Gary Keller — How to Focus on the One Important Thing | The Tim Ferriss Show | Transcription

Transcription for the video titled "Gary Keller — How to Focus on the One Important Thing | The Tim Ferriss Show".


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Intro (00:00)

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And right now, Tim Varyshale listeners, get to try ShipStation free for 60 days when you use promo code "Tim". It's risk-free. You can start your free trial without even entering your credit card info. Just visit, click on the microphone at the top of the home page, and type in "Tim", T-I-M. That's Enter promo code "Tim". Check it out,, promo code "Tim". This episode is brought to you by Ring. This season can be a whirlwind of deliveries visitors in holiday travel, so it's the best time of the year to upgrade your doorbell and keep an eye on home. No matter where the holidays take you, I'm traveling a ton, and this is key for me. Ring helps you stay connected to your home from anywhere. So if there's a package delivery or a surprise visitor, you'll get an alert and be able to see, hear, and speak to them all from your phone. If you're on the go of the season, whether it's across town or across the country, you can check in anytime for some much-needed holiday peace of mind. I've personally used Ring for years now. It catches and records all the regular stuff, like deliveries and so on, but it's also saved my ass a few times catching weirdos and weird things. Ring is key to my peace of mind. And as a listener of The Tim Ferris Show, that's you. You have a special holiday offer on a Ring Welcome Kit available right now with Ring Video Doorbell 2 and Chime Pro. The Ring Welcome Kit has everything you need to keep an eye on home, no matter what this holiday season brings. With Ring, you're always home. Just go to That's Check it out. Additional terms may apply, and this offer is for US residents only. That is Well hello boys and girls. Ladies and germs, monks and monkfish. Welcome to another episode of The Tim Ferris Show. This is your host. I don't think I've ever said that before. Tim Ferris, and it is my job every episode to attempt, do my best, to deconstruct world-class performers from different fields of all different types, to find out what their routines are, what their self-talk is like, what types of tools they use, and so on and so forth. My guest today is Gary Keller. This is a name that's come up a lot in the last few years in my friend circles, and particularly since moving to Austin. Gary is the co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Keller Williams, also known as KW, the world's largest real estate franchise by Agent Count in 2019. KW, which also ranks number one in units and sales volume in the US, was named by Fast Company, the most innovative company in real estate. In 2015, Keller began driving KW's evolution into a technology company, now focused on building the real estate platform that agents, buyers, and sellers prefer. He's competing. You may note head to head with multi-billion dollar venture-back companies, the difference among many, so I should say one of many differences, is that he's using his own money, which I just love. Keller is also the best-selling author of The One Thing, subtitled the surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results. We talk about this quite a bit in our conversation. The millionaire real estate agent, the millionaire real estate investor, and shift. You can find him on Facebook @GaryKeller, and you can also find his new podcast, which is called Think Like a CEO on all of your podcast platforms. Think Like a CEO, which he hosts with Jay Papazan, is described thusly on Apple Podcasts. Think Like a CEO, we as a narrative of the business and life lessons, including developing business strategies, hiring the right people, developing a culture that truly puts people first. You can find it, as I mentioned, on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you typically find your podcast. Now, without further ado, please enjoy my wide-ranging conversation with Gary Keller. Gary, welcome to the show. Thank you, Tim. Happy to be here. I have heard your name dozens, hundreds, maybe, of times since moving to Austin, and certainly heard the name many times before that, and that that relates to much of your work in the written word, and I think we'll get to that. But I wanted to start with something I came across in doing research for this conversation, and feel free to fact-check, because you don't want to believe everything you read on the internet, of course. But I want to talk about your childhood a little bit, and maybe your later childhood.

Gary'S Journey In Real Estate And Business Decision-Making

That summer Gary shadowed an accountant, a lawyer, a banker, and a realtor (06:30)

It seems like it was the summer before your junior year that your dad had you shadow appointments with a banker, an attorney, and a realtor, and then a lawyer. Yeah, a lawyer. Yeah, you said it right. I counted it to a lawyer and a banker and a realtor. Got it for him. Like talk about that, if you took anything in particular away from that, and also a quote from your dad, which was, or in effect, when he passed on to you, he said that anyone he knew who had any money either made it in real estate or put it in real estate. So could you talk about that period of time and what impact that had on you? Yeah, you know, it's interesting. I thought actually in high school, I thought I was going to be a rock musician, and I gave no thought to college whatsoever. And the summer after I graduated from high school, I came home one night after our band had performed, and my mother and dad, who were both educators, were waiting up for me. A little spooky, right, to turn lights on, and they were my parents in the dark, sitting there in the den. But I just plucked down on the couch, Tim, and I said, you know, I don't think it's going to work out. I'm not that good, and I'm not motivated to practice enough to overcome that I'm not any good. And my parents just looked at me, and I think they knew that, by the way. And both being educators, my dad said, well, we actually applied to a college, and you were accepted if you'd like to go. And I said, really, where? And they said, Baylor University, I went, cool. I'd been there once because I had an older sister who had just started going there. And so that was kind of it. So that's how I got to college. And at the end of my sophomore year, beginning of my junior year, that summer, my dad, he said, you probably should get a major. And I went, OK, I hadn't given you any thought. And I loved to tell a story to the kids when I teach, because I said, maybe you could relate to the fact that I was clueless about everything. And so dad said, well, why don't I set you up to spend some time with some guys? So it was an accountant, a banker, a lawyer, and a realtor. And I liked the realtor, Tim. And I liked it because it was entrepreneurial, it was very people-oriented. He didn't have a tie on. He wasn't in a stuffy, corporate feeling environment. All those sound reasons why you should choose a profession, right? But anyway, that appealed to me. Got back to college thinking real estate, what that guy did was something that was very appealing to me. And Baylor University had just announced they were launching that semester of my junior year, first semester, a real estate degree program. And it was in real estate and insurance. So that's kind of so I signed up. And you know, the rest kind of history. So I got my degree in real estate and came out, interviewed on a couple of places and landed in Austin. Let's talk about, and this is maybe one of those places, New York life for a second, because I would assume, and again, this is a dangerous business, assuming things, but that you are a spectacularly good at selling, or at least persuading, conveying ideas. And my understanding is that you're put through some type of assessment.

Insurance lemons into real estate lemonade (09:57)

Could you? Yeah, what happened? Yeah, that was in college. And my senior year, my degree plan was in the marketing department, and it was real estate and insurance. So you know, the college, they don't teach you much of anything about leaving the college other than teaching you how to interview. So one of the guys that came on campus was with New York life. And I didn't realize, I later discovered that that guy, I thought I was interviewing with New York life, the corporation, but I actually was interviewing with the top New York life sales person in the area. And so anyway, so I went to interview, and they gave me a behavioral profile assessment. And I got a, what felt like a form letter, a couple of weeks later, this said I did match the profile of their successful salespeople. And so I would not be made an offer to join them. And the funny thing is, I was so mad about that, that I chose real estate. I was furious. I mean, you know, I have a degree, right? I have a degree in real estate insurance. I go to interview for my job, and they tell me I'm not, I don't have the job match requirements. It's almost like, right, you got a degree in law or whatever. And then when you got out, the law firms all told you, you're really not a good match to be a lawyer. It was kind of a, it was kind of a, you know, freaked me out a little bit, right? But I, I tended to, to respond pretty strong to that kind of stuff. So I got really mad, and I just interviewed real estate companies. And when did you strike out on your own? How did that, how was that capitalized? Well, that was in 83. So when I got out, when I got to college and interviewed, I interviewed two firms, I chose the one in Austin, Texas, and had been here, I think maybe once or twice before with my family.

The series of events that compelled Gary to strike out on his own (12:02)

But I drove here and interviewed with the firm, liked them, agreed to go to work there, and started literally, you know, launched, launched my, my career, if you will, through, I guess that would be after the end of the, yeah, they'd be in the summer. Yeah. So did that. And by the, I sold, I sold six houses my first 30 days in a city that I'd only been in a couple of times before, because I, I kind of believe in business by the book a little bit. You know, my, my, one of the things that, and I don't know where this came from, Tim, but I had a, well, I had a professor make a profound statement once, and he said, Mr. Keller, he says, people have lived before you. You, you might want to study what they know before you go out and start doing your thing. And that, that, that makes a lot of sense to me, right? So I studied, while I was still in college, I was reading the books and studying how to be a successful realtor. So when I hit the ground, in a, in a city that I knew, you know, maybe two people in, I just did everything by the books, sold six houses, closed five of them, got my picture in the paper. Whoo hoo. What do you mean by the book? In that case? Well, meaning, meaning that, that I went to, I went to the books, I went to the books of the best real estate trainers at that time. I see this by the book, meaning following the playbook of the people at the time who were well respected. It exactly. That's exactly what I did. So I outlined all of that, created a, a plan for myself, and then just executed on the plan. And things will, well, the, the funny thing is, is at the end of my, I guess it was the end of the 11th month of my first full year, calendar year, my manager came in and said, you're going to be the rookie of the year, you know, you're, you're 22 years old. This is, yeah, I'm not 23. This is amazing. It's awesome. And I went, nah, I'm out of here. Since you, what do you mean? I'm saying, well, I hit all my goals. I made the amount of money that I wanted to make, bought a condo, got a dog, got a new car, got some sort of when they get tower speakers that were like four feet tall. And, you know, and so I'm done. I'm going to take a month off. So I, I left anyway, came back and I discovered that I was really a kind of a closet trainer, meaning that I was over there helping people. And I've been in the business a year and a half. I'm helping people. And I think I just came by that naturally temp. So long story short, I ended up applying for a management position in the largest firm in the city at the time. And the owner said, I am not going to hire you. Why not? Well, once again, I'm getting rejected, right? He said, no one liked me. And, and, you know, the truth is, is, is that's probably correct. But, but here's what I said doing. And I remember it as clear as day. I said, I understand that. But I come into the office and the receptionist is doing reneals. And I have, I have clients coming in. And silly me, I thought the environment was supposed to, you know, support my goals. So I ask her to put it away. And she gets mad at me. And then I go around the corner and they're agents and they've got all their smelly food out and it's a mess. And it's right by the reception area. And I ask them to clean it up or, you know, put it away or something. Because silly me, I thought the environment was supposed to support me. And they don't like me doing that. But I said, if you hire me, they'll like me. And we'll all make more money. And he said, I'm not hiring you. And I don't know where, and I don't know where this came from. You know, it's, you know, but somewhere deep inside that was offensive to me. And so I said, well, give me a test if I pass it, you have to hire me. And I don't think everyone ever talked to this multimillionaire, you know, businessman. And so he actually got a sheet of paper out. He wrote down the things that I need to accomplish, handed it to me and said, go do it. And I had no training in what he'd asked me to do. And I had no support, right? I wasn't getting paid for it. I was just entrepreneurially going to go out and achieve this list to get a job. Well, I think he blew me off and forgot about it. I don't know. Well, but some of the things on the list. Well, it was things like go recruit people to the firm. Right. But here I am a salesperson with no training in that, right? And then the other one was teach, and we'll see what your ratings will be like. It was just a series of hurdles that I was told to go do. And I did. My first recruit was actually out of a bookstore. I was in the B. Dalton bookstore. And I saw a woman that was looking at the real estate section. And I went over and said, can I help you? And she goes, no. And I was taken back, right? I said, I'm so sorry. And I walked away. And a little while later, she came over to me and she said, hey, you know, I want to apologize. I thought you were trying to pick me up or something. And I said, well, because I'm a smart aleck, Tim. I said, well, the thought crossed my mind. But I said, no, I said, actually, I have a degree in real estate. I sell real estate. And I love learning. And I've literally read or browsed almost every book on these shelves regarding real estate. So I thought I could just help you. And she said, well, I'm thinking about getting in real estate. And so that was one of the things on my list. I had to go accomplish, right? So check that off the box. And it's really cool when we later started our firm. She was one of the first 20 agents to come join us. But so that was it. So that what essentially, I did did that for about a year and a half to two years. Well, it was it was easily two years now I think about it. And they they the company did something that it didn't like and I went into resign. Because the owner had promised me when he hired me, he sent me to the go pastures outside of Austin. They call it round rock now, but it was go pasture. And he didn't give me where all the growth was going because he'd already hired a manager for that. He said, well, turns out that he hired three managers and none of them could ever launch that office. And he just had to eat the lease for three years before he could get out of it. Me on the other hand, went up to round rock Georgetown and built a business that's still there today, hugely successful. But he then he then did something that created a problem in my office. So I went in that I went in one morning at like six 30 and said, like, I quit. I said, I'm going to go back. I'm going to build it back after you tore it down. And I'm out of here. Now the tables reversed, though, Tim. And this owner says, well, what would it take to keep you? And I just thought that was, wow, full circle, if you will, right? No one likes you. I'm not hiring you to what will it take to keep you? So I wrote a number on a sheet of paper and it was the largest son that he'd ever guaranteed anybody. And he agreed. He said, okay, how did you come up with the number? Did you already have it in your mind before you walked into the office? No, I went to quit. I was I didn't know. And this is all back to what was the starting of Keller Williams. I had no plans, Tim. I just, you know, I'm not going to be talked to that way. I'm not going to be treated this way. I'm not going to build something. And then you because you're the you're the boss that you can just tear it down and do that. And so I was I was leaving. No, I just wrote a big I just wrote a big six figure number that I knew he wouldn't pay. Or I thought he wouldn't pay. And then of course he paid, right? So I went out and launched that business for him. Can you say and if you can't, I understand, but can you say what he did that was so disruptive or damaging to your office? Yeah, it's real simple. And this is all leading up to your question of how do we start Keller Williams? Yeah, no rush. Yeah. So what happened was he had a policy and guideline manual and the policy and guideline manual for all his offices in three cities had a clause in it that said that if the company changes the policy, you have 48 hours to give notice that you don't agree with policy. Otherwise you're now under the policy. And so on Christmas Eve, he went to all his offices and changed a policy about how people got paid. Oh, that is a terrible, terrible move. It was. It was. And in fact, the policy had to do with what happens when people leave, which I thought was really interesting. Anyway, so I had built this highly successful business with literally no, no new people. These were all really seasoned vets, great people, and they weren't going to take this. So they left. And literally it destroyed, it what he did destroyed the office. And so I went to him and said, okay, I quit. I'll go back and put it back the way it was. But when I get it there, I'm out of here. And that's when he said, well, well, it take to keep you. And I wrote a number down and he said, okay, I'm going to put you in charge of VPN charge of expanding the company. And your first job is to go back and rebuild that business. We're all way back and rebuild it. And then I got sent to another location in Austin down south. And about, I would say maybe a month and a half into that, at most. He called me up out of the blue and wanted to know what I'd done for him. Now, I understand that my office was in an office building in south Austin. And I was in the broom closet. And I know it was the broom closet because there were brooms in it. And it did have a window, however, and they gave me a folding table for my desk, a folding table for as a credenza, if you will. And then they gave me two folding chairs and a flip chart and a phone and said, go build another company. Well, I did. And had I stayed, this was in 1983, had I stayed, he owed me a huge bonus. But it was never about the money. So I, in the end, and so I just quit. And I didn't know what I was going to do. That's the thing. I really didn't know. I just knew that I wasn't going to work for someone who talked to people that way. And the other thing that was going on in his firm, were there were men and women who had been with him a long, long time. And he had promised them compensation in the form of stock or profit centrist. And what was happening was now he was taking all that back. He was undoing all of that and trying to pull everything back into himself. And I saw the writing on the wall because I'm looking up going, well, what's my future with a guy like that? And I, in other words, I too could work for 20 years for a guy like that and then having pulled the rug out and not have anything. That's the way I internalized that. So I quit. And my wife at the time, I had been married now for approximately a year and a half. And my wife became his assistant. And she was already in the firm. And she'd actually had been an administrative assistant in the firm. And so he recruited her to come more directly for him. So I, the company, sorry, sorry, he called me and treated me that way. I went in the next day and quit. And this time I didn't name a price. I just said I'm done. And I gave him all the names of all the people I had recruited and all the info I had on them. And it was, I think, approximately, it was 14 people. And they were all terrific, terrific, real estate, aged prospects. And I just gave him the list. If I had just stayed a little longer, he owed me a huge bonus check. But I, but I didn't care about it. And I walked out. And there was a gentleman that was in the commercial area of that company called Joe Williams. And I approached Joe and I said, well, we formed two companies, a former residential, you form commercial, we'll each own, you know, 50% of each. And we'll go build this. And the commercial company never took off. But, but the residential side took off immediately. And never lost money. We had borrowed $44,000 to launch the business. We paid that back in a little over a year. And to this day, we have no operational debt on the company. I've never borrowed or money. And I've never taken any outside money to build a color Williams. We all did it by internal cash flow. And no, is there aside from having the cash flow to do that, since a lot of people in many industries will leverage and borrow? What were the main reasons, if there were others, aside from just having plentiful cash flow, for not taking on debt to try to grow faster?

An initial $44,000 loan and a commitment to never borrow again (25:07)

Man, that's a wonderful question. You know, I'll cheat and I'll give you a quote from Robert Kiyosaki, which is assets feed me liabilities eat me. And that mantra kind of plays in my head a little bit that if you have to borrow money, it means you can't afford what you're fixing to buy. And even though that's, by the way, that's not true, right? It's not true. I definitely have you, I use debt to buy real estate when it makes sense. I use debt when it makes sense to buy a business. So I'm not the no debt guy, but I do come from a position of I want to be smart with money such that money doesn't leave me. And and that's a way to do that. So other than that, the reality is, is that it didn't take a lot of money to build a real estate business because real estate's one of the few careers where you can come in as a job. And then as you generate more income, you just get rid of you start shedding the jobs. And it naturally leads to a business with employed people. I don't know if that makes sense, but you could literally leverage your way all the way from being a salesperson to owning a business. I contrast that to like the the people that do the maintenance in this building. There's no natural path from being a being the maintenance crew on a building to owning the building. It's not it's not a natural path. It doesn't lead to that. But in real estate, it actually does. You can literally you do all the jobs from day one. And as you lever up and bring in other people, so you ultimately get rid of all the jobs. So maybe that helps explain why actually didn't need the capital. I didn't need it because I was I was organically growing and generating more cash for them. And my understanding is that, and you can correct me if I'm off on the timeline for this, but two or so years later, KW, right? Keller Williams is the largest office in Austin.

How KW became the largest real estate office in Austin in 2 years (27:20)

And as you mentioned, you don't necessarily need a lot of cash to get started or to enter the game of real estate. So it's a very competitive, it's a very competitive industry. Yes, it is. To what do you attribute your ability to not not only become the largest office, and obviously that's expanded to nationwide and worldwide. But in that first two years, let's just say, to what do you attribute your ability to stand out and grow so effectively? Well, I understood value. So what I understood was is that the real estate agent has the has the relationship with the client and the real estate brokerage company has a relationship with the agent. And I understood exactly what the value proposition needed to be to attract and retain really terrific people. So I understood that. And the way I like to say it is, Keller Williams was my third business, if you think about it, because I'd already launched two businesses for my former boss. So you'd been learning on someone else's dime, so to speak. Yes, absolutely. And the best way to learn, right? So I had intimate knowledge with the financials and what it cost. And I understood how much revenue I had to generate in order to cross the hurdle into positive cash flow. And so I just knew it. So I set the business up that way. I kind of play a game that I call red light green light. And meaning that if I'm doing well, then green light keep keep going that direction. If something happens, I don't keep hitting the green light, right? If something happens that should cause me to pause in any way, particularly from a financial standpoint, then I'm going to hit red light fast. And I'm going to back up and ask the question, what do I need to do? What did I do wrong? Whatever what happened. So the the building of a real estate company, you can generate all the cash flow you need to do that. Even in these times right now of, you know, I have competitors who have raised over a billion dollars and are just spending the money like crazy in the real estate space. But what I understand is it doesn't take all that money to do that. It takes smart money more than it takes a lot of money. Oh, for sure. I mean, there's no, certainly no lack of examples of companies that have pissed away hundreds of millions of dollars or more. I'd love to hear an example if you could give one of a time when you saw the red light or hit the red light and then how you did a post game analysis. Well, probably the biggest red light that I had to hit early on was the commercial side red light.

Playing "red light, green light” to make financial decisions (30:13)

And it because it never made a profit. And we would literally just take the money that I was earning from the company. I started and hand it to the other company that was being run by my partner. And he's a good guy, he's a great guy, Joe Williams, just salt to the earth, just a wonderful human being. But it was losing money. And I hit the red light immediately and said, I'm not going to give you any more money. And his response was, well, how am I going to pay the bills? And my response was exactly, exactly. How are you going to pay your bills? And then he voluntarily shut the company down within a few months. How did that conversation, if you don't mind me, I apologize for the interruptions, but I'm very interested. How did that, how was that dissolution or separation handled?

A tough decision (31:12)

This is a very common situation among co-founders. It happens all the time. Were there any particular things that you feel that you guys did right or that you did right in handling that? Were there things that you would have done differently in retrospect? Actually, between he and I know, it was a natural thing. We didn't have an agreement that said that we had to take one pot of money and give it to the other pot. And it was amicable. I mean, there was no, I would say that I don't think that Joe and I ever had a crossword. I think that it's a testimony to him. He's just a stand up guy. But on the other hand, I'm not going to keep putting good money into a bad situation that you can see doesn't have a plan that it can execute successfully on. So it was really that simple. They were separate businesses and I wasn't obligated to give the money. So I just stopped. I hit the red light and I just stopped. And so that's kind of, you know, I would say if you want to ask the question of what if you learned over time, not what did you learn from that, was that your agreements between you and your partners, I call them disagreements. Because the only time you're going to read it is when you disagree.

Gary prefers business disagreements to agreements (32:29)

So true. Yeah. Right. Yeah. And that really informs the way you look at a document when you call it a disagreement. Because it's there to it should be there to deal with it when you deal with things, when you disagree. Otherwise, if you agree, you never read the document. You never go back to it. Yeah, that's genius. Yeah, that's a great way to reframe it. Well, in the biggest issue, I find the biggest issues are who has control? Who's the decision-maker? Can that decision-maker be relieved from that if you have to? How are you going to handle cash flow? If there's profit, are you going to distribute it monthly, quarterly, annually, never? What are you going to do? And then the other one is the dissolution. And that is what happens if this isn't working out and one of you needs to buy the other one out. One of the things that happened to me was so we ended up forming this firm. And in February of '84, and I'd now been married less than three years, the company was just a little over one year old. And my wife at that time said she didn't love me and she'd never loved me. And we headed to divorce. And they started out at a million dollar valuation on a one year old company that if you took me out of it, would be worthless. And I ended up negotiating my divorce with my former boss. So if you want to read between the lines and think about that, you're welcome to do so. I turned to my attorney and said, "Why am I taking the deposition of that guy?" My attorney just looked at me and says, "Well, time will reveal all." And it did, by the way. But the agreement to break up, right, if someone passes away or if someone wants to sell, to me, that becomes one of the biggest clauses in those agreements. And candidly, you'd be really, really smart at this because this is where people go, "Oh, we get along. We're good friends," or whatever. We're going to found a company together and they look up later and they realize that they don't have a disagreement. They basically have an agreement. This is so important. Yeah. Yeah, they don't have it. They have no means of reconciliation. They have no means of partying without bankrupting the other business. So what happened to me was, when I got to the divorce, I had a buy sale agreement, by the way. And it would have meant that I could have gone into my bank account and written the check for what I owed under the buy sale agreement. Can you do fine for people who don't know what that means of buy sale agreement? Mm-hmm. Sure. This simply means that if I'm one of the partners and I want out, what happens?

What is a buy-sell agreement? (35:26)

Does the document address that at all? Can I sell this talk to anybody? Does the company have to buy it? If the company has to buy it or wants to buy it, what are the terms of that? Or are there no terms and it's just strictly a cash deal? What happened? Does that make sense? Yeah. Okay. That's basically a buy sale. It's a pre-arranged way that things are going to go if you decide to part company for any reason or you need to part company for any reason. Well, I had one, Tim. But the judge in the case says, "Well, okay, I see you have a buy sale agreement. Who represented you, Mr. Keller?" And I said, "My attorney standing here."

The importance of separate counsel for partnerships (36:08)

He said, "Who represented her?" And I said, "My attorney standing here." And they threw it out. Because we had used the same attorney. Good attorney and he hadn't cheated anybody. It was a fair buy sale agreement. But they threw it out. Yeah. I want to underscore a couple of really, really important things that you're saying. So number one is whether it's, I mean, particularly, I would say in personal relationships like a marriage, how critical it is to have separate counsel for a million and one reasons. And then also, a pattern that's come up in a lot of these interviews, which is from the outside looking in many interviewees who are viewed as risk takers are actually experts in capping the downside. That's right. And are very good at thinking through the worst case scenarios and setting plans, if then plans for the divorce proceedings or the escape plan, so to speak. If those worst case scenarios come to pass. That's exactly right. The very first thing I look at in every contract that gets said to me, especially if there's some type of personal guarantee or an involved person, is the termination clause. Not because I want to weasel out of something. Not because I want to plan for failure. It's for all the reasons that you just mentioned. If you don't have a plan for the disagreement, which it's such a smart refram, you're dead in the water because the when you're going to need that document is when you do not see eye to eye or have a problem. So let me tell you a funny story or I don't know how funny it is. But so I after that divorce, I met the love of my life, Mary, and we've been married for 32 years.

Power of attorney and a hard-won family lesson (38:13)

And her father, when he was alive, her mother had passed away from cancer many, many years ago. And her father was now getting remarried. And I now, having lived this, Tim, I turned to my father and said, I'm getting you a lawyer. And your fiance needs to get a lawyer. And they need to be separate. And there needs to be essentially a pre-nuptial contract, which is very closely related to the bycel. Basically, it's a disillusion agreement. So they did. They each got separate attorneys and they did this pre-nuptial. Well, fast forward to the last year of my father-in-law's life, where he was beginning to get dementia. And he then passes away. And within a few days after him passing away, we get an envelope that in it is a handwritten, I give all my money to my wife. I give all of my liquid assets to my wife. And it has his signature. Now, at the time, we didn't know that he actually had been diagnosed with dementia. We were unaware of that. And he had actually said, just a month or so before he died, he said, watch her. She's going to try to take everything. And it happened. And the weird thing is that for that little sheet of paper, she took a gentleman who was suffering from dementia. And she took it to her lawyer, the same one that had drawn up her side of the pre-nuptial. And of course, we hired a good law firm that took about five minutes to the law firm had to recuse themselves. And then to basically explain that we would drag this out forever because the man had dementia. And it was documented. We went back and checked and it was documented. But the spouse had never told the kids any of that. So my little lesson turned around and paid huge dividends for my father-in-law and his estate because they could not pierce it. Yep, that's a great example. And it's very important, very close friend of mine. One of his uncles has dementia, very well documented. And he's suing other members of the family. And there are all sorts of headache and heartache, as you might imagine. And it's very, it's really important for yourself. And we're going to come back to your story in a second. But broadly speaking, to determine who will make decisions, who can make decisions for someone else if they are incapacitated or dead or diagnosed with something like dementia. And I recently helped a friend who did not have any of this in place to figure out a way. Thankfully, her parent is lucid, does not have dementia. They just didn't have the cash to set this up beforehand. But to talk about things like power of attorney documents, when things are reasonably stable so that people can make decisions for someone else, when the time comes and lawyers say or hospital say, show us the documents, you want to have those beforehand. So I'd like to come back to... So one statement about that. And then just one of the lessons that I've learned, Tim, is that money won't change you, but it will reveal you. And when people have an opportunity to have a financial windfall, their character is getting ready to be revealed. Yes. Completely consistent with my observations as well. And having a document, whether it be with helping loved ones protect themselves or in business, it actually is... It's really important. People have asked me over the years about Keller Williamson. And what's important about it. And I always give the same answer. And that is, our most important asset is our franchise document, which is a massive disagreement. So let's actually... I'm going to feed to my earlier pivot and talk about that for a second, because I want to spend a good amount of time talking about focus, because you are famous for your ability to focus.

Redefining franchising and a Dairy Queen mistake (43:02)

But before we get to that, you're talking about this franchise document. And I know very little about real estate, but a friend of mine, when I was doing prep for this, said that you redefined franchising through regional ownership. And then he went on to say how the company has made more money here on yours since they started in '85. I think at one point, it was like 40% per year for a decade or something. I mean, really incredible growth. But could you talk about... So you have the franchise document. You also innovated in terms of model, as I understand it. What does redefined franchising through regional ownership mean? When it's accurate. So you actually asked a couple of questions. I know that. It's my tendency. No, no, no. I just want to... So let's talk about that regional. So when we as a company, we're ready to go out of state, if you will. We began to study how others had done it. And we discovered that in the real estate industry and in other industries as well, that at the time they did what's called master franchises. So franchising remembers just another financial vehicle, right? If you don't have the money, franchise, and ask other people to come in and front the cost that it would have been had you employed them. So that's one of the ways you keep from having to borrow money, understand is you could use franchising and essentially use other people's money. I had actually expanded into four cities. And all of them did great as long as I showed up. And then when I didn't show up, they all started failing. So I took a year off in '89. And one of the things... And began to document the business. And because there's an incredible story about the McDonald's brothers and behind the Golden Arches that really just changed my world. And one of them was around franchising. And the other one was about building a successful model. And the franchising part was that we looked into it. And we discovered that the way that franchising had been done was flawed. And that was called the master franchise approach. So Dairy Queen was a perfect example. So Dairy Queen at one time was like the kick butt take name, fast food place in America. And what they had done is they had sold the rights for the franchises, what you would call the regional franchises, to then be the franchisor of the franchisees. So the parent company wasn't... All it was franchising was these regional businesses to then go and they would sell franchises and they would support the franchisees. Okay. Just to restate so I understand. So you might have arbitrarily, let's just say, cut the country into four quadrants, you have four regional people. Those are your only kind of direct reports who pay you. And then they have a down line of sorts where they then go. But you're only interacting with those. You only have agreements with those four regional franchisees who then become franchisors, meaning they're granting these licenses to other people. That's right. And it's called sub franchising. And so I read the Dairy Queen story because when McDonald's came out with their playground, that was actually an amazing value hack. They realized that if they could get the kids wanting to come to McDonald's, the parents would take them. And there's a playground. So there was a famous meeting where these master franchisors, if you will, the sub franchisor met. And I don't know how many there were in it, but they met and they decided that they didn't want to do the playgrounds. This is for Dairy Queen or for Dairy Queen? So McDonald's was doing it and really making inroads fast. And so Dairy Queen calls a meeting and says, "Hey, our franchisees need to be putting in playgrounds." And the sub franchisors, the regional people said, "No, not going to do it." And by the way, that was the beginning of Dairy Queen sliding into a much smaller company than they could have been. And they never really recovered from that. So I read that. And my plan then was, I'm not going to repeat that. So we did what's called a regional representative agreement. So the financial opportunity is the same. So we have 31 regions in the US and Canada. And those are owned by individuals, but they're not sub franchisors. They are simply representatives. So they have the same job description of a sub franchise. They have the same financial opportunity of a sub franchise. They don't have the authority. And I would imagine the franchise document that you have prevents the type of log jam, if you were to say, "We want to install playgrounds." In your offices, metaphorically speaking, in those 31, the home office has the ability to insist, let's say, on certain types of things that they wouldn't run into the same type of Dairy Queen problem. We have, that's right. Without having to go into the weeds on documents, you said that very well. The document lays out the rights of the franchise or. And the reason is because if a right isn't acknowledged in that document, the judge will automatically give it to the franchisee. If it's an unstated right, then the courts will take it away. So if it's not explicitly assigned to you, KW, the franchise, or it will be in a vacuum of mention in the document automatically assigned to the franchisee. Every time. So when people read a franchise document, if they don't say, "Heck, no, I'm not signing this," it's an intelligence test. That should be your first reaction. What I explained to them is that this is a disagreement and that the odds are pretty strong that anything we don't address here as my rights become your rights by default. So this is going to read like the most one-sided agreement you've ever seen. But I just want you to realize that anything that isn't covered in this document automatically goes to you and you are the decider. So that was the regional side of that story. The other side of the McDonald's behind the Golden Arches that just really profoundly impacted me was the story of the French fries. Do you know that story?

Time Management And The Power Of Focusing

The McDonald’s French fry story (50:27)

I don't know if I know the story. I watched the movie with Birdman. I'm blanking on the actor's name, Beetlejuice. Somebody will Michael Keaton. But I don't have any background beyond that. So this is a great story. It hit me like a ton of bricks when I read it. I'm just going to paraphrase and tell it to you as if it's a bedtime story. This guy, Ray Crock, this is Keller all the way. Ray Crock, he hears about these McDonald's brothers and people line up around the block to get their food. He's a salesman. So he wants to go down and meet with them and understand their secrets. So you can go back and take it to his customers so that they could order more Dixie cups and whatever he was selling them. He got down there and was enamored with them and asked could he franchise? It was a tough negotiation. The ultimately allowing, he goes back to Illinois. He builds out the stuff that he needs to build out in order to be able to deliver stores that sell food exactly like the McDonald's brothers. The challenge was the French fries didn't taste right. So he calls the McDonald's brothers and says tell me what we did wrong or whatever. Nobody could figure it out. McDonald's did and I love this phrase. They suspended their need to understand. They went all the way back to where they bought the potato and they documented, they tracked and documented all the steps from the field to the table and they discovered one, they discovered something. That is the McDonald brothers had not invented a way to cook a french fry. They had stumbled on a way to cure a potato. What was happening, the step that the McDonald's brothers never told Ray Crock was that when they got the potatoes, they put them in open air burlap sacks and the climate where the McDonald's operated when you put potatoes in an open air burlap sack in that temperature, the potato cures. Amazing. Then oh by the way, you can cook it any way you want. It tastes great. By the way, so just into the story, Ray Crock went back to Illinois. He duplicated the curing process in the rest of his history. That's incredible. This then brings us back to the year off in '89. I have a bunch of questions about that. So '89, paint a picture for how the business is doing because I'm sure a lot of people are thinking to themselves, "Man, I'd love to take a year off.

Time off that led to “the most valuable asset of the company” (53:15)

My business is hectic. How in the hell did carry taking a year off in '89? How did you decide to do that? Was there a straw that broke the camel's back and then practically speaking? How did you do it?" Let's keep me on track here. I want to go back and I want to build to the moment of '89 so you'll understand what happened. We launched in the last quarter of '83. I end up in February of '84 becoming, going through a divorce. Now I am in debt because I didn't have the cash, I decided to note. Then I had to take an insurance policy in case I died. My former spouse got paid. Then within a year, Joe Williams came in and said he has to sell his shares in the residential company. We'd already shut the other one down, commercial down, but he needed to sell his shares because he bought a lot of real estate. This is now '87. This is '88. The markets are crashing and he doesn't want to go bankrupt. He didn't, to his credit, he did not, just a stand-up guy. But he came to me and said, "How did he sell the shares?" All of a sudden, I didn't have the cash, so I had to sign a note to the banks, take out another insurance policy. Essentially, whether I live or die, everyone's going to get their money. That makes sense? It makes sense. The way I kind of describe it, particularly when I'm talking to kids, is that it was like I'd been going through life hopping seven feet and fell in a 10-foot hole. That right there has become the central theme of my life since that happened because I'd been going through life and competing as a business person in a sort of organic progressive way. In other words, it's the next thing I should do, so I do there. I go there. But I wasn't on an exponential path. In other words, I wasn't running my business out of a business plan that would deliver exponential growth. I was living off of an organic plan. I looked down and I realized, "Oh my gosh, it's going to take me 10 years under this current earnings path I'm on, maybe sooner, but not much before I'm debt-free." That depressed the heck out of me. I got really creative. Then one last thing happened. Then one of my competitors, with a REMAX office, set up, shot down the street, and they were a lot less expensive than what we did. I had five of my top 10 producers leave the firm. I had grown to over 70 associates. The economy going down took me to 38 associates. We were still profitable, nicely profitable. Then I lost five of the top 10. Now I'm at 33 associates. Then they came back and they got my bookkeeper, my receptionist, and my relocation coordinator. That sounds like a really hard 12 to 18 months period. Absolutely. Now I just want to set the stage for 89. Now what's happened is, I'm indebted to my eyeballs. The market is crashing. My competitors are taking my people. I'm literally sitting at the desk with no one to run the business other than me. I'm in desperate need of a plan that would actually help me hop higher. I created that plan. One year later, we were the largest real estate company in Austin. The next year, we sold more real estate than anyone. The next year, after that, I paid everybody off in cash. I was 31 years old. Towards the end of 31, by the way, I paid everyone off in cash. I was debt-free. I was the number one real estate company in my city. That plan was the plan you drafted during your year off. Is that right? No. No, it's a separate issue. It's a separate issue. The plan is what ultimately created a model that I could go teach other people and I could franchise that model. Let's go to 80, 88, 87, 88. I go around the state of Texas and I'm showing how I'm doing business. People are buying, at that time, license agreements because I wasn't franchising at the time. They bought license agreements. The agreements said, "If I ever franchised, you have to become a franchisee or have the right to buy your business." What is it? Could you clarify what the difference is? Licensing, they're paying a percentage just to use your name. You're licensing to use your name and systems but you don't really have any control or influence with the license versus franchising. I was using a simple license agreement. Well, I was literally traveling four days a week. If it was Monday, I'm in San Antonio. If I'm in Houston, it's Tuesday. I was living my life that way. All the businesses that we launched were successful and profitable. Me, I'm thinking, "I'm a genius, so I come home." Then they all fail. What I did was, I did two things. Number one is I hired an individual. That individual, now we're getting to 89. I then take that year off, if you will. I'm not franchising, I'm not licensing, I'm not doing anything. I've hired a manager to run my Austin operation. I have the freedom. I hired a gentleman and gave him a video recorder, an audio recorder, no book and pen, and a camera. I said, "I want you to follow me around, and I'm going to go launch another office. I want you to document every little thing that I do." That is brilliant. No, that's the French Fry story. I read the French Fry story about that time. Then I said, "Okay, the number one thing I'm going to do is I'm going to do that." The second thing I'm going to do is, I'm going to create an operating set of manuals that absolutely show how to launch it, how to run it. The second thing I did was, I discovered a list of the top 10 franchise attorneys in the country. I started interviewing. I ended up hiring this amazing individual out of Dallas. She was her who said, "You do not want to master a franchise. You want to use a regional representative approach." Just to clarify, at the time, were you interviewing them to potentially be your attorney or are you interviewing them and paying them for their time as part of your research? I hired them to help me build a franchise document, the lawyer. Then she came back and said, "You don't want to do what the others do." The way we built our document was, we wouldn't got our hands on our competitors' documents, and we got our hands on McDonald's document. Then we took them by sections. I think it was like 19 manuals. Each manual had how each of these franchise owners dealt with issue number one. The next manual was how they dealt with issue number two. The third manual was how they all dealt. I now can pick up manual one, and I can see how all these franchise owners have dealt with that issue in their document. With Joyce's guidance, we went through and made decisions chapter by chapter, if you will, on how we wanted to build our franchise, if that makes sense. That makes sense. By the way, at the end of '89, by the way, I did spend all my money. I just want to be clear with that hiring. That attorney said that she gave me a bid to build that document. At $100,000, she couldn't be billing me. That's how expensive the document was. It was a serious document. Then I take this document and I take it now. That's for one second. You're saying $100,000. How much money do you think that document has saved you, excluding the headache and heartache? I will assure you it is the most valuable asset of the company. It hands down. It's the most valuable asset. There's not even a close second. It is the key asset. So now I take these manuals and I take the franchise document and go back to Houston. I meet this lovely individual who sadly just passed away last year. This is 1989. And so I go back, sign her up, I give her a two-week training program, and then I leave. And I hold my breath and go, "Come on, sevens." I'm holding my breath because I'm not coming back. I can't scale this thing if I have to go do it. I can only scale it if others can follow the model. She did real well. That is a hugely successful business today. In fact, it's funny that she had told her son that I had basically saved her life. When my son was real little, Mary, my wife, and our son were in a grocery store here in Austin. In this franchise, he happened to be here visiting her sister, and they ran into her grocery store. My wife tells me that she got down on her knees to stare at my little boy and proceeded to tell him that he couldn't comprehend a word she was saying. How what I did had changed her life. So anyway, so that's the story of '89. The story of '89 was I took a year off and I reinvented how I did business. And I basically created the platform, if you want to call it that, for building a nationwide real estate franchise. What a story. Thank you for telling that. I want to talk about the flip chart that you mentioned at the beginning of the conversation when you were in the broom closet.

Why does Gary still use a paper calendar and a pencil? (01:04:17)

KW is very heavily investing in technology. In many respects, becoming a technology company. Yet my understanding is you still use a paper, monthly glance calendar at a pencil. What is the story behind that? I believe that, and I didn't always believe this, right? You learn as you go, and if you learn, you grow. And I'm having trouble visualizing my life. And I get this monthly glance. And instantaneously, I can see where all my energy this month is going. I can see how I'm investing my life. And so I begin this practice back in my 20s of using this month at a glance. And I can see everything at one time, right? And I use an eraser because if you erase, you must replace. So I go through the month and I kind of mark what I think I should be doing on these days in order to hit my personal and professional and financial goals. And I'm happy to erase if I need to. But by doing it this way, if it was important to do it, it can't disappear. I have to move it someplace else in my calendar. So it's really a simple idea that I really struggle with the idea of doing planning off of a technology-based day timer. For that reason only. I'll tell you a funny story. There's a guy by the name of Larry Bragg, and he was the elite singer for Tower Power. And I didn't know him personally, but I was coming back from Vegas on a trip. And I'd gone to the Southwest Airlines, you know, gate early. And there was only one guy in front of me. And I recognized him as the lead singer of Tower Power. And then I looked down and he had a brief case and it had a tag that said Tower Power on it. And I went, "Okay, I'm pretty sure this is Larry, right?" So I say, "Excuse me." And I just introduced myself and we had a great talk because I just seen them perform a year earlier in Austin. And so we had a great conversation. Somehow we turned to Kenny Logins was coming to Austin to a concert and in a venue that we love and support. And Larry, so I came out and Larry used to head sung with Kenny Logins. And loved him. And he said, "Man, I'd like to catch that show. My family's still there." And I said, "Wait, I can get you in." He said, "Well, what date is that?" And I knew the date off the top of my head. And I said it. And then he pulls out his electronic calendar and starts going through it. And I went, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, hold it. You've gone to the dark side?" And he's laughing. He's going, "What do you mean?" I said, "Okay, let's have a gunfight at the okay corral. You put your phone back down and I'll let my calendar out here." And when I say go, and I'll go one, two, three, go, when I say go, we both reach for our guns and see who's the first one who can shoot. They just looked at me and I said, "Let's do it. Let's see what happens." So he says, "Okay." So I go one, two, three, go. I just pick up my calendar, pull it open and go. There it is. And he's still trying to get into his phone. And then I said, "Oh, by the way, I can tell you what I'm doing tomorrow. Through a clock, I can tell you what I'm doing two weeks from now. I can tell you what I did last week. And I'm just peppering him with my vision for my life." And he's still fumbling trying to get to the to see if he could even go to the concert, which he did, by the way. And it was awesome. And he and Kenny hung out afterwards. Where does your month at a glance calendar live? Is it something that's... Is it right in front of me? Is it on your wall in your office? Is it... No, no, I carry it with me. I carry it with me at all times, everywhere. It never leaves my side, actually. It's in my backpack. But I created kind of a daily worksheet. So as the day is going on, I don't actually need my calendar per se, right? Because I'm working off of that. But the second that I need to do planning, I got to get back to a month. I have to see the month. And I can flip easily and look at the other months, right? And for me, when I'm planning out time off and vacations and other things, it really helps for me to see the spacing of my life, to see the things that I'm doing that give me energy, to see the things that take energy away from me, so that I can always be fine-tuning my life quickly at a glance. So anyway, it's a really good way to do it. It does fly in the face of the way that other people look at time and using electronics or digital time management systems. But I just can't get rid of it because it makes me so aware of my life. I think that's really important to underscore. It's not just about the efficiency and speed. It's about the awareness that it cultivates. Well, it's actually all. The speed was just a funny joke that happened. But it really is more about my ability to see everything at a glance. And it's easy for me then to see how many times in the last 30 days or looking forward to the next 30 days, I have planned back in the day to go to lunch with my son. I can actually see it. I can add it up and show you quickly at a glance. I can say, "Well, we did that three times last month. This month looks like we have a plan for five. For me personally, it gives me great vision, if you will. And so I can manage my energy. And I can always make sure that I have enough time set aside for the things that really matter. And I can see that better at a glance when I'm looking at a bigger picture. And that's the value. That's the only value." Let's talk a little bit about spacing. Two things you mentioned, spacing and energy. I don't know if you still think about treating your time like going to the movies. This is something I came across, which I thought was very helpful as a comparison.

A movie analogy for blocking time to get things done (01:11:03)

Could you speak to what you mean by that? Oh, well, that one is about time blocking. I'll just speak for myself. It is very hard to have a perfect day every day. And as the research will tell you that willpower is on will call. You don't have a steady stream of willpower. When you wake up in the morning, and it doesn't matter what time. And if you got up at six, if you got up at noon, when you wake up, these are your power hours. And I used to tell people, "Look, the goal is to have a great day by noon." In other words, get everything that matters that is important to you. Get it done. Don't put it off. Get it done. And then let the events of the morning drive your afternoon. And so time blocking is just this idea of you pre-planning your time. Because if you needed to exercise, then that's what you want to do. You're going to have to find the time to do it. And then you're going to have to block that out. The movie analogy was this idea that you don't really need to time a lot more than two or three hours a day around your core activity for your business, whatever that is. You're not equally effective all day long. So what you want to do is you want to find that you want to make sure that the world doesn't infringe on the time that you know you need to give. For whatever it is, is the key that makes your professional life run. And so I just time blocked. And I encourage it. Go ahead. No, I was just going to say, and those two to three hours are like a film. I mean, if that is, if you go to see a movie, you're there exclusively to see a movie. So you turn off your cell phone, you get snacks in case you're hungry. You might make a pit stop in the bathroom beforehand. You do all of that so it can be you can have an uninterrupted two to three hours. That's it. That's exactly what it is. And it's kind of wild to think how much if I look back at periods when I've been able to time block that way successfully, consistently. And by consistently, I mean even for two weeks, how much can get done if you set aside the equivalent of one movie to single task on one important thing. It's really remarkable. And I think that's a perhaps a good segue to the focusing question. And this is in your book, The One Thing, which has come up over and over and over again with interviewees on this podcast, particularly those who are in the sort of growth phase and citing it as extremely important in the first, it's always important.

What is the focusing question (as outlined in The ONE Thing)? (01:14:12)

I mean, this question, but the particularly important in the kind of make or break it years in the first handful of years for entrepreneurs that I've interviewed on this podcast. Could you tell us about the focusing question, but perhaps how you got to the focusing question? So if we just talk for a second about the focusing question, which is what's The One Thing I Can Do, such that by doing it, everything is either easier or necessary. It's an understanding that you can't do two important things at the same time. You could definitely multitask, but the second that something really matters to you a lot, you don't multitask. You hone in on that and you do that thing. So the idea of the focusing question is, are you present in the moment? Now you don't do this every day, minute by minute, where you say, well, what's The One Thing I Can Do Right Now? What's The One Thing I Can Do Right Now? But it is kind of a way of life, meaning that if you make your moments matter, matter as in, you're appropriate in the right moment. Everything falls into place for you. So the whole idea behind the focusing question was to keep when it matters, when it's important to you, making sure that you're doing the priority right now that will lever your life, grow your life, expand your life. And it's the idea that if two people are standing in the same spot and one has a clear focus and understands the thing they need to be doing right now in order to get where they want to go, their next step is an appropriate step for the individual who doesn't know what they should do. They're most likely going to take the wrong step and then another wrong step and another wrong step. And over time, they're worlds apart. So the everything that we talk about from calendars to setting goals to creating plans, all of that is so that you get one thing. And that is in the moment right now, you're doing the thing that matters most, such that by doing it, what's your fixing to do next will either be easier or could turn out to be unnecessary. And so I want to comment on a few things here. First is for people who are maybe in the in Portugal listening to this, fixing to do something is getting ready to do it. And the second is how powerful this question is and how important the phrasing is. What's the one thing I could do such that by doing it, everything else would be easier or unnecessary because and I'd love to just hear you kind of riff on this, but a lot of people listening to this and I'll plead guilty myself also very often end up with a to do list, which is this spontaneously generated, non-hierarchical brain splatter of tasks. And you may then just proceed in a given day, if you don't give any thought to it, to start knocking those off in order top to bottom, even though they're not ordered in terms of importance. And the such that it makes everything else easier or unnecessary is the key, right? Because you're finding that lead domino that kind of knocks everything else over. And I'd love to hear maybe some of the results were effects that you've seen in your life as a result of using this or for your company for that matter. But like, how do you suggest people use this? Do they think about it for the week and then set something to remind them on a daily basis? Do they do it the night before and then write it down? What's the protocol for actually implementing this? Well, remember, and we said it in the title of the book. And that is the surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results. So this is, in my mind, the concept of the one thing is like adult Plato. This is a nuclear idea. It is an extraordinary idea in order to get extraordinary results. If you're inappropriate in the moment, the next moment you have not set up to succeed. So you're behind, right? And so we have to be appropriate in our moments. So, and I think I understand, I have always understood that naturally, to be honest, but I think at some point, and I couldn't pinpoint it, I grabbed it as an idea and began to aim my life around that. And so simple ways to think about it is, I come home, I pull in the garage. What's the one thing I can do with my wife when I walk in the door, says that by doing it, everything else for the rest of the night will be easier or unnecessary. And the answer is go find her and kiss her. That's the answer. And it's actually that simple. On a weekend, what's the one thing I can do, says that by doing it, everything else would be easier or unnecessary. So the one thing is, is I wake up in the morning and make a quick list of things I need to do around the house. And I do that because I know that my wife is going to make a list for me. And so the one thing I can do, says that by doing it, my weekend is better, is to make that list and go knock it out. That's the right thing, right? My dog, what's the one thing I can do with my dog in the morning, says that by doing it, everything else is easier or unnecessary. By the way, the answer with our dog, Millie, is always the same. Get on the floor and hug her, right? That's what she wants. And as long as I do that, life is great. If I don't do that, well, everything else is irrelevant to the dog. She wants me to love her. So I'm just giving you a variety of different ways, right? What's the one thing I could do with my diet, such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary? What's the one thing I can do that affects my cholesterol, affects my heart, affects everything about me, right? And for me, is the one thing is eat vegetarian. So that becomes the one thing for me. So I'm just giving you a variety of different ways to think of this. And just to comment on the last one too, as you eat vegetarian, and part of that, I would imagine, is setting up your environments that you require less willpower, right? So you just get rid of anything that is not compliant with that that is in your house, whether you decide on vegetarian or something else. That makes everything else easier or unnecessary, like self-control, in looking at a box of whatever it is you're not supposed to eat that's staring in the face when you open your refrigerator. So in business, it would go like a good example of using this would be in my business, who's the one person I could hire assisted by hiring them, hiring other people would be unnecessary or easier? How might you have answered that for yourself in the past? Well, in 1994, I answered it by firing myself and hiring a CEO. So I'm asking the question, what's the one thing I could do right now, such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary in growing the company. And the answer was fire myself and hire somebody better suited right now at that moment in history to do that. And then I asked the question, okay, so I understand hiring now is my one thing. Then the question becomes, who's the one person I can hire assisted by hiring them, everything else becomes easier or necessary? So then I go on a hunt for that person who, when I hire them, I believe they can fulfill what I just said. It becomes the one hire, if that makes sense. It does. Yeah. And one, go ahead. Same with technology, right? And moving the organization from being a company that buys technology to a company that builds this technology, which is the distinction between being a tech company and not, right? You can't be a, we're a tech company, we buy all our tech, you're not a tech company, tech company builds tech, right? So then the question becomes, what's the one tech product you can build such that by building it, everything else is easier or unnecessary? And we played the game. There's a line in the one thing that I really like and I'd love to hear how you think about it or how you suggest people, how you could elaborate on it, perhaps. A clear path to a lesser goal is the problem. It is one of the lines that I have jotted down here.

A clear path to a lesser goal is the problem” (01:23:38)

And the way that I interpret that is, at least for myself personally, is that it's not the sort of terrible ideas. It's not the awful propositions and opportunities that are, the problem passed a certain point and it comes pretty early for a lot of folks and a lot of people listening. It's these sort of kind of cool, easy to commit to opportunities that are actually more threats and temptations than opportunities. They're the biggest threat to the one thing that you might decide if you ask that question that we've been talking about. Is that the right way to think about a clear path to a lesser goal being the problem? I think so. I think that the, one of the things that I think surprises people when they find out that I'm not focused all day long, that in other words, my goal is to have a really great day by noon. And then if I want to be distracted or can be distracted, that's fine. It doesn't really matter. I've already done everything that mattered. I've done the thing that mattered the most, which is really, really is that it's kind of the cousin of the 80/20 rule, right? For sure. So that's all it is. And the way Jay and I described it in our book, we're just saying that the one thing is the 80/20 principle on steroids. It's a nuclear way of looking at prioritizing and just doing it. And the other side of that is, is that it all comes down to the fact that you have to live in the moment. So the question is, are you living appropriately or not? And the other issue is, do you always have to do that? Do you always have to fight off distraction? And my response to that is, heck no, what you need to do is protect yourself. So, you need, I put forth this idea that the morning is the best time for you to deal with your energy. So I just recommend that people get up and have pretty much a set routine when they get up in the morning to ensure that they get the key things in their personal life nailed. That you then go to work and you just do that work. What is the thing that's most important today and do that? And in the afternoon, if you still want to pursue lesser goals or other things, who cares? It's not going to impact your success. So you don't have to be this 100% always on focus. Yeah, it's a huge relief in respect, right? It's not like you have to maximize every minute of every day from Monday to Friday. That'd be horrible, wouldn't it? Yeah, yeah, it would be horrible. I mean, that would be, I don't even know how anybody would do that. I mean, it would be a horrible life. So the point is, is that we don't want to be, this is just me talking for me. But my life is better when I'm spontaneous after I've done my most important thing, that being spontaneous before that, that's where it becomes a distraction and does me harm. So I'm free to pursue all kind of trivial pursuits after I've done what matters most, because it just doesn't matter. Right? If you like getting you want to do it, it's not going to harm you, because tomorrow morning you're going to wait back up and you're going to be focused again from the time you get up until about noon or whatever it is, whatever time you get up, that six hours, that five and a half hours, where that is, that's your power time. That's where you take over the world. Be great for that length of time and you're good to go. One of the most popular highlights, this is from Goodreads, from the one thing is, quote, work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls, family, health, friends, integrity are made of glass.

Gary'S Personal Priorities And Lifestyle

Prioritizing important categories that lie beyond the focusing question (01:27:51)

If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered. And that alludes to the fact that there are categories of activities or different, I wouldn't say silos because they, they certainly interact so much, but areas in your life where you can ask the focusing question, how do you think about ordering them if there is an order? That's a great question. I kind of order it this way. I lump in their spiritual, physical, right, mental. I lump those into this category and my personal relationships. And I lump all of that into one category. And my goal in the morning is to make sure that that works. In other words, that I get those things done. That's what matters most to me because if you don't take care of your health, that's like a glass ball that shatters. It's hard to recover from that. Ignore your family too long and you'll lose your family. So, right. And so I kind of see spiritual, mental, physical, and key relationships as the most important things that matter to me in the morning. So that I live by kind of a mantra that says, I don't want to die of regret, right? I want to say my deathbed, if I'm even coherent, that I'm glad I did not I wish I had. Right. Does that make sense? Makes perfect sense. So, by the way, I played that game with my mom. She was a pistol after dad died and I kind of became the man in her life. And she was a pistol. She was difficult at times. Mom, if you're hearing that, she were difficult.

How Gary used the focusing question with his sometimes acerbic mother (01:29:51)

But loved her dearly. But she was difficult. And so I had to play the game. I had to say, what's the one thing I can do with my mom, sister, by doing it, everything else is unnecessary. Because my mom would, I don't want to go into the details of all that. But she could go off on tangents and do things and say things that could be hurtful and harmful. So I asked that question. And the one thing was play dominoes with my mother. So for the rest of her life, with few exception, I would go to lunch or early dinner one day a week, and I would play dominoes with my mom. And you'd be surprised because what I, no one she loved it, number two, it kept her preoccupied. She had to stay focused on trying to beat me instead of talking, instead of verbally beating me up. Yeah. And then after I did that, that went so well, I said, okay, now what's the one thing I could do? What's the next domino? And mother loved basketball. So I bought her the NBA channel every year and made sure that she had the printed, laminated copy of the game schedule with her right there by her easy chair. And then we made basketball the thing that we talked about. Because if we didn't talk about basketball, Tim, we were talking about my sisters or my spouse, her sisters in a negative derogatory gossipy way, just very destructive. And I just kept away from that with mom because I just played the game. What's the one thing I can do? What's the thing? What's the one activities, dominoes? What's the one thing we could talk about? Basketball, right? So that's kind of that's and to me, that's the that's just another way of thinking about the one thing. I think that, you know, I'm embarrassed to admit I've it's so sensible and I've never applied this question exactly as you're describing it to individual people. It makes perfect sense and relationships with those people. But I've never applied it. That's I think that's really that'll be really powerful for a lot of people listening. Certainly, I'm going to do it probably today or tomorrow. I'll sit down with the journal. Yeah. So the thing is like, after I exercise, I ask the question, what's the one thing I could eat or drink such that by doing it, right? Everything else is easier unnecessary. And I play that game.

Gary's exercise routine (01:32:22)

When do you exercise? What time of day? How many times of week? So I exercise five days a week. I exercise in the morning. So I get up and by 6 30 at the latest, my goal is to be in the gym. And so I do I do my cardio, right? In my 20 to 30 minutes in my target heart rate zone, but I do, you know, four minutes on and one minute slow, four minutes on, one minute slow, right? And I do that because the if you if you exercise at a steady pace, instead of doing the high intensity interval training hit, right, H I I T, that the the arteries, if you go at the same speed, your art, your training, your artery to be more more brittle and rigid. But if you train your artery through high intensity interval training with cardio and weights, you're you're going fast, then slow, fast and slow. And your and your artery is contracting, expanding, contracting, expanding. So when I when I get up, I go right in there and I do my 20 to 30 minutes in my target heart rate zone. And then I move to weight. And so we have a very specific schedule. Clarence bass is kind of like my my physical hero. Do you know, Clarence, you know, I know Clarence not personally, but only because I saw his black and white photographs in old, you know, muscle and fitness magazines and so on. And I would always think to myself, how on earth, because he had this shiny bald bulbous head, kind of like I know I now have. And I would think to myself, how on earth is that old guy so ripped? I mean, just incredibly defined. So that's that's all I know of Clarence best. Well, that's his one thing, by the way. Right. He was he was a health and fitness, still his health and fitness journalist, but he used his body as proof that what he was writing and talking about actually worked. But I only use this example that I believe that we have the opportunity in life to choose our profits. And most profits with a pH. Yeah, yeah. And most people tend to think of that as religion only. But you could have a profit or you can call it a mentor or role model, I just call it a profit, right? But you can have you can everyone should have the individual that is kind of their guru for those things, right? Who's your health guru? Who do you listen to? Who's lived before you? Right. And Jack Le Lane, just as an example, Jack Le Lane and Clarence Bass are two perfect examples. Gentlemen that started bodybuilding or taking just taking care of their body. At a very young age, when the thinking was one way and as the thinking has changed over time, both of those men changed the way they thought, right? Yeah. And Jack Le Lane was incredibly prescient. I mean, he was so ahead of the curve on many things that then became mainstream and scientifically supported. It's wild. Also quite a character, Eddie, where he would wear that kind of crazy onesie jumpsuit. And he would say, sure, you don't have to exercise, but on the days you don't exercise, you're not allowed to eat. I mean, very uncompromising, which I appreciate. So he so so then let's ask that question. So who's the one person that you could follow for your health such that by doing that following anyone else would be easier or unnecessary? Yeah. Yeah, that's great. So if you don't ask the focusing question around the people in your life, you'll end up following too many people. So again, how many how many profits do you need around health? Right? If you if you just follow Jack Le Lane, right, whose goal was to live to 100, what a loser he died at 96, right? But Clarence Bass has the same goal. So if you if you if you wanted to live to 100, just let's just pick that as a target. I want to live to at least 100, then what's the one thing you could do that would make that easier or everything else easier or unnecessary? In my mind, it would be go follow, go find the person that that exemplifies that better than anyone else and make that one person your true north was fun. You could you can even go you could then go dive into the Jack Le Lane approach or the Clarence Bass approach or whoever is your profit for health. And you would you could then distill down what they do right into one thing. Believe it or not, and you could also this is something that I do in a few areas just ask yourself, for instance, my friend Matt Mullenweg is one of the calmest people under fire I've ever witnessed in any capacity of any age is a young guy, but incredibly calm when making high stakes decisions or or facing tough circumstances. And I tend not to be that.

Finding true north plus my own focusing question (01:37:06)

I mean, I think I'm reasonably calm, but I also as my mom would say patience has never been your strong suit. And so I will ask when I feel myself getting spun up sometimes, upset against upset about something that I know in many cases is trivial. I'll just ask myself, what would Matt do? Exactly. And you can do that for Jack Le Lane or whoever you choose. And it's if you have seven people as you're true north, you don't have a true north, right? It's it's scattered. And it's you really need at least I do that specific person in that image. And guess what? If it doesn't cover 100% of all decisions, who cares? As it as long as you have one who helps you to navigate the majority of decisions, you're far better off. Yes, that's it. I couldn't have said it better. That is exactly right. The and people tend to not understand that that actually is is life affirming, it's life expanding. It's it's the it's really the if you want to live the biggest life possible, then ask big questions of yourself, right? And go and go find individuals who in fact have have they're doing that thing that matters to you. Not that not that I know what Jack Le Lane's morals were or anything like that. I don't need to know because I'm not saying he's my profit in morals. I'm simply saying he's my profit around health. And we've been discussing up to this point primarily how to say yes to the right things. And it's it's not necessarily a long list, but how to hone in and say yes to the right things.

Is there anything to which Gary categorically says no? (01:38:53)

Do you say no categorically to anything across the board? Are there any decisions that you've made along the lines of I'm not going to do facts? And I'll give you a personal example just because I find it incredible how stress removing these things, these types of categorical decisions have been for me. So I used to stress about this is probably 2008, 2009 speaking engagements. I didn't particularly enjoy speaking engagements generally. Sometimes I did. And I found myself traveling all over the place. It was similar to your travel schedule, right? The four days a week, like one day in Houston, one day in San Antonio, etc. And furthermore, because I didn't have any strict policies because I never expected to be invited to speak before the first book, I found myself and my assistants constantly negotiating one-off deals. And then one of my friends said to me who is who does next to no public appearances, he said, yeah, I have a simple rule. I either do do full retail. I never negotiate. They pay my list price or it's a no-go. Or I do unpaid for groups and causes I care about. He said, I do nothing in between. I never negotiate. And if, and he said, if someone pays me an absurdly high rate, that becomes my new high watermark. Right? That becomes the new retail price. And I remember coming away from the call thinking, that is so simple and so profound. And I implemented that and it just removed this gigantic energy suck for me. And so I've started to make more rules like that, right? And I'm curious if you have anything you categorically just decline. Pretty much everything. No, I know. I know it sounds a little weird to say that, but if the people around me would probably confirm that. Yeah. That essentially anything that's a distraction or anything that interferes with what I what I deem as is my path or my relationships or whatever. I just say no. I mean, I literally I am I am a definite no person. Right? Time is a big issue for me. And we have a limited amount of it. And so saying no to talking to people is right. I have this saying in my head that says that people that work with me are more important than people that don't. And so I the fact that you and I are talking right now, my team will tell you that you must really love Tim. Well, I appreciate you making the time because I would I say no to everyone. This is this is the only one I've done. And I just say no to everybody categorically, no. And the reason is because when I woke up this morning, talking to that individual was not on my game plan. So at the end of the day, if talking to that person, if I have a spare moment and it's a kindness, I can do love to do that love to do that. But given my life and how big it is, there aren't many of those moments, you know, because I look up and I go, hold on, I have a spare minute. I need to go hug my wife again. I mean, that's the way I think about it. I need to go have my dog more. Right? I need to go do whatever that is within my my list, or at least within my focus categories of the things that matter most to me. So I'm I'm a very much a no man. I just say it over and over and over and over and over again. Do you have any preferred or default language that you that you like to use or that you tend to use? How do you convey that to people? And let's let's assume it's not, you know, Joe Blow from Muckity Muck Incorporated, who is just a random inbound because I'm imagining you have filters for that type of thing. And even if you didn't, you would just ignore it. But let's say an old friend you've kind of drifted away from manages to somehow get a hold of you and invites you to be on the such and such board of some type and you're like, ah, you know, when you listen to A, it's on your list B. You don't really want to do it. It doesn't feel good. What do you what do you say? Well, I'm fairly direct about it. But I'm I believe in the love tough love sandwich approach. Right? So, you know, I say, hey, Tim, typically this isn't a text or an email, right? Because I don't, I don't allow people to talk to me, get to me via a phone or standing in front of me, because that that then becomes awkward. And now I have to deal with it on their time schedule and sit of mine, which throws my schedule off, throws my focus off or throat right. So my standard line is, you know, hey, Tim, this is me typing it something. It says, hey, Tim, I really appreciate you thinking about me. To be honest with you, I would love to say yes. But the problem is, and I have several scripts after this problem is if I say yes to you, I have to say yes to other people. And because I don't have time to say yes to everybody, I have to say no to everybody. And I I'm so sorry. But I just can't do this. Good luck. I mean, or or here's so have you tried Tim Ferris? I'll definitely, you know, there's some if there's someone else, but that's kind of a standard line for me. My line is you were looking for a script and this, the underlying script would be, I can't say yes to everybody. So I'm going to have to say no. Yeah. Yeah. Because I get those requests. I get them every day. They just fly at me. Same with you. I mean, yes, I do. We get it. Absolutely. I'm asking partially because I want to borrow. Well, the other line that I give and it's totally true, by the way, is and that is I plan my time months, even years in advance. Now, understand I can always erase. So I'm not, I'm not, I'm not a rigid person at all about that. But one of my standard scripts is I'm so sorry. I can't do that. I plan my time, you know, years, a year in advance, years in advance. And unfortunately, I book them. Oh, yeah. I'm remember on the guy that when they recognized me as the second person ever recognized from my high school, I didn't go to the awards. When they, when they, when I graduated from college, I just drove out of town. I didn't even go to the graduation. When they named me the most, what was the most influential person of the year two years ago, I didn't go to the convention to get my award. When they, when, when Austin recognized me as the entrepreneur of the year, I didn't go to the ceremony. So I have to pause. These are great. What is, and is the line, I'm sorry, I, I have, I plan years and months out in advance. Do you remember specifically what you conveyed to these folks or had your assistants convey? On which one? Any of them. Oh, that's, that's exactly right. That's the line. And it's so sorry. His schedule conflicts with your date, so he will not be able to attend. Now, we then offer up somebody else that they want to go. So for entrepreneur of the year, one of my partners went, and it was so funny because that I think that was the same year that John Mackie of Whole Foods was recognized. He and I were co-recognized.

How to accept an award with a proxy (01:46:40)

And after, so she got up and she spoke about me, right? It's really hard for, you know, if you win an award to go in and say, I'm awesome, I'm great, I'm terrific, I'm all these things. That would look stupid, right? But if you set a proxy, proxy stands up and says, I want to tell you about my dear friend Gary Keller. He's the most amazing guy I've ever met. I want to tell you a story that exemplifies just a wonderful guy. He is, right? And apparently, yeah. So people, so I've heard this more than once where they'll come off the stage and the person, whoever they were with goes, I'm going to get a proxy next time. That was awesome. That is one of the most genius workarounds, I think. I've heard in a very, very, very long time. Just put that down as one of your time hacks, man. I will. I will. That's how you do it. Oh my God. It works really well, man. It works. That is genius. So genius. Well, I know we only have just a handful of minutes left and then I want to let you get back to hugging your wife and wrestling with your dog and doing all the other things that you know that have to do today on a business level. I'd like to ask a question that I ask pretty often and that is the billboard question.

Gary'S Mantras And Habits

What would Gary’s billboard say? (01:47:49)

So if you could put a, quote, a message, a question, anything on a billboard, metaphorically speaking, to get a message of some type out to billions of people, let's say something non-commercial. What might you put on the billboard? Think big, aim high. Think big, aim high. Why is thinking big important to you? It's a theme that runs through a lot of your writing. Warren Buffett said it really well when he said that the habits of our life are like chains that are too loose to be noticed until they're too tight to break.

The importance of thinking big and aiming high (01:48:32)

And when you think about our life being built upon habits, you realize that most people accrue habits instead of form good ones. And so when you think when you think big and you aim high and you start running towards that, you have to develop big habits, scalable habits in order to implement that plan. So if you didn't say think big and aim high, what would you say? Think small. What do you think? Think low. Would you say think average? Well, if you didn't say think big, what are the other choices? And most people by default, because they don't think big, they don't aim high, they end up developing very average or below average habits. They end up developing right there. Your thinking leads to action. Action over time becomes a habit. So if I'm thinking small, then I'm forming small habits. And here's the problem. Like Warren Buffett said, now I'm a person of small habits. And all of a sudden I look up and I go, wow, I really do want more out of my life. And then you have to go break these habits. And that's really hard to do, whether they're eating habits or exercising habits or you name it, work habits or relationship habits, it doesn't really matter. That at the end of the day, if you have a choice, think big. If you have a choice, aim high, and then ask yourself, what do I need to do to do that? And what are the habits or what's the one habit I need to develop such that by doing it, everything else is your necessary and go get that habit. But if you don't think big, what's your choice? Right? Yeah, I mean, it's kind of like the joke I tell the kids, I say something this way. So you fall in love with someone and you want to ask them to marry you. And you go, will you marry me? I've dreamed of our life together. And it's going to be average. We're going to live an average life and live in an average home, drive an average car, eat average food, take average vacations, read average books, go to average movies. We'll have average friends, we'll have average parties. And if we have kids, we'll have average kids and we'll teach them the virtues of being average. Right? Let's get married. It's going to be awesome. I don't think anybody does that, do they? Not purposely. Not purposely. But what you and I both know is that if you don't choose your life, if you don't choose the direction of your life, you'll go in any direction, you'll end up in places that you didn't want to be at because you didn't choose where you wanted to be. So think big aim height. I put that on the billboard. And I want to also note that you made a very deliberate decision to look at and change your habits long ago when you noticed that you're on this linear incremental path that maybe was in some ways, just kind of reacting to whatever was in front of you or whatever was expected to be the next step, you were able to redirect that crucial handful of degrees that over the long term is not a few feet.

How to stick with new habits (01:51:32)

It's not a hundred feet. It's thousands of miles in terms of the difference between where you could have ended up and where you did end up. It's a very inspiring story. One of the things that I ultimately developed was the habit of being able to develop a habit. Because in the end, that singular skill becomes like your superpower. The ability to just call it the habit hack, if you will, but it's the ability to form a habit. And it's hard. It's not easy. It's really hard. I'm 62 years old. It takes time to develop the ability to say, "I want that." And I now see the singular habit that will get me there. I'm now going to develop that habit. Aside from deciding on the habit, as you just mentioned, have you found anything in particular to help you to develop or stick with new habits? Other people. Go write your support system. It's the phrase that I used earlier, and that is, "Your environment has to support your goal." So your environment has to support your habit, too. So you literally, if you want to form a new habit, you're going to have to have your environment support that. You're going to have to have the people around you cheering for you and supporting you to do that. I had to, Mary had an aunt who passed away a few years ago. It was a wonderful, wonderful woman. But she was the size of, I don't know how to say it, she was massive. And she's just massive. And her husband, by the way, was Jack Spratt. And in getting to know that family, when I came down to show them who that is. Who's that? Oh, this skinny guy. So Jack Spratt knew no fat. Yeah, this is a skinny skinny skinny skinny man. And his thing was, "Dear, you can go pursue anything you want around health, as long as the kids and I have three square meals and ready for us. And they have to be different meals." And again, she cooked for them, and she couldn't help herself. She had to taste it, and then she had to eat it. And given her body type and the way she was, for him, it didn't affect him. For her, it completely blew her up. And once you realize that, you go, "My gosh, your environment has to support your goal." So to me, the habit hack is, go find somebody or a group of people that will support you, and then build that support mechanism. Make sure that your spouse or significant other, or best friend, or whoever, make sure that they're in alignment. Right? Tell them what your goal is. Don't hide it. I want to do this. And I need your help. Give me permission. I give you permission to help support me to do that. It's the secret. Good advice. Yeah. So critical. Don't rely on being the best captain in rough seas that you manufacture yourself. That's exactly right. Set your conditions. I've just, just perhaps two or three questions left. One, I have to ask, because I don't know the answer. Why do this interview?

Why did Gary agree to do this interview? (01:55:25)

I know you're a busy guy, and you just mentioned you do very little media. So why do the podcast? Because I really like and respect you, to be honest with you, and you do a lot of good. When your first book came out, I'll be honest with you. I looked at the title and went, a guy's full of it. And I read the book and then went, oh my gosh, this is a significant book. This is not a trivial book. He has a cool title. But to be honest with you, what you wrote, everyone should read. And I firmly believe that. And so to be honest with you, I'm just here to honor you. It's an honor that you would ask. It's an honor that you would ask me, but more importantly, just the ability for you and I just to talk for a couple hours is a thrill for me. And I just want to be supportive. I really appreciate that. And I want to give you, I want to give us time for me to disappoint. So hopefully we'll be able to grab a cup of coffee or break some bread back in Austin. And this has been really fun. I really appreciate it. And invaluable. I took tons of notes. I have four pieces of paper and I'll link to all of that in the show notes. So people will have that on the website and via email either way.


Closing thoughts (01:56:53)

But is there anything else you'd like to say before we wrap up? You know, if you mentioned sending people to some places, so I just started, Jay and I started our new podcast called Think Like a CEO. And so yeah, telling people to come and check us out and see if that's a cool place to go learn would be awesome. Perfect. We'll send some traffic. So we will put Think Like a CEO, the link to the podcast. And we will put links to the books and certainly the company and many other resources in the show notes. Everybody listening, those will be available as always at And Gary, thank you so much for taking the time. You're welcome, Tim. It was a blast, my friend. Thank you. And to everybody out there with your phones in or otherwise, thank you for listening. Hey guys, this is Tim again. Just a few more things before you take off. Number one, this is Phyble at Friday. Do you want to get a short email from me? Would you enjoy getting a short email from me every Friday that provides a little more soul of fun for the weekend? And Phyble at Friday is a very short email where I share the coolest things I've found or that I've been pondering over the week. That could include favorite new albums that I've discovered. It could include gizmos and gadgets and all sorts of weird shit that I've somehow dug up in the world of the esoteric as I do. It could include favorite articles that I've read and that I've shared with my close friends, for instance. And it's very short. It's just a little tiny bite of goodness before you head off for the weekend. So if you want to receive that, check it out. Just go to That's I'll spell it out and just drop in your email and you'll get the very next one. And if you sign up, I hope you enjoy it. This episode is brought to you by Ring. This season can be a whirlwind of deliveries visitors in holiday travel. So it's the best time of the year to upgrade your doorbell and keep an eye on home. No matter where the holidays take you, I'm traveling time and this is key for me. Ring helps you stay connected to your home from anywhere. So if there's a package delivery or a surprise visitor, you'll get an alert and be able to see, hear, and speak to them all from your phone. If you're on the go of the season, whether it's across town or across the country, you can check in anytime for some much needed holiday peace of mind. I personally used Ring for years now. It catches and records all the regular stuff like the live roosie so on, but it's also saved my ass a few times catching weirdos and weird things. Ring is key to my peace of mind. And as a listener of the Tim Ferriss Show, that's you. You have a special holiday offer on a Ring Welcome Kit, available right now with Ring Video Doorbell 2 and Chime Pro. The Ring Welcome Kit has everything you need to keep an eye on home no matter what this holiday season brings. With Ring, you're always home. Just go to That's Check it out. Traditional terms may apply and this offer is for US residents only. That is This episode is brought to you by ShipStation. If you've ever sold anything online or if you sell anything online, then you know what a pain in the ass, the shipping process is. It's time consuming. It's expensive. You're always copying and pasting orders from different sites, trying to figure out the best carrier, so on and so forth. It's such a hassle. And in the previous life, I shipped tens of thousands of units overseas domestically, overnight, ground. Every possible carrier, it drove me bonkers. ShipStation was created to make your life easier. I wish I had had it when I was in the biz, so to speak. It has the most five-star reviews of any shipping software. 4.9 out of 5 for Magenta users, 4.8 out of 5 for Shopify users, 4.5 out of 5 for Big Commerce users. It goes on and on. Whether you're selling on eBay, Amazon, Shopify, or more than 100 other popular selling channels, ShipStation lets you access all of your orders from one simple dashboard. ShipStation works with all of the major shipping carriers, locally and globally, including FedEx, UPS, and the major local carriers like USPS. ShipStation will recommend the best carrier for your needs so that you know that you're always getting the best deal. They even offer discounts on shipping costs that are available to say you as a one-person shop that would normally be thought of as reserved for large Fortune 500 companies. So there are a lot of benefits. No other shipping platform makes shipping faster, easier, and more affordable. And right now, Tim Burish, your listeners, get to try ShipStation free for 60 days when you use promo code TIM. It's risk-free. You can start your free trial without even entering your credit card info. Just visit Click on the microphone at the top of the homepage and type in Tim, T-I-M, at Enter promo code TIM. Check it out promo code TIM. You

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