Andrew: Hey, it’s Andrew and I just saw the video of the interview you’re about to listen to. At some point in the middle of the interview, the video just kind of froze. So, if you’re watching the video, you’re going to see a frozen image for a little bit and then we’re going to come back. And if you’re listening to the audio, you won’t notice anything.
Frankly, the podcast now has just taken off so much that I know most of you are listening to the interview and won’t even notice that there is an issue with the video. I don’t know what’s causing it. I just saw it. I’m going to go investigate. But for now, here’s the interview for you.
Hey, everyone. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy.com. This is the place where I’ve interviewed entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses and I’ve been doing this since 2008 now. And the reason I do it is because I just love hearing how entrepreneurs built their companies, but more than that, I love hearing people who listen to my interviews come back and tell me how they’ve built their companies while listening, how they’ve come back here and said, “I’ve listened for years and now I want to do an interview.”
Well, today I’ve got something a little bit different. I’m actually doing this interview for someone else’s podcast, a podcast I’ve been listening to by friend that I’ve had for a long time. His name is Nathan Latke. He is the founder of, among other things, a podcast called The Top Entrepreneurs Podcast, where he goes–actually, you spend shorter time than I do, but you go right into the numbers, don’t you, Nathan?
Nathan: Yeah. You know, I think I would say I’m probably the most sued podcaster. I just pressure the hell out of guests and get them to share all their numbers very fast.
Andrew: Did you say sued?
Nathan: Most sued. We can talk about that later.
Andrew: You’ve got lawsuits against you?
Nathan: Many. More than I think any other podcast.
Andrew: All right. I’ll ask you about the lawsuits and I’ll ask you about Heyo, the company you founded and so much else, some of the stuff you’ve been saying on Facebook, some of the people you’ve been irritating. It’s all thanks to two great sponsors on my part–HostGator and Leadpages. I’ll tell everyone more about them later, but this interview will run both on my podcast and on yours.
Nathan, you didn’t want any information before this interview started, even though I was like ten minutes late because I’ll be open with you–I called up your investors, I called up people who worked with you, I called up your competitors and those conversations ran so long I couldn’t get off the phone with them and that’s why I was a little bit late.
Nathan: That’s good. Look, you do something very different than I do. I don’t do any research on my guests because I think that when I interview them, I’ll gloss over things I learned in the past and then I’ll–
Andrew: Because it’s not fresh to you?
Nathan: Exactly. I’m not as empathetic with my audience. I love–this is going to be so much fun.
Andrew: Well, a lot of–actually, every single one of them said don’t bring up my name. The reason is some people are afraid–a lot of people are afraid of you, to be honest, because you’ve ripped into people on Facebook, haven’t you?
Nathan: Well, tell me who you’re speaking about on Facebook specifically.
Andrew: The founder of Social Media Examiner.
Nathan: Yeah. I’ve got to tell you what–Michael Stelzner, I just think he misses a lot. I’ve been to his conference many times, Social Media Marketing World. It’s like filled with people that are social media consultants. I don’t think I have to say much more to your audience. All I have to do is air quotes. They know what I mean, right?
Nathan: And one of the things–what I did is I sent out an email blast because I had a pretty big list, 70,000 to 80,000 people. I sent an email blast out that basically said, “Get off my list. I’m paying for you to be on my list. If you’re not opening, get off my list or click here to introduce yourself. I want to know about you.” That click here to introduce yourself was a link to a survey, where I captured amazing data about the people that chose to fill it out.
Andrew, it was one of the most successful emails I’ve ever sent out, over a 60% open rate and basically I got over 1,100 people to spend over 40 minutes filling out a survey.
Andrew: So, what was the problem with Michael, then?
Nathan: So, Michael took a screenshot of this email and said, “I could never send an email like this.” Here’s what drove me crazy. He blocked my name out. So, he’s posting this on his Facebook feed and he blocks my name out. I’m like, “What the hell? I’m giving you free content. You’re using it. You’re screenshotting my email content.”
Andrew: At least give me the recognition.
Nathan: At least give me the credit.
Andrew: So, how did that turn into an argument?
Nathan: Well, because he said it was mean and bad and not good. What happened is a bunch of other people posted in their Facebook groups and it all blew up. Andrew, I was so confused because I’m getting calls from people that I really respected going, “Nathan, are you crying? Are you okay? Everyone’s attacking you.” I’m like, “I feel amazing.” This is like I have no investors anymore. I have no one I’m responsible for.
Andrew: You love this. You love that people will get a rise out of some of the things you say. You love the hate. You love the love. You love the whole thing.
Nathan: No. That’s not what I love. I love the fact that I can say exactly and do exactly what I feel and I want.
Andrew: I get that.
Andrew: I also feel like you’re creating this persona for yourself right now of a shock joke Donald Trump-like entrepreneur who’s going to be in people’s faces who’s also going to speak the truth as you see it and not be afraid to ruffle feathers, but it’s not afraid to poke people in the eye a little bit.
Nathan: When I was building Heyo and it grew fast, the first interview you had me on was back in 2011. People should go listen to that. NathanLatka.com/Mixergy will take you directly to that interview on Andrew’s site.
But as we built Heyo, raised $2.5 million in venture capital, hit $5 million sales, did very well, I met so many people online where literally Andrew the header of the website, it’s the fancy car and the little mansion and the little woman and the men and millionaire, blah, blah, blah, whatever. Then I hear them in a green room at a conference where they’re speaking and they’re talking about how they can’t pay their bills next month.
Andrew: I’ve seen that too. Absolutely. So, you want to call them out on it. But you’re also calling out some good people. You’re calling out some people who have created software.
Nathan: Good people sometimes do strategically bad things.
Andrew: So, you mentioned your numbers. I did call up some of your competitors and I said, “What do you think I should be asking him about? What’s going on?” And they said that $5 million over and over. That’s $5 million over how many years?
Nathan: That was our cumulative revenue.
Andrew: Over five years?
Nathan: Yeah, over five years.
Andrew: That’s $1 million a year. So, they say look at the math on that.
Nathan: It wasn’t $1 million a year because we started off with much less.
Andrew: Sorry, an average.
Nathan: Yeah, an average.
Andrew: They said, “Look at the math on that.” At the end, if you end up with that kind of revenue over five years, you’re not getting a really big exit. So, I started calling up your investors to get a sense of what was going on. They’re saying it was kind of like a graceful exit. We’re talking about–actually, why don’t ask you the numbers? Last year of the business, how much did you do in sales?
Nathan: So, look, part of what happened–and I think at 25 years old, 25-26 when this happened, you’re selling a business. There’s a lot that I have no idea what the hell I’m doing. But one thing I did is we realized after companies that you’ve interviewed–Buddy Media, Involver, Wildfire with Victoria–when they exited it–I believe that was 2011-2012? That was really the hot time for social media campaigns. So, that was our hottest year in terms of revenue.
Now, when we sold the business to Votigo, one of the things you have to do when you sell a business is you’re obviously signing an NDA, especially if you’re going to keep that going. So, I have not disclosed what the revenue was right when we were selling that year. However, if people go to NathanLatka.com/Surprise, you can see the full investor docs that I used with revenue numbers, CAC, churn, LTV–
Andrew: What’s the URL? NathanLatka.com.?
Nathan: Surprise. You can go there now. Yeah.
Andrew: So you’re saying you can’t say because you signed an NDA saying you couldn’t release those numbers?
Nathan: Yeah. Nobody wants to release those numbers more than me. Everyone’s going to talk about it. Andrew, you know how I operate. I would love to release those numbers.
Andrew: I don’t know. What they’re saying is the numbers weren’t that high towards the end. But you’re saying that too. You’re saying the height was roughly 2012.
Nathan: 2012 was the height. Absolutely.
Andrew: And we should say what the business did. Heyo started out as a consulting company, then moved on to software under the name Lujure, then became Heyo. What you did was social media consulting, if I understand right, then you moved on to creating web pages on Facebook, which is what Facebook encouraged companies to do. Then when Facebook said, “Sorry, we’re not doing that anymore,’ you turned that into a contest business and that’s what you sold, a contest platform on Facebook.
Nathan: A lot of what happened is a lot like Pat Flynn, that was architecture, Andrew back in ’09, ’10 when nobody was building. I was so insecure because I overheard fifth years in my class at Virginia Tech going, “We can’t find jobs.” I’m like, “This school is ranked number one or number two in architecture. How do you not find a job?”
I was very insecure. I told the story in the last interview, so I’m not going to repeat it. But I presold about $73,000 worth of $700 Facebook fan pages that I custom built and ultimately realized that kind of professional service consulting was not how you scale a business. SaaS was the way to go. In fact, you just had a guy on–what was the guy who did $300 million last year?
Andrew: I forget which one.
Nathan: You called it the biggest unknown startup you’ve ever known. It was like this week. It was a guy and they pulled people from the affiliate space and it was called LineMyPocket.
Nathan: Anyway, my point is he also realized the money was in SaaS. He went from agency to SaaS, software as a service. That’s what we did. I got two technical cofounders, gave them 40% of the business. We started building it and going from there.
Ultimately it pivoted to a company called Lujure. Then we renamed it Heyo because my investors were like, “Nathan, nobody knows how the hell to spell Lujure.” So we tested it in a bar one day on these very beautiful women. Nobody spelled Lujure right, so we went with Heyo. We were Heyo up to 2015, 2016 and just sold it in February.
Andrew: So, back to the question I asked earlier, is it fair to say the exit wasn’t strong? We’re talking about your investors got shares in the new business you sold to. You, from what they told me, got under six figures.
Nathan: You’ve already said something inaccurate. I’m not going to tell you what it was because by saying it’s inaccurate proves other things. I can tell you this is something the board unanimously approved. By the way, we had smart people. I don’t know if you spoke with David Cohen at Techstars. He was an early angel investor in Heyo. Dave McClure from 500 Startups–we had some very, very smart people. Quite frankly, we gave seven figures back to investors.
Andrew: But you took $2.5 million, right? So, did you give back $2.5 million in cash?
Nathan: I can’t say that.
Andrew: But you can say whether you’ve made them more money than they put in, right? If they put in $2.5 million, you can say, “I gave them more than $2.5 million.”
Nathan: We gave back an amount of money that I don’t think many other 26-year olds that launch businesses at 19 sell give back.
Andrew: Here’s the bottom line. People are saying you lost the money, that they got less cash out than they put into the business.
Nathan: Well that is true. When you raise capital, you have preferences. So, a series A investor that has preferred shares is going to get more capital back than an angel investor who’s under them on the cap table and quite frankly, this is one of the reasons I’m touch on my podcast. People don’t realize that.
Angels get buried all the time because series A investors might have a one or two or three-x liquidation preference, which means if they put in hypothetical, if they put in $2 million and you sell for $6 million but you have a three-x liquidation preference, that whole $6 million goes back to the series A investors and I as the founder get nothing, angels get nothing. So it is 100% true that there were investors that got back less money than what they put in.
Andrew: So here’s the thing that I admire about what you’ve done. You had a run at this. Instead of saying, “I didn’t create Uber. I failed.” Which a lot of people who’ve even sold their company for hundreds of millions of dollars feel like failures for getting that level. You said, “I’m going to talk about it. I’m not going to become this new personality.” That’s where you went. You’re working harder now that you did before at it. I don’t know how it came up but you and I were talking about–you and I had dinner one and you said, “Andrew, you always ask such deep questions.”
Nathan: Sex questions.
Andrew: Yeah. In person I do because I think that sex and relationships impact how we feel about business and yeah, it was at that one dinner that I asked everyone when they lost their virginity and no one felt uncomfortable saying when it was. You brought that up and then you said, “Andrew, I’m not with anyone right now because sex actually takes up too much time.” Do you remember that?
Andrew: Talk about that.
Nathan: We can go down that channel and I’m happy to. Let’s do that in a second. People have to keep watching. So the little Wistia tracker on this episode is going to be great like five minutes from now.
Nathan: As podcasters, this is what we do. We refresh the Wistia data to see where people drop off and keep going.
Andrew: I do love that about Wistia.
Nathan: I do too. Wistia didn’t pay for that. About the transparency thing, I like you–look, I grew up on Mixergy. There’s like Forbes and Mixergy. I grew up on Mixergy. You were the first person I called in 2008 or 2009 when I was thinking about making the first sale. You picked up the phone call, which blew my mind.
Andrew: I remember that.
Nathan: I was trying to prevent myself from shitting myself, which I probably–you were like, “Who is this kid? This is embarrassing.” But I hate when people sell a business or have business success and then wait ten years to tell the story because they lie. They don’t do it on purpose, by the way. They don’t lie on purpose but they sensationalize because you usually only remember the good stuff.
So, I recorded the negotiations with my team when I sold the business. Chris, who I brought in as COO, he was an ex-Mormon pastor, Christina, who led a lot of our brand strategy, unbelievable, Eric Bittleman, my CTO. By the way, I went through so many CTOs because I’m a hard guy to work with. I recorded that conversation at NathanLatka.com/Sold. Andrew, that was the most I thought I could do to bring transparency real time.
Andrew: You recorded it with the team?
Nathan: With the team, yeah, and the buyer. There are moments on there where Jim is going at Votigo, who bought the company is going like, “Fuck you, we’re not paying that price.” I couldn’t think of a way to make it more real time than that. There are moments on there where I get destroyed and moments I win big.
Andrew: Did he know that, that you were recording him?
Nathan: I made it contingent. Part of the deal–we had many, many offers on the table. I said, “Hey, one of the important things about Heyo is we support small business and entrepreneurs. This is a moment a lot of entrepreneurs think about.
Andrew: And you wanted them to hear every part of it?
Nathan: 100%. I wanted them to hear every single part of it.
Andrew: But you still can’t say what the revenues were.
Nathan: That’s the only part we left out, right?
Andrew: You can’t say what the revenues were and you can’t say what you sold for?
Nathan: I can’t say what I sold for. The reason I can’t share revenues is because on other interviews, I’ve shared what our multiples were and some of the reasons we pivoted and raised capital. My point is, Andrew, I can’t wait until I can release the real numbers. It’s going to show something that I think a lot of people are very surprised about. It’s consistent with some of the calls you had with some of our investors.
Andrew: Which is basically you had a graceful exit at a time it was tough and you realized there were bigger things in you than creating a contest site that’s on the Facebook platform, right? You knew you were meant for something bigger and that’s why you decided, “I’m leaving?”
Nathan: I’m also, I think, a deal god. I’m really good at deals.
Andrew: Here’s the part of this persona I’m seeing now, “I’m a deal god.”
Nathan: Sometimes you do a deal to do a deal. There’s an adrenaline rush of doing a deal. So, sometimes you can make a bad deal, but you still get a high off doing the deal, right? So my point is the reasons we sold were two-fold. One, we missed the maximum. We missed 2012 selling. We should have sold in 2012. We raised additional capital trying a new concept, which was social selling, which failed. Gumroad just laid off 25 employees. That market hasn’t taken off yet. It’s too early.
All that being said, there was a crap-ton that I learned and momentum was created for making that sale and that’s kind of where I am today and doing what I am.
Andrew: Here’s something else that I’ve gotten. You worked with Brian Moran. You said, “We’re going to white label our stuff for you,” right? Brian Moran, I think, isn’t he the creator–
Nathan: This was back in–Andrew, this was back in 2011 or 2012.
Andrew: When you were starting out. Here’s what it says, “He also did a deal with Brian Moran a few years ago where Brian white labeled his fan page software.” That was the Lujure software. “Then Nathan didn’t like the price he had agreed to after Brian put a ton of customers into it. Nathan started directly contacting those white label customers with a similar brand and pitching them directly.” True?
Nathan: I have. . . Look, I think anyone asking the question has got to understand the time. I know Brian Moran. I have nothing against Brian Moran. Brian and I have not spoken in probably four or five years. I don’t know. If you want to show the name of that person, it might give me more perspective. What I will tell you, white labeling was something we made a lot of money off of at Lujure.
Andrew: Did you then contact the people who. . .
Andrew: You didn’t? Brian Moran basically sold to his people a white label version of your software and he was going to make money on it. Did you then take them away from that?
Nathan: Anyone listening that does a launch, that has an affiliate program–Ryan Levesque just did the Ask launch. He has a ton of people on his list. His promoters have people on their list. Andrew, true or false, the info marketing and the social media is a pretty small space. People are on many lists because they read the same content.
So when two people, maybe the main person launching this is a customer and then the affiliate also hits the customer and the affiliate heard from the customer, “Hey, I signed up.” But the affiliate doesn’t realize they signed up through your link because they’re on the Mixergy list, not the affiliate to Mixergy’s list.
This is one of the reasons we stopped white labeling. It’s so difficult to manage white label and affiliate relationships, because I don’t have time to go and categorize every single $30 a month sale. It’s kind of to who it belonged to. Look, big fan of Brian. I haven’t spoken to him in years and years and years. Did some of that potentially happen where we’re both reaching the same customer? 100%. Was it intentional? Absolutely not.
Andrew: Not intentional? There was no system to do that. Let me talk about my first sponsor. It’s HostGator. HostGator is one of your sponsors too, huh?
Nathan: They are. Love them.
Andrew: Here’s how you do it, how you do your HostGator ad. You say something like, “I love giving my audience money.” I go, “Now I’ve got to listen in. Let’s see what he’s doing here.” He goes, “I love giving my audience. If you go to. . .” and then you give your URL and I’m about to give mine. Don’t be afraid to edit mine out and put yours in.
If you go to HostGator.com/Mixergy, you will get $100 in Google AdWords. That’s their $100 Google AdWords offer, which means you could start buying ads for your website right now. They’re giving you cash. I love the way you did that.
Nathan: This is one of the things I get hit on, Andrew. I have a very unique ability–look, I have weaknesses, but I also have strengths. This is one my big strengths. I have a way of saying things that gets people to take action. Many times I’m able to say something that allows the other person to fill in the blank. If you fill it in with the wrong blank, that’s your problem. Am I intentionally setting you up to potentially fill it in with the wrong blank? Debatable, right? But other people would choose to market any other way.
Andrew: It sounds like you’re saying, “Yes, it is.”
Nathan: It all depends on what assumptions people fill it with, right? If I told you, “Andrew, some people are telling me they don’t like Mixergy,” you’re immediately going to go to your last battle. Who did you last have a conference with and you’re going to fill in your name, right? Donald Trump is doing this right now unbelievably well.
Andrew: I feel like you’re studying Donald Trump.
Nathan: I am 100% studying Donald Trump.
Andrew: What’s your process for studying Donald Trump’s delivery and what he says?
Nathan: The same way I study Titan or any of these biographies. You want to study it in action, ideally when it’s happen–when Rockefeller is building, when JP Morgan is buying out Andrew Carnegie.
Andrew: So, be more specific. What are you doing with Donald Trump to study him?
Nathan: I will watch one of his YouTube speeches on mute.
Andrew: Ah, okay.
Nathan: On mute. I don’t care if he’s saying ban these people or women are–I don’t care about any of that. But you can learn so much from watching the body language and how he orchestrates that you can do and use in interviews like this.
Andrew: What’s one movement you picked up from him?
Nathan: Very simple. I’m going to intimidate this. By the way, I’m doing pretty good for a 26-year old, but I’m cheap as hell and I like to be comfortable. So, I’m like in my underwear right now. I’m going to show you what he did, okay?
Nathan: When he comes on the stage to speak–I’m going to turn my camera up a little bit.
Andrew: Okay. I know people are listening to this, so I’ll describe what I see after.
Nathan: Walking on the stage right now. He looks at the camera, the music is playing and Trump is clapping like for five minutes. He’s mimicking what he wants the audience to do. Then there’s music usually playing. What he does is he looks up like this and goes–like to tell the music to cut. That’s a sign of like authority, “I am owning this stage. I’m in full control.” Regardless if the music person is up there or not listening to him. It’s a gesture that says, “I can be tough on Russia too.” Do you see what I’m saying?
Andrew: I do. That one little gesture, shut off the music, I never noticed he did that. Now I’m going to want to go back and see the video of him doing that. But I can see how that helps him get power right from the start.
I also noticed some of the hand gestures. You did this one video where you said, “Entrepreneur Magazine said that I failed. I don’t fail.” And then you used this gesture. I feel like you found your version of his hand gesture based on what he does.
Nathan: Look, the Entrepreneur thing was unbelievable. Usually these media outlets don’t do hit pieces on people, but basically I offered $5 million to acquire Success Magazine in a very public way and I was trying to use the press to get the deal done and we can talk about that later. That ultimately failed and I acquired a different company called NathanLatka.com/SendLater.
My point is I had to respond to that, right? I don’t necessarily like being aggressive, but if someone provokes me even a little bit or gives me a reason to want to be provoked, I’ll take it, especially if I think it’s something that I believe in and I can really harp on. That’s what I did in that video.
A lot of entrepreneurs talk about failure and how you can’t fail, but it’s different to actually see Nathan doing it in action in that video. I’m very much channeling Donald Trump.
Andrew: This was you saying, “I want to acquire Success Magazine. I’m going to offer $5 million.” You got turned down. And then Entrepreneur Magazine said, “Here’s a big failure that Nathan had in public. He can’t acquire it.” In the video you did about it, you said, “I don’t fail.” Like that is a very Donald Trump-like thing to do, that if you say you don’t fail, people start to believe it, right?
Nathan: And you know this more than me because you’ve done this entrepreneur thing much longer than I have and you have more success than I have. This failure thing is like a sexy thing to write articles on because it gets clicks so much and it’s a sexy thing to talk about.
But failure is a perception, like I only think I–people only think they fail if their mom thinks they failed and the mom calls the son and goes, “Son, I heard you didn’t get the job offer. Are you okay?” The way that makes you feel when she says, “Are you okay?” makes you feel like you failed. When you build up emotional barriers all around you so that you don’t feel much of anything, you honestly can’t fail. That’s why I don’t fail.
Andrew: But the idea that you’re saying it feels like part of your taking on Donald Trump’s persona.
Nathan: It’s part Donald Trump. It’s part Titan. It’s part Rockefeller. It’s part Jobs. When you say something so much and you have brainwashed yourself to believe it 100%, everybody else starts believing it.
Andrew: How do you brainwash yourself, Nathan? That’s interesting.
Nathan: You tell yourself. You talk to yourself.
Andrew: What do you personally do? What’s your process?
Nathan: There are many things I’m kind of instilling and training my brain right now. I want to take a company public by the time I turn 30, which means I’ve got to get the SaaS company to do about $50 million in annual run rate to get something competitive.
Andrew: To get to that, what do you say mentally?
Nathan: I say that over and over.
Andrew: “I’m going to take a company public?”
Nathan: Andrew, I want your listeners to know this. It’s recorded. I’m taking a company public by the time I turn 30. I plan to run for president and win in 2036. I will run the world’s largest hedge fund with $100 billion in assets under management. I will take a REIT public before I turn 60 with, again, $100 billion real estate assets under management. You say that with such authority and you point to little successes you’ve had in the past, people, their mind can get there because they go, “Oh yeah, Nathan did these things. He’s going to do that.”
You know what happens? After this interview, anyone affiliated with politics will reach out to me and go, “Nathan, I want to help you become president.” You know what happens? It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. It all started with me having the balls to just say, “I will be president in 2036.”
Andrew: And do you personally write this down on a piece of paper and repeat it or memorize it and repeat it?
Nathan: No. I just think about every day.
Andrew: You try to think about it. Do you have anything that encourages you to think about it every day? Do you have a sign up in your bathroom or something?
Nathan: No. My bathroom is pretty boring.
Andrew: None of that. Okay.
Nathan: Honestly, Andrew, when I repeat it on shows like this, I’ve done it so much, my ego won’t let me not do it because I will go oh my gosh, Nathan, if I don’t do this, all these people are going to go, “You said you were going to become president and what happened.” I’m artificially creating and putting myself in a corner because I know that’s what makes me succeed.
Andrew: Okay. I didn’t finish the ad for HostGator. Here’s my approach for HostGator’s ads. I ask my guests if you can start anything right now and all you had was a HostGator hosting package–you know what they do. They let you host anything essentially, including WordPress and especially WordPress sites–but if you had nothing but a HostGator package and you had to start from scratch get to, let’s say, $1 million business, what would you do?
Nathan: Oh, you’re asking me this?
Andrew: Yeah. I’m asking you this. That’s what I ask my guests. Do you have any idea?
Nathan: Nothing to launch a $1 business.
Nathan: Well, I’m doing this right now with SendLater. It’s a Chrome extension I just acquired. I acquired it for such a little price and now what I’m doing is just put a paywall up based off usage. I got a domain name, SndLatr.com and when people hit a certain usage metric in the tool, it puts up the paywall and they pay and I’m getting no touch sales. I would use a HostGator URL to just lock up the URL and use it as a redirect back into the Chrome extension plugin. That’s what I’m doing currently.
Andrew: And what did you pay for the Chrome extension plug?
Andrew: $750. Where did you buy it?
So, I acquired the company. I put my development resources in behind it, actually using Toptal. I found a developer on Toptal.com, built it up and now usage is growing. I’m using this tool personally. I used a version of it when I was growing Heyo. It allows you to like send emails later, set up reminders, auto follow-ups on one on one emails.
Andrew: So, where did you buy the Chrome extension? What platform did you go to buy it?
Nathan: Chrome. Google search Chrome extension store.
Andrew: I see. You were just looking at the Chrome extension store to see what’s not being used much and I’m going to send out an offer the way that you did for Success Magazine, you bought it for $750. Got it. Frankly, anyone could go to Toptal and hire someone to copy the Chrome extension that they like and start it.
Nathan: Yeah. First off, I’d be the first to say this. I believe in copying like hell. Anyone that has an ego that thinks they’re going to create something new is never going to be successful in my opinion, especially in the early phases. Once you’re an Elon Musk, you can start thinking about creating whole new categories. But early on, copy your competitor like you wouldn’t believe, ethically, of course, and then use your natural strength–for me it’s kind of marketing/PR–to grow bigger.
That’s what we did. I already had an extension that I spent probably $10,000-$11,000 via Toptal building. Then I saw this extension which had 30,000 users already, which by the way, comes with an email list. That’s a 30,000 person email list that I’m essentially acquiring for $750.
Andrew: And they weren’t monetizing it before?
Nathan: They were not monetizing it.
Andrew: I see. So you get your developers to come in and add the monetization feature. Got it. All right. Let me close out the HostGator ad by saying look, this is a really great idea. So far I’ve been thinking of just content sites on HostGator. But frankly, you could buy someone else’s iPhone app. You can buy somebody else’s Chrome extension. You could buy other people’s software or, frankly, hire someone to copy it on the cheap and then put it up on HostGator.
HostGator.com/Mixergy will get you a really big discount. I think it’s–yeah, they’re giving me 50% off. They promised me that no one else is going to have more of a discount than I am for a limited time.
Nathan: I’m pissed off at that.
Andrew: You should be.
Nathan: By the way, I’m going to work like hell to get that deal. But folks, honestly, I’m not making this up and I hate promoting other people, especially if I have nothing to gain from it, but that is the best deal. I’m going, “Why does Mixergy have a better deal than Nathan does on the top? Give me Andrew’s deal,” and they won’t give it to me.
Andrew: Our sales guy, Sachit Gupta kept pushing and asking them. Basically, he sold out for the year, so if you really want to get a spot, you have to give out a better offer than you ordinary would to get it. Anyway, HostGator.com/Mixergy.
You said earlier and I wrote this down, “I have weaknesses too.” What’s one of your weaknesses?
Nathan: I am horrendous with people. I think 99% of people on Earth, they’re totally useless. They don’t think much and they rely on other people.
Andrew: Give me an example of that.
Nathan: Look, I was horrible at Heyo once we got past five people. I was brutal to people. I didn’t have patience for the emotional things they needed. I hate seeing on the calendar that an employee’s birthday was coming up because I’m like, “Dammit. We have to get a cake and take time out of the day to sing and do the ra-ra thing.” But that’s really important to people. I just don’t–
Andrew: Give me an example of one time–actually, I did talk to people you worked with. One of them specifically said, “Nathan does not have this in him. I don’t know if he has innate empathy.” But here’s what he said, “Nathan can figure it out. You can see that he cared enough to figure it out, that he deconstructed how to be a good gift giver and he followed a process because he knows it’s important.”
I know that’s true about you. But give me an example of something you screwed up or a horrible experience with people because you don’t have that natural patience.
Nathan: Look, when we sold Heyo, I wanted some of my team to stay with me. I’ll just be totally honest, I wanted Chris to stay with me. I wanted Christina to stay with me.
Andrew: What did Chris do? He was the developer?
Nathan: Chris Riegger, no, he was my head of operations, amazingly emotionally intelligent guy. He was kind of who I brought in to help with that emotional intelligence in the business.
Andrew: The Mormon?
Nathan: Well, he used to be a Mormon pastor and now he’s doing small business consulting but he also was in SaaS. He worked at Mad Mimi up in New York before they sold with Dean and those guys you know well. He was so helpful in helping me grow. Andrew, I don’t know if I can point to a specific event, but you summed it up perfectly. I actually care a lot about people. I really do. But most of the time it’s not efficient for me to go out of my way to do that. So, I setup systems to do it.
Andrew: What’s one of your systems?
Nathan: You sent out forks and knives the other day to a startup entrepreneur with a little note from Amazon that said, “To helping you eat big business.”
Andrew: It was Eric Bahn. He quit his job at Facebook. He went on to work at 500 Startups and he said, “I’m going to work at 500 Startups so I can help small companies eat big companies.” So, yeah, I sent him forks and knives.
Nathan: Genius. But you have a system for that. You have a system for preparing these interviews. You have a production team. You have a little Amazon system. You probably have a Trello board. Part of the thing I hate about doing these interviews and telling them how I really feel is they think every interaction I have is calculated.
You did this, actually. We did a co-webinar because I really wanted to promote a course you had, which I never do, by the way, you’re probably the only one I’ve done. You said, “Wait, Nathan. . .” What did you say? You’re like, “Are you wanting something for this?” What did you say?
Andrew: I didn’t know how any of this worked, but I did say, “How do I repay you? What’s your percentage? How does this work?”
Nathan: Yeah. And what did I say?
Andrew: You said, “I don’t want any money for this. I just want to pay back because you’re a good friend,” or something like that.
Nathan: Maybe people are listening, “Well, Nathan just did that as an example so he could use that as an example in all his future interviews,” which might be true, but the fact is that–
Andrew: I’ll share my techniques. After I’m done–I had a guy in here who I’ve known since he was in high school. He heard me speak in high school. He stayed in touch over the years. We had this great personal conversation here, which I love having personal conversations with people. I came back and into the address book that comes with my iPhone, I wrote everything that he said except for the super personal stuff, so I remember in the future that he is looking to go to graduate school.
I remember that his next career move is whatever he said that it’s going to be. I put that down and that way I can follow up afterwards and say, “How are things going with his girlfriend of two and a half years?” That’s part of my system. I also try–and I’m horrible at this–to look for things that people care about so that I can make a note of possible gifts in the future for them.
Nathan: This is one of the reasons, by the way, I don’t have a relationship. If I have a relationship, it becomes obviously clear what I care about, whoever I’m with. If people know how to cater to whoever I’m with, it’s actually a weakness in me.
Nathan: Once you know how to help somebody or how to influence somebody, they have more control over you. So, my point is this is–
Andrew: So, you don’t want people to see what you care about so they don’t have control over you?
Nathan: 100%. This is why you create diversions. This is why I’m going to throw a $5 million acquisition offer out for Success Magazine, when frankly, it’s like the worst magazine, 2 million uniques when Forbes gets 30 million. Look, they’re selling CDs. They’re selling CDs in their magazines. When was the last time anybody listened to a CD? They are the worst performing–I would never want them, especially for that price.
But when I did that, dissenters of your target then come to you. So people that have felt like they’ve been shafted by Success see that story and come and get behind you and you’re going to see me do something very interesting in media in the next maybe six months and you’re going to go, “That’s why Nathan did that.” You have to create diversions, in my opinion.
Andrew: I see. Okay. Coming back to you not wanting a relationship, why don’t you? Why did you say that sex was a waste of time?
Nathan: Well, let me go like a little more higher level than sex for second. Let’s say you’re in a relationship. Of course you have sex in a relationship. I don’t want to have to like wake up in the morning and my first thing be I can’t function for ten minutes because my arm is dead because you fucking slept on it. I don’t want to deal with it.
If you wake up and that person is sick or feeling depressed, I have to commit like a very–I have a very limited fuel tank. I have to commit some of my fuel to making the feel better. I don’t want to have to waste fuel on that right now.
And Andrew, I honestly think this might be a maturity thing. I’m only 26. Maybe it changes over time. It worries me that I say this so much because I’m worried I’m convincing myself I never need it and I won’t naturally progress to where I need to be. But that’s just how I feel right now.
Andrew: So, when you first told me that, it was so shocking–you’re basically saying, “I don’t want to be in love. I don’t want to have the fun of being in a relationship. I don’t want any of it because I’m that committed to my work.” At first it was really shocking and it made me feel like you’d exaggerated the importance of your work and you’re missing out on something.
Then I thought–I realized you’re absolutely right. It’s what I did. It’s what a lot of people who I think go on to do things that are significant end up doing. It’s just not the kind of thing you want to say not just publicly, but it’s also not the kind of thing you want to say for yourself. But it’s important. It’s important to focus to that degree, I think.
Nathan: Yeah. This is one of the reasons I would never say some of the stuff that I now say on interviews which I do feel. I never just say stuff because I feel like it’s going to get views. I can say stuff without a filter because I don’t have investors that are going to email me and go, “Nathan, why are you talking about sex? You’re supposed to be talking about Heyo and selling Heyo on the Mixergy interview.”
Andrew: Did you ever have investors who said that to you? They were pretty hands off, from what I see.
Nathan: Well, it would make some of them very uncomfortable. If they still kind of had money behind me right now–some of them love it, by the way. When we sold Heyo, I said, “What do you think I should do?” Can you guess what industry every single one of them said I should go into?
Andrew: I’m going to say television.
Nathan: Media. They said, “Nathan, we know so many people in media. We’ve never seen somebody that does webinar–in media that can do what you do. You need to go into media.” They know the importance of it, but they would never want it to be known that they’re supporting someone that is really good at doing what I do. The second I can channel those views into SaaS MRR growth, that’s a whole different story. That becomes very interesting.
Andrew: That’s what most people I talk to are trying to figure out. What are you trying to do right now. One guy even said to me, “He’s a very good salesman. I don’t know what he’s selling, though.”
Nathan: Isn’t that the best? If nobody knows what I’m doing, I can’t be attacked. It’s that simple. I’m doing very well.
Andrew: But you can’t also be supported. People can’t come in and help with what you’re doing.
Nathan: I can ask for support from the people that I know can help me. or I can do things like what I did with success magazine and I attracted many people that were, let’s just say, that were very important to Success Magazine’s growth that are now kind of on team Nathan and helping me think through my media strategy. So, I never want anybody to know what I’m doing, ever. Then they know where to attack. Look at this right now. Are you following Bill Ackman and Carl Icahn with Valeant and Herbalife?
Andrew: A little bit, yes. You can’t not follow it.
Nathan: I can’t believe Carl Icahn is not getting sued for this, but Carl Icahn basically–volume of Herbalife shares shot through the roof once the FTC basically said, “You’re free and clear,” volume went crazy. Because Icahn is on the board of Herbalife, he can’t trade a certain number of shares without disclosing it as a proposition of total volume of shares sold.
So, when volume spikes from the FTC news, Carl actually, many people are saying he looked at selling shares, which would be great for Ackman, who is about $1 billion short on Herbalife because the stocks would go down. Carl is a big supporter, Ackman is better the stock goes down to zero.
Well, Ackman, the second he heard that Icahn did this interview where maybe he was selling stocks, went on all these press outlets and said, “See, I told you so, I told you so.” Then at the end of the day, Carl bought 2 million more shares. Ackman right now has no idea what Icahn is doing. Bill Ackman at Pershing Square has no idea what Carl Icahn is doing and that is exactly where you want the world–
Andrew: That’s where you want to be right now.
Nathan: 100%. You need to be unpredictable. People pay attention and they’re going to follow.
Andrew: Let me talk about my second sponsor and then I want to come back and ask about–what was it that I was going to say? It will come back to me in a second. Oh, I know what it was. It was about your freaking conference. There’s something that people showed me months ago about your conference and said, “What is this guy doing? Is this even legal?”
But first I’ve got to talk about the Leadpages conference. Leadpages is doing a conference for people who are just into conversion. Are you going to be at it? It’s called Conversion 2016.
Nathan: I won’t be at it. No.
Andrew: Why not? Why are you adamant?
Nathan: Because I’ve stopped going to most of these conferences. I understand that most of the speakers are paying to be on stage. It’s just the model of conferences.
Andrew: They’re paying to be on stage?
Nathan: Many times it’s part of the sponsorship package. Be a gold sponsor, get a speaking slot. You know this, Andrew, come on.
Andrew: I see. I don’t think that’s true for Leadpages because of the people who I think are over there. Frankly, I think for Leadpages they’re doing this conference to make themselves the leaders in conversion.
Nathan: I forget whose blog wrote on it, maybe it was Brad Feld, but someone said Clay and what he has done where you buy Leadpages for whatever it is and the upsell is the ticket to the conference–what Clay has done at Leadpages is so fun to watch, same with Russell at–it’s so fun to watch because they get online marketing so well and they’re teaching the SaaS space so much.
Andrew: I agree. I love the way they’ll upsell me to an annual package as I keep using their software, right? So, the thing I like about this conference–I say no to almost every conference. I have no interest. I reach within five seconds on Mixergy more people than I’m going to reach at an actual conference.
But the reason I said yes to them is because everybody who’s going to be on stage at that conference and many of the people who are going to be in the audience think exactly like that, where they think, “How do I increase my upsells? How do I come up with a new clever way to get people who are going to come in for monthly to go to annual subscription? How do I get more people to give me their email address?”
I want to not just hear what they say on stage, but I want to get together with them over drinks and talk about what’s working for them and pull out the best ideas that I can. That’s why I’m going to Converted 2016. I’m actually going there to speak so that I can meet people who are in the audience now listening to me and meet people who are on stage.
If you come, you will get to meet some of the best people in the conversion space. If you text me before you come and say, “Andrew, I heard you on Mixergy talk about this. I’m coming because of you,” I will text you back and we’ll coordinate time for you and me and everyone who I get together with to meet up.
So, here’s what I want you to do. Don’t just go to Converted 2016. Don’t just go to their website, but go to this special URL where they’re going to give you 25% off of the price. So you’re going to pay less than other people who are going to the conference. Go to Leadpages.net/Mixergy.
You’re going to learn how to increase conversions on pages where you’re collecting email addresses, conversions on pages where you’re getting people to buy and you’re going to meet a bunch of smart people who do this obsessively for a living. I bet a lot of them aren’t having any sex because they’re so focused on this. Go to Leadpages.net/Mixergy.
Nathan: Andrew, what does Leadpages pay you for that?
Andrew: That’s a good question. I think it’s for all of the interviews that we’re doing together, for all the ads we’re doing together it’s something like $16,000 for the ads.
Nathan: And you do it on a CPA model or they pay you that up front?
Andrew: I don’t do CPAs in the interviews. They pay up front.
Nathan: You and I have talked about this many times, sponsorship in the podcasting space. We’ll go back. I’m curious about my conference, what you want to bring up, but the podcasting space right now, as you know, it’s unbelievably fragmented and sponsors are getting ripped off left and right and there are some people coming up with very unique sponsorship models. I’m learning from you. I have some very interesting deals where you’ve got to move people off of the CPA and cost per listen model. So, that’s why I was curious.
Andrew: I think CPA stinks. I think cost per listener stinks because everyone’s listeners are different and then you end up getting priced with these at the same CPA, cost per–
Nathan: Crappy shows.
Andrew: Same as crappy shows. But I used to be such a skeptic about ads working in podcasts that I didn’t really sell them much. Then when we sold to Toptal a bunch of ads, I was really sheepish about it and HostGator because they were paying me hundreds of thousands of dollars and I said I feel really guilty taking their money. I talk to them. These guys are measuring it. They force me to say a special URL every single time which I used to resist. Who wants to remember Leadpages.net and the word Converted 2016 and /Mixergy. It’s too much.
But I’ve taken employees who are lower on the totem pole to lunch, to drinks, talked to them over the phone and said, “Is Mixergy really working for you?” And they say yes. These guys don’t feel guilty even sharing the numbers with me. I’m surprised. I don’t know if I would be as open with the numbers if I were them.
Nathan: I am the same way. I will not work with a sponsor unless they tell me if it’s successful or not. Many of them will shield it because they know if they say, “Yeah, Nathan, you’re successful,” I’m going to ask for more money. I’m doing the same thing. It’s not just in the podcast. It’s what can you do from a storytelling perspective in your other materials that drive those brands. So, I just want you to know I’m studying and I’m fascinated.
Andrew: That’s interesting. I used to want to package email with the podcast, say, “You’ve heard me talk about this on the podcast. Here’s a link to go there in case you didn’t write it down. It doesn’t seem like it’s necessary. There’s something about being in people’s ears that makes it such a personal interaction that they take action.
So, for example, I may have fewer listeners for this interview–I don’t think I will–but fewer than some Medium posts.
Nathan: You want to call me out. If this interview gets less than your normal posts, you should call me out and say, “Nathan totally flopped on the show. Nobody else have him on.”
Andrew: You can tell. What you do is go to iTunes, look at my podcast episodes on iTunes and iTunes doesn’t say how many listeners there are, but it does show the bars.
Nathan: Yeah, but I don’t think it’s directly correlated to listens, popularity. You’re talking about the popularity bar?
Andrew: Yeah. I think it tends to be from what I see, the ones that have the most bars, but it’s like within a given period of time, so it’s not necessarily overall. All right. Two things, podcasts I also want to talk to you about. I also want to talk to you about the conference.
Since we brought up podcasts, you’ve been saying you have two million downloads. Will you here today do a screen share and show–not right now, let’s finish the podcast so that we don’t accidentally lose it. But I will, with you sharing your screen, I will show the audience what your download numbers are. You don’t mind showing them?
Nathan: Why would I show them?
Andrew: Why would you show them? You’ve been saying everywhere you have two million listeners.
Nathan: Convince me strategically why I should show them when everybody’s going to talk about if I actually have those numbers or not.
Andrew: If you show the numbers and it’s true, then it gives everything else including the bullshit you sometimes throw out there a lot of credibility.
Nathan: That’s a good pitch. It’s 100% true. If I show the numbers, everyone stops talking about it. I lose.
Andrew: Nobody stops talking about two million. If there’s two million of anything, no one’s going to stop talking about it.
Nathan: Everybody knows I have way more, Andrew. I’ll show you. I have way more than 2 million downloads. If everybody knows, everybody stops talking about it.
Andrew: No. If everyone knows, people do talk about it. Leo Laporte, when he got up on stage at some conference somewhere, I think it was in Japan, and someone asked him how much money he was making, he said, “I’m making $1 million from podcasting.” Suddenly that’s all people talked about it. If you have the numbers, people talk about.
Nathan: Right now, word of mouth is the most powerful marketing. People read People Magazine for a reason. It’s gossip. It’s never “Britney Spears donated to charity,” it’s “Britney Spears is like having sex and nobody knows about it.” So, I always struggle with this. There are numbers that I put out there are–I don’t say stuff unless it’s actually happening. So, when I get challenged on this stuff, I have nothing to gain off showing you this, nothing to gain. I want people to like see this real time, like in the moment.
Andrew: You’re showing it right now.
Nathan: 2.3 million.
Andrew: Hang on. I’m going to zoom in. 2.3 million all time listeners, 189,000 a month.
Nathan: Okay. This is like for a show, the Top Entrepreneurs, for a show that’s less than a year old, Andrew, I have never seen a podcast–and I’ve asked many people–grow this fast. People hit me so hard all the time. They don’t believe my numbers because I how hard I promote the numbers. Then I hit them over the head with this and they go, “Something is happening here. Something is swirling in Nathan’s head. There’s this genius happening and he’s executing,” and then people follow.
But here’s what I just did. It’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever done. People are going to stop talking about, “Does Nathan have two million downloads?” I just lost a bunch of word of mouth marketing.
Andrew: I don’t think that’s going to happen at all, but I think that’s interesting to say that.
Nathan: I lost it to you. I lost my podcast virginity to Andrew Warner.
Andrew: Not true at all. People are going to trust your other numbers even more than they should because this number was understated because you have more than 2 million downloads.
Nathan: It’s nice to have a surprise to show people, right?
Andrew: What about this? You put together a conference and on your webpage for the conference you said Carl Icahn was going to be there. J.K. Rowling was going to be there and a whole bunch of other people were going to be there speaking at the conference.
Nathan: I think what I did with this conference is quite frankly a stroke of genius. I’ll tell you why. What it said, if you go look at that particular part. It said confirmed and invited. They have been either confirmed or invited. What I will tell you, as sales come in and I have more money to play with, the likelihood that I actually confirm all of them increases because I can pay their fees. But I will not disclose which ones are confirms and which ones are still in invitation mode.
Here’s the reason no one would do this. People are going to go, “What if I buy a ticket only to see Carl Icahn and then Carl Icahn is not there because Nathan couldn’t confirm him?” I give them a refund. Even if they pay for their flight, I’ll pay for their flight too.
But what most people do with conferences is they lose money like you wouldn’t believe. They go reserve–actually you have a very good friend who you supported. It’s a two-man founding team. I won’t say more than that that are in a big lawsuit right now over a big upfront fee they paid on a conference because you can lose a lot of money doing it, hundreds of thousands of dollars.
So, what I did I said I am not putting any of this, no payments until I know what my revenue is. I just have to be comfortable losing money on refunds. But I’d rather lose money on refunds than commit money up front and lose it later.
Andrew: I see. You want to get some committed orders and then you’ll put the conference together. Do you see how some people might see it as a lie?
Andrew: Or intentionally misleading?
Nathan: First off, I have a lot of confidence in myself that I’ll be able to get all of them.
Andrew: Carl Icahn?
Andrew: Carl Icahn you have confidence is going to speak at the conference?
Nathan: First off, once I get more sales coming in and with what I know about how to get people’s attention, I could get Carl Icahn. Andrew, I could get anyone I want. I got Tim Draper, a billionaire, on my podcast. I got Adam Valkin, early investor in Uber. These people don’t reply to emails. I got them on my podcast. You do this too. There’s an art to it. I could do it.
Part of it is I don’t want to do the conference unless it sells out and makes a lot of money. I’d rather refund everybody because I don’t need the money. I sold Heyo. I had a salary. I have real estate. I have a podcast. I have sponsors. I don’t need conference money. But I’m great in front of an audience, which is why I’m testing it.
This is what I told you earlier. You can put a statement out there and let people fill it in with what they expect. As long as at the end of the day everybody is happy, I have no problem doing that because it de-risks me losing a lot of money.
Andrew: I feel like Jason Calacanis took this attitude, where he was going to say outrageous things, no one was going to call him out on it. If they did, it would create controversy, which would get him more attention. He said everything he did was great. He would talk about like Marissa Mayer being a great product person like, “I’m a great product person.”
He would just keep complimenting himself. Until Uber hit and he was an early investor in Uber through a scout deal he had with Sequoya. So, Uber hit. He made money off of that. Now he has so much money that he doesn’t have to pump himself up anymore.
Now in one of the more recent episodes I heard, he said, “I’m an idiot,” or something like that. He basically put himself down in a fun way that he never would have at a time when he was feeling more vulnerable. So, what I’m saying is does vulnerability make you want to put on a shell of invincibility because you’re so vulnerable?
Nathan: If you look at a great movie that makes a lot of money, the main characters, you root for them at some points and other times you root against them. Usually you root against them when they’re on a high and you root for them when they’re the underdog. Any smart person in business–I think I’m pretty smart–has to manage their personal life and know when you’re trying to get people to root for you and when you want people to root against you.
I want everybody rooting against me right now because the lower I drive everybody else’s expectations, if just do something normal, they’re going to go, “Wow.” If I do something incredible that’s never been done before like two million downloads the first 12 months on my podcast, The Top Entrepreneurs, they’re going to go, “Oh my gosh.”
So, the reason I say that is I create my own vulnerability. I may or may not have said somebody should like call me a failure. Did I actually do well on Heyo? Somebody should call me a failure. You invite your dissenters in to say bad things about you and then you can attack. That’s a very good thing.
I will say going back to your Jason–did you have a question about Jason or you were just relating it?
Andrew: The question is are you now because you’re in a more vulnerable spot, you didn’t sell Heyo for as much money as you wanted, you’re in a vulnerable spot right now.
Nathan: We sold it for an amount that I thought was a great price. I thought it was a fantastic price.
Andrew: That’s a very Donald Trump gesture you made as you said that.
Nathan: I love Donald Trump, but I also care. If Donald Trump and Michelle Obama had sex and had a baby, it would be Nathan Latka. Michelle Obama is in great shape. I’m in great shape. She cares about children. I care about children. Donald Trump is a great negotiator, makes great deals, I make great deals.
Andrew: The deal was not that great. It was great under the circumstances, but basically some of your investors lost money. That’s not an ideal deal. You got less than $100,000 from it.
Nathan: There are many big, big companies that do very well where investors, especially ones that are angels lose because of liquidation preference, ratchet clauses. Andrew, you know this from other interviews you’ve done.
Andrew: I do know it and I do feel that you know that this wasn’t that great a deal. Here’s what I love about what you’re doing–and this is what bothers some people–I think that you’re putting on one of the best shows out there. You are being the kind of person that many people want to be but they don’t have the guts or they don’t or they’re not at a place in their lives where they can do it.
So, instead they’re quietly resentful instead of feeling that this is what they want to do, maybe not exactly what you’re saying. I don’t think anyone’s listening saying, “I want to say exactly what Nathan is saying. I want to create a conference the way Nathan is.”
But I do think they’re saying, “I want to say things. I want to be provocative. I want to say to myself first and then to the world how much I could do and have the confidence to say that Carl Icahn is coming to my conference and know when I say things, some of them may not show up but I will succeed that I will get where they want,” I think they don’t have the guts to do it. That I think is one of the problems people have with you.
Nathan: It’s great that people have problems with me. People have problems with Howard Stern and he just signed a half-billion dollar deal with Sirius. In fact, if people didn’t have problems with Howard Stern, he’d be broke. I invite problems. The other thing is I don’t want this. I honestly don’t want all this happening. This is not good for me. It’s not good for me to show you my numbers.
Andrew: Sure it is. What’s the lawsuit?
Nathan: Not the, many.
Andrew: What are the lawsuits that are coming at you now?
Nathan: You’re getting me off my point. Give me one second. My point is these kinds of things are not things that I necessarily want or invite in. But one of the things I’ve seen with every successful entrepreneur, they have to know how to generate their own momentum even when they have nothing. If you don’t have the balls to create your own momentum, you’re going to lose.
So, I already had like some momentum. To take the little momentum or some momentum and make it more momentum, you do what I’m doing. You use your creative smarts, marketing and resources and you keep growing. That’s exactly what’s happening. People would be surprise if they see my 2016 tax returns. Something interesting is happening. I don’t know why it’s working so well. So, I can’t even take credit for it. But it’s working. Going back to what you just said, what was the question?
Andrew: The question was about the lawsuits.
Nathan: Oh, so you know when people sign up to do a podcast, it’s like Skype, phone number, bio, why should you be on the show and a check box that says, “Andrew Warner has permission to do whatever he wants to promote or whatever he wants with the show once it’s recorded,” right?
Nathan: Well, these people come on my show and I specifically say the best way to prepare is to listen to past interviews and they don’t. And they missed when I destroy Jason Hartman, this real estate guy came on my show, calls himself a millionaire and he didn’t know anything about his numbers. He wouldn’t tell me how old he was.
Andrew: You said he didn’t know how much money he made last year and you said, “How is this guy a millionaire if he says that?”
Nathan: Ty Lopez, first question, “Do you own this car? How much was the girl on the left and how much was the girl on the right?” I hit him really hard. And you have to do that to people. If people don’t do their research and they get on, they’re not used to the kind of interview style like me.
Andrew: So, who has actually had a lawsuit against you?
Nathan: I can’t say who, but I have not heard of another podcast host that has as many–
Andrew: Threatened lawsuits–who has not had what?
Nathan: What did you say?
Andrew: I talked over you. You don’t know someone who’s had more what?
Nathan: I don’t know another podcast host that has gotten as many letters from attorneys that say, “Take that episode down or else legal action is coming.” I write back and I basically say, “Screw you, buddy. We put a lot of money into recording, production and everything else. It’s going live. If you did your preparation work, which I very specifically said you should, you would know what my style it.” By the way, my style is my style because I’m selfish. I want the numbers quick. I don’t have time. You know how I operate. So, I think I’m the most sued.
Andrew: I don’t know about that. Lawsuits are pretty public. I can look them up. You don’t have any lawsuits I can find.
Nathan: Look, I’m not a lawyer. I don’t know all these terms. Let me be very specific–I don’t know that there’s another podcast that has gotten as many PDFs in their email from legal teams of companies saying, “I can’t believe you got our CEO to share our valuation. We’re trying to raise capital. Take it down now or else legal action.”
Andrew: What do you have more than two?
Nathan: Way more.
Andrew: You can show those publicly. TechCrunch showed them publicly. You don’t have to be so mysterious about it.
Nathan: I get about four a month.
Andrew: Four a month? Can you post them online?
Andrew: Why not? There’s nothing against posting them online.
Nathan: Strategically convince me that would be good for me.
Andrew: Every time that Michael Arrington on TechCrunch showed that he got a cease and desist letter, people would support them because no one wants to see content taken down because of a lawyer bully and it would be something to talk about. If you’re saying like one sentence is helpful for, which is to say I’m the most sued or the most cease and desisted person, then showing four a month of those at least four times a month is good, if not more.
Nathan: You know what I might do? People can go, they can search on iTunes right now, The Top Entrepreneurs. You can find it. If you’re listening to this in MyFeed, you already see it. Maybe what I will do is I will actually talk about and share some of those lawsuits or PDF letters in future episodes.
Andrew, some of these people are guests you’ve had on, big people. What they don’t realize is the person that scheduled the interview legally committed. I had a lawyer look over my texts very closely. You’ve probably had people go, “Andrew, can you edit this out of the episode and change this?” I don’t do that.
Andrew: I don’t and I haven’t for years. I still get a lot of requests for it.
Nathan: But you don’t what?
Andrew: I feel like my job is to persuade them to be okay with it. I’m not like you. I don’t want them fighting me over it. I want us to at the end of the day to feel happy with the interview and I feel like that’s a persuasion job for me. But it does take a ton of time to persuade people it’s okay.
Nathan: See, I just don’t do it for some of the reasons you mentioned, but my job is not to make the guests happy. My job is to make the audience learn. Many times those things are not aligned. You know many shows where the hosts lob questions to the guests, “What was your biggest failure.” And they go, “I failed because my first deal was only $5 million instead of $20 million.”
Andrew: And they get those questions ahead of time. I hate places where the guest gets all the questions ahead of time. I will say this. I told you before this interview started, “I don’t want to sandbag you. I’ve talked to a few people. Do you want me to tell you about it before I start recording the interview?” And you said, “No, I’d rather be surprised. Don’t be afraid. You can’t shock me.”
Nathan: Andrew, it’s because I trust this thinking. If I just tell the truth and I tell how I feel all the time, nobody can catch me in anything. People want prepared questions so they can prepare and cover up. That’s why they do it. This is great. I am going to make a bet. My first interview with you had like 81 comments. I think it did really well. My gut tells me this interview is going to do very well. If it doesn’t, I want you to say, “Nathan’s show had horrible ratings,” and we’ll talk about it.
Andrew: If this doesn’t get as many listeners as the first one or comments, I’ll point it out.
Nathan: Yeah. And by the way, I win by saying that, you know why? If it fails, you’re going to point it out and I’m going to use you point it out to generate traffic back to the original episode so it becomes number one. This is one of the things I think I do very well. You set yourself up so no matter what happens you win.
Andrew: I get that. So even if I say, “Nathan failed,” you can come back and say, “I did not fail. I produced the best interview that Andrew possible. The fact that Andrew doesn’t know how to promote anymore means that Andrew thinks he’s too big to promote this and it’s on Andrew.”
Nathan: I like you, so I wouldn’t attack you like that. I would attack the action or something. One of the things you have to have in life–this is something I think only I in terms of being a 26 year old that has this mindset–you have to be attacked. If people aren’t going to attack you on anything, it means you’re generic. So Michael Stelzner attacked me and I think I won that.
I go on Blab. They’re all talking to me at like 11:00 at night on Blab. I get texts like, “Stelzner and these people.” I’m like, “What the hell are they doing on Blab talking about me at 11:00 a.m.? I’m in bed trying to read. Why do they care about me so much?” I get on and Andrew, it’s the number one viewed Blab of all time. I say, “Shaan, you need to give me a cut here. I’m driving your growth,” the founder of Blab. He says no. Now Blab is like shutting down because Nathan Latka didn’t go on Blab anymore. I’m not going to take total credit for that.
Andrew: That is a classic Nathan Latka circa 2016 phrase right there. It’s the biggest Blab of all time and because they didn’t promote it, they went down. “I’m not going to say it’s because of me.”
Nathan: Some people are saying its’ because I stopped doing Blabs.
Andrew: That’s a line also from Donald Trump. Here’s the headline I’m going to use on this. “Nathan Latka Wants to be the Donald Trump of the Tech Startup World.”
Nathan: I think I’m a better Donald Trump than Donald Trump to be honest.
Andrew: I think something like that. Donald Trump’s name is hot right now and I should take a little bit of that energy.
Nathan: I honestly don’t think that would do very well because it’s too over-used. I don’t know. First of all, I’ve given you a lot of ammo to work with. There are some interviews where you’re falling asleep halfway through. People listening, comment below and tell us what you think Andrew should change the headline to.
Andrew: I’d like to see it.
Nathan: You have a very–what are you on, 1,300, 1,400 episodes?
Andrew: Somewhere in there, yes.
Nathan: Watching you and remembering what you told me your goal is with Mixergy–by the way, is it still your goal to do that?
Andrew: What are you. . .? My goal with Mixergy is to leave a legacy of–
Nathan: Carnegie’s inspiration.
Andrew: Sorry? More than inspiration, I want real tactical information, which is why I like that you’re being open here about how you use open-ended statements–actually, I don’t know that I’d call them open-ended statements, but I like your process here.
Nathan: Open-ended is fair. Even in chess when you’re playing chess and you’re going to say, “If you make that move, I’m about to move my king here,” and you’re not going to do that, but it forces them to move. This happens all the time. The problem is people that get mad at me, honestly they’re frustrated that they can’t connect to things in their mind to execute how I’m executing.
Andrew: I think part of it is a little bit of jealously. I think part of it–Michael from Social Media Examiner could have been a friend of yours and an ally in your battle against the founder of Success Magazine and something else because you know him. You know him. The Success Magazine people, you don’t know them that well. They’re feeling like, “Why is Nathan attacking friends? Why is Nathan being rude to friends instead of working with friends?”
Nathan: I have nothing personal against Michael Stelzner. But I didn’t like how Social Media Examiner operated. When many people emailed and said, “You should put Nathan on stage,” their reply was, “Nathan hasn’t written a book.” I know many people he’s put on stage that have paid a quarter-million dollars to buy a bestselling book and their information is shit. I go to the conference and I’m going, “Are you kidding me? This is unbelievable.”
So I lost respect for Michael. By the way, I have to now link him to this because I’ve mentioned him so many times, so he’s going to have to listen to this. But I think he puts people on stage because of a system that he’s set up that is wrong. It’s hurting his audience. In my opinion, he’s hurting his audience. He posted the other day on Facebook, “Our email list is getting less opens.” I’m going, “I wonder why, Michael. It’s because you’re selling tickets the whole time. You must not be selling tickets like you used to be.”
So people can like me or not like me. The point is I believed–that soapbox I was standing on and that “battle” was that list size is not important. What’s important is how much do you know about the people on your list.
So, while he puts at the top of every Social Media Examiner email–you see this–now at 423,000 subscribers. You know what I’m talking about?
Andrew: I haven’t seen his email list at all. I should subscribe just to see what he’s up to.
Nathan: At the top of every email. But I bet you he couldn’t name the children of ten moms on his list. I know my list like the back of my hand because they fill out surveys. That was the thing I was trying to teach in that moment.
Andrew: All right. You’re putting on one of the best shows in tech right now. I really like following you on Facebook. I know you’re on Snapchat and all these other platforms too, but Facebook for me has been my favorite, partially because of the live videos you put out.
If anyone wants to–actually, many people who are listening are already subscribers of your podcast, partially because you’re on your podcast feed and also because people have been following you from Mixergy to your podcast, but if they’re not, they should just go to whatever podcast app they like and go subscribe to the Top Entrepreneurs Podcast. Of course, if they’re listening to me and they want to check out more Mixergy, they should look for Mixergy. It’s a little bit harder to spell Mixergy than the Top Entrepreneurs Podcast.
Nathan: I want to ask you something. Why did you just promote your show instead of asking me a question to say amazing things about it?
Andrew: Interesting. I didn’t even think to do that. I was trying to–
Nathan: You know I would.
Andrew: You actually were listening to Mixergy back when you were building your company kind of like I said in the intro many people do. What did you get out of listening to Mixergy all those years?
Nathan: The only reason I put my phone number out online because my first big break was you doing that to me. I got a phone call with you. Then I started listening to every episode. I even subscribed to Mixergy Premium. Then you had me on and I taught a course. The episode where you had me on did very well in 2011. I think it was ranked in the top ten or top hundred or something.
I’ll be honest with you, I don’t have time to watch every episode, but you can look at the episodes and pick out and learn from pieces. Andrew, I have to go back to that question I was asking. That, I think, is one of my number one skill sets. I do it on webinars. If I know someone is a big supporter of me and I’m with them, the last thing I want to do is promote myself when I could tee up a question where I know it’s going to be a positive response.
Andrew: I used to do that and I find that entrepreneurs tend to be stubborn that way, that if they know you’re teeing something up like that, they will battle against it sometimes just to battle against it. I’ll give you a great example. David Heinemeier Hansson, the cofounder of Basecamp and the creator of Ruby on Rails, I think, I said something like, “What does ambition mean to you?” and just to be provocative, he knew I started the interview by saying this home of the ambitious upstart, he said, “I don’t believe in ambition.”
I could see a smile on his face as he was doing it. Anyone can go back and listen to that interview. He was fantastic. I remember saying from that that entrepreneurs just don’t like to go along with anything that someone else does with them, that anything someone else is leading them towards. They want to feel like they’re leading.
Nathan: Then lead them the other way and let them take control. My question to him if I knew that was his personally would have been–what was his name?
Andrew: David, DHH.
Nathan: “David, you are busy as hell, you barely have time to do this interview. I know you probably never listened to a Mixergy interview before. So, why did you come on and do the show?” He’s going to be like, “You’re right. I don’t have time for this stuff, but I had a lot of fun.” If you think he likes to take control, say something the opposite of what he believes so he can take control.
If it’s someone like me who you think is a big fan, I think you just tee it up. But listen, I get you. I’m picking on you, but I just think you’ve built something so amazing and I’ve seen you continue growing it and I’m learning from you. I want to make sure people understand what they’re getting.
Andrew: I appreciate you saying that I’m glad that people will be subscribing to Mixergy. I hope I get to see them at the Leadpages conference which is called Conversion 2016. Come see me. Get your ticket at Leadpages.net/Mixergy.
And if you do take Nathan’s idea for a new business, please, like so many other people who have started businesses on HostGator, email me. Email me and show me what you’ve built on HostGator. Here’s the URL and my email address so you can email me what you built. The URL is HostGator.com/Mixergy, HostGator.com/Mixergy. You get 50% off, the best deal they’re offering anywhere, plus the $100 AdWords offer, great deal. When you do create your site, email me. Here’s the URL, Andrew@Mixergy.com. That’s the email address.
Thank you, Nathan.
Nathan: Thanks for having me, Andrew.
Andrew: All right. I’ll see you on all kinds of social media.
Nathan: I’ll hang out in the comments for a little bit so I can chat with people after this, all right?
Andrew: All right. Cool.