How to bounce back after losing $100M (through leveraging relationships)

Joining me today is an entrepreneur who says he went from rags to riches. Unfortunately, he went right back to rags in a really bad situation that helped him lose what he says is over $100 million. But through hard work, through patience, and through the belief of people around him the guy was able to get right back up to the top.

David Meltzer is co-founder of Sports1Marketing, a global sports and entertainment marketing agency.

We’ll talk about what that means and what his connection is to events like the Super Bowl. He is also the author of multiple books, including the latest which is called “Game-Time Decision Making: High-Scoring Decision Making Strategies from the Biggest Names in Sports.”

David Meltzer

David Meltzer

Sports 1 Marketing

David Meltzer is co-founder of Sports1Marketing, a global sports and entertainment marketing agency.


Full Interview Transcript

Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy where I interview entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses. I should say the reason I called my audience freedom fighters is because I was living in Argentina and I remember people used to look for the government to help them. But in Argentina, that wasn’t true. They used to look for revolutionaries to come in and, like, overthrow the government, but at some point, you realize that just creates a whole big mess.

And what I noticed people who were living in Argentina were looking for was entrepreneurs to save them, entrepreneurs to allow them to, for example, buy computers without having to pay an arm and a leg, which is what the government used to require. Entrepreneurs to give them access to other people that they could hire, that they could be hired by, that they could work with. Entrepreneurs to just bring them the stuff that would free them of, frankly, the shackles of a bad economy and some, over the years, bad government.

And so that’s what you are if you’re listening to this interview. That’s why I call you freedom fighter. You’re the one that they are looking for, you’re the ones who, frankly, are freeing the world, and if you do it right, you free yourself too. I really have found that as entrepreneurs, you get this sense of if it works out for you, you get this sense of freedom that you create for yourself.

All right. Enough of that. David didn’t come here to hear that. Joining me today is an entrepreneur who’s done, who’s actually somebody who wanted to make and we’ll find out what it was about his background that made him want to make it. And he did. He says he went from rags to riches, but unfortunately, he went right back to rags, a really bad situation that helped him lose what he says is over $100 million. And through hard work, through patience, through the belief of people around him the guy was able to do it and get right back up to the top.

Today he is a couple of . . . Actually, more than a couple of things. One of the things that he’s known for is being the founder of . . . co-founder, excuse me, of Sports 1 Marketing. It is a global marketing and media company for the biggest events in sports. We’ll talk about what that means and what his connection is to events like the Super Bowl. And he is the author of multiple books, including the latest which is called “Game-Time Decision Making: High-Scoring Decision Making Strategies from the Biggest Names in Sports.”

My vision for this interview, David, is to find out why it was that you were so driven what you did to actually overcome, let’s say, your poor background, what happened that you lost it, and then what you’re doing here with Sports 1 Marketing and with your reputation. We can do it all thanks to two phenomenal sponsors. You smiled when you heard me say that they were going to sponsor this interview because you recognize the names. The first will host your website right. It’s called HostGator. And the second, if you’re looking to hire developers, you got to check out Toptal. But I’ll talk about those later. David, good to have you.

David: Great to be here. I’m excited to share my story and hopefully inspire and illuminate to help other entrepreneurs share their journey.

Andrew: Let’s be open here, David. As somebody who came from nothing, who then went back to nothing after making it, do you on a regular basis like look at your bank account or something and just for reassurance? Be open.

David: I used to every day look at my . . .

Andrew: Every day.

David: Every day. I went through a major transformation after I lost everything, so I shifted the paradigm of value in my life, but until 2009, when I lost everything, from the time I started working out of law school until I literally lost everything and transformatively changed my perspective, I looked at my bank account every single day. That was . . .

Andrew: To get what? What were you looking for from your bank account?

David: Unfortunately, my value. I grew up with six kids and a single mom who worked two jobs, and I wanted to be rich from the time I was five years old and my dad left because I was . . . I grew up happy. I have an extraordinary mom. My siblings went to the Ivy Leagues, empowering education, Jewish guilt, the whole bit. But for me, the only time I wasn’t happy was when I caught my mom crying over not having enough money, and in my mind at five I said, “Man, money must buy happiness.” And I attached my self-worth to how many dollars I can make, and I made it my mission to buy my mom a house and a car. At five years old, I wanted to make $1 million because I felt at five years old $1 million would buy my mom a house, buy my mom a car and retire me.

Andrew: I’m writing questions here to come back and ask, like, doesn’t money buy happiness? I kind of feel like it does, number one. Number two, I want to know what happened that transformed you from looking at your money, not the . . . I understand physically you didn’t have much money to look at, but what was it that got you into that mindset? And then what happened at five years old? But let’s just understand what you do right now. I asked you before the interview started, “What does Sports 1 Marketing mean or what do you do?” when you gave me that sentence that I just read verbatim. But I don’t feel like we explained it right? What are some of the events, the big name events you guys are a part of?

David: So just to get into detail. What I ran before Sports 1 Marketing, Leigh Steinberg Sports & Entertainment, the most notable sports agency in the world. And what I learned from representing all the greatest names in sports was that the real money wasn’t in representation. Where the real money was to use the relationships of those great athletes and celebrities that I knew to attract people with high net wealth to make money off of them.

Andrew: Wait, wait. There’s not money made in getting them a sponsorship deal as much as there is? There is.

David: There is money, but it’s hyper-competitive and by the time you do all your splits and the amount of money it takes to invest in the athlete in order to accomplish that, it’s much more efficient, there’s much more margin in using the relationship and paying the athlete. So where Warren Moon, the Hall of Fame quarterback, and I who founded this, who spun off from Sports 1 Marketing, we had the relationships where what we would do is we would bring these high net-wealth people to go meet Cam Newton or go meet the Hall of Famer or meet the celebrity and have a VIP area where they would pay thousands of dollars, not just to attend, thousands of dollars for items that were signed, thousands of dollars for meet and greet. The sponsors would pay hefty sum with margins that were extraordinary, because not only did we have access to the athletes, but we had access to the venues, to tickets, to the VIP sections themselves and the margins were extraordinary.

Andrew: You’re saying, “Look, yes, there’s money in representing an athlete. And when they get a job, you get a percentage, but it takes a long time to find that athlete. It’s very competitive to get him and so on.” You’re just frowning as I said that. Why? What did I get . . .

David: Take Cam Newton, for example, right? Cam Newton . . . To represent Cam Newton, he had a $23 million guarantee when he signed. So a sports agent, a football agent is capped at 3%. But in that 3%, about 1% is spent on getting him to sign with you, 1% is given to his family and friends who need you to split it with them in order to get him to sign with you, and then you’re left with 1%. And it is an extraordinary amount of work to do that. So for $230,000 you’re working for 2 years and a lot of stress, a lot of competition, a lot of expense . . .

Andrew: Got it.

David: . . . and a lot of risk. And that’s the number one pick in the draft where . . .

Andrew: Got it.

David: . . . I can put on. Yeah. The other side will make $2.3 million in a day at the Super Bowl event.

Andrew: For putting together an event that then other people pay . . .

David: We don’t have to put it together, right? We just package up the athletes, the sponsors, and the high net-wealth individuals and learn how to monetize so many different areas of what we do from gifting, to advertising, to sponsorship, to hospitality. There’s an extraordinary amount. And because we don’t have any expenses other than showing up . . .

Andrew: Got it.

David: . . . because we’re piggybacking through our relationships, all of the different people that are already putting on those events.

Andrew: Got it. So you’re saying if Samsung wants to give him a phone, they got to give you guys money first.

David: Absolutely.

Andrew: Got it. And then everyone who’s there will get that phone and, hopefully, they end up showing it. Got it. And then there’s photos of it and articles, and then you’re part of doing it. Okay. I get that.

David: And now we’ve added the video, right? So, in the past, that’s all we did, but now we can amplify and perpetuate it, because we capture all of that, create really cool from 30 seconds to 3-minute videos, and now we have a whole nother stream of revenue that comes from capturing it and amplifying and perpetuating it online.

Andrew: All right. And so how much revenue are you producing now?

David: Sports 1, $16 million last year.

Andrew: Wow. All right. Bottom line, how much do you get from that?

David: I don’t know to be honest.

Andrew: You don’t know.

David: We’re still expanding enough.

Andrew: All right. What did you do in Akron, Ohio? Are there a lot of Jews there?

David: Yeah, there was.

Andrew: There was.

David: I was born there. And my mom is very Jewish. My brother is actually a rabbi. He’s in San Diego. But yes, I was born into a big family in Akron, Ohio, and my dad left when I was five.

Andrew: Five. And you don’t know where he left to?

David: Oh, I do.

Andrew: What happened?

David: I actually do, which was worse. My dad was my hero when I was five. He actually ended up . . . He made a lot of money. He had a girlfriend that was closer to my age than my mom’s age, and my mom being completely, radically humble never said a negative word about my father even though he wasn’t paying child support. So one of the things and lessons that I learned was my poor mom literally sat there while I would tell her what a loser she was and what a winner my dad was.

Andrew: Wow.

David: And meanwhile, never say a negative word until I was 10 years old, when my hero, my father forgot my birthday and did not tell the truth, and instead of telling me he made a mistake because he has six kids and he just forgot, he told me, which was painful, because that’s when I learned that he was a liar, a manipulator and overseller and a backend seller. He told me that he didn’t believe in birthdays, that he didn’t forget it, but . . . So then he tortured me and I decided that my dad went from hero to zero in a very quick amount and it upset my mom so much. It was the first time she ever said anything negative about my father, which then really cemented my negativity towards him until I was 30 years old.

Andrew: What happened at 30 that got you guys finally together?

David: It was a blessing, to be honest. I was on top . . . I was a multi-millionaire. I was working for the PCE phone, which was the world’s first convergence device manufactured by Samsung, first Windows CE device in the whole world. They call them convergence devices. It was the world’s first smartphone. But I get a birthday present from my dad at 30. And it was a jacket that fit perfectly. And I opened it up, I was in tears, I’m like, “Wow, I’m going to re-establish this relationship.” I wanted to be loved by my father. I wanted him to be proud of me. I wanted him to be a part of my life with my wife and children.

I opened up the jacket. He had torn out the entire lining, and so I called him crying saying, “Are you torturing me? Why would you give me a birthday present that I can’t use?” He says, “It’s not for wearing. It’s for hanging in your closet.” I said, “What do you mean?” He goes, “I don’t want you to be just like me.” And I said, “I’m nothing like you.” He goes, “You’re just like me.” He goes, “I don’t want you to be the richest man in the cemetery. You can’t take anything with you when you’re gone, and that jacket is there to remind you that you can’t take anything.” He goes, “Don’t be like me. Don’t waste your life chasing the dollar. You have such a beautiful life, a beautiful wife, a beautiful family. I need you to change, and I’m doing this as your father not to hurt you.” And I get choked up right now because to me that was the first warning that I was going to lose everything.

Andrew: Why did you feel that that was a warning that you were going to lose everything? He was preparing you for not needing it.

David: Because he was in a position where he could be brutally honest with me. You could imagine how everybody sucked up to me. When you’re 30 years old in a family where you’ve given your mom a house and a car, nine months out of law school, you’ve been successful in everything that you’ve done economically and you started to believe your own BS, and you started to live in the ego-based consciousness with my entire identity. I’m going to bring this up right now because you did say, I believe money is the most important thing in this world.

Andrew: You do?

David: Yes. I don’t believe it buys happiness, but what it does, and this is what I learned, is it allows you to shop. And if you shop for the right things with your money, you’ll be super-duper happy. If you shop for the wrong things, which I started to do in my late 20s and early 30s, you could be miserable, in fact, suicidal and . . .

Andrew: What’s the right and what’s wrong?

David: When I was 50 years old last year, I bought two community centers in Africa, which will impact millions of people. That’s shopping for the right things, shopping for things that empower people and educate people. Shopping for Ferraris and Porsches and big boats and planes and golf courses and ski mountains, even giving in the wrong way. So I was very, very generous, but I never really gave. I was always trading. I was trading my money for something else, for respect, for notoriety, for gratitude. Even with my mom, I wanted to be her most favorite child. I was paying her love. That’s not what money is there for, but money to me, you got to be profitable first. If you’re profitable, it’s easy to infuse purpose and passion into the profit. It’s much harder to infuse passion and purpose if you’re not profitable.

Andrew: I agree. I agree. Right. All right. Let’s talk about how you got there. You went to law school after going pre-med.

David: Yeah.

Andrew: Pre-med, I’m assuming that you didn’t decide to continue on as a doctor because you don’t like blood or hospitals and the whole process.

David: Yeah.

Andrew: That’s what I understood. And so then you went to law school, you became a lawyer. You said, “I need to make money.” And so the types of lawyers who make the most money were?

David: Oil and gas litigator. In fact, I chose my law school, but I got into every law school except for Stanford, they rejected me for undergrad and law school. I went there because they had the leading maritime law program in the country and they had the greatest oil and gas professor, Professor Yiannopoulos, who wrote the Louisiana treaties. And he took me to Athens and to Spetses and Rhodes in Greece to study my first year in law school. Ironically, that oil and gas stud, that mentor of mine is the one that convinced me to go into the internet instead practice oil and gas law.

Andrew: And so going to the internet meant going to . . . What’s the company? This is where you ended up [inaudible 00:14:08].

David: West Publishing.

Andrew: West Publishing. So I remember going to . . . It might have even been in high school and college where we were taught about the law a little bit in high school, and then in college we were taught . . . I had to take a law class if I wanted to go through and get a degree in business. And we got these big fat Westlaw books, right?

David: Monopoly.

Andrew: Red cover, giant. You know what I’m talking about?

David: No, I do, man. We own everything, all the state statutes, all the federal statutes, the case law.

Andrew: What does it mean that you owned that, case law?

David: We had a license. So this was such a monopoly when I went there, that every state in America, the federal government gave the contract to West Publishing to be the official reporter of the cases of the states and federal government and the codes, the statutes, and we owned a lot of secondary forms, and they are called secondary materials, but that official reporter status meant that every lawyer had to use your law when they went to court.

Andrew: Are you saying that no other publisher can go and just copy this stuff and publish it? It’s copyrighted by the government.

David: No, they could copy the case law. They could copy the case law, but we had the official annotations and the official key number system, which ironically lended itself or blended itself perfectly into the first Boolean search engine as well as the first natural language search engine. Which ironically, when I was at West Publishing at 26 years old, we were about to sell, they thought for 1.2 million, we ended up selling it for 3.4 billion. I went to the Opperman family, which owns 70% of that company. It was extremely generous to people like me, but moreover, I said, “Hey, forget just being a legal publisher. You have this search engine. Let’s go to the medical, the real estate, all the different industries and let’s use our search engine and we can search all kinds of stuff, not just legal materials.” And Mr. Opperman said, “Son, this company since 1875 has been a legal publisher. You need to stay in your lane. You do what you do best. Believe me, you don’t want to use this engine for anything else.” Meanwhile, it could have been Google and forget 3.4 billion.

Andrew: Oh, right. But David, how did they get so much access from every government agency, I feel like?

David: Time. The right time. So they started in 1875, and they figured out a niche to get the agreements early on with the states to be the official publisher. And then they hired lawyers to annotate the law. They hired lawyers to create a digest system that had key numbers. So it’s criminal . . . The negligence would be a key number, then slip and fall case, and then it would say grocery store, airport. And so that digest system will allow you to find the laws quickly. So what happened was, since they copyrighted that system, they got the agreements with the states and the federal government so early, it became insurmountable in order to take over or compete with them. And then they spent . . . I knew something was up when I first got hired. And the first two weeks of my training was antitrust training. It had nothing to do with what I was doing in my job. It was all to protect the monopoly that they have.

Andrew: They didn’t want you to do something that would endanger their monopoly before they teach you anything else. And the thing that you ended up focusing on was the digitization of this, selling the digital version. To whom?

David: So to every . . . When I started, I had the entire southeast. There’s only four of us. And I had entire southeast of every big law firm, every state agency. So the money they were trying to calculate it. Like, if I went into a prison, for example, I was an order taker more than a real salesperson. I was just efficient with my time. But I went into a prison and I’d go down and I’d have a list that [Bice 00:17:49], the state, the prison would have to have all these legal materials by West and they would have to have them or else they would be against the Fifth Amendment, cruel and unusual punishment. And so I . . .

Andrew: Because if they’re not giving their people access to the laws that then decide whether they stay or get out of jail, then they’re being cruel and unusual. Okay. All right. So they have to have your books to go down there.

David: So they have to have my books.

Andrew: And what do you do?

David: So then I go and I say, “Look, not only are you out of date and you’re going to be penalized by the state and the federal government, they’ll close you down, etc., but hey, I got a new thing that will save you money so you don’t have to worry about the books. We now have this online.” So I would get $100,000 commission sometimes for some of these orders that were extraordinarily big.

And so my first year, I think they miscalculated the fact that I was the only one right out of law school. They hired me only guys with four years of legal experience, but I had sales experience, I had Professor Yiannopoulos as my reference, and I also had one more thing going to me. When I interviewed with the executive vice president, he asked to see a picture of my girlfriend. Back then there was no phones. I had a little picture in my wallet, like a lot of us did. He looked at it and he said, “You’re hired.” I said, “What do you mean?” He goes, “If an ugly schmuck like you can get a girl like this, you can sell. You can sell.”

Well, I was so hungry for money, so hungry for money I literally worked day and night. I worked on the efficiencies. I didn’t have a family. Everyone else had a family. I didn’t really ever have a real job. It was just for me exciting to get into a hotel room. I never had my own hotel room with an expense account. I wanted to say it was also . . . My first check was like $35,000. I never made any real money.

Andrew: Commission from selling. And it’s because you just kept pushing and selling. What did you do? Because you told me before we started, this is where you made your first million, and then the next best salesperson made $350,000 that year? What did you do that was three times better than the next best person?

David: So I was probably the worst salesperson experience-wise, but what I did, I think I got eight times the results. Here’s what I did. I worked seven days a week, not five days a week. I worked 16 hours a day, not 8 hours a day. I focused on being more efficient and statistically successful in what I did. So, therefore, here’s the math in my head. The way that I was going to beat them is what I call the power of 64. I’d work twice as many hours, twice as efficient, which will give me 32 hours of productivity, and be twice as statistically successful at what I did, 64 hours of productivity 7 days a week instead of 5. So people will say to me, “How did you make $1 million nine months out of law school?” Well, if you take the math of working 64 hours of production, 7 days a week, I probably worked about 12 years compared to the next guy. So I was probably a worst sales rep. I just beat them with math.

Andrew: David, what made you more efficient than them?

David: Studying my calendar. And I’ve done this for a long time and teach people this. What I did was I studied my calendar exactly what I was doing in person, on the phone and fax machine. There was no email back then. And so I would study with a lens of productivity and accessibility. How accessible would I be to everyone? How was I accessing what I needed? But how productive would I be? So I would calculate my day and spend an extraordinary amount of time studying time and efficiencies of the travel I did, how many meetings I could do.

One of the things that I learned is that I believed that the first step in being a great salesperson was making people available to you. So, if I could get 80 . . . If I could get more people available to me, I would sell more people. So to get them more available, I had to figure out how to be more efficient and statistically successful in getting them to be available. So I would practice, because phone was the norm — they just came out with bag phones — but phones were the norm, right? So you get a calling card and you go on pay phones. I would practice, what would be the easiest way to stimulate interest for someone to call me back? Why? Because 80% of lawyers aren’t going to take your phone call, and so if I could get more of them to call me back, I knew that I could transition and share a vision better than anyone.

Andrew: Well, what did you do? What worked for you for getting them interested enough to call you back?

David: Money. I had a complete ROI where I looked at the quantitative reasons why they should do it, a quantitative impact, including space, how much space the books took up, and capabilities that they had, wanted, or needed that the books can give them. And if I would . . .

Andrew: Why would you leave this company?

David: Oh. So what happened was we sold for $3.4 billion.

Andrew: To Thomson.

David: To Thomson Reuters. I stayed on as a young executive. And then what happened was the internet boom, and I was getting huge offers in Silicon Valley because I was one of the few people on Earth that could show that I had actually made money in the internet. I wasn’t just piloting free vapor, Barney deals. I actually . . . The revenue that I was running at West was $17 billion gross, right? And a lot of that was attributed to online conversions, and I also knew the internet business so well that I could articulate to executives and VCs to Sequoia, Texas Pacific, and [Morendo 00:23:07]. I could actually converse with them about quantifying and making and monetizing the internet.

And so Andersen Consulting, who did the merger, they turned into a center, they had a big startup that they were doing in the wireless proxy server space, which was transcoding the internet onto WAP phones and Palm VIIs and Danger phones. And they thought that I was a perfect director to come on board, and I would be a perfect face person to do the dog and pony show, the roadshow in front of the big VCs. And if you knew anything about the late ’90s in Silicon Valley, man, people were just stroking checks $5 million, $10 million right on the spot.

And I couldn’t even imagine explaining it to people today what it was like, but HP Ventures, Texas Pacific, Sequoia and Morendo. I learned Silicon Valley and my job was selling. And we talked about earlier why I hated my father because he was a liar, a manipulator, an overseller and a backend seller. And the reason that that was the warning is the truth was the reason I hated my father was those are the things I hated about myself. And I knew . . .

Andrew: And so as you were raising money from all these VCs, Sequoia, impressive, you were being that type of person too, overselling, overhyping.

David: Even the Westlaw days, right? I look back. I really put a focus on making money. I didn’t think it was lying, but it definitely was manipulating. I was an overseller and a backend seller and exaggerator. And still today I have to be careful because it’s inherent in my unconscious competency. I know that about myself. I don’t surround myself with people that do that. I stopped myself when I exaggerate oversell, and I have really worked hard to be in the pursuit of my potential and stop myself and illuminate the truth. In fact, if somebody told me I had to tell people I went bankrupt, I would have rather killed myself. And I had learned to make peace with that and to teach people that it’s okay, the lessons that I’ve learned are much more valuable than any amount of money that I could ever make.

Andrew: So you were fronting this company. This company . . . What happened to it that led you to, you told our producer, “I ended up with a portfolio of $100 million”? How did you end up with $100 million?

David: So, because I’ve been involved in the internet for so long and I lived in San Diego, I was actually commuting to Silicon Valley because it was cheaper for me to commute than to own a home up there and they didn’t want to buy that. I had made money in real estate and in stocks, mainly Qualcomm, AMCC, San Diego-based CEOs that I knew and companies I knew well. And I had an extraordinary amount of money at a young age and no expenses, and I bought a lot of property. I owned 33 homes. I bought a golf course. I bought a ski mountain. And the real estate market took off.

My golf course, I got Sam Snead to design. It’s his only designed golf course. It’s called Poplar Grove in Amherst, Virginia. And it costs . . . We traded out trees, etc., but it was a $12 million project. It costs us about $2 million in cash, and it became the 8th best golf course in the nation with Golf Digest, and it went up to $120 million value by itself, not counting all the other properties and stocks and everything that I owned.

Andrew: Okay. And then there were lawsuits.

David: Yeah. It wasn’t just lawsuits [inaudible 00:26:33]. Let me explain because people ask me, “How the hell did you lose that much money?” I made a bad assumption. I got into a lawsuit. I was ego-driven. It was with my neighbor. And my wife fueled the fire, egos were involved. And I spent all my liquidity trying to prove that I was right, which was a huge mistake. But moreover, I always felt that I could borrow against my equity. What I didn’t understand is that just because you have equity, it doesn’t mean the bank’s going to let you have it. And what happens when you have that big of an economy, I went to my private bank, they were going under and they were like, “No, you can’t borrow against your equity. Go find somewhere else.” Well, by the time you get everything [inaudible 00:27:12]

Andrew: Oh, the connection just dropped again. David, sorry, you’re saying . . . You said, no, you can’t borrow against your equity, and then you started to say, by the time something, and then I lost.

David: Yeah. By the time I tried to find other financing, well, I started missing payments, and the minute you start missing payments, nobody’s going to give you loans of that size. And then the house starts crumbling over a period about a year and a half, two years. And through that process, though, it wasn’t as if I went bankrupt and I learned the lesson. I had already gone through a transformative shift about when I started figuring out the financial side of things, looking for money, but I had gone through this shift of changing my life.

We had talked about the value proposition. I was tired of being that person, and I wanted to live my life in a different way and trust the universe. I started meditating. I met this woman in India, I went to a workshop. I watched the movie, “The Secret.” Coincidences started happening in my life. My wife had always been spiritual and said I was lost. My mom was always spiritual and said I was lost. I would scoff at them. In fact, the lady who told me that I needed to meditate I told her, “Only broke, poor, sick people sit on their mom’s house and get high and meditate.” So it’s amazing how my life has changed, because I was the most closed-minded, arrogant, egotistical person, and now I’m kind of a woo-woo, pragmatic . . .

Andrew: I saw you had the beads on your hands. You got a book about it. What are the beads for?

David: Cool story. I represented a master in China called Doctor and Master Sha. Ironically, he wanted me to brand him in America because he does mind body soul transmissions and he thought as a sports agent that I could get athletes to get healed by him and it would allow people to understand what he did. He’s an extraordinary healer. He still is. I actually have two six-foot calligraphies that I trace every day, one for abundance and one for my family and health. And he gave me these beads and blessed them, and I’ve worn them every day.

Let me just tell everyone one thing, because I’m pragmatic like you. Money is really important, but if you have these weird things like I do, here’s the rule to me. Number one, are there any risks in doing it? Which I see no risk in wearing my beads. And two, does it work for you? I do not tell people to go out and buy beads or trace calligraphies, but these are things that have no risk for me and they seem to work. So I do them. There you go.

Andrew: I would tell people to go buy beads. I love them. I think they help with focus. Let me talk about my first sponsor and then we’ll get back into your story. My first sponsor is a company called Toptal. You know Toptal. How do you know Toptal?

David: Actually, I have a TV show called “Elevator Pitch” in the fifth season with Entrepreneur. And that deal came by our table for consideration to come on the show to raise money. And they were an interesting proposition, and we decided not quite a good fit for us. But I was interested and it looks like they’re doing well enough to sponsor the show.

Andrew: Yeah, I can’t believe it that they went to you for funding. You know who they ended up getting funding from is Andreessen Horowitz.

David: Good friend.

Andrew: It’s a phenomenal company. All right. Here’s their idea. You probably don’t remember the details of it so I’ll tell you what they had in mind. They said, “Look, hiring is really big. There’s a lot of . . . ” I’m imagining this. They said, “There’s a lot of money in it, but everyone’s doing the same way, basically, the same way that it’s been done in the newspapers, which is it used to be place an ad in newspapers, now is place an ad on a website. Some people will help you place an ad on multiple websites. Some people or some companies will help you bring in all the data that comes in, all the applications and organize them. They’re all doing the same thing that’s always existed.”

Toptal said, “You know what? What if we just cut it out? What if we build a network of great developers and if someone like David or Andrew needs to hire developer, they come to us, and we’ll go to our network and find the right person like a [yenta 00:30:58], where you will be the matcher who connects them.” And so that’s the idea.

If you’re out there or frankly, even David if you’re here listening to me, if you ever need a developer, the thing to do is to go to The first thing that will happen is they will talk to you, a real human being will say, “David, what are you trying to do here?” And you will tell them and they might say, “You know what? David, you don’t need that. Go use Zapier. Leave us alone.” Or they’ll say, “Yes. What you’re looking for we have the developer, you do need that, we have someone who’s done this a million times. We’ll put them in touch with you.”

All right. The reason that you’re going to want to use the /mixergy at the end is, they’re going to give you 80 hours of Toptal developer credit when you pay for your first . . . Are you wealthy enough that you still want this deal or like, you don’t care about deals anymore?

David: I still do. I’m a deal junkie.

Andrew: All right, good. will get you 80 hours of Toptal developer credit when you pay for your first 80 hours in addition to a no-risk trial period. It’s top as in top of the mountain, tal as in talent,

All right. The thing falls apart. You cry? You feel what? Let’s be open here. I feel like it’s more painful than we let on.

David: Yeah. I really had a shock. I was depressed for one day. And “Rocky” came on the TV show. I couldn’t get out of bed.

Andrew: The movie?

David: Yeah.

Andrew: Okay.

David: Maybe I got to get out of bed. And I remember I was crying in bed. I was depressed. And the reason I was depressed is I was going to have to go over to my mom’s house and not only tell her that I lost everything, but I’d forgotten to take my mom’s house out of my name. I lost her house. And I thought it would destroy her. I thought it was the worst thing ever. I was literally contemplating my own life in bed that day, and then I could get choked up because it was real for me.

“Rocky” came on and I remember being up, knocked down, he got up. Rocky won. And he just kept getting up. And something told me, “Man, if you can look up, you can get up. This is not . . . You can do this.” And I went through logically in my head. I grew up with nothing. When I graduated law school, it took me nine months to be a millionaire. I had $100,000 in loans. I knew nobody. I had real no situational knowledge or experience.

Here I was, I had extraordinary knowledge, I had extraordinary experience, I had extraordinary relationship capital. I’d always been a good person. I had done a lot of nice things for people. And I just said to myself, “If it only took me nine months with all those obstacles, voids and shortages in my life, why would it take me more than nine months if I got laser focused on making money?” Everything I did was a direct trajectory on how to make money that there was no doubt that I could make money faster and better than I ever did. And I literally went out and found every rich person that I knew and encountered and literally sought them out and said, “Hey, is there anything I can do for you?” So I figured rich people, from my experience, could easily help me a lot more than poor people.

Andrew: And that’s a lot of humbling too to be able to say that to go to somebody and say, “Can I do anything for you?” basically like an intern almost looking for work.

David: Yeah. And I was more interested in what they were looking into need? Because I had so many relationships that I was looking to say, “Hey, are you looking for a yacht? Are you looking for a plane? Are you looking for something in my . . . ” I was going to create a margin for myself because I knew the fastest way to make money was to buy low and sell high to create a margin.

And I still tell people all the time. It’s real simple to make money in real estate, for example. Part of my recovery is going to the people with the most situation knowledge and saying, “Let me know when your market is oversold and I’m going to buy. It doesn’t have to be the bottom. I just want to know when it’s oversold. And let me know when it’s literally where the overbought and I’ll sell.” So I buy on oversold, I sell it on overbuy, and it creates an exponential margin and literally, it allows you in different markets. If you get someone with 30 or 40 years’ experience, they’re going to know when it’s oversold, they’re going to know when it’s overbought, and you literally don’t have to pick the bottom, you just have to be able to be wise enough to take advantage of it.

And if you have to borrow money to do it, then take a syndicated partnership. And I have those relationships. I had the ability to raise money. I was a really good salesperson, but luckily for me, I found a billionaire that needed something that I could get and I ended up flipping my first deal, which was a $9 million deal and making over $1 million almost within three weeks in my bankruptcy.

Andrew: What did this billionaire need from you?

David: He imported and exported things, and he wanted to buy watches and I knew one of the large watch manufacturer CEOs. And so I called him up and said, “Hey, I got a list of watches I want to buy to put up into the Middle East and you have these watches.” And he said, “Sure.” I said, “No returns. It’ll be a wire deal.” And I said, “My buyer is willing to pay and they’ll all go into the Middle East. Are you willing to do it?” And he comes to me and he says, “Well, how much do you have?” And my guy had $10 million to buy in. And so I said, “I got $8 million.” And he came back to me after a couple of flips and said, “Look, I’ll do it for nine.” I took the 10, paid him 9.

Andrew: And that’s how you did it, watches.

David: Watches. And I kept doing. I still buy and sell things. I still buy and sell cars.

Andrew: Like what?

David: I buy and sell cars. I buy . . . My newest thing is subprime lending. Like in the old days for houses when they get oversold, subprime lending went from homes into cars. That’s why you see so many zero interest, everybody qualifies for a car. So high-end cars are a great way to make money because a lot of people when they get financially stressed, those cars aren’t worth hardly anything . . .

Andrew: You’re saying they’re getting practically 0% interest, so they buy these cars, they can’t continue to make payment on it because they overextended and they just got too much, you go in and you buy it lower than it’s worth but give money fast.

David: A lot lower.

Andrew: How do you find these guys?

David: You buy it outside. Just literally through banking relationships as well as the internet.

Andrew: Just through old friends.

David: Yeah. And then moreover too it’s location. So these guys might live in Michigan, and you pick up a Ferrari in Michigan for 100 and something dollars, you get it shipped out to California. It already takes a 20% increase just bringing it to Newport Beach.

Andrew: Okay.

David: And then you have the market size . . .

Andrew: How do know all these people? I saw you do an interview with the founder of Pictionary for your podcast. What’s your podcast called?

David: The Playbook. Yeah.

Andrew: The Playbook.

David: Yeah.

Andrew: You started off by saying, “Look, I didn’t want to have you on because I didn’t think my podcast was good enough yet. Now I feel like it’s good. And you also I think had a book out or something at the time.” But you said, “Look, we’ve been friends for a long time.” How do you have friends like that?

David: So one of the things I learned through this recovery, this transformation is two questions. How can I be of service or of value? So I wake up every morning, pray to God for at least 10 people I can help. I literally believe in productivity. I believe that’s the easiest question to ask people. What can I do for you? What do you need? How can I help you? What value can I bring you? But I also learned the second question when I learned my worthiness, my own value, and that’s, “Do you know anyone that can help me?”

Andrew: Anyone who can help me to do what?

David: Help me with, for example, guests on my podcast. So, if you look at my podcast, I’ve had the biggest guests in the world, right? Ray Lewis, Danica Patrick, the biggest names in sports and business, all the CEOs simply by saying, “Hey, do you know who can help me? I got a top entrepreneur podcast. I’d love to get them on. Do you know who can help? I got a TV show. Do you know who can help me? I’m looking for . . . ”

Andrew: Got it. So you’ll start a conversation, “Is there anything I can do for you? You know, I’ve got access to all these people. Is there anything . . . ”

David: Yeah. First I’ll start with emotional attachment. Right? So I’ll pick something out that like, if you’re a Jewish and I’m Jewish, and then we’ll talk about our Jewish guilt moms or . . .

Andrew: You’ll talk about anything that creates an emotional connection.

David: People buy on emotion for logical reasons.

Andrew: Okay. All right.

David: So if I can make an emotional connection, I see a Tulane hat or Nike shoe . . .

Andrew: The fact that we’re both podcasting you might say, “Andrew, we’re both podcasting. Isn’t great how podcasting is doing, but it’s kind of a pain to compete with everyone else.” Or you’ll create an emotional connection just by . . .

David: Yeah. What do you like about it? What don’t you like about it? They’ll give that.

Andrew: What’s next?

David: And then I’ll say, “Oh, tell me a little bit about yourself.” And I’ll be more interested than interesting. Right? I’ll really ask an open-ended question.

Andrew: The Dale Carnegie line.

David: Yeah, open-ended questions. Then I’ll lead them with some closed-ended questions and kind of say, “Oh.” And I’ll try not to be as obsequious as, “Hey, can I help you?” It’s like, “Oh, I know Andy like with you right now. Andy, go look down my list of podcast guests. Pick out the top three that you want and I’d love to introduce you. That does that sound like . . . ” And you’ll be like, “Oh, what a nice guy?” And then I’ll say, “You know what? Do you know anyone who can help me because I know you’re friends with so and so? And can we get Neil Patel on my show or whoever it is?” Right?

Andrew: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

David: But I’m giving first.

Andrew: I’m glad I asked because the whole idea of just, “Hey, is there anything I could do for you?” does seem a little obsequious and it seems a little bit . . . Yeah, you just made this face when you heard me say it. Right. It’s not that you’re being . . . I feel like that’s what new people in business will do. They’ll start calling around, “Is anything I can do to help you?” And now I’ve got a job of trying to find you something to do for me. It’s a little annoying. Okay. I got it. That’s what you’re doing.

Let’s talk about Leigh Steinberg. You ended up working for Leigh Steinberg. The first thing that comes up I think when I google his name is that, here we go, the Wikipedia line, “Steinberg is often credited as the real-life inspiration of the sports agent from Cameron Crowe’s film, ‘Jerry Maguire’ from 1996.” So how did you get hooked up with him?

David: So, as I went through this transformation, I had to get a job. Right? And I actually was going to go work for TELUS. I was going to be president of the data division, get back into the phone industry, leveraging the relationship and knowledge that I had. I’ve done a little bit of work with Leslie Buckley for Aircom.

Well, in the interim, as I lost my house, I was moving to Newport Beach, I was helping a friend and he asked if he thought was a great negotiator. He asked if I negotiate a deal. And the other lawyer on the other side, it was a reality show was Leigh Steinberg. And Leigh, the reason I got the job, Leigh was just like my younger brother who went to Harvard, a little bit on the spectrum, super intelligent. My brother was summa cum laude of Harvard in three years. Leigh is one of the most intelligent academic people you’d ever meet.

And since I’ve shared a room with my brother for 18 years, I knew how to connect emotionally with Leigh Steinberg, which was very difficult. If you know anyone that vibrates a little bit higher than others, it’s tough to get an emotional connection. Jeff Moorad, his partner had bought into the Diamondbacks. They had sold their baseball practice for 100 million. He was looking for a COO. He felt so comfortable with me and I impressed him so much that the next morning after I met with him, he asked me to come back up. And after meeting with me entire day, he offered me the COO job, the Chief Operating Officer job, and then six months later, I became the CEO of literally the most notable sports agency in the world.

And I had manifested that. It’s something that I would dreamed about being a kid after I didn’t make it as a professional football player, I wanted to be a sports agent, but it was a dream. And here I go, once again, harnessing the power of attention and intention, harnessing the power of the universe, truly putting faith in what I want, and allowing things to happen, and I ended up with this extraordinary job which changed my entire trajectory of my life.

Andrew: That’s shocking. From that one conversation, I think it started with a text message and then by the end of the day, you had it, you had the position of COO.

David: Yeah.

Andrew: By the way, from what I understand, Leigh is also a guy who went through like, personal bankruptcy and also overextended himself, right? He had other issues on top of it.

David: And alcoholism. Yeah.

Andrew: Alcoholism a couple of times.

David: Yeah. And I helped him. I think we manifested each other. I was someone that had gone through something and I showed him kind of the philosophies and strategies that I had used. And Warren Moon, the Hall of Fame quarterback, and I, Warren, was one of his first clients, they went to the same high school although Leigh is a little older. Leigh had been with him throughout the Canada days when he was keeping him focused to believe in himself that he could be a quarterback in the NFL, the first African-American quarterback in the Hall of Fame.

But Leigh, me and Warren are bonded together because we actually, I think, helped Leigh sober up. He’s been sober for 11 years. He represent Patrick Mahomes right now, the top quarterback in the NFL. But together we went through a lot of stuff through my bankruptcy, some issues with Warren, some issues with Leigh, and we all stuck together and learned together and now it’s so nice to see everyone is thriving.

Andrew: Can you tell me a little bit about what it was like working there before we get into what you’re doing at Sports 1 Marketing?

David: Yeah. First of all, the first day I called my wife because my office was the Jerry Maguire office in Newport Center Drive, Leigh Steinberg on one side of me, Warren Moon on the other. And I told my wife, “I can’t believe they’re paying me to do this.”

Andrew: What do you mean it was a Jerry Maguire office?

David: That’s where they filmed that scene with Sug in Jerry’s . . . to use it as a set in Jerry Maguire.

Andrew: Oh, really? Okay. I didn’t realize that. Okay.

David: Yeah. You could see the windows behind Catalina Island, very expensive offices. In fact, the [inaudible 00:44:18] when I left Leigh’s office to form Sport 1 Marketing when Leigh was sobering up, Warren and I, we paid more for parking than we paid for our first lease in our startup Sports 1 Marketing. That’s how much money we were spending. But . . .

Andrew: I think you said in your book . . . Oh, where was that? It was like $44,000 a month for office space.

David: Yeah, 13 for parking.

Andrew: Yeah. That’s where you guys were. I was huge. Okay. All right. Sorry. So you were starting to tell me what it was like to work there.

David: So the hardest part about working there was everybody wanted my job and people were willing to do whatever it took to get our clients and also to take your job. Everyone . . . Imagine working in the job that most American males dream about having being Jerry Maguire. And it was a nightmare. Leigh was having all kinds of problems. Literally, you’re babysitting guys, employees were sports agents, so integrity was very difficult to gauge and to control. We had a humanitarian effort. Leigh was a humanitarian, not very money-oriented. I had to restructure a ton of different things.

And through that process, we had huge opportunities that we were getting and also losing. We had clients that would love Leigh and wanted to work and then Leigh would end up in rehab and we’d lose the client. We had a movie deal, a huge one with Angela Pizzo and David Anspaugh for the third Indiana gem, “Rudy,” “Hoosiers” and it was going to be the 500, the Indy 500 movie. And we ended up raising $32 million and then some of the money dropped out, and then Leigh went into a spiral.

These are the type of things I used to tell my lead agent, 85% of my time was focused in on Leigh. If I just could have swapped it and spent 85% on the business and 15% on Leigh, it would have been the place to be. But in the end, Warren asked me to leave, told me to leave, warned me to leave. He said that, “If we don’t help Leigh and if we keep putting him in the position, he’s going to end up dead.” And I believe him and I still believe him today. And I know Leigh is grateful because I think Warren especially helped to save Leigh’s life.

Andrew: Yeah, it looks like from day one. All right. Yeah. Day one you were hired, you go into the office and he’s out sick. And then you’ve got to negotiate . . . What was it? It was like the sale of the team or something? Stadium.

David: The Rams. The Rams. It was John sells the Rams, $900 million deal. And that’s when Leigh gave me . . . He gave me two really good pieces of advice in my life. The first one is simple. Be kind to your future self. I love that piece of advice. I write it in my books, “Be kind to your future self, do good deeds.” That’s such a simple, easy philosophy.

But the second one was this. I called him, he was in rehab, I was the only one that could be there, and I tried to call Jeff Moorad, the old COO who actually owned part of the Diamondbacks, later owned the Padres, got a little advice, but Leigh gave me this advice. He said, “Number one, don’t negotiate to the last penny. Two, always be fair. And three, don’t do business with dicks.” That was the three pieces of advice that I got to negotiate this deal, but it was a big deal. It was Franklin Financial, John Shaw on the phone, $900 million deal to buy a team. It was extraordinary.

Andrew: I still don’t understand why he gave you all that trust. I get that you hit it off in the first meeting, but . . .

David: I mean, it was out of necessity. He gave me the trust because I was one of the few people we could emotionally connect to, and then through circumstances, he wasn’t 100% confident because he was literally in the throes of a binge and . . .

Andrew: And his girlfriend I think was too? Am I right about that? That we’re talking about, like, a real messy situation, but why you? What was it about your background that made him say, “This guy can handle this”?

David: The amount of money . . . He wanted to raise more money for the firm, so I’d raised millions of dollars in my life. My relationship capital was extraordinary, the emotional connection as well, and my ability to build, scale and run companies, my personality and my skill sets . . .

Andrew: And by then which companies had you built and run?

David: So I had built the PC phone company. I had built a real estate construction company which we had over $100 million in assets. So I did [empiric 00:48:31] construction, real estate. Just the business successes of the investments that I made and what business dealings I was involved with I think were impressive to him. The people that I was there with, there was a big investment banker there with me, there was also some entertainers that were involved in the project all who third-party validated probably oversold me as far as me being Midas, but I think it was just desperation, timing and where skills, knowledge and desire all align in the great coincidence of the universe.

Andrew: The construction company I see Jack about. Except . . . No, you don’t have a LinkedIn as far as I . . . No, you do. This wasn’t on the LinkedIn profile. In your book I said, “How did I miss this thing? Where was it?” There it is. I hate how Kindle uses location 297. What the hell does that even mean to anybody? But there it is. It’s one sentence. “I started my own businesses such as a real estate development and construction company,” and then it continues, “raise money for other businesses and invested in among other things, commercial and residential real estate and land.” Yeah, I get why I didn’t catch it in the book. All right. The book, by the way, I’m looking at the older book, the one that you’re, I guess, known for, “Connected to Goodness.” Is that the one you’re known for? Is it the other one, the one that’s more woowi?

David: Yeah, the “Connected to Goodness” is my story and my principles and key elements. Then I wrote a book with Blaine Bartlett who’s a world thought leader who wrote “Compassionate Capitalism.”

Andrew: Yeah, there it is. That’s the one. I call it woowi. I know that that was not . . . That wasn’t the way to . . .

David: Yeah. It’s more of a business book. It’s more of a business book. And then I do have a little workbook that Jack Canfield and I did for charity called “Creating the Life You Love” which is a small little pamphlet that we did and then the new book is all me and it’s a “Think and Grow Rich” type of book of “Game-time Decision Making.”

Andrew: I had no idea you were coming out with another book. All right. Let me talk about my second sponsor and then we’ll talk about a little bit more of the modern life here. Second sponsor is a company called HostGator. David, if you had nothing . . . Let’s say you’re starting, you’re a hustler, you’re a guy who’s ambitious, but also, like, kind and considerate, if you start out in business today and you have nothing but a hosting package from HostGator. I just say, “Okay, David, you got nothing. I got nothing to give you. All I can give you is host anything you want.” How would you build yourself up with nothing but a hosting package?

David: I’d created a landing page to host that drove traffic to all of my social media, to me, my person, to my email. I’d create a portal basically with that hosting package and drive traffic by asking and attracting, making sure that everyone I met . . . The cool thing about today is most people have about 1,000 people average on their network. So, if I’m out there at least saying, “Hey, check this out,, Don’t forget David Meltzer,” I’m going to drive traffic and if I have the right landing page hosted by them, I can actually drive traffic to that which makes money. I’m into making profit, so I don’t like having a business that’s just an idea. I like a business that has a margin that instantly can create revenue.

Andrew: Where will the margin come from if you’re starting out again? Nothing but this dmel . . . Do you actually own

David: Yeah, is mine . . .

Andrew: I thought so.

David: . . . and as well.

Andrew: There we go.

David: But they . . . Where I would start is to be able to kind of create my own consulting, meaning somehow suddenly say, “Hey, you leverage my relationship capital or leverage my situational knowledge.” And I have a huge executive coaching business right now that people literally pay me to leverage my relationship capital, make organic, authentic credible introductions, or leverage my dummy tax. So I have a wide variety of skill sets and experience, I can help accelerate and grow their business. And anybody that I work with is just month to month. I guarantee every month that I’m a profit center. So a lot of people love working with me. My cheapest client pays me 1,000 bucks a month. I have a billionaire that pays me 50,000 a month and I guarantee they make more money than I charge them every month.”

Andrew: I bet. I’m just surprised that you would spend . . . that you will be willing to do it for so little money.

David: It’s nice. It’s a 2, 10-minute calls, focus homework and I’m on call 4:00 a.m. to 11 [inaudible 00:52:33].

Andrew: You’re doing a $60 million business and you’re going to like, get on a call with someone for 1,000 bucks a month?

David: But that’s where you generate leads, right? When you’re able to assist people, be of service and be concise with your time, there’s a ton of deal flow that comes from that, their sponsorships, speaking engagement, coaching . . . It just grows and grows and grows. Those are the people that bring the business deals to me, so it’s actually a business development tool as well as just in my soul the most fulfilling part of my day, I do two coaching calls in the morning and two at night. So, it’s outside of the work hours. I do it on my drive to work, my drive home, when I’m in the office, and then I facilitate four calls a day, seven days a week. I do that, but the calls only last 10 minutes, but literally, it’s the best 20 minutes of my day on both sides of my day.

Andrew: All right. The website for anyone who wants to go sign up with them is I really like the idea of consulting as a start because it doesn’t take any coding, it doesn’t take a lot of work, it’s a thing that you do already that you know just to consult and help other people do it. Like, I love that one of the guests that I had on Mixergy said, “I know how to organize companies. I understand all the software that’s involved in it.” And basically, it’s fairly straightforward. People need someone to come in and do it for their businesses. So that’s what he did. That was one of his first businesses. All right. If you want to bring those ideas over to HostGator, throw that /mixergy at the end, you’re going to get super low price on . . . Guys, you know what it is.

David: Let me tell you . . .

Andrew: Yeah, please.

David: Let me tell you why that business is so great.

Andrew: You know HostGator.

David: Yeah, HostGator is so great. Let me tell you why, though. Because in 2027, 50% of businesspeople are going to be freelancers or consultants. The whole business to swing that way to the individual. And so this business is one in which can facilitate what they need, but literally by 2027, our gig economy is moving to a freelancer. It’s not influencers. I’m talking about just freelance businesspeople that work at home, or commuting and mobile. This is the great business for them.

Andrew: I agree. All right. If you need a website . . . I agree with that too, that even people who are in the past would have been working for a company with what they do, they’re still working for a company but they’re freelancers and maybe working for three or four companies. All right. Super low price, great service, I . . . not only do I guarantee it. They guarantee it. If you’re not happy within 45 days, they’ll give you your money back, you’ll be happy. And the nice thing about HostGator is you can always take your site and move it somewhere else.

I’m looking at your website, by the way. I’m looking at the guests who you have on. Alex Banyan wanted to do an interview with me. I said no to him even though I freaking love his book. He’s a guy who said, his life was kind of turning upside down, he decided to go and do a bunch of interviews. And so he said, “Hey, Andrew, I do interviews. You do interviews. Can I be on?” I said, “No.” But I liked his book a lot. It was a good book.

David: Yeah, that’s cool. It’s not always a good fit for everyone. And I’m glad that I got on here because I love the fact that you know your frequency and you’re going to stick to your frequency. And a lot of guys that are doing podcasts . . . mine’s about the playbook to success. So, if I can have someone that can tell a story about how they got to where they’re at and that’s shared so people can see don’t limit your point of entry that if you reverse engineer people’s playbook, that there is no real logic behind, that you can’t make a well-developed plan. The only thing will happen is God will laugh at you. You got to stay open. You got to focus in on actually the journey . . .

Andrew: Can you take somebody’s playbook and actually really reverse-engineered and go do it? Have you ever done it?

David: Well, I do it for myself to help people understand because I have certain jobs that are dream jobs and they think, “Wow, if I go to law school, then I would interned at CAA, then I’ll be a sports agent. I want to work for a team. This is how to do it.” I’m like, “No, that’s not how it does. I developed sales skills. I developed organizational skills, time skills . . .

Andrew: How do you develop your sales skills and organizational skills? What’s your way of doing it?

David: So I use a five to thrive system for sales. So I break it down to understanding how well . . .

Andrew: By the way, I like how every approach that you have is always branded, five to thrive. I used to think in 64. Not everyone has 40 hours a week, I guess, whatever the number was.

David: Yeah, I got the 5/20 rule I got the 100/20 rule.

Andrew: This is the way you think internally, or is it because you’re like branding yourself as a guru now?

David: I’m a numbers guy. So I’ve always called these things . . . So, like, I have a 5/20 rule. Someone taught me, Bob Proctor, taught me that after five minutes on the phone you’re visiting. So, if you really want to be productive and you want to make money, Dave, keep your phone calls to five minutes, keep your meetings to 20 minutes. That’s why I call it by 5/20 rule.

Andrew: Got it. All right. Okay. Sorry. So you’re starting to say what this was, five to thrive. What is five to thrive?

David: So it breaks it down in how people thrive. So, number one, stimulated interest. So it’s just like being a lawyer. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard the thing about being a litigator. If you asked that, once you got the jury, don’t ask the next question. Well, that’s what people do when they stimulate interest. If only goal is to get someone to call you back, nobody ever has bought off the telephones. We don’t sell on the telephone message.

Andrew: Got it. So, on a call, just if you’re trying to get somebody to call you back, just stick with what . . . Sorry, the call broke up. That’s why I interrupted you. We weren’t hearing you, so I was kind of summing up what you said. If you want to get somebody to call you back, don’t sell them on the call, just do the thing that’s going to be interesting to get them to call you back. Keep going. What else is thriving?

David: The second is transition interest. So you’re going to use collateral information of some sort written, verbal, email to transition interest. Once they’re interested, you stimulate their interest, now you transition it with some facts. Right? Credibility, emotional attachment, quantitative reasons, impacts and capabilities, then hopefully, you’ll share a vision.

Now, most people think they’re 80% done when they’ve shared their vision, they got a verbal, “Yes, I want to move forward.” I think you’re 20% done. Where 80% of my time is focused is on managing and developing the vision to get a signed agreement and execute and I never believe in exceeding expectations because I think most people can’t. I think almost everybody you’re . . . You will exceed that expectations if you do what you say when you say because there’s so many variables and so many things that happen in business. It’s so difficult to do what you promised in the time frame you promise it because there’s so many variables.

So I really work hard in managing and developing a vision so that somebody, after they work with me, will go tell somebody else, “Man, you got to go work with Dave Meltzer.” And that’s thriving. And that’s how businesses scale exponentially. That’s how I see my sales, and I’m consistently practicing. I believe consistent behavior. So, just like I work . . . I don’t believe work. I believe in activity you get paid for and activity you don’t get paid for.

I learned to love everything I do. I find light in it. I believe that working two minutes on something a day or focus on it on two minutes a day is worth more than two hours on a weekend. So I lower the bar on a lot of things that I do, but I do them seven days. So meditation, I do it every single day, 20 minutes a day. My health, a minimum of an hour a day. Even my personal relationships. I give my mom a minimum of one minute a day with an objective of letting her know that I love and appreciate her. My relationship has changed exponentially with my own mother. She doesn’t make me do things anymore to prove I love and appreciate her because I spend a minimum of a minute a day letting her . . .

Andrew: So you can actually call her up and say, “Listen, it’s been a minute. I got to run.”

David: I am a little bit still sly about that. I’m like, “Oh, sorry, I got to get the other line or I got a new deal.”

Andrew: Oh, okay.

David: “Sorry, I got to go.” Sometimes, though, I’m just driving and I really like to spend more time with my mom, but it’s taking the action of actually giving her call or text or an email sometimes just to say, “Hey, I’m thinking about you. How is your Maj game today? I just want to let you know, again, as you know, I love and appreciate you, Mom.” I like [inaudible 01:00:08].

Andrew: That’s it.

David: And I always tell her because I asked her one time, “What do you really want from me?” And she told me, “I just want you to be happy.” So I always end, “Just so you know . . .

Andrew: I’m happy.

David: . . . I’m super happy. Yeah, I’m super happy.”

Andrew: But the thing that I’m wondering is how did you come up with these processes and these . . . I get the names, the five to thrive, the 5/20 rule. What is it? Is it a bunch of experimentation?

David: It’s a matter of really being OCD, understanding my personality traits that I’m a math person and I like things in order. So I’m constantly looking for the efficiencies, order systems and processes. And then I do like the names. But being a student of my calendar for so long, being focused in on time, understanding . . . Let me give you an example of an easy one that people don’t do that my sick mind thought of.

Andrew: Yeah.

David: I don’t understand why people don’t treat sleep like they do work, meaning most consistent thing people do in life is sleep 6 to 10 hours a night every single night. Very rarely don’t they? But yet, they don’t spend any time studying sleep, practicing sleep, asking for advice in sleep when meanwhile, sleep is the best way to mature your subconscious and unconscious mind which has so much more power than the conscious mind. But when you talk about faith, what you think, say and do is in your conscious mind, what you believe, and the neuropathways are in your subconscious and your unconscious energy, it pulls, draws, and it activates your DNA. It can change . . . It could actually cure cancer for you.

Andrew: So then what do you . . . Your subconscious mind could cure your cancer, you’re saying. And so what do you . . .

David: Unconscious mind.

Andrew: Unconscious, excuse me. So what do you do to cultivate it . . .

David: Yeah. So I actually . . .

Andrew: . . . or in regards to sleep? Sorry.

David: Three mentors at all time.

Andrew: Of course, numbers.

David: One of those mentors, I go to the sleep experts, I asked them questions, I asked for mentorship. I take actual real-time situations and say, for example, “I’m leaving for Hong Kong tomorrow. What exactly should I be doing? When should I be eating? How many hours should I sleep . . . ”

Andrew: Wait, wait. I’ve heard you say that everyone needs to have three mentors. You mean three mentors even for sleep? You have three mentors for sleep?

David: No, just one for sleep. Yeah. Three mentors at any time.

Andrew: Okay. One of your mentors helps you sleep better, and so you’ll go to the mentor and say, “What do you think I should do before Hong Kong?”

David: Yeah, I’ll ask him, “Here’s my flight and times. Here’s where I’m going. What time should I eat? What time should I sleep on the plane? How much sleep should I try to get? Should I do a one-hour nap when I land at 6:00 a.m.?” All of these different things that they’ll tell me to do, and I’ll even say, “Sleep environment. What temperature?”

Andrew: You’ll ask about it.

David: Most people will sleep in warmer weather.

Andrew: I mean, do you do something like . . . Do you remember the book “Psycho-Cybernetics” which told you to before you go to sleep about the thing that you want so that your subconscious mind can work on it, don’t sweat it, just leave it to that? Do you do anything like that? It feels like you do stuff to cultivate [inaudible 01:02:53]

David: Oh, sure.

Andrew: What do you do before you go to sleep?

David: I say thank you and I list out like a five-year-old every single thing that I’m thankful for.

Andrew: Every single thing, every night.

David: Anything I can think of that I’m thankful for. I go down the list like a five-year-old on his knees, but I believe that the truth vibrates the fastest and gratitude is one of the great truths in the universe and you only can be aware of that which vibrates equal to or less than you. So, when I heightened my awareness with the truth of gratitude and by saying thank you. And then like I said, the first thing I do when I wake up, again, is number one, say thank you and then ask for at least 10 people that I can help, and then I go and meditate using gratitude, forgiveness, accountability and inspiration as my goal of meditation to raise my awareness.

Awareness is so amazing, right? People don’t understand it. Take this one awareness. If I could teach people to be more aware, they might know when to buy or sell. In this pragmatic vibration that we live at if I can teach someone 100% sure when to buy or sell, they’ll be a billionaire before anyone. That’s a great gift. And I truly believe you can raise your awareness so that you will know inherently this is a good time to buy, this is a good time to sell. That actually can come from awareness and vibration.

Andrew: Because you’re being aware of what? What are we aware of?

David: So the truth vibrates the fastest. So what are we aware of? There’s actually a physical vibration that you can increase through meditation, through living your life in the right way. When you raise your vibration, when you raise, you can only be aware of that which vibrates equal to you. Things are simple. It’s why certain people live . . .

Andrew: What do you mean by vibrate simple then? I’m not following what that even means.

David: So I say to meditate, right? My cells vibrate. Everything vibrates. The earth vibrates the slowest, then plants, animals, humans, sound, light and then thought.

Andrew: You mean literally you’re vibrating.

David: Literally the particles are vibrating.

Andrew: Okay.

David: Okay? So everything in the universe is vibrating. The more it vibrates, the more apparent it is because we can be aware of a table is vibrating really slow. But we’re not aware of the truth all the time. We’re not aware of certain things, certain sounds, you can’t detect because it vibrates too fast for the human ear. Well, anyway, I have been taught through meditation to increase the vibration of my cellular structure, my neuropathways, my neurologic and as well as my own DNA. And the more that I practice this just like golf and it’s like a muscle, I’m constantly trying to live at a higher vibration. I’m enjoying the consistent everyday, persistent without quit, pursuit of this truth, this higher vibration.

So, as I get older, as I experience more, I’m aware of more things than most people, things are simpler to me than they ever have been, and they’re simpler to me than other people, and I come up with these silly little philosophies that I think partly because I have a higher vibration or a higher awareness. That’s why we don’t feel comfortable all the places people that are on the spectrum vibrate [inaudible 01:05:41]

Andrew: So you’re saying you’re aware of things like, we’re spending 20 minutes on a call that it’s really it’s just two minutes of value. I’m aware . . . You’re saying you’re aware of that. I know I’m oversimplifying, but that’s the stuff that you’re looking at.

David: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, exactly. And I’m also aware of those around me. If it bleeds me, I get rid of it. If it feeds me, I feed it. And that’s a key awareness that I have in my life of the vibration of others that I want to surround myself with the right people and the right ideas. And if I heightened my vibration, I get to be around higher ideas and higher people and that assists me in getting what I want.

Andrew: All right. I didn’t spend any time on Sports 1 Marketing. Why don’t we just close out with one story, if you don’t mind, where you put together an event and a person and because you produce this whole thing, it was good business and maybe even good for beyond business?

David: Yeah. So one of my favorites was the NFLPA, the National Football Players Association. At the Super Bowl, they did a locker room. And the locker room was to harbor all the athletes to give them a safe haven during the Super Bowl so they’re not bothered by people. But the NFLPA hired us so that we could educate the athletes financial literacy that we were going to use the locker room as a bug light so that they would have and their families would have a safe place to go, and moreover, that they would then be able to be aware of the programs that are underutilized by the NFLPA, the players association. So number one . . .

Andrew: It’s literally the locker room.

David: No, it’s a hotel that they have this huge lounge.

Andrew: As part of the Super Bowl, you said.

David: By the Super Bowl for the . . .

Andrew: Got it. And you used the term bug light. That’s one of your terms I remember from one of your books where you said bug light is something that attracts bugs. Well, you create bug lights that attract people and attract things to you. Okay. So they said, “We’ve got this thing for them to go chill out, so let’s make it more useful.”

David: Yeah.

Andrew: Okay. Their association of getting [inaudible 01:07:38]

David: Then the NFLPA . . .

Andrew: Sorry, we’re talking over [inaudible 01:07:40] connection.

David: Yeah. And so they paid . . . I’m sorry. So, they paid me to put on this locker room and not only in cash, but I got Super Bowl tickets in which I used to bring high net-wealth people to the game for a life experience that they had, but then I got to bring 10 sponsors that paid $50,000 each to gift the athletes that came to the locker room. So they would get soft endorsements to take pictures with the athletes. They also would get exposure of guys who actually like the Lasso socks or George Foreman Grill or whatever companies.

And so the NFLPA allowed us to sell those sponsorships and actually keep 100% of the profit from the sponsorship, they got the free items to entice more athletes to come, which allowed them to educate more athletes. Then we also videoed it and created a whole bunch of different revenue streams for videoing each team. So, the CEO had his picture with Eric Dickerson, whoever it was. And then even Moreover, we got a free branding opportunity. So, we elevated the Sports 1 Marketing brand to all the players, so they were like, “Man, Sports 1 Marketing is awesome. They just got me $5,000 with their free stuff, Nike driver.”

And then from that, those guys wanted to hire us to do their own charity events and also the charity benefitted, and I’m the chairman of the Unstoppable Foundation and a portion of all those proceeds went to the Unstoppable Foundation which also got branded with the NFLPA as well so that those athletes you got more athletes that wanted to come to the gala which then we could sell more tickets to the gala. So I really look . . . Just like I have my rules, I’m a very deep, what I call vertebrae businessperson. I’m looking for every little spin-off I can to generate revenue and that’s one of the classic things that we do. We don’t just have one point of revenue or entry, some multiple things, a business development, real revenue, and also, like, my motto is, “Making a lot of money, helping a lot of people, and having a lot of fun.”

Andrew: Yeah, I saw that I think even on as part of your logo on every page of Sports 1 Marketing. It’s in there. All right. That’s for anyone who wants to check out the website. The new book that is coming out I looked it up. I see it. You guys are doing really well on Amazon. It’s called “Game-Time Decision Making.” By the time this interview is up, you will be able to go and get it. In fact, you can even get it before this interview is up. Get the book from Amazon. I like your writing style. I like how . . . You’re a good storyteller. It’s cultivated?

David: Lessons and stories.

Andrew: That’s who you are, lessons and stories. And I want to thank the two sponsors who made this interview happen. The first will host your website right. It’s called HostGator. Check them out at The second, if you are looking to hire great developers, go to the company that got turned down by David Meltzer’s show but still ended up doing really well. It’s called Toptal. Check them out at

And finally, I’ve been super proud of what we’re doing with the courses here on Mixergy. If you’re looking to learn from entrepreneurs how to build your company right, I bring back some of the people we’ve interviewed to do courses here. You’ve got to check it out just by going to I highly recommend the one created by the founder of DuckDuckGo. Look at how well the guy is doing. He wrote a book on how to get traction. He’s gotten traction himself. Now his search engine is built into every Safari browser that we have. And even Chrome now is embedding his search engine alongside the Google search engine into their browser because this guy had a vision, worked up, got a lot of traction. He came back on because he’s the long-term supporter and taught a course on it one of many courses. Check it out at David, thanks so much for being on here.

David: It’s been quite a pleasure. If you need anything, let me know how I can be of service.

Andrew: I will. Thanks. I really like your style. Thanks so much for being here.

David: Thanks. Have a great holiday.

Andrew: Bye. Bye, everyone.

David: Bye, bye.

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