Andrew: Hey there freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy.com, home of the ambitious upstart.
I think I’ve said that about 1,000 times before, each one of them before an interview. But this is probably the first episode of Mixergy that is not an interview. It’s a conversation about a live in-person event that I am announcing right here right now to you. I invited a few people who bought early tickets to the event to talk about why they bought, tell me what they’re looking for for the event, help craft it so that I can frankly tell you with them why I think you should be there. If you want to get a ticket and join them and me here live in San Francisco, go to Mixergy.com/TheEvent.
Here’s how this event came about. My friend Shane Mack got together with me the other day and he said, “You know, we should do a live Mixergy interview in person, bring guests out. They’ll be interviewed, have a big audience there. They’ll get to watch the whole thing in-person.” I said, “Really?” He said, “Yeah. It’s going to be great.” But I said, “I don’t think it will. I don’t want to do what people can watch online in-person.”
I said, “If I do an event in-person, I want it to be experiential. I want it to be something where you walk into a room, not just learn, not just hear an interviewer and an interviewee talk, but actually get to practice and use what you’re hearing so that you can walk in one person and walk out a better person and have some frameworks and skills that you can take with you in the future.”
Yes, I want to have great guests, but I also want to have a conversation that probably wouldn’t happen if we did it online with a bunch of people all watching. I wanted it to be something private, something that we could talk about that we usually only get to have conversations about in private at my house or over drinks here. So, that’s how this event came about.
The topic for the event has got to be focused. I actually was looking for — and frankly, I tested lots of different ways to express this and focus was the word that tested the best and I’ll hopefully explain some of that here in this conversation later — but the big reason for it or the big topic is this, we have all this jumble of ideas in our heads. Some of them are things that we can do other than the project we’re working on right now. Some of them are things that could go wrong with the project we’re working on right now. Some of them are junk that other people filled our heads with that we’re not even aware of, but it’s nevertheless limiting us, nevertheless creating who we are.
I want to have an event where we feel comfortable talking about what those things are and talk about how to focus on what we want and not that inner junk and that distraction that often keeps us from producing. So, we walk in with this jumble of ideas, some of it worries, some of it all kinds of options for how we should be doing it differently. We experience a way of dealing with them and we talk about it openly and then we change once we leave. That’s the idea for this event.
I’ve never done anything like this before and I think this is the most important thing that I’ve done since I started Mixergy. I’m really excited to have some of the people here who joined up. They’re here on a Google Hangout with me. I’ll introduce them. Actually, I think it might be best if they introduced themselves because some of the faces I recognize from having known over the years, others I don’t think I’ve had a face-to-face conversation with.
But why don’t we start with someone who’s been on Mixergy and who I’ve known for a while, Harold, Harold Mann.
Andrew: Hey. Good to have you on here. Thanks for joining in. You didn’t even know what this conversation is about but you said, “Yes, Andrew, I’m in. Let’s do it.”
Harold: That’s the kind of street cred you have. You just say, “Harold, show up here,” and I do.
Andrew: Well, thanks.
Harold: You obviously are in touch with the mindset of so many of the people I respect that I just like being part of that conversation. You also have a nice confessional style about you. You’re comfortable about talking about stuff that a lot of people are quietly not talking about, especially if they have employees or investors around.
So, background on me-I run a 24-year old consulting practice and a 16-year old software as a service business with my brother Alex. You’ve interviewed both of us.
Andrew: Yeah. I’ve been to your office. I’ve seen what you guys do. So, you guys are so far ahead that I know that someone is listening in the audience going, “It sounds like Harold must have it all together. He’s been on Mixergy. He’s got a successful company with a track record. Why would Harold be one of the first people to buy a ticket to this event before you even knew just three sentences that we put up on a page to say, ‘Would you be interested?'” What made you say, “Yes, I’m interested and yes, I’ll buy.” What was it about the event that drew you to it?
Harold: The percentage of topics that you discuss on your show that resonate with me is so high that the signal to noise ratio is excellent. So, therefore, the likelihood that this will be worth my time is very high. We’re in such a frothy time, especially here in California and here in San Francisco that to the untrained eye, that might look like everything’s great. But anybody who’s got any experience or is just conservative is looking ahead and saying, “Well, what’s coming later? It can’t be this amazing forever.”
So, there’s so much transformation. It’s just a discussion that we all need to stop what we’re doing day-to-day and think about-
Andrew: Tell me more about it. I should say that the way that this came about is I put out a survey saying, “Would you be interested?” And then if people clicked yes, I asked them why and then I asked them to pay to make sure that they really were interested. If they said no I said, “Why not?” so I could learn and improve it. We got 40 orders just from that survey.
So, when I do this, I’m not really looking for testimonials. I want to know from you what’s the problem as you see it beyond just you don’t know what’s coming up? What’s the problem as you experience it, Harold, that we can solve in that room?
Harold: So, I’m sure everyone’s got this one. I’ve got these amazing opportunities and clients and projects and I’m scouring the country for people to hire and there’s something wrong there. I realize I’m competing with every technical company in the world for that talent. That makes it extremely hard. A huge percentage of any founder’s time is spent just having to try and find amazing people. It just seems to be this incredible shortage.
Andrew: Okay. And how can focus and getting your head focused help you do that?
Harold: Because the same principle that’s around this book that I’ve been reading called “Essentialism,” which is great, which is just basically not letting all the day-to-day stuff occupy such an increasing percentage of your time. So, I have to continually remind myself to put all of that aside. That is not important. What’s important are two or three critical things.
Andrew: Okay. Alright. I want to come back to that in a moment, but let’s bring Steve up here because who knows when his-how old is your child who’s going to potentially jumping in on the baby monitor?
Steve: She’s almost two. Wednesday is her birthday. She’s going to be turn two on Wednesday.
Andrew: Congratulations. So, you’re telling me until two years old I’m going to have to carry a baby monitor for my child?
Steve: Just in case, Andrew. You can never be too careful.
Andrew: So, Steve, what got you to come to the event?
Steve: Well, I won’t make a testimonial. You said that, so I won’t say that. But I did kind of just say, “Look, anything that Andrew is doing, I’m on board.” So, I’m going to get that out of the way. But frankly, I’m in a part of a business where unlike Harold, I just got into going on my own. I was in the corporate life for ten-plus years and I just went out on my own and 2014 was my first year.
I’ve gotten to the point where I launch different products and they get some traction, but I’m at a point where there’s a little traction. Does that mean it’s a good idea? Should I continue doing this or do I continue to work on it and is this a real, legitimate idea? So, I’m kind of confused in that way where I see a little bit of the traction and these are people who maybe they’re just buying from me because they absolutely love me. They know me. They love me. But does this mean it’s a legitimate idea?
Andrew: I’m so glad that you brought that up. Speaking of the junk in our heads that keeps us from doing what we want, I remember when I launched Mixergy Premium and started selling the archive of old interviews. That’s all it was when it started. I knew from having listened to my own interviews, I knew from having been in business that I should have talked to those customers and first of all said, “Thank you for buying.” Basic business 101 would have done that.
Number two, call them up and say, “What got you to buy? How do I make this better for you?” I didn’t call them. I didn’t call them. For years, I didn’t call them and because of that, I didn’t learn how to improve my product and I didn’t connect with my customers. If I ask myself, “Why didn’t I call them?” I have to be honest and say that one of the things you just said was what was in my head. I said, “They only bought because they like me.” I’m going to be so embarrassed like they gave me charity by buying just because they like me. I didn’t call them because of that.
Now, what I found is that’s not a really premeditated thought. It’s not like I sat down and said, “Well, they probably like me and so I don’t want to talk to them.” If I had done that, I would have realized how ridiculous it is. I just didn’t examine the thoughts in my head. Instead, I was guided by them and as a result, I didn’t talk to my customers for a long time.
And you know what? When I finally did talk to them, they love me. And that’s a fun conversation to have, to talk to them and find out what they wanted more from me and have them be on board with me and support me and help me create the next thing was so tremendously helpful.
So, what I resisted is not because of lack of technology. It’s not because I didn’t have their phone numbers. It’s not because they weren’t accessible. It’s because of what was in my head. This is what I want to obliterate. We’re here in San Francisco. I think the three of us who have talked so far are all in San Francisco where we believe that every problem can be solved with more software. I’ve got tons of software and tons of problems anyway. I think some of it I need to go back and say there’s an operating system in my head that I need to understand and fix. That’s what this event is about.
So, does any of that resonate with you?
Steve: You know what, Andrew? You said something powerful. I don’t know if it’s like, “Am I resisting talking to them?” And sometimes I do talk to them and make myself readily available to them. I’m also trying to get more customers. So, should I just focus on the few that I already have and just say, “Hey, what can I do better?” What kind of questions can I ask them to elicit a good response? Sometimes they’ll be like, “I’m just looking for more downloads. I’m in the app space.” Or do I just continue focusing on the messaging and tweaking and figuring out if the sales funnel is currently working.
So, it’s sort of like the outbound, do I continue to try to get more customers to try to cater to the customers that I already have and then what do I ask them to really get some valuable information out of them?
Andrew: Yeah. And you know what? Here’s the part that is experimental and that I believe in tremendously. I believe that the answer is within you. I know how dorky that sounds. But I believe that if we can strip away all that layer of personal doubt and junk that’s in our head, that the answer will be clear and we will be able to and you will be able to act on it.
That’s the part that when you’re saying, “I trust you Andrew. I’m taking a flier,” that’s the part where I feel like I trust myself with this and I trust the experience with this and I’m glad we’re both taking a risk that’s calculated intentionally set to succeed. That’s my bet, that you will walk out of there being able to walk out of there by yourself without one more mentor and one more anything else.
Harold, before we started . . . oh, one more thing, actually, Steve. What’s your site? We’ve been talking about it a bit.
Steve: It’s AppMasters.co.
Andrew: AppMasters.co. And Harold Mann, you’re at Mann Consulting. What’s your URL?
Harold: Mann.com. But our SaaS business is ClickTime.com.
Andrew: ClickTime.com. All right. So, Harold, before we started-I’m going to go to Utsab. Am I pronouncing your name right?
Utsab: Yeah. That’s correct, Utsab.
Andrew: Is it kind of strange that I can just go, “Boom, Utsab. It’s on you. Stop listening, now stop talking and perform?” But I’m glad I pronounce your name right. Utsab, Harold said that one of the things he wanted at the event is an open conversation where people will admit things publicly in this small group. Is that one of the things that you’re looking for too? It’s okay if not.
Utsab: So, I would say one of the things that I would really like to do is yeah, be able to have an honest conversation with other like-minded entrepreneurs. Yeah. It would be nice to be able to talk publicly about what our challenges are and what our fears are and what other clutter might be going on in our head. Sure.
Andrew: That’s what I want to do. I’m thinking of a way of doing it. I’ve got somebody who I interviewed who I want to come out and help facilitated-a way of doing it where we can open without necessarily attaching our name to it if we don’t want to so that if there’s something in our heads that we’re willing to admit if we’re pushed, but we’re not willing to say, “This is me. Here’s the person who’s feeling it.” I want to see if we can create a room for everyone to express that and to create a room where if you feel uncomfortable saying it to yourself, to write it down.
One of the things we’ve heard on interviews on Mixergy is you should be journaling, that if you journal you’ll be clearer about what’s in your head. I’m seeing some nods here as I’m saying this. But who has the freaking time to sit and journal, right? Mimika who you’ll see in a moment, she’s got her video turned off for the moment because she’s got her daughter in the room. Harold’s got a business with 24 people in the audience that they’re working with. Who has time to journal?
Well, we bought handmade journals, these simple, beautiful, great journals that I just love touching and love holding onto and seeing. We’re going to hand them out to everyone and we’re going to try it right there. Let’s see if a structured journaling experience within a short period of time actually delivers on the promise that people on Mixergy have said when I’ve interviewed them. If it does, then we get that benefit in the room and we know how to do it in the future. If it doesn’t, then let’s just scrap it and move on to something else that works.
In my experience, having done it over 20 years, it will be helpful. But sometimes I even need some time to sit and do it with some accountability. So, my wife and I will sit with journals and we’ll say, “Alright. Let’s just sit and journal here together. Here’s a topic that we’ll each journal on and let’s see what comes up. You can tell me what you’ve written or not.” But I’ve found is even just having her sit there and drink her tea while I drink my cup of coffee as we write holds us accountable.
What got you to join, Utsab? What got you to buy a ticket to this event site unseen?
Utsab: Sure. So, I’ve been watching your interviews a lot. I’m just really blown away by how much content is in them. Usually I have to watch the same one three or four times before I move on to the next one. You produce them faster than I can even keep up with them. So, they’re very rich. This is just something that I guess I learned this in college. I realized that if the teacher is good, the class is going to be good.
So, I don’t really know exactly what you’re going to be teaching there. I didn’t know when I signed up. But I just really respect you as a teacher. So, I would pretty much sign up for anything you-
Andrew: Well, thank you. Are you in San Francisco?
Utsab: I am. Yeah.
Andrew: You are. Okay. Good. Mimika, is your camera available? It looks like you went off mute, so it is. I will bring you up here whenever you’re ready.
Andrew: One of the things that-Mimika has been in the Interview Your Heroes course where I talked about how to do interviews and I taught it to other people. Before I created the full course where I taught how to do it, I did one-on-one sessions with people. I remember there was this one guy who I thought was going to be my guy. He was going to be the biggest success of the whole group because he knew how to create WordPress sites. He knew his way around software for recording. He gave me some advice on what we could do to fix Mixergy’s site. It was phenomenal. I said, “This guy will be one of the winners of the course, one of the guys who really takes it as far as possible.”
I remember checking with him two weeks afterwards and his site wasn’t up. I said, “Why isn’t your site up?” He said, “Oh, yeah, I can get it done. What I need to figure out is how can I get this top strip going here and I also want this thing on the right margin. Andrew, you have a membership site. I have to make sure that I have the membership plugin. Which one is it?” So, I told him and so on. I went back and I checked with him again and again he was still fussing around with all the details on the site and hadn’t done a single interview because his site needed to be ready.
What I found is that this is one of the problems. It’s not lack of software. It’s not lack of know-how. I believe what was going on with him having talked to him is he thought, “I’m really good at this site. Now Andrew is paying attention. I have to get this right before I publish it. I’m going to be doing interviews. I want people to see my interviews. I have to have the site look so good that they’ll be glad to be on the site.”
That’s one of the things that holds us back and one of the reasons why I’m doing this. I saw that what people learn on Mixergy, what people learn anywhere from me can only get them so far if they have this ceiling that they’ve self-imposed, then they’re never going to go any further. We have to find a way to break through it and that’s what this event is going to be about.
While Mimika is still setting up her camera-let me know when you’re ready-I’ll use this as an opportunity to tell you to go to Mixergy.com/TheEvent. Mimika, if you need more time, I can go to somebody else.
Mimika: No. We’re perfect. We’re fine. There we go.
Andrew: Let’s see. There it is. Alright. There we go. Good to see you. Thanks for doing this with your daughter there.
Mimika: Yeah. Sure.
Andrew: Now I know how tough it could be.
Mimika: This is one of my motivating chapters. I’m a mom of three kids. For me, I will learn how to do things cheaper, faster, quicker because my time is so limited. What’s motivated me is I’ve been one of your super fans for forever. I’ve been listening to Mixergy in the carpool line, while I’m doing the dishes and said, “When can I get time to actually learn to take out the good nuggets?”
So, the reason why I just jumped on the opportunity to come and see you guys-and I’m not in San Francisco. I’m a South African living in Charlotte, North Carolina. So, I’m prepared to haul my husband with me because he’s developing a SaaS product to come over to meet you guys because when you’re in business for yourself, number one, it’s lonely. And second of all, you don’t know what you don’t know, right?
Andrew: Yeah. And I feel like the big mystery I used to think was being kept away from us, was being hidden from us by these guys who have funding who talk to each other, who talk to their investors and they have no incentive to tell the rest of us. What I’m realizing the big mystery, the big hidden secret is what I’m keeping from myself, where I’m limiting myself. So, what do you hope to get out of this event? You’ve got a husband with a SaaS product. You’ve got your own site. What’s the site?
Mimika: I’m pretty much doing a Mixergy for creatives on my own website, which is MimikaCooney.com for interviews, which is how we got to know each other through Interviewing Your Heroes. But my actual membership site is CaptureSchool.com. What I’m developing is a membership site for photographers, designers, artists, graphic designers, web designers, basically helping them figure out their business branding and marketing.
Andrew: So, why come to an event where we talk about focus instead of an event where we talk about software?
Mimika: Well, exactly. We care about all the technical things in the interviews, which is great. But sometimes when you’re doing this on your own, you don’t really know what it is you should be doing. I have a little bit of ADD, so I can sometimes struggle with a bit of focus, like knowing where should I put my time? What is worth putting my energies in? What should I be investing in? As you know, there are so many products and services out there. What can I do that can help me get ahead of my business without it just feeling like I’m playing bumper cars, bumping into everything.
Andrew: That ADD is such a problem for entrepreneurs. Let me ask you this. Let me ask you all this. I think I’ll put the camera on each one of you so we can get your answer. But I’ll start with you Mimika. If at some point in the event I said, “Here is a brown envelope. Will you put your cell phone in the brown envelope and seal it up so that you’re spending a small period of time with no technology, nothing but the ideas in the room and you having to spend time with them even if they bore you for five seconds,” would you do it?
Mimika: Oh yeah. I’d be like, “Switch off the phone. Get away from distractions,” because you don’t hear these little beeps and Twitter and email pops up.
Andrew: So, you would take the challenge. I give you a brown envelope. You put your phone in there. You say, “You know what? If there’s a crisis, I’m not going to know about it. If something happens…” What about you, Aaron? If I said that, what do you think of that idea?
Aaron: Yeah. Absolutely. I think we’re all using technology to create our own businesses. But at the same time, this technology isn’t replacing human minds. It’s important to just separate yourself from all of that technology and allow yourself-you’ve heard about meditation being so powerful. I think it’s the same idea. I would say, “Absolutely. Let’s do that.” I’ve done that for myself one summer, just for about a month, did not have any technology around me and allowed myself to learn more about me just form who I really am. That was really effective.
Andrew: What did you learn about yourself by turning off technology for a month? I haven’t done that in my life, I don’t think.
Aaron: Well, as a high school student, you learn a lot about yourself all the time. But I just learned to be more confident in myself. I think the big thing about doing something is truly believing you can do it. From what I experienced during that time, I realized I have a lot of power that I need to accomplish things with.
Andrew: Alright. Harold, what do you think of that? You’ve got obligations. You’ve got people who need you. If I said, “Here’s a brown envelope. Seal up your phone for an hour,” would you do it?
Harold: Sure. Just don’t make me do it on vacation. I am unable to enjoy a vacation if I am completely untethered. That would be something I’d want to talk about, for example, that feeling of somehow feeling bad that you want to be connected even when you’re-
Andrew: Because everyone makes you feel guilty, “How dare you bring a phone, a Kindle, an iPad or whatever on vacation?” You’re not enjoying it properly and you’re saying, “Hey, these people are making me feel bad for that.” But this isn’t what that’s about. I get that. I bring my Kindle and my iPad. I was in Hawaii for about a week. I brought my Kindle and my iPad. Of course I was online. But what about for being in the room? Why do you feel comfortable turning it off for about an hour and putting it in an envelope?
Harold: I’m fine with the airplane mode sort of living. That’s fine for any interactions with people. I don’t have that-
Andrew: FOMO. Fear of missing out?
Harold: Yeah. I don’t think I have that.
Andrew: Alright. Maxim, what do you think of that idea? Is it helpful? I don’t want gimmicks. I want things that are helpful.
Maxim: Yeah. Definitely. I agree with what has been said so far. I think if we’re doing some of the stuff on the computer, you guys have talked about, there are websites you can do to even block off sites like Reddit and Facebook. I think that would be a powerful way to go as well, just that really focus on what you need to accomplish.
Andrew: Steve, you’re a mobile app guy. What do you think of that? Again, you’re someone who I’ve known for a long time. You’d level with me. I’m still trying to figure this part out. Is that a helpful part of it or is it more of a gimmick?
Steve: Absolutely. Let’s do it for the whole event. Let’s do it for the whole night, Andrew. No touching your phone for the whole night.
Andrew: Seal it up. Be done. Be there in the room.
Steve: That’s right.
Andrew: Interesting. Alright. I like it. Utsab, what about you?
Utsab: Yeah. I totally agree. I also had a similar experience to Aaron, not for a whole month. But I did go to-it was a 10-day silent meditation kind of thing. We not only couldn’t use technology, but we couldn’t even talk, except for one hour a day. We did a lot of journaling as well. I have to say, I guess I was talking less, but it was just a very instructive time in my life. I learned a lot. I felt my mind becoming a lot more clear-headed. So, I’m also on the same page as Steve. Yeah, let’s do it for the whole event. Why not?
Andrew: You know what? I did that for a retreat, where there was essentially no talking. All I did was I journaled. I meditated. I sat with my own thoughts. It was so helpful and at times really painful. I’m kind of thinking maybe we should do a ten-minute journal session where I say suffer through the pain. Let those ideas come out of you. I know you’re going to hate me. I know it’s suffering. I know you’re going to want to reach with that envelope with your phone in it, break it open or you’re going to want to break it open. But try to sit with that pain.
I just joined an exercise program that a Mixergy fan put on and said, “Do another push up, another push up.” I pushed through the pain and it sucked at the time. I thought, “Come on. I did what I needed to. I like running. This isn’t for me.” But at the end I was really glad that I did it. All right. That’s a thought to put in there.
Aaron also had another thought about meditation. You know, Aaron, I actually brought up to a friend that I thought we should do some mediation at this event. He said, “If you use the word meditation, everybody will check out. Nobody wants any of this,” everyone is laughing. “If you bring up meditation, no one is going to come.” What’s your interest in meditation?
Aaron: Well, I guess it depends on how you describe what meditation is, but I think everyone meditates at some point. It doesn’t have to be religious in any way. It’s really just becoming very focused. If this whole event is about focus, I think meditation is crucial for it. It’s really focusing in on what your true desires are and allows you to do what is deeper inside of you without all of the everyday habitual things that you are consistently running through. It allows you to kind of center yourself into understanding what you truly want to get out of life.
Andrew: You know what? I feel that way too. I feel that meditation is one of those things that I need somebody to be there with me sometimes to hold me accountable. I remember reading-I don’t know if any of you guys read Russell Simmons’ autobiography where he talks about how before he became a big shot producer, he was living in this really bad environment. He said he would just go to the bathroom and meditate.
If you don’t have any space, if you’re living in a tough environment with too many people in the house, just sit on the toilet, just shut the lid. You’re not there for business. You’re there for meditation. Just meditate. I thought, “Boy, there are different ways of doing it. It doesn’t just have to be the way that we see on television where people are sitting in the lotus position.”
Harold: Even the shower, for example. That’s why people get so many ideas in the shower. They’re in a natural inability to receive notifications, right? They are able to focus on one thing and then just let those thoughts come. I think that’s why, “Oh, I had this great idea in the shower,” because they are, in effect, meditating, just not maybe consciously doing it.
Andrew: That’s such a great point. I want to bring that up, actually, at the event too. There are times in our lives where we’re forced to sit and focus and to be there. Boy, it really helps to not be distracted and to not hide from our concerns.
You know, I was actually on the train this morning and I didn’t use my phone at all. I thought about how we were going to have this conversation, I should think about what we’re going to talk about. Instantly, before I finished that thought, I pulled my phone out of my pocket and I was going to turn it on and I said, “Let’s try to not. Let’s try to sit with that thought.”
What I was realizing was that sometimes I reach for my phone not because I really need to know what email is coming in and if there’s an alert or to see what the weather is going to be or anything like that. Sometimes I reach for my phone because I don’t want to finish that thought. I don’t want to say, “What happens if I screw up this conversation? What happens in this conversation? What can I control? What do I have that will make this work?” Instead I’d rather say, “Let me grab the phone.”
Misha, I’ll come to you in a moment while you setup your camera. But I’ve got to go to Maxim for a moment for a couple of reasons. First of all, Maxim, you and I did a virtual yerba mate drink over the internet. You saw me drinking yerba mate with the whole cup and everything in Argentina with the straw. So, you did that years ago. Do you still have it?
Maxim: I have mine. It’s out of reach.
Andrew: Okay. And the second thing is you blew my mind. You bought the ticket. We emailed you and said, “You know, you’re not here. You’re not going to be able to come.” And you said, “Yeah, it’s okay. I’ll come on the call anyway.” So, why did you buy a ticket to an event in San Francisco that you can’t come to because you’re not in San Francisco and then join this conversation? I’m glad that you’re here. I just want to know why you did it?
Maxim: Well, what Mimika said resonates with me a little bit, that it’s a great group of people and it’s just worth taking the trip. I’m in LA. So, it’s not as crazy as flying across the country. But the other component of it is I’ve been following Mixergy for a while as well, like what other people have said. It’s almost like anything that you’re going to do I’m going to want to support and be there as well. So, it’s kind of a tradeoff. You’re bringing together a great, motivated group of people and I just want to help out and give back.
Andrew: Well, thank you for doing it. I’m sorry if this sounds nasty, but I think it’s important. How do I make this event so good that you are jealous you didn’t come and that you hate the fact that you live in LA and you hate your whole city and you hate San Francisco even more for constantly making every other city feel inferior?
Now you’re in a place where you can like-you know how Heaton Shaw says to his potential customers or his existing ones. He said, “If I gave you a magic want, what could you do?” People sometimes hold off and say, “I don’t have a magic want. I don’t really know.” For you, it’s completely imaginary. What would make this event so mind-blowingly good that you would be in pain.
Maxim: I am a little bit already jealous that I can’t come and meet of all of you guys because it sounds like everybody is working-
Andrew: I don’t want a little bit. I want a lot. I want you and everyone else who can’t come to say, “You know what? Next time, I’m getting on that freaking plane. I’m getting in that car. I’m going to make it happen. I don’t know what. But I will find a way to do it.” Seriously here, what would make this event good for you? Everyone else is constrained by the realities of the event itself, having to be held accountable to do what they suggest here in this call. You’re not held accountable to that because you won’t be there. So, in all honesty, what would you like to see in this event, an event like this?
Maxim: I would probably cancel my trip to the East Coast if, for example, we made an Excel sheet of everything that everybody on this call, for example, wants to accomplish and then you went back to everybody that you’ve interviewed in the past who has some level of experience with something that we want to accomplish and you invited some of them and saw who was going to be available, who would come virtually or in person and make it a little bit of like a workshop where you meet those people, you develop those relationships one-on-one and you solve your problems, not just by yourself. Not having the phone, I think, is going to be really powerful as well. But also with the people that would be really relevant to some of these goals.
Andrew: So, what you’re saying is everybody before the event says what they want to get out of the event and who they would want to connect with at the event and then what?
Maxim: Well, I’m sure a lot of the goals that some of us are trying to accomplish are the same. I remember Harold was saying that he was looking to hire people. That’s one of the things that I was going to work on as well. But maybe some of the people that you’ve interviewed discuss, at length, the hiring process or could give some advice.
Andrew: I see. If you could have some mentorship connection or peer connection, that would be helpful.
Maxim: Yeah. I’m sure some of those people, they mentioned so many times on the interviews that they want to get back. They want us to email them and start those conversations. This would give them another opportunity to just be there in person connecting and making it more meaningful, what they did earlier on Mixergy as well, I think.
Andrew: You know what? This issue has come up enough that I know I need to find a way to connect it to Mixergy itself because we do have a lot of really good people in the community. I want to make sure that others have access to them. We had an issue on SEO on Mixergy and I had a question. I could tap into so many people. I tapped into Sujan Patel. I said, “You’re really good at this. Can you help me out?” He’s doing tremendous work to help me out just as a friend and as a consultant, not a consultant but as a friend who supports. Soon I will be hiring him as a consultant too. But I want everyone else to have that kind of access.
But I want to also be consistent and firm in saying that this event intentionally won’t be about that for a reason. The reason is a conversation that I had with Ben Huh. Ben Huh raised millions of dollars for I Can Has Cheezburger. I guess they’re calling it Cheezburger Inc., this network of sites that are viral. He has some of the top investors in the business, including Brad Feld and access to way more people than I can ever give any one of you access to here just from coming to an event.
Still, he told me that he was struggling. He didn’t know what he was doing at times. His business was losing money. Excuse me, his revenue was starting to go down. I’m trying to be accurate with the facts and I don’t remember all the details of it. But I do remember that he was going through such a bad time that I invited him here to talk at Mixergy to talk about what happened.
One of the things he said was, “You have lots of advisors and lots of supporters. What you get is advisor whiplash where someone is sending you here and another person is sending you there. He said, “What you need in order to use that advice and all the advice that’s online and all the advice you’ve already absorbed is to just have a good handle on your mind, a good handle on what you’re focusing on and all those things, the junk in your head that you’re not focusing on.”
One of the things he discovered is that for him, one of the pieces of junk in his head was the imposter syndrome. It took a lot of work to get to that, but once he got to that problem, he knew how to deal with it and he had people around him who could.
So, I want to focus as much as possible on focus at this event. But having said that, Maxim, what you said is something that people have brought up and it’s something that we should be able to give you. I work on it and I can’t make you jealous for not coming to San Francisco for this event for that, but I can hopefully make you happy for having seen that in the near future.
Maxim: I’m definitely jealous already.
Andrew: Well, I’ll say this to anyone who’s on the call here. Harold has been here to the office and to my house too for dinner, for scotch. Steve has done the same thing, both places. Anyone here who’s in San Francisco or planning to come to San Francisco should reach out to me ahead of time and say, “Andrew, I’m coming out. Can we schedule something so we can meet each other in person?”
That could mean coming into the office and checking out the equipment and sitting down and taking a look at it and going through it or it could mean having a private conversation where we just chat and get open about things that we couldn’t share in a group of people. I’d love that. I’d love, Maxim, if you and I did that or did maybe yerba mate in person. If not yerba mate, there’s a great yerba mate beer. There’s a guy who makes beer using yerba mate here in San Francisco.
Maxim: I’ve got to try that.
Andrew: Misha, thanks for joining.
Misha: My pleasure. Sorry for being late.
Andrew: No. I’m glad that you’re here. We’ve gone through everybody else here who’s on the call. Before we do one last round with them, I want to tell you what we’ve done with them so far. I’ve asked them why they got a ticket to this event, the event that we’ll be doing on April 21st, 2015 here in San Francisco. I’ll ask you that first question before I get to the second one. Why did you join the event? Why did you get a ticket?
Misha: Well, for me everybody on this call kind of heard a lot of the focus gets the most leverage out of-if there is a way to get all out of all you’ve got, it’s the focus. Focus on one thing. That’s your ticket to get your bold idea implemented. That’s on one hand.
But actually, the idea I’m working on is to see how technology can help create this focus, like on different levels, on a technical/practical level, like moving your phone into airplane mode so that you disable all the distractions to the level of mindset changes, like the one you mentioned about fighting the [inaudible 00:37:51] syndrome or all the things which you covered in the True Mind program, which I was part of.
So, this is the thing. The same thing comes up in different forms or shape in many programs, like Foundation has their limiting beliefs. Then [inaudible 00:38:14] has the notion of invisible screens. So, in your case, the idea of like tweaking your mindset to implement the focus comes up over and over. So, there are multiple levels on which we can work to improve the focus. My personal mission is to see how we can use technology on any of these levels. So, that’s why it was like a no-brainer. The minute I saw focus, I was-
Andrew: I see more and more technology being directed towards this. Comm is a site that raises money from people like Matt Mullenweg and other investors to help create software that gives people focus. I’m curious about that. Can technology help us do it and can finding hacks for getting rid of technology help us do it?
You mentioned, Misha, also a bunch of people who talk about these ideas. I always thought that it was just bloggers who talked about it. I didn’t realize until I had Khalid from Reboot.io, the coaching company, that investors noticed it and the two big guys who I know who do this are Brad Feld and ABC.com-Fred Wilson-they don’t insist, but they pretty much all but insist that some of their entrepreneurs who they invest millions of dollars in go and talk to Reboot and sit down and say, “Get what’s in your head out and deal with it and organize it because that’s what will help make our investment pay off and more importantly, that’s what will make our relationship with you better and you, the person we care about, better.”
So, that added so much more confidence to me when I heard them talk about it and I know that they’re in a no-nonsense business. They’ve invested a lot of money. They need that data. They need growth. They need real results. And they’re not weak sinkers. These are some of the smartest people on the planet. If they see this as an issue, then if I ever needed outside validation, but it helped to have it just to say, “You know what? This is something.”
Alright, Misha, what’s one thing you hope to get out of this event?
Misha: I’m in exploration mode. I want just to hear and like have as detailed an account as possible of the way people achieve their focus. So, hopefully I will have some kind of library of different methods of doing that and something which I can eventually offer to other people. So, you can try this many things to get your focus.
Andrew: Alright. Well, we’ll be doing that. We won’t just show it to you. We will try it right there in the room. I want to practice it. I want to see it. I want to see how it works and I want everyone else to see it work in the room, in the environment there. That’s our goal for the event, practice it, use it to get the results to do it and to be able to take it with us.
Harold: Andrew, can I add one thing?
Andrew: Yeah. I’d love it, Harold.
Harold: There are a lot of these professional alliance organizations like CEO alliances and some other ones like that. They are designed basically to get a lot of presidents and CEOs together and have your peers basically call you on the bullshit that you have sort of created to explain everything. They say it’s lonely at the top and all that stuff. But a lot of people don’t participate in those. So, if you don’t have an investor and you are at the top of your organization, no one is calling you on that.
So, if you could even approximate that or basically you’re getting some nice, kind people in a room, stripping away all of that rationalization that the founder has come up with as to why they can’t blink, that goes a long way. It’s not fun. It’s like having a pretty tough trainer or a coach, but we create these little shields around us that explain why everything is the way it is. Sometimes you just need someone to call you on it and go, “Hey, why are you doing this? You’ve got to be thinking about this instead.”
Andrew: That’s interesting. I feel like that comes, sometimes, from a long relationship with a group of people. It sounds like you’re not a part of that kind of group, right?
Harold: I sat in on one years ago. I’m certain they are extremely effective. I guess I’m just more of a private person in general. I don’t typically like to talk about a lot of aspects of my business. But I will say that I think the reason why entrepreneurs love your show is because they don’t get to have that sounding board on a regular basis because it’s usually around people that were employees or vendors and clients. Showing any of that might show weakness and who wants to do business with a founder who is potentially weak? Who would ever admit that?
So, I think it’s super important. These people are having these dialogues in their head already. You’re just sort of bringing it out to the surface because you’re comfortable speaking with people. The other thing I would ask you to consider doing if people are comfortable with it is talk about their parents because what our parents taught us and the way they raised us has such a massive effect on us as people who are either risk takers or maybe not risk takers. My brother and I, our dad is a CPA. So, he taught us, “Do not lose money.”
Andrew: And so how did that impact you now as an entrepreneur?
Harold: It was awful. We had very little risk appetite. How many times have you read a biography of someone who nearly lost it all and then became massively successful? Well, it’s easier when you are comfortable potentially losing anything.
Andrew: And you feel that you hadn’t taken big risks because of that background. What’s a big risk that you haven’t taken?
Harold: We didn’t risk losing everything by trying something and possibly failing. So, getting an appetite for failure is something you have to learn how to get comfortable with that.
Andrew: Yeah. So, that’s one of those things that I want to challenge more of the people who I interview at Mixergy to feel comfortable talking about publicly. I know it seems like a weird thing to ask someone to talk about publicly about their parents when they’re on a site for business, but there was a time when it was a weird thing to ask someone, “What’s your revenue?” or to ask all the other things that I and a lot of other interviewers are asking. I think we need to make it comfortable for others to do it, but I would say to make it comfortable for others to talk about the aspects that they do feel comfortable talking about.
So, not everyone says what their revenue is on Mixergy. Not everyone says how they spam. Not everyone says everything. But they push themselves to be as open as they can. Collecting all those open stories allows us all to learn more about real business people and what they do. Spam, I always think of Matt Mullenweg. I loved his saying when I asked him, “How did you get your first users of WordPress?” I loved his guts to say, “Spam.”
Alright. So, this event will go on on the 21st. There was one more thing that I wanted to say. Misha, something you said made me remember that I should say that I will have great interviews there. It’s not going to be long-form interviews like we do on Mixergy. I’m going to try to keep it really short and a more experiential evening so that you’re not just watching but there’s an experience before and after it that you get to participate in.
But I have this one entrepreneur, the first one who I ask because I thought he would be perfect because what he did was he focused on one thing and he told me about it in an interview and then he came back and he talked about how he did it by focusing. I want him to come on and talk about that in more details. Focus helped him tremendously.
I don’t want to reveal his story. I’m not even ready to reveal who the person is. The reason I’m not ready to reveal the person is I don’t want it to be about the big names. I want it to be about the people in the room. That’s why you’re being interviewed about this and not the person who I’m interviewing. It’s about us. It’s about the people who are going to be experiencing this. It’s about the people who are going to walk away different and then championing these ideas in the future or coming back and saying, “Andrew, here’s how you can twist it.”
I’ve been to Harold’s office and he’s told me so many different ways that I can be doing things differently and I appreciate it. One of the things that I love about you is you said, “Andrew, don’t let the thousandth interview go by. Do an event.” If not for that conversation, I think it was you and your brother in your office, I wouldn’t have done an event for the thousandth interview. I said, “A thousand is just another number. It’s so random that that’s what we care about.” But I appreciate you pushing me. I appreciate you coming on here.
Aaron, I didn’t give you a chance to say anything about where people could connect with you. I’ll just go through and ask everyone as a way of saying goodbye. If anyone who’s watching this wants to follow up with you, Aaron, where can they find out more about you?
Aaron: Well, the internet.
Andrew: Is Twitter a good place or is there a website? Are you on Instagram?
Aaron: I’ve been closed off for specific reasons. I have an email address. I have a couple of businesses. I’m working with a company. But you know, I’ll just message my email right now.
Andrew: Do you want to show it publicly?
Andrew: Alright. When you type it out, I’ll read it. Harold, I know you’re private, but you do have a webpage. What is it?
Harold: Mann.com if you like IT and ClickTime.com if you are into online timesheets and expense reports.
Andrew: Aaron, I just missed your email. Give it out. Say it out loud if you feel comfortable.
Aaron: Yeah, just my name. Aaron.Duthie@gmail.com
Andrew: Maxim, I’m so sorry that you won’t be there. I’m really appreciative that you came on anyway. I wanted to hear from you why you joined. What’s a good place for people to follow up with you?
Maxim: Thanks, man. Definitely just my first name, MaximLakin@Gmail.com and my website is Codescrig.com.
Andrew: And I’m going to suggest that anyone out there who’s in LA contact Maxim and say, “Do you want to get together for yerba mate?” He’s got to introduce you to the real experience. I’m not talking about those mate drinks. You uncork the top, or you unscrew the top and it’s really just sugary water. I’m talking about the real thing. Get together with him.
Maxim: I just realized I had some sitting right here.
Andrew: Oh, there you go. And you can brew it also with tea. Cool.
Andrew: Mimika, how can people connect with you?
Mimika: Sure. Yeah. They can find me at my website. It’s my name, MimikaCooney.com, M-I-M-I-K-A Cooney, like George Clooney without the L. The women always remember that part. I’m everywhere on Facebook, Instagram. I love posting to Instagram. Having come from photography, I’m very visual. You can reach out to me anywhere online. My email is Me@MimikaCooney.com.
Andrew: Cool. One more thing-you’re coming all this way to be here in San Francisco. What’s one thing that you’d like to do while you’re here, one company you’d like to meet, one thing you’d like to do? How do we make this a win for you worth traveling all this way?
Mimika: Yeah. For me, what I’m really excited about is meeting people because I know when you network with people, it’s people that make success, not necessarily apps or technology. So, for me, it’s really getting access to other people who are in the same boat and who are going through the same experience and who can really look at things and say, “You know, this is what you should be doing,” and give you some instant feedback. I haven’t got anybody particularly in mind, other than you and your lovely wife and your lovely little boy. So, hopefully we get the chance to say hi to them too. But I’m excited. And Anne Marie, of course.
Andrew: Yes. Anne Marie, who’s sitting right there. Anne Marie, if you want to bring your camera up, I’ll put it up on you too. Misha, thank you so much. What’s a good way for someone to connect with you?
Misha: I don’t have a website for the moment. But my handle is the same everywhere, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook. It’s MMaksin.
Steve: AppMasters.co. That’s all you’ve got to go to if you want to learn anything about app development. It’s AppMasters.co.
Andrew: So, you do what I do when I start my interviews. The reason that there is some text underneath me, the lower third with my name and company name is because I always will say, “Hey, everyone, it’s Andrew Warner, founder of Mixergy.com, home of the…” Nobody ever hears it. I know I can’t slow myself down. I ask Joe to write it in. You’ve got to slow yourself down. So, say the URL again. Sorry. Steve, did we just lose you?
Steve: Are you talking to me still?
Andrew: I’m saying I really want everyone to connect with you. I’ve gotten to know you for a long time. I want them to see you and get to know you and get to know your work. But I think you need to say it a little bit slower.
Steve: Alright. You’re right, Andrew. You can reach me if you want to learn anything about apps. I’m at Steve@AppMasters.co. The website, podcast is all AppMasters.co.
Andrew: Aces. Utsab, what’s a good way for people to connect with you?
Utsab: Sure. So, I can type it out here. I don’t think people are going to-so, it’s Utsab@Upear.ly.
Andrew: Here. I’ll do it. Utsab@Upear.ly. Cool.
Steve: Hey, Andrew. I’ve got a question.
Andrew: Yeah. Hit me.
Steve: Do you have a format in your mind about what it’s going to be all about?
Andrew: I do. Yes.
Steve: Okay. Is there anything you can share?
Steve: Is there anything you can share?
Andrew: I kind of want it to be a surprise. I don’t want to blow it up too much. But I do want it to be a little bit different from most events. I think that the more I talk about what we’re going to do, the more it feels once you’re there like it’s less different because you’ve heard it before. So, yeah, I would bring more people in and it would give you a better sense of what’s to come, but I’d much rather give a better experience to the people in the room than try to get more people into the room.
Steve: Fair enough.
Andrew: So, we’ll see. I’m still working it through. But God knows packages are starting to come. We’re going to hand out a few things for people to try out. It will be a little different. At the start of this conversation, I promised something that I want to live up to here at the end. Anne Marie, you’re definitely not coming on camera, right? Turn it up if you want and I’ll bring it up to say thank you to you at the end so people can see who you are.
But what I said was when started coming up with this idea to do an event, I put up a survey and I asked people would you join or not and so on and the feedback was tremendous. All the things that we did here kept getting built up through the survey responses. I added something that Eric Ries taught me about four or five years ago. He said, “If you really want to know if people believe what they said in the survey, ask them to buy what you’re surveying them about in the end,” and I did. It was such a good way to lock in feedback.
I really appreciate all of you here who have been on the call with us on the Google Hangout for having gone through it and not just getting a ticket. I’m grateful to you for doing that, but also giving feedback in the forum and giving feedback here to help shape it. I want this to be something that really changes everything. It changes everything for you. It changes everything for Mixergy. I know it’s a big goal but we can start right there in the room with a few hours and a few entrepreneurs on that stage April 21st.
Anne Marie, there she is. It’s good to have you on camera. She’s got to be muted otherwise we’re going to get echo and echo and echo because we’re both in the same room. But Anne Marie, thank you so much for putting the event together with me, for finding the journals and so many of the other things that we’ll be giving out to people and for people here at Mixergy. People can see over your shoulder that I’ve got the jackets that are pretty much a costume for the show. I usually sit in nothing but t-shirts, right? Thanks for doing it. Thank you for being a part of it.
Anyone who is out there who wants to join me and all of these wonderful people live in San Francisco April 21st in the evening, here’s the URL. Write it down: Mixergy.com/TheEvent. All one word: Mixergy.com/TheEvent. I’ll see you there live. I’m looking forward to doing this. Thank you everyone. Bye.