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Dave Lukas, The Misfit Entrepreneur_Breakthrough Entrepreneurship

The weekly podcast with serial entrepreneur, Dave M. Lukas, devoted to giving you incredibly useful and unique insight from the world's top entrepreneurs with a focus on their non-traditional methods for achieving success, their Misfit side. Misfit was created to give YOU the breakthrough entrepreneurship strategies and actionable advice to accelerate your success! The show's open format and Misfit 3 concept, combined with Dave's intuitive and engaging interview style quickly uncover each guest's key tools, tactics, and tricks that listeners can start using in their lives right now. Learn more about the show at www.misfitentrepreneur.com and become a member of Misfit Nation by signing up for the Misfit Minute, the FREE weekly email with specific resources from the week's "Misfit 3," and actionable tips and items from the world of Misfit Entrepreneurs. It is delivered every Friday to your inbox!
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Now displaying: June, 2018

The weekly podcast with serial entrepreneur, Dave M. Lukas, devoted to giving you incredibly useful and unique insight from the world's top entrepreneurs with a focus on their non-traditional methods for achieving success, their Misfit side. Misfit was created to give YOU the best, actionable advice to accelerate your success!

The show's open format and Misfit 3 concept, combined with Dave's intuitive and engaging interview style quickly uncovers each guest's key tools, tactics, and tricks that listeners can start using in their lives right now.

Learn more about the show at www.misfitentrepreneur.com and become a member of Misfit Nation by signing up for the Misfit Minute, the FREE weekly email with specific resources from the week's "Misfit 3," and actionable tips and items from the world of Misfit Entrepreneurs. It is delivered every Friday to your inbox!

Jun 27, 2018

This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Peter Kozodoy. Peter was a 2017 SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year nominee and is a partner and the Chief Strategy Officer at GEM Advertising – and Inc 5000 award winner. The company helps B to C companies make their sales and marketing departments more efficient and effective.

But, Peter is also the author of the forthcoming book, Honest to Greatness, an INC, Forbes, and Huffington Post contributor, and consultant with a very specific focus - helping entrepreneurs build multimillion-dollar businesses by using the power of brutal honesty.

And that is what I want to explore with him and you in this episode.

www.PeterKozodoy.com

Peter came out of college in 2008 during the economic collapse. He was a figure skater all through growing up and had planned to work in the industry. When that didn’t work out, he started a business with his business partner shooting television spots for local TV for a $800 a spot – mostly for car dealers.

They started getting requests from ad agencies for work and found that they could do the same things the agencies did, and as they thought, better. So, the pivoted and became a full-service communications agency. They had no full-service experience, but they found a way and made a way. Now GEM is a leading agency in the marketplace.

At the 7-min mark, Peter talks about how he became obsessed with radical, brutal honesty and what that means to him…

  • It came through asking a lot of questions as to why some companies are successful and others aren’t when they employ the same strategies
  • He also asked a lot of questions of himself and what he truly wanted or wanted to be in his life.
  • He realized that he wasn’t being honest with himself

He developed a framework for honesty that calls the “Hourglass of Honesty” that has 3 levels:

  1. Honest about what is happening in the world and how society is changing
  2. Honest about and with others (who are you surrounding yourself with)
  3. Honest with yourself

Talk to us about Honest to Greatness and the shifts coming in business that we have to prepare for and be honest about..

  • Fundamentally, the question executives have to ask are they being honest about where they truly are and what their organization needs to do or shift to succeed.
  • Secondly, are people being honest about having the right people around them and on their teams.
  • At the 14-min mark, Peter gives a great example of Quicken Loans and their “isms” (google them)

What is the best way for a leader to get radically honest with themselves and their organization?

  • Recognize that change, major change, is inevitable
  • Beware of getting comfortable
  • “Comfort is the enemy of innovation”
  • The signs of what we need to do are all around us (Blockbuster could have bought Netflix)
  • Ask about what you don’t know. Always be absorbing information and learning.

At the 21-min mark, Peter tells us about the different cultures discussed in the book – the Inverse Triangle and Flawed Diamond.

  • The traditional business was a triangle with leadership at the top and holding the information
  • Now, we all have the information and the frontline people in an organization have far more information that matters that the execs do.
  • An honest corporate structure in today’s world is a flipped triangle with the wide part at the top.
  • Your customers and frontline people have all the information that is needed to help adapt, innovate, and succeed.
  • The Flawed Diamond is a way understanding how information can clearly and easily get through and reflect back out in the form of taking the information and acting on it. A flawed diamond would have an issue taking in the information and reflecting it back out and you don’t want that in your business.

At the 26-min mark, Peter talks about “the Executive Mirror” and “Heart and Soul” and why they are so important.

The Executive Mirror is about the change executives have had to make in that they now need to have the skill to taking the information and reflect it back out across the organization vs. just setting the agenda from the top. They don’t have to chart a course from scratch anymore because all of the information they need is at their fingertips.

What is the most important concept about advertising that business owners must understand in today’s world?

  • One of the most effective strategies is integrated advertising/marketing
  • Think of Coca Cola and all the ways it markets across all of the different mediums
  • You want all of the different customer touchpoints to work together like a rising tide.
  • You are best off to be everywhere with your message all at once than to piecemeal or be small about your advertising.

With all the changes happening, especially in social media, with regard to privacy – what do you see happening and that business owners need to look for when it comes to advertising on these mediums?

  • It’s not going to change very much, if at all
  • Most people don’t care about their information being out there
  • But, with blockchain and addressable media, the future of advertising is more control of people in which they can choose who they allow to advertise to them and maybe even be compensated for it.

What is the most thing you’ve learned about entrepreneurship on your journey so far? “Our companies only grow as fast as we do…”

What is the most important thing you’ve learned about yourself?

  • That he is human
  • It is extremely freeing to know you don’t have to be superhuman.
  • The successful and failure of your doing is directly related to the beliefs you put into your mind.

Best advice for an entrepreneur starting out today?

  • Start with what you really want – not what others tell you to do or what society thinks you should do.
  • Then go work with people that can help you and teach you to do it.

 

Best Quote: “Comfort is the enemy of innovation..."

 

Peter's Misfit 3:

  1. Be honest about who you are and who you want to be. Don’t start with why. Start with who you are.
  2. Be honest about what it is going to take to get where you want to go.
  3. Never settle. You only get one life, so do it all.
Jun 20, 2018

This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Brett King. Brett King is a futurist, an award-winning speaker, hosts a globally recognized radio show – Breaking Banks. He is also the CEO of Moven, a $200 million mobile bank startup creating the world’s first “smart” bank account.

And if that is not enough, he’s also the author of multiple Amazon best-sellers including one of the books I highly recommend to people wanting to know how technology and innovation will impact our future, "Augmented – Life in the Smart Lane."

Brett is on the forefront of technological change and its impact in our lives – so I had to have him on to discuss what the future holds, not only for our personal lives, but for entrepreneurship and business as well.

www.BrettKing.com

Brett has always been into technology and was a coder early on. He then got into working with companies in the financial industry as the internet was coming about. He has owned everything from an ISP to digital consulting and advertising. In 2009, he wrote the best-seller, Bank 2.0 and started to build Moven, the world’s first fully digital bank. The company has been funded through series C and the technology is being licensed around the world.

Explain the “Augmented” age and what that means…

  • It is much different from the machine age and internet age
  • The Augmented age is driven AI technologies, robots, etc. and has the ability to disrupt our lives completely
  • The technology will change the way we live, work, interact, commerce, healthcare, lifespan, and much more.
  • We will now be sharing our world with computers that have intelligence

What can we expect from the growth of AI over the next 10-20 years?

  • Brett does not believe that advanced AI will be malevolent, but we do need to start making sure we are encoding ethics and empathy into these platforms.
  • We will see dramatic changes in how we work and use resources, especially through automation. Right now, Foxxcon (who builds the Iphone) is replacing 6000 workers per week through automation.
  • Autonomous self-driving trucks and delivery drones will displace those types of jobs
  • High labor-intensive work – even accounting, legal, etc. has the potential to be disrupted.
  • The role work will have in our lives will change – we won’t have to work to live necessarily.
  • We will learn faster and better use resources to be more productive, live longer, and maximize what we have.

At the 13:30 mark, Brett talks about these changes shifting people back to being entrepreneurs and the origin of the word “job.”

  • The current job apparatus and the ways society is molded is from the Industrial Age. Even our school system is built on that. It’s starting to change.
  • The structured skills coming out of school are less and less relevant and this is causing people to adapt and naturally become entrepreneurs.

What has been the biggest development in the Augmented world since you wrote the book?

  • We are seeing deep learning, machine learning, and quantum computing starting to become more mainstream.
  • Self-driving car progress
  • Most interesting is voice technology – the virtual assistant or agent is the next big thing emerging.
    • This will change how we shop, buy things, and the interests we follow

At the 20-min mark, Brett talks about the 3 major technology disrupting themes he has identified.

  1. AI/Robotics
  2. Embedded Experiences
  3. Health Tech/Gene Editing/Life Extension

Do you see us moving away from the smartphone to more human integrated technology sooner rather than later?

  • Yes, embedded sensors worn on the body or eventually ingested are here. Alivcor is an EKG you can wear on your wrist.
  • The input mechanisms will change such as how data is received (think talking to your virtual assistant and getting answers from them instead of typing it out)
  • We will also have “head up display” through smart glasses or contacts, etc.

What is the biggest opportunity for entrepreneurs right now in the Augmented Age?

  • The big opportunity is thinking about behavior and how you can modify it or help facilitate it.
  • Brett uses a great example of saving money and what an app could do to help modify and facilities the required behavior to save money.
  • Look at the behaviors where you can insert technology to enhance or reduce friction.

How is banking going to change over the next 10-20 years?

  • The biggest change in banking is accessibility. The majority of the world has actually not had access to banking. That is changing and by 2022, the majority of the world will be connected and be able to access banking online.
  • The world will be able to transact on a much larger scale because of the technology making it possible.

What is most important for people to know about blockchain?

  • The distributed nature of blockchain creates a whole new sense of accountability and auditability as well as whole new level of security/protection and speed of transaction.
  • Blockchain will also allow the new types of commerce ecosystems to be available.

"You won’t be able to participate in the world of the future unless you are prepared to give access to your personal data. But, in this world, data has the ability to become a revenue source for each of us."

At the 36-min mark, Brett talks about how governments are going to adapt to the Augmented Age.

At 42 min mark, Brett talks about 3-D Printing and Material Sciences and some of the really unique innovations we will see from these areas.

What your thoughts on how to succeed as an entrepreneur now and in the future?

  • Adaptability is key. The world change faster and faster.
  • You must have the passion/belief in what you are pursuing and you must have the persistence.
  • You must be able to infuse the passion and persistence into others.
  • In the future, you will have to change quickly and be able to do this over and over.
  • You will need to learn quickly and pivot almost constantly.

 

Best Quote: "You won’t be able to participate in the world of the future unless you are prepared to give access to your personal data. But, in this world, data has the ability to become a revenue source for each of us."

 

Brett's Misfit 3:

  1. Be Connected. Figure out who it is you need to know and be connected to and start the process of a relationship with them. (Social Media, etc.)
  2. Think about things you do in your daily life that are problematic and have friction. Think about how you can use technology to remove that friction and help people to not have the issues.
  3. What is the world you want to create for your children in the future? How can you start today to help create it? Even if it is something small, you can start to make a difference.
Jun 13, 2018

Hello Misfit Nation! Welcome to another edition of "Lessons for Hannah!" In November of 2016, we introduced a new format that we are putting alongside our regular episodes called “Lessons for Hannah.” Hannah is my daughter and one of the main inspirations for the Misfit Entrepreneur. I wanted to have a place where she could go and learn from her daddy and his Misfit friends throughout her life….even after I am gone. If you haven’t listened to the first episode of "Lessons for Hannah," I urge you to as it gives some more background and tells the amazing story of how Hannah came to be in our lives.

"Lessons for Hannah" are short, very useful, and sometimes comical lessons, that I have learned which I want to share with you and give to Hannah to help in your lives. Because I want Hannah to have these for her life, I’m going to speak as though I am talking directly to her. These episodes are a lot of fun and if you think there is a lesson that we should include in these episodes, please don’t hesitate to send it over to us at support@misfitentrepreneur.com. We’d love to share it.

This week’s Lesson for Hannah

Hannah, I want to talk to you about leadership. As you grow in life, you will find that you will be in many different types of leadership positions. Sometimes without even realizing it. You will be a leader in school, whether is it on projects, sports, or just standing up for one your principles. You will be a leader in your work, whatever you choose it to be. You will be a leader to those you influence both directly and indirectly. And probably, most importantly, you will be a leader to your children.

Leadership is at the core of life. And I must admit, it is an area in which you will always need to grow and learn. I still am. And I have seen firsthand that as you grow yourself as a leader, and yes, leadership is learned, it directly correlates to success and happiness in all areas of life.

So, how do you start becoming a leader? To be honest, I don’t know if I am the best to learn from, but I’m going to give you some things that I have proven to work for me over time.

First, like anything in life, if you want to be good at something, you have to be deliberate about it. You have to commit and say, “this is what I want to do.” It’s a choice. You must choose to focus on becoming a better leader.

Second, learn to lead yourself before leading others. How are you going to help empower people and show them the way, if you do not practice it yourself? So, focus intently on leading yourself. Master the discipline, consistency, and persistence in the different areas of your life: Family, health, work,etc. Create your lifestyle and the habits and processes to keep it and grow it first.

Next, be aware and be conscious that you are a leader – even when you are not in a direct leadership role. When you speak, when you post on social media or put out there, when you do your work, when you teach your children, you are displaying leadership and impacting others. The opportunity to lead is all around us every day and we must realize it. Fourth, if you ever do grow your own business or lead teams in a work setting, here are 4 rules that I’ve found to work well for me to create winning teams.

  1. People support what they help to create
  2. People want to be a part of something bigger
  3. People live up to expectations
  4. Recognize people when recognition is due

And lastly, as we started with being deliberate, that also means that you need to self-educate and establish relationships with other leaders and mentors to help you along the way. The relationships with other leaders and mentors, you will have to find on your own, but as far as self-education, here are a few books that I would recommend to anyone looking to up their leadership game:

  • The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell
  • Extreme Ownership, How Navy Seals Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
  • Wooden on Leadership by John Wooden

There are a ton of other great books on the subject, but be careful not to get caught up in the trap of seeking information and not acting. The best way to become a better leader is to make attempts to lead. Experience is the best teacher. Hannah, I am not sure at which point in your life you will listen to this, but just know that learning to be a good leader of yourself and others is one of the most important things that you can do to be the best you can be for and to the world. I wish you the best as you find your way on your leadership journey and as you’ve heard me tell you a million times – I’ll be here to help if you need me.

I love you, Daddy.

Jun 6, 2018

This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Sydney Wong. Sydney is the founder and CEO of VenturX. VenturX is a platform that prepares startups for funding. She bought a one way ticket to Silicon Valley with no job, no VISA, and no place to live.

She attended every MeetUp event, visited the Yahoo campus, and met as many people in different sectors as possible. She met young, confident entrepreneurs who struggled through many obstacles to get to where they needed to be in order to compete. She found that every Uber driver, every dog walker on WAG, and every house cleaner on TaskRabbit knew the direction they wanted to go; they didn’t shy from sharing their ambitions to strangers.

Along the way, though, something changed. She found she had the opportunity to see people and places that others overlooked for decades. As Sydney says , “The startup industry is like a battlefield with few winners but the opportunity I saw and built my company mission around was “What would it take to produce more winners?” That is how VenturX was born.

Starting a business is hard enough. Getting the funding to help you grow and succeed is even harder. I’ve asked Sydney on to give you the best advice she’s learned on how to navigate the startup funding jungle.

www.VenturX.ca Misfit Nation,

Sydney is giving you 2 months of unlimited access to the VenturX platform for FREE! Just use the promo code: MISFIT when you sign up!

Sydney graduated university in Canada and then went off and got her MBA in Paris. She got into the tech world working at companies in the CRM automation space. She wanted to get more into tech and a good friend of hers told her that if she wanted to get really serious about tech, she needed to be in Silicon Valley. So she did. Within 2 weeks, she bought a one way ticket to Silicon Valley.

She immersed herself in meeting and learning what made entrepreneurs of all shapes and sizes tick. As she says, she noticed that “They didn’t tell you what they were doing, they told you where they were going…” It was very refreshing and inspiring to her.

Seeing that people had a structure to get where they wanted to go gave Sydney an idea and when she came back to Canada, she knew what she wanted to do. She traveled across Canada meeting with start-ups and investors. The startups told her their biggest challenge was getting in front of investors and getting funding. The investors told her their biggest challenge was finding startups that were prepared and had their company ready to get funding.

It is this understanding that created the foundation of VenturX. The dashboard measures startup’s preparedness helping to do prepare the right way and also pairs them with investors that are a good fit for their needs.

Were you scared when you arrived in Silicon Valley? If so, what were you most afraid of?

  • On a daily basis, she was afraid of being homeless, but was lucky to have a friend who gave her a couch.
  • It was tough not having a US Visa or credit report
  • It’s weird, you are surrounded by great talent and resources, but it is hard to make it

What was the most important thing you have learned in going through this experience?

  • People need to take more risks
  • Taking small risks and seeking small challenges tests your character and your strength
  • This gives you strength to take on bigger risks and challenges – it helps you to grow.

You help startups get funding, but yet you turned down funding for VenturX, tell us about that…

  • There are 2 kinds of entrepreneurs Sydney works with:
    • The first group are idea stage. They have the idea and are seeking funding
    • The other group has an early stage business and knows exactly what they are looking for has a completely different level of preparedness
  • Sydney was offered funding 4 times and turned it down because she feels that the platform has room to grow before she is ready to do what funding can do for it.
  • It really has so much to do with timing and where you story is at.
  • Your startup journey is a story and everyone in it plays a character – you need to be conscious of the characters that you make part of it and when they come into the story.
  • You want to be in the strongest negotiating position
  • “The more that you can endure the startup journey, the better the place you will be.” You will have stronger business success, client relationships, partners, case studies, etc.

At the 20 min mark, Sydney talks about how perspective is important. It is all about your long-term vs. your short-term vision.

What else should entrepreneurs be doing to make sure they are properly prepared to get funding?

  • Don’t think of an investor like a bank – they are people, they are partners and you need to look at them as such.
  • Understand your end goal and make sure it aligns very well with the philosophy of the investor(s)
  • You want to work with an investor or group that has been in your shoes before and had the same goals.

At the 26 min mark, Sydney takes us through the VenturX formula

  • Product/Market fit – How does your target market resonate with the problem you are trying to solve and the benefit that you are trying to provide? What is your target market actually going to use to solve the problem? Sydney uses a great example of two different ways to clean a car for this…
  • Financial Runway – Over 50% of startups are financially illiterate. You need to know you numbers such as your monthly recurring revenue or potential recurring, expenses, your burn rate, and your runway in months (ie. How long can you last before you have to shut the doors). You should have about 6 months runway before looking for funding.
  • Conversion – How well are your prospects converting to customers. This can also include letters of intent. Sydney uses the Dropbox example of how this can be done. You need to be able to show traction.
  • Engagement – Are you users and customers coming back? Are the using the product? How often are they using it, etc? This tells the story of the traction that you have for your solution with or without revenue.

Peel back the onion and really understand how the data in your business can be a powerful tool in selling as well.

At the 34 min mark, Sydney gives an actual example of a client that went through the VenturX process.

What are the top 3 things businesses seeking funding need to understand about investors?

  • Venture Capitalists are very savvy. They research you before you ever walk into the room. They will base a lot on meeting you and they respect authenticity.
    • Make sure that everything you provide is credible and can be backed up
  • You must understand your strengths and weaknesses and be able to tell the story of it. Be very aware of this and be open and honest about it.
    • Weaknesses are something that can be an opportunity for the investor to compliment you and fill the gap – which is a good thing. They want to be smart money, not dumb money.
  • Be future thinking. What are you going to use the money for? What is the vision into the future and how will you execute it? You need to have a good idea of your end goal.

Lastly, making sure to get the word out there about your solution and company is important. Get press. Get on shows. Go pitch at events. Have referenceable content that can show PR. Show that you are willing to put yourself out there.

 

Best Quote: “The more that you can endure the startup journey, the better the place you will be.”

 

Sydney's Misfit 3:

  1. Funding is about timing as much as it about money. Ask yourself, Is this the right for this new character (investor) to come into my story?
  2. Make an impact by asking others, “How can I help you?”
  3. It’s not about how often you fall, it is about how quickly you get back up. Speed is your advantage as a startup – use it.
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