Every week I get the chance to sit across from some of the most impactful human forces in the world’s biggest industries, but not often do I get to kick it with one of my own friends. Dave and I have known each other for a few years, but his impeccable resume has lost none of its luster since getting to know him. You may recognize a couple of his laurels: Amazon and Google.
Dave is similar to some of our previous guests: a wildly successful investor who struck 21st century gold in San Francisco. His formula for finding future fortune always involves one key molecule: evergreen. We’re not talking environmental conservation, here (although I’m sure you could make a mint off an evergreen evergreen business), but building the kind of business that’s future-proof for generations to come.
Dave sizes up dozens of prospective investments each month. Much to my surprise, some of his strongest investment inclinations aren’t rooted in these future partners’ strong business acumen. The universal trait Dave has found in all his best budding entrepreneurs is actually the most public-facing quality of all: their character.
Instead of talking ROI and market impact, Dave opens the investment dialogue with their upbringing, family values, and what lessons that life has bestowed upon them — their actual life story. That being said, don’t think you can waltz up to an investment meeting, share some childhood memories, and smile your way into venture capital (or a job at Quest)… but it sure starts the ball rolling in the right direction.
The prospect of a hot new evergreen business whets Dave’s appetite like a neurologically nuanced book does mine. But Dave isn’ looking for someone on a cash-grab with an exit strategy; he’s looking for businesses that measure success by how well they deliver on their mission… maybe that’s why we hit it off so well.
And as a fair warning to my 2x or 3x listeners out there… Dave hits the IQ stage in high gear, so you might want to ease into this one at less than terminal velocity.
There’s nothing more satisfying than a successful brain coupling — that moment when your brainwaves mirror those of the person you’re speaking to. That’s exactly what happened when I shared the IQ stage with Jason Silva. He’s best known as the host of the Emmy-Award nominated smash hit Brain Games on National Geographic Channel. But to cut his resume off there is doing this man a great disservice. He’s the perfect blend of Carl Sagan and Ray Kurzweil with a bit of Mark Twain thrown in for good measure. His YouTube Channel “Shots of Awe” is on my must-watch list (at 2x), if you’re not subscribed, you should be. There he creates bite-sized pieces of content about the dichotomy of being human in an increasingly robotic world.
Jason has an encyclopedic knowledge of philosophy, futurism and literature – he’s loaded with such a humbling array of information that any conversation with him quickly detours down the rabbit hole of awesome. His unique outlook on the convergence of technology and humanity is so invigorating that it could instill hope about the future in the staunchest doomsday prepper.
It’s not every day that someone can humble me with their knowledge, but Jason’s brain absorbs information at a rate that gives me a run for my money. Although we only had an hour together, I could easily see myself pondering the future, infinity, the cosmos and everything in between with the guy for far longer. If his YouTube channel is comparable to an espresso shot of inspiration, consider this episode of Inside Quest the main course.
My obsession with the human brain knows no bounds. The more precisely we can study its workings, the better. As if I wasn’t sold on “The Institute for Health and Human Potential” by name alone, their full curriculum of leadership, emotional intelligence, and the neurological breakdown of performing under pressure is the kind of stuff I could study ALL DAY! This week’s special guest and thought leader is Bill Benjamin, Master of Emotion, partner and keynote speaker to the IHHP.
Bill’s crash-course in “Performing Under Pressure” is IQ 101: we’ll analyze how it comes into play in day-to-day life and break it down to a neurological level. You can have all the talent and knowledge in the world, but when you’re under the gun, the first thing to betray you will always be the same: your emotions.
Emotion can be disguised as momentum in the heat of battle. The rush experienced while bickering with a supervisor or loved one is the same rush you’d experience when challenged by a lion in the wild. It would seem our infinitely intricate brains are still ironically ancient.
A few weeks back, IQ guest Steven Kotler shared his tremendously triumphant story of the human spirit, which brought him back from the verge of suicide. He touched on the fascinating concept of “getting into the gap.” You’re going to feel the incoming sensory assault no matter what, but the way you process that feeling is up to you. Bill Benjamin is here to take this idea a step further.
Bill’s methods range from common, subtle hand gestures to breathing and meditation. I know what you’re thinking… but when advice like that comes from a guy with degrees in Computer Science and Mathematics, it’s worth paying attention. Bill Benjamin’s episode on Inside Quest touches upon the initial keys to cultivating a peak cerebral, chemical cascade which can help set you down a path for future success.
You look at his track record Howard Marks has more in common with a gambler than a leader of business. What separates him from the sea of other entrepreneurs occupying the same space is that where others see a lost cause, Howard sees an opportunity. When he and Bobby Kotick purchased Activision in the early 90’s, the company was bleeding money. After he and his partners invested everything into the dying company they saw it rise from the ashes of its former glory as an 80’s powerhouse video game development studio to the leading video game developer and publisher today.
The lessons learned from Howard Marks’ early career endeavors are what fuel his current company, StartEngine. They’ve set out to breathe new life into the small business ecosphere putting the power in the hands of the people by democratizing investments. Every business begins with a mission and Howard has helped over 60 companies define what their mission is.
Howard Marks aims to beat Silicon Valley at its own game by removing the boardroom barrier and giving the general public a seat at the entrepreneurial table. He’s an iconoclast, visionary and madman rolled into one and he’s revolutionizing the capitalist system one business at a time. If you’ve ever wanted to find out how to change the world, this is an episode you can’t afford to miss.
I would love to bring a real-life superhero on IQ someday, but since they survive only in the realm of comic books and movies, I honed in on the next best thing – Steven Kotler. He’s like a living Professor X. His dream it is to harness the hidden, superhuman potential in all of us through furthering our understanding of Flow States.
A Flow State is that awesome moment where all external stimuli shut down and your brain engages with laser focus on the task at hand. Whether you’re creating a woodworking masterpiece in your garage or attempting to jump the Great Wall on a skateboard, there’s no barrier to the power of a brain undergoing Flow. It’s what makes us tick at 20x and tap our hidden potential. In this episode and throughout Steven Kotler’s New York Times Bestselling book “Rise of the Superman,” he explains how extreme sports athletes harness flow states to conquer what was once thought impossible.
We’re alive at an incredible time in human history. Our understanding of the brain and how it functions could soon make it so we’re able to call upon flow states on command. So while we’re not quite at the intersection of Moore’s Law and Human Athletic Potential, the linear progression of evolution may soon reach exponential growth.
Steven Kotler is challenging himself to transform science fiction into science fact. His goal to map the Flow Genome by 2020 is some of the most exciting research being done today, and I can’t wait until he succeeds.
Noah Kagan knows loss. On paper, this is a man who for all intents and purposes should have buckled under the gravity of his misfortune. This entrepreneur was poised to cash in on a 1% stake in Facebook before it became the social media empire 1.55 billion people know and use. That 1% payout is worth roughly $170 MILLION DOLLARS today. And Noah Kagan lost every cent of that money because he made a mistake.
The sheer will and perseverance of Noah, to me, is far more impressive than the sum of money listed above. This is a guy who no one would have blamed if he curled up under a rock and became the most embittered person on the planet. Instead, Noah transformed a worst-case scenario most of us couldn’t fathom and used it to jumpstart the rest of his career. With a gargantuan learning experience under his belt, Noah has gone on to found countless companies, work for giants like Intel and Mint.com and release an e-book outlining his time with Facebook and the 170 million dollar lesson he learned. And he’s one of the most down-to-earth guys I’ve met.
In this episode Noah details how he spun a career-defining mistake into an opportunity, why he chooses to peruse happiness over money and how to gain a healthy work/life balance. Noah is a truly incredible man and it was a pleasure to spend an hour with him.
There’s something incredible about the idea of a warrior monk. That’s exactly what legendary MMA coach Firas Zahabi reminds me of. You’d be doing the sport of Mixed Martial Arts a disservice if you think it’s just a bunch of muscle-bound dudes ready to pound the hell out of each other. There’s an insane mental game that goes into the preparation of each fighter and Firas is the go-to guy when it comes to mental Jiu Jitsu. His schooling as a philosophy major has taught him to approach every situation with an awareness and calmness you wouldn’t expect from a Muy Thai champion – making him perfect IQ material.
Firas has turned a once down-and-out gym into the pinnacle of MMA training grounds with TriStar Gym, coaching such greats as Georges St-Pierre, Rory McDonald and former IQ guest Kenny Florian. However, it’s not the fighter that built the foundations of Firas’ success, it’s the philosopher. More Plato than Bruce Lee, Firas exudes a calmness and insane knowledge of centuries-old lessons that are still applicable today that I can’t help but admit that I’m intent on diving into the world of Marcus Aurelius at 3x.
Tape up those fists, clear your mind of doubts and absorb as much insight as I did from one of my dream guests.
I created Inside Quest to break down the secrets of success from some of the world’s most successful and influential people. Since the beginning, there were four iconic figures who I’ve been determined to interview on the show. This week we have a very special guest, one of those four icons that has inspired me and 50 million others: Tony Robbins. IQ is a place to cut out the bullshit and shoot straight: How did you succeed? Where did you fail? What can people do to replicate your success? Tony Robbins has inspired millions of people to do just that, to channel their own internal power and tell their story in the most authentic way possible.
Tony’s astronomical success comes from looking through the surface level of the way our world works, deep into the very patterns and drivers that motivate people to act. He started as the protege of self-help pioneer Jim Rohn and flourished into the household name we all know by helping others find the most essential strengths. As if that weren’t enough, he donated all profits from his latest book “MONEY: Master the Game” to feed the homeless.
Tony wants you to choose happiness. Being happy is a skill you can master, and you know I’m all about skill acquisition. Across all his books and seminars, Tony teaches one main thing: how to be yourself without fear. After sitting down with him for an hour, you’ll be surprised to see just how easy (and almost effortless) that is to do.
Everyone and everything impactful starts with a mission. Tony’s is to help people end their own suffering and to lead extraordinary, magnificent lives. Don’t call him a motivator, just a strategist… but one with a master plan. This week we have an episode where idealism faces pragmatism, and the result is exhilarating.
Everyone knows Neil Strauss as the controversial bestselling author of “The Game” and “Rules of the Game” where he provides an arsenal of tips on how to approach women. He’s been deified by droves of men across the globe and has a rabid fan base few authors can match. You’re probably thinking he’s a pretty unorthodox guest for Inside Quest. But if you’ve learned anything over these past few episodes of it’s the transformative potential of the mind, and that power is on full display with Neil Strauss. He came to fame through “The Game” but that’s not the part of the story that interests me. The second chapter of Neil’s life story is the part of his tale that leaves a lasting impression.
In “The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book About Relationships,” Neil essentially deconstructs and devalues every single technique he advocated in “The Game.” The dichotomy of Neil’s struggle with what he thought was his path to happiness and his newfound need for deeper truth demonstrates an epic evolution of character. The stories in the book illustrate that we’re more than just the trauma of our childhood and that we can redefine ourselves without regret.
Neil was a delight to share the stage with and I left the interview with a renewed interest in taking an even deeper look at myself. He’s the embodiment of what happens when you admit you don’t have all the answers and that, my friends, is what leads to meaningful change and an amazing IQ guest.
Twenty years is a long time to work toward any goal, especially when you’re one of the very first athletes in the history of your school to do so. Bo Eason wanted to be a pro football player since he was a kid, to be the best in the world at his position, regardless of the fact that any high school player only has a 0.08% chance of getting into the league in the first place. By constantly reminding himself of those astronomically improbable odds, Bo did more than defy them: he owned them. But impenetrable mental fortitude can only hold so much weight in a game of professional athleticism. Bo didn’t stop after his first ACL tear, though, or even the sixth… it was the SEVENTH.
This may sound like we’re eulogizing him, but when your lifelong dream is cut short by the merely physiological limitations of your own damn body, the news feels nothing short of fatal… until it isn’t. Performance is an art form on any type of stage; Bo’s stage just happened to be a football field… at least for the first twenty years. But when one curtain closes, another opens… making it strangely appropriate that Bo’s next journey would take him to the theatre. And then another. And then 50 more, for 1,300+ performances of his critically acclaimed 1-Man-Show “Runt of the Litter.”
Bo Eason has reached a peak level of success on two polar opposites of the socio-entertainment spectrum. He’s hit a bullseye inside of a bullseye. He couldn’t have done it without adhering to a few keys principles that we’ll explore in the episode, but here’s number one: those odds aren’t really as bad as they sound.
When I found out I’d be getting the chance to sit down with Robert Sutton I was genuinely excited to dig around inside the mind of a kindred spirit. In Robert’s latest book he detailed the exact same struggles I’m dealing with at this point in my own growth and the growth of my company. Robert has seen it all– From his work with incredible hard-hitters like Microsoft, Facebook and Apple, Robert has witnessed the watershed moments when good leaders either fail or succeed based on the choices they make in those pivotal moments.
The deeper you dive into the world of Robert’s writing, the more difficult it is to stop. He possesses a dizzying array of anecdotes, real-case scenarios and a lifetime of firsthand experience in the entrepreneurial world. He’s a high-octane bundle of intellectual energy and the recipient of numerous awards including the Eugene L. Grand award for excellence in teaching, Business 2.0’s “leading management guru” award, and the Quill for his 2007’s New York Times bestseller, “The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t.”
Bob is currently a tenured professor of Management Science at the Stanford Engineering School. His most recent release (co-written with collaborator Huggy Rao), “Scaling up Excellence: Getting to More without Settling for Less” is a must-read for anyone willing to face the rigors and challenges of growth head-on.
Robert Sutton has spent the past seven years learning how to “scale up excellence” in organizations of all shapes, sizes, colors and qualities, so do yourself the service of watching this episode and light a fire you can give to someone else in an effort to inspire.
It’s not every day when I get the profile of a potential guest and know within 15 seconds that this is a person I would love to get in the interview chair. That’s exactly what happened with Tim Grover. This is a man who is behind not just some of the legends of basketball, but the man behind the icon that is Michael Jordan. To call him “just” (more on that in the episode) a trainer is to do the man and yourself a disservice. Tim goes beyond physically preparing the world’s best athletes – he hones in and imparts the wisdom of mental preparedness to create what he calls “cleaners.”
His book, “Relentless,” reveals psychological insights into the nature of elite performance and will empower you to bring your game to the next level by being the sole proprietor of what’s expected of you. Tim is also the owner and CEO of Attack Athletics – a training center where legends go to become icons.
This is one of the most inspiring, exciting and genuinely passionate talks I’ve had with anyone. Tim’s energy is tough, direct and no bullshit. You may not like everything he says to you, but you’d be hard-pressed to call him wrong in his assessments. A truly incredible man, with a captivating story, Tim has elevated himself and his tranees beyond all expectations. It was my unmeasurable pleasure to dissect his infinite wisdom for 45 minutes. Trust me, these are some of the most important minutes you’ll spend this year.