Ricky: The Content Entrepreneur

I find that this generation of reality TV and instagram models has yielded a society that expects quick success and at a young age. Justin Bieber had $200m when he was 20 and is what’s crammed down this generation’s throats and now that everyone has a platform with social media, everyone is fame chasing. This causes a variety of problems but the one that concerns me is the quality of content being produced. It’s a vicious cycle and even production money is looking at reality and cheap content vs. quality motion pictures. We have no attention span anymore. Just look at movies from yesteryear, scenes that went 5- 10 minutes without a single word spoken. Now, you have to sell the movie in the opening seconds and maintain constant dialog.

 

I’m also a big believer that since we have the biggest ever generation of fame chasers, nobody is actually living life. Life is now portrayed through a phone or computer, and that’s what matters, not the experiences. Sad reality, and if you don’t believe me just look at a concert. Everyone’s phone is in the air and the priority is getting a cool video, not enjoying the musician you just paid money to go and see.  

 

I’m not usually the type to write about celebrities and talk about how they are my hero/ inspiration. When I was a younger, of course I had my sporting heroes; David Beckham, Tiger Woods were the two for me. However, there never seemed to be a connection, I couldn’t relate to them, even if I was aspiring to be like them. I’m now a young man and have found my hero, Mr. Ricky Gervais.

 

For me, he’s the best and I suppose I look at things from a different perspective but I consider Ricky Gervais is a content entrepreneur. Most entrepreneurs build businesses around what they know and Mr. Gervais is no different and the reason why his content was so good is because he had actually done stuff in his life. It’s fairly well documented that Ricky had worked in a office for ten years hence made the office, was then involved TV and made Extras. This shows a great discipline, most people who start a business fail because it’s not clear exactly what their business is. This may sound ridiculous but it’s so true, people are so focused on trying to be something different instead of focusing on just being the best you.

 

On a personal level I share Ricky’s religious views or lack of to be more accurate. I also like the fact that he still lives in London. Most famous brits end up relocating to the US and develop a strange  half brit half american accents. Next, the podcast that has been downloaded millions of times was essentially first to market. Again, showing his entrepreneurial prowess, podcasts were a relative unknown when Karl, Steve and Ricky decided to make on of the funniest shows ever made. He saw that ‘on demand’ was trending and pursued it, continuing to do so with his current Netflix relationship. Special Correspondents coming soon!  
Since this is a hero/ inspiration post I won’t make it too long but I would like to conclude with why I have found a hero later in life. You have to go through thick and thin (see what i did there) to find happiness and have a story to tell. It’s the stories that make you interesting and make you who you are, I have been guilty of wishing for the easy way out but through Ricky I learnt that happiness isn’t a section of your life, it’s the whole damn thing. Be yourself, don’t get a fake american accent and create the best version of you.  

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What does it take, to take offense?

I’m always guilty of this. The dreaded foot in mouth syndrome. Sometimes it’s just word vomit and you say something that you didn’t intend, this is usually followed by an awkward laugh and brief embarrassment.

 

I grew up on banter, you give it and you take it. I had this really interesting conversation a few weeks ago about what is your idea of the stereotypical British man and now I’m in London the answers are all so different. Some people would depict the James Bond gentleman in the suite, some people think about Hugh Grant or Colin Firth but for me that was never my idea of the British man. Don’t worry, I’m not about to get onto some political or racial rate here, just so you know…

 

The people I have trusted the most in my life have never been the people who are always super nice to me. The people I have liked the most in my life have never been the people who are super nice to me. No, the people I like and trust in my life will be the first people to call me out if I’m in the wrong or occasionally in the right, just for fun. When you get to the point in a relationship when you feel comfortable say “hey, you look like shit” you know you have a real friend.

 

It’s about to be 2016 and political correctness is at an all time high. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about respect. I like to use the word ‘respect’ when it comes to these matters because ‘equality’ and words of this nature can mean so many different things, it just depends who you ask. However, ‘respect’ is a constant, it’s solid. Give everyone the same respect until they give you a reason not to and you won’t go far wrong. Easy.

 

The work place is the worst. I have always felt that people who swear more are always the most trust worthy. Why is it necessary to act differently in and out of work? I never grasped that concept. In a business environment trust is a big part of getting things done so why are we acting so fake to each other? I don’t get it. Maybe it’s my upbringing.

 

What does it take, to take offense? Remember “sticks and stones will break my bones….” it’s just words people. I think primary schools have developed a whole curriculum on what is the right and wrong terminology to explain things now, I’m glad I missed that class, I’d never have made it out of primary school. Like I said earlier I have a bad case of foot in mouth syndrome but that doesn’t make me a bad person or in the wrong, if a person uses the incorrect term to describe someone else, it doesn’t mean that they are intentionally being rude. No, there is so much to consider now when you meet someone, the whole art of conversation is being completely demolished and it’s so sad.

 

I understand that people don’t appreciate certain terms so here is a quick guide on how not to be an ass hole when someone says the non politically correct thing. You pull the person to one side a little while after the term was used and you say “ I know you didn’t mean anything by what you just said but it can be offensive so perhaps say …… instead” done.

Take a Walk

I walked today. Waking up with an overwhelming sense of “I need to be outside” can be exhilarating. I love when I’m in the mood to just explore.

 

I have to admit that being in this state of mind comes and goes. I’m currently testing out Nootropics to try and get in the elusive “flow” state, the type of thing Tiger Woods could achieve back when he was winning. It’s a semi conscious state that really allows you to just do exactly as intended. It’s funny that as humans we struggle to achieve the things that we intend to do, if you look at it from that perspective it really makes no sense. The simple idea that the most successful people in the world are the ones who manage to do as they intended should do one of two things to you….

 

  1. Make you think that “I’m an idiot” 2. Motivate you to put one foot in front of the other and act accordingly.

 

Number 1 can often be the case for myself but occasionally number 2 is and that’s when I like to go for a walk…

 

So, back to walking. I now live in London which is the greatest city in the world for people watching. You see some shit that really make you contemplate if all people really are created in the same way. For instance, the man hiding under the bridge today that had an alarming resemblance to the child catcher out of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I relived my childhood nightmare.  Then you see people that make you feel like the most uncool person in the entire world. I’m of course referring to the skateboarders that I was fascinated by today, those guys are cool, the clothes are cool, the attitude is cool, the actual skateboarding is cool, everything is cool. I felt like I was watching rockstars working on their craft during a private session.

 

People watching is fun but I really like the fresh air. I had the realisation today that during the week I spend approximately 1 hour per day outside. Wow! that’s crazy. I should probably get out more.

 

My absolute favorite thing about living in California was the outdoor living, people couldn’t get enough of it. Now, in London, people seem like they scurry from the tube to a building, from dinner to home, etc.. and whats with all the power walking people? You might feel as if you are saving so much time but in all reality you might be moving 2 miles per hour faster than me, and 2 miles per hour over half a mile amount to about 20 seconds. Congratulations!

 

Sorry about that rant. had to get it out of my system.
Keep your eye level up. What you will realize is that London and most places for that matter, are far more beautiful when you’re not looking down at the ground or your phone. Take a walk, get some fresh air and be inspired by your surroundings. You will realize soon after that it doesn’t require a book or a classroom to be mentally stimulated.  Simply, take a walk and be observant. Have a good week everybody!

The Original Growth Hacker

Part 1

If you don’t know who Shep Gordon is then please take a second to read the following list of names he managed: Alice Cooper, Luther Vandross, Raquel Welch, Blondie, Teddy Pendergrass, Mike Myers, Renée Loux, PInk Floyd. He also invented the ‘Celebrity Chef’ yes, invented. Still interested?

 

Shep might also be the most interesting man in the world. Not the guy from the Dos Equis advertisement, trust me on this.

 

His first night in Los Angeles at his hotel, he gets punched in the face by Janis Joplin. The next day Janis apologises and introduces Shep to her friend, Jimi Hendrix. Jimi asks if Shep is Jewish. He responds “yes” Jimi then suggests “you should  become a manager” and that he should manage Alice Cooper. “Sure”, Shep responds… Alice Cooper was not famous at this point.

 

 

The pressure is on and he has this outrageous commodity in Alice Cooper. After watching Alice spend most of his latest show run around the stage yelling “nobody likes me!” followed by booing and people exiting, it seemed like a long shot.

 

Don’t shy away from different, embrace it.

Shep realized that if you could get the parents to hate the artist, the kids would love them. The only platforms available at that time allowing the opportunity to generate rapid growth were newspapers and TV, so this was the goal.

 

Fake it till you make it.

Shep paid fake photographers to come and shoot Alice before and after shows with no film. The idea is to create  a presence ‘real or not’ so people pay attention. Continue to get attention… Alice was booked into Wembley arena and they had sold 50 tickets. How could they get English people to know who Alice Cooper was?

 

Think outside the box

The answer was take a billboard van with a picture of Alice naked with a snake wrapped around him and break it down during rush hour in Piccadilly circus. This caused outrage and got feature in the British press. Two days later, Webley was sold out…

 

 

Money isn’t always the most valuable commodity

Continue to shock… After the Wembley show they had the opportunity to play a festival in Canada and were told they would receive 30% of the proceeds. We learn a great business lesson here. Shep says “I don’t want any money. I want Alice to play just before John Lennon” a lesson in understanding true value.

 

Learn how to optimize an opportunity

The deal was done. Alice played just before John Lennon and continued to cause controversy by throwing a chicken, yes, a chicken, into the audience where it got torn to bits and thrown back at the stage. The chicken was places on stage by Shep because who else brings a chicken to a concert?  This of course caught more media attention and elevated Alice’s status ultimately leading to the creation of his first album.

Part 2

Let’s talk about Anne Murray. Who remembers Anne Murray? I must admit, I certainly don’t. A little before my time. Midnight Special 1973 primetime television, if you were cool enough to be on midnight special, you had made it. So, let’s talk about Anne Murray. “She was so middle America, she was past middle America, she was Canadian” Purest of pure voice, country singer and by no means ‘exciting’ or 1973 Midnight special worthy. Why then did Anne Murray end up on Midnight Special and become the ‘it- girl’ for a period of time in 1973. Shep Gordon, of course…

 

If you read my last post you will have heard about the great hacks that Shep pulled off in order to success Alice Cooper’s career. The truth was, Shep hated Alice Cooper style of music and wanted to test himself in another genre.

 

Compassionate Business

When building a business you want to create your own identity, however in 2015 you are competing against the world and getting recognition is no easy task. People need help and so do businesses. Shep to his peers is know as one of the nicest guys; Mike Myers even made a documentary about it. Shep often talks about doing ‘compassionate business’ and what this means is that no one loses, people only win. This means the introduction of another Shep invention, ‘The coupon’ a coupon is when a person does something for you and you don’t have the means at that point to equally pay them back (I don’t mean financially) but you pay them back the moment you have means or something they might like.

 

Lets all be friends

Relationship building isn’t just something that salespeople are responsible for. Also, connecting on Linkedin doesn’t mean that you have built a relationship. Relationships take time and are certainly frustrating for Marketers since you can’t directly attribute a CAC to these efforts. You will have to just trust me on this one. Shep is the master of relationship building and even learnt the art of the dinner party. He studies this for many years. Not a joke, theories include; inviting 2 people who haven’t met but you believe might want to. Always have round tables as they give  a sense of equality. If there is a person of interest attending leave a spare chair at each table so they are free to move around. Serious stuff. Don’t just make business contacts, make friends.

 

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants   

Back to Anne Murray. How do you elevate a career and make someone cool. There is a theory that if you put someone next to a famous person, some of that fame rubs off. A modern example of this is Pia Mia & Kylie Jenner. They get pictured hanging out for about 1 month then before you know it, Pia Mia has a hit song. I wonder how that happened… This idea was taken from Shep 30 years ago. After following the ‘compassionate business’ & ‘lets be friends’ principle for many years, Shep had made some great friends in the industry. During this time period John Lennon was in his dark phase and had not been pictured for a long time. Shep had built a relationship with a friend who was part of a drinking club and guess who was a part of this club, yup, John Lennon.


A favour was asked and it lead to the above picture being taken. Anne Murray in a picture with John Lennon, now people are curious about who this Anne Murray is. Shep contacts Midnight special, says he represents the girl in the picture,  they book her in and her career takes off. Good job Shep!

Life hacks for Entrepreneurs

Building a startup is very time consuming and not the normal 9-5 role. Health professional in particular are infamous for being consumed by their work and their personal lives tend to take a back seat. However, we still believe there are more ways to optimizing your performance allowing for a better all round life. Here is some products and tips I suggest for hacking into a better life:

 

disclaimer:  I have NO affiliation with any brands mentioned in this post. Simply a fan who is recommending products to help out.

 

 

Productivity Hacks for building a Digital Health Company:

 

  1. Learn how to say ‘No’- James Altucher’s book “The Power of NO” depicts this theory brilliantly. For most people saying no is difficult but if you want to elevate your productivity game it’s necessary. Say no and make time for later.
  2. Listen to music- Music is a good way to block everything out and focus. During my time in LA I was at a METal event ran by Ken Rutkowski of Business Rockstar Radio and I met a fellow Brit, Will Henshall the Founder of Focus at Will, a former songwriter who has designed music that scientifically optimizes your concentration. In other words, this music stuff works.
  3. Delegate tasks-  Only do what you can do where your core strengths lie. If you’re the person who gets delegated the task then prioritisation is key. Start by avoiding any meetings that aren’t absolutely necessary to be in. You will see a big improvement in the quality of your work.
  4. A/B Test your body- Some people work better at night, some in the morning. Try doing certain tasks at night then try them in the morning. You will see what works best for you and adapt your schedule around that. Your body has a natural rhythm so don’t fight it.
  5. Exercise- Get your exercise in, you are never too busy for exercise. By exercising you get a natural energy boost and stress relief. We recommend exercising in the morning to free your mind of that task and focus on being productive at work.
  6. Turn off notifications-  When you have exercised, prioritised your work, delegated tasks and said no a bunch of times the last thing you need is to be distracted by your phone constantly pinging. Turn it off and focus on the tasks that lie ahead.

 

Bulletproof Coffee:

 

Yes, the great creation of Dave Asprey. The Bulletproof Diet a New York Times best selling book on BioHacking has since led to Coffee designed to optimize your mental performance. You make the coffee by adding grass- fed unsalted butter, yes butter, along with MCT Coconut oil. After my initial skepticism I contacted Dr. Andrew Hill a NeuroScientist at UCLA and he confirmed that the best diet for brain health is a high fat low sugar diet. This coffee mixed with the fats is an optimal way to start your day.

https://www.bulletproofexec.com/how-to-make-your-coffee-bulletproof-and-your-morning-too/

 

Lumosity:

 

Lumosity, now at an amazing 70 million users, the brain training game designed by NeuroScientists. Lumosity is based on research in the field of neuroplasticity. There R&D team works with researchers from several of the United States top universities to learn as much as possible about Lumosity training. You train you muscles in the gym now it’s time to train your brain and build your mental stamina.

http://www.lumosity.com/landing_pages/926?gclid=CILu85zy1cgCFQsCwwodMIALEg

 

 

7 Minute Workout:

 

The famous ‘7 minute workout’ we arent saying that by just doing this every day you will have fitness model abs but getting in exercise is very important for mental success. The 7 minute workout have a great understanding that part of the reason for not going to the gym, is not knowing what to do at the gym. This great program tells you what to do and is easy to fit in around your busy day.

http://7minworkoutapp.net/#about

 

 

Atracker:

 

Time management is essential in the Startup world and it’s often easy to forget and let things slip. Atracker is a user friendly app that allows for greater time management so you don’t forget those really important things like your significant other’s birthday. It has a great interface allowing  you to see data on where you’re spending the bulk of your time. Taking work out of the equation,  you are able to see how well you are balancing your time.

http://www.wonderapps.se/atracker/

Aloha Green Juice:

 

The green juice fad, whatever your view might be the theory is that getting some greens into your diet is better than zero. I have chosen Aloha as they are a monthly subscription brand who deliver the healthy mix each month to your door step. If you are a busy Surgeon this is a great way to make sure your not forgetting your greens during a busy week.

https://aloha.com/home

 

 

Happify:

 

State of mind is everything. having a positive approach to life is one of the key components to success. Happify say their cheerful games and activities are deceptively effective, based off the art of science you can use the app on demand. Start your day with the app and get into the correct state of mind before entering surgery. A Small slices of time can make big-time changes.

http://www.happify.com/

 

 

The Bouqs:

 

For all you romantics this is a great way to surprise your significant other. The e commerce flower delivery service will email you before a birthday or anniversary to remind you to get those flowers delivered, or simply just surprise her with a Bouq because she deserves it. Or perhaps you want fresh flowers weekly, or monthly. Flowers enhance the mood regardless of the delivery. Well worth considering.

https://www.thebouqs.com/en/

 

 

Multi Vitamin:

 

Back to basics but a great habit that’s well worth getting into. The Harvard school of public health says that the humble multivitamin is a great nutrition insurance policy, try mixing with a vitamin D to add an extra boost. The on-the-go multitasking environment of a surgeon does not yield time to fulfill healthy habits. A balanced diet with a multivitamin with help optimize your performance and lead to a happier healthy life.

http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/vitamins/

Build a Startup the Karl Pilkington Way

“The little round headed buffoon” as Ricky Gervais would affectionately introduce him at the start of each podcast episode. Karl Pilkington is beloved by many for having absolutely no filter, if the man thinks it, he says it. and it got me thinking…

Are people over complicating building a startup and thinking too much? Karl knows what he wants and makes it very obvious just what that is, surely he can’t be the only one who wonders “Why do people take pictures of mimes? everyone looks like a mime in a picture”…….

 

Here is a few of my favorite Karl quotes:


“If you don’t have a plan, you can end up doing some interesting things”

 

Right you are Karl, Assess the demand. The classic quote- “don’t make something cool, make something that people want” between 80 and 90% of Startups fail and it’s not through lack of trying or not being smart enough. I have seen it myself,  ideas that seem great, seem like they are solving a problem, but still fail. There is certainly a perception of the Silicon Valley developer type with the headphones on hypnotised by their computer screen. Don’t be that guy at first, be Karl Pilkington in ‘An idiot abroad’ visit new opportunities but keep it simple.

 

Start a podcast, blog, take pictures, and give it away for free. Build content around what you know and don’t be scared to ask your audience questions. They will tell you what they want and you can build business around the demand. A great example of this is my friend Jordan Harbinger the founder of ‘The Art of Charm’ he built a badass podcast then a business based of what his listeners wanted. Good work mate!

 

“Jellyfish are 97 per cent water or something, so how much are they doing? Just give them another three per cent and make them water. It’s more useful.”

 

Don’t allow your idea to be 97% of something and 3 of the other. After you have assessed demand make a disciplined effort and be consistent. The humble A/B Test by nature can only have 1 variable to generate solid data, so be patient and don’t have too many moving parts. Look at the way my good friends at TruBrain did it. TruBrain is a team that maintains what Tomas Ferrari calls “tremendous discipline” around knowing when to cut off endless musing (the stuff that makes and now breaks so many careers in corporate life) and get to testing theories.  Good news / bad news – the data wins.  I know this is terrifying news for middle managers looking to hang onto bloated salaries and avoid disruption in the marketplace because they have tuition and diapers to buy.  Tech is eating the world; adapt or die.  Testing & Data > Musing & politics of seniority.  “Digital Kaizen” as Celso Ferrari like to put it (the Fulbright Scholar identical twin of Tomas); these are the guys fixing to each your lunch.


“You’ve always got to expect the worst, haven’t you? That’s why we pop a seat belt on when we get in the car”

 

Prepare for failure, and build lean. Eric Ries must get credit for this vision, it’s not a case of self belief, motivation and all these ideals. The Lean Startup is about learning what your customers really want. It’s about testing your vision continuously, adapting and adjusting before it’s too late… Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.Taken from Inc-  Brilliant college kids sitting in a dorm are inventing the future. Heedless of boundaries, possessed of new technology and youthful enthusiasm, they build a company from scratch. Their early success allows them to raise money and bring an amazing new product to market. They hire their friends, assemble a superstar team, and dare the world to stop them.The hardest part is of course trusting the data as anyone who considers him/ herself an entrepreneur by nature should be stubborn and that’s a key element. However, trust the data and for god sakes “TEST AND ADJUST”

 

“If you can’t do it, don’t do it”

 

Letting people do what they want is very important when building a startup. It might feel like your baby but you must have trust in the people you bring on board. It’s not about who he or she is, how old they are, what their background is, if you went to college or not. If there is a channel that needs unlocking and someone fancys it, let em have at it. The reason why this works is because any theory needs to be proven by MVT (Min viable test). It’s about – information seeking/ results & data orientation > I think because I have my own office. Once you have the data back you will soon know that “if you can’t do it, don’t do it” and no one can dispute that. Data wins again!


“People who live in a glass house have to answer the door.”

 

If you have ever walked into the offices of a tech Startup you will notice some big differences to the offices of corporate life. No cubicles, no hierarchy big office with a fish tank, no suites that make it obvious to whom earns what, no yes sir no sir. Everyone is accessible and everyone is adding value. No hiding behind computer screens. Post it up on the big screen and map out what you’re working on and how it’s growing the business. Prove your theory and run with it. It doesn’t sit on some VP’s desk waiting for permission, youthful startup environment doesn’t have time for that. Life is too short. Startups are built in glass houses and always answer the door to the next big thing.   karl pilkington 001

Why Kylie Jenner is Changing the way we Learn.

Education is always fighting to stay informative but also engaging. One of the most distracting aspect of teaching is looking out and seeing 50% of the class fighting the urge to pick up the phone and scroll down instagram to see Kylie Jenner’s latest hair color….

 

It’s addicting, mobile phone usage is an epidemic. Younger users stand out especially prominently when it comes to using their phone for two purposes in particular: avoiding boredom, and avoiding people around them.

 

According to Pew Research– Fully 93% of 18-29 year old smartphone owners in the experience sampling study used their phone at least once to avoid being bored, with respondents in this age group reporting that they did so in average of 5.4 surveys over the one-week study period. Similarly, 47% of young smartphone owners used their phone to avoid interacting with the people around them at least once during the study period, roughly three times the proportion of older smartphone owners who did so.

 

What chance do these poor educators have? recently I was contacted by an educator in the United States who told us that he had stopped trying to fight his students using their phones, tablets, etc..

 

Instead of looking at journals and academic materials he spends his time between semesters researching apps he can add to the curriculum. Yes, apps. If the data from Pew Research is anything to go by then maybe he is onto something.

 

From ‘On Looking’- “concentration” is selective and easing our cognitive overload by allowing us to conserve our precious mental resources only for the stimuli of immediate and vital importance, and to dismiss all else. If this is true the habit of constant mobile phone use is creating a strong subconscious prioritisation. Therefore, concentration will be peaked when we are looking through mobile devices….

 

Millennials, getting their education through a 5 inch screen. As long as they are learning, right?

 

Our friend the professor isn’t the only one getting in on the act.

 

Google Play & Apple Store are catering to the demand for more app based learning. Apple’s Volume purchase program for Education & Google’s apps for education. Both allow an institution to buy-in-bulk for the purpose of distribution to students.

 

Kylie Jenner
NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 16: Kylie Jenner seen on the streets of Manhattan on September 16, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)

Nice work Google, nice work Apple. Now you can get up to 25k installs in just one click.      For Free!