About the Host

Ryan is an entrepreneur, podcast host of the show Life After Business and the co-owner of Solidity Financial. Having personally experienced the hazards of selling a business, he joined up with his friend Brandon Wood to educate others on the process. Through their business (Solidity Financial), they provide a platform for entrepreneurs called The Value Advantage™ that helps in exit planning, value building and financial management.

About the Guest

Andrew Warner is our guest today, and this is what he has to say about himself: I'm an internet, startup entrepreneur. When I graduated from college, I founded Bradford & Reed, a company that ran a collection of startups. Our biggest startups did online greeting cards. We were also known for launching Grab.com, an online game site that offered the chance at the world's first billion dollar jackpot. After I sold the last big chunk of that startup, I took a looooong vacation. I spent my days mostly cycling and traveling. Now I run http://mixergy.comOn Mixergy, I invite proven entrepreneurs to teach how they built their startups. The entrepreneurs who've helped me out by appearing on Mixergy include the founders of Wikipedia, Groupon, LivingSocial, LinkedIn, and over 600 others.

  • The ideal type of business that kicks out cash
  • What 1,300+ interviews will teach you
  • The fine line between financial goals and burnout
  • Why you should find a way to put yourself out in the public
  • What Andrew's definition of legacy is

Full Transcript

Ryan Tansom:

Welcome to Life After Business the Podcast where I bring you all the information you need to exit your company and explore what life can be life on the other side. This is Ryan Tansom, your host, and I hope you enjoy this episode.

[00:00:30]

How's everybody doing today? This is Ryan Tansom. Thanks for tuning back in to the Life After Business Podcast. Today's guest name is Andrew Warner. You may or may not have heard of Andrew so far, but he is the owner of a company called Mixergy where he's done over 1,300 interviews with some of today's biggest business moguls and biggest and most famous entrepreneurs. How he got there is the interesting story that we dive into, because Andrew had started a company with his brother back in the mid-'90s selling greeting cards online and they grew like wildfire. Andrew is one determined dude. As he was growing and hustling, he thought his main exit strategy was death, if you look at his bio on Mixergy. However, he ended up hitting a wall and he ended up just burning out, like I think any normal individual will that just chases the top-line dollar amount without thinking about what this means to them, their life and their legacy.

[00:01:30]

With Mixergy and what he is doing now, is building a legacy and building a platform of something that can last without him and after he's gone. I think at 1,300 interviews that are up for everybody to see, he's doing just that and he's doing one hell of a job. Without further ado, I hope you enjoy this interview with Andrew and his story about how he got to where he is today. How's it going, Andrew? Thanks for coming on the Life After Business Podcast.

Andrew Warner:

Good. Doing great.

[00:02:00]

Ryan Tansom:

Well, I am looking forward to our conversation because you got a very interesting story. Because you built a really successful business early on in your life and you've transitioned into a life after that is leaving imprints on a lot of people and a lot of people's businesses. Why don't you just kind of kick it off for the listeners that may not know the background of the first business that you start? Why don't you just give us a little bit of a rundown?

[00:02:30]

Andrew Warner:

I never know how long to go with that. When you say a little bit of a run down, how might...

Ryan Tansom:

I watched one of your videos on your website and you were talking that you named the firm Bradford & Reed because you thought it was going to be a law ... that people were thinking that they were going to be a lawyer, but yet you sold holiday cards. How did you start determining that you want to sell holiday cards and what was like...?

Andrew Warner:

[00:03:00]

I didn't. I never would want to sell holiday cards. I don't give a rat's ass about holiday cards. I hate cards, anyway. I mean, except for a nice thank you card from time-to-time. I got into it because I wanted to make money and I thought email newsletters would be the best way to make money. They still are really good way to make money. I still see people build email newsletter-based companies. I thought, "Great. I'll get someone to subscribe to my newsletter once. I'll have ads in there every time that I sent them a message." I'll get the message on what? Once a week? Once a day? Actually, it was going to be once a day. Subscribe to my newsletter, they get an email every day and along with it, there'll be an ad. I thought, "Great. This is going to make a killing."

[00:03:30]

Ryan Tansom:

Your brother was your partner, correct?

Andrew Warner:

My brother was my partner.

Ryan Tansom:

What was the dynamics between you and your brother?

Andrew Warner:

[00:04:00]

He was constantly coding things, constantly tinkering and I was constantly looking for something to sell. I love selling. I love talking stuff up. I love the business side of business, more than I love anything else in life. He would do things like, he'd suddenly create a dating site, just coded himself, dating site, but he hated promoting it. I think he was even creating an email newsletters piece of software, but didn't send out email newsletters, something like that. Me, I was constantly looking for something to sell. I wanted to create a magazine about success, about biographies of successful people. It was kind of slow, it never went anywhere. Here, I was a guy who wanted to talk about business and think about business and run the business side of things. He was the guy who just wanted to code. It was easy to merge.

[00:04:30]

[00:05:00]

Frankly, I saw that someone was building an email newsletter that did well. I said, "Michael, can you code this up for us and we'll partner up on?" He said, "Yeah." I said, "What I'd like is, I want people to be able subscribe via email." I know it's a small thing, but I like people to, if they want to join my trivia newsletter to just email me; trivia@malebits.com. It was called Male Bits at the time. "As soon as they do, let's add them to the mailing list. Let's make it easy for people to subscribe." He coded that up and this little magical idea of saying email trivia@malebits.com didn't actually explode. That wasn't the onboarding magic that I thought it would be, but we tried a bunch of other things. One of things that worked was powering other people's greeting card. If they created a greeting card, we just had this little code that would allow their audience to send that greeting card to their friends.

[00:05:30]

What was in it for us was there was a checkbox in that greeting card that we put on for our email newsletters. You might send out a happy Monday greeting card to your friend but while you were sending it out, there's a checkbox that said, "Also join the trivia day mailing list." If you join, then I got my subscriber, your friend got that nice greeting card, the electronic greeting card. The guy who created greeting card got to service his user but also got some viral action on his website, because people often didn't just send out those greeting cards to one person, they send out to, on average, I think it was like 5.2 people.

[00:06:00]

Ryan Tansom:

Because of the viral nature of that, I mean, how are you able to get in, like the do the sales that you wanted to do?

Andrew Warner:

Okay. The sales at first were I thought newsletters were all that I wanted to be in. I'd see who is advertising in other people's newsletters. I remember calling them up, they're this company called Flying Noodle that was advertising in a lot of newsletters, get [posted 00:06:20] by mail.

Ryan Tansom:

Nice name.

Andrew Warner:

Right? I just looked at them the other day to see if they're still around and they are still around. Let me see. Flying Noodle.

[00:06:30]

Ryan Tansom:

Flying Noodle? That's a hell of a name.

Andrew Warner:

[00:07:00]

He was kind of a pioneer, the guy behind Flying Noodle. Yeah, the site looks fantastic. You could get posted by mail, it was Specialty Pasta. It was quirky and it was interesting. He was advertising an email newsletter, he said, "No one else cares about newsletters, I'll be the guy who advertises them and get these low rates that everyone else is passing up." Meanwhile, he said, "Email is very effective. Everyone always opens up their email eventually and they'll see my add," so he's right. I called him up and I said, "I don't want to sell you, I just see you everywhere. I just want to understand why you're buying all these ads and how it works and what you see here," and he talked to me.

Ryan Tansom:

Nice.

Andrew Warner:

[00:07:30]

The reason he talked to me was because he loved the space, he loved buying email newsletters. He love what he was doing. He thought he was smart and he was smart for having discovered this, so he's happy to talk about how smart he was. Also, I'm sure, in the back of his head he said, "If this guy Andrew does well, then I can advertise in his email newsletter," and so he did. He became one of my first sponsors, maybe [crosstalk 00:07:30].

Ryan Tansom:

How did you decide how you are you going to charge him?

Andrew Warner:

[00:08:00]

I asked him what he was paying other people. I asked him what he saw that made sense. I asked him what he thought was fair. We came up with $65 a day for all the newsletters, was going to be my ad rate. I don't even know how many people I had. I basically said, "Look, if it doesn't work out, I'm okay with it because I'm just trying to figure out what the number is. Just be honest with me. Don't lie to me. If it doesn't work ... If it does work out, don't tell me it didn't work out and lie to me that way. I'll give your money back, but ultimately, you'll be screwing me."

I also said I'll do this with other people. Once I got Flying Noodle as a sponsor, I had this calendar with all the days of the week on it. I crossed off one of the days of the week, the first one in my list and I said, "You're my first sponsor." In my head I said, "You're my first sponsor." I don't think he cared. Then I went to other people and I said, "Look, Flying Noodle is buying ... You can see they're buying now [crosstalk 00:08:24]."

Ryan Tansom:

Take and run with that ticket, right?

Andrew Warner:

Sorry?

Ryan Tansom:

Take and run with that ticket, that first client. Right?

[00:08:30]

Andrew Warner:

Yeah. Exactly. Show it to other people and get them to sponsor two and they did. One of those people is a guy who eventually sold to Sony and he was smart. He said, "Andrew, I can see that the very first ad that people read in the newsletter just stands out as being different." Like, "What the hell? Andrew is now taking money? Who is this guy that Andrew is taking money from?" He said, "I want to buy an ad, but I want to buy the first one." In fact, to get the very first day's ad, I will buy a bunch of others too."

Ryan Tansom:

Oh, really?

[00:09:00]

Andrew Warner:

That was really smart also. Instead of selling in ... I forgot when it was.Instead of selling in May, I started selling in April, so he got April ads ahead of Flying Noodle. Flying Noodle didn't care. No one else cared. Everyone has this thing, I realized at the time, that they care about, that matters to them. This guy being first mattered. I'm sure it helped him, but it wasn't super big.

[00:09:30]

Ryan Tansom:

That's awesome. What was the was a time span? You know I mean. You guys grew exponentially you say in your about page on Mixergy. I mean, the rapid growth, especially with the viral nature of your product. I mean, where were you spending your time? What was your day load like?

Andrew Warner:

Can I curse here or you...?

Ryan Tansom:

Yeah. Go for it.

Andrew Warner:

[00:10:00]

I remember, everything was such a struggle. I would have to sell ads in the newsletters. I have to figure out what I would write in newsletters myself. I have to figure out how to write in newsletters. I said to my brother Michael, "We can't keep doing this the way we're doing. It has to be more of a machine. We have to have a machine. It has to eat pennies and shit dollars. How do we get that?" Pennies go in one side and dollars come out the other. That thing that happens in the middle, that will be our headache, how to build it but that's the only headache. We build it and then we get to watch it do its job.

Ryan Tansom:

Have read the book Snowball by Warren Buffett?

Andrew Warner:

Yeah.

Ryan Tansom:

[00:10:30]

Where he actually had the pinball machines that he would take that one where he was eating nickels, been shitting out dollars and then he was buying the other pinball machines with those dollars.

Andrew Warner:

This is was Warren Buffett doing it or one of the companies he bought?

Ryan Tansom:

Warren Buffett. It was one of his first companies. In the book Snowball, it was actually probably one of the first couple snowflakes, is he was rolling that thing down the hill.

Andrew Warner:

[00:11:00]

For me what happened was, I started paying people 10 cents every time that little form, that greeting card form that we created was used. Because I knew that I was going to get on average, one out of every two people to subscribe to my newsletter, that meant that it was going to cost me 20 cents to get someone new on my newsletter. I knew how much money I would make in advertising off of them per day and I know how many days they could stay. Actually, in my mind, I imagine they'd stay for half a year. Turned out, actually, people stay even longer. There was a lot of inertia in there [crosstalk 00:11:15].

Ryan Tansom:

What was the average lifetime value of a customer or the average?

Andrew Warner:

I don't know what it was, but it was over half a year.

Ryan Tansom:

Wow.

Andrew Warner:

They were just sticking around. Yeah.

Ryan Tansom:

That's amazing.

Andrew Warner:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Ryan Tansom:

Go ahead.

[00:11:30]

Andrew Warner:

I think that for many of us, staying subscribed is still a thing. We still stay subscribed to newsletters. If someone subscribes to your podcast, unless app that they're subscribed in automatically stops downloading episodes, they're going to keep downloading all the episodes. Inertia is really big, people just keep doing what they're doing and don't take action to stop.

Ryan Tansom:

You took advantage of that, obviously.

Andrew Warner:

[00:12:00]

[00:12:30]

I didn't even know. I thought actually I was being cons ... thought I was actually being optimistic by saying people say, "Subscribe for half a year." Actually, I might even need to stay subscribed for 60 days. It wasn't anything outrageous, but I was paying 10 cents per person. Then this guy, Alan Stein ... I'm saying his name here, hoping I'll meet him. I've trying for years to reconnect with them, but I don't know where they disappeared to. He was talking to me about co-registration. He had an office here in Mountain View, I came from New York just to see him in Mountain View. It was cool to see Silicon Valley. It was cool to see what he was doing.

[00:13:00]

One of the things that I learned from him was, he said, "Co-registration is this thing where when someone signs up for one thing, there's another checkbox for something else and people will pay to be that checkbox, that something else checkbox." He said, "Look, when people subscribe to my newsletter, there's a checkbox that says also subscribe to other companies' newsletter. Those other company then pays me a buck or two or whatever every time someone subscribes to their newsletter." I've had people on Mixergy say that they still do this to this day, newsletter subscribers who ... I mean, people who have newsletters who when a user signs up for their newsletter. Instead of a confirmation page that says, "Go check your inbox, I'd sent you an email. The confirmation says, "Do you also want these other newsletters?" These other newsletters pay per subscriber.

Ryan Tansom:

People are just kind of go on like this?

Andrew Warner:

Yeah.

Ryan Tansom:

That's interesting. As you guys are building this machine ...

[00:13:30]

Andrew Warner:

Well, hang on a sec. Sorry. I was paying 10 cents every time someone use my form. I started getting paid a dollar, plus ... Actually, a $1.50 minimum very time someone signed up to one of my advertiser's newsletters.

Ryan Tansom:

No shit.

Andrew Warner:

I was paying a buck and getting a $1.50. Eating dimes, shitting $1.50, that's big.

Ryan Tansom:

[00:14:00]

That's super awesome. When you say, like in between there when you talk about the headache that you had to figure out how to grow, walk us through what were some of the things that you did? Because that grew very fasts, so how did you handle ...?

Andrew Warner:

[00:14:30]

Then we had a machine in place and now our goal was, how do we get more people send out greeting cards. The way we did it was, we gave a commission to people who referred top affiliates to us. "You may not have a good greeting card site, but maybe you know someone else who does. I'll give you a URL to give to them and if they sign up to use my software, you're going to get paid every time they get paid." You get paid...

Ryan Tansom:

So you're doing affiliate marketing way before a lot of people were?

Andrew Warner:

[00:15:00]

Yeah. Affiliate on top of affiliate. I don't even think people do that right now. They should. Giving someone a commission for bringing a big affiliate is really powerful. You have these people go and post on message boards, "This is a crazy affiliate program. You should go and sign up and create your greeting card site using Andrew's software." They were promoting us in places that we didn't know about or places that I felt a little too schemed out by frankly, some of them, some of these message boards for how to get rich. Even though it would made me rich, I can't fully bring myself to go to there.

Ryan Tansom:

You see the Heebie-jeebies kind of deal, right?

Andrew Warner:

Yeah.

Ryan Tansom:

What was the goal? Because you're a driven sales guy. I mean, that's why you started the business [crosstalk 00:15:24].

Andrew Warner:

To get rich. I wanted to get rich and leave a company that would outlast me.

[00:15:30]

Ryan Tansom:

Did you have a dollar amount in your mind from revenue or in the bank account? What was ...?

Andrew Warner:

I did. I wanted to have a $1 million in the bank account. I said, "Let's be conservative."

Ryan Tansom:

How long did it take you to get that?

Andrew Warner:

I don't know. Once we got going, it was like three years. Maybe two years.

Ryan Tansom:

Okay. Then once you hit that, did you pushed the goal line farther or what was the next ...?

Andrew Warner:

I didn't set up another number. I just kept trying to grow where we were.

Ryan Tansom:

What was the time frame from when you guys started the business to the ultimate ...?

[00:16:00]

Andrew Warner:

Five years.

Ryan Tansom:

Oh, no kidding? It was only five years, huh?

Andrew Warner:

Yeah.

Ryan Tansom:

On your website...

Andrew Warner:

I wouldn't want it to 50. I was bummed. I didn't realize it at the time.

Ryan Tansom:

Oh, really?

Andrew Warner:

50 would have been too little. I would want it to last for hundreds of years, if I could. At least a hundred years. Yeah.

Ryan Tansom:

[00:16:30]

On your website you said, "The extra strategy was death." Right? Which by the way, as an entrepreneur, and a lot of entrepreneurs are listening to this, that is because it's their baby. You literally have a canvass to wrap your personality and all your morals and all the vision throughout your company.

Andrew Warner:

[00:17:00]

Yeah. Plus, look at the people whose businesses we admire. Look at how long they're in the business. You don't really see Jeff Bezos leaving Amazon anytime soon, right? Look at the companies that keep growing, they outlive their founders; Apple, Microsoft. Go back even further. Go to McDonald's which used to be a highly respected, highly admired company, still outlived ... Forget the founders. The founders were really replaced by Ray Kroc who's the guy who really put on to outlived them. You want that. You want that kind of experience. You want a Ford, Ford Motor Company. You don't want to be one of these guys who had a company that did well and then disappeared.

Ryan Tansom:

What happened in that? Was there a triggering event? Was there's something that ...?

Andrew Warner:

[00:17:30]

It was a bunch of things. I worked myself too hard so I couldn't think creatively, that was the worst of it. I have a tendency to do that, to go all out and not stop until I'm in doubt and I have to watch out. Frankly, I don't know if I should done this interview with you. I should've just taken more time off as were talking before, the baby started. I had a baby. I should have just taken a month off. Fuck it. Disappear for a month, life is going to be okay.

Ryan Tansom:

The thing is actually continue to roll the goal, right? Do you have like a phantom anxiety? I've turned it that, I don't even know it that exist but when there's not, this perpetual motion?

Andrew Warner:

[00:18:00]

[00:18:30]

No. I'm okay when there isn't. I just always want more. I want more, more, more of everything. I'm a runner, I always want to go further, more distance. One of the things I realized is, I hate basketball and I hate so many other sports that my friends want to play with me. I'd like to be there and be part of their experience. I have friends who invited me to basketball and say, "Don't worry, you don't have to be good. We're just going to have a good time." I have a great time with them if we're all having drinks, but I know that my sport is not basketball because I like to just go further, just keep going further. I'll go run, a bike ride.

When I was living in D.C., I'll row. I know myself. I want to see how far can I row this thing on the Potomac, how far can I get when I run. That's a problem that I have with work. I want to just keep seeing how far. You were asking after I had the million, did I have another goal? Maybe I should have, instead my goal was, let's you how far I can run. [crosstalk 00:18:49] bank account.

Ryan Tansom:

How did you know you were burnt out then?

Andrew Warner:

Huh?

Ryan Tansom:

How did you know you were burnt out? Did you have a specific personal event or was it just like you could wake up...?

[00:19:00]

Andrew Warner:

[00:19:30]

I saw myself not able to think anymore, not think as creatively, and not be as determined, not be as ambitious. That was the problem. That was one problem. Another problem was a lot of our companies, a lot of our advertisers started having financial issues. They were having financial issues, scaled back what they were paying us or the amount of ... the number of customers they were going to get from us. That was another issue. There are lots of issues, lots of little things. I would say the biggest one was, I was in the right frame of mind. I was thinking as determinedly. I wasn't thinking as ambitiously as I usually do.

Ryan Tansom:

What was the conversation with your brother? Did he see the writing on the wall?

Andrew Warner:

I think we're both ready to be done. He was a little less burnout than me because he had outside interest. I thought he was mistaken for having outside interest. He'd go snowboard over a weekend and come back on Monday. I think this guy is not taking life seriously enough. He's going to go snowboarding? Work. Work. Work, motherfucker. Work.

[00:20:00]

Ryan Tansom:

I can relate to some of that. When you've found yourself in this rock in a hard spot, but yet you want legacy and you ... Is this pursued a legacy? Is this new, a sense the last [crosstalk 00:20:16]?

Andrew Warner:

[00:20:30]

I always wanted it. I wanted it I all. I feel like I'd still like more money and I'd still like to leave a legacy. People that we admire aren't the ones who just lived life on and have a good life and go away. There were good life and also have a meaningful life that outlives them. I was looking at your website. Look at the books that you've got on there. You got the House of Mort ... Is this you or your dad? Yeah, this is you. The House of Morgan. Right? About J.P. Morgan. The guy created a legacy.

Ryan Tansom:

I know. Wild, wild legacy.

Andrew Warner:

[00:21:00]

His life is still being studied by you. A hundred, a thousand years after he's dead, I believe people will still be influenced by his life. Look at another book; Think and Grow Rich. Here's a guy who put down a methodology that will outlive him. It has outlived him, by far. Right? That's what we want, and so why not have that?

Ryan Tansom:

A couple of questions about that, because I 100% agree with you. Pierpont Morgan, first of all, bailed New York out of bankruptcy three times. Not a lot of people can say that they've done that. Right? That's something that you can put in a book and everybody's going to wonder why.

Andrew Warner:

Say, the financial side of the US.

[00:21:30]

Ryan Tansom:

Right. Were you so burnout that you couldn't figure out a way to turn that business?

Andrew Warner:

I couldn't hear enough. I couldn't think enough.

Ryan Tansom:

That's it.

Andrew Warner:

I didn't even know if I'd use the word "burnout." Maybe burnout is too dramatic. I definitely lost my edge because of exhaustion.

Ryan Tansom:

Got it.

Andrew Warner:

Because I couldn't think clearly. That's a problem.

Ryan Tansom:

[00:22:00]

Then you say that you spent a lot of time off cycling and running. Explain kind of the transition into no longer waking up and learning how to take the pennies, the shit of the dollars. What's your weight of it?

Andrew Warner:

[00:22:30]

I was in a funk and wasn't thinking sharply enough. My friend at the time was doing the Avon Walk and she go to train every day for the Avon Walk and we were working together. While she was on the treadmill, I try the treadmill little bit. Then as she was walking down the street one day in Manhattan she said, "I know you never felt comfortable in a gym, but check this out. Someone has this gym that exclusive. You go in the gym, no one's out there in the gym unless it's with the trainer. It's like it could be you by yourself there or maybe one other person with their trainer. You get your own locker room," so no one will see my penis, because I was ever ...

Actually, I wasn't so much embarrassed by someone seeing my penis though that would be a problem. It was like seeing my hairy legs. I didn't feel comfortable going in the gym because of that. Those little insecurities of being in a gym and having somebody see me naked, going into the gym itself and having somebody workout who was experienced and I didn't know what I was doing.

[00:23:00]

Ryan Tansom:

Someone caring around a big huge jug of water, like a gallon full of ...

Andrew Warner:

[00:23:30]

Oh, I didn't even think of that. That definitely would freak me out. Because then, they were more experienced, taking it more seriously. They're more alpha male in many ways. She introduced to me this place. It was called "Dimensions." It cost a lot. Every time you walk in the place, it was like a $120 easy. Actually, in retrospect, that's not that much money but ... Maybe it was more than that. It was expensive and it was in these beautiful buildings in midtown Manhattan. I signed up for it and the guy who I was working with, before making me lift weights, would make me run on the treadmill. I was kind walking on the treadmill with my friend, kind of running with this guy, and then I started roller-blading. I realized that I could try to push myself to roller-blade a little bit further and feel a little, like accomplish something. Push myself to run the treadmill more and feel like I could do something.

[00:24:00]

[00:24:30]

I remember being on that on the roller-blades and saying to myself, "If I could complete this one circle of Central Park, the small circle, then I could overcome my business problems. I would and then I feel all right." Then the next time it was, "If I could outrun this person, then I could outrun my problems and I would." I feel like all right." Usually I wasn't literally outrunning them, what would happen is I would say, "If I could outrun them and it would be a slowpoke who I was trying to out run, and the slowpoke would eventually go sit down eventually but I would keep on running." I'd outrun them and that was like a message to my head which is eventually everyone else will give up but as long as you don't give up, you will still make it. You will finish. Those little wins helped me out tremendously. Those little wins made me feel like I could do something and made me feel accomplished and because they made me feel I could do something in a world that I felt really unsure of and out-of-place in, and I thought ...

Ryan Tansom:

Did you feel unsure, out-of-place?

[00:25:00]

Andrew Warner:

In the gym, and in sports, and then running, in anything and being in central park at all without some work or some purpose.

Ryan Tansom:

Did you find the purpose in those activities? You're finding kind of like the ...

Andrew Warner:

I find my strength in them. I felt like I have accomplished something at the end of a run and then I'd start to run before work. I would feel accomplished in the morning, I can't believe I just did three miles and then go into work feeling like a winner who just done three miles.

[00:25:30]

Ryan Tansom:

Do you listen to music while you run or do you just let your mind go? What's going ...? What's the dialogue?

Andrew Warner:

The time I listen to music or I might have ... I don't remember, but I definitely listen to something. I might have listen to audiobooks from Audible or something.

Ryan Tansom:

[00:26:00]

Nice. As you're taking the time off and you're reinventing yourself in between the six inches between your ears, where did the transition go about? Are you having conversations in your head about what your next legacy is going to be or what you want that to be? How is the vision kind of changed?

Andrew Warner:

[00:26:30]

I didn't want to do anything. I really was literally in the place at some point. We sold the last of the last company, of the company, of the previous company and I said, "I think I'm good. I think I pushed myself to a place where I'm good in life. I could, first of all ..." I remember being in in Venice Beach and seen this guy who is selling trinkets and he was half asleep, maybe fully sleep. Not a care in the world. I couldn't sleep at night and this guy was just sitting there, didn't care if somebody bought his stuff or not. I looked at the piece in his eyes and I said, "I think I could live on so little that I want to have that kind of peace." If I have to, worst case I could always have, that's what I'm aspiring to, the piece of this guy has who's selling trinkets on the Venice Beach Boardwalk.

[00:27:00]

I had a little more than he need, so I got myself a place on the Venice Boardwalk, just like right overlooking it. Actually wasn't overlooking it at first, it was in a building that overlooked it, but the apartment I had wasn't overlooking. I remember going to the manager and saying, "I want one that overlooks the water." The guy said, "Someone else has it." I said, "I want you to tell them that I will pay them to get out of their place."

Ryan Tansom:

Did you do it?

Andrew Warner:

Yeah. Part of me thought, you know what he's going do? He's going to tell them, "Guys, you can't stay here anymore because we already committed this to somebody else," and pocket the money himself and that's like even better. Even better.

Ryan Tansom:

That works.

[00:27:30]

Andrew Warner:

I don't care. Because I'll be with him longer than I with them. This was a place where people could stay on a monthly basis.

Ryan Tansom:

Got it. [crosstalk 00:27:38] How long were you doing ...? How long did you stay there?

Andrew Warner:

I stayed there for the summer. No, I stayed there for the winter, so from October until about July. Then when summer came around I said, "I want to go run with the bulls in Pamplona."

Ryan Tansom:

No shit. Did you, really?

[00:28:00]

Andrew Warner:

Yeah. Just backpacked through Europe a little bit. I had my ticket and I met this girl, just before going. I said, "You know what? Here's a crazy thing, do you want to come to Paris with me? I'm going to Paris then I want to go run with the bulls in Pamplona." "That is nuts. Let's do it." She didn't come with me, she couldn't get away from work, but she came two days after. I got to explore a little bit, then she came. Then we broke up in Paris which suck because being in Paris after [crosstalk 00:28:25].

Ryan Tansom:

Are you supposed to get together with someone in Paris?

[00:28:30]

Andrew Warner:

That was so bad. I actually think Paris is a horrible place to get together with someone. I just don't think it's the friendliest place for that. That happened, but then I did go to Pamplona and I ran with the bulls a couple of times, three times actually.

Ryan Tansom:

All that running in Central Park paid off, huh?

Andrew Warner:

[00:29:00]

You know what? I didn't even think of it as a running experience. Here's the thing, I got really disillusioned by that experience. I did my research. I knew where you stand to get enough action that you can [crosstalk 00:29:06] run for your life but not so much that you lose your life. Then I stand in a spot and I see people are so scared, they're pretending to be drunk so that when they get kicked out they could tell their friends, "I was so drunk, they kicked me out of the running with a bull." I could tell. I could see the people were there and they were like all hopped up.

[00:29:30]

[00:30:00]

For some reason, I just had these eyes where I just notice the world around me in more clarity, may because I thought I could die at any minute, huh? The guys who ran the organization, the people local police pushed us out of that spot because they wanted to create a better photo experience. They wanted to create a better, maybe safer experience for everyone else. They just move you out and I realized, "We're all pawns in their event." No one ever says, "I went to Pamplona and I had this delicious food." No one says, "The best I ever went to is Pamplona." There's only one thing you talk about in Pamplona, the running of the bulls. This is the one thing this poor little town has. I say poor little town because if you want to pee, they don't even have bathrooms for all the people who come in from out of town. Really, they just can't accommodate. This is their big thing. They're not going to let you experience it your way, they need to move you like a pawn in their chess game because this is what matters to them.

[00:30:30]

I realized I can't go into an experience just because Hemingway had it. I can't go into an experience because someone said this is going to be a dangerous or fun experience. It's always going to be their experience unless I make it up myself. I was in Pamplona for a few days and then I just said, "All right, I think I'm done. I paid for my hotel, but I'm ready to leave." I met these two guys who happen to be going to Madrid and I went to Madrid with them and I just kept exploring New York.

Ryan Tansom:

How long were you gone in Europe doing that?

Andrew Warner:

[00:31:00]

About three months. I had an open-ended ticket, I could stay as long as I wanted. I was staying in hostels because I never had that kind of experience. I remember starting out being in these packed hostels with people from all over the world and by the end, I really would just have a whole hostile to myself, literally.

Ryan Tansom:

No kidding?

Andrew Warner:

[00:31:30]

I was in Harlem in the Netherlands, a giant place, nobody else stayed in it because who says I can't wait to go to Harlem in the Netherlands. Right? It's just [inaudible 00:31:24]. In the beginning of the summer, people would stay in all these little towns. Everything was busy. Towards the end, I felt like, "All right, this is actually gone a little bit longer than it should. It's time to go do something else."

Ryan Tansom:

Where did the seed or the breath of Mixergy come into play?

Andrew Warner:

[00:32:00]

[00:32:30]

I was then back, thinking I'm never going to do anything again, but I didn't know where to go back so I went back to New York for a little bit. New York was a little cold, so I went to LA for a little bit, thinking I'll go back to New York. I rented a place there, I would go every morning and just sit by the water and read the news and see what was going on. I'd see people doing things and I think I'm ready to do something. I think there's something happening. At first, I thought, "I'm going to keep it so simple." I'm just going to get a card table night, I went out and I bought a card table so I could do something on the beach. I said, "I'm going to go ..."

Ryan Tansom:

Go back to that trinkets, right?

Andrew Warner:

Sorry?

Ryan Tansom:

Go back to those trinkets, like the guy were selling?

Andrew Warner:

[00:33:00]

Yeah. Except, for me, it was going to be, "I'm going to hustle from the start to the top. Because with nothing was very exciting." When I got my table and I got ... I had this $3,000 suit that I still have. I was sitting there at this $20 table, $3,000 suit, I was going to just be the guy who gave you business advice and start from scratch and build it up. The truth is, I'm embarrassed to say this. I think if I were to realize where this story was going, I wouldn't have started it. I can never set up my table there. I never set up the table.

Ryan Tansom:

Really? Why?

Andrew Warner:

[00:33:30]

[00:34:00]

I think it was just too exposed. Anyone who saw me might have thought that I was like a failure, I guess. I don't know. I think there's definitely a part of it feeling too embarrassing to do it, but it also felt artificial too. That even before I did it, I went and I paid a guy on the boardwalk to teach me how to do it. It was a psychic. I said, "Let me ask you ask you question. I want to want to come here in [south 00:33:50]. Can you tell me how it works?" He goes, "No, I don't have time to tell you how it works." I said, "I'm going pay you." He said, "Okay." The whole thing he said was, "Just go to the Internet." He didn't know I had any Internet experience. He just said, "Look, the future is in the Internet. What are you doing here? Just go to the Internet." It was just like everything was go to the Internet. "Can I just set up a table?" He was, "Yeah. You could set up a table. No one's going to kick you, but go to the Internet."

I realized I was doing something that was a little artificial, that was not who I wanted to be. I also felt like a dork doing it, so I never set up that table. I bought my chair, I bought my folding table and I think it went to the garbage pretty new.

[00:34:30]

Ryan Tansom:

What about you felt like a failure? I mean, you say being exposed and you felt like a failure. You technically sold your business, you got the money that you wanted to and you're ...

Andrew Warner:

[00:35:00]

Then everyone would have to know that, who is coming to the table or passing me by. I think that's a little part of it, for sure. The truth is, that before that, I pushed my boundaries a lot. I risk talking to women who I would've been embarrassed to talk to before and risk failure in ways that I wasn't naturally comfortable, like failure with women. I was naturally comfortable with failure in running. I was naturally comfortable with failure in running with the bulls and getting hurt, even like breaking skin, skinning my knee would have been like a risk. I risked all that and all humiliation was immune to it to some degree, I thought. It must have been more than just feeling like a dork and not being able to get past that feeling.

[00:35:30]

I think also was just this artificial, that this was me trying to start from scratch in a way that was just not authentic to who I was. I really was more of a digital person. I really was more of an online person. This really was some kind of made-up experience that really wouldn't have worked.

Ryan Tansom:

Did you set up "virtual table" then? Obviously, you moved into that what that kind of seed was. Right?

[00:36:00]

Andrew Warner:

[00:36:30]

What I did was I started organizing events. I thought I need something that has the same virality as the online greeting cards. With the greeting card, you send it out to one person. The regular paper greeting card, you send that to one person, the person gets it. It goes in the garbage or it goes on their mantle for a few days and then it goes in the garbage. With online greeting cards, you're not sending it one person. It's so easy if I'm going to send one to my brother, to also CC my sister. Then while I'm doing that, let's get my parents in and so on. People would do it to an average of 5.2 people or some number like that. I like that. That meant that 5.2 people would have to come back to the website to pick up their greeting cards. Some number of them are going or probably two are going to send out greeting cards or their own and so the thing just kept going, and going and going.

[00:37:00]

I thought, "How about if I do events?" It's going to be an event where it's me and other people hosting." Because if it's me hosting, it's just my guest who can come. If it's me and four other people, if we each invite five people, then we have 30 people; 25 guest and five host. That means that we have 30 people minimum who are at this event. Then we can get someone else from the event to co-host the next one and they could bring five of their people. Now, this mailing list keeps growing. From that, I'll have a big pool of people who are going to want to learn or who are going to want to get exposed to business education. I could be like the next Napoleon Hill.

Ryan Tansom:

I like it. I like it a lot.

Andrew Warner:

I never got to that point. All I did was do the events. I never got to the point where we talk about the Napoleon Hill stuff.

[00:37:30]

Ryan Tansom:

What was it actually mixes you at that point?

Andrew Warner:

[00:38:00]

It is called "Something Else." A friend of mine called it "Circle of Five" for a little bit because it five people, each bringing their circles and so the circle of five becomes bigger. Then I was looking ... Once it became my thing, I said, "I want my own name. I don't want to ever have to battle someone else to get the name back, [Ortiz 00:37:57], Mailbits. Mailbits, I think there was someone else who had the name Mailbits. I said, "You know what? I don't care. It's a mail and it's bits in the mail. It's not that big a deal." I said, "It could have been. I'd much rather have my own word that no one else can claim ownership of."

Ryan Tansom:

[00:38:30]

Which I love it because the mix, the energy. There's the meet-up, some the stuff, the formats that you're doing on I think it's running rampant. People are doing those things all they long [and ate 00:38:27]. What's interesting I think of how you've evolved and ... First of all, you'll be next Napoleon Hill. The amount data, the amount of interviews that you've amassed is spectacular. I'd say, I don't know anywhere else where you can go get that much information about business other than taking a library and just reading, constantly one person at person though and you're not getting the dialogue that you've evolving.

[00:39:00]

How did you switch into that? You had mention too on the above page about literally, you're getting burnout. There's people that are professional networkers and everybody wonders like, "What do they actually do?" Where you've evolved in ...

Andrew Warner:

[00:39:30]

My vision was going to be, I do these events and then people come to some kind of ... Not a conference, not a seminar, but something like that. At the time, because I had free time, I was also volunteering again for Dale Carnegie and Associates. When I was in school, I read Dale Carnegie's book "How to Win Friends and Influence People." I loved it so much. I went knocked on the door of Dell Cardigan and Associates, I said, "I want to work for you guys for free." They took me in and I worked for them and took their class. When I had this extra time, I went back and I said, "Look, I'm an experienced Dale Carnegie person. Can I volunteer here and help out?" They had me volunteer and I volunteered to help teach with the class that came out of the How to Win Friends and Influence People, actually that the book came out of.

[00:40:00]

[00:40:30]

Anyway, I thought, "Great. I'll do something like that. I'll teach something like that." Napoleon Hill, I used to listen to his old recordings and he used to talk about getting into restaurants and giving talks, going into coffee shops and giving talks in the most random places. He said, "You just start out and you keep talking and talking until people understand and are moved and changed." I thought I get to do that at the events, but I never did. What I did though was get advice from someone who said, "You should tell the world who's coming to your events." It was Lynn Langit who worked at Microsoft and I did a party with them. She said, "You need to get the word out about who's coming the events so more people come."

I thought, "I'll interview the people who are coming so people get to see them." Then I interviewed one person. [Michael Durrow 00:40:47], he was chiropractor who was incredible at SCO. He's like really well-known in the [crosstalk 00:40:53]. I interviewed him and then I interviewed other people and then I just fell in love with it.

[00:41:00]

Ryan Tansom:

What's your favorite part about interviewing people?

Andrew Warner:

Getting to ask the things I'm genuinely curious about.

Ryan Tansom:

What do you think the ... What tops your charts, the things that you're generally curious about?

Andrew Warner:

It's always different. Sometimes I get curious about people's marriages. Sometimes I get curious about depression. Whatever it is that's in my mind. You can't really just walk up to a stranger and ask random questions without getting hit.

[00:41:30]

Ryan Tansom:

I was going to say, you can, you just don't know what the repercussions are going to be at.

Andrew Warner:

I guess not. I said, "Let me see your girlfriend." I can't just say that in regular life, she happen to be behind the camera and naked. I didn't know she was naked [crosstalk 00:41:40].

Ryan Tansom:

I was going to say [inaudible 00:41:39].

Andrew Warner:

You can't just say that, "Let me see who you're married to." It's just kind of a weird ... You have to say it in a more gentle way. In interview, you could just come out and say what you're thinking. That person is James Altucher. I know him well enough that he loves those kind of questions.

[00:42:00]

Ryan Tansom:

One of his book, or not his book ... Well, I actually read a book where he was in it, talked about all of his crazy experience that he had. Then his podcast is actually one of the reasons that I started. His personality, his very authentic to himself. I respect him a lot.

[00:42:30]

One of the interesting things about what you've done with Mixergy which ... A lot of our listeners, I mean, they're trying to figure out where they fit with their business in their life. How do you balance that emotional, "Hey, this is who I am" versus, "Okay, I've got a business that kicks out cash."

Andrew Warner:

How do you separate yourself from the beginners?

Ryan Tansom:

Yeah. Do you have any advice?

Andrew Warner:

[00:43:00]

I haven't done that really well here at Mixergy, but I did do it well at Mailbits and I did it intentionally. My favorite entrepreneurship, my favorite professor in college was a guy who was a real entrepreneur who taught entrepreneurship would gave us this book by Michael Gerber, The E Myth Revisited. It talked about the problem where an entrepreneur does something, then he does everything and he passes one of his tasks onto someone else's, is the story that he tells. I think the story was like, he passes on the boxing of supplies, their boxing of the end product to someone else and the person doesn't box properly. He thinks, "You know what? This person's an idiot. It's so much easier for me to just to it myself," so he takes it back on and he does the same thing with every task in the business.

[00:43:30]

He says, "Your job as an entrepreneur is to be clear about what those tasks are and to find a way to pass it on to someone else." I did that and I think that's still really important. John Warlow does the same thing. He talks about that, systemized it to the point where other people can do it and make sure that the product you sell is consistent enough that you can pass that to someone else and have them sell it. I think that's all really good advice.

Ryan Tansom:

[00:44:00]

Then what I've seen with a lot of people that are more on [serial 00:43:49] entrepreneurs such as yourself where they really find almost their next, really who they are in their next business. Because I don't know if it's this like, "Hey, this financial burdens off of me. I've hit these benchmarks" or something like that. Have you found that journey within Mixergy and now you're just living through the interviews and stuff like that?

Andrew Warner:

[00:44:30]

Actually, I'm doing the interviews myself because I used to think about passing it on to other people. I always wanted to be better known than I am. I think everyone should do something that's public-facing, almost everyone. I could understand some people just not being that ... not because it doesn't fit their personality. If it fits your personality even a little bit, I think it's worth doing. I'll give you a reason why. We wanted to add this alert to our site to make it easier for people to get alerts every time they we publish a new episode at Mixergy.

[00:45:00]

There's this company that offered it for free. I said, "Why are we integrating something for free? I don't know what this guy's business model is. I emailed the company and I said, "How are you offering it for free? Being a little suspicious." He responded back, he said, "Basically, we sell data." I emailed back and I said, "You mean you're going to email data about my website or in the aggregate?" The response was, "Hey Andrew, I just saw that it was you. I'm going to take over for our customer support person and I want to tell you I've been listening to Mixergy for a long time. Let me be open with you about our model. Our model is, we can potentially, in the future, start selling data about your site's traffic to other people. Here's how it could work, but I don't know yet."

[00:45:30]

[00:46:00]

I got straight talk direct from the person who run the company because he knew me. I think we all need to have that. In the old days, people would. In my free time, I used to go to all those old clubs, the Rotary Club, the Kiwanis Clubs. I went to one meeting of all them just to see what it was like. People who used to do business in the olden times, in the '50s and I think even after that, they used to go to these clubs and they would get well-known by being supportive, by taking on leadership roles, by preceding over meetings, by organizing events from multiple to meet each other. They would get well-known, and so people ... If they knock on someone's door, they know who they were. If their employee went out and knock on someone's door, the employees would know who they were. We don't have that.

[00:46:30]

The way we do it now is by doing publicly facing things. An interview program like mine is one good way to do it. Another way is to blog publicly. Another way is to go Snapchat. I'm seeing people kill it with Snapchat that way. I think it's important to do it and I like doing it publicly like that. I'm not ready to pass that on to someone else.

Ryan Tansom:

I know you kind of get run in here, if there's one thing that you can leave our listeners that we haven't really talked about through the different [trainings 00:46:42] that you've got me, what would be the one piece of advice be that you'd leave us with?

Andrew Warner:

[00:47:00]

[00:47:30]

You know what? One, there's so much and I don't know where they are so it's hard to give advice without knowing what people ... It's like dispensing medicine without knowing what hurts first. I'll give something that I think is universally true. I think more people should be doing interviews and I especially think interviews, not blogging, not anything else. Because we need to learn from other people in a way that allows us to ask follow-up questions and probing questions. I think you can learn a lot from reading David's book, The Trust Edge. Imagine if you could sit down with him for an hour and just have a conversation over dinner, you learn more. Imagine even further, instead of having a conversation where you feel like you have to contribute to conversation by talking about the meal, by asking how his day was, by telling you how you day was.

[00:48:00]

Imagine if you had the whole hour to do nothing but say, "Hey, you know what? Actually, compassionate people that I know of aren't very trustworthy. They actually come across as being insecure. What do you say about my friend, Steve?" Then have him explain why Steve is an outlier or how Steve is doing it wrong. Right? That you could only get full knowledge like that from someone else by talking to them, by probing them, by asking them questions. Frankly, it would suck for me if everyone did interviews because I started doing interviews long before anyone else was doing interviews at Business People. Right? Long before ... There was one other guy, Gregory Gallant, who is doing it and then he gave up soon after I got in, maybe because I was doing too many of them, maybe because he had something else going on in his life. I don't know. I still love his old interviews.

[00:48:30]

I then became the only guy doing it and everyone was listening just to me now. You're doing it and everyone else is doing, so it suck for the rest of the world to be doing it. Because eventually, the attention gets spread too thin or our audience would shrink and I'm still recommending it. The reason I'm recommending everyone do interviews is because they're going to get changed for the better. You and I now feel more bonded because you've taken such an interest in me for the last hour, that I feel like I know you even though I did most of the talking. I know I care about you because I did more of the talking. You guys have learned hopefully something useful because you got me to do more of the talking. You can't get this conversation. You can't get this kind of bonding, this kind of learning, this kind of ... Any of what we've got from the experience in any other way.

[00:49:00]

Everyone who's listening to me should do an interview. They don't have to publish it as a podcast, so that's great. They could just ask their boss for an interview and then take the 10 best ideas and post them on their Facebook page. Ask their boss for an interview and then take the key ideas at the end of the conversation after a lunch interview. Say, "You know what? I just hear the five things that you told me that I was [inaudible 00:49:17] by. Can I record them for Snapchat and publish it that way?" I don't know what the format is, but i do know that the conversation is important.

Ryan Tansom:

[00:49:30]

I absolutely love it. That is a huge advice. I think even our listeners who are entrepreneurs and owners think that they need to know all the answers so they don't do enough of that. I think actually those are the people that probably should and would learn the most out of doing something like that.

Andrew Warner:

Cool. All right.

Ryan Tansom:

Andrew, thank you so much for coming on the show. Appreciate it very much.

Andrew Warner:

You bet. Anyone who's listening to me who wants more of this or wants to see what my interviews look like, I'd love for them to go to whatever podcast that they like, subscribe to Mixergy. It's M-I-X-E-R-G-Y, mix like the mixers that I used to organize and ergy because there's a lot of freaking energy, as you guys can tell.

[00:50:00]

Ryan Tansom:

Any other way that people can get hold of you? Is that the number way that you want people to ...

Andrew Warner:

I don't want them to get a hold of me. People who are smart enough will know a get a hold of me. Email addresses are super easy to get. My office is super easy to find and I love to have people here. I won't give it out, but I do know that they will find it if they want it.

Ryan Tansom:

I love it. Thanks for coming on the show.

Andrew Warner:

Cool. Thanks, Ryan.

Ryan Tansom:

Yup. See you, Andrew.

Andrew Warner:

Bye, everyone.