Doers 018 – Ryan Smith & Zach Silverman on Launching a Cannabis Software Company, Hiring, and Fundraising Venture Capital

Zach Silverman and Ryan Smith are the cofounders of LeafLink, a software platform connecting cannabis dispensaries to vendors across the United States. They just raised $3MM to grow the company in new markets and expand their team. Both Zach and Ryan have multiple startups under their belts. They join me to discuss what it is like to be working in this…budding…new industry, what their clients are like (spoiler: mostly just businesspeople and people who want to do good through their work), misconceptions of working with this industry, and what it is like to raise money from institutional investors.

All episodes of Doers are produced by Lacey Peace.

Doers 018 – Ryan Smith & Zach Silverman on Launching a Cannabis Software Company, Hiring, and Fundraising Venture Capital

Doers 017 – How Josh Fischer Went from 7 Cold Calls to 5000 in a Year & How to Master Sales Calls and Your Fate

Joshua Fischer (from episode 015.5) joins me again to discuss how he became an intrepreneur and went from 7 cold calls in a year to being on track to make over 5000. We discuss the Sandler Sales System, tips and tricks for doing a call, the framework Josh uses, and how mastering cold calls will help you master your fate.

Books recommended:

Prospect the Sandler Way (Josh)
You Can’t Teach a Kid to Ride a Bike at a Seminar (Zak)

All episodes of Doers are produced by Lacey Peace.

Doers 017 – How Josh Fischer Went from 7 Cold Calls to 5000 in a Year & How to Master Sales Calls and Your Fate

Announcing the 2018 Slayback Grant for Young Entrepreneurs

SLAYBACK GRANT LOGO

I’m a big believer in putting money where my mouth is and putting my skin in the game. It’s one thing to talk about the importance (and decline) of entrepreneurship among young people. It’s another thing to actually tangibly support entrepreneurship among young people. It’s one thing to talk about how it is economic opportunity (and the entrepreneurs behind it) that transforms communities and lifts people out of poverty — not central planners and bureaucrats. It’s another to actually tangibly support the creation of new economic opportunity (also why I think venture capital is noble).

So today I am putting my money where my mouth is.

I will be awarding $2,000 to young entrepreneurs in Spring 2018. The awards will be split into 1 $1,000 grant and 2 $500 grants and will be awarded to young people ages 16-22 who have viable businesses that have achieved at least proof-of-concept and with which they want to work full-time (they need not currently work full-time on the businesses). When possible, I will be available to offer connections, resources, and guidance to grantees.

The application can be found here(Applications submitted directly via email will not be considered!)

Announcing the 2018 Slayback Grant for Young Entrepreneurs

How to Break Your Facebook Consumption for Good

I use Facebook actively. I travel a lot, have moved 4+ times in the last three years, and work remotely for most of my clients. Facebook makes it easy for me to stay in touch with people all across the world while I split my time between different time zones.

But it also makes it easy for me to waste way too much time when I am not paying attention. I’ve caught myself far too many times looking down at my phone and scrolling through Facebook mindlessly when my time would be better spent thinking about how to solve serious problems or reading or listening to quality material. Even if I didn’t spend downtime doing something productive, there is a value in boredom. Boredom allows the mind to wander and through this wandering I often make connections or breakthroughs I wouldn’t otherwise had come across. Facebook occupies the mind and prevents this wandering, even if the occupation is low-level and only slowly seeps energy from your day. That, though, is the topic of a separate post. At the very least, the minutes wasted putzing around on Facebook add up to be valuable time never to be reclaimed.

I’d tried using tools like StayFocusd and removing the Facebook app from my phone — and those helped reduce the amount of time I spent on the platform but I would still find ways onto it through Safari or the browser on my phone when bored.

For Lent, I removed Facebook from my life and made it impossible for my wandering mind to waste time on the platform. I wanted to make it truly impossible, even if I really wanted to get back on, to get on until the end of Lent (I did make the mistake that I set this for the end of liturgical Lent and not Lenten fast).  I burnt the ships. Retreat was not possible.

Here’s how I did it:

1. I changed My backup Email Address

I created a new Gmail address and set that as my new backup email address for Facebook. you’ll see why in a minute.

2. I CHANGED MY Facebook Password to a random string

I used a random password generator to generate a random string of symbols, digits, and letters and set that as my Facebook password.

3. I CHANGED MY Email PASSWORD TO the same string

This made it that I couldn’t log into the email account and recover my password if I really wanted to get on Facebook.

So, at this point I have a random password and an email account with the same random password. I did not save the password anywhere and I did not write it down.

4. I Scheduled an email to myself in the future

Using FutureMe.org, I scheduled an email to myself for the end of Lent (well, liturgical Lent, which was a mistake on my part). This way, I would get the password to log back into Facebook only at the end of the period for which I wanted to stay off the platform.

5. Wait.

This morning, I received this email:

FutureMe

I can now log in, change my recovery email address back, and use the platform as I wish.


I checked the platform this morning. I honestly do not see myself using it daily in the future — it’s not like I wasn’t busy before, but removing the downtime on Facebook made it easier for me to find new productive uses of my time (or more productive sources of leisure, like exercise or reading) when I wasn’t doing work. The biggest loss was not being able to participate in certain Facebook groups for communities I appreciate.

Overall, a productive experiment.

How to Break Your Facebook Consumption for Good

Doers 016 – Jacob Goodman on Buying a Company in College, Being “Unemployable,” and “Oh Sh*t” Moments

Jacob Goodman is the cofounder and CEO of Fresh Prints, a printing company that specializes in printing apparel and goods for groups like fraternities, college clubs, and social organizations. At 25 years old, he’s already bought and sold several companies and hired dozens of young people across the United States.

Jacob joins me to discuss a handful of entrepreneurial topics like what it was like to buy a company in college (and the relative value of college entrepreneurship programs), sell that company, buy another company, turn that company around, hire employees, and how to get ahead as a young person. We also discuss his biggest “Oh, sh*t” moments and the upside of being unemployable (hint: it makes you more likely to employ others).

Kudos to Justin Lafazan for the introduction to Jacob.

All episodes of Doers are produced by Lacey Peace. Today’s episode is late due to issues with Soundcloud yesterday.

Doers 016 – Jacob Goodman on Buying a Company in College, Being “Unemployable,” and “Oh Sh*t” Moments

Doers 015.5 – Tony Robbins’ Unleash the Power Within Recap, with Joshua Fischer

This episode of Doers is a unique one. My friend Joshua Fischer joins me to give thoughts on Tony Robbins’ weekend seminar, Unleash the Power Within, in Los Angeles. We recorded this episode the morning of the fourth and final day. We used a new lapel mic to capture both of us speaking on the patio of our Airbnb.

Unleash the Power Within, LA 2017 was a 9000-person event at the Galen Center at USC. The event featured Anthony Robbins and Joseph McClendon III, both of Robbins Research International. The event opens with Robbins’ famous firewalking activity, during which every attendee storms across a bed of hot coals and doesn’t get burnt. The final day of the event (not covered here) focused on health and wellness, with an emphasis on breathing, posture, and nutrition.

You can learn more about UPW and other services from Robbins Research at TonyRobbins.com

All episodes of Doers are produced by Lacey Peace.

Doers 015.5 – Tony Robbins’ Unleash the Power Within Recap, with Joshua Fischer

Doers 015 – Gordon Miller on Angel Investing, Starting 10 Businesses, and Succeeding on Quora

Gordon Miller is the founder of G3 Systems, Inc. and the founder and general partner at G3 iVentures, LLC. At age 28, he founded G3 Systems and has built it into a multi-million dollar business with zero outside investment. He’s started 9 businesses since then and 8 of his businesses still operate today. Gordon joins Doers to discuss what he learned from starting a business relatively young, advice he has to aspiring entrepreneurs (hint: don’t quit your day job), and lessons learned from doing angel investing. We also discuss Quora, where Gordon has quickly build up a multi-million reader following, which he has leveraged into increased deal-flow for his investment firm, G3 iVentures. He openly solicits pitches at ideas@g3.com.

All episodes of Doers are produced by Lacey Peace.

Doers 015 – Gordon Miller on Angel Investing, Starting 10 Businesses, and Succeeding on Quora

Doers 014 – Ed Latimore on Boxing, Rising from Nothing, Living Next to Crackheads, and Writing

Ed Latimore is a heavyweight boxer, writer, and physics student living in Pittsburgh, PA. He’s the author of several books, the most recent of which is Not Caring What Other People Think Is a Superpower

Ed joins me for a varied discussion covering everything from gaining a reputation through Twitter (where I first found him), joining a boxing gym at 22 and now being 13 and 1 in tournaments, rising from the projects in Pittsburgh’s infamous Hill District and lessons learned living next to crackheads and crack dealers, and the importance of becoming a better man.

You can follow Ed on twitter here: @edLatimore

You can find him on Instagram at @edwardlatimore

You can see his website here.

All episodes of Doers are produced by Lacey Peace. Kudos to Lacey for making this episode producible, there were some technical errors in recording due to low bandwidth.

 

Doers 014 – Ed Latimore on Boxing, Rising from Nothing, Living Next to Crackheads, and Writing

Doers 013 – Michael Gibson & Danielle Strachman on Launching a Venture Capital Fund and Young Founders

Michael Gibson is a philosopher who left academia to write about technology and Danielle Strachman is an educator who moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to help young people drop out of college. And now they run a venture capital fund. Makes sense, right?

Michael & Danielle are the co-founders and general partners at 1517 Fund, an early-stage venture capital fund that supports companies started by young founders. Their investments include Fossa.io, Gifs.com, and Forge, among others and they are backed by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. Before launching 1517 Fund, Michael and Danielle worked at the Thiel Foundation, where they were instrumental in the launching of the Thiel Fellowship, a two-year fellowship program which pays young people to pursue significant technological and creative ventures instead of sitting in a college classroom. The Thiel Fellowship has been called by Harvard President Larry Summers, “the single most misdirected bit of philanthropy in this decade,” a label Michael and Danielle wear with pride. Their fellows have gone on to found companies with a collective market cap of well over $1B.

In this short episode, we discuss what led Michael and Danielle to launch a venture capital fund (with particularly unorthodox backgrounds for venture capital), what they look for in their investments and advice they have for young people looking to pursue an idea today (whether you live in rural America or Silicon Valley).

Those interested in speaking with them can email info@1517fund.com. They encourage pitches and ideas and would love to hear from you.

Also, 1517 Fund gets its name from the year Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the church doors and started the Protestant reformation…and this episode was recorded on Ash Wednesday, the first day of the (traditionally) Catholic season of Lent. I did not realize this until we had finished recording but it is worth noting because I thought it was funny.

All episodes of Doers are produced by Lacey Peace.

Thumbnail image credit: Businessweek.

Doers 013 – Michael Gibson & Danielle Strachman on Launching a Venture Capital Fund and Young Founders

RELEASE — New Series: Deschool Yourself

Do you ever feel like school did more to you than just use your time? Do you ever feel that you’re chasing things you don’t actually desire? Do you ever feel like you’re just checking off the boxes of your career, family life, and spiritual life? Do you wonder what it would be like to have the curiosity and love of learning that a young child has?

I know I’ve wondered these things many times over.

That’s why we’re releasing the Deschool Yourself podcast series today (Netflix-style, so you can download them all right now). Recorded by Jeff Till and yours truly over the last several months, the Deschool Yourself podcast explores the history of school, its effects on your thinking, and how you can break free.

Interviews with Dr. Peter Gray (of Free to Learn fame), Thaddeus Russell (of A Renegade History of the United States acclaim), Brett Veinotte (host of the School Sucks Project Podcast), and TK Coleman (education director at Praxis) give you real, actionable steps you can take to free yourself from the constraints of school.

It’s easy to get cynical and bogged down in pessimism when discussing the effects of school on the young and developing mind, so we tried to end this podcast series with real, practical tips you can take to deschool yourself. We want to give you the cognitive and psychological tools to become a free, effective, and happy individual in love with learning more about the world.

DeschoolYourself.com

On SoundCloud

Subscribe on iTunes

RELEASE — New Series: Deschool Yourself

Starting a Cult for Fun and Profit – Interview with Salem Marrero

This is the first of a series of conversations where we explore utopian and dystopian models of the future. Welcome to Slayback to the Future.

So, you want a highly devoted group of followers who will risk their careers, lives, and fortunes for you? You’d like to become fabulously wealthy, powerful, and feared? You want to fill the void that many suffer with in the age of interconnected connectionlessness?

You should start a cult!

This is a fascinating discussion with Salem Marrero, a good friend whose father was an inner-circle member of Adidam, a Buddhist-Marxist cult in California. Salem not only goes into detail of what his early childhood was like but also how the cult has affected his thinking into early adulthood, how he started to de-cultify his mind, and why people were attracted to Adidam.

We then take a step up higher and discuss what is and isn’t a cult, why people join cults, and if there are any redeeming qualities of cults. We also explore how easy it is to know you are in a cult from the inside and where to get started if one were interested in starting their own!

Some links given by Salem:

Notes on Skeptics of Adidam

Adida Up Close

Intro and outro audio ripped from Mind Control Made Easy.

Huge thanks to Lacey Peace for killer production work in this podcast.

Starting a Cult for Fun and Profit – Interview with Salem Marrero

Doers 012 – CJay Engel on Running Multiple Businesses with a Family

C.Jay Engel is a young father of two, financial advisor, and entrepreneur involved in several businesses. He manages the estates of high net worth clients, runs a web and mobile development company with his brother, operates a small business with his wife, writes regular financial opinion pieces, and still spends time with his young children and his wife.

C.Jay embodies the Doers’ mindset. When a new opportunity comes his way, he has personal tools that he uses to help him decide when to jump in, when to delegate, and when to dabble. We discuss advice he would have given his younger self, his investment philosophy (and how he got involved in financial advising), and his upbringing with a thoroughly blue-collar family.

All episodes of Doers are produced by Lacey Peace.

Doers 012 – CJay Engel on Running Multiple Businesses with a Family

Doers 011.5 – High Quality Steve Patterson on Philosophy Outside of Academia and Reclaiming Ideas from Dogma

I was not particularly happy with the final audio quality of Episode 011 with Steve Patterson. The internet connection between my Manhattan hotel and in his New Zealand Kiwi-Hut (at least, that’s what I imagine was housing him) was not great and resulted in some splotchy spots throughout the podcast, even with some expert audio post-production by producer Lacey.

So, this week’s episode is a higher quality version of last week’s episode. We spliced together the audio from my input and the audio from his input to reduce bandwidth interruptions.

Enjoy.

Doers 011.5 – High Quality Steve Patterson on Philosophy Outside of Academia and Reclaiming Ideas from Dogma

Doers 011 – Steve Patterson on Philosophy Outside of Academia & Reclaiming Ideas from Dogma

Academia is a terrible place to go if you are sincerely interested in ideas — at least, that’s the claim behind Steve Patterson’s pursuit to find truth and explicate it.

Steve is a non-academic, non-PhD professional philosopher pursuing ideas outside of the university system. Steve joins me to discuss his background, training, why he chose to work outside of academia, and the decline of the pursuit of ideas in the institution. We also discuss the replication crisis in academia, how to get started interviewing intellectual heavyweights, and Steve’s plan for the future.

Steve can be found at steve-patterson.com. He is the author of Square One, which I review here: http://zakslayback.com/2017/01/01/review-square-one-foundations-knowledge-steve-patterson/

All episodes of Doers are produced by Lacey Peace

Doers 011 – Steve Patterson on Philosophy Outside of Academia & Reclaiming Ideas from Dogma

Doers 010 – Chad Grills on a Violence for Action, Launching a Media Company, and Education

A bias for action is one thing, but what if you can develop a violence for action? Chad Grills is a veteran-turned-entrepreneur as founder of The Mission, a new media company based out of San Jose, CA. Inspired by the need to create a new way of delivering information to people, Chad founded The Mission in 2016 and grew it to the largest publication on Medium.

Chad joins me to discuss how he developed this bias for action (or, as he calls it, a violence for action), education, his background, fundraising for his company, and how he sees the world changing.

Check out Chad at medium.com/the-mission.

All episodes of Doers are produced by Lacey Peace. Kudos to Lacey for substantially reducing the echo that originally appeared in this recording.

Doers 010 – Chad Grills on a Violence for Action, Launching a Media Company, and Education

Doers 009 – Danny Vega on the Ketogenic Diet, Powerlifting, and How Sugar is Killing You

Sugar is killing you and carbs are making you fat. This is the bold claim behind the ketogenic diet — an ultra-low-carb, high-fat diet gaining popularity with those trying to lose weight, with disorders like epilepsy, and just trying to live a healthier life.

Nutrition is tricky to talk about and to “do” because much of the existing information appears to conflict. “Do this to live a healthier life,” might read one source, but another says, “no! If you do that, you will die!” This keeps many from starting on a path to better nutrition and healthier living.

Danny Vega is the co-host of the Ketogenic Athlete podcast, a graduate of Columbia University, a football player, powerlifter, and all-around athlete. Danny explores what the ketogenic diet is, myths about fat and carbs, some facts about powerlifting, and how sugar is actually killing you.

All episodes of Doers are produced by Lacey Peace.

Doers 009 – Danny Vega on the Ketogenic Diet, Powerlifting, and How Sugar is Killing You

Doers 008 – Jason Brennan on Succeeding in Academia, Writing Well and Often, and Using Reverse Induction

Academia is a place where many go and few succeed. Thousand of new grad students matriculate into programs every year and, save in the sciences and economics, there simply are not enough jobs for everybody. There is a path to succeeding in academia, though: doing. Those who are successful produce original, quality content at a higher rate than their competition.

Professor Jason Brennan is one of the most prolific academics I know. He has produced a book-per-year for the past several years, regularly presents his ideas through public media, and has succeeded in a space where many try and fail — academic philosophy. His most recent book, Against Democracy, still garners public attention following the 2016 political season in the United States and Europe.

Jason joins me today to discuss his background — how he got interested in academic philosophy and went from a kid working in a factory to a tenured professor at an elite university, how he discovered the path to success in his field, the tools he uses to keep himself on that path, and what he’s learned along the way.

One such tool is reverse induction. This is a common tool among the successful doers in this series. We discuss what it is and how to use it in the interview.


All episodes of Doers are produced by Lacey Peace. 

Doers 008 – Jason Brennan on Succeeding in Academia, Writing Well and Often, and Using Reverse Induction

Doers 007 – Salem Marrero on Self-Educating in Data Science, Japanese Cinema, and Baseball

Can you become a professional data scientist without a college degree? Can you get a better education in data science on your own than at one of the world’s top universities? Can this education actually be applied to the workplace?

Salem Marrero argues yes to all three points in this week’s Doers podcast.

Ever since he was a young child, Salem Marrero knew that he loved statistics. He knew that he wanted to do something with numbers and making sense of them and the world around him and set out on a path to understand stats. Applying his statistical knowledge to baseball brought him a whole new level of understanding of the game.

Salem left Carnegie Mellon University in early 2017 to join a high-growth tech company in Pittsburgh, PA as a data scientist in a full time capacity. I join Salem at Carnegie Mellon in the Fall of 2016 after a class he teaches on classic Japanese cinema.

All episodes of Doers are produced by Lacey Peace.

Doers 007 – Salem Marrero on Self-Educating in Data Science, Japanese Cinema, and Baseball

Doers 006 – Aaron Watson on Launching a Podcast, Using Snapchat for Your Brand, and Dominating Ultimate Frisbee

A lot of people talk about starting a podcast — they may even buy a microphone and line up a few guests — but very few follow through on it. A select few can stick to launching a podcast and getting regular guests. Aaron Watson has done exactly that while building out his own set of interviews with some of the biggest movers and shakers in the world. His guests include entrepreneur Tucker Max, WIRED editor and authorKevin Kelly, and Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto.

Aaron joins me to discuss how he got started podcasting, his advice for those thinking about doing it, and how to get guests on your show. We also discuss how to use Snapchat for your brand, his tips for learning sales, and ultimate frisbee.

Aaron Watson is the host of Going Deep With Aaron Watson, an advocate of Snapchat for marketing and branding, and a master of sales. He hails from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


All episodes of Doers are produced by Lacey Peace. 

Doers 006 – Aaron Watson on Launching a Podcast, Using Snapchat for Your Brand, and Dominating Ultimate Frisbee

Doers 005 – Taweh Beysolow II on Learning Machine Learning, the Shift to Finance, and Self-Driving Cars

Data science and machine learning are all the rage, but how do you actually learn the skills required to get into these fields when you have little background with the knowledge? Taweh Beysolow II joins me to discuss how he learned data science and machine learning skills after completing his formal education in economics, why he chose to study these areas instead of mere statistics, and how he got started in these areas. If you are flirting with the idea of picking up these skills or find them interesting, this conversation with Taweh provides good background and practical advice for how you can get started.

We also discuss the shift from hardware to finance in the 1980s, the shift from finance to software today, and how machine learning plays into the development of self-driving cars. Taweh is the author of a forthcoming book on machine learning and a consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton.


All episodes of Doers are produced by Lacey Peace. Special thanks to Aaron Carter for audio-assistance. 

Doers 005 – Taweh Beysolow II on Learning Machine Learning, the Shift to Finance, and Self-Driving Cars