Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. You know me, my name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy, where I interview entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses. I do it for an audience of real entrepreneurs, who get this, they’re not the wannabes who just kind of fantasize about building businesses. They’re actually out there building companies, and you’ll see more and more of them coming on here to do interviews after they built their businesses.
All right, so check this out. Today’s guest is an entrepreneur who figured out email marketing back at a time when people thought that email was just a thing you use to, you know, communicate with your boss or to send out a proposal. He figured it out and he understood that email marketing was different than mail marketing or different than the one to many marketing that people were doing online. And he said, “I’m going to start a consulting company. People can pay me, businesses can actually pay me, and I’ll help improve their results.”
And it took off, and he did well, and he ended up building at some point a bit of an ego for himself, I think well deserved, but it seems like he kind of regrets it. He ended up selling the business and burning out, the business I should say. You know, why don’t I just introduce you, Barry, instead of like giving out pieces of your life? He’s Barry Stamos. His business was called INBOX Marketing. He ended up selling it to Responsys, a company that then ended up getting sold to Oracle. He did well from that sale.
After he got burned out, he apparently reconnected with his hippie roots. And now he’s a part of 1heart. 1heart is an organization that you heard me talk about in the past interview. These are people who this organization believes that entrepreneurs can be a force for good, which I believe too, and I think that just building great products and making money is a good force for good. These guys said, “No, no, we need to be heart first. We need to be heart-led.” And these hippies are actually starting companies investing in them and creating a movement that apparently includes plant medicine, right, Barry?
Barry: Yes, indeed.
Andrew: Plant medicine on their journeys and also standard coaching and other services to help businesses that believe in their point of view, which is that businesses should be a force for good. Any business that wants to do that, they want to help out. This interview where we find out about how Barry did this is sponsored by two phenomenal companies. The first will help you do email marketing right. It’s called ActiveCampaign. And the second will help you get phenomenal developers. It’s called Toptal. Barry, good to have you on here.
Barry: It is a pleasure to be here, and I’m excited to share some stories that will hopefully be in service to many others.
Andrew: Oh, this in service to many others. You really are a hippie. You know what? Just so people see that you’re not just a hippie who takes plant medicine and takes people on journeys, you’re a business man.
Barry: It simply mean like I care about people, the planet, and bettering the world. Yes.
Andrew: Yeah, I see that. But at the same time . . .
Barry: To that end, it’s kind of important.
Andrew: What’s kind of important?
Barry: To care. To know that you’re connected. To know that what you do matters greatly.
Andrew: You know what? I’m a little reluctant to start with the hippie stuff because I’m worried that people are not going to take this interview seriously or your business.
Barry: So we can talk about [inaudible 00:03:03]
Andrew: Let’s talk about the dollars and cents. You sold your business, how much money did you sell it for?
Barry: Yeah, so I started INBOX Marketing. We sold to Responsys. The deal was structured in such a way where we cashed in millions up front in cash. We also . . .
Andrew: “We” meaning you or was there a co-founder?
Barry: Well, yeah, I had a co-founder.
Andrew: Okay. Did you end up with millions on your own?
Barry: [inaudible 00:03:27] relate to my team as well.
Andrew: Did you personally end up with millions from the sale in cash?
Barry: Yeah, I became a multimillionaire.
Andrew: You became multimillionaire in cash?
Barry: In cash.
Andrew: And you also ended up with what as part of this?
Barry: There was an earn out where I could earn more, and then there was also equity and Responsys because I stayed on and accrued that equity. And I ended up leaving Responsys. So I ended up selling some of that equity in second market and arguably shouldn’t have because when we IPO, so the stock became much more valuable. And then we ended up exiting to Oracle as unicorn. We sold for $1.6 billion, and I wish I would have had more shares at that time. I had very few left at the time. I come from, you know, a family of two teachers. My dad taught economics. My mom was a Head Start teacher, and so it was important to me to put some money away. I now have two boys and so . . .
Andrew: You can take care of them because of what you did with this business that we’re going to talk about. I promise, I’m going to talk about the hippie. This isn’t a promise to you, Barry. This is a promise to my audience because I know that every time that I blow past the do-gooder part of business, there are people my audience to get angry at me and think that I’m an evil person. I swear I’m not an evil person. But I am a New Yorker at heart. And as a New Yorker at heart, I want to talk fast. I do kind of admit to you, I want to run people over on the escalator up into my office, and the hippie part feels like interesting part of business, but I want to get to the dollars and cents and how you did it. So I promise I will suppress my New Yorkerism.
Barry: Yeah, we get to call it conscious capitalism, which is a beautiful bridge.
Andrew: I get it. No, my wife is totally into this. She has a site called Cause Capitalism. She helped real businesses with their social mission. She just is now at PagerDuty. This business you guys are going to hear a lot about as it grows doing the same thing, setting up their social mission. I get it from the inside but I also have to accept that I’m an entrepreneur and my audience of entrepreneurs, we respect people who build businesses, and then we listen to the rest of it.
So let’s talk about how you built up this business. You’re a guy who said, “You know what? People love getting email.” Now when I saw this in my research notes from your conversation with the producer, I was a little incredulous. At what point in the internet history to people like getting email?
Barry: Yeah. So, I mean, remember, I started this company when email was just starting to be birthed as a corporate channel. I mean, in the beginning you got an email, and it was like getting, you know, for the older generation, a piece of direct mail, right? It was special. And today, I guess, you could liken it to when you first got . . . when do a social media posts, you start getting likes or loves, right, or [inaudible 00:06:01]. There’s that dopamine and feel good, like, “I matter” effect. And then it starts to get played out because everybody jumps on and starts liking everything. And there’s tons of stuff in your feed. And so email got like that, too. And so I really stood early on for permission-based marketing. You know, the idea that you opt in, somebody raises their hand, and you now have a direct channel, and I can be timely, relevant, and valuable with my messages.
Andrew: And so you said, “You know what? I see the power of this thing. I think we could keep it interesting.” And at what point did you go from a fan of the medium to someone who is going to create a consulting business that helps people do it well?
Barry: Yeah, so it kind of happened a little bit by accident. So I ended up writing an article because I got upset. I was going to parties and people would be like, “So what do you do?” And I’m like, “I’m an email company.” They’re like, “Oh, so you do spam.” “Like, no, dude, I’m actually doing really cool [inaudible 00:07:01]”
Andrew: And you had an email. What was your email company that you were doing? What email were you sending out?
Barry: It was called INBOX Marketing.
Andrew: From the beginning, you were doing your own marketing, or were you doing marketing for other people?
Barry: Yeah, so I started coaching other companies like consulting companies on how to do email marketing.
Andrew: How did you get into that? What was it that led you to do consulting to other companies?
Barry: You know what? It’s funny. It’s like I graduated school and I wanted to be an expert in something, but I didn’t have the experience to be an expert in anything. And so it’s like, well, I grew up with, you know, Apple products and like the first Apple computers. And so I’m like, “Well, fuck it. I’ve been doing email as long as anybody. Why can I put . . . you know, hang a shingle and say that I’m an email guy.” And so I ended up getting triggered by people saying at parties, “Oh, you must do spam.”
And I wrote an article in “ClickZ” that I was lucky enough to publish saying that advertising spam. Like I don’t opt in and give, you know, brands permission to put billboards in the way of mountain tops. I don’t, you know, give brands permission to interrupt my favorite TV shows with commercials. And, you know, I kept riffing on all these different channels and how it’s all spam. And that email is actually one of the first to go forward with opening up permission-based communications. And I took a lot of heat. It was a lot of heat from agencies, as you can imagine, and I ended up creating a pretty cool following that kind of got behind it.
Andrew: So you first said, “You know what, I know email marketing well. I’ll just start off with that.” And so you created what I see here in Internet Archive, inboxmarketinginc.com. And you said, “I’ll help you with your email marketing.” And you said, “I’ll figure this stuff out.” Then you went to “ClickZ,” wrote that post saying, “Everyone is saying that my medium is spam, guess what? Advertising and banner ads and the rest of it is real spam. No one’s opting into a banner ad. They are opting into my email. And they keep getting to vote on whether they like it or not, by whether they hit the unsubscribe or not.” That got you following and then some of those people, as I understand it, became your customers.
Barry: That’s exactly right. Yeah, I started landing deals with like random companies like Dow Corning. And then sure enough, I was working with Fortune and Oracle. And, you know . . .
Andrew: Because that’s who was reading “ClickZ” at the time. The marketers there.
Barry: Right. And in many ways, and it was an early example of having a voice, standing for something that you believe in, being authentic, challenging the status quo, developing a following, and, you know, people hearing your message and a platform where I could write, and I wrote a lot of articles, but wrote credibly about what I knew and what I was learning. You know, I wrote a lot about the journey, and I talked a lot about results and what companies got it right with email, what companies didn’t. And by working across multiple companies and seeing what worked and what didn’t, and working across many different technology companies in the space. I partnered up with, you know, the top ESPs, email service providers. Like ExactTarget and Responsys. I had kind of an unfair advantage to see what worked, what didn’t, and to start . . .
Andrew: What you said with them was, “You know what? Let’s take it slowly.” The first customers were coming in because of where? And then you went into . . .
Barry: Yeah, the first customer started rolling and because I was writing articles, and I’m like, “This guy knows about . . . ”
Andrew: It was all articles.
Barry: [Inaudible 00:10:17] with an email strategy. You know, we’ve got to do this email thing. He seems to know what he’s talking about, let’s bring him in.” And I’d come in and they’d hire me. And then we wouldn’t basically do . . . I mean, they would outsource their email marketing, or it was a hybrid approach where we teach them how to do email marketing.
Andrew: And so they would give you the username and password to their email software and say, “Here’s the message that we need to get out. Can you set it up?”
Barry: Yeah. I mean, at that time, it was more like it was either they were hiring us to create their email strategy and then, you know, hand off, or that they wanted our support with creative, and/or they were like, “We just want to outsource this whole thing.” Our first, we landed our . . . I mean, I was working with not just big companies, I also I was in San Francisco. So I was working with some small companies too. I mean, I took on a small client at the time, even though it wasn’t a Fortune 500 company, you know, reluctantly called StubHub. And I remember having a conversation, you know, “Well, maybe we should get equity. No, you know, cash in hand is better.” And boy, do I regret that, right? But they were great [inaudible 00:11:29]
Andrew: They ended up selling to eBay.
Barry: . . . did their email for the first five years. You know, I . . .
Andrew: So let’s talk about StubHub as an example. So StubHub is a company that was a reseller of tickets. If you didn’t want to use your tickets to an event, you can go and list it there. I think it was a marketplace, right, and then it’s sold to eBay. How would you work with them to improve their email marketing back then? What did you do?
Barry: Yeah, so I mean, an email communication strategy, ideally, is like mapping out the entire engagement, right? I mean, there’s awareness, there’s interest, engagement. And so, you know, email can be used to usher in new buyers, right, new sellers, because they’re a buyer or seller marketplace, and then there’s a whole communication strategy around, you know, ticket purchases, and being in communication with them, you know, post event, right? And so . . .
Andrew: So you were the one who came up with that. You said, “Look, someone just bought something from you. What are you going to send them the day after?”
Barry: Yeah, all communication.
Andrew: And what would StubHub send the day after an event?
Barry: Well, there was a whole series of messages that would float. Transactional emails are actually, even to this day, one of the highest opened and clicked emails. Even e-tailers don’t realize that they should be putting in opportunities to upsell, cross sell, etc., and transaction emails is sort of . . .
Andrew: We think about the marketing emails as the place where we do our marketing and then receipt as the place where we don’t pollute it with marketing. We just sell. But got it [inaudible 00:12:55] . . .
Barry: In general, and I’ve worked with over 100 of the Fortune 500 companies. I’ve worked with lots of like high growth startups, most are very hyper focused on acquisition. Most don’t focus on lifecycle messaging, retention, referrals.
Andrew: How did you figure out lifecycle marketing for a company like StubHub? Where did that come from?
Barry: Well, before starting a company I worked for Andersen. Right now Andersen Consulting. You know, I had a little bit of background prior to jumping into consulting.
Andrew: Okay. And so that told you, “We’re not thinking about just closing a sale. We’re thinking about the full life cycle of a customer?”
Barry: Totally. I had some really good advice from one of my dad’s close friends, Jim Gillespie, who’s the CFO at Greenpeace. So I your hippie reference again, right? Because I was perplexed after school at what to do. And had an offer in hand from Andersen. He said, “Barry, go work for them. Learn everything you can, be as successful as you can in your career. And once you’ve made it, quit and build bridges.” Because nonprofit communities have the heart, corporations have the money, and governments aren’t playing their part, and the world gets to shift and change. And so, you know, we get to be the change.
Andrew: And that’s what you’re doing right now with 1heart.
Barry: And it turns out that that was amazing advice. And serendipitously are universally here we are synchronous. Yeah. So the universe is very, very interesting. We’ll just say that. Yeah.
Andrew: Okay. So you were starting to do that. Was there are a couple of things that worked for you really well, in the beginning? You told our producer, “Listen, the truth is I didn’t know shit about email. I was going to figure it out and use [inaudible 00:14:42] as I went along.” But were there a couple of things that you used on a regular basis that just worked even in the early days that were your go-to?
Barry: Yeah. So first, I’ll just acknowledge that I think there’s like founder faith to some degree. Like founders don’t have all the answers. But we believe that, like the longer we get to survive, like we’ll thrive. I joke that with our startups, it’s like your job to get your ass kicked daily until you start kicking ass. And so I’d say looking back and in retrospect, in hindsight, some of the keys to our success, one, for sure, was like just being like fearless, right? Just having that kind of like I knew we could fail, but I was prepared to risk it all.
And I did. I maxed credit cards out. I had my dad at one point say, “It’s time to give up, son.” Like everyone loved that I was starting the company and then after a year when I wasn’t making money, they’re like, “It’s time to stop.” You know, and after two years, it was like, you know, “Maybe this isn’t going to work,” but I just kept forward. So I’m just not giving up.
I think the second thing for me was I had a partner who was a total operator, like so really understanding like what my gifts are . . .
Andrew: This is Juston Brommel?
Barry: Yeah, Juston Brommel. Like I would literally go in and dream up like these amazing strategies and wow people, and I was definitely really good at sales and business development. I’d partner with all these ESPN, I would, you know, wow, people. And then literally, they’d be like, “Amazing,” and then I’d hand it to Juston and I’d be like, “And we have to do this now.” And he just looked at me like, you know, frustrated. And we pulled stuff off, and we came through. And as we did it, we got better and we started creating processes and tools so that we can scale.
And the other thing, obviously, talent was key, I thought, when I was starting that I needed these like amazing resumes, right? So I hired some gray hairs. And I, you know, looked at the credentials and I would brag about the credentials of the people in our management team. And like, you know, who our advisors were. And at the end of the day, my two best hires, one was this kid, Julian, who literally came in with a resume for manager of customer success role. And at the end of the interview . . . and by the way, he was a flight attendant, right? That’s what he had been doing for the last couple years. Shows me his portfolio and I literally jaw dropped. I’m drooling. He’s creating these emails with tons of best practices, just, you know, without having that experience. Like he just naturally . . .
Andrew: He just naturally knew what needed to get done.
Barry: You got it. He was gifted. And guess who ended up becoming our creative director? Guess who ended up running professional services, not just for INBOX Marketing, but for Responsys? So post-acquisition Julian could juggle 17 balls.
Andrew: Someone that you just hired. He was that good at doing it. But it seems like what you’re good at is telling people why they were wrong through blog posts or what now we call blog post, but back then not, and dreaming up visions for what they could do instead. And then you would go to, I call them Juston, I guess I mispronounced name, Juston Brommel. He would then figure out a way to get it done and the people that you hired ended up being the people who got this work done.
So we talked about the post leading to clients. Let’s talk about your partnerships with the email service providers. You would go to the people who had these big clients and say, “You’re selling your software. People don’t know what to do with it. As a result, they’re not going to get the right results. And they’re not going to grow their email list, which means you’re not going to get paid by them as much as you could. Refer them to us, we’ll get them doing it right.” Is that the proposition?
Barry: Yeah, that was . . . well, initially, and then that shifted. So Responsys, like all the top email software companies were focused on software. They didn’t have professional services. And then, you know, they started realizing that by us working with the companies that actually, you know, took email seriously, strategically, that we would increase the volume of emails to send out, that’s how they made money, and they would be more successful with email and so email would get larger budgets. And so it was a perfect match to add services to the software and grow. I mean, IBM kind of showed us that. Some other companies showed us that at the time. So, yeah. My one regret was I didn’t shop around the deal. So I draw . . .
Andrew: Wait, wait, before we get into the deal, let’s get into how you built up the business.
Barry: Yeah, sure, sure.
Andrew: I think one of the things that I learned, I got into email marketing early, and one of the things that I learned was, no one’s coming to email marketing as a destination. But if it’s part of a path to something else, they’ll do it. And so for us, in my previous company, it was greeting cards. You send out a greeting card, of course, you can have to type in your email address and the recipient’s email address so we can send it and tell the recipient who it’s from. But if there’s a checkbox that says, “Also get a joke via email, also get something via email,” you’re going to take that thing because it’s on your way to do something else. If on the other hand, we say, “Go to this page and sign up for joke a day or a motivational quote,” you’re not going to do it.
Andrew: That’s one of the things that we discovered put email on the path to something else that they’re trying to do, and they’re more likely to take it. Was there something that you discovered about subscriptions back then that you still remember about [inaudible 00:20:04] subscriptions?
Barry: Yeah. I mean, I had 50 best practices to optimize your email signup rates, right? I mean, and I can share with you. I mean, many of them still hold true. So for example, like a lot of people throw a popup or a signup form, and they don’t include their logo on that form or box, right? Well, people, you know, in testing didn’t realize, “Well, what am I signing up for?” Right? You know, people want to know that you value their privacy. People want to link to privacy, but they’re not going to actually click on it. By adding enter “email address” into the data entry form, right? [inaudible 00:20:47].
Andrew: Got it. Okay. So, you know what?
Barry: . . . people want to ask for more information when, you know, you only want to start with an email. I mean, there’s just so many places where, you know, you trip up the user experience and the flow, and the more you can simplify it, and the more [inaudible 00:21:05]
Andrew: Barry, I’ve heard you use the phrase best practices a lot, which tells me a little bit about the way you think. You are either mentally or physically putting together a list of the best things that work, and then you start to implement them for everyone. So if you find that putting the terms of service link on a popup gets more people to increase, or you find someone else has done that research and it works for them, you add it to some list somewhere. And then next time you have a client, you look at their popup and you say, “You know what? Here’s one of the things that we found that works. Add it. Let’s test it.”
Barry: You got it. And we would . . .
Andrew: That’s the way you think, Barry.
Barry: We would create conversion funnels for everything and by vertical and we would make those recommendations, implement them, see what incentives lift was to see if they hold up or don’t and constantly be changing. And that’s . . .
Andrew: And was there an actual list somewhere of all the things that worked that you would keep that you do?
Barry: Oh, yeah. At Andersen, you have to document everything. So I kind of . . .
Andrew: How do they documented at Andersen?
Barry: Oh, Andersen spent more money on professional development training than any other company in the world. I mean, and . . .
Andrew: So how would they have you documents stuff so that you remember it?
Barry: Yeah. We built at Andersen and part of my role was knowledge space. So this was an intranet at the time, right, that literally was built to crowdsource and curate and ultimately accumulate and dispense what was working for, you know, one practitioner in one office in all offices.
Andrew: So what’s an example of something that you might document in that system back then at Andersen?
Barry: At Andersen it was everything from, I mean, how to do meeting generation with fortune, with clients that have a net worth of over 50 million for private client services like family wealth planning, you know, to security like at the time internet security when it first was coming out.
Andrew: Got it. So if somebody in the team, somebody in Andersen realizes that an easy way to get to a wealthy client is to go kite surfing because that’s hot right now. That would have to get documented so that other people who are trying to get high net worth clients, they consider kite surfing.
Barry: In the same way that CRM is pretty popular with sales people. Yes, I mean, it’ . . .
Andrew: Got it. Okay. All right. Let me talk about my first sponsor, and then we’ll come back into it. My first sponsor is a company . . . I don’t think you know them very well. It’s called ActiveCampaign. Do you?
Barry: No. I have not heard of this.
Andrew: Right. I’m going to tell you about ActiveCampaign. ActiveCampaign saw what you guys had access to which is these really robust email marketing systems that do more than just let you collect an email list and send out messages but actually know things about people. Like what have they clicked on your emails? What have they clicked on your website? Who are they? Are they are they enterprise customers or they small businesses? And then you communicate to them differently. And they said, “We’re going to make it passive so no one has to fill out a form that says, ‘I’m an enterprise customer who’s got a 25% chance of buying,’ but the more they interact with your site, and your email, the more the email software knows who they are.”
So let me ask you this, one of the issues is with something like this, Barry, is there are a lot of features. I could tell people how this software will know if somebody watched your video all the way through the end that if somebody clicked the link, you could target them differently. What’s one thing, forget about all the features, what’s one thing that you could say to somebody who signs up ActiveCampaign or any other email marketing tool that they should do that most people miss? Is there something that you can think of?
Barry: Yeah, for sure. So, I mean, for starters, I like drip campaigns. So, you know, a lot of a lot of people miss opportunities. You know, it’s like you send one email and there is no response. Great, then send another email with the change message. If there is a response, then you get to send another email based on that response. You’re creating a dialogue, right? It’s engagement mapping. And with email, you can automate conversations. So it’s like decision trees. You can literally whiteboard and say, “Okay, if we’re going to have a conversation that was going to occur through email, this is what it would look like. And if they go this way, then they’re to stop.”
Andrew: And then so one of the examples you said was if somebody doesn’t open up the first message, maybe two days later you send them the message again, say, “Hey, looks like you might have missed my message. Here it is again.” Got it. If they did open it up, you say, “As I told you yesterday, here’s the truth. And now I’m going to build on that with the [inaudible 00:25:16].”
Barry: Correct. If they clicked on a link and you can follow up with a three-part message series sequence based on that content, right, because, you know, they’re interested. And I mastered kind of that in the email space and then I realized that really it’s not just about the email channel, it’s a multichannel conversation. And if you communicating with them through, you know, surround sound like across channels . . .
Andrew: You know what? Let me close out this ad by actually bring that up. They do not like it that ActiveCampaign that they paid me to talk about ActiveCampaign, and I keep referring to it as email automation or marketing . . . I keep calling it an email company.
Barry: [inaudible 00:25:51]
Andrew: They don’t like it because they say, “We do so much more than email. People are actually using us for SMS, for example. People are using us to do way more than this, and you keep calling us an email company.” And the truth is I say email because people in their heads having no software. They might have this basic email software that just sends out an email, and they’re looking to upgrade or they’re thinking about email, and they’re looking for something to get started with. So I’m saying email but the truth is ActiveCampaign has the same philosophy you do. Here is a tool that lets you market to people in a customized way on multiple mediums. And yes, Andrew saying, it’s an email marketing company. But trust me, as you go through their site, you’re going to see that they help you do way more than that. [inaudible 00:26:27]
Barry: Yeah. So it turns out that multichannel marketing works, and the key to multichannel marketing mean you absolutely need a platform that can allow you to engage in multichannel marketing. And the key to doing really good multichannel marketing on that platform is data. So that’s when I after I sold the company, I went to work as an entrepreneur with . . .
Andrew: You know what? I’m just going to close this out by saying to people, go to activecampaign.com/mixergy. When you go to that URL, they’re going to let you try their software for free. So you’ll see all the different things you could do with it. Second month free if you decide that you’re going to sign up, and they’re going to give you consulting, free consulting with their experts, two sessions, so you can go over what you need, go take action, then come back and build on what you did before. And of course, if you’re with a competing service and you don’t like your email marketing and you fall in love with ActiveCampaign, using the URL I gave you, they’re going to give you free migration services. So it’s activecampaign.com/mixergy.
You know, Barry, before we continue with the sale, I want to just get a little bit more about how you built up the business. I see what you are doing. I see how you got clients. You ended up, you told our producer, with 60 employees working out of a Regis office in San Francisco. I’m in a Regis office. I love it. How are you hiring people that had the kind of marketing chops that you needed that could implement and then at the same time could document so that the rest of the team knows what’s working?
Barry: Yeah. So Grant Hunter was our head of HR. And Grant and I actually met at Andersen. So we were part of this like early training like fast track partner training. And I remember they told us that only a few of us would get jobs and Grant and I . . . Grant was like I size them up early on. He was like going to be my competition. And then we ended up night one staying up all night, just geeking out like bromance and agreeing that if they didn’t give us both jobs, we would leave. And so anyway, having come from Andersen was really good at training, process mapping, creating, you know, tools and was just really fantastic at finding good people. And when we brought on Jerome McLaughlin as our president, we brought in a really experienced operator executive. And he was phenomenal. And, you know, and really helping to support growing each of the departments and really . . .
Andrew: You said your HR person was also involved in getting people to use the systems and to . . . I’m fascinated by system if I could come back to it.
Andrew: How would you implement the systems? How did you make sure that you guys used it well?
Barry: Yeah. So it started with . . . I mean, Grant and I learned at Andersen how to create training programs. And so, you know, we were creating these huge documents that well, instructor-led programs, etc. And so Grant created a document. I remember we had it for INBOX. It was like 60 some pages of everything from, you know, not just the job description but like the onboarding process for new hires. We had training for them. And then we have the actual, you know, methodology that we would use to roll clients out. I mean, for the strategy, for the creative process that Julian would take them through, I mean, we had, you know, questionnaires, we had assessment documents, and then we’d actually run tests and get, you know, like quantitative data that would come back and support and substantiate . . .
Andrew: Meaning when you ran a marketing campaign, you would then get your response. Got it.
Barry: Exactly. Exactly.
Andrew: All right. It seems like things were going well then. Let’s talk about the sale. Why did you decide to sell?
Barry: For starters, you know, Responsys made a play. We weren’t shopping it around. I mean, they saw what we were doing and they knew what it could bring to their business. Secondly, I was burned out, dude.
Andrew: You were.
Barry: Oh, yeah. I had been doing this for like four plus years, and I was exhausted. I mean, it was my first startup. It got to a point where at, you know, 60 some employees, it didn’t feel personal. It didn’t feel intimate. We were starting to grow. I didn’t know all the employees, like I knew the first dozen. It started getting a little scary too in that like, you know, I mean, our run rate was there, but so too was our burn rate. And there were months where I would like overestimate sales and we wouldn’t hit it. And like management wouldn’t get paid. Like we wouldn’t pay ourselves, right, because we never raise money. I bootstrapped the whole thing. And so, you know, could have raised money, but we didn’t. And so that added a line of pressure. And I don’t know, it just wasn’t feeling it. I lost my heart. Like my heart wasn’t in it.
Andrew: Sorry, I accidentally hit mute. If they came to you and said, “We want to buy you,” I’m surprised that a software company would want to acquire a services business.
Barry: No, I wouldn’t be. I mean, look, Responsys was at the time the top ESP. I mean, Forrester had them on the wave report as being a year and a half ahead of their closest competitor. I mean, their technology was slick. And they were doing with, you know, just top clients. It was like the Ferrari of email. And what we brought to the table allowed them to scale their business, right? We knew how to onboard clients. We knew how to, you know, get them from beginner, intermediate, to advanced levels. And we had a proven methodology to do that repeatedly. And, you know, so it made a lot of sense in terms of the acquisition for them and for us. And more and more companies post that acquisition started creating services. So ExactTarget had a big professional services practice that they created on CheetahMail, like, I mean, all these companies started creating professional . . .
Andrew: How would they sell the services? Was it sign up for the software and then meet our services team and you can hire them? Or was it just a value add to anyone who signed up for the software?
Barry: Yeah, it started becoming part of the sales process. So, you know, when sales people would be doing discovery, it’d either fit into a kind of self-service tool, right? And for that, you know, VerticalResponse and, you know, there were a bunch of email players and kind of self-serve mode, hybrid model where you actually had, you know, we wanted to use the technology and we’d like some support. We may need support with creative or strategy or whatever it might be. And then there was full service. So we want to literally turnkey this and have you run our email.
Andrew: Oh, okay. All right. Then it does make a lot of sense to do that.
Barry: Yeah. And I know you’re still on the Responsys, but like, I left Responsys afterwards and ended up getting an opportunity. My next venture was being an entrepreneur at Acxiom. So they wanted to basically create a professional services practice within Acxiom and I was excited to start using data, you know, like big data sets and advanced analytics to start doing this work cross channel.
Andrew: And Acxiom is the data company that gets credit card data, catalog data, organize it and then sells it.
Barry: Yeah, they’re an aggregator and integrator of data. And then that pumps into like most of the Fortune 500 companies and how they recognize who you are so they can be more relevant. And I saw they just had an acquisition last week. IPG acquired them for 2 . . . or the practice we started for $2.2 or $2.3 billion.
Andrew: The services part?
Barry: Correct. Well, it’s got the data part too. It’s not all of Acxiom, but it’s a big part of Acxiom. So that one is . . .
Andrew: You know what? I even see in the SMB market. People, like, let’s say sumo.com, they do email collection software and viral software. They will even figure out who in their email list is someone who doesn’t want to do it themselves, and then introduce them to . . . actually get a salesperson on a call with them and say, “We could do this for you. A few 100 bucks a month, and we’ll take care of it.” And I see even at that level that’s being done.
Barry: Yeah, absolutely, absolutely.
Andrew: You said that you wish that you shopped it around? Why did you shop it around?
Barry: I kind of fell in love with their CEO and CMO. So Dan Springer and Scott Olrich, both were just incredible people, and they painted a picture that was so compelling that we’re the email channel today, and we’re going to go multichannel. And, you know, this is the future of how companies are going to communicate, not just for marketing, but sales, customer service, like, you know, enterprise wide, and extending the enterprise to through the ecosystem. And I saw it super clearly that it was going to happen, someone was going to do it. And I knew that by us working together, we could do it.
Now, financially, it would have been very smart for us to . . . I mean, I was also close with the guys that ExactTarget, right? Had great relationships with those guys. And so they were pissed. They were like, “Dude, you didn’t even let us know you’re going to sell. You didn’t let up put an offer.” And I’m like, “Yeah, I didn’t.” And looking back, you know, that wasn’t so smart. That was kind of a rookie move. But you live and you learn you.
Andrew: You had an earn out. How did that turn out to for you? Meaning you have to hit a certain target in order to get paid more than . . .
Barry: Yeah. So I was very confident that we were going to do epic things together as partners over time. But I was also like, “Hey, I don’t like it. I think we deserve more for what we’re getting up front.” And they’re like, “Well, how about we give you some . . . you know, we’ll give you some now, but you know, we’ll give the rest through an earn out.” And then we ended up missing our earn out by just a few $100,000.
Andrew: How much? What was your revenue target supposed to be?
Barry: I don’t know if I can share that or not. But I can tell you that we were short a few $100,000 and I was like, literally, like, buy Responsys services. I was telling . . . you know. And we couldn’t hit that.
Andrew: Why didn’t you do that? Why didn’t you just get a friend to buy it?
Barry: Oh, because that wouldn’t fly at the time. I mean, that was not going to be ethical.
Andrew: Got it. Oh, man. I could just picture you saying, “Hey, Andrew, come in here.”
Barry: I left a lot of money on the table.
Andrew: Right. “Andrew, buy a bunch of services from us, and it’ll help you out. Don’t worry. I’ll take care of you later.”
Barry: And Andrew, I know this is at the end of the day, you know, the money didn’t really end up mattering a lot. I think I shared with you. I mean, at the time I was burned out and more money at that time in my life wouldn’t have served me or . . .
Andrew: Oh, you weren’t at the point where you said, “I got to hunt down more revenue. What can I do? What other angle can I work to get a little bit more?” You were at a burnout stage.
Andrew: But why? What were what were your hours? What were you doing that burned you out?
Barry: I mean, as a startup founder, I was pulling insane hours in San Francisco. I did that for years prior to the exit. And then post exit, it was like, you know, you work as a startup founder for an exit. It’s like you, “Okay, exited. You know, I’m multimillionaire. I’ve got money. I’ve got . . . ” You know, my why. And my purpose or passion just wasn’t connected anymore to the business. I mean, I’d started the business with an intention of, you know, being a voice for permission-based marketing, and I wanted to make money so I could have some financial freedom to then choose what I wanted to do next.
Andrew: Okay. And did you have any fun? I remember, actually, my first company, I didn’t even know how to have fun. I didn’t know what to do outside of work. Did you?
Barry: I’ve always done very well with that.
Andrew: Always been good at fun. What was your fun? What was the thing that you . . . ?
Barry: Yeah. I mean, I think, first off, I’d always dreamed about like living in a penthouse in San Francisco. So, you know, my best friend and I had that opportunity. We got to, you know, live in a gorgeous place in Japan town. I traveled the world. I, you know, was very generous with my money with, you know, friends and family and, you know, whenever I could, you know, sponsor somebody with charity, I was doing that. Yeah.
Andrew: I see. So what it that you were burning out because you didn’t have an outside . . . like you didn’t know how else to live life? It was just, this was in your mission anymore. You were burning out from . . .
Barry: I wasn’t waking up in the morning and being like, “I can’t wait to do, you know, to support the world with email. Yeah.
Andrew: I get it. All right. Let me talk about my second sponsor, and then go into what happened when you got burned out. I heard you got fired. Want to know what that was like and then what you ended up doing afterwards, and how you discovered 1heart. All right, my second sponsor is a company called Toptal. I’ve talked about them, Barry, forever. You guys are going to need them probably. You know, the people you invest in are going to need great developers. And you know what? What’s going to happen is they’re going to do the same thing everyone else does. They’re going to put some ads up. They’re going to go through the whole hiring process. It’s going to take a long time, distract them from their business, and then hopefully they end up with the right person. Maybe they don’t, and then back to square one.
Here’s what Toptal decided to do. In fact, so many people who I’ve interviewed have used them because of this. They said, “We’re going to get a network of great developers up front.” If someone like Barry says that they needed developer, all they have to do is talk to our person, one of our matchers, tell them what they’re looking for? How do they work? What are their quirks? Is it a part time, full time project basis? Do they need a team of people who work together forever? Or do they need some one person who can just get going right away? Whatever it is that you need, you tell them. They bring you the developers. You start to have a conversation with them. If you love them, you can often get started within days.
One of my past interviewees, Justin Hartzman said, “Andrew, I’m talking to Toptal right now.” I said, “Why?” He goes, “I started this new thing. It’s in cryptocurrency, coin smart.” Everyone is getting into cryptocurrency, Barry. If you marry love and cryptocurrency together, then people are really going to pay attention. So he’s into cryptocurrency now. I said, “Why are you hiring? You’ve got a team of people. Why do you need someone from Toptal?” He said, “I got really super smart people. I wanted someone from the outside who can watch them. Who can tell me for on the right track, who can guide them and help them avoid making mistakes.” So he called up Toptal.
If you want to hire some of the best of the best developers you can go to toptal.com, or you can go to the special URL where they’re going to give you 80 hours of Toptal developer credit when you pay for your first 80 hours in addition to a no-risk trial period of up to two weeks. That’s “Top,” as of the top of your head, “Tal,” as in talent, toptal.com/mixergy and be sure to see that they’re going to give you 100% satisfaction guarantee on that page. Go to toptal.com/mixergy.
Barry, I’m talking really fast. I wonder if I’m giving people headaches at how fast I’m talking.
Barry: [inaudible 00:41:17]
Andrew: You’re from Florida, right? You’ve got more of a laid back, happy caveat. Does it feel to you like, “I got to take a break after talking to Andrew. He’s a little bit of a motor mouth”?
Barry: No, I actually really like it. I speed up when I have the opportunity to watch video. I actually like to move things faster.
Andrew: Were you fired?
Barry: Yeah, I was at Responsys.
Barry: I was canned after the earn out. Why? They did me a favor. I didn’t have the drive, and at the same time I didn’t want to leave what I built behind.
Andrew: But you knew that you weren’t a good fit, but you weren’t going to take the step of saying goodbye to your baby. Got it. And so they asked you to leave, you left, and then what did you do?
Barry: Yeah. So, I mean, first I didn’t know what to do. I kind of looked in the mirror and was like, “Now what?” And then I had the opportunity to, as I mentioned, start the professional services practice at Acxiom and really spread my wings beyond email and go cross channel and really . . .
Andrew: How did you do that? Why take a job somewhere else when you’re so clearly an entrepreneur salesman?
Barry: I mean, one, it was an intrapreneur roles, like we were going to pull out an entire like consulting practice, and that kind of appealed to me after that. And I kind of grown up, you know, professionally in Andersen and then had my, you know, first entrepreneurial experience, which was amazing and devastating. I took everything. So the idea to actually work for a company and be an entrepreneur and have resources and plenty of resources around me and not kill myself while I was, you know, building something seemed attractive at the time. Yeah.
Andrew: Okay. So you were there for what? Like five years, six years or so?
Barry: Five year, yes. Yeah, I started off in the States and ended up moving to Europe. Then they ended up promoting me. I became the global practice leader for strategy and innovation for . . .
Andrew: What did you learn from them? I’m fascinated by what bigger companies teach entrepreneurs.
Barry: Yeah. I mean, what I learned from them is that . . . a lot. I worked with some really great people, and I also learned that like a board can stunt a company’s opportunity and possibility. I learned that . . .
Andrew: Like what? What did they do?
Barry: Oh, just no vision. You know, I mean, like I can say this. I mean, I no longer work there. I mean, I’m really glad that they exited.
Andrew: I see. Interpublic Group as buying Acxiom Marketing Solutions. That’s a department for $2.3 billion.
Barry: Yeah, yeah. And, you know, between you and me and I guess some others that are listening, I should have held more of those shares too, right? I sold all . . .
Andrew: But you had shares in this? You were an intrapreneur but you still had shares in the business.
Barry: Oh, yeah. But I sold almost all my shares of Acxiom. I knew long term they’ll do okay. But yeah, so that exit bumped my 401(k). I mean, so in 2045 or whatever, when I retire, I’ll be able to write some more checks to some founders. Yeah.
Andrew: Okay. So you were saying you learned that a board can actually stifle growth?
Barry: Yeah, a board without vision. It’s really important. I mean, I knew that to a little bit as a founder of a startup, but especially working for a larger company. I mean, having a visionary board is really key. And I also learned more about company politics. And, you know, and I also just saw . . . it helped me see there’s just so many Fortune 500 companies and so many companies servicing Fortune 500 companies that have such incredible potential and such wonderful people. And yet, you know, day to day, what they produce in the world doesn’t really matter. It’s not really enriching lives in any significant way. It makes money but it’s meaningless. Which is why . . .
Andrew: I’m wondering how you hung on for so long at Acxiom. Acxiom is a giant company. You’re not actually infusing the world with love. You know what? Then why even stay there for as long as you did?
Barry: I got married. I had two boys.
Andrew: And you didn’t have enough money from the sale that you could just say fuck off?
Barry: I’m not someone that’s going to sit around. And no, I didn’t have enough money from the sale.
Andrew: There was no F you money. I got it. I got it covered.
Barry: Not to fuck off for the rest of my life. No.
Andrew: You know, let’s talk about this hippie background. You know what? My wife was also from a hippie background. They were all vegetarian forever. She’s never had a burger and never had steak. You had something even more than that. You actually grow raw food at home?
Barry: Yeah, so my mom and dad are both from California. My family is from West Coast. They literally got on a bus and drove all the way across country, stopped at Pennsylvania. My dad got a job at Bucknell and worked there for 34 years. And so yeah, I grew up in a solar passive house.
Andrew: What does solar passive house mean?
Barry: I mean, it means like we were focused on energy conservation from the beginning. I mean, I didn’t have a flush toilet. Like I had an outhouse, in houses. Like it was a climate system that went into like flower gardens. I grew up eating tofu. I went to school and the first time I met a friend who gave me a fluffernutter, right, the marshmallow peanut butter. Like white bread, Wonder Bread sandwich. I took a bite and literally felt like I was, you know, doing a drug, which I was, which is sugar, right? I was in love.
Andrew: I heard that changed your life. You know, my wife wants to keep our kids from eating sugar. I said, “Give them sugar because then if they don’t have sugar, it’s going to become this forbidden fruit that they can’t.” You’re pointing. What happened to you?
Barry: In my experience, you get to be right. So what happened for me is I ended up . . . you know, I played sports and after baseball, when we won, they take us a Tasty Freeze and I’d eat an ice cream cone. And just like my eyes would roll back in my head. And I end up becoming obese. I end up becoming a fat kid. And . . .
Andrew: What do you mean? How big?
Barry: Oh, I was like 235 in high school. I mean, which is cool for football. But, you know, I mean, I was . . . and I was fortunate enough to be in the small town where I wasn’t made fun of miraculously. And in fact, you know, I was a happy, jolly kind of Buddha. And so I was a prom king there.
Andrew: What was it about your personality? Did they allow you to not give in to, you know, being the sad fat kid?
Barry: I was happy, brother. I mean . . .
Andrew: Why were you happy? I was never happy as a kid.
Barry: Yeah. I think because . . . I mean, I can surely be part of this to my parents. Like they deserve credit, right? My mom literally, like, taught me to hold spiders, and, like, love all things.
Andrew: And love the spiders.
Barry: Yeah. And actually, I’ll give some credit to a teacher who told me . . . and this is an amazing lesson. It’s like there’s an action, there’s a reaction, and then there’s an interpretation. And you can’t always control the action. And sometimes you can’t control the reaction, but the interpretation is a choice. And you can choose love, you can choose . . .
Andrew: You know what? That’s so true and that’s a challenge for me to . . . You know, give us an example of that, if you could.
Barry: I’ll give you a great example. So when I was in high school, I was living like . . . I was one of the happiest kids you can imagine. And I got in a car with a buddy and we were going to a party and he got a new sports car. And we took it to faster on the turn and we flipped over twice, landed upside down into a tree. They use the jaws of life to get us out. I fractured my femur. It just had snapped in half. I couldn’t play sports in senior year. And I looked at that and so, I mean, the action was like, “We got in a terrible car accident,” right? And the reaction was like, “Fuck, I’m now on crutches, and my leg hurts.” And the interpretation was, “I’m incredibly blessed to be alive.”
Andrew: Okay. And so if you have that interpretation . . .
Barry: This is bonus time. Like that’s a miracle. Like I did . . .
Andrew: So why is that a better interpretation than, “Fuck, I’m on crutches”?
Barry: Because when you wake up and you live your life as if it were a miracle every day, a daily miracle, life is so beautiful, brother.
Andrew: But are you better off? Do you make more money? Do you have a better legacy for that? You know, earlier in the conversation I said to you, Barry, I was never happy as a kid. And there’s a part of my head that said, “Are you just exaggerating because you’re talking or not?” And then I said, “What about when you lost your virginity? And I realized that’s an example of how I was never happy as a kid. I lost my virginity. I had a few minutes of happiness there. And then after afterwards, I made myself miserable with, “Did I get AIDS? Did I impregnate her? What am I doing with my life? Why am I allowing myself to lose focus?” And to me that was winning somehow, because I was not going to give myself an inch of like, leisure when I should be working. Why is that a problem?
Barry: It’s . . .
Andrew: Actually I think because I said and then it sounds like a mental issue.
Barry: Well, I mean, let’s take a step back, right? Most people believe that money will make them happy. Most people . . .
Andrew: I believe that. Money does make me happy.
Barry: Well, momentarily, just like sugar makes you happy momentarily. Just like sex makes you happy momentarily. And then I mean, you know, you dream of a car, you buy a car and, you know, months later you’re no longer loving your car. People are the same with relationships.
Andrew: I might be a little crazy. Let me tell you something, Barry. On my train ride to work like a dork, I look endlessly at my kid photos that I took the night before. They’re done screaming, I put them into bed I let them relax, and I then instead of saying, “Hey, it’s you time, Andrew, go watch a video,” I look at pictures of them when they were happier like during the day when we were having fun. But I also will look at my portfolio on a regular basis. I’ve got a widget on my phone, I does make me happy to look at that, to see the screenshot.
Barry: Yeah, good for you. I mean, look, there are lots of things in life . . . that’s the beauty though of life, right? Celebrate what’s right in the world. You can be in your head about all the things that are wrong and you can question yourself and everything around you, or you can live in gratitude, right? I mean, that I believe . . .
Andrew: Can you give me like an upside benefit that even a New York banker would appreciate. And, that even in New York banker would appreciate for why we should be happier, why we should live in gratitude as opposed to live in anxiety, and live in desperation for more.
Barry: Yeah. I mean, look, dude, I mean, fear is not freedom. Guilt is not gratitude. I mean, you literally can focus on what’s right, or you can focus on what’s wrong. And wherever you’re directing your energy, that’s what comes into your life, more often than not. And even the New York banker will attest to, I mean, we saw some pretty serious stuff happen with the stock market, we’ve seen some been . . . talk to a banker who’s lost all of their money overnight, right? And they lose their self-worth or self-esteem. And there’s just so many, you know, you look at that . . . I know, you talked about this with my co-founder and partner in 1heart, Brandon Evans, right? The top five regrets of people dying, right? I mean, hospice workers, I mean, you’re on your deathbed and you can’t take the money with you. I mean, this life is to be lived and truly treasured. And so yeah, there’s many magical moments . . .
Andrew: But you know what, Barry, let’s talk about what I could leave behind. I could leave behind better interviews or not, I will beat myself up for parts of today’s interview and be proud of parts of today’s interview and I’ll do the same for every other interview. That makes me a little bit miserable. But I think it makes the work a little bit better because next time I won’t let someone get away with it. I still to this day. Fred Wilson was on to do a Mixergy interview. I was way too complimentary because I liked him. I beat myself up for that, and I’m less complimentary. And I bring more of myself into my conversation with you, because I’m like, 50 different runs after I talked to him. I said, “No, you should have asked him why Twitter was letting down its investors.” What was going on with the Twitter board?
Barry: And that’s exactly why the monkey mind is brilliant, right? I mean, the ego can question, and we can improve. But if we look at kind of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and true self-actualization in order to really find our why, and connect with our purpose, and our passion and live our best life, you get to silence the mind through meditation. You get to truly be in a flow state with who you are, and what truly brings joy not only to you but to others and being in service really does well for . . .
Andrew: What about this, here’s what I do find a little compelling. There was that part of your career where you were actually doing something you cared about. Where you said, “Look, there’s email marketing is permission based. It does make sense, it’s not spam. These people who are making fun of me at parties are totally missing out.” And you were passionate about it. And because you were able to silence your inner critic, because you were able to silence your personal misery and you loved it, you were enjoying your work, you are producing, you’re selling to people that frankly, in many ways, you had no right to sell to. And to me, that’s a big promise of being happy in business.
Barry: Absolutely. And I’m doing it now through 1heart.
Andrew: 1heart. What’s the . . . you know what, I think I did a pretty bad job of explaining what 1heart is in the intro. I said, like they invest in companies, but they’re also are heart. What’s a good way to talk about what 1heart is?
Barry: Yeah, I mean, 1heart Collective is a human accelerator, and we’re supporting leaders that are birthing conscious company . . .
Andrew: Human accelerator to me sounds like so many different things. What you’re doing is you’re finding ways to just make people better. And if it means we invest in their idea, then great. If it means we coach them, then that’s fine. If it means we have them out to our event, 1heart Journey and they take a moment to do yoga, and that’s what it takes for them to be in that zone, then that’s what we do. That’s who humans are.
Barry: Yeah, it’s supporting people living into their highest. And right now that’s through a series of startups that are really focused on transformation.
Andrew: And so what’s an example of someone who either came to your event or you invested in, who’s living this vision that you guys want to see in the world?
Barry: Yeah, so Spencer Jacobson is the CEO of Guided. Guided is a company we co-founded with him that provides executive coaching and coaching to the rest of us, like the rest of the organization. We’re the first to go-to-market with coaching as an HR benefit. We believe that everyone should be, you know, should have access to a coach and truly live up to their potential and love what they do.
Andrew: This guy looks happy. Every freaking photo I see of Jason . . .
Barry: He is happy. He’s an amazing guy.
Andrew: That’s why Jacobson, he’s happy.
Barry: And so Spencer is like classic millennial story, right? Spencer is your wall-street banker. Spencer went to Wall Street, graduated from Vanderbilt, went to Wall Street, literally started working, they went to promote him, they wanted him to go to London, right? Because that’s what they do.
Andrew: That’s it, HSBC.
Barry: Yeah. And instead of going to London, he reached in his pocket, forked out money for a coach and realized, that, like his calling was not banking and ended up joining a Silicon Valley startup, which was super high growth became like, you know, like . . .
Andrew: Better Works.
Barry: Yeah, BetterWorks.
Andrew: This is a HR company.
Barry: Yeah, they were backed by Kleiner Perkins, like, well-funded, high growth. Spencer kicked ass and like a true millennial, in a year, he was like, “I deserve to be promoted, I should be making more money. What the fuck. I’m out of here if you don’t appreciate me.” And then worked for the coach again, right? It paid money outside of the company but had a coach, and the coach is like, “Spence, this is a pattern brother. Like, you know, you get to recognize it, whenever you’re not happy you want to bail.” And that’s not just the case in work, it’s in life. And he recognized that was a pattern and stayed and he ended up becoming their number one SE. He built their business development practice, super successful. And then we brought him on to co-found Guided.
Andrew: Because you guys had this vision that businesses are going to need coaching for their people. Frankly, I told you this before, there are Silicon Valley companies that at the high level, absolutely, the executives have access to a coach. When Olivia goes to work for a company, often they’ll say, “And here’s our coach program that we’ve got.” The problem with that is, it’s really hard to scale it, which is why what they’ll usually do is the CEO will have a coach that she works with, and she’ll say, “You know what, I’m going to make this person available to all my people.” They pay the coach a lot of money to work with them, the coach gets a credibility of helping this company, but it doesn’t scale to everyone else because they can’t train that many good coaches.
Barry: That’s right. So that’s not the challenge for us. So the way that Guided works, we’re literally signing up like, so we’ll work through HR but will sign up X number of executives, X number of employees to start, and then they can roll it out as an HR benefit. And we right now have around 50 coaches on Guided’s network. And we’ve got a network of around 10,000 coaches that are, you know, ready to be deployed. And so scaling is not the challenge for our business. So we just started a few months ago and your hood . . . I’m pleased to say we just signed up VaynerMedia.
Andrew: VaynerMedia is paying for this?
Andrew: I thought those dudes were just super cheap.
Barry: No, Gary V’s on board and we’ve got . . .
Andrew: And he’s paying to use your service?
Barry: Yeah, Quad Silver [SP] is . . . she’s a chief heart officer and she’s actually on board to be part of our advisory board. She’s incredible. And, you know, we really believe that, you know, HR benefits, like, so you get a catered lunch great, right? Like coaches are well-kept secret for executives but they’re, I mean, they’re incredible. And so we’re trying to democratize access to great coaching. And, you know, I believe in the future we’ll see more and more companies like, like, it’ll just be an HR benefit. I mean, right now a co-pay for a doctor, for, you know, I mean, it just makes sense to have a coach. Everybody gets to have a coach. Bill Gates said that Eric Schmidt said that, I get to say it.
Andrew: Oh, look at this, I was going to bust his balls, because on Glassdoor he’s had such negative reviews and he’s acknowledged it. But it looks like he’s now picking up the reviews on Glassdoor.
Barry: There we go. See?
Andrew: I don’t know if it’s got anything to do with you guys to be honest, but I think it’s an emphasis on his people in a new way.
Barry: Can’t take credit for it and watch what gets to happen moving forward.
Andrew: All right. Then there’s also 1heart Journeys where people can go and . . .
Barry: I want you to come and Brandon does too. And . . .
Andrew: I wonder if Brandon thought that . . . I wonder how Brandon felt about me constantly harping on the fact that that there’s ayahuasca available . . .
Barry: Let me acknowledge that. So not all 1heart Journeys involve ayahuasca . . .
Andrew: Right. And I was harping on that. I sense that he was okay with it, but he would have preferred that I just laid off for this one thing. It’s like saying, everything’s a whiskey drink, just because I had a whiskey on a vacation.
Barry: It is the . . . so 1heart Journeys is all about transformational travel. We believe that, you know, people don’t just want to go away for a week and lose themselves, like they want to find themselves and they want to be with amazing people. And we want to incorporate all of these different modalities that we know support people thriving, right? And that’s yoga and breath work and, you know, super foods and, you know, there’s Wim Hof breath work is incredible. There’s so many different modalities that rock and there’s no substitute for Mother Nature. And ayahuasca is without question, the most powerful accelerator. I mean, you can’t not have a sip of ayahuasca and immediately face your biggest fears. And once you’ve done that, you’re fearless. You can’t . . . on the second time you do ayahuasca, sip it, and not understand, like, where your place is in the world, the ecosystem, the universe, and . . .
Andrew: From ayahuasca?
Barry: Oh, yeah. Without question, especially if you’re doing it intentionally with a, you know, with experienced shamans. And, you know, a wonderful group, you know, that’s by design, just like we did with email, right? We’re designing experiences to allow people to, you know, wake up, power up, and show up in their highest.
Andrew: I wonder if that’s going to work for me. I got tell you, because other than . . . I won’t talk about it. But there was another event where I happen to hear that people were doing micro dose of LSD. All right. Let me give it a shot. I’m micro dosed LSD, you know what happened? Nothing happened. I just kept waiting for something to happen. Nothing happened. After three hours of waiting, I said, I’m just going to have some whiskey. I drank whiskey and life was good.
Barry: Well, that’s because you micro dosed. Go ahead and take a tab and talk to me.
Andrew: Is that what it is? So maybe that’s what it is. Maybe I need more.
Barry: It might not have been that you had enough. It also . . . look, people can drink ayahuasca and nothing can happen.
Andrew: That’s the problem that I . . . I walk into it going, I signed up for this, I demand results. And that’s not kind of the right approach, is it?
Barry: There’s, variations of ayahuasca that literally, I could send to your home that you could drink. I’m not going to send it at your home in the States. It’s illegal, but that you could drink and nothing would happen. And if you drink it, and there’s a shaman with you, that activates it, it activates. So it has a lot . . .
Andrew: So then does that mean that this whole ayahuasca thing is just in my head?
Barry: No, it has a lot to do with . . . Look, ayahuasca is like DMT. DMT is in every mammal, right? And it’s released when we’re born and when we die. So that’s not a portal to the spirit world. I don’t know what it is. And people, you know, will profess while I, you know, whatever they want to, but the people that have tried it and seen what they can see and experience what they’ve experienced, it’s like Burning Man, dude. It’s hard, people fumble talking about it, and everyone has a different experience . . .
Andrew: I’d like to feel. I’d like to feel something.
Barry: Well, trust me, you will. I mean, one of the benefits of 1heart Journey is that you get to open up your heart completely. And, you know, the question, well, “Will it work for me?” You know, 100% of the people that came on our last trip had like a life changing . . . the breakthrough that they were looking for. And 88%, you know, I’m a data geek, right? Literally described that breakthrough as a miracle. And I’m not saying that, you know, we’re miracle makers, but something miraculous happens, when you get a group of extraordinary founders, innovators, you know, change agents together, and everyone’s all in on, you know, realizing their potential as a group. And it’s well designed, it’s well orchestrated, and you’ve got the top practitioners leveraging all these integrated modalities. I mean, I want you to come, my friend. I’m really excited.
Andrew: I want to come and at the same time, I’m a little bit intimidated. I don’t know why but . . .
Barry: You will not be. I mean, if you look back . . .
Andrew: I’m sorry, you lost my attention because I’m scrolling through your current website. I like the new website. The previous website I should have told Brandon before.
Andrew: 1heartjourneys.com. The previous website had Tim Ferriss on it with like a note, with a message about ayahuasca . . .
Barry: He’s experienced it.
Andrew: There was a typo in his name.
Barry: Oh, my goodness.
Andrew: Right. But it was just like, we’re throwing something up. This one is way, way different. This one I’m getting lost in, largely because of all the different conferences that I go to, you’re the only one where people actually look good. Like, I actually want to go in and spend time with these people.
Barry: Well, that, you know, we didn’t know what the people looked like when we approve them for the . . .
Andrew: I’m evaluating them. I’m trying to see, are these guys weirdos, or am I like, this is entrepreneurial group . . . ?
Barry: And how often in life that we live with judgments that [inaudible 01:05:19]
Andrew: I got all of it.
Barry: . . . possibilities that would fill us up like, completely.
Andrew: All right, I do really like what you guys are doing. And I’m only bringing up all my questions because I really want to understand it. I used to actually sell sandwiches door-to-door in high school, door-to-door at Jamaica Avenue to the store owners because the only thing available to them was 75 cent pizza. And believe me, 75 cent pizza might be good for the customers who are walking down the street, but not for the guys who own the stores. One thing that I remember doing was, I stood there as this guy sold the TV and it took a long time. And he said to me . . . No, actually wait, it was the other way around. This guy sold the TV, I stood next to him and the people he was talking to ask the question, nodded their heads, and walked out.
And I said, “Were you upset that I was here?” He said, “No, no, they weren’t buying.” I said, “How do you know they’re not buying? I want to know.” And he said, “Everything that I said to them about this TV, they nodded in agreement to. Buyers will always raise objections, ask questions, because this has to go to their house, they have to justify it to their friends, they have to live with it for years. They weren’t asking me any questions that were challenging, and they were accepting everything from me. They’re not really buyers. Go on, sell me your sandwich.” So the reason that I bring this up to you and to frankly, to a lot of my guests is, I’m buying. I’m looking to see does this actually makes sense for me? I’m not going to nod my head like an idiot. I want to see, does this make sense?
Andrew: All right, Barry. I did a lot of talking in this interview too.
Barry: Yeah, you did great.
Andrew: Thank you.
Barry: And, my ask, my one request is that you don’t look back on it. Judge yourself to, you know, in any significant way and know that what’s . . .
Andrew: You know what I would like to do? Tell me if this is . . . well, no, I’m not even going . . . I’ll say publicly. Hey, I used to have a coach who would go through the transcripts of my interviews with me, like carefully. I would like to bring him back and now have him record his conversation with me and just say, “Andrew, here’s what you did. It was fine.” Like, you know what, one thing that he helped me realize was, I said, “Why am I the only podcaster who’s not self-aggrandizement? All the other ones are talking about great stuff. I’m talking about how things aren’t working for me. And it’s not helping with the guests. I look like a loser with the guests.”
And I remember what he said to me was, “Andrew, give me a second to continue reading the transcript.” I gave him a second to continue reading the transcript. I was a little upset, because I was paying him by the minute, but fine. And then he scrolls down to the bottom. He goes, “Look, you raise a weakness, there’s no immediate response and so you think you failed. We scroll down to the bottom, look at how now she’s opening up about her weakness. What you did was you created the atmosphere. If you didn’t get the instant response and your idiot brain thinks that it failed, it doesn’t mean it failed. You have to give it a little time. You’re creating a sense of openness for the guest to be open.” I said, “Oh, this is brilliant.”
Barry: And there in is probably the most brilliant insight that came . . .
Barry: No, for real, brother.
Andrew: [inaudible 01:0756]
Barry: I mean, do you know how many founders right now are struggling? Do you know how many people right now are like, why did this happen to me or why is this not happening to me? And when they look back in the greater scheme of life, it all made perfect sense. One of the guys that was a mentor to me was this guy. His name is Cyril Matter. And he was a Berkeley teacher. He had a PhD in quantum physics and theology. I’d asked Cyril like, questions, what are the meaning of life? Cyril said to me one time, he said, “Barry, the most important things in your life are just going to happen. The most important things in your life are just going to happen. Your job is to fill the details of the day.”
And when he said that it was almost like this, like weight just kind of melted off of my shoulders. And like, okay, so if really it’s on me to fill the details of the day, and the most important things in my life will just happen, and looking back, most people will say that have lived life long enough, that’s so true. You can go out every night looking for the one, you know, trying to meet the right person for you. And, you know what, the right person is going to come when they’re meant to. So yeah, yeah.
Andrew: I get that.
Barry: Yeah. In the long scheme of things everything makes a lot more sense.
Andrew: I want to keep following up with follow-up questions. But here’s what I’m going to do, I’m going to suggest anyone who would . . . actually, no, I do. I think then it’s going to become a tie. I have like, even my rebuttal to that but I have to say, “Andrew, at some point, stop being the guy who just has to, like, keep pushing one more time.” Barry, you’re really . . .
Barry: I think it’s great because you bring out a lot in us, brother. That’s why you’re so good at what you’re doing.
Andrew: All right, Barry, I’m really glad to have you on here. I kind of feel like this was good. I’m looking forward to hearing people’s responses. But ultimately, it’s the response in my head that I’m going to listen to. And we’ll see where that ends up. The website is . . . sorry.
Barry: This is great if it allows people to do things that they wouldn’t otherwise do. And some people will and it will play out . . .
Andrew: I’m with you on that. Yes.
Barry: . . . magically like a chain reaction in the world. And it all matters like everyone matters. This matters. It’s all . . .
Andrew: You know what, actually, that is really where I do get my comfort in life. I was just talking with JT Marino. He’s the guy who founded . . . I just know this . . .
Barry: Tuft & Needle?
Barry: Yeah, and I’m a founding advisor.
Andrew: You are?
Barry: So Daehee Park who is his co-founder for Tuft & Needle, I was with them, we were going to start another business and then they went the mattress route, you know. I was like, “No, dude, I can’t get excited about mattresses . . .
Andrew: What was the other business? The pill business?
Barry: No, we were talking about starting a business. It was basically like, surveys. It was going to be like surveys online and thank goodness we didn’t do that, and they did Tuft & Needle. But I’ve been a founding advisor to Tuft & Needle since its origin. Those guys are amazing, I love them, and I’m really proud of our sales last year. I’m sure he told you.
Andrew: He told me. The numbers are phenomenal. This year . . .
Barry: 170 million online sales like, not bad. Number one rated mattress was . . .
Andrew: What’s the number? It was 120 . . .
Barry: 170 million. We did . . .
Andrew: 170 million?
Barry: Yeah, dude, yeah. I mean, amazing. And guess how much money we were . . . I mean Casper raised, as you know, like hundreds of millions and Tuft & Needle raised . . .
Andrew: Zero, six thousand dollars of their own money to build a business, it’s unbelievable.
Barry: [inaudible 01:11:27]
Andrew: So you were saying what makes me happy? Here’s the part where I’m going to go to sleep. I literally, every night before going to sleep I do my three gratitudes into my head. I pretend . . .
Barry: That’s great.
Andrew: Yeah, it’s incredibly helpful.
Barry: [inaudible 01:11:34]
Andrew: It stopped me from like, I don’t know work myself up until a lather in the middle of the night. And one of them is going to be that he was listening to my early interviews, he was a fan, and then he came on and he did this interview and he talked to me about the impact that the work had. That is the one place where I actually get a little bit of [novice 01:11:51].
Barry: And I get to reiterate and reinforce that so you really get it because you get it and yet, you’ll question it. And stop questioning. We all get to live the life we love. We all get to be happy . . .
Andrew: I do actually do love my life. All right, here’s what I do I’m going to do, I’m going to roll around on the floor with my kids, I’m going to tickle them, and I’m going to knock them over and show them that I’m still bigger and stronger than them. And then once they piss me off . . .
Barry: [inaudible 01:12:14]
Andrew: . . . I’m going to look at the photos of them tonight. But before I do, I’m going to tell everyone, guys go check out their website, it’s 1heart.com, the number one, and then the word heart.com or 1heartjourneys.com, again the number one, the word heart, the word journeys.com, if you want to check them out. I would just take a look at them because I feel like you guys are onto something here.
Barry: Or benefit from coaching at getguided.co.
Barry: Tell everybody, their lives will transform through coaching.
Andrew: And frankly, if you guys are anywhere near Miami, just find a way to get together with them. They’re do-gooders. They’re not going to blow you off. Maybe they’ll blow you off but try a few times, they’re worth getting together with. You’re not going to blow them off?
Barry: No, we’re definitely not.
Andrew: All right, yeah.
Barry: We’re like cats.
Andrew: And plus really they’re not getting flooded with entrepreneurs because they don’t live in San Francisco anymore. If you’re in San Francisco, you get flooded with entrepreneurial opportunities. If you’re in Miami, you’re more open to it, plus you’re more laid back.
All right. So I want to thank my two sponsors too who made this happen and I want to be open with you guys. ActiveCampaign, if you guys want a refund for this, I will completely understand it. Activecampaign.com/mixergy and Toptal again if you guys decide that this is not a good fit for you, I completely understand it, toptal.com/mixergy. I’m saying to the sponsors, because I know look, the sponsors have, Sachit gives them zero control over what I say.
Barry: We’ve talked about email quite a lot. And you know, and . . .
Andrew: I do think it’s a good fit for ActiveCampaign.
Barry: Yeah, yeah. For sure. You’re all good. Don’t question.
Andrew: No, I want them to . . . usually we say to them, “No, you guys have to deal with whatever it is that Andrew says. And that’s what it is.” There’s one company I know that was upset I think with the response, it was . . . I wanted to say, I’m going to bring Sachit here to do like a rundown of what happened . . .
Barry: Yeah, he’ll be good at, yeah.
Andrew: He’s fantastic, all right.
Andrew: Thank you. And thank you everyone. Bye.