Jay Samit: Cultivate a Disruptive Mindset | E27
#27: Cultivate a Disruptive Mindset with Jay Samit
Dare to disrupt yourself! This week, Hala yaps with Jay Samit, best-selling author of “Disrupt Yourself!” and serial entrepreneur who has been at the forefront of global trends for decades and recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on disruption and innovation. Jay has helped build billion dollar startups, transformed entire industries, and has held executive roles at Deloitte, Sony, Universal Studios and more. Tune in to learn how Jay achieved his massive success, and how you can take the same strategies that have shaped the world’s most innovative companies and apply them to disrupt yourself and grow your career.
#27: Cultivate a Disruptive Mindset with Jay Samit
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I'm your host Hala Taha. And this week on YAP we're featuring Jay Samit, a best-selling author who has been at the forefront of global trends for decades and recognized as one of the world's leading experts on disruption and innovation. He's a serial entrepreneur that has helped to start businesses that are worth billions now, and his book disrupt you, some and
it describes how you can take the same strategies that have helped shape the world most innovative companies and applied them to disrupt yourself and grow your career. Hi Jay, thanks for joining young and profiting podcast.
Jay Samit: My pleasure. Excited to be here.
Hala Taha: We are so honored to have you on the show and to help my listeners understand the caliber of leader and person you are.
I just wanted to run down a few of your accolades. You are a [00:02:00] serial entrepreneur who has taken companies public, you've helped to build billion dollar startups. You've transformed entire industries. You're the former independent vice-chairman of Deloitte. You've held digital media, executive roles at Sony universal studios and more.
And you're also known as a leading authority in disruption and innovation offering the Uber popular book, disrupt you. And if that wasn't impressive enough you were a philanthropist and have worked on white house initiatives for education and technology. Did I miss anything big?
Jay Samit: It just shows you everybody can do anything.
Hala Taha: You are definitely one of the most impressive people we've had on the show. And so I really hope to make this conversation as productive as possible.
Jay Samit: Yeah, you too kind.
Hala Taha: Okay. So as we were preparing for this show, one of the things that stood out to me was your very interesting and unique life path to success and your keen ability to articulate and tell stories about these pivotal moments in your life.
First I'd just like to unpack some of these stories to help my listeners [00:03:00] really get insight into the type of life you've lived and the way your mind works. So let's start with getting your foot in the door in the entertainment industry. From my understanding, you had a dream to work in movies specifically
special effects. And you did something really clever to get your foot in the door.
Jay Samit: Sure. So I'm in my fifties, so I'm a little bit older, but when I was just getting out of high school, this amazing movie star wars came out. So I'm getting out of college and I'm go. What I want to do is I want to make movies like that.
I want to make special effects and change how I would. Now a couple of problems. One, I knew nothing about special effects. Two. I knew no one in Hollywood. So what set me on a path? And the way I look at things is if you break down everything into problem, every problem has a solution. So I said, I wonder how people get started in Hollywood.
How do they get that first job? So this was before you had internet ads and everything. I took an ad out in the Hollywood reporter, what [00:04:00] was called a blind ad. It doesn't say the company and I described the job I would like to get as if I was a production company offering this job. And that gave me two key pieces of data.
And what you'll see is the repeating theme here is everything in life is dated driven. And so the two pieces of data were one. I got all these resumes of people that thought that they were qualified for that job. So I now knew what a resume should look like, what things I needed to do to be able to get my foot in the door.
And number two, I now had a list of places that were about to lose an employee because all these people had one foot out the door. And so by doing those, that simple thing, I instantly got my first job. Now, let me give you the modern version of it, which I talk about and disrupt you. There was a brilliant guy who got a job at one of the giant international ad agencies on Madison avenue in New York.
It was his dream to work in advertising and he gets there and anyone he's a little [00:05:00] disillusioned being at the bottom of the ladder, doing something completely mundane. And he literally is going out of his mind. So he looks online. And he Googles the names of some of the most famous creative directors at the tops of the big agencies, the Omnicoms of the world.
And sees the, no one has bought their names as keywords. So for $9 in advertising, he knew the famous people would check their names to make sure there's nothing bad posted about them. And when they would check their names, it would say, Hey, I want to work for you with a link to his portfolio. Three of the five offered him a job.
And he basically accelerated his career 20 years for a $9 investment. It's that easy.
Hala Taha: Wow. That's incredible. So much to unpack there. And it just shows how if you could just be a little creative, you could basically do anything and accomplish anything.
Jay Samit: Well, the thing that they don't teach you in school is no one got to lead a company, lead a nation, changed [00:06:00] the world by following in the footsteps of someone else.
So it's not, go and do what everybody else did. I can vividly remember the day I got out of college, everything up until that was you go from first grade to second grade, junior high to high school to college. And then what, and then all of a sudden you go, oh my God, I'm not competing against the same people.
I'm competing against everybody. And. There so many people were pushed by their parents to go into, that secure job, that secure career. I'm here to tell you, there's no such thing as security in the 21st century, half of all jobs will disappear within this decade. So it's the illusion of security that keeps people in jobs that they don't like.
And to spend your whole life doing something that you don't enjoy, unless you really believe in reincarnation, you're really missing the point of being here.
Hala Taha: Yeah, totally. And I can't wait to get into all of that and uncover the different [00:07:00] ways that we could become entrepreneurs and how we should free our minds to be open to that kind of possibility.
I can't wait to dig into that with you. First, let's talk about your expertise on disruptions, Harvard professor Clayton Christiansen coined the term disruptive innovation back in 1997. And he explained that a disruptive business is one that starts by either satisfying the less demanding customer or creating a market where none existed before.
Does your definition of disruption differ from Clayton's in any way, or is it similar?
Jay Samit: I don't like to trash people. Mine's different. One of the reasons I wrote disrupt you is there were a lot of books written by pure academics that have never worked or done anything. The one you're mentioning actually once raised a private equity fund and.
They forced him to give back whatever money was remaining, less than a couple years later because he had lost most of it. Here's the simple definition of disruption. Think of that scene in Indiana Jones, where it's on the streets of Cairo. [00:08:00] Okay. Now, There's that swordsman with the giant scimitar that he pulls out sorts had been around forever.
From the bronze age, they made little knives, bigger knives, Kings were defended. Game of Thrones sorts were great. And all of a sudden that scene in Indiana Jones in Raiders of the lost Ark, the guy comes at him with a big sword in indie posts out of Smith and wesson. That's disruption. Once somebody invented the gun, the sword was kinda, it doesn't matter if you make a better sword or new sword.
We now live in this era of endless innovation. And so what you have to realize is every business will be disrupted and the only way to continue your career is to continue to disrupt yourself. So a great current example is. Everybody knows about autonomous vehicles. Everybody knows that they're coming fast.
I have a Tesla and I'm blown away as it drives and changes lanes and does everything. So most people go, okay, so the auto industry is disruptive, but you have to look what else changes? Here's what else changes, [00:09:00] in the US, the automobile insurance industry is a 220 billion industry. That goes away if there's no more drivers behind the wheel, it's not your fault.
If it's an accident. The car that you buy, Tesla will sell insurance. And so you start noticing the ripple effect of change. So you don't have to invent something new. You just have to see how it changes the world. That's my definition.
Hala Taha: Awesome. So essentially disruptors don't have to discover something new. They just have to discover a practical use for that discovery. Correct?
Jay Samit: And that took me 20 years of my career. I'd see these amazing things invented. The companies spend millions and millions of dollars for, and whatever reason it didn't hit the market that there were going for. And he could say, wow, but if I would take that same thing to solve this other problem, I don't have to invent all that.
We live on a time where there's so much technology. We have a super computer in our pocket with us [00:10:00] 24 7 that can reach 7 billion people. You're one click away from being a billionaire, it is that simple. And all you have to do is figure out that path. And the first step is to realize entrepreneurs don't sell something.
Entrepreneurs, aren't buying an apple for $1 and selling it for $2. An entrepreneur is solving a problem. You solve a problem for a few friends, you're popular. Solve a problem for a million people, you're rich. Solve a problem for billion people, you change the world. All of us have that ability today because we're so interconnected.
So you're just like one nanosecond away from changing your future in the world.
Hala Taha: Yeah. You actually have a great story about taking technology from a failed business and then applying it in a new way to achieve massive success. You actually were the inventor of the airport kiosk. Could you just tell that story to our listeners because I think it really [00:11:00] articulates how with disruption, you don't have to actually be the inventor.
Jay Samit: Sure. So I was in my early twenties and one of the early people working with computers and there was a new thing that came out called the lottery states. Now had lots of reason to go back in 1980s, ancient history.
The way that the lottery tickets were sold was the little screen. One of those, what in the movies, those green and white screens that just shows you the numbers. And California was the next state to get the lotteries. And they wanted somebody to make a self working kiosk that you put your bill acceptor in and do all by yourself.
And so the competition had this little green screen and you type in the numbers and that's it. And I spent every penny I had and maxed out my credit cards. Designing what I thought was the perfect machine. It had a color screen that did video. It spoke in eight languages. It had a motion detector. When you walk by in a supermarket, go, what would you do with a million dollars or [00:12:00] whatever he wanted to say.
It was so much head and shoulders above the competition. And when you're young and starting out, you're cocky and think, everything that I knew I was going to win this multimillion dollar contract and life would be sweet and everything. And I go up to Sacramento. What I didn't find out too later
because the FBI had a secret videotape was somebody who was making decision. A state Senator named Alan Robbins was taking a briefcase with $50,000 cash in it from my competition and was awarded the contract. Now, I don't know this on the day I find this out later, he goes to prison and my competition by the way, got to keep the contract, even though they bribed for it.
But that day I lost, I'm not getting it. And I fly back to Los Angeles and I am not only dejected. I don't actually have a working credit card at that point because I maxed them out and I didn't have enough cash to take a cab. And I'm trying to figure out how to get back from the airport and at [00:13:00] the airport they used to have with these nice retired people, little old men and ladies who would sit here and tell you different stuff.
But by the time I got to the airport, those desks had been closed, the information desks. So now I have no clue. And then at Dawn, LAX has 50 million visitors a year. Not all of them speak English, not all of them come when the volunteers are there. How do people figure out how to get from point A to point B and how to get a cab
this before Uber and everything. And then I realized my kiosk would be perfect for this. So from that failure, I didn't give up. I just looked at how to solve another problem. And so many businesses are pivots. There were three guys that had a great idea when 10 years ago computer dating was already popular, but broadband had come out.
So now you could use video and people could have video on a computer. So they said, wait a second, let's make a dating site. Instead of still pictures, we'll put videos and it was called tune-in hookup. [00:14:00] So they are going to make a fortune. They go, oh my God. Now you can see a person's personality, hear their voice so much more of chemistry's a video than a still picture.
And they put the site up, they do a brilliant job and they had one problem. They didn't realize what do you do if nothing but losers show up. They had the worst videos. The first video on the site was a guy standing in front of the elephant cage at the zoo, talking about why you should go out with them.
So tune in and hookup was a dismal failure, but they looked at the data. You'll hear me say this again and again, and the data showed them something they didn't expect in their business plan. Yes, no woman wanted to date these people, but she absolutely wanted to show every one of her friends how bad the pickings were.
So she shared the videos and guys shared the videos. So about 10 months in, they changed the name of tune and hookup to YouTube, and they became billionaires within their [00:15:00] first year.
Hala Taha: Wow!
Jay Samit: Twitter was a music site I can go on and on most companies pivot. It's very rare that a person says here's my business plan.
And here's, the straight path to the top. It's about failing. It's about failing again and again until you succeed. So it's about believing in yourself. If you think you can, or you think you can't you're right. That's what Henry Ford said and it is
Hala Taha: Definitely. From your reading material, I understand now that true innovation really comes from looking at problems differently, and you have an exercise that helps your students get into a disruptors mindset where you tell them to write three problems they face each day and it helps them look at problems differently and get ideas for innovation.
I'd really like my listeners to try this at home. So could you explain how to do this excercise?
Jay Samit: Sure. Yeah. So one of the things that I've done for the past decade for fun is I teach a class at the largest engineering school in the U S on how to create a high tech startup [00:16:00] pan. The best student project was two students that did $150 million their first year.
So this process works. And here's the process. As you said, write down today, not tomorrow, start right now, three problems in your life and do that every day for one month. The first day, it's pretty easy. I was in traffic, whatever you want to write down, but after you get one or two or three days into it, it's really hard to come up with problems because we've gotten in a mindset of, this is the way it's always done.
This is the way it happens and we don't recognize problems. So give you two classic ones. So the traffic one. Couple of people were stuck in traffic and Tel-Aviv now I live in Los Angeles. We have the worst traffic, probably in the U S but every city now has traffic and Tel-Aviv isn't as bad. It's not a giant city, but it dawned on them that the phone company knew where their phone was.
So they said, wait a second. If the, if my phone told me to go left and the other [00:17:00] driver to go right there, wouldn't be traffic. That was waze and they sold it for over a billion dollars without a penny in revenue. Second example was a reader of mine. He gets up in the morning and he's takes his, grabs his medicine to take it.
The phone rings, he answers the phone has this conversation. And then he staring there. Did he take his. Because he was doing the exercise sitting there. Wait a second. Yeah, I know this is a problem. If I don't take it, then I won't get better. And if I do take it, I could overdose. What do you do? So he got a little plastic watch.
Like you would get from a happy meal, put it on the lid of a pill bottle. So when you shut the pill bottle, the clock goes to zero. So in that situation it could look down and said, oh, I opened it three minutes ago. Yes. I took my pill or, oh, it hasn't been open for eight hours. No, I didn't. Then he made a Bluetooth version so that you could check whether grandma took her medicine and remind her to take her medicine and then
he said, how do I make this [00:18:00] really popular? And he realized it was a solution for the opioid crisis that you could make bottles that only unlock at certain intervals. And so what, from that one moment in his day, he launched a giant business that has changed society. So it's really that process. So at the end of your 30 days, you have 90 ideas, you have more deal flow.
Then the busiest venture capital firm in Silicon valley, and then sort them along two axes, one, what are you really passionate about? Because the road to success, isn't going to be easy. So you really have to really want that business succeed and believe in that you're making a difference. And the second is what's the size of that audience.
So if the problem is something that only affects 10 people, odds are, it's not going to make you wealthy. If it affects everybody. Great business to go after. And there are countless examples of people solving this problem. One of my other favorite ones, [00:19:00] it was a woman who got a job with a sales company down in Florida, and they required women to wear pantyhose.
Now Florida's hot and sticky. And she wanted to wear sandals and pantyhose look horrible with sandals. So she wants to cut off the toes and she kept on playing with it. And she finally came up with something that she thought would work. And she went up a couple states to the Carolinas where all
the hosiery was manufactured and showed her idea to a bunch of men. And they all said this is stupid. And one even ripped up her business card in her face. So she went out to the bookstore and she bought, I kid you not patents for dummies wrote her own patent. And Sara Blakely changed the world by coming up with Spanx.
Everybody laughed at her. Everybody turned her down, but she was solving a problem that she knew women faced. Brilliant.
Hala Taha: Yeah, that is [00:20:00] brilliant. So once we've come up with all of these ideas, you preach that we really need to find a way to kill them. You call this zombie ideas and you say the faster you can kill a bad idea.
The quicker you can pivot to a successful one.
Jay Samit: So many entrepreneurs are wrecked by praise, oh, that's such a good idea. Oh, that's so good. One of the things that took me years, I've raised hundreds and hundreds of millions from venture capital. And when I was starting out, I would come out at every meet and go, oh my God, I think I closed the deal.
They loved it because they tell you how great it is. And then they come back and you go talk to the partners and the partners don't want to do it. They're basically blowing smoke because your next idea might be a good one and they don't want you to be not like them, but here's what you want to do,
you want to find people that will tell you everything wrong with your idea? Because the more iterations you can do, if your idea between your two ears, the less money you're burning, because these problems are going to find themselves [00:21:00] when you launch. And if you've spent all your money launching something that doesn't work, then you're a failed entrepreneur and you're back where you started.
When I meet with entrepreneurs, when I look at them, you could call cruel, I'm sitting there telling them every reason why I think it all fail. And unless you can come up with answers for each of those reasons, you're going to fail. And so once you can make that Bulletproof thing that cannot be killed, that zombie idea now go out to raise money and you'll see how quickly their processes.
Hala Taha: Got it. And then can you give your perspective on the difference between failing and failure?
Jay Samit: Sure. Failing is trying something that doesn't work, famously Thomas Edison failed thousand times before he made a light bulb that works. Failures throwing in the towel and giving up. When you're failing, how do you know when to stop?
Okay. You could be one [00:22:00] idea, one minor tweak away from changing your life. If you throw in the towel, you're guaranteeing that you won't be successful. As I said, most startups, pivot, most businesses evolve. And what causes that pivoting what causes that change is really simple. You look at the data, you look at the results you compare what's happening to your assumptions and you may
discover something that no one else did. And here's what really happens with a startup. You start with an obvious idea, but you start spending time and resources going down a path and you go farther into the jungle than anybody ever has. And that's where you discover something new and that's what makes a successful business because you now have a competitive advantage that no multi-billion dollar corporation has.
You have new information and new data that only, you know, and the only competitive advantage in the 21st century [00:23:00] is being able to respond to data from your target audience faster than your competition and big companies are not competing with you. Most aren't really trying to innovate. They're trying to fight last year's battle again and again, I was a very senior global officer , Sony thought all their competition was other Japanese electronics manufacturer.
They didn't see apple as competition until it was too late.
Hala Taha: Yeah. That's so interesting. Staying on this topic of companies providing value and being successful and not getting disrupted. You have a concept called value chain innovation, and you talk about how businesses and products basically need to be understood as a sum of their value, adding links.
Can you tell us about value chain innovation? And can you give an example of a business that optimizes it well, and one that does it poorly.
Jay Samit: Sure. So when you look at where value is created, there's two things that you have to think [00:24:00] of when starting your business, your idea one is value creation. Okay. So you've created a new product that does something.
The second part of that is value capture. Napster came with the idea of people could share songs and steal songs, change the world, but it didn't put any of that released value into their pockets. So it didn't make a successful business. So you have to figure that out. So value creation can take place in any of the steps of business
so you can take place in R and D can take place in marketing and sales in research. If you look at each stage and then disrupt you, I give examples of how in each of these stages, you can just focus on that one part, because the part of the business that you really want to control is the part that's going to capture the value.
And so in different businesses, different stuff. So conversely, you can then look at where businesses lose value. So a great example. Absolutely so brilliant is the most common business that people [00:25:00] start. Do you know what the most common business people start is in the US?
Hala Taha: No.
Jay Samit: A restaurant.
Hala Taha: Okay.
Jay Samit: Okay. And typically it's somebody goes, oh, I've got a barbecue recipe. I'm going to make a fortune. If you really look at why restaurants succeed or fail, one of the least important things is really the secret sauce and herbs and spices. It has nothing to do with that. Number one reason, restaurants fail.
They have too many items on their menu, which means too many products. And if nobody buys the fish, there goes your profits. So this guy sat down and said, okay, I'm going to solve that problem by only offering three items on my menu. That's it. Second reason restaurants fail is people all eat at the same time of day, which means if one person sits down at the table for four, At lunch, you can't monetize those other three seats.
So you're actually losing money. So second rule that the sky said is, okay, [00:26:00] I'm going to only seat full tables and require people to sit with strangers. And since I'm only seating, full tables, people are going to have to wait at the bar until the tables available and you make more money on alcohol than food.
So he has these three date of points that he's going to work on. It sounds absolutely like the worst idea. I'm going to have a restaurant with only three types of food. And you're going to have to sit with strangers who will do that. And for nearly 50 years now, Benihanas has been making a fortune. He didn't set out to say, I want to make a Japanese teppanyaki house.
He set out and said, why do restaurants fail? He started by solving a problem. And that's every successful business that you see today. Uber solved an amazing problem with anybody that ever visited New York city. As an example, tabs are great. Except when you need one in the rain or snow or cold, you can't get [00:27:00] one.
And then you get into one and odds are, you don't speak the same language as the driver. So you can't explain where you want to go. Especially I travel all over the world and you have to carry money and you don't always have that. And on Uber solved all that. And then people looked at that concept and started the Uberization of almost
everything. There were two college women in grad school that weren't planning to be entrepreneurs and they faced a problem that many women were facing. And it was this, they had lots of friends having parties going different stuff, and they want it to look nice. So they had a choice of either spend all your money and get a really nice outfit, a really nice dress, and then be known for the next six months as the girl with the purple dress or
by not nice looking stuff so that you can buy something. That's not nice looking for the next event and the next event, and always be looking [00:28:00] crappy. So they created rent the runway and created a billion dollar business by solving that very basic problem.
Hala Taha: Those are great examples. Thanks so much for sharing. You also connect business disruption to personal disruption, and you talk about internal value chains.
Can you explain what that is?
Jay Samit: Yeah. So that's probably what separates disrupt you from every book out there is. Really disruption is like plastic surgery, except you're the one holding the scalpel. All disruption has to start internally because if you can change something that you thought was a malleable about your personality, about your soul, if you can change that, you'll realize everything else to change in the world is easy.
So in my personal case, I'm dyslexic, I was taught in school. That means I'm stupid. And I [00:29:00] internalize that. And when you look today and that one-third of all business owners are dyslexic that, Edison and Disney and Steve jobs, et cetera, et cetera, or all dyslexic, you realize it just means that you think different and it wasn't a negative.
So if you can change that one belief, Many people go I'm not good at math. Why do you believe that? Because in third grade you failed a multiplication test that you could ACE today. So many of these things happen from parents and teachers that wanted to steer us down a path because they.
were afraid to try. And they didn't like the pain of failing. So they wanted to protect you from that pain. Growth comes from pain. If you constantly protect yourself and choose to live in the matrix, you achieve nothing. And here's the secret folks that I can tell you now that I have gray hair, if you're listening and you don't have any yet, go talk to your grandparents, go visit a senior [00:30:00] home, and you will find out that the biggest regrets
that old people have the biggest regrets you'll have at the end of your life. Aren't the things that you tried and failed at, but the things that you fail to try if only I tried to be a rock and roll musician, if only I had tried to do this, oh, I had such a good idea and somebody else did it. Those things will haunt you.
You don't get to live forever. What you create in your lifetime can. And the impact you can have, especially at a time like today with so many major problems, climate change and population change and all the things that go with that. Imagine the impact that you can have. That's what's exciting. That's what gets me up in the morning, to get to meet entrepreneurs that are coming up with things where you just go.
Oh, my God, that is makes so much sense because those zombie ideas, by the way, don't take a 20 page PowerPoint to explain. You can explain them in one sentence [00:31:00] and you go, wow, that was so obvious. And you go if it's so obvious, why didn't somebody else do it? Because most people aren't trying to change the world.
Most people are just accepting it the way it is. And to me, that's sad.
Hala Taha: Yeah. So if we were told, when we were growing up that, for example, we're not smart enough, or we're never going to be rich or we're not fast or productive, how do we disrupt ourselves and retrain our brains to view the world different?
Jay Samit: Start doing that. What you were told you can't do. And one of the most common things is people are afraid of public speaking. It said that most people given the choice of giving a eulogy at a funeral or being in the casket would rather be in the casket. So if you're really afraid of saying I can't public speak, I can do that.
Go start doing it. Volunteer get on panels at conferences, go anything by the way, it's the best way to market yourself and create your brand. So in disrupt you, I walk you through the steps of breaking down that internal value chain of what is your personal R and D what is your personal marketing?
What [00:32:00] are the tricks and steps that others have used so that you can shorten your path to success. And the second you realize that you can change. It's amazing. So the other example in my life being completely transparent is my mom. She listens to this. She hates, when I tell the story, my mom wanted me out of the house early.
So she forged on my birth certificate, changed my age. So I went to school a year younger than everybody else, which doesn't sound like much, but when you're a little boy and all the other boys are older, that means you were the worst one at sports guaranteed from day one. Which means you hate everything having to do with sports.
You have no interest in sports. You don't watch any sports. You don't play any sports. Sports were just a place for you to be humiliated and feel like a loser. Fast forward., I'm 40 years old. I'm deliberately looking at what can I disrupt in my thinking about myself? And I realize I'm [00:33:00] not that four year old kid competing against six year old kids on the school yard.
I could do whatever I want. And it, coincidentally, I happened to have a member of the US Olympic team working at my company. So I asked him what are a bunch of exercises? Cause I had a note out a PE by the time I got to high school, I hated it. And I started exercising and all of a sudden for me, for the first time in my life, you can do what, a hundred pushups you can do
pull-ups I had muscles and I go, wow, you can make this. I don't have to be that scrawny little kid. And then I tried to figure out what can I do with this? Being the weird person I am. I said, I always wanted to be a trapeze artist, so I'm going to go and take lessons and learn how to fly through the air.
Hala Taha: That's great.
Jay Samit: You can do anything.
Hala Taha: Another common excuse is people thinking that they don't have resources to be successful, whether that's money or context. What do you have to say about that?
Jay Samit: Bullshit. That is the entrepreneur's version of the dog ate my homework. That annoys me so much. Oh, [00:34:00] I had such a good startup, but we ran out of money.
Really. If it was such a good startup, you wouldn't have run out of money. There is no gatekeeper separating you for money. There is crowdfunding. There is private equity. There's VCs. There is initial coin offerings. There are a million ways to get funding today. Now, is there somebody standing on a street corner handing out million dollar bills?
No. Do you have to learn? What is the process and where do I go and who do I have to talk to? Yes, but think of it the other way. VCs venture capital firms go out of business. If they can't find entrepreneurs to invest in private equity goes out of business. If it can't find businesses to invest in. There are millions of people whose job is to give you money on top, which I talk about my favorite chapter in the book, OPM other people's money.
There are companies that will give you millions of dollars, and I've done this time and [00:35:00] time again, tens of millions of dollars that don't want any equity in your business, and don't want to be paid back any of that cash. And you go what do they want? Turns out that your business, that you're starting has gone for a specific audience.
You're making a product for teens. You're making for women, you're making for senior citizens, whatever it is. It turns out there's tons of companies that are not competitive to you. That also want that same audience and what you're giving them as an idea of how to reach that audience that they didn't have.
And so that's marketing spend and they'd be happy to do it. And I'll give you a great example. That'll do as quickly as possible when I was at Sony, iTunes had just come out and the iPod was killing the Walkman and we had to launch a competing service and apple is spending a hundred million dollars a year in advertising.
And I had an advertising budget of zero. So I go I guess I'm doomed to failure. No, I said, okay, how do I get someone else to give me their money [00:36:00] to launch? Competitor to iTunes, my digital download service. And so I looked at who's in trouble? What businesses were failing. There were two, right then Spurlock had the movies supersize may worry, ate McDonald's for 30 days and nearly died.
So McDonald's sales went down for their first time in their 40 year history said, okay, McDonald's has problems. And the biggest airline in the US United airlines was in bankruptcy. So they have problems. So now all that I have to do is figure out how do I solve McDonald's and United's problems with my music, download service, and they'll give me money.
And you go well, how do you connect those dots and make a long story short with McDonald's pitched him by big Mac, get a free track. So you got a free song. You got a free code song with every burger that you bought. And McDonald's spent tens of millions of dollars of TV advertising, where every customer was driven to my store to get their free [00:37:00] song, and then they'd signed up and they could buy other stuff.
And United airlines had tons of people that weren't flying anymore. Cause they're worried about the bankruptcy, but they had enough frequent flyer miles to make nine round trips to Pluto. So I said, okay, you can now spend your frequent flyer miles at my store. And now United let us throw a concert at 35,000 feet in the plane.
They played that video on every flight and millions of their customers some became my customers. I spent $0 and 0 cents to launch that business. I've done that with crowdfunding, for commercial real estate. I said okay, no one cares. That's a complicated concept. How do you get anybody care about?
And I said, okay, where can I find hundreds of journals that have nothing to write about? And it turns out that was the first year the Coachella went from one weekend to two weekends. So I go, okay. So there's 600 journals that had a bunch of stuff to do one weekend, sit in Palm Springs with nothing to do for five days and another weekend.
[00:38:00] So I went to hard rock hotel where I said we're going to crowdfund your remodel and they go, we don't need a remodel. I go, you need a remodel. There's a free million dollars. What would you do with it? And suddenly everybody writes about it. Launches the business and the business gets millions of customers.
Hala Taha: Wow. That's incredible. Such good examples there. Just switching gears a bit, something else that you talk about is visioning. Why do you think visioning is so crucial when we have our next business idea and what are your tips to do it effectively?
Jay Samit: So I hope, my examples and how I think that you can pretty much tell are not some hippy dippy, mystic.
Okay. I'm very practical, but here's one of the things that I writing disrupt you. I looked at all the research and it turns out that expression, the power of positive thinking is absolutely true when you are in a positive mind frame when I start each day with two [00:39:00] affirmations today can be better than yesterday and I have the power to make it.
And just by looking in the mirror and saying that as silly as that sounds, here's what happens physiologically. It lights up the synaptic nerves in your brain and you release dopamine. So you actually are doing the same thing as if you were using drugs. And it puts you in a positive state of mind. When you're in a positive state of mind, you're more likable.
You'll have a better love life. You'll close, more sales, you're seen as more intelligent it goes on and on. Conversely, when you're in that negative funk, you can see opportunity. We all work with that person that comes in every day with a cloud over them, oh, this is wrong. This is wrong. They're never going to get out of their own way.
So you have to start with picturing that end state picture, that goal. Arnold Schwartzenegger. Before it became Mr. Universe, he [00:40:00] pictured himself up on that stage. Most Olympiads picture themselves on the platform with a metal going around their neck. They see it, they visualize it sets in their mind.
And then you can take that vision, whatever that is and work backwards from that. I want to be a doctor. Okay. That pretty much means, I guess I have to get to med school and how do I get to med school? And you work backwards to those steps. You don't have to know every step in the journey to start the journey.
You just have to know where you're heading. And guess what, if you don't have a goal of where you want to be in five years, you're not going to get anywhere. You'll be exactly where you are right now. And what could be sadder than that.
Hala Taha: Totally something that we didn't touch on yet that I just want to give some insights to
my listeners is the fact that you started a business at one point, I think for your special effects where you started a business, but you weren't even the CEO, you gave yourself like a low [00:41:00] position and you say that, in order to succeed, you need insight and perseverance and everything else can be hired. So can you just unpack that for us?
Jay Samit: Yeah. So as you would say, a lot to unpack there. Yeah. So you only need two things. You only need that insight, that vision. Okay. And then don't quit. So back to that story of wanting to get in special effects. So I now figured out everything that I wanted to do. And so I started a company that was called Jasmine productions, J Alan Samit, and it's mine, and I realized at 21-22.
There's nobody going to hire me for their multi-million dollar feature film to come to 21 year old, special effects company in Hollywood. But if I had this giant company most likely the sales guy out there would be some young people that we hired. So why don't I just wrap that all in one and some, I started my first company with a $1 investment.
I printed business cards and I didn't make myself the head of the [00:42:00] company. So I could go out and talk about this great company. And it was really amazing. Instantly got work on these different pictures that I knew absolutely nothing about how to do, but the second I had the business, then I could hire people that would rather have a paycheck.
Then run a company. And once you realized that any expertise can be hired, you don't have to know how to do everything that most people just want to show up and do their job and go home that they don't have that fire in their belly to build something. The world is just so easy. And then you just suddenly set greater sites.
So back to your other question of whoa, I don't have the contacts. There's always a way to get to know somebody. I had the privilege. The intro to my book is written by Reid Hoffman. I had the privilege to work with Reed and help them launch LinkedIn. There's no greater tool to instantly know who holds every job at every place.
And you [00:43:00] can reach out to people and you don't reach out and go, Hey, give me money or Hey, hire me. They reach out and go. I saw this article and I thought you'd be interested or some other way to start a conversation. And you'll find so many people are willing to help you. So many people are willing to give their expertise to be advisors to your startups, to join your boards, to point you in the direction, to just have the validation that their knowledge and their life had, meaning that they want to help the next generation.
And that is so empowering to realize again, that you're just one click away from anybody that you want to reach. So all you have to figure out is how to make that happen. It's like unwrapping of the present, there's a gift inside. You just have to take the wrapping paper off.
Hala Taha: So inspiring. Thanks so much.
Let's move on to how the world is changing. In terms of the way we work. People are calling AI, robotics and automation, the fourth industrial revolution. How do you [00:44:00] envision these technologies changing the way that we work?
Jay Samit: As I said, half of all jobs are going to disappear over the next decade. And for anybody that thinks it's that it's hyperbole.
Let's take a instant journey back a hundred years ago, a hundred years ago, half of all people in the U S lived on farms and they made food for the other half that lived in cities, two inventions, irrigation, and the tractor. And today less than 2% of people in the United States are on farms. And not only do they feed a hundred million people, but they feed the rest of the world by exporting.
So if you think about it, if half the people used to be, and only 2% are doing it, half the people in the US lost their jobs happens that we had the industrial revolution. So they all went and worked at factories, et cetera. We know that story. Today, anything that can be automated will be automated. The number one job in the U S is a truck driver.
There won't be truck drivers. Amazon's now taken it where there have a robot that can load and unload trucks. [00:45:00] Amazon has robots and move stuff around the parking. We have drones that will deliver self-driving cars. We have self-driving freighters that take stuff across the oceans that are unloaded by robotic cranes that go in and load into self-driving trucks that take it to stores and distribution centers.
So those jobs are going AI on the other hand is taking anything that's basically knowledge-based and can do it better. God forbid you have cancer and you go to a radiologist, maybe in his life. He's seen 2000 patients and he seen 2000 scans. IBM Watson has seen every scan of, tens of millions of people and can 99.999 accuracy instantly know what they're seeing.
And the same thing can be said, law firms no longer need tons of lawyers. AI can write most contracts. You don't longer lead comptrollers and lots of accountants, the large accounting firms and all that will be downsized. So you're going to have tons of people. Losing their [00:46:00] jobs. And so one of the reasons why I'm spending whatever time I have left on this planet, teaching people how to be successful is
all of this means we're eroding the middle class and you can't have a democracy without a strong middle class. So if you like living in a world, filled with democracies instabilities, you better thank the entrepreneur because they're the only ones creating jobs. So at the same time, the many jobs are disappearing.
Many new ones can be created, no one really should spend their entire time on this planet. Doing a mundane task over and over again, that could be automated. Nobody was born to flip burgers for 50 years. I'm not putting that job down. It's not beneath somebody, but how great would it be if we could free people from the mundane and let them do something?
More inspiring, more challenging, more human and humane. So we're going to see with climate change, more refugees moving in [00:47:00] populations moving as different countries are affected differently. In many countries will no longer be able to grow the food, to feed their own populations. So we're going to have huge existential problems that need to be solved.
And yet the heavy lifting of what those tools are of the AI systems, the neural networks, the robotics and everything. Those have been designed already. You don't have to invent. You don't have to be some, Einstein to do it. And I'll give you again, one of my favorite examples, God forbid your child's born missing a limb or a hand.
Think of what their life is like. Think of when they go to school of how they're different and kids pick on them and they withdraw and their personality and their whole path is changed because of a minor disability. People that I know, looked at that. And they looked at 3d printers that were so cheap.
So most kids don't get a prosthetic because they grow so fast and prosthetics are very expensive that they don't get them till they're teenagers or adults when their personality [00:48:00] has now been formed and altered. So they 3d print for about $15, amazing prosthetics the work, but they were entrepreneurs that took a one step further.
They said, how can we take this disability and turn it into something special. And so they went to Disney and they licensed iron man. And frozen and star wars and made the coolest prosthetics for young people. And so now, instead of being the kid that nobody wants to play with, they go, oh, I want iron man on our team.
And I want to give my talks at universities. I show a video of this beautiful young woman who had no forearms that has two of these prosthetic hands, these low cost prosthetic hands that are beautiful. And she plays classical piano. Concerto. And there's not a dry eye in the room. That was an entrepreneur.
They didn't invent the 3d printer. They saw problem. And they applied it to that problem.
Hala Taha: That's so [00:49:00] inspiring. Let's go back to the fact that you said that the middle-class is inevitably going to shrink as these technologies come on, board and jobs are going to stop being available for people and essentially people are going to need to be re-skilled.
So what are the types of skills that you think that people are going to have to take on in order to have job security in the future?
Jay Samit: Okay. So I think we can all agree whether you like it or not, your career will be disrupted and doesn't matter what stage you are. There's tons of people that were like, oh, I work for this big company.
I worked for Kodak and want to work there forever disappears. Or I worked with this retail chain. It's been the retail tsunami is as tens of thousands of chains just closed. So how do you protect yourself? So disruption isn't about what happens to you. It's about how you respond to what happens to you.
Number one, Going to college for four years, which I think is important. It's not for everybody, but that's not going [00:50:00] to arm you for the rest of your life. With knowledge, nothing makes me matter than the following statistic. The majority of college graduates in the United States never read another book.
Let that sink in for a second. You spend more on a mocha hotdog latte, whatever than you do on books each week, you have to commit to lifelong learning. The world is changing. No, one's going to employ you, work with you unless your skills are the best that they can find. And your knowledge is current I'm in my fifties, if you came to me and I was a doctor, and I told you I haven't learned anything since medical school, 30 years ago.
You'd run out of the office, even if you were sick and dying. Okay. That's what you have to look at with your career. You were going to be constantly involving you're not going to have one job, one career, you're going to do many things and you're going to have to constantly learn. Number two, if you're not going to be at one job for 4 years and getting that gold [00:51:00] watch, that means you're going to always be
in the market to a new job in a new skill and a changing world, which means you have to learn how to market yourself. You have to become the brand of one and personal branding through social media, through LinkedIn, through Instagram, through so many tools. We see all these people that became influencers and then actually became businesses.
Kylie Jenner's the youngest self-made. Billionaire. And it's not because she was a Kardashian. It's not because she's beautiful. There's other people that are beautiful. There's other people that are famous. She took that and turned it into a business. So how do you become a brand of one? How do you find and build your tribe?
Whether it's locally or internationally? It is so easy to find that. And so if you start looking at your life as being in permanent beta, Then it's a fun challenge and a [00:52:00] fun game. And it also means you never have to get bored. So I'll pre guess a question, which is how do you know when to leave your job?
If you're at a job where you're learning, where you're growing, where there is more skills that you could pick up. Stay there and absorb it. Think of it that you're going to grad school, but somebody paying you to attend it. Okay. If on the other hand, you're at a job where you are an automaton where you're just doing the same rote mundane thing over and over again.
And there's no chance for you to change that. It's time for you to move on. So plan your exit plan, what you want to do next figure out. What those skills are and what's driving you. Where is that go? Where do you want to be five years from now? Where do you want to be 10 years from now? How do you get there?
And now life becomes an adventure and it's fun.
Hala Taha: Awesome. This was incredible. Honestly, you went through so many gems for our listeners. I'm sure everyone's going to have [00:53:00] to listen to this two or three times to get everything out of it before we go. Where can our listeners learn more about you? And maybe you could just talk about your workbook that you have that I think would be a great asset for everyone to get their hands on.
Jay Samit: Sure. So it's easy to find Jay Samit, you can follow me anywhere on social media and Google all that. But Jay samit.com, J a Y S a M I T is my website. I post articles, daily motivation, all that, but I also have on their companion workbook to disrupt you. That's free. It's a 40 page workbook to ask you questions to push you along in your self disruption.
The most out of the book and really focus. And again, my goal in doing this wasn't to help me it's to pay it forward. So if I can help ease you in that journey to success, then, that's why I'm doing this.
Hala Taha: Thanks so much, Jay. It was a pleasure having you on.
Jay Samit: It's my pleasure to be here. Thanks for having me.
Hala Taha: Thanks for listening to [00:54:00] young and profiting podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, don't forget to write us a review on apple podcasts or wherever you listen to the show. Follow YAP on instagram @youngandprofiting and check us out at youngandprofiting.com. You can chat us live with us every single day on YAP society on slack.
Check out our show notes on youngandprofiting.com for the registration link. You can find me on Instagram @YAPwithhala or LinkedIn, just search for my name, Hala Taha. Big thanks to the YAP team for another successful episode. This week, I'd like to give a special thanks to our producer, Stephanie Avila. She's been dedicated to research on the podcast for the past year, and now is leading the charge for a new YAP podcast network series.
We're really excited about it and details are coming soon. This is Hala signing off.
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