Jay Samit on the Keys to Radical Disruption | Impact Theory | Transcription
Transcription for the video titled "Jay Samit on the Keys to Radical Disruption | Impact Theory".
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- Everybody, welcome to another episode of Impact Theory. You are here, my friends, because you believe, like I do, that human potential is nearly limitless, but you know that having potential is not the same is actually doing something with it. So our goal with the show and company is to introduce you to the people and ideas that will help you actually execute on your dreams. All right, today's guest is a freakishly accomplished entrepreneur who started his insanely storied career by inventing airport kiosks and music-based video games, you know, NBD. And that is just a tip of a very large iceberg, I assure you, even if I speed-read his full list of accomplishments, it would take me an hour, it's nuts. So let me just say this, he's built and sold many of his own companies, held senior management positions at Sony, EMI, and Universal Pictures, taken an equity stake in 80 plus companies, raised roughly $800 million for startups, helped grow multi-billion dollar juggernauts such as LinkedIn and eBay before they even IPO'd, and helped transform entire industries and revamp governments. Because of his unprecedented track record of success, everyone from the Pope to the president have called on him for advice on how to harness the power of positive change, and his recent book, Disrupt You, grabbed a hold of my brain and refused to let go. Not only are the ideas brilliant, but his words drip with the credibility that only comes when you've been a soldier on the front lines, and his success on the front lines has made him one of the most sought-after advisors and speakers on the planet. He's a contributor to the Wall Street Journal and host of its documentary series Wall Street Journal Startup of the Year, and he frequently appears on ABC, NBC, Bloomberg, and many others, as well as teaching innovation at the largest engineering school in the country. He's also helped develop disruptive solutions for such global brands as Coca-Cola, Disney, and Microsoft. So please, my friends. It helped me in welcoming the best-selling author and monolithic entrepreneur who started his first company because no one would hire him, the dyslexic master of disruption, Jay Samet. - Yeah, thanks for having me. - What a pleasure. Two kinds, the words are too nice. - So thank you for saying that, it's very humble, but honestly, your book really freaked me out, and it stopped me in my tracks, and it ended up changing the whole way that we do our book reviews now, because I was freaking out to everybody about your book that every entrepreneur needs to read it. I have a list of the 25 books you have to read. It's going on that list. And so when I did the book review, people were like, you didn't capture that same sense of like enthusiasm. So now they're all free wheel and just me sort of going into the meat because your book is transformative, truly, I mean that. We'll get into some of the details, but the one thing I want to start with, you got dyslexic. - Yeah. - And when you graduate from college, it's like one of the worst job markets ever. And this is probably my favorite story.
Entrepreneurship And Insights Into Success
Starting his own company (03:02)
You, instead of going and just giving up, you start your own company, but you do it in a super unique way. - So it was the time when Star Wars had just come out, changed Hollywood, special effects, this new great stuff. So what I wanted to do when I got out of college was, I wanted to make special effects in movies like that. And a couple of minor problems. I knew no one in Hollywood. I knew nothing about how to make special effects and I was broke. But I realized no one's going to hire somebody that doesn't have experience or competing against people that do this for a lifetime, whatever. So I printed business cards for a dollar and I made up a fake company, Jasmine Productions, JL and Samadon, it's mine, but I didn't make myself head of the company. I just made myself a lowly job. - See, that's the part that frees me out. How'd you get that insight? That's so smart. - Well, the other thing that I'd done at the same time is I knew where I wanted to work, but I didn't know how you got a foot in the door. So I ran an ad back when there used to be newspapers, you ran a physical ad, describing the job that I want and was blind added and say what the company was. And then I got a bunch of resumes in and that told me a bunch of data. One, it told me what type of resume could get that job, so what would I have to do? Two, it told me people that worked somewhere that had one foot out the door. So I now knew a list of companies that would have openings. And then I regurgitated how to frame what I could do in that language and apply it to these people who didn't have jobs yet, and that's how you get a job. - So let me put you in my shoes now for a second. I pick your book up. I have no idea where it's gonna go. Good reviews thought, okay, let me give this a shot. I start reading and we get onto that story about how not only did you not just give up that you make a business card, not only did you do that, but you were smart enough to make yourself a low level employee, not only did you do that, but you had run and add to identify people that were leaving their job. I mean, it's just like there are few people that make me go, I'm just not smart enough to be this person. - So it's not smart. - It's here's the thing. Everybody and probably what draws people to your show and why your show is so valuable is people have problems in their lives. And most people sit there and dwell on the problems, or they relive yesterday. Every day you spent living yesterday's problem, you're giving up your future. It makes no sense. But if you say, I have problems, am I unique? Am I the only one that has these problems? And the answer probably is no, okay? So find a problem that a lot of people have, solve it, and that's all that being an entrepreneur is that's all the business person is. The more problems you have in your life, the more successful you'll be. So I had problems. I had two sons very early, and I'm like, they gotta eat, I gotta eat, I gotta provide for my family. How do you solve the things? What pieces of information do I need? So let's do the modern version of the whole thing. There's no more newspapers, what do you do? And I tell the story that a young man wisely did. It's a guy who got his job out of college at the bottom of one of these multinational ad agencies. Layers and layers of stuff, he's doing mindless stuff. He hates every day in his cubicle. He wanted to do creative stuff. So he realizes there's some big famous creative directors at the tops of these agencies, and he's googling one day, and he realized nobody bought their names as keywords. So he just put, I wanna work for you with a link to his portfolio, and bought the keywords of these five most famous guys in the industry. Three out of five called 'em. - Yeah. - Because they're googling themselves. - Right, everybody googles themselves. Got job offers, okay? And accelerate about 20 years of his career. It's that easy. Oh, by the way, his investment was more than mine. He spent about nine dollars. - Wow, so he really went broke doing it. - Yeah, so I've been very lucky.
How to become successful like a billionaire (06:51)
I mean, you wake up, you're a kid of normal means, and dozens of your friends become billionaires. We weren't brighter, we didn't go to the right schools, we didn't do anything. What happened? The world changed. Well, the world's continuing to change. We have self-made billionaires in their 20s happening almost monthly. They have the same 24 hours in a day that you and I do. What are they doing differently? What are they doing that can be learned from and copied and emulated to solve a different problem? And if you're not motivated by money, how do you use the same tools to change the world? 'Cause the world's got problems. - Yeah, no question. So you said that it takes nothing more than insight and drive to be successful. And then the question that like screamed out of my mind was can you train to be more insightful? - Absolutely. - All right, how do you do that? So here's a simple exercise for everybody watching.
The single exercise that will give you more deal flow (07:45)
And I guarantee you that 30 days from today, from when you watch this, you will have more deal flow than any venture capital firm in Silicon Valley. Take a piece of paper and today write three problems in your life. I trafficked this morning, you know, I forgot to take my medicine, whatever it might be. But do this every day for a month. 'Cause what you're gonna find is the first day it's kind of easy. Maybe the second day. But after a vet, you're gonna like, okay, I wrote down my problems. So what else is a problem that you aren't identifying because you've accepted that's the way it is, that's the way it's always been that. You know, you work at a big corporation, well, this is the way we do it. Well, you're gonna go out of business doing that. And then when you have those 90 ideas, what are you passionate about? And what affects the most people? And the intersection of those two, in your life, you were passionate about nutrition that it could change people's lives. Okay? And you saw a way that you could financially impact them with a healthy bar. And those intersections led to success. Your insight got you there and you solved for a whole bunch of people. No one sells a product. No one buys something, you know. No one went into a store and bought a quarter inch drill bit because they wanted a quarter inch drill bit. They wanted a quarter inch hole. Right. Right. Very well said. Somebody made the drill bit because you wanted a hole. Okay. So fill those holes. That's all, that's as simple as it can be. Do you still do that today? Like do you keep a list of problems that you encounter? Oh, all the time. I'll give you examples of ones that I'm working on right now for clients. I'm obsessed with augmented reality and virtual reality and it solves problems that couldn't be solved before. It can connect people in the field to expert somewhere else where they can see what I'm seeing and all that. Working with an overnight package delivery company that just adding augmented reality glasses can save them 30% of their jet fuel. Wow. So there's a whole bunch of people who have the job. You ever sit on a plane and see the metal container that they slide in that curve thing? Well, there's people whose jobs are to throw packages into that container. It's high turnover job. It's not a fun job. And if you're not good at it, about a third of that container is gonna be air. If you've been doing it a bunch of years, you can pack it tighter. Well, for a third of each container's air, that means one out of three planes is flying empty. That's a ton of jet fuel. Wow. That's billions of dollars a year. What if you can turn it into 3D Tetris? What if it's a fun game and you can bonus people based on performance and doing well and doing it? Now you save the environment, you make the company more profitable, make the job more fun, annual out those that take pride in their work to take home more money.
Venture capitalists approach for problem-solving (10:28)
So it's a fascinating approach. I love that, but coming back out for a second, so this comes down to the game that my partner and I were playing that ended up leading to Quest. The same game that I played that ended up in impact theory is no bullshit, what would it take? So no bullshit, what does it take to, in the case of Quest, it was no bullshit, what would it take to help my family be happy? I wanted to see them happy. And I just knew that the body was part of that equation. At impact theory, the question was no bullshit, what would it take to end? What I call generational poverty, which is about mindset, it's not about money. And the answer was very clear, I wanna leverage behavior, I don't wanna change it. So the behavior that we need to leverage is, if narrative, and this is my stance, if narrative is the way that people assimilate truly disruptive information, then we know that we're gonna be dealing with narrative. I think you've got books, comic books, movies, television, video games, that sort of your, the arena that you're playing in. So how do we leverage that to actually inform the next generation of entrepreneurs? So that, because I think commerce at the end of the day, is the way that you're going to bring into the real world the change that you're having people assimilate. So that is that loop, that was us playing that game, and it sounds very similar. So if you've got these, all the problems that you have every day, and let's take one that you've talked about before, and the problem is traffic, and I don't wanna sit in traffic anymore. You play the no bullshit, what would it take?
replace unskilled labor (11:54)
Okay, I need to know where cars are actually going, I need to be able to dictate where they go so that you can basically distribute the traffic, which ended up being ways essentially in the game. - Right, but the insight that they had was, wait, I'm sitting in traffic, phone company knows that my phone's here, and your phone's there. If they can tell your phone to go left and mind to go right, there's no traffic, that was the insight. And a lot of people go, "Well, you're talking about tech stuff, "I'm not an engineer." How many lines of code did Steve Jobs write in his career, building the world's biggest tech company? - Zero. - Yeah. So we all live with technology, but you bring up a bigger point. What's driving me right now is, our world is changing at a pace that most people can't grasp. Governments definitely can't grasp it right now, and that is, if we go back 100 years ago, half the people worked on farms, and half the people worked in cities, and two pieces of technology, irrigation, and the tractor, today we have 2% of the people making food for all the US, and exporting. - Right. - So that means half the people lost their jobs on farms, but they were absorbed by the industrial revolution. So we lived during a century where we saw half of the jobs disappear. Now we're living in the time where over the next 10 years, half of all jobs will disappear. So robotics are replacing unskilled labor. You raise minimum wage to assemble a burger, a robot will assemble a burger, a robot will make a pizza, and Apple take your order, okay? White collar jobs, half of middle management jobs, over the next five years are gonna disappear. Number one job on tax returns is truck driver. 8% of the population drives a vehicle. - Wow. - Autonomous vehicles, those are going autonomous boats, everything. 3D printing, et cetera, et cetera. So even your professionals, AI systems and machine learning get rid of a lot of lawyers, a lot of doctors, a lot of accounting. What do you do with all those people? What makes life enjoyable is a stable middle class. So they know bullshit, how do you solve that? How do you build a big middle class? Well, the same technology that is automating away those things that were mundane and don't need to be repeated connects us to billions of other people. So you can now solve problems that scale much quicker. From 2008 in the recession, all of the job gains globally have come from entrepreneurs. They haven't come from big business. So how do you teach people to start companies? How do you get people to replicate your journey? And it can be in almost any field. If you have a life with no problems, yeah, there's nothing to do. - And let me ask you a question that's gonna draw a line for people. So do you plan to monetize that or is this purely philanthropic for you? - If the goal isn't for me to monetize.
how do you teach people to start companies (14:53)
I've been very lucky and life's good and the kids are good. They didn't write the book to make money. I did it to scale. I was teaching how to build a high tech startup. And I've taught, I had no successful, was two students did 150 million in top line the first year. - Good word. - Makes you really feel like a failure. Really an idea, one of the best pitches I've ever heard. And I judge hackathons around the world and I'm turning the hackathon experience into a TV show to teach people how to do this because let's go from the selfish standpoint. If all the entrepreneur does the solve problems, who are they solving them for?
creating experimenting and startups (15:29)
Everybody else? I have problems. I would like a better world. So the more people that are solving problems, the better life is for everybody. It's not, we were taught that there was like only so many slices of pie and it's mine or yours, a zero-sum game. That isn't how the world really works. That isn't how capital's created. You create a new company and somebody buys stock for $10 and somebody else buys stock for $20. You've now created a whole bunch of money that didn't exist in the system. People don't realize money isn't all printed by a government. Entrepreneurs actually create money. Bitcoin created a new currency that may end up being more trustworthy than any nation-state currency. So it's an amazing time to be on the planet and so if I can help other people achieve that success, I mean, take it on the simple. We love going to a movie that costs $200 million to make back to the Star Wars thing. I love living in a world where somebody's won't spend $200 million to entertain my ass for two hours. I mean, it doesn't get better than that. - The reason I ask you about the path to monetization is I think one of the things, so it's the middle ground that people get lost in, right? So you can show people that, "Hey, I used to be what I say. I used to have a slave mentality.
how do you create a self sustaining community (16:52)
I kept my head down. Did as little work as possible and avoided punishment at all costs." And then I can show you that I was very, very successful. And it's like, but people don't get to see that in between and what I think you're doing just amazingly well and what people will get in the book are literally the things you have to do to your mind, the ways you have to think, the sort of baseline belief systems you have to bring on to your own life that are going to allow you to take this grand idea if I want to build a massive middle class. Maybe you're not thinking of that particular problem this way, but you can take whatever your grand problem is and say, and then how do I create an ecosystem around it that's financially self-sustaining and allowing people the things that they need to do to their mind to create a real business. - So when you read Disrupt You, and I'm putting you on the spot, was there anything that I said or laid out in those chapters that after the light bulb went out and you go, wow, I never saw it that way, that you didn't instantly absorb and say, oh yeah, this makes sense. - I kind of know what you're asking. So yes, there were things that were watershed moments for me, which is why I think the book is so important, but they were in hindsight self-evident. - And that's the point. None of this stuff is not common sense. It's just we were pushed down a path of blinders our whole lives for well-intentioned reasons in many cases, but the educational system was designed to have you work at a factory. The IQ test was invented to let the army know which people were cat and fodder, and you could just let them get killed and which people had potential. When in fact, we all have potential.
Channel where your potential goes (18:30)
What we have to do is figure out where to channel it and what are those steps. There's no gatekeepers to capital anymore. There's no exclusive country club or college or this or that. And we're all interconnected. So it doesn't matter whether in a big city or in Botswana, you can still reach six billion consumers. So what's stopping you? That fear of failure. That, oh, if I fail, what will people say? Failing's a great thing. Failing teaches you what doesn't work. Failure is throwing in the towel. So you take that job to be secure, you go for that big Fortune 500 company, and most of the Fortune 500 companies go out of business. There's less than 10% of them left. That's amazing statement of the original list. So it's not the security that's robbing ambition, it's the illusion of security that robs ambition. So the biggest risk you can take in life is not taking one. If you're at that point where you're in the middle of your career and you lost your job, or you're just out of college and starting or just out of high school, go talk to a senior citizen about what they really regret about their lives. And it's not what they failed at. It's what they didn't try. It's the regrets of why didn't I? So if you try something and you fail, you learn a skill set for something else. Steve Jobs, a great entrepreneur. College wasn't for him. He bounced around, but he audited and took a class in calligraphy. It's useless. What's the point of that? But when it came in the time of the birth of the PC, an IBM had all the rational ways to make a good machine, you remember that calligraphy course and said, we're going to have fonts on our machine. Now one divergent, we got a few fonts here, and these guys only have one, graphic artists started using this machine. Adobe, the whole future, music, the iPod, the iPhone all come from one calligraphy class. What's one of the most important things you hope people take away from the book? That all the big famous people that you hear about, you know, Richard Branson and Steve Jobs and Zuckerberg and everyone, they're no different than you are, right? 70 something percent of the world's billionaires are self-made. So you can achieve this. Now it's not going to be easy, you don't just wake up on Tuesday and become Rich on Wednesday, but it doesn't take any more effort than going to a job that you hate. And unless you believe in reincarnation, you got one shot on this planet, one shot. So don't you want to make a difference? Don't you want to leave something behind and make the planet better than you found it? Why are you here? What do you want to accomplish with your life? And it doesn't have to be being renounced and it doesn't have to be money oriented. The same principles and disrupt you, you can change the educational system, you can change healthcare. I mean, I am humbled by what I'm seeing people create around the world with so little, but we are on this ball together. We can solve problems together, we can make a better future together. You know, it's an optimistic story that you get to write your piece of the story. I mean, why wouldn't people want to push their potential? So aim for the stars if you didn't make it all the way, you made it to the moon, you know, not bad. That notion of solving these problems together, I think is exactly what I took away from the book or at least problem solving in general. And that's one of the things I think people, when they read the book, they're going to find example, after example, that will light them on fire and I'll give you a few of my favorites. I love some more color or how people can get better at this. So when you first start, you think, "Oh man, no brainer, I've got this device "that's for the lottery, right?" Oh yeah.
Self service kiosks (22:34)
So you've got the old school lottery thing, it's like those ugly sort of green one color dot matrix-y looking thing. And then you had like this display panel is beautiful, it could talk if I'm not mistaken. Yeah, so gotta go back before we all had PCs, before computers were everywhere, that old, yes. And lot of these were coming out to the different states and they had a little thing with a little, just green numbers that you type in and then it prints your ticket. And there was a contract for California. And we had a six foot tall machine, big color screen, a motion detector, okay, and this is 1980s, you walk by the supermarket, "Pssst, what would you do with a million dollars?" And you're looking around, 'cause nobody had ever talked to you before. And this machine, we could show you the cars and the yachts and all the stuff and you could touch, oh, and by the way, it said touch means six different languages, if I remember correctly, right? So if you only spoke Vietnamese boom, now the machine does it, and you could make your own things and I'm now going to go for the biggest contract in my life. I'm in my early 20s, okay? Every penny I have is into this. And I'm up against a company that has this little green thing, right? I'm as cocky as could be, like this is it. You go to this meeting, I win the contract, I'll be a millionaire, life is good, da-da-da. Two fun things that maybe I didn't elaborate in the book, but didn't get the contract. Now it turns out the FBI had a secret camera of videoing in a hotel room where somebody, a state center named Alan Robbins, took a suitcase of $50,000, to vote for the other guys. So even though the FBI sent him to prison and that's all true, in fact, they didn't invalidate the wording of the contract to my competition. So now I'm flying back to LA. I didn't know how to raise money for my first company, so I had like 10 credit cards all maxed out. I can't pay 'em, I can't, I don't know what I'm gonna do. I don't even have enough money to take a cab home from LAX. I'm trying to figure out the bus system in Los Angeles, all right, public transportation, not our strong suit. And they used to have back in the 80s these nice counters manned by volunteer little old ladies that would tell you how to get a bus or a cab or a van or a hotel or anything. And of course by the time I get back, there's nobody there. And now you're away in a second. If she was there, she couldn't only speak English. She would only know certain amount of information. There's visitors from tons of languages. Why didn't you put a kiosk here? Why didn't you let people get all the information, have live deadness before the internet, before smartphones, before any of that? And today when you go through an airport, everything you do is with a kiosk. My back was against the wall. I didn't set out to do a kiosk there. And most of my early successes were somebody else developed a piece of technology that didn't hit its mark and well, well, we got $100 million in to making those laser discs and nobody's buying it for the home. They're interactive. Happy good for corporate training. Let me go sell that to Ford. Let me go sell that to this one and that one. So I started realizing that it wasn't the inventors of technology, it was the people that brought them to market. I have a skill set to do that. I just have to figure out what's something and move it somewhere else. And so that was the genesis of a whole life where I suddenly look back one day and go, wow, I came how far? Doing what?
Storyboarding your idea for real-life success (26:10)
- Yeah, I had this sense. So I'm reading the book and I have the sense that I started to envision myself walking through the world pushing piles of cash out of the way to get to whatever stupid thing it was that I was trying to do. Because every story you would tell would start with like that one where it was object failure, you're in the airport and now no longer have enough money to get home. But from that comes your first massive success. And then there was another story where you're doing music, you've got this whole great idea for launching this new digital service, nobody's going for it. And you come up with the idea of the concert in the sky. - Yeah, oh well, so didn't come up with the idea for concert in the sky back to failure. So Richard Branson who's launched $8 billion companies. He's launched about 300 companies. The most genius thing that Richard ever did in hindsight was his brand is Virgin, which means you're a newbie, you don't know what you're doing. So every company of his that fails only strengthens the brand, he's not afraid to try. Virgin Cola, oh, the other guys have every piece of distribution on Earth and a Virgin Cola. So, he had had this idea of doing for Virgin Airlines a concert in the sky, but it's against FAA rules to play an instrument on an airplane. - Really? - Yeah, there used to be an airline called MGM that in the upstairs of the 747 had a piano bar and the other people couldn't compete. So they banned so that he can't play an instrument. Because they could interfere with the electronics and everything else. So anyway, I have to launch something up against iTunes. I don't have the same budget, they're spending $100 million a year advertising. And so I go, okay, who's got problems? Let me look and see who's got problems. And there were two companies that had bad years. United, one of the biggest carriers was in bankruptcy. It was trying to come out of bankruptcy. And Spurlock had just done supersized me and McDonald's sales were down. Great, now I've got my partners. Now I just have to figure out how to make what I want to do their priority and spend their money to launch my store. That's the way I think. - That's brilliant, you've said that there's no such thing as not having money or running out of money. - Right, OPM, other people's money. There's somebody else who wants to reach the same audience that you do. Most likely they don't have a new fresh idea. If you bring a fresh idea, they aren't having budgeted. So for McDonald's, we did buy Big Mac, get a free track. A secret code on every Big Mac package and you get a free download from my store. But you have to register my new store to get it. So 20 million customers register the first week because nobody does marketing TV commercials in store signage and I held out on the contract for the tray liner so when the kids are playing in the Happy Meal Land, mom and dad are reading every line of, oh, I can get free music. Amazing marketing partner, amazing company. And by the way, because I know you're into health and nutrition, if America wanted to eat tofu, McDonald's be the number one seller of tofu. They know marketing, okay. And then I went to United and said, wow, you've all these people that used to fly with you that have enough miles that turned out to go back and forth to Pluto nine times. Let's let them use their frequent flyer miles to get music in the store. And to announce this, we'll do this concert. So it took out in my back pocket, somebody else's idea that they didn't execute and Cheryl Crow 30,000 feet. And then we filled the plane with nothing but journalists. Shot a nine-camera shoot, edited on bio laptops in first class. So when they got off the plane, they had an edited piece that could lead the evening news. Wow. They painted the outside of the plane. This whole thing cost nothing. Not a penny. Did it actually earn you like $3 million before you started? Yeah, so one of the punch lines of it was, McDonald's had done this great promotion for the Olympics that was in Los Angeles when that if you, every time the US got a gold medal, you got free French fries or free burger or something. And Russia pulled out. So we won all the medals and McDonald's lost millions and millions of dollars of promotion. So they took out insurance on all their other promotions in case free things happen. What if everybody redeemed and the price of this music was outrageous? So after I got the signed off to do this whole thing, McDonald's says, okay, you know, we have to get insurance for this. Oh, yeah. You know, I mean, everything's printed, done. I've told everybody it's about the long. And the insurance is $6 million. So you got to pitch in three. I don't have $3 million. I can't go to my boss and oops, I made a $3 million mistake. That's called career ending. So I'm like, I'm screwed. This is over. I'm like, I got into something I don't understand. They didn't know. And then I went through how do you solve a problem? So the problem wasn't $3 million. The problem was insurance. So wait a second. What if we insured McDonald's? They said, yeah. So we insured McDonald's. So they wrote me a check for $3 million. So then I went to the board and said, yep, we just launched this thing and we haven't sold a single song yet, but we're $3 million in profits. - That's amazing. - I wanted to punch myself in the mouth when I read that story. And then for real, and this is one of those things that I really wanna know. I want there to be a process that I can use.
Three things to ask yourself at any moment of failure (31:41)
Write a, here are the three things you have to ask yourself at any moment of failure or something. That would be so useful. 'Cause reading that. And this, I think, is your superpower? It's unbelievable. The way that yes, it is how it felt to read it. That when, so in the book, he's telling the story, it's happening in real time, right? I'm gonna be the hero in the company and then, oh shit, like the night before, nope, sorry, you owe $3 million. That's where most people tap out and they have a story where they tell their friends, I did this whole thing, I lost my job because what am I gonna do is $3 million? Like, I hate the modern version of the dog ate my homework is when an entrepreneur says, how come do it's really going really well, but we couldn't raise any more money? Yes. No, that's like you failed at raising money. You don't know how to raise money. You didn't go to people that could raise your money. You didn't tap everything, you didn't try crowdfunding, you didn't, I mean, don't say, oh, well, we ran out of money. So do you immediately go to, I need money, but I don't yet know where I'm gonna get it, but I know that I have a problem, somebody else shares the problem and the solution would help us both, I'll get them to pay for it, is it that sort of?
Leadership And Future Plans
An Example of Offering Something for Someone Else (32:42)
Well, so the other example was, when I wanted to sell training to Ford Motor, I'm 20 something years old to shorten the story. I had a solution, would save them a couple hundred million dollars. I know nothing about cars, I know nothing about Detroit for the old auto industry, and I'm in California and I'm in my 20s and it's a very conservative, old fashioned, big manufacturing, and I'm trying to solve for how to connect the dots. So put yourself in the other person's perspective. So I'm trying to think, who does that executive that I wanna figure out who to meet? What's their day like? What motivates them? What would get them excited? What would they spend time on? And so I'm thinking this is middle America, this is corporate America, this is Americana, this is America, the old hot dog Chevrolet and football type thing, this is Ford football. Well, I looked, there's a football coach from Michigan State, famous coach, Wardwining coach, who just retired. Easy to find them, call 'em up. You're my new head of sales. He knows nothing about technology, all we have to do is go and get the meeting, they talk about the football game of such and such, when the guy did the thing with the thing and dah dah dah, what's the kid here for? Okay, he's got some business, I kid you not, it's that easy. And LinkedIn was the reeds way of turning that into data. You know somebody that knows somebody, right, we're all connected, so. - Why do you say he's the smartest person you've ever met? - Oh, he's absolutely smart as per. If you look at his original business plan for LinkedIn, there's 10 key pieces of data. Number of users for the first five years and revenue for the first five years. And if you overlay the actual, it looks like a glove. I mean, he sees things in a way that's farther ahead than everybody else. Reid Hoffman was one of the first people to mention me, this Airbnb idea. Really, I'm gonna let people stay in my house, I don't think so. Oh, I should have paused and say, hey, Reid's smarter than me, and B, it's not about me. I'm not the demographic for every case. So Reid has invested and started so many successful things since PayPal and LinkedIn and Kiva and Zinga and the first money into Facebook and connecting the first investors, just one of those type of people. And everyone should spend their time trying to be around people that you feel are smarter than you. That doesn't necessarily mean more educated. Right? I'm no longer in the young whippersnapper generation. So I have to spend a lot of time with millennials to understand the world from their point of view 'cause they have a huge advantage over me. - And do you do that because you have younger kids or is there a way to systematize that? - So that's one of the reasons I teach at universities and volunteer at hackathons and try to work because we calcify as humans. What we do is we develop habits to free our mind to do other things so we don't have to think about everything. A great example is when one of my sons was looking for an apartment, we're driving around. Oh, right down that phone number we'll call. That's a good building. He takes his phone and goes like this. Wouldn't have occurred to me. Yes, I have a phone. Yes, I know it takes pictures. Just I take pictures, but I have a habit that says, you know, grab a piece of paper. So if you can break past the habits, you'll find that there are problems that young people are looking for that app 'cause they assume somebody must have already solved this. And when they don't find it, they then stop as opposed to, you may have been the first person to think about solving traffic with an app. And when you have a new field, AI, 3D printing, augmented reality, it's virgin turf.
Mistake of Not Delegating (36:46)
You don't have to be the best. So here's the takeaway. Be the best at what you do or the only one doing it. 'Cause if you're the only one doing it, you're the best. And that's a lot better than competing. What are some classic mistakes that you think entrepreneurs make? Not delegating is the first one. Really? So the biggest problem people have is the second person you hire is not gonna be as good as you are at whatever it was. And so what I try to explain to first-time entrepreneurs is you're an A student at whatever that is. You're gonna have to hire C students. So an A student gets a 90 on a test, a C student gets a 60, but two of them get 120. - That's a great point. - Okay, so three of them are out doing you guaranteed and you have to then figure out the systems. The second one is that I was guilty of this for at least a decade, if not longer. I would leave meetings so frustrated when to the older generation, why don't they get it? I am right, I am so right. What don't they see? I had this meeting at a major corporation with the CEO that I got into and I'm walking down the long hallway in Armark, New York, passed IBM Selectrix and IBM Selectrix typewriters on all the desks realizing nobody in the C suite was on PCs. I'm going like, oh, this meeting's not gonna go well. So I'm living in a digital age and they're in hieroglyphics. And what I realized was their job isn't to get it. They're successful.
Explaining the Future (38:27)
Their future may be in doubt, but they're successful. You have to learn how to explain the future in a way that people living in the past can embrace and that's where change happens. Going in there, you're wrong, you're stupid, you don't get it. - I came across that part in the book, I stopped and wrote it down verbatim. I'll paraphrase it here. Their job isn't to get it. Your job has become so good a communication that you can convince them of it. It was something like that. And I was like, oh man, those are words to live by because it's so easy. Like you're saying when people, the classic excuse is, oh, I ran out of money. Business is right there, but I ran out of money. The same thing is, I've seen it countless times in larger companies where people are like, I have this brilliant idea, but they don't get it like you were saying. And when you take the ownership yourself and you put yourself in the driver's seat, I think you get a step closer to what I think really has made you so great and so successful. And it's certainly what turned me on so much about your book, which is basically Ryan Holiday's concept of the obstacle is the way. - And it's really amazing when you come up with a big, hairy, audacious, ideal goal, something. You wanna get me motivated. It's only one thing you have to say to me, you can't. That's it, right?
Keeping Your Competitive Edge (39:42)
- Thank you to you. - So I'm like, and it was funny, my editor of my book said, you know, you're very competitive because I never played sports, like, oh, I'm not competitive, I just have to win. I never thought of myself as that. And then her other takeaway was, you know, this is really a story about resilience. And I'm going, I'm not resilient. You just don't have any other choice. The projects and the changes that I'm working on around the world, the governments that I'm working with to change their culture, because we have an advantage. We actually embrace failure more than any other country. So my generation, it was, I love Lucy or Jackie Gleason would have a get rich quick theme. You know, your generation, it was Homer Simpson, you know, he's got this get rich quick scheme, it all fails. And then life goes on. In the rest of the world, that life goes on part isn't part of the dialogue. So we're a country that was made up of people that came here, overcoming odds, for something better. Well, that's that basic, you know, pioneer spirit, right? And then at some point, we become a nation settlers that just settle for the way it is. We gotta get more of that pioneer thing, because there's so much abundance, and it's not an us versus them. Everybody can benefit. Why wouldn't you want that? - Talking about education, 'cause you said that we educate our youth, like it's a scarcity mindset. - Well, it's fill in the blank, you know, measure, measure, measure, that which can be measured, right? So I'll do something I've never done on camera. I cheated myself out of a good college education. I went to great university, UCLA, okay? But I was so focused on getting into graduate school that the goal of those four years was how do you get all A's? So the easiest way to get all A's is to take the easiest courses. So I worked with the athletic department and helped their athletes, and in exchange, I got to take the classes that were set aside for them, which, instant A, but I never took the classes of what I wanted to learn and what would have challenged me and what would have grown. And so I took that approach that embarrassed one of my sons went to Brown, and when it came to me and said, Brown has no required courses and no grades. I'm going like, oh, I thought of myself ago. Oh, four years of partying. And then I looked at it and it's a market economy. So think of it for a second. The English department only gets funded if kids take the English courses. Geology only gets funded. No one's required to take any of them. So you're only going to take the classes and there's no grades, so no risk. That you hear the most stimulating, most interesting, greatest classes. So all the course and the quality of those courses go up, as opposed to me taking rocks for jocks or whatever, simplistic thing, that the person teaching it hated teaching it and the students hated taking it, but it was just a tick box. So if you can get out of that tick box mentality, so Brown's completely changed the dynamic and made it a buyer's markets where students are the ones deciding which professors keep a job because if nobody takes the class, it's over. - And how important do you think a traditional college education is today?
The Value of a Traditional College Education (43:00)
- So I teach at a university and one of the, telling my students to drop out is not good for the university and not to write it. For most people getting into lifelong debt, it will not be a financial advantage. So that's the truth. I have another son that did Princeton undergrad and my kids are going to hate me for this. And Harvard MBA and basically it was, Dad, no matter what I do in life, I'll never starve because somebody will hire that. You're right, okay? So it's two lines that get you through the sorting process. But that's an individual choice. Not every path requires that. And by the way, some of the most educated, brightest people I know didn't get a formal education. Khan Academy, everything, you can sit in front of that computer and watch Cats on a Piano or the latest meme or learn to program, learn a new language, be a master of some discipline. You're connected to mankind's complete history of thought. So you can self-educate, but for some jobs and some of that filter you won't get in the door unless they see that college degree. And we actually have a gap right now with several million openings of jobs in the US that require a college degree that there aren't applicants for. The whole sharing economy, genius, okay? A car spends most of its time parked. Why own something that sits there? In my speeches around the world, the one thing that gets people is I ask everybody, how many people own electric drills? Do you own an electric drill? - Yes. - So in your lifetime, according to the drill makers association, whatever, you'll drill for like 12 minutes. - That's high for me. - You got the new bookshelf. That's it. Now, if a drone could deliver it in the morning, you do your thing and pick it up, you just rent it. Well, rent the runway was renting fashion. A woman had to face this horrible choice. Spend all her money to get that one beautiful dress and then be known as the girl in the pink dress for the next 20 events, okay? Or you could rent a different designer account. And then that changes what's being manufactured and all that. So there's so much opportunity. I'm like a kid in a candy store.
What Hernandez En Cardenas wants to do next (45:30)
- And what path do you plan to go down? What are things that you're pursuing as an AR/VR? - So I'm super passionate about AR/VR. I think it transforms the workplace. I'll give you a new way to think of how much automation is going to change things. Have you ever sat like we're all little boys inside and watched the big cranes on construction sites? - Horace. - That's a scary job. Some guy goes up there in the morning, sits there with his coffee, reading, whatever. And at 10 o'clock, he's got to move the thing from here to there and then, you know, and noon he moves another thing. I'm not making fun of the job. And they blow over and they die. But if you think about it, he's not looking out the window, moving the thing. He's looking at screens and there's cameras. Why can't he be sitting in a studio like this like a drone operator? - Yeah, great point. - Working on a crane in New York. Oh, they need to move something in Dubai, no problem. Oh, need to move something in Shanghai? Doesn't have to be there. Telepresence is what the RNA is all about. - Do you know the X Prize? - Yeah. - So they actually have an X Prize coming out called the Avatar X Prize, exactly for that kind of thing. - A&A Airlines, I think, is a sponsor of Dats. - Yes. - So, yeah, Peter and I, Peter's a fan of the book and I'm a fan of his. We do a lot of the same things. But yeah, and what a great way, you know, with the whole concept of the X Prize, of dangle a bunch of money for something that seems impossible and the more money you dangle, the more possible it becomes. - Yeah, it goes back to what I think is your central thesis, which there are all these problems. These problems are ultimately solvable A and B, monetizable. Now, it was the thing that drew me to the X Prize is really looking for the huge opportunities in the world's greatest challenges. I mean, it's really an incredible model. All right, I've won before we get to the final question. I have one random question for you. - Okay. - Do I understand correctly that you're into like magic? - Oh, yes. - And how'd you get into magic? Why are you into magic? - Everybody has a hobby. At four years old, I saw a magician. I thought it was the most amazing thing I ever saw. Both from the tricks that he did and the power that that person standing on the stage had over everybody else. You know, it was the first time that I got to see adults not understand their world. Something as a kid that you're used to and go, oh, they can't figure out what he's doing. Turns out as an entrepreneur, it's probably the greatest form of training that you could have as a magician. And it's because when you go to see a singer, you wanna see them sing their best. When you go to see a dancer, you wanna see them dance their best. When you go to see a magician, you wanna see him fuck him. Okay? So it's the only art form where the audience is against them. They're trying to figure it out. If you can overcome that, right? Convincing somebody to put a song in a burger or sing at 35,000 feet is pretty easy. Magicians were used to win World War II. Magicians were used in their rack war. We still call, yeah. Are there examples?
Anecdotes And Inspirational Stories
The World War II story (48:32)
Oh yeah, lots of great stuff. So the Nazis wanted to bomb the Suez Canal. And before Fancy Radar and stuff, you would eyeball it. Okay, they knew where Cairo was. They knew where it was. So they would go out every night to bomb Cairo and they'd wake up the next day and they have spies in the synagogue. They didn't bomb Cairo. And they'd come out the next time. What they did is they mapped out from Ariel where all the lights of Cairo were. Go out in the desert, do the same thing. Shuts off all the lights on the city at night and you bomb the wrong place. That's incredible. Anyway, I could talk about it endlessly. Support of Magician, it's a fun hobby. I mean, I've actually taken classes at the Magic Castle and I have, I'm terrible and definitely I'm not a member of the Magic Castle. We'll go over it. That'd be amazing. The first time you do, 'cause I'm into close up magic as well, the first time you pull off a vanish and you can see people's brains melt a little bit. And I remember when I first told people that I was gonna get into it and then I thought it was really powerful from an entrepreneurial standpoint, people were like, what are you talking about? And I said, it's about understanding psychology. It's about understanding the way the body works against you. Illusions, motion tracking. It all comes down to understanding the way the human mind works. It opens you to the possible, 'cause you can't explain what you just saw, which is what the mindset is to close any deal. There's something new that you don't know and now let's solve it together. - All right, last question. What's the impact that you wanna have on the world? - So I'm focusing, what I hope will be the last third of my life in trying to help people be empowered to build up this global middle class, to have stable democracies. And to me, it all comes from having entrepreneurs be successful in building an entrepreneurial class. All the innovations that we take for granted, we're done by entrepreneurs, all the positive change that we're experiencing comes from entrepreneurs. And we're not making enough of them. We're not, we can rattle off, you know, top famous athletes or top famous movie stars, but we're not celebrating those that, you know, took the risks and made our world better. So really trying to work with young people, work with college kids, working people that hit that midlife, what have I just done? I've worked 20 years and, you know, is that all there is? So that's what drives me. And I'm fortunate to be in a position where I'm able to focus on that. And, you know, I appreciate you having me on and sharing, you know, disrupt you with your audience. It's now in eight languages. I'm humbled by the response and the daily emails I get from around the world. And that just drives me to just work a little bit harder.
Where to reach Hernandez En Cardenas (51:18)
- And if people want to reach out to you, send you something, follow you, where would they go? - I'm easy to find. So, J. Samet, my name, J-A-Y-S-A-M-I-T.com. J. Samet on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn. Reach out to me. I'd love to hear from you and anything I can do to help you in your journey to success. That's what I'm about. - J, thank you so much. I can't thank you enough for the book for everything you've done. - Oh, you're done. - I mean, it's really, really incredible. Guys, this is somebody I promise you, you're gonna wanna dive deep into start with his book. It's certainly the easiest place, but he's got a whole universe of interviews, content, everything, and he is gonna teach you one of the most empowering lessons that you will ever learn, which is right before you, right in front of your very eyes, is something you're struggling with every day and in solving that problem, you can build a business, you can learn something about yourself, you can generate wealth, you can help other people. It really is incredible. And the thing that I found most fascinating about him is even if you don't wanna run your own company and you wanna work within a company and you wanna generate change within, it is something that he knows all about, the whole notion of spending other people's money, but it comes down to the same problem. Find out what the problem is. Find out the people who share that problem. Find out how to solve that problem and you can get a lot of people focused and moving on what you're doing, but you have to own that responsibility. You have to remember that it's not up to them to get it. It's up to you to explain it. My friends, please, I'm begging you. This is one of the most important books I've ever read. If I had read this 10 years ago, it would have accelerated my success. I cannot tell you how much this is one of those books. You will write and thank this man. You will write me just for mentioning it. I'm telling you it's that strong. Check it out, it's called Disrupt You. All right, this is a weekly show. If you haven't already, be sure to subscribe. And until next time, my friends, be legendary. Take care. Jay, thank you so much for coming on. What a program. Hey everybody, thanks so much for joining us for another episode of Impact Theory. If this content is adding value to your life, our one ask is that you go to iTunes and Stitcher and rate and review. Not only does that help us build this community, which at the end of the day is all we care about, but it also helps us get even more amazing guests on here to show their knowledge with all of us. Thank you guys so much for being a part of this community. And until next time, be legendary, my friends.