Andrew: Hey there freedom fighters, my name is Andrew Warner, I am the founder of mixergy.com and Mixergy is home of the ambitious upstart. And here at home of the ambitious upstart, I want to share with you some of the things that I’ve learned from launching companies pretty much my whole life.
I’m going to turn things around today. Instead of me doing an interview, I’m going to be the one who’s interviewed. See a few weeks ago, Dubem Menakaya, an entrepreneur, got on a call with me and just privately asked me for advice about how to launch an interview site like mine here at Mixergy. I told him, “Just launch it”.
And to encourage him and to help him along, I volunteered to be his first guest. So this is his first interview on his new site which is GOTB.TV. You’re going to hear what I told him in the private call and so much more.
And it’s all sponsored by this guy right here, Scott Edward Walker of Walker Corporate Law. If you’re an entrepreneur, if you’re in a startup, and you need a lawyer, my advice to you is to talk to someone who is experienced, who understands what’s coming up from you, not just tomorrow, but a year from now when it’s time for you to raise money and five years from now when you want to sell your company or buy someone else. A lawyer that will grow with you as you grow your business. That lawyer is Scott and you can reach him at Scott@walkercorporatelaw.com or just check him out, the website is walkercorporatelaw.com. Alright. Let’s get into the interview.
Dubem: Hi. And welcome to the LPV podcast, life, passion, business part of the GOTB network. I am Dubem Menakaya your host self-proclaimed entrepreneur [??] junkie. And I am a lover of life and just trying to live my dreams. Today, my first guest is Andrew Warner. Someone I respect the founder of mixergy.com where he has interviewed 969 entrepreneurs including the founder of Wikipedia. Junior Wales and the living legend, of course, Gary Vaynerchuk as well.
Andrew: Right, you know what happens when you interview someone who has done nine hundred plus interviews, I’m going to probably turn the tables and start asking you questions and have you reevaluating the whole thing.
Dubem: I heard you do that.
Andrew: I do that right?
Andrew: I do have a list of questions. I’ve been thinking of you all week because of our last conversation. It was like a ten minute conversation and I’ve been thinking about you all week. I’ve got so much to say.
Dubem: Dude, I’ve been thinking about you all week too. I figured I’d just let you put it on me first because it’s good for me actually so people can get to know me and kind of where I came from and my journey as a way of getting to you, you know because in a way that’s helpful.
Andrew: Because Gary Vaynerchuk was the one who introduced us. And Gary introduced us. You asked me questions about doing interviews and the very first thing I asked you was can I see your webpage. And what did you say?
Dubem: I said, we’re still working on that.
Andrew: Still working on it. And then, you showed the theme you had in mind it was a Pinterest inspired theme lots of different boxes on the side and I said dude you cannot run that you have to run the crappiest first version you can get up no waiting no more hesitating, within a week you have to put something up and I got to tell you, you did it. I can’t believe it.
Dubem: Thanks. Thank you. And you inspired me, like you really gave me that extra push to you know what I’m saying.
Andrew: I said go use that what was it the 2013 or the 2010 theme. The ugly, ugly stuff from way back.
Dubem: That one [??] I can’t be looking crazy like that.
Andrew: I could sense over the phone that you were hurt that I said it because you are a guy that has style and looking at your hair you obviously care about the way you look and you have a vision for your business and I pushed you to go ugly and I pushed you to go ugly now tell the truth now that it’s not ugly but it’s not as beautiful as you wanted. How does it feel to have this up there?
Dubem: It feels amazing. No doubt. Just to create something and something from your head even though it’s not the best thing it could be like to just have it as a reality like it’s amazing.
Andrew: And so we all do this, where we want to launch something but we have this bigger vision, this bigger version in our heads and I pushed you to do it, why do you think that there was a hesitation why do you think you couldn’t have done this without me pushing and saying let’s talk in a week and we have to have the site up.
Dubem: I think sometimes in life you need like moments or experiences which connect the dots which you already know deep down but because we are all human we can’t do things by ourselves as much as everyone wants to paint the picture of the self-made man like everyone needs someone else and certain moments are like, there have been many moments in my life that have triggered different things.
And that’s one of the moments I’ll always remember that. And I’ll always be thankful for that. And I’ll always be thankful for this, as well, first interview on the LBP Podcast.
Dubem: So, [laughs] . . .
Andrew: I did say, “I would be the first person there. You don’t even need your recording equipment. I’ll record for you. I’m just so eager for you to get started, with whatever you have.”
Andrew: Here’s another thing that I noticed, I interview a lot of entrepreneurs, and I ask them, what was their first version. And they say things, like, “Well, my first version was ugly.”
Andrew: “But today, in order to even get started, you have to have a nice design.”
Andrew: “The design is just the ticket into the game.” And I want to respect them when they say it.
Andrew: But I also have to say, from my point of view, “No way. There is . . .
Andrew: . . . no ticket to entry. It’s not about design. It’s not about experience. No one can tell me I need a ticket.” Right?
Dubem: Mm. Definitely.
Andrew: And the same people, who today, say, “You have to have a nice design in order to start your business,” are the people who would’ve said, years ago, “You have to wear nice clothes before you go into a business meeting.”
Andrew: “You have to have a nice office, before you can start a company.”
Andrew: And we proved, as tech entrepreneurs especially, it’s not about the fact that I’m wearing a suit or not wearing a suit. I can wear . . .
Andrew: . . . jeans, and still be productive. It’s about, what do I do?
Andrew: And the same thing with a website. It’s not about whether your website is dressed in a suit or dressed in jeans. The fact that . . .
Andrew: . . . it shows up is most important. And the fact that you show up with it, and then, you just keep adding and adding and improving and designing it.
Andrew: And I can see, when you have this . . .
Andrew: . . . there’s something to work with, now.
Dubem: We got to take away . . . I mean, it’s, like, the quote, people who know me, know I always live by this quote. And it’s, like, Woody Allen said, “80 percent of life is showing up.” So, when you just show up, and when you just put something out there, when you are present in the moment, the respect goes up. And then it comes out of your head, and then you have to let it go.
Because as an entrepreneur creating, when you have an idea, it’s like a baby. And you don’t want to let it out there. It’s like when you send your kid to school for the first time. You’re going to be worried, like, “All the other kids is going to pick on him.
How are they going to be able to handle that experience? I don’t know. My kid is not as good as I thought they were,” sort of thing. But you never know until you put it out there. And that was all part of the whole getting off the bench brand. That’s what it’s about.
Dubem: It’s about helping people get into the game. But . . .
Andrew: GOTB.TV is “Get Off The Bench.”
Andrew: All right.
Dubem: But it’s actually, “get in,” because I view it as a process. As in terms of, I don’t want people to feel, like, “Oh my God, I have to do something. I have to start.” Because I feel, like, at the same time, that it used to be, “Oh my God, this guy’s an entrepreneur. That’s really cool.” Now, it’s a bit inversed for the young generation. There’s a little bit of more pressure there. There’s pressure to do that tech startup. There’s pressure to be like the person who’s your agent, who’s making a million pound or something.
Dubem: And I feel, like, we should bring it back to that learning. Learning about ourselves in the process of doing things. I mean, I don’t just want people to sit down and wait a lot. I want you to be learning and doing things. And, of course, listening to the LPB Podcast . . .
Andrew: All right.
Dubem: . . . and GOTB. [laughs]
Andrew: So, now what do you want to learn? How can I be of service here, today?
Dubem: Well, the LPB Podcast is all about life, passion and business.
Dubem: And I feel, like, those are the three motivating factors, in any successful enterprise. So, you have a successful venture. And your life has been a journey. And there’s tips that you’ve learned along the way, that have, obviously, enhanced your life. I read, for example, that you do meditation, and you’re very spiritual. And I feel, like, that kind of element, as well as the passion that you have for helping entrepreneurs . . .
Andrew: Yeah, I’ll give you a tip. And this is not a fun tip. It’s not an exciting tip. But it’s one that’ll work.
Dubem: Yeah, go.
Andrew: We all want to have goals. We all want to have, “the million pounds,” as you say or “a million dollars,” as we . . .
Andrew: . . . say here in the US.
Andrew: And those are great. But what I’d like is to have a process. Some way that I can just keep working on my stuff every single day.
Andrew: When I really turned the corner with Mixergy, is when I went to Argentina, and I committed to doing an interview every single day. If I wasn’t feeling like it, I would do it anyway. If I felt excited, I would sit and have to calm down, and do the interview.
Andrew: If I didn’t have a guest, I would go out there and hustle, last minute, to get a guest. Even if the guest was someone just in my audience, who was going to turn around and interview me, I would make sure we’d have it.
Andrew: And the reason that that’s helpful is when you have that process, that just keeps pushing you along . . .
Andrew: . . . when you’re not feeling it, you’re going to keep working. When you are, when people want to distract you, they could see that there’s a mission and a process that you’re on. And they can understand what you’re trying to do.
Dubem: I mean, but what it’s like, though, in the first stages? Because it’s always the level one which is the hardest, you know? So how did you kind of get through that level one of doing, you know, the first two or three consistently? I mean…
Andrew: The consistency happened when I committed publicly to doing it every single day, every week day. I said, “I will do an interview every weekday.” And, frankly, if you go back and listen to those old interviews, you’ll see I complained “No one’s listening.” And people, the person who I was interviewing would hear me say something like that, and they’d try to make me feel better. “Oh, no, Andrew, people are listening.” No one was freaking listening. But it didn’t…
Andrew: …matter because I was getting better at it.
Andrew: I was working on how to deal with my frustrations when I couldn’t get the question out. I was working on dealing with what to do when the person suddenly clammed up, what to do when the person didn’t like me in the interview, how to make…
Andrew: …things a little more interesting for them, for myself. And then I was also publishing it every day, and pushing myself to figure out ‘How can I get someone to even watch this every day?’ And so it was every single day.
I was just talking to my buddy Nevel [SP], who is a copy writer, and he said that he saw what I did back then and he was inspired by me and said he wants to be a copy writing teacher. He wants to show other people a consultant, a leader in the copy writing space, and he said what he committed to doing consulting every day. A hundred consultations, at least, he committed to doing, and he put it up on the calendar and he asked people to come in and do it.
And he’s noticing that he’s getting better and better with each one of them. But it’s not just about the content that he has to work on, but he has to figure out ‘Is an hour the perfect time to teach someone how to do it, or do I need to get a whole day? Or do I need to have less than an hour?’ He figured out that in an hour and a half, an hour and forty minutes, he could help someone with their copy writing. ll that stuff allows you to improve daily and that’s what we want because your site, it’s still not as nice as it should be.
Andrew: But you can now obsess over it and feel bad about it, or you can say, “Everyday I’m going to come in in the morning and I’m going to think of another way that I can change it. I’m going to think of another way that I can improve it.”
Dubem: Definitely, definitely. And, yeah. I mean, I was going to say just, you know, for some in the audience who might not be familiar with Mixergy in the first place, I don’t want you to really break it down because I feel like I’ve already, you know, introduced it, you know, interview, entrepreneurs, from all across the board, and you talk business. You talk about their life story, and their journey [??].
Dubem: Your main mission is to help, you know, other start-up entrepreneurs and people who’ve already learned those lessons from already successful entrepreneurs.
Andrew: And help them, more importantly, actually build up their companies. I used to say in those interviews, and we also do courses, “One day, someone who’s listening will go out there and start a company and come back.” And I was hoping it was true but I didn’t have any proof. Today I see it all the time. All the time.
Derek [SP], the founder of Next Step China just happened to be in San Francisco recently. He came to the office and he said, “One of the best things I ever did was sign up to be a part of Mixergy.” He said at the time he wasn’t sure what to do with his company. He wasn’t sure what to do with his life. But he signed up for Mixergy, he listened to those interviews, he took those courses to heart and as a result he now has a successful company which allows anyone who comes into China to be “onboarded” into China, so to speak, where he integrates them.
He helps them find a place to live. He helps them figure out how to just maneuver in a new country, which language and culture might be completely different from theirs. But he’s helping them because I was able to do something with Mixergy back then. By improving myself, I was able to help him improve.
Dubem: How do you feel when someone tells you that, you know, you were such a core component to them doing what they’re doing?
Andrew: I’ll be honest with you, what I’d like to say to you is ‘I feel great,’ and I do, but at the same time I feel little bit embarrassed of the compliment. And also a part of me feels like this is not enough. I was just at a conference last night and when I was done with my part I came out and people told me about how great I did that night and how they love Mixergy and they were customers of Mixergy, and all that stuff.
And I was so shocked, and as I was texting my wife about it I realized the reason I was shocked at anyone’s listening is because, in my head, if I’m walking around through San Francisco, where I live now, and someone’s not coming up to me every five minutes and saying “I love Mixergy,” then I’m a failure. And so there’s like this very black and white evaluation.
Dubem: So did you feel you’re just affecting too small a number of people?
Andrew: I do feel that, yes.
Dubem: You’re just affecting the kind of San Francisco…
Dubem: …techie crowd, which is already entrepreneurially influenced anyway.
Andrew: And even in the small crowd I don’t feel I’m big enough. I did not start this thing to just touch the life of one person or one roomful of people. I hate to say it, and maybe this is arrogant, maybe I need to come up with something better, something smaller, more modest.
Dubem: That’s cool, that’s cool man.
Andrew: But I want big impact. I want big.
Dubem: Listen, I know you are friends with Gary Vaynerchuk. Of course, that’s how we met.
Andrew: He’s the one who introduced us, yes.
Dubem: And I know that must be one of the inspirations, as well as …
Dubem: I’m surprised that you’ve interviewed. So do you feel that that kind of association, in terms of … for me associating with you, that’s a big fucking deal.
Dubem: And you know me, do you feel like that association of upper level raises the vision and raises the bar constantly, and that’s what we should always be seeking to do?
Andrew: You know it so does. And it’s not so much raising the bar with him but the way that he treats me and did for years and treats people privately keeps reminding me of how I want to treat other people.
Andrew: I remember when-when I first interviewed him, and I said something like “Do you want to check the headline or something?” He didn’t really know me but he, or someone in his company, emailed me back and said “No of course we trust you; you’re a great person.” The way that they respond to those little things make me care about them. The way that before he ever met me that he once sent me a direct message that said something like, “Andrew, when are we drinking vino?” Back when I was just getting started, when no one noticed me, he was like “When are we going to have vino?”
Andrew: I showed that direct message to my wife. I said, “Look, Gary Vaynerchuk knows that I exist.” It’s such a dorky thing. I should never admit that I cared about that, but I did.
Dubem: I’ll tell you a crazy story: how I even got into Gary Vaynerchuk, met him. I knew about him, of course, before. In August when he was doing that video chat thing for his new book and he was talking to other people, I stayed on the line. I was waiting there. It was American time, so it was like 4:00 a.m. over here. And then I came on, and I was like “Oh it’s Gary V,” and he was like “Hey, we’re talking here.”
And because it was 4:00 a.m. here, my mom came down the stairs, and she was like “What the hell are you doing, I’m trying to sleep here.” And I was like “Mom, I’m talking to Gary V.” And then he was laughing, and he’s like “Who’s that?’ And I’m like “That’s my mom.” And he’s like “Get mom on the phone.” And my mom came, and she’s like “hi” and shit, and it was so funny. And he was like “Yo, I respect you, and I’ll always remember that.”
And then when his event came, he came to London like three months later. I came, and I was volunteering at the event, and he remembered everything about that. And he remembered me, and we were talking and shit for five minutes. That kind of authenticity and that realness, if we had more people like that, doing that, then the kinetic effect I feel like it would have on the world and everyone. And that’s what I try and do. That’s what I’m trying to do, and hopefully someone else can take it on.
And I feel like that’s what will really change the world. And that’s why I feel like it’s important for young entrepreneurs, as the next generation … You, Gary Vaynerchuk, and the entrepreneurs you’ve got on your website. Your experience … You’re veterans. We should learn from you, but at the same time we got to take it on and keep this moving. So that was a little monologue there. I didn’t mean to go off.
Andrew: You know what? There was a time when I would have been really cynical. If I was listening to you, I would’ve said “Oh, it’s just hero worship, and it’s empty, and it’s hero worship of a guy named Gary who is probably taking advantage of people while he pretends that he’s really nice.” And I used to believe that.
But the one thing, and not about Gary necessarily but in general, the one thing I notice doing Mixergy is that the people who really have made it are completely themselves. In public, in private, what they project is who they really are. The people who I realize when I start talking to before we do an interview who are faking it –
Andrew: Who pretend, and are not really successful … The people who aren’t really successful often are the ones who are big pretenders. I’ll give you an example.
Andrew: I had this one guy. I was supposed to interview him. His message to me via email is something about how he was incredibly successful, and he makes other people successful, and he’s really rich. Who does that right?
Andrew: And when I started just chatting with him on Skype, I can tell that he wasn’t. He was unsure of himself. He had nothing going on. And he was hoping that by doing an interview on Mixergy and telling people that he was rich, that they would buy into his stuff and buy his nonsense. Buy into his message and then buy his nonsense. And I could tell that. But it was more than that. He was dressed really nicely. And then his cat moved somewhere on the screen, and he went to chase the cat, and I looked, and he was in his underwear under his nice jacket and shirt.
Andrew: And when the camera tilted away, I could see he just had a nice decent backdrop, but the place was a wreck. That’s the thing that I’ve noticed. The people who really made it are genuinely themselves, the guys like Gary Vaynerchuk.
Andrew: Guys who are still insecure trying to take advantage of people are the ones who are inauthentic.
Dubem: Exactly. And it won’t last. I mean it’s just the people who’ve I’ve read and one of the persons that I really admire is James Altucher [SP].
Dubem: I read his book, Choose Yourself. There’s books that, you know, I mean, change your thinking and there’s books that you’ll be never be the same. And I read that book and it was, like, wow, this is it. And this is how it is. And I sent him an email and I told him, and he emailed he back. You know I mean. And I just respect that so much and I realize, if I really wanted to do this, and if I really wanted to help young entrepreneurs that I would have to put out everything and lay out everything on the line. And no bullshit and just be myself 100%.
Andrew: Complete with your mother coming on camera while you’re doing an interview about how successful you want people to be. I like it. You should actually let her come on there. All right. Let me ask you this. The reason that you want to do this is you started to ask me questions. And I said, well, why don’t we just record it for other people? Whatever questions you have right now about how to do these kind of interviews, how to reach someone who you want to get to know.
Andrew: Other people are going to have the same questions.
Andrew: So hit me with questions that will answer your issues and will also be useful to the people in the audience. What do you got?
Dubem: Okay. We’ll do my questions after. We’ll start with the audience, general questions which I think will be really helpful.
Dubem: Connections. Connecting with people on a real higher level. You’ve done it. I mean, how do you go about it? What’s the first steps? Say you see . . . [??] . . .
Andrew: Oh, I’m glad that you asked me about it, because there’s a lot of BS that people spread out there. And I know because I bought a lot of those junky books. I remember buying a book. I said, I want to have rapport with people. No one likes me. No one gets me. I don’t even know how to start a conversation with them. I’d like rapport. So I went into the bookstore, Barnes and Noble, and pulled out a copy of a book, something like NLP or Instant Rapport. I think that might be the name. And you know what it was about?
Andrew: You see how you’re kind of sitting like this.
Andrew: The book said, sit like this, the way the person does. You know how you breathe in a certain way. You’re laughing. I’m supposed to be laughing just like you.
Dubem: I’ve done, like, a free NLP course. It was a couple of years ago.
Andrew: It was like that. And I don’t mean to put it down.
Andrew: I’m not saying that it doesn’t work.
Andrew: What I’m saying is it wasn’t enough for me. And what I’m saying is that that superficial stuff didn’t do much for me. But what did do was going the exact opposite and going really deep and really personal. Instead of being surface and imitative, going deep and personal.
And so if you watch some of my interviews, sometimes you’ll see me say things that make you cringe. About how I felt insecure in high school. How I tried to approach someone and she was not interested in me. How I felt like a loser and because of that, that’s why I’m still fighting to this day. If I get more and more personal like that, what I’ve found is it allows other people to not just get to know me, but sometimes get to see a little bit of themselves in it.
Andrew: And that’s what I think builds real rapport.
Andrew: And I’m one of the few people on the planet who has his conversations transcribed. I have a professional transcription company transcribe every one of my interviews.
Andrew: I also have a coach.
Dubem: Wait, can we just go back and touch on that? Why do you do that? Why do you transcribe everything? Because . . .
Andrew: I’ll tell you in a minute. But let me just finish this thought and I’ll tell you that because I thought this.
Dubem: Yeah. Go ahead. That’s fine.
Andrew: One of the things that I do is I have my coach go through the transcripts with me and I say, why did that person open up with me.
Andrew: And what we realized is, if you look down in the transcript and someone suddenly opens up, it’s often because up, up in the transcript I opened up.
Andrew: I opened up. I created an environment where they could open up later on. It’s never an instant. And sometimes it doesn’t work. Sometimes I could open up and the person doesn’t.
Andrew: But when you open up, if you really want people to open up and connect with you and relate to you, and build rapport with them, find a way to open up really about yourself.
Andrew: I’m not saying in a weird way. You’ll know when it makes sense.
Andrew: But do it when it does. You want to know why I have transcripts?
Andrew: I have transcripts even though I fought against them for years because who reads an interview? And frankly, I didn’t spend money because I was just getting started and I didn’t want Mixergy to be in the hole. I always want Mixergy to be able to survive on its own.
Andrew: And so I fought it. And then Neil Patel said, do you know what you’re doing? SEO is going to be so powerful for you if you do the transcripts. And I fought it, and I fought it. And finally, when Mixergy started to bring in some money, I said, all right, I’ll pay for a transcript.
Andrew: I found this company, speechpad.com. They’re dependable. The prices made sense. I could afford them. So I went for them.
Dubem: So did you do it for SEO purposes or for, like, the review, kind of analyzing interviews like this?
Andrew: I did it because I got tired of telling people why I won’t do it. And finally, there was enough money to pay for it.
Andrew: I mean it’s a consistent expense. Every single interview is transcribed.
Andrew: That costs money. I wouldn’t suggest to someone that they start off with that. I’d suggest starting off with the simplest thing you can do. Remember how I said you want to do something over and over? That’s one of the reasons why you don’t want to go for the gold every single time. You want constant, constant improvement. You can maintain that.
You know, it’s like if you’re running. If you want to run a marathon you don’t go out there the first day trying to do a marathon. What you do is start out with a three-miler, maybe a two-miler, then you build on it and then some days you have real big leaps where you make it to 12 miles or a half-marathon. And then you go back a little bit because maybe you have an off day, and then you continue to go forward until you get to 26.2.
Dubem: I mean, it’s what they say, the longest journey starts with the first step.
Andrew: And what they should also say is that it continues with another step the next day, and another day, and another, and another, and more than you’ll have the patience to even do, but you have to find that patience.
Dubem: Yeah. Actually I would like to go back a little bit on that point, because when I asked, ‘how do you connect?’ I didn’t mean, of course in the interview…
Andrew: You mean how do I get people to say yes to do an interview?
Dubem: Yeah, literally, what do you say? Not the exact words you say in an email or phone call. What’s your process, is what I meant.
Andrew: The process in its very early age, was me reaching out to a friend and asking for an interview. Someone who I knew, someone who I used to maybe work with. And then when I did the interview with them, I would ask for a referral. Often if you go back to my early interviews, you heard me ask for referrals, and I stumbled at first. You would hear me say, “Who do you think I should interview?”
Dubem: Let’s do a hypothetical. What if you didn’t know anyone? Of course you know someone, but what if you didn’t know an entrepreneur or something?
Andrew: If I didn’t know anyone at all?
Dubem: What if you were starting from the real bottom. And I’m in my house somewhere, in the middle of nowhere, and I want to speak to Andrew Warner, how do I do that?
Andrew: That’s a good point, yes. First thing I would do is just send an email to Andrew Warner, and I would say, “Can I interview you on this date, for this site?” Keep it short, and you’ll get a response.
Dubem: But, you know you’re a nice guy.
Andrew: I’m a nice guy. Most people would probably ignore it or not say anything. That’s totally fine, just have it in the inbox. Actually, I would even start off with people you do know. There’s got to be a boss who you really admire, who you’re almost too embarrassed to ask to do an interview. That’s the guy I would go to. There’s got to be a friend who’s doing something, that’s the guy to go to. No one knows nobody, we all know someone who we admire.
Dubem: I was just pointing out the hypothetical of course, because that’s how people feel. I felt like that before, you know, I’m just some random guy from the south side of Essex in the UK. How am I going to speak to my heroes, my idols? What right do I have? I don’t have those connections. Just breaking that down, taking it to them.
Andrew: You can find their email address. Anyone who’s listening to this, and you, I can give you a form that you can use that will help you find anyone’s email address. Finding email addresses is not tough these days. What you want to do is just send them a clear email asking for something very clearly.
Most people who are embarrassed will write paragraph after paragraph, trying to justify their place in the world, and trying to justify what they’re asking, and then deep in that justification is a request, and then again it’s followed up with more justification . The person they’re asking doesn’t have the time to read all that and doesn’t understand where the request is. Be very clear in asking what you want, right?
Dubem: Okay, that’s cool, that’s very good advice. And I think that goes across the board, not just interviews but where you want to reach out and connect with someone you admire, that you respect. I remember that Luis House said this. What he used to do is he used to go into LinkedIn, and then to people he would admire, say, “Hey I really like what you’re doing, can we have a cup of coffee or something?” And then he got a lot of feedback from that, and that’s kind of what started him off.
Andrew: And accept that you’re going to be rejected. You will be rejected. Your numbers might be at first something like one-in-twenty, and then it will be one-in-fifteen who might say yes, and then one-in-ten, and then before you know it, more people will be asking you.
Dubem: Okay, can we move on to a bit of technical issues, in terms of, if anyone wants to do this? I feel like podcasting is something I’m not sure that people my age really understand that much.
Andrew: It’s too complicated, and it’s too tough to set the whole thing up, much tougher than it should be. And frankly, one of the reasons why it’s tough is because there just aren’t that many people who want to do it. There aren’t that many people who even listen to podcasts. Go ask anyone on the street, “Do you know how to listen to a podcast?” They won’t even know what it is. Podcasting, frankly, is a medium that failed. It did.
And so, it’s not about podcasting itself, I think. I think it’s about, how do you just get that interview online. And maybe it’s just a blog, maybe it’s on a YouTube channel, using Google…what is it called…Google hangouts.
Dubem: I got you.
Andrew: It’s just about how you publish it online and it doesn’t have to be a podcast. I would consider podcasts just one channel.
Dubem: Yeah. So, what is your, kind of, what is the underlying benefit of interviewing someone?
Andrew: For me or for them?
Dubem: For you. For the person who is like, you know, “Of course I want to, you know, hear this person. I want to learn from them but what is the real underlying benefit for me to interview. Not from like a, selfish perspective but we all have to be getting an exchange out of something, you know?
Andrew: Yeah, I think we do need to think a little bit selfishly when it comes to doing interviews. What is it that’s in it for us and then the other people that are listening will get to, kind of, benefit.
I remember, I forget what it was, it was a teacher in the ghetto who used to teach her students, “You know what? You are going to be,” Marva Collins, Marva Collins. She used to tell her students, “You’re going to work hard and the boss will not appreciate it. The boss may never even understand that you do it but that’s not why you work hard. You work hard for yourself and the boss happens to benefit.” You work hard for yourself.
And so, I’ve been working hard in these interviews for myself and the audience happens to benefit. And so, I can give you such a long list of benefits that I get from it. I can tell you that…
Dubem: Again, your top three. Let’s just do top three.
Dubem: And go kind of, in depth with them a little bit.
Andrew: Sure. I had some trouble with getting traffic to my site.
Andrew: Back when I was…before I did interviews, I didn’t know who to talk to. But because I do interviews, one of the people who I interviewed was Chris Wilson who happens to be one of the top trafficked people on the planet. I just, I emailed him and I said, “Can you jump on a call with me? I want to ask you a few questions about how to get traffic.” I got on a call with him, he gave me a list, so long of what I could do that it was like, personal consultation from him. And it’s because we kind of bonded right?
Andrew: One of the people who I interviewed is Jason Calacanis, an early interview.
Dubem: Oh yeah, we used to watch that, This Week in Startups.
Andrew: Yep. Yep. And so, Jason Calacanis was doing the launch fest at conference and he needed somebody to help host part of the event, to do interviews onstage with venture capitalists. He said, “Andrew, I know you. Would you do this for me?” That opportunity wouldn’t come if I was just a guy online but we’re talking for an hour.
I’m looking at you in the face, you’re looking at me in the face. We’re going to connect in some way. I’m going to, while we’re talking, pay attention to how your hair looks, to how you talk, to get to know you, right? That’s not the kind of thing that happens in just an email exchange. We’re staring at each other for an hour. So that’s another benefit that comes out of it. And, I could say that in addition to it there’s the legacy.
I feel that people are going to listen to these interviews a hundred years from now to get a sense of what the tech world was like, what the thinking was. I think they’re going to be studying this. In fact, I shouldn’t say I think they’re going to be studying this. One of the people in my audience was a Harvard professor who said, “Can I”…I can’t believe he would even ask…”Can I print out your transcript to give to my students.” He was very ethical. I said, “Are you kidding me? Of course.”
And so, I think I may have even had to buy him a transcript because I was so eager for him to have it and at the time, I wasn’t transcribing. So it’s a bunch, a bunch of different benefits that come from that and the benefit of know that, you know, people who are listening are actually on the right path, who are now building successful companies. I can’t tell you how many successful entrepreneurs started out by listening to Mixergy. That was their entry into the world and it’s not BS. You can see them on Mixergy saying, “Because of Mixergy, I’m here.”
Dubem: I mean, let me just take a slight deviation. I mean, I’ll come back, you know, to the technical questions here but the power of media, and the power of things that you watch and listen to in shaping your thinking and personally I’ve experienced this, books that I’ve read, entrepreneurial videos that I’ve watched.
I mean, this is the whole inspiration behind GOTB.TV is to bring this media to the next generation of young entrepreneurs who have started and who have yet to start or who are not even thinking about starting but deep down in their heart, it’s there, you know? Can you kind of breakdown the power of media?
Andrew: You mean the power that the person who creates media has?
Dubem: No, the power of just the content itself.
Andrew: Oh, okay.
Dubem: On influencing thinking.
Andrew: Yesterday again, I was at this event and the person sitting in the front row was Jason Evenish and he had a book on the floor. In the world of iPads and the world of Kindles and the world of everything, he had an old paper book, that he read four years in a row. And I know it was four years in a row because he writes on them in the paper, the date that he finishes reading this book every year. The book was written by an author who’s been dead over, I don’t know, 50 or 60 years, Dale Carnegie.
Dubem: Oh yeah. [??]
Andrew: He is still influencing Jason, a guy in the text space today, a guy whose life he can’t possibly have imagined, considering, you know all that’s changed over the last few years. He’s still influencing him. When you look at Eric Ries, Eric Ries hasn’t been day-to-day in the startup world the way that he was years ago. But, how many times do you see people say, I am building my company the lean start up way.
Dubem: Lean start up way [??] That’s effectively revolutionized the way people think about [??], and it’s made it so accessible. So, I mean, just creating…I mean, Seth Godin has a nice quote, and its one I’ve always liked. It’s like, a book is like a souvenir of an idea, and effectively it’s like the media, the content you produce, it comes from deep in your heart, and it’s a souvenir, something you will apply to other people, and it can change their life effectively.
You know, so that’s…I just wanted to get that out, you know, to people who are listening. Like, that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re just trying to inspire people, and educate people, or entertain people at the same time, you know? Because I figure it’s part of the same package. So let’s get back to the technical thing, just briefly. We’re going to talk about technical equipment. What microphone are you using? Because, I need that mic.
Andrew: I’m using the Road Podcaster. And the reason I’ve got the Road Podcaster, it’s…I used to love the Blue Yeti, and I put it right on my desk, and I had the same problem that I think you’re having today, which is, my laptop’s fan was making noise, and the mic picked it up. And so, it created a hum. And, today I have a much quieter computer, but, I still bought the mic before I got the quieter computer. And the reason I got this was because it elevated the mic. This stand that comes along with it, elevated the mic away from the fan.
Dubem: Well, I mean, if you were just starting, because I know…
Dubem: What would you recommend?
Andrew: Right into the computer. I would use Google Hangouts because it’s free. I would talk right into the computer, no mic.
Andrew I even tell my guests…You’ll see they don’t even have headsets. Usually, I ask for you to have one because we were getting an echo, but usually there’s no echo. I just tell them, don’t have your phones, don’t have your mic, just talk. And, it’s not ideal. Ideal, we’d all be in the studio together. But, it’s a way to continue, and to do it day after day, after day.
Dubem: Yeah. I feel you. I mean I did an interview on Google Hangouts. Only reason I’m against this is [??] halfway in between and just ruined the whole thing. And the footage was so…I couldn’t even use it, you know? So that kind of put me off Google Hangouts. But, you know, maybe I’ll have to come back and give it another try. Apart from that, any other pieces of equipment, you know…What other essential equipment do you need, that you feel…
Andrew: I think the mic is really important. I think a computer without a lot of junk. We tend to add lots and lots of programs, and I’d hate to say it but even on a Mac, those programs seem to cause the problems. And, so now I’m speaking to you on a computer that I have…I don’t allow anything on, except what’s absolutely essential for doing interviews.
Dubem: You just reminded me, I should close my windows. I’m slipping out here.
Andrew: Shutting those windows will help, but your connection’s been really good. And you’re in Essex[SP], right? So, you’re pretty far from me and your connection’s great.
Dubem: Well thanks. Well, yeah there’s some lessons, you know, I’m learning, you know…We’ll learn, as we go along.
Andrew: Actually, I don’t even think the distance matters that much. It creates a little… I don’t even know if it creates a significant…
Dubem: I mean, where are you, actually?
Andrew: I’m in San Francisco now. I moved here about a year ago.
Dubem: Oh yeah, sorry. You did say that. Yeah. So I mean, what’s the time out there, just [??]
Andrew: Quarter to 4:00 p.m. What else we’ve got? Forget the time. What else? Like, what’s your pressing issue? You’re creating these things. What’s the most…What’s the thing that keeps you up at night? What makes you say, if I can’t get this, then maybe it’s not going to work out?
Dubem: I feel like…This is…I feel, you know, I don’t feel too stressed now.
Dubem: I feel like we’re going forward. We’re pushing forward. This is the start. We’re starting the podcast. We’re going to video in about two or three weeks. And we’re going to…
Andrew: Hang on, why don’t you go to video with me? I’ll be your first video. Don’t even be…
Dubem: I mean, like location. On-location video.
Andrew: Okay. Alright.
Dubem: But, I’m going to put this out, as well, of course, the video…
Andrew: As soon as possible, can you get it up on YouTube?
Dubem: Yeah. We’re going to be getting up on YouTube and get this up on [??] and get the on-location video…
Andrew: Who’s going to edit it? Are you going to edit it?
Andrew: Are you going to edit it?
Dubem: No, I’m working with someone.
Andrew: This person’s going to edit it?
Dubem: He’s a professional and he works with video and stuff like that, so he’s going to edit it.
Andrew: Okay, so I’m going to give you two video files, one of you, one of me.
Andrew: With your audio on your video, my audio on my video, and your friend is going to edit it together.
Andrew: Alright, and we can have it up within the week.
Dubem: Yeah, we can do that.
Dubem: Alright, Okay.
Andrew: We can keep-, This is going to be like a freaking train. Every time I talk to you there’s going to be something new on there. What else is worrying you? So now, the next thing that’s going to happen is, here’s the next problem, you’re going to want people to come and see my interview, right?
Dubem: Ah yes, of course, yes.
Andrew: And so you’re going to tweet it out and you’re going to ask your friends to see it, and you’re going to ask your friends to tweet it out.
Andrew: Maybe you’ll ask your friends to tweet it out, maybe you’ll feel like it’s too much effort, but you might or might not ask me.
Andrew: The important thing to do is to ask me to tweet it out.
Andrew: But, if I tweet it out, you don’t want me to just have a tweet from my followers that just says, got to think of it from my point of view, if I email my followers and say, “I was on this guy’s site.” no one’s going to care.
Andrew: I’m on my site all the time.
Andrew: So, you have to think of what’s the hook? What is going to make my followers want to come over to your site?
Andrew: Now if you tweet that to me…
Dubem: Now that’s that [??] out there, you know what I’m saying? You might get a nice picture, like a little quote that you have on there, because that would go on a twitter stream, or maybe edit a little five minute clip, you know, because there’s probably good [??] here.
Andrew: Keep it light. You don’t want too much work. A nice headline is easier.
Dubem: Headline, yeah?
Andrew: Yeah, I mean, if you can edit quickly, I can edit fairly quickly, but even I don’t want to go into that effort.
Dubem: Okay, yeah, I can edit, I can edit. I can edit myself. I can use Photosho-, that, I completely forget, Adobe one, I don’t know why I’m blanking on it.
Dubem: That’s my program, yes. I can use it. I can do it. It’s not that hard.
Andrew: See, that’s the next thing, you want to find, and that’s important to think about when you’re interviewing someone, how can I get that person to tweet? What am I going to say in my headline that’s going to make him want to tweet it out, and make his followers come out.
Andrew: We’re living in a world where everyone has followers. All your interviewees have followers. You want them to tweet that stuff out.
Andrew: Alright, so now people come to the site. They’re going to see me. How do we get them to remember you, and come back to you, because there’s the next problem, they see me and they like me, they might walk away thinking, “Oh, that Andrew’s good, he was on some site with some guy.”
Andrew: I don’t know what they’re going to remember. They might just remember that you happen to be a black guy in the tech space that Andrew interviewed, or was interviewed by Andrew.
Dubem: I [??] video of a tech space.
Andrew: You don’t know, you just, you don’t know what’s on their minds.
Andrew: How do we get them to not brush over, or is it brush over? To not overlook you, and to stick around and come back and see, what are you going to do next? It’s not yet with you, it’s not yet with the crazy things that you say, because you haven’t figured out those crazy things yet.
Andrew: So maybe it’s on site we need something that will get them.
Andrew: I don’t know what that answer is, but we need some way to get them to come back to you.
Dubem: Yeah. I mean it’s only to think about. I mean I’ve got… It depends if people like my writing, you know I’ve got some bloke’s [??] on there. I feel like my writing is improving.
Dubem: Every day, yeah, and I feel like…
Andrew: So, we need the other writing to be in their face, when they see it they need to be aware of your other writing, if that’s what you think is going to be the hook.
Andrew: I like it, and I like your motivation and your ambition. I like that you have a list of quotes here on the site, Norman Vincent Peele, “Change your thoughts and change the world.” Eleanor Roosevelt is on here in quotes, I mean these are the kinds of things that we entrepreneurs we… the ambitious, this is the stuff we gravitate to.
Andrew: And so, yeah, I can see that some way of you communicating that fire.
Dubem: And what would do me that as well, we’re going to put that into a graphic, so it will be white on black text, as a kind of image, so it will stand out, and it will be the first thing you see as you come onto the whole page.
Dubem: Because it’s like our kind of manifesto.
Dubem: So, as soon as you come you can see that this is what we’re about, and if you’re about the same thing, then hopefully you’ll stay on there and sign up to the newsletter, and keep coming back and join and become involved in a movement, you know.
Dubem: So that’s one thing, I don’t know how that will go down, but we’ll give it a shot.
Dubem: What else? So, I see you have an email collection box from Mail Chimp on the right corner. The right margin, that says “Want cool interesting inspirational content, sign up here.”
Dubem: I don’t think anyone wants any cool, interesting, inspirational content, they want other content that happens to be inspiring. What do we give them that makes them really want to give you their email address?
Andrew: Well, what I’m doing with that newsletter, I’m putting in sick videos that I find, you know, like Eric Thomas, or spoken word artists, or you know, inspirational music from different kinds of models, like hip hop and house.
Andrew: Stuff like that, stuff that kind of motivates you and gets you going.
Dubem: I like that, I need that.
Andrew: But how do you kind of, say that in that space?
Dubem: And communicate that, and get them to do it. I don’t know, that’s one of the challenges you’re going to have. How do you do that?
Andrew: That’s one of the challenges you’re going to have, how do you do that?
Andrew: By the way as you were saying it’s inspirational music and you’re describing the kind of music you’re into, I wish there was a Spotify playlist like that sometimes I just need that.
Dubem: Well what I’m doing, have you heard of 8-tracks? You must have, 8- tracks.
Andrew: Yes, the website, yes.
Dubem: Yeah. the playlist website, well what I want to do quite soon is put up inspirational 8-tracks and use that as a means of promoting ourselves and creating a little playlist for you and you can just listen to and get inspired by, maybe go to the gym if you’re feeling down, you can play these songs. Because that was one of my old ideas, hip-hop inspires inspirational hip- hop music so I’ve got a large collection of songs like that, which I could utilize now.
Andrew: I get that. What else?
Dubem: Our video, the video was the big thing for me and it was a big deal especially I feel for people of our generation who find it difficult to read long things and find it difficult to maybe listen to such a long podcast. To get a video that is relatively decent looking and has the free ease let’s call it, entertainment, engagement, and education.
Dubem: And to get a video like that and get it in front of people.
Andrew: And keep it short, you’re saying because they don’t have the long attention span. I think you’re right.
Dubem: Seth Godin says you scale trust, so we start short and then the more people that start feeling us and believing in what we’re doing and becoming part of the movement, we can eventually build up and lengthen things and try new things and that’s kind of my vision for it.
Andrew: Alright, how did we do here? Good?
Dubem: This has been an amazing conversation, and I didn’t even get to anything I wrote down but…
Andrew: Really? Is there one thing you want to get to before we end?
Andrew: No, could we just do a couple of things?
Andrew: Yeah hit me!
Andrew: Because this is the young entrepreneurs show so I feel like we should talk about young entrepreneurship, and young entrepreneurs in general. You have come across young entrepreneurs, I listened to your interviews and you said there was a guy called Annil [sp] and he used to listen to your interviews and he used to come to your office he said, so you’ve had experience and connection with people between the age of 20, and I’ve seen your interview with Teen Business Forum.
What is your opinion of the next generation entrepreneurs, and when I say that I mean what did you think that they’re kind of lacking that you’ve seen?
Andrew: It’s interesting everyone keeps calling the next generation ”slackers” because they expect everything to be handed to them just like their parents patted them on the back even when they failed at scoring a goal, they expect life to do the same thing. I don’t buy into that, I think that they’re doing great. I think that they are exactly the same as the people behind them.
In the 80’s the people who were in their early 20s were the young guns on Wall Street who had all kinds of creative ideas to make money big and to change companies and to buy them and sell them and all that stuff and they were younger than they should have been and then they ended up doing more than they were expected to have done.
And then the next generation was called Generation X and they were supposed to be the generation that stood for nothing that was capable of nothing and that’s why they were ”X,” we don’t even know what they are. But they surprise everyone in their 20s they ended up building up companies they happen to be software companies, they happen to be Internet companies and they happened to do extremely well and they shook the world up and then everything changed.
And then after that you end up with the younger people again, guys like Mark Zuckerberg guys like the Instagram people and the Pinterest people who come in and they were younger than they were supposed to be and they changed things by not conforming. It’s all the same thing.
Forget it, the odd thing is that even though there are all these examples of people who did it really early, I still talk to people who are 19, 18, 20 years old who say ”how do I overcome my age?” like they have to overcome their age! Like that’s a problem! That’s like saying ”how do I overcome my damn good looks and my brains, I don’t know what to do about it.”
Dubem: I feel that’s a problem, and I’m saying I’ve experienced that myself. I feel that myself, I feel that I’m 24 and if I want people to listen to me and they won’t take me seriously because they think this young guy is trying to talk to them. I feel that myself, so I think that’s an issue that hopefully you say.
Andrew: I sometimes talk on Mixergy about how I had this hole in my life that I am trying to patch up with success. Do you identify with that? It looks like everything went well for you. When you were 19, and when you were in your early teens did you feel like the outsider who had to barge his way in to the system, did you feel like no one cared about you and you were going to have to find a way to get them to pay attention.
Dubem: No, I mean, when I was 19 I was lost, to be honest. I didn’t know.
Andrew: You were lost. See I never get the lost part. I never was lost. I felt like right from an early age I understood exactly where I was going. It must suck to be lost.
Dubem: I was lost, and I went through depression, And I went to university, and I was kicked out of university after my first year, and I didn’t know what I wanted to do. But I read entrepreneur biographies. I used to read when I was like younger, and I started reading them. Again, it was like the whole thing of they came from nothing, you know. They came from worse situations than I came from.
And it was always within me that kind of vision. I always had vision, like I could always see the end goal. It was very hard for me to actually get to the end goal. We’d do the work and break through those middle barriers, but I could always see the end goal. If we have to have this vision, that’s one thing I’ve got. So I have to work on my other skills ,which is kind of a journey from there.
Andrew: So you’re feeling lost and it was the entrepreneur’s books, the ones, the biographies of successful people that helped you find who you were and what possibilities were in your world.
Dubem: I feel like that’s what that what Mixergy is.
Andrew: That’s what Mixergy needs to do.
Dubem: We’re doing audio, video biographies effectively, you know.
Andrew: Yes. I agree. By the way, did you notice how I did that?
Dubem: Yeah. I see. [laughs]
Andrew: Right. I think there are a lot of people cringing when I said this hole in my life, whatever. And then you had your own thing that made maybe was leaving you a little exposed and may they could relate to me and maybe they can relate to you.
Dubem: I see what you are doing.
Andrew: When you’re open other people get to be more open. That’s the answer right there.
You, my friend, are now a train. The train has left the station. Most people don’t even leave the station. You left the station when you launched this website sooner than you were ready. The next step is to just keep going, to keep continuing, to continue by publishing more posts, to continue by publishing this interview, to keep going even when you think the best that you can produce is not good enough.
Even when you think the best you can create no one cares about, even when you have this vision of how you’re supposed to look on camera, of how the intro should look, of what I should say, of what you shouldn’t have said about whatever.
You still have to publish just like a train cannot be stopped, you cannot be stopped. You have to keep publishing. Now Gary’s looking at you. I’m looking at you, and your audience is looking at you. We’re all rooting for you to keep on going, and we’re all watching. This is a great way to start.
Dubem: That’s more respect than anyone. I think we should end by doing one quick thing.
Andrew: Okay. Hit me.
Dubem: I’m going to be doing that old school association. You’ve played the association game. You know how it goes. One word and then a one word reply. So when I say entrepreneurship, what do you think?
Dubem: [laughs] I love it. Fear?
Andrew: Fear? Me. [laughs]
Dubem: [laughs] Okay. Media?
Dubem: [laughs] This one is going to get you.
Andrew: Go on.
Andrew: Ooh, too long. [laughter]
Dubem: Okay. Fine.
Dubem: That’s cool.
Andrew: By the way, how old were you?
Dubem: What did you say?
Andrew: How old were you when you lost yours, and is that inappropriate to ask? No?
Dubem: No, 19. Yeah. I was 19.
Andrew: Nineteen. At first did you feel like you waited too long?
Dubem: I went to an all male school for a long time. So, yeah.
Andrew: Did you feel like the outcast? I’ll tell you how I felt. I actually felt like I wanted to wait a little bit longer. I felt like this whole sense of… I read Judy Blume books as a kid. I said, “No. I have to wait for the true love, and it has to be the perfect night and all that, you know?
Dubem: Yeah. Yeah.
Andrew: When I tell you that later on I couldn’t really date. I remember talking to the therapist who said, “Andrew, you’ve got to stop making women so special. You have to be more human.” I said, “Aren’t you supposed to tell me to wait, that there are other people more special. I think you’ve got to relax.
Dubem: You know, it’s true. It’s one of those things. It does have an effect on you, especially at that page. Even now I don’t really [??], but at that age it’s a big deal. It’s a big deal. It’s all kind of part of that kind of pressure you feel around that time to kind of fit in and do it. Everyone at that age, if they’re not doing it, then they’re saying they’re doing it.
Andrew: That’s what killed me, too. And that’s the other thing, you’re right. Everyone was pretending, and it wasn’t until I got order that I realized they were all pretending. And the same thing happens around here. I’ll go out for lunch with someone, and I’ll ask them how they’re doing. And they’ll say I’m crushing it. I am really killing it with my company.
If I talk to them privately, I’ll realize that they’re not all crushing it. They are, many of them, afraid like I am. They are, many of them, trying to figure it out. They are, many of them, lost and confused, and they’re not admitting it. So comparing ourselves to what other people say is wrong.
Dubem: There’s nothing wrong to just bring it out, realness of out. I respect people who are real. I respect people who just say how it is, say what they’re really going through.
Andrew: This [??] right here. Let me get my camera right there, right there.
Dubem: Oh cool. Did you get that?
Andrew: Yes. It’s been great being here. I hope I get to see you in person. I hope people watch this and give you feedback so that they cheer you on along the way the way I am. And I thank Gary Vaynerchuk for introducing me to you. I’m looking forward to watching your career develop.
Dubem: Yes, man. It’s been a pleasure. If I was ever to have a first interview, I don’t think I could have had a better guest. I don’t think it could have gone any better than this.
Andrew: I’m honored to be your first.
Dubem: I have much respect for the living legend, Gary Vaynerchuk.
Dubem: Shouts to the Vayniaks, jab, jab, right hook.
Dubem: [??] right now. Go get that. Go top that. Go get your media game up. [??]
Andrew: Thank you, buddy. Alright.
Dubem: This has been a LPB podcast. This has been on Andrew Warner of Mixergy.com. Thanks very much, man.