SFN131: The Most Entertaining Interview Ever with Dan Faggella

What does the best email marketer have to share? Nothing about email marketing. Listen in to hear about bad ass business stories.

Daniel Faggella is a recognized email marketing expert, entrepreneur, and speaker. Starting his first business in his undergraduate years, Dan began with his second business while attending the University of Pennsylvania's prestigious Master of Applied Positive Psychology program. His expertise lies in targeted marketing strategies and exceptional attention to maximizing the ROI from email.




Show Notes

Podcast transcript:

Starting from Nothing – The Foundation Podcast
Guest Name Interview – Dan Faggella
Introduction: Welcome to Starting from Nothing – The Foundation Podcast, the place
where incredible entrepreneur show you how they built their businesses
entirely from scratch before they knew what the heck they were doing.
Dane: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to another edition of Starting from Nothing,
the official Foundation podcast. I am your host, Dane Maxwell. I am joined by
what may become one of the marketing legends -- when he dies -- Dan
Faggella. Is that how you say your last name, Faggella?
Dan: That’s exactly. You’re one of probably four people since I’ve been born that
got it right in the first time.
Dane: I trusted my intuition. How does it feel to know that you will die one day and
maybe be a marketing legend?
Dan: Man, that’s actually somewhat disappointing. I’d prefer to influence global
policy around the enhancement of human beings. But, you know, if I got to
go down for marketing, I guess it’s better than nothing.
Dane: Global enhancement of human beings.
Dan: You know, like human enhancement in neurotechnology and things like that.
I’d rather influence that field than sort of die being an email marketing guy.
But you know what, Dane, I’ll get what I could get. In the Encyclopedia
Britannica, if I’m the email guy, I’ll take it.
Dane: Well, fascinatingly enough, I didn’t actually use the word email, I use the
word marketer.
Dan: Ah, marketer in general. Okay, well, that’s glorious enough for me by a mile. I
like that.
Dane: I am now official holding space for you to go down as a legend to enhanced
global human neuroscience blah, blah, blah, whatever you said.
Dan: The heat is on on both sides, man. Trust me. I feel it every day.
Dane: Let me read your bio.
Dan: Sure.
Dane: Daniel Faggella is a recognized email marketing expert, entrepreneur, and
speaker; started his first business in his undergraduate years. Dan began with
a second business while attending the University of Pennsylvania’s
prestigious Master of Applied Positive Psychology Program, aka how to
manipulate people. His expertise lies in targeted marketing strategies and
exceptional attention to maximizing the ROI from email.
Selling his first business at age 25 and moving from Rhode Island to Boston,
Dan has a passion for helping startup and existing businesses use marketing
automation to drastically increase their customer lifetime value and drive
business metrics that actually matter, not just Facebook likes, those are my
Dan has been recognized not only by the companies he’s helped directly, but
by major media sites such as Boston Business Journal, MarketingProfs, Direct
Marketing News and more. He’s been interviewed on popular shows such as
Mixergy, Growth Hacker, Entrepreneur on Fire, and Starting from Nothing.
He also speaks around the country on successful marketing strategies and
business including the e-marketing, associate [unclear 00:02:42] national
conference, Brown University, the Cambridge Innovation Center, and more.
Dan: Man, I’m out of breath for you.
Dane: Thank you. I didn’t realize how long that would be.
Dan: Yeah. Geez. That was a toughy. I should have given you like the two sentence
one. Sends emails, tries to make bucks with them. That’s the short one.
Dane: I’m going to jump right into this.
Dan: Do it.
Dane: We have a question. What is your business’s greatest asset? You say “Our
email list. We segment and categorize our contacts in ways that allow us to
communicate for maximum return while building better long-term customer
Dan: Yes.
Dane: That sounds pretty freaking awesome. One second. Hey Ryan! Ryan! I’m
wondering if I want to have my email guy come sit in on this interview while I
interview you.
Interested in interviewing an email marketing master with me who’s really
Ryan: Yes, please.
Dane: Okay, great.
Dan: Oh great. Fantastic!
Dane: So we’re adding to the interview.
Dan: Did I take that guy just out of karate and into this right now? Did that
transition just happen?
Dane: Well, we will ask, in a second. For those of you listening in the Starting from
Nothing, this is already my favorite episode because of the awesome
spontaneity. I can’t hear you yet, Dan, so just give me a minute.
So basically, Ryan, what’s happening is as I was reading this guy’s bio and I
was like, “Holy crap!” So that’s why I called you in after I read his bio. Here
you go.
Ryan: Thank you, sir.
Dane: So everybody, welcome Ryan Twedt to the call. Dan, meet Ryan.
Dan: Mr. Ryan, how are you, sir?
Ryan: Doing great. Dan, how are you?
Dan: I’m doing well. I made the jump from martial arts to marketing myself. So you
just did it in like 10 seconds so that was great.
Dane: [unclear 00:04:31] doing karate out there?
Dan: No.
Ryan: Aikido.
Dane: Dan is currently growing his hair out until he sells his eCommerce business.
Dan: It’s true, man, going hard.
Dane: It’s a random fact. How long have you been trying to sell it, Dan?
Dan: About nine months. We had InfusionSoft actually delete all of our credit cards
about like 11 months ago or so. I don’t know if you ever had that happen? So
you ever go from like -- we’re doing like 45 or so a month and then we went
down to like 11 a month because like there was a glitch. They have better
lawyers than we do. Didn’t work out all that great for us.
But, we’ve grown it now to over 70K a month and now it’s right to sell. So it
took a little while to fight and get there. I didn’t expect that to happen when I
set the hair growing rule but, hey, things happen.
Dane: What’s your profit on 70K in eCommerce?
Dan: If I count paying myself which a lot of people don’t. You got to ask that
question, right? A lot of small business like, “Oh, well, 30%. If I count my
ramen noodles or don’t count that stuff.” But for us probably somewhere
between 22 and 26 if I pay myself like a relatively fair market base wage.
Dane: Great. Is that your full-time focus right now?
Dan: No, I got two other businesses. My other business is implementing marketing
automation into other companies so often times seven-figure businesses
whether it’s software [unclear 00:05:47], service companies. People right
here in [audio breaks] for quite some time and on other folks all around the
world. A lot of info marketers actually that want to sell recurring because our
main thing is marketing automation sales is recurring. I have another
business who does that and then I run a media site in the emerging
technology space.
So one of three LLC’s I wish I could focus on full-time but I can’t because I got
too much of the stuff. So I try.
Dane: Do you have a hard time finding people who can keep up with the speed that
your mind clicks?
Dan: Well, that’s the perennial problem, Dane. I mean this is, you know. But that’s
part for the course, isn’t it? Don’t you sign up for that? Isn’t there like the
entrepreneur signup sheet and then like that’s one of the boxes you check
that you have to be okay with or else you can’t do it? Am I wrong? You could
tell me if I’m wrong.
Dane: Wrong.
Dan: Wrong? Wow! Ouch pal! We might have signed different papers, you and me
but anyway. I see it as initially a relatively strong perennial issue. Getting the
right people on the bus I think is an important part but kind of, you know, get
them at the same pace is tough. Not everybody who likes sleep deprivation at
like really extreme levels, you know.
Dane: You know what had me say it wrong was that I was thinking of guys like
Rockefeller who seem to be very, very collected and not as quick with their
mind but more slow and calculated.
Dan: Who is this again? Who are you referencing?
Dane: John D. Rockefeller.
Dan: Oh, yeah, yeah. I mean I’m sure his brain was moving pretty quick though.
Dane: You think so?
Dan: Yeah. You’re coming up with those tankers, you know. You’re figuring out
how to [unclear 00:07:20] Vanderbilt. You got to be playing a lot of mental
[unclear 00:07:23] that most mofos ain’t doing if you’re going to be running
that kind of a game but, yeah.
You’re red titan so you already know the deal. I’m not going to start quoting
things but anyway.
Dane: Well, yeah. I just want to say -- not wrong in an absolute sense because like
my mind is -- Can you hear me okay? Dan, can you hear me?
Dan: Uh-oh. Yeah, we just started getting choppy. Now I got you.
Dane: Great. Still hear me good?
Dan: Yes.
Dane: Yeah. My mind is wicked fast as well and Ryan’s is wicked fast as well.
Dan: Ryan looks wicked fast. You just take one look at that guy. Yeah.
Ryan: (Laughs)
Dane: But I want to hold space that if your mind isn’t wicked fast, you still can do
Dan: You can do it. You can do it folks, yup. No, it’s true. I don’t think you need to
be like, you know, rapid fire brain boy necessarily.
Dane: So I want to jump in to this answer to what is your business’s greatest asset?
Our email list. We segment and categorize our context in ways that allow us
to communicate for maximum return while building better long-term
customer relationships.
Dan: Yes.
Dane: How are you doing that in your eCommerce business?
Dan: Great. I’ll give you kind of the overview.
Essentially, any time that we want to kind of make bucks from sending out an
email, we will -- or anytime we garner an email address. We generally want
to have -- I have a date appoint about this person outside of just name and
email. I’m sort of revolted by just name and email because it really goes
against my nature of [audio breaks] one-to-one in voice as I can.
So whether that’d be contextual parsing which is where they opt-in, or
whether that’d be manual parsing which is what they select, I prefer to know
something important about them before they come in to my system, Dane.
For fitness, the main one would probably be gender, second one would be
goal: weight loss, muscle building, just getting tone, or something like that,
In the martial arts world, I would want to know “Do you want to just
improve? Do you want to be a competitor, you want to be a teacher, or
you’re just doing this to get in shape? In Brazilian jiu-jitsu, basically everybody
falls into one of those four. I prefer to know that on the outset. So some
important facet of your interest and goals, I’m going to know by what
squeeze you from in from.
Let’s say underneath the YouTube video, I have -- it’s called competition prep
takedown or something. There’s a squeeze page about the seven best
takedowns for competitions in Brazilian jiu-jitsu; a whole bunch of analytic
videos of black belts taking people down. I’m going to apply kind of the
competitor tact to those folks as an example; as an example of a way to start
communicating with them. Or if they opt-in on a main page, I might have
them select from a drop [audio breaks]. “Are you interested in being a
teacher?” blah, blah, blah.
So if we have a main page where context doesn’t give me nothing then I
make them tell me. If they come in through context then I know through that
context where to start the conversation.
Now Dane, this isn’t saying I know this person like the back of my hand yet, it
just means I’m talking to them more adequately than the nimrods that just
ask for name and email. So we always begin with a core set of parsing context
that we have everybody come in through. So there’s a filter. Either you come
in through a place or you tell me one or the other. When you enter my
system, I know something about you that lets me make every email more
relevant for you, or at least my most important promotional emails more
relevant for you.
If you’re a competitor and all I do is send you regular broadcast all day but
like -- let’s say twice a month if I’m a lazy, you know what. Let’s say twice a
month, I really use competitor language and subject line and competitor
language in the lead in and in the anchor text of my email promotions. Just
during those times, the ROI is going to be so strong for just competitors
[unclear 00:11:10] see that during those times. So I can turn that faucet on
when I want to.
If I don’t know that data point, I never get to throttle the faucet. It’s
something really important. I don’t get to say, “I’m going to make my
response rates go through the roof.” I don’t get to say that. So if I know
something important as one contextual filtering screen that every lead comes
through for all my niches then I get to throttle that whenever I so please, or
at least to some degree. Hope that made sense to some degree there as well
guys. I know I’m talking quick but …
Dane: We’re tracking. I want to go and go to Ryan here for a minute, see if he has
Dan: Yeah, let’s.
Ryan: Oh, I was tracking. Well, I was loving how you were talking about the
contextual filter in, taking all of your new opt-ins.
Dan: Yeah.
Ryan: Let’s pick a niche for an example. Do you take every single person through
the same questionnaire or based on where they come through you parse
Dan: Yeah. So I prefer -- This is a great question.
Segmentation is a toughy. I think if you just understand what segmentation
means, you just start making surveys, you know, and you just want to know
stuff. You start tagging people and putting them in buckets. If you use kind of
silly systems like AWeber then you put them in different list, if you kind of
grown up then you use InfusionSoft or something. But you just start throwing
all kinds of stuff on people, right?
To answer your question, I prefer in any given niche, to have one thing that I
call the front end fork. So the front end fork as I see it, okay, is that any lead
that I get in this category, in this vertical of my business, I’m going to know -- I
don’t know if I’m going to know everything but I’m at least going to know
The question is in any given niche, what is the one thing that will let me push
the buy button on those people’s chest better than anything else. If they
were ice cream flavor, probably not, right? In the Brazilian jiu-jitsu niche I ask
-- sometimes I ask weight class which has been rather effective for us. We use
that for quite some time but I actually prefer goal now which was the four I
told you: competitor, teacher, improver, fitness.
So everybody that comes to jiu-jitsu, ideally we’re going to know that
information through a drop down or through contextual parsing, but for
further information. So everybody I want to [audio breaks] further
information, I have another deeper survey. I’ve got examples of these all over
the place but another deeper survey lets them select other ancillary
information I think is important.
I make them give me one piece on the way in. Everybody gives me one piece
in the way in if I can help it. It doesn’t always happen. We have old squeeze
pages lying around. When we’re smart and everything in the future here, I
know one thing for everybody that comes in. But we have additional surveys
that let people parse themselves out in two ways, okay? One of which is kind
of --
It doesn’t have to be selected as one only. It’s called a radio button. You guys
familiar what a radio button is. You can only click one so it’s like four options,
you can only pick one. So a radio button [unclear 00:14:02] drop down. So
sometimes I give people a selection of check boxes.
For example in Brazilian jiu-jitsu we’ll say, “Hey, what are you interested in?
Do you like takedowns? Do you like guard passes? Are you interested in
escapes? Do you want to understand about nutrition for jiu-jitsu?” Because if
I’m going to do a nutrition offer, if I want to piss off my whole jiu-jitsu list, I
know how to do it -- send everybody a nutrition offer. But if I want to really
hit well with one list, I’ll hit the nutrition [audio breaks].
But because you like nutrition, it doesn’t mean you don’t like guard passing, it
doesn’t mean you don’t like escapes. So some of those are sort of not
independent. Then there’s other criteria that I determine to be important
that are independent. What’s your age category? Are you under 40? Are you
40 to 60 or over 60? So everybody has one of those three.
So I like people to come through the same screens but one of those screens I
almost always have upfront. In other words, if you’re in my system, I know at
least one data point that lets me turn up the volume on response rate when
the heck I need to. Everybody comes in the system. You’ll find adding a drop
down to most of your squeeze pages it’s not like, “Half the response. Oh my
goodness, it’s horrible.” Sometimes you’ll have 2% less response, sometimes
2% better.
Well, you’ve seen both. Even in the middle of launches or else wise. So you
like aggregately have the same response rate but now you have one data
point that makes it happen. After that, we’ll go through other surveys. I like
everybody to go through the same surveys. They have same sets of tags. But I
don’t wait until the survey to get at least my critical front end fork. I hope
that that help there.
Dane: How do you define your critical front end fork?
Dan: Yeah. This is great. Dane, you’re a relatively well-read man. You’re familiar
with David Allen.
Dane: Yeah.
Dan: Getting Things Done. I really have a lot of respect for David Allen. Before I
was ever in business, I read David Allen. This is better than any selfdevelopment
material I’ve ever read. He has a quote that I like a lot which is
“If you want to have a good idea, you got to come up with a lot of ideas.”
For your front end fork, it is a horrible mistake in business to come up with
your segmentation strategy like willy-nilly. So if you’re like, “Man, I really
should segment. They say to do that stuff on the web.” You start doing it. It’s
like now you’ve defined an ossified way to continuously market for years to
come. Like let’s really think this through. You can’t always test it but you can
at least really think it through.
So Dane, for an example for me, it would be write down half a dozen or a
dozen of them that could be your front end fork in any business, and then ask
yourself which of these over a year’s worth of email communication would
be the most relevant and help me drive the most revenue and relationship
with my mental exercise. Almost no one is going to go through that even the
people listening in who take their business seriously. But that’s like we force
people to go through and I force myself to go through.
In our consultancy, CLVboost, tons of different ways that we could segment
people. But I wrote down a bunch of them, I thought through a bunch of
them. The one that we decide to stick with is what do you want more of? Do
you want more leads? Do you want more eCommerce sales? Or do you want
more sales appointments just for service-based folks and folks itself. Not with
a buy button. This is buy button people and this people that are interested in
traffic and conversion rate.
Generally, everybody falls in one of those three buckets. You got to pull your
list, you got to call your buyers, you got to write down ideas, you got to
brainstorm with your team, and you have to really discern what will be best.
This is not an easy decision. But once you’ve discern, you’ll often find it’s a lot
better than the first thing that came at the top of your head. So pull your list
and figure out.
Did they skew across these three relatively evenly? In our CLVboost list,
basically -- I mean it’s close to a third which is rocket. I love that. There was
like 10%, 40, 40. I don’t know if I really nailed my front end fork all that well;
2%, etc, etc. So pull your list, figure out what they’re interested in,
brainstorm a ton of different ideas. Do open-ended polls with your list. Ask
them what’s most important to them. Garner some great ideas and then
discern what’s going to let you market the most effectively. It’s a mental
If you really wanted to go with two, it’d be a lot of testing, it’d be really tough
to pull off. I don’t have enough email volume to actually get that done. But I
do think through it very diligently. So I know that’s not an easy answer, Dane,
but I would advice everybody to go through that on their own. Come up with
half a dozen, think through them hard, call your buyers, pull your folks and
discern what’s going to be the absolute best criteria to get the most revenue
and build the best relationships over the course of the next year if you had
segmentation in place.
Dane: We’re actually planning to implement segmentation as we roll out our next
free course. So people are going to click on a button to register into our
course. Before they can register, they have to answer three questions. The
first is what best describes who you are: entrepreneur, employee, freelancer,
student. The next is what’s your next income goal per month? And then the
next goal is what’s the biggest thing stopping you? And then we have five
buckets of categories based on our survey data. Anything from -- the biggest
bucket is -- what’s the biggest bucket? Is not knowing exactly what to do,
followed by not having an idea, followed by not having the right amount of
money, followed by not having enough time, followed by having a poor
mindset. How do you feel about those three questions?
Dan: Yeah, they’re fine. What I’d like in my nerdy self, what I’d really love to do is
pull the heck out of your email list. I imagine some of what you’ve done has
been from that. The good news about you, Dane, unlike a lot of eCommerce
guys, you’d be surprise that we work with some folks like a seven-figure
software company, the financial training space implementing email. They had
really been on the phone with any buyers in a long time. It’s all eCommerce.
We don’t really know what they like, we never really [unclear 00:19:34]. But
for you, you’re sitting there teaching these people how to build software
businesses and things like that. So you get a lot of feedback.
I haven’t had that with your people. I also haven’t got to send out emails and
garner that from your leads. So the people that buy might really be like only
two or three subsets and your list might be made up of entire huge universes
and clumps that really never will push the buy button but are still hanging in
there. Maybe there’s something lower ticket that we could sell them or
something like that. So without doing my own homework, I like the direction
you’re going. Without doing my own homework, I like the direction you’re
One good default that I like, and I’m not going to critique your strategy at all,
I’m just going to tell you the defaults that I like. The defaults that I like are
goal-oriented or intent-oriented. The reason is, in any given endeavor, in any
given niche, people want something. People want. People have wants. So I
want to know what they want because I want to only talk about what they
want. So I normally will think about goal as an often primary front end fork
will be what is it that you want?
In business, right, we used to do more like pure internet marketing, internet
marketing coaching stuff. Now we do more higher level kind of marketing
automation implementations for folks. We still work with a lot of info
But when I was in more pure internet marketing coaching we would say, “Are
you looking to become financially secure? Like in other words, have enough
stability [unclear 00:20:54] so you don’t have to worry about bills and things.
Are you looking to become financially independent? Is that really a big
important thing for you? Do you want to be super wealthy or something like
So whatever they’re given objectives were in terms of what they want to do
with their business. Now with CLV, I want more leads, I want eCommerce
purchases, I want …
So I think a lot about wants because other criteria often very, very useful. But
as a de facto like gun to head, if you held me to any list and you’re like “You
haven’t done any research, Faggella. How are we going to segment these
people to make money?” I’d be like, “Categorize their most important desires
and intents.” That’s what I would say to you, okay?
If you held the metaphor like a pistol, that’s what I would tell you. If I haven’t
done any research it’s hard to say. But I often think in terms of wants
because I like to appeal to what people came there for in the first place. You
didn’t come here because you’re a male, you came here because you want
something and I’m going to give you what you want. That’s how I get the
credit card out. So I often think through that lens. Hope that makes sense.
Dane: Crystal clear. Where did you learn that?
Dan: Sean Ellis, Rand Fishkin, Neil Patel. I like some of those guys. I really wish that
bigger business people would talk more about what they do but they don’t. I
don’t really kind of tune in that much in the internet marketing space. I like to
look at the startup guys. I [unclear 00:22:10] a ton of respect for the folks
that really dial in product market fit and who have a [unclear 00:22:15]. Who
are really making this transition towards what the startup world is becoming
to be like.
I really believe that email marketing and what we do and what other great
folks do is really about sort of the future of marketing, dialing in that one-toone
communication, increasing that relevance to such a higher extent. I think
increasing relevance to people’s desires is such a high meta-level of just that.
I think it’s a very apt way of doing it. Although I can’t tell you that -- for email
specifically, nobody told me to do that. But for discerning intent, that was
something I first heard through Sean Ellis and he was probably part of the
inspiration but I like his work a lot as a marketing thinker.
Dane: Sean Ellis, Rand Fishkin, Neil Patel.
Dan: Yeah, yeah. I like Neil too. Yeah. I’ve been lucky enough to interview those
guys too which has been fun. Or my buddy, Tim, interviewed Sean because I
couldn’t be there. But, yes, those are guys I really like and respect.
Sean is, I really think kind of -- as nerdy as it is, I’m not a fanboy by any
means, right? Like I don’t have his poster on my damn wall or anything but I
really respect a ton what he does and I think what he speaks to is really the
future of marketing in a lot of different respects and I think it comes from a
good place and it’s very [unclear 00:23:27] with what I do.
So Sean Ellis, I recommend anybody in the world to go read his old blog
there, whatever it was. Growthhackers.com or something. Growth-hackers.
Great old website. I still love those articles.
Dane: So kind of pivoting a little bit. I’d like for you to take me back to your first sale
online ever. Do you remember?
Dan: Oh man, yeah. I sure do. I sure do. Alright. So you want me to tell you how it
went down? Are you laughing at the boyish joy that flashed across my face?
Dane: I think we might be able to relate.
Dan: Yeah, yeah.
So we all like this kind of thing, right? Actually this was before like the real -- I
had a roof collapse in my martial arts gym which I since sold like a MMA
facility. That’s why my ears are all messed up, my nose and stuff. I had a roof
collapse so it’s really made me turn on the gas under the eCommerce. But
before that ever happen, I just wanted to do it. I want to do it.
So I film the seminar, Dane. I said what’s going to be the coolest content that
I can possibly give folks in the Brazilian jiu-jitsu world. My whole shtick is
beating bigger guys; that’s my whole deal. If you go on Google, I wish it was
more about artificial intelligence, neurotech, or marketing but it’s like my old
martial arts highlight stuff and random things like that. But it’s all about
beating bigger guys.
So I filmed a seminar for two or three hours, essentially going through
submissions and escapes that will work really well against someone bigger
and stronger than you. How to win in a grappling competition or self-defense
situation against someone bigger and stronger. We filmed this on a crap,
man. It was still a tape in this thing. There was like -- I don’t even know how
we got it on the computer, like we push the tape into an old computer. I
don’t even know how we did it. But it was still on a tape.
So we film this thing and it was a good seminar. I had had a squeeze page
that was up for a while at microbjj.com. This is like jiu-jitsu for small people. I
had a blog called Science of Skill. So my graduate, nerdy ‘I really graduate’
stuff is all in skill development. Not in manipulating people but positive
psychology might sound like that. But skill development was my focus
interestingly enough.
So I had a website writing about skill development and combat sports. Was it
really only about like jiu-jitsu technique but it link to this squeeze page. I had
like 600 people on this listing after like leaving it to dry for six months, right?
So 600 people, six months are kind of like emailing them once in a blue
moon. I said I’m going to actually sell this thing.
All I did was I talked about it in email form. I kind of built it up. I release some
techniques kind of like Jeff Walker-y I guess. You know, my [unclear 00:26:05]
internet marketing mind at that time. I hadn’t sold it. We didn’t have a sales
page. It was like a PayPal link or something in the email or maybe we have
like -- I don’t even remember how it work. But there wasn’t really a sales
page, that’s all I can say. I described it in emails to people.
I don’t know what I made, maybe like a thousand and a half bucks or
something like that because we sold it for like $97. I think it was like four
hours total of content and some reports that I did on statistical analysis of
grappling competitions at the highest level like black belt stuff. That was my
first sales event. I can remember it well and it was sloppy and wasn’t great
but PayPal cut the mustard back in the old days.
Dane: How did you know people would want that?
Dan: You know, I didn’t back then, Dane. I really didn’t. The only thing that made
me feel like people might want that is because I was talking a lot about
beating bigger guys. I started to get the realization about this audience which
I since confirmed afterwards heavily, and we coach a ton of people that are
selling in the combat sports space because we know that market like -- I wish
I didn’t know that market as well as I do. I wish I could like eliminate that part
of my brain, like replace with other more important things but [audio breaks].
So I had the inkling though, even back then, that the buyers are really like 40
year old dudes. Like 22-year old guys don’t go buy Brazilian jiu-jitsu DVD’s
and information products because they know how to download my stuff
illegally, like seriously, and because they don’t have the discretionary
because it goes to pizza and other things that young men purchase which we
won’t talk about all this. But it goes to pizza a lot of times so they don’t have
the money.
So we figure there’s a lot of older dudes because the guys in my gym who had
DVD sets was like -- hardly ever the younger guys. They have like a fancy
[unclear 00:27:54]. The younger guys like to be cool but the older guys had
the DVD sets. So the ‘beating bigger stronger opponents’ resonates with
older guys as much as it does with guys that are small. So it wasn’t just
people that were small that resonated with it, it was actually the buyer
segment, the older guys. They’re never the biggest and strongest because
when you’re past 45 and you’re in there with 22-year old tattooed rugby
players, sorry pal. I don’t care if you’re 6’3,” you’re going to get your shit
So a lot of our audience was a little bit older even then and although I didn’t
know much about the market, I had that inkling which luckily turned out to
be right. But to be frank, I did not build that product off of polling them. I did
not talk to them enough to determine what they were looking for. I sort of
put together what I thought would kick the most butt which is not how I do
things now but it was at least my first little foray into selling on the internet.
Dane: So I want to transition then to -- You said if you had a metaphorical gun to
your head. You said, “I would do da-da-da desires and intentions da-da-da.”
Now, if you had a gun to your head now and you had absolutely nothing,
what would you start today and more importantly, how would you go about
Dan: Now, is this with the goals that I currently have in my head or is this if I want
to get as wealthy as I can in eCommerce or something?
Dane: What do you think?
Ryan: I think it should be anything that he’s desiring.
Dan: Okay. Yeah. If I could start now, I would probably be moving into -- I probably
be moving into the space that I’m moving into now which is kind of the brain
machine interface, artificial intelligent. [audio breaks] figured out some kind
of a subscription new service to sell there and done it in the way that I had.
However, what I’ll say is is actually probably going to be more relevant to
your audience. I’m not going to bored people with that stuff. If I want to
make a lot of bucks, right? If I wanted to get to seven-figure as quickly as
possible, I could turn back time where I had nothing right now. That’s
probably what more people are interested in here is I would first find a much
bigger niche than when I entered.
So the lesson I learned was that Brazilian jiu-jitsu could never really make as
much more than 40 or like spikes like 45 grand a month. I’m sure some
people are like some company selling products of some kind, but in
information marketing, the targetable audience, even on Facebook, is like
miniscule. Miniscule compared to so many other interest.
Now, rich is in niches, right? But if the niche is so small that you can’t be rich
then you sort of lose. What I would have done off the bat had I wanted to sell
more online earlier on, is it would have immediately gone into a much
broader market where I could have found a niche application of myself and
my skills but without having the cap as to how [audio breaks] even interested
or care about what you’re doing. Hypothetically Dane, that could have been
fitness and I would have done segmentation right off the bat.
Back in the old days, I was using AWeber. In the old days I thought my own
skill set was really important and now we mostly are publishing other guys
who are martial artists and fitness folks. It’s like more scalable and more
saleable and more better in every way kind of possible. I would not have
published only myself. I would have gone to a marketing that was much
larger. Potentially like borderline infinitely large. But I want to get to seven
figs as quickly as I could with my current skill set.
Dane: What market would you pick right now?
Dan: Yeah. I mean pistol to temple, I’ll give you fitness for an example just because
it’s so broad and fast and huge and there’s so much affiliate traffic and
there’s so much search traffic. There’s so much more to play with.
We have every affiliate connection you could ever have in Brazilian jiu-jitsu,
you know, probably with some exceptions I’m sure. But even with that,
there’s no Lambo, you know? I’m not interested in Lambos by the way, that’s
a complete joke. [audio breaks] using money like that. But I’m just saying we
weren’t rich yet, right? I didn’t have the money to do what I really want to do
in terms of pursuing my grand aspirations which is not fancy cars.
I likely, pistol to temple, would have gone into fitness. Right now we are in
fitness now and that’s probably what’s going to take us beyond 80 a month
and get us to be able to sell for what we need to sell for.
Backward and time machine, back to the same place. No nothing. Just a
laptop and a dream seven figures as quickly as possible. I would have gone
into fitness. I know how to [unclear 00:32:16] those guys now. The market is
infinitely large. I can pick a niche of it and find a niche application myself that
scales big, big, big not Brazilian jiu-jitsu where I could be the coolest guy in
town and still only do 40 a month.
Dane: What would you niche to in fitness?
Dan: What we’re doing now which is probably what I would do although I guess
there’s other applications. Interestingly enough kind of the muscle stuff. As
you can tell, I don’t really have that anyway, right? That wouldn’t work so
The muscle stuff is actually very small market. A lot of it is sort of more
weight loss oriented and more kind of getting tone. And again, a lot of the
market that I found where we found opportunity is folks that want to work
out at home.
So we would do short, no equipment required home base work out which is
what we’re doing now. I find it’s really easy to produce that content because
you don’t need a muscle-y person and you don’t need a lot of fancy weights.
And you can like do it in the bathroom or like a living room and like that’s
cool because these people are going to work out in that living room so you
don’t need to go shoot at like a fancy studio where like everybody has elastic
bands sticking from the ceiling and like kettlebells colored all rainbow colors
and stuff like that.
Dane: Did you shoot videos like that when you didn’t need to?
Dan: No, no, I didn’t actually. Interestingly enough my video -- I was never the
greatest videographer, I’ll just say that. I was never the greatest
Dane: And then also you said “I don’t have muscles so it would be a problem to sell
muscle products.” But I don’t think you actually believe that.
Dan: You’re right. To some degree, if I was going to get it off the ground like I did
in jiu-jitsu, maybe it wouldn’t work out. I do, at present, in some products
frame my background in kind of how I work out as a martial arts guy that
didn’t want to be injured for competition time as part of kind of the shtick.
But, yeah, you’re right. I mean if the muscle market was the biggest and the
best, I might just find a muscle-y dude and put a camera on them and tell
them to lift everything, you know?
A guy like Ryan for example. Just give [unclear 00:34:15] to lift. Yeah, look at
the freaking gun show boy over there. That’s probably what I would have
Now that’s not to attain my grandest desperations which would be
particularly in kind of more the interception of technology and intelligence
and media in that space and investment in that space. But seven figs on the
web quick as possible, current skill set, that’s how I would have skin the cat.
Scan the cat is not a word, Dane. It’s skin the cat.
Dane: Now, I have a particular fascination with the way that you speak phrases like
pistol to temple, skin the cat.
Dan: Yeah.
Dane: Where did you learn this?
Dan: Yeah, you know, Dane, part of it is just sort of having a bad upbringing. I
come from a small town where proper lexicon wasn’t instilled early on. I’ve
been pretty vehement about building one.
Dane: Can I pause you?
Dan: Go for it.
Dane: So you already use the word like lexicon and you’ve already use the word like
Dan: Yes.
Dane: I don’t think you learn those words in bad environments.
Dan: I didn’t. So I’ll continue where I was.
I started in a small town where that wasn’t very common and then I
vehemently, let’s say, aim to build a better lexicon and a more articulate way
of speaking. To build, convey ideas properly, not sort of like the silly
environment that I came up in where I was kind of slangy and sort of Rhode
Island accent. I don’t know if you ever listen to a Rhode Island accent. It really
just sort of like dumber [audio breaks] dumb sounding.
So I have to kind of leave that and I did -- I tried to do that myself through
reading literature. The Emerson’s of the world and the Montaigne’s of the
world and whatnot. The result is some kind of an ugly amalgam of the two
which is somewhat unfortunate. A lot of slangy, whiz-bang terms, you know,
from the old times but also the pointed terms that kind of nail what I’m trying
to nail and they end up kind of splashing together when I’m talking free form.
It’s just consequence of my upbringing I suppose.
Dane: I consider myself to be a decent communicator and in order to learn that, I
just copied great communication out by hand. Did you do anything like that?
Dan: I don’t. I write bad poetry though and I do practice my pros from time to time
for places like TechCrunch and Xconomy and some of these other guys. But
I’ve never written Emerson word for word.
I know in the copywriting world for example, if you want to be like Dan
Kennedy, they’ll tell you to take Halbert’s letters and write them super nuts
and I’m sure you’re familiar with all those guys. I know, for a fact, you are
actually. I never did that with Emerson though. I just listen to a lot of audio
on the subways like self-reliance and heroism and civilization. That says that I
like a lot. That not only resonate with truths that I think are forwarding to
myself and soul but also are massively well-done English, the marshalling of
words in very, very, very purposeful fashion.
I did not write it out. I try to write my own stuff which I’m sure isn’t all that
good but I did a lot of listening and a lot of reading.
Dane: A lot of reading.
Dan: A lot of reading indeed, man. I can bore you to tears with the stacks over
there but that’s kind of like tip of the iceberg type of stuff. But, yeah, I mean
a lot of biography. So kind of like yourself, right, you like biography.
I’m a Bonaparte fan, I’m a Lincoln fan, I’m a Aurelius fan. Aurelius is sort of
like … I’m real big on Aurelius. Yeah. I dig in to a lot of that, dig in to a lot of
business, dig in to a lot of philosophy. I always chewing up books, have been
for a long time.
Dane: Can we try a little experiment?
Dan: Let’s go for it. I like experiments.
Dane: Okay. You’re not going to be able to hear me but I’d like if you could turn
your computer over to the books and then I’d like you to walk over to the
books. On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 meaning it completely changed your thought
process in life and zero meaning it didn’t at all, I want you to go over there
and just start saying the 10’s. And any of them that are 10, I want you to hold
up and tell us.
Dan: Okay. Can I just grab them right now for you?
Dane: Yeah.
Dan: Okay.
Dane: How is this for you?
Ryan: This is awesome.
Dane: Do you have any questions for him?
Ryan: No, I’m observing this like a sponge.
Dane: Okay. I see a kitty cat.
Dan: I got a few. I got a few. Now what I didn’t have over there was Flow by [Mihai
00:39:11] -- is that Mihai? Which is sort of, you know, everybody and their
mothers read it. Now, when I did read it seven years ago or so, it very much
resonated with where I was in life and kind of coming up with the conception
of fulfillment and furthering oneself. I love that book. But other 10’s that I’ll
give you if you will. I’ll go marketing first and then we’ll go on to biography
for a second.
So for marketing, interestingly enough, the book that sort of spurned -- When
I first got it, I didn’t understand it. It’s called Optimal Database Marketing.
Optimal database marketing by a guy by the name of Perry Drake.
Dane: The rapper?
Dan: Yes. I think it’s the same guy. He’s a real sharp intellectual. You would never
guess. If you listen to the stuff he says about women and the kind of words
he uses. He’s very articulate when he speaks of marketing. This book by Perry
Drake and there’s another [unclear 00:40:12] that they reference. I’m pretty
sure Drake is kind of like the dude behind it.
I didn’t quite digest all of it but it made me start to apply segmentation
rigorously and testing a lot more rigorously and think through how I wanted
to do that. How I wanted to do that to actually make more money. And then
as I start reading it, again, let’s say a year after I read the first time, it gave me
a really tangible ideas about how I moved in to the self-defense and the
fitness market and how I did that differently.
So most guys will talk about like looking at Ryan Diess’ squeeze pages or
something. I like Ryan Diess’ stuff a lot but in terms of individual marketing
book, I gained a lot in terms of segmentation and automation from Perry
Drake’s Optimal Database Marketing.
Dane: Can you tell me a few things that are cool about Perry Drake?
Dan: About Perry Drake himself, I think he teaches at a university in New York.
About what he teaches, he talks a lot about how a given list is broken up and
how different segmentation criteria can sort of fade in time when the
repetition of particular kind.
So what he’s writing about in this book is a lot of -- what I call expensive
marketing but what might be called mail order marketing. So this stuff is like
working with businesses in the 70’s and 80’s who are doing more expensive
marketing than you and me, Dane. So what me and you do is we push a
button that says sent. What they do is they go chop down trees in tropical
places and make an entire species go extinct and mail everybody in freaking
America a catalogue this thick.
So that’s like expensive. They have to think about how they do that. Because
they actually -- they have to be like -- For us it’s like we want to send the blast
out. For them it’s like, “Man, how bad are we going to feel when that certain
kind of lemur dies off?” And when spend X number millions of dollars just
printing these freaking things.
So he talks about what kind of segmentation for them based on different age
ranges and or gender sort of died off before others did and sort of how they
discern that. Some of it has to do with regression analysis which I’ve never
once performed on my own internet marketing business with only X number
of tens of thousands of people but I can’t wait till I can because I want to be
able to delve into it.
But in terms of making decisions around how you’re going to break up lists. I
think the way the guy thinks. I hold the book close to my heart. I cross my
fingers that when we have a nice six-figure list and we want to start going
nuts on them, regression analysis is going to be like numero uno when it
comes to eCommerce sales and memberships or whatever we’re selling with
them. I can’t wait to go into the depths of it but that’s one thing from Perry.
Now, the rest of these books are not business. I don’t know if that’s okay.
Dane: Great.
Dan: Great. Another good one.
This is a book called Marcus Aurelius: A Life by Frank McLynn. Now I’ve never
heard of Frank McLynn before reading this book but this is one of my favorite
biographies, one of the biggest biographies that I’ve read. Maybe since Atlas
Shrugged I hadn’t read anything this thick in quite some time; reading
another biography just about as thick.
Aurelius, in my personal opinion, on Earth at the time, Aurelius had more
power and responsibility than any other human being. Now, to a degree to
which we don’t understand now. It’s not like it was. To the same degree of
dictatorial power, and even if it were, it’s not as masked in one place which
we call Rome which has since fallen as we all know and has since fallen
actually after Aurelius -- so some people credit him a little bit to that -- but to
rule Rome and to still be as vigilantly a good person as he was.
So Aurelius, if you read The Meditate -- I happen to like a lot. I like Epictetus’
work, I like The Meditations. Then you’ll have an understanding of how
Aurelius cracks the whip on himself morally. He seeks the heights of his
responsibility and the application of his potential to do good and seeing
himself -- very ahead of his time in some sense but as a stoic, he was [unclear
00:44:33] course, but ahead of his time nonetheless across the globe.
As a cosmopolitan, despite ruling Rome, being a very fair man, being a very
just man, not being an ostentatious person, and being placed in that kind of a
position of power where every day, not only was he extracting as much out
of himself to like drive himself sick with how much he was working all the
darn time, but also hard on himself to be good, that he would beat the crap
out of himself at the end of the night when he found time to write in his
This is a man who, for nine years, was walking around in the swamps of
Germany just watching people die of plague and die by axe to the neck for
like a decade of his life, whose capital was taken over by the head of his
military. He was going to come back and forgive this man. That’s how good of
a man Marcus was. I don’t idealize him but I think on the scope of human
responsibility, he was like maybe right up there on the top three, like all time
top five, whatever.
In terms of goodness in that degree of power, the beginning of the book he
references another biographer who speaks of Aurelius. Not himself, he was
referenced himself. He referenced another biography. He says, “Aurelius is an
interesting example of absolute power not corrupting absolutely.” Fucking
beautiful, isn’t it? Fucking hard core, isn’t it?
Who? Who Dane? Who knows what it’s like to be in the German woods for
that long? Who knows? You tell me who knows now. Nobody knows. Nobody
knows what’s like to have that kind of responsibility and that kind of pressure
on you for that long and watch your children die of disease. Like every three
years, one of his kids dies of disease, his wife died, and his capital is getting
taken over.
If the pressures of responsibility is as soft in white people, the pressures of
responsibility can actually explode people’s heads, his would have blown up
50 times. His would have been an atomic bomb in fact but he didn’t. He was
both good and great at the same time in a very, very, very vast degree. And
so I credit Aurelius as sort of one of my favorite people and I credit this book
with shining a light on his life.
Dane: Did Marcus Aurelius have mentors?
Dan: Do I?
Dane: No, no. Did Marcus have mentors?
Dan: Yes, for sure. For sure. Now, for some reason, the name is escaping which is a
shame. The co-emperor with him was certainly not a mentor. He’s a little bit
younger than him and seemingly responsible from what the history book say.
Two emperors before him sort of -- which I believe is Hadrian -- took him
under his wing a bit and let him know “you’re going to be in this seat one
day.” But the emperor directly before him who, for some reason his name is
escaping me, groomed him for decades, like two or three decades before
Marcus took power. I believe in his early 40’s interestingly enough.
So Marcus was not a boy king by any means, he was sort of under the wing of
the previous ruler, who’s also seen as a rather just and good man but is not
as famous as Marcus. And so he had that as an example. He didn’t really have
a military mentor. Unfortunately, he had to learn a lot of those lessons the
hard way. At least from what I’ve read.
I got one more [unclear 00:47:48] but, anyway, go ahead.
Dane: Do you have any questions?
Ryan: I’m good.
Dane: You said who knows what it’s like to go through the swamps in Germany.
Dan: Who knows?
Dane: We don’t know what that’s like.
Dan: I don’t know. Maybe you do.
Dane: He had all this power and he didn’t corrupt.
Dan: Yeah. It’s gorgeous, isn’t it? My next book is about Bonaparte but it’s not the
same for Bonaparte, you know. The classic stuff happen. Now, interestingly
enough to think about Aurelius is he didn’t quite have to earn his way from
the bottom, right? He’s not like a Hitler or Napoleon who came from nothing
or like [unclear 00:48:35]. I hate that all these guys are horrible examples.
That’s sucks.
How about an Abe Lincoln? Came from not … Why am I rattling off like evil
people? Like an Abe Lincoln who came from nothing and then got to --
President of America in Abe’s day and then ruler of Rome, let’s be real for a
quick second and separate those two. Let’s be real, real quick for real second
to just separate those two for a second. Just for a second let’s do that.
So he didn’t get there, he was sort of placed there. You’d almost think that
that would make him more entitled and more just cloaked in purple and
covered in gold. You would think that that would be more so. But the fact
that he was consciously focused on cracking the whip of virtue, his own
definition of virtue on himself at all times.
I think his heart was bronzed over a bit. You see that much depth, you see
that many people close to you die. His wife wasn’t really all that faithful from
what the literature seems to say. It was like a good deal of kind of like
suffering right up until he [unclear 00:49:33] basically. That was like his whole
So I think his heart was bronzed which I think is an unfortunate fact that sort
of happens there. But he aimed to be and strove to be good within himself
despite -- In some degrees being handed all this power and seeing so much
pain, he didn’t take that back out on the world, you know? I think he’s a
beautiful example of a transcendent human virtue and I like biography for
just that reason.
I like it as stars of the sky of human capacity and character that we can then
look up to. And hopefully like a bow and arrow, shoot ourselves beyond if we
do a good job. But at least we have a reference point rather than like a good
What’s a hard working person? I never really shaken a hand of a person that’s
as hardworking as like some of the people I read biographies about. I prefer
biography to people sometimes. Not all the time but I think there’s
transcendent virtues that have happen and people in situations that have
happen that we can drink in and get real about how little everything around
us is. I think Aurelius is a great example of that in terms of goodness, not just
Dane: I remember how much relief I felt when I found Rockefeller’s biography.
Dan: In what sense?
Dane: Nobody really showed me how to be a great, great man.
Dan: No! I shake the hands of soft people every day, Dane. Every day. What do we
know? Who we met? Who? Who? Who? Nobody. Nobody is who. Take you
to like real. Take you to reality, you know? Take you to what it takes. I’m with
you on that. Who showed you? Did your dad show you? My dad had showed
me, you know.
Dane: He did the best he could, God bless him.
Dan: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So did mine, God bless him.
Dane: I’ll tell you what though. When I read Rockefeller I said “Holy shit! Here it is.
All laid out in plain sight right in front of me how to become great.” And I
ain’t going to find this anywhere in the world.
Dan: No, it’s not in courses, man. It’s in the lives. It’s in the lives.
Plutarch, who you may or may not be familiar with, Plutarch who wrote the
Roman, lives of the famous Greeks and Romans, is eminent for the reason of
conveying biography. People have read Plutarch’s heroes; these guys who
know struggle like we don’t know struggle. It doesn’t exist on Earth anymore.
It’s over. It’s over. It doesn’t exist like that. We’re done, we’re excluded. But
we get to see and know it because people have written that down.
Like Rockefeller, there really isn’t, you know, with the anti-trust and all. It’d
be tough to get there now. It might be possible but it’d be real tough to get
there with the government kind of setup and whatnot but Rock did it when it
was ripe, you know? He did it like nobody else did it ever in time for all time;
at least in his domain, right? Rockefeller’s domain was business. In his
domain, there is no other Rock really. And you got to give him that, don’t
you? You got to give him that.
Dane: I just want to go back and re-say that greatness exists and it’s hidden inside
biographies. When I say hidden, it will be hidden everywhere in the world. In
my opinion is that the cashier at the grocery store, and the bus driver, and
the janitor, and everyone else who’s probably just waiting to see an example
of greatness so they could see what might be possible for them. And you’re
not going to find it out there. So like I don’t like living in the world. I like living
in biographies. And then I make that shit real in the world.
Dan: Leave me be in the labyrinth of my precepts at Emerson. I prefer that myself
Mr. Dane. I prefer that myself. I can give you my last man and my last book
who also lived in biographies for a good span before he was well-known, if
we can end on that. Or you want to go into whatever else, that’s fine.
Dane: Let’s hear the book.
Dan: Fantastic.
I never read a better book than this in my life. So you’re talking about
Rockefeller. Now look, I adore very much about Rockefeller and I am able to, I
believe, in my heart and my soul, to separate what I like in greatness and
what I like in goodness.
Now I happen to admire both of those in my good man, Aurelius. I happen to
admire mostly the goodness in my good man Emerson. I happen to mostly
admire the greatness of this next man. Some people would question some of
Rockefeller’s ethics and some of his decisions.
I’m not here to chastise Rockefeller. I will take from Rockefeller what I need,
right? Bruce Lee like, oh, I like how fencing does the jab. I like how this … I’m
just going to build what I want, right? Shouldn’t we all build what we want?
So I’ll take from Rockefeller what I want and I take from this next author what
I want. This book is called -- Never heard of the author and probably never
will. The Personality of Napoleon, this is by John Holland Rose. Now, I’m not
sure who’s familiar with Napoleon, but if you are, it’s a relatively big deal.
So the thing about Bonaparte is like -- If ability to do could be boiled down
into like a kind of -- like into a vile, like a substance, he would have the
thickest, darkest vile of the substance that has ever been extracted out of a
human body, I believe, in many respect. There’s other domains but I think
across the span of humanity, in terms of capacity, how much [audio breaks]
admire everything about Napoleon. I said, “How much can you do? How
much can you work? And how effectively can you work?”
Bonaparte, like Rockefeller, came from absolutely nothing. Rose to possibly
the preeminent military strategist himself and Caesar I suppose in some
respects. Grab France, expand France. I’m not saying it’s all admirable, I’m
just saying he -- it’s hard. I’m saying it’s hard to freaking do and it’s also hard
to get shipped out to Elba.
Not everybody has ridden on a horse. Like even Aurelius didn’t, okay, so I’ll
be clear about this. Even Aurelius didn’t ride on a horse in the front of his
army and literally chop people. I’m not saying that’s admirable, okay? I’m just
saying it’s hard.
So Bonaparte did that stuff and then orchestrated the roads through the
Alps, and then wrote constitutions, and then set serfs free, and then took
over Austria, and then -- So he like rotated between vastly difficult
managerial and operational at a national level tasks and constitutional
philosophical task in terms of breathing some light into what the revolution
was trying to do and some other things like that.
I don’t think everything Napoleon did in terms of policy was good. I’m not
sanctifying Napoleon, I’m not sanctifying Bonaparte. I’m taking from them
what I want. But what I want from Napoleon is capacity.
So to operate philosophically, operationally, militarily at that many levels, to
be on horseback for 20 hours a day for weeks at a time and to marshal tired,
drunk French men with no shoes to go kill armies three times their size. I’m
not saying I like killing, I’m not saying I like armies. I’m saying it’s hard damn
it! And I’m saying that he did hard things.
In the personality and, of course, he was shipped to Elba, everybody knows
that. He came back from Elba with a thousand men. The troops that were
sent against him, he verbally convinced to join his side and then took over
France again. And then won another series of battles over and over with
smaller armies [audio breaks] these other guys. Again, again.
And then eventually, you know, waterloo, yaddi-yadda and it didn’t end all
that great for him. But, none of it was easy. In fact, it was massively hard,
maybe like among the hardest.
So the first emperor of China was pretty tough. There’s some [unclear
00:57:53] folks who was pretty tough. Napoleon doesn’t know as much about
balance sheets as Rockefeller at all, I don’t think. Now he was a good
mathematician, he was very shrewd, but I don’t think. I think on a scale of
business, Rockefeller had him. But like Rockefeller, he never killed [unclear
00:58:08], you know what I mean? And Rockefeller never seen half a million
people die in like one campaign.
I’m not saying that death is virtuous, Dane. I’m not saying that. What I’m
saying is it’s been hard is what I’m saying. I’m saying it’s been hard is what
I’m saying. I’m saying it’s hard. I’m saying that Napoleon was hard. I think
that if you want to endure hardship, you have to understand how soft and
petty your hardship is and there’s no better way than biography. There’s no
better way.
And the personality of Napoleon is a book that outlines his own thoughts and
doings in these different domains. Him as a young officer, him as a military,
conqueror, and strategist, him as a setter of policy, him as emperor, him as a
thinker and philosopher. How was he in these different context? How did he
interact with different kinds of people? What did he think to himself? What
did great people think?
When you figure out what Rockefeller really focus on, what he really gave a
crap about, what he really like nail down in order to become successful in
business, you understand more than just like, “Oh yeah, oil and, oh yeah,
monopoly.” It becomes about -- You know like its origins in his dome. When
you come to understand the personality of Napoleon --
I read a lot about Napoleon. I happen to think it’s the best book I, A, probably
ever read; B, certainly ever read about Napoleon. It is just piercing into what
was this man thinking? Not all of it was good. Some of his lines of thought I
think are pretty dangerous and actually unfortunate for France and
unfortunate for the world. I can say that.
I’m not deifying Napoleon one bit, I’m not. But what I am saying is if you want
to unlock capacity, if you want to work, if you want to endure. If you want to
work and endure and manage and endure and work then Napoleon’s a good
place to start. Taking over France, etc, etc, etc; Elba, etc, etc, etc, and then all
the domains of success which he was privy to. Not saying we should model all
of his virtues but I’m saying if you want to understand work, work, work,
work, you have to understand Napoleon.
Emerson says of Napoleon, “He teaches the lesson that vigor always teaches
that there is always room for it.” Is that he was just harder working than
everybody and was doing it in a smarter way. And it’s eminently clear now. I
don’t admire all of it but I want to be able to work very hard, I want to
endure and not be boyish about what hardship is, and so I love this book like I
love no other book.
Dane: What is …
Dan: We’ve left the realm …
Dane: We’ve left the realm of?
Dan: Of business which I apologize for. But I happen to know about you Dane, I
think, that you probably dig this stuff more anyway.
Dane: Yes. To a very large degree because it’s all very potent in business. “Oh, you
don’t have an idea. Oh, you don’t have enough time. Oh, you don’t have
enough money. Oh, you got a family to support.” Suck it up.
Dan: Yeah, man. I don’t know. You know, it is what it is. But if you don’t read
biography, you don’t know how to suck it up, right? Because all you know is
like, “Well, I know that when my roommate say they had a hard day, it’s at
this level. And when my dad said he had a hard day, it was at this level. And
so I think this is probably where hard is.” But, like, if you know what hard is
then you know what hard is. Then you know what it is. You know what it is.
Dane: Yeah.
Dan: You know what it is. I’ve never seen nobody [unclear 01:01:50], you know?
Never seen like 30,000 people [audio breaks]. Never seen it happen. I don’t
know what that’s like.
Dane: Well, I mean I can speak for myself and probably for Ryan that we’ve been
through some pretty hard shit. I almost died quite a bit during my first few
years in the world. I was born a fighter. Died in my sleep constantly from
stopping breathing; had to be shook alive. Ryan’s been through his fair share.
So we have our own personal experience of hard.
Dan: Oh, yeah. That’s good.
Dane: But I just want to say, you know, for those that I say suck it up to, it really is
like quit whining. There’s like legitimate obstacles and then there’s just like
Dan: Yeah. I mean really though, man. It’s not a story. Bonaparte actually was in
Elba and there were British boats all over the place. He actually took those
guys and actually took over France.
Now, if you can’t grab another 2 hours on Thursdays to get your WordPress
site together, like man, you’re missing the whole deal. I think it has to start
there, doesn’t it? Doesn’t it have to start there? Can you go the other way
around? Can you be soft and get anywhere? Can you be soft not in the sense
of military, not in the sense of being mean, but I mean soft in the sense of
control of your own volition; of the control of your own volition. Can you be
soft in the control of your own volition towards whatever your goals are.
Knitting quilts or building a business and do it well. Can you do that? I think
the answer is no, I think.
I think that anything that would prevent us from doing what’s important to
us. I don’t care if the people -- I know people that don’t want to build a
business, that’s fine. But if there’s a flaw in your soul that would keep you
from doing what’s important in your soul then it’s sort of like the flaw. It is
the ultimate flaw. It is the flaw that prevents you from wielding your own will
and like is there anything actually worse than that? I think that those beliefs
are of the deepest kind of sort of just pity and sort of shame I think in many
respects. I think that you got to kind of kick things off by marshaling that will
and making sure your beliefs are lined up.
Dane: Yeah. Speaking of marshaling will and beliefs lined up and not having ideas or
money or any of that stuff, the reason I created The Foundation years ago all
by my lonesome and brought Andy on to help co-found Foundation. The
reason I started this whole deal was to show people the beliefs, show people
the will. Hopefully create that desire that is possible for them too.
Dan: Yeah man.
Dane: I don’t know. I want to say, I’m going to go out on a limb and say there’s no
difference between the men in those biographies and you other than what
you decide to do or not do.
Dan: Yup. A lot of them did have a parent die early and normally there’s a lot of
sort of born in angst. Like hardcore angst. They have more emotional -- Like
they burn more fuels in their … [audio breaks] don’t do it for fun. So I think
you do have to have some inner kind of like suffering and a lot of toil in order
to put yourself through all that for all that long. But in terms of
physiologically like person, like arms, like thumbs -- Yeah man, if you’re
listening to this podcast, you’re a person too. Like start a business.
Dane: Yeah.
Dan: But also figure out what’s under your skin to the point where you want to
give up Christmas and just work all the time because if you really want to do
it then that’s the way to do it. But at the same time, not everybody wants to
do that stuff and not everybody wants to sacrifice everything. The guys we’re
talking about, don’t get me wrong, are guys that sacrifice everything, right?
So that’s a different [unclear 01:05:44]. There’s an Encyclopedia Britannica
stuff and then there’s like you’re financially independent.
I’m going to be straight and say those are different. But I’m going to be
straight as well and say that you should do what your heart appoints which
could be either/or or knitting quilts. I think people should do what their heart
appoints. But I think that if you got the desire, Rockefeller had a brain and
hair like you, [unclear 01:06:06] at least had a brain and thumbs and all that
Dane: Yes, sir.
Dan: Indeed. Indeed brethren, indeed.
Speaking of the highest things, Dane, I like to speak of the highest things.
Dane: I like hearing you talk of the highest things. How have you been doing, Ryan?
Ryan: This has been a great experience.
Dane: (Laughs)
Ryan: I like saying his passion come through.
Dan: Great. I like to use martyrdom, not passion really. I think passion is for fun
time people. But, either way, I’m glad that it was enjoyable. I think you very
much like the books.
Dane: Yeah.
Dan: I think you would. I know Dane is a biography man so that’s why I mention
Dane: Well, Dan, it’s been good talking to you.
I want to just encourage anybody that is looking for the encouragement to be
around the group of folks so that they can realize what’s possible for
themselves. I think that being in community is one of the greatest things that
you could ever do for your self-esteem and one of the greatest things you’ll
ever do for your desire. It’s very challenging to cultivate a strong desire when
you’re alone. It’s possible but very challenging.
I like to say that starting a business is not magical. It doesn’t require any
special skills. It’s all about following a process and you can do it. If you want
to fail, then don’t follow a process. If you want to fail, go alone. If you want to
fail, don’t take action. But if you want to succeed, follow a process. Don’t go
alone. Remember, action is the answer and honesty is always the way.
If you believe in those things and you’d like to start a company from scratch,
you need a lot of direction and support, thefoundation.com is a great place
for you. You can apply for our next program at thefoundation.com/apply.
Dan, what would you like people to do right now?
Dan: Man. Well, I want to certainly -- to do what their heart appoints is what I
ultimately want them to do, Dane. But in terms of unlocking volition I think
Personality of Napoleon will be a great place.
If people want to learn more about the stuff that we didn’t really talk about
as much, it was marketing automation. The website that we have for that is
called clvboost.com. It stands for Customer Lifetime Value. So Customer
Lifetime Value, clvboost.com. We got a white paper on basically the
marketing automation strategies that we use in all kinds of different
So if people just want to grab some stuff and aim to apply it but stuff that’s
actually work in other businesses and made a lot of money, they can grab it
there. If they want a good book to improve their capacity, to leverage their
own volition, I’ve given you some goodies.
Closing: Thank you for joining us. We’ve taken this interview and created a custom
action guide so you know exactly what action steps to take to grow your
business. Just head over to thefoundationpodcast.com to download it for
free. Thanks for listening and we’ll see you next week.