What It Takes To Be A Successful Entrepreneur with Brandon Bliss

TWS 3 | Successful Entrepreneur


Being a successful entrepreneur takes a lot of time, hard work, and dedication. Once you’ve got a taste of success, it’s hard to go back and make everything work. Brandon Bliss, CEO of Orbit Medical, tells more what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur. Brandon talks about why it is crucial to take risks and execute your ideas to succeed in whatever business you’re doing. Furthermore, he shares some of the best books you can start reading that will help you gain wisdom to run your business. Learn more on what it takes to be successful as Brandon reveals how he got to where he is now.

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What It Takes To Be A Successful Entrepreneur with Brandon Bliss

Thank you for reading this episode. You are going to get a kick out of this. First, I wanted to say how thankful I am for the response that I’ve received based on the kickoff episode. Hearing from all of you has inspired me a great deal. I’ve heard transformation stories of those who had realizations and an impact based on, “Things I listened to on the show,” that changed their life. Opportunities for business, for investment and for changing the way they manage their finances, it’s been incredible to hear those. I start to incorporate some of the ideas that have come from these interactions.

Thank you so much. Keep them coming. Leave reviews on iTunes. That is helpful because it gets the word out. Email me. For now, use the Patrick@PatrickDonohoe.com. I’ll try my best to respond to you directly. As far as feedback is concerned, it’s what your experiences have been, what you have liked, what you would like to see more of. That simple feedback means a great deal to me. I’m going to change a few things because of it. First thing, I’m going to try to do some more feedback based on my opinion of the subject matter, as well as the guest and why I have this specific guest on and also some commentary around financial strategy. There are a lot of you who enjoyed the Financial Fridays that we did last season, although we did not do them every week. There was a lot of feedback in regards to the content there. Thank you for pointing that out. I’m humbled by all of you who are taking what has changed my life and those who I know as clients. It means the world to me to know that you have taken action on certain principles and certain strategies and taking them to heart and done something about it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Let me get to the guest. He’s the CEO of Orbit Medical. Brandon is someone I grew up with in Central Connecticut. I’ve known him since my childhood. I consider him one of my best friends. He has inspired me over the years. He is exemplary of this idea of our theme this season, which is entrepreneurship. Brandon has gone through a lot in his business career. It’s indicative of what happens through overcoming obstacles and facing challenges. Within business and entrepreneurship, you’re going to face the gamut, regardless of what industry it is. This is the medical industry. Specifically, medical supplies is a highly regulated industry. Oftentimes, you deal with things that are completely out of the blue.

Brandon and his passion and desire to achieve and also receive that sense of fulfillment that comes from achievement is going to be the perfect guest. We’ll probably tell some jokes and some childhood stories and probably memories that he doesn’t want to relive or maybe I don’t either. We had some great times growing up. We have kept in touch. He lives close to me now. It’s going to be awesome for you to see maybe a different side of me, but also talk to somebody that I have a great deal of respect for, that has inspired me probably more than he realizes. Let’s talk to my good friend who’s the CEO of Orbit Medical, Brandon Bliss.

For this episode, we’re talking about entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship. I always say I have special guests, but this guy is a special guest. Brandon is the CEO of Orbit Medical. Brandon and I grew up together in Central Connecticut. The reason why I wanted to have Brandon on the show is that I’ve had tremendous admiration for him for a long time, starting when I was young. Our friendship over the years has evolved in business, has provided an outlet for me to talk about my business, the challenges that I face and ideas. Brandon is a wealth of information. He has also experienced a lot of success in business and the challenges that most businesses face. We had a conversation about like, “I got to this level. How did you get to this level?”

Everybody wants to be with whoever's winning. Click To Tweet

Our parents were entrepreneurs. Our parents didn’t tell us to do this. Yet, we wound up in this situation. Us seeing each other grow up and the experiences that we had together growing up, and seeing where we’re at now are cool to reflect on. We’re going to do a little bit of that to begin, and then get into his business background and talk about what he has seen in the marketplace as far as successful entrepreneurs and what makes a successful entrepreneur. First off, I know you don’t do podcasts. I try to make it so we’re having one of our normal discussions.

I’m terrified, but I’m happy to get this one under my belt. Thanks for having me.

Thanks for coming on. Let’s start maybe along the lines of the discussion we had. Our parents weren’t entrepreneurial. We grew up in a normal, lower middle-class set of circumstances. We both chose different careers. You’re in the medical field of finance. Yet at the same time, we decided to do our own thing or at least wound up doing our own thing. As you look back, how have you pieced it together? What are some of the things that made you want to do that and why you’re doing what you’re doing now?

I’m not exactly sure why I’m wired the way I am, but it goes back even to childhood where my buddies were lifeguards, my buddies were flipping burgers and I was like, “I’m not doing that. I’m going to make way more money, open my own landscaping company, work half the time and outsource the work to my brothers or other buddies.” I’ve always not done well working for other people. I prefer to be in charge. I’m wired that way. I’ve always gravitated to that. Even out of college, I studied Finance at the University of Utah. I took a job in sales. One of my buddies recruited us. I had a lot of success. I quickly became one of the top salespeople. They started throwing equity at me so I wouldn’t leave. I got a taste of owning businesses as opposed to working for other people. Once you’d get a taste of that, it’s hard to go back. I would do everything I could to get additional equity and buy out people or take advantage of circumstances so that I had more upside. That’s what I’ve been doing. Along that whole way, I diversified as quickly as I can and started trying to get equity in other businesses and get the money working for me.

One thing that I connected, which is a similarity of us, is you are successful in football. You played football for a couple of years and looking at hockey. Sometimes the drive to excel and succeed and win translates into other areas of life. You’ve always had that characteristic. Business and excelling and succeeding come with its challenges and failures as well. It’s proportional in some cases. How has that tenacity and that drive that we experienced, maybe in sports, played into that?

TWS 3 | Successful Entrepreneur

Successful Entrepreneur: Once you’d get a taste of owning businesses as opposed to working for other people, it’s hard to go back.


It crosses over well. If you’re going to compete at the higher levels of any sport, you have to have an edge. You have to be super competitive and you want to win. You hate losing. If you can translate that, you bring that into your business, compete at that level and make your competitors nervous about going up against you. You keep your foot on the gas the whole time, innovating and finding better ways to compete. Usually, the outcomes are positive. You capture market share and you retain talent. Everybody wants to be with whoever’s winning. That has served me well here. I was much more successful in high school in sports than I ever was in college. I tried hard. The time you have to put in, the dedication, the hard days, the pain you feel, all that stuff will help you take the punches when you start businesses or you’re trying to get companies to the next level. Sports will set you up. There are many setbacks in sports. There are many injuries or disappointments or heavy hard losses that you’re going to experience in that business. You’re going to fail. You’re going to get punched. You’re going to have three snakes coming at you at once. You’ve got to maneuver through it and be tough and not give up. If you’re tough, you win sometimes.

With businesses, you’ve had more experiences here. When I see success in somebody, an entrepreneur or a business or an investor or someone who’s successful in general, you tend to have two camps. You tend to have those that have only experienced success. You have those that have experienced a proportional amount of hardship. What I’ve seen from that point going forward, the failures I tend to see are those that have experienced lots of success, get punched in the face and don’t know how to react. As you’ve looked at other businesses and as you’ve been involved with your own and employees in general, where have you seen that dynamic?

It reminds me of that E-Myth book where everybody wants to have some success but works for someone else, and thinks they can duplicate it and do it elsewhere. There are a few experiences in my life where I’ve seen people go down that path and crash and burn and I think about why that happened. It’s easy to read books and maybe watch other people do things. If that individual, that CEO, that founder can’t surround himself with the right people, if he can’t execute on the plan and get enough cashflow coming in to survive until he can figure out exactly how to compete, most of the time it doesn’t work. That’s why many businesses fail. The number of people that can execute on that are few and far between. There are a lot of people with big ideas and can work in a big organization and contribute and do well. To take risks and the punches and to go off and do it on your own and then execute, if you haven’t done it or you haven’t been part of someone that’s done it and you’re right there, it’s hard.

You look at these tech startups. I’m involved with some of them. I’ve put money into them. This is my tuition in this world. I’m not successful in investing. These are your subscription-based tech companies that are doing rounds of funding and trying to hit it big. Has that founder done it himself? Can he raise the capital? Can he execute? Can he hit the different milestones that they need to get the scale so that someone will acquire them? That’s hard. Most will never ever do it. I learned that the hard way. I learned that in the process of investing in them. It can be applied to all different businesses. People may even have passion, but if they cannot connect the dots, if they don’t have those dynamic chameleon-like social skills to be able to put it all together until the cashflow stabilizes, it doesn’t work.

From a people perspective, since we’re young, you couldn’t work for other people. That’s oftentimes the cause of people going out on their own. They can’t work for this person. They can’t work for that person. Talk about your experience with understanding people. An entrepreneur that goes out on his own, that can’t work with other people is another big red flag. Even though you can’t work for a boss per se, how have you seen the ability for successful entrepreneurs as it relates to the relationships and communication and having people that are part of their organization?

If people are interested in your opinion, they'll ask. Otherwise, you shouldn't offer your counsel until they're ready to listen. Click To Tweet

I was in bed watching The Profit, this CNBC show. You see this guy, Marcus, he goes into these businesses. He’s dealing with entrepreneurs that are most of the time rough around the edges. They have not been able to scale or execute or make any money. They’re in dire straits. He comes in and puts in his people and his processes. He’s got the psychology thing understood. He knows how to get people in the right lanes and get it going. It was awareness. Most entrepreneurs, a lot of them like me, Alpha male, Type-A-driven, athlete, they can only take businesses so far unless they get the right people around them and step back and stop controlling everything and become aware of where they’re good and where they’re not good and empower people to scale. Some guys or gals can become aware of that. Other ones, it’s a disaster because no one ever helps them. They don’t engage a coach. They don’t engage a mentor that will open their eyes to the next level of what has to happen to get to the next level.

I’ve had partners like this. I’ve had phenomenal sales guys that have equity in a business, that grew it, scaled it but it topped off. The ops weren’t where they needed to be. They ran out of money, the investors pulled and they could not get outside of themselves and get the people on the team to continue to the next level. It comes down to how coachable is that person and how grounded and how stable. Are they emotionally stable? If they’re not, if they’re erratic, if they’re irrational and they’re all over the place, people eventually don’t want to work with them.

I don’t know if you’ve ever read Ego Is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday. That’s such a good book. He’s written a few books, but his two primary ones are Ego Is the Enemy and The Obstacle Is the Way. He’s an incredible writer. I went back and read a few parts of the Ego Is the Enemy. That’s one of the biggest dangers. When you succeed, it’s naturally ingrained in us. It’s like, “I succeeded. Look at me.” That’s one of the most dangerous periods of time too. When you reach that status, you don’t want to experience the other side of the spectrum. When you hit that status, that’s when you have a tremendous amount to lose because nobody likes the person that is masking failure. Even though you’ve achieved a level and in order to achieve the next level, you’re still going to experience failure. You’re still going to experience challenges. There’s going to be new. If you start to equate success with not failing first, it’s going to be a slippery slope.

This has been my experience. My biggest failures have come from making a mistake where the organization is failing in certain aspects and masking it. It starts to hide certain things because people know. There’s this power of vulnerability, especially from a leadership perspective. If people know that you’re fallible, people know that you fail and that you’re okay with it and you realize that’s part of the equation, it makes them comfortable as well. What I’ve connected is that my failures often come from me doing things that I should not be doing. An entrepreneur or a business owner has certain attributes and characteristics and specific roles and responsibilities attached to that. If they start to deviate outside of that and do things they shouldn’t be doing, especially if they’re other people’s responsibilities, that is where the whole ecosystem starts to break down.

TWS 3 | Successful Entrepreneur

Ego Is the Enemy

This company I’m CEO of has 140 employees. I’ve grown up with this company. I was part of the original team in 2003 that started it. I’ve gone all the way until now in the same company. We’ve grown as leaders and failed over and over it again as we figure out how to make money. We lie to ourselves. We pretend we don’t have problems. We turf build. We create silo. We do all stupid things that hurt the business and prevent us from growing and doing what we need to do. Getting rid of that behavior or being vulnerable and admitting, “I wet the bed there. I totally messed up. This is the outcome. I want to share that with you as a team so that you don’t make the same mistake I did. Let me fall on the sword here,” people love that. If people are more willing to say, “I need help here. I’m not the right person for this position. I need to bring somebody in,” we can start moving forward. If I had learned these lessons several years ago, I’d be well-off. I’m not as well-off as I wish I was.

The point is there’s no way you would have understood that unless you went through the experience to be aware of it.

I beat myself up. In hindsight, “I should have done this, this and this or I could have executed this turnaround quicker if I would have done this, this and this.” It’s unfair for others and for myself to beat yourself up over that. There’s a lot of could-haves and should-haves. I wish I learned the lessons quicker so I could be better and faster. A quote came to my mind. I like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. In my office, my favorite quote I have in a big frame wall says, “The wolf is always scratching.” He tells a story when he was young, they were in Hawaii. He was poor. They couldn’t meet their rent and the landlord was always coming in to knock on the door and ask for the rent. They were close to eviction all the time. He’s done well now, but he’s taken that same fear and used that as a weapon or as motivation in his life to never ever take his foot off the gas, to stay hungry. He says, “The wolf is always scratching.” That means somebody’s always trying to knock him off his horse. Someone’s always trying to beat him, be the next best actor, beat him in this role or that role. He’s like, “You have to stay on edge, hungry, competitive.” In my company, we use the word 212. You have to keep it at 212. That’s the boiling point of water. It’s that extra degree of intensity that allows you to be super competitive and hard to beat. If you’re an entrepreneur, you’ve got to keep that edge somehow.

This is from a principle standpoint. Everyone wants to be successful. It’s naturally ingrained in us. It’s not this one-time event. It’s something that happens over and over. Once a person gets to one point, they may achieve something but they’re still thirsty for the next achievement and the next one. The sooner you’re aware of that, the much easier the path is going to be. The point of me explaining that is entrepreneurs don’t have to mean to start a business. It doesn’t mean that you have to go out on your own. It doesn’t mean you have to build a team. It’s also important to understand that it’s desiring to be successful and knowing that it’s okay to be successful, but success isn’t the same for everyone. How, in your business, have you helped employees feel that sense of success? What I’ve discovered is everyone has specific talents and strengths. We’re all different. Every human being is different. As you discover those, as you become aware of those, especially as an employer, as you align the role and responsibility of employees to those strengths, that’s where you tend to have the most amount of happiness and success. My question to you would be, what are some of the ways in which you’ve discovered your own strengths and pinpointed those and focused your role and responsibility around that, but also for employees?

I’m not a TV guy. I try to read as many books as I can get my hands on. I notice you have a nice library. I read a ton of books. I try to get as much knowledge as I can from people that have already gone down this path and hear from their failures, their successes. I try to adopt some of those things. That’s one thing. I made the plunge and engaged with coaches and consultants, mentors. I have some mentors that don’t charge me anything but have been kind enough to take me under their wing and give me pointers. I try to meet frequently with them and have candid conversations with me in what my personality type is like and where my roadblocks are, what I can’t see exactly as clear as I need to.

I pay for a coach that gets into all my business and helps me understand and interviews my network and figures out, “This is what you think your problems are. This is what the people closest to you think your problems are, including your wife. You’re lying to yourself if you think this isn’t true.” That’s a hard pill to swallow, but you want to experience growth. That’s what you have to do. You have to be willing to work on yourself harder than you do at any job. Hopefully, in that process, you recognize what you were born to do, what are these natural strengths that you don’t have to work that hard at developing, and stay in that lane as much as you can. There are a lot of guys that have written a lot of books that are way smarter than me. I’ve read that over and over again, but it didn’t sink in until the coach is analyzing your personality profile and reviewing what your peers or your network are telling you.

Be willing to work hard and sometimes long in the beginning. Later on, you can balance things correctly. Click To Tweet

You’re like, “I need to stay in this lane and I need to delegate. Even though I can do this person’s job better or do that same role better than they can, I have to discipline myself to step out and be okay with them doing it their way and stay out of their way.” As much as that’s hard for me because I want to coach them and tell them how to do it and follow up and repeat myself over and over again. It does no good. They have to do it themselves their way. If they are interested in your opinion, they’ll ask. Otherwise, you probably shouldn’t offer your counsel until they’re ready to listen. That’s what I’ve done. You’ve got to work on yourself, become aware of where you’re supposed to do, your strengths and then stay in that lane as much as possible and supplement the other parts with good people, attract the best people in each of these different marketing, sales, operations and finance and get them what they need and stay out of their way and support them.

Have you ever heard of John Boyd? He’s one of those early personal development business guys. He was a Vietnam War pilot. He had this business theory called OODA Loop. It’s a feedback loop. OODA is an acronym. It stands for Observe, Orient, Decide, Act. The observation comes from the feedback. In war, what he would do is he’d observe all the feedback that’s coming at him, whether it’s instruments, whether it’s where the planes are. Orient himself as it relates to what’s going on in the environment, make a decision on what to do, act and keep on repeating it. The idea is most people hate feedback. They’re afraid of what they’re going to look like if the feedback isn’t good. At the same time, feedback is feedback. If you get that feedback, you’re able to orient yourself appropriately and then make a decision and act and continue to do that.

Oftentimes, we’re our own feedback. We lie to ourselves. We say things are better than they are. We say, “I’m good. They’re not. It’s their fault, not mine.” We don’t take responsibility. There are some human tendencies there. As it relates to employees and feedback, everyone does a job and they get results from that job. I have discovered that there is a way to help a person understand that there are strengths and good about them and that their level of happiness and success and fulfillment is when they’re doing what’s in that zone the majority of the time. The only way they can discover what those strengths are is by taking assessments. I’m not sure which ones you’ve done in the past. There are a million of them out there: Myers-Briggs, StrengthsFinder, Gallup. There are ways in which we can discover things about ourselves and look to the past and get the feedback. The sooner we can accept the feedback and the sooner we can accept that there are a lot of things that we could do but there are only a handful of things that we’re good at. Those good things will align with our happiness and success, the sooner you do that, even before you become an entrepreneur and do your own business, discovering that is going to give you what all the stuff that you’re looking for anyway.

In the end, it’s like, “Is it a pile of money that you want? Are you willing to sacrifice 30 years of unhappiness to get a pile of money so that you can be happy? Is it figuring out a way to be happy right now and be successful right now?” That’s one of the feedback I got from a listener was in relation to the definition of wealth. She was referring to Dave Ramsey. His programs and people are wealthy at the end of these programs. They didn’t go on vacation. They drove a five-year-old Camry for many years. They took the bus and sat next to smelly people. They vacation at the Holiday Inn. They sacrificed all the happiness to have wealth, which is a pile of money. I don’t think that’s wealth. Having a great experience, doing what you love and being happy in doing that is the true measure of a successful entrepreneur. It’s utopia-ish. That’s not realistic, but the reason we’re doing this season is that everyone has the drive to be successful, to achieve wealth, to achieve those levels. The sooner they can understand the principles behind it, the sooner they’re going to be able to take some action and get some results. 

Figuring out that why like, “What it is you were born to do? Who are you supposed to become? What drives you to the deepest levels of happiness?” each individual person’s going to have to ask themselves those questions and seek those answers. I’m in the middle of my journey, so I don’t have much to say on that. I’m more aware now than I was even several months ago in thinking about those bigger deeper questions. I’ve got teenagers in my house. I’m turning 40. I have some years left and I want to accomplish some things. I want to be successful. I thought I wanted this pile of money, but I realize that a pile of money doesn’t do much. I’ve got money and it doesn’t give me the fulfillment that I thought it would. What is it that I want to do with the strengths and with the time I have? How do I give back? How do I create jobs and bless other people’s lives?

TWS 3 | Successful Entrepreneur

Successful Entrepreneur: You go to work on yourself, become aware of what you’re supposed to do and your strengths, and then stay in that lane as much as possible.


I’ve got mentors and coaches that have more years of experience, more financial independence than I do. I’m listening to their philosophies carefully and trying to decide what mine will be. It’s a cool journey. I enjoy the ride. It’s fun. Anybody that wants to start a business and go through it, even if it doesn’t work, it’s still an awesome experience. As long as you are responsible with that risk and you’re not putting your family’s life in jeopardy and you have a side hustle or side business that may grow into something bigger, then go for it. That’s great.

That’s part of the growth cycle.

You’re in America. It’s the best place in the world to do that. You might as well take advantage of where you were born and the opportunities and access to capital here and do something.

Let’s end with some of your favorite books that have inspired you, aside from my book. I’ve told the story before of a good friend introduce me to Rich Dad Poor Dad. That was you. You told me, “You need to read these two books.” It was Rich Dad Poor Dad and Millionaire Next Door. I read them both. I was like, “I like this one. This one sucks. I don’t want to drive some 1975 Chevy for the rest of my life.”

I was the opposite. Kiyosaki and his stuff, it was great. It helped shape my way of thinking. In a different life, I should have been an investment advisor or wealth manager. I enjoy personal finance and studying the strategies. I’m self-taught. That’s why Millionaire Next Door and Millionaire Mind hit me hard. I was like, “I could do that.” I grew up blue-collar. I didn’t have everything handed to me. I’m self-made. I connected a lot with the real millionaires in America and identified with that. I said, “I can live this way but be comfortable and make sure I’m investing and saving and building assets so that I can have fun, live life and be happy along the way, but also accumulate a bunch of wealth.” I do love that book.

Create an environment of respect where you treat people how you want to be treated. Click To Tweet

At different phases of my career, different books have impacted me. When I first became CEO in 2011 or ’12 of this organization, we had gone through a tough situation. I was thrown into this massive adversity. I read the Zappos book, Tony Hsieh and his group, Delivering Happiness. I was creating a culture in a business. His culture was awesome. I tried to duplicate some of his things. That book had a big impact on me for a number of years. Ready, Fire, Aim is a sales book. It taught me how sales is the lifeblood of any business. If you’re going to get anything right, get sales flying through the door. Revenue buys you time to fix operations. I came from sales. I started in sales. I had a passion for sales. I was trying to teach myself how to be a CEO, which is a challenging transition. I’ve taken that to this company and to the other companies I’m involved with. I don’t care about all the other stuff until sales is like, “Don’t mess with their juju. Get them their comp plans. Get them in a good place where they’re bringing revenue in.” That book hit me at the right time.

Michael Masterson is the author. I told the story in the book where I worked with one of his companies. I told the story when I first met him and my experience in his office in South Florida. He’s an amazing business person. That’s a powerful book, Ready, Fire, Aim.

I read all the Tony Robbins books, all the Dave Ramsey books, including his last book, where he talks about the last step, “Once you pay your house off, this is how you build your legacy.” I enjoyed that book. Brian Tracy and his books are always good, the mindset books.

What do you consider are some of your driving business principles? A driving business principle could be courage. It could drive or tenacity. It could be customer first. As you’ve looked at the evolution of your business, what do you consider are some of those top principles?

TWS 3 | Successful Entrepreneur

Ready, Fire, Aim: Zero to $100 Million in No Time Flat

At Orbit, this company I work for, we have what some people call a credo or your core values. Deciding that upfront is a huge part of it. The words that we have on ours tell you who we are and how we think. 212 is one of those little words on there. You have to be willing to work hard and sometimes long in the beginning. Later on, you can balance things correctly. You’re taking care of business at home so you can take care of business at work and be your best without distractions. That’s important. It’s coming together as a team and creating an environment of respect where you treat people how you want to be treated. In our company, we don’t use bad language. We’re conservative. We don’t yell at each other. We have crucial conversations, but we try to have a high level of respect so that they will pour their heart into the business. It’s a win-win for both the employee and for the management team and the company. That’s another one, continuously improving.

There’s this guy I studied for years. Jim Rohn is his name. He had ingrained in my head to work harder on yourself than you do at your job. We have continuous improvement. We want to continuously work on ourselves, knowing that there are better ways of doing everything we do. We haven’t discovered them yet. Every year, we find more and more nuggets that we should have found much sooner that would’ve allowed us to monetize our ideas so much quicker but we didn’t. It’s that culture of continuous improvement and getting people comfortable working on themselves and not sensitive about it or not willing to do it like, “That’s hard to do.” If you can create that culture, your business can evolve quickly. Those are a few that come to mind.

In the beginning, if you’re a startup, you’ve got to hustle. You’ve got to bootstrap. You’ve got to work extremely hard until you have enough contracts, enough cash coming in the door, and then you stabilize things. You work on efficiencies. Jim Collins books. Those are other books that had a big impact at a certain period in my life or How to Win Friends & Influence People. Those ones come to mind. They’re classics. You’ve got to read the Covey books. You’ll crank the efficiency. You’ll squeeze that wrench and become more efficient over time, but you got to hustle in the beginning.

The hustle comes first. The efficiency, there’s never an end to it.

The last thing that I feel important to say is the best leaders that I’ve been around have this arrogance about them. They also have this humility where they realize that they need to get people around them and they need to stay in their lane. I’ve learned that these last few years as we’ve failed in a lot of different areas. We tried things and fell on our face. It did not work. I go before my team and say, “It was an awesome, valiant effort but a bad decision. It’s my bad. My tail is between my legs. Let’s course correct and go a different way.” You’ve got to be okay with that. Some of my most successful partners in some of my businesses, you’ve got to learn from them, ask them questions, take their strengths and shorten your learning curve so that you can be more effective quicker. Instead of trying to learn it yourself and trial and error every single time, you’ve got to shorten that gap with better people around you. Get your network where it needs to be.

We’ve talked extensively about this over the last few years. There’s a turning point in business. When you look in others, you look more for their failures then you look for their actual wins, not from competition or, “You failed, therefore you’re not relevant.” It’s the lessons that can be learned through somebody going through failure that is profound. You taught me through some of the stuff that you did about certain insurance that you can get for these events that could protect you here would save me in a few different areas. I now look for where people fell short and what they did because of that and where they succeeded. You don’t know what you don’t know. Leverage comes in many different forms. One of the best leverage, especially for entrepreneurs and business owners, is that you look where others have failed massively who came back. You don’t want to find the people that failed and gave up. You want to find the failure where they came back and why, what did they learn, what were those lessons.

We can continuously work on ourselves, knowing that there are better ways of doing everything we do. Click To Tweet

They were humble enough to share those with you. That’s why these mastermind groups and these groups come together, you can learn from people that came back, beat the odds and now are sharing their story and helping other people. That’s where I’m at in my career. I’m trying to surround myself with these winners that can help me avoid some of the mistakes. At this size of my company, I’m trying to scale it to the next level. Utah is cool. There are a lot of good entrepreneurs here, a lot of people that take big risks. There’s learning. It’s energizing. It helps me keep my saw sharp and stay hungry and remember the wolf is always scratching. Any success I’ve had, it could go away quickly. I need to keep pushing and taking the punches, moving forward. Hopefully, at the end of the day, I’m happy and loving life and doing what I want to do.

You did a great job for your first show.

I’m grateful that it’s done and behind me. In the next one, I promise I will be more prepared and hopefully say something that’ll help your readers.

We’ll have you on again for a second one.

Thanks for having me.

TWS 3 | Successful Entrepreneur

Successful Entrepreneur: Surround yourself with winners that can help you avoid some of the mistakes.


Thanks for reading. Thanks for participating in this season. We’ve had some guests that are in different fields and different positions of life, talking about more of the philosophical points of entrepreneurship. This is a practical show. In the coming ones, we have some cool guests. Both of Milton Friedman’s sons will be on. Milton Friedman was the Founder of the Chicago School of Economics and wrote a lot of books in relation to freedom and capitalism that play right into the idea of entrepreneurship. This season is going to be awesome. I hope you can take what you’re reading and apply that, even if you’re out of business or working for somebody else. Apply some of those principles and taking action on that, whether that’s discovering more about you, whether that’s understanding the importance and dynamics of relationships, especially professional relationships. I hope you got some nuggets of wisdom. I can’t wait for what you have in store for the remaining episodes of our seasons. Thanks for your support. Brandon, thank you. We’ll see you in the next episode.

Important Links:

About Brandon Bliss

TWS 3 | Successful EntrepreneurBrandon Bliss is President and CEO of Orbit Medical, a large home medical equipment company. He started with the company as an entry level sales representative and was made partner after only two years. He has been the President and CEO since 2011. Brandon has extensive experience in start-ups, business management, project management, employee development, recruiting, sales, and operations. In his current role, he works with every department of the company as they continue to expand and open new Orbit Medical offices across the country.

Brandon lives in Salt Lake City with his wife and their five children.


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Community: The Third Pillar Of A Successful Wealth-Creating System with Raghuram Rajan

TWS 02 | Community


The development of every country is different because each country has a different set of resources, strengths, and weaknesses. Raghuram Rajan, one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People, goes in-depth on why community matters. As he dives into the three pillars of the most successful wealth-creating system, learn how Raghuram views entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship, and the individual development now and then. An author of three bestselling books, he gives his insight on the wealth gap and the rise of poverty, how communities see things differently and make a subsequent change, and the status of today’s central influence.

Listen to the podcast here:

Community: The Third Pillar Of A Successful Wealth-Creating System with Raghuram Rajan

The world is changing daily. New technology, businesses, toys, games and movies, yet there is a growing concern about the gap between the wealthy and the poor. Presidential candidate Andrew Yang proposes UBI, Universal Basic Income. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez proposes sweeping centrally-driven reform, but it begs the question, “What is the root of the problem? Why would we give the government even more power when their initiatives of the past have always fallen short of expectations?” My guest may be unfamiliar to most of you, but his resume is beyond impressive. He was featured in Inside Job when he was Chief Economist at the IMF, International Monetary Fund. It’s where he openly challenged Alan Greenspan, then the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, at the iconic Jackson Hole Economic Summit in 2005. The challenge was a controversial paper he wrote that cited the excessive risk-taking of certain investors with no corresponding consequence. He was scoffed at by almost everyone there but was vindicated when the world financial system almost collapsed because of what he claimed.

He was named as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by Time Magazine and has written three bestselling books, Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy, Saving Capitalism From The Capitalists: Unleashing the Power of Financial Markets to Create Wealth and Spread Opportunity, and The Third Pillar: How Markets and the State Leave the Community Behind. He’s Dr. Raghuram Rajan, a former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India. He’s also the former Vice Chairman of the Bank for International Settlements. He is the Katherine Dusak Miller Distinguished Service Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago.

This season, we’re talking about entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship, the development of the individual and the difference they can make in their own life and the life of others. I felt that Dr. Rajan’s perspective of the role of community as part of the global landscape is compelling and it reinforces what individuals can achieve in a certain environment. The wealth gap and the rise of poverty is an issue. The typical narrative is that the society safety net, i.e. welfare and money is the solution. That method is easy but ultimately, it’s a Band-Aid, a short-term solution if anything. The lasting change for all individuals requires a mindset change and only the individual can do that. Not a handout, not a paycheck that they don’t earn, but them themselves making that mindset change. I hope you enjoy this second episode of season two of the show. If you like it, don’t forget to spread the word. Leave your review in iTunes and please share this episode on Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram and get the word out especially for Dr. Rajan and his book.

It is such an honor to have Raghuram Rajan on the show. I’m excited to be discussing your book, but also discussing your perspective on where we stand as an economy and a society. Thanks for taking the time to join us.

Thanks for having me.

You have such an impressive list of accolades. Where did your drive to pursue the career path that you’re on right now come from? What were some of the defining events in your life that impacted the way that you see it?

Different people have different views on where you are. Where I have contributed has been in the area of both economic theorizing and research as well as economic policymaking. If you look from the beginnings, I would say it comes from growing up in a poor country and asking, “Why on earth are we poor? What is it that we’re doing, which keeps us this way?” I had been to other countries that were much richer and trying to figure out what the difference was. It certainly wasn’t the caliber of the people. It seemed to be something else that was making a difference and to that extent, that was in many ways the motivating force behind getting into economics.

TWS 02 | Community

The Third Pillar: How Markets and the State Leave the Community Behind

My wife is from a third world country and when you live in certain circumstances, you tend to accept the circumstances as they are, but once you see the contrast, that’s when those questions begin. What are some of the general conclusions you came to as an answer to that question?

It’s an evolving process. “The question’s always remained the same. The answers change.” I’ve seen the answers change to this question, “Why are we poor?” The answer’s changed over my lifetime. I have a somewhat different set of answers than I would have had as a twenty-year-old. As a young person, you think it’s all about some people having appropriated all the fruits and that’s part of the answer, but it doesn’t explain why they need to keep it for themselves. Why there aren’t more opportunities for everyone else. The easy answer to that point is let’s tax the rich. Let’s spread it all around and we’ll be fine and then you realize the answer’s a little more complicated.

You have to figure out how you create opportunities for everybody. That’s to my mind the real question. How in every country do we create the possibility for everybody to reach their limits? That means first creating capabilities in people. We’re not born as fully-fledged adults with a Ph.D. degree. We acquire all of this on the way. How do we create the environment? That’s where my book on the community, how do we create an environment that enables you to get to that place? Once you have those capabilities, how does the system create incentives for you to use them in the best way possible? How does it make sure that some people don’t appropriate most of the fruits and it’s more widely spread? How do we keep a level playing field both at the beginning, but also along the way? That seems to me the systemic questions we have to answer. It’s not clear to me as I grow older that it’s a menu where we pick pieces from the menu, “I like this, I like that.” It seems more like an equilibrium where a bunch of things happens together and you have to make compromises. “I like this and I like that, I don’t like something,” but that’s part of the reason or that’s how you enjoy the things that you enjoy. You have to give up some other things for that.

I want to talk about some of your past and some of the experiences that you’ve had over the last several years, specifically you’ve been in the positions of authority and influence. Let’s dive into The Third Pillar book that you came out with because I think they all tie together. Would you mind explaining first what the pillars are, specifically what that third pillar is and why you decided to focus the book around that pillar?

To some extent, I was looking at what I thought was possibly the most successful wealth-creating system we’ve had in history, which was the postwar liberal market society. That has three words, liberal, market and I would say, democracy is the third word. Liberal means the state which allows people to flourish. A state which is limited but does what it’s supposed to do to maintain law and order. The market is well understood. That to my mind is the second pillar. There’s society, there’s a community working through democracy to keep the system free, fair and open to everyone. The third pillar in my view is community, but it also implies democracy. It also implies a broader society, which essentially works together.

When you have these, you have the conditions for success as a society. Some people want democracy, but they don’t want markets. Some people want government and democracy, but they don’t want markets. In my mind, the three hold together. The first part of the book is trying to tell you why the three fit together. For example, an independent private sector flourishing in a competitive market is important because it acts as an independent source of the bar. It balances the mighty bar of the state. That balance is important, otherwise an overweening state has a tendency of becoming authoritarian. No matter what democratic structures you have, the state which is unbalanced by other parts.

Look around the world. When you see Turkey led by Erdoğan who has few constraints on his authority. You understand the private sector in Turkey is not much of restraint and understandably because the state controls many levers over the private sector, whether its ability to take away credit or its ability to refuse permissions here and there. You need a more open, flourishing competitive market where you can have the likes of the New York Times or The Washington Post holding the administration in check. You can have a Fox News holding the previous administration in check. You need these independent private sector powers. I’m not saying it’s ideal in the United States, I’m saying that the private sector is more independent than the other countries.

Your perspective is interesting, but I also believe it may not be the perspective that’s held by everyone. You have enjoyed a seed at seeing the world from many different places. I look at those that are in the community and how they’re viewing the challenges and the imbalance because most would agree that there’s an imbalance. When it comes to the environment, what you and I understand as the best environment and what a person that’s had no experience leading Central Indiana or Central Florida, having a limited perspective on things, they would want the same thing in the end. Yet they’re all disagreeing on the environment because that’s where you come in with a lot of AOC and Bernie Sanders and this notion of communism, which is a community. It comes to that third pillar. How has your experience over the years shaped the perspective on how strong you feel about a specific type of environment to allow this third pillar to be as influential as the other two pillars essentially?

How well you will do income-wise is not the same thing as how well you will do happiness-wise. Click To Tweet

It’s not my feelings. What is clear even in the United States, which is a country by many counts doesn’t emphasize the community anymore. Even now, you find that community matters. Some powerful work by Raj Chetty, an economist at Harvard, shows that which community you grew up in essentially determines what your income will be for the rest of your life. He does this by looking at kids that move between communities. You moved from a community which is low down on the performance scale to a community which is much higher up in the performance scale. It makes a world of difference in your life chances. Community matters even in the United States, where some people would argue the community is deemphasized.

Why does it matter? Because it gets you the start in terms of your early education, the early schooling you go to, the values you espouse, your identity, your sense of who you are and your ambitions. You talked about some places in rural Indiana, the ambitions of kids there and I’ve talked to a bunch of them are quite different from the ambitions of kids in New York City. In that sense, it does matter and it does set how well you will do going forward in your life. How well you will do income-wise is not the same thing as how well you will do happiness wise. There are differences between the two. In general, if we want capitalism to work, people, wherever they are in the country, should have the feeling that it works reasonably well for them. They’re not doomed right from the beginning because of where they started.

That’s our challenge because the requirements for participating in the capitalist economy have been increasing because of technological change. The skills you require are far higher than the skills a kid required 100 years ago. A high school education no longer cuts it. How do you get the skills that you need in the communities you’re growing up in? We can’t bring everybody to San Francisco and New York City. You have to have much more community-centered development. The problem is that it’s a vicious circle. When economic activity leaves a community, the big employer in town closes down. What follows is everything else starts breaking down. Your social relationships start breaking down, marriages break down, more divorces, more teenage pregnancies and more drug use. Your school starts breaking down and then you have a much lower chance of succeeding in the economy. Not just you, but your kids.

It’s a vicious circle. How do we break that vicious circle? We’ve had many areas like this in the country in the past, but they’re increasing. The question is how do we reverse this process? The answer is not lower interest rates. Similarly, it doesn’t mean have more fiscal spending. It typically means much more targeted, often bottom-up processes by which we rebuild activity in the community. Bring more jobs, employees and new skills. That means community involvement. It also means outside support, but we need to be much cleverer about this then we’ve been so far.

Maybe go through some of the research that you went through to prove out or to support your thesis. The world is rapidly evolving and you make certain claims regarding how the things of life are becoming much easier, whether it’s the food we have, transportation, or entertainment. It’s unprecedented as you compare it to 100 years ago or even 50 years ago. An individual’s fulfillment and their positive experience of life are being involved in making a difference and contributing in a sense. What things did you do to support some of the methods and direction of strengthening this third pillar?

TWS 02 | Community

Community: Because of technological change, the easy jobs in the middle are gone. You’re left with a choice of either the low-skill job or the high-skill job.


The phenomenon I’m pointing to is mental level phenomena. You point to a number of studies which point in the same direction, but the job of somebody writing a book like this is to write it all together to say, “Here’s the big picture.” The big picture can be summarized in one big causal factor. One pillar which is weakened therefore cannot respond. The causal factors, technological change is making such a huge impact on our life. In previous environments of strong technological change, the Industrial Revolutions, for example. Society responded in a big way and said, “Here are the things that have been touched by technology. Here’s how we should respond.” For example, in the Second Industrial Revolution. When you had big auto factories, chemical factories being set up. In the United States, you had a massive high school movement, which created a large number of high schools, but also made high school education free so that kids could go and get that education.

What is interesting is that there was also a time of a lot of immigration, but the immigrants who came into the United States were not well-schooled. They were experienced carpenters, they experienced plumbers. They had the experience, but they didn’t have schooling. They were not appropriate for the factories where you needed to know trigonometry to set the angles right in a machine that the kids that had gone through high school knew how to do. That’s how America dealt with the Second Industrial Revolution and many Americans benefited from that. I would argue that we need to figure out what the appropriate response this time is also. What you see is because of technological change, the easy jobs in the middle. The ones that required even a high school education. That was the technological revolution of the past and you could get decent incomes with that education.

Those jobs are disappearing. The manufacturing jobs, which were well-paid, unionized jobs, even the jobs and services. The job of a clerk who used to you have to know accounting, you have to know how to add and subtract and so on, used to fill large ledgers. That job doesn’t exist. It’s been automated. These jobs in the middle are gone. You’re left with a choice of either the low-skill job, you’re a security guard somewhere or the high-skill job. You’re a consultant at McKinsey. In between, it’s a long ladder, but there’s also not many on that ladder because the in between jobs are gone. How do we position people now for those jobs higher up in the ladder? How do we position them with the strongest skills?

That has become the central question. The problem is it all starts with the community. My colleague Jim Heckman at the University of Chicago was a Nobel Laureate in economics says, “By the time you’re five years old, you’re basically done for life in terms of your trajectory.” Because you had the early childhood health support that you need to keep you healthy through life. You’ve learned some of your habits. Your vocabulary is different depending on whether you grew up in a professional household or in a household which is poor where parents don’t talk that much. Sometimes there is a strong correlation between income levels and how much you can afford to have time to prepare your kids. Therefore, the life chances of that kid, even by age five, are different depending on how they grew up. In this world where it matters, for you to get those good jobs, you have to have that early preparation.

You have to go through a decent high school to be able to manage in college. It’s not enough that college has opened their doors to you. You can spend six years and dropout. One of the biggest problems in US education is the high dropout rate from college. These kids dropout with huge debt. Part of the problem is they’re not well-prepared for college in the first place. How do we get them that preparation? It starts with the community. That’s why I say we need to repair our community first in order to have a chance in this technological revolution.

Discovering happiness or fulfillment is the general desire of everyone to an extent. Click To Tweet

What are some of the ideas that may move the needle? It is quite an undertaking. One of your areas of expertise is behavioral science and how human beings behave in large part is habitual or subconscious. That’s where you’re making claims of where we derive our vocabulary, where do we drive our opinions on certain things. It’s not like you snap a finger, make an argument and suddenly people have a different way of viewing the world. From a community standpoint, making that shift, what are some of the ways that you see at least the majority of the community seeing things differently and making the subsequent change?

It’s a great point you make because it’s something that can’t happen from the outside. Somebody’s clicking their fingers out and say, “You’re the community, you got to pull yourself up.” What you see again and again is it comes from inside. You have to maximize the chances of it coming from inside, but you can’t force it from the outside. It’s a few people getting together. In the book, I talk about the Bilston Community in Chicago, which basically was crime-ridden. The number of deaths 100,000 was approaching the deaths in Germany during the height of World War II. There were drug wars in every part of the strip there. As one of the community activists told me, change came when they found a body outside one of the six churches and said, “This can’t go on anymore.”

The Pastor asked, “Who amongst you is willing to stand up? Who amongst you is willing to take the first step?” A bunch of young men came together and one of them volunteered to take on the task of community revival. The first task was essentially bringing down the crime. With that level of crime, no employer wanted to come in. They also did interesting things to arrest the crimes. For example, they found that much of the crime was localized in a few bars. They petitioned the city of Chicago to close down those bars in the neighborhood. They found that one of the problems was people didn’t want to call when they saw crime because they feared the criminals would go after them “Why are you ratting on us?”

They got a whole bunch of people to call the police at the same time and say, “There’s a crime here in progress.” They also persuaded them to get out of their houses. Crime flourishes in dark spaces, get out, light it up, come up and crowd the criminals out. It was a community effort, which brought down some of the crime. They did things like saving the local bank, which was going out of business. This combination of things helped them become more attractive and to some extent, they’re paying a modest price for that as a whole a lot of businesses are coming in. A lot of people from outside want to live in the Bilston neighborhood because it seems much more attractive. They are getting a little bit of gentrification. That’s not entirely a bad thing. There are some bad aspects to it in enforcing some old-time residents out, but they are going in the right direction.

TWS 02 | Community

Janesville: An American Story

It’s a perfect example. At the same time, you look at the root cause of that happening. It was a dead body in front of a church. Have you found in your analysis of the things that typically you have these events happen, like these earthquakes that shake a person and make them realize, the pain of staying the same is worse than the pain of changing and making changes. Did you see that as a fundamentally dynamic as far as how communities make the changes and adjustments that will strengthen their core and that pillar?

I’m not sure every community needs to have that wake-up moment. Some will, whether it’s drug abuse, crime or a large employer shutting down. There will be different triggers for them to see that, “Things can’t go on this way. We have to change.” There’s a nice book, Janesville, on how the big employer in town GM shutdown in Wisconsin Town and how the community came together. She leaves it where the community is trying to put things back together, but it’s not successful thus far. Since then, Janesville seems to have made some progress and things are a lot better than they were. In fact to the extent that the community police are issuing parking tickets. That’s a sign of development. You have so much traffic that parking tickets are being issued. More broadly, I would say the reason I emphasize Bilston is I want to say that communities that are far down and plagued by poverty, drug abuse and crime have found ways to lift themselves.

I see this in poor India that there are villages that decide, “We’re not going to depend on the use of government coming in and digging irrigation tanks and irrigation ditches for us, we’re going to do it.” It’s that old frontier mentality in the US that we’re going to do it because there’s nobody else is going to do it for us. That is a mentality, but in a developed country, there are many sources of help also. I’ve been talking, for example, to the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia where they have an entire department which is trying to energize some of these community efforts. Bringing communities together, getting them to learn from each other. There are many sources. There’s a lot of wealth in this country and that wealth is sometimes in private philanthropic ways, for example, the Kaiser Foundation in Tulsa. In public ways we have something called the Opportunity Zone set up by this administration, which essentially offers tax benefits if you invest in communities that are falling behind.

There is help available, but it’s hard for Washington or some far away state capitol to understand what needs to be done in the community. The planning on what needs to be done has to become much more internal. Who would know that the significant problem in Bilston was a crime, that once you dealt with the crime, other magic would happen? It’s trying to figure out what are the two or three key impediments that if I fix it, it will set it back on a virtuous cycle and reverse the vicious cycle that locals know far better. There are many examples, some of which I cite in the book, but elsewhere of people thinking, “What can we do that’s different? What can we do to get the community engaged?” There will be failures, but it’s a way out which is easier in a developed country where the key is attaching yourself back to the national economy.

These are fascinating points. It’s something I think about a lot. I know that there are many others that are asking similar questions as to how is this wealth gap going to end up. It’s moving, but is it moving in the right direction? That’s where you have the primary narrative that exists that the federal government is the power of influence that should be fixing this problem and it continues to build. There’s a lot of movement, especially with the large part of the Democratic Party where the solution isn’t necessarily going back to communities.

The solution is using central powers to influence change through Universal Basic Income or redistribution of wealth. I look at how significant the claims you’re making. You’re trying to solve symptoms with those central-influence initiatives instead of the actual root of the issue. The world is evolving and just to see what the world has done in the last few years is incredible. You look at the central powers, it’s not reasonable for them to adapt to the rate of change that’s occurring because they’re far away and by the time a decision needs to be made, it’s too late.

I look at the significance of your perspective and what you’re making claims on as something that would move the needle. That was the intention of the United States in the beginning, wasn’t it? The reason for the 10th Amendment was to keep powers more local than federal. There are many other questions I have as a follow up to this, but I’d love to see how you’ve looked at the state of the United States when it comes to the immense amount of government power that exists. Their adoption of this role to solve problems and to make everything right. Do you see other signs of how this central influence is shrinking or do you see that there are still issues to be resolved there?

The development bar for every country is different because each country has a different set of resources, capabilities, and impediments. Click To Tweet

I don’t want to argue to your earlier point that there is no rule for the central government. Since Gerald Ford, every president has been the education president. How are we doing on education? Not very well. We need to figure out alternative approaches. I would agree very much with your thinking that central is difficult because the problem that each place faces is different. Some one size fits all policy device in Washington is not going to work. As support, central is fine. As a prime mover, it’s probably not what the doctor ordered for the country. This chimes well with the resilience and the self-empowerment of people, which has always been true in the United States.

I worry that in these communities, empowerment is feeling that sense of empowerment. That also leads to a different problem, which is that you look to the nation for your identity and for your answers, rather than for the people around you. That’s true in a number of countries. It’s growing in India also. When you start looking for the nation as a resolution and you become more nationalist in spirit. Nationalism is not a bad thing, but nationalism which looks for the enemy as the reason for your problems becomes problematic. It’s easy to point fingers outside, point fingers at minorities within the country, but that’s really no solution because it’s not them who are holding you back. It’s you that has to change. Part of the reason why I emphasize it back to the roots approach is it seems to me we need to rediscover identity back in our communities.

When I say this too many cosmopolitan people who dwell in big cities, they laugh. They say, “We left those communities long back.” In the United Kingdom, 80% of people still identify with their village or their town as their community. They’re not the rootless people that sometimes we see in cities. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing to be a citizen of everywhere, but there are many people who are a citizen of somewhere. It seems to me that they need to find ways to address their problems and we need to think about how that can best be done. This is why I say balance. It’s not all the central government. It’s not all the community. It’s not all the markets. Some balance between the three, which is going to help us get out of our problems.

The fact that this is not the United States problem. It’s a problem in France, in Germany, in China and it’s a problem in India suggest that we need a model for the world of the future. That’s in a sense what I’m trying to propose. At some level, some people have decided that, “Where’s the big tax? Where is the big government program?” These are all milk toast, but there is a big idea here which is let us focus on being a centralized government and governance as the way forward, rather than put more burden on a centralized government in a fractured society yet.

I love how you describe the community in which certain things take place. Going to the original proper role of government was to essentially protect this environment. That’s where obviously the Scottish Enlightenment had much influence on the Founding Fathers to develop the constitution and develop the environment in which commerce was to take place. We’ve gone away from that and it’s understandable. At the same time, there’s always a price to pay and we’re paying it because of how people believe things should be. I look at the future and it’s incredible what human beings have been able to create the potential in one mind can change the world and it could change a community.

TWS 02 | Community

Community: It’s a balance between the central government, the community, and the markets which is going to help us get out of our problems.


That’s an environment where you essentially have handouts or you have this theory that you should be taken care of. I don’t know if it ever leads to a person to discovering happiness or fulfillment, which is the general desire of everyone to an extent. That’s where you look at the examples that you cited, whether it’s Chicago or other places where people face adversity and figure out how to make adjustments and thrive because of that. It’s so inspiring but it comes down to the notion of forest and trees, because a forest is an abstract, forest doesn’t exist. A community is also abstract. It’s a group of people. The individual right and the protection of their rights is due to what the individual can create in the right environment if that’s what the overall consensus is.

I look at your experience and you obviously had a front row seat at the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009 and you saw what happens in how decisions at high levels can impact the entire world, which it did. Being a part of a higher education program at the University of Chicago, you come into these conclusions. It isn’t just you waking up in the morning and saying, “I’m going to write a book about this third pillar.” That’s why I find it fascinating how much you’ve experienced where things succeed and where things fail. I’m a fan and I appreciate all the work that you’ve done. Where do you propose your theories? What are you trying to achieve with this book other than getting the ideas out there? Do you have some initiative that you’re trying to push forward?

I’m starting that process and it starts first by publicizing the ideas, but then people start calling you and say, “Come talk to us. We were doing this stuff.” I’m learning more because there are many different ways that communities are coping. I got a call from a group at the World Bank, which is dealing with coal-dependent communities across the world and how they’re dealing with the fact that coal is largely on its way out. How do they recover and what different ways are different groups across the world doing it? This is a powerful way if they figure out what best practices are of trying to spread the word across the world. Here is how they have coped in Austria. Here’s how they coped in Australia. Therefore, let’s figure out whether you can do some of these things.

Part of what I want to do is figure out how you can emphasize more of the success and make it happen more widely. I do want to say that part of this comes from my experience in development. I said I grew up thinking why we are poor? As I looked at development and I studied it, one of the most interesting findings in development is the low explanatory power of influence from outside to how a country develops. You would think a lot of money coming into the country from countries that are giving money from across the world should make this country grow fast. It doesn’t.

For a variety of reasons, it has low power. What happens is when a country like South Korea says, “We’re going to make a change.” The development bar for every country is different because each country has a different set of resources, capabilities and impediments. It’s when they figure out that they need to make a change, it is when the rest of the world can be helpful by buying their goods, trading with them and so on. That idea has percolated into this book, that when you look at successful communities, we don’t know what the recipe is because the recipe is something they figure out because they’re close to the problem. You do know that it often has to come from inside.

Thank you for sharing. I wish you the best. It’s something that is a growing challenge. Humanity is fascinating to observe sometimes where we’re at and we’ve become a global community essentially because of the ease of communication. Sometimes ideas are where most of the power comes from. Getting an idea in a person’s head and then getting it to get out of their head if it’s the wrong idea or unprincipled idea, that’s a big challenge. I look at intellectuals such as yourself and other powers of influence, not necessarily from a central government standpoint, but whether it’s a media or authors that are rising to the challenge.

I was at a financial conference up in Whistler, Canada. Ray Dalio with Bridgewater and a massive hedge fund. The majority of his thoughts were directed toward taking some of his understanding of capitalism, free markets and being able to institute that in Central Connecticut to improve the poverty and crime situation there. It’s one of those things where the problems are getting to the point where they’re boiling over. People like yourself are making and going to make a difference.

Thank you very much. I do hope to stay engaged. I hope we get more people to start thinking about these issues.

Thank you, Dr.Rajan. It’s wonderful having you on and I wish you all the best.

Thanks for taking the time.

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About Raghuram Rajan

TWS 02 | CommunityRaghuram Rajan is the Katherine Dusak Miller Distinguished Service Professor of Finance at the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago. He was the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India between 2013 and 2016, and also served as Vice-Chairman of the Board of the Bank for International Settlements between 2015 and 2016. Dr. Rajan was the Chief Economist and Director of Research at the International Monetary Fund from 2003 to 2006.

Dr. Rajan’s research interests are in banking, corporate finance, and economic development, especially the role finance plays in it. He co-authored Saving Capitalism from the Capitalists with Luigi Zingales in 2003. He then wrote Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy, for which he was awarded the Financial Times-Goldman Sachs prize for best business book in 2010. His most recent book, The Third Pillar: How Markets and the State hold the Community Behind was published in 2019.

Dr. Rajan was the President of the American Finance Association in 2011 and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Group of Thirty. In 2003, the American Finance Association awarded Dr. Rajan the inaugural Fischer Black Prize for the best finance researcher under the age of 40. The other awards he has received include the Deutsche Bank Prize for Financial Economics in 2013, Euromoney magazine’s Central Banker of the Year Award 2014 and The Banker magazine’s Global Central Banker of the Year award in 2016. In that year, Time magazine chose Dr. Rajan as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.


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Entrepreneurship: The Season 2 Kickoff

TWS 1 | Individuals In Nature


Pulling metaphors from The Matrix to the life we have now, we can see the parallels of how we have been built into systems that ultimately stop us from seeing the opportunities beyond. As the second season kicks off, Patrick introduces us to a new topic we’ll sink our teeth into. We depart from capitalism towards entrepreneurship – specifically the entrepreneur and intrapreneur and the difference between the two. Prepare yourself for a new season that will question your assumptions on life, career, finances, and investments.

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Entrepreneurship: The Season 2 Kickoff

“The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. When you’re inside, you look around. What do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters, the very minds of the people we are trying to save. Until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand most of these people are not ready to be unplugged, and many of them are so inert, so hopelessly dependent on the system that they will fight to protect it. Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself. The Matrix is the world that had been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth. The Matrix is a computer-generated dream world built to keep us under control in order to change a human being into this.”

I’ve always loved the parallel of our experience of life to the movie, The Matrix. As you and I begin a new season together, our focus is on a topic that is individual in nature. You’re going to question your assumptions about your life, your career, your finances and your investments. If you’ve read the previous four seasons, I believe you’re ready. It’s funny I used a Matrix quote in the book that I released. One of the editors actually made a note in their copy not understanding the reference associated with the red pill and the blue pill. That brings me to my next point. If you haven’t seen The Matrix, go see it because it’s a pretty cool movie. It’s definitely applicable to what we’re going to cover this season.

Our system of education from elementary school to middle school to college specifically, and how that creates this system of expectations when it comes to what we’re supposed to do after that, which is go to grad school or get a job and pursue a career. That career with its benefits, the desire to stop working and contributing one day, hoping that the financial markets and the 401(k) retirement plans will make us millions and be our retirement savior is this system that we are experiencing daily. Is that what you really want? Is that system giving you the fulfillment, joy and excitement that is possible? The Wall Street Journal had a piece about those who retire before the age of 62. I think it’s as applicable to those that retire after 62 or 65, but it made reference to the decline in longevity. Dying sooner than expected, having to do with the symptoms associated with unplugging from the opportunity to contribute and to provide value to others. Hopefully, you have gathered over the last few years and for those of you who have read the book, that I truly believe that whatever suppresses the human spirit to continually grow and expand through experience is one of the greatest thefts in history.

Uncertainty is one of those human needs that we all crave. Click To Tweet

On the other side of this system, that wall that prevents us from seeing what’s possible is literally infinite possibilities to give our life a constantly renewing sense of purpose from what we discover about ourselves and what we individually can bring in value to others, how that makes us feel, the financial remuneration that it gives us. That from what I’ve experienced, that red, is what makes us feel alive. This season we are shifting from the ideal environment of growth, which is capitalism. It’s the ideal environment of growth and expansion to what the individual can do in that environment. The theme specifically is the entrepreneur and intrapreneur. Let me talk about the difference between the two. The history of the entrepreneur is pretty fascinating. This is the definition that I like most. It’s the capacity and willingness to develop, organize and manage of venture with taking risks in order to be successful and turn a profit.

There was another term that when the idea of an entrepreneur or the word entrepreneur was used, it also referred to an adventure. I did an episode about the principle of uncertainty. Uncertainty is one of those human needs that we all crave. It’s the feeling of being alive, whether that’s riding a roller coaster or going to a movie or traveling to a foreign land. It’s something we all crave. That adventure spirit is within all human beings. I believe understanding, for yourself that is, because there are different degrees of it and it applies differently to different individuals. Understanding that sense of adventure and experience is part of what gives life its meaning. There is an economist, his name is Jean-Baptiste Say. He’s famous for Say’s Law when it comes to understanding the demand side economics or demand-driven economics. He identifies entrepreneurs as the driver for economic development, emphasizing the role as one of the collecting factors of production where they’re able to allocate resources from less to fields that are more productive.

I find entrepreneurship fascinating because if you think about it, what we experience in life on a daily basis, I think we often take for granted. Hundreds of years ago, what exists was merely a possibility. It was dirt. It was natural resources. Look at what we’ve taken as humanity and made into whether it’s television, video, lighting or the internet. Step back and put yourself in the position of a time traveler and travel from 500 years ago to now, it’s unbelievable to think about. It all started with a human being and another human being then another human being, being able to take our potential and apply that to the resources of life that we all have access to.

TWS 1 | Individuals In Nature

Individuals In Nature: There are opportunities to be entrepreneurial, to take risks and buck the status quo, to question authority, to question assumptions, and to question the system.


What does that have to do with you? The TV has been invented, the camera has been invented and the internet’s been invented. How does that apply to you? It’s not so much the actual application of entrepreneurial principles or the idea of entrepreneurship, but it’s adopting the mindset of solving problems, of making things better, of making things more efficient by looking at something and figuring out a way to make it better, to create more value. I believe this comes differently based on the individual. This is where I dive into entrepreneurship. Looking at entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship, this is where you fit in. You fit in because you have individual strengths, you have individual talents and abilities that you’ve been gifted with. It’s different for all individuals. You’ve had experiences up to this point that has given you an idea of what life is about. I think most of you are driven and you’ve discovered things that you’re good at based on how you feel, based on receiving some reward or achievement, or based on what others have said about you.

I believe that right there is one of those seeds of opportunity to be nurtured. With that nurturing, come incredible opportunities for your life but also for the level of satisfaction and the level of wealth that you achieved. This season, we’re going to get into a lot of topics that have to do with the changing environment, not from capitalism standpoint but the change in that system that Morpheus in The Matrix refers to. The system of education is changing rapidly. The system of business is changing rapidly. One of the guests I’m going to have on is going to talk to you about the majority of companies in ten years will have a majority of their workforce, 70% or more, as either working remote, as contractors or freelancers, pretty bold claims. In my experience, what I’m seeing out there is incredible.

I’m actually going to release an eBook that I’ve been working on for a while that is speaking to this future of work, the gig economy and all of the jobs that exist. The employment opportunities that exist that are either a contract, freelance or remote and what that allows is unprecedented. What that allows is for you to discover what are the details and job requirements of those specific opportunities and what can I do? What can you do to invest in yourself to obtain the certifications, obtain the experience and obtain the attributes in order to have one of those positions? What that allows you to do is work 15, 25 hours a week maybe less, do it on your own terms and mix in the lifestyle that you enjoy.

Understanding the sense of adventure and experience is part of what gives life its meaning. Click To Tweet

It’s not the typical way in which people think about their future. It’s the sacrifice of now for a better future. It’s putting money away into a 401(k), an IRA or the markets in hopes that one day they’ll be enough where you don’t have to work. I’m going to break it to you that working is a part of life but working in something that you don’t like doing and that you want to escape from through retirement, that’s your choice. Your choice is to do something you don’t like and you’re doing it by sacrificing enjoyment, achievement, pleasure and happiness for money. Because of where we’re going as a society, I believe that you can take very little money over the course of the next four months and you can learn more about yourself, learn more about what you’re good at.

We’re going to have some guests on here that represent some of the personality tests that are out there, Myers-Briggs, Kolbe, DISC, StrengthsFinder, so that you can start to discover where do you feel the most alive? Where do you receive the most fulfillment? What are the strengths that you have that you may not be aware of? How do you apply that to specific job opportunities, employment opportunities, whether it’s within the company you currently work for or outside of it or on your own? I’m not saying that entrepreneurship is for everyone. It has been an incredible journey from a positive standpoint, but I’ve equally experienced the other side of the spectrum where I had self-doubt, where I had relationship issues, where I had financial failures. Believe me, it is something that I know is not possible for everyone. It almost wasn’t possible for me and I’m still experiencing it.

Sometimes people can’t work for someone else. That’s where I categorize myself, I look at what’s right for you and that’s a question you have to ask yourself. You may have to ask it more than once. The idea of an entrepreneur is thrown out. There are entrepreneurship classes in school, there’s entrepreneur thrown through social media. I think the definition of entrepreneur definitely needs to be questioned, but that there are opportunities to be entrepreneurial, to take risks and to buck the status quo, to question authority, to question assumptions and to question the system. I believe that’s your responsibility. It’s my responsibility. That’s why the world exists the way that it does is because someone questioned why. Why does it have to be that way? Why do we have to communicate through just phone? Why can’t we communicate better?

Henry Ford said that if he was to ask people what they want, it would be a faster horse. An entrepreneur or a Henry Ford or whomever, the Wright brothers, they looked at what would make life easier, and they came up with ideas to make life easier. That’s where Say’s Law comes from. I believe that there’s an entrepreneurial spirit in all of us. I believe that there are ways in which we can grow, expand and achieve a better future for ourselves first and our family then our community, those we serve those who we provide value to.

The season is around this topic. We have those that are very reputable economists. We have authors, representatives from these different personality tests. We have a family of some of the most famed economists that are out there and the impact that their father specifically had made on them and have allowed them to see the world from a different standpoint. We are facing a lot of turmoil in society right now. There’s so much communication out there, sometimes it’s hard to know what to believe. I look at issues, whether it’s in Venezuela, issues that are in China or in Russia. I also look at issues that are in the United States where you have these political influences that are very compelling. They speak well, they’re good marketers. Their narrative is compelling. At the same time, I believe that politicians will always be politicians. There’s always an agenda behind the scenes. Understanding principles, understanding what life is about is going to allow you to ask better questions. It’s going to allow you to support those people that align with your values.

In the end, what I’ve discovered in meeting with thousands of people and doing business with thousands of people interacting with authors, reading hundreds of books, is that most humans, if not all, have something very similar in common. They want a feeling of achievement, happiness and satisfaction that does not come from a job with benefits. It does not come from a 401(k) or putting money in the stock market. It does not come from retiring. I believe that it comes from you discovering what you’re about, what your strengths are, your abilities are and taking that and applying it in a way that allows you to live a lifestyle that you love.

An understanding of what life is about is going to allow you to ask better questions. Click To Tweet

I’m excited to have some of these interviews. I’ve already had a few and I think you are going to love them. I’m also going to try to be more interactive. Check out the YouTube channel and also on social media. Make sure you’re sharing this stuff. If you like what you hear or see, we want to get the word out. If you haven’t already, read the book that I released, Heads I Win, Tails You Lose. You can get a free couple of chapters. I can’t wait for you to experience that book. A lot of the principles I’m going to be talking about and I talked about last season, the theme of capitalism. The seasons in 2018 were Life, Liberty and Property. These are things I’m passionate about and I want to hear from you. I want to make sure that you understand the material and you’re getting something from it. Make sure you start interacting, make sure you’re giving me feedback through the different channels. I can’t wait to experience your journey just as much as I can’t wait to experience mine. Thank you and we will be back soon.

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Applying Capitalism In Today’s Market with Ryan Moran

TWS 17 | Applying Capitalism


We all aim for personal and universal freedom. In today’s economy, this freedom is protected by capitalism where the people own and run businesses as opposed to the government. Founder of Capitalism.com, Ryan Moran goes in-depth with the idea of capitalism and Even Stevens’ bankruptcy, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s political phenomenon, and Andrew Yang’s philosophy. The host of The One Percent podcast, Ryan gives his take on opening up to the ideas of freedom in entrepreneurship and the opportunities that exist in the current era and more.

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Applying Capitalism In Today’s Market with Ryan Moran

My guest is Ryan Daniel Moran. He is the Founder of Capitalism.com and host of The One Percent podcast. He’s a father, a Browns fan and a future owner of the Cleveland Indians. This is going to be an awesome show. I’m stoked because you’re the owner of Capitalism.com. I’m sure there’s a cool story to that in addition to having that site. There’s a big responsibility if you’re branding that domain and how you’ve come to understand capitalism. I’d like to start with how you are defining capitalism.

My favorite definition of the word capitalism was from Hayek. He says, “It’s an increasing system of strangers serving one another.” It’s a system through which we are incentivized to serve one another. I had an economics professor in college. His name was Dr. Ivan Pongracic and he had escaped Soviet Russia. He was almost caught smuggling Elvis records and Fender guitars across the borders. They made it punishable by death if you did that. He said, “You know what I did? I raised the price.” He used to talk about capitalism was the system through which we practiced freedom.

In order for us to get ahead, we have to serve one another. It’s where we are incentivized to do so. That’s also why we see such a pushback on the left against capitalism is because we’ve forgotten that it’s simply the way we exercise freedom. When we go in and try to fix freedom or force freedom or try to allocate freedom to be more “responsible,” we distort it. We all agree that personal freedom and freedom is a high aim. When we can put capitalism as the protector of freedom, the system through which we have freedom, it’s a universal principle that no one can disagree with.

It seems everyone would agree with you on this notion of freedom, so why is there such disdain for capitalism?

It’s because of short-term desires. If your reference point was several years ago, then you are naturally going to look ahead only for the next few years. If your reference point is 100, 200, 500 or 1,000 years, the path forward is obvious. It’s like trading stocks versus being an investor. It’s like flipping houses versus being an income investor. It’s like trying to make money on the internet versus building an internet business. Capitalism is the same. If a twenty-year-old is looking at the state of the world compared to when he or she was eight, there’s not a good reference point for how the world acts.

All that person is going to see is problems. They’re going to see who doesn’t have healthcare. They have no reference point for who had healthcare 100 years ago. They’re going to look at the way they think the world should be through the lens of problems rather than looking at the trend of the world over the last hundred years. If you have never traveled, if you haven’t lived a few decades, if you haven’t studied history, you would have a short-term view of the world in which you only saw problems. Our job is to paint a different picture and to be relentless defenders of that freedom so that the loud voices don’t get a foothold in what we know the world needs to do.

If you were in a debate contest and stood on the other side, how would you defend that, “We’re not 1750, Ryan. We don’t trade wine and bread and potatoes. We’re in a civilized modern society where healthcare should be a right.” How do you take that stance and defend it against capitalism?

The way we defend that stance is by coming back to the fundamental agreement that we want the same things. I have a high percentage of liberals converted because most of them have the perspective that a conservative or a libertarian doesn’t want poor people to have healthcare. We have to dispel that myth. We have to say, “I have the same goal as you of ensuring that the least of those around us have access to quality and affordable healthcare. Let me tell you why my plan is a better way to get that than somebody else.

I heard Naval Ravikant talk about Universal Basic Income. He was talking with Scott Adams. When Scott Adams asked him what he thought of Universal Basic Income and Naval said, “We’re going to have it. It’s going to come from the private sector. We’re going to have phones be so cheap that Google will give them out so that you use their apps and their platform.” You’ll basically have a universal standard of living. We don’t need it to come from the government. That type of argument is how I persuade the other side to come to our side of the argument. You say, “We’re after the same goal.” Your way of getting there is to trust Trump and all of his friends to come up with a plan. How confident are you in that happening? My plan is this and I have a high percentage rate of getting people to convert after that.

Challenges will always occur, but there are always people looking to solve challenges. It’s like an instinct in us. We see the challenge where we will look for opportunities. I always look at The Jungle Book where Mowgli is this character that’s different from the rest of the forest because they’re to survive and he has this instinct to come up with solutions for this and solutions for that. That’s human nature. Even though we have challenges, when you do create that environment of freedom, people are able to exercise and are able to try things. Ultimately, there are solutions that create the betterment of everyone. At the same time, there’s a little time involved there. Whereas writing a check to somebody is the easiest thing to do and typically people want that short term solution. That’s where they tend to go and to gripe about.

Our brains are wired to produce happiness as a byproduct to increases in survival chances. Happiness is an illusion. Happiness is chemicals that fire when our brains think we have a higher chance of surviving. The only way we do that is by solving problems. We solve the threats that we have to our own survival. We unlock happiness by solving problems. Biologically, we are wired to solve problems. Unfortunately, we tend to fire short-term versus long-term if we’re in a threat situation and most people have the perception of threat, even though our livelihoods and our survival is as good as it has ever been.

Ray Dalio was talking about this whole idea of Universal Basic Income and the threat of artificial intelligence and people are going to be displaced by jobs. There are many solutions that the government can come up with, but there’s something about humans where there has to be a fulfillment side of their life. If there’s not, then life becomes the opposite. It’s unhappy. When you’re not able to solve those problems, it robs people of the opportunity to find fulfillment or find happiness.

TWS 17 | Applying Capitalism

Applying Capitalism: Happiness is a chemical that fires up when our brains think we have a higher chance of surviving, and the only way that we do that is by solving problems.


I think those of us who identify as Capitalists or Libertarian should be disappointed in Ray Dalio. I don’t know where his tune changed of seeing the pie that he created and started to feel guilty about it. His entire thesis on this speaking tour that he’s been going on is that we need a better way to allocate pieces of the pie. What Dalio mistakes and seems to overlook is there is no pie. There is no limited amount of value. He should know, he created a big one. He helped a lot of people along the way.

He aggregated a lot of capital.

That’s a good distinction. Based on his background when he’s raising capital from a lot of places, there’s a fixed amount versus it being a creation. Overall as a community, I think we should be disappointed in the message that he’s starting to spread.

I want to dive into your story around Capitalism.com because it’s one of those things that you buy and you can monetize. At the same time, if you have a philosophy around what it means and what you want the world to understand what it means, that’s a big responsibility. What’s the story behind your intrigue and interest in the idea of capitalism? Maybe your parents were these staunch-like Libertarian F.A. Hayek followers and you went to Mises University when you were little.

I went to college to be a pastor and I did not go that route. I had an economics professor who basically gave a talk that changed my life where he was talking about how the greatest way we can find nods or find our greatest purpose or find our maximum dollar amount. However you divide that up, our highest calling is by using the marketplace. Seeing price as an indication of where there was a need or where there was a value or where there were opportunities to create something. That completely changed my brain and altered the course of my life and my career. Add that in with some doubts that I had about my faith, it was a perfect time for me to make a switch. I ended up going to school and studying economics while building my first business, while the 2008 crash and the election were all going on at the same time.

Those were my formative years and the opportunity to acquire the name that represented all of my biggest interests was presented to me and it was to acquire Capitalism.com. Since then we’ve been building out events and a platform for entrepreneurs because I believe ultimately we only change minds and we change direction by changing individuals. I don’t think that debate on a grand scale is how we ultimately change people’s mind, we lead by example. At Capitalism.com, we help entrepreneurs build businesses and invest the profits and I’m playing the long game. The more millionaires you create, the more kids you have with those financially-educated individuals as parents. That’s ultimately how we change perspectives.

In order for us to get ahead, we have to serve one another. Click To Tweet

Let’s talk about applied capitalism. There are a lot of ways to approach this, but business has changed significantly as far as how capital is raised. In some cases, profitability doesn’t even matter. A right to raise capital is an idea matter. How are you applying what you’ve learned about capitalism in that philosophy to what you teach others about businesses and maybe how you treat your own businesses?

Your basic capitalist theory, things get easier over time. Resources get freed up. You have more access to opportunity. That is your point about things changing so much in the few years. Capital is abundant. The opportunities for advertising are cheaper than ever, at a higher scale than ever. Any message can go viral at any time. Things continue to get easier. I don’t buy into this narrative that it’s somehow getting harder. It’s getting easier and there are more opportunities. However, it’s changing faster. You have more creative destruction than ever before. We all love it until it happens to us, but if we’re going to be consistent with our argument then we have to either adapt or go find a business. We see capitalism in action. We see lots of new opportunities be liberated. We see a lot of resources become available. These are things that didn’t exist for us as a society.

Joseph Schumpeter and the whole creative destruction principle is powerful, but it goes to more of the long game than the short game where a lot of the lessons are learned after a lot of the chaos ensues. Hence 2008, 2009 where there are some incredible lessons learned by people. We’ve become stronger because of that not weaker. You are looking at what you discovered as more of a philosophical approach to capitalism based on the economics people of the past, which are not all obviously pro-capitalism. You started to apply that to business, but it sounds like you experienced some of that creative destruction like a business going under, a business becoming obsolete or you hired the wrong team. Did you go through some challenges to learn that principle?

Haven’t we all? If you’re not failing more often than you are succeeding, you probably aren’t a real entrepreneur. I was journaling about the fact that it only takes one big breakthrough in order to pay for all of your failures. Thankfully, we live in this world in which basically all of our needs are met for almost no money. We’re close to having a universal basic living standard. Unfortunately, we’re all comparing ourselves in terms of status, which is why there’s this myth of wealth and equality, which we all know is a myth. Since we have our basic needs met, you can pretty much fail at scale until you win. We all love it until it happens to us, but if you can develop that muscle of being comfortable swinging and missing, then one at-bat is all it’s going to take in order for you to have the impact that you want to have.

I have stopped measuring progress in dollars because dollars are a commodity. Wealth is a way to make things happen faster. The more dialed in you are to the type of life you want and the things you want to do, money becomes a byproduct of doing that well. It becomes gasoline for you to make it happen faster. I have changed my tune a little bit where I became an entrepreneur because I wanted money, then you realize all money is a tool to make change happen. If you identify the change you want to have, you can swing and miss all you want, eventually pay dirt happens and that justifies your failures and allows your successes to happen that much faster. It’s the purpose of money and capital in the first place to fuel the distribution of goods and services, to fuel the distribution of good work. That’s what it’s there to do.

What do you use as your primary measurements of whether or not your business is successful?

TWS 17 | Applying Capitalism

Applying Capitalism: If you’re not failing more often than are succeeding, you probably aren’t a real entrepreneur.


Part of it is am I happy? Part of it is, do I like doing what I’m doing? Another is client happiness and scale. Are people voluntarily sharing what it is we’re doing? I had a professor in college who was supposedly an expert in this idea of the diffusion curve of distribution. If you get those loud early adopters, they bring them to the rest of the world. If you have a core group of raving fans, they bring your message or your market, they bring your product and service to the rest of the world. Part of how I’m evaluating on it is, “Are people talking about it? Are people diffusing it for me?” If that’s the case, I know I’ve done something well in the world.

Let me break into that a little bit. There was a restaurant chain called Even Stevens. Have you ever heard that before?

I’ve heard of them.

They’re in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, but they had this culture of doing well and impacting people. Their business model was set up where if someone bought a sandwich, one sandwich was donated to the poor. From a profitability standpoint, how do you reconcile wanting to do good and wanting to impact people, yet at the same time bringing in more than there’s going out.

When I was in high school, my first real job is I worked at Dunkin’ Donuts. At the end of the night, we had hundreds of extra donuts. A lot of them went to waste. We threw them away. A lot of them we donated to food shelters. There was so much waste we could give some to shelters. I could take some to school the next day and I did. We could throw away a bunch. There are a lot of wasted donuts. The only way that you can have that type of good waste is if you’re running a profitable enterprise. The people who talk about the TOMS Shoes model and they have their own financial problems with the idea of we’re going to give first. It’s a great idea, but you can give a lot more when you’re running a profitable enterprise. Profit is excess. Profit is extra.

It is a reflection of a gap in the marketplace. That’s a good thing. You are doing well by making a profit. Profit is a reflection of doing well. It’s not like the bad thing you get. Profit is the reflection of you doing well. With that, you can do whatever you want. You already paid your debt to society by doing the good thing in the first place and you have profit as a byproduct. If you want to take that and have a more additional impact, go for it. You’re under no requirement to do so, but you will do more good in putting all of those sandwich profits into more sandwiches and you’ll probably have excess that you can then sustainably giveaway. The idea of doing something that matters and getting paid for it is self-perpetuating and self-rewarding on its own and then you can do what you’d like with the profits.

It only takes one big breakthrough in order to pay for all of your failures. Click To Tweet

The reconciliation then what I’m assuming is obviously you want to be benefiting customers. You want to have a good time, be happy and feel fulfilled in what you’re doing, but at the same time dollars are important from a measurement standpoint to ensure there’s more coming in than going out.

The reconciliation is Even Stevens would have done a lot more good in the world if they were running a profitable enterprise.

As much as we would think there are more supporters of the free market and laissez-faire capitalism and allow people in the markets to solve problems. There is a growing philosophy that has existed for a while using the narrative of social good and that the capitalists and money hoarders are these fat guys that live in big mansions. Let’s talk about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who is an interesting political phenomenon and Andrew Yang. Maybe we’ll start with AOC. What’s your pulse on her? How do you view the attraction to what she is saying and why she’s gained much ground from building a big audience in the inner circles of the Democratic Party but also in society as well?

My pulse on her is that she is extremely smart. She is one of the smartest politicians ever. The idea that she is a stupid 29-year-old Millennial is a false narrative. If you think that, you’ve played right into her hand. If she was not 29-years-old, she would be the Democratic front-runner for President. A waitress turned social media celebrity is already leading the direction of the Democratic Party. You do not do that being an idiot. The only person in politics smarter than AOC is Donald J. Trump.

How do you see the parallel between her and Donald Trump? It was the same way with him, it still is.

They are the two smartest people in Washington, DC.

TWS 17 | Applying Capitalism

Applying Capitalism: Universal Basic Income is socialism with lipstick. It’s not an enhanced form of capitalism. It’s just a different way to redistribute from the government.


Do you think she got to that point overnight? She came onto the scenes in a short period of time. Is that a natural ability to be that persuasive? Maybe she was a waitress at an incredible restaurant in New York City, but where did it come from?

It came from a combination of talent. She’s incredibly intuitive in terms of what she needs to say in order to get attention. It’s a talent with what she looks like. If she was a white ugly dude, she wouldn’t have the following that she did. We have to be real about it. We can’t ignore that. We all have natural privileges and what she looks like is one of hers and the other was timing. She’s perfectly well-timed. Her message for her talent stack in this state that the Democratic Party is in where it’s essentially a leaderless party. She walks in and has the benefit of applying that talent stack to this timing. It’s been a combination of all of those things like Donald Trump was a combination of all those things, although he had a much longer game than she did. She’s the benefit of social media and she’s got a good social media strategy. She entered into the conversation when it needed a polarizing figure to counter the President.

You’re taking the stance and this is a deep stake in the ground and a flash in the pan.

I am curious to see what she does. If you look at her overall strategy, she’s already effective in the way that she wants to be effective. The Green New Deal is her wall. I know there are people who disagree with me, but I’m confident, the wall is not a real thing. The wall was a marketing tool. Donald Trump knew there was never going to be a wall across the border. He knew this and because he knew this, he knew he would always have a rallying cry to point at the enemy. If his supporters didn’t get their wall, they could always say, “It’s going to happen. The Democrats are standing in the way.” There’s never going to be a wall. It’s a marketing ploy.

It’s the same thing with the Green New Deal. AOC comes out with this ridiculous plan that we’re all talking about and she has changed the narrative to be about which pieces of the Green New Deal are feasible and which ones aren’t. Based on that, we’re going to calculate it, discuss it and argue about it. That’s exactly what she wants. She’ll get pieces of it over time and she’ll always be able to look across the aisle and say, “They said no.” It was a brilliant move to make the Democrats vote on it. That was painting them to a quarter. It was smart to the Republicans to do.

I would say that whole Mike Lee velociraptor thing totally played into her hands. I understood where he was coming from, but I’m like, “How do you think that’s going to make you look any better?”

Profit is the reflection of you doing good. Click To Tweet

I do think that she is here at least for the next few election cycles. I’m curious to see how her message changes. Once Donald Trump is reelected and many years go by and you will basically have two leaderless parties because Mike Pence isn’t the incumbent. He will never be president. The Democrats will have no leader. Pete Buttigieg could have been that, but he blew his shot. As a result, I’m curious to see where AOC is. She’ll miss the cutoff to run again. She could play kingmaker. If that’s the case then she’s around to stay.

Some of this stuff she says is like, “Nobody says that.” There’s an agenda behind it. What does your crystal ball say her agenda is? What is she trying to accomplish? Political career or do you think there’s something more nefarious behind the scenes like socialism and communism?

I think back to the Occupy Wall Street movement. I don’t know if you ever visited any of the Occupy. I had much fun going and debating those. Eventually what happened, the movement died. It went away and then became Bernie Sanders supporters. They gave way to another failed movement. Socialism is such a tired idea. I don’t fear the noise that it has in the world because no one wants it. The movement of capitalism, the movement of freedom is too powerful. That will prevent a socialist uprising from taking old. My crystal ball says that AOC will continue to point her finger at enemies. She’ll continue to have a wave of followers. She’ll continue to be impactful on the left, but her message will change unless we have another economic meltdown and then all bets are off. At that point, I have no opinion. I have no idea what would happen.

Let’s go to your next hot button, which is Andrew Yang.

He was on your show before he was running for president.

He was officially running for president when he was on. It’s interesting to see what he’s done. He’s not taking abrasive a stance as AOC, but still he’s between the whole hologram. He’s going to show up to debates in a hologram. He’s doing a good job marketing it. How do you look at Andrew Yang’s philosophy, which I would say is definitely part socialism, part progressive, part accommodating the rising Y Generation?

TWS 17 | Applying Capitalism

Applying Capitalism: You become libertarian real quick when you’re an entrepreneur because you realize you want to keep what you earn and you only get to earn what is made on your own merit.


First of all, Andrew Yang says that Universal Basic Income is capitalism starting from not zero. I say no, Universal Basic Income is socialism with lipstick. It’s not an enhanced form of capitalism. It’s a different way to redistribute from the government. I don’t care for Andrew’s policies one bit, but he’s running a flawless campaign. I have to give him credit for doing an amazing job at running for president, but I don’t care for him one bit. He knows he’s misleading people. He knows that he’s making up problems that don’t exist. If you watched his Joe Rogan interview, he sat there and talked about problems that are not real like truckers being replaced. Their wages are going up. There’s a shortage of truckers because there are many other unskilled opportunities. There are many low-skilled jobs and many opportunities for low-skilled people that there’s a shortage of truck drivers because nobody wants to work those long hours driving a truck. What has happened? Truck driver’s salaries have gone up. There’s recruiting happening to get people to become truck drivers. No, we don’t have a problem in all the truck drivers going away. We have an increased demand, prices going up. He makes up problems where there are no problems to address, but he’s getting a lot of attention for it.

He’s the only one that’s on that bandwagon. There are a lot of the Silicon Valley elites that tend to feel the same way. When you do have that insight into technology and the speed at which things are becoming automated. The argument I would say has some merit to it when you think as far as the automation of certain unskilled things. Are you saying the transition to that is going to take longer than people think? Where are you coming from?

The Universal Basic Income, if it replaced all other government programs, would be a step in the right direction, but that’s not what Yang argues for. Yang is arguing for doling out checks to everyone. Not only is it not appropriate, but it’s also not needed. We talked about how the standard of living continues to rise and real prices continue to decline. The trend is going only to continue as we talked about in the example of Google giving out free phones. That is going to continue to happen and it’s happening at a faster rate. Look how the idea of a grocery store is in our society. We take it for granted, but a grocery store has only existed for this much of our history and we talk about food prices. Food prices are at an all-time low. I can go to the grocery store and get goji berries from China for $8. It’s the whole idea of “I, Pencil,” that famous piece that go into the pencil. I’m not of the opinion that Universal Basic Income is even necessary because we continue to have fallen-prices and increasing set of living.

It’s one of those things where it’s hard sometimes to distinguish, unless you’re a professional marketer like yourself, what’s really being said. It makes total sense to me and from Donald Trump’s standpoint. A lot of his tactics whether it was the debate tactics or his tweets or his punch lines, the amazing nature in which he marketed himself and won. I look at AOC and some of the same things. I would say that you have some insight than most don’t because you can read between the lines and I can see that with Andrew Yang. I don’t think he’s as conspicuous. He’s using somebody where there is a stronghold behind his theory because of Silicon elites. They have all of this concern with artificial intelligence, Moore’s Law and how this is all happening and it’s getting out of control. We’re going to have to provide for people’s well-being. You’re basically saying he doesn’t necessarily believe in it. It’s a narrative for him to run on.

If you look at how our brains are wired, we are influenced by momentum and direction more than anything else. The projection of where things are going in the future. You and I and everyone reading know that the trend of the world on a macro level is impressive. The things we’re about to invent and create are that much more impressive. In order to get attention, Andrew has to stand there and say, “There’s this thing going on that is going to replace all of the jobs.” He has to set the trend for how things are going. He talks about suicide rates going up. He doesn’t mention that they are higher in the fluent than they are among those at the bottom. He talks about the correlation between suicide rates and economic hardship. Economic hardship is at an all-time low. He is going to talk about the paint a picture of a trend that is happening because you are likely to pay attention if the future is a coming trend that is dangerous. He has a terrible solution of giving out free money to people, which is why he’s capturing attention. He’s doing a wonderful job at it, but he is doing it intentionally misleading.

The society, in general, has been highly influenced by movies and TV and what we’ve been told to future is. We’re always looking to the future. I’ve never made the connection that there are these short-term spikes and interest and intrigue on purpose to gain attention and popularity based on how we’ve been programmed in the sense of society.

No one grows when times are good; you grow from pain. Click To Tweet

It’s the first time that a message can be delivered at scale like in a click of a button. It’s because of that, we are incentivized to do whatever gets attention on a mass scale, especially when you’re doing something like running for President. This is new in our evolution for that to even be possible. That’s why it’s a battle with the truth and a battle with reality.

Let’s do this because this has been an awesome conversation. Thank you for sharing your insight. Hopefully, this was valuable to the audience. Why don’t you talk about maybe some something that’s more a little more positive? You obviously are getting negative feedback on ideas of capitalism, which is understandable, but what do you see as the positive things? How are you seeing people open up to the ideas of freedom, entrepreneurship and the opportunities that exist and are open to while we live in such an amazing time? Talk about your pulse there and if you see that growing in popularity to that perspective.

If we remove the labels, if we remove the way we define it, freedom and capitalism are more popular than ever. If you look at your average college graduate who is faced with the decision of, “Do I get a job or do I start my own thing?” Look at young people where the most popular desired job is to be a YouTuber. I look at some of my peers who were saying, “Do you know what I want to do for a living is playing video games on Twitch.” These were absurd ideas, but because we have many new opportunities, the opportunities for entrepreneurship are greater than they had ever been. Entrepreneurship requires personal responsibility. You become libertarian quick when you’re an entrepreneur because you realize you want to keep what you earn and you only get to earn what is made on your own merit.

Based on that, I’m bullish and optimistic about the trend of young people, yes, a loud core is following AOC. All of their peers are making $1,000 a month from YouTube and they don’t need Andrew Yang to dole out cash to them. “Do any of them want to give up those opportunities?” “No.” It’s why I don’t fear when Elizabeth Warren says she wants to break up Google. It’s not going to happen. They’re creating too many opportunities for people. I’m incredibly optimistic. I see the political theater going on is entertaining but not a threat at all. The trend of capitalism, the trend of freedom is way too strong. I can see that trend accelerate if we look at a macro view, if we look at 100, 50 years ago. Technology is only going to accelerate that because only half the world has internet access. There is still an entire half of the world just coming online and having access to information and having access to opportunities. The global marketplace is about to double.

One of SpaceX’s big projects is the satellite internet and bringing that to Africa, India and parts where they don’t have the infrastructure.

When that happens, you’re going to see a boom that we have never seen before. That requires markets, freedom and capital. We are still on the up and up and that is only going to continue.

TWS 17 | Applying Capitalism

Applying Capitalism: Capitalism is the only system in which bad ideas fail.


That’s where the optimism part and part of me is excited about the future, my future, my kids’ future. At the same time, I look at things that have happened that have put the world in a tough spot. Whether it’s the unfunded obligations we have with the amount of debt that’s out there with Social Security and pensions having major issues. I also look at where you have a big percentage of the Nasdaq who is on the brink of junk status, looking at how capital is being raised to fund companies that aren’t necessarily making a profit. The only way they can be payroll is to continue to get rounds of funding. How do you reconcile your optimism with some of the real things we’re facing?

It’s for those reasons that sometimes I do look at certain companies. I do think we are right for that to adjust, but I think we can look squarely in the face of government policy specifically interest rates as dictated by the Federal Reserve. I know they’re independent, but they’re the fourth branch of government. They’re manipulating interest rates. We all agree that has been a problem and it’s the reason why we have the asset prices that we have. Those things have to adjust. I am bullish on the fact that when we get punched in the mouth and if we have an economic collapse, all of those opportunities get funded into the new things that have already been opened up.

The number one job among children under twelve, they want to be YouTubers. I’m not suggesting that all the coders are going to become YouTube stars. That would be a boring channel. The reality is we’re on the cusp of new waves of opportunities starting to hit mass. When we have a reset or if we have a transition, it’s simply going to be one era to the next era. It’s what happens after every meltdown is you open up industries that didn’t exist before. Contrary to what Andrew Yang would like you to believe, that will happen.

I have a theory that the greater the hardship, the more you expand the possibility on the other side of the spectrum. That’s in personal life and that’s in business too. The wounds hurt in the short-term, but the process in which you heal builds a stronger muscle to do more and be more. We have some pain. There’s a lot of pain, but the lessons that are going to be learned from society are going to be incredible. It may not feel like that when you’re the one that’s not getting your pension check, your social security check or the cost of things have gone up or however, the economy responds to it. At the same time, you look at what good is going to come from it because people are hardwired to solve problems and to help others overcome challenges. They didn’t necessarily have the word Capitalism back then. People observe the marketplace and they intuitively figure out, “I’m going to go do this because that’ll benefit that, but it’ll also benefit me.” It’s weird how we operate, but it’s going to be as you put it at scale.

No one grows when times are good, you grow from pain. It’s why the bailouts were damaging. Not because of the misallocation of resources, not because of taxpayer cost. It was dangerous because we deprived ourselves of the beauty of pain. Pain makes us grow. It makes us better and it makes us solve bigger problems and as a result, we’ve gotten soft. We are afraid of getting punched that we don’t even enter the ring. We don’t even have a chance of victory anymore. By the time we get punched in the mouth, you’re going to have a lot of scared people running around who will have to learn how life works, which is exactly what should happen. I get the benefit of working with a lot of entrepreneurs and I did a little bit of a podcast interview tour where I interviewed in person Gary Vaynerchuk, Brian Lee who has $3 billion companies at 47 and Bedros Keuilian the Founder of Fit Body Boot Camp.

All three of them are the children of immigrants. I saw this as a trend come up. I asked them about it. The universal feedback among those three was, “I came here with nothing. I had to learn how to create and solve problems and work hard. People who were born here, people have had it good since they were born, they don’t have that hustle. They don’t have that ability. If I go to Ukraine and speak to entrepreneurs who are first generation capitalists, they’re hungry. Any sniff of freedom they cherish, hung onto, cling to and fight for. Any advancement they have from where they grew up, where their parents were oppressed by the government, where they had to escape tyranny, they are ready for opportunities. Here we want to go back to government control. We accomplished what everybody else wants and we’re getting soft. We could use a good punch in the mouth and it will be welcome refreshment when it happens.”

It’s long overdue, but everything you’re saying I would echo that. I see it in my kids. My wife grew up in the hood of Mexico. Her brothers have moved here and sometimes when there’s a safety net, it’s amazing what people will do not to learn the lesson. That’s the other part of human nature, even though we’re compelled to create value and to solve problems, we’re also compelled to be lazy sometimes or find shortcuts. It’s one of those other attributes of humankind that you need been to be leery up because kids these days are soft at the same time they’re meant to understand how efficiency plays into solutions. When those times get difficult, I have a good feeling they’ll have the wherewithal to learn technology, understand the technology and how that applies to whatever the challenge is at hand.

They will have to. There’s no choice in the matter of capitalism. One final piece on this is I’ve made the argument that the way we can convert people who disagree with us, who ask about converting people to our side of the argument is if you remind them that capitalism is the only system in which bad ideas fail. When things collapse, a lot of bad ideas will go with it. A lot of companies that raised money and can only make payrolls by raising another round, they will fail because they didn’t have value in the marketplace. You can’t say capitalism is the only system in which good ideas succeed. Theoretically, you could have a government create a great solution. The chance of that happening is low, but it’s possible. Capitalism is the only system where bad ideas go away and we will see that in the next crash unless the government gets involved, which is antithetical to capitalism.

This has become a calling for you. At least that’s what it sounds like. I know it’s a big responsibility, but thanks for all you’re doing to advocate these ideas. How can people learn more about you and follow you? I know you’re active on social media. What are the best ways?

My handle is @RyanDanielMoran on Instagram. My podcast is Capitalism.com. There’s a generation of young people out there who need an outlet for entrepreneurship and this the only way we’re going to convert them to our side of the aisle. If Robert Kiyosaki had a rich son, it might be me taking the torch to this generation that is polarized on capitalism versus socialism.

Ryan Daniel Moran, it’s been a pleasure. Thank you much for taking the time. You are putting up some amazing content. What I also love about you is you’re bold, you speak your mind and you’re a seeker of truth. It’s inspiring. Thank you.

I appreciate it. Thanks for having me.

Important Links:

About Ryan Moran

TWS 17 | Applying CapitalismRyan Daniel Moran is a serial entrepreneur, author, speaker, and investor. He is driven by the belief that entrepreneurs solve problems, and that the world needs more empowered entrepreneurs.

As the founder of Capitalism.com, his mission is to champion and serve entrepreneurs, because entrepreneurs drive change, create jobs, influence the economy, and uplift their families and communities to create a better world.

Through his training and podcast at Capitalism.com, Ryan is responsible for creating more than 100 millionaires, many in 12 months or less! He is passionate about sharing the knowledge he has gained from founding, running, and investing in a number of e-commerce, and physical products businesses.


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Understanding Social Capitalism with Josh Lannon

TWS 15 | Social Capitalism


Doing good and making money does not have to be mutually exclusive. The world economy needs entrepreneurs to take a stand, create jobs, and solve problems. One such entrepreneur is Josh Lannon, a social entrepreneur committed to building businesses that focus on the development of people and creating positive change. Josh, along with his wife, Lisa, is a Rich Dad Advisors on Social Entrepreneurism and Behavioral Change. They are the Founders of Journey Healing Centers, which was later on acquired by Elements Behavior Health in late 2013. Their current venture is called Warriors Heart, a private drug and alcohol treatment center that focuses on serving the men and women in uniform – both active and veterans – and other warriors. In this interview, Josh defines social capitalism, how he understands it, and why it’s important in our day and age where the amount of social problems continues to grow.

Listen to the podcast here:

Understanding Social Capitalism with Josh Lannon

The individual that we have on, Josh Lannon is a dear friend of mine and we’ve had some incredible conversations over the years. With what he’s doing now as a business and as a social capitalist is changing so many lives. Josh is the co-author of The Social Capitalist book which is part of the Rich Dad Advisor’s series. He is the President and Founder at Warriors Heart which is in Bandera, Texas, a healing center for first responders and veterans. Josh is one of the most committed and hardworking guys I know. He’s a social entrepreneur committed to building businesses that focus on the development of people and creating positive change. Josh, thanks for taking the time to talk about capitalism from your vantage point.

Thanks, Patrick.

We had an interview a few years ago when your book came out. Instead of getting into the breadth of your story which goes deep, take a minute to define what social capitalism is as far as how you understand it. Why is that important especially in our day and age where the amount of social problems continues to grow?

I’ll frame up a little bit of personal story because it connects in the why. Any social entrepreneur and social capitalist is driven by a why, a mission. Many years ago, I quit drinking. I got sober, I went through a program. I quit drinking. I made a declaration to God, to the universe. I said, “Nothing’s ever going to control me like that ever again.” I’m not going to let this alcohol control me again. I’m going to jump into my recovery, my sobriety and reclaim the power back in my life. There’s a saying, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” Robert Kiyosaki came into my life many years ago. The message I got was, “You’re addicted to money.” That hit me at my core. Here I am freshly in sobriety, I make this declaration and then Robert’s teaching me and I’m learning that I’m dependent upon money. When I think about it, the average person, you take away their paycheck for two weeks, there’s a major detox that’s going to happen. There’s fear, there’s all that stuff that’s going to happen where it’s like, “How am I going to pay my bills? How am I going to take care of my family?”

It’s like you take a drug away from someone. He’d go into the relapse or you go into detox. It was like, “I’m going to learn how to master money. I’m going to study money. I want to become a student of money. I want money to serve me and not for me to serve money.” With that, since I’m not going to allow money to control me, what’s my drive if it’s not money? Money’s never been enough. You make good money then you get bigger toys and it’s this drug that’s always going and going. It is a mission. What’s your purpose in life? What’s your mission in life? What’s your why? To me, that’s what social capitalism is. Yes, money is important because it keeps the whole thing afloat and going but it’s not the main purpose. The main purpose is your passion. It’s your why. It happens to be serving those fellow alcoholics, addicts that are struggling with chemical dependency. I knew that on a personal and intimate level. My business, my passion became helping other guys get sober and we built a multimillion-dollar business out of it.

It’s amazing because what you’re saying is rarely dissected. In the end, what is money? Money is a tool of exchange, but it’s the medium for different aspects of value. If you look at what we exchange for our electricity, food, house or rent, the value isn’t in the money. The value is in what its exchanged for. I would also say the creation of money also comes from you being valuable in some aspect. What I’ve discovered over the years is when you align a higher purpose to the value you’re providing, it multiplies.

TWS 15 | Social Capitalism


I’m a capitalist. I want to create value. I want to create products and services that improve people’s lives. I’m also a socialist that I want to take care of people when they’re down and they’re hurting to be there as, “I got your back. I got you covered.” It’s not one’s right, one’s wrong. It’s how can we blend the two together where our businesses have a higher calling than money. Our businesses add value to our lives, to our communities, to our nation and to the world. That is a higher calling than money.

What I found this season is that everybody defines capitalism differently. There are many ways to define it. Some are accurate, some are rhetoric and opinion but in the end that’s what people believe that’s their truth. I looked at the consensus. What I’ve looked at is the definition of capitalism dating back to when the actual term was created. There is accountability that there’s more produced with the resources expended. If you look at that especially when it comes to a social challenge whether its poverty or what you’ve specialized in for years which is substance addiction typically is to throw money at the problem essentially, not necessarily have care for profit or accountability. How I describe profit is that you have more output than you have input. Talk to that as far as how you’ve come to understand capitalism and its role in the accountability over expending certain resources for a given issue.

It’s interesting because there’s such a polarity now of thoughts and confusion of definition of what is socialism? What is capitalism? You see it as this underlying anger out there. The truth of the matter is I want to increase or improve the value of people’s lives. I do that using business as a source for good. It’s a power to do that. I’m not going to use capitalism to create cigarettes. I don’t believe in it. It harms the body. People get addicted to it. On the other hand, it’s like someone else says, “You have freedom of choice. You can smoke if you want. I don’t care.” I’m not going to have my energy, my focus, my resources invest into something I don’t believe in. That’s what I love about entrepreneurs and capitalism because we have freedom of choice to create something we want to that adds value to people’s lives.

Typically, the value you bring to the marketplace was Journey Healing Centers previously, now it’s Warriors Heart. These are challenges that seem to be increasing where individuals are relying on substances and essentially becoming addicted to them which ultimately negatively impact their lives. This challenge is approached with a government as the body which takes on the challenge. You’re approaching it from a different standpoint. Talk about why you’ve decided to go that route and then what you see as the difference between your approach and what would be essentially a government approach.

With Journey, we sold that business several years ago and we refocused. Warriors Heart is our main operation now. Warriors Heart is on a 543-acre ranch outside San Antonio, Texas. We serve active military veterans and first responders. What we found is that where do our military go if they need help? On the private sector, they go to a facility that has a mixed population. They’re mixed with civilian, if you will. Civilians, they’re curious on, “What was it like over there? How many people did you kill?” They have amateur questions and guys don’t want to hear that. They don’t want to go through that. There’s definitely a difference between a civilian and a military guy. It’s the same thing with our police officers who work. The VA is another option for our military which is a major institution. They’re not prepared and have been able to handle this flow of guys we have coming back and they’re overwhelmed. There’s no anything good on that side for the military.

On the police and law enforcement, it’s the same thing. What are you going to do, mix them in a population with guys that they may have arrested? They get it as like, “We’re both struggling but we’re on opposite sides of the fence.” The solution was why not a private organization like Warriors Heart step forward and say, “We’re only going to serve this warrior class population, a niche market exclusively.” What we’ve done is we’ve gone through all of our licensing accreditations and TRICARE approved so we can take government insurance. We’ve got contracts with the VA and they are paying for our guys, for our warriors to go through our program. The modality is we can move faster, leaner and use technology for the treatment for PTSD, treatment for chemical dependencies in this holistic model that is more effective than what’s happening in the big institutions.

TWS 15 | Social Capitalism


You look at the issue and you’re hitting on some things. I often think that throwing money at problems should be the last resort. I know some of the challenges you faced in being able to get the sign-off, whether it’s the VA or insurance for what you guys do. In the end, what’s driving you to get that because you understand potentially a better way to create some true healing and lasting healing in those that experienced trauma in a unique way compared to most people is the level of accountability because they’re giving you to sign off on insurance, giving to sign off on funding from the VA. If you don’t create a high-level experience with good success, then that’s essentially going to get cut. Whereas, I would say a lot of government programs don’t operate exactly like that. Maybe talk to that. What have you had to do generally speaking to make this business work?

It goes back to the why because that’s the core that drives everything else. I’m in recovery, I got sober 2001. My wife was a police officer in Vegas. Our partner in Warriors Heart was many years in the military, retired out a tier one operator. He was in Delta. We get it on a personal level. The population we’re serving and the struggles they have. We built it from the end user’s point of view and walked through the front doors of a program. I get it how scared to death one is. I don’t want to eat crappy food and talk to crappy counselors that they’re there because they don’t want to be there but they’re just collecting a paycheck. We built a team of professionals that get it on a human level and they’re mission-driven. One of the major deciding factors in why we’re doing things better is because we’ve lived it.

You guys were featured on The Today Show. It was an inspiring testimonial for the change that can occur. It’s a change of heart for people that experience things that most of us can’t even begin to empathize with. Talk to us about the difference you’re seeing in the lives of those who have put their life on the line for the protection of the country or for a community if it’s a local first responder.

Finding your purpose, your passion, or your tribe that's doing what you want to do and joining that team will be the fuel to keep you going. Click To Tweet

The Today Show was a great exposure on who we are and what we’re doing. We partner with incredible companies like Grunt Style and Black Rifle Coffee. We’ve been featured in a number of television shows. The word is getting out. Teddy goes on The Today Show. He’s a great human being. It got to him, war and trauma. What he used was alcohol to medicate. He’s sober now and he’s given back and he wants to talk to people. He’s like, “Brother, my battle hasn’t stopped. It’s refocused now because I want to help other guys get sober.” That’s the fight. I get it. Even now they gave a hug to a young ranger battalion guy that was in our program. He’s on active duty. He’s extremely grateful. He’s like, “Thank you for what you guys are doing and how you’ve built this program. There’s nothing like this out there anywhere.” The fuel that feeds the spirit is talking to the guys on the frontline, going through the program and seeing it in their eyes. It’s like, “It’s working. Keep moving forward.”

It’s not just your why and what you’re driven to do. Talk about how that mission and why it impacts your company.

It should impact any social entrepreneur or anyone that says, “I want to do more in this world than make a bunch of money.” It’s to find your purpose, find your passion or find your tribe that is doing what you want to do and join that team. That will be the fuel to keep you going. That’s extremely important.

TWS 15 | Social Capitalism


These are experiences that most don’t have and are challenging. If it’s a normal 9 to 5 person that’s hired and shows up for a paycheck, they handle things differently than a culture that is driven by purpose. I know there’s a form of social capitalism which is called conscious capitalism which was popularized by John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods. Talk about how the culture approaches these difficult challenges and how that might be different than how a person shows up to a typical 9 to 5 job?

It goes back to mission, purpose and passion. You see it with the teachers at school. If they’re protected by a union that they can’t get fired on, they’re not performing and they’re miserable. They’re horrible to be around. Every business, unfortunately, has those that probably should move on but they’re stuck there because of the paycheck. They’re scared to death to leave but they’re miserable. It’s like “Why are you here?” They say, “I need to get paid.” You’re making everyone else’s life miserable too. Why should we live like that? Life’s too short for that. Let’s move on. It’s not always easy but it’s worth it.

I interviewed a guy and he wrote the book of Free to Learn. He’s a professor at Boston College. He’s a former professor at Boston College. He’s retired now but he talked about the school system in general and learning in general. He advocates in his book a program called the Sudbury school. It’s a theory or philosophy about how they run now. Teachers are essentially on a one-year contract and are voted democratically by students and parents to renew their contract. It creates a dynamic of accountability that typically does not exist in the traditional school system. You look at those who would sign up for that type of position. If it’s a tenured professor, there’s no way they would ever do that. Most of them wouldn’t. We look at the teachers that are there, they understand what that means but still decide to face the challenge anyway. Their drive is going to be different and the stigma out there has been to continue to throw money at school hoping that things get better. In the end, that goes right back to the money issue as opposed to the mission and the driven facilitation of education or any other endeavor.

Structured governance function, so the structure is fundamentally flawed. It doesn’t matter how much you add to it, add money, add fuel. The structure can only handle what it can handle. You’d have to redesign the system.

There was a successful Ray Dalio who runs Bridgewater Associates. It’s the biggest hedge fund that’s out there. I heard him speak and he was talking on this specific topic. It resonated with me because he lives in Connecticut and his wife does a lot of volunteer work in Hartford. I grew up right outside of Hartford, Connecticut. He talked about the growing danger that exists on the streets of Hartford. He was talking through what he has been pushing, which is taking successful business people, entrepreneurs and figuring out solutions to improve situations like that because it was specifically referencing kids weren’t able to get to school because of how dangerous it was to walk there or take the bus system.

The statistics showed that if a child could get to 10th grade, then they would have this X% of success once when they were an adult. How they do that came down to figuring out the resources that are being allocated and having metrics-driven accountability which ultimately is like profit, where’d you have a resource and is to produce a better result. I look at how challenges are part of human nature. We’re always going to have challenges as a society but the way in which it’s approached from a capitalistic standpoint isn’t profited which people are mostly confused with. The rage that people have with capitalism comes down to businessmen being greedy and wanting more money and profit.

TWS 15 | Social Capitalism


As I’ve looked at it and discovered what the underlying theory has been since the beginning, it’s essential to take certain resources and to improve whatever situation which is enhancing efficiency or output. It’s to take stewardship, be a good steward over the resources available and make a difference with those at a higher level. When I first started to learn this, I thought about you and Lisa. What you guys have been advocating for so long which is the idea that there are lots of social issues out there. Being approached from a purely socialistic standpoint is going to have a waste of resources with little accountability and not much output. As opposed to a capitalistic perspective where you’re able to make those resources more efficient and increase output and have higher levels of accountability.

You need to be an exchange. Create a system that you’re an exchange because if it’s one side, I’d say socialism, you give and the other person’s taking. It creates a sense of entitlement. That’s not what it’s about at all. It’s not about giving away everything for free. It’s being an exchange. That’s what keeps a healthy country, community going. We’re an exchange, it’s like my kids, they got to do chores. Am I paying them for it? No, that’s part of living in our house and part of them getting food, fuel, electricity and all that stuff. That’s part of being a member of our family here. I’m not going to pay you to take out the trash.

I have a laissez-faire way with my kids where we don’t have tasks they’re responsible for. I try to use principles. I talk about our home. Our home is where we come home and we rest, we have great memories and it’s where we feel safe and where we can re-energize. The way in which we treat it has to reflect what we believe its purpose of being. It’s not like they understand what that principle is but I try to govern through that principle and value of respecting your home, acknowledging its role in your life and treating it with respect as opposed to the task of picking this up and picking that up. I look at following orders and what happens when people are operating through being told what to do as opposed to being the operation having to do with following a set of principles and values. As we conclude our interview, how have you found your mission, your principles, your values, and your code, which I know is often used in the Rich Dad world? How is your code allowed that heightened level of accountability for you guys, but also maybe your family and your team?

Our past is a gift. It can help guide our future if we take it, study it, and look for the purpose behind it. Click To Tweet

I’ll frame that around the family. It’s interesting in business we write business plans. We have regular meetings from daily huddles to weekly meetings, quarterly meetings or annual meetings. We have values, we have a mission, we have vision, purpose and all that stuff we understand and that’s how we were taught and trained to build a business. Why not take those principles into family life? What’s the mission statement for our family? What are our family values that should guide our decisions? Do we have family meetings every week? Do we have annual retreats that we get together and we spend time with our family? What’s the vision? What are our goals? What are the objectives? How are you doing with your goals? What bottlenecks are getting in the way? How’d you do in a track meet this week? How was the football practice? What are your goals?

We know how to do this. Why not incorporate it into the family? Why not incorporate it into a social enterprise that we are passionate about and we want to improve the quality of or solve this social problem. We have the fundamentals. It’s principally driven. They can be applied in all aspects. I love what you said about with your family and using values and principles because it’s true. It rings to me and that’s how we run our family. Is it perfect? No. We do our best but it helps guide the decisions and creates a rhythm within our family because if you look at any culture that survived a long period of time. There are rituals to it. Rituals are what helps keep the bonds together. That’s what we do. We create rituals in our family and in our businesses.

People in general, in whatever unit, whatever capacity, we’re volatile, we’re emotional, we react to certain things. We perceive certain things in a certain way. Principles and mission are like the compass. It’s your true north. Principals don’t change values. It can’t be something and something else. This is a value and it can’t necessarily be argued. It sets this compass as to how you behave and if you’re not getting certain results, it could be because of the environment. It could be because of other people but typically you go to, “Am I aligned with principles? Am I aligned with my values?” If not, then that’s the starting place as opposed to blaming other circumstances.

TWS 15 | Social Capitalism


I look at kids and that’s the thing. With business, I would also say with family, understanding this helps to solidify a paradigm and perspective of those that are within our stewardship to look at the world. It’s that pay it forward thing or the compound effect where you make a difference. Somebody understands what mission-driven means or they understand what the principle of creating value is. We versus me, that right there is not for a singular purpose, but the application is most endeavors that we partake in as humans.

That’s part of the problem. In Robert’s book, FAKE, he talks about that. We’re taught by fake teachers. In other words, we’re taught by people that are not doing it themselves. As a financial planner, most of them are broke. They’re just salespeople or a personal trainer that’s overweight or a marriage counselor that’s been divorced three times. It’s like, “Why not hone integrity with what you teach? I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, I’m saying if you’re going to teach people, then be in integrity with those values all the way through. How I am at work is how I am at home. I don’t shift. It’s me. I want to be in integrity. I have to act one way in this environment. When I’m around my guy friends, I act another way. It’s like, “No. I love my wife, so I’m going to be consistent with that value no matter where I’m at or whatever it is.”

It’s humanity. It’s life. We have different groups and experiences but the principles apply to every aspect of it. It’s one of those things which has helped me in the different roles and hats that I wear where if you’re out of integrity in one area, it’s going to affect all areas. That’s where you’ll be clear about what your principles are and what your purpose is. It becomes that true north and it allows you to realign because we all get off-course and we’re all going to get off-course, but realigning there has to be some sort of standardization there to come back to equilibrium. Josh, this has been awesome. What are other ways in which people can follow you or learn more about you and about social capitalism?

The main thing is WarriorsHeart.com and then we’re also on Facebook. That’s most of my activity and focus. The last thing I would like to say though with that and social entrepreneurism purpose and mission is to look back in your past. For all of us who go, “What should I be doing? What’s my mission?” Look back in the past and a lot of times the answers are found in the past. All that crap I went through as a kid and drinking, I didn’t want to tell people that I’m an alcoholic and in recovery and all that stuff, that’s the past and say maybe I went through that for a reason. It made me stronger and it gave me the right to teach it moving forward. That could be where you find your answers.

I love the quote, “Life happens for you, not to you.” You look at the experience as they’re unique to you in the lessons that you’ve learned and what you’ve become because of it. That has shaped you into who you are, embracing that and appreciating that is empowering as opposed to being ashamed or embarrassed by it.

Our past is a gift and it can help guide our future if we take it, study it and look for the purpose behind it.

Josh, thanks so much for being on. I hope our readers have gotten a lot out of the interview. WarriorsHeart.com is a way to follow what Josh and his wife, Lisa and their team are up to and the difference they’re making in our warriors now. Follow them on social media. Josh, any final words?

Thank you. Patrick, we’ve known each other for years. I love you like a brother and I’ve been honored to be part of this journey with you. Your family is incredible and I appreciate that you’re in integrity with what you teach.

Josh, I echo everything you said right back to you and times a few multiples. We’ll have you on soon again.

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About Josh Lannon

TWS 15 | Social CapitalismThe world economy is crying out for entrepreneurs to take a stand, create jobs, and solve problems. Doing good and making money does not have to be mutually exclusive. With an inspiring story, Josh and Lisa Lannon, both of whom are Rich Dad Advisors on Social Entrepreneurism and Behavioral Change, turned a problem into a solution, built a passion driven organization, and have envisioned the coming megatrend of social entrepreneurialism. A global trend of individuals demanding more from their life’s work, the Lannon’s advise on building organizations and investing with purpose, focusing on a triple bottom-line: People, Planet and Profit.

They are the Founders of Journey Healing Centers, an accredited drug and alcohol treatment center with 6 locations in multiple states and successfully treating thousands. In late 2013, JHC was acquired by Elements Behavior Health, a leading nationwide provider. The Lannon’s current venture is called Warrior’s Heart. A private drug and alcohol treatment center that focuses on serving the men and women who are Veterans, Military, Law Enforcement, First Responders and other Warriors. Both, Josh and Lisa Lannon, are known for their personal story how they overcame life’s obstacles, applied the Rich Dad Principles and moved onto the fast track.


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