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Rand Fishkin SparkToro

Hey everyone! In today’s episode, I share the mic with Rand Fishkin, the Co-Founder of SparkToro, a service that helps you find all the proper outlets through which to reach your target demographic. This is his second time being a guest on Growth Everywhere! Check out the first episode with him here!

Tune in to hear Rand talk about why the “Wizard of Moz” decided to leave Moz, how he helped grow the company 50% YoY, how he started his own software company a month later, and why the venture model may not work for every company.

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GB 110 - Book recommendation warren buffett and the interpretation of financial statements

Today I’ve got another book recommendation: Warren Buffett and the Interpretation of Financial Statements.

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sohin shahHi everyone, today we’re talking to Sohin Shah, co-founder of iFunding, one of the leading real estate crowd funding platforms in the world. iFunding started three years ago when there wasn’t any kind of proof of concept for the real estate crowd funding industry, but now it’s a thriving company that’s done $40 million worth of business.

iFunding’s Background & User Growth

“To be completely candid with you Eric, when we started off, a lot of individuals though of this as something that would turn into sham,” said Sohin.

When Sohin and his co-founder started iFunding, there wasn’t any example of a company doing real estate crowd funding successfully, or even making any kind of successful exit from it.

Because of this, the two of them had to do the ground work of defining the industry and finding a solution to a problem that lots of investors face, which is investing in real estate with direct investments instead of leads.

They started out with smaller fundraisers for single-family homes so they could get the money back to their investors in six to eight months, which was a total proof of concept for early adapters, who then spread the word to their friends and family.

As of today, iFunding has more than 7,000 accredited investors on their platform, and have raised over $40 million for real estate investments.

Their Unique Customer Acquisition Approach

Of their first 1,000 users, about half of them came from their personal networks. Once they launched, they sent an email to all their friends and family, which helped a lot.

But once their initial users started using the platform and seeing how well it worked, iFunding grew almost exclusively via word of mouth. In fact, they didn’t spend any money on marketing until a couple of months ago.

The other half of their first 1,000 users, Sohin says, came from events, writing guest posts, and educating their target audience about the industry in general.

Sohin says that because he and his co-founder have taken ownership to be representatives not only for their company and their platform, but for the industry as a whole, they’ve been able to attract interested investors to their platform.

iFunding’s Content Marketing Strategy

Recently, Sohin says he’s been writing a lot for Forbes, and just got approved as a contributor for Entrepreneur. Before, he wrote for some smaller-name publications, and he says content marketing has been working wonders for his company.

Last week, as an example, he had an article go live on Forbes which resulted in someone reaching out to him saying he was very fascinated with the story of how he got started and how the company was growing. He said he was interested in investing in iFunding as a company, and they’re in talks with him on making that happen.

If people like what they read, says Sohin, they’ll take the time and initiative to reach out to you.

Getting on Forbes & Coming up With Story Ideas

Sohin says that he spent eight solid mont writing cold emails and pitches to editors of top publications, and they always fell on deaf ears. He finally got help in learning how to put together pitches and had one article published to serve as a basis so the editors would take him seriously.

In short, becoming a contributor for a top-name publication isn’t easy.

To come up with story ideas, Sohin makes sure he writes down everything he learns throughout the day, even if it’s just a brief few phrases.

Towards the weekend, he goes to a picturesque waterfront coffee shop to expand on those thoughts and turn them into interesting story ideas he can pitch.

Dealing with Outsourcing

When Sohin and his co-founder created iFunding, they put all of their net worth into the company.

For this, they wanted to stay away from committing too much capital towards hiring, so he took a trip to India to meet with some friends and family and came across a passionate team who wee willing to work with them remotely.

The only challenge for them was the time difference, so Sohin wakes up everyday at 4 a.m. to go through what’s already been done and to set the vision for what needs to be done in the remainder of their day.

Even though the outsourcing created a great solution to meet their needs at the time, Sohin says he doesn’t see the company scaling on that model. They’re slowly trying to bring everything in-house and have hired an in-house CTO to move towards that goal.

Meditating: How & Why

Sohin meditates each day for 20 to 40 minutes, sometimes longer.

With a growing team, his responsibilities are increasing multi-fold, so he wants to make sure that no matter how overwhelmed he might get, his own personal stress doesn’t deflect on his team or the company in a negative way.

Biggest Struggle: Being Taken Seriously

Sohin says he didn’t have any kind of entrepreneurial experience before trying to fund iFunding.

Because of this, when he approached investors and potential partners, he found it difficult to be taken seriously.

The fact that iFunding was doing well and had a solid team helped out, but eventually he learned how to do the whole fundraising thing so he could get over those challenges.

Advice to Your 21-Year-Old Self

“Be comfortable being uncomfortable.”

One Productivity Hack

Sohin says it’s important to make sure you take time out for yourself, especially on the weekends.

He used to think that the more he worked, the better his company would perform, but he was totally burnt out after 18 months, and the burn out got in the way of him doing his job correctly.

As a rule, unless there’s something urgent, he says that if it’s 5 pm on Friday, it’s time for him to step out of the office and explore new activities.

If you want to keep your ‘off time’ productive, Sohin says you can use the time to develop new skills. He took public speaking classes over the weekends, which provided a good distraction from thinking about iFunding 24/7 and helped him develop a skill set he never had before.

One Must-Read Book

Sohin recommends Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff… and It’s All Small Stuff.

He says it has advice on everything from management, to leading a team, to being an entrepreneur.

If You Want to Get Started on iFunding

After a person meets accreditation standards, the iFunding accepts investments at $5,000 minimums, unless it’s on a multi-million dollar deal, which the minimum raises to $10,000, just because of the limits of the number of possible investors.

On average, you get your money back in six to 12 months with a 12% to 14% return on your money.

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engelo rumoraHey everyone, today we’re talking with Engelo Rumora, founder of Ohio Cash Flow, Rumora Construction, and Venticap. He’s overflowing with passion about what he does in the real estate world, and his advice on being disciplined enough to be committed to numbers to achieve success is really practical and inspiring.

A High School Dropout Reads a Book that Changes His Life

Engelo was a soccer superstar at a young age, and one of the main reasons he had for dropping out of high school was to commit to the sport, become a professional, and achieve success that way.

He did become a professional at age 18, but didn’t quite achieve the level of success he wanted, so he had to stop playing to find an alternate path to make a living. And since he didn’t have any formal education, it was working on construction sites.

But when a friend gave him the book Rich Dad Poor Dad, he says he became brainwashed by what the book said and he started looking into and learning about assets, business, finance, real estate, and so on.

He started going to loads of personal development seminars where he met all kinds of interesting people, one in particular who was a successful real estate investor who kind of became his mentor. He took Engelo under his wing as his real estate apprentice for a couple of years, and taught him how to buy, sell and negotiate – giving him a solid foundation in real estate knowledge.

The only drawback was that the real estate market in Australia was really expensive at the time, so he didn’t see becoming a real estate professional there as a feasible option and started to look elsewhere.

He noticed that the USA’s real estate market was on its knees because of the depressed economy, making real estate prices there super low. So he combined his real estate knowledge with his knowledge from working on construction sites, and moved to the US to start flipping houses and making money.

Ohio Cash Flow’s Revenues – $1.5 Million in the First Year

Ohio Cash Flow wasn’t founded until April 2014, and just one year later, they’ve done over $1.5 million in revenue and have bought, sold, and fixed over 40 properties.

The Driver Behind Ohio Cash Flow’s Wild Success

“Doing the small things consistently and on a daily basis will just make the big things fall into place,” says Engelo.

To become successful, Engelo says it’s all about showing up to the office every day and really committing to the numbers.

Before Ohio Cash Flow even started, he and his team showed up every day for 10 months to cold call, email and go to meetings and got nowhere before they had their breakthrough moment.

Naming Your Business for SEO

Engelo said that when he was picking out the name for his business, he wanted to make sure that it was catchy and that it would be something Google would recognize.

He didn’t necessarily care about limiting his geographic base to Ohio because he wanted to be known as a market expert there, and cash flow is exactly what they do: they offer tun-key cashflow properties for their investors.

He says that the SEO from Google is wonderful, and that they’re number one in searches for their target keywords due to their domain name and on-site content.

Staying Energetic

Engelo stays insanely energetic throughout the entire interview, but he says that his energy comes from the fact that he’s found his purpose in life, and he gets to wake up and work towards it everyday.

Giving his advice about finding your own purpose, he says it can’t come from money or yourself – it has to be something bigger and something you truly believe in. He believes in his purpose so much that he doesn’t even hit the snooze button in the morning.

Real Estate Trends in 2015 for Newbie Investors

According to Engelo, people invest in real estate so they can supplement their current income, and the number one reason they go after real estate as an investment is the cash flow.

But, he says, simply buying a property and hoping it will increase in value isn’t a sound investment strategy… no one knows if it will increase or not, so it’s important to take the time to run the numbers and see if they make sense.

For a newbie investor, Engelo advises that you should make sure you’re getting at least a 10% return on your money. If the deal doesn’t provide that, look elsewhere.

Customer Acquisition Advice: Be Different

Engelo says that in the real estate world, he feels that Ohio Cash Flow is so successful because they’re different from other real estate investing businesses.

They keep their customer base exclusive and don’t work with everyone, but they also don’t do hard sales towards their customer base… they simply present who they are, what they have, the services they provide, and let those who are interested come knocking on their door.

He says Ohio Cash Flow offers turnkey, hands-off properties that already have tenants, and they handle all the property management, from maintenance, to repairs, to eviction when necessary, and so on.

With that, they’ve also got strong, color-based branding, produce tip of the day videos, and focus on quality over quantity.

The Biggest Struggle in Growing a Real Estate Business

In real estate, Engelo says it’s always either one of three things:

  1. Having money, but no properties or good deals available to invest in.
  2. Having properties available, but no money to buy them.
  3. Having buyers, but no properties to offer them.

Right now, he says he has buyers lined up, but doesn’t have enough inventory to present to them.

Advice to His 21-Year-Old Self

“Be patient. Wait for the right deal to come along, and only purchase it when the numbers in that deal suit your end goal.”

When he was younger, he said he jumped the gun and bought properties that ended up costing him years of financial hardship.

He had $1.4 million in debt when he was in Australia, and said it was awful. Today, he only buys with cash.

One Productivity Hack

“Don’t hit snooze when your alarm goes off.”

This too, Engelo says comes down to the numbers.

If you get an extra 30 minutes per day, five days per week, for 52 weeks per year, that’s a lot of time. (It amounts to 130 hours – which is 16.25 eight-hour workdays – more than three weeks of working time!)

One Must-Read Book

How to Win Friends and Influence People because it teaches you how to work and talk with people.

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Why neil patel pays $30,000 for content and gives it away for free (& MUCH more)

Today I’m talking to Neil Patel, one of my mentors who’s ran many successful companies and is a rock star of the internet marketing world.

We tried to avoid the typical questions he gets asked during interviews, and instead dive deeper into topics like mentoring, business partnerships, and what it was like to be in the trenches of a startup no one wanted to fund, but turned into a huge success.

A Young, Naive Entrepreneur Learns Internet Traffic Isn’t Easy to Come By

At just 16 years old, Neil knew he wanted to be an entrepreneur. He started a job board website that was an exact, yet terrible,  replica of

He said there were no job postings or companies willing to pay for job postings. He realized he needed traffic to his site, so he hired a few internet marketing firms to do the work. They took his money, but didn’t drive any traffic.

Since he was just a kid with a minimum-wage job who couldn’t afford to keep throwing money at marketing firms, he didn’t have any other choice but to learn how to do marketing on his own.

“I got into the business I am right now because I thought when you put up a website, people just come to the website, and it magically becomes popular,” he said.

He became an internet marketing expert, and then got into making software for internet marketing because he realized consulting wasn’t scalable.

Why He Stopped Consulting But Still Does Speaking Engagements

Consulting isn’t scalable, and neither is speaking, but Neil still takes on speaking engagements for purposes other than the events and conferences in and of themselves.

Rather than speaking in the US, he prefers to speak overseas so he can know and understand different cultures and how they do business.

Even though the US has a high GDP, the majority of the population is elsewhere and other countries are developing at a quick pace. By getting to know other people and learning their cultures, it helps him expand his businesses into new territories when the time comes.

For example, in a recent trip to Tel Aviv, he learned what a great location it is to set up a sales office.

Because the labor is inexpensive, there’s a hard-working and competitive culture, and there’s immigrants there from all over, you can effectively target most of Europe via Tel Aviv at 1/4 the cost of having a sales office in the US.

Other Ways for Entrepreneurs to Learn from the World Around Them: Local Events

Neil suggests for entrepreneurs to go to networking events, local meet ups and conferences as the quickest place to get feedback on their ideas and their product development.

“I think knowledge is the one thing in this world that is really priceless,” he says. “The more I learn, the better off my businesses are going to do.”

As an example, Neil said he loves going to healthcare and financial events because those entrepreneurs think differently than the tech-based startup ecosystem, and getting different perspectives that can be leveraged in a startup can be very valuable.

What He’s Learned as a Business Advisor: Why Startups Fail

By sitting on different boards, Neil sites two key problems entrepreneurs have when it comes to growth:

  1. They’re stuck in their own ways: Too many times, well-meaning entrepreneurs have their heads stuck in the sand developing their products, but don’t actually get out to talk to people outside of their own customer base. Because of this, they lose insight on what’s happening in the marketplace or places where their business should pivot to optimize their success.
  2. They don’t execute fast enough: They are busy people, but they let busyness get in their way, not necessarily realizing that the thing they’re putting off could be a total game changer by immediately increasing their revenues by 30%, opening up more cash to expand.

Helping as a Mentor: Why He Wanted to Help Eric

“You were aggressive, in which you just kept pestering me and I don’t mean that in a bad way,” said Neil to Eric. “Pestering is probably a bad word. You were persistent.”

In the course of time that led up to Neil deciding to take Eric on as a mentee, Eric was constantly messaging Neil with short, to-the-point emails that contained sophisticated, non-basic questions – asking just one question at a time, making it easier for Neil to reply.

After getting to know him a bit through email exchanges, Neil saw potential in Eric so he decided to help him out and took things a little further by suggesting they do a 30 minute call together.

He said he was willing to give up some of his free time, because deciding what to do with your free time (whether helping someone or watching a TV show), has an effect on your future. Because he saw the potential, he knew it might not pay off immediately, but they may be able to work together and turn a profit in two to three years.

The key takeaway to getting a mentor, says Neil, is to be persistent, but to also try to be equal.

At the same time that Eric was asking him questions to help his business, he was also trying to help Neil’s. For example, he gave Neil suggestions on ads by comparing his ads to someone else’s and showing him the statistics.

Even though he didn’t take much of Eric’s help in the beginning, he did appreciate it.

High-Level Content Production on Quick Sprout

Neil says reaching a high level of content production is all about streamlining the process from coming up with topics, outlining them, and cranking them out. He suggests two posts he’s written on Quick Sprout about coming up with ideas and quickly creating powerful content (see resources below).

“You’ve got to go above and beyond,” says Neil. “So much that no one’s willing to copy you.”

As an example, he creates guides to educate his audience that take a ridiculous amount of design time, making the content far too time-consuming to replicate. Banking on your own hard work and other peoples’ laziness is one way to differentiate yourself to get a fair amount of traffic.

With his streamlined process, he’s able to put out 30,000 to 40,000 word guides within just two months: While it’s being written, there’s someone taking care of the proofreading, then that chapter gets sent to design while the next one is being written.

In all, he spends around $30,000 just to complete one of these guides.

So… Why Does He Give $30,000 Guides Away for Free?

“It’s a marketing experiment, right?” he says. “I like learning and the quickest way I learn is by spending money.”

“Some of it’s also ego as well,” he goes on. “I do want to brand myself as a great marketer.”

Giving all this great content away for free is a sure-fire way for him to brand himself as a top internet marketing mastermind.

And, Why Exactly Does He Help People So Much?

Neil credits the success he has today to his early mentors who helped him out without expecting anything in return.

He wasn’t expecting their help, but the men who helped him were solid entrepreneurs.

So today, when Neil does mentoring or decides to help people, he doesn’t want anything for himself, he just wants to see other people succeed in the same way these men did for him.

The Batman & Robin Partnership: Neil Patel & Hiten Shah

Neil and Hiten met when they were both pretty young… and when Hiten married Neil’s sister.

In the beginning, they weren’t thinking about doing long-term business together, but they were both finding ways to grow and doing whatever they could to make more money.

Neil had a technical background and saw that Hiten was smart, studying business at UC Berkley. So they made the partnership.

Over the years, they’ve gotten to know each other’s work patterns and mindsets really well, to the point that it’s actually far more efficient for them to stay together as partners because their goals are very aligned.

But giving credit where credit is due, Neil says the success of the partnership has a lot to do with his sister acting as a go-between, giving hints to one when the other needs help with certain things.

“She’s actually the glue of our business partnership,” says Neil. He even cited an example of her working from the hospital while giving birth doing support emails for Crazy Egg. A lot of their work would not be possible without her.

The Work & Email Productivity Balance

Since both Neil and Hiten are both really great at responding to people via email, we were curious about what Neil had to say on this subject, since so many people swear off having their inbox open to boost their productivity.

“My whole workday is within my email,” said Neil. Elon Musk spends most of his time in emails, too.

The trick is not letting your emails sit around.

“When you open up your email,” advises Neil, “respond to it right away – don’t mark it and respond to it later. It creates inefficiencies and you’ll spend double to triple time on email.”

That Time When a Lawsuit Landed KISSmetrics in a Downward Spiral

At one point, KISSmetrics was in a lawsuit and at the center of an FTC investigation. (There were no problems, but the investigation came about due to bad press about privacy and had to be conducted.)

This cost Neil and Hiten a lot of money, their client list suffered, and they found themselves in a position where they needed to raise more money because they were getting really close to profitability before the lawsuit hit.

Unfortunately, no VC wants to provide funding to the company that’s in the middle of a lawsuit and and FTC investigation simultaneously.

Luckily for them, they had True Ventures, a good VC that knew them well and has always had their back.

But even though they found some cash to help pull them through, they still had to find ways to cut costs.

Because they needed to expand sales due to their lost customer base, their product suffered, they had downtime, and companies were complaining. They were in the middle of cutting costs when they started getting more customers, which overloaded their systems, so things started hanging and it became even harder to improve their product.

With a venture-backed startup, says Neil, there’s more stress to get it right and grow quickly than their is with a self-funded startup like Crazy Egg.

Fortunately though, they pulled through the fiasco and KISSmetrics is alive and well.

Hard Lessons Learned from an Instagram Press Project

At one point, a lot of Neil’s older, wealthy entrepreneur friends were telling him about Dan Bilzarian’s Instagram account and how they liked living vicariously through him.

He didn’t exactly want to replicate what Dan was doing because the vast majority of his posts were of half-naked women, but he did want to apply the same principles in an experiment to get more press.

It worked, the internet buzz about him almost doubled, but not without spending $70,000 and learning two key lessons.

  1. He realized that the vast majority of outreaches he was getting as a result of this publicity stunt weren’t from people who were qualified in business.
  2. He saw that the well-meaning men and women who were accusing him of sexism were right, so he quickly changed what he was doing.

He’s calmed the experiment down a bit, but still invests $13,000 per month in having people post about him.

Investing: What Has Worked Well & What Hasn’t

When comes down to it, Neil says he’s best at investing in himself and crating software products for SMBs, so that’s what he does. Right now, all of his cash flow goes into his products.

He says he’s done alright with angel investing, but he won’t make a killing on it. He missed out on the chance to be an investor for AirBNB and a few more startups that turned into $5 to $10 billion companies.

Because he’s not very good at predicting which companies will make it big, he prefers to stay away from giving other people money for their ideas and instead invest in his own.

A Piece of Advice to His 21-Year-Old Self

“Invest in yourself and focus,” he says. “One problem, one company, and then grow from there.”

Why Elon Musk is His Idol

“The way he thinks is so out there,” says Neil. “He makes other peoples’ dreams into reality. And I just love the way he thinks. You need people like that in this world to think like that, or else there’s going to be no more growth.”

One Must-Read Book

Neil recommends The Dip by Seth Godin because it tells people when to stick with their idea and when too quit. He thinks this book is helpful because too many people don’t know when to bail out of a business – even himself.

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Hey guys, today’s interview is with Joe Fairless, who runs a really popular real estate investing podcast. In this episode, we’re going to talk about real estate investing, investing in general, and how you can get started with real estate investing. There’s a lot to learn here: both about investing and creating a successful business.

Joe also shares an exclusive discount for Growth Everywhere listeners on his Create a No Fail Biz Model Course, so stay tuned.

Climbing the Corporate Ladder Leads to the Desire for Something More

Fresh out of college with his crisp, new advertising degree, Joe moved from Texas to New York City so he could work alongside and compete with the best of the best in advertising. He started out as a junior product manager, and before long was the youngest VP at an NYC advertising agency, all before the age of 30.

But as a fan of Tony Robbins, he was familiar with the six basic human needs, and felt like his career in advertising wasn’t meeting the last two for him: he wanted to feel like he was growing and contributing to something that was meaningful to him on a personal level, and advertising wasn’t cutting it.

His first endeavor to start his own thing was a bit of a flop, though.

He wanted to offer consulting to college students to help them climb the corporate ladder quickly like he did. But after investing $2,000 to $3,000 in a cool website, he realized that college students don’t have the cash on hand to pay a consultant.

Lesson learned: Make sure your customers can pay for your services.

After that though, he launched Fairless Investing, which now controls $7 million by raising money with investors to buy apartment communities. Alongside this business, he’s also got a podcast called The Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever where he interviews successful real estate investing professionals and uncovers their best advice.

Get 80% off Joe’s Create a No Fail Biz Model Course by using the code “growth”

If You Want to Invest in a Property that Costs $1 Million, How do You Raise Equity for a Down Payment?

As an investor that initially started with four single-family homes and then made the bold move from that to a full-blown apartment complex with 168 units, Joe says, “If you want to get there, you will get there.”

According to him, there’s lots of different ways to raise the funds, from hard money to crowd funding to bringing in investors.

“First and foremost, people invest in you,” he cautions. “You have to be a credible, trustworthy person with a track record of responsibility.” It also helps if you’ve got the perfect storm for getting investors on your side:

  1. You know what you’re talking about.
  2. You’ve got the numbers to back up the deal.
  3. You’re presenting a unique opportunity.

He doesn’t site a “top 3 ways” to raise equity. Instead, he says his strategy is to develop relationships with people, have conversations about what their goals are, and finding properties based on their goals to open up the door for them to do business together.

Get 80% off Joe’s Create a No Fail Biz Model Course by using the code “growth”

When is the Right Time to Get Started in Real Estate Investing if You Want to Buy a Property?

Joe says the time to get involved in real estate investing is after you’ve read up on it, you know it makes sense to you financially, and it’s something you’d enjoy from a time commitment standpoint.

He got started by reading Investing for Dummies in 2006 or 2007 because he simply wanted to know how to invest his money once he had money to invest.

While reading the book, he gravitated towards real estate because he liked the fundamentals surrounding it, it was comfortable for him, and he didn’t see much traction in stocks and bonds investing.

How Much Can You Make From a Real Estate Investment?

“With each property,” says Joe, “you should anticipate making a minimum of 10% on your money.” Though it does vary based on what you buy and how you buy it.

If you’re putting a deal together as a syndicator, Joe lists 3 ways you can make money:

  1. Collecting an acquisition or organization fee, which is usually 1% to 5% of the total purchase price.
  2. Charging an asset management fee, which is based on the assets being controlled.
  3. Having equity in the deal, which is typically an 8% preferred return, meaning investors get the return before you do, and then you split the profits above that by 50/50.

How Starting a Podcast Helped His Business

Joe started a podcast first and foremost because he can meet successful real estate professionals through it and learn from them.

His podcast gives him a valid reason to reach out to them and request their time, and in turn, they get more exposure for their businesses.

He’s also noticed that the network connections with some of the most famous real estate investors out there has made him more valuable to his clients, and it’s something he’ll also be able to collect sponsorship money for in the future.

To top it all off, it’s helped him get more clients and turned him on to being involved in online communities like Bigger Pockets, where he’s been able to meet some of the members offline.

The Best Pieces of Real Estate Advice from Joe’s Podcast

  1. There’s not a lot of land flippers out there, but it is a profitable business.
  2. Lease option is your BFF: it’s a great way to sell a property in a difficult market, and a great help in getting around a pre-payment penalty from a lender when someone needs to sell.
  3. A master lease with option to purchase releases the owner of management responsibilities while there’s a down payment agreed upon between the two parties so the owner has some kind of immediate takeaway.

The Biggest Mistake He Sees in Real Estate Investing

The single biggest mistake Joe says he’s seen in the real estate investing world is people not educating themselves or seeking guidance from the right people. Rather that cite handfuls of blunders that differ depending on the type of real estate investing at hand, he says misinformation (or lack of information) is what they all boil down to.

Citing Tony Robbins again, one of his favorite quotes from the author is “success leaves clues.”

He says the only way he was able to get to his own level of success fairly quickly was by finding investors who were already successful at what he wanted to do, reaching out to them, paying them for their time and advice, and rode on their coat tails as they helped him make it happen.

Get 80% off Joe’s Create a No Fail Biz Model Course by using the code “growth”

How a Newbie Can Get Started

Joe admits that real estate investing is a very broad category, and the type of real estate investing you get into depends heavily upon your own personality.

For total beginners, he suggests reading Investing for Dummies to find which type of investing resonates with you and then dig deeper into the subject from there.

For more information beyond the book, he suggest the Bigger Pockets website where there’s plenty of advice on all types of real estate investing – it’s also where you can start to figure out who the successful investors are that you want to look up to so you can reach out to them and partner with them if possible.

The Biggest Struggle of Starting a Real Estate Business

Raising money.

Before Joe started Fairless Investing, he’d never raised a penny for anything, let alone enough to purchase an apartment community.

He learned as he went along and suggests for new investors to keep a spreadsheet with one column for each network they’re a part of. When the time comes to raise money, your goal is to get one person from each column interested.

This way, you can name-drop in your conversations with other potential investors by telling them that [Certain Person] is either also interested or totally on board.

Another hard lesson he learned was to raise more money than you think you need, because people will let you down and back out of deals. So when push comes to shove, it’s best to have some people waiting on the sidelines rather than scrambling to cover all that money by yourself.

Create a No Fail Biz Model – The Most Highly-Rated Class on Skillshare

From all the things he’s learned from launching Fairless Investing, Joe’s put together a business model course in video form to help people with existing businesses or who have a new startup idea.

It’s a step-by-step guide for structuring a company so it can be the best in its class from exceeding customer expectations to making your business profitable.

It’s been the most highly rated class on Skillshare, and Joe’s giving an 80% discount on it to Growth Everywhere listeners: use the code “growth” on The Joe Fairless Academy website to redeem the savings

Get 80% off Joe’s Create a No Fail Biz Model Course by using the code “growth”

Advice to 25-Year-Old Joe

If Joe could step back in time to give himself advice at 25 years old, he’d say, “It’s important to give before your receive.”

He also says, “I would tell myself to focus on self-improvement… it’s crazy how that pays exponential dividends whenever you do that.”

His Best Productivity Hack

Joe hangs a small, $10 whiteboard in his workspace where he writes down his goals for the month.

Each month, before it begins, he lists out his monthly goals and puts a blank check box beside each one.

He says it’s been an incredibly useful tool in driving his focus for the month, boosting his productivity for month-long goals.

One Must-Read Book

Joe recommends Crucial Conversations, which teaches you how to approach conversations, especially when the stakes of those conversations are very high.

He says the key takeaway is to approach any conversation with mutual purpose so you can tear away what you and the other party disagree and build upon the one thing you both want to get out of the conversation. He recommends it as a great negotiating approach for real estates, as well as life and relationships.

Resources from this Interview:

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Connect with Eric Siu:

SunilPaul_SidecarJoin us as we talk with Sidecar Co-founder and CEO, Sunil Paul.  A serial entrepreneur, Sunil is the Founding Partner of the cleantech venture fund Spring Ventures, an angel Investor in LinkedIn and Co-founder of Brightmail. He helped found Sidecar with an intention to change the world and make owning a car obsolete.

Keypoint Takeaways: 

Differentiating your product in a competitive marketplace

Although Sidecar is similar to Lyft and Uber, there are key differences. Sidecar pioneered a new category within an emerging market where drivers can set own prices and showcase what they’re capable of while competing for the best price. Meanwhile, riders get to choose the driver they want. The result is an ultra-competitive pricing model where The Wall Street Journal compared  the company against Uber X, Lyft, and local taxis and declared Sidecar the winner.

Sidecar’s business model also creates price transparency. Riders know the price before they take the trip and drivers can choose the rates they set. Unlike Uber, Sidecar also doesn’t employ a surge pricing system allowing even more control for the customer booking the ride.

First 100 customers

Sunil and the rest of the Sidecar team used their existing networks to land their first 100 customers while testing the product. The University of Michigan was also part of the founding team, giving them access to an entire campus of ready and willing customers.

Today, Sidecar’s user acquisition largely spreads word-of-mouth with the boost of a referral system. New customers can also pick up a $5 coupon and help circulate the code to other interested riders looking for an excuse to sign-up. Sunil estimates there are thousands of active drivers across 10 cities during any particular week.

Innovation wins markets, not money

Sidecar’s biggest challenge are competitors with lots of capital ready to spend. But Sunil dismisses the idea that a start-up can’t compete with a marketplace full of big business money. Sidecar’s strategy was designed around the idea innovation wins markets. While it’s true money can overwhelm a market, they don’t just win because they have money. Instead, winning start-ups develop, deploy and get the word out about their product or service.

Alternating terror and elation

Sunil is an old pro at founding and running a start-up. Sidecar is the 3rd company he’s founded and run, but he’s also been involved as an investor in dozens of companies. Every single experience has alternating fits of terror and elation. Sunil’s everyday normal is one minute thinking things are falling apart to the next it going to the moon.

Sidecar is the biggest opportunity Sunil’s ever chased with a huge marketplace. He predicts Sidecar will make smartphones so capable we won’t need a car anymore. But a big concept takes a connected leader and team. Sunil talks about how CEO’s need the ability to articulate a vision for where you’re headed and build a team that connect with that vision and actually care about it.

It also takes unified motivation to keep a start-up going. The team at Sidecar strives to make the world a better place. Sunil says its the core to the DNA of almost every employee and that motivation helps push the company to new levels. It also doesn’t hurt if your team genuinely likes each other and wants to spend time together even outside of work.

Predictable company cycles

Sunil has worked in enough start-ups to predict company cycles. Every start-up has a phase of developing an idea, testing them, figuring out whether or not they work and iterating on those ideas. Sometimes entrepreneurs have to go back and re-strategize to be more disruptive in the industry.

Sunil reflects on his experience at BrightMail where they needed to introduce new capabilities to make a bigger impact on the marketplace. Recently Sidecar released Back-to-Back rides to build on their services and further differentiate themselves from competitors.

Expanding on the startup cycle, Sunil walks through how a startup can thrive where big business gets stuck. Sidecar is maniacally focused on how what they’re doing fits the market needs instead of getting tangled in internal politics and bureaucracy.

The blurred line of work-life balance

Being an older entrepreneur also has its advantages. Sunil exudes a calm demeanor that most startup founders seem to lack. He explains that entrepreneurs are obsessed with their business and can think of little else. But being a seasoned entrepreneur means the advantage of perspective and knowing the importance of taking time for yourself, your loved ones, and understanding your place in the world.

Sunil is also realistic about the limitations of truly disconnecting. He estimates he’s only successfully 50% of the time in putting his phone and computer down to hang-out with his young twins and have a family dinner.

That unplugging concept also lends itself to focusing on one company at a time. Coming from an investment background with Spring Ventures, Sunil says it’s simply not possible to run a company like Sidecar and have attention diverted into other directions at the same time.

VC vs. CEO: What’s the real difference?

With a unique advantage of being successful as both a VC and CEO, Sunil can expand on the vast differences. Although both are time consuming, investing isn’t as intense and allowed more time with family. It’s also easier to put aside work at the end of the day and experience less frequent waves of terror and elation. At the end of the day, being a VC really means being in the business of managing a portfolio while being the CEO for Sidecar means changing the world for the better.


“Lean Startup” – Eric Ries writes on finding ways to test entrepreneurial vision, adapt and adjust to growth and change.

“Running Lean” – Ash Maurya writes about creating systematic processes for vetting product ideas and raising the odds for success.

Future Perfect: The Case For Progress In A Networked Age” – Steven Johnson looks at the new model of political change transforming everything from local government to health care.


Eric:  Hi everyone. Welcome to this week’s edition of Growth Everywhere where we interview entrepreneurs and bring you business and personal growth tips. Today we have Sunil Paul from Sidecar. Sunil how’re you doing today?

Sunil: I’m great. And how are you?

Eric: Doing well. Thanks for joining us. So Sunil, why don’t you tell us a little bit about your background and then we’ll go from there.

Sunil: Sure. I’m a serial entrepreneur. CEO of Sidecar. Sidecar is an app that allows people to connect with one another to give and get rides through a market place.

Eric: Got it. So, pretty much like Lyft and Uber?

Sunil: Similar accept that we’ve really pioneered a new category of having a market where drivers are able to set their own prices and show off what they’re capable of and riders choose the specific ride that they want. So, it sets up a dynamic where drivers are competing for the best price and that’s a very different kind of situation compared to other companies where those companies set the prices.

Eric: Interesting. I’ve used Sidecar in the past and did you guys just change this model recently?

Sunil: Yeah. This is within the last three months.

Eric: Wow! Okay cool. I’m going to start using Sidecar again.

Sunil: Yeah. Try it out. The Wall Street Journal reviewed us right after we launched this and compared us with Uberx, Lyft, and Taxis across different cities and declared us the winner. We’re the cheapest in most of those cities.

Eric: Got it. To me Sidecar was always Uberx before Uberx happened. So I’m going to be very excited to try it out. How do you guys, I’m sure you get this question all the time, how do you guys differentiate yourselves in terms of, I guess in terms of marketing, how do you differentiate yourselves from Lyft and Uber, besides the things you just talked about?

Sunil: Well those are the big things. There’s a couple of…The reason people use and love Sidecar is because there’s price transparency. You always know the price before you take your trip. Very different from competitors. And the second is that you have, because of the nature of our system the prices tend to be lower. And we don’t have a surge pricing system and prices are determined by the driver. They’re competing for your business. And so, as a result you’ve got all this control and a great price that you know up front.

Eric: Got it. Cool. So, we always like to talk about user acquisition on this podcast.

Sunil: Yeah.

Eric: How did you guys acquire your first one hundred customers?

Sunil: That’s a good question. You know, I think like a lot of startups it was just through reaching out to people we already knew. A hundred is such a number, you can run some ads, but you don’t actually need to run a lot of ads. It’s also, at a hundred you’re still in a test mode, at least from a consumer product and so a lot of it was just reaching out to existing networks. There’s a bunch of folks from the University of Michigan that are a part of Sidecar, a part of the founding team and so that helped a lot in reaching out to the University of Michigan crowd.

Eric: Got it. Cool. What’s working for you guys in terms of user acquisition today?

Sunil: You know, the biggest number one thing that works for us is word of mouth especially with the new version of Sidecar. People are spreading the word because it is a different experience than it used to be. And then the important second source of customer acquisition is our referral system, being able to circulate a code, being able to ask other people to try it out and I think they get a five dollar coupon.

Eric: Got it. Okay.

Sunil: And we do other things as well. Digital advertising and email marketing, etc., but if you ask, one of the big drivers is word of mouth and referrals.

Eric: Are you able to talk about the number of drivers you guys have today?

Sunil: Yes, we have thousands of drivers across ten different cities. Those are the number that are actually active in a particular week.

Eric: Okay. Got it. Obviously growing a business like this, I mean, Uber started like a “for fun” type of deal and obviously grew to the scale it’s at right now and I’m sure you guys are facing a lot of different problems too. Can you talk about one big struggle you face while growing Sidecar?

Sunil: Well, I’d say one of the biggest challenges has been that we have competitors with a lot of capital so we have really focused on a strategy that is capital efficient and one that is designed to win based on innovation and not just money. As you look at things we’ve done around marketplace, around our incentive programs, they are all organized around the idea that innovation tends to win these markets. There’s no question that money can overwhelm a particular market, but if you look at the history of successful companies they don’t win just because they have extra money. They win because they developed a ploy and get people do know about the best product.

Eric: Walking back to the whole; I know you guys changed your model three months ago, so what was your whole thought process behind that?

Sunil: In a lot of ways it was going back to the original vision that we had for Sidecar. When John and I were first kind of noodling on ideas, this idea of a marketplace was the early concept and in an effort to try to get things out and also to simplify it down to something we knew would be likely to work we built an interface and experience that was similar to what we’d seen with Uber Black. As we have continued to grow and frankly as we’ve seen growth and these large fundraising rounds from others we have really gone back to our roots of creating an experience, creating a marketplace that can really scale; and scale up to be the largest transportation marketplace, which is the ambition that we have.

Eric: Okay. Got it man. Was there any point in time where Sidecar was on the brink of failure? Was there any moment where you kind of had an “Oh Shit!” type of moment?

Sunil: This is the third company that I’ve founded and run and then I’ve been involved in…been an investor in lots of companies. Every single one of them has moments where…I describe startups as alternating fits of terror and elation. One minute your thinking, “Oh my God. The whole thing’s going to fall apart.” and the next minute you’re thinking, “Oh my God. This things going to the moon!”

And so, yeah, there are times at startups where you’re just not sure if it’s going to work and there are other times when, “Oh my God. This thing’s going to take over the world.” And both those things have happened at Sidecar and continue to happen in Sidecar. I think that the moments that really kind of keep us going are when we think about, “Wow! This category; what we’re going after, is huge.” The largest opportunity I’ve ever chased which is…we have an opportunity to make smart phones so capable that you don’t need a car anymore and that’s kind of a once in a life-time opportunity.

Eric: Okay. I know you’ve had those “Oh Shit!” moments a few times you’ve just mentioned with Sidecar right now. With the whole team, if they’re experiencing those moments how do you keep them motivated? And you’ve done these other businesses before, so I guess that’s something that always caught my attention.

Sunil: Yeah. You know, the number one job for an entrepreneur and for leader of a company is being able to articulate a vision for where you’re headed and build a team that connects with that vision and cares about…connects with the vision and cares about everybody else on the team. So, one of the things I’m very proud of at Sidecar is we’ve built, like we have…Everyone at Sidecar is committed, not just to the vision of, “We’ll replace the car with a phone”, but we are there because we know that we can actually make the world a better place and we really do mean that. It is kind of core to the DNA of almost every employee there.

So, I think that’s a part of the motivation. I think the other part of the motivation is we like each other and we do a lot of things together inside work, but also outside of work.

Eric: Got it. Okay. So with the, especially with the three companies you’ve had in the past before, is there…I know the “Oh Shit” moments are constant. You’re always going to experience those with any startup or any company you’re invested in. What are some other consistencies or other constants that you’re experience with running or having run these companies in the past?

Sunil: Well I think there’s…Every company kind of goes through a similar cycle of, you know, you’re constantly going through a cycle of; you have some ideas, you test them, figure out whether or not they work, and then iterate on those ideas, and sometimes you find that you’ve got to go back to the well and be even more disruptive in the way you’re thinking about things. We certainly had that at Bright Mail where we had to rethink and introduce new capabilities into our products. At Sidecar we created this marketplace experience that’s very different from competitors, differentiated within…deployed new capabilities for drivers like with what we call back to back rides which is built on top of marketplace and required destination.

And that kind of cycle of “Okay, where are we now? What are the things that will move business the most? And how do we know whether or not what we’ve done actually fits what the market needs” That’s a constant theme.

Part of why a startup succeeds is that we are maniacally focused on that and we’re not focused on, I don’t know, managing multiple layers of politics and internal bureaucracy. Big companies have advantages because they can get on the bead and really stay organized around and execute against a particular idea. Startups have the advantage of, they can be really, really focused on a particular market need and only focused on that rather than… and can move very quickly to a market change or to a new opportunity.

Eric: Very well put and I agree. You know, something really sticks out to me. You have this really calm and cool demeanor. Have you always had that? Where did this come from?

Sunil: Yeah. I think it’s a part of my personality. It’s not a practiced thing or anything. It’s just kind of who I am.

Eric: Got it man, because I think it’s something that all entrepreneurs, first of all, could use, I think anyone in the startup world could use too. You just seem very calm and collected and you’re just a cool guy in general. So if you have any practices you can share we’d love to hear them, but it doesn’t seem like you’re practicing anything right?

Sunil: I would say over the years, I’m much older than most entrepreneurs and a couple things I have learned over time is to…Part of the advantage of a startup is that you are completely obsessed with it. Every entrepreneur will tell you the same thing, like he can’t think about anything else. It’s one of the important skills.

I think, though, it really helps to provide, have perspective and to take time for yourself and to take time for the important people in your life because it is a part of what allows you to stay centered and not get web sawed by, like the crazy ups and downs of a startup which really are…some of the more extreme experiences, at least in a normal life in a modern world. I’m sure there are other more extreme things; our veterans going back from Iraq and Afghanistan have seen, and there are other things in the world, but, you know, certainly in the business world it’s one of the most extreme things you can go through.

Eric: And when you say take time for your family and friends are you saying…because I know a lot of startup founders like to work seven days a week and that’s all they do and I hear other entrepreneurs, “Oh, I hate playing with my kids. Maybe I’m just a bad parent. I just think about work all the time.” So, do you have any process in mind where you take Sunday off, you take Saturdays off too, what are you…?

Sunil: On important practice that I’ve got is when; I’ve got kids, they’re twins, thirteen years old, when I get home I put phone and my computer down for a little bit and between then and typically through dinner, we eat dinner together, I try to completely disconnect from that for what ends up being between one, maximum three hours. To be honest it’s a struggle.

I don’t pretend that I am fantastic at this, but it is what I try to do, be present during that time and be connected because I don’t think it’s necessarily about, it does matter how much time is put into it, but more than anything it’s like, Okay, lets at least spend a little bit of time where I’m not thinking about work, I’m thinking about family and you kind of put in place the family, friends, or time in for yourself. It is important because you need some perspective on the world in order to execute well on a particular product experience. There’s maniacal focus, like “Let’s get this done” and there’s also understanding the broader world and your place in it and that does come with perspective.

Eric: Got it. And when you say you try to disconnect, ballpark, what percentage of time do you think you succeed in disconnecting for that one to three hours?

Sunil: Boy, you’re really…Honestly, these days maybe I’m able to do it 50% of the time.

Eric: Okay. Cool. Ballpark is good. One of the things I wanted to touch on also as well is, you have Spring Ventures and I believe the founder of that?

Sunil: Yes.

Eric: Okay. Can you tell us a little about what Spring Ventures is exactly?

Sunil: Yeah. So, Spring Ventures is a platform for investment, you can either call it a super angel fund or a very small VC fund, you have successful investments out of it; include LinkedIn and [Solozon 00:18:27], both of those are two IPOs, and then there’s a number of other investments in it. I’ve stopped making new investments out of it so that I can focus on Sidecar. I don’t think it’s really possible to run a company and have your attention diverted into too many other directions.

Eric: Got it.

Sunil: And I’ve got to tell you making intelligent investments is tough and it takes a lot of attention and focus. I did try it for a while and I just decided it’s not possible to have that kind of focus.

Eric: Okay. I’m sure there’s prospective Angels Investors or maybe even future VC’s in the audience so can you tell us the difference between being a VC and a CEO?

Sunil: You know, I remember when I took a break and after being an operator and went around talking to investors because I was going to focus on being an investor, and one of the lines I used was, “One of the reasons I want to focus on investing right now is my kids are young and it’s not as intense, it’s not as many hours, etc.” And I could predict to a person the investors that had never been operators because they always got defensive, like, “Well we work hard. We roll up our sleeves and…” blah, blah, blah.

The ones that had been operators are like, “Yeah. You’re right.” I mean, Many investors work hard, they all work long hours, but there’s a difference and the difference is you’re not maniacally obsessed and you know I think it’s easier to put aside your work at the end of the day when you’ve got fifteen, twenty investments and both the terror and the elation are less because you have a big hit, that’s awesome, but it’s balanced out by some others that don’t do so well. You’re in the business of managing a portfolio and as an entrepreneur it is not about a portfolio. You’re all in one thing. So that has its rewards and it has it’s downsides. It all kind of depends on, not only what you like, but also what else is going on in your life.

Eric: Got it. Okay. So what, you’ve had some success with your investments. What are some things you can recommend, what’s Sunil’s process for determining if it’s a worthy investment or not, very high level?

Sunil: I’m not going to bore folks with the same stuff that you can read out. I sort of look for a lot of the same things that all investors in this category look for. I don’t know if your audience is entirely folks who are looking at this kind of equity venture style of investment, but I think one important thing to understand for entrepreneurs broadly is that’s only one particular style of investment, one particular style of building companies. It also changes the way you think about what kind of investments you make. I looked at other styles of investment as well, ones that are more based on cash flow, and I’ve looked at debt offerings and things like that, it’s just a different set of risks.

So, in this world of fast equity growth, what this entire world of venture is all about, you going to own a piece of the company and you want that piece of company worth a lot more down the road and your willing to take a risk that your bets on other pieces of companies are not going to work out as well. You’re looking for the ability to grow rapidly, you’re looking for teams that can be adaptable and can move fast, and you’re looking for a category and a set of ideas that have low barriers to get going, so that the small company can grow rapidly, but where barriers build over time.

Compare that to other categories like, and easy an example that people can relate to, of restaurants or movies, or commercial real estate. These are all things that are based on cash flow and there you’re much more focused about wanting to insure that you get to a real cash flow stream coming back to you. You might also make money off of selling that property, whatever it is, whether it’s commercial property or restaurant, or whatever, but you’re almost always making most your money on the actual cash flow. You’re much more focused on how do you get to those cash flows, where are you in the sequence of cash flows as compared to where are you in the ownership of the company. Anyway, just one example of a different style of investing.

And if you’re an entrepreneur and you’re thinking about how do I raise money for this company it’s important to understand the motivations of the different kinds capital out there and how that matches up to what you’re trying to get done. I always tell entrepreneurs the single best source of financing is actually revenue from your customer. It’s rare the company that can actually do that, but sometimes it happens.

The second best source of funding is your customer giving you some advance payment, some debt kind of structure that is premised on you delivering your product because it’s directly connected to your offering. There’s a lot of good reasons why that’s good thing if you can get it. Again, it’s not that easy to get. Generally speaking debt and things like government grants are a better deal for the entrepreneur. The problem is, again, it’s pretty hard to get those things.

Which brings you to equity, in other words, selling a piece of your company. It’s actually the most expensive way to finance your company, but if you have the right characteristics for your company, you think you can have it grow very rapidly, then selling a piece of it can make a lot of sense. Selling it to this style of investor. Anyway, there’s a lot more to talk about on that front, but I think your question was, how do I think about investments? So, we didn’t really talk about that.

Eric: No man. This is really helpful. Continue.

Sunil: The way I think about it in essence, I do tend to emphasize the quality of the entrepreneur because I feel like a great entrepreneur can take a category, an idea that is just good and turn it into something that’s great. Not all investors have that attitude. Some investors, especially some VCs have more an attitude of all that matters is traction of the idea itself and if the team’s not that great they’ll find a new team. I tend to lean more on the side of I’m making the bet on the person on the team.

Eric: Got it. Cool. This is really interesting. The stuff you talked about, the different ways of financing and all that, besides using Google, which Google’s search results are sometimes have more to be desired. Where can one go to learn about more of this stuff?

Sunil: Gosh, that’s a good question. I think it’s useful to know about the names of these different categories of capital. I mean, what I just named, looking at the way that commercial real estate’s financed. Commercial real estate is probably the easiest to one to understand because there’s a lot of it out there. There’s probably a lot of explanations about how those financing structures are set up. Part of the reason I learned a lot about this stuff is because of investments in Clean Tech and a lot of Clean Tech investments there’s the standard VC stuff, but there’s also elements of it that are very related to the way commercial real estate is financed.

Gosh, I don’t have any good reference points. You know, there’s text books and books on venture finance and then there’s going to be books on debt financing which there are a gazillion different varieties. You know, I’m sure there are resources out there specifically on this, what I keep referring to as commercial real estate, but it’s really financing that’s based on being paid back through cash flow rather than being paid back through selling equity. Anyway, I don’t have a good answer for you other than some places to refine your Google searches.

Eric: I think that’s really helpful because you don’t know what you don’t know. At least you’re giving people a starting point here, so thanks for that. What’s one piece of advice you’d give to your twenty-five year old self?

Sunil: Twenty-five. I think at twenty-five I would have told myself that, especially if I were twenty-five today, that if you want to want to be an entrepreneur now is a better time than perhaps ever, especially in the world of information technology and that you’d spend some time learning the basic techniques by ideally working in a startup, but then try it because there’s nothing like actually trying it. One of the things, I realize at Sidecar is almost everybody there wants to be an entrepreneur someday.

As we get bigger and bigger there are maybe not as many people that are in that category, but I try to have a culture of talking a lot about the experience as we’re going through different experiences, like what we’re learning and we’re big fans of looking at startup methodologies and deploying that and making that part of the company culture, but also just talking about how these financing things work and management structures and simple light weight processes that are important to implement, all the kind of startup 101, but there’s nothing like actually doing it to build better experiences.

Eric: Got it. Couldn’t agree more. What’s one productivity hack that you can share with the audience?

Sunil: I like, probably my favorite right now is just trying to identify maximum three things that you absolutely, positively, want to get done that day. And kind of having a separate list for it verses…what I do is I write it down, old school pencil and paper then I’ve got my electronic to do list that’s kind of all my different tasks, but I find that that focus, even though I might have a bunch of meetings or bunch of different things going on that day, knowing that I know there’s at least a couple things I’ve got to get done today and they’re usually not the ‘send an email to follow up on something’, they tend to be more on the important side rather than the urgent side, to use that Stephen Covey breakdown.

Eric: Got it. Cool. And final question from my side. What’s one must read book for the audience that you can recommend?

Sunil: So, for an audience of entrepreneurs I have been really influenced by Eric Ries, “Lean Startup” and also Ash Maurya “Running Lean”. I really find those important. I’m trying to think if there’s anything else. There’s other books but they’re not really businessy books.

Eric: It can be anything. I’d love to hear it.

Sunil: I was pretty influenced by, I like Steven Johnson’s, I’m trying to see it on my shelf here, I think called “Future Tense” It basically talks about the power of peer networks and their profound ability to change really all aspects of society and certainly the world of business. That deeply affects my thinking and I think that the ability of individual actors, people to work together is a capability that is kind of architecturally enabled by the internet and is spreading, and certainly Sidecar is part of that movement, but it is spreading to pretty much all sectors of the economy.

I think it’s going to spread on that. I think it’s going to transform the way we think about government, the way we think about even other segments of society, how we think about philanthropy, how we think about science and potentially how we even think about religion. I think it’s a deeply profound thing that’s going on that we’re living through, that we’re participating in, that we’re building ourselves. It’s one of the things that makes me excited about the era that we’re in.

Eric: Okay. And you said that book from Steven Johnson was called “Future Tense”?

Sunil: I think it’s called “Future Tense” [Future Perfect]

Eric: Future Tense?

Sunil: Yeah.

Eric: Got it. I’m going to leave that in the resource for the audience and that sounds like something I want to pick up to. Wonderful. Sunil, thanks so much for joining us. Everyone, check out Sidecar, it sounds like a brand new Sidecar. I’m definitely going to be checking it out again so, thanks so much.

Sunil: Awesome. Great to talk to you Eric.

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