The Art of Reaching Your Full Potential

I wanted to have Taylor Pearson back on the podcast this week because of a particularly fascinating post from his blog, titled The Subtle Art of Reaching Your Potential. Taylor and I cover a lot of ground, including how to allocate your time to maximize your potential and how he manages to read so many books.

Taylor is a longtime entrepreneur, writer, and author of The End of JobsHe’s travelled the world and run multiple eCommerce businesses along the way.

In this episode we talk about knowing where to invest your time, and how to choose the right area in which to develop your expertise. Taylor also shares his thoughts on the popular publishing platform Medium, as well as his top 3 must-read books for entrepreneurs.

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(With your host Andrew Youderian of eCommerceFuel.com and Taylor Pearson)

Andrew: Hey, guys, Andrew here. A quick announcement before we get started. I need to let you know that Friday December 30th is going to mark the last weekly published episode of the eCommerceFuel podcast, at least for awhile. Looking at 2017 and beyond and some things I personally want to do with eCommerceFuel and in the eCommerce space in general, I made the really difficult decision, at least for awhile, to focus on some other areas. I love the podcast, I love doing it, but putting out a weekly show at the level that meets my quality standards take a lot of time and you can’t do everything well.

I’m going to get into all the details on the last episode of the 30th, what to expect, what those plans are that I have for eCommerceFuel and for some things in the space, but wanted to give you a heads up. I really appreciate you listening and making the show part of your day and sticking with myself and the guests and the team over the year, but wanted to give you a heads up so its not an abrupt sayonara on the 30th of December. So more details to come, please join me on that last episode so I can fill you in on the details, but just wanted to let you know.

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 eCommerce entrepreneur, Andrew Youderian. And welcome to the eCommerceFuel podcast. Thanks so much for joining me on the show. And today I’m joined by returned guest, Taylor Pearson, the author of “The End of Jobs” as well as a very interesting blog over at taylorpearson.me.

I reached out to Taylor to talk about a post he wrote recently about reaching your potentials, titled “The Subtle Art of Reaching Your Potential.” And he had some really interesting ideas about how to think about what you should spend your time on, what areas to develop, which ones are less important to develop. So we get into that. We talk about the platform Medium, not directly related to eCommerce per se. But most people listening, you’re probably familiar with Medium, it’s a publishing and reading platform online. And it’s really gotten popular the last year or so and it’s one of my favorite places to discover and read content. So we talk about that and potentially how it can be used if you wanna leverage that platform. And finally, we talk about reading. Taylor’s a prolific reader, so he shares some of his tips on, “How do you read more effectively? How do you make time for it? And how do you distill what you learn into actual insights?” So hope you enjoy it. I always love having Taylor on the show. And we’ll go ahead and dive right in.

Andrew: Taylor, I think the catalyst for me wanting to have you back on the show was a post you wrote on your blog, “The Subtle Art of Reaching Your Potential.” And I thought it was exceptionally good, and would love to maybe kick things off there. You can kind of tell from the title, how do you maximize for getting the most out of your life and your business. And specifically kind of the question that you teed it up very nicely. You said, “When your time is limited, how do you decide what strengths to maximize and weakness to mitigate in order to reach your potential?” So what’s the answer to that? Because I think it’s an interesting question.

Conflicting Theories on How to Learn

Taylor: So the genesis of the post was this kind of these two conflicting popular theories about how to learn. So one is the kind of the 80/20 principle, which has been popularized by guys like Tim Ferriss, and Richard Koch kind of saying, “To any skill you want to learn, you can get 80% of the way there and 20% of the time you can very efficiently learn this skill.” And then kind of like the Malcolm Gladwell 10,000 hours story, which is if you wanna get really good at something, if you wanna get really great, world-class at something, it takes a huge amount of time and a huge amount of practice, and a huge a lot amount of focus and resources. And so I had all these different skills and I was thinking, “When do you apply the 80/20? When do you apply the 10,000 hours? Is one of them just wrong and the other one is the right?” And kind of the conclusion I’ve come to over time and what I was trying to work out in the writing of the article is that this idea of, “Don’t let the good be the enemy of the great,” is kind of at the heart of it. Though what it takes to go from zero to good at a skill is completely different than what it takes to go from good to great. And that you can go from 0 to good via this 80/20 that in a relatively small amount of time or with a relatively limited amount of resources, you can get 80% of the way there. But if you wanna get really world-class at something, then it’s gonna take you, you know, 10, 20, 30 times as much time and energy invested to get that last 20%.

Andrew: Have you heard of the idea of a T-shaped entrepreneur or the T-shaped marketer in terms of that the top of the “T” is that you have a decent understanding of a lot of different areas, but you go very deep, the vertical part of the “T” in that one area. Is that kind of the thing that in the article that you kind of advocate for probably the best approach to really being able to achieve your potential?

The Paint Drip Metaphor

Taylor: I really like the paint drip metaphor. This was something someone shared with me in the last year or so. But the T-shaped thing was always kind of useful to me. And what I realized I didn’t like about it was it implies that there’s only one thing you go deep on. And that really wasn’t true of me, that there was multiple things I was interested enough in to go deeper on. And so you kind of imagine dragging a paintbrush across the top of a wall and the drips start to fall down from where you dragged the paintbrush. Sometimes the drip just goes down a little bit maybe an inch. And sometimes all of a sudden maybe it goes down a foot, and sometimes it goes down three foot. So you have this kind of broad 80/20 band across the top of, “These are all the things I’m competent at. These are the things that are mission critical to whatever I’m working on.” So if you’re building a business, you have to be competent at accounting and finance. You don’t have to be world-class at it, but you have to make sure you have positive cash flow. You have to have the very basics. You have to have the basics of marketing. You have to have the basics of whatever your product is. And then you have to pick a few things within that that you become really, really exceptional at.

Andrew: Let’s just for the sake of argument say that you decide maybe you could do a couple, become world-class at. But let’s say you just wanna do one. Obviously that it helps having kind of 80/20ing some of the core competencies, the important things to have at perspective, finance, marketing, those things. But in terms of when you go deep on something, so you blend that high-level knowledge with something where you really are world-class. How do you know what to invest that 10,000 hours in, and how do you know you’ve picked correctly? Do you have any kind of framework or ideas on how you go about that? Because it’s a huge commitment.

Taylor: Right, I can give you the cheeky answer, it’s like you don’t know, you never know for sure, right? That’s kind of the game. But the heuristic that I found really helpful is look for things which seem easy to you that seem hard to other people. So what are the things that you do, which your internal sense of is, “This is maybe it’s not the easiest thing, but I’m pretty decent at this.” Where other people look at it and they’re like, “How do you do that?” So one of those things for me was writing. I would have people come up and ask me, “How do you write so much?” And I was like, “I don’t know. I mean you just sit down and you start typing the words.” And it was just kind of something that was natural to me. I actually got this from Marc Andreessen. But I think he calls it, “The anti-productivity productivity day.” So set a day where you don’t have anything on your schedule, and you say, “I’m going to be productive. But just whatever I wake up and I feel like working on that’s what I’m gonna work on.” And for me invariably I would wake up and I would usually write a blog post. That was almost always the thing I would do 90% of times on that day. And so relative to other people, that seemed to be easier for me than it was for others.

Be The Best…or in the Top 25%

Andrew: Interesting. One thing that I liked about your post as well is you quoted Scott Adams, who’s the creator of Dilbert. And he kind of broke success down into two different categories, two different formulas I guess you could say: is one, you could be world-class at something. You can be the top 1% of your field, which as we’ve mentioned takes a tremendous amount of effort. But the alternative is you can be, let’s say top 25% in 2 or more of your fields. So he uses the example, “Hey, there’s a lot of people who are funny.” And I’m kind of funny, decently funny but not world-class. And there’s a lot of people who can draw. And I can draw, but I’m not top notch. But you put that combination together. You take those two circles and the overlap of where people who can draw well who are funny and also understand business and you’re world-class in that. And would you make the argument that it’s easier to become world-class at becoming in the top 25% of two or three different areas as opposed to just sticking to one purely?

Taylor: I think it’s certainly less competitive because less people…it’s less legible so to speak. It’s less obvious that that’s a path. It’s very obvious that if you become the best in the world at the violin that the New York Philharmonic will let you play for them. Whereas if you’d asked Scott Adams 30 years before he started writing Dilbert, “Do you think it would be helpful if you were moderately funny, moderately good at drawing, and had a moderately well understanding of business culture?” He’d be like, “No, what a useless combination of things.” But of course in retrospect it’s pretty clear that that’s a super valuable thing. So I think the thing I actually thought of while I was reading it was Steve Jobs’ commencement speech at Stanford where he kind of says, “You can only connect the dots looking backwards,” right? He took this calligraphy, he got very into calligraphy and typography and typesetting in college, for no particular reason other than that it was interesting to him. And then all of a sudden that became the differentiating feature for Apple and the Macintosh. That all of a sudden it had this beautiful typesetting and typography. But that wasn’t obvious going in, right? It was only obvious afterwards looking back.

Personal Growth for the eCommerce Entrepreneur

Andrew: So maybe trying to wrap this all up in a nice bow for store owners, you’ve got a background at eCommerce even though I know you’re much more focused on the writing these days. How should someone with let’s say a six-figure, seven-figure business, how should they think about applying this to their own store, and especially their own personal developments? Any thoughts?

Taylor: I think the conclusion I’ve come to is just to be a little bit more dilettante, and a little more exploratory. That the thing that, looking to me at guys like Steve Jobs and Scott Adams, that is in common is it’s this connection of seemingly random skill sets, right? Like if Steve Jobs had woken up at 20 years old or whenever he dropped out of college and said, “I wanna start a computer company.” It wouldn’t have been a very obvious thing to go study typesetting. If he had asked the 10 people in the world doing the best at computer companies or that were on that track what to do, none of them would’ve said, “Go start typesetting or typography.” And I’m sure if Scott Adams had asked cartoonists, they probably wouldn’t have said, “Go work in a corporation for 15 years so you understand corporate culture.” And so it seems to me that looking at these people, these things are usually they find something that is interesting to them for no other reason than they find it interesting. And then eventually you kind of start to put together a few of those skills and all of a sudden it forms this unique combination that maybe you couldn’t have predicted.

Consuming Content on Medium

Andrew: I wanna shift gears a little bit and talk about Medium, the publishing and blogging platform. And I know they’ve been around for a while, and I remember seeing them, I don’t know, maybe two, three years ago. But it wasn’t until, I don’t know, six months ago maybe where I realized, “Oh my goodness. I’m reading 30, 40, 50% of the content I’m consuming is on Medium.” Why do you think it’s become so popular and what does it do really, really well that has allowed it to see such great adoption?

Taylor: It seems like a big part of it. The two parts that they seem to really excel at are reading experience, and discovery. That if you just look at the actual just design of the site is really pleasant, like the way they set their type, the way they design it, it’s very minimalist. And it’s just a much more enjoyable reading experience, especially when you look at most other online media sites. Because they’re driven by ads, they have to make money from ads, all the ads clutter up the page. Whereas because Medium, that’s not their business model, at least that’s not their business model right now, they can have this really minimalist, nice feeling page. And also they’ve got something like the cool annotation feature where you can go and you can highlight things you find interesting, or you can see what the most popular highlight is in the story. So it feels like a little more collaborative and a little more community based than just reading an article on say, “The New York Times.” And then it also seems to be the discovery seems to be quite good. Like if I just scroll through my Medium feed and I haven’t really done anything to curate it, it’s all pretty relevant stuff to me. Like whatever the algorithm or the method they have for presenting that feed to you, it seems to be very highly relevant.

Andrew: Yeah, their emails. I’m ruthless with deleting and archiving emails. And even if I don’t like the subject title so much, I almost always open my Medium emails because usually without fail there’s at least a couple articles I add to read later. How does it work, I mean you obviously have your blog, taylorpearson.me. And you publish on Medium as well. So how does it work with that combination? Is it designed to be kind of just another channel? And if so, how does that work from SEO content? Do you do one of those rel canonical links, or tags rather, back to your blog? I don’t understand how that works. Can you help me put the pieces together there?

Using Medium as a Distribution Channel

Taylor: So I’m still figuring it out, but I can tell you what I figured out so far. So I use Medium purely as a distribution channel. So everything that I put up on Medium is something that appeared on my site originally, and I’m just trying to reach people who…they don’t come to my site, but they do scroll through their feed on Medium. So it’s possible that I can reach them there. So I think part of that, like I said, is the discovery’s pretty good. The people it recommends the articles to are quite good. In terms of the SEO, I just figured out Medium does have a tool you can use their API. You can sink it up with your RSS feed to automatically import with the rel canonical tag so that it tracks that going forward. I haven’t done that to this point. My understanding of the SEO is that as long as you wait some period of time, Google knows which page went live first. And so they kind of have a way of, “Okay, this is where it’s from.” The other thing you can do is if you just hit the bottom of the article, or somewhere on the article you say, “This article was originally published at my URL.com/post.” That tells Google, “Okay, this is where it was originally published.” So I syndicate stuff to other sites like “Business Insider” and “Entrepreneur” and those kind of places. And I do the same thing. So it just says, “This article was originally published at taylorpearson.me and it links back to the original article.” And that, from my understanding, that’s strong enough signal to Google that, “Hey, this is the original,” when it comes to rankings.

Andrew: And you mentioned the feed. I don’t use the feed, again, I just use the email. But you can go in, I’m guessing I can follow you, I can follow anyone I like. And then Medium will create almost a Twitter-style feed based on who I’m following with all their content plus recommendations, is that how that works?

Creating Your Own Publication

Taylor: It does. And the other thing that’s really powerful about Medium is they have these things called publications. So you could for example start a publication about the “eCommerce Store Owner” magazine. And then you could bring in different people that contributed articles to Medium and you could reach out and say, “Hey, I really liked your article about shopping carts. Do you wanna add it to my publication?” And so from the contributor perspective they get access to everyone else that’s subscribed to your publication. And from the publication perspective, you get more content. And then people can follow publications, and that seems to be the way things are going. Because publications, one of the features is they let you do these newsletters, which effectively lets you use email with your Medium subscribers. So if you have a publication with 100,000 followers, you can email those people as if it were your email list. At least for now, and we’ll see. And I don’t know how long they’ll keep that feature. But that’s where a lot of the traction I’ve gotten it from is people will pick up my post in their publications. They’ll send a request then, “Can we re-publish this for you?” And then that reaches everyone inside that’s already following their publication.

Andrew: Interesting. Have you seen, for people, especially people listening right now, eCommerce entrepreneur is probably not as much…maybe writing with a more business slant. More of sometimes a technical slant, at least I’ll speak for myself. Does that kind of content do well on Medium? Or is it more, I guess maybe let me rephrase it. Is there a certain type of content that does well on Medium that you should be thinking about maybe, “If I’m not doing this, maybe it’s not the best platform.”

Taylor: So it seems to be, it starting it was kind of as you’d predicted, very startup tech heavy. So it just kind of read like “The best of Silicon Valley.” And it seems like it’s now transitioning more towards the type of content you would expect to do well on a large Internet site, almost like Vox and Buzzfeed. Like if you scroll through the editor’s picks or top stuff on Medium, and the post on Vox, it’s sort of like a tech version of Vox, or a tech version of Buzzfeed. So I’m not sure the technical stuff would do particularly well there.

Andrew: Any tips for people who are gonna start writing or repurposing there?

Taylor’s Writing Tips

Taylor: So the publications has been the biggest breakthrough I’ve made, that if you have say three to five publications that are relevant to whatever your subject area is, and you could submit your articles to them, that’s been the way I’ve gotten the most traction out of it. And the other thing that’s nice about it, and what I do with it is you can re-publish content. And so what I’ll actually do is I have maybe 100 posts on my site that are kind of my whole blog archives. And so I’ll just upload a new one every day, and when I get to the end of it I’ll just start deleting from the end, and then adding them back to the beginning, because it’s a feed, right? So just like Twitter, you can re-share the same thing on Twitter every month and no one’s gonna complain because most people don’t see, it just kinda goes through their feed. I’ll just kind of continually run through the archives.

Andrew: Sounds like we’re gonna have an Edgar for Medium here before long.

Taylor: Yeah, there probably will be.

How You Can (And Should) Read More

Andrew: Taylor, you read a ridiculous amount. I don’t know how many books you read a year but it’s a dizzying number. What are some of your suggestions for helping people get more reading done? Because I think everyone…not everyone, but most people want to read more. Personally I love when I can get into a two or three week flow where I’m reading every night, and I really look forward to it. But it seems like life and business gets in the way a lot. How do you prioritize actually making that happen?

Taylor: I think the biggest thing for me, which is also the least actionable of all my suggestions, is whenever I do it, whenever I read more, everything else just seems to get better. Like it seems to have such big, downstream impacts on me. I noticed I just have way more ideas in my business. If I’m ever working on a problem and I just can’t come up with any ideas, if I’ll just go read two books on it, all of a sudden I’ve got so many ideas about it that banging my head against the computer for a week would’ve been much less efficient than if I had just gone and read the two books. And I’ve definitely tried both strategies. So I think just realizing it’s important and then getting more deliberate about it. And then some of the ways I’ve gotten deliberate about it, one is just scheduling it. So first thing in the morning, last thing at night tend to be the times I can actually do it. Whenever I schedule it in the middle of the day inevitably, like you said, email creeps into it. Or another medium creeps into it or something comes up. So I try to read for at least half an hour in the morning. And I found if you do half an hour a day, that adds up to around 24 books a year. So it adds up, and it’s pretty significant for half an hour in the morning. I also am really picky about only reading things that I find interesting. So I quit a lot of books. People recommend stuff to me and it just doesn’t look interesting to me, I won’t read it. And I typically read 10 to 20 books at the same time. I just have a big stack, and I’ll just pick up whichever one is most interesting to me that day. So it never really feels like a slog. It’s usually something I’m interested in. Audio books, I’ve been on Audible for around two years. I really like biographies, anything with narratives, so either fiction or biographies I find are really good for Audible. And I’ll use those when I’m commuting or when I’m cooking, or anything where I’m using my hands but I’m not really doing any cognitive processing.

And then my last one is I use Goodreads to track all my reading. And Goodreads is kind of the social network for books. It’s I’m sure the least popular social network ever. But they do have some pretty cool features. You can use them as a to-read list, so I just keep the app on my phone. And when people suggest a book to me I’ll type it into Goodreads and I can add it. And I like it for choosing books because you can actually sort by different features. I used to just keep a huge Evernote list of all the books. But in Goodreads you can sort by, “What has the most reviews?” Or, “What’s the oldest?” Or you can actually search, “I wanna read a book about marketing.” And you can see, “Okay, what are the books people have recommended to me that are in the genre marketing?” And I think the other thing with Goodreads that helps is kind of the classic Drucker adage that, “Anything measured improves.” So I find if I just track it, inevitably I read more.

Andrew: One problem I have with reading is retention and being able to apply it. So you mentioned Audible, and I love Audible but I had to stop listening to business books on Audible because I’d listen to a business book, and then a month later I mean I could remember maybe…I could give you the nutshell high-level. But all of the things that as I was listening to I was like, “Oh, that’s brilliant. I need to do this, I need to do that,” would just kind of float off into space. So for business books, I always read them either with a Kindle app and then go through and highlight like crazy. And then at the end, one thing I’m trying to do is to go back through and take out the top dozen takeaways and then have a list of those. Because otherwise nothing happens and I’m not very good at applying those. So I have a particularly bad memory, so that might be the problem. But do you have a system for processing books, implementing them, and applying them into your life? Or do you just rely on just being able to connect the dots in your memory over time?

Remembering What You Read

Taylor: I’m not super systematic about it. So I would say I also mostly forget what I’ve read. I think part of my philosophy of reading, so to speak, is it’s kind of like travel in the sense of it shapes you in ways you can’t consciously articulate. Like I can kind of point to how my thinking has shaped over the course of my reading life over the last five years, but I can’t really say, “Oh, this book made me think this, and this book made me think this.” If you take someone and you take them to 10 different countries and you bring them back, inevitably they’re less prejudiced. And it’s hard to explain why exactly that is, it’s just you see the vastness of human experience, and you see all the things going on. I do, with business books, I don’t like Audible either for business books. I read them either Kindle or on paper. And then if it’s something actionable like I wanna start doing it right away, I just use Evernote. So Evernote has a screenshot feature where you can actually take a picture. And I’ll underline it or highlight it in Kindle or on paper, and I’ll just take a picture and add that to a list of notes. And then I’ll process those notes once a week. So any action items, like “Change the meeting structure to ask this question,” or whatever. Those immediately just get actioned. But everything else, if it’s not something I can apply right away I just highlight it and think, “Oh, that’s interesting.” And then if I come back to do some sort of project relevant to that, I’ll scroll through my highlights.

Andrew: So it would be an incomplete discussion on reading without asking you the obligatory, “What books do you recommend” question. And these don’t have to be the three definitive top books of all time, according to Taylor Pearson. But what would three of your top must-read books for entrepreneurs be?

Taylor: So one for me is definitely “Antifragile,” which you will either hate or love. It seems like no one falls in between. But that really, it’s by Nassim Taleb, and very much shaped my thinking in terms of, “What is risk really? What does risk really mean? And how is the time we’re living in now different from 100 years ago?” That the actual structure of our lives, the structure of the world really is meaningfully different. And how do you think about that in a more intelligent way? That was one. Another one that I recommend a lot that I feel like is vastly underappreciated or underread is “Principles” by Ray Dalio. And it’s actually just a PDF. If you just Google “Principles by Ray Dalio” you can pull up the PDF. And Dalio runs a hedge fund called Bridgewater, out of Connecticut. And I think, to my knowledge, they had 25 years in a row where they were the most successful. They beat Alpha by the highest percentage. Or I don’t understand the hedge fund industry very well obviously, but a very, very successful hedge fund. And so these are basically his personal philosophy and company culture document. And it’s 120 pages, and it’ll take you a month to read it, it’s so dense. I probably re-read it at least once a year, and that’s one of my favorite books. And I just go print it out. It’s worth getting printed out so you can actually take notes and highlight in it. And then “The War of Art” is also one of my classic favorites that I probably re-read every year or two.

The Lightning Round!

Andrew: Taylor, wanna do a lightning round with you here. One that we do, or starting to do at least, with all of our guests and they answer the same questions. So feel free to just give short, punchy answer. Or if you wanna expound a little bit, that’s fine, too. But I’m gonna dive into those. How much money is enough? What would be your number?

Taylor: So I would say 10 million for sure, and probably 5. The math I did was you assume a 4% safe withdrawal rate, and 5 to 10 million gives you 200,000 to 400,000 a year without ever touching the principle.

Andrew: What did you wanna be when you were a kid?

Taylor: A pirate.

Andrew: That’s awesome.

Taylor: I was a pirate for Halloween like seven years in a row. I thought it was so cool.

Andrew: How many hours a week do you work?

Taylor: Depends how you define work. So I’d say real, actual, “I get stuff done and move stuff forward in my business,” work, 10 to 20 hours. Sitting at my computer ostensibly doing work, 40 to 50 hours. Reading, talking, or thinking about work related stuff in some way, 80 hours.

Andrew: Would you consider sitting down and just reading a book that you’re enjoying in the morning work? In that last category, that 80-hour category?

Taylor: I would, yeah.

Andrew: Okay. What do you think about in the shower?

Taylor: Usually what I’m going to eat for dinner.

Andrew: Oh, so you’re a night shower.

Taylor: I’m a night shower. I go to the gym usually at maybe 5:00, and then I’ll take a shower after that and then have dinner.

Andrew: So plan those meetings with Taylor 6:00, 7:00.

Taylor: Yeah.

Andrew: If there was one thing that was gonna bring upon the fall of civilization in the next 25 years, what would it be?

Taylor: I went to the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting this year, someone gave me a ticket. And his quote was, “CNBC,” for chemical, nuclear, biological, or cyber warfare. That makes sense to me. Probably one of those things, and if I had to bet, I would probably bet on biological or cyber, but that’s based on basically no research or deep understanding of the issue.

Andrew: Let’s say, for the sake of argument, you can’t write your blog anymore. You can’t run your business anymore, entrepreneurship is off limits. But you can work for any company in the world. You gotta pick that company and the position. Which company would you work for?

Taylor: I would love to work with Seth Godin. I really respect what he’s doing. I really like what he’s up to with his altMBA program which is kind of a self-described, “Alternative entrepreneurial MBA.” I would love to work with him.

Andrew: What do you spend most of your discretionary money on? And not necessarily like, “Hey, rent or food.” But stuff where it could be a hobby, it could be a vice. It could be a good vice. But what is it you spend more money on than probably most other people in that category?

Taylor: I mean definitely books. I had to get my books, I spent something like three grand on books last year. And considering they’re like 20 bucks a pop at most that’s just absurd. So books are a big expense for me, and travel’s also my other big discretionary expense.

Andrew: If you could live anywhere in the world, with cost not being an issue. So if someone else was footing the bill for your housing, your food, and you could transplant all of your friends and family. Where would you live?

Taylor: Vietnam. I lived in Vietnam for a year, I really loved it. I love the culture. I love the energy. I love the food. I like Southeast Asia a lot. I think it’s a really cool area, but it’s just very isolated from the U.S.

Andrew: And specifically in Saigon?

Taylor: Yeah, and I would get just a huge, awesome penthouse in downtown Saigon.

Andrew: Nice. What’s one of the most generous things someone has done for you?

Taylor: So the first thing that came to mind was my parents giving birth to me. That was just in terms of order of magnitude, that was pretty big. If that doesn’t count, I would say when I launched my book last year a number of people, including yourself, were super supportive, and I was very surprised at how generous people were and how much support I got there, and it made a big difference in terms of the success of the book.

Andrew: So this last question I have to give credit to our mutual friend, Zack Kanter, it’s his. So if he asks it to you as well you should accuse him of stealing it from me, because that would be really funny.

Taylor: Okay.

Andrew: But let’s assume you’re facing jail time. And try to look at it less as a…ethical issues aside, not worrying about your honor and things like that. But just as a pure cost benefit analysis, you can either flee to another country and serve no time in jail at all. You know you won’t get caught and you can bring your family and your friends, but you give up all of your assets and you can never return to the U.S. Or if you stay and you serve your term, you can just go back to life as normal but of course you have to stay in jail. How much time would you be willing to serve? So the maximum amount of time you’d be willing to serve to be able to, on the back end, remain in your country and retain all your assets?

Taylor: So I think for me it really depends on the jail. If it was, I think there’s these white collar, almost semi-country club jails. If it was one of those jails, three to five years. I’d get a lot of reading done. Probably get in really good shape, go to the gym a lot. If it was a jail jail, like the HBO special San Quentin jails, half an hour. Like, nothing. I wouldn’t be surprised, I really kind of like ex-pat lifestyle. I like living outside of the U.S., so I might flee the country and never come back, even without the jail sentence. But I think that would just, that would be like, “Well, I guess it’s time.”

Andrew: I love it. Taylor, as always, great catching up with you. And if you’re not following Taylor, make sure to check him out. His blog is taylorpearson.me. And he wrote the book recently “The End of Jobs,” which was a really fascinating book on the future of the economy and entrepreneurship. We’ll link up to all of those, as well as his Medium profile and Twitter profile in the show notes. Taylor, it’s always fun catching up. Thanks for coming on to talk.

Taylor: Thank you for having me on, and thank you everyone for listening. It’s been fun.

Andrew: 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 ecommercefuel.com. 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’ll do it for this week, but looking forward to seeing you again next Friday.

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Photo Courtesy of Dilbert

Andrew Youderian
Post by Andrew Youderian
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 7- and 8-figure store owners inside the eCommerceFuel Community.

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