This is a masterclass in accelerated career development with David Elikwu on how to build a toolkit of mental models and bulletproof core skills that will drastically shorten the growth curve for your career, business or personal brand.
This podcast is an overview of David's new course 'Career Hyperdrive' where I asked David about his career journey and how we can build an anti-fragile career and generalist skills that will compound over the course of our lives.
I also asked David how he's able to balance a full-time job in the tech industry, while simultaneously running multiple startups and projects.
David and I both share our long-winding career stories that took us both through many different industries and how being a generalist has given us the tools and mindset for career hypergrowth.
David is a writer, speaker, podcaster and serial entrepreneur with a background spanning across technology, corporate law, and marketing.
He is the founder of The Knowledge, a platform helping curious people navigate chaos with clarity. And he's also the founder of Democratic Republic, a social impact brand supporting global artisanship through African coffee and biodynamic wine.
Democratic Republic: demrepworld.com
Career Hyperdrive Course: https://maven.com/theknowledge/career-hyperdrive
More course details: https://thoughtful-mover-6368.ck.page/posts/course-update-career-hyperdrive-is-live
[00:00:00] David: The bar to meaningfully use a skill is very low. The bar to be excellent at skill is a lot higher, but you don't have to be excellent at everything you do. And so that's why I think sometimes people conflate the whole 10,000 hours thing. 10,000 hours is for mastery. Most things you do, you do not need to be a master. Maybe you have your one thing.
[00:00:17] It's kind of like that T-shaped curve where you have the T that's the one thing you want to be a master at. This is what you are aiming to be the top 1% excellent. But then the rest is in the T and you raise slowly the level of all the other things that you can do, because I think that gives you like a great triangle of, oh, I'm excellent at this. I'm really good at these other things. And it just widens your opportunities.
[00:00:56] Josh: Hello, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to Mind Meld. I'm Josh Gonsalves. And this is a podcast where I have in-depth conversations with some of the brightest people in the known universe. My aim is to spark deep conversations around interesting topics to find the tools, tactics, and philosophies that we can all use in our daily and creative lives.
[00:01:16] In this episode, I'm joined by David Elikwu. David is a writer, speaker, podcaster, and serial entrepreneur with a background spanning across technology, corporate law and marketing. He's the founder of the knowledge, a platform helping curious people navigate chaos with clarity. And he's also the founder of democratic Republic, a social impact brand supporting global artisanship through African coffee and biodynamic wine.
[00:01:42] This is a long three hour episode, but I promise you it is it very well worth it. It's basically a masterclass in career development.
[00:01:51] David is launching his course called Career Hyperdrive on a platform called Maven. And by going through this course, you'll build a toolkit of mental models and Bulletproof core skills that will drastically shorten the growth curve for your career, business or personal brand.
[00:02:06] And this podcast is basically an overview of that course, where I talked to David about his career journey. And we also talk about how to build an anti-fragile career and these generalist skills that will compound over the course of our lives.
[00:02:19] I also asked David how he's able to balance a full-time job in the tech industry while simultaneously running multiple startups and projects David and I both share our long-winding careers in many different industries, and how being a generalist has given us the tools and the mindset for career hypergrowth. So buckle up because this is a very special episode.
[00:02:40] And if you found this podcast helpful or interesting, please share it with your friends or anyone you think needs to hear this. And if you haven't already please subscribe to the podcast. You can subscribe on your favorite podcast app. So you get notified when I publish new episodes.
[00:02:53] And if you want to get direct links to any of the resources, people, tools, or books that we mentioned in this podcast, you can find everything in the show notes for this episode. You can find the link to the show notes in the description of this podcast, or you can go directly to Mind Meld dot FM. That's M I N D M E L D dot F M.
[00:03:13] All right. So I hope you enjoy this episode. Let's get right into it. I'm Josh Gonsalves and this is Mind Meld with David Elikwu.
[00:03:26] All right. Well, David, thank you so much for joining me on Mind Meld, man. I'm really excited for this. Like we've been talking about doing this for so long and just after listening to some of your podcasts in the last week, kind of doing a little research on you, I could just get so excited, man. So thank you so much for joining me.
[00:03:40] David: No. It's awesome. It's great to be here, I think. Yeah, like you say, we've been talking about doing it for a while, so it's glad to finally be having this conversation.
[00:03:48] Josh: Yes. And I think this is going to be a really interesting one more of a two-way street conversation between us too, because you know, from our first call that we did a couple of weeks ago, we're doing so much of like similar things. Like, you know, we'll get into it, but you know, we're both working now a full-time job in tech companies, but we're still doing our own projects and multiple projects at that.
[00:04:08] And you have other things going on on top of all that. So part of this is going to be me, literally asking you how you manage all this, what are your tools tricks? And I'm sure like you're still learning along the way. And when you get into that, and then I really want to get into the topic of your course, which is career development.
[00:04:24] I think there's going to be a lot that we can kind of unearth that might help you in developing the course. And also I think it will be a little bit of a sneak peek at what people can get in your course when they get the full course on Maven
[00:04:35] David: that sounds awesome. That sounds really good. I think I will enjoy this conversation just as much as anyone listening.
[00:04:43] Josh: as awesome. That's my goal for everything. Cause I know for a fact, every time I have these conversations, I have like the most fun and I can already tell that this is going to be a blast. So let's get right into this man.
[00:04:53] I want to maybe first start with an introduction of yourself. I want you to kind of introduce yourself, so people who are listening, this can get a little sneak peek of who you are. Who's David, what do you do? What are all these things that you're working on right now? And let them kind of get a little introduction to yourself.
[00:05:07] David: the way I usually describe myself is, you know, I started my career in marketing and design, so I have a lot of that background, which feeds into a lot of what I do.
[00:05:16] I spent about five years working in corporate law. So working on large debt financings then transitioned from there into technology. So I worked with a lot of startups consulting and now work full time as a startup. First I was chief of staff and now I'm in product operations. And then along the way, I've done a lot of different entrepreneurial ventures.
[00:05:39] So I've started a few companies done a few different things and yeah, largely just experimented with the creative side of what I'm interested in.
[00:05:50] Josh: That's awesome. So maybe we can talk a little bit about the journey, like, so people can get sort of like a rough, like timeline around their heads to, you know, from the start of your career. Maybe that was from school, leaving school up until now. And what were those projects and what were the career jumps along the way?
[00:06:05] David: so I started doing design actually. I think I probably started from a very young age, probably younger than most people would expect. So I'd started doing a lot of design work from when I was about 14 online and maybe like 13, 14 actually. Yeah. Closer to 13.
[00:06:24] We moved house and we ended up in a house that was directly across the road, pretty much from a library. And so even though I used to get in a lot of trouble at school, anytime that I didn't want to be at school and I didn't want to be at home, that was kind of the one place that I could tide and just spend a lot of time. So I ended up spending loads of time in this library right across the road from my house.
[00:06:46] And so I think hiding in the library just gave me loads of opportunity to read a lot, even though that's not what I might have ended up doing if I wasn't given that very direct opportunity. So there's a huge stroke of good fortune.
[00:07:02] But I remember, yeah. Like I picked up, they used to have these books. I'm not sure if they had them in like Canada or the U S I I'm assuming they did. There were these like yellow books, which is something, something for dummies.
[00:07:13] Josh: Yes. The yeah. The for dummies. Oh yeah. Oh yeah. That's like, that's like something, I think everyone is just like, it's like a universal known thing. It's like, you know, it's like it's something that? we've seen. Whether we've actually read one. I don't think anyone's ever actually read a full one. So if you have, I want to know which ones you've read and putting me through that,
[00:07:31] David: read a few. I read a few. So that was probably my first introduction to like PHP, my SQL C plus. So things that I had no idea about outside of that context, like, I, I would never have heard about any of those coding languages or almost anything technology related outside of just coming across those books in the library.
[00:07:52] Um, and so, yeah, so I, I learned design was very much, self-taught just using random books and using the internet. So I started getting a lot of design work, which was pretty awesome online and. I was doing projects for like 250, 300, 500 pounds online, which is a great start. And that led to me doing my first business, actually, um, when I was around 14.
[00:08:20] I say my first business, cause this was my first actual registered company and I'd done, business or entrepreneurial activities before that. But this is like the first registered company that I had.
[00:08:31] So there's another backstory to starting that business, which was originally I wanted to start a charity.
[00:08:37] So again, very much linking to what I was just talking about with the library thing. I remember, so I came to the UK from Nigeria and I remember when I first came and I was, I went to, even at my school, we had this small library. I went to like a relatively small school compared to some other schools, but that library was the most books I've ever seen at that point in time.
[00:09:00] And so again, it was just one of these big eyeopening things where I was like, wow, so much to read. I started just reading, collecting all those books. And so I wanted to start a charity sending used school books back to Nigeria. And so I got the, I spoke to people in my school. I spoke to some other local schools and I try to organize this thing.
[00:09:25] And then it was only after a few schools had committed to being like, okay, yeah. You know, these old books cause they just throw them away otherwise. Um, so they committed to giving them to me so I could send them. And then I realized exactly how much it would cost to send kilos of books across the Atlantic.
[00:09:41] I, I hadn't even thought of it. And so capital became like the biggest thing where I was like, actually as much as you want to do, whether it's charity work or whatever you want to do, capital is kind of the underpinning tool. Like you can't do anything else without having that. And so I was like,
[00:09:57] Josh: so you're 14 when you learn this.
[00:10:00] David: Yes.
[00:10:01] Josh: Wow.
[00:10:02] David: Yeah. I mean, it
[00:10:04] Josh: 14 year olds do not think like this Yeah.
[00:10:07] David: this is true. I'm not sure why. I don't know. I just think I don't, I was just interested in doing random stuff, and I think there's an extent to which I was encouraged by my parents, but not to the extent cause we'll get to this part of the story, not to the extent that it interfered with my studies.
[00:10:25] So I started this company, uh, selling electronics from China. So I'd like import these random electronics. I actually sold my school. This is one of the first things I sold were the presentation clickers. I'm sure you've seen them. They're pretty ubiquitous now. Um, but at this time that was like a very new thing.
[00:10:48] So teachers did not have those. So my mum was also a teacher, so I sold them to all the teachers at my school and then all the teachers on my mom's school and then like the pastors at my church and the people are my friends churches. And that is kind of what got the ball rolling. And it's funny because I think some of these early experiences with entrepreneurship very much shaped my entire approach to entrepreneurship.
[00:11:15] Like later on and down the line where pretty much every business I've ever started has been bootstrapped. And I think that's just because that was my initial introduction to what entrepreneurship looks like. I didn't have money. There was no funding. I'd never even contemplated looking anywhere else for funding or anything like that.
[00:11:33] All you can use is the things that you have. And so that was because that was my approach from the beginning. That's kind of an approach that I've always had. So anytime I've thought about starting a business, it's like, okay, what can I use that I have? How can I get this started without anything else?
[00:11:50] Um, so I know this is a totally long-winded answer to your question, but the point was that, um, you asked like, the journey. I think that's probably where the journey started for me in terms of learning about entrepreneurship, being able to create things outside of what might be expected, particularly at the time.
[00:12:08] And so it was a really good experience. That company ended up getting shut down by my dad. He, um, so because I was 14, so this is a key part of the story, which is why I mentioned it.
[00:12:18] Uh, legally in the UK, you can't be a company director until you're 16. So the directors of the company were my dad and one of my best friends who was two years older than me, he was 16. And so, but I made sure I was the majority shareholder. So again, it's one of these things where you have to, you start learning all these things, probably a very young age that, you know, I still wanted to have control over this thing that I created.
[00:12:40] So I made myself a majority shareholder. The reality is that doesn't make a huge difference if you're not a director. And so my dad just followed a winding up application and there's nothing I could do about it. And the company was just dissolved. So that was pretty much it.
[00:12:54] Josh: Oh, no. Why did he do that?
[00:12:56] David: Oh, because w well, in the UK you have exams at 15 and those are the GCCS.
[00:13:03] And so, yeah. So I ran the company for about a year and then my dad was like poop. That's the end time to focus on school.
[00:13:11] Josh: Oh, okay. So that makes sense. So that's why you always think, like, you know, what could have been, you know, like, you know, there's like these winding paths that opened up, like what could have been if there's like the opposite and he just went like balls to the wall with you and like just made that happen and, you know, school doesn't even matter, but it shows about the values, right.
[00:13:28] And obviously it's a different generation. Our parents are part of a different generation and obviously he's like, he wants you to be educated, which obviously worked out and it's something that should be really instilled in children. And I think so to.
[00:13:39] Although side note, um, my fiance and I are talking about having kids soon, and we were talking about this idea of unschooling kids.
[00:13:47] It's like, Hey, school is getting a little fucked up here. What happens if they don't go to school? Like what happens if like they're self-taught they can learn all these things. They're going to learn how to read and write and hopefully be good humans. And what happens if they don't go to school?
[00:13:59] So that's totally neither here nor there, but it's an interesting tangent then maybe we can talk about after and like kind of these alternative education models, which we'll be getting into with your course and stuff. People don't have to go to school. They can learn online. It's a, whole new world.
[00:14:12] Yeah, so one thing I do want to ask you before we get going, I usually ask us a lot later, which is like for you, what do you think was that awakening moment? I'm always interested to hear what people's like entrepreneurial awakening moment. For you, was it like going to the library? Was it like the charity work? Um, I'm curious to hear what that, that awakening moment is for you.
[00:14:32] David: So I'd say there's two, the real one for me, it was probably not till I started my second real business, which was actually much, much later. I was already working in law at that point. The first one would probably be learning design online and realizing that I could charge people for stuff.
[00:14:49] I think that's the first realization that I learnt a skill for me just by reading random books in the library. And then I realized that, oh, people will pay me to design logos and to design flyers and all kinds of random stuff.
[00:15:01] And also the fact that on the internet, no one cares how old you are. So I could be lurking around in all kinds of forums and anywhere on the internet. And if there was an opportunity, then you could get paid for it.
[00:15:13] And so that was like something that clicked that was very unique about the internet and about what was possible. But I think like I touched on because that avenue and that whole sphere kind of got shut off for me at that point, it wasn't really something that I continue to explore.
[00:15:30] So probably like after 15, till maybe even like 22, 23, I was just focused on school or other tangential things. So I became obsessed with, I wanted to study law, I wanted to become a lawyer. And so that's what I devoted a lot of my energy to. And it was probably only until I was working in law, that I kind of was able to be like, okay, but what else, what else do I want to do?
[00:15:57] And so I think that's when I was able to like rethink. And go back to, I think that was like, it was a reconnecting moment where it was like, oh, I have this old skill set. I'd kind of put down for awhile, but this is still something that I can very much do. And I think the other difference and why I was saying this is more of an awakening is that some of the last business that I'd run, which was a, like a fully formed business, like a registered company.
[00:16:25] That wasn't really, for me, that was, you know, the reason I started it is because I wanted to do something for free, which was just a charity. And also when I, I, one thing I didn't mention about that business is that I gave most of the money away to a charity anyway. So because I couldn't start one, I just gave money to an existing charity.
[00:16:44] but now in my early twenties, I now wanted to set up a business for myself. And not just for me, I mean, also for other people, but, you know, the motivations are different. And so the way I was thinking about and approaching entrepreneurship was also different.
[00:16:58] Josh: What drew you into law? Why did you want to do that as a career? I guess you've thought you want to do then you decided no, I don't then start this business? What was the thought process there?
[00:17:07] David: Sure, it's a good question. Um, it's a hard one. I, I would say a large part was to do it, my socioeconomic background. I don't think that I was really presented with an abundance of choices at a young age. And so really what happened was I had no idea what I wanted to do when I grew up, this is now like 14, 15 year old me.
[00:17:29] And, but I knew some people that did and someone mentioned doing law, like that's a possible thing to do, although they want us to become a barrister. So in the UK, we separate baristas from solicitors. So barristers are the ones that go to court and speak in court and do all of that. And solicitors are the ones that do other kinds of stuff.
[00:17:47] So we were both me and the other people that wanted to do law were all people that were on the debate team in my school. And, but I didn't really, I love debating and I think I wasgood at it. I won these awards. Okay, great. But I didn't really want to be a barrister. The more I looked into it, I wanted to be a solicitor.
[00:18:05] And so it's, it was this weird blind faith. I never met a corporate lawyer until I was in university. But from when I was like 14, I just said, this is what I want to do. And that was it. And I just didn't question it ever again. And so, but I think the more I, I explored the career, obviously I knew that this was something that fit very well with me and how I thought and how I wanted to explore the world.
[00:18:34] And, but again, I think it's one of these things that it's, there's the theory. And then there's the reality. And I got into one of my dream firms eventually. Like even that is a hole in the story on its own. But I think, yeah, like it was an impossible dream.
[00:18:49] I'd never met a lawyer before going to university. And what became really difficult was the prospect of not ending up as a lawyer, um, because during university was like a tough period. I dunno. But the point was, yeah, I think it was very much just a, a blind faith thing where I decided very early on that this is what I wanted to do.
[00:19:14] I'd never met a lawyer. I remember I was applying for some open days when I first went to university and they were like, what do you think is the daily life of a corporate lawyer? I had no idea. I'd never spoken to one, like I'm trying to come to your open day so I can figure out what the daily life of a corporate lawyer is. That's all, that's what I'm trying to figure out. I have no idea.
[00:19:33] Um, but yeah, so that was very experientially. Like having those early experiences, I ended up at one of my dream firms. So going back to your question in terms of how I went from there to business and the kind of business that I chose, I'm not sure there's a strong connection. So I was working in law.
[00:19:51] I think what awakened me actually was making a lot of friends and networking very widely. And I think what helped me a lot was finding a lot of other ambitious people that were not settling for just doing Law. Like I saw people pursuing other things and, you know, crazy people like me finding your people, finding people that are like you on the inside and being inspired by the things that they were doing.
[00:20:14] And that made me rethink, you know,hang on, like this is what I'm supposed to be doing. This is who I am as well. And I know that I put a lot of that down for a long time, but it gave me the courage to like pick up that entrepreneurial bug again.
[00:20:28] I'd still been doing some design work in the meantime, that's something I never stopped doing. I, I was always doing like marketing staff and design stuff, but that's just because it's a natural skill set that I'd built. If someone wanted me to do something and pay me some money, I'll do it. But I, I wouldn't consider that a business that was more of a, a hobby that could give you some money.
[00:20:47] Josh: Totally. So it's like not even freelance at that point, cause you're not like focusing on it as a freelance career, which is so interesting. Cause I'm looking the same way. Like I can go and like design websites right now. I can create all these types of designs. Like if you want ads, design, do you want video?
[00:21:00] You want motion? Yeah, I can all do that, but like, that's not like the core thing. It's a hobby and it's so much fun, but it's one of those core, I think, um, talents and a core skill that if you can develop that it is so widely available. It is used in every single industry. Everybody wants that everyone who is a non a designer, they need a designer.
[00:21:20] So like, we'll get into this later, but the whole Superside thing, right? Like this new company that I just started at, like design at scale it's marketers who can't design, um, product, people who can't design it. Like, Hey, we need designers. Like you're either going to go to like a freelancer, um, site, like Upwork or Fiverr and like find a designer.
[00:21:37] So how are you finding gigs at that time? So like these people who are like, Hey, I need money fast. Like, I don't want to get a job. I can't maybe start this business. I have the skill. Maybe I'm a web developer. Maybe I'm a designer. Maybe I have something else, and I get another skill. if you're a photographer, something in the creative industries where it's really quick to maybe find a client, what advice would you give them? And where would they, or where should they go look for a clients?
[00:22:00] David: If they already have the skillset.
[00:22:02] Josh: Yes. Yeah. They already have this.
[00:22:04] David: So I would say two things festival, just learning in public, sharing your work online. People will naturally gravitate towards you. People will see the ones that you do. Um, a very clear example I can give of that is photography.
[00:22:16] I started photography, taking pictures on my phone, and I was a hundred percent optimizing for being a phone photographer because there was no way I could afford a camera at what I wouldn't have thought.
[00:22:27] I'd be spending over a thousand pounds on a camera. When you know, I'd never done photography gigs before this was something I was interested in because I felt I was creative and I just liked taking pictures. So I took pictures on my phone. I got like little lenses that you could attach to your phone, but I would share and post those photos, on Instagram.
[00:22:48] And then people would approach me and be like, wow, you take really great photos, you know, can you help me take a photo of this thing? And also I think even become between your friends becoming known as, oh, if you want to take a photo, even on your phone, like, oh, get David to take the photo. And so building that kind of repertoire and then expanding your network, I think beyond that.
[00:23:09] It's, it's hard to distill because I think photography, the reason I gave that example is because probably within a year, no more than two years of getting my first professional camera, I was like shooting London Fashion Week, New York Fashion Week, I was shooting all kinds of events, weddings, loads of different things.
[00:23:29] And again, I think that is, it's the incremental progress that happens when you, well, it's two things. One is sharing publicly and connecting with people, making friends, networking, all of that stuff.
[00:23:44] But I think the other side of it, which is probably understated is just loads and loads of repetitions, just taking loads of photos, looking for any opportunity you can find to take more photos.
[00:23:55] And I'm talking about photos because it's photography. But if that was designed, just reps, reps, I think is one thing I would apply universally to almost anything you could ask me about, oh, how do you get good at this thing? Or how did I get good at this thing is just by doing loads of repetitions in the background that people probably didn't even see.
[00:24:15] Both were designed on entrepreneurship. I built these muscles of just having ideas like going through. Okay. What does the business plan look like? What would. What would this ideal look like it was if it was fully fleshed out and just mapping things out really quickly and giving myself, I don't know, like a few days to a week just to iterate on that idea.
[00:24:35] I'd design a logo, I build a website, I do all this stuff. Not because it's going anywhere, but just building the muscle of doing it and practicing doing it. And I think what that translates into is that when, when opportunities come up, when someone suddenly is like, can you do this thing for me? I can do it. Cause I've been practicing.
[00:24:50] And now I'm a lot better at photography. And now I'm a lot, not just better at design and I've spent time learning design principles, which again is self-taught, but there's so much that you can learn from YouTube videos and random places online, and in books. I can do it like really quickly. And I can charge more for my work because I know that the quality of my work has improved.
[00:25:12] So even when people aren't paying you for things necessarily, cause I think that's usually the biggest barrier for people. People don't want to get started because oh, who's going to pay me, how am I going to feed myself? Maybe find something else to do, but get your reps in and develop as quickly as possible.
[00:25:27] Josh: Wow. Okay. That's incredible. Okay. That's really, really, really good advice because that takes, that hits home on so many levels because you're so right. It's like, even if someone's not paying you, you're not doing a client job right now. What are you doing?
[00:25:42] You have two choices. You either get better at your craft. You're either literally putting in the reps, you're learning or you're learning new skills, or you're getting, just getting better by just doing, because of all these things we're talking about, obviously are like skills that are more hands-on like photography, design, anything like that. Obviously it might be different, but if you're a writer also just write, put it out on Twitter, put out a blog.
[00:26:03] You don't have to be getting paid for it. That's a really good distinction. So when someone does see that work, cause you're constantly putting that out, it's free marketing for yourself, for that next client.
[00:26:13] Now where that really hits home for me is because I'll definitely tell you one thing, the reason, um, I'm in the position I am now, and I got this job at Superside as like their first producer of running their entire YouTube channel, doing all their social media videos, literally everything, it all stemmed from one thing, because I did a free video.
[00:26:32] I just put it on YouTube just for fun, because I'm like, Hey, this is how I edit my podcast. I just liked doing this. Maybe someone else will get something out of this, like maybe in a fellow podcaster will be like, oh wow. Like that's a really cool way to do it.
[00:26:44] And like, I don't care. I'm not trying to get paid for it. I wasn't saying like, oh, I'm gonna make this video so I can like get a job later or anything. It was literally for other fellow podcasters. What happened from there was because I shouted out Riverside, which, another shoutout, we are recording in Riverside right now. Um, the CEO saw that and he's like, oh wow, this is a great video.
[00:27:04] And he just DM'ed me on Twitter. He's like, Hey man, like that was a really good video, I saw. We want a bunch of product videos for us. Can you do that? I'm like, okay, great. So now I have a paying customer. So now I'm getting reps in while getting paid. This is level two. Now level two is now. They're like, Hey, we need like 20 videos.
[00:27:20] Okay, great. I'll go make these videos and you're going to pay me for these? Amazing. So now I'm getting my reps in making more videos, making more videos and I'm getting paid for it. What happened as a result of that was then Superside. This is always hilarious. It's the first time I talked about in the podcast, cause obviously it's so recent.
[00:27:36] Going from Riverside to Superside, they then reached out to me. And again, because they saw this work, it's all about seeing and it's all about having the reps in there. Like, wow, like this guy obviously does amazing stuff. Like look, all these videos he's putting out, but it all stem from one video that I just wanted to put on for free.
[00:27:51] So like, man, that is like the best advice. And I think like this is something people need to drill in their heads. Like you have to love what you're doing in some capacity to be able to do it for free, especially at the. 'cause then you start it's like momentum, right? Then you get to that level to where now getting paid for that work.
[00:28:08] And hopefully you have some kind of clause in your contract that you can use that as your portfolio piece to showcase online, more people will see that, and you get this awesome flywheel effect. Like you need to show your work. So that's, that's incredible, man. That's such really, really good advice.
[00:28:24] David: Yeah, absolutely. I agree as well. And I think it applies to so many places that you think it might not because I think just getting experience with doing things, having a bias towards action where you are just permanently in a mindset or in a space where you're thinking, how can I apply? How can I do, how can I be active, rather than just thinking about things in your head.
[00:28:47] Because I think that's what people usually do. They have this idea or they have this thing they want to develop or something they want to do. And they just kind of sit at home and think about it and spend loads and loads of time thinking about it and not doing anything beyond that.
[00:28:59] And so I think it's the combination, right? So, because equally there's, I'm sure there's loads of people that spend time watching videos on how to learn skills, but they're not actually practicing doing those skills. They're just doing the knowledge work, but not practicing it or going outside and doing anything. And I think that is big data becomes the huge differentiator.
[00:29:20] Josh: Yes. And what's that, there's a term they call it for, I mean, there's two terms. One is like the mental masturbation, right? Like you're going through the motions, you're just learning and you're not doing anything. It's just literally mental masturbation. And then what do they call it? Um, like a self-development porn or something like that.
[00:29:39] Again, these two terms kind of come, come hand in hand point is you're not actually out there getting it on with people. You're just kind of like in your own space. I don't know what you're doing, you know, you're just fucking about, so last exactly it, it's not just learning because learning is a big part of it. We're talking about it and we're going to get into your course and why it's so important to learn because you need to continually learn, but it's about applying that knowledge.
[00:30:03] So let's go back maybe. So maybe when you were leaving your, your job at the, at the law firm, and you're going to start your business in that time, obviously you're almost starting from zero, right?
[00:30:15] So you're like going from this career that you would usually build up for like decades, right? Like if you want to stay in law, like you had to start building up your career, building up career, then suddenly you're like, you know what, no, I'm going to go this way. I'm going to go at my own direction. And I'm going to start from scratch.
[00:30:29] Obviously not starting from scratch because you have prior knowledge and stuff, but now you're starting from zero almost. So, so walk me through that. What was that process like for you?
[00:30:38] David: Actually that's not quite exactly what it was like for me. And I think that is pretty much what I want to teach on this course, .Actually
[00:30:46] It's just building momentum in advance and not waiting until the time at which you have to make a decision to start doing the next thing. And I think that's, again, one of the biggest things that I've learned, because most people kind of do think I have to do A, then I have to do B, then I have to do C.
[00:31:03] If you do it that way, you're going to be waiting for a really long time. If I had to start from scratch with everything that I've done, every single time I'd be waiting for so long, I would not be where I am now. And not because, oh, I've reached the pinnacle of my field or anything, but I think you'll be waiting for a very long time and you'll be learning skills the hard way and the long way, um, so I can give you the examples.
[00:31:25] Like, okay, so one of the first businesses I started when I was working in law was actually a travel business. And to go back to what we were talking about in terms of the reps, how I had the idea to start this business was not trying to start a business.
[00:31:40] I had wanted to travel. I want to go. I wanted to go to China. That was one place I'd want it to go to. And I'd been trying to get my friends to come with me for a very long time and nobody would come. So this trip just did not happen for about two years. And one day I just went by myself and it was amazing. I had a great time. And then I started traveling more by myself.
[00:31:59] And so I, I was, again, unintentionally just getting the reps of practicing, organizing trips, going on a trip, exploring, doing all these things. Okay. Now I've done a few trips by myself. I share pictures. I take pictures on my phone, like I talked about.
[00:32:14] But now suddenly strangers that people that I've never met on the internet are like, wow, you look like you're having a great time. Can I come? Like if, can you organize either? Can you organize a trip for me? Or if you organize a trip, can I come? And I was like, sure, why not? So I did a pilot kind of in a beta. So I just DM'ed like a few people that I, again, I didn't know, but I interacted with a lot on Twitter. Most of whom I knew were in London and I organized a trip like the inaugural trip.
[00:32:47] I think 50% of that trip where people I'd never met and some of them were friends. So we had this trip and then we launched the next version, which was a proper one. And again, it was very scrappy. I remember, so we partnered with Cafe Pacific and I remember when I was pitching this to them initially, I, I really had nothing.
[00:33:08] Like there was, there was absolutely nothing. We just done a trip with some random strangers IDM on Twitter. And I was like, oh, you know, I have this club, it has 30 members, basically members, most of whom are like either my friends or people that are applied to my messages. And I was like, yeah, you know, you should totally sponsor us. We should work together, blah, blah, blah.
[00:33:30] But that ended up being great. So we did a trip to Japan, which was a hundred percent strangers people I'd never met before in my life. And so we did that, and that was cool. And so we were just doing more and more trips from that. But again, I think you're building the skillset and I was still working in law at the time, but I was using all of my annual leave to run those trips, but simultaneously I was doing other things.
[00:33:53] So I was doing some creative stuff. I was doing the photography, which I mentioned. And then at one point I wanted to start learning like strategy related things. Like I wanted to build that element of my skillset. And I can talk about the process I went through to decide that that's something I needed to do.
[00:34:12] We can talk, we can talk about that in a minute when we talk more about the course, but I just knew that that was something I wanted to do. And so I just started reading books. I was just buying books on the internet again. Such a wonderful place and thing that we have. I think people take far too much for granted.
[00:34:29] It's just buying books, reading a lot, um, digesting a lot from online writers and video people. And I was just adding to my skillsets. I was just building all of these ancillary skills that could help me in lots of different ways. And so when opportunities came up, if the opportunity was somewhere in the nexus of, oh, some design and some consulting, and this, I can do that.
[00:34:52] If the opportunity is somewhere in the nexus of, oh, some strategy and some marketing and some law, I can do that. And so now the, the number of things that I can solve, the number of problems I can solve and the number of things I can say yes to increase almost exponentially, because I've got some of these tangential areas that might be completely separate, but some of the skillsets overlap some of the core skills overlap.
[00:35:19] And so by the time I think I was ready to leave law. How I pivoted the photography to consulting, which is what enabled me to leave law. Again, so just doing the photos, um, for photographing events, doing fashion weeks, things like that. At parties like fashion week parties and other events, I'm networking and I'm meeting people and sharing my knowledge.
[00:35:43] And so now I'm sharing like marketing advice and tips and other things that I've picked up from others of my background. And so now after the events are over, people are calling me. People from New York are calling me.
[00:35:54] People from other cities are calling me and like, oh, Well, I remember meeting you at this place. We talked about this. Do you think you could help me with this problem? We need either some legal work, some marketing work, um, or some kind of like negotiation brand partnership. And so I start building this almost like a client list of like companies and businesses that I can support and that can help.
[00:36:15] And then that transitions into helping more startups. And so, again, you're kind of building this snowball that develops, but starting from something really small. Starting from, you know, taking pictures on my phone, doing some random stuff, but building these skillsets then snowballs into like bigger and bigger opportunities because you can, cross-pollinate a lot of those skills.
[00:36:36] And so the more you get those opportunities, the more I got to a point where I was like, actually I could probably leave law and try my hand at just consulting for businesses and startups for a while.
[00:36:46] Josh: There's a lot to unpack there because there's so much there that's also going in my mind, I'm trying to connect all these dots into our future, uh, where we're going with this conversation, because I think a lot of it is about it's okay, and it's actually more than, okay. It's really good to do a lot of different things at the same time. That might also see, be like seemingly unconnected.
[00:37:09] Because when you do connect the dots, it becomes just a powerhouse. Like you're saying, like you've designed marketing strategy and law, like all these different things where in your past life, You did it, and then it's over, you did it and it's over. You're not using it.
[00:37:23] But like you did it, you built up like your skillset. This is like a video game. I always use this analogy. Like, you're building up like your bars of like, okay. It's like my design bar. It's like my strategy bar. You're building it up. It's not like, it goes away. You started learning.
[00:37:35] Obviously you need to flex those muscles. Most like at the time you're putting in the reps, you're building, you're building your legs. You're building up your arms, you build up your abs. Like you're starting to build, build, build, and then it all comes together. It's not like you did this back then, and then you can't use it anymore. That's where things get super powerful, man.
[00:37:51] So what is your advice for that? For like connecting these things or figuring out what are the different skills I need. Do you think people need to like, look ahead and be like, Okay, that's where I want to go. I need to build the skills for that. But I think more often than not, people don't know the direction they want to go.
[00:38:06] And most of us just don't even if you think you do, because the world is ever evolving and your direction needs to be able to change. So there's this idea of like optionality. One of my favorite books, if you haven't read it by this guy, Richard Meadows. Amazing, amazing author. So let's book Optionality is really just about building up the optionality, right?
[00:38:24] Building up these skills, putting yourself in the position to have options in the future to be like, okay, if I want to do that, I can, like, you're saying all these clients coming to you like, Hey David, do you want to come do this strategy, work for us? You have the option to be like, do I want to, okay. Yes, this will be great.
[00:38:39] This is going to help me advance even further. I'm going to go and do that. Or you have the option to be like, no, I can do this, this and this because all these other people are also coming to me. So it's really good to build up these options. And the more skills you have, obviously, the more options you have.
[00:38:52] So I think that's a really good way to think about is like, just like banking up these options and like learning for the future. So I want to know what advice you have that like for like, how do you know which skills you should be building? Are there like some universal ones that will always carry on?
[00:39:06] Like for me, communication, like, you need to be a very good communicator. If you can communicate, you can do anything. So are there like, things like that, that you would suggest people kind of look into and start building in their repertoire.
[00:39:17] David: Yeah, absolutely. So I think you've touched on so many good things and some of them are exactly what I want to talk about in this course, because it's absolutely right. I think I would split that into two parts.
[00:39:27] So one thing that I really want to mention when we talk about, okay, building all these skills, they might not all be related. I think one fundamental mistake that people make hand there's this myth that, okay. I get why it exists. But for the most part, I don't think it should.
[00:39:42] People want to do everything a hundred percent. And I get, I do see the case where if the end goal is related to that thing that you're doing, then you should put a hundred percent of energy towards it and put in as much leverage as possible and make that thing happen. Okay, cool. But the reality is that's not always the case.
[00:40:01] Sometimes you're learning skills to learn skills. That's fine. And I think one thing that is very okay, that a lot of people somehow miss, is that every skill you have or every skill you build does not have to be built to a hundred percent.
[00:40:14] You can very intentionally go in, like you were saying with the, uh, the bars kind of like bars in a video game. You can very intentionally go in knowing that you only want your marketing skill to be plus two. That's fine. Plus two is better than zero. It doesn't have to be a hundred. You don't have to spend all the hours it's going to take to become a master marketer.
[00:40:36] You can just learn a bit of that skill, enough to be dangerous, and you can figure out what that means in the context of your life and the opportunities that are facing you. But that's often how I think about these things very much. Like right now, when I'm thinking about, oh, do I want to learn a new skill?
[00:40:50] Do I want to a good example? I was thinking about, should I learn how to code? Or should I learn how to be an engineer potentially. Um, so I'm now in product operations. And that was kind of one of the thought process that I had was, oh, should I learn how to code? Because everyone's talking about it. It could potentially increase your earning capacity. And I probably could be a lot more effective in my current role, if I could do some more engineering.
[00:41:14] And the thought process that I had to go through is, okay, this is possible. I genuinely believe that learning almost any skill as possible. If you have enough time, the same way they talk about, you know, if you give them some monkeys, a typewriter given enough time, they can type the entire works of Shakespeare.
[00:41:31] I think you can learn anything given enough time. The balance you have to think about is what's the opportunity cost. What else could I be doing with this time? And how long will it take me to be dangerous at this activity dangerous in a good way? Like how long will it take to be able to meaningfully use the skill?
[00:41:48] And so the bar to meaningfully use a skill is very low. The bar to be excellent at skill is a lot higher, but you don't have to be excellent at everything you do. And so that's why I think sometimes people conflate the whole 10,000 hours thing, 10,000 hours is for mastery. Most things you do, you do not need to be a master. Maybe you have your one thing.
[00:42:07] It's kind of like that T-shaped curve where you have the T that's the one thing you want to be a master at. This is what you are aiming to be the top 1% excellent. But then the rest is in the T and you raise slowly the level of all the other things that you can do, because I think that gives you like a great triangle of, oh, I'm excellent at this. I'm really good at these other things. And it just widens your opportunities.
[00:42:32] So kind of going to the second point in terms of how do you decide what other opportunities to focus on?
[00:42:38] I think the exercise that I initially did for myself and then I did it by it to like some mentees that I had at the time, and then one of the things I want to walk through in this course is essentially as like a visualization exercise, all you have to do is think about where you want to be, vaguely. It's important that it's vague and not specific vaguely in the next five to 10 years. What higher space do you want to be in, in your career?
[00:43:06] Like what, what kind of things do you want to be able to do? And when I say you, I'm talking about like the LeBron James, serena Williams, Beyonce version of yourself, the best possible version of your professional self. Imagine them like five to 10 years from now. What are they doing? What can they do? So you might not know the exact industry that you want to be in or the exact career that you want to be in, but you can have a vague sense of what your skill set will allow you to do. Right?
[00:43:33] So for me, let's say, oh, I want it to be like a competent executive that's trusted and is able to lead on like complex strategy and operational things. Okay, cool. Then you broke that down and you go back a step and you say, okay, if that's what the ideal version of myself is doing five to 10 years from now, what kind of skills would make that person effective in those spaces? And the spaces that I want to be in and the things that I want to touch, what would make me effective in those places.
[00:44:03] Would learning a second language help. I don't know. Would learning technology help, will learning strategy help, with learning more operations, things help with having some understanding of marketing help.
[00:44:14] So break down what kind of skills that future you would need, and then going back a step against your present self, what can you do now to go and learn those skills? What can you do to start developing those skills? So you probably have. Uh, like two or three of the other core ones, what are the main things you need to be learning? And then you can think about what are the tangential things that may be beneficial for you to have.
[00:44:39] And so I think once you've worked backwards from where you want to be, um, even if you don't know the specifics and it's better that you don't know the specifics, because I think the worst way you can set yourself up to fail is having this super certain assumption that I need to be working at Apple in this specific job role in five years.
[00:44:59] Some for some people maybe that works, but I think life is just so unpredictable that you almost don't know how and when opportunities will come. But the best thing you can do is just prepare for those opportunities by ballparking it, you just ballpark roughly where you want to end up and then think about, okay,
[00:45:17] It's a bit like golf, right? If you kind of have a rough idea of where the green is and just whack, like I knew all the way back at the, at the, I don't know if it's the drive, wherever you start in golf, just whack the ball. Yeah. Like whack the ball roughly in that direction. And then as you get closer, then you can narrow your focus down until you're on the, on the, the green, like right in front of the hole. And then you're just putting it in.
[00:45:43] But I think too many people are starting all the way back on the, at the green, like right at the, at the beginning of the driving range and trying to hit the ball directly into the hole. It's so difficult.
[00:45:57] Josh: Trying to get a hole in one. Yeah. man, that is such a great analogy.
[00:46:00] This is a fantastic analogy. I've never heard this because I love when people bring analogies from different games into this game of like life and career. Cause we have, we don't really have very many analogies or like visualizations of how we can be on the same page.
[00:46:14] Cause it's a different game for everyone. I guess the point here to see what I brought up video games, it's like, it's like an open world, MMO RPG, right? Like you can kind of do anything you want within reason. Um, a great example, like I was watching the movie Free Guy. I don't know if you've seen like the ads for it recently with Ryan Reynolds.
[00:46:30] He's like a non-player character in this game. That's like a Grand Theft Auto basically. And he has his job. Like he works at the bank, he's the guy that works at the bank. And then he starts coming up with these ideas of like, man, like what if we can be anything? Like, what if I don't want to do this? What if I want to, you know, do something else. I can I just go and do that.
[00:46:48] And this idea that you can kind of go and do anything, then you have to start building the skills. And in the movie too, he was like building these skills. And in the movie obviously was like fighting and shooting and all this stuff. We started doing that, building up his skills and at the same time building up resources, resources, resources.
[00:47:01] So I like the idea too, of like having a vague, understanding of where you want to go, but not making a specific. Can you said the analogy of like, oh, like you want to be working at apple as an engineer with a salary, be salary X salary, whatever. But what happens if you don't or better yet? You're closing yourself off to a better opportunity.
[00:47:24] It could be a new company coming around an earlier stage that you fit in well, like way better in with like the culture of the people are awesome. It's maybe remote. You want to be able to travel still and you can always awesome benefits. Oh, and guess what? You also have shares, and now you have bigger upside, like you're closing yourself off to like the other, uh, options that are out there.
[00:47:44] And I think the other thing that we're kind of getting to is like, just being ready and like, I always have this analogy of like, you're like a surfer and you're just waiting out there, you know, you're on your surfboard and you're waiting for that, that wave to come in. The meanwhile you're practicing with smaller waves, smaller waves, smaller waves.
[00:48:01] Now you're waiting out there in the ocean and this giant wave comes and now you're ready to, you're ready to take that thing on, you know, that's the analogy of like, just putting it in. You're just, you're ready to ride that. You're like, okay, amazing.
[00:48:14] So it's like, you don't know when it's going to hit, cause you can never know when the next big wave is going to come. You just can know that you can have the skills of being able to be steady on your board and riding a bigger wave, riding, a bigger wave, riding, a bigger wave. So there's like so much you can do in the meantime. And that's just going back to what we're talking about, you know, practicing, practicing, learning new skills.
[00:48:34] Um, and it's really interesting how you can do that nowadays with the internet. So like for you now that you're going to be teaching, I want to bring this into the course. You know, these online courses are such a great way to do that. Like I'm taking one right now on Master YouTube by Matt D'avella , who's like a huge YouTuber.
[00:48:49] And the fact that he took his time to make this course to teach other people how to be an amazing YouTuber and be great with camera work and be great on camera and behind camera. Like no one else teaches that. You can't really go to university for that. Like you're not going to find a degree and like being a YouTuber.
[00:49:05] Right. So now in the same way that I was kind of saying we're in this big MMO RPG, no one knows the rules of this game, unless you're in a specific role, but there's this meta game outside of that, which is like the career ladders. Like why did that is like you want to work for someone where you want to start your own company.
[00:49:21] And now there's people like you helping people give them the rule book of like, okay, here's like roughly the map of the territory. Here's the rules of the game. Here's how this thing works. Here's how you can start progressing.
[00:49:32] So how do you think about that too, when you're structuring this course? So I know this is obviously still early in the process. Now there's all this stuff that people can learn. How are you thinking about how you can structure this thing and how you can give people a really good maps? They're giving this, you're giving them this knowledge they can download and okay. Now I understand. Now I can go forth and do my thing.
[00:49:53] David: Yeah. I mean, you've used the perfect word because that's actually something I talk about in the, in the course, a perfect, perfect, uh, lay up there. So
[00:50:04] I kind of have two ideas. One is very much in line with the maps. I also use a good video game analogy. I say good. I think it's good, but, um, I'm not sure if you remember playing Spyro
[00:50:17] Josh: Oh yeah.
[00:50:18] David: To be honest, it's not just Spyro. There's a bunch of these games, right? Where you start with your player in the corner of the map somewhere, but the map is all dark and it's not visible. And as you walk, do you kind of like expose areas of the map and then that's how you figure out where you are and where everything else is. And that's pretty much like life in my view, you're kind of born and you're just dumped somewhere in the middle of a map.
[00:50:41] And you have no idea where the corners are. You have no idea like where different things are, and it's only by like poking around slowly and exploring the barriers of where you are that you start to understand, okay, this is my place in the world now, but you can easily pick up like save games of other people and figure out, oh, this person's over that this is the stuff that's around them.
[00:51:05] This gives you a strong idea of what it's like to be there. Would you like to be there? You can see other people and other areas of the map, you can see other things that are going on. So as you start to approach an event, sometimes you can see, oh, there's something over there. And then you kind of like make your way there.
[00:51:20] But the path from where you are to the place that you can see, that's highlighted on the map. You don't know what's in between. You figure that part out as you go along. That's part of the journey and it's still dark until you walk at yourself. Um, so I think that's one analogy or one aspect.
[00:51:36] And I think the other part is maybe it's like trading the map for a compass, because I think sometimes on the flip side now, people focus too much on maps and people focus too much on wanting to know exactly how to do things.
[00:51:51] And the reality is that life is not like that. It's not a map that's already written out and it's already in plain English. And this is exactly how you go from A, to B.
[00:52:00] What is much better, and this kind of goes back to what we were saying in terms of like having this specific career plan, that says I'm going to be, in my example, I want to be a lawyer at this firm at this time.
[00:52:11] The funny thing is I actually ended up at my dream from, at roughly the time I thought I would, but the journey together was absolutely completely different to what I would have thought. I thought it was going to be this very straightforward route, where I was going to do all the typical things, do this and do this, do this exactly how they tell you.
[00:52:28] That's how they teach you in school. These are the steps. This is how you get in it. Doesn't absolutely. I did not do a single one of those steps starting with the fact that I didn't even graduate when I left university originally.
[00:52:39] And so again, I mean, I saw your surprise face, so I'll explain that story very quickly. It's, it's a tangent, but I think it's probably worthwhile, uh, because I think this also ties into the Spyro analogy that I gave.
[00:52:53] Is the fact that I had this idea that I wanted to be a lawyer from when I was about 15 and I'd never met a lawyer. I'd never encountered a corporate lawyer. I had no idea what corporate lawyers did, day-to-day in real life. I have an idea of what people told me they did when I read online forums, but nothing more than that. Uh, but I had this idea that this is what I want to do. I was just setting out to do that, but realistically, I couldn't afford to fail because I had no idea what else are we doing?
[00:53:20] I had zero other plans. And so I remember probably around my second year of university, I just started getting extremely scared because I was worried that I wouldn't be able to get training contracts straight out of university.
[00:53:36] And so in the UK, the way the legal, I don't know if it's how the legal system works, but it's how you typically get into law. So in the U S, I think you just, uh, you can become like a summer associate, but almost at any time, it seems, whereas in the UK is very, it's a lot more regimented where if you're studying law as an undergrad, then you typically have to get your offer in your second year of university, because then your training contract will start two years after.
[00:54:04] Which gives you one year to do law school. And then it allows you to start immediately after middle school finishes. Otherwise you're going to be spending some time unemployed. Um, and law school costs a lot of money. It's probably about 14,000. I did not have any of that money.
[00:54:18] If you get a training contract, usually the law firm pays for you. So my entire dream of becoming a lawyer is hinging on the fact that some law firm is going to pay for my entire ride because I do not have the money, but I know that basically like from university, I need to find a firm. That's going to say, we're going to pay, and we're going to give you a job so that I can complete that the rest of that pathway.
[00:54:41] And I was just getting really worried because not only had, I never met someone that was a lawyer before going to university, um, obviously I went to open days and I got to meet people, but I'd never met someone in any proximity to me that had actually got a training contract. All the people that had gone to six one with me, all the people that were in the years above me at the university that I went to, none of them had any training contracts.
[00:55:07] So I'm like, okay, how am I supposed to do it? I can't see anyone that's done it. I've no idea how to do it. So I started getting really worried and I ended up leaving kind of our fear. I ran pretty much as far as I could. Not ran. I'm maybe embellishing. But the point was I was worried that, um, either by my grades or by my experience, I wouldn't be able to get a training contract immediately. And I couldn't afford not to get one.
[00:55:32] So I just optimized 100% for getting as much experience as possible. So I was missing school and missing lectures to inside of Google. I was going into Google for awhile. Um, then I went to Shanghai. So pretty much just parked everything left, went to China, was working at a law firm there for a little while and then came back. So ironically when I came back, I got a graduate job, but in consulting.
[00:55:55] But the point was, I went on this entire roundabout journey because. I didn't think I'd be able to get directly into law. And so I did all these other things. And then after the consulting, I ended up literally getting a job at one of my dream firms, starting in law anyway, roughly around the time that I would have if I'd done it the normal way.
[00:56:13] But the point is that's what our path. I could not in good faith, advise anyone to do any of those steps. Right. That's just a random, it just happened. Fantastic. But, but it happened because along the way I was learning, right. And I was learning and I was picking up skills by the time I started in law and this is bringing it back full circle.
[00:56:34] I know I gave you this whole side story, but bringing it back full circle. The point I wanted to make is that when I started in law, so I hadn't done a little school at the time. Part of the contract that I signed was that I was going to finish everything part-time. So I was working full-time and then evenings and weekends, I was going to do law school and do all of that stuff so that I could qualify.
[00:56:56] And, but the surprising thing is I realized that it didn't matter. It literally did not make a difference. I'd spent all this time doing all this other stuff while everyone else had done like master's degrees and gone to law school. And then we all started as part of the same intake.
[00:57:10] And I was not behind. You would think you would be behind, but okay, the one caveat I would give is that not everyone gets the opportunity to be in the job that usually you would have to have studied to get into.
[00:57:25] But I think the point I'm trying to make is that when you get into the job, you realize that none of that stuff that you think you have to do really matters. And so the traditional route of, oh, you have to go to this university and you have to do all of that stuff, I think is pretty bogus for a lot of careers. There's some where maybe it counts for most, particularly in this day and age, it matters, absolutely like so little, it makes zero difference.
[00:57:47] You can learn all of that stuff in other jobs, as long as you are navigating those jobs with the right focus, you can learn all of that stuff on the internet.
[00:57:55] Um, I remember when we first started doing training. So I joined the finance team at my law firm and we were doing training with all these other trainees, and they'd spent all this time in law school and this guy, so, uh, the guy during the training was a securities lawyer, and he was asking questions. No one could answer the questions. And I knew the answers to all the questions because I'd spent all this time reading about finance and learning finance.
[00:58:20] Because I knew that this is something I'd want to do. I had spent a lot of time specifically learning those things. And while everyone else was learning, I dunno, whatever they teach you in law school. And so the point was when I was finally in the position of where I had been like training to get to, I was quite competent, surprisingly competent. And so I was a lot more competent than a lot of my peers. And I was able to do a lot more. I was able to run some deals. I was able to get a lot more out of that experience than I would have if I just went the traditional route.
[00:58:52] So bringing it full circle. When you talk about, uh, like MOOCs and online courses, I think they're super great for niching down and okay. Even though my course is the opposite of niching down in terms of what the subject is about. But I think the point is you can go out and learn specifically what you want to learn, which I think is fundamentally different from what you get to in university.
[00:59:12] In university, you get taught what someone thinks you're supposed to know in order to do something. But the truth is that most academics are not practitioners or they haven't been practitioners in like 20 years. They were particular practitioners in the nineties. And since then they've been teaching. They think you used to know in order to do the job.
[00:59:35] And very often, by the time you get there, you realize that's not true. And it's funny because one of the most common thing that you can ask any lawyer, particularly in the UK, I don't know if the U S is different. Everyone will tell you the LPC like law school, what you study absolutely irrelevant
[00:59:50] Day one of the job, all the stuff that was on your CV that you thought mattered. If you went to Oxford, if you do all of this stuff is fantastic. On day one of the job, what matters is how well can you do the job? That's all anyone cares about. Are you doing stuff on time? Can you communicate well? Can you, uh, empathize with customers? And can you tell good stories? Are you persuasive?
[01:00:13] So, and this kind of comes back to what I want to teach on the course, it's like, there are very fundamental skills that I picked up in a bunch of other careers that by the time I got to being in law were extremely useful, way more useful than learning the law stuff that you're supposed to have been learning.
[01:00:30] And I'd say the same now that I'm in tech, I'd say the same when I was consulting, you learn some of these fundamental skills. You touched on communication as well. Yeah. I think that's hugely fundamental being able to write and communicate while, uh, so I say writing and speaking of probably the two biggest parts of that.
[01:00:46] Another element I think is learning very quickly. So how quickly can you learn new things and how quickly can you up-skill when something, when new information is presented to you.
[01:00:56] I'd say another area is just having strong, critical thinking and critical reasoning skills, decision-making skills and not just making the decisions, but learning from them regardless of the outcome.
[01:01:09] I Think one mistake that people often make is tying the outcomes to the decision-making itself. I'm thinking that a good decision is a decision that had a good outcome. That's not the case. There are outcomes which may or may not be within your control.
[01:01:26] And then there's the decision-making process, the logic process. And if you can get really good at the logic process, you will end up having more good results as, uh, as a result, um, you'll end up having more positive outcomes as a result.
[01:01:41] Josh: How can people get better at that logic side of things and actually just be good at making decisions? That's always been a thing for me where I've been like, trying to learn about, you know, does the decision making process and how can you actually, you know, with the right input, make the right decisions. Not don't even really care, like you said about the output or the outcome, but just having the logic, how can you be more logical.
[01:02:04] Or maybe sometimes you need, do you need to follow your gut, you need to follow your heart. How do you balance the two? And then like, are there things that people can do to like get better at the logic side of things? Cause that's something I think is really important.
[01:02:17] David: Sure. I think one really simple thing is drills. I know we mentioned it before, but practicing, not just making decisions, but analyzing and breaking down your decisions.
[01:02:27] I think so often just regularly in your daily life, you make snap decisions using heuristics or like mental shortcuts and you don't really think through, okay, what factors did you consider when making this decision? What factors might you have missed? What mental biases or cognitive biases may have affected the decision that you made? Are you being affected by availability bias, confirmation bias, hindsight effects.
[01:02:54] What are the opportunity costs? Have you fully weighed that up? Are you being affected by, you know, the sunk cost effect? So there's loads of cognitive biases that you can learn about. These are all like mental frameworks and apply it to regular decisions that you make. And I think that's something that people don't really do.
[01:03:10] And even when they think to do it, I think there's a, there is an implicit bias of thinking that it only applies to big decisions is when you're deciding, do I take this job? Do I quit my job? Do I move across the world? That's when people think, oh, let me sit down and really think about this decision, but you make dozens of decisions every day.
[01:03:28] And so if you could build some small practice of, okay, you made a decision, you're going to go for a walk or you're going to eat this fast food, just take a step back and say, okay, what factors did I consider in making that decision? What did I not consider? What, not just, what did I not consider? What factors, what was I aware of? What variables was I aware of, but did not consider in coming to that conclusion.
[01:03:49] So for example, let's say you decide to eat fast food for dinner. You might be aware of, you know, the fat content of the meal. You might be aware of, you know, that might not be healthy, but one of the, the values that you weighed higher than that was the convenience, how fast it would be able to get to you.
[01:04:05] And so when you start thinking about the decisions that you're making and the reason you're making those decisions, you start just making better decisions because you just build this muscle of thinking twice about things that you usually might have just done on a whim, and you might have just done it without thinking at all.
[01:04:22] And so I think, yeah, really, it just goes back to what we were saying about reps, and building this habit of thinking twice about things and really thinking methodically.
[01:04:33] Josh: Okay. Yeah, no, that's awesome. And I think you brought up a couple things I really want to dig in. Obviously with the name of the podcast, mind Meld, and I'm glad that you brought it up with these mental models, these heuristics.
[01:04:43] Are these kinds of things, you're going to be teaching the course, or do you have resources that you can point to? Like where the books that you learn this stuff? Because it's a very interesting thing for people to understand. It's like the way that we think people don't think like in a meta way of how they think, but you kind of brought it up here, of like there's things that you package up in your mind.
[01:05:01] So let's think of it like as a zip file. Right. You know, it's just like this one file that you can like bring into your decision making process. But if you an archive that there's like so many files within that, that really, um, that affect the way you think.
[01:05:16] And that's something I've always been thinking about is like these mental models, these little shortcuts that we can take that sometimes are good. Sometimes they're bad. Obviously sometimes you want to be able to unpack it and not be influenced by it, but there are there ways that people can learn these things. Are these things that you're going to be teaching in the course? Or is it something that's like outside of the course that you would point people towards.
[01:05:37] David: Sure. So I will definitely talk about all of those things in the course. So sign up, you know, small, uh, self pump there.
[01:05:46] But I think what I think of the best sources I think of, Shane Parrish has a blog called Farnam Street, and that is a great source of information. Seth Godin is a great source of information. He talks a lot about the sunk cost effect. He's a big inspiration for me. What other books, are Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. Pretty much all of Daniel Kahneman's books are all about behavioral psychology. Daniel Pink also writes a lot about behavioral psychology. So he has a book called Drive, which is about, uh, like persuasion and motivation. Range is a good book on generalist skills to develop, which I have taken a lot of inspiration from in the book in the course as well.
[01:06:29] To be honest, actually let me shortcut all of this by saying, if you read my newsletter, if you haven't read it before or just go to it. I, in every newsletter issue, I give three book recommendations. Most of which are books I've read before. And almost every single book I've just mentioned is in one of my previous book recommendations in the reading list. And so I'll probably, I need to update the thread where I keep like a running list of all the books I've recommended, but I've already recommended all of those books in the newsletter.
[01:07:00] So it's a small kind of self pump, but simultaneously it's a really good resource to be able to find books on the kind of stuff I'm talking about.
[01:07:10] Can you still hear me?
[01:07:13] Josh: Oh, Yeah. There's so much. delay here. You know, it's so funny. We were talking about this before. If we forget that as we're recording this, we're on opposite ends of the world. Like we're literally different times zones, different continents, and we're still able to have this conversation. So although it is very frustrating, I don't think anyone will get it.
[01:07:31] The recording, I'm gonna keep this in the recordings. People can hear it. It's hilarious. You know, we're so used to like instantaneous, like everything works perfectly, you know, like zoom, this whatever. Fact that this still works, it's pretty awesome. So there was bear with this and, um, hopefully the recording actually turns out good.
[01:07:46] I really hope so.
[01:07:49] Okay. So another thing I want to get into now, um, is so Yes. I'm going to do another plug for you. All the links will be in the description of this podcast on YouTube, on the website, uh, whatever podcast app you're listening to David's, um, podcasts, his newsletter, the course, everything will be in the description. Don't worry. So if you guys want to find these resources, it'll all be there.
[01:08:10] One thing I did want to ask you actually, before is do you archive all of your newsletter? So is there a way that people can go back and see all of your old posts if they only start subscribing now?
[01:08:21] David: Yes. Yeah. So right now the newsletter is hosted on Substack.. So you can go back to theknowledge.substack.com and see the full backlog.
[01:08:32] Josh: Amazing. Okay. That is awesome.
[01:08:33] So I want to get into this at some point, I mean, we're going to, you know, you're doing all these other things, these ancillary projects, it's basically a media business on top of all the stuff you're doing.
[01:08:45] Before we do, I want to just kind of like package up the last part of this course talk, about this idea of being a generalist, right? That's kind of what you're teaching here. Almost. It seems like where it's like not niching down, but being almost a generalist to have this optionality, to be able to do what you want to do in the world and advance, however. So maybe we can kind of touch on that now.
[01:09:06] Cause you just talked about, of like, you know, not niching down and I'm all for that as well. I don't think people should just do one thing and be known as that one guy or that they're like the mental models person. Like you're going to grow faster that way online and people can associate you with that, but it might not be optimal for you as a human being in your overall development.
[01:09:25] So let's get into that. I want to know what you're thinking in terms of the niching versus generalist, uh, side of things.
[01:09:32] David: Yeah, I completely agree. I think niching down online, like you say, is a really great way to. Become better known. And it's probably something I need to do a bit more in terms of, well, I think I'm doing it, but it's something I've needed to learn to develop more of is in terms of, you know, gaining notoriety and all of that.
[01:09:51] Maybe you need to have a specific brand, but that is not applicable to your career. I don't think, I think in your career niching down particularly very early on is pretty much the fastest way to fall behind in the long run because realistically, I think so one of my like pet frustrations, uh, is that so many people just focus on the tactics of an individual career or of an individual field.
[01:10:19] And I think the issue is that the tactics, first of all, those tactics are only relevant to that field. If you leave that field, you leave a lot of the tactics behind. Some of them, you can find a way to, you know, tie to something new that you're learning. But really what you take with you are fundamental skills.
[01:10:35] Like those are more like generalist skills, but there's a core skills. Um, so things like storytelling, things like persuasion, things like effective communication, uh, mental models, all that kind of stuff. That's the stuff you take with you.
[01:10:48] But it's not just that, it's the fact that because sometimes people over-optimize for tactics, the reality is that, okay, when you think about almost any field, the people at the top of that field are not the most, the best technicians or the most technical people, right?
[01:11:08] The biggest startup founders are not the best engineers in the world. They are not. The best marketers or the most well-known, and most prominent marketers are not the best tactical marketers re realistically they hired those people, right?
[01:11:23] The people that rise to the forefront of their fields are the people that have a package of additional skills. They have great empathy, they have great communication persuasion. So all of these things that we've just mentioned, those are what the people at the top of every field have. Right. The people that can become the face of a company, the face of a group, the face of a division, it takes more than just the technical skills.
[01:11:46] You need to have the rest. If you don't have the rest, you get left behind, that's pretty much how it works. And so you've got lots of people. They end up getting very frustrated in their careers because they have spent a lot of time becoming very good at the one thing that's on their job description, and nothing else.
[01:12:04] And so that takes you up into a point where what we need is what's on your job description in terms of technical skills, but then when we need leadership and we need authenticity and we need teamwork and we need client empathy, client handholding, we need creativity. That's not the stuff they teach you in law school or in whatever school you went to. These are the skills that you learn kind of by doing, you learn those skills on the way, or you can pick them up from other people.
[01:12:35] And so I think that's what I want to teach. Tactics are still great. Marketing tactics, legal tactics, all that stuff is still great. You should still learn that, but that in my mind is more the icing on a generalist cake. If you spend enough time building like a really strong set of core skills, it won't just benefit you in the industry that you're currently in. It will benefit you wherever you go after that.
[01:13:00] And so tying this back to one of the books I just mentioned, which is a Range. I think there's this idea. I was introduced to it in range, but I've read about it in some other books as well. It's the fact that essentially we specialize to early.
[01:13:15] And so the, one of the best analogies for that is actually comes from the UK. So they compared the students in, uh, think students in England and students in Scotland in England, we specialize a lot earlier. So probably like two or three years earlier, students have to pick the specific subjects that they're going to study. So usually that's from around 14. Which ironically, that's why I say that's when I decided like, I wanted to be a lawyer, because that's when you start having to like niche down and specialize in the UK. And so they compared them to students that were in Scotland, where they specialize a lot later. And what you find is that early in your career, specializing earlier absolutely makes sense.
[01:14:00] It absolutely makes sense. If you specialize early and you decide, you want to become a lawyer, you go to the right law school and you get into law, you earn more. So in the beginning of your career, you earn a lot more annual you're going a lot faster. Okay.
[01:14:14] And then in the mid to late career, that completely flips because the Scottish skids that spend more time learning general skills and less time niching down, they learnt things in other areas, and in other fields to it, to at least a slightly later level, and they got more time to, uh, there's something called like match fitting, which is where you get to try lots of different things and see what you're actually good at and see what you actually care about. And then spend more time doing that.
[01:14:45] And so actually, and this also applies, so I'm referencing a study that was done with school aged kids, but this also applies to early career adults as well. The people that spend more time early in their careers doing matchfitting and not just saying, okay, this is the only thing I'm ever going to do for the rest of my life. This is it. If you can spend some time trying and testing yourself, other skills, figuring out your aptitude for them, how much you enjoy them by the time you get to your mid or late career. So in that study that I mentioned earlier, the Scottish kids later in their careers were the ones that were in higher positions, more seniority and earning more.
[01:15:22] So again, specializing early, maybe it's a great tactic early on. You will earn more. You will look like you're going further, but in the long run, you've kind of hit this wall. You hit this wall where what you're specialized in is the only thing you can do well. And also sometimes you realize that that's not what you want to do. Um, I realized that at some point with law, but I think loads of people realize that in their own careers.
[01:15:50] And I think the issue comes down to the fact that between like 18 and 25, you are going through the period of highest change in your entire life. The more change happens within that period. That's like a seven year span that than at almost any other point in your life.
[01:16:10] And so what happens in our society is we get 18 year olds to make decisions for people that don't yet exist. Like you will have changed so much by the time you're 25 or 26, or even later that you're a completely different person. You have completely different needs. Priorities wants interests. The bands that you like in your late twenties, I'm not the same bands that you liked when you were in school.
[01:16:35] The subjects that you liked is completely different. So much of you is completely different. And the issue is that when you so early on start designing this entire life before you've even turned 20, for someone that you have not even met yet is very easy for you to fall out of alignment with what you've planned.
[01:16:54] And so that's why you end up kind of falling behind because now when you want to change, because naturally your, your, your mind is changing, your life is changing. You're kind of scrambling now to figure out how to do something else and how to move across and how to pick up other skills that you missed, because most of your time was dedicated just to learning like specific tactics and specific things for what you thought was your very specific life.
[01:17:18] Josh: Wow. Okay. That's nearly exactly what I read about an Optionality. Like that's exact same thing. Like what? Between 18-25, it could be any time from then 25 to 35, you would be designing a life for someone you don't even know. It's like building a life for the complete stranger. You don't know what that stranger even likes.
[01:17:35] He was like, Hey yeah, you you're going to be a lawyer. It's like, dude, you don't even know if he can like do it. So I like that idea of like, from, you know, of age 18, To 25 to even like 30, it doesn't really matter. Like, I think that's the most time that people should spend just like testing things out, get random jobs, go travel to do some random freelance work.
[01:17:54] Like obviously everyone's situation is different. Like we can't really prescribe that for everyone, but in as much as you can. And I want to get into this now because you still can, you can still go to school and like learn about one specific subject. For me, I chose a pretty broad one, of media production.
[01:18:10] And as we can see now that worked out really well because the world desperately needs media production for advertisements for literally every aspect of the business. It's such a big part of it, especially online nowadays. So I chose something pretty broad and I got really lucky there. I would say, cause I, I studied, uh, video game development, which would be pretty slim.
[01:18:30] I mean, obviously you can still use video game development in many different industries now with like architecture and everything else that we're seeing with Unreal Engine, um, people are, you know, the whole world will eventually be 3d, but for now you're, you're kind of, I'd be stuck. I'd just be doing video game development.
[01:18:44] But media production is a little bit more broad. Like it can still be in the video game development industry. If I want to be, it can be in whatever industry. Point I'm trying to make here is while you're studying these things, or if you do get a job when you're 18 to 25, you can be doing other things.
[01:19:00] And this is where I want to get into this with you now, because you're doing multiple things right now. So yeah, you have a full-time career. You have a full-time job, but you're also doing other projects case in point with me. Now I now have a full-time job too. I'm still doing this podcast. I still have a direct consumer brand. So we'll talk about all that stuff on both of our fronts there.
[01:19:20] And now you're also doing a course, and you have a media company basically doing a podcast and doing a newsletter. So you're learning more skills while you're doing your job. You're still making money. You're providing for yourself, providing for your family.
[01:19:32] You can still still do all these things, but it's still not, I don't want to sound like a dick here, but it's not an excuse to be like, okay, just put everything else aside. You. Spend that extra time, not watching Netflix, unfortunately, for me anyways. And we've been talking about this, not playing video games, but you know, leveling up your skills in like a real life video game, like this immersive physical, virtual reality that we're in.
[01:19:54] You know, so that's kind of what I want to get into with you now. It's like, now it's not about just combining what you've done before, but now it's about doing what you're doing and doing stuff on the side. So now we can call it like the side quests, right? You're doing, you have your main quest that you're doing, and then you're doing all these side quests.
[01:20:10] So let's get into this. Let's I want you to just kind of introduce what you're doing right now. All the different projects you're doing. Explain it to people, have some context, then we'll, we'll get right into it.
[01:20:19] David: Sure. Yeah, we will because there's also something I just thought of while you were saying that, which ties in so well to what we were talking about before. I'll say it now, and then I'll give more background, but it's just, okay. A combination of one doing reps and also just how building some of these ancillary skills that like you say, seem completely unrelated, end up strongly tying to whatever it is you want to do down the line.
[01:20:42] So, okay. I have a podcast and I have a newsletter. Both of them called the knowledge. The course is also like the knowledge academy. That's the title for now. We'll see if that changes, but that's what everything is called.
[01:20:53] And ironically, okay, so I'll tell you about the reason why it's called the knowledge. There's. Um, two reasons.
[01:20:58] One is like the personal backstory, which is a lot of what I mentioned. I came to the UK as an immigrant and I there's no map. There's no like instructions, no one tells you how to do anything. You figure out so much by yourself. And it's really frustrating. And I think it would be really great if we can pull together a lot of the knowledge and a lot of the things that we've already learned and just share it and say, here is information here is what we have learned here is what here is how to navigate life. And so tying that into,
[01:21:30] Josh: I don't mean to cut you off, but how awesome would it be to be able to just download that directly? Like we spend the first, like 20 years of our life just getting caught up in what other humans did before we've like just appeared in this world, right? That's why we go to history class. We learn about science. We learned about math and language. Like, imagine if like, you know, you just download it. Like, Hey, I don't have to spend hours and hours and hours and hours going through this bullshit. And a lot of it's outdated. Okay. But I want to have the knowledge of humanity in our brain. We will eventually get there Elon Musk, this guy's working on it.
[01:22:00] Right. So go on, go on. I had to bring that up because I've, you know, I think that will, that'll probably come sooner than we think that will be insane.
[01:22:08] David: yeah, exactly. I mean, I'm trying to build the, uh, the less hardware version of that. The kind of like still manual, but Alicia is where you can find pointers to, okay. I'm sharing everything that I'm learning, because I think I've learned a lot in my journey so far, and I didn't really have anyone that could tell me everything that they'd learned in their journeys.
[01:22:28] And so I'm sharing everything. I read everything. I learn all the books that I'm introduced to. Here's where you can find them. Here's why you should read. This is, you know, the information, uh, the other side of what's called the knowledge is a pun. Being a Londoner, so, um, we have cabbies here, people that drive black cabs and to pass the test, there's a test as a black cab driver, which is called knowledge.
[01:22:52] And it's essentially, you have to memorize 22,000 streets in central London. And the point is you need to be able to know how to navigate Central London. You need to be able to know intimately, like as you're passing by and someone says, I want McDonald's, you can tell, you can start navigating to the numerous McDonald's.
[01:23:11] Obviously this was invented before we had satellite navigation, right? So before you had Google maps or ways or whatever it is that you use, these guys were manually like memorizing all of this maps, all of this information. And so that's kind of what I want to build is how do you navigate the world around you?
[01:23:29] Like how, what are the tools, the skills, the information that you need to be able to navigate different areas of life. So that's kind of the premise of what I started.
[01:23:40] But, tying that back into how that helps me in the rest of my life. Um, okay. Building a practice of writing and writing in public, there are reasons that I can very easily, very easily rationalize and say this. This is why you should do it. And I can tell you why you should do things now, because there are great things to do. Everyone should start a blog. Everyone should start learning a public and finding a way to show you ideas. I started it, um, partly because of that, I think I wanted a space where I could share a lot of the things I was learning and coming across.
[01:24:11] But with podcasting I've, that was very specific. I wanted to practice public speaking, because I had some opportunities. I'd done a lot of talks in the past, but again, going back to what we were saying about reps, I wanted to create an opportunity for myself to regularly practice speaking, annunciating, talking at length, doing all those things.
[01:24:37] And so, yeah, so I started podcasting. And what's funny is now the combination of those things. So now I get speaking gigs, I do keynotes. I'm doing a keynote later this month, and I sold that keynote off the back of a newsletter that I'd already written. And so that's kind of the point I'm at now where I've written a lot of the things that I'm writing in my newsletter are they're all essays.
[01:24:59] So it's not just like, oh, this week I went to the park. So sometimes I add that stuff. But for the most part, that essay essays about things that I believe and things that I read and things that I learned.
[01:25:08] And what it means is that because a lot of my perspectives are kind of laid out already in 2000 word essays, I can just, if someone approaches me and is like, oh, we'd love you to do a talk, I can just send you two links and I can say, I can do this talk or I can do this talk. And I will just talk through something I've already written and it's already there.
[01:25:27] So now the combination of both of those things actually helps me in my career as a speaker or someone that can do talks and shows and things like that, because now I have all of this referenceable knowledge, I have to do so much research and spend all this time doing that. Whereas I can give an example from years ago.
[01:25:46] I remember what I did my first keynote at the London London office of this big, uh, like I think fortune 500, something like that, like a really big company. And I spent probably like two months preparing for this speech because I had no material. Like I had to prepare it all from scratch. I had to do all the research, do all these things, put it all together. Whereas now, because I've built these other assets that I'm always learning and always kind of building always updating it's super easy.
[01:26:12] If someone says, can you do a talk on this? If I read about it, I just open what I've written and I can turn that entire newsletter into a talk back in the last time of however long it needs to last. So that was like tying the loop on that.
[01:26:28] Um, so yeah, that's what I do on the media side, along with the course that I'm doing now, Ironically again, I think the course is breaking down a lot of the ideas that I talk about in the newsletter, but really being able to spend direct time with people.
[01:26:42] And cause I think that's the difference in a newsletter is very much just broadcasting. I'm just saying here's the ideas. But having a course gives me time to actually spend like a week, two weeks, three weeks directly with people and helping them, talking them through certain ideas, pushing them on ideas, helping them to develop ideas of their own.
[01:27:02] And so you you're able to really get into the weeds and actually help people with things rather than just broadcasting and see who interacts with them.
[01:27:10] Josh: Totally, I guess now, now would actually be a good time to clear up for people, the platform that you're going to be basically launching this off of. And it's not just like a pre recorded course it's live and it's like with people. So maybe kind of like talk about that, just so people know, and I can maybe put it in the beginning or something. So people get a little bit more understanding.
[01:27:30] David: So I'm going to be doing a cohort based course on Maven, which is this like hot new tech startup run by some amazing founders. So one of the founders was a co-founder of Udemy.. Uh, one of the co-founders was a co-founder of Seth Godin's alt-MBA.
[01:27:48] And I think she's also done a bunch of other stuff before as well. And I think another one of the co-founders built a company that sold to Google and you know, is unique in its own way. So I think these people are people that really understand the world of course is. And part of the reason I wanted to do it through that platform, one, because I believe in their idea of, you know, cohort based courses, being the future of learning, kind of like a mini university where you're able to learn, not just from prerecorded lectures, but direct.
[01:28:18] You know, very much in like a university setting where you're directly with, uh, a tutor or an educator, and you're able to spend that time directly with them. And they're able to help you connect with that knowledge in a way that you wouldn't really be able to do otherwise. But without the bloat of like a three semester course where you're spending thousands of pounds and or thousands of dollars, you know, that's not necessary.
[01:28:45] You can condense it down into a few weeks where you're spending like lots of intimate time and it's just really, it might be like intense, but you absorb all the information that you need and you can just take it and go.
[01:28:58] And so I think that in the future becomes a really great way to upskill on things, where previously you would have had, you would have had to think, oh, you know, I want to take this slightly different trajectory with my career. I have to take some time out. I have to apply for this, this program at this university, will they accept me, have to pay after school, figure out the money or student finance to go and learn this thing, or to just like,
[01:29:25] This goes back to what I was saying before. A lot of the time, all you need is enough to be dangerous. That's what really matters. You're not trying to become the world's foremost expert on, you know, video production, like you, in your case. You want enough information that you can start producing videos, right? So that does not require a three or four year degree. It might, but realistically, I'm sure that you could condense that.
[01:29:49] If, if you had a willing teacher, you could condense that into a few weeks where you are like spending in one or two hour workshops, direct time, like directly interacting with the material, with everything that you need to know, and you can learn it.
[01:30:04] Josh: 100%. Yeah, that's huge. I just want to get people on board with that. So they don't think it's just like prerecorded thing, but it just kind of ties into the idea of like the future of education and the future of like university, basically.
[01:30:16] Like this is a very small startup. This is very new. Like universities have been around for thousands of years. Like what happens when this is the new model and people start learning, this goes back to the idea of saying like, what if you can just like download this information? Okay. So that's, we're getting there.
[01:30:30] Right, right now you're going to be downloading it through video. Instead of like reading books, reading books, we need books, you can condense all that knowledge and took a video into a video course. You can be like show slides. You can show all these different like multimedia experiences online.
[01:30:43] So I think we're getting closer to that and people will be able to download this, this knowledge into their brain much quicker. So I think that's fucking fantastic. So I want to move on from this now, unless you have some, you want to add on to.
[01:30:56] David: Yeah, I was going to say, funnily enough, I think what you said sparked the thought that actually, in some ways I know the co-founders of Maven, haven't said this, but in some ways this is kind of coming back full circle to the origins of education. Actually like when we say universities have been around for a long time, not in the overinflated, like large-scale formats that they're in now.
[01:31:16] If you're going back to like ancient Athens or some of these places, the universities they had then was like a small room with people in the, like a small group of people that were spending a lot of intense, very intimate time, digesting the work, dealing with it hands-on and also bouncing ideas off each other.
[01:31:34] I think that's another aspect that's been lost over time is this fact that you're really wrestling with the work and wrestling with what you're learning. And I think that's definitely something that comes from the heritage of academia. That's really been lost.
[01:31:47] Universities now are not so much about like wrestling with ideas. They're more about, uh, ideas being like spoken to you. And you're just there to like pick up the pieces and hopefully take them to a job where you just need the piece of paper that says you've had these ideas thrown at you and then that's your certification.
[01:32:02] And so I think this is kind of coming back full circle to the idea that, you know, if you can really spend time resting with ideas, digesting them and not just one-on-one with you and the teacher, but also with the rest of the students.
[01:32:15] I think that's a big part of the changing dynamic as well. Like it's, it's equally important that you are in this cohort. So that's one of the differentiators between like a prerecorded course. And it's not to say I'd never do some of those, but I think this has so much additional benefit because a lot of these courses will be curated specifically for group learning and for people to be able to interact and learn from each other at the same time.
[01:32:40] Josh: That is a really interesting observation. That's so true. Like one of my favorite professors at university, luckily this isn't like my second year, so I got to absorb this idea. He's like, look around like university. Isn't just this classroom, like university is, you know, learning from other people, besides you learning from your friends, learning from your colleagues.
[01:32:59] And that really stuck with me. And I think like Mavens clearly doing a really good job with that. You know, you're able to have a small intimate session and learn from each other.
[01:33:07] I think about this too, man. We're in the university of life and business and you and I are for learning from each other. Like I got to, you know, we get to have this chat and have this conversation.
[01:33:15] And now because of modern technology, we can record it and people can listen or watch this, and they can also learn. So they're learning from us too. And let us know in the comments too, if there's anything else, um, that you guys want to learn about, you know, maybe we can share like some links in the YouTube comments in on whatever Twitter hit us both up on Twitter. You know, we can always, we can always add some more to the conversation.
[01:33:38] But I do want to get into this sort of like last piece as we're kind of moving towards an end. I don't want to keep you two lakes. I know you're like five hours ahead of me.
[01:33:46] So I really appreciate you taking that. I appreciate you taking this time, David, like, especially like, like you said, you do so much, man. Like you have a full-time job. This is like late in the evening, guys. This is like late at night for David. For me. it's like middle of the day. David, I really appreciate you taking the time to do this that night, man. But, um, I don't know, maybe this is a good time to kind of segue into the other things you're doing.
[01:34:07] So on top of doing, let's bring this, let's tally those up now. Okay. So you're doing your full-time job. You're doing this course. Um, you have the podcasts and the, um, the sub stack, which I guess you can kind of put together as the media company. So it's like three things, but now you have like two other companies, man.
[01:34:25] And then like, if you want to get into it, your Airbnb business. So let's get into the entrepreneurship side of things. So this is like, this is a myth I want to dispel. And I think this will be the perfect time to do it,
[01:34:35] which is like, you can have a full-time career and you can still do entrepreneurship. You can still do projects. And then we can talk about how maybe it doesn't need to be this huge scaling billion dollar thing, but you could still have a lifestyle business, be successful, have fun, have a mission-driven company and keep doing all the other stuff. So I'll leave it to you. I'll put it all back into your court to talk about other companies that you're working on.
[01:34:57] David: Sure. No problem. And I'd love to, for you to share more about, uh, some of yours as well, but for me, so I have, I'd kind of say it's one business, but it's really two businesses now at the same time.
[01:35:09] Uh, so I have a D to C brand called democratic Republic, and that is a business that works with artisans global artisans to create like amazing lifestyle products, mostly drinks at the moment.
[01:35:23] And so we sell coffee sourced from across Africa, from several countries in Africa. And then we also sell wine from like small heritages states in Tuscany and the south of France. So coffee and wine, like drinks for different moods, different times of the day. Not that it wasn't necessarily planned that way, but that's, that's what we've got at the moment.
[01:35:41] And I think, yeah, touching on when you said it's, it's a real opportunity to be able to make an impact. I think so going back to the foundations of why I wanted to start the business, it started with the coffee and I want to give back when I was working in law, I drank loads of coffee every single day.
[01:35:57] And at one point I had this opportunity to try, it was like this coffee tasting thing. And so I was able to make like my own blend of coffee. It was really expensive, but to blend some coffees from different, uh, areas of the world and I mix them African coffees together, and it was amazing. I loved it. I, I tried to save as much of it as possible and make it last as long as possible.
[01:36:19] Eventually it ran out. And so I was like, I'd love to get more of this. I'd love to make more of it. And that's when I started looking into African coffee more and I realized that. It's really hard to get. Like there's a lot of coffee that is sourced from different countries around Africa. That's just not usually available in the UK, particularly in, not in like traditional sources.
[01:36:41] And so then I started looking more into it and I was looking more into like the history of African coffee and there's this all kinds of stuff that most people are completely ablazing oblivious to. Um, starting with the fact that coffee originally comes from Africa. So all coffee comes from Africa, originally from Ethiopia and it spreads a Yemen.
[01:37:00] Then it starts spreading around the Arab peninsula during the like Arab slave trade. And during colonialism is when coffee started spreading throughout the world. So what you would have is like people from Europe, European countries, like the Dutch would come, they're like, oh, this is delicious. We love this.
[01:37:15] We would love to grow this in all the other places that we own and the same with the British and the same with other other like colonial countries. And so suddenly you have coffee being taken from Africa to India and to south America and to other like colonies across the world. And that's how coffee spread.
[01:37:37] But then what also happens, the inverse of that, like, as we go through time, is that then people's tastes change and people niche down and specialize a lot more. And so now suddenly you're in this situation in the UK where our biggest, we import the most coffee from Europe. Like we get most of our coffee from Italy and from other European countries then after that is south America.
[01:38:00] And then all the way down, like a tiny little crumb is actually from Africa. But the issue is on the African side of things. If you look at Uganda for example, oh, another part that I even missed, why I touched on it, but so coffee starting from Ethiopia or Yemen, that kind of area. So coffee was then grown in areas that it's not even indigenous to.
[01:38:22] Right? So you have coffee in Uganda, you have coffee and some of these other countries. Coffee originally was not indigenous to that, but all these people had to grow it. And now it's one of their biggest exports. So now there's a huge part of the economy that hugely relies on growing and selling this coffee and we're not buying anymore.
[01:38:40] And so on. So that's one of the things that I wanted to try and solve for is there's like this huge storytelling aspect behind the history of coffee and Africa that people are completely unaware of. And I'd love to be able to support the farmers. Um, because another part that I haven't touched on as well, is that the fair trade thing, I'm not a hundred percent on board with, okay.
[01:39:05] There's two sides. One, one thing that people don't always realize is that the fair trade organization is not a not-for-profit. It's a, it's very much a for-profit organization that makes money. But I mean, it's not necessarily a bad thing. The idea of federate is still good, right. Even though they charged both, both sides to get the fair trade designation, so the farmers have to pay for it and the export has, have to pay for it.
[01:39:32] But the impetus is that people will get paid fairly for what they sell. The issue is that the fair trade price also becomes a price ceiling because who's going to pay more than that voluntarily. And so what happens is that regardless of the quality of the coffee that you're selling, you get a fixed price, which is the fair trade price, and it's fair.
[01:39:52] But what happens is the people that export it. I like actually, this quality is really good. This is premium coffee. And then you charge like premium rates because it's so good, but really on the other side, you know, they're getting the same payment, whether it's fantastic, whether it's okay, if it's just possible and it's going to be annual Walmart, like $1.
[01:40:14] Did they get that same price if it's going to be installed bucks. And if it's going to be like, oh, this amazing specialty coffee, they get the same price. And so they don't really get a huge difference from that. And so that's why I wanted to use like the direct trade model where you kind of work a lot more closely, whereas either the farmers themselves or their representatives.
[01:40:32] And then you're able to pass on a lot of the additional profits for premium lots of coffee. So they get more directly for making premium coffee. And I think it empowers them and makes them become entrepreneurs as well. And I think that's one thing I really wanted to foster is building this kind of entrepreneurial spirit among a lot of Africans where I think there's loads of people that do things.
[01:40:53] And they're amazing at those things, but they don't think of this as a business. So there's people that grow coffee as an example, the price of coffee as a commodity has gone down so low that a lot of people that own like heritage farms where they're their entire family has been growing coffee for centuries.
[01:41:08] They don't even want to do it anymore though. They'd rather sell the land to real estate developers. Or in some cases they just burned down all the coffee and start growing something else instead, because what do you get from selling coffee is very low. You might as well sell something else. And so I know this is a long winded answer, but I think that's kind of where I was coming from and wanting to start that brand.
[01:41:29] And that also evolved into wine. I think what ties it all together is all these things, you know, they come from the earth. Another big part of our brand is that it's sustainable. And so like our deliveries are carbon neutral, almost everything we do, we try and make sure it's carbon neutral. And so we, yeah, we care a lot about the planet and the things that we do.
[01:41:49] So that is all one business. And on the other side of that business now is that we're opening a coffee space in London. So like an actual physical coffee shop. And even though it's the same business, it's kind of, you have to treat it like a separate business because this is now a retail business rather than an e-commerce.
[01:42:09] Josh: Yeah. Okay. Well, first of all, thank you so much for the coffee history. I didn't know any of that shit. So I just learned something right now. That's amazing. That's crazy, man. Um, it's so true that those are two different businesses. So like what I want to get out here too, for you, it's like one is direct to consumer completely e-commerce and now it's going to be a physical business.
[01:42:26] So you have like these things you have to manage and juggle. How do you do it, man? Like, what is that process? Like? How do you, uh, I guess is the right word, but like, how do you package these, like in your day to day? Like, how do you put this into your operating system of like your weekly to do's of your daily to do's while you're still trying to juggle, like all these other things.
[01:42:45] You're still doing your job, um, you're still doing your podcasts and your, uh, and your sub stack. How do you bring this into your day to day? And how have you, have you gotten help? Is it purely just you still, because I know it's still a fairly early business. How have you been like running it? How have you been managing it lately?
[01:43:03] David: Sure. So I'd say there's a few levels. Um, at the very first level is the fact that when I had the initial vision for the business, it was when I was still working in law. And so actually this we're coming full circle again, back to when I was talking about how I just have business ideas, because it's fun.
[01:43:22] And I just go through the reps of, I have an idea. I write down what the business model would not like I do some research. I give myself like a week or two and do as much as possible. So I iterate on potential logos. I do some basic web design. Maybe I'll buy the domains. I'll do a lot of the work. So I did a lot of the research.
[01:43:40] I got in touch with a lot of the businesses. And also because I was still working in RA, I gave a lot of thought to how I could structure the business model in a way that I could still do my current job at the time and run the business. And so I did that and then I just closed the book. I just turned the page and had other business ideas.
[01:43:59] I didn't do anything at the time. This was like 2018. I think. By the time I was now in a position where I was like, actually, I'd love to revisit that business. I'd already gone out and made the contacts. I'd already done a lot of the research. I'd already sourced a bunch of stuff. I'd already negotiated rates with.
[01:44:18] Uh, we were working with a roaster here in the UK, and so I'd already done a lot of the web legwork. Um, so I didn't need to do that. So from when I decided I wanted to revisit it to when we launched was about two weeks or we did like a soft, soft launch where we took pre-orders, so that was two weeks. And then we did two weeks of pre-orders and I used that money to like, pay for everything. So that by the time we launched, it was like a super quick turnaround.
[01:44:42] So I think a lot of it was pre cognition, like two off in advance in terms of having a business model where, okay, we have this partner that does the roasting and also they do the fulfillment. So we pay them more for that. But I already knew in advance.
[01:44:57] I didn't have the time to do that. And so I'll pay them to do it and do it fine. So I don't really do much on that. Day-to-day I do like the marketing side and the operation side. And if we need to do like software partners or other things, you know, that's the CEO hat and I can wear that. And that's all, I don't have to wear some of the other hats cause you can pay people downstream to do those things.
[01:45:19] So I think that's one part of it where you think about, think about it in advance. The other part in terms of operationally day-to-day, um, it's harder to say in a way that is immediately useful to everyone. I just built this notion database thing. It's a, it's a big sporting thing that actually touches every area of my life.
[01:45:39] I have this huge notion database of all of my tasks, every task, but what I love about notion is that youth will create views and you can create linked databases. So I have different areas like other pages in notion, and I will reference a, you know, a subsection of that big database that is only relevant to.
[01:46:01] So I have one, which is for my work for my day job. And I have a to-do list for all the tasks that I need to do day-to-day in my job, but all of that information is being pulled from a master list and it's the same with the business. So with the business, I have another page and that's referencing all the tasks that need to be done for the business.
[01:46:19] And that's just surfacing for me at the exact time that I need it. And so you can set it to only show tasks that need to be done within this timeframe. And so when I open it, I just see, okay, these tasks needs to be done today or tomorrow. Am I going to do them now? Am I going to defy them so later? And so you can pass them off in that way.
[01:46:37] I would just add a third element, which is also delegation. I'm not doing at the moment, but I'm going to be doing it again soon where I had some additional team members and there was one person that I hired on the team and their only job. And I'm going to bring on another person to do this very soon now, just because I'm going to be doing a few more things, um, that only job is managing the notion database like that task database.
[01:47:00] So when I have other people that joined the team, everyone feeds into that one thing. And so what I have is like a, an output version, which is for the business. And so all of the, any interns that we have, any team members that we have tasks that they have, they put them in that. And so I have one person that they just drive tasks that are in that, in that stack. If something comes up, they, if I need to do it, they told me it needs to happen. If someone else needs to do it, then make sure that they're on it.
[01:47:30] And so, yeah, it's a really small cost actually for the amount that you can drive, because then I can take my mind off it because I think as a quote, unquote CEO or someone that is managing lots of things, probably one of your most scarce resources, they're just mental headroom and cognitive throughput is what I call it.
[01:47:51] I wrote a newsletter on something like that, but it's the. The amount of space you have in your head for processing different things. And so the more you can offload that, the more that you can actually spend like tackling problems. Cause you can't do both at the same time.
[01:48:03] Josh: That's huge. Okay. This is amazing. I really want to dig into this because there's two things here. It's like, it's like the Ram, like our brain as a computer, like we have like random access memory. Like it's literally the Ram you can only do so much.
[01:48:16] And first of all, too many people try to store it into their own brain. They, oh, I'll remember that. Well, I have this to-do list. Oh. And then also have grocery list. And then like, I have to tell so-and-so and I have to like, remind my partner to do something. I got to pick up the dog shit later. Like there's so much going through your head. It's like, I don't know if you, if you've like read into this or like getting things like reading, getting things done or the GTD model.
[01:48:38] It's just like the idea of like, when something happens in your brain, you just offload it to like some kind of list. It could be anything if you're using like the notes app on your iPhone, that's good enough for you. Okay. This is a reminders app notions. My favorite too. I have like everything in notion.
[01:48:52] And, um, it's the idea of like, okay, I have this task that is related to this project. Okay. It's going to go in the master database and then you can tag it to whatever project and then you can start delegating it based on which one and rerouting it. This might be a little bit too meta and too deep for a lot of people listening. If they're not really like into notion, but the idea of the link databases I've been doing this a lot with notes too.
[01:49:13] I don't know if you do the same way you have like a master notes, like database, and then you could have link notes. Okay. I just want to talk about notes or like re write notes that are specifically to my project X, whatever the project X is. But the point being is, if you're going to add a note that into this project is still feeds into your massive database of everything else.
[01:49:33] So we can start making other connections. Right? Most people do this with like Rome research nowadays, or like obsidian, these other tools that really do connect things better, um, notions getting there. But I like this idea that you're kind of getting at is like, how can you split up these different tasks, these different projects into different areas.
[01:49:51] Especially if you hire someone for one specific project, you don't want them to see all your personal tasks and all that stuff, but then how can that feed into the master thing? So I'm going to, I'm going to steal that, man. I'm going to start using that for my, my notion.
[01:50:05] Um, and then, Yeah, and then, um, on a, on a second point of that, it's like, okay, so now you're delegating a lot of stuff and having this quote unquote CEO mindset, I want to get into this now, because we talked about this, um, before where it was like, you're building this business at the beginning with the, with this idea in mind that you want to still be able to do your job. Like you're still working a job.
[01:50:28] How can you set up an, a business in a way that if I had my job, I can still make this work. So that's why you chose e-commerce at first, which, like you said, once it's running, you have a marketing engine, you have something driving traffic, and then you have a good website and you have a good product kind of, um, automated. It can kind of run itself.
[01:50:45] Like I did the same thing starting Longboi, like if anyone's watching the video, I'm wearing it, you can see the little Wiener dog jumping on my chest. Um, you know, we started off with like print on demand. So it's like, we don't have to like get a warehouse. We don't have to find all these people to like create shirts for us and then like print shirts on and embroider our logo.
[01:51:03] It's like, we can find these companies where like their whole business model is, Hey, we'll connect to your Shopify store. If anybody makes an order, we will fulfill it for you. You don't have to worry about anything. Sure. You're giving up some profit margin, but the margins are still pretty good.
[01:51:16] Considering all you're really doing is creating the design, creating the website and driving traffic to it. So I liked that. I liked the, the, um, I guess the lifestyle aspect of it. So how does that set up for you for democratic Republic and how have you set up that engine? So it's pretty much, I don't want to say it's fully, um, passive income.
[01:51:36] Cause that's like a myth nowadays, you know, it's like, you know, you can make passive income, but it's like, you can make a project or make a company pretty passive nowadays with technology and automation and all this stuff. So I'd like to hear about how you've done that.
[01:51:49] David: Yeah, I really think you can. And again, I cringe at the sound of passive income, but I think you can get quite close to automating a lot. So for example, yeah, realistically the main things I was still hiring people for. And again, I can tell you exactly how to do. And automate every single part of the business. I don't know how possible it is functionally and how much it would cost, but this is how you do it. I, because I'd already done some parts.
[01:52:17] So the one thing I had to do manually still, which there has to be a way to automate what JPL is, getting my orders from the Shopify site to the roaster, because we versed all of our coffee on demand.
[01:52:31] Cause I think that's one thing that I really wanted to maintain is just the delight moment of like opening a bag of fresh coffee that was just roasted probably within a day or two from when you ordered it. And it smells fresh. You, you get that immediately. And every time he does the exact same thing.
[01:52:52] So we work with a barista. We have to send them roasting orders by a certain time, if we want them to rest it that day. The one thing I struggled with is just that they have a specific format that they need to receive that in. And we get that just Shopify orders. So I need to find a way to like get a Zapier integration that can connect them or some other kind of thing that can ends
[01:53:13] Josh: Oh, there's a way.
[01:53:14] David: like data from one spreadsheet to another spreadsheet.
[01:53:17] So if I get that sorted, you pay however much the cost is for that machine task. That's layer one done, uh, they do the roasting and they also do the fulfillment, but that's baked into the cost. So we've already negotiated a price and they fulfilled directly and ship directly. And so that's done all the customer service part is automated.
[01:53:40] So for a large part, that's all done. Then the other side of it is the marketing engine, which you still need, but a company like yours now, you're the startup that you've joined, which does essentially marketing on demand. I think you hire a company like that to essentially just try out loads of, uh, marketing stuff that you need.
[01:54:02] And. Again, there's probably a way to have that, that I'm talking about, like the level one version, then there's maybe a level two version that I've gone version probably, uh, more automation, higher cost. So it depends how you work it out. But if you can find a way that all of the output that is coming out from whichever agency or whoever you're getting to do, the design work just goes into some kind of like Dropbox or Google drive, Google drive file.
[01:54:32] And there are already services that can share posts based on stuff that you have in a particular folder. Then that completes the firewall of the marketing side. And you just hope that it works, you know, to the extent that it works. Otherwise you change the input of the marketing. And so you just directly feed into whoever's doing that.
[01:54:51] So that's one way to get both sides of the equation going fully automated and not doing anything that technically is quite close to passive income. You will still need to do some work, but that's something we could do. Realistically. The other side is still doing either doing the creative work yourself, which I still do a lot of at the moment or hiring someone to do the creative side of things.
[01:55:15] Um, but if you do it yourself, then maybe you hire someone to do the posting. So there's different ways you can like de-leverage yourself from certain elements of the business.
[01:55:24] if your aspiration is just to have a business that just coasts along and just as that, and that's fine, if you are more than that, I think it still needs involvement. Like if you want to be able to partner with other stores, or if you want to develop like partnerships do corporate side of things, then this is where it requires like operational support. And this is where you put your CEO hat on and you have to actually get stuck in the weeds.
[01:55:49] Josh: Yeah. And like, I just want to bring this full circle. It's like, you can hire people to do this stuff and then they, you're de-leveraged, you're not really thinking about it, your CEO mindset, or like, in your case, in my case, like we're both designers, like personally, I love doing this stuff, right. It's, it's a hobby for us.
[01:56:06] Like we get to do this and be connecting to what we were talking about earlier, we're putting the reps in by doing this. We're, we're strengthening that muscle even further by actually doing the work. Yeah.
[01:56:16] It takes time, but like, it's, it's your hobby? Like, it's your passion, right? It's like, you're either going to be playing video games, going golfing, watching Netflix, or on your free time, you can be doing this stuff.
[01:56:25] It's like, you can learn more about marketing. You can learn more about design. You can learn about systems. Like obviously you, like, if you really want to learn systems thinking, create an e-commerce business and like set up some zaps. Right. If you set up some, some like automations, and that's how you learn about systems thinking, if you want to learn, like, for me, like in business, if you can learn Notion databases and how to connect it up with Zapier, boom, like you're kind of coding at that point too. Like, it's pretty awesome.
[01:56:50] But the point being is like, like we're learning these things. Cause like we're building these muscles, we're learning these skills and we're doing it on the side. And then a certain point, yes, you eventually maybe hire someone to be like, okay, like I can't deal with that anymore because I have higher level things because you want to grow the business. You need to take the business to the next level.
[01:57:08] And I had like this note on my phone, I didn't really flesh it out into a full, um, blog posts. I might do that now that I'm thinking about it as like the different levels to business, like level one, it starts off as like a hobby or passion, you know, it's just like, as a hobby, maybe you're not even making money for it.
[01:57:23] Then eventually it becomes like a lifestyle business. That's like layer two. It's still like maybe not a full on startup. You don't have employees, but the lifestyle business, then it can become a startup. Then it can become like a full on company when you're bringing other people. Company being different from business businesses, the engine, but the company is the people you have around it. And then it can become like an enterprise. Like there's like these little layers to it.
[01:57:46] And then we're talking about you know,, maybe it's okay. Um, to not max out your levels, you don't have to get to level a hundred on everything. Maybe this business is only meant to get to like level two or level three in this, just like a lifestyle business. It doesn't have to be maxed out.
[01:58:01] So, so I'm just trying to bring that back into the analogy with skills. Businesses can be the same way, but while you're, but just because the business only goes up to like level two, it doesn't mean that the skills can start going up. But like, you know, the business goes up to level two, but your design skills just go through the roof or your like operations, operational management skills, just go through the roof. So it's a really interesting how that can happen.
[01:58:24] David: Yeah, absolutely. And I think one thing that we haven't touched on, but it's super true, or we haven't said explicitly is the way that these skills and the time you spend learning them very early on compound over time, almost exponentially. Like the little time that I spent in reality when I was 14 years old, learning how to do some design work. I mean, I still learned way more after that. I learned very basic stuff, but the time that I've spent learning, like basics of design, fundamentals of design, fundamentals of marketing compound over time.
[01:58:59] And so now by the time I'm running a business, it's super quick for me to iterate on design work. You know, you can do your own logo, you can do your own website. You can do social media posts. You can, you can design. So. And you don't have to rely on hiring people. And again, I think this is one of those differentiators where, oh, how can I bootstrap this business? Because I have all the skills, not all this, I mean, but I have enough skills to do it and to stop. And I don't have to rely on, exactly, enough to be dangerous.
[01:59:26] I don't have to rely on, oh, I have to find a developer. I have to find all this stuff. So I hear loads of people that are obsessed with, they have this idea. They want to do something, but suddenly they need $15,000 to do it. I'm like why? This is a really basic idea. You don't need the finalized version of the website.
[01:59:46] I've iterated. So many things. I'll give the packaging. As an example, within the first two weeks of the business going live, I changed the packaging three times.
[01:59:56] Josh: While it was going live. Wow.
[01:59:59] David: yeah. While it was like, it was life like the packaging that was on the, and this is the other part, the packaging that was on the website when we first launched, it was entirely just mock-ups that stuff didn't exist. I just made I, again, I have design skills, I designed a mock-up. This is what a coffee bag would look like. If it looked like this. We sell some, we sold pre-orders. I used that money to actually pay a designer. Let's try another version.
[02:00:25] Uh, we paid the designer, we got another version when we printed it, the sizes. Weren't what I thought they were going to be. We'd already printed like 80. So now we have to sell all of those. Fine. Then we did a third batch where now I've like, got it down. I know we've got the artwork. Right? We've got the sizing right. Everything is perfect. But all of that, that entire firewall took two weeks.
[02:00:47] So you test, you iterate, you figure out what works, what doesn't work. But I think a lot of people would have sat down in their chair and said, okay, let me find the money. Let me pay the designer. Let me do a test order of this thing. Let me look at it.
[02:01:02] I didn't look at any of that stuff. You just, just start, just start something. You put it out, and you see how people interact with it. You have the key is being very quick to change. So you have to be really quick to respond to the feedback that you're getting and iterate.
[02:01:20] Josh: That's amazing. So Yeah.
[02:01:22] I mean, this, this brings back to like the whole bootstrapping mindset, right? I mean, this kind of ties into everything we've been talking about. If you want to start something, just whether it's just a project, like people I've talked to so many people, like how can I start a podcast?
[02:01:33] How can I start a blog? It's like, just like, do it, like go do some research, learn the skills that you need to do. And it's like, there's a zero to one aspect of everything. You can do everything yourself. You can start a whole e-commerce company. You can create, like now you're creating a fucking cafe. Like you can get the zero to one.
[02:01:49] And if you want to go further than that, Yeah, You're going to have to hire people because you need to have like, you know, the, the whole idea of like, you only have 24 hours in a day. Okay. Yes. But mark Zuckerberg doesn't have 24 hours. And today he has 24 hours, times 20,000 employees. It's exponential.
[02:02:06] Once you bring more people in, then you can delegate. Then you can start scaling, but that's like, that's later, that's not zero to one. That's not even like really two to five. You know, it's like these there's Le levels and there's layers to it. And not trying to like a rush, not trying to get too, too ahead of yourself. I think that's where we're getting a lot of people who are like, I want to start this business. I need like $50,000 to start is like, no, you really really do not need to, um, start small, take these pre-orders you don't even have the product. Just find a designer on Fiverr, even if you don't have the skills, get them to do a mock-up for you. Put it up on a webpage and see if people will buy it.
[02:02:43] Like, will people give you their credit? Yes. Okay. Now let's go forward. Let's go a little bit further, a little bit further. It's like, um, you know, walking into the ocean rather than just like diving into the middle of it. You know, you can like slowly walk into it, weighed yourself in, then eventually the water gets over your head. Then you can start building a team to help build a raft to get to the other side of this, uh, this ocean. That's kind of the way I see it.
[02:03:06] David: Yeah, exactly. I think that's a really good analogy.
[02:03:10] Josh: Yeah, totally. Do you have anything else, like any other, any other ideas on all this? Because I do have another question for you. That's very specific for me, but I think a lot of people will, um, we'll also get a lot out of this.
[02:03:22] So whether they're already doing multiple things or they're in a job and they have these ideas for like businesses or even a project, even if it's just a podcast or something, which is, it can be a business. If you start getting, um, sponsors and stuff like that, be like, you can get paid to do it.
[02:03:38] But if they want to do a startup, maybe like it's their first startup and, um, they're already in a full-time career, what advice do you have to give them to juggle these things? So for me, I already have multiple startups. I'm already doing a podcast to what advice do also have for me. Like, if I'm like a little step ahead, how can we manage all of this stuff? Because a lot of people might seem overwhelmed and be like, it's not possible, but it clearly has man. You're like the best example of this.
[02:04:05] David: so. I think I've touched on some aspects of this earlier, um, or at least of what I'm about to say. I think one of the biggest, one of the things that will have the largest impact on your ability to juggle it is how well you think about it in advance. And this isn't a case of doing a 32 page business plan and sitting down in your chair for a really long time.
[02:04:25] That's not what I'm talking about, but it's really iterating on your your thoughts of how that business will look and finding the very smallest I'm talking more for the beginner side, what is the absolute smallest version of this thing that could possibly exist? And I can't remember who wrote about this recently, but I was reading about someone that was writing.
[02:04:50] Am I being gone? Who's the same guy. Who's a co-founder of Maven and also birth on a unit Udemy. I don't know if I pronounced his name correctly. I hope he forgives me, but it's this idea of, okay, so we have the minimal viable product and that's a very well versed idea. Now, I think that's still a valuable idea in this context, like what's the minimal viable product or what's the smallest version that could possibly exist while he was writing about, was going a step beyond that.
[02:05:18] What's a minimum viable test. What's a way that you could test the assumptions behind the idea of your product. How can you test the potential demand for something like this existing without having to build the product? So some people want to build, they might have a clothing line and they're very festival is let me start ordering samples from China and spending 4,000 pounds of my savings on hold on, hold on, hold on.
[02:05:41] Like, that is not the minimal viable thing. Like if you skip all the way to that point very quickly, you can become overwhelmed and very quickly you can start struggling. And now you're like, ah, you're burnt out. You know, you're really finding it hard to cope, sending out a survey or some tweets.
[02:06:01] Okay. A really good example, the wine brand. So how wine ended up becoming part of democratic Republic is before. I was doing this entrepreneurship program called, uh, NEF plus, uh, by the new entrepreneurs foundation, which is a UK thing. It's a bit like, not an accelerator, but you know, it's one of these entrepreneurship programs, something like that.
[02:06:24] And they gave us a challenge in the very first session that we had to make a thousand pounds in the next two weeks, a thousand pounds of profits. So not revenue profit. And so we had to like scramble around and think of ways to make this. And so I think it was like a friend of a friend or someone that we ended up knowing that was on my team for that task because their mother was someone they knew had a vineyard in Tuscany, but they weren't actively trying to sell the wine.
[02:06:56] And they had this old batch of wine that they made in 2013 that wasn't really doing anything. It was just sitting there because they didn't necessarily care about it. But the person that takes care of the, the winery is this award-winning wine maker. So the person that's taking off to it is like, it's in really safe hands, but they're not actively trying to like sell this vine or do anything with it.
[02:07:19] And so I was like, I could sell this. It's funny because people had like apprehensions, people were like, oh, you should. I was like, no, I can do this. So I sent a tweet. I said, let's we saying, you know, if I started selling wine, would you guys be interested? I think I had like a hundred and something, you know, responses or retweets or whatever it is.
[02:07:37] And so this is kind of what I mean by the minimum viable test I tested the idea of would people be interested in this product? I didn't even have a mock-up at this point, I had nothing. Are people interested in this? Okay, cool. If you're interested, then I did a mock up. Then we did. Pre-orders exactly the same thing with the coffee, a mock up of bottles that didn't exist, the bottles existed, but when you, we could get it, but we did, pre-orders like three months in advance.
[02:08:06] I said, if you're interested by the one we sold almost week, we sold over a hundred bottles, like 120 bottles. And within I think, two or three days a week, I dunno, we made a grand in like three days, we made like three grand in the next week. So we like smashed that challenge out of the park. And all of that was pre-orders mind you.
[02:08:31] So then we could use that money that we generated to like go and buy the staff. And so the point I'm making is just that there's loads of really low stakes way. You can try ideas and you can try things and you can see what it would look like. So that's part one.
[02:08:46] And then part two is either some form of like automation or delegation or teamwork.
[02:08:52] Teamwork, I think is super underrated. It's one of these things where everyone wants to be the king of their own castle. Everyone wants to be the founder. Everyone wants to be Forbes 30, under 30, whatever it is. And everyone ends up building their own flavor of the same thing, not in every case.
[02:09:11] But I've definitely seen lots of examples where there's lots of people that, because they want to do it by themselves and just be a one man band. They ended up doing like a business. That's very similar to those of other businesses. And what's the differentiator of your one on, I don't know, but you are doing it by yourself because you want to do it by yourself, when there's loads of opportunities to cross-pollinate.
[02:09:31] Why don't you find someone that has either a similar business, they're already doing something. How can you work together or a slightly different skillset? How can you work together now? You're, de-leveraging a lot of the work that would have been entirely on you to start something from scratch by yourself. Now you have a co-founder. Now you can take on different responsibilities.
[02:09:49] So imagine that, but maybe you have three co-founders or if you have some disposable income, you like hire someone, uh, you, you get an intern. I think there's there's ways to de-leverage yourself, but you have to be very intentional about it from the beginning, because I think if you get into the weeds too quickly, it's almost unsustainable.
[02:10:10] And I think you hit, you've probably heard a few stories of startups where this happens, where they get too popular too quickly and they actually can't keep up with the demand and then they end up shutting down. I've definitely heard two or three stories like that because
[02:10:23] Josh: the kiss of death, right.
[02:10:24] David: yeah, like you just call, keep, you can't keep up with the demand. And because you can't keep up with the demand or the customers are happy and everyone pledges never to shop with you again, meanwhile, you're waiting for your back orders from China to arrive.
[02:10:36] Then you get all this stuff arrives. You've had to give refunds to like a dozen people. And you're stuck in this place where now you're in debt, you're in, you're in debt. You don't have the customers, blah, blah, blah. There's loads of issues. And this is how you can get trapped. So you have to think ahead to the extent possible about some of these things.
[02:10:52] And I think I was reading somewhere. Just this idea of, I think maybe from Tim Ferriss is like a thought experiment. If this goes not just as well as I planned, but if I need to double the capacity, what does that look like? And just think about it. It doesn't mean you have to plan for that, but you just have to think, okay.
[02:11:09] If we have doubled the capacity, if I need to do twice as much as I'm expecting, what does that look like? And just running some of those thought experiments, I think is extremely valuable.
[02:11:21] Josh: Ooh, that's a really good one that I'm going to take that one for sure. Because you know, we're getting into the, that part of the business with Longboi right now where my partner, again, I'm lucky enough to have a partner. I'm not on my own for any of these things. She's the one that's going to be basically designing the products.
[02:11:38] We're creating clothes for dogs, now. I don't know if it's a problem over there, but in Canada it gets really fucking cold. And especially for Wiener dogs who are like really close to the ground, the snow is just treacherous for them. Like, imagine that like dogs, if you actually look at them like their belly, they don't have hair on their belly.
[02:11:54] Like, how would you feel going? Like, you know, crawling all over the snow and all your junk and your belly is getting out cold. Like it would suck, man. So like, we're like, no, like we have some empathy for these dogs. So we're building, well, she's designing that right now. And we've had, we're lucky enough to find someone locally to sew everything for us. So we're actually gonna get cut. And so from a local supplier.
[02:12:15] But it's at a very limited supply. So you mentioned with like your wine, you only have like 120 cause he did the pre-orders we're going to do something similar, but we only have enough fabric to do maybe a couple hundred of each, but we can still put that on the website that there's only 50.
[02:12:30] And we can almost use that as like a scarcity tactic that, Hey, if you want it, like there's only 50, you better hurry up now. So that's our plan. And if those all sell out, boom, automatically order double. But I like the idea of like thinking far ahead in advance of like, what happens if this goes too well, like we'll have as if there's way too many people trying to make orders or, um, and then also, I guess you can think the other way too, like what happens if you buy all this stuff and nobody orders, like you have to do something like that happens to a lot of people they're stuck with inventory and you have to do something with it.
[02:12:59] So I really liked that idea of thinking ahead and the idea of having a partner to, or someone that you can partner with is so valuable because there's going to be times where you're caught up at work. You have to do something, but something urgent has to get done. Then the only way to do that is if you have other people like you can't automate everything, unfortunately. So I think that's a huge, huge thing is just finding a really good partner that you can work with.
[02:13:24] David: I'd love to hear about more about that from your side, actually. Um, maybe we'll go back a few steps. Cause I think I've, I've said so much from my perspective. I'd love to hear some of this from yours.
[02:13:34] So maybe first of all, your journey going from like what you studied to your businesses and, yeah. Like all the different things that you are running or have been running.
[02:13:46] Cause I think you were doing like AR VR stuff. I'm not sure if you're still doing that, but you've been in quite a few different spaces as well, actually. So I'd love to hear more about how you manage and balance that and how you've moved across projects, as well.
[02:14:00] Josh: True. True. Yeah. No, absolutely man. So I guess I can start this in high school for me honestly, is where this would all start. it was the first time that I really, um, gave a shit about school and I really cared about like the stuff that I was actually working on.
[02:14:15] I got really good at like fine art. Um, and funny enough, one of my best friend's dad was my art teacher, at the time. I was more friends with the art teacher and now I'm really good friends with his son, but the point being is I got to finally got a really good teacher that kind of mentored me through this, and I finally got these really big projects.
[02:14:33] Is the first time I had like a massive project that I knew I had to get done, and I had to like really work hard on it. Like I'm talking Friday night, 3:00 PM when I would come home from school to like Sunday morning or like Sunday night and that whole weekend I would just work on the art. I'm like, I didn't do anything else. I was doing really well in the other programs. But art is where I started to really like hone that in.
[02:14:55] At the same time in high school, I took a coding class and I took a media class. And so now I'm starting to think early on, Wow. If I can combine these things, this is where you get dangerous. Right. Learning just enough to get dangerous. If I can code just enough. And I can like do media production really well. And I know, um, like the theory behind it all, and I good at art or design, boom, this is going to be it.
[02:15:20] Now at the time. I was like, okay, I want to go. What's the best way to put all this together. Okay. Video games, right. I love video games at the time and it really is all that right. It's technology, creativity, it's all these things. It's everything combined. And that's still going to be probably my horizon later on in life. We'll get back to that. Um, but I know that that's kind of like, you know, where we can get going.
[02:15:42] That's that's the mountain at the end of the, the map, right. As these maps are opening up. Okay. I see a mountain over there. That's the mountain. I want to climb, so, okay. Let's start climbing them out. I'm going to go to school for, um, for video game development. I had to get really good math grades. I was like, fuck, I'm horrible at math, I'm going to learn math.
[02:15:58] I had to just power through it and learn math. Finally got to university. And in year one, everything was great on the creative side, like I was like doing design work. I was doing, um, recording.
[02:16:10] Um, and then at the same time, I started my first business, which was a recording studio in my basement. So at the time I was playing with bands, like I still do. I play music all the time. I had like a drum set guitar. I ended up creating a whole recording studio because I was really into audio. I was like, okay, I want to be able to record my, my band's music. Oh. And if I can record my music, other people are going to want to use this equipment because it's very expensive to record music like nowadays. Yeah.
[02:16:36] You have your laptop and you get a cheap mic and go through logic. But at the time, like it it's hard. That's a hard thing to do. So I figured it out. I started recording my bands. I started buying this equipment and then other bands came to me and were like, Hey, like I want you to record, like, this sounded awesome.
[02:16:50] Like, I really liked the recording. So I'm like, Hey, come on, come on over, I'll record your album, record your EP. So that was my first business. That paid off all my equipment. I got some extra money on top of that. And that was the first time I saw like a really good return on investment, on like something I love doing. And it was like a really cool creative industry.
[02:17:07] So now I'm doing recording, playing in a band and I'm also at school. So first year was awesome. Like I said, creativity was awesome. I was doing audio production because I have this recording studio. I was really good at doing audio.
[02:17:19] So I was doing music for all the other groups, um, video games, my programming skills where like, low. Like, talk about like our, um, our levels, our, uh, our bars. I was like a level one level two. My creativity was up the chart. My project management was getting up there, but, uh, the coding was just like really, really hard. And I just wasn't prepared for it.
[02:17:41] So first year, um, the best thing ever could have happened to me did, which is I had a professor literally tell me that I should drop out.
[02:17:50] I was like, what? So we had this fucking, uh, midterm that was like, it was physics. It was physics for video games. So if anyone has any idea how that shit works, first of all, you have to understand how physics and the real world works. And you have to translate that into code. So it's like translating Chinese into Japanese, while only speaking English.
[02:18:12] And like, it does, it doesn't work for me. So I got like 10% on that midterm exam. And that was like accounting for 50% of the overall grade. this professor literally just said to us, so I'm not the only one that failed by the way. Pretty much everybody did, except for one guy who got a hundred percent. So they couldn't do a bell curve. Bullshit. I know some guts, one dude got a hundred percent. Everyone else basically failed, but this professor was such a douche, he was such an asshole, literally came into the class, the next day was like, Yeah. you guys should just drop out. It's like maybe university isn't right for you.
[02:18:44] Maybe she go to like community college. Maybe you should learn business instead. So I actually took that seriously. I'm like, Hey, fuck you, maybe you're right. I'm just going to, I'm going to leave. So after first year I ended up just going to this other, uh, university Ryerson, which is where I ended up graduating from in Toronto.
[02:19:03] And the craziest thing here is. Signed up. And I, I did a bunch of like, uh, tests. I had to write a bunch of essays and I just handed it in and I actually handed it in about a week late. So I'm like, oh, I don't even know if I'm going to get into this university. Like, there's no way I'm going to get in. Um, I also found out too, that it's a very competitive university, only about 5% of applicants get in.
[02:19:28] Thousands and thousands of people apply every year, but only they only let in a hundred every year, somehow in some universal fate, they accepted me. So I was like, okay, wow. I have no idea what's going to happen here. Let's just go do this. I'm going to do film. I'm like, fuck, fuck video games. At this point, I don't want to do video games cause I have, so I'm so hurt from this professor. I'm like coding isn't for me.
[02:19:54] So I'm like, okay, I'm just going to do film. I'm just going to do audio production. I already have a recording studio, let's just learn audio.
[02:20:00] So this program was like a generalist as dream, right? We get to learn all aspects of production. We did audio production classes. We did video production classes. We did web design classes. We did motion graphics classes, but at the same time, we also had to do liberal arts studies. So we also had to do English. We had to do business. We had to learn like finance. Like there's all these aspects because it's media production.
[02:20:26] To be a producer, like if you're thinking about a film producer or TV producer or just a media producer, you're kind of like a generalist. You're kind of like the overarching hands that oversee everything. So you have to know, like we talked about know a little bit about everything, just enough to be dangerous. So I got to learn a little bit about everything and I got to be just dangerous enough at coding.
[02:20:49] I learned Webflow cause I found out that my mind works better visually. So I'm like, let's just learn web developer, web design instead of the backend code. Got to learn everything you name it, like from audio to video production, web design, everything. And I got to learn how to be better communicator. I got, I learned how to be persuasive speaker.
[02:21:11] Um, and then at that time, um, I started learning about virtual reality. So things get really crazy here. So when I'm in second year, this the Kickstarter for the Oculus Rift came out and I backed him. Okay. This is like insane. I remember trying it trying virtual reality. If you haven't like, I, I beg everyone to at least try it because it blows your mind.
[02:21:32] You're like, Hey, this is like the future of media. You realize like, wow, this is like the next step. So blew my mind. I'm like, okay, now I'm going to learn virtual reality. So now I'm going back to coding. Cause he got to do coding in VR and like a video game production. So now I'm like, okay, I want to blend when I was doing before in video game development with what I'm doing now in film production.
[02:21:54] So at the time this did not exist, but it was like, what if you can like put on virtual reality goggles and be part of the movie? Like what if you actually became like a character in the movie, rather than just watching it on the screen? Like you're putting on a headset, you can look around, you can interact with things.
[02:22:10] What would that be like? So then I started filming things in 360 degrees. We built these GoPro rigs. I don't know if anyone's seen it, but it's like six GoPros are all stitched together. I had like 3d print this Mount and then put all the GoPros like mathematically correct to get like the right curvature to get a full 360 image.
[02:22:29] So there, there you go. Somehow I knew enough math to be able to do that. I'm still horrible at math, but I was determined because I had an outcome. I was like, Hey, I need to be able to do this thing. So I built this rig. And then, um, for my final year in university, we have what's called, I guess people have like a thesis, like a thesis project.
[02:22:47] For us is called a practicum, is like a practical thesis. So you get to get together in a group. You basically create a start-up, and then you would create a big project that you would then present to the class and you would present it basically be the thing that would help you graduate.
[02:23:02] If you can do this big project, that's your last thing. You can learn how to work in a group. You learn How to create a project and produce something and you can now go off and do whatever you want. So our idea was to build this thing called Contraverse, which, you know, became the company. But at the time it was just a student project.
[02:23:18] I was like, Hey, I want to make these VR films just so I can experience that dream that I had, what would that be like if I put on a headset and I was part of the movie and I became a character, it's all in first person. Like we played first person games, but what would a movie look like? And I could be in it. So we made three of these.
[02:23:35] So somehow, you know, I pulled together five other people, uh, at school to, I somehow convinced them to do it. Everyone else was like, no, that's impossible. There's no way we can do that. We never learned virtual reality in class.
[02:23:46] I'm like, well, you know, other things like you can just do it. Literally. It was pulling teeth to get people on this project because they're so new and so different. And people didn't really understand it. Point being is we did it. We actually ended up creating three movies. And not only did we create three movies, but we ended up building software to play those movies.
[02:24:04] So we found out problems of our own. Like we try to do like, um, a film screening. We literally created a VR cinema in Toronto, like one of the first in the city. And we found how fucking hard it was to show people. You put people put on the headset, they have no idea what to do with it. They're like pressing all these buttons.
[02:24:20] It's like, you have to give them flight instructions. It's like going into a flight. Okay. Everyone sit down. You can, you have your headset on your lap, we'll put it on and we'll teach you how to use it. But then we realized, okay, wait, when you go to a movie theater, all you have to do is sit down. You don't have to like, learn how to use a projector.
[02:24:37] Why would I need to learn how to use projectors? Someone else does that for me. So we built the software that would basically create like a VR, synchronized cinema. So we can have like 30 people, a hundred people, however many we want, they would all put on the headset and we have an iPad at the front of the room. And when we hit play, it would automatically play the movies for everyone else.
[02:24:54] And again, that's just solving our problem cause we're like, holy shit, like it's impossible to do that. Nothing like this exists. So we built that out. That ended up becoming basically what the company Contraverse was. And I said was, cause I'll kind of tell you why we've kind of stopped in the sense, but what really happened next is what actually blew me away.
[02:25:15] So we built these well, we created these movies and then we started submitting them to film festivals, started getting accepted in film festivals, all around the world. I'm like, wow, this is unreal. And these festivals had the same problem that we had. Oh, it's very hard to showcase these. Okay. Yeah. We want to have a VR section of the festival, but it's very hard to showcase it.
[02:25:35] They started realizing we had the same problem. So we built the software. We started creating a subscription service for festivals to start using this. Then something even crazier happened, those films themselves got nominated for a Canadian Screen Award, which might not sound that big, but it's basically like the Canadian Oscars.
[02:25:55] Like it's literally the Canadian Oscars, which is pretty surreal that a, um, a student film would be, uh, at least nominated and we're nominated against like big projects, like Jurassic World had a VR project that year. So we were like in the same category. So we went, we got to go to the ceremony, we got to go to like the award ceremony.
[02:26:13] And we got to, people saw like our films there's really, really cool. But then like, obviously that fades out, right? Like those movies, whatever they become old news. The biggest thing for us was like, okay, we can either spend lots more money to make more experiences or we can pivot, you know, all these festivals that we're showing our film, they have the same problem.
[02:26:33] Like they need the software to make it a lot easier to showcase the stuff. And then if they can showcase it, more people will start creating the content because then there'll be showed at festivals and then people will pay for it at these festival. And then you get a nice, uh, flywheel. Nice. Like, I guess you can call it like a snowball effect there.
[02:26:52] So we thought we're doing, we're creating basically a whole new, like category of film, which is kind of what we're doing like the immersive film category.
[02:26:59] Now, the thing that sucks is this thing called COVID happened in 2020. Um, some people might have remembered that. But essentially what happened with that is all the festivals shut down.
[02:27:12] Right? There's no conferences, there's no festivals. I'm not traveling. Like before that I was traveling all around the world. I was going to Germany. I was going to China and like showcasing the software and the content all around the world. Then like the world shut down.
[02:27:24] We're like, okay, shit. Like we can like pivot and make this all online. Help these festivals showcase their stuff online and like virtual cinemas. It was just like, it just proved to be way too hard. So I'm like, okay, you know what? 2020, let's just like, stop here. Right? It's like stopping and thinking. It's like, okay, I can keep doing this. Keep going down this road, but it's not really going anywhere.
[02:27:45] I feels like I'm pushing a rock up a hill. What would this again, another Tim Ferriss quote is like, what would this look like if it was easy? So I'm like, honestly, I'm just going to put this on autopilot. The software can just be there. I'm not gonna put any real time in a marketing. Other than like our current clients, lo and behold, to this day, we still just get clients emailing us and saying that they want to use it.
[02:28:06] So I don't have to do any marketing. I don't have any automations going. It's pretty hands-off in terms of like what I'm actually doing day to day, the content product, the content distribution is obviously like automated. It's like a software, but I don't have to like do all this legwork. So I'm like, okay, I'm just gonna put it on the side.
[02:28:25] This can not be like a side project. I'll shelve it. And hopefully the subscription service and the software subscriptions will keep this company alive. So now I'm thinking about the heartbeat of the company. Can we at least just keep it alive? We have money in the bank. Eventually I'll have to start thinking about, do I want to keep this company going, do I want to evolve it or can I just keep doing what I'm doing now? Can I keep servicing festivals while I'm going?
[02:28:47] But the whole point being is like, you know, we basically had to stop that. And then my partner, who's also my fiance. We started this company, the other, cause we met each other in university and she was like, the one that really helped me make it work.
[02:29:00] She kind of revealed to me like, Hey, make maybe this isn't what I want to do. Um, it was kind of helping you achieve your dream and helping you with your project. I'm like, okay. Yeah, fair enough. So then it just kind of like, she kind of left the company and it was just me. So I'm like, okay, like, I'm just going to put this on the side.
[02:29:15] But then at that same time we got a Wiener dog and we became obsessed with Wiener dogs, which is, I guess how you guys can assume this is how Longboi started.
[02:29:23] So then it was like the other way around. Marisa, my fiance is amazing at sewing. Like she's incredible. All of my favorite like shirts on my button down shirts. She actually sewed. She literally made them. She's like incredible. So she had the skill from years ago. So we're talking about like, you know, your career and connecting the dots, going back.
[02:29:43] She'd been sewing for years. I'm talking like years, she was sewing, sewing her own dresses. She was making like bags. She made my shirts, she's making pants, everything. And then we got this dog and we realized, holy shit, there's this huge problem. There are really weird shape and size dog. They have really long bodies and like short legs.
[02:30:00] There is no clothes that actually fit them. There's like, no, I think there's a two companies in the world that actually make, um, like clothing and jackets specifically for dachshunds, for,weiner dogs. So we're like, maybe like we could do this and we started the company.
[02:30:15] But, um, you know, we didn't want to jump too far in the weeds, so, okay. Let's just do human clothes first and get the brand out there. Can we do it print on demand? The answer was, yes, that was great. So now we have people repping the company and we figure out who the Wiener dog lovers are. And then it was like, okay, great. Now we know we can solve this problem. We have the distribution, we have the website, we have the marketing, we have all of our social channels set up from last year. Now we can do a launch with our dog clothes. So that's our next step.
[02:30:44] I would say the best thing that happened though in 2020 was when I stopped doing Contraverse and I was like, Hey, I'm going to start a podcast. And here we are, david. Here's, here's how this happened, man. Um, is probably one of the best things.
[02:30:57] You know, a lot of people think during COVID did podcasts, they did newsletters. And I would say that was the, one of the best things that happened to me, because I get to chat with awesome people like you, right. I get to meet people online and it doesn't just have to stop at Twitter.
[02:31:11] I can be like, Hey, like I have a podcast. Do you want to come speak to me? It's hard to like convince people to do a zoom call for no good reason, but the podcast gives people a reason and it's content production, right? Like when this is over, I'm going to send you a bunch of clips. You're going to have a podcast episode to share without having to do any of the legwork. So I can do that for a lot of people now.
[02:31:30] And then, like I said before, I kind of mentioned on it. I'll bring it back one more time. It's like that then led to me creating this one YouTube video about Descript.. Cause I'm editing this podcast and I'm like, oh, maybe other people would find it useful. So I made the YouTube video. From there, Riverside, the platform that we're recording these podcasts on, reach out to me to do product videos. From there, uh, Superside reached out to me to be their producer and run their whole YouTube channel and do all their video content production.
[02:31:56] So I think that's a really good story, long-winded story to get us to now how it all connects and how it's like you talked about the exponential growth curve. It truly, truly is exponential, man. It really, really is.
[02:32:07] So that's kind of my story right now. And I guess one thing I did leave out, which I am also working on is a company called resto Pronto, which we also built in the pandemic.
[02:32:19] Again, my company Contraverse I shelved it and I was unemployed basically. So I did the podcast, I made this Wiener dog clothing brand with my girlfriend at the time.
[02:32:29] And then I was like, okay, like I have the skill of web design. I told you, I've been doing for years and years and years again, along the thread I've been doing web design clients. Like I've been doing this a little startup Contraverse that really didn't pay the bills. The only way I paid the bills was because I learned the skill, I learned how to do web design in Webflow.
[02:32:46] And I was doing client projects since like 2015. Like that's how I was literally paying all my bills. It was just doing freelance work, like on the side. Even to this day, I have random freelance clients I'm trying to eventually get away, but it was the only way I can actually pay the bills.
[02:32:59] So I had the skill of like web design and technology. So then during the pandemic, I'm like, who needs this? The most? Who? Honest to God, like everyone wants to get online, but who needs us? Restaurants. Restaurants are getting destroyed and still are to this day. Really. I mean, they're starting to come back, but in 2020, they're all relying on Uber eats, relying on door dash.
[02:33:21] The problem with those companies is they were taking 30% profit out of every single order, which was not sustainable for the restaurants or the industry at all. So things are starting to change. But what we found out is these restaurants need to have their own web presence, their own website that they can do basically direct consumer marketing and fulfillment with.
[02:33:40] So it's like, okay, build them their own website, let them take online orders. And then they can dispatch the delivery. Now we've partnered with door dash and square. It's now on the backend of those orders, you can white label door dash.
[02:33:52] So now a door dash employee comes guess not employee, but a door dash contractor will come to the back of house or front of house from these restaurants, take the order and deliver it to the end user. So these restaurants can take delivery orders without having to pay that ridiculous fee.
[02:34:09] So that's another thing that I'm still sort of working on, but again, I have a partner. So now, now, although I'm doing, um, Longboi and I started this company, at, um, Superside my partner also named David actually. He's awesome.
[02:34:23] And he does a lot of like the day-to-day client side work and I can do the creative and now we're starting to think about, okay, who do we need to hire to fulfill? Because now that company has gotten past level two, we talked about level one being hobby level two, being like lifestyle business, and level three, being a startup.
[02:34:41] So I would say like Resto Pronto has become a startup. It's very systematized. We have a very specific process, and now I can hire people for specific roles.
[02:34:52] Where I would say Longboi is still in the lifestyle business phase where like, we're not, maybe we're obviously outsourcing some stuff, but it's mainly me and my fiance working on it.
[02:35:03] Like it's both of us, I'm designing a lot of the clothes she's literally designing and like sewing the clothes, but I'm doing like any, anything with web, anything with marketing, do all those graphics. Um, and eventually once I become startup phase, when we're making enough money, then I can outsource the graphic design.
[02:35:20] We talked about it early. I love doing it. And it's like a hobby, but it gets to a point of diminishing returns where you got you're flexing this muscle, this muscle, but now you're like lifting five pound weights and it's not really doing much. It's not even really maintaining it. You want to move on to other things. So then I can hire someone to do that.
[02:35:35] But those are what, those two things, right? I'd say those are the two main businesses one's just getting into startup phase. And one is still in like lifestyle phase. It's a little bit of a handholding on one. And one other end, it's like learning how to delegate more and learning how to find great people that I can like hand things off to, learning how how these standard operating procedures work. How can you write down everything you do so someone can understand it.
[02:35:59] And then, you know, it brings us to this podcast now, and it's just like, great. This is a hobby. You know, it was like different light layers. This is like a level one. Like this is hobby level. I don't really care if I get paid for this.
[02:36:11] I mean, technically I am now I will be with Superside, they're paying me to do it. But for like Mind Meld as a thing, I don't care if I get paid. I'm getting paid in this amazing conversation with you.
[02:36:20] David: Yeah, that's awesome. How do you find on your site being able to balance those different things? Like, do you have any, I know we talked about notion and using notion to manage tasks, but how do you find, I think maybe more so the time management aspect of balancing all those different things.
[02:36:38] Josh: Yeah. I would say the one thing that I do now that is so helpful is like religious almost to the point of OCD, time-blocking. Like my calendar, there's literally a time block for like sleep even. So I know from like 11:30 PM to 7:30 AM, like that's sleep time. And then I literally block out, okay. Like five minutes of stretching, half an hour, an hour of working out, 15 minutes of doing a shower.
[02:37:04] So I know by like literally also some blocks my calendar, I use Calendly also. So like, if people want to book meetings with me, I just send them a Calendly link. And I know that all of my calendars are synced up and they'll know when I'm actually available. So now I said, I even booked time for like lunch, for dinner.
[02:37:20] So no one can book time with me in that dinner slot. So now I can have with my specific supersized calendar, which is green, the company's green, and I'll just block out, ok I'm editing for these next three hours. I'll make a block I'm editing. Okay. So now I can visually see, oh wow. I have like three extra hours of time.
[02:37:37] Well, what needs to be done? Oh, well I need to edit this podcast. Ok, so I'll do that after dinner, I'll do that night, but the time blocking of literally everything, not just like your tasks from work or not just like, um, your holidays and stuff, but I like time block, literally everything.
[02:37:52] And also for me to look back on the week. I like to be like, Hey, what did I spend my time on? I can go back and like, oh, I blocked out these two hours because I was working on a client project, uh, for RestoPronto.. So that will also be in there.
[02:38:03] So if you look at my calendar, I look like fucking, I don't know, like it's like military time. And like there's so many different colors and these different things, but if you can compartmentalize these things and visualize it, like, I know the branding of Resto Pronto is orange. So if you see orange on my calendar, that's RestoPronto stuff. If it's green Superside, if it's purple, it's Mind Meld. If it's brown, it's Longboi. So I can like visualize how much time is going to be spent on these things.
[02:38:30] And I would say that that helps a lot. And then keeping like a to-do list. I talked earlier about putting it on a list rather than keeping it in your mind.
[02:38:37] So I use a tool actually called tick tick for that. You can use anything. I think even the reminders app, you can create certain lists, but what I'll do is I create a different list for each project. So I have like a Superside list. I have a podcast list, I have Resto Pronto list, and then whatever I need to get done in that list, it goes right in there. So That's another way that has helped me a lot.
[02:39:00] David: That's a really, really good point. I do exactly the same thing with calendar blocking. And I should have mentioned that earlier. That's a huge, it's a big game changer, like blocking out time for not just the things that you want to do, but time you want to protect to be able to do other things. So I block off time for, you know, if I want to make time to do writing in the morning, I, I don't block off time for, for showers and stuff, but I do block off like a lunch slot.
[02:39:28] I also block off if I have to go to the office, I block the actual commuting time as well. It's just so that you can actually see the chunks of time and how they fit into your day. And I think one thing that really helps with when it comes to doing your to-do list and thinking about what tasks you actually need to get done is that you can visually see if you have enough time to do the things you say you're going to do.
[02:39:50] If you have five things on your to-do list and you think you're going to get them all done today and you and each of them takes half an hour, and then you look at your calendar and there's only like a one hour free slot, realistically, you're going to have to change plans. So I think that that's one huge thing.
[02:40:05] Another huge thing that I would say maybe as a tip for you actually, but I'm sure it would apply to everyone, but I know it was a good paradigm shift for me. I think it's an idea I stole from August Bradley, who like a notion guy on YouTube. But the idea of using do lists instead of to-do lists.
[02:40:26] And what that means is having a due date. You might have both a due dates, like the date, something is due, but also having a do date, which is the day you actually going to do it. And this does two things. So this is partly the function that people use calendar blocking for, anyway. I know Cal Newport talks about that and some other people talk about that in terms of committing to do something at a particular time on a particular day and how much that like statistically and from studies, like how much that increases the odds that you're actually going to get those things done is if you put it in your calendar.
[02:41:02] But I think even in terms of having a list, putting the day you're going to do those things helps me loads, because like I say, the way that I surface. Specifically, but you can do this, uh, analog or in another way, but that is what allows me to have a master list where I put everything in.
[02:41:22] If I wasn't using the system, I would not do that because I think having a, to do list that has I've had, I've been there in the past. You have a to-do list as 40 plus items. It just becomes very overwhelming. It gives you more anxiety than actually not writing things down at all, having a master list where I can put anything, I possibly would want to do. Tasks that are for future tasks that are near future. And then I put the day that I'm actually going to do them.
[02:41:50] And so then when I'm looking in a particular view, like for my work, for example, I will set it to only show the tasks that I do or the tasks I'm going to do today or tomorrow. And so automatically it's only going to show me the things that I sh I said, I'm going to do today or tomorrow. And then it becomes a bit like an inbox.
[02:42:08] So if it was getting later in the day, as the day is going on, if I think I'm not going to do this, I will move it to tomorrow. And so that clears, so by the end of the day, the list is empty, either because I've moved something still tomorrow or because I've actually done it. And so that helps a lot. And then by the time I get to the next day, it's auto populated the stuff that I'm meant to get done, because I've done it in advance.
[02:42:31] And now that it's today, it's going to show up. So you could do like a very, uh, low end manual version of this by just writing them down. And I used to do that and I still do, sometimes in my notebook, I'll write a list of things. I think I'm going to get going to get done and then move them across to the next day.
[02:42:48] It's like bullet journaling. But I think that is quite inefficient. If you can find a form like notion or maybe the app that you use or something else, I think that helps a lot.
[02:42:59] Josh: Yeah, I love that. I'm totally stealing that. Cause I know most of them most like really good task management apps should have like a today view. I think, you know, if you said it it's like did do today and then like, you'll see, like, what do you need to do today? And then if you don't do it, it'll just carry over.
[02:43:13] And it still says today, cause like, today is always today. My mind is breaking here, David. But yes, today is always today, but it'll be red because you actually said you were going to do it yesterday and it will show the date that you're going to do it. My mind's breaking there.
[02:43:26] I want to get back into the notion for one more thing for you, because I know you write a lot. due to your journaling and notion, do you save things that you come across the web? Like obviously with something called the knowledge, you're probably gathering a lot of knowledge around the internet from tweets, from blog posts, from videos. How do you store all that stuff? How do you resurface it?
[02:43:44] David: Yeah, I store all of those things, possibly too many things, but all of that goes in Notion. Notion has become, I know people talk about Notion being a second brain, but it's actually, it's almost dangerous the amounts to which I over rely on using Notion. But it's fantastic, it's a great tool. And I will be evangelical about it to the point that so many people will join, that they can't stop the service, which means all of our data will be preserved. That's the aim.
[02:44:11] But, um, no notion is really good for being able to store things. So I have a Notion extension and also you can do it from the app if you use the share function in iOS or an Android. So anything, anytime I come across something.
[02:44:24] So I have two main databases. One is for reference and one is for notes, the one that's for notes, notes, for anything. If I'm making personal lists for myself, the first draft of the course, and I draft newsletters notes on things that I am watching or reading. So if I'm reading a book, I will, as soon as I start the book, I make a notes page for it. And I start adding notes as I'm reading, if I'm watching YouTube video, that is useful, I'll put that in a notes page and I'll start adding notes.
[02:44:54] Um, the same for podcasts. Anytime I listen to a podcast that's useful, I'll make a notes page. I'll start adding notes. So I have that one is a trench for note-taking. Then on the other side, I have reference so anything I come across on the internet, whether it's tweet threads or blogs or blogs, anything useful that is just being referenced.
[02:45:17] I'm not making notes on it right now. I'm just want it to reference. Then I saved that in the other database, uh, the way that I manage things there on both of them, I have tags, but on the reference side, I also have like a rating system. So I can rate how good this source of knowledge is.
[02:45:33] And the aim is really that I don't actually want to have to Google stuff. Um, when I sit down to write, I should be able to use either just my notes or stuff that I've already come across. Because all the stuff I come across is good quality stuff, all the stuff on the internet. I mean, it takes a while to find good quality stuff. And so if I'm saving all of it, as I find it, then I can just search by tags or by words, key phrases, things like that.
[02:45:57] Like a search firm, like this big bank of knowledge that I've already saved up, uh, which are from sources that I trust. And, you know, people that I know. Good quality information I can just search from. It's a bit like an anti-library.
[02:46:10] And so I started from there and then with my notes, I like cross reference them. So if I've made and it just makes it so much easier, it makes everything in life easier. Because if I've read a book, the notes from it are there. If I've watched something that from it are there. And even as I was doing some work on the course today, I was actually doing that. I was just searching based on my own notes.
[02:46:32] So notes from different books I've read notes from different podcasts. I've listened to, if someone mentioned something, I can just go back through the list. I can actually, I can either search for a time. So I was searching for like identity while the different things I've come across. What useful ideas have I come across?
[02:46:47] And then I'll just drag and drop, like all of, all the good things that I've learned, I can just drag those straight in. So it makes it super easy to be able to create new things.
[02:46:56] Josh: That is so awesome. And what did you use before Notion? I'm curious. Cause I'm like, I'm always thinking, like if notion didn't exist, what would I be using? Like, is there anything else that you were using before?
[02:47:06] David: I don't think there was any one thing that is as versatile as Notion is because the reality is okay, there's lots of other programs to do things that notion does better than notion, but notion does all of those things. And I would rather have 80% of a bunch of different things than a hundred percent of 17 different apps, but I don't want to be using Evernote and be using this and be using that and be using Dropbox. Is way too much.
[02:47:34] And so I think I was doing that in the past, but it's super fragmented and it's hard to have a keys of system. I see some people that try to do it and I try to emulate it. But the amount of mental effort that you go through having to like cobble together, all this stuff from different sources makes it for me not worth it so much.
[02:47:52] I do a lot of like journaling and a lot of paper notes. That's a huge thing. Actually, we haven't talked about it at all, but I definitely recommend people to write things on paper. That has helped me tremendously with my newsletter actually. Um, just rebuilding the habit because for a while I was drafting everything directly into Notion or whatever program you use drafting directly into the computer.
[02:48:16] And you suffer from writer's block, you suffer from all kinds of things. And switching out of that habit and going directly to paper, uh, into ways. Or it does two things. One, I started with really crappy paper. I found this like notepad. I actually have it here. Um, the I've had this notepad for a really long time. It's it doesn't even have like a lid. It's just loose piece of paper.
[02:48:42] It's really bad. But what this is good for is it really lowers the stakes for my ideas. There is zero pressure for me to think that I have to have high quality ideas when I'm writing on paper, that's so rubbish. I can write whatever. I think, like anything that comes to mind, I can write it down.
[02:48:59] More surprising is it ends up being really good. And then, and then you could actually type it up. So I type it up second. And then that's a process of condensing what I've written.
[02:49:09] Josh: Dude. That's a powerful idea. I don't know. I don't think I've heard about that anywhere else, where it's like, you're using the shitty piece of paper, so you're not so precious with your ideas. It just lowers the stakes. Like if I'm writing on this shitty piece of paper, like it's just a draft, just write it, write it.
[02:49:22] And then you can refine it in Notion, in Google docs, whatever you want. That's a powerful idea. That's the same thing with recording artists like you or anything recording video, like just use your iPhone lower the stakes, just record like the MVP of whatever it is. Like who gives a shit, you know?
[02:49:38] David: Yeah.
[02:49:38] Josh: Oh I love that. That's really cool.
[02:49:42] Um, I think I just want to bring back one more thing before I ask final questions. Cause we're like reaching three hours here, which is fucking incredible, man. You you've been amazing, man. This is awesome. I really appreciate every second of this.
[02:49:54] So the last thing I want to do bring up is like, I want to bring this close this up, nice, tight little book of like, you know, you said it with Notion. It's like, I'd rather have this tool that does 80% of a lot of different things than relying on all these things that maybe one of them does a hundred percent at a few things. Some of them are really shitty at others. We have to cobble them all together.
[02:50:18] Now what we're talking about, being a generalist as a person, this probably not the best way to do it, but as an employee, you're almost like a tool of the company, right? Like they see you as a tool to get shit done. That's probably the worst way to think about it, but it's true right?
[02:50:31] In the same way, wouldn't it be awesome. If you can hire this one person, that's a fucking beast at all these other things, that's a very valuable person. They're going to be able, you're going to get paid really well. They're going to have a lot of say, they're going to steer the ship because you trust them and they have so much.
[02:50:46] So when you're talking about career development here and we're talking about being a generalist and combining all these skills, I know for fact, one of the reasons I was hired by Superside is, cause they said, Josh, like, you're like a unicorn, man, you do this, this and this. We don't have to hire five different people. We only need to hire you.
[02:51:02] Then eventually you're so good at those other things, you can hire a specific specialist for each one of those things. So you become unstoppable, you become an absolute beast and you become basically a linchpin in an operation because you do so many of those things and you bring it all together.
[02:51:17] So I just wanted to bring that full circle here when you're talking about Notion that just click, like for me that was like the, aha moment,
[02:51:22] David: Yeah, I really love the idea of being a linchpin and making yourself indispensable by having that variety of skills. I think particularly the core skills, the really strong skills, the ones where people just know they can trust you with anything and they know and contrasting your best ability. So as much as they're hiring you to do one specific thing, they know that actually they can leave you in charge and you can support with other things and you can oversee other things.
[02:51:48] And that broadens the amount of problems that you can solve with confidence. It broadens the amount of things you have a scope to engage with and be involved with. It also broadens the extent of your, your network and for example, okay. I can have a conversation with you. There's so many things that we can touch on and connects on equally. And we have different backgrounds.
[02:52:14] Equally, I could have conversations with people that work in law. I can have conversations with strategy people. I had a sit down dinner the other day with some chief of staff and directors of strategy at lots of different companies. And we're able to connect and we can discuss industry secrets and ideas because we can connect about the shared skills that we have in that area. Cause I think that applies to loads of different things.
[02:52:40] So going back to making yourself indispensable, one idea that you mentioned that stuck with me was this idea of, um, being a tool for your company. I think that's kind of true.
[02:52:52] I think one thing that people maybe forget to do is they do one of one or two mistakes. So the, the solution is being able to draw a Venn diagram between, uh, your business life and what's beneficial for your business and what's beneficial for you. And one of two mistakes happen, people overlap their circles directly. And so what happens is what is beneficial for your business completely, subsumes your personal life and what's, what's beneficial for you. And so you're not learning anything new. You're not getting anything different out of it. You're just doing what is required of you.
[02:53:28] Or I think the other mistake is treating them completely separately and forgetting to be able to leverage your personal life into your business life, your business life, into your personal life. When people just think, oh, I go into work. That's this whole sphere. I just do this. But then leave that. Then I go there and do my personal thing. I just do this. But being able to overlap those two cycles into a Venn diagram, unlocks the powerful middle. And I think that is where you get a lot of leverage.
[02:53:52] Because, you have skills that maybe you've built in your personal life that you can leverage for the business that support the business. It might not just be the, the other side of the circle, which is what your business, what the business needs from you and the value that the business needs. You create that that's your main job. That's the 80%.
[02:54:10] But this 20% is stuff that you're able to leverage because of everything that you are and everything that you are bringing from outside. And I think being able to leverage that extra 20%, not only as to that business, but then you take that same 20% sliver and you can apply that in lots of different spheres.
[02:54:28] So then you have like lots of overlapping circles, but the important part is keeping that middle part constant, because I think this goes back to something we touched on, um, in terms of building lots of different projects and working on lots of different things. And one thing that I have learned is the real important part is having the central focus and having all of those circles overlap.
[02:54:51] Because I think a mistake that I've made in the past with some of the side hustles that I've had, and some other businesses I've had is those cycles don't touch. And I have this thing that I'm diverting, lot of effort to this, maybe like a consulting gig or working with a particular startup or doing a particular thing.
[02:55:08] The skill set that I use for that is very different to the skill set I'm using for other things. And that creates this big kind of cognitive dissonance in your mind, where you're having to completely shift your context and completely shift your skillset, and the things that you're needing to learn to apply here, don't benefit everything else.
[02:55:28] I think those kinds of tasks I'd cut them off. And I had to, I learned to have to cut those things off. The things I focus on now are the things where even though they seem separate, the 80% might be separate, but there's a strong 20%, which is exactly the same thing that I'm doing.
[02:55:43] If it's speaking skills, I'm doing that in my podcast, I'm doing that when I get paid to speak, I'm doing that when I do my course. If it's writing skills, I do that in my newsletter. I do that at work. I do that.
[02:55:53] So you're, you're building this kind of core, which is the middle of the circle, that intersection of the Venn diagram, that those are the key generalist skills that you apply to everything that you do. And I think it's just important to make sure that even though the 80% might be different, you try and find skills or areas where the 20% is something that you can leverage to get extra results.
[02:56:16] Josh: Wow. Okay, dude, that's super powerful. I'm assuming, and I hope that you're going to go deep on this in your course. That's super powerful concept.
[02:56:25] David: Yes. Yeah,
[02:56:26] Josh: and that's something I'm already thinking about. Okay. What can I remove? What is disconnected from my Venn diagram. That I love that that's going to help a lot, man.
[02:56:34] I think a lot of people listening to this are gonna be like, oh shit, I need to cut off X, Y, or Z. Like I think it's really a matter of removing things rather than trying to add more, add more and more. It's like, Hey, now at this point, at least for me anyways, it's like, now what can I remove? Then you can start rebuilding again from the center and go from there. That's super powerful. I absolutely love that.
[02:56:54] So now that we're coming on three hours now, um, I want to ask you a few final questions. We can kind of wrap this thing up. Um, kind of unrelated, but I love to just hear people's answers to some of these things.
[02:57:06] So the first one I have for you man, is like, if you had a $1 billion advertising budget and you can like spread a message to every single device, every single screen in the world, what would that message be?
[02:57:18] David: Wow. To share one message with everyone in the world.
[02:57:22] I think it would be very similar to what I'm saying in the course and taking it back a step. Part of the reason why I decided to do this as the topic of the course, like I asked a few. Um, you know, I got the opportunity from Maven and I thought about, okay, what do I want to teach? People were saying, oh, you should talk about entrepreneurship. You should talk about, I don't know, different careers or different things.
[02:57:45] And I was like, really what underpins all of those things for me is just understanding that you have the capacity to do anything. And the fact that building a small core of skills can unlock so many other worlds. Cause I think loads of people go around with this misapprehension that some things are just closed off to you and you couldn't possibly do those things because you haven't gone to school for that.
[02:58:09] You haven't gone and spend 10,000 hours learning this particular skillset. And I think the truth is that you don't have to. So I think I would really want people to expand their horizons and know that they can expand the number of problems they can solve just by building some really fundamental skills.
[02:58:29] Josh: dude. That's, that's awesome. And I think you'll be teaching that. It seems like you will be in the course, so I'm looking forward to that again, all links will be in description, everyone don't worry. Um, and I guess, um, last kind of main question for me, man. So you're doing all this stuff. So other than the course, I guess, cause I'm, I'm sure you're excited about this.
[02:58:46] What is something else that you're super excited about that's coming up?
[02:58:50] David: Wow. That's a good question. Um, other than the course. Okay. So two things, one is not really a new thing that's coming up. Oh. So other than the coffee shop, which we should be opening soon.
[02:59:03] I think I'm really excited with the newsletter because I'm finally getting to write some cool pieces of my personal thesis. Like this is one of them, but I think some of the last few newsletter articles that I've written or essays that I've written and some of the ones that are coming up are really fundamental things for me, that underpin lots of other things. It sounds, you know, quite mundane, like what, why haven't I written them?
[02:59:28] But I think the thing is I've written so many other things that I've needed to write to piece together in order to write what I'm writing now. Um, and there's a few people that talk about this writing is really a forcing function of, you know, like stronger thinking and there's things that maybe you feel in your heart and then things that you might have, but you're not able to conceptualize you are not able to get out on paper until you've thought out lots of other problems along the way.
[02:59:56] And so I think I'm quite excited that I'm at a point where I can think about certain things a lot deeper and be able to share and communicate those things. Like not just from what's in my head, but being able to communicate those.
[03:00:08] Josh: That's awesome, man. Well, it's crazy to me again, like I said, you totally just blow my mind and inspire me with all these crazy things that you're doing. Like you're doing so much, you're clearly managing it at some level.
[03:00:19] Like I'm sure internally you're like, I'm not, the house is burning and everything's falling apart with a house of cards is falling. You're making it work and you're also teaching people along the way.
[03:00:28] So my last question is really like, where can you point people towards for resources? But I would just say like your newsletter, like you're curating all this stuff.
[03:00:37] I'm not sure if there's another like, resource that you have. I mean, other than the podcast and the newsletter, but if there's other resources out there that you want to point people towards, um, where could they go?
[03:00:48] David: Yeah. The newsletter's probably the main one. So it's the knowledge.io is the domain that I will be keeping and using long-term um, because I'm not sure if we'll stay on Substack for the newsletter. And yeah, I think the course is going to be really good.
[03:01:04] Another thing that's on the horizon that I didn't mention when you asking, like what I'm excited about, mostly because there's still more to figure out, but I really want to try and build a community around the course, the newsletter, a lot of the ideas that we share and that I think is something I'd be super excited for, like having a struggle for me.
[03:01:23] Cause I get people that reply it to the newsletters and send me all their thoughts and all these things. But there's no place for people to actually gather and talk about these things and share ideas. You should join. And I'd love other people to join as well. And really just having a place where people can share, like a lot of the things we're talking about are things that even your journey and going from where you started, the obstacles, you had to overcome,the way you had to pivot. These are things that people would benefit from learning and something I wrote about recently.
[03:01:50] But it's a strong, personal belief of mine is that the best mistakes to learn from are ones you didn't make yourself. Like, and also the second part of that is just making the best quality mistakes possible.
[03:02:03] So I won't go too deep into the rabbit hole, but this is another personal philosophy point. It's the, um, I think people make loads of really poor quality mistakes. And we have the wealth of human knowledge. Like you have books, you have the internet, you have other sources. Um, maybe we should communicate more, but you do have people maybe like myself, like you like other people that have been on this podcast are sharing their journeys and sharing quite openly, the mistakes they've made.
[03:02:32] And all you have to do is learn about everyone's mistakes and not make them, or just make sure that when you do make mistakes of your own, you're changing the variables. And so having this approach to mistakes where you're thinking about, okay, this person failed, what were the variables involved? Because I think sometimes people see someone fail and they just think, oh, I could do that. But they don't think about changing anything. They just think about replicating the exact same idea. So look for ways that people have failed. And so I think, yeah, looking for failure, uh, holes where some of these failures and mistakes exist, the point is I think having a forum where people can share those things, discuss those things, opens up loads of opportunities.
[03:03:13] Josh: Dude, you should do it. That's awesome. You should. What's the MVP version of that, like spin up like a Discord server or something.
[03:03:19] David: Yeah, exactly. Like a discord or a slack, something like that.
[03:03:22] Josh: Totally. And then eventually, like you've, you know, you want people to be able to search from them. That's where you get things like, I guess Quora there's lots of websites like that with very specific question to answer, but to have a nice community of people, to be able to ask each other questions.
[03:03:36] Man, do it. I'll join a hundred percent. And if it's out by the time this comes out, I will link that in the description. I will also link, uh, your podcast and I'll list the knowledge.io. Um, is there anywhere else you want to point people online? Where can they follow you? Where can they talk to you specifically if they want to, um, connect with you?
[03:03:55] David: That's a good point. I am on almost all socials, probably accept Tik TOK, although I'll probably make an account just so that if people want to find me, but it's just delikwu. So, uh, D for David and then my surname on everywhere. So on Twitter, on Instagram, um, I'm also on LinkedIn or the there's so spammy. I don't really use it as much, but there you go.
[03:04:20] Josh: Yeah. LinkedIn is getting way too spammy Twitter. I mean, that's where we connected. So I guess a, we important people towards Twitter and if you're not in the Twitter verse, I guess, Instagram next best place. Um, and then I'll link to your website so people can connect with you there.
[03:04:35] Um, David, this was awesome, man. Like three hours somehow was still not enough time. And I think we could have done this for like hours longer. So maybe we'll do like another part later on. We can talk about other stuff we can talk about specific aspects. Um, maybe if you want to, we can flip this table around and you can do it hosting from your, for your podcast on your side. And we can just keep going.
[03:04:56] Man, like we can just keep going all day. So I appreciate you taking the time so late in the evening for your time. And I know obviously you're super busy, so this has been amazing, man. Like, seriously, this is so valuable even just for me. So I know everyone listening is going to get something out of this.
[03:05:11] So man, I really, really appreciate it.
[03:05:14] David: Not a problem. Thanks a lot, man. And I appreciate everything you shared as well.
[03:05:18] Josh: Yes, absolutely, man. well. until next time, everyone. Thanks for listening. to you later
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