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Hello, boys and girls, ladies and germs, this is Tim Ferriss, and welcome to another episode of The Tim First Show, where it's my job to deconstruct world class performers from all different disciplines.


My guest today is Guy Raz at Guy Raz.


He is the creator and host of the popular podcast How I Built This Wisdom from the Top and the Rewin on Spotify. He's also the creator of the acclaimed podcasts TED Radio Hour and the Children's Program. Wow. In the world he is, in a sense, the Michael Phelps of podcasters, at least according to a New York Times profile not long ago, he is the only person to ever have three shows in the top 20 rankings worldwide.


Simultaneously, he's also received the Edward R. Murrow Award, the Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize, the National Headliner Award and the NABJ award that is among many others, and was a Nieman Journalism Fellow at Harvard. He lives in the Bay Area. His new book, How I Built This subtitle, The Unexpected Paths to Success from the World's Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs, is out now. You should check it out. It is an absolutely incredible compilation of stories and tactics. Past podcast guest Adam Grant describes it as quote, And this is an incredible quote.


Quote, The mother of all entrepreneurship memoirs. It is a must read for anyone who wants to start a business, grow a business or be inspired by those who do.


That checks pretty much all the boxes. You can find him online at Guy Raz, Dotcom Gwai, Crazy Dotcom on Twitter at Guy Raz. Instagram at Guy Raz. This episode is brought to you by peak tea, that's peculiar. I have had so much to my life. I've been to China, I've lived in China and Japan, I've done tea tours. I drink a lot of tea and 10 years plus of physical experimentation and tracking has shown me many things.


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At this altitude, I can run flat out for a half mile before my hands start shaking. Can I ask you a personal question? Now, at the same time, what it's like to be a cybernetic organism, living tissue over metal to go to Paris, so. Guy, welcome to the show. Thanks so much for having me. And I have so many questions, so many questions for you.


I've been really looking forward to this, and I thought I would start with a very important question. And that is, are you willing to come to this interview and surrender 100 percent?


Yes, I've surrendered. Yes.


And that might seem to my long term listeners an odd place for me to start. But as I understand it, you frequently asked your guests that question, and it seems like you are a master of creating safe spaces. And I've read you describe how I built this as not a show about business, but in a sense, a show about vulnerability. So what are some of the things that you've found helpful, the things that you do to help put interviewees at ease?


I think the first the first thing I do, Tim, is I have a conversation with everybody before they come on the show, months before they come on the show. And the reason why I do that is because. You know, my show is not Meet the Press, we're not interrogating politicians about public policy. It's a show about someone's journey and. They don't have to come on the show, it's voluntary, we don't want anybody to feel forced that they're coming on the show, but I want everybody to understand how we operate.


And so the first thing I do when I when we reach out to somebody is we we set up a time for us to talk. And I basically say to them, look, this is going to be really different from most of the interviews you do because it's going to be long. And, B, there's no preconditions. I'm going to know as much about you as I can possibly know because we will have done a really deep dive research profile on you.


And you have to be willing to talk about everything. And unless it's something that was very personal, like a divorce or something like that, that's not really relevant. But in general, what I say is that everything's on the table because a human story is a three hundred and sixty degree story. And if we're just talking about the Facebook highlight reel of your life, it's not going to be an honest conversation. And our audience is not going to connect to you and you will be doing yourself a disservice.


And that that's really kind of how how I start the process. And then when we have the conversation several weeks later, we've already had that kind of interaction and encounter. So that's kind of the first thing that I do before I sit down with somebody.


And if we double click on the research profile and more broadly speaking, just prep for a given episode if you reflect back and maybe it's somewhat standardized, I would imagine you have some some processes that have been refined to best practices over time. But what is the prep look like? How do you build a research profile? There's so many different ways to approach this. I'd be very curious to hear you expand on that. I mean, I have been in journalism my whole life.


I started out as a reporter when I was twenty two and. Basically, the job, the job of a reporter is to become an instant expert, reporters really are dilatant, right? We we we don't have a you know, we don't have a Ph.D. in a very narrow subject. But but good reporters learn a lot about a subject very quickly. You have to be able to do that. You know, when I was a reporter, I would be sent to Macedonia because there was a flare up in a conflict and I would have twenty four hours to get there.


And I would rush to a bookstore and buy everything I could about Macedonia in the Balkans and start to read. It's similar with interviewing the people who come on the show. Obviously I have a team that helps me gather all that information, but depending on on who the person is, if they've written a book, I will have read the book. If they have been around a long time, there's usually a lot of material. We do a really extensive background search and check on the person for both public information and even non-public information, and it's really designed to make sure that we can contextualize someone's story.


We want to know everything about them and everything about their business and their lives because lives are complex. So sometimes we come across things that, you know, that are not public, that maybe might be a little bit embarrassing. And we'll we'll talk about it on the phone first and kind of talk through how we're going to tackle that thing.


Could you give an example of what nonpublic might be and how you find it? I assume it's not a Dick Tracy trenchcoat wearing in character following somebody around.


You give an example of a so there wasn't an entrepreneur who I really wanted to interview is a wonderful story and had had that phone call with this entrepreneur, a really interesting category brand. And it was you know, we had this call and it was a good conversation. And then once we started to do some research, we we discovered that this entrepreneur actually had spent some time in jail for securities fraud in the 1980s. This was not in any of the public profiles or articles that we read about this person.


So we called this person back up and I'm being obviously deliberately vague. We called this person back up and I said, look, you know, we came across the story that clearly when you were a younger person, you committed securities fraud or were convicted of it and spent some time in jail. You know, we're going to have to talk about this and hopefully you can kind of address it and say, you know, I was stupid and young and greedy or whatever it might be.


But, you know, in in context, I think it'll be really interesting for people to hear about about it and about your life and about the decisions you made and what you learned from that. And this person said, I will not talk about that. I refuse to discuss that. And that was that's fine. I said I completely respect that. When you're ready to talk about it, let me know and we'll we'll do the episode with you.


So we did not in the end have that person on the show. But then, you know, you've got people like you know, like Steve Madden who went to jail for the shoemaker who went to jail for two years, also for securities fraud and was really open to talk about it and what he learned about it and how that changed his life and shaped who he is, because as he told me on the show, he was greedy. He got really greedy at a certain point in his life.


He was in a bad place. He was high on Coke and he committed fraud, you know, went to jail for two years, but really kind of turned his life around and actually has become a prison reform activist. So I think that that I'm not looking for angels or Mother Teresa. No, no one is like that. I'm not like that. But I'm looking for people to to put their life stories in context. So so that's when we you know, that's that happens sometimes because we really do spend a lot of time diving into the stories of the people who come on the show.


And by the way, what I, I sometimes joke with people on the show, Tim, which is I said, you know, when I interview you, there's a good chance I will know more about your life than you than you even know at that moment, because it's so fresh in my mind, you know, because people will talk about their stories. And in the in the process of being interviewed, they'll sometimes say, well, it's nineteen ninety six.


And, you know, as a first time I made a sale and I know that it happened in nineteen ninety five and I will stop them, they'll say hey just to interrupt, you would actually happen in ninety five. Can you hear me. And they'll say really. And because we want the, we want the show to it is a single person's narrative and a single narrative. Oral history is always going to be problematic. You know, we, we don't have multiple voice on documentary.


There aren't multiple voices who can weigh in. So we try to play the role. Me and my team, we try to play the role of making sure that it is factually correct and fair to all the people whose voices are not represented in the episode.


Thank you. That makes sense. I want to ask a question and I'm sure there will be more about how I built this. And I'm going to frame this maybe in an unusual way in the reading that I've done. You seem to be a very self-effacing guy, so I'm going to come out this obliquely. How would your wife explain why or how how I built this became as popular as it has become? I'll take a crack at it on her behalf.


Probably. Probably my perspective will come into it. I think it became I here's here's what I would say. I had a show called the TED Radio Hour, which is still around. It's a terrific show. And you were on it, actually interviewed. I had you on it. And that was. Really just an amazing experience to be able to develop that show. I got very lucky, Tim. I rode the podcast Wave very early to TED Radio Hour was launched in twenty thirteen and podcasting really started to take off with cereal with that show cereal.


Your podcast probably even even saw a rise. Right. All all podcasts that were around Sunrise. And so, you know, all of a sudden TED Radio Hour with the combination of the TED brand, the NPR brand and then just podcasting rising. And look, I think we made a really high quality show. It's still a terrific show. We we got a big audience. You know, we all of a sudden had millions of people listening to the show every month.


And sort of on the strength of that, how I built this was a side project. It was it was never intended to be what it became, really. It was let me put this out into the world and see if there's interest. I and I should say I should add a caveat that I'm not you know, I am an entrepreneur. I've started businesses, but I'm not Richard Branson. I'm not Tim Ferriss. I'm for most of my God, what does need two of those?


I mean, you know, you you are kind of a model for a lot of entrepreneurs. And I, I for most of my career as a journalist. And there's entrepreneurial things you have to be do to be journalists. But that was what I did for most of my career and. For me, how I built this was really an extension of what I was doing, which was telling stories, and to me the idea of like a great story, like great film has just a clear arc.


Right. You've probably read I read Joseph Campbell's work when you were in college and know about, you know, the hero's journey. Right.


And just listen to the Power of Myth interview series with Bill Moyers, Bill Moyers the last few weeks. OK, so you write and have George Lucas use this to make Star Wars. And it's an amazing concept that every story has roughly the same narrative arc. It's whether it's Gilgamesh or The Odyssey or Harry Potter. And Joseph Campbell kind of codifies us and. I felt like in with business and brands in the building of something big, you can kind of trace elements of that journey.


You know, there's the abyss, the trough of sorrow, whatever people call it, you know, the cement. You slay the dragon, you almost die. You find a mentor. I mean, you return to the village. It's all bits of those archetypes are found in in stories about business. And so I really wanted to figure out a way to tell Hero's Journey stories. And by the way, I could do that. I think you could do that with athletes.


You could do that with other in other categories. But I just thought business would be interesting. But I didn't you know, we didn't like when you started your show, probably like we didn't test marketed. We didn't do a bunch of advanced research. You just put it out there and kind of. You know, just said, let's see what happens, and I think like a lot of things that become successful, our great success was word of mouth, you know, I mean, obviously there's some built in advantages which which is the show is distributed by NPR, which is a huge podcast company and platform.


But I think it's you know, it's a combination of. Hearing really deep. Dramatic stories and hearing them told in a cinematic way, the show really we we designed the show to be very visual, that it's a journey. And I think people just started to connect with those stories, even people who are not into business, people who are just just kind of needed a shot in the arm that day or that week. And that's really how it started to get popular.


And here we are today. So, I mean, I'm not trying to sound falsely modest here, but I really I was very surprised at how successful and popular it became. I really was. I want to add a few observations that may or may not be true, but there is speculation. I think the show also benefits from a in a sense, a singular focus that is well conveyed in a tightly curated format with a prescriptive title. It has focus in a an ocean of flotsam and jetsam in the sense that there are many podcasts.


One might even say my podcast included, that can really meander all over the place. And I think that with how I built this, people are able to ascertain immediately whether or not they are interested just by looking at the thumbnail. And that is, I think, a rarity in the world of podcasting. I do think that there's the and it's not just the the face of the podcast that is the book cover, but the way that you, as you described, take a story and create something that is emotionally compelling with the touch points, the archetypes, these stages and the hero's journey that are immediately subconsciously recognizable and strike a chord with people who are listening.


It's so reliable. You know, I think people hear those stories and I think that's me. I'm just like that person, like like like Jamie Siminoff, who founded a ring. You know, he he was the kid who used to take apart radios and televisions and built his own radio controlled cars and had a frog like to remember the frog that radio controlled car when I do. Yeah, he likes you know, he was that kid who's going to the to the like hobby shop and building his own kits.


And I think people hear these stories and they think or they hear Stacy Brown of chicken salad chick who started a restaurant empire of chicken salad, you know, selling chicken salad. door-To-Door they hear these stories and I think they're not superheroes. You know, they're not any different at a certain point in their life. Nobody would take their call. Evandale takes two or Butterfield's call today, but not at the beginning. You know, even Howard Schultz not at the beginning.


And that's what I'm trying to convey. And I think that's also how people connect with this idea. And by the way, the name how I built this originally, I actually never talked about this, not to keep it a secret, but no one's asked me about it. I never I just you just reminded me of it, but. Originally, I was going to call the show The Hustle, OK, because I thought in twenty fifteen when I started working on this, that that was more propulsive.


You know, I wanted how I built this to be kind of like the anti NPR. You know, NPR has this reputation, right. This kind of almost Asmar kind of way of sounding like, you know, like these people say, oh, the dulcet tones of NPR, you know, like this is NPR. And the reality is there is some of that. Right. And but but the reality is there's a lot of NPR that doesn't sound like that.


You know that.


I have to just pause for a second. If people don't know the acronym that you referred to, Google it. We're going to move on, but please continue. You know, it's like this is NPR. But the thing is, is that a lot of NPR programs don't sound like that. And you might not hear them because it might just be podcasts, you know, like Code Switch or Planet Money or or the shows that I do. And I wanted this to be like almost.


The counter to what NPR sounds like, I wanted the theme song to be like I wanted the theme song of the show. In fact, Ramtane, our Bluey, who wrote the theme song and was my first producer and now has his own show on NPR, a wonderful show called Throughline. He was a DJ. I had met him and I was looking for a freelance producer to help me launch the show. He knew nothing about radio and I just loved him.


He was just the nicest person I ever met. So anyway, he came in and did a temp gig with me and that's how he launched the show. And then he became my first producer. But I said he's also a composer. So I said, I want the theme song to sound like this song by Beck. It's the first song off the album I'm Blanking Now, have to look it up, but it's a song by Beck. And I said, I want I want this is propulsive sound inspired what you write.


And so he wrote this song and it's very like got it down on and on down downtown Manhattan. So, you know, it was really like very, very different than the Morning Edition theme. Right. Like, very kind of propulsive and almost in your face. And so I thought the hustle, you know, it's the hustle. And I just thought it was a great title. I thought I was going to be. So, you know, that's I was really have I just it was so one of the titles so that and then we did some legal check and determined that it was not a good idea, that we would run into some challenges with other shows, this hustle, that hustle.


So back to the drawing board. I said how I built this, which actually was one of the names I thought of, but I thought it was kind of a boring name. But I mean, it turned out to be the right name because imagine if me who is like, you know, has this show called The Hustle, you know, it just is so not me and so not what the show is and how I built this is really kind of like the boring sort of, OK, we'll do that one.


But it turned out to be the right decision. And so sometimes things happen for a reason. So how I felt this simple, you know what the show is about. Although in the beginning some people did wonder whether it was a show about like a Home Depot show, like building things. So we've managed to overcome that.


The literalism and the Internet are frequent bedfellows. It's hard to avoid a little bit of that. And I have an embarrassing confession to make, which is my initial title for the four hour workweek, which one could very compellingly argue still sounds like an infomercial product. You'd see it two in the morning. But the title of the book in the book proposal that was that was shopped around was lifestyle hustling. Also vetoed every day for non trademark reasons. Yes.




So you're you and we have been talking about how I built this. You often cover pivot's of different types, critical decisions that are made to change direction in the context of an entrepreneur's life or a company.


And I want to ask you about what seems to be a pivot in your own life. And it seems like this happened around 2012. And this is a leading question. So please feel free to rewrite the question.


What I'll read a little bit here from and this is on a site that I did not expect to have as a source, but Wilayat State govt, which was full interview with Kyra, but it begins with this little excerpt.


News reporters, by training and tradition, I think, identify problems without talking about solutions. And in general, the profession frowns on solutions based reporting. And it goes on and then it talks about where I should say, quote, you are saying, I think for me, the real turning point was in 2012 is an election year. There was a lot of division within the U.S. House hosting a news magazine on NPR and then the year culminated with the Newtown shootings.


And for me, that was it. I was done with the news at that point. Can you talk about my understanding is then that's when you really shifted into focusing on TED Radio Hour. This seems, at least based on the research, to potentially be really important this period. Could you speak to that?


I'll talk about Newtown first is the hardest thing for me to talk about, and then I'll come back to the other part. I'm a parent. I've got an 11 year old and a nine year old. And that the day that shooting happened, I was asked to host our national live coverage, and it was one of the hardest things I've done in my life. Now, I covered five wars. I've seen human beings dead. I saw humans die before my eyes, I never got near Newtown, I never went there, I never saw it.


But it was so difficult for me. It was. This intense feeling of sadness and despair, I remember reading an interview with President Obama after he left office and he said that was actually the hardest of his presidency. And I I still think about that day. It's hard. It's just hard, you know, because because I've got kids and I just think about those parents. And that was sort of the end for me. I mean, it was really building up for a while.


I was getting tired of how. News organizations do news, I'm still tired of it. I think most news organizations forever and ever thought that there was something called objectivity and that they determined what that was and it was usually older white men. Nothing wrong with older white men. I'm just saying is just that determine what objectivity was and that we were basically we need to think of ourselves as robots, as automatons who had no feelings or views or thoughts about the world.


We were just there to deliver the news. And if you asked most reporters and even to this day, if you ask a lot of reporters in Washington, they will say, look, all I do is call balls and strikes. That's my job. But I never thought that that was my job. That's not why I wanted to be a journalist. I want it to be journalists because I probably naively believed and still believe that the more knowledge people have about other people, the more people know about other people's stories.


It's more likely that that will make that person more empathetic. And I always thought if I went overseas and I lived overseas and it was it was a reporter for many years, if I went overseas and told those stories about people who were living in war zones or conflict zones or who had no control over the process or the conflict happening around them, if I could tell those stories, then I could make a contribution to better human understanding. I was not going to do that on my own.


Obviously, I was not personally going to change the world. But I think many people want to do something that will have an impact on the world in a small way. And for me, my small way was to be a reporter and to tell stories. And when I was the host of All Things Considered. By the time I became the host of that show in 2009, you know, I, I had a hard time. Delivering the news in a way that needed to be delivered because there were just so many stories that on the face of it just seemed totally absurd and wrong and false.


I mean, and the way and even the way news organizations covered, you know, the rise of the Tea Party, for example, as if it was, you know, this grassroots, populist, anti-government movement of people who wanted, you know, no deficits and no debt. I mean, that was nonsense. We know that today. We know that so much of that was propped up and influenced by huge multibillionaire mega donors to these organizations with names like Freedom Works and whatever.


And they very methodically kind of organized this so-called movement that eventually resulted in the election that we had in twenty sixteen. But, you know, it's just a small example of how we, me and my colleagues in the news media really just bent over backwards to be so objective that you don't call things out when they need to be called out. And I think that there are long term consequences for doing that. So in my view, I felt like if I was going to make a difference, if I if I really got into this profession to make a difference in the world, it wasn't going to be through telling the news.


You know, I had spent at that point by the time I left in twenty, twelve, fifteen years as a reporter, and I didn't feel like the world was getting any better. I felt like especially in our country is getting more polarized. You know, I felt like people were angrier and angrier. It's even worse today. That was 20, 12. And so, you know, it was a kind of a culmination of things in my mind where I thought I need to figure out how to do what I originally wanted to do with my life and my career, but in a different way.


And that's really what kind of led me to to leap at the chance to collaborate with Ted, to produce the TED Radio Hour and create that show, which which is how I kind of left the News World.


I'd love to explore some of your influences. What are the factors that have perhaps helped shape you in a way, or what are the things that might indicate the convictions and principles that that guide you? And I'm probably going to butcher the pronunciation of this also. But a book that popped up is one you have read repeatedly is a homage to Catalonia. Homage to Catalonia. Yeah. Yeah, homage. There you go. I'm putting a faux French spin on it, but Omeje, no homage.


Am I getting this right?


Well, I'm I'm really, really different. There's different pronunciations. I always say homage to Catalonia. Yeah.


Very, very forgiving by George Orwell. Could you describe for people who don't know this book? What it is and why it has made an impact on you. I mean, George Orwell is a really complicated figure, I should say, at the outset. You know, there are writings of his that are certainly racist and anti-Semitic and are problematic. But by the time he died, he was sort of seen as a champion for against imperialism and anti racism and so on and so forth.


Putting that to one side for a moment, George Orwell, who I think in some ways is some some things about him are overrated. And I think sometimes he tends to be overly venerated in part because the late, great, incredible Christopher Hitchens wrote so much about George Orwell. And Hitchens was such an important public intellectual in the United States and really around the world. And people had so much respect and admiration for him that, you know, that he really elevated George Orwell.


But George Orwell was a was a leftist. He was a committed, you know, leftists who went to fight in Spain with the Republicans to fight against the fascists. And the rough outline of the story is that, you know, the Republicans were basically social socialists. Right. Like Social Democrats who wanted a who had this utopian vision for Spain that was free and fair and equitable and progressive, a light unto the world. Right. But they were facing this very powerful foe in the fascist, led by Franco, backed by the Nazis in the mid thirties.


And the Republicans were backed by the communists, by the Soviet communists. And what would happen very rapidly was a split between the communists and the Republicans. Split is not exactly the right way to describe it, but essentially Orwell got there and he discovered that there was an Internet scene war between these two left wing movements, which was that one left wing movement wasn't pure and left enough for the extreme left movement, the communist movement. And he came there with this idealism to fight against fascism and to unite all of these, you know, groups on the left to defeat this, you know, this incredibly evil force and became so disillusioned at the cynicism that he saw on his own side not to turn them into a right winger.


He was he was a leftist his whole life. But it was it's a it's just a story about purity and the false promises of purity and that the world is full of nuance and it's full of contradictions. And to me, that is what it means to be human. I mean, I admire people and respect people who have strong held views to remember George Bush used to talk about, you know, his certitude. And and I have of respect for George Bush as a human being, not super supportive of his politics.


But I don't believe in certitude. I actually really believe that, at least for me, that I'm open to having my the my views changed. You know, I welcome that. I'm constantly interrogating how I feel about the world and the things I think about the world. You know, I was reading about like Bayesian analysis, you know, that this idea that, you know, the last thing you think that you've read or you know about, you know, becomes sort of in your mind naturally becomes like the thing that you believe or it was most present.


And Beijing and analysts are constantly interrogating what they believe to come to a fuller understanding of a subject. You know, epidemiologists talk about this a lot, and I love that idea. I love the idea that I can talk to somebody who may know a lot about a topic or subject or an issue and can really convince me that the way I think about it is wrong or that maybe I should rethink it. And that's that to me is what that book speaks to.


The there's another version of that book which I I've recently reread and really recommended that people read called Darkness at Noon by Arthur Kessler, also written in around that time in nineteen forty one, I believe. And it was about the Soviet trials, the Stalinist trials of the nineteen thirties. And you know, you read that book and you realize that the Soviet Union really wasn't ever very for just a very brief period of time. Was it truly a socialist country in the ideals of what socialism were meant to be?


It was a dictatorship. It was. I mean, there were very few differences between, you know, Stalinism, the fascist. Some of Stalinism and the fascism of any other fascist state, I mean, it was a police state, it was filled with terror, it was filled with paranoia. So, you know, unfortunately, it gets kind of conflated with socialism. But it you know, you read that book and you realize that, you know, that when humans pursue purity, when they pursue, you know, these ideals of purity, it can really lead to disaster.


And that's why I love those books, because as a reporter, as an interviewer, as a person, you know, I'm always looking to have my views changed. I'm always open to it. I want to learn from people. That's why I do. It's why you do what you do. You know, we do this because for free, we get to learn from other people and what a gift that is to, you know, to know that on any given day my whole world can be blown apart, you know?


And how exciting is that?


Talk about a specific. It is exciting.


And I agree that the in some way, I'm not going to call it a fool's errand, but it's maybe Faustian bargain is a better way to look at it. The search for pristine truth.


Is not just sometimes, but usually leads to disaster in one form or another because it creates these incredible blind spots and freedom fighters can become tyrants very quickly when they begin to look at things in a binary. Yeah, I mean, look with no flexibility. Excellent example.


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Let's talk about how your views have changed as it relates to. Your own experience of depression. You've been quite public about this, it seems like you related to it differently when you were younger, at least compared to perhaps how you speak about it. No. Could you tell us more about your experience with depression and relating to depression?


Well, first thing I would say about Atem is that I know you've talked about it, too. Is that it is. It's not for me. It doesn't feel courageous to talk about it now because I have. You know, I'm I'm I'm in a privileged position, I have these shows and I have a platform, so I don't think that talking about depression, from my perspective is courageous. I talk about it because I want younger people and even people who aren't younger to understand that it is not strange.


You are not broken. You're not you know, there all these things that I think people who are experiencing depression think about and go through know. And I remember feeling selfish, like, how could you feel this way? You know, how could you be so self-absorbed? I would say things to myself that that I remembered just feeling horrible about feeling horrible, you know, and totally. And I remember when I was when I was in my early twenties, I.


I was sort of. I think, like a lot of young people wasn't quite sure how to navigate my life. I think it's much, much more acute today even. I mean, I'm forty five. I think it's much more acute today among young people than even when we were in our 20s. When I think about it now, what I realize is that throughout our lives, most of us have a safety net for lucky enough to to have that.


We we have school, elementary school and middle school and high school. And if you know and then we go on to college and there are people cheering us on and there's always a safety net. You always know what's going to happen the next year. Are you going to go to grade 11 or become a sophomore or junior? And people are cheering you on and you're you know, you're in college and you're doing some interesting things. You might be on the student newspaper, you might organize a club or you might have belonged to an activist group.


And you have an identity. You know, people know you. Oh, there's Tim. He's the social justice activist or there's a guy, he's the newspaper writer. And then you finish and you're expected to be an adult. You're twenty two and a lot of cases and your whole life has already kind of been mapped out. But then that's safety that's gone. And I think when you combine that with all of the changes that are probably happening, not probably that are happening in our brains between the ages of 18 and twenty nine, it's a recipe for depression, anxiety.


You know, when we were in our 20s, we didn't know as much about how the human brain develops as we do now. We now know that the human brain, the executive functions of the human brain continue to develop until our late 20s, early 30s, that the brain is not fully formed. There's a lot sloshing around in there. And you combine that with, you know, the circumstances of entering life without a net all of a sudden.


And it's not surprising that a lot of young people experience anxiety, depression. And in my case, it hit me like a train. You know, I was outwardly, you know, things seemed OK. I was starting my career at NPR and just pounding the pavement and writing for the Washington City Paper and trying to get my articles published and. But inside, I was a mess, you know, and. And I couldn't explain it to myself, I couldn't understand what was happening and I couldn't talk about it with anybody because I grew up in a house where that was mental health was not seen as a real thing that it was.


Lunacy that, you know, that there was no such thing as mental illness. I think a lot of people can relate to that. You know, now, of course, we talk about it a bit more. But, you know, back then, you know, when I was growing up in the 80s and 90s, people had mental health issues or seen as crazy. And you just didn't talk about it. And for me, you know, it really began to culminate in just not getting out of bed and not coming to work and calling in sick and making excuses for not going in.


And, you know, my around age twenty four I was in. Really? Really just bad, desperate shape, I didn't know what to do, I felt trapped in my body and also immobilized and I I couldn't talk to anybody about it because I was embarrassed. Also, I was really embarrassed and ashamed and just really wanted to just die. You know, I really. I remember feeling that so acutely that it would just be so great if I didn't wake up, you know, and I was very fortunate at that time to have a very important mentor who to this day is my closest friend.


And she had experienced her own mental health issues. And so she she came to check in on me and my apartment in Washington, D.C. and she knew something was wrong. And she made an appointment for me with a doctor to go see a doctor or a psychologist, psychiatrist, forgive me. And I began to talk to. Him for several sessions and spend about five years on anti-depressants, so and now I will I will say this. I don't know if the antidepressants.


We're effective. I hope I don't sound like Tom Cruise, but the jury is out on whether our eyes are actually effective and right.


This is a real legitimate debate in in psychiatry. But I will say that knowing that I was actually I think that the knowledge that I was trying to regain control over myself helped a lot. And, you know, the five years that I used antidepressants helped me immensely because whether they it was a prophylactic effect or not, it helped. And it enabled me to to kind of live a relatively normal life. And what I think has really been remarkable is for me is that it doesn't leave.


You know, if you forgive me, depression like a dark dog, the black dog is going to come back. But I find that as I've gotten older, it becomes immensely more manageable. And that's the difference, is that you learn to accept that. It will happen, it will pop up and as I have gotten older and have been able to reflect on it more, I've also learned how to manage and cope and kind of self heal, you know, and that's been I think that's really an important thing that I try and talk to younger people because I try to make myself available to interns at NPR or younger people that I come across who are scared to talk about it or embarrass.


And I'm just like, I've been there, you know? And but I want you to know that as you get older, it will become more manageable and you will get it. It will happen again. But it's it's not going to be quite as intense or quite as difficult if you start to work through it now.


Thank you so much for sharing. As you know, this is a subject that's near and dear to me in a sense. And I'd love to ask you a few follow up questions. The first, I suppose, actually just a comment first, which is to add to your your point of management becoming easier as you get older. I've been reading a fair amount of the writing of Anthony DeMello, who was a he's since passed, but he was a Jesuit priest and also a psychotherapist and his number of books, awareness.


Another is rediscovering life, fairly generic titles. But the content, some of the content I find to be very, very helpful. And one of the anecdotes that stuck with me from the latter, which is a very fast read, the beginning of rediscovering life, is quite lukewarm. But the anecdote was a description of this enlightened being. Let's call it a a monk. And the monk says, before enlightenment, I was depressed. After enlightenment, I'm still depressed.


But the way that I relate to the depression is different, and that makes all the difference. And for me, that really touches on the crux of things. But I want to just because I've had a lot of experience with this and you mentioned Ted, I mean, that was my my TED talk was on management of this. But you said that you got off of antidepressants or you were on them for five years. How did you make the decision to come off of them and and why?


It wasn't really a momentous decision. It wasn't like a, you know, a moment where I smashed a champagne bottle against the side of a ship. You know, it was it it was very it was just sort of like, you know, I think I'm going to try this. And, you know, I wasn't seeing a therapist. I mean, at the time, you know, this five year period when I was taking antidepressants, I mean, this was when I, I, I covered the Iraq war.


I covered the war in Afghanistan. I became the CNN correspondent covering Palestine and Israel. I was in and out of Iraq and embedding with the military. I got slaughtered in your honor.


I right. I mean, I was I was constantly on the move, which I think also probably had a huge impact on on my ability to cope because I was racing and racing and racing around a lot. And it was really just a kind of. Let me try this out, and it was fine, I will say that when that ended, when I stopped being a foreign correspondent, I came back to the United States and I came back to NPR because I left NPR, went to CNN, and then I went back to NPR.


I went right back into a depression very quickly, I mean, it was sometimes more intense, sometimes less intense, and part of that was because I think I wasn't racing around, I wasn't hopping on planes all the time. I was back in Washington, D.C.. Kind of trying to figure out what I was going to do at NPR, and then I started to cover the Pentagon for a while and it was really hard and dull and challenging for me personally.


And, you know, there was a moment in that time period where it was about twenty seven. Where I really thought, OK, I'm kind of done with this profession, that this is really not I don't really have a future here, in part because I really wanted to transition from being a reporter, which I, I wasn't happy doing. And I didn't think I was very good at it. I was fine. I was perfectly fine. I just I wasn't.


You want a hell of a lot of awards for somebody who wasn't very good at it.


But, you know, the thing about awards, awards are nonsense. I mean, I'm being totally I mean, awards are people who get awards of people who submit their work. Right. So that's the first thing you submit your work. The second thing is, you know, very few awards are really, you know, awarded in a in a you know, I mean, the Pulitzers have committees and some of these bigger awards have lots of committees where the people really do carefully read the most awards are are kind of handed out.


So, yes, I have those awards and I'm thank you for the people giving them to me, but take them with a grain of salt. So that being said, I really wanted to I felt like I wanted to have bigger conversations like this one. I wanted to be able to talk to a wide range of people. And I really wanted to to host programs. And at the time, I was told that I was not I did not have the right personality to be a radio host.


How was that presented to you? What does that mean? Well, I mean, I'm not I'm not questioning the statement. I'm just wondering how that was expressed to you. What was lacking or wrong with your personality for radio?


I was to. Much of a military war correspondent, if you can believe that nobody hears I about this today, would even knows that I did that, but that was how I was perceived. And I think this is very common in a lot of, you know, for a lot of people that they are they work somewhere and there's a perception that's developed around them or about them. And it's hard to shake that sometimes. The only way to shake that is to leave.


And in my case, I that was my reputation, you know, and I was seen as like a very serious and, you know, an NPR host had to be, you know, like a vaudevillian actor. And I didn't know whatever it was, whatever the dulcet tones.


You didn't have the dulcet tones. But but I was told that I just didn't have the right personality for that. And and I I don't think that was an unfair assessment at the time. I think that I wish that the person who told me that it was pretty important at the time would have given me a shot to prove myself. But I don't think it was an unfair assessment based on the work I was doing, you know. So really, at that time, I began to think about what else could I do with my life?


You know, I was married still and we did not yet have a child, but we knew we wanted one. And and I started to just kind of flail and look around. And that that was also a very tough period. What kind of saved me was and what has saved me throughout my career was always trying to figure out how to regain control of the situation. And in that case, it was applying for the Nieman Fellowship. I applied for a bunch of different fellowships and I got the Nieman Fellowship.


It's a journalism fellowship at Harvard where they bring in you go there for a year and they give you free tuition and get a stipend for housing and you can do whatever you want. And that was a transformational year. You know, that's really that's when I first was exposed to the case study method, which inspired, I believe.


No kidding. Yeah, I didn't know that. How that makes perfect sense.


That's when I that's when I first took a class at the business school and we got the case studies and I was just fastness that this is how they teach business school through stories. This is incredible. I mean, that planted the seed in my mind for how I built this. I started to host shows on WBI in Boston that year and that really was a transformational year. So then when I finished that year, I came out of the Nieman Fellowship with a child.


We had a child who was born. My oldest son had taken a transformational year and and I became the host of All Things Considered on the weekend. And so that really, you know, that was a real turning point for me. But, you know, in the time before that, I really did kind of return to that dark place, trying to kind of figure out my life and trying to wrestle with the demons in my head. And, you know, eventually it passed again.


You seem to also have a very well a combination of prolific output and a solid seemingly from the outside sort of identity as the sort of heir apparent podcasting in many respects, at least in the minds of a lot of people.


And I'd love to somewhat along those lines. Ask just a little bit more about the fellowships of the Nieman Journalism Fellowship at a Harvard transformational year. How much of that was seeing the case studies and so on, which are fantastic? And people can, for those people listening who are interested, find, I believe, Harvard Business School, HBS Case Studies, as well as Stanford Business School case studies online. You can't you can actually access some of these, a lot of them outstanding.


How much of it was the content versus the break versus the ability to breathe with a concrete answer to what are you or what do you do? I'm a Nieman Journalism Fellow at Harvard versus something else. I'm just I'd love to hear you speak a little bit more about why that was so transformational.


It was transformational because I had been in the News World my whole professional life. And anyone who has been in one industry or one place knows what it's like to develop tunnel vision. You know, you are around people who think like you in general and who have similar interests. Now, journalists are fascinating, wonderful people. I love journalists. There's some of the most interesting, funniest, smartest people around. But, you know, the news business and news organizations, especially NPR, are extremely conservative, culturally and very slow to change, you know, things that that are radical at news organizations in the business world.


People would be like, what was? Is that radical, like what do you what do you mean, like that's what we do every day, you're telling that's a big deal, you know, because news organizations operate with their own set of standards and guidelines and values that sometimes make a lot of sense and sometimes don't. And that year just tore those blinders off. All of a sudden, I'm I'm out of my environment. And I recommend this to so many people.


I say when you're stuck in life, figure out a way to just get out for a month or a year or six months. And just as a digression, I did an episode on La Columb Coffee. Have you had like a coffee before? I have. I did. I didn't have sort of how I built this on these guys. And, you know, you know, one of the co-founders, he basically, like he was going through a depression when they were trying to form the company, Todd Carmichael and.


He wanted to just drop out and leave and his co-founder said, just take some time, just go.


And Todd like flew to a remote island in the South Pacific with no electricity and in for a penny, in for a pound and lived there for three months.


He basically he basically did what you do, what you used to do for your books, but like to actually experiment on yourself. But he did this. You know, because he had to to survive and he went out there and he lived there for three months, he fished and he he had no communication in the outside world, but it completely transformed his mind, you know, and I for me, that was a kind of a much more comfortable version of that going to Cambridge, Massachusetts, and going to take classes at the Harvard Business School and a law school and the college.


And but it it just it really awakened me, you know, you know how and it was that plus, you know, becoming a father for the first time. And I think what that really helped me also to become, strangely enough, was less cynical. You know, there is a a natural skepticism that you develop as a journalist, which I think is important, but oftentimes that develops into cynicism. Many journalists are just cynical. And I had some of that and I needed to get away to lose that.


I would never have, you know, if I was a journalist and I heard about the Harvard Business School case studies, I would have been like a bunch of, you know, business people making more money or something out of I don't know if that's what I would have said, but it would have been something closer to that. But getting away from that world, you know, 12, 13 years ago and seeing it a completely different world for a year kind of just reawakened me.


It was like I was just able to chip away and then really start to push away that cynicism, just really push it away and start to kind of it's like I was able to relax to like dance, you know? I mean, I say dance. But, you know, I was one of those kids in high school who would sit on the on the sides, on the sidelines, in the walls during the dances, because I thought the people were dancing, weren't cool, you know, even though I wasn't cool.


I just I didn't, you know, I mean, but that year really kind of made me see the world in a different way because I was outside of my own environment. And that was so important for me. And that's really how. You know how I was able to to see things and just through completely different lenses.


Let's talk about the patterns that you've spotted. I really am dying to ask. First, though, about the I'm still I'm still envisioning this island in the middle of the ocean with no outside communication, which could be the greatest blessing of your life.


Or I mean, I'm getting sort of pangs of anxiety, just thinking about it. What effect did that have on this entrepreneur and Todd?


Yeah, I mean, he spent three months. Three months is a long time. Yeah. Yeah. In a very remote place with no electricity, no cell service. This is in the nineteen nineties. You know, he wrote a novel which is never been published. He says it was cathartic, he says a terrible novel but he wrote it, he got a lot out, you know, he wrote a lot of his head out onto paper. And I know you do this a lot.


I know you're journaling and writing things down can be incredibly, incredibly important, especially when you're experiencing anxiety. And just as an aside, about six months ago and I was maybe nine months ago, I was going through just a lot of anxiety. I was working on this book and I was like I had all these deadlines and live shows and I've got my kids show in the world and how I built this. And I was, you know, leaving TED Radio Hour.


And that transition was happening and it's had a lot of anxiety and I couldn't sleep. And it was like one of the morning and my wife was up and she's like, look, she grabs a journal from the side of the bed. She says, Just start telling me what's on your mind. And she wrote everything down. She just bullet point, did every single thing. Oh, she she she did it. Me you dictated. I just did it a good for you.


I'm going to close this up. OK, now go to sleep. And we looked at that three months later and not a single thing on that list mattered. Not I'm not sitting on that list mattered was, you know, things that just seemed insurmountable. None of them mattered. They were all irrelevant by that point.


That's a great intervention on her part. Did you look at it afterwards or was it just enough, just enough catharsis to simply get it out of your head and into some recorded format?


Well, at that moment in time, it was enough to get me back to sleep. But when we looked at it three months later, it was shocking. It was incredible. I was like, how is it that in our minds we amplify things? We think that that these challenges in front of our eyes, these anxieties we have, are so big and so often they're not. So often they pass with time or they are resolved or they you know, they're less important than you think they are.


This is a good point to ask you about. I think optimism, because as I understand it, this is a trait, maybe trait isn't the right label, but it is a characteristic that you've identified as one of the meta characteristics of many successful entrepreneurs. And please feel free to fact check this and correct what I'm saying. Could you expand on that?


I'm just so curious, because you've you've interviewed so many mega successful entrepreneurs. How consistent is this? What type of optimism is it, if that makes any sense? And how much of it is do you think is nature versus nurture training? Yeah, I am a big first of all, I'm a big believer in training. This is why I'm a fan of the work you do, because you have trained yourself to develop expertise in a variety of things to prove that anybody can do this.


Now, I you know, I do think that there are some people who are just born with more charisma. That's a fact. Some people just have it. But I wouldn't say most of the entrepreneurs on the show are born with that kind of charisma. And I wouldn't even say that they are any different than the rest of us. But I do think that they were able to convince themselves that their idea was going to work. I'll give you an example.


Tristan Walker, he founded this company called Bevell. They make it's now owned by Procter and Gamble. They make razors and other products for men and women of color. And the reason why is because particularly African-American men, when they shave, oftentimes they develop razor bumps, which are painful and scarring and really very challenging. And there were almost no products that served black men and Trystan. Wanted to create something that was beautifully packaged, that was high quality, that was designed for, you know, men who have curly hair when they're so when their hair grows back out of their beards, it wouldn't curl back into their skin.


He wanted to create a razor that would solve that problem. He could not find funding for this. He could not eventually found some funding, but he really couldn't find the kind of funding that like Dollar Shave Club God or some of these other brands, Herries. And I asked him, I said, why did you when this wasn't working, when you weren't able to market this properly or get the sales you wanted? How did you know? Not like how did you don't keep going.


How did you have the. He said, because I, I knew with my heart and soul every single man that I have known my whole life, every black and brown man that I've known who has this problem needs it to be solved. And if I can't do it, nobody's going to do it. If this isn't going to work with me, it's not going to work with anyone and this problem is never going to be solved, he said.


So what kept me going was I knew this was a problem that had to be solved and I was convinced of it, and that's what kept him going. Today, the brand is owned by Procter& Gamble. It's incredibly successful. It's targeting Wal-Mart and everywhere around the country, interest in Walker is just a phenomenal, inspiring guy. And that's the thing. You know, I think that it's not this blind optimism, but it is an unshakable belief that the idea they have has to be put out.


It has to be out in the world in some form or fashion. It has to. I mean, Jamie Siminoff with Ring with this doorbell company. And it was he was close to bankrupt eight years ago. His wife almost took her. They almost took her to a line of credit on their on their house to save this business. What eventually saved him was going on Shark Tank. He got really lucky. And when our Shark Tank and got this exposure.


But, you know, he really believed that that people would want a video doorbell. You know, he just he just in his heart and gut, he knew it. And I and so I think that it is you know, it is a learned behavior. I think really believing in something is a learned behavior. I think most most of the skill, most of the traits, what we call traits of entrepreneurs are not actually. Traits. I think they are skills that are learned, I think some people are naturally more inclined to assimilate these ideas faster.


But I think for the most part, most of us have the capacity to learn these behaviors and skills that enable us all to behave entrepreneurially. I want to ask you. About any of these traits that I do, these types of previews of upcoming questions quite a lot. I hope it's not overly irritating, but it's a way for me to bookmark for myself.


I'm going to ask you about what traits or behaviors you have developed, maybe through osmosis by doing these interviews or that you've actually copy and paste it into into practice for yourself. From these many interviews that you've done with how I built this, I just have to say I've never shared this before. But since you've mentioned his name twice. So Jamie and I met randomly the first time and I ended up becoming sort of an indirect investor in ring because we met, I want to say, around two thousand, seven early days because he was staying at a hotel in Palo Alto.


I went to the same hotel restaurant to have a lunch meeting, and I screwed up the day I was there on the wrong day. And we're the only two guys sitting in this restaurant and he's like, What are you doing here? Somehow struck up a conversation. Jamie's is he's yeah, he's very proactive with introducing himself, supercharging guy, really great guy.


And I said, well, I showed up and I showed up on the wrong day. My my date isn't here.


And he's like, well, don't have breakfast. And so having breakfast. Wow.


And it's it just goes to show like the little tiny bits of initiative add up over time. Right. You're just in the case of Jamie, he's increasing the likelihood, I don't know the attribution, but what someone referred to as the surface area of luck, just the the open area upon which some serendipity can stick. And so we became friends and ended up doing all this stuff. At the time, he had a company called Simul Scrap. And he is he is Dear Point.


Certainly he's born with certain predispositions, but he has practiced. He has learned and practiced a lot of these things.


So can I was looking at a story like that because because he is a perfect example of this idea that you just put out there. Right. Which is to increase the surface area of luck. He was at sort of the low point for his business, Dorber. It was called Daubert before it was ring. A friend of his called them up and said, hey, I know this guy. He wants to start a social media network. He doesn't really know much about entrepreneurship.


And he asked me if I know any entrepreneurs and I know you you start a bunch of businesses because at that point, Jamie had started a bunch of businesses and hadn't really started a successful business yet. And so he calls up Jamie and says, hey, well, you need my friend and have lunch with them and is like, all right, fine, I'll do it. So the day of the lunch comes and it's just a horrible day for Jamie.


Like, his business is like tanking. He's feeling really low. He's not feeling confident. He really doesn't want to go to this lunch. He knows that this guy he's having lunch with us actually comes from a family with a lot of money. And he's like, why am I going to give him advice for advice? Can I can I give this guy? And it's all the way in like Hollywood. And he's going to drive from the other side of L.A. and he gets to this lunch and he's hearing the guy's idea.


And it's it's not a great idea. It's certainly a social media network for for Hollywood agents. And he asks Jamie for his feedback. And Jamie gives him, you know, earnest, honest feedback. And the guy was like, oh, I really appreciate that. And by the way, what are you working on? And Jamie's like, oh, it's nothing. It's just so not tell me. He's like, oh, well, it's Doorbell's called Dorber.


It's like a video doorbell. And it's, you know, we're trying to see if it'll work. And he's like, no way. He's like, dude, you should go on Shark Tank and Jamie and Jamie's like, well, I'd love to go on Shark Tank, but sold thirty thousand other people was like, no, no. He's like, I have a friend who's a producer on Shark Tank. He's like he's like, let me get you in touch with him.


That one lunch transformed Jamie's life. You know, it's this idea of taking opportunities when they come and understanding that luck really does pass all of us by sometimes multiple times. And it's really what we end up doing with it.


Definitely. I love that those stories are so similar. I mean, yeah, it's it's a practice.


So to come back to the question, I promise, are there any particular habits, practices, characteristics that you have developed or tried to develop as a result of all of these interviews that you've done?


Yeah, I mean, a lot of them I think about I think about change a lot, I think about pivoting a lot and I think about interrogating what we do all of the time. I mean, this is something that Howard Schultz would do with Starbucks, constantly interrogate what they're doing and really never allowing the company to become comfortable, you know, to to always kind of stay off balance a little bit. You know, Starbucks is a good example because it's just so it's such a behemoth.


I remember Herb Kelleher, the late Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines, who, you know, he didn't live in Austin, but he lived in not too far from you in Texas, I guess far Texas, pretty big. But but Herb Kelleher, just a wonderful man, started Southwest Airlines. And his motto was Think small, act small. And that's how you get big. And I wrote a chapter about this in the book because what he was saying was essentially was don't get comfortable.


You know, he saw the collapse of the big airlines, TWA and Aloha and a bunch of other big airlines, Pan Am. And he said they collapsed because they got too comfortable and cocky and they they were on top of the world. And so they stopped paying attention to the things that matter, like efficiencies and and innovation. And so he was his argument. Let's think small. It's smaller today. Southwest Airlines is what, the third biggest airline in the world.


Right. And so that to me, is a really inspiring way to think about what we do to you know, I do I do try to think small and small. I don't ever take for granted are the success of our show and our listeners. In fact, after the pandemic hit, we had a moment where our audience really just briefly did not collapse. It dramatically dropped. And, you know, I was really concerned about that. And I think that's true for a lot of people.


And we had this we had this really true for me as well, just a dramatic decline. And it was scary. And so I started to interrogate what we were doing and whether we could do it better. And we triple down. I mean, we we launched a new offshoot show called How I Built This Resilience series, which I now do twice a week, in addition to the main episodes on Mondays. So the main episode on Monday and then Wednesday and Friday to a live conversation with a founder talking about resilience.


And we you know, miraculously, we doubled our audience. We really worked and continue to work really hard on it. The other thing that, you know, I've been really influenced around is the idea of rejection. I think that this to me is the most important skill that an entrepreneur has to develop the ability to withstand rejection. Rejection is really hard. It really sucks. Like, I don't know if you ever experienced him when you were younger, but, you know, asking somebody out on a date was very hard for me to do when I was younger.


I would never have done it because I was always scared of somebody saying, no, I wasn't like, you know, some of these people that I remember, they would say, well, you ask 100 people out and maybe one will go out with you. I wasn't like that. I've never been good with rejection. I've learned to get much better with it. And why this is important is because when you are building any idea whether it's in your company, like if you're entrepreneurially or you're trying to create something disruptive out in the world, you will always find people who will push back against it.


Right? They're always going to be people who will reject your idea. And it's why I think a lot of successful entrepreneurs started out as salespeople like Mark Cuban or Sara Blakely. You know, she was selling fax machines door to door. Mark Cuban was selling computer software for CompuServe. And we eventually sold the copies. But he was he was going door to door selling selling software. And, you know, over time, you get used to people saying, no soliciting, no thank you, please leave my premises or hanging up the phone and be becoming resilient to that.


And and and just knowing that you've got to keep grinding away, because that is essentially what a business is about. And if you can learn that, if you can kind of expose yourself to rejection again and again and develop a thicker skin and an ability to withstand that, in my experience, interviewing now deep dive interviews with more than three hundred very influential entrepreneurs, I've discovered that that is really something that almost all of them have in common.


I could not agree more. I think that the the fact that that is a not just a learnable but a conditional skill, if that makes sense, is it's really, really important. It's like developing a 10 or developing strength in the gym. Yes. A progressive resistance to it. And as you get stronger, the weights will feel lighter. You can add resistance, you can go for bigger targets. And what if. Really infrequently might have a large impact on you, gets to the point where it has no impact or negligible impact on your momentum, if that makes sense, it's really, really important.


What do you think the podcast Landscape or world will look like in two or three years? What do you think will change if you had to put on your your forecasting slash prediction hat, what do you think is going to change? What do you think it's going to look like? I think it's going to be much closer to the premium television model. I think that we are going to see more and more. Large networks like Spotify, Amazon, Apple, et cetera, platforms, I should say, kind of creating walled gardens, they may be free walled gardens, but walled gardens where you can only hear, you know, Joe Rogan on Spotify or you can only hear Guy Raz on Spotify or Tim Ferriss or UNAMSIL, whatever it might be.


I think that is inevitable. If I be perfectly honest. I don't know if that's going to be great for consumers and I don't know if it's going to be great for podcast kind of ecosystem. You know, podcasting right now is a little bit like community radio in the 70s. It's wide open. Anybody can start one. There are a million podcasts in the English language, only a tiny, tiny, you know, top of a pin head.


Number of those podcasts have over fifty thousand listeners a week, just a teeny tiny number and even a smaller atomic, you know, molecule fraction of that have a million or more listeners a week. It doesn't mean that it's impossible to gain that audience. I mean, the beauty of podcasting is the barrier to entry is very low. Anybody can start recording themselves and upload it to to these platforms. But I think that the reality is that it is also an advertising platform.


And where there's money to be made, there are going to be, you know, all kinds of folks looking for opportunities. And there's nothing wrong with that. My hope is that it's not only market driven, you know, because I think if podcasting is entirely market driven, you're going to see a lot of content that is polarizing. You're going to see a lot of politically polarizing content and also a lot of like true crime content. And I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that.


I enjoy some of that stuff, but I don't want that to be the only thing that is rising to the top. You know, I think that there needs to be a world in podcasting where you've got shows that are just magical and brilliant, but also expensive. I mean, Radiolab is an expensive show to make invisibility. NPR's program is an expensive show to make. But they're so beautiful and so brilliant and so important. And so, you know, my hope is that, you know, there will still be a world where that content can be created without the, you know, the necessity to to profit necessarily.


But I do think that the industry is moving in that direction. I think it's going to look more like HBO and Hulu and Netflix and Disney Plus and et cetera, et cetera, where you're going to probably have to subscribe or pay to these different channels to hear your favorite programs.


You mentioned invisibility in these some of these incredible shows that are expensive to produce and to second your sort of observation or hope that it's not just things that are projected to have market appeal. Right. That get produced in three years time. It's also notoriously difficult to predict what there is or is not a market for it unless you're just going with the lazy lay-up, you know, kind of copycat stuff in a given genre. Because if we take an example like Dan Carlin's hardcore history, amazing show, but if one were to go in prior to the success of that show and say you don't, we're going to do we're going to do super infrequent podcasts that are extremely long, in some cases multipart.


So it'll take 12, 15 hours about, for instance, you know, Genghis Khan. And we think that that's going to have tremendous appeal. It wouldn't get it won't get bought. It would not get. But which is unbelievable. Right. You think about it because that show is so incredible. But if you try to pitch that today as an unknown person, yeah, it wouldn't get bad.


And it's so good.


I mean, it's so good, certainly. I really hope it doesn't end up in a place, like you said, where the stranger out of the box stuff doesn't have at least a chance, a chance to. Prove them wrong. Yeah, and so fingers crossed certainly on my side as well. What surprised you?


So you have this new book, How I Built This. Easy to Remember, of course, The Unexpected Paths to Success from the world's most inspiring entrepreneurs a few years from now.


What from the book, any particular stories or lessons that we haven't talked about that you think are really going to still stick with you?


I mean, there are a lot of them, right. But one that I think about a lot, you know, I live in the Bay Area and I used to live in the Bay Area. And it's a very complex place because on the one hand, you have incredible weather and beautiful, just beautiful nature. On the other hand, you know, the city of San Francisco is one of the most troubling cities in the world. You know, you've got just immense wealth, the highest number of billionaires in the world.


And you've got parts of the city that look like Gotham City, you know, where human beings are living in the most deprived conditions, unimaginable conditions. And so with that backdrop, you know, I think a lot about San Francisco and I think a lot about what the tech world has wrought. Some incredible things. Right. Amazing transformational things, but things that have also been so disruptive that we don't quite we haven't fully realized how disruptive they are in a negative way.


One of the things that I that struck me when I first moved here because I moved to the Bay Area two years ago from Washington, D.C., was I took I took the ferry from Jack London Square and Oakland to San Francisco to the ferry terminal. And you get out and, you know, there's the Salesforce tower. And I think on Market Street, you've got like Twitter and Zynga and all these huge tech companies, you know, and then like you're looking down Market Street and there's, you know, the headquarters of Wells Fargo, the world headquarters of Wells Fargo.


And then to the right, there's like Levi Strauss Square. And then further down there's Ghirardelli Square. And I just I remember coming to San Francisco as a kid, and that was that was the city was like Levi's and Ghirardelli and Wells Fargo and the Transamerica Tower, you know. And what's amazing is if you think about San Francisco and you think about those enduring names, Levi's, Wells Fargo, Henry Wells, William Fargo, Ghirardelli, Domingo Ghirardelli, I started to look into those stories.


All of those people made their money. From servicing the gold rush, they didn't make their money from the gold rush. They all ended up in California because in one summer in eighteen forty nine or eighteen fifty thirty thousand people came to California from across the country in the world. It was an invasion of human beings searching for gold. And as we know, almost nobody made anything. Even Sutter ended up, I believe, ended up impoverished when he died.


You know, it was Sutter's Mill where the gold was discovered. But the people who actually made the money were the people like Levi Strauss, who sold tents, canvas tents and then jeans. Henry Wells and William Fargo, who went to Stockton and some of these cities in central California to deliver help deliver packages and boxes. And that was what Wells Fargo was. It was a courier service. You know, they they originally it started American Express and they come out to California.


Ghirardelli he comes out to be a gold prospector, too, but that doesn't work out. So he starts making chocolates and pastries and and there you go. You know, so I'm really interested in this idea of servicing big industries. One of the people I interviewed on how I built this and I talk about in the book is Chet Pipkin. Chet Pipkin started a company called Belkin. And I will bet you any amount of money that you have one of his products in your house and people listening to you, they've got a peripheral or a cable or some Belkin thing in their house.


OK, some wire to plug in your iPhone. And Chet Pipkin really wanted to start a PC company in the early 80s, but he couldn't compete with Compaq and Texas Instruments and, you know, IBM and then all these PC clones that were coming out, he didn't have the capital to do it. All he had was a soldering iron. And he knew because he was a young guy and he used to hang out at RadioShack, that if you bought an IBM PC and an Epson printer, you could not connect them because there were no peripherals that were sold to connect them.


People initially had to have RadioShack sell them the different plugs and then they would have to solder than themselves. I mean, it's nuts. And he literally started building, creating peripherals. You buy cables and solder them and then sell them to first. He got his first order. He sold it to Carnegie Mellon and it enabled them to connect their IBM PCs to Epson printers. Well, that's that became a billion dollar business today. I mean, Belkin makes all kinds of peripherals and accessories for devices and computers.


So he wasn't going for the gold mine. He was selling canvas tents and jeans to the gold rushers, you know, and today that company is is still here. And, you know, and you can't say the same thing about most of those PC clones. So I'm really fascinated in looking at a big industry where I say that especially when I talk to younger entrepreneurs, they don't don't try to replicate what Uber is doing. Try and figure out how you can service Uber.


You know, don't try to build the next Airbnb, build a company that actually services things around Airbnb. That is really where the that's where the opportunities are. That is a fascinating lens to use.


And you think about, say, Amazon and RWC, Amazon Web Services. Right. Upon which so many businesses depend, or the invisible customer service chat companies that white label their services to these gigantic tech companies one would recognize. And it's the plumbing and the infrastructure and the foundation upon which these name brand companies rely. But their names themselves, like Belkin, are not nearly as recognizable.


No, they're invisible to most. That is a really great way to look at it.


Do you have any plans or any fantasies of starting businesses outside of the outside of the podcast realm? Maybe you already have that. I don't know.


Yeah, I mean, obviously I've got I've got a production company about two, so one that does how I built this and my program Wisdom from the Top and other projects around media. And I've got another production company that makes children's content. It's called Tinker Casts, and we make well in the world and we've got a live event series one with there is one. There are live events and and other projects that we do. So that's really been my main focus when it comes to to businesses.


You know, they're both small businesses. But I always say to people, you know, a small business can be much more successful than a big business corner. Grocery store that's profitable is doing better than Uber, let's be honest, which is not yet profitable. You know, but it's for me. I mean, I often think about I mean, I think like anybody listening to how I built this, I have a million ideas of things that I, I would love to do and maybe.


I mean, I love food, I love, you know, I've learned a lot about cosmetics and skin care products from how I built this and hair care products, and I've always made things I've never especially in the kitchen. I've never been I don't buy mayonnaise. I haven't I haven't bought yogurt in 20 years. I always make it. I make all my own milk nut milks, you know, kombucha. It's just things that I love doing it.


It's not it sounds very NPR like, oh, my God, this is an NPR person. He makes his own kombucha and almond milk. But I love doing it. It's just it's like my kids when ice cream, I make it. My mom used to be like that. She's like, I can make it because I love doing it, you know? And I started to get with my wife. I started to get into, like, making skin creams and, you know, like during the pandemic, you know, because like a lot of people, I get like eczema, you know, a little bit of eczema will come up and my skin will be dry and we just start experimenting.


And I swear to you, we have made this awesome skin cream that I'm using all the time. You know, are we ever going to sell it? Unlikely. But who knows? Who knows? Maybe.


The hustle skincare for every man and woman, if if you were to give and I know where we're probably at a point where we want to close this round of conversation sometime soon. So I won't to up much more of your time. But if you were to give since you know Ted so well, if you were to give a TED talk on something unrelated or let me let me rephrase that. A TED talk on something you are not already known for.


What would it be? You mentioned cooking cast iron pots.


What what is the subject matter that you would pick for your TED talk if it had to be something that would surprise most people to hear you deliver?


I know a lot about the Washington Nationals baseball team. I don't know if I'd give my TED talk about that. People would not would probably would be surprised to find out that I'm really interested in baseball. I love baseball. I'm a big baseball fan. So it could be about that. I, I could probably give a TED talk about. I mean, usually TED talks are about, you know, a big idea. Right. So I guess my big idea, I tend to talk about them on the show, you know, kindness and things like that that I always aspire to as well, you know, that I'm sort of giving myself advice and looking to others for advice, too, because in some ways, my show and what I do is a form of therapy.


You know, it's being able to talk to people and hear their their challenges and dilemmas is very therapeutic when you kind of talk through it with somebody. And I guess my talk would be about for me, I mean, I think it's it's a hard one because I know that it doesn't apply to everyone. And I think it can be maybe traumatic isn't the right word, but challenging for a lot of people to hear. But it's the one that I.


I know a lot about and means a lot to me, and it's fatherhood. I mean, that's the single most important part of my life. I've got two boys, 11 and nine. That is my identity. First and foremost to me. I'm a dad, you know, I love everything about it. I live for my time with my kids and getting to take a hike with them and getting to swim with them or jump on the trampoline or I mean, I even I even sit and watch their video games.


And I hate video games because I just love being around them, you know, and they're so interesting. And sometimes they drive me crazy, too. But, you know, like my 11 year old, this this album from Juice World just came out and he's just obsessively listening to it because he was so sad when Jesus died. And he's deconstructing the lyrics and he's like that. It's like he almost predicted his own death, you know, and it's just so I just love developing those connections.


So for me, it's been the most fulfilling part of my life. And I think that anybody who's lucky enough to experience having a child in their life will really kind of rediscover themselves as well. And I think that's what my talk would be about.


I got to get started on this procreation and I've lost my hair. You're fine with some things don't age.


Well, I got I got to get moving. I think you I think you're going to have you've got you're going to have plenty of opportunities. I think there'll be lots of people who be interested.


I mean, imagine all the things you could teach a child to him, like, you know how to you know, how to ballroom tango, dance and swim and, you know, across oceans. And so there you go.


And I promise people I will not put my child in a Skinner box any more than is absolutely necessary. And Guy, I appreciate your exceptionally good at what you do.


Take your craft very seriously and you keep yourself off balance in the sense of continual refinement and asking good questions, not just of your guests, but of what you're doing. And I certainly found that to be very clear in doing the homework for this conversation.


And I'm thrilled that you have taken many of these lessons and learnings and stories from how I built this into how I built this, the book itself. I mean, I really find there's a power to text, a power to storytelling through text. And lest people forget, I mean, you have a lot of history and practice with storytelling through text. So I'm I'm thrilled that you took the time to concentrate on the new book, How I Built this subtitle, The Unexpected Path to Success From the World's Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs.


I imagine that it can be found wherever books are sold during these pandemic times. And where are the best places for people to find you? Otherwise, you're your preferred outlets.


The best place to find me a best seller find the book is you can go to Guy Raz Dotcom and all the information is there. But to find me, I'm on Instagram. I like Instagram. I'm a Guy Raz. I'm on Twitter at Guy Raz. I'm on Facebook too, but I don't love that one as much. So even though Instagram is Facebook. But yeah, I follow on Instagram, you know, I put personal stuff on there, my kids and but also like stuff from the show and and it's kind of a mixture so that I try to just put myself out there and.


Yeah. So you can find me there. You're doing you're doing a good job of it. I don't know how with two kids and everything you have going on, you manage to produce as much as you do at the quality that you do.


It's it's mind boggling to me so that at some point I would love to have a meal or a drink and and just stare into your soul and absorb some of that.


That's stamina and focus.


It's really I read the four hour work week. That's what I didn't do, but figured it out now. I mean, you know, it is a little bit rich for you to be saying that because you're insanely productive and produce insanely good stuff. So, I mean, this book, again, it's like it's like tribe of mentors, you know, it's it's designed to be a it's designed to be a reference. It's designed to be a guide.


It's designed to be the that the person that whispers in you're going to be OK. It's going to be OK. Keep going. Know and that's that's that's why I wrote the book.


I love that. I encourage people to check it out, will have links to everything we've discussed in the show notes. Let me ask one more question. And sometimes it's a bad question, but I'm going to risk it. And that is, if you could put anything on a billboard, metaphorically speaking, could be an image, a word quote, something from one of the interviews you've done anything non-commercial and image doesn't matter to convey something to billions of people.


What might you put on that billboard?


I mean, it's it's the most simple thing. It's the become one of the most cliched things to. But it is so important. It's what President Obama talked about in his outgoing address, the last address he gave before his presidency ended. And it's two words. It's kind. It's be kind. I mean, we are all going to be unkind multiple times in our lives in a day. But if you can make that your North Star and just try and sear that into your your memory or tattooed on your arm or put it on a billboard, it's be kind it's going to it's going to make a world just a little bit better.


Yeah, here, here, be kind, great answer, be kinder than you have to be, and it not only makes the world better, it makes you better and it will make you feel better. And certainly in these polarizing times where I think it's become very fashionable and is incentivized in some way to be unkind, that is a real differentiator and a fantastic answer. So let's close up there anything that you would like to add, any closing comments, anything you'd like to to say before we bring this round one to an end?


I guess I really just want to say that I don't believe entrepreneurs are any different than us. I think that we are all Clark Kent. And the only difference is that they went into the phone booth and put on the Cape. And and I am a big believer in entrepreneurship. I think it's exciting. I think it gives people control over their lives. I think it is good for the economy. I think it spurs innovation. I think it allows people to to live more independent lives and.


You know, we actually are not living at a time when entrepreneurship is at its height, there were more entrepreneurs in the 70s and 80s in America than there are today. Even though we talk about it more today, there are fewer today than there were then. And I want to see a resurgence. I want to see and it's and you don't have to build the next earthshattering app or, you know, huge tech company. It can be in that company.


You know, it can be a small business. But to me, the idea of creating something that allows you to employ other people and give them work and meaning and, you know, a good life that allows them to support other people and send people to college, that means a lot. I'm a really big believer in small businesses and entrepreneurs, and I really think that people who want to do it, the only obstacle to getting there is the inability to think of oneself as an entrepreneur.


And what I'm saying is that that shouldn't be an obstacle because everybody has the capacity to do it.


Indeed. And. I want a second that entrepreneur, if you think about the root or even the Spanish equivalent or the related word imprint, that to undertake 100 takes and how I built this, I mean, it really speaks to what it seems like you provide through a lot of the work that you do.


And that is you're offering the tools of self determinism where you're offering the tools and the stories of those who have self authored. And I think in times of uncertainty and certainly we are, as you mentioned, baseball, I think in the first or second inning of lots of uncertainty and lots of turbulence to come in the next year or two. This is the type of. Collection of stories and tools and reassurances that can help people to self author. So I'm thrilled that that you took the time to focus and get this out to the world.


So thank you, Guy, for for taking the time to have this conversation today. Thank you so much for having me. Really appreciate it.


And to everybody listening will have shown notes for everything that was discussed. You can find links to everything teamed up Longboards podcast and until next time. Thanks for tuning in. Hey, guys, this is Tim again. Just a few more things before you take off. Number one, this is five Bullett Friday. Do you want to get a short email from me? And would you enjoy getting a short e-mail from me every Friday that provides a little morsel of fun before the weekend?


And Pfeifle of Friday is a very short email where I share the coolest things I've found or that I've been pondering over the week that could include favorite new albums that I've discovered. It could include gizmos and gadgets and all sorts of weird shit that I've somehow dug up into the world of the esoteric as I do. It could include favorite articles that I have read and that I've shared with my close friends, for instance. And it's very short. It's just a little tiny bite of goodness before you head off for the weekend.


So if you want to receive that, check it out. Just go to four hour work week dotcom. That's four hour work week dot com all spelled out. And just drop in your email and you will get the very next one. And if you sign up, I hope you enjoy it. This episode is brought to you by LinkedIn jobs. Small businesses have unique needs. A lot of you know this, I know this. And even with the uncertainty these days, one thing stands unchanged and that is the importance of having the right people on your team.


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