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Finding Resilience & Possibility with Guy Raz

Lesson 87 from: The Chase Jarvis LIVE Show

Chase Jarvis

Finding Resilience & Possibility with Guy Raz

Lesson 87 from: The Chase Jarvis LIVE Show

Chase Jarvis

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87. Finding Resilience & Possibility with Guy Raz


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Lesson Info

Finding Resilience & Possibility with Guy Raz

Hey, everybody, What's up? It's Chase. Welcome to another episode of the Chase Service Live show here on creative life. You all know the show this where I sit down with amazing humans and I do everything I can to unpack their brains with the goal of helping you live your dreams in career in hobby and in life. And today's episode is a whopper. It was recorded, not live a short time ago, and that's why I'm recording this little intro. And my guest for this show is the inimitable, the one and Onley Mr Guy Roz. Now Guy Raz is the creator and host of the popular podcast How I Built This, which I listened to virtually every episode. Um, he's done a couple of other things, but that is his main gig. He's done some stuff in Spotify. He's also the co creator of the acclaimed podcast The Ted Radio Hour, which you probably know about, and a couple of Children's programs, one called Wow in the World, which is also amazing if you have kids. He has received the Edward R. Murrow Journalism Award, the ...

Daniel Shore Journalism Prize, the National Headliner Award, the N A BJ Award, among many others. All those were like the top prizes in journalism, and he lives in the Bay Area. The reason we're talking today because he's got a new book, it is incredible. Um, it's media around how I built this, the expected path to success from the world's most inspiring entrepreneurs. Sounds familiar, right? It sounds a little bit like this show. Of course. Guy Raz is a legendary interviewer, but what he has done is interviewed, I think, people and taking the most compelling stories of entre preneurs ship of how to become your best of what worked and what didn't, um, trials, tribulations, failures and successes of so many of the companies that we respect. Admire, appreciate. And there are a ton of learnings baked into those pages. So, um, of course, we cover all kinds of other ground. That is not the book. So I know that you will get a ton of value and I just probably should get out of the way and introduce again the one and only guy Raz Let's take it away. We love you. All right, we've got guy Raz in the house, guy. Thanks for being on this show. Thank you for having me. Um, you are no spring chicken when it comes to making podcasts. I was just checking out, of course, how I built this, which has, uh, 26,000 some odd reviews and we were talking right before we were old live about This could be a blessing and a curse because you are so popular that so many people are taking a look at your stuff. Is that have anything to do with you putting out a book? You wanted to try a new medium because you've mastered audio. Congrats on the new book, By the way. What tell us a little bit about it? Well, I mean, the book is really designed thio to sort of Look, I have access to all these incredible entrepreneurs, and I have access to them because, you know, we have a large audience on our show, and and I I always think of the show as an opportunity for our listeners to be able to get into the minds of these incredible people, whether it's Howard Schultz or Richard Branson or Sara Blakely, you know, And because I've had this opportunity to sit down with more than 300 of these world changing entrepreneurs, Um, and really kind of interrogate their minds and their stories. Um, I wanted to, you know, to make this available to anybody. Because, really, um, the book is designed for people who are thinking about starting something or are starting something or just want to be inspired by the stories of people who did. And, you know, I've read lots of business books over the course of my life, and many of them are excellent. But I wasn't looking to write a book about theory, you know, in an abstract way. I was looking to write a really practical book about what it means thio start an enterprise or have an idea and toe run with it. But I wanted to tell it through stories because I think stories, um, stories are so relatable. And through those stories, um, we can gain an incredible amount of wisdom and knowledge and practical advice. Yeah, that's the journalist part of you. Probably right. The part that's, um, research stories. And in case anyone was wondering, Yes, he has received the Edward R. Murrow Award for journalism that Daniel Schorr journalism Prize, the National Headliner Award, the N A B G J award, among others. Um, so do you feel like this was a research project or was it a packaging expert? Um, endeavor, Because it's it's absolutely incredible. I'm holding up for those of you who are listening. You can't see this. I'm looking. My book has, like, 80 dog eared pages of the 300 so I don't know how I'm going to get through all this with you, but, um, is it was in a different package That was interesting to you. This is a little bit about your creative process, right? I think about you Is a journalist first and ah, person who has lived in my ears for years. Um and and so the book, the choice of a book, I think is interesting. And that's where my curiosity lies. Yeah. I mean, I think well, the process is pretty straightforward. You know, it's not that different from the process that I do for for the show. Um, we spent a lot of time thinking about who we want to bring on to. How I built this. Similarly, I spent a lot of time on who I wanted to profile in the book because I can't profile all 300 of the people I've interviewed. And I can't talk about every single part of everyone's story. Um, I do, ah, lot of research before I interview somebody. So whether it's, you know, um, you know Ron Sheikh, the founder of Panera or Nancy Twine, the founder of Rio Geo. Or, you know Jo Malone, the founder, Joel. I mean, anybody I interview. I spend anywhere from 10 hours and orm or sometimes reading about them, um, really doing a deep dive into their lives. And that was it was a similar process of the book. You know, some of the information comes from, of course, interviews that I have done that appeared on the show. My interviews on the show are about an hour, but I actually interviewed people for much, much longer than that. So a lot of that ends up on the cutting room floor, and there's a lot of wisdom and insight that comes from cutting room floor in addition to, um, in just in addition to connecting the dots to. So you know, for me, the process was, um, as I say very similar to what? To the way I do the show, you know, which is really thinking intentionally about ah person about their story and about where their story fits in the continuum that I'm trying thio sort of trace that continue of of a journey Because the book is really designed as a journey from, you know, the very, very beginning when you have the inkling of an idea all the way to you know whether you decide to exit or you decide to continue running it. Um, the book is designed to answer all the questions in between. Well, of the people that you've named so far, um, or the people that have blurred your book. Adam Grant, Angela Duckworth's Mark Cuban Joe Jebbie, a Reed Hoffman, Richard Branson All of those people are either, uh, dear friends of mine in or creativelive on the Creative Live and have been on this show or investors in Creative Live. So there, in case anyone's out there out there is wondering there's an insane crossover with the work that, um, that guy has done and specifically packaged in this book, and I want to spend more time talking about the book and the journey that you talked about. I think it's beautifully laid out and in three parts. But before we do in the for the for the one out of 100 people who may be new to you or your work, I want to go way back before the book and before your journalism career and go back as a child. And I was hoping to hear, hear a little bit about, um, what drove you in the direction that you ultimately chose to pursue? Was it some sort of innate curiosity where you kept for something? Would you would you expressly passionate about research? Um, storytelling give us a little bit of insight on Guy the kid. You know, I grew up in a, um, in a home where we were very engaged. We talked about the news, you know, from from a very early age, I can remember. I mean, my mom and dad got Time magazine and Newsweek. We got the L. A times delivered to our house every day. We watched 60 minutes as a family. We were always talking about the news. Um, and there was my parents. Didn't hide the news from you know, the eighties were full of stories of terrorism and hijackings and, you know, the space shuttle Challenger explosion, disaster. I mean, the current events and discussions about current events were really big in my home when I grew up. Um, my mom and dad were entrepreneurs. They started a small business selling jewelry when my dad was in his early forties. So he pearls, is that right? Girl? He left a safe, comfortable job to start to take a risk. And thio start this small business. Um and, you know, as I got older, um, you know, uh, you know, middle school In high school, I fell into the newspaper I loved. I loved being a reporter. I loved the opportunity to go and talk to anybody, You know, whether it was the principal of the school or a student, or cover an event and And what was nice about it? What I really discovered was that for me, once you put a note pad in my hand, it was like it was like a hall pass to to a different world. Because I'm actually naturally shy. I am naturally introverted. I really do need to spend time alone, and I'm not. I don't easily just meet people and introduce myself. I've never been that way. But when I had a note pet in my hand, I could talk to anybody and it was sort of this. It was a way for me to kind of be a version of the person I wanted to be, which was the person that would go up to people and say Hi, I'm guy tell me a little bit about yourself, Um, without feeling awkward, and that was really that was really the beginning of it. I mean, I I I was the editor of my high school paper. I went to college, I did the paper, I wanted to be a journalist and I wanted to tell human stories. I wanted to. I wanted to go overseas, which I eventually did. I wanted to do those things because for me it was like a form of it was like a form of therapy. You know, I was able to to have the courage to talk to people simply because I had the note pad in my hand, curious to hear how that courage evolved from the reporter in a sense, behind the scenes or behind a byline to someone who's now a popular culture icon. I mean, you're hosting Ted. Um, you've got, you know, one of the top podcasts in the world you've been on the tonight show. I mean, this is a little bit of a leap here. We're not necessarily following the linear arc, but is that something you've gotten used to over time, or is it still a part of the business or the the job that, um, paying you How does, uh, not guy runs the kid, But how are you reconcile ing those to the shyness? With, um, now, being out in front of so many people? You know, I've learned to kind of rise to the occasion as as I become more and more well known. Um, I'm still, you know, lucky enough that the vast majority of people who listen to my show or my shows don't know what I look like. They don't take the time to look. So, um, it's it's not often when I'm out on the streets and somebody recognizes me, it does happen. Um, you know it it, uh, it happens more more often than I. You know it surprises me every time it happens, but it probably happens, you know, in pre cova days, probably once a week. Um, but the thing is, is that everybody who does recognize me or does connect with me in somehow in some way they feel like they know me because the medium of audio, it's so intimate, You know, you're in somebody's head and usually they're doing something for them. They're running, exercising. Maybe they're driving or they're commuting. Um, but But most of the time when people listen to me there by themselves, and so we have this one on one relationship it you know, there might be millions of people listening, but it really is a one on one relationship. And so when I meet people who recognize me or who want to connect with me or, you know, when I m in a public event and you know people want take photos, it's not. Actually, it's for me. It's, um it's wonderful. And it's not awkward for the people who meet me because, as I say, the person I am on this show is who I am. Obviously, it is the best version of me, right I am the best version edited on the show. Um, and sometimes I'm in traffic and I'm honking. You know, I'm also I can also get, you know, irritable. But you know, generally like that that that person who I am on the show is who I always try to be, Um, you know, and try to live. And so I feel like people are feel comfortable when when they meet me. Um, and I I've gotten I've gotten much better at just kind of accepting that and understanding that people, because they have that connection to me through the show. They want to talk, they want to interact and engage. And and I really appreciate it. It is really meaningful, you know? And as an introvert and natural introvert, sometimes it can be hard because it does require a lot of energy, um, to be there for everybody who needs me to be there for them or who just wants toe engage in some way. But, um but I've But over time it's gotten it's gotten, you know, it za joyful thing. I mean, it's a it's a I feel very fortunate to be able thio meet people in tow have that kind of impact on people. So So, yeah, it's it is what it is. It comes with the territory. Well, that's part of the reason I asked the question. The audience who listen to this show watch our show. Um, they are creators and entrepreneurs, and I always find it fascinating the meta aspect of writing a book about entrepreneurialism or entrepreneurship when you're building something and you are building something in the process of writing about the process of building things. And if you layer a third layer of meta in there, it's now people are listening People who are aspiring to create the living in life that they want for themselves through, um, their own creativity through building businesses that they get to tap in for a moment to someone like you who have truly I mean, you talked about being a, uh, the high school paper, and here you are, you know, a lifetime later, continuing that passion. And so the question specifically is, Was this passion always obvious to you? We directed towards it. I recognize that you had the news around as a family. Um, but is this an area of passion? for you. And how do you What role do you think that that passion has played in your success? I think that the passion that I had evolved so the passion for writing and for being able to meet people really very quickly turned into a passion for listening. You know, listening is it's one of those things that I never thought about until later on in life when I, um when I started to interrogate what I do and how I do it and listening is actually in an active skill. Active listening is a skill. So listen well, is it's like it's like developing any skill. You know, it's we. Most of us are naturally good listeners. But if you can really begin toe, try and listen to somebody's story. What you discover is that most of time people have pretty amazing stories. And for me, you know, when I started out as a journalist in college and then after college, um, just trying to get any gig I could any of any writing gig, I was always just attracted to individual stories. One of the earliest stories I ever wrote was about it was actually the first professional story I ever wrote. It was for the Washington City paper of Free Weekly in Washington, D. C. I wrote it in 1998 and it was the story about an actor, a woman named Suzanne Rishard. I'll never forget her name, and she was an actor in a production of Pericles. She was born with a condition that that prevented her from growing taller than I think, you know, 33 ft or three and happy. She was in a wheelchair, Um, and but she was an actor and she was playing a prostitute in a version of Pericles, and it was a very radical role, you know, putting somebody like her into that role. And for me, it was an opportunity to tell her story. You know, her life story, because her life story was so interesting. And that's really what What's motivated me, you know, I was a foreign correspondent. I covered wars. Um, I was never motivated by the bang bang stuff, which I saw a lot of. I was not an adrenaline adrenaline junkie. I was not. I didn't live for worst. I had to cover them. I did, but I and I never lived for the day to day quotidian news cycle like today. This happened today. This happened today, tomorrow, that it was always about the feature stories about people. Um, that's really where I felt I could contribute to our listeners when I was a reporter. You know, I could contribute the way I could make a contribution to the world is if I told people stories that would enable other people hearing those stories to understand that person and their circumstances and maybe to have empathy for them. That really has driven the passion for what I do to this day, because I try to approach every interview I do with empathy in the hopes that the person who I'm interviewing will be generous in their openness and with the understanding that human lives are complicated. We are a complicated species. There is not a single human who has had a perfect life and who has lived a perfect life. And what I try to do on the show today is to offer up a 360 degree perspective of a person. Um, in order for our audience to understand that that person is not that different from them. And so it's It's like a full circle, you know that that idea of storytelling and building empathy have, really, you know, driven what I do. I don't think I would have defined it that way 10 or 20 years ago because I hadn't really thought it through. But I have come to understand that that's really what, what has what gets me out of bed in the morning? You know, it's what makes me excited about what I dio. I love that comment about listening, and it seems obvious, but still very important, but obvious. If you're if you have the note pad in your hand and you are a journalist, you're listening to you know the quote. You're trying to find the quote for the story, the centerpiece of the heartbeat. I'm curious what you've learned through listening and what you might, um, extract. And at the risk of being blunt, give advice of what you've learned around listening because I have a strange feeling that it's not just valuable to journalism. But it's valuable in life, and I'm wondering if you could give us some advice. You know I have. I'll say that I have learned from listening, and I continue to learn from listening. So and I learn, as I watch how others listen to, um, I interviewed a man named Eugene Peterson many, many years ago when I was the host of all things Considered and he was a Christian pastor. I am not religious. I'm not a believer, but I love talking to religious people, um, and find oftentimes, that there's a lot of wisdom that they can share. And I remember interviewing him and asking him about grief, because ministers are often grief counselors. And I said, What do you do? And I think I interviewed him after a very traumatic interviewed him after a very traumatic shooting. I believe it was the shooting in in in Colorado, in Aurora, and I asked him, I said, When When members of your community grief and they need you there, what do you say to them? What do you say to them when they when they're grieving and they're talking to you, what do you how do you respond? And he said, I sit with them in silence, sit with him in silence. I listen to them, but often I don't say anything back I just acknowledge what they're saying and that the power of listening and acknowledging without responding is enormous, you know, And I I've I don't do this consciously in interviews, but I do it in interviews because people want to be acknowledged. You know, I've had I think a lot of people in the United States have had the opportunity to have really powerful, difficult, intense conversations over the last many months around race and equity. And those convert some of those conversations. I've been able to have been so powerful and meaningful, and so much of that is because I've had an opportunity to listen, um, and to acknowledge the words that are coming out of somebody else's mouth, you know, which carry enormous meaning. And and that's really what I think, sort of. The first step in being an active listener is taking it in and really trying to understand and trying to acknowledge the meaning of the words that the person you're you're communicating with is using, Um, that's that's e mean that, for me is really one of the most powerful lessons that I have learned. Bond I hate to use were tools because I don't do it actively. But I think tools that I use as an interviewer, which is sometimes just just listening without responding. I I think of creativity is a capital C that so many. It's not just, you know, are certainly is a subset of creativity. But I think of what you do is wildly creative. And if your craft is listening, what I'm hearing you say is it's like a master class in how to, um, connect and how to be empathetic. And for those out there who both want to master any craft and specifically those people who want to master the craft of listening and connecting and empathizing, how have you gotten so good at this? Wow, I don't think that I I'm not saying this to be falsely modest. I don't think I have any inherent gifts. Her talents. I think there were a few things that happened in my career that gave me Cem tools like, Look, I was, ah, foreign correspondent. For six years, I covered stories in 50 countries. I was able to cover wars. I was able Thio really immerse myself in many different cultures. Um, I had to read a lot of books about the different countries from where I reported to begin to understand them. I met a lot of people. So there are a lot of cultural references that I've absorbed over time, which I feel very fortunate because I can kind of, you know, grab those those those, you know, sort of disparate bits of information in my mind and used them to connect with people. I had an interview once with, um, Rita or a She's a pop singer. I did a show with Spotify called The Rewind. I was basically I would interview pop singers and Rita Aura is a huge pop star from the United Kingdom, and she got on the interview and I started to talk to her about her. Her background. She is coast of our Albanian and I spent a lot of time in Kosovo, is a reporter. I know the country very well, I know and and she her parents took her out of Kosovo or 1998 and the 1st 10 minutes where she was just blow. Her mind was blown because as a pop singer, most of the interviews she does or with music journalists and It's very unlikely that those music journalists spent time in Kosovo are knew about the war, not not that they're uninformed, but that's just not what they would have done. That's not their area of expertise, and that really created a connection between us. And so I have that through experience. But really, the rest of it is like shooting free throws. You know, I have stood at the free throw line for 25 years, and for the first five years I didn't make a basket. They just kept hitting the rim or they were airballs. And then the second five years I start to make a few baskets, and now you know, you know, in year 23 of doing this, I think more of them. It really is it za practice, you know, and I try and get better at it every time I interview somebody and sometimes you know, I do interviews where I don't feel like I really was able to penetrate that person's soul. I wasn't able to do it. It just wasn't possible for me to do it. Um, and I and I try to reflect on it to figure out what happened Where did we miss? Where was that connection Missing? His connection is really important. I mean, Thio. And you can see this in like for, for example, Oprah Winfrey, who's a master interviewer. She knows how to connect with the people she's interviewing, and it's why they're they're often very deep conversations because she finds those points of connection. And, um and so all of the things I do are not. They're not gifts. Yes, I am good at what I do. But I'm good at what I do because I was really bad at what I do for a long time. This this is such a profound, simple and yet profound concept that is a threat throughout the show, the the best in the world across any endeavor. There's this. At first there's a passion and genuine curiosity joy for that thing. And then there's repetition and reflection and repetition and reflection. And so, for those listening at home, whether your passion is to be, uh, world class reporter host or, you know, painter, entrepreneur or anything like just I love that you validated this from yet another. You know, we haven't had many hosts on the host of other shows on our show. And, um, I just think that that is a fascinating thread that transcends any discipline and any time in history, the most curious, you know, energetic. And it takes energy to do this. You just talked about you stood at the free throw for you Didn't say five weeks or even 25 weeks. You said 25 years. 25 years. Uh, well, thanks for retracing a little bit of your passion in history. I wanna shift gears now and talk a little bit more directly about the book. Um, one of the things that I admired about your book is that it doesn't most business books or books that share stories of entrepreneurs are, um they just pull out the shiny bits. And I think there is that a connection of hook back to something you said just a few moments ago around. I like Thio. Do you think you said you like to tell the 360 degree story and a book that says, Take this perfect thing A and move it to perfect spot B, C and D. And then you have an excellent outcome and you know, my experience is like, Okay, you're entrepreneur. You have to cut off. Which one of your hands? Which one would you like? Thio Richard, which is sort of miserable. And so for those folks at home, how I built this this book that guy's shared with us, modeled after his show. Um, it really does a phenomenal job of of telling the 360 degree story, and yet I want to couch it in. I'm a I'm a big, um I like format and structure, and you structure the book in a very, you know, meaningful on specific way, as you mentioned earlier with an arc. So I'm wondering if you could orient us, um, pretending I'm here. You're holding the book. So I don't count, but Orient, the listener watcher who doesn't yet have the book in their hand. Um, why, you organized it that way, and then we could go a little bit deeper on a couple of the subjects, you know. Did you ever read any Joseph Campbell in yeah. Oh, yeah. And I reread it. I wrote a book in September and last year, and I referenced it many times because I was trying to emulate so many of the best parts of it and what I learned and failed, probably miserably. But it's an amazing, amazing right and and he inspired George Lucas to create Star Wars and basically right. The idea is he identified of a common narrative arc are Siris of archetypes in classic narratives, whether it's Gilgamesh or the Odyssey or the Bible. And while I don't know if Joseph Camp would roll over in his grave to know that my entrepreneurial show is inspired by him, um, I hope you wouldn't, um, it ISS it is because I think I see these stories as heroes. Journeys. Um, there are, you know, there moments where the the hero has to slay a dragon or almost gets defeated by the dragon, falls into an abyss and comes out, you know, and finds a mentor. And and all of those elements are are found in in stories of entrepreneurs and brands building building something with meaning. And I wanted to organize the book that way. That's why you know, I've got the three sort of sections. The call starts with a call because that's, you know, that that really comes from the idea that Joseph Campbell codified. You know, there's a call. Um, for some people, it's a calling. But there's a voice that says, You must do this, you know, this is the thing you were meant to do. Now go on your journey and the book is designed to be a journey. It's just told through, you know, hundreds of different entrepreneurs and their stories, um, but really designed to impart their wisdom and their experience through the different segments and chapters of the hero's journey. Uh, just to make a point of connection between us. My book is called creative calling and the calling that you reference in the beginning, and the call is, you know, as part of the reason I put that in the title of my book about the same thing. It's about this journey and a process, and I want to read a line from the opening, um, just to ground the folks who are listening and watching right now around how appropriate this is, because this I think it epitomizes the audience here. It says entrepreneurship isn't very natural. It defies many of our most human instincts. Our desire for security, our fear of crazy risks, our tendency to go with the flow and not make too many waves as much as we think of ourselves as unique individuals, we also like to fit in and be chosen by those who fit in and were chosen before us. And yet the entrepreneur, the creator, if you will, is there is a part of us that rebels that is unwilling to accept the status quo and I think is a niche quote. Another artist should never tolerate reality. And so I'm wondering, there clearly you're what part of you do you see in this entrepreneur? The journey that you wrote about? I am naturally risk averse, you know? It's why I mean, I grew up with my watching my mom and dad struggle to start a business, and eventually they did create a sustainable business. But it was a lot of work, and there's a lot of risks involved, and I was attracted to doing the precise office. It, which was to find, you know, stable employment. I did Then go become a war correspondent unintentionally. It just happened because I was overseas in the name of safety and security, right? But you know I've I've always been, you know, I'm sort of a hybrid between a risk taker and and being risk averse, but I wouldn't say that. Um, I would say that taking big risks comes easy to me. I had to learn that over time I had to learn how to take big risks and how to understand that with risks big and small, there is a huge potential for failure, you know, And it really for me, I mean, the biggest risks that that I've taken in my career and in my life and, you know, in in starting the show. And I've got, you know, production company. And I have another one where I make Children's programs. E All of these ventures are risky at, you know, at a certain level. But what I find is that, you know, um, we are we I mean, as I wrote in the book, like, we are sort of pretty naturally inclined to avoid risk. I mean, that's a survival tactic of our species, but at the same time, without risk, we don't grow. We don't we don't move forward. And I think it took me. It took me quite a while. to come to that realization. It probably really only happened to me in my, you know, my sort of mid thirties where I started to understand that if I wanted to do something that I cared about really, Um, with meaning that I could shape and design, um, I would have to start taking risks. Um, and and I do. But I will say that, you know, I tried to, like, I think many people mitigate those risks. You know, I wouldn't, um I wouldn't want to take a risk that would put my Children or my family in danger. You know, I wouldn't want to take a risk that would, um you know, that would, um you know, that that would result in in collapse, right? But at the same time, without taking risks, you're never going toe. You're never going to see him. It za cliche, but you're never going toe reap the rewards of that risk. One of the things that has been a thread in this show is the belief that the entrepreneur has to go all in or the cultural meme, if you will. And yet if you study it, you look and you know Richard Branson is very famous for this. He told this to my face. He's an investor in creative, live and spending mentor to me. He said, Mitigate the downside. And I'm wondering if you know that is a sort of a little nugget of wisdom that I think is uncommonly or maybe inaccurately believed, that all entrepreneurs Yeah, of course, you have to work hard and take risks. But the best ones, the ones that are successful in a serial fashion, they are constantly sort of mitigating the downside every time. Yeah, And if we use that as an example, I'm wondering, in your own words, what are some other really consistent themes that you saw and that you've put into the book across the hundreds of interviews you've done with many of the most successful and fulfilled entrepreneurs of our era? Well, one of them, as you pointed out, is the mitigation of risk. You know, we have this this this, um, myth of entrepreneurs is these comic Ozzy's who jump out of airplanes without parachutes. The reality is, um, the vast majority of people have had on the show mitigate those risks. They have Ah, Plan B. They have a fallback plan. It doesn't mean that that they are committed to their main idea or their goal, or it doesn't mean that they don't believe it's gonna work. It just means that they understand that there's a potential for not toe work and that it's probably a good idea to have a backup plan. So whether it's Seth Goldman who founded Honest Tea and left his safe, comfortable job in finance to start that company, I'm. He knew when he did that that if it failed, he could go back to the finance firm or Jim Cook, who was a consultant for Boston Consulting Group who started Sam Adams beer. He knew that if it failed, he could always go back in the consulting. So there was there were planned bees involved, and I think that that is a really important thing to remember. But I think when it comes to actually quality like a the a quality that every single one of these entrepreneurs has in common, it's actually really, really simple. I mean that, you know, because they're all I mean with varying degrees. They're all all the 300 entrepreneurs I've interviewed over over the past years are optimistic. They believe in their idea, their persistent, their relentless in pursuit of their goal. There really hard workers and and to varying degrees, those apply to most of them, right? Those air predictable The thing that I've actually noticed, um, across the board that every single entrepreneur has some of them have it. Naturally, most of them have developed. It is the ability to withstand rejection. So think about Sara Blakely, who founded Spanks. She spent the first three years of her career selling fax machines door to door um Topia Wattana Topa Wattana, who started a company called Calendar Lee. He spent his his you know, when he was a young man selling a d T monitoring systems door to door. Both of these entrepreneurs knocked on doors and had most of those doors slammed in their face. And most of the time, people said not interested. No soliciting get off my property. But that developed a resilience over time, the ability to understand that eventually you know someone is going to say yes and don't take those knows. Personally. I think we are all inclined to seek out validation, and yes is validation. But too much. Yes, is sometimes not, is often not helpful. We need to hear the knows we need to have. We need to have that pushback because it forces us to sharpen our pitch or sharpen our idea or make a stronger case or just keep moving on. And and I think that if you know, if you configure out away to expose yourself to rejection in a meaningful way, you can really learn how to become a successful entrepreneur. Many of the people who've been on how I built this for sales people, they went door to door. They had to deal with rejection after rejection. And by the way, it's a common trait among Mormons. Mormon. Many 18 year old Mormons go on a two year mission, and we've had several Mormon entrepreneurs on the show. David Neeleman of Jet Blue and, uh uh, David Smith of Cotopaxi and Joel Clark of Kodiak Cakes. They go on to your missions when they're 18. They're sent with no money. They gotta figure it out on their own. They've got toe use a bicycle to go all around rural Brazil, or, you know, Australia wherever they are. They got a knock on 1000 doors with the Book of Mormon trying to convince people to to join the flock. Okay, it's It's basically a form of entrepreneurship and 995 doors slamming their face, and they have to be polite and gracious and poised. And if you know Mormon, the chances. I mean, I don't hate to stereotype, but you know, that's part of the culture to be polite and gracious and poised, and they come back from those to your missions. Many of those young people, they're 20. They're better equipped to take on life than their counterparts, 20 year old counterparts who haven't done a mission or some kind of public service Have, you know, Peace Corps, something like that they are ready to take on the world. And in the case of Joel Clark, who founded Kodiak Cakes, he came back from his mission and he was like, I'll go door to door selling pancake mix. No problem, because he had already had two years of you know, most people saying no, not interested. But he knew that eventually enough people would say, Yeah, I am interested, and that and that's really what he was after. So I think rejection. The ability to withstand rejection is the absolute key that connects almost everybody I've ever had on how I built this fascinating insight. Fascinating. I want to dispel. I want toe. I want to dispel. I wanted to spell a handful of other myths and what I think are things that are harmful to the notion of creativity and entrepreneurship in our culture. And one of them, you know, we've already disposed of. Another is funding. And, uh, there's a point in the book where you talk to, um, Toby Lucky. And he's a dear friend as his counterpart ASIO Harley Finkelstein. And in his I think the words were something like, I just didn't you know. Anything that's built on that sort of business model was something I couldn't trust. And so what could you tell us to dispel the myth, the myth of requiring funding for becoming an entrepreneur? I mean, if you are trying to create the peloton bike, it's pretty hard to do it unless you're independently wealthy. And John Foley wasn't he knew he could not manufacturer at scale or even a prototype of that very expensive piece of machinery without some funding, but he still went to 400 people before he got enough seed money to start that company. Now, the reality is, most of the time you can start a business. Um, you know, relative in a relatively small, simple way and use the cash flow too slowly and gradually build it up. But as you know, Chase, I mean, especially in Silicon Valley and founders coming out of business schools, they want to scale quickly, and they look for funding quickly. I think that the myth about funding is that it's is that some people have unlimited access to it, and and some people have no access to it. And that is partially true, right? In the sense that there are some people who, you know, if you go toe Harvard Business School, you have a network of people you can tap into. Um, but if you're Toby, lead Kiev Shopify. He didn't have ah network that he could tap into. It. Started with his girlfriend, his then girlfriend, now wife, start with her parents asking them toe, blend them a little bit of money. They didn't have a whole lot, but they lend him a little bit of money. And then he was in Ottawa and they happened to know some people in Ottawa on the asked them to introduce him to them. In the case of, you know, off of many, many entrepreneurs have been on the show. They sort of start with the people they know. It's like, Do I know this person from my church or from my community or Hey, I have this I know. Ah, friend of a friend's. You know, Uncle works at this company or is has access to a little bit of money, and they kind of gradually, um, sort of, um ah can sort of work out. Um, begin. I sort of the concept that uses a concentric circles. They begin with the circles closest to them, and then they widen that circle out until they are able thio amass a little bit of capital. And look, I'm talking about I'm not talking about millions of dollars. I mean, obviously depends on what you want to start, but, um, you know, there are many, many businesses that most businesses, in fact, small businesses, um, and and endeavors and enterprises are started with very little capital um, and kind of figure it out from there. And some of the most successful companies today are pretty much wholly owned by the founders because they couldn't find funding. I mean, swell bottles. Sarah Kaus started that company. She could not get funding for her business. There was no interest. Well, I mean, what a what? A blessing in disguise, because she owns 100% of that company, and it's a hugely successful company. So, um, you know, I'm not one of these people who say, Don't go out and seek funding under any circumstances. But I am somebody who says, Do everything you can to try and make it work as long as you can with what you have. I mean, top Wattana of Callin. Lee was a salesman for software companies, and he sold and sold and sold and just just stashed his cash until the time came for him to develop a wire frame for callin DLLee. And he had $50,000 that he saved over 10 years. And he used that tip, take the plunge, and and to put out this product, Bootstrap as you regulate, that's the term. And if Cuban, we're here sitting with us. You know, he blurred your books about on this show, friend. He would say that's the first failure in your business. Or maybe not the first, but a failure if you're if you if you create a business that has to be funded by someone else now, Thank you, wise. You point out, guy that you're you know, you're going to produce 3000, uh, digitally connected electric Elektronik bikes like a peloton. You're not doing that out of your savings account? Probably. But I just think it's interesting that, you know, I get so many petitions from entrepreneurs and I'm wondering if this was a common thread in your interviews This this automatically ran to funding. Now let's take Silicon Valley out of it because that is a business model. She hypergrowth model. You know, if if you're talking to Reed Hoffman, he'd be talking about but scaling and, you know, read and Greylock on Investor in Creative Live. I know all about that. No, no, that but I think it's really important to underscore a point you just said that may have slipped by, which is most businesses don't Most businesses, you know, it's Silicon Valley. Um, you know, it had its hey day. It had its time in the sun. But even all of those moments or times or those companies, that was a very specific. That's a business model in itself. And so I'm wondering if you could articulate having talked to so many people, you know what their experiences were, or rather what your experience of learning from them about how you know whether you have to be based in a hot spot or not. So I don't believe so. It all. I mean, I think that and increasingly, there are a lot of institutional and family investors and foundations in cities all over the country. You know, if you go to ST Louis or Chicago, there are, I mean, you know, uh, Gordon Siegel, the founder of Crate and Barrel. I mean, he's in Chicago. He's constantly looking for Chicago based entrepreneurs to invest in. Jack Dorsey does invest in in ST Louis based entrepreneurs. There are a lot of, um, you don't have to be in New York or San Francisco anymore. There's no question about it. But the other side to it is that it obviously depends on the business and the product that you want to create. Some products just require a lot of upfront capital, which is in part why on how I built this, I really tend to focus on consumer products that that my hope is that our listeners can realistically think, you know, I could I could do that. I could make something like that, like, That's why we do a lot of food. You think about Stacy's pita chips, right? This was Stacy Madison and her boyfriend had a Peter Rollup cart. They bought a used hot dog cart in Boston, and they made rollup pita sandwiches on Boston Common in near Downtown Crossing in downtown Boston. And they served a lunchtime crowd, and at the end of the day, they had stack Sapyta left, and they used to throw away in one day. They were like she was like, Let's just Toasties and cut him up with toast him make like chips, and they started handing them out to people who would wait for the sandwiches for free. They sprinkled cinnamon sugar on um, or Parmesan, and and soon people were coming and saying, Hey, can I buy these few chips? and they were like, all right. I guess so. And they start putting them in baggies with twist ties and selling them for a dollar. And then eventually people started coming just for the chips. They don't want the pita sandwiches. Well, that company sold toe Pepsico for $250 million. I mean, she made pita chips, you know, there was no, And there were no investors. There was no there was no pitch deck. You know, um, Kathleen, king of Tait's cookies. I mean, she baked cookies really great cookies. That company was bought by models for half a billion dollars. Um, you know, two years ago, um, Angie's boom chicka pop sold for $220 million to Cargill. I mean, they made kettle corn in their backyard in Minnesota and sold it on cold days, and then eventually start to sell it in the parking lot of Minnesota Vikings games. Just set up a little tent, you know? I mean, I love those stories because those feel very riel and very within the realm of possibility. Not everybody is eyes able to make stripe. You know, the Collison brothers are geniuses, certifiably like one. They're Irish kids, and at age 16 1 went to Harvard and the other one went to MIT. And then they coded and programs stripe when they were like 20. You know, not everybody could do that. And we did that story in the show, and it's a great story. But, um, I tend to focus on products and companies that seem within the realm of possibility and also that don't require the VC pitch and the agony of trying to convince, you know, investors why this is worth their time. Um, because I feel like that is those air stories that people can relate to in a much more intimate and meaningful way to that same point as I mentioned earlier, how I hate reading books that paint this rosy picture. If you start with perfect thing A and then you, you know, take thes perfect steps and you end up with you know, one of my favorite books for entrepreneurs is the hard thing about hard things. But Horowitz, because as this founder of a venture back, you know, CEO of a venture backed company and founder, like none of the stuff that was happening to me, was in any of these books. And I'm like, how to fire your co founder or how to, like, get rid of an investor or how to tell your company you're running out of money. Those air The titles of chapters in his book and I I love that you've done such a great job of how in how I built this of sharing that 360 degree point of view and in service of that again, I'm looking for some common threads here. What? We're some common horror stories that you heard from many of these folks. I mean, um, there's always the, you know, the challenge of co founders, right? Andi. And there are examples of co founders who do fall out of love who have to figure out how Thio Ah, you know how to separate, Um, and you know, a classic example of this story of bonobos, um, Andy Dunne and Brian Staley's co founder really was Brian's idea. Um, but ultimately, these two co founders had to decide which one was going to stay. Onda really toured the company apart. I mean, almost almost torn apart, and eventually Brian left and Andy continue to run the company. Um, and I think that is that something that has happened that happens quite a bit. You know, we've also had some really interesting and important, I think, intimate conversations with I've had with Founders, where they did survive that crucible. And they survived it by being very intentional about it. And by looking for help. The founders co founders have read it. Even even Adam Lowering Eric Ryan, who started method, you know, they had. They had a lot of challenges that they had to work through, and they talked, talked about it. They were, um, co founders who divorced. Um, you know, Susan Griffin Black and and her husband, Brad, were married, started Yo products. The company makes these wonderful natural home remedies and essential oils and soaps. And they divorced. They had their marriage collapsed and they decided to continue to be business partners and run that company today. Their best of friends. I mean, it's a remarkable story, Um, but certainly was, you know, incredibly difficult at the time. Um Thio kind of navigate and to to figure out. But look, the reality is every business is going to have some kind of horror story. At some point there's gonna be a moment or many moments where they will fall into a crisis or a crucible, and it can happen tomorrow. I mean, you know, you think about a company like Airbnb. Airbnb at the beginning of this year was valued at $44 billion. All of a sudden Covad hits in a two week period. Their business drops 80%. 80%. I mean, they had to fire a quarter of their workforce. Um, I talked to Brian Chesky about this recently. The most recent episode of the podcast. Yeah, and that's that is and and, you know, you could just hear the pain in his voice. You know, this is a company that he and two friends started an apartment in San Francisco, and he's got a let go of a quarter of people. He knows it's the hardest thing that he's had to do in his professional life, and and you would think that they're on top of the world. So, you know, crisis is inevitable. It is going to happen. Um, and the key is is is which is how businesses and how these leaders respond and deal with them, you know. And Brian Chesky is case. I would recommend everybody read the open letter he wrote to his employees because it is one of the most transparent and and empathetic and just, um, bighearted letters I've ever seen a CEO right to their employees. Um, it's it's very, very riel, and I I would hope, but I think that that the people who who unfortunately, had had to be like, oh, who read that letter probably really appreciated it. Yeah, but that thread, I think you nailed it and saying It's not if it's when, you know at every for every business. And that's part of what I'm hoping to remind people who see entrepreneurship as this shiny thing that is very popular and sexy. And, you know, pop cultures, um, glorified it in many ways. And I want to thank you as an entrepreneur and a creator myself for telling the 360 degree story. And and that's part of what I found so fascinating and beautiful about the book. I mean tohave chapters titled The Art of the Pivot When catastrophe strikes. Um uh, you already mentioned The Crucible. That's somewhere in here. I remember what what chapter that one was. But, um, I think there's there's so much reality and empathy in your willingness to put that in a book. Um, did was that apart That was hard for entrepreneurs to share with you. Did you observe that, or did you find that that was a You know, you shared some personal qualities. You know, some of this is about companies, right? I'm trying to connect the emotion and the actual the attributes of the human versus the company. It's hard for a company to do X, y or Z, or companies will have hard things happen. But I want to just peel that layer one back and say, All right, what about the humans? You mentioned resilience early on. Anything else in dealing with these catastrophes. And if the company is experiencing that, what about the individual humans? What was the attributes and what were some of the What did you observe? Was that empathy, connection, resilience, All these things, some of them, none of them help me understand? Yeah. I mean, it's it's all of those things, and and it's, you know, I you know, I look to tease out those moments of of of their lives when they're lying on the bathroom floor crying in the fetal position. Right, because that's when somebody is that they're most raw and, um, most vulnerable. And, you know, we had I had a wonderful episode of the show about Eventbrite Eventbrite with Julia Heart. She's a co founded with her husband and is the CEO of the company, and it was doing really well. They went public. They had some challenges with their AIPO, but, you know, contracted to to do okay and then covert hits. Well, their whole business model is live events, you know. She came back on the show on Do join me for an update and was just was very, very honest about the challenges they're facing and about how they're trying to navigate this very challenging landscape. You know, they've got she has employees. She has a responsibility to those employees. She has, um, a responsibility to keep her business afloat, and that's really weighing on her. But I think that what what I have found is that, like in the case of Julia Hartz, Andi, other leaders who face riel crises Jeni Britton Bauer of Jeni's ice cream when listeria was founded in their ice cream was found in their ice cream. You know, eight years ago they had toe recall all of their ice cream. They're losing $200,000 a day, which was a lot of money for that company on it would still be today. The key is transparency and a new openness and really asking questions and seeking out feedback and advice from the people around you. I mean, you know, a lot of the founders air lucky to have partners in their lives or business partners who they can lean on to, which which is sometimes crucial, oftentimes crucial. Um, but I think on an individual level, when you know when it's if it's Jenny in the ice cream or if it's Julia and you know Eventbrite or Brian and and you know, Airbnb and layoffs, the key really is transparency. Its's really one of the most. I think one of the most effective ways that I've seen leaders deal with crises to just to just lay it out there and just say this is hard. I don't I don't know. I don't have all the answers, but I'm I'm trying toe work to get answers, and I need your help. Um, and that, to me, is also the mark of a really a really good leader. When you have interviewed 300 people for this project. At some point, maybe in the two hundreds, you start saying Okay, I think I've heard most of the stuff because there's a lot of there's so much individuality and nuance between the companies and the products and the funding and all those things. But there there's probably some things that surprised you between companies 202 99. I'm wondering, and all of your research, what surprised you the most about creators and the entrepreneurs in your stories. I'm surprised. I'm surprised every in every interview, at some point about something about some decision that was taken or some. I mean, I know a lot about the person. I've done a lot of research, but, um, I always learn, ah, lot of new things in every interview. I do, and I try to design it that way. I try to trigger memories and people, and I think the most sort of surprising things that you know that happen in businesses and enterprises and coming up with ideas Is this kind of the serendipitous things that happen? You know, the, um just the small shifts that happen that actually have enormous transformational impacts. You know, the the store. I mean, the example is Airbnb. I mean, they they weren't getting any traction in 2000 and nine. You know, um, and one of their one of their advisers said a mentor said, You're the photos on the site. Suck. Why don't you go to New York and, like, help? Like people who are booking out there. Places take better photos. And it was that small pivot that's small, tiny, you know, nudge. There's a book called Nudges From Small, Tiny Shift that really transform the business. It was photographs or Instagram, you know, it was like they had this Kevin Systrom had had this check and and and my Krieger had a check in app called bourbon and and it really wasn't getting any traction. And on vacation, Kevin's girlfriend now wife, you know, said, I really wish there was, like, an app like a really great app like that can help me take better photos because my photos suck, and that was like a a light bulb moment is like, Wow, that's the thing because they had a photograph. They had a, ah, photo sharing, um, feature on bourbon. But then he realized, Well, what if we could make everybody into a great photographer? You know, obviously, Trans transform bourbon completely changed that business. And so, to me, those are the most surprising things that oftentimes it's serendipity. It's, you know, and serendipity isn't just a Siris of random acts, its's when your eyes are open and you're actually looking around and interrogating what you dio that those serendipitous moments of feedback and insight come to you. Brilliant guy. We're just about a time, and I wanted toe say thank you so much for being on this show and congratulate you not just on your all of your audio endeavors, which are, um, the best out there and you're a master, and it's fun to watch and listen to anyone who's mastered anything. But specifically, you have mastered storytelling and helping others do that, and by extension, the book, it's just masterful, um, your curation of the guests, and as an entrepreneur and a creator myself, I've just found myself nodding and yes, ing and underlining and dog earing pages the whole time. So, um, for anyone out there in our community, if you consider yourself a creative entrepreneur, it's a must must have. And, um, I would love to Before we let you go get a little coordinates on Where's the best place where where you would like to final this community's attention? Of course the book available your local bookshops or Amazon. I think it comes at the 15th of September. Is that right? Maybe you could just guide us. Yep. Comes out the 15th of September. And if you pre order it or if you order it before the 30th, we have signed book plates for free a while. Supplies last, as they say, and you can sign up for ah, free book plate that goes into the book at my website, which is Guy Raz com g u y our a z dot com Amazing. Thank you so much. Been a pleasure having you on the show. And we look forward to having you back again at some point. And until then, everybody out there in the world please go, uh, pay a lot of attention to guy and all his recent work. And in the meantime, I bid you at you. Uh huh.

Ratings and Reviews

Dream Focus Studio

By far the best classes on Creative Live!! Thanks Chase Jarvis for bringing so much greatness to the table for discussion! Just LOVE it!

René Vidal

@ChaseJarvis - love chat with Gabby about hope and the "relentless optimism" you share at the end of Creative Calling. Many thanks. -- René Vidal McKendree Tennis


Excellent interview with thoughtful questions. Thanks!!

Student Work