A Lesson in Millennial Entrepreneurship | Gerard Adams on Impact Theory | Transcription

Transcription for the video titled "A Lesson in Millennial Entrepreneurship | Gerard Adams on Impact Theory".


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Intro (00:00)

Everybody, welcome to Impact Theory. You are here, my friends, because you believe that human potential is nearly limitless, but you know that having potential is not the same as actually doing something with it. Our goal with this show and company is to introduce you to the people and ideas that will help you actually execute on your dreams. Today's guest is a college dropout that everyone thought was going to fail, but against the odds, he turned himself into a self-made multimillionaire by the time he was 24. Starting from humble beginnings, he learned fast and built an empire through an unending amount of grit and hustle. What he lacked in formal training, he made up for in street savvy and in understanding of people. He created a huge online community around stock trading, made some heroic stock investments himself, was up $20 million just from investing and simultaneously also built his own marketing agency into a monster that was doing $10 million in annual revenue. He had the penthouse in the sky, the Bentleys, the Ferraris. He was traveling the world in style and then out of nowhere, it all came crashing down. When the great recession hit, he lost it all, everything, but he did not sit in a corner and cry about it. He checked his ego, put his head down and shifted back into raw hustle mode, but this time it wasn't about ego or the money, it was about impact. From the ashes, he and two co-founders in the grips of the recession began building a new media company for millennials called Elite Daily. They were committed to giving voice to a generation that up to that point really didn't have one. Despite a mountain of hate being thrown their way by traditional media companies, they built an amazing company and culture, outworked everyone else and established themselves as the dominant player in their demographic, building a massive brand that reached over 80 million readers per month. In 2015, they were acquired for nearly $50 million by the Daily Mail, but what makes today's guest so fascinating, it isn't how successful he's been, it's that instead of retiring to Miami Beach, he decided the only thing that mattered to him was building something to help those less fortunate. He moved into one of the worst neighborhoods in Newark, New Jersey, began buying the surrounding area and created Founders, a social impact accelerator for entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs. So please help me in welcoming one of the most passionate and fascinating human beings I have ever met, the CEO of Founders, an angel investor and philanthropist who is helping underprivileged entrepreneurs become successful entrepreneurs, the man known as the millennial mentor, Gerard Adams. That was the best intro I think I've ever ... I definitely ever had.

Jason'S Entrepreneurial Journey And Lessons

Gerard Adams Interview (02:55)

My friend, it doesn't even come close to capturing what it felt like to meet you in Newark, to go out to see the space, meet the people that you're actually helping, who by the way have come from all over the world to be part of what you're doing in a really rundown part of the city, but when you see what you guys are doing, it was unbelievable and I'm so glad I got to see it for myself. My question is, you're rich, homie, why do you work so hard? What is that about? For me, I mean, I do what I love every single day. I really do. I really enjoy seeing the people around me thrive and succeed and I love passing down the knowledge that I've learned over the past 14 years. It was tough to amount to some success in my life and for me, I started just asking myself tough questions of why did this all happen? How did I overcome all of this? What can I do every day to truly inspire and educate and impact the people around me and do it in a place where my family's roots are from and a community that really is important to me and if I can do it every single day there, little by little, make that impact there, hopefully we can spread that across the world. All right, so walk us through a little bit of the story. When you're riding high at 24, you've got to feel pretty badass. I know I certainly would have. What did your mom say when you lost everything that really put your head on the right? Oh, man. That was crazy. It's interesting. When that all happened, I was so scared to be vulnerable and that I lost. I really understood at that point about ego and when that all happened, I couldn't tell anybody. I was scared. What they would think? Yeah, because I was this person that overcame adversity, made it. All my friends are just starting to graduate from college. They couldn't get a job.

Losing It All (05:14)

They were coming to me to get a job and I had lost it all. I was like, "Oh my God, what do I do? I can't ... I don't want to tell people I lost it all." I didn't know what to do. At the end of the day, my mother just told me that when she was 15 years old, she had a studio apartment with her brothers and sisters, my aunt and uncles and my grandparents. She was walking home from school with her friend and her friend was like, "Jenny, I think the building that you live in is on fire." My mother ran home and luckily my family got out, but they lost everything but the shirts on their back. My mother had never told me about this growing up. I never knew any of this. It was until I actually was down and out that my mother sat me down and I was like, "I don't know what to do, mom. How am I going to get out of this?" She was the kid of immigrant parents, right? She was actually born in Columbia? She was born in Columbia. Yeah. How old was she when she came? Tom Bilyeu I think about six years old. Tom Bilyeu Okay. Wow. Tom Bilyeu Yeah. She told me. She had to beg her school teacher to allow her to take night classes so that she can get a job. They didn't want to allow her, but she basically begged. They let her take night classes and she couldn't get a job in Jersey, so she went to Canal Street. It was winter time. My mom's telling me this and starts crying. She's just like, "When I went through that, just so I can make a little bit of money to help your grandparents put food on the table, and I was the oldest sibling of all your aunts and uncles, and we were able to overcome that, and now I put this roof over your head, you best believe that you better get out there and you can do it again, because you can lose everything, Gerard, but they can't take this away. They can't take this away from you." That's why I feel so blessed to have such great parents, because these are the things that they instilled in me. Those are the values, the mindset. Both my parents throughout my entire life, I owe it all to them. Not for anything material, anything like that. I'm so grateful for the things they've done for me, but more than anything, they've always empowered me, and they always just really supported me, and just seeing what they've done to get to where they are, and my grandparents, too, immigrating. I owe it to them. Tom Bilyeu: You used to get at least one fist fight with your dad, if I'm not mistaken, growing up. Sounds like you were a bit of a handful. Gerard Laita-Carrick-Gottesman, Jr. I was. I wasn't the book smart, do good at school kid. I was the troublemaker. From a young age, I just was more social, and I was a skater. I went through so many phases. I was a skater, then I got into hip hop phase. I was all wearing FUBU, Southpaw, and then I went to BMX. I went through so many different phases as a kid, and I was a young hustler. I almost got into some big trouble. I haven't really publicly talked about this too much, I've always been scared, but I went from street racing, selling car parts, and then somehow I ended up getting caught into selling weed. All my friends were smoking and stuff like that. I was young, 17, and I ended up getting caught into freaking hustling 20 bags of weed when I was young. I'll never forget my family, my father one day seeing me in my room at 17 years old, and seeing me put the weed in the bag. My dad is old school, so growing up my dad didn't take no shit. He really didn't take no shit. This is the first time in my life he just looked at me and was like, "I'm really disappointed. This is your decision, but don't come home when you get in trouble." Something crazy happened. I thought I was invincible or something. Literally the next day I'm driving my car, I'm going to drop off a 20 to my friend's house and all of a sudden all these cops surround me. I'm like, "Oh my God," and I tinted windows. I'm hiding it. I had an eclipse. You'd be able to hide by the transmission. All of a sudden all these cops surround me. My whole life flashed before my eyes. I just ruined my life. My family, everyone in school thought I was going to be this kid that wasn't going to make it. All of a sudden I just proved them right. I can't believe I did this. Then lo and behold these cops all pound on my window, "Lower the window." I'm like, "Hands around, lower the window." I look at the officer, "What are you doing?" I'm like, "I'm picking up my friend from high school," and I had just called him right before the cops put my hand on the window. He comes out, "Hey, it's just Gerard picking me up from school," and lo and behold, somebody was committing grand theft auto right in front of me. That's why the cops came. They arrested this person for grand theft auto right in front of me. I was at that moment, I was like, "Oh my God." I felt like I had, first of all, a guardian angel. My grandmother had passed away from cancer. He's like, "Always been my guardian angel." I was just like, "Whoa, this is not what I'm supposed to ... I need to really think twice about my life and my path." That's when I was like, "All right, I need to channel everything about my ambition and who I am as a person and how I was raised.

Getting Arrested (10:42)

I need to channel that into business." From that moment forward, I completely switched gears and wanted to go into ... Really focus on getting into a good college at that time. Yeah, I haven't really talked about that. It's like you're succumbed to your environment. I was surrounded by an environment where all my friends were smoking, doing drugs, gangs, fights, street racing. I was just like succumbed to that. It became the norm for me. Tom Bilyeu: How'd you get out of it so fast though? You started really taking yourself seriously, certainly right after you dropped out of college. You can't be more than 18, 19 at that point. Jason Lamas-Cipriano Yeah, I was 18 years old.

Incidents That Propelled Jason Forward (11:29)

Tom Bilyeu So was it that incident that caused you to really buckle down and get serious? Jason Lamas-Cipriano Yeah, definitely. From a mindset, definitely. Then I went to go to college because, okay, my parents are saying, "In order for me to become successful, I got to go to college, get a good education." I wasn't able to get into Princeton like my dad wanted, so I got into Caldwell College. My goal was to eventually transfer. Tom Bilyeu To Princeton. Jason Lamas-Cipriano Hopefully. In my first semester, I was like, "Everyone is partying more than freaking high school here. They're telling me what classes to take in order to earn credits just to get to the classes I want to take to learn about business while getting into debt." I was like, "This is the biggest business in the world. Education, they're ... In my opinion, I was like, "This is like a scam. We have the internet." I was like, "I want to double down on the internet." Luckily I found a mentor pretty early on at that time at 18 years old. Having that conversation with my family was really tough. Tom Bilyeu That you were dropping out? Jason Lamas-Cipriano Yeah. Because again, it's like, "Oh, is he going to be ... Here we go. Is he going to ... " Tom Bilyeu Now, did they think you were just being lazy? Jason Lamas-Cipriano No. They saw me up until 4 or 5 in the morning every night on that computer. They saw me education. Tom Bilyeu Working on a business plan? Jason Lamas-Cipriano Yeah, working on a business plan, working on a website, going on different forums. They were like- Tom Bilyeu Were you already thinking stock spot at this point? Jason Lamas-Cipriano I was thinking stocks. Yeah. I was starting to ideate the stock spot because I was going on all these other forums to learn about stocks, to learn about investing and trading. None of them had a rating system. None of them ... You didn't know who was who. It was almost like AOL back in the day when they had chat rooms and just screen names. You don't know who's who. I was like, "Man, there's got to be something out there. If there isn't, I should create it." That's been like ... That's the way I've continued to be an entrepreneur to this day.

Entrepreneur Comes from Dealing with Risk (13:26)

Tom Bilyeu That's where your business ideas come from? Jason Lamas-Cipriano Yeah. Tom Bilyeu Scratch that own edge. Jason Lamas-Cipriano Yeah. Tom Bilyeu It's really interesting. At Quest, because we were manufacturing in the inner cities, I worked with a lot of former drug dealers. It is utterly fascinating what an amazing education that is in entrepreneurship. Just let go of any moral judgment for a sec. The product is essentially risk. That's what you're really selling. You're willing to tolerate the risk, and so you get a hold of this thing that's illegal that makes you have heart attacks when police are nearby. That's essentially what you broker for people is, "I'll take this risk to get you this thing." Because it's so high risk and because when you're really serious about it, there are people that actually will try to come and kill you and take your stash and whatever you're encroaching on their turf. It obviously can be incredibly, incredibly violent, but they also know the cops and how they change shifts and who has what car and so that they can really keep an eye on everything. I was talking to one of them- Tom Bilyeu I wasn't that guy. Jason Lamas-Cipriano Yeah, right. You're sort of a little earlier stage, but talking to some of these guys that had legitimate businesses that were passed down. They weren't just your random street hustler. These were people that their parents were in the drug trade, and so it was a family business and for whatever reason you end up having to take it over. I remember one day just like, "I really want to understand this because this guy was really, really sharp no matter what you put him on.

Understanding the Risk Versus Reward of Being an Entrepreneur (14:49)

He would just get it. He'd be able to do it. He was good with people. He understood what are the business objectives and how is what I'm doing apply to that and how do I have to get people to work for me to make it work?" It's really pretty interesting. Did you feel entrepreneurial while you were doing it? Tom Bilyeu Oh, yeah, for sure. The risk every single day, you start to make money that you've never seen. I've never had money like that. For me it was the taste of like, "Wow, okay. I'm able to ..." Jason Lamas-Cipriano What did it feel like? Is that like freedom for you or ... Tom Bilyeu Yeah, definitely some freedom. Freedom to start being able to kind of do what I want, kind of control what I wanted and do certain things. Jason Lamas-Cipriano What is the value of risk for an entrepreneur, the ability to take risk? Tom Bilyeu It's everything. It's part of my DNA. It's just like I'm constantly every day trying to challenge myself, to push myself to take risk whether it's in my personal life, pushing myself to new environments, trying new things, meeting new people. It helps me grow. I grow as an individual. Every time I try to do something that scares me, I just like ... Afterwards, it empowers me. I feel like I've learned something. I've grown. I've learned about a new culture. I've learned about a new person. I always feel like I can learn something new from someone no matter who they are. With ideas, I just love ... I'm not afraid to fail. For me, there's nothing more powerful than creating something. If it's going wrong, solving it, okay, let's pivot. Let's figure out why it's not working and continuing until we actually have built something that people see value in and has grown. When something does work, the reward of seeing people come together for one thing and everyone kind of believing in that mission and believing in that idea and believing in it, it's just like there's nothing more rewarding. To me, it's best moments of my life have been when I've taken a big risk and I've seen it come to fruition. It's gone from this idea to people, to making it reality, something tangible, seeing the emotion that it creates in different people. It's just awesome. Then, I forget, I think it puts me to the elite daily, the moment where me and my co-founders, when we had that exit and we didn't plan it and we looked each other in the eye and we're like, "Man, we fucking did it." Forget about the money. There's 200 people back in the office that are all happy, freaking working at a common goal, 80 million people that are reading this thing on a daily basis. Remember the days when it was just three folding chairs and we didn't know if this thing was going to really work? Now, to me, it was the greatest thing in the world.

Dropping Out of College (17:57)

Tom Bilyeu: All right. Rewind me back. You're 18, 19. You get out of the drug fray very wisely and you drop out of college. That seems like at that point probably the biggest risk that you took, certainly from the perspective of everyone now thinks I'm exactly what they told me I was going to be. I am the failure. I am the dropout and I didn't get into Princeton the way that my dad wanted, which I'm assuming he'd been beating into you for a very long time. What was it that gave you the courage to quit? How did you convince yourself that you were actually the right person to bet on that you would be better at educating yourself than the education system? Tom Bilyeu. For me, it was like what I was passionate about was learning how to invest, what made companies successful, understanding how to read an income statement, understanding how to read that balance statement, understanding what made this company thrive. Tom Bilyeu You just started looking that up. How do you read a balance statement? Tom Bilyeu Oh, yeah. I started just going on all over the internet. I would read Silicon Investor, Raging Bull, finance.yahoo.com. These are the sites that I would go to and just start to read and connect with different people on those message boards.

Learning to trade (19:10)

Tom Bilyeu If I had asked you at that point, what do you do? You dropped out of school, Gerard, but what do you do? You're on the computer all day, but what are you doing? Tom Bilyeu Oh. I'm learning, I'm starting to learn how to trade. I'm starting to research companies, understand their fundamentals. Tom Bilyeu Did you get good at it? Tom Bilyeu Oh, I'm great at it. Tom Bilyeu How did you get the technology built? I'm putting myself back in the time where the internet isn't exactly new, but it's certainly not robust in the way that we think about it today. You're 18, 19 at this point. The first hurdle for virtually everybody is A, I know nothing about stocks. I don't know how to read a balance sheet. When you dive into stocks and you realize the first thing you have to learn is about balance sheets, you stop because it's like, "Jesus, this is such a world unto itself." Then even if I get over that, then when I realize that, "Wait, forum is a technology. Somebody has to build me the technology. I don't know anybody that builds these things." How did you keep hitting these roadblock after roadblock after roadblock and go, "There's a solution here and I'm going to find it." How did you do that? Tom Bilyeu Just a young hustler. Tom Bilyeu Are you a born entrepreneur? Do you identify as a born entrepreneur? Tom Bilyeu I didn't call myself that, but yeah, I would say that since I was a kid from hustling lollipops as a kid to then t-shirts, Mark Echo t-shirts to like it just ... Tom Bilyeu How are you selling Mark Echo t-shirts? Tom Bilyeu One of my friend's fathers worked for Mark Echo. He had all the shirts and I would basically get them from him, from the father wholesale and wear them to school and then sell them. Tom Bilyeu That's amazing. Okay, so like the very advanced lemonade stand. Tom Bilyeu Yeah. And I was taught to work. I worked at the supermarket, the A&P growing up where my mom worked. Tom Bilyeu Yeah, tell me about your mom and dad's work ethic. Tom Bilyeu Oh my gosh, my mom worked seven days a week, almost every week at a local supermarket. Tom Bilyeu And is she telling you like this is what you have to do, like you do whatever it takes to make ends meet or was she like, "Fuck the man, this sucks. I can't believe I have to do this." Tom Bilyeu No, my mom loved it. She was a bookkeeper and she just like, she took pride in it. She dressed every day. It was inspiring for me as a kid to see her do that every single day. My father worked for Prudential and just saw him every single day and I would watch him as a kid doing the budget in the living room and watch him as working and providing for the family. He used to leave notes for me throughout the house of little quotes from different leaders. As a kid, be like, "Ah, here's another ..." I didn't really get it.

Being a leader means (21:52)

But looking back, he was definitely subconsciously building me into a leader for sure. Tom Bilyeu What does that mean? What are the qualities of a great leader for you? Tom Bilyeu Courage. Anyone who has the courage no matter what to believe in something, hold heartily and follow that with faith and courage to just go and no matter what, be able to ... Also, I think for me, leading is picking up the people around me and putting them before myself. Thinking about everybody around me and putting them in a position to thrive and to succeed before myself and basically leading by example of how you live your life. Leadership to me is character, who you are, not what you do.

Leadership is character. (22:42)

Tom Bilyeu When did that come about in you? Did you always have that or was some of that from gaining things so quickly only to lose them and realize, "Wait, this was largely a problem of ego?" Tom Bilyeu The ego was one of the biggest lessons for me in my life because as a young guy, when I started to finally ... It started to work and I started to make some money. You can really easily, and I see it even today, day and age, you can get caught up in caring about making the money. For me, I lost touch with who I was and the fact that I aspired to have all these nice things and it was great, but what is it all for? I didn't think about legacy. I'm just a young guy. I want to give back to my parents. I want to pay off their mortgage. I want to be able to buy my sister. One of my greatest moments in life was when my sister thought I wasn't going to show up to her 17th birthday because I was out hustling. I surprised her and my parents couldn't afford her first car and I surprised her in the driveway with the car that she always dreamed of with a poster board that says, "Happy birthday, sis. I love you," and putting a bow on it and seeing her break down crying, hysterical, and picking her up and spinning her and then her saying, "I didn't even know you loved me this much."

Building a Legacy (24:04)

For me, that was what I strived for were moments like that and then also being able to get all these things and being able to go into the store and I'm a sneaker head like you. I just remember going into the store and being like, "I want every dunk, like Nike Dunks. Give me every color." I was having fun and living, but I wasn't thinking about impact. I wasn't thinking about legacy. I was thinking about how can I make more money, more money, more money. it all starts falling apart.

What is NaU's? (24:42)

How did you handle that? Obviously, mom ultimately gives you the clinching piece of information, but how do you get back on your feet? Jason Lamas-I love pressure. I love adversity. I perform better with pressure and adversity for sure. I wasn't the kid who was able to study for the test, but when it came time to take that test, I get really focused and prepared for it. It's the same thing with speaking engagements now. I'm really bad at preparing from a TEDx. People prepare for months. My TEDx, I didn't prepare. I waited. It was the day of TEDx. I was like, "All right. It's game time. Get focused. What is it that we want to accomplish here? What is the message?" That was great because that was the first time my mother showed up. I dedicated it to my mom. I always thrived over adversity. What are you saying to yourself at this point? How do you leverage the pressure? Is it just literally subconscious and you show up or are you saying, "Hey, there's pressure.

Pressure, Mentors, And Entrepreneurial Mindset

There's pressure, and there's people that want to see me fail. (25:50)

There's people that want to see me fail. There's no way I'm going to let this happen." Jason Lamas-It's definitely subconscious. Just throughout my entire life, I've had moments like that where I've almost even died, scuba diving, almost drowning, and my air breaking and me being like, "Fuck. I'm underwater right now. I don't have air. I may die. What's going to happen?" Then lo and behold, somehow the person next to me sees that I'm choking and boom, gives me their air. I'm like, "Okay," and get to the top. When I'm snowboarding back country and my friends all lose me and it gets dark and I'm in the middle of the mountain and I have no helmet. I'm like, "Fuck. I got to get to the bottom of this mountain." There's rocks and trees. I'm like, "Okay. Put yourself together. This is adversity at its finest. You got to get down this fucking mountain." Throughout my life, I've had moments like this happen and it's just like over time, I see that fear and I'm running right through it. There's nothing that's going to hold me. Just times I'm flying in the plane, I'm like, "This plane may go down," but I'm okay with that. I'm okay with dying because now it's like I know I'm doing everything I possibly can every single day to inspire and impact the people around me. If I die, I know that I've done my part as much as I possibly can. Was that part of the driving desire to get back up on your feet and do something? Yeah. That's the driving force of every day, pushing myself. That's when I was like, "I want to step up more as a role model for this generation and be a better leader." I started looking on social media and seeing a lot of people portraying success and creating this perception of success. I felt that there was something missing out there from millennials as they're growing up people that were being vulnerable and talking about the grit, talking about the adversity, talking about the failing, and also talking about the real path to success and what it takes. I wanted to be able to start to speak up and share that story and get out there and do more of what I love, but I realized is that I love mentoring. With Elite Daily, my CEO was 19 years old. He was my intern. For me, I want to see the people around me succeed more than I've succeeded. Walk me through the moment.

Tony Robbins (28:20)

You go see Tony Robbins. You start thinking about what that next move is going to be. You're legitimately contemplating ... When I said that you could have retired to Miami, that wasn't a throwaway line. You were actually- Well, my accountant told me to just not retire, but go to Miami for the save on the state income tax and you're getting ready to get these big wires. Go to Miami. I was this close. I had this freaking beautiful place in the sky, ocean views, and was getting ready to sign. I was in that moment like I'm on the balcony looking at that ocean and was just like, "No. This isn't where I'm supposed to be right now. I don't deserve this yet right now. I have more work to do." Going back to Newark where my family was from and seeing what was happening there and then being asked to speak in Silicon Valley and seeing these ecosystems being built to support entrepreneurs and give resources, but you didn't see that where I grew up. I wanted to ... I was like, "That's what I need to be doing. I need to be back there. I need to be building that." That was it. So much of the youth there, I can see they're getting succumbed to the environment that I got succumbed to growing up and they're talking to me about hustling now. They're talking about like, "Yo, that's the only way. We know." Otherwise, I'm supposed to ... My teacher's telling me I'm supposed to go get a job at McDonald's. I'm like, "Nah. Let me tell you, if I was able to do it, you can too, but you need to start making that choice. You need to make that choice right now for yourself." Tom Bilyeu, Jr.: Dude, going to Founders was amazing. The energy there was unlike anything I've ever seen. I was so glad that we had a camera with me because ... To give you guys a little bit of a setup, I was in New York for something else. You hit me up on social. We had met at South by Southwest. You hit me up on social, said, "Dude, if you're in Manhattan, you got to come to Newark. You've got to see what we're doing." You had told me about it. I literally couldn't believe that it was real, but I was so caught by that notion of you in the penthouse in Miami. I know that view. You're looking out at the water. You're about to sign and you don't. I am still freaked out by that. You don't sign. You go back. You don't just go back to New Jersey. You go back to a gnarly part of New Jersey. Literally, I'm thinking, "I've really got to see this for myself." Somebody that is so connected to these kids and so wants to give back because I'm thinking, "I know what the kind of money you've made can do. That doesn't change your life a little. That changes your life a lot." In this really beautiful way, it moved you backwards, in a beautiful way, but it moved you backwards. You went from, I'm sure, a much nicer neighborhood to spending all of your time in a really downtrodden area. You're so smart. Get a real estate partner to help you come in. You buy the stuff. It's live, work, play. You're revitalizing the neighborhoods. The art gallery that you and I shot in. You've got the food there to really draw people in. Then when I came in, I was just supposed to be doing a talk for Rutgers, which ironically they had no idea it was down the street, by the way. I set up a computer so we can do a Skype. I'm like, "Hey, if you've got kids there, let them listen." The fucking kids were on fire, man. Their energy was through the roof. They all had these really good business ideas. The kid that gave me a bag full of crickets and it was branded. It's like Jimminy's or something. I want to give a mad shout out. Jimminy's. I was like, "What is going on in this hilariously random corner of Newark, New Jersey?" What is the magic, man? You've captured something. You've done something to these kids. It's about community first and foremost, both building the community within Fountners for people to be a part of it, but also we're a social enterprise, so getting back and revitalizing these parts of the city. What we are is a progressive education company teaching through the principles of entrepreneurship. It's similar to a general assembly. It's basically our different curriculums. These are curriculums that are based upon all the things that I've learned over the past 14 years that I wish I learned if I were to go back to school, back when I was 18, 19, 20, 21, 22. This is what I would have wanted to learn in a high, intense boot camp style, 12 weeks through personal growth, personal development, emotional intelligence, financial literacy, then into business model canvas, understanding how to really launch an idea, test, experiment, market, story tell. How do you be able to tell your story? How do you be able to get customers? How do you be able to do all of that? Basically, bringing in mentors. I fostered relationships.

Another rant by Jason... (33:25)

I'm so grateful for our relationship. The impact that you made, they never would have been able to ever meet you and have you in a room. The fact that now we're able to bring in these type of experts into that space to be able to share their stories, share their lessons. The impact that you made that day was so deep and long lasting, you changed some lives that day. That happens every single day. Every day we're teaching them. We're meditating in the morning. We're working with them, Tai Chi, physical, working with them on their mental, their physical. Then we're bringing in these mentors and experts to share and really get them to level up and understand what it really means to be an entrepreneur. A lot of people throw this title nowadays of being an entrepreneur. Building a real business is not this glorified thing. It's fucking very difficult. You really need to understand how to be able to overcome all those challenges, test, experiment, fail, fail, fail, fail, fail, fail until you get it right. That's basically what we ... That's like our secret sauce, is giving that education and teaching that over these 12 weeks with some of the best leaders in the world. Tom Bilyeu: How do you teach them to ... I've heard it defined and I forget by who, but success is the ability to go from failure to failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm. How do you teach them how to do that, which is so important? Jason Lam: Teach them how to figure out their why, man. It really comes down to that. That's the truth. It's figuring out what really ... Why are they doing it and what really, truly drives them to solve this problem. Tom Bilyeu. Do you try to help them look past the money? Jason Lam. Yeah. It's definitely tough for them. The entrepreneurs definitely have their lows. Some of them don't make it. Some of them break. It's like, "This isn't for me."

Can anyone become an entrepreneur? (35:31)

Tom Bilyeu. That's a great question. Can anybody become an entrepreneur? Jason Lam. Can anyone become a great entrepreneur? Yes. Tom Bilyeu. But? Jason Lam. Do they have what it takes? Are they willing to do whatever it takes? A lot of people give up. That's just the truth. Tom Bilyeu. Can you tell who's going to make it and who won't? Jason Lam. Yeah, usually. I mean, the first four weeks, I'm breaking them. I'm not there to be their friend. I'm there to be their mentor and I'm breaking them down to figure out, "Do you really, really want this?" Tom Bilyeu. How do you do that? Because, understand, this is such an important question for me. We have an internship program here and for anybody interested, lean in a little closer and I want you to hear, "This is my criteria." I just want to know if you can work. I have no fucking idea how to tell ahead of time. You can look at somebody, maybe they're really bright, maybe they've got something special, but will they do whatever it takes? Are they going to grind? I have no idea. Literally ... Gerard, I've interviewed a lot of people. I'm talking 1,500, probably more people in every stratosphere you can imagine. I've interviewed people that are fresh out of prison and they want to be a janitor and I've interviewed people up to the EVP of sales and these are people that have worked for Fortune 500 companies and everyone in between. I can't tell you how to determine if somebody has drive. People can tell you grit, right, is another way to say it. People will tell you that they have ambition. They're all going to tell you that. They're all going to tell you that they really want it. They're all going to tell you that they're compassionate and that they're caring and they want to see other people succeed, but whether or not ... How they react when it sucks is a whole another beast, right? Who can deal with self-imposed suffering? That's really the question. To your point, what's your why? Have you read Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl? No, I have not. Gerard, A, you must read that book and B, seriously, I will ... In fact, right now I'm telling you, I'm going to ship you 100 of those fucking books. Any kid that walks through your doors and you read that, Viktor Frankl survived ... He actually survived five, I believe, concentration camps. Wow. Five, including Auschwitz. He said, "Literally, you would know 72 hours before someone was going to die because they would give up." He said, "Once they gave up, you can't survive that kind of hardship if you don't have something in you that is so important to you that is pushing you and driving you forward." He said, "The moment they lost their why, they were done." Yeah, 100%. There's that awesome Nietzsche quote, "If you have a why, you can survive almost any how." Yes. Yes. When you hear this ... He's a neurologist, so this guy is just bright in the extreme, very educated and very articulate about psychology and the brain and what's happening neurologically to these people. What I found so unendingly interesting is you can never predict who the people were that were going to break. Once they broke, it was so evident and so immediately obvious. They're like, "Okay, they're done now?" They no longer know why they're suffering. When you were like, "I'm suffering because I'm going to go find my kids or I'm going to go find my spouse and I'm going to build something back up," or even if ... This is the fucking interesting part. Even if your why was, "I'm going to fucking kill every one of these guards, the second this war is over, my friend, I will know nothing but bloodshed." Great. At least that gave you something to keep ... Truly, right? I've got a whole thing about beauty and rage. Both can serve you. Let me assure you, in a concentration camp, I'm going to lean a little more on the rage than anything else. Having your why, understanding that, so I need to understand what you do to put these kids to the test to figure out who really wants it.

Testing people. (39:24)

I want this to work more than you can imagine. I know you don't play being an entrepreneur, so I know you're actually trying to solve a problem. What is it? Tell me because I want to put it to use in my own life. I just really try to see if they'll break by me questioning the fact that, "I don't know if this is ... I don't think this is going to really work." I think you should maybe go in a different direction and seeing, "Is it they really, really at the end of the day, no matter what, say to me, 'Gerard, one way or another, however it's going to have to happen, I am pushing this thing forward and going to make this a reality.'" Just feel that and see them actually put that into action, that's when I know they'll do whatever it takes and they have it. For me, it's just constantly trying to question them and see if they'll break. Tom Bilyeu: I love that. I love that so much.

Self-awareness. (40:30)

What are some key team building things that people should have? Gabriel Bailyn-Gardner Well, first and foremost, it's understanding ... It's really the self-awareness. For first and foremost with the founder, it's like, "What are you really great at?" Because as an entrepreneur, you typically want to do it all and a lot of times in the very beginning, you are wearing every hat and trying to do it all and you have to be resourceful. You have to be willing to get your hands dirty and do a little bit of everything in the beginning. Then it's like, "Okay, really buckle down." I even had to go through this with myself. There was times I was trying to do too much, trying to do it all and figure out what am I really, really passionate about and what am I really great at and what is that one thing that I can do the very best on my team to add the most value for this idea of business. Then, figuring out, "Okay, who do you really need? Do you need that chief operating officer, that person that's going to really help you with the operations and logistics and the infrastructure? Do you need someone that's going to handle your marketing? It's just bad ass and all I care about is how they're going to be able to tell this story to the marketplace and be able to retain people that will become customers. Who are the people that you need around you and what are you really, truly great at?" Is the first thing that we teach. Then it's helping them understand what it is they're building in a very concise way to get people to understand what it is that they're actually building, why they're building it. Then basically getting out there, talking to people. It's at the end of the day we teach them, "Get out, go and talk to people, share this idea as much as you can. Go out and network online. Build relationships with people online and look for these people. Put it out there. Actually leverage social media to talk about document.

Insights On Millennial Entrepreneurship

We're telling our entrepreneurs, "Document the process." Tom Bilyeu: Is this that whole notion of social currency that you talk about? Jason Lamas-Cipriani, "Yeah. It's part of social currency. You are a media- " Tom Bilyeu" Explain to people what social currency is. It sounds like you're going to dodge it. Jason Lamas-Cipriani, "Basically we time delete daily right, but I wouldn't do it again building a publication. Now we are the publication. We are the media platform. At this point in time you need to be telling your story. You need to be taking your personal branding serious. That's what we basically teach is how are you branding yourself? How are you telling your story? How are you sharing that story through your personal brand and also your business? How is your business branding itself online? How are people perceiving you when they come across you? I truly believe that if you do that in the right way, the law of attraction, you're going to start manifesting opportunities, your circle of influence, the people that you surround yourself with. It's going to happen. It's happened with me. I never cared about my personal brand my entire career. It's extremely important today that you understand how to share your story, how to document the process, how to put that out, how are people discovering you in today's day and age consistently day in and day out. Tom Bilyeu, "I want to wrap up the quality thing. I derailed this a bit on how to build a team, but you said basically they have to be ride or die. They've really got to know their why. What you look for in entrepreneurs and then they've got to be good team builders.

What to look for in entrepreneurs? (43:53)

What are a couple other things you really look for in your all-star entrepreneurs?" Jason Lamascoff, "I guess the ability to get customers, like test and be able to prove. It's just an idea until people are actually willing to pay for it. They love it. They're able to ... or they're using your product consistently every day. I want to see that the entrepreneur is willing to get out, talk to their customers, talk to the people that this would bring value to and see that they're able to get those customers or that audience to be using their products, staying in consistently. Something else that I'd like to see is just their confidence overall. The fact that they're willing to be out there, get out, be able to share their story and get people to believe in them, believe in their idea. Other than that, it's just their grit, being able to see that they're able to really, really put in the work to see it through." Tom Bilyeu, "Do you think confidence is something you can teach?" Jason Lamascoff, "Yeah, for sure. Absolutely. A lot of our entrepreneurs when they come in, that's something that they lack. They're scared of what people will think of them, scared that people will maybe steal their idea. They're going to fail. That's a big thing in the beginning of our accelerator that we try to teach." Tom Bilyeu, "How do you help people get over that?" Jason Lamascoff, "We do something called failing forward. Every Friday, we have them stand up in front of the room, in front of all the other entrepreneurs and talk about an obstacle that they're facing personally and professionally and be open about that and teach them to be a little more vulnerable and speak about that. The group, all of us, the mentors, the leaders and the entrepreneurs will help push them through that. It's been transformational. That particular exercise where I've seen them come like week three of them speaking in front of everybody, building relationships, getting out there, feeling now that they have support, all of a sudden you just start to see ... I've seen them break down crying like, "Man, this is the first time. I feel like people believe in me. I actually have support. I can do this." A lot of times, that's what it is. You need to surround yourself with the right energy, the right people, that are as passionate as you, like-minded people, that positivity and that energy is infectious. That's the environment that we'd create within founders. Tom Bilyeu, " That's pretty incredible. The last thing that I want to talk about is specifically you're known as the millennial mentor. What is the unique struggle that you think millennials are going through that they need help with?"

Gerards Unique Struggle for Millennials (46:34)

Jason Lam, " I think one of the things that I see that I've just recently been really talking about is their perception. We live in this day and age where social media is so strong and can do so many great things and connect, but really digging into why are you here? What do you want to give to the world? Are you really discovering that within yourself? There's so much consumption happening on a daily basis because of social media and everything. You can get so caught up on living a script of what you think you should be doing rather than digging down inside yourself and shutting off all the noise and figuring out what is it that you really want to do and what is it that you want to give to the world. I think that millennials right now, a lot of them haven't figured out who they really are. Then their fear. They fear how people are going to judge them and what they look like and all that stuff instead of really figuring out who they really are, not trying to be something that they're not and then starting living a true authentic life and putting that out. Tom Bilyeu, " What does that process of self discovery look like? How do you find out who you are?" For me, it was a lot changing my environment. It was breaking the pattern of what I was doing on a day to day basis, changing my habits, changing my patterns, starting to go and travel, see new cultures, shut off the phone, the noise and all that stuff. I started meditating. I started really thinking things through. I started reading more. I started ... My faith, I started praying more. That alone time, I started writing. I'm a writer, so I love to write. I think that's one of the best things that you can do too, believe it or not, is just get your thoughts on paper. Make them real and just write. You don't even know what you're going to write. Just write your thoughts. Spend that time to yourself.

Gerards Advice to Millennials Struggling with SelfAmbition (48:57)

Stop looking for so many opinions. I think it takes ... You have to ... You have to really do that. For me, that's what I do. Tom Bilyeu, Jr.: No, for sure. Before I ask my final question, where can these guys find your amazing content? Jason Lamascoa, Jr.: Shout out to the G Squad that's out here. That's the common denominator for me throughout my entire career is bin content. I just love, obviously, sharing on a daily basis. My number one platform right now is Instagram and YouTube. I have the show Leaders Create Leaders on YouTube. Tom is in season three. It's about to be lit. Our episode was unbelievable. That just day when you came to Newark, you shared with the Founders community, so many ... Everybody was like, "That was the best speech that we've heard yet at Founders." Then our episode went deep. I caught you in a couple questions you've never been asked before, which is cool. Brought back some memories. The show Leaders Create Leaders, I would love to see you guys on YouTube. It's under Gerard Adams TV. Season three will be launching in July. Then Founders, we're going to be opening up our online community come July as well. I'm excited. Tom Bilyeu, Jr.: That's exciting. Do you have details on that? That could be amazing. Jason Lamascoa, Jr.: Yeah. I'm really looking forward to it. Tom Bilyeu, Jr.: You're going to make your courses available and stuff? Jason Lamascoa, Jr.: Yeah, so a lot of live so people can live stream, be able to get a lot of the live instructors. I'll be doing a lot of more live mentorship. A vault. I have so much content for me. Fourteen years of my mentors. I have my team just been editing it for over a year now. Tom Bilyeu, Jr.: Whoa. Jason Lamascoa, Jr.: Yeah. It's literally going to be like Netflix for entrepreneurs. Just like Netflix, all these different categories of what we typically teach. All our members, we invite them to our workshops and then we're going to start doing different experiences when we go on tour. It'll be like three day weekends and really try to create some really cool travel experiences as well. We want all our members to be a part of all that. Tom Bilyeu, Jr.: Nice. Did you give your Instagram handle? Jason Lamascoa, Jr.: Oh, @GerrardAdams. Tom Bilyeu, Jr.: There you go. Follow the man. Everywhere. Everywhere.

Impact (51:10)

All right. Final question. What is the impact you want to have on the world? Basically, it doesn't matter where you come from, what your background is, that at the end of the day, that it's truly possible. When you're able to truly find who you are, yourself, your authentic self, your why, your purpose, and truly believe in yourself at the end of the day, anything is truly possible. For me, the impact that I want to leave and the legacy is through changing the face of education through the principles of entrepreneurship. Little by little every day, we're hoping that we can just be able to give hope, give the right skills, strategies, mindset for the people that felt that they'd never had the resources, never believed in themselves, and hopefully be able to have them bring to the world what they've always dreamt of. Tom Bilyeu, Jr.: I love that.

End (52:11)

Gerard, thank you so much for coming on the show, brother. That was amazing. Guys, all right. I have seen the magic firsthand. You are going to want to look into founders. Oh, dear God, if you're anywhere near Newark, New Jersey, you have to see this for yourself to believe it. If I hadn't been there, I don't know that I would have really understood how much this is the future of the way entrepreneurs are going to learn. It is ultra hands-on. He attracts some of the most amazing people that have been through there in this little room, but there's so much energy and juice and he is so giving. Understand for a second, this is crazy. People work, they fight, they build businesses, they do all of that for the exit. That's literally what most entrepreneurs think about. All they care about is the exit.


More Than Just an Exit (52:58)

Once you get the exit, it's the exit. That's when you leave. You retire. You're in a place where there's no mosquitoes, to quote my boy Jay-Z. That is what people are trying to do. To be there on the precipice in Miami Beach where he would have saved millions of dollars just by moving to Miami Beach, signing on that condo in the sky and never worrying about all the people that come after him and just go do it again when he's ready, take his time. That could have been his life, but it wasn't. He looked inward and he found a totally different answer, something that compelled him, that why, that thing that drove him to really do something. If you want to know when I look at him, do I see somebody who will do whatever the fuck it takes? Yes, I do. He didn't go into some of the amazing ideas. I don't know if he just doesn't want to go into them, so I won't rat him out, but he has some really cool ideas. I'll just say this. He built an art gallery in the middle of the ghetto. I just got the chills with some really amazing art done by local artists. It is phenomenal. These are people that never would have had a chance if it wasn't for this man. It is one of the most incredible ideas. It's what I call mining for astronauts. Right now, the next great mind, the next great thinker, the next person to do something great truly to become an astronaut is in the inner city somewhere and they don't believe in themselves because nobody has ever believed in them, but to be able to give entrepreneurs a platform, a way to give back, to connect, to find their why, and to do something amazing while building business opportunities along the way, I think is one of the most important and greatest entrepreneurial endeavors anyone is undertaking right now and I believe you're the man to do it. Guys, check him out. Gerard Adams, you won't be sorry. I promise. If you haven't already, be sure to subscribe and until next time, my friends, be legendary. Take care. Gerard, thank you, brother. Thank you. . Thank you.

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