The Power of Intimate Entrepreneur Retreats

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Double Your eCommerce Business in the Next Year requesting the most effective growth and profitability strategies we've unearthed from 5+ years of studying successful stores.

Mastermind groups are a familiar topic in the eCommerce community. In this kickoff episode of a three-part series, we take a peek inside a recent entrepreneurs’ retreat hosted by our frequent guest and good friend Bill D’Alessandro.

Together with Will Nathan of Homepolish, Zack Kanter of Proforged, and Marshall Hayes and Alex Herndon of Amplio Digital, we discuss the many benefits of spending time with like-minded and highly motivated fellow entrepreneurs.

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(With your host Andrew Youderian of eCommerceFuel.comBill D’Alessandro of Elements Brands, Will Nathan of Homepolish, Zack Kanter of Proforged, and Marshall Hayes and Alex Herndon of Amplio Digital)

Andrew: Welcome to the eCommerceFuel Podcast, the show dedicated to helping high six and seven-figure entrepreneurs build amazing online companies and incredible lives. I’m your host and fellow e-commerce entrepreneur, Andrew Youderian. A quick note before we get started. This episode is one in the series that I recorded live and unfortunately I had a few settings wrong and the audio was not perfect. I still want to share it with you and I want to apologize for the audio quality, and we’ll do our best to make sure it doesn’t happen again. All right, on the show.

Welcome to the eCommerceFuel Podcast. I’m Andrew Youderian and a special kick off of a series here that we’re doing, from Fripp Island in South Carolina, I’m joined by Will Nathan, Bill Dalessandro, Marshall Hayes and Zack Kanter and we’re the guest of Bill at his beach house here. Bill, thanks for having us. Maybe you can describe. Where are we? What are we doing here? And you’re kind of the mastermind behind this mastermind. What’s the story?

Bill: Sure, yeah. So we’re all here, down here at Fripp Island, South Carolina. This is the 3rd annual workation, as we have come to call it. It’s a group of six entrepreneurs and make it larger, over the next couple of years. But its six entrepreneurs, we’ve been doing it now. This is our third year and the idea is to come to the beach for a week, be all physically in the same place, share ideas about our business. We typically come down here, we do work.

Wake up at eight, have some breakfast. We work until 12:00 or 1:00 and then will go out in the boat or hang on the beach, and spend the afternoon doing fun stuff, cook dinner together, have a couple of beers in the evening. I started this like I said two years ago, with a couple of buddies. Some guys here this year are veterans, some guys are new and it was just one of the most valuable weeks in my year. So we spent…we stay up late talking about the future, talking about our businesses, talking about society and culture and economics and just some really great discussions. So I said to Andrew, we should have a podcast episode, series really, recorded live here at Fripp, but also let’s just talk about why masterminds are great. Why it’s good to get in a room with other entrepreneurs and share and then how people can make that happen for themselves without having to buy some…fly across the country and pay $5000 to get to someone else’s mastermind.

Key Takeaways from the Weekend Away

Andrew: And maybe really quickly before we get into why should you do this and specifically some of the kind of inspirational big picture takeaways that we’ve had this weekend. Really, a 15-20 second overview of everyone here, just so we can get some context. Will, can we start with you maybe just name where you’re from and just very quick in a nutshell your background.

Will: I’m Will Nathan, I’m from New York City. I started a company called Homepolish, which designs homes and offices and now I am starting a museum for digital art and a venture fund for the future of living well.

Bill: And what’s the venture fund called?

Will: Trail Mix.

Bill: Dot

Will: There is no website yet, so…

Bill: By the time this year hopefully?

Will: Exactly.

Andrew: Awesome. Marshall?

Marshall: Yeah, I’m Marshall Hayes and I started a digital marketing agency called Amplio Digital and been friends with Bill for a few years now. We kind of started our companies around the same time and just helped each other keep going, through the gracious introduction of Zack Kanter here.

Will: Twitter verified.

Marshall: Twitter verified, Zack Kanter.

Will: Slash robot.

Zack: I always forget that this introduction was my fault, that I sicked you guys both on each other.

Bill: That’s right. You introduced Marshall and I and I still I’m a client of Marshall’s years later and we’re good friends.

Zack: So I’m Zack Kanter, I’m CEO and founder of Proforged, which is a brand of auto parts distributed by O’Reilly Auto Parts, Amazon and a number of other retailers. So I met Bill, when Bill was living in Denver and I was living in Boulder. And we eventually ended up living in the same building in sort of like a sign field ask situation where I would pop into Bill’s house from time-to-time.

Bill: That’s a claimer, just to be clear.

Zack: Yeah, I was claimer and the rest is history I guess.

Andrew: A great, great group of guys and I wanna get into kind of the second half of the episode. How do you make something like this? Why should you do it specifically? But what are the ingredients? What’s important? Because I’ve been at masterminds or just meetings like this that have been phenomenal, and I’ve also been to ones that they were good. But they definitely gonna need some changes to make them even better. Before we do that, off the top, I wanna talk about some our top takeaways.

We’ve had some incredible discussions over the last three, four days. Apart from Boni with people making connections, I think the most important and the most valuable part of these kind of things is the big picture things you live with. Things that change the way you think about something, change your trajectory when you head home. So I’ll just kind of open up the floor maybe for you guys. What have been some of those massive takeaways from this week so far?

Zack: I hate to use the cliché. But it opens up your mind to a bigger plane of thinking, and I think the problem with being an entrepreneur especially in the eCommerce space, when you have a smaller business, it’s a lonely business. You’re by yourself a lot of the time, will I be working from home? Or maybe you’re the only founder and I think that that’s a different situation, when you’re the one whose responsible for the bank balance and making sure everybody’s payroll gets paid and everything. You end up being limited by your own thinking.

So the best work you can often do especially as a solo-entrepreneur is the work that you can do. And so when you go to a place like this and I hate to call it a mastermind, because it sounds so intimidating to put together. But if you get a group of other smart people around. Hopefully, they challenge you and they say, “Hey, why are you doing what you’re doing today? Why aren’t you doing something bigger or more?” And I think one of the discussions we had someone made the point that it’s really no harder to do the big things as it is the small thing. And so you might as well do the big thing.

Andrew: Will, you’re a veteran here. I’m one of the newbies. But Bill had mentioned to me the last year like he mentioned this had a pretty significant impact on you, potentially even like bordering and life changing. What was it about last year that made it so impactful for you?

Will: I think the transition for me from even being around more entrepreneurs. When I first started Homepolish, I didn’t know that many entrepreneurs and so being in a room full of them, finding out what are the common problems, everyone is going through something similar. We were all starting in the middle stages of our businesses three years ago, and it was also the first vacation I had taken for myself like since I started the company. So I was basically just sitting outside watching the ocean I think for hours at the time, which was extremely important. I think the next year Homepolish had started to succeed, there was a real business, I was managing large teams, I was really recognizing what was important to me and seeing everyone else’s businesses grow as well.

And also from my own life what I wanted and the things that I had been ignoring from, that weren’t happening to me outside of the business. Because it was a moment to step away, when it was safe to think about those things and you’re out of your city, and you’re out of your friend group. Your home town friend groups and you’re with people who are very supportive who you trust implicitly and who all understand exactly what you’re going through and can add a lot of value. So that was my big take away. Last year was just, hey, wait a second, I need to re-evaluate and really think through what matters to me.

Personal Stuff Along with the Business Stuff

Bill: So personal life stuff as much as business stuff?

Will: Exactly. And I think I agree that the concept of calling it a mastermind may be too formal on the sense that we started this just as, “Hey, these are a bunch of friends. We’re gonna go have fun, but also probably work a lot. Because that’s what entrepreneurs do.”

Andrew: Kind of touching on the personal aspect, because you you’re thinking mastermind business thing is all about business. But I had two big ones. One was as I’ve kind of joked about in the past and I think and he calls me a robot and Zack, very quickly, we discovered that we have a commonality of both of our significant others. Look at us as robots, like they call us exactly that.

Zack: And the fact that you called me a robot unprompted, shows me that you’re a robot.

Sharing Opinions, Being Honest

Andrew: And specifically, we talked about…we had a pretty honest discussion on the boat one day like, “What is our empathy level?” And is it potentially lower than which the average person? And how was that good? How was that bad? And is there something that we should work on? So for me, I love the fact that one, you can be really honest about some of these things that you don’t really talk about. I mean how can you talk about if you have too little empathy with people? It’s not something you have like a discussion with, even with a lot of good friends, and the other thing is that we’re asked pretty honest questions.

Like at one point you asked me like, “Hey, did you have like a difficult childhood?” Which is I mean we knew each other fairly well, but I wouldn’t ask a lot of people that I wasn’t really, really good friends with that and that’s just one example. But being able to be in a group where the people are comfortable asking those kind of questions, it opens up such a higher level of discussion I think. That’s really cool and you can talk about some pretty meaningful stuff.

Zack: Yeah. I think one thing about getting a group of people together is it doesn’t have to be all like-minded people. But I think it all has to be people with some set of shared principles, and one of those principles for me is just being able to talk to people who I know can get super defensive about things. So Mark Manson wrote this awesome post about a relationship, which I think works really well with friendships too.

Which he said, the number one quality to look for in another person is their ability to see and work on their own flaws. And so like if you can cultivate that in yourself and you can find other people, where you could be like, “Hey, man, I hate this thing that you do.” And someone can take that decently and be like, “Oh I don’t want people to hate the things that I do. I’ll work on that.” Instead of someone saying, “Screw you man, I don’t wanna ever talk to you again.” I think that that’s worth finding.

Reliving the College Camaraderie

Andrew: So Bill one, I don’t wanna steal the whole thing even though I attempted to. Because you had talked about. But we were having a discussion last night about how to build like an entrepreneurial utopia. We’ll get into the specifics of that, but one of the big takeaways from that discussion was like and I quote you, “Having five of your best friends in the same place, like in the same building is enough for supreme happiness in this life.” And for me that was like just, we’re sitting out, we’re all talking around, a lot of time we’re talking about how you build like eight-figure billion dollar businesses and something like that. I thought it was really, really interesting, given what we normally are talking about.

Bill: Well, it came out at a discussion we were talking about how much fun college was and it was so great because you had all your best friends in close proximity and that it wasn’t necessarily you were even the same type of people, but you had great friends close together. And so that led to a very high-minded, what if you have a billion dollars and you could start an entrepreneurial city, where everybody was of like mind and you did everything right.

You didn’t have all the problems that we’re stack with as a legacy in trans-society. So then kind of but we came to was, all right. That’s all great. But what does it mean? What could you do in the short-term to maximize your happiness? And for me what it kind of came down to and Andrew what you and I were talking about is that maybe what that means is you should place some higher value if the house next to yours becomes available for sale.

You should try to buy it and hold it and run it to someone that you like, and if you don’t like the person kick them out. And then eventually if one of your friends is looking for a house in the same town, you could sell it to them and now your best friend is your neighbor. And the happiness you derive from your best friend being your neighbor is unmeasurable. So we had a whole discussion last night about how can you redirect your assets to investments that yield happiness, not just money?

Marshall: And I knew a guy, this came from my newer guy in Las Vegas and he said. “I moved into a house and I hated my neighbors and so I downsized houses. I bought three houses in a row and I rented the two houses out on the sides only to people that I liked.” And so he built his own little, I won’t say it’s utopia but it’s two thirds of one. It’s a whole different story and I think like the way you ask the question. The question is easy. What would you do if you had a billion dollars? The question is, “What would do if you didn’t have a billion dollars? What can you do tomorrow?”

Andrew: And we’ve got Alex, Alex is just joining us. He works at Amplio Digital with Marshall. What do you think? What was…? I’m kind of putting you on the spot here. But what was your biggest take away from the weekend or the week rather?

Alex: Yeah, so I was just kind of traveling into the last topic there, I was talking about community insolence, like very important. Marshall and I live in Boulder, there is a great community of entrepreneurs there, very tight community. It doesn’t necessarily mean we always have identical beliefs or anything. Marshall and I were just talking about this morning like it doesn’t mean that we all have identical or the same world views, but it’s amazing to see what a community can do together being in close proximity with other amazing people, other entrepreneurs. What you can learn from each other and what having another perspective on a topic can do for your business but also for your life.

How Others Help You Question Your Vision

Bill: We were talking last night about different perspective and Andrew and I came up with a term, out of business experience. Which I think is really great and that’s one of the things that a mastermind or a group of like-minded people when you go away, you can take a step back from your business and other entrepreneurs can look at it and go, “Why are you doing that thing?” And you go, “I have no idea why I’m doing that thing, it’s just how I have been doing it.” Will and I were talking and he had told me that he was going through some things in his own life. One of the things that you were trying to do Will was to be big, is to think about how to succeed and be big in everything that you did.

Will: Not think small.

Bill: Not think small. I realized that I was thinking small in my business, I had a couple of brands and I thought. Maybe I’ll buy a couple of more here and there and I’ll build a nice life, and will get a couple of million dollars of revenue and that’s all I would ever need. And after talking with you about it Will, I realized that we could scale Elements Brands. The vision could be so much bigger and it made me ask the question. If I wanna be big, what does Elements Brands look like? How do we get to $100,000,000 in revenue? And it changed the strategy of the company. We’ve made numerous changes and we’re thinking a lot bigger, we accelerated our hiring dramatically. We’re raising smarts like capital. We’re really doing things a lot differently as a result of thinking big, and I would never have been able to see that on my own without the external perspective, having that out of business experience.

Will: And that’s one of the best parts of getting people together, who may not be in the same industry or at the same points in their businesses or where they’re thinking about things. Is because you get to add a new perspective and so one of my favorite parts of this experience that we’re going every year is it’s a great checking point. Every year you know you’re gonna have a brief window to see like what happened last year. Where that place is over the past few years? Whose come and gone? How has the teams grown or shrunk? What are the things that when you run a business, everyone kind of goes through them? Where is everyone else in that process?

Marshall: Yeah. I think just tacking onto the out of business experience, there has been a lot at Fripp for the last three times that we’ve been here now, that I’ve learned. The Amazon services side of our business was built here off of me laying on the couch going, “Hey, Bill, do you sell on Amazon?” And then the whole rest of my business was kind of built and even that was at the beginning, I think I had partnered with Alex like a month or two before the first thing at Fripp and the resounding feedback in the room was like, “You have a business partner, you’re gonna hire employees. What? Are you insane?” And then to see the shift now two years later, where everybody is headed in similar directions of like being a bigger company is interesting. But then last year even, I learned that I believe there is no absolute morality. So we had another…

Andrew: You shouldn’t turn your back on Marshall.

Marshall: We had an 11 hour discussion or something like that or…

Andrew: Disclaimer, I was not here for that.

Marshall: Around like just very in-depth that you were saying before Andrew, like personal beliefs and things like that that out of your business you get into this mindset of, “Hey, I can talk about anything.” Oh man, I remember this thing six months ago is that I was wanting to explore with someone, but didn’t have five hours over a lunch to do it and we can talk about these things here at Fripp. I just think that’s really cool. And then on the other side of playing devil’s advocate to the think big a little bit, I wanna say attacked. There is always this moment in Fripp where Marshall get’s yelled at I think and I was saying like, “What if we raised $1,000,000 to go out and build this kind of software and this new part of our business?”

And the answer was like resoundingly, “Why? You’re like you’re such an idiot. Why would you do that?” Do it out of cash flow and save the money, like here is the better way to go about it. That brings me back to our leadership team and being able to make the right decisions for our company, and to be back into sanity. Where else like maybe if we did get a $1,000,000 to do great things for our business, but it’s not the right thing, and it was very clear after that hour or two that we talked about it, that there was a better decision for me to make. So inside and outside of business, Fripp has just been amazing every year.

How to Put Together an Entrepreneur Retreat

Andrew: I’d love to see what you guys think about maybe even more broadly, how you construct something like this. What are the attributes of either the people that come, of the things that you do, of the way you structure the days? What are the ingredients for this? If somebody wants to try to do this with their own group of friends or entrepreneurial peers, what’s important to get it right?

Bill: Yeah. And I think the point that we want to try and drive home here is you don’t need to find a mastermind and join. You probably know a couple of entrepreneurs, you probably have some friends that are doing interesting things. Get everybody together, you can make your own mastermind. And a couple of things that I thought about when putting this together for the first year and it’s become so much bigger than just my own trip now, is I wanted to get together. It was very important to me that everybody be physically in the same place for a long enough duration. So we do this for a week. The first year we did it for two weeks, but everybody was single then. So now we do it for a week, which is kind of a long time.

You have to check out, you have to go away from your business for a week, but the long time period allows the serendipitous discussions to happen. That’s enough time for everybody to have one-on-one time with each other. So getting everybody in a physical place that is not home, and you can all be together for a long period of time. And the other thing that we focus on, Zack and I were talking yesterday about one of the most relaxing parts of this trip is that you are allowed to do work. It’s socially acceptable to do some work.

Zack: It’s like going on a trip if you’re a smoker, I’m not. But it’s like going on a trip with a bunch of smokers, where you don’t need to like feel bad about walking outside and having a cigarette. Because we’re all workers. So it’s funny like sitting at the beach, but everybody understands work we’re gonna smash on email for two hours and then we’re gonna go out and do something else.

Andrew: So you’re comparing entrepreneurship to tobacco?

Bill: It’s an addition after all.

Zack: Yeah. I think to add to that Bill’s is Zack here. I think it’s important to set the bar for planning pretty low. Because otherwise it’s so hard, we don’t have a big group here. There is nothing formal, there was no sign up process and we didn’t get a venue. We’re at Bill’s beach house, which is convenient if somebody has something and there’s six people here and I think the first year it was five people. So it’s not a big group, it’s nothing formal. You don’t have to cast a wide net, you don’t have to have an agenda.

There has been nothing planned this whole time and you just did that important ingredients, it’s like a couple of few days of people that you would like to spend more time with, whether they know each other or not, I don’t think it really matters getting in a room together and spending some time. And I think that if you can book that tomorrow, if you really thought about your network and to brief on that we’ve got Will is from New York, Marshall is from Boulder, Bill is from North Carolina, Andrew is from Montana. It’s not like this was convenient to organize. There is people…

Will: Yeah, we’re in South Carolina.

Zack: Sure. So it can be done and it’s easy and you can book it tomorrow and you don’t need to put a whole lot of thought into it. The important thing is just get some momentum.

Will: I think for me too, there is a lot that comes from being isolated. We’re not near anything particularly interesting to go to. It’s…what was it? 40 minutes to the nearest grocery store. So we get all of our groceries to the same time for the entire week. And so that means that everyone kind of goes into a role of having to take care of each other, recognizing that there is nowhere far you can go. So it’s going to create a different type of atmosphere. Yeah, you can connect to the Internet. You can do your work, but there is not this, “Oh should we go check out downtown or go out to these restaurants?” I mean everything is pretty much centralized inside the house.

Marshall: You have to do everything together. Like two people can’t go off to this bar and split up or go see the site. We’re locked in here with each other for a week, which is valuable, that’s where the value comes from.

Will: I think also, I remember back to when you first invited me. Bill and I had known each other from school and I personally trusted him and when he mentioned I have some other entrepreneurs who are doing interesting things and they are all doing well and they’re really smart, that made it a very exciting opportunity. Because it’s rare to have successful people take the time out of their schedule to come in one place, but also to be good people that you can trust implicitly. So it just speeds up that time to meaningful conversation.

Marshall: Yeah. So Andrew you had something to say about like. How do you put this together? And I think Zack even touched on this and we’re all kind of sounding off the same here. But just do it, like go get four people and commit to being away for four days for a long weekend. Like that’s the easiest way to do it or maybe that cost you 200 bucks each. I think we use split wise, because Bill initiated that the first year, just split up all the expenses and we don’t know how much it’s gonna cost. But we know it’s gonna be 100 bucks and it’s not gonna be that expensive and it’s worth. To me it’s probably worth millions of dollars, just because most of my business was born here so I’d just go out and like book four days somewhere.

Zack: We’ll be collecting on that later this week Marshall.

Marshall: Yeah, thanks Zack. Thanks.

High-Brow (And Low-Brow) Discussions

Zack: Yeah. I feel like one thing too that for me apart from just the inspiration, the thing I’ve enjoyed the most is just the discussion. To be able to have…every night, usually I get up relatively early. But that has just been totally shut, because we’ve been up till close to midnight every night just in like three, four hour discussions. I think finding a group of people that A, communicate really well is really important. And B, everyone doesn’t have to be exactly at the same level, but at least somewhere. You don’t have someone who’s been in business for 10 years and someone in their first three months. So having a group of people at a similar level and also that can communicate well, I think is important for making the magic happen.

Marshall: Andrew, can you elaborate on some of the lowbrow discussions that we’ve had? Because I’ve heard the economic solving world problems things being discussed. But maybe you can…we’ve played some games of would you rather.

Andrew: Fair point. It’s not all solving world problems here. I think one of my favorites was on a lowbrow side, was would you rather be attacked by A, angry bear or a swam of bees. And these are the kind of discussions where most IQs, normal in quotes. Most normal people would discuss this for four or five minutes, laugh and move on. We probably talked about this for close to 45 minutes to an hour, with like very heated arguments about this.

Zack: Including Alex looking up stats on the deadliest animals in North America.

Andrew: This is great. To get six people who enjoy the banter and the process of having the discussions and the points and the counter points that much just for knowing that you’re safe and you love the process, that’s cool. So we’ve got to wrap this up here pretty quickly. But maybe in closing, favorite discussions that we’ve had over the last three or four days, they could be lowbrow, they could be world changing, which has been your favorite topic of discussion over the last few days?

Marshall: I like the conversation we had deep into the evening last night about real estate where we were spearheading this one about how this fantastic city. But basically, Will’s thesis was that people living in New York, driverless cars become more prevalent. The radius around New York city where it makes sense to live becomes bigger and bigger because you could get in a driverless car at 5 p.m. and do work for four hours and then be home in Montreal or Albany or anywhere else much father way and it still makes sense if you’re gonna actually do something on your commuter sleep, on your commute.

And so it led to an entire discussion about what does the increasing de-urbanization of where you can live? You might all come together to work in a place like New York city, but you don’t have to live there due to driverless cars and what does that mean for a potential real estate values in what types of cities and what types of cities have the characteristics that maybe they might appreciate dramatically over the next 20 years or so. And where might you invest in real estate? That was pretty interesting one for me.

Will: So for me it was, when Bill and I were walking down the beach, which is a great way to have any discussion is was talking about employee-employer issues. Thinking through the things that we’ve both see and really starting to analyze, are there certain behaviors or certain types of people, or certain types of situations that are going to happen in any structure as the business grows? And to really go at that with a knowledge of someone who’s going to grasp it immediately, and to be able to take something away from that conversation and really make a meaningful impact, not only for their business, for the people who are involved in the business as well.

Alex: This is Alex. I think for me some of the interesting conversations have been financial discussions, both personally and with the business. So from a personal standpoint, talking about our mortgages, our personal level of risk evasion amongst the group. But then also how that plays into our business decision, Marshall touched on this earlier. How this goes into our decisions and our business, whether we raise money, cash flow, new places that we’re and the business that we’re investing into. So just getting that other perspectives, other input from other successful entrepreneurs was interesting but also helpful.

Zack: Zack here. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say, at least the most engaged, I was in any discussion. This might not be near term practical is, “What do we think the risk of total societal collapses in our life time? And if it happens, where do you put the banker?” Which I thought was really interesting. We were up till embarrassingly…

Marshall: 1 a.m.

Zack: I’m usually like a 10:00, 10:30 bed time. We were up till 1 a.m. talking about this. So we can’t tell you where the banker is going to be, because it’s classified.

Marshall: That’s classified, we can’t divulge that.

Zack: That would be selling a $100 eBook, available. I probably had two favorites. One was the discussion about how do you build a community where the people that you really care about and enjoy are the closest to you? Not like just in a meeting like this, but in your permanent home. And we thought through a couple of iterations of people that have tried in the past and failed. For me that’s just something that would be really interesting to pull of and sort of have like…to have a discussion where you actually really try to tackle that, over the course of an hour, hour and a half, I really enjoyed. The other discussion I enjoyed quite a bit also was talking about Burning Man, and who’s been there and what it’s like. Which is a world I don’t know anything about. So it was fascinating to hear about.

Marshall: You should go try it, for sure.

Zack: Yeah. It sounds crazy, it sounds interesting.

Marshall: Yeah. This is Marshall. I’d say like there wasn’t one discussion topic yet this year that like kind of grasped over everything and just said like. “Oh this is the thing.” But just a bunch of tid-bits like on the ride down it’s a four and a half hour ride from Charlotte, where we all flew in and it was Zack, myself, Andrew and Bill and Will in the car on the way down, Alex came later. It was just really apparently like Andrew was really trying to get to know people, and like there was just like curiosity opening up in the beginning of like, “All right. What’s your background? Where do you come from?” And then we heard an interesting, very interesting in-depth story from Bill about one of his experiences buying one of his companies. And then you just get like more backgrounds on people, and like their experiences and stuff and helps you kind of like shape your world and be like, “Oh men, I thought my experience here was crazy.” Like, Bill went through that? That’s how you bought that company?

Embracing Radical Honesty

Bill: What it really comes down to and I think one of the key tenants of any group like this is radical honesty. Everybody here we share revenue numbers about our businesses. We share deep personal financial details and strategy issues and things that we’re thinking about. Things that will be very sensitive.

Will: Empathy levels.

Bill: Empathy levels, high or low. Where the secret location of the banker might be.

Will: Also there is like relationship with our parents.

Bill: Yeah, parents, the significant others.

Will: The way we were raised, all sorts of things.

Bill: Yeah. So you require a high level of trust and that’s how you get a lot of value.

Will: We also threw Andrew into this. There was no like waiting into the…it was just like, here it is.

Andrew: It was great.

Will: We just started talking like this and I think that’s, as far as how to grow one of this after you already have it is just to assume the person is in a circle of trust, from moment zero.

Andrew: Guys, where can people…? These guys are doing really interesting work, to mean you should quickly go around and let people where they can find what you’re working about. Will, what’s the name of the new museum you’re…?

Will: It’s what’s called The Current Museum of Art. It’s going to be in New York City, the first American museum devoted to digital art.

Andrew: Awesome,

Marshall: That was an awesome name. I did not know that until right now.

Will: That’s the name.

Zack: Where can they find it on Twitter or something?


Andrew:, great. And Bill, Anywhere else?

Bill: or @BillDA on Twitter.

Andrew: Alex?

Alex: Yeah, you can find Marshall and I at We’re also on Twitter and Facebook.

Andrew: And Zack?

Zack: I mostly live on Twitter. So I think its @zackkanter, Z-A-C-K, K-A-N-T-E-R.

Marshall: Make sure it has a check mark next to his name.

Andrew: Guys, thanks so much for having me. I appreciate letting me crash this year’s events and if you’re listening, I hope you’ve got some touch for this. Get out there, get one of this going. It’s an incredible experience well worth of time. Looking forward to next year boys, oh and there is a follow up. This is the first of three in a series, this is gonna be the first podcast. Next week we’re gonna be chatting about routines and or Amazon.

So we have an episode dedicated to what’s gonna happen with Amazon and UPS and or FedEx. Are they gonna get bought? Are they gonna put them out of business? Bill and Zack, go ahead to hit on that and then we also are gonna be chatting about routines. The aspects of our routines that work well where we fail miserably and hopefully how you can create one to help you really get the most out of your life in business. Gentlemen, it’s been great. Thanks for taking the time, it’s been fun.

Want to connect with and learn from other proven eCommerce entrepreneurs? Join us in the eCommerceFuel private community. It’s our tight knit vetted group for store owners with at least a quarter million dollars in annual sales. You can learn more and apply for membership at Thanks so much to our podcast producer, Laura Serino for all of her hard work in making this show possible and to you for tuning in. Thank you for listening. That will do it for this week, but looking forward to seeing you again next Friday.

What Was Mentioned

Photo: Lars Kristian Flem/Flickr

Posted on: October 14th, 2016

Andrew is the founder of eCommerceFuel and has been building eCommerce businesses ever since gleefully leaving the corporate world in 2008.  Join him and 1,000 vetted 6 and 7-figure store owners inside the eCommerceFuel Community.

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1 comment
  • Not sure you’ve heard of EO (Entrepreneur’s Organization)
    It’s been around for maybe 25-30 years with chapters in cities around the world.
    Family, personal, business.
    Monthly forum of 6-10 people, annual retreats, global University opportunities. It’s a global network, pretty powerful.

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