shaan and sam talk storytelling, startups, and life

MFM Mini-Camp, Lessons from Selling a Company, and Storytelling Wins | My First Million Podcast with Shaan Puri and Sam Parr #405

Check out the Episode Page & Show Notes 

Key Takeaways

  • Shaan Puri’s takeaways from the San Diego party: storytelling wins, he should leave the house more often, and the life phase a person is in dictates their energy and pursuits 
  • Everyone at the party was impressive, but the ones that knew how to tell a story were the ones that stood out and made the most connections 
  • The storytelling “sizzle” makes you memorable whereas simply listing facts about yourself or your business does not 
  • One or two focused entrepreneurs with no money can do more in six months than a 50-person team at a large organization with millions of dollars, according to Sam Parr
  • The zero-to-one creative types are probably not working at the big company, and the mid-level managers do not want to take unnecessary risks and fail 
  • It is common for a startup’s velocity of progress to dramatically slow post-acquisition, which is not always bad on net 
  • After selling your startup and joining the company that acquires it, you trade entrepreneurial anxiety for bureaucratic frustration
  • It is much easier to launch something as a startup because you are beholden to no one
  • Big companies have the mindset of an ultra-marathon runner whereas startups have the mindset of a sprinter
  • Mistakes made by big companies cost more in terms of money, reputation, and time compared to mistakes made by lean startups 
  • The best ideas are things that sound like bad ideas but are actually good ideas, paraphrasing Peter Thiel

Intro 

  • Sam Parr (@thesamparr) is an entrepreneur and podcaster co-hosting the My First Million podcast. He is best known for founding The Hustle, which he sold to Hubspot. 
  • Shaan Puri (@ShaanVP) is an entrepreneur, investor, and co-host of the My First Million podcast. He shares valuable insights and frameworks at ShaanPuri.com
  • In this conversation, Sam Parr and Shaan Puri discuss the party that Shaan threw with San Diego’s most interesting millionaires, lessons learned from the entrepreneurs at the party, the power of storytelling, how life phases dictate business pursuits, things you learn when you sell a company, why zero to one business ideas are usually stupid, and more 
  • Check out these Podcast Notes from Austin Rief’s appearance on My First Million 

Shaan Left The House And Threw A Party   

  • Shaan got an Airbnb in San Diego with four of his founder friends
  • They stayed at a luxury Airbnb owned by Mark Jenny, who owns and operates a $50 million short-term rental company 
  • Shaan estimates that the backyard alone cost $2 million; there was a basketball court, pickleball court, full baseball diamond, golf course, pool, sauna, and more
  • They invited another 15 people over to the house:
    • Two of them had an NFT project that netted $200 million in sales
    • A direct-to-consumer founder of a toy company worth over $100 million 
    • A guy does tens of millions in revenue with no ads selling katana swords
    • A former CIA operative that was like a real-life Jack Ryan 
    • Friend of the pod and serial entrepreneur Ramon 
  • Shaan Puri’s takeaways from the San Diego party: storytelling wins, he should leave the house more often, and the life phase a person is in dictates their energy and pursuits 

The Power Of Storytelling 

  • Everyone at the party was impressive, but the ones that knew how to tell a story were the ones that stood out and made the most connections 
  • The storytelling “sizzle” makes you memorable whereas simply listing facts about yourself or your business does not 
  • Effective storytelling is nuanced; it can’t just be about how awesome you are or people will not like you 
  • The person telling the story should make fun of themself a little bit 

Age & Perspective, Life Phases 

  • There were people of all ages at the party 
  • Preteens wanted to play and had great energy 
  • The guys in their 20s thought they had it all figured out and had “pre-humbled” energy 
  • The guys in their 30s were in a weird middle state and had “paralysis by analysis” energy 
  • The 40-year-olds were in a relaxed state and knew their lane 
  • The 70-year-olds wanted to contribute and were just happy that everyone came over to the house 
  • It is good to have a frame-breaking experience every six months or so

Things You Learn When You Sell A Company 

  • Building something from scratch is a rare skill 
  • One or two focused entrepreneurs with no money can probably do more in six months than a 50-person team with millions of dollars inside a large organization, according to Sam Parr
  • When Hubspot showed interest in buying The Hustle, Sam was confused why they wouldn’t just build their own 
  • The creative types that could build the thing probably are not working at the big company
  • The middle managers at the big company do not want to try to build it and fail and then look bad in front of their boss 
  • These reasons are why big companies buy unique businesses created from scratch instead of trying to build their own 
  • It is common for a startup’s velocity of progress to dramatically slow post-acquisition
    • On balance, this is not always bad as the slowing down of things can lead to improvements in other areas of the business 
  • After selling your startup and joining the company that acquires it, you trade anxiety for frustration
  • A lot of the “big company stuff” is useless, but a lot of it is necessary to create redundancies and predictability
  • It is very hard for a company to have size and speed
    • Big companies are not slow because they are stupid, they are slow because they are smart
  • Mistakes made by big companies cost more in terms of money, reputation, and time compared to mistakes made by lean startups 

Zero To One Ideas Are Often Stupid, Until they Aren’t 

  • A lot of the interesting zero-to-one ideas discussed on My First Million are completely illogical or really stupid, according to Sam Parr
  • A lot of the best stuff starts off as illogical or really stupid
  • Launching something at a big company requires more logic and reasoning because you need someone to fund it or put their professional reputation on the line for it
  • It is much easier to launch something as a startup because you are beholden to no one
  • The best things do not always look like the best things upfront
  • The best ideas are things that sound like bad ideas but are actually good ideas, paraphrasing Peter Thiel 
    • These ideas have the least competition and the highest upside 
    • Check out these Podcast Notes from Peter Thiel’s conversation on Uncommon Knowledge
  • Obviously good ideas are challenging to pursue because they have so much competition
  • Bad ideas are not good pursuits, by definition 
  • It is optimal to pursue an idea that is appears to be bad but is actually good

Planning, Resistance, Growth  

  • Planning is really important when you start your company but do not plan too much 
  • Big companies are excellent at planning 
  • Big companies have the mindset of an ultra-marathon runner whereas startups have the mindset of a sprinter
  • The difference between a man and a boy: a man does not let shallow inputs change his emotions 
  • Have poise in the last four reps of a set because that is where the gains are made
    • This is also a metaphor for life 
  • Slow it down and focus when you face resistance in your professional life or career; that resistance is a signal that your best is needed 

How To Hire A Researcher

  • How to hire the best candidate: Give them all an assignment that they would do if they got the actual job and evaluate the top submissions 
  • Each research idea for My First Million needs a frame, talking points, and the take
  • For example, instead of the segment just being about a new growth hack, it should be framed as the best growth hacks of 2023, include the new hack in the talking points, and follow it up with a take
My First Million : , , ,
Notes By Stan Rizzo

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