This Is What Happens When A Founder Says I Can Ask Him Anything…And Means It

One of the first things I wanted to know about Max Simon is what right he had to teach other people about how to run a business when his previous business failed.

So I asked him. And I watched his face as he responded. I wanted to see if he meant what he told me before we started, that nothing makes him uncomfortable. He meant it. Completely. (Well, except for one thing. Notice his reaction when I ask him about his revenues.)

This interview is full of the questions you wish you could ask founders, but you’re too polite to bring up. Max’s openness is what I aspire to bring out of every one of my interviewees. If, while listening to this interview, you don’t understand why, then I guarantee you’ll get it the next time you feel like a complete failure who has nothing to offer the world. At that low point, you’ll want to send Max a thank you note for daring to talk publicly about the insecurities you hate to admit you have.

Max Simon is the founder of Big Vision Business, a training and coaching company that helps entrepreneurs thrive.



Full Interview Transcript

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Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of, home of the ambitious upstart, and a place where I interview entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses. In this interview, I’m going to find out how a guy who lost his inheritance ended up building a successful training company. Max Simon is the founder of Big Vision Business, a training and coaching company that helps entrepreneurs thrive. Max, welcome.

Max: Hey, good to be here with you.

Andrew: Max, when I asked you before the interview started, how do I make this a win for you, you said something that I never heard anyone say before. You said, “Nothing makes me uncomfortable. Be more confrontational. Get into the realness,” which I especially liked. And I plan to do that, but first let’s introduce you. Then we’ll push a little bit further. First question that’s kind of a standard for me is, what kind of revenue are you doing with your company? What size?

Max: Do you want the exact numbers?

Andrew: Sure.

Max: Yeah. So, we did about 1.4 last year, and based upon the way that we’re moving forward this year, which is 2013. While we’re here, I think, we’ll probably do between four and five, if what we’re doing works the way we think it’s going to. [laughs]

Andrew: $1.4 million selling what?

Max: We sell training. Training includes coaching. Training that doesn’t include coaching. Training that includes some higher level access. Ultimately, our whole model is based on depth. What depth means is that in business so many people out there are teaching marketing, teaching sales, teaching those things. It’s great strategies, except for the fact that most people don’t use them, or do them, or execute on them.

Our question has always been, why is that? It’s usually because there’s something missing at a deeper component inside of themselves, some fear that’s not being addressed, some pattern that’s not being addressed, some desire that’s not being addressed. There’s a kind of a lack of a clean fuel source, and so all of our programs and trainings are about merging this depth of transformation with some type of actual, strategic, “Here’s what you do.” That’s, I think, why we’ve been able to be so successful selling all these trainings.

Andrew: And what does it cost to get trained to discover this?

Max: Pretty much our entry level is $900. Then it goes up, 1,500, 5,000, 10,000, 32,000. It goes upwards from there. We have a very high end deeper model because, even at our $1,500 program, it includes one-on-one coaching. Not with me, with our certified coaches, but with people that they actually go into your actual individual business. That’s the way our model works.

Andrew: 1.4 million. Really impressive. How long did it take you to build up to this? How old is this specific business?

Max: Three years.

Andrew: Three years.

Max: Yeah.

Andrew: And is it the business before that failed?

Max: Yeah. You want the story? [laughs]

Andrew: Yeah, a little bit. But save some so that I can dive deeper into it.

Max: OK.

Andrew: This was which I used to subscribe to. I saw my wife’s site. She linked to it. I know you through that. That’s a site that failed.

Max: Yeah.

Andrew: Give me a sense of what happened there.

Max: I left the Choker Center, which was where I was at before, and started a company that was trying to make meditation cool. That was kind of my hook. When I launched into that business, it failed terribly. That’s where I lost $80,000 of my money. It was 18 months of a period where I gave it my all, can’t say I didn’t give it everything I could. But it lost all the money it could. It was consuming 70 to 80 hours a week of my time, and it was really stressful. So that’s the business that failed. Then I subsequently, and I can get into the story, but I subsequently started Big Vision Business as the next chapter of my life, if you will.

Andrew: Here’s the part that I would usually save towards the end, after we had some repertoire and I would soften the way that I ask it, but I might as well ask you, right up as you asked me to. You had this business that failed. You’re then selling success. You’re charging $900 a pop for it. It feels to me like it’s an unearned thing for you to be able to teach that.

Max: Yeah. Here’s my response to that, and I’m going to enjoy this interview so much. Here’s what happened. When I was growing this meditation business, there were some things that I was doing amazingly well. I was building up an incredible following of people like you and your wife. How did you guys find us? We had a great following of people. We had an amazing brand and the quality of what we were doing was really solid.

What was missing was a good business model. I didn’t have a good business model at all. And when I started “Get Self Centered” and then failed at it, what I realized was that I was just missing a few really specific core components. What most people do is they look at their whole business and they say, “It’s failing because I’m not achieving this thing.” Right. In this case it was money. But 80% of my business was actually going incredibly well. I mean Martha Stewart gave us an award for the next big idea. We were getting press all over the place. People were coming to our site, thousand every month.

So I started off teaching people what I was doing that was working. It wasn’t me saying to people, ‘I can help you grow this whole business.’ It was showing people very specific areas that I knew were working. And as I was doing those things, and I started to develop a different kind of business model, all of a sudden I started to achieve more and more success.

So the business you see today evolved from slivers of things I was basically great at, and every time I would get really great at this I would teach people that. Then I would get great at this and teach people that. Then I would get great at this and teach people that. And it was only really in the last year and a half or so, that we went through all these different phases. Good at joint ventures partners, good at creating online following. Good at doing really compelling marketing copy. Good at those things, so that it turned into, “I actually really know how to help people create good businesses.”

Now the overarching theme is, “We can help you build a successful business” But that’s why I feel, one, qualified to tell people about what I was doing because one area wasn’t working, but even then I wasn’t promising that area. Promising this thing and it just grew over time. Does that make sense?

Andrew: It does make sense and it makes me feel like, all right, when there are times that nothing is working for me, or I’m a failure, and I want to teach people, I can still say, ‘Hey, I’m not a fraud if I’m teaching them. I’m focusing on the parts that I do know.’

But that brings up another question. Why the rush to teach? If you’ve figured something out why not build a successful business and then go out there and teach. Why not say, “Hey, I’m a guy who understands a business. Before I go and evangelize my process, or even part of my process, I’m going to go build a software company that proves this out.” Or, “I’m going to go and build even a cookie store.” Something that shows, “Hey, I can point towards this business that I built, and now I’m not just another guy who’s good at selling you on self-improvement. I’m a guy who’s good at building a business.” Why the rush to teach?

Max: Yeah. I can’t answer that for everybody because I think that everybody has their own answers but here’s how I’ll answer it for you, or for me, at least. I think that everything in life, particularly in business, it all depends on your fuel. What is it that you feel like your life is designed to do? What is it that’s most meaningful for you? This is an inquiry that I am always in.

When I ask myself that question, one, there’s a lot of conditioning that happens because my father and my mother are both very successful teachers. So there’s a part of you, when you ask that question, you say, “What do I know is really great?” And in my case what I knew was that teaching is something that makes people very happy, and it’s something that stretches and grows who you are. For me, when I asked that question, there was this dual experience. One side is saying “This is what I know. I know how to be how to be a teacher, I know about teaching.” And the other side I thought, this is what’s probably most useful to me. I can’t think of what I would build a business around that is more meaningful to me than to be doing something that’s actually helping other people. You know what I just realized? I’m getting a little bit of a glare here, so let me, for the sake of your own video.

Andrew: [laughs].

Max: Actually, Hunter would you mind closing that for me, my friend? I appreciate it. Thank you.

Andrew: I see your videos are always so polished and now here we are, I’ve got your headset on and Skype and I’m glad you feel comfortable doing it this way and it’s still looking sharp, even with light. Though of course it’s not looking nearly as sharp as the videos on Big Vision Business. I appreciate it. What about the topics you go into? If you’re going to teach, why teach what to me as a guy who has to interview entrepreneurs, often feels like get rich quick topics, “Join Venture Partners”, like coaching? Why do we have to teach the same old things that have been taught forever? And in my mind, feel tainted?

Max: The reason why my business failed in the beginning was because I didn’t know what to do in certain areas. There were things I needed to know how to do that I didn’t know how to do. The problem was when I was going out there and looking at and researching, pretty much the stuff I found I didn’t resonate with. It was get rich quick scheme-y kind of stuff and I looked at that and I said I want the information; I don’t want it from the person giving it. So what do you do? And actually that was the moment that made me realize this is supposed to be a new calling for me. And I made this decision in that process of realizing that I genuinely want to create the company where people can go and get the training they need but it actually feels like it’s nurturing their soul and their heart. And so the topics might seem like what everybody else is doing and yet the approach, the energy, the language, and ultimately the way of being, that we bring to this dialog is so radically unique and quite frankly very kind of, I don’t like to use this word, but very spiritually driven. And so it allows the people who know they need the knowledge and the guidance but don’t trust what’s out there to have a home. And I think that’s why we’ve been so successful, is that, for lack of a better way of saying it, we have kind of a cult following; the people that know that they can’t get the level of the depth anywhere else to help them build their business.

Andrew: I went into my inbox. I like to subscribe to everyone’s emails so that I get to learn how copies written and so I see what’s out there and sometimes it helps me when I interview the person years later. So I went into my inbox and I found one of the emails from when you running and you say that I didn’t know anyone who could help but I see there is Leslie’s story here that you are talking about back then, and she realized that she did have a group of people who would not only love her but also buy from her and she found the perfect tribe and et cetera and you’re selling me on those solutions. And the ticket is $2,000 a seat but I think you’re giving me a deal of 297. So you were certainly acting at the time like you found people who knew the answer and spoke to you in a way that you felt comfortable. This is an email sent from Tribe@getselfcentered.

Max: Yeah, I mean I’d have to look at what you’re talking about and you know, here’s the other thing that I think is really important for everybody to hear, is my journey has not been this smooth, straight line to knowing exactly who I am and exactly what I do, and exactly how I’m being. So I’m speaking to you today from where I’m at today in my state of consciousness. And even, I don’t know how much you saw this, but my dad died about a year ago from now and even that process was a real level of deepening into how to be fully aligned in every aspect of my business. And I say this very openly, when I look at the progression of my business, I would say 80% of it has been really on point in integrity and in alignment and 20% of it, meh. I can look back and say, you know it didn’t really strike a chord or it was a little off or something like that. And so I don’t know when that was written or what that is but what I’m saying to you today is where I’m at today and I’m being very honest that in this process it’s been a bumpy ride of getting clear who really am I and what is really true. And so even when I’ve made decisions like I did years ago to be that person… God, I can think of periods, even months of periods, where I just kind of lost my way. But that’s, in my mind, if you’re ever a spiritual person, that’s what they call getting back on the path. You kind of fall off. And you get yourself kicked in the ass a little bit. And you make mistakes. And then you come back to truth.

Today, I can absolutely look at saying, “Definitely not perfect. But very much in truth today.”

Andrew: When I fell off the horse as you might say, it wasn’t a fall. I specifically did things that were wrong and aggressive so that I can win. I did it because my motivation was, “I have no fricking money. The people I admire have money. I’m going to work like mad and do whatever the hell it takes in order to get some cash in my pocket quickly. Then I could either be the person who comes clean about it all. If there’s enough of a story there. Or I could be the person who whitewashes his story.” It was a deliberate clear goal of making money early in my life so that I could have all these options. For you, when you did that, go deep and you’ve asked me to ask you to do. Go deep and say, “Why did you sell things that you weren’t fully proud of?” Why did you do those things that made you want to change and get on the horse and get on the path? What’s the real motivation?

Max: Well, the first thing I can say is that I’ve never, ever sold something I wasn’t proud of. That’s the first thing I can say. I might look back on some things and say I can see how they could be more effective. Or I could see how they could be positioned better. But I’ve never sold things that I wasn’t proud of. What I have done is sold things in a way I wasn’t proud of. So I just want to create that delineation.

Andrew: What’s the motivation for that?

Max: The motivation for that is that at the time, this is what I was seeing that was working. This is something I really speak to a lot these days in my own experience now is. It’s super easy. Your motivation which was nice that you’re conscious of it is, “I want to make more money because these people have money.” Mine has, and this is something that kind of unlocked me this year. My motivation has always been for recognition. I’ve been most driven to unconsciously, this has all be very unconscious for me, to experience a level of recognition from my peers because, of course, my dad was Deepak Chopra’s partner and they’re this global thing. Someplace early on in my development, I made this unconscious decision that recognition is what I most wanted.

I wanted to be the person that could say, “I did this thing. Look how it works and look where it was.” I was just assimilating. Oh, I see you doing this thing and I’m in your circle. I should do this. I see you doing this thing and I’m going to do it. It’s almost like there was a lack of creativity. Because my unconscious desire for recognition was driving.

Andrew: Can you be more specific when you say, “I see you doing it. So I’m going to do this.”

Max: Right. It’s so subtle because here’s the thing. I think it’s more about how are you doing the marking. Let’s just take it this way. When I know I’m trying to, I can remember back to it. It’s like, “I’ve got to be really tricky. How do I trick people into making this offer feel valuable?” That was something I remember. Like, I’ve got to really figure out the way to make this offer feel valuable. So I would be like, how does this person do it? How does this person do it? Well, they do it by doing this. Well, it’s usually this and now it’s this. And I’ll give you this. And it’s just like an energy to it. It’s not even that the strategy is wrong. It’s the energy of it.

To me, I was able to, it’s the best way of saying it because I could look back and say, “It’s not even that the words were wrong.” It’s just that the energy I was bringing to this whole dialog was not clean.

Today, I might even use some of the same strategies. I might say, ‘The value of this program is $10,000 because it has this and this and this. But we’re going to give it to you for $2,000. But then I’ll say, ‘Why? Because this feels like the price that’s valuable and is worth it for you and also makes you invested.’

It’s not like, “Well, it’s because for the next seven days, we’re going to drop the price for $12.” It’s just changing the fuel of why we’re doing some of these things. So that people can feel the honesty and transparency of it. I guess I could look back and say, “Well, here’s the energy I was bringing forward to that.” But I wasn’t aware of it then. It was like this unconscious, I don’t know if that makes any sense. But these are subtle realms of being.

Andrew: No, it makes a ton of sense. I can understand some people using Robert Tale Deanie [SP]’s influence books to explain what’s really there in a way that’s influential. I can understand people using those influence tactics to really trick people. And I understand how the energy and the intention changes how you’re using the tools. What about this? You say that it’s because you wanted attention. I want to understand deeper why. To see, you know I’m coming from a good place that I’ve searched through this myself too. I remember, one of the reasons why I must be doing videos is because I want attention. As scared as I am of being on camera and saying something goofy here and being judged by our friends, your friends, and strangers, there’s some need for attention. I know where it comes from.

Partially it’s, I remember this specific vision of leaving the Stern School of Business, I guess it was called Tisch the building, at NYU after I tried to talk to this girl and she just wasn’t even interested and no one was paying attention to me as I was walking around I kept thinking, “No one’s even paying attention to me. I’m a nobody in this city. I’m a nobody in this school. Life really sucks.” And I remember having this vision of, “I wish I could just lift my arms up and all the birds would fly up. And one day I will have this kind of power where people notice me for doing something like that. Or notice me for anything.” It’s because I was a frickin’ loser. There was no one who I was talking to. And that need to not be that loser fired me up to do things like start a company, like push the limits of what I say to people in private conversations. Or even to do this interview. For you, when was that point when it made you say, “I’ve got to run away from this.” I know you’re running towards attention, but what are you also running away from?

Max: Yeah. This is such a great inquiry and in fact I would go so far as to say if there was one thing I would love for the people watching this to take away from this interview, it’s to ask themselves that question, is: what was the moment of experience that really created an unconscious fuel source? And for me I just discovered it really at the beginning, well I guess this last year now, which was that, my father was this very powerful speaker and educator and leader in the world and was just brilliant. He was just an amazingly brilliant guy. And at home he had a very bad temper. When I was growing up it got better as I got older. But when I was younger there was many experiences I had when I was still in grade school where I would work with my homework on him, and I was trying really hard to give the right answer and to do the right thing and clearly I wasn’t, or at least I must not have been because he was getting so angry that I couldn’t figure this out. And I don’t remember even consciously making this decision, but as I’ve been sitting and tracing it back I realize that during that period I made two very core decisions. One, was that I was going to be an f-ing rock star so that people would look at me and they would say, “Whoa. This guy really knows what he’s doing.” And on the flip side to that I also realize that I was going to create this sense of I don’t…

Andrew: The audio just went out as you were saying, “This sense of I don’t care.” Let’s bring it back now, I apologize.

Max: That is because the mute button went off.

Andrew: The sense of “I don’t care”, talk about that.

Max: The second thing was that the sense of “I don’t care what people think of me” and so that created a certain ego and a certain rebellion of like, I’m doing my thing and screw you and that can be healthy when you don’t care people think of you. But it was more of a shield than it was like, “I’m going to do this because it’s real to me and because I’m not concerned about whether you like me to be what’s really true.” And so at that young age I think I was like four or five or maybe six, I made this decision and I could see how that one decision or those two decisions, carried through throughout my entire life. And ultimately it wasn’t until this last year when I became aware of it that I realized it was also what was fueling my business and why pushing so hard all of the time and why I had to have everything look all perfect and why I was not a very good person at playing with other people. And so that came from this very early pattern of me realizing my whole life I had actually been seeking recognition from my father.

Andrew: Why do you think the person who is listening to us should stop for a second and maybe even longer and figure out where their energy is? Why find that point where, like me, they thought that no one was talking to them in school, or like you, their dad was causing issues for them, had a temper?

Max: Well, you tell me this answer: Were you happy when you were constantly fueled by something that was this painful for you?

Andrew: You know what? It was kind of comforting to the point where when things got really good in my life, I thought, there is now no motivation to continue. I’m just done. Because the thing that fired me was this sense of being an outsider. This sense of watching people who had funded companies, make the news, even though I knew they had nothing underneath their business. And we’re talking about back in the day when there were so many companies that had nothing beyond hype. Today there’s more substance. That fired me up, the fact that people wouldn’t talk to me and I didn’t know how to talk to people at parties, gave me all the energy to work harder at my job. And then that was gone, I was worried that there would be nothing there, nothing left.

Max: But you didn’t answer my question. My question was, were you happy during that process?

Andrew: You know what. I meant all that do say, “Yes, I was.” But as I talk about it, I don’t know that I was happy. Maybe I was, but I don’t know.

Max: To me, especially when my dad died, there was this moment where my dad died and we cremated him and I had his ashes on my kitchen table, like, three days or five days after he died. And I had this moment where I was looking at his ashes and I said to myself, this is still how it ends. You know, my dad was a very successful guy, made a lot of money, had a lot of impact. But this is still how it ends. So what’s the point? Why are we doing any of this then? And that was what caused me to start going deeper and deeper into these things. And I’ve realized today that there are many entrepreneurs that are far more successful than me, far more effective than me, far more strategic than me, but I don’t care if I’m not happy.

And it’s become the basis of what I do, and realizing that so much of my drive, before, was, “When I get this, do this, achieve this.” Always future focused, like, “I’m going to do this, and then.” And it wasn’t until I really evaluated this that I realized that I was never fulfilled. I could never actually just sit back and be, like, “Things are OK. Things are great right now, right in this moment, I am fulfilled.” That’s my test these days for people. If they can be honest with themselves, not just, like, “Yeah, things are OK. Things are good.”

I talked to a good friend of mine the other day and he’s on this pursuit of building a $1billlion company. That’s a big catch phrase these days, ‘I’m building a $1 billion company.’ And he’s like, “God, I’m working harder than I’ve ever worked in my life and I’m not sleeping very well and I’m busting my ass and I’ve got so much going on.” And I was just, like, “That doesn’t sound like the life of someone who’s happy.”

And that’s the filter these days. Ask that question to gauge is it worth it. Can you know it to be true that all this work and energy and time and stress and everything that you’re putting into your business to achieve this thing. Do you know that that’s actually going to make you any happier? And if the answer is no, what are we waiting for?

Andrew: Don’t unhappy people produce more? I think of people like Ted Turner.

Max: But who cares? Who cares if they produce more?

Andrew: I care. I’m proud of the things that I accomplish. I would take inner angst, I would take discomfort, I would take the crying, I would take depression, near suicidal pressure. I shouldn’t be saying this out loud but I would take that for the benefit of being able to create something and leave it behind. That creative process is worth everything to me.

Max: That might be true for you. I would never say that.

Andrew: You would rather not produce and be happy?

Max: Yes. And we’re touching on a fear that you and everybody else has. If I’m happy I don’t produce. That’s inherently what you’re saying in that question. That I have to choose between killing myself to produce versus begin happy. And what I know to be true from my own experience, is that that’s something that you have to take into inquiry. And really actually ask yourself the question. Is that really true? Would I really actually rather be miserable and producing a lot? Is that really true?

Andrew: I’m not sure that it’s true. But I do know this. We got to San Francisco. I rented an apartment fairly quickly. I go in there and I go, “Look at this one bedroom nothing. I am worse off than Honey Boo Boo.” I saw my first episode of Honey Boo Boo just a few days before. I’m looking around going, “What am I doing?”

And I was so pissed at that place, that we went to look for a new apartment and break the lease within days of signing it. We were going to pay the landlord to do it. And I remember not finding an apartment. All the apartments in San Francisco are so crappy. People live worse than crack dealers, I feel. And I’ve seen now tons of apartments to say it. And I remember being so miserable, I came into work that weekend and worked hard, because I said, “There must be a Shangri-la that’s further ahead than where I am financially, that I’m going to frickin’ get there.” Because, I mean, look at this passion right now. I’m going to get there, so that I never have to live like in that apartment again, or the apartments that I saw. So I do feel, in that experience, that maybe I am more productive. Now I could just be seeing this one experience bigger than it really is because it’s more recent. Haven’t you seen that?

Max: Here’s the thing. You’re still confusing productivity with happiness. Now here, I want to keep taking it back to this. Let me ask you this question for a moment. Let’s say that you get to the end of your life. You’ve produced all sorts of amazing things. Do you feel like it ends? Do you die and it ends where you feel accomplished? Or is there no end. Being honest.

Andrew: I forget that old football saying about how, if you leave it all out on the field then you should be proud. And I do feel that, in the end, if I’ve left it all out on the field, if I was willing to sweat, if I was willing to suffer, and if I was willing to try to create as much as I could, and I did create as much as I could with all the energy that I have, then, yeah, I think I would feel accomplished.

Max: But you don’t know, right? This is the really important thing to contemplate. Where do you think you’re going?

Andrew: There’s got to be something on this earth. I’ve got all these [??]. It’s all meaningless otherwise.

Max: But don’t confuse creating something with the never ending search for something that is literally never ending. Now I am still clearly creating a successful business. $4 million, $5 million, I guess, in the spectrum of things $4 million or $5 million is not a big thing. I’m still in business. I’m still creating a lot.

But here’s what I know to be true, the fuel that I have today, which is not ‘miserable equals drive’, but it’s I actually could be doing nothing and feel completely OK about myself. And I’m doing this because I desire to do it. Not because if I don’t do it I’m a piece of crap. Or if I don’t do it then I’m not going to make any money. Or if I don’t do it, whatever, because those are all just thoughts.

The fuel source begins to change, and for me, seeing my dad die, and really being able to be with that experience, made me realize that there is no end. So if there is no end, I don’t want to be the person that gets to the end and finds out that this whole time I was tricking myself into believing that one day I would be able to rest and feel good about myself. That’s it.

Andrew: We were introduced by Noah Kagan. Are you the reason why Noah’s site changed? I mean, because of this philosophy. AppSumo used to be constantly testing, constantly pushing new products, constantly selling more and testing how it could sell you even more, and polishing based on feedback.

Suddenly something happened and I don’t know what. And now it’s, “I will only tell you about a product when I fully love it. I will not post a new product until I find out I love.” So it’s one every week or so, maybe even longer. Now Noah does seem happier but his revenues can’t be as high as they were before. Is this what happened?

Max: First off, I’m not in any way, shape, or form going to take any credit or not credit for Noah’s shifts in his world, because Noah is a very smart, intelligent person. What I will say is that Noah came into my life in looking for a dialogue, that people come into my world looking for. Which is that they say, in Noah’s case, ‘I’m successful and I’m doing all these things, but I’m not really happy.’

Now I worked at the Chopra Center, which is Deepak Chopra’s wellness center, for five years. I was the lead educator there. And I had the good fortune of working with some of the most famous people in the world. The movie stars, the celebrities, the actors, all those people.

There’s a pattern of why people go to the Chopra Center, at least there was, which is, “I’ve achieve everything I need to achieve in the world and I’m broken. Physically, energetically, emotionally I’m broken.” I got to really see that you’re amount of success in the world doesn’t dictate your amount of fulfillment. It doesn’t mean that they can’t be connected, but it doesn’t mean that it has to be. So Noah came, we met when he was in the dialog of how do I create more fulfillments in my life? That’s my dialog as well in the context of how does that fulfillment create your business? So these are some of these things that have unfolded for Noah, being in this dialog. It’s not me. But it’s being in this dialog and of course because this is my favorite dialog. Him and I have had many exchanges from that and he’s done what has evolved from AppSumo. Yes, it is not as profitable but I assure you Noah is much more aligned with what’s been created and what’s happening more so than he was before.

Andrew: And you guys got into a hot tub naked or something.

Max: It’s true. We were naked in the hot tub. My girlfriend was there, too. It wasn’t just two dudes naked in a hot tub.

Andrew: You feel comfortable with him. He talked very openly, again, I did a search for your name and I discovered, “Oh, Max he came up in Noah’s old email.” Again, Noah’s selling nothing, just telling you about how he opened himself up.

Max: I did force Noah to meditate every day for 45 days. Which is something that I…

Andrew: And he did it?

Max: Yeah he did.

Andrew: He’s really good about, once he’s doing something, he’s good, he gets healthy, you see his abs, and he will not eat no matter what. I saw him at a great dinner, incredible food was put in front of him, I ate my wife’s portion, he didn’t even touch his. He talked about his penis size and how that went through his head and yes that’s my penis, I’m not going to let you judge me. The same kind of openness, I’m not going to be moved by your opinion of me that you expressed earlier. What about you? Do you have any of that? Noah’s seeing my wife, my wife is seeing him.

Max: No.

Andrew: None of that chatter in your head?

Max: You know, as I said to you in the beginning, anybody that’s willing to be really open and real with me, their like, they’re me, that’s me. That’s my operating persona in the world, is depth. So anybody that’s willing to be, I mean, I’m so open with what’s really going on for me, what are my fears, my truths. Anybody that shows up in my world, I just feel like they’re like my family. And so what am I to hide? I don’t know, any of it? People exert so much energy trying to fake who they are or to pretend that they should be something else. Why? What’s the point? When does it stop? And so for me I just, yeah, I don’t have those. I’ll tell you, here’s my number one hang up in life. It’s around my relationship with money. And we make great money but we also, I am like so go for it with how we use that money. So our payroll is, our monthly expenses are like 50 to 70 a grand a month and that scares the sh** out of me.

That’s my only real hang up is I still work with my relationship with money. That’s it. Really. That’s the thing that’s still makes me anxious. That’s the thing that I still feel tripped up about. But I know how to work with that. Because I know that that’s just a thought, too. You know, Noah talking about his p***s, it’s just a thought. My hang-up with money, it’s just a thought. My business should be more successful, it’s just a thought. Those are all just thoughts. And what point do we start questioning those thoughts and that’s where I really love to play so anybody that’s willing to show up in my world with an openness to question their thoughts I will do anything with them.

Andrew: You know what? Part of the way that I’ve approached this interview is to take all the questions that I have internally that maybe I don’t ask myself and ask them of you and force you to do what internally I haven’t done which is, answer those things. I force myself to be aware of them, but have you come up with the answers to them? And in that sense it wasn’t fair to do but I appreciate you doing it.

Max: There is no…

Andrew: We’re not even saying good-bye by the way, it just sounds like it. I want more of you. Especially since I have so many notes on you that I’ve got at least start with. And we have, what, do you have ten, 15 more minutes?

Max: Yeah, sure. This is my favorite dialogue in the world. If I honestly if I could do anything all day long it would just be talk about what’s real. And so, this is awesome.

Andrew: The whole time as I was asking you these questions, I was looking to see is there a point where he’s not comfortable with it? And I’ve done enough interviews that when I see that someone’s not comfortable I can get them back to comfortable, not always, people should see that Oregon Ducks interview that I did, I couldn’t make Zack feel comfortable. I hate that I couldn’t, but, maybe in the next interview I do with him. But the one time that I saw that you felt uncomfortable, or I sense that maybe you were is, and I thought I even saw your eyes blink differently than they have throughout this interview is when I asked you about revenue; when I asked you how much money you bring in, did you ever talk about that publicly? Why, was I picking up on something?

Max: I feel like again, the thought that I often have is that I should be farther along than I am.

Andrew: That’s what that thought was. All these people are going to see that we’re not as far as I’d like us to be.

Max: Yeah. And it’s, again, I’m very aware of what things are my hang- ups. So I have this relationship with money that feels like it should be stronger than it is. But I do exactly what I just did, I see when it comes up I acknowledge it, and I just come back to what’s true. And sometimes I don’t. Like yesterday, yesterday we’re in the process of gearing up for what I think is the largest launch we’ve ever done, not in terms of making money, in terms of global impact. It’s this thing called the “21 Day Money Breakthrough Challenge.” And it’s stretching me so much and I’m a little afraid. I’m a little afraid of all. But I can be honest about it, and open about it and so, I do, I winced for a moment and then I just come back to what’s true.

Andrew: How do you do that? I woke up in the middle of the night last night worried, I forget about what, I kept saying this isn’t the time to worry, you worry during the day and that seems to be helping me.

Max: All right, you want to do it? Let’s do it.

Andrew: Yeah, how do you stop it?

Max: I don’t know, let’s stop it for you. So here’s what you can do.

Andrew: OK.

Max: You’re going to need to do something that might sound uncomfortable, but, well it’s not really that uncomfortable, but you need to close your eyes. So I’ll be here with you if eyes closed, so take just a deep full breath for a moment. You’re actually going to have let yourself relax for a moment. And I know that we’ve just been in this highly energetic conversation, but you just need to relax for a moment and actually let the tension in your body go. Let your shoulders relax down. It’s going to be a little tricky for you because you’re in this mode. You’re in a way of being right now that’s energetic. Just relax for a moment. Now, out loud, articulate what that thought is. You have to find it.

Andrew: Don’t remember the one from last night, they’re always insignificant. I’ll tell you what the thought is right now. You and Jeremy put together an outline for this interview, I didn’t get to the majority of the items on the outline and that thought is something I’ve gotten good at shaking, but it’s still in my head while we’re talking and I can’t fully focus on our conversation because I’m worried that, what if Jeremy is upset that he put in all this time? What if you feel like why did Mixergy just jerk me around? What if the audience feels like, “Hey this guy at the top of the interview said how is he going to get to this..”

Max: All right. Stop. Stop. Stop.

Andrew: There you go.

Max: So. Great. As you can see it’s very easy for our thoughts to turn into these long stories. Right? So just take a moment to actually energetically meet that thought. What I mean by that is, it’s very easy to have these thoughts and let them run away with us. It’s something separate than ourselves. It’s like this thing that takes on a life of its own. So for a moment just energetically meet it so that it’s like this is my thought, I’m the one thinking this.

Andrew: OK.

Max: Now first take a moment to ask yourself the question, does this thought actually have any basis of value in my life?

Andrew: You mean is it helpful?

Max: Yes.

Andrew: I’m not sure.

Max: So the answer to that is probably “no” then. Right? Because if it has value you would say, well yeah, there’s a value in this. But the second question is to ask, is any of that actually true outside of the thought that you’re having?

Andrew: I don’t know. I’m wondering if you are thinking Andrew jerked me. I’m wondering what the audience is thinking.

Max: Those are just more thoughts though.

Andrew: Did I just hit the wrong key on the keyboard? I did.

Max: No. No. No. Those are just more thoughts, right? Do you see that your mind is just continuing to have these thoughts? Thought after thought after thought, with no evaluation whether those thoughts are true.

Andrew: I see. OK.

Max: Right? So just take a moment to evaluate. I [?] this interview, did any of that actually feel true outside of the thoughts in your mind?

Andrew: Not sure. I hate to say I’m not sure. I want to have an epiphany. I want to win at this.

Max: You know what? The truth is, that’s the place to go in deeper. I don’t know.

Andrew: To see is it really valuable?

Max: I don’t know then. Yeah, let’s explore that. It’s not, see the thing with our minds is we want to have everything all figured out with grip to knowing the answers. The truth is if we’re being honest with ourselves, most of the time we don’t, but our stress comes from thinking we always should have the answers. But what if your mind never, ever, ever, ever, will always have every answer you want? What then? Do you just keep feeling stressed out? Do you just keep deciding that I’m going to keep trying to figure it out? Or, do you take a different approach completely? And you meet this place of I don’t know in a new way to where you can say, “I don’t know.” And all of a sudden the commotion stops. The thoughts stop, you stop gripping. You might feel uncertain and scared, but at least you’re honest.

Max: By saying I don’t know whether this thought even has value.

Andrew: I don’t know whether it has value, and I don’t know whether it’s true. But then we can start to take and inquiry what’s really true and that brings a depth to our life that slows us down and brings us to a place of realizing. I bet that if you inquire more deeply into your thoughts you realize the vast majority of them are not true, they are just thoughts your mind is coming up with to keep you in this hustle of never being able to be OK with where you are.

Max: I see, so what you’re saying is my mind is just giving me this worry, but I haven’t even said “wait a minute, maybe Max wanted to do this kind of conversation. He’s preferring this and I didn’t even think that maybe Max didn’t like our usual outline.” All I thought was “Max did it, he’s pissed at me.” I didn’t even think, “Maybe, Jeremy is OK with things moving away from him. Or maybe he’s generous enough to say, “I put in all of this work, but I care more about the final product than I do about living up to every step of our process together.”

Andrew: And you haven’t thought of whether or not people might enjoy this more. And you know what’s even greater? You might have never thought that going off the grid creates something greater and deeper and more creative and more amazing than your structure could have come up with by staying in the box. Right. This is what allows us to start playing outside of the realm of what we know by ungripping from control and ungripping from this place of thinking that the mind always has to figure it out. And by doing that, what unfolds actually is more alive and real. Like I guarantee, well, that’s not true, I can’t guarantee that, that was my mind wanting control. I believe this will be a very different kind of experience for you. It’s definitely been really enjoyable and refreshing to me. I bet your listeners will be very on both sides of the equation. I bet you will get a lot of controversy.

Some people will be like “This was the stupidest waste of my time ever, because it didn’t see how to grow my business.” And then other people will be like “Whoa, so unique and so different.” And that’s also why one of my core lessons in business is to find your tribe, the people that want to be in the dialogue that you most want to be in, because this is not a new conversation for me, but I love it. Alright, so, yes, you have to inquire into whether or not your thoughts are really true, because otherwise, the mind never stops. The mind never stops, you perpetually feel anxious. When you perpetually feel anxious the fuel that you bring forward to your business is absolutely unquestionably not the most creative fuel you could drive. Boom! [laughs]

Max: This has been an incredible interview. You know what, I was prepared to walk into this interview without any questions that were too confrontational because you came to me as a friend of a friend. And I said, you know what, my goal isn’t to be confrontational. I’ll put all those things aside, and I’ll just do my job, which is to learn how he built his business, and I’ll get value out of learning how he did it. And usually when I do that, when I put aside those questions of “Hey, aren’t you just a swarmy, I don’t know what the word is, info-marketer.” When I don’t even address that I feel “Uh, I wish I had, I’m a little embarrassed that I didn’t bring it up.” Here I got to explore that, and I got to see the real substance of who you are. I don’t think I could do this with every guest. I think I would freak some guests out. But I’m so glad and lucky that I got to do it with you.

I’ll tell you what, I can almost feel your community going, “Do it, do it, freak people out.” Because, you know what, this is again why people come to us. People are so sick of the facade, you know. And if everybody can be a little more willing to put it down. Or in your case, you’re a fantastic interviewer. I would go so far as to say one of the best I’ve ever had. Man, your viewership would skyrocket if you were willing to keep going to the controversy and the places where people get squirmy and find the beauty in that. You know, like, I tell you what, I would tune in every week if you were doing that with these people. And that would be a growth edge for you, and that could be the next evolution of where you go too. So I’m so honored that you did it with me, and it was an incredibly enjoyable experience. And you never know, maybe it would be incredibly enjoyable for other people as well.

Andrew: All right, if there are any founders out there who I’ve interviewed in the past who want to come back to this place to just the complete openness that I just had with Max, I would love for you guys to come back here and have this kind of conversation. It could completely suck. I’m going to say that up front so I that I get that thought out of my head. Like, is it sucking while we’re doing the interview? I put that disclaimer out there, and with that disclaimer I’d love to do that kind of interview. Reach out to us. For now, Max, what a damn fun hour. I love this interview. I don’t even care if they don’t love it, I love this so much. I feel proud of the kind of conversation that we had here. Thank you for doing this with me.

Max: I thoroughly enjoyed it as well. And I am a new fan of yours too, just because of your willingness. It takes such courage to do what you actually quite frankly have always wanted to do. You just said it, “Like I always wish I could go into some of these things, but it may…” I get so lit up by people doing what they have always wanted to do even when it’s super, super raw and real, and it’s just an honor. It is such an honor to do this with you.

Andrew: Thank you. And if people want to see more of you, I’m going to suggest that they just go to and I would start with one of the videos. Is it wrong to recommend that? What do you think is a good follow-up?

Max: Yep. We produce quite a few videos that some are awesome and some are not so awesome. [laughs]

Andrew: All right, thank you so much for doing this. Thank you all for being a part of it. Bye guys.

Who should we feature on Mixergy? Let us know who you think would make a great interviewee.