (59:05)
Why did you step away from class pass? You know, I think at some point, and this happens, I think, for so many founders, I mean, it had been a decade of my life solving this problem, which of course, I'm so deeply passionate about. And, you know, I think the earliest days were when we did the most legwork and actually like figuring out the product, you know, the product nuances that were going to actually like unleash the behavior. I think it's just got bigger, you know, for me. I think there were other things I wanna do in the world. And there's probably other problems in the world I still need to go and solve. And it's on me to unleash myself to be able to face them so I can move forward towards them and have them even come into my periphery. I think if you're kind of stuck in the past, you don't even welcome the doors, right? That you need to go through to reach your future. And I know for me, my future is waiting for me, you know, and it's on me to sit there and walk through the door and go towards it. - And was there a feeling of like a loss of love? - Yeah, I mean, it's a bittersweet moment, you know? It was, it's super bittersweet, right? I always say, the hardest day was when I stopped getting my class pass email. I mean, like it was insane. I've had this email for years. It was like my main inbox. And, you know, it was definitely a sense of loss. I mean, I think it's, you know, for, it's like having a child and watching your child get married, right? - Yeah. - But it's also being able to say like, they're okay. I did all I could to get them to this point and being proud of that. And that's really where I'm at. - I remember that when I resigned from my company, went public and I said to the company, I said, I'm going to resign, but I have one caveat. They were like, what is it? I was like, I want to keep my email. - Oh, you didn't use that though? - I still got my email. I still have my-- - You know, it's funny that you say that. I think I didn't, going back to the whole, it was just been more noise, right? - Yeah, it's true, you're right. - And so-- - I don't check it. - Yeah, I figured you, yeah, you can't. I don't, could you imagine? I just think it was, it was a nice break for me. I actually remember it creating a new email address and it was like, no mail. I'm like, what? You know, and it was interesting 'cause it started making me realize like, what do I want to fill that part of my life up with? - What's the answer? - What's the answer to that? I'm sort of in the middle of it still, but you know, obviously lots of dance, you know? I think I probably have a few more big problems in the world to solve, you know? I'm only 39, you know? It's interesting because I'm young. You know, my mom and I always talk about this too and she's like, it's interesting 'cause, yeah, like I could retire them. There's no part of me that would ever think about that, you know, but it's interesting. It's a great place to be. - The valuation of ClassPass at sale is probably confidential as it tends to be, but I know that in 2020 in the series, year-round it was valued at over a billion. So a lot of money. How does that change things for you? - Well, you know, we haven't exited, so like the company hasn't been sold yet, so it's still private, but-- - Was your stake acquired or was your, your stake is still in the company? - My stake is still in the company. - Yeah, so it's not fully, you know, fully there, but you know, I think these, and here's the thing, the reason why that was such an important moment was because of what it really, the message it sent for women, especially in me being, you know, an Indian woman. Like, that was actually the most important part of it. I don't think as an entrepreneur you should run towards numbers like that 'cause what you should run towards is making an impact, right? The 100 million hours of people's lives is actually much more impactful to my business and society than hitting that billion dollar valuation, but in my case, I think it's different because I know what that represents to so many other girls out there who can look at something and say, "Wow, if she can do it, maybe I can too." And that to me is a really important part of it.
Work and family balance (01:03:07)
- And that wave of press whenever someone becomes a unicorn is tremendous, right? - Yeah. - And that will reach so, so many young women all over the world and entrepreneurs, your partner, your son, completely other part of your life, Nick and Zane. - Yep, Nick and Zane. - How's that been? You know, you talk about the obsession you've had building class paths. Entrepreneurs always struggle and tend to struggle in managing their romantic relationships in the other part of their life. What advice have you got for me on maintaining a good romantic relationship and family whilst also striving to build big dreams? - Yeah, and I'll be honest, I think we're all always still learning in the process of it, but I think one of the biggest things I learned is, and this goes along with a lot of the advice that I've had with my parents is bringing them along the journey. Nick was with me through so much of it. I mean, when we went to go launch London, I always actually love this story is me, one of my co-founder and one of my sales girls came with me and so did Nick. And we had to go try out about 30 studios in London in about five days. And Nick just went and did some of them too. Like it was amazing, we all just went and worked out. And he was sort of like checking out studios because before we put anything on the platform, we wanted to make sure they were vetted studios. And this was like I said, it was like six, seven years ago. So it wasn't that much, that many reviews on studios. And yeah, like I mean, he would come to Australia with me, come to London with me. And he was just a big part of the process, you know? And I think that's so awesome that we got to live, like he got to live the dream with me. And I think that was a really nice part of it. I think as we've had a kid, we've just had to become very clear on priorities, right? And he's a partner at a law firm. He's one of the youngest partners at his law firm. It's insane what he's been able to accomplish in his career. So we have to just always be very, very communicative on what we both want, right? And setting goals and hey, like what do we want to accomplish this year in terms of our lives, right? The same way I think about it personally, we have to think about it in terms of what our family wants to do, whether it's like school, whether it's traveling, right? What do we want to make sure we both do as a family unit combined with, you know, our jobs and our ambition, you know? And I think it's so important, especially for women to surround themselves with partners and people who will constantly help them stay ambitious in their life because it's one of the hardest things. - What if there's conflict between when you think about what the family wants to do and what Pyle wants to do in terms of your ambitions and then his ambitions with his career? - You have to talk it out and come up with a plan, you know? To me, a plan is the most important thing and sometimes there is conflict but you have to try new things similar to pivoting, right? And iterating like on a company, both people have to be flexible to be like, okay, well, like if this current situation isn't working, we're gonna try something new, right? Okay, like you want this, I want this. What if we try a combination of this for six months? What if we, you just have to be flexible and adaptable? I think the biggest mistake is not doing anything and saying sort of stagnant in a place where someone's uncomfortable or someone's not happy and not helping the other person, right? At the end of the day, Nick being happy in his life is gonna make him the best husband to me, the best dad and me being happy in my life is gonna make me the best mom and best wife to him, right? And we both know that. So it's about saying what does happiness look like to us individually but then us together as a family? Your journey has weaved and up, down, left, right, all of it. It's been a tremendous roller coaster with so many highs and lows and everything in between. You spoke earlier about the importance mentorship has played in your life. Have you ever been to therapy?
Therapy sessions (01:06:53)
Have I ever been to therapy? I did a little bit of therapy actually at the beginning of last year. You know, it was, I had a baby by the way, six weeks before the pandemic. And then like my company came to a hall, it was just a really crazy time. So I had just gone to therapy to just start talking to somebody because I didn't even know how to make sense of so much of where my mental state was. At that point I hadn't seen people, I'd literally been a mom for a year living at home, right? It was just, my life was so different than it would look like pre-pandemic at that point. And so yeah, I have. And I mean, I recommend it to anyone. It's sort of like a fitness instructor who works on your body. You need to work on your mind sometimes and see what your roadblocks are, right? We know them like, oh my God, I feel strong with my left arm. Like how do you get that stronger? We sometimes have blocks like that too. - And it's sometimes, for me it's been like, sometimes there'll be a feeling which I can't, which you just know you're out of orientation or something's not right. I think the pandemic did that to a lot of us, which was destabilized are us in many, many ways. Your journey is phenomenal. It's really, really phenomenal. And you're a really phenomenal person for so many reasons. One of the reasons why is just you're just this, from the minute you walked into this room, you're just this like ray of sunshine. - Oh, thank you. - And that's why I think I asked the question about like therapy and your hard moments in particular because you have just an unbelievable smile and you have such an, I'm like, is this person always this? - This, this, yeah. - You know, but it goes down to, I always believe there's the light, right? Like I think it's the question we started with. It was, I just believe there's like goodness to give and service and purpose. And when I'm not aligned with my purpose, I do feel sad, right? Those were my like hardest moments where, you know, if I didn't care about sharing, you know, my insights and stuff, like I could be, you know, somebody who wasn't happy, but I do things intentionally. And therefore, how can you not be happy doing the things that you love in your life? - So beautiful.
Our last guest’s question (01:09:00)
We have a closing tradition. - Okay. - The previous guest writes a question for the next guest. - Ooh, okay. - And they don't know who they're writing it for. What is one thing you would do if you weren't afraid at all? - You know what's interesting? I'm, I like mentally, I don't have many things that I don't feel like I could solve. So it's like not mental. I probably have more physical things because I'm such a small person. Like I'm 4/11, right? It's like the, it's an interesting thing because I feel more physically fearful of things than I do. Actually, you know what I would do? I would do, I would run a marathon. - Interesting. - And I love running. I just have never run that. - You're afraid? - I'm not, I'm probably not afraid, but potentially I'd have to work through what's holding me back from it. But maybe there is some fear. - I'm gonna pay attention. See if you end up running a marathon. Thank you so much for your time and your wisdom. It's so, you're such a breath of fresh air for so many reasons, but you're a real source of inspiration. What you've accomplished with, with class passes, just astounding. It really is astounding. And you always like humility and openness to share the truth about that, not just in the book, but here today is gonna be liberating for a lot of people. And that the whole, you know, one of the key lessons I come away with, even though I feel like I might have said this if you'd asked me, it's just the unbelievable importance of having and following that voice inside of us, which is there. - I know. - And all the reasons we suppress it 'cause of external, whatever, whatever. But you know, as you, I was sitting there as you were talking, I was thinking, you know what, it's well, the other thing is like, even if you try and do something else, whether it's management, consulting, whatever, you're never actually gonna master it. - Yeah. - It's gonna be a tedious job. - Yeah. - When you ended up mastering the thing that was in line with your passion, and I think that's a really important lesson to everybody who feels like they're in a situation now that might not be in line with that voice inside. - Right. - Thank you. - Be the master of you. - Amen. - Yeah. - You're brilliant. Thank you so much for your time. - Thank you. Thanks for having me, Stephen. - I had a few words to say about one of my sponsors on this podcast. As the seasons have begun to change, so has my diet. And right now, I'm just gonna be completely honest with you. I'm starting to think a lot about slimming down a little bit because over the last couple of, probably the last four or five months, my diet has been pretty bad, and it started to show a little bit. Really over the last two months, I go to the gym about 80% of the time. So I track it with 10 of my friends in a WhatsApp group and this tracker online that we all use together. We call it fitness blockchain. And I'm currently at 81%. So 81% of the days I've done a workout in the last 150 days, right? So I'm going to the gym about six times a week. That's been a little bit impacted by the Derivacy of Live Tour, but I'm trying to stick to it. And so one of the things I'm doing now to reduce my calorie intake and trying to get back to being nutritionally complete and all I eat is I'm having the heel protein shake. Thank you, heel, for making a product that I actually like. The salted caramel is my favorite. I've got the banana one here, which is where the one my girlfriend likes, but for me, salted caramel is the one.