Alex Banayan is the author of the new business book The Third Door, which chronicles his five-year quest tracking down Bill Gates, Lady Gaga, Warren Buffett, Maya Angelou, Steven Spielberg, and dozens more of the world’s most successful people to uncover how they broke through and launched their careers.
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Your Big Idea: Successful Entrepreneurs have One Big Idea. Follow JLD’s FREE training & you’ll discover Your Big Idea in less than an hour!
Check out Alex on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Third Door Book – Alex’s book
3 Value Bombs
1) The biggest mistake people make is that they look up to interviewers they admire, they look up to their styles and they copy that. They are focusing on what those styles are, not why those styles exist.
2) There are dangers of over persistence. You can bang on the door so many times that people will call the police on you.
3) You can give someone all the best wisdom and knowledge in the world and their life can still feel stuck. But if you changed what some will believe is possible, they’ll never be the same.
Clay Clark: Looking for a business coach who has helped thousands of entrepreneurs increase profitability by an average of 104% annually – all for less money than it would cost to hire a minimum wage employee? And all on a month-to-month basis!? Schedule your free consultation today with Clay Clark at ThrivetimeShow.com/fire!
HubSpot: Start giving your customers what they deserve. Learn more about how you can transform your customer experience with a HubSpot CRM Platform at HubSpot.com!
**Click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.
Today’s Audio MASTERCLASS: Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Lady Gaga: Uncovering how the world’s most successful people launched their careers with Alex Banayan
[01:56] – Alex shares something about himself that most people don’t know.
[03:10] – How did his journey start?
- He realized maybe he wasn’t on the right path. Maybe he was on the path someone placed him on, and he’s just rolling down.
- He started going to the library and reading books about business and self-help, but he didn’t find any one book that he really wanted to read. He thought about writing a book that he wanted read.
- He joined The Price is Right and won a sail boat, sold it, and used the money to fund the book.
[11:24] – What’s the one biggest factor every single entrepreneur has in common?
- They all treat life and business the exact same way.
[13:40] – How did Alex get these interviews? What was the strategy behind the interviews?
- Alex shares one of the most miraculous moments of his life: it was while he was sitting on the sidewalk, talking to his best friend, and Larry King walked in front of them
- He invited Larry King to have breakfast with him, and Larry King said yes.
[23:06] – What was that one golden nugget from your breakfast with Larry King?
- One of the biggest mistake people make is copying the interview styles of the people you admire. Do not focus on the styles, but focus on why those styles exist.
- Understand which interview styles will make your interviewees comfortable, because that is what creates the best interview.
[27:45] – Alex shares a list of some of the most practical and tactical tools he has picked up from the entrepreneurs he chatted with.
- Tim Ferriss taught him a secret about cold emails that WORKS! – Alex shares this secret – tune in, Fire Nation :)
- He also learned the key for how to know when to keep going and when to stop.
[33:32] – The Silver Medalist theory.
[34:39] – Alex shares some of the most massive mistakes he has made in his life.
- He shares a story about a mistake he made with Warren Buffett. He made it a priority to interview Warren Buffet, he spent 6 months reading books about him and kept sending him letters inviting him for an interview.
- Alex explains the dangers of over-persistence.
[39:03] – What is Alex’s definition of success?
- Alex shares an experience he had interviewing Steve Wozniak.
- “Being part of the corporate bureaucracy is the exact opposite of my definition of success.” – Steve Wozniak
[45:48] – Alex’s parting piece of guidance
- You can give someone all the best wisdom and knowledge in the world and their life can still feel stuck. But if you changed what some will believe is possible, they’ll never be the same.
- Connect with Alex on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
- ThirdDoorBook.com – Alex’s book
Shake the roof Fire Nation. JLD here and welcome to Entrepreneurs On Fire brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network with great shows like I Digress. Today, we're pulling a timeless EOFire classic episode from the archives, and we will be breaking down. Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Lady Gaga uncovering how the world's most successful people launched their careers to drop these value bombs. I brought Alex Banayan. Alex is the author of The Third Door which Chronicles his five-year quest tracking down Bill Gates, Lady Gaga, Warren Buffet, May Angelou, Steven Spielberg, and dozens, more of the world's most successful people to uncover how they broke through and launch their careers.
And today Fire Nation, we'll talk about the biggest mistake that people make. When they look to interview people, they admire the dangers of over persistence and so much more. When we get back from thanking our sponsors, looking for a business coach who has helped thousands of entrepreneurs increase profitability by an average of 104% annually, all for less money than what it cost to hire one minimum wage employee all on a month to month basis. Schedule your free consultation today with Clay Clark, a former SBA entrepreneur of the year at ThrivetimeShow.com/fire. The My First Million podcast features famous guests, discusses how companies made their first million and brainstorm new business ideas based on the hottest trends and opportunities in the marketplace.
0 (1m 28s):
One recent app was all about how venture capitalists make money. Listen to My First Million , wherever you get your podcasts. Alex say what's up the Fire Nation and share something interesting about yourself that most people don't know
1 (1m 43s):
What's up guys. This is Alex. And not only have I won one game show to help fund the book, but a fund, the book launch, I ended up winning a second game show.
0 (1m 55s):
People are gonna think I stack these interviews, Alex, because the last person I had on, he was talking about how he was on the wheel of fortune and actually bankrupt twice. So he didn't win. But now you're on game shows as well. Like this is weird and I was on the prices, right? And when a car, so what's going on here? What game shows were you on?
1 (2m 13s):
I was on I'm same as you man. I was on the prices, right?
0 (2m 15s):
1 (2m 17s):
With the prices. Right? I ended up winning a sailboat. And with the second game show, I ended up winning a car. Wow. I sold both of them to help them the book,
0 (2m 27s):
But then you had to pay taxes on himself. And that was brutal because I had to pay it and it was brutal. Well, it was in Fire Nation. We have a killer audio masterclass, as I promised. And the title of this obviously is going to draw you in because it's phenomenal. Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Lady Gaga uncovering how the world's most successful people launch their careers. This is going to be so awesome. Alex, I love this. So how did this whole journey of yours get started to where we're at today?
1 (2m 57s):
About seven years ago, I was 18 years old, a freshman in college, and I was spending every day lying on my dorm room, bed, staring up at the ceiling and to understand why I was doing that. You have to understand, you know, I'm the son of Jewish immigrants, which pretty much means, you know, I came out of the womb, my mom cradled me in her arms and then she stamped MD on my ass and sent me on my way. You know, you think it's funny, but in third grade I wore scrubs to school for Halloween and thought I was cool. You know, that I was that kid. I went to pre-med summer camp in high school.
1 (3m 38s):
And by the time I got to college, I'm the pre-med of pre-meds. But really quickly, I remember, you know, looking over at the stack of biology books on my desk, feeling like they were dementors sucking the life out of me. And you know, at first I assumed I was just being lazy. You know, I was hitting the snooze button, you know, four or five times each morning, but eventually I began to wonder, maybe I'm not on my path. Maybe I'm on a path. Somebody placed me on and I'm just rolling down. Not only am I going through this, what do I want to do with my life crisis? The questions start evolving in my head of, you know, okay, not only do I not know what I want to do, but you know, even if I did had it, all these people who I look up to, how did they do it?
1 (4m 24s):
You know, how did Bill Gates when he was this unknown 19 year old in college, sell software out of his dorm room? Or how did Steven Spielberg, when he was rejected from film school, go on to become the youngest director in Hollywood history. These are the things they don't really teach you in school. So, you know, I just assumed there had to be this book out there. So I go to the library and I just started ripping through business books and biographies and self-help books. But eventually I'm left empty handed because there wasn't this one, I was looking for this one book that had, you know, all these people in it with all, from all these different industries and backgrounds that was really focused on when they were, you know, just trying to launch their careers and breakthrough when nobody knew the name, when nobody would take their calls, how they did it.
1 (5m 14s):
So, you know, that's when my naive 18 year old thinking kicked in and I thought, well, if no one's written the book, I'm dreaming of reading. Why not write it myself? You know, I thought it would take a couple of months. I would just call up Bill Gates, interview him and everyone else. Exactly. You know, you know, bill helps, you know, kids all the time. I thought, you know, he was my generation, Santa Claus. I thought that would be the easy part. The hard part I figured was getting the money to fund the journey. And you know, we talked about this a little in the beginning. So two nights before my final exams, during my freshman year of college, I'm in the library doing what everyone does in the library, right before finals, I'm on Facebook, you know, I'm on Facebook and I'm looking and I see someone offering free tickets to the prices, right?
1 (6m 10s):
What, and the first thought, you know, it still sounds crazy to me, but the first thought in my mind, you know, because I was so obsessed about trying to figure out how this, you know, book Ernie would get funded. My first thought was, what if, what if I go on the show and win some money to fund this rain? You know, it wasn't my brightest moment. Plus I had, you know, I had a problem. I had finals in two days and I'd never seen a full episode of the show before. You know, it's, it's the show everybody wants when they're home sick from school in fourth grade.
1 (6m 50s):
So everyone's seen bits and pieces, but I'd never seen a full episode, but I figured like, you know, how hard could it be? But, you know, I told myself it was stupid. I had finals and I needed to focus. And I don't know if you've ever been in one of these positions where a thought just keeps crawling back and back into your mind. So to prove to myself, it was a bad idea. I remember taking out my spiral notebook and I'm sitting at this round wooden table in the corner of the library. And I take out my spiral notebook and I write down the best and worst case scenarios, you know, worst case scenarios, fail finals, get kicked out of premed, lose financial aid.
1 (7m 31s):
Mom stops talking to me. No mom kills me, look fat on TV. You know, there's like 20 cons. The only pro was maybe win enough money to fund this dream. It almost felt as if somebody had tied a rope around my gut and was slowly pulling in a direction. And I decided that night to do the logical thing and pull an all nighter to study. But I didn't study for finals. I started had a hack. The price is right. And I went on the show the next day and executed this ridiculous strategy. And I ended up winning the whole showcase showdown, winning a sailboat, selling the sailboat. And that's how I funded the book. Okay. Well, real quick though, like how do you hack getting onto the show in the first place? Well, you probably know this better than anyone because you've been through a similar experience.
1 (8m 14s):
The price is right, has this way. And it's funny because it's not only the price is right. It's pretty much anything in life. They have this way of making it feel like it's completely random and luck. You know, they go, Alex, come on down. I said, if they pulled your name out of a hat, but you know, as you know, there's a system to it. And there's a producer who interviews every single person every, before the show begins. And you know, some people know that, but what I found out at about 4:00 AM during my all-nighter, you know, I'm on the 23rd, oh of Google at this point. And it was funny. Cause I remember finding this, it wasn't even on a, it was on one of those old, like 1990s, like web blogs in one of those comments, like a message board.
1 (9m 2s):
And someone said that they had this theory that there was also an undercover producer who's planted in the audience who then confirm or denies the original producers selection. So when I got to the, you know, the next morning I get to the prices right studio, and the second I stepped foot on that lot, I tell myself, I have no idea who this undercover producer is. I just have to assume everyone is an undercover producer. So I'm flirting with the security guards. I'm talking with the janitors I'm breakdancing, and I don't know how to break dance. And you know, eventually you get into line and the line curves through these metal railings.
1 (9m 45s):
And it's my turn to be interviewed by the casting producer. And the second I saw him, you know, I knew instantly he was my guy. Cause I had spent hours researching everything I could about him. I knew his name was Stan. I knew where he grew up. I knew where he went to school. I pretty much knew what he ate for breakfast that morning. And I knew that he has a clipboard, but it's never in his hands. It's in his assistance hand who sits about 20 feet behind him
0 (10m 13s):
And Fire Nation. I can verify all this cause I did the exact same thing. I went out there and for me actually is a little bit of a different experience. I didn't hack. I was actually kind of clueless myself the whole time, but I just got lucky with the hack meeting that it happened to be veterans day. I am a veteran. And so when I was getting interviewed, I mentioned that like, I'm just happy to be here. And the price is right on veterans day being a veteran. And so of course like, you know, that probably helped out. Cause then when I got up on stage finally, like drew was like, John, it says here that you're like a veteran and I'm like, yeah, I'm a veteran. So I mean that kind of, they kind of worked with that. I'm sure. But it's just interesting how you found another way to hack this stuff and then eventually funding the project by winning and all this stuff. But you're gonna have to read the book to find out more details about Fire Nation.
0 (10m 54s):
That's just how it is. But believe me, it's some really cool fun story, but I want to jump into some real cool information about the entrepreneurs that you interviewed. Like what is the one biggest factor that you found every single entrepreneur has in common?
1 (11m 10s):
So when I had started out on this journey, it was never my goal to find, you know, that one key to entrepreneurial success because we've seen those business books or those Ted talks and we all just, you know, roll our eyes. But what ended up happening, I would say about, you know, four years into this seven-year journey was that after doing all these interviews and I don't know if you're a big music fan, but to me after all of these interviews, I started to realize there was almost this common melody to every single story. And what I realized is it doesn't matter if it's Bill Gates or if it's Maya Angelou, they could be completely different on the outside at their core.
1 (11m 56s):
They all treat life business the exact same way. And the analogy that came to me is that it's sort of like getting into a nightclub. There's always three ways in there's the first store, the main entrance where the line curves around the block, where 99% of people wait in line hoping to get in, you know, that's the first store. And then there's the second door, the VIP entrance where the billionaires and celebrities slipped through. And for some reason, school and society have this way of making us feel like there's only two ways in you're either born into it or you wait your turn like everybody else. But what I learned is that there's always The Third Door and at the entrance where you have to jump out of line, run down the alley, bang on the door a hundred times, crack open the window, go through the kitchen.
1 (12m 42s):
There's always a way in, and it doesn't matter if that's how gates sold his first piece of software or how Wazniak and jobs started apple or how Lady Gaga got her first record deal. They all took the third
0 (12m 53s):
DOR Fire Nation. Where is your third door? Like where's that third door is existing in your life. You just have to find that third door know that it exists. Now, Alex, one question that I have for you is how the heck did you get these interviews? I mean, list off against some of the people that you did interview and then tell us about the strategy behind getting these interviews. Because I I'll say by far and away, the number one question that I get is John how'd you interview Tim Ferris, you know, Tony Robbins, Barbara Corcoran, Gary Vaynerchuk, all in the first 90 days of launching your podcast. So spill the beans brother.
1 (13m 27s):
I feel like you've been taking a lot of third doors too, man. You know, the people who ended up being in the book and who I had originally set out to where people from, you know, all industries. So for business, I interviewed Bill Gates for music, Lady Gaga, for science, Jane Goodall, computer science, Steve Wasniak, Maya Angelou, Larry King, Jessica Alba, Quincy Jones, pit bull. It's been this really unbelievable journey. And the way each interview came to be was completely different in its own adventure in and of itself. You know, it took two years to get to Bill Gates. It took three years to get to live. And, you know, with Warren Buffett, it was this whole eight month quest of writing letters back and forth with him and eventually hacking his shareholders meeting.
1 (14m 14s):
But some of them were, you know, just crazier stories than others with Larry King. What ended up happening was I had just gone on that eight month adventure with Warren Buffet. And at the end, after the shareholders meeting, things sort of blew up in my face. It was almost this like beautiful train crash. And I go back to LA and I'm really just down on myself. And thankfully I have just really wonderful friends who, when they see me, you know, moping around, they sort of like to, you know, pull me up and rally me. So one of my friends convinces me to go get lunch with them. And so you can give me this pep-talk so we go get sandwiches from this grocery store and we're sitting on the sidewalk and I'm just, you know, doing what you do with your best friend.
1 (15m 2s):
I'm just venting. And I'm telling him, you know, all my troubles with this book and getting interviews and he's like, come on, man, don't you have anything lined up? And I'm like, I got nothing. And he's like, come on, like you can't get so down on yourself. And I'm like, look, man, even if I did have an interview, I'd probably that up to, you know, I, I don't even know how to interview this. You know, this is like rocket science to me. And he's like, look, man, it's, it's not a science, it's an art. And you know, as we're talking about this, one of the most miraculous moments of my whole life happens, a car pulls up right in front of us, parks in the loading zone, the door swings open and out walks Larry King.
1 (15m 44s):
And you know, what's funny is it was so out there that I just completely froze. And I don't know if you can relate, but sometimes at the most opportune moments are when I feel the most paralyzed. Totally. So, you know, my throat tightens, my, you know, my mouth clinches shut and Larry King just walks right past me into the sliding doors of the grocery store. And I don't say a word and my friend Corrine, you know, jabs his elbow to me. And he's like, dude, what the hell? Like, why didn't you say something? And I had just, you know, what's funny about fear is that it's really good at making logical excuses.
1 (16m 25s):
So I just gave all these logical excuses of why it was a good idea to not say anything. And he just was like, dude, you have to go say something. And I'm like, oh no, he's under the grocery store. He's probably, you know, far gone. And he's like, dude, he's 80 years old. How far could he get, you know, very reluctantly, I stand up and I go into the grocery store to look for Larry King and I'm looking around the bakery, you know, no, Larry, I go to the produce section, you know, fruits, vegetables, no Larry. And right then I remember he had parked in the loading zone. So he must be leaving any second now. So this boost of adrenaline kicks in and I started sprinting them through the grocery store going aisle after aisle, after aisle.
1 (17m 9s):
No Larry, no Larry, you know, Larry, you know, Larry know Larry, you know, I speed down, cut a left. I'm running down the frozen food section. You know, I'm dodging old ladies. No Larry. So, you know, he has to be at the checkout counter. So I go 1, 2, 3, no Larry, no Larry, no Larry, no Larry. And at this point I want to kick myself because literally God put him right in front of me and I completely blew it. So I'm walking out of the grocery store in the parking lot and I'm looking down at my feet and I slowly lift my gaze in right there. You know, 30 feet in front of me is Larry King suspenders and all.
1 (17m 51s):
And you know, I dunno what happens, but there's just this rumbling in my stomach. And I start yelling at the top of my lungs, Mr. King and the echo in the parking lot, just reverberates and everyone, you know, turned their heads around and you know, poor Larry King. He's had quadruple bypass surgery. He's 80 years old and I'll never forget his shoulders like jumped, you know, a foot in the air. And he slowly turns his head around his, every wrinkle on, in his, on his face. It's like sprung back. And he looks like he's looking at the grim Reaper. You know, at this point I'm like too deep in the hole to pull back now.
1 (18m 35s):
So I just like run over to him and I'm like, Mr. King, Mr. King, my name's Alex I'm, you know, I'm 19 years old. I've always wanted to say hi. And he goes, okay. And he just walks away, you know, poor guy he's holding his, like his grocery store bags, getting warm is curdling. Yeah. The whole thing Zach actually remembered there was like, Pirate's booty in his grocery store. I love that. So he's speeding towards his car and I'm just like, it's so awkward at this point. I don't know if I should like stop or continue following him. So I just continued following him to his car, trying to think of something to say. And eventually he like opens the trunk of his car, stuffs his groceries and opens the driver's side door. And I go, wait, Mr.
1 (19m 15s):
Kin, can I go to breakfast with you? And he looks at me like, I'm this lunatic, but before he answers, he looks out onto the sidewalk and there's about 10 people now crowded around watching and waiting for his answer. And so I guess you just, you know, felt bad and he just shrugged his shoulders and goes, okay. Okay. Okay. And I'm like, oh my God, thank you. What time? And he looks at me and just slammed his car door shut. And I'm just, you know, shouting through the windshield, Mr. King, what time? And he looks at me and just starts his engine.
1 (19m 55s):
I'm like Mr. Kane, what time he looks at me, like puts it into drive. I'm now standing in front of his car, flailing my arms, Mr. King, what time? And he looks at me and just like, mouth's nine o'clock and just speeds away. And the next morning I show up at his, his bagel shop that he owns in LA at nine o'clock. And there he is like sitting at the corner booth with his buddies. And, you know, I had, I had a night to think over what happened. And I was a bit embarrassed about how I acted the day before. So even though there was an empty seat at his breakfast table, I, you know, I didn't just plop down.
1 (20m 39s):
I, I waved at him and I'm like, good morning, Mr. King. And he just looks at me and he's like mumbles and you know, barely makes eye contact. So I assume he just needs a second to, with his friends and he'll call me over. So I sit at the table next to him and, you know, 10 minutes pass, 30 minutes, pass an hour passes. And finally he stands up and he steps toward me and I can feel my cheeks lifting. And then he walks right past me and heads for the exit.
1 (21m 21s):
And I, you know, exactly, that's how I feel. So I just, you know, put a hand in the air. I'm like Mr. Mr. King. And he turns around and he's like, what as a kid? What do you want? And I just, you know, I feel this really sharp, familiar pain in my chest. And I just look at him and I'm like, honestly, I just wanted some advice on how to interview people. And this slow smile spreads across his face almost as if to say, why didn't you just say so. And he, you know, puts his hand on my shoulder and gives me one of the best monologues on interview advice. And then at the end he looks at me and then looks up toward the sky almost as if he's debating something in his mind.
1 (22m 3s):
And then he makes eye contact with me again and just points and goes, all right, kid tomorrow, 8 45 here. And I showed the next morning, he's like, why do you even want to interview people? And I tell him about the book and he's like, all right. And over the course of the past five years, I've to breakfast with him about 50 times.
0 (22m 22s):
Wow. And I mean, Fire Nation, that's the thing. When you get somebody like a Larry King, it's like the beginning of a snowball, then everybody else says, well, if Larry King said yes, like why wouldn't I like you get that one key piece, everything else kind of falls into place. And now Alex, you did say that he gave you one of those best monologues ever. Now don't go through the whole monologue. I dealt, you could repeat it verbatim anyways. But what was that one key thing? And that monologue that he gave you, the, you were just like, wow, that's a really good idea. That's a really good piece of advice, which is one Larry King golden nugget.
1 (22m 52s):
It was just so surreal. Cause he's saying in it, it was like his famous, you know, gravelly voice. And he's like, he's like the produce mistake. You know, he's, he's just like the biggest mistake young people make. And it doesn't really matter about their age. It's really about their stage. Anyone who's setting out to interview people, you know, whether it's for TV or a podcast, or even interviewing someone for a job. The biggest mistake is that, that they look at the interviewers. They admire whether it's Oprah or Barbara Walters or himself, and they look at their styles and they try to copy that. Larry said, that's the biggest mistake because you're focusing on what those styles are, not why those styles exist.
1 (23m 37s):
You know, Oprah uses all this emotion. Barbara Walters has these very strategically placed questions. And Larry asked, you know, the very questions people are dying to know. And what Larry said is that if you understand why those styles exist, that's the actual secret. And the reason those styles exists is because those are the styles that make those interviewers the most comfortable in their seats. And when you're comfortable in your seat, the interviewee is comfortable in their seat. And that's what makes for the best interview.
0 (24m 14s):
Wow. Fire Nation. I mean, that is incredibly valuable. If you're going to be going down the path of interviewing people, you have to make that happen. You know, that's why I love starting these things off with a little bit of an ice breaker. I mean, you know, Alex said, Hey, you know, I was on, you know, this game show and yada yada, and then, you know, that's kind of like a funny little cool quirky story that we get to tell, and we get to maybe connect on as, you know, interview or interviewee and have a little more comfortable space like this. Isn't just like this very serious conversation. So how can you make that person feel comfortable? Like think about stuff like that. And if you think the altruism dropping value, bombs your rights, and guess what we are going to be dropping value bombs.
0 (24m 56s):
And we get back from thanking our sponsor. The new year is here. And my guess is that you have big goals set for you and your sales team over the coming months from new projects to bringing in more leads a new year can often feel like a totally new start, but let's not forget the most important part, arming your team with the best tools so they can focus on giving your customers the best experience possible. And this starts with getting ahead of the learning curve so that new challenges turn into new ways to grow with new features, dedicated to helping your sales team improve your customer experience. HubSpot is on a mission to help millions of companies grow better. Starting with yours. Conversion intelligence tools helps your teams get real-time insight into calls with automatic recording transcription and call analysis.
0 (25m 37s):
With more visibility into customer conversions, coaching and customer feedback becomes that much easier. Plus easy share meeting links, let customers see availability and allow them to book meetings with you all from the HubSpot platform, which cuts out the endless cycle of scheduling emails. Learn more about how you can transform your customer experience with a HubSpot CRM platform at hubspot.com. Looking for a business coach who has helped thousands of entrepreneurs increase profitability by an average of 104% annually, all for less money than would cost to hire one minimum wage employee all on a month to month basis. Fire Nation meet Clay Clark Clay has been coaching businesses since 2006. Yep. Even through the great recession and he does it for less money than it would cost to hire a minimum wage employee Inc magazine reports that by default 96% of businesses will fail within 10 years.
0 (26m 25s):
Yet Clay's clients grow by an average of 104% annually. How's this Hema possible Clay only takes on 160 clients. So he personally designs your business plan. Plus Clay's team helps you execute that plan with access to graphic designers, Google certified search engine, optimizers, web developers, ad managers, videographers workflow, mappers and accounting coaches visit ThrivetimeShow.com/fire to watch thousands of testimonials from real entrepreneurs who Clay's helped over the years. Do your research. If you thousands of documented success stories from real people, like you thrive time, show.com/fire, then schedule your free consultation with Clay himself to see how he can help you with proven business coaching on a month to month commitment basis, thrive time, show.com/fire.
0 (27m 9s):
So Alex we're back and you over these past years have learned a lot of stuff. But what would you say if you could just list out some of the most practical tactical tools that you picked up from these entrepreneurs let's get specific brother.
1 (27m 23s):
The most specific ones are the ones that, you know, changed my life the most. So everyone gave their own different things with Tim Ferris. He launched his career in a big way by cold emailing VIP's and CEO's. So Tim Ferriss taught me his secret cold email template with Bill Gates. What changed his career the most where his negotiating and sales secrets. So he taught me those with Dean came in one of the most important and profound and inventors on earth. He talked about, you know, the keys on innovation and when to keep going and when to stop. So everyone gave their own things. And you know, I think one of the most valuable ones that anyone can use is what Tim Ferriss gave.
1 (28m 8s):
So the context is that when Tim came right out of college, he actually got his dream job, not by, you know, submitting his resume somewhere, but he actually identified the company in Silicon valley. He wanted to work for the most. And he just sent email after email, after email to the CEO. And then after that, when Tim wanted to become an author, he called emailed other bestselling authors. And that was really one of the things that changed his life. So I, I PR during my interview with him, I pressed him on him. You know, what is cause I've sent cold emails and got a no response. So I'm like, what is like your secret template?
1 (28m 48s):
And this is what he told me. So it goes like this, and anyone can use this. I've used it to reach out to people like Malcolm Gladwell. I have friends, who've used it to reach out to Fareed, Zakaria and Sheryl Sandberg, and everyone's gotten responses and it goes like this dear so-and-so I know you're really busy and get a lot of emails. So this will only take 60 seconds to read boom, next paragraph. That's where you put, you know, one or two sentences max of who you are and what credibility you have. That's relevant to the person you're emailing again, one to two sentences, max, and the next paragraph, another two sentences, max of your very specific question, not, you know, what advice do you have for me that would take an entire book for somebody to answer, but something like what books have you read that have helped you the most with your sales process or what's the best, you know, podcasts you listen to for in spray, something that someone can answer to you in a sentence.
1 (29m 52s):
I then the final paragraph is the clincher that actually makes all the difference you go. I totally understand if you're too busy to respond, Ooh, even a one or two line reply will completely make my day all the best, Tim. And that's just worked wonders. I wish I, you know, can I do this more? Because there's a couple of things that make it really work. And the amazing thing about Tim Ferris is he's very good at like breaking things down and explaining how it works. You know, the opening paragraph, you're the first half of the sentence saying, I know you're really busy and you get a lot of emails immediately makes you stand out from everyone else because it shows that you're cognizant of the situation they're in and their time restraints.
1 (30m 38s):
The second half of that sentence saying that this will only take 60 seconds to read. It shows, first of all, that you're very thoughtful and it makes them a little curious to see if it actually will take 60 seconds to read. Cause like I know,
0 (30m 52s):
But I got 60 seconds. Let's be honest.
1 (30m 55s):
Curious. And now again, you can't say this will take six seconds to read and write 10 paragraphs. Yeah. That's an autumn. Yeah. You gotta be honest. And then the final paragraph, you know, I know you're too busy to risk, you know, if you're too busy to respond again, it's actually the opposite of what almost everyone does. Everyone always goes, you know, thanks in advance. Looking forward to hearing from your response, something like that.
0 (31m 19s):
Yeah. Thanks in advance. That's kinda come on. That's lame.
1 (31m 22s):
Look. Even if your mom said thinks it's in advance, you're like mom, I'm busy and you know, and we love our mothers. So for a stranger to say that it rubs them the wrong way. And look, I had been saying, thanks in advance to everyone. I had been cold nailing before. Give me this
0 (31m 40s):
Because you're just assuming, you're assuming, they're just going to answer by saying that
1 (31m 43s):
I don't know the person you need to come with them with your hat in hand. And what's funny about human psychology is that when you like, let someone off the hook, they actually are so grateful for you being so thoughtful and kind that it actually encourages them to reply more. It's counterintuitive, but it works.
0 (32m 5s):
Okay. So let's go through this real quick. Number one, I know you're busy, yada yada, next thing is, this is only gonna take 60 seconds. The next thing is one to two sentences of, of relevant credibility. Like it has to make sense in their world one or two sentence question, very short, concise to the point. And then you end with, I totally understand if you're too busy to respond and then how do you finish that off?
1 (32m 27s):
So it's, you know, I'm really busy, totally understand if you're too busy to reply even a one or two line response will completely make my day. So you're pretty much telling them that if they take, you know, 30 out of their life, they'll make your day. It's a pretty good ROI you're giving, you're giving them, yeah,
0 (32m 46s):
You're doing your good deed for the day.
1 (32m 49s):
You're literally turning yourself into a charity case and you're telling them for 30 seconds of your time, you'll be helping out someone in need. And yeah, and it, and if it's, if you have, if you really write a thoughtful email, people will be inclined to respond.
0 (33m 7s):
And I also love that Tim Ferriss did. And what he talks about is the silver medalist theory and the second place theory where he's like, listen, people that when they come in first place or that are the best in the bash, let's look at the top of the top. You know, the gold medalist, you know, the person that's number one at X, Y, or Z, they get a massive disproportionate amount of the attention. But guess what? That second place person, that silver medalist that number two, they might just be one, one hundreds of a second worst net individual. And in some ways they might even be better. They just haven't gotten all the breaks and you go to that person, who's getting a disproportionate amount, less of attention, hat and hands. And you can have a great opportunity. Like Tim's talks about how he's like hired silver medalist, medalists, like train him in different things, you know, for essentially pennies on the dollar, just cause they're their demands.
0 (33m 53s):
Not there. We're the gold medalist, you know, who won, you know, by maybe one, 100th of a second is like getting all the money, all the attention, you know, and their time is so slammed. They have this, you know, mentality of I'm the best, I'm the best. So that's a lot of good stuff to think about. And for you, Alex, I mean, you made some big mistakes and I want to talk about at least one or two of them. Like what were a couple of those massive mistakes you made?
1 (34m 18s):
This journey is an 18 year old trying to track down Bill Gates and Warren Buffett's. It's pretty much an entire story of making mistakes.
0 (34m 24s):
I only want the highlights rather the biggest, most embarrassing flat on your face, falling mistakes.
1 (34m 31s):
This one that has the most important lesson for people to take into their own lives, came from my mistake with Warren Buffet. So with Buffet, you know, I had thought that, you know, he talks about one to help kids and costumes all the time. So I spent, you know, I made it my number one priority in life to interview Warren Buffet. So for six months straight, I did nothing else. Other than read books on Warren Buffet, you know, listen to audio books, watch YouTube videos from 6:00 AM until midnight, every day, my whole life was Warren Buffet. And I would write these long, like two page, incredibly researched handwritten letters, and I would send it to his office and he would actually hand write responses back.
1 (35m 17s):
Wow. But his responses would essentially say like, thank you so much, Alex, but I got a lot on my plate, but I just kept going. Cause I thought, look, if he's handwriting a response back then I'm 99% there. So I wrote letter after letter, after letter, after letter, after letter sending it to his house, into his office, I would call his assistant week after week after week after week, every Wednesday morning for months. And you know, by month five it is getting excessive. I then I flew out to Omaha. I sent flowers to the office. I met with people on his staff. I met his children, his grandchildren, his business associates.
1 (35m 58s):
I kept reading in these business books. That persistence is the key to success. So I just kept following that advice. I kept turning that key of persistence, assuming it would open the door. Now what ended up happening is I eventually got the interview with Bill Gates and the interview with Bill Gates when so well that Bill Gates, his office was like, look, we really want to help you with this mission. How can we help? And I told them about all the trouble I had get into Warren Buffett and they go, Warren is Bill's best friend. We can help with that. You know, if anyone can help with Warren Buffet had to be Bill Gates. So they, you know, contact Buffett's office and I'll never know exactly what happened, but essentially what I assumed the reply was we know all about Alex.
1 (36m 50s):
0 (36m 50s):
Happening. It's not happening.
1 (36m 53s):
And I got an email from Bill Gates, his chief of staff saying, please no more contact to warrant's office. Thanks, whoa. You know it, I remember seeing that email and it feeling like someone had grabbed my gut and almost yanked it out of me because what I realize is not only was the answer, no, I had completely blacklisted myself from Warren Buffett's office. And what it showed me is that while all these other business books talk about persistence, being the key to success, what no one talks about is the dangers of over persistence and how you can bang on a door so many times that people will call the police on you.
1 (37m 37s):
And there's a huge difference between persistence, you know, banging on a door a few times, okay, that doesn't work. Let me try the kitchen. Let me try the window. Let me make friends with the bouncer versus banging on the same door. Thousands of times to the point where people have to, you know, barricade themselves in. And I learned that I was so over persistent, that I dug myself into such a deep hole that even Bill Gates can pull me out
0 (38m 3s):
Fire Nation. When you find yourself in a hole, that's warm Buffet, can't pull you out of that's a whole, you do not want to be in. So that was definitely a massive mistake, Alex. Thanks for sharing that. And it's just so clear that, you know, you want to take these lessons that we're talking about to heart, but you could apply common sense to everything that you hear, everything that you learn and everything that's, you know, you're driving forward with. And so through all of this, Alex, I feel like you have really come to learn a lot in your journey and you understand a lot of the situation you're at today. What have you learned about defining success? Like what would you say your definition of success is for you?
1 (38m 42s):
For me, the entire definition of success changed when I interviewed Steve Wazniak, this is later on in my journey is after I interviewed Bill Gates. And you know, I didn't even know that I had this pretty standard definition of success, which is, you know, the more accomplished you are, the more wealthy you are, the more successful you are. It's that's, you know, pretty implicit Western definition. I didn't even know I had that. So I'm going to interview Steve Wozniak. I'm standing at this restaurant a couple blocks from apple headquarters, this Chinese restaurant. And I'm a few minutes early and my phone rings and it's one of my best friends. Ryan and I tell him I'm about to interview was, and he goes, was seriously.
1 (39m 26s):
And he's like, dude was peaked like 20 years ago. He's not even, yeah, I know that's how I felt. But my friend, Ryan just keeps on going. He was like, look, man was in Steve jobs. You know, look at Watts. He's not even on the Forbes list, but you know what, maybe it's good. You're interviewing him, try to find out why he was never as successful as Steve jobs. And before I could respond to my friend, I saw Wazniak walking towards me. So I, you know, I said bye to my friend, hung up, greeted wise, we go into this restaurant and instantly I know we sit down, wall starts ordering all the food. You know, we've got chow main and we have beef and broccoli. We have orange chicken and we have egg rolls and we're just having the best time.
1 (40m 7s):
And within minutes it is undeniable. This is one of the happiest people I've ever met in my life. And he's telling me about his wife and his dogs and his cars and his road trips. And he's laughing. And he's telling me about how he met Steve jobs. You know, actually just a couple of miles from where we're sitting and he's telling me how him and Steve jobs actually bonded in the beginning, not over tech, but really over pranks. So was telling me about all their funniest pranks. And I'm just cracking up having this is by far the most fun interview I've ever had. And about halfway through lunch, the words my friend Ryan told me before the interview began, you know, crept into my mind.
1 (40m 49s):
So I started asking was some questions, trying to figure out what it was like when him and Steve jobs were starting apple to S so I could sort of see the difference between them and was told me a handful of stories. But the ones that stood out are the ones that showed me how different their values are. So the first story takes place right before apple was created. Steve jobs was working at Atari and you know, the boss at Atari tells Steve jobs, look, go make this computer game and we'll pay you this amount of money. And jobs knew that his buddy, Steve Wozniak is way better at coding. So he goes to walls and says, look, if you code this computer game or it wasn't a computer, it was a video view.
1 (41m 32s):
You code this video game, I'll give you half of the $750. They're going to give me. And wise goes, dude, that's super fair, done deal. So was codes the game like in half the time it gives it a jobs. Atari loves it. And Steve jobs gives them half of $750 decades later, randomly in the news, it's revealed that Steve jobs was never paid $750 for that game. He was paid thousands and thousands of dollars. So that was the first story. The second story takes place very early on in Apple's history. You know, they started getting big and it was very obvious that Steve jobs would be the CEO of the company, but it wasn't obvious where Steve Wasniak would be on the executive team.
1 (42m 20s):
Would he be chief technology officer? What would he be? So jobs asked him, what do you want to be here? And Wazniak thinks about it. And he goes, when I was a kid, I had decided that my definition of success is creating something with engineering, with my hands that changes the world and having fun while doing it and nothing about being on an executive team and managing other engineers does either of those things being part of corporate bureaucracy is the exact opposite of my definition of success. So Wazniak turned down the offer to be a chief executive at apple and kept his position at engineer.
1 (43m 5s):
And the final story he told me takes place a couple years later, right around the time of Apple's IPO, you know, jobs and was, were set to make more money than they ever imagined and right around then some of Apple's earliest employees go to was and tell him that Steve jobs denied them, stock options in the company and wants goes, that makes no sense. Let me talk to Steve. And he goes to Steve jobs and tells him, look, these guys are family to us. They started the company with us and jobs essentially says, you know, 0% chance and slammed the door. So was, does the only thing he can.
1 (43m 47s):
He gives some of his own stock options to those early employees. And on the day of the IPO, those early employees all became millionaires. And as I'm sitting at this Chinese restaurant and we're wrapping up the lunch, I'm just looking at Steve Wozniak and he's laughing and smiling, and he's cracking open this fortune cookie. And the words of my friend, Ryan come back into my mind. And the only thing I can think of is who's to say Steve jobs was more successful.
0 (44m 16s):
Wow. Fire Nation. I mean, when you're able to sit down and to ponder your life in your definition of success, to these levels, you're really going to start getting that north star. You're really gonna start moving in that direction. That's going to bring you to what I hope is your definition of success, which isn't just money, which isn't just fame, which isn't just fortune. But it's a combination of a lot of things that, you know, it takes time to figure out. And I know that Alex is still going to have his definition of success evolve over the years as he moves forward as his desires and wants and in needs change as well. So The Third Door, as you can tell is a book Fire Nation. That's going to just tell you amazing stories, give you amazing life lessons.
0 (44m 57s):
You know, as I've been saying, the past few episodes, success leaves, clues, Fire Nation, and what better way to actually find and follow the clues and of those that are incredibly successful to that next level. Then, you know, the people that we've been discussing today, and so many others that are in this book. So check out The Third Door and Alex give us a very concise parting piece of guidance and then tell people how we can find out more about you and what you have going on. And then we're gonna say goodbye.
1 (45m 26s):
I love that. And thank you so much, man. This was a ton of so much. I'll leave with one final piece of advice that really changed my life. When I look back at the seven-year journey, what I realized is that while I had set out to get, you know, all these amazing practical tools and lessons and tactics, those aren't the things that changed my life. And while the book is full of them and they've, you know, helped me tremendously. What changed my life is that this journey and this book changed, what I believe is possible. And what I've learned is that you can give someone all the best wisdom and knowledge and the world and their life can still feel stuck.
1 (46m 13s):
But if you change what someone believes is possible, they'll never be the same, you know, to answer your second question, the way people can find me is on social. It's really easy. All the accounts, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, it's all just at Alex Banayan, and the book website is super simple. It's third door book.com. So T H I R D thirddoorbook.com. And it's also obviously available everywhere. Books are sold
0 (46m 40s):
Fire Nation. You're the average of the five people you spend the most time with, and guess you've been hanging out with today, AB and JLD, but not to mention because who Alex has interviewed, you've been hanging out with the Warren Buffet, Steve Wasniak, and Lady Gaga. Today, but you will, when you read his book and some other amazing, amazing entrepreneurs, Larry King, obviously the list goes on. So keep up the heat Fire Nation and head over to EOFire, EOFire.com type Alex in the search bar and has shown us page is going to pop up with everything that we've been talking about today. These are the best show notes in the biz. Timestamps links galore, you name it. We got it for you. And of course, thirddoorbook.com.
0 (47m 20s):
Check that out and then check Alex out all over the socials. And Alex, thank you brother, for sharing your journey over this last, these last seven years, you know, with nation for that, we salute you and we'll catch you on the flip side. Thank you, man. Hey, Fire Nation. Hope you enjoyed our chat with Alex today, and I hope you're ready to master three unbelievably important skills. What are they? Productivity, discipline, focus productivity, actually producing the right content, discipline, being a disciple to your plan of action, focus, falling one course until success. And you can do this at a hundred days. Fire Nation with the masteryjournal.com and you will have my exact system that you need to ignite visit the masteryjournal.com.
0 (48m 7s):
Use promo code podcast for a little discount. And thank you for listening to the podcast and I'll catch you there. Fire Nation, or I'll catch you on the flip side. Looking for a business coach who has helped thousands of entrepreneurs increase profitability by an average of 104% annually, all for less money than it would cost to hire one minimum wage employee all on a month to month basis. Schedule your free consultation today with Clay Clark, a former SBA entrepreneur of the year at ThrivetimeShow.com/fire. The, My First Million podcast features famous guests, discusses how companies made their first million and brainstorm new business ideas based on the hottest trends and opportunities in the marketplace.
0 (48m 47s):
One recent app was all about how venture capitalists make money. Listen to My First Million , wherever you get your podcasts.
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