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.
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…
He developed a framework for honesty that calls the “Hourglass of Honesty” that has 3 levels:
Talk to us about Honest to Greatness and the shifts coming in business that we have to prepare for and be honest about..
What is the best way for a leader to get radically honest with themselves and their organization?
At the 21-min mark, Peter tells us about the different cultures discussed in the book – the Inverse Triangle and Flawed Diamond.
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?
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?
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?
Best advice for an entrepreneur starting out today?
Best Quote: “Comfort is the enemy of innovation..."
Peter's Misfit 3:
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.
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…
What can we expect from the growth of AI over the next 10-20 years?
At the 13:30 mark, Brett talks about these changes shifting people back to being entrepreneurs and the origin of the word “job.”
What has been the biggest development in the Augmented world since you wrote the book?
At the 20-min mark, Brett talks about the 3 major technology disrupting themes he has identified.
Do you see us moving away from the smartphone to more human integrated technology sooner rather than later?
What is the biggest opportunity for entrepreneurs right now in the Augmented Age?
How is banking going to change over the next 10-20 years?
What is most important for people to know about blockchain?
"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?
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:
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 email@example.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.
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:
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.
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?
What was the most important thing you have learned in going through this experience?
You help startups get funding, but yet you turned down funding for VenturX, tell us about that…
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?
At the 26 min mark, Sydney takes us through the VenturX formula
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?
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: