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  1. 1. ARI: Yes, give me the clap. Sorry, that sounds – give me the clap. (laughs) SAM: It’s awesome. “Give me the clap.” ARI: Give me – do it again. SAM: Here’s the clap. ARI: Welcome to the Less Doing podcast. Today I’m having a different kind of interview. I’m having a conversation with Sam Cook, who is the founder of Prism Communications. So Sam, thanks for taking the time to talk to me. SAM: Hey Ari, great to be here. ARI: The reason this is a special conversation is that Sam originally came to me for Less Doing help and became a client, and within I think a week or so, I became a client of his. We have been working on some pretty exciting projects together, which we’re going to talk about here. But before we even get to that, I kind of want to go over a little bit of your story, Sam. It’s very interesting to me how you came from basically a pretty extensive military background. SAM: Yes. ARI: I want to talk about that, but it is always interesting to me dealing with somebody or interacting with someone who interacted in such a rigid, controlled environment, for the most part, and how that translates into life afterwards and systems and processes and order. Anyway, tell us how you got to Prism Communications and West Point and the whole deal. SAM: I came to digital publishing, which is what I’m doing now, is digital publishing – I came there from a very interesting route. I was in the military as a cavalry officer and my degree was in history, so I have absolutely no reason from an education standpoint to be in digital media. I’m not a programmer, I’m not a graphic designer. But I got into digital media because when I was in the Army, as far back was 2005 when I was in Iraq, I produced a film about our regiment in the Battle of Tal Afar, which was one of the most famous campaigns in Iraq. I was just always fascinated with filmmaking and storytelling and kind of marketing, I guess you’d call it, of my regiment and what we did. When I looked at it, I thought “This is just history, storytelling in the present.” I knew in 2008 when I got back from my second tour in Iraq as a troop commander that that was probably the high watermark in my military career. I was in charge of almost 200 soldiers in combat on an outpost, 40 kilometers away from the nearest U.S. base, living in the Iraqi town that we were securing and that whole surrounding area, hundreds of square kilometers. Actually, I think it was thousands. It was a large area. And I realized when I got back from Iraq that that was about as good as it was going to get in my military career. I had no desire to be a general officer. The next 10 years of jobs looking at me, staring me in the face, were staff work. What does staff work entail? It actually entails processes and systems, and I knew
  2. 2. from my time as an Army officer that I was never that successful when I was doing the systems and processes. I was very, very successful as an entrepreneurial leader, but I was only successful as a troop commander because I had a first sergeant named Michael Livingstone and an executive officer named Matt McKey, who basically took care of all my logistics and money and fuel and all that and freed me up to not have to do it. So I hated that stuff. I hated what you do from automation and systems because I just thought it was – I don’t know, I think a lot of entrepreneurs think that stuff is beneath them. But I knew I wanted to get out of the Army and start my own business, so while I was still in the Army, I started a digital marketing company which then I turned into a digital publishing company. And I’ll tell you, a funny thing happened: I couldn’t afford to hire the caliber of people that I had in the Army. Necessity, they say, is the mother of all invention, right? So in order to survive as a business owner, I had to automate all of my systems and processes when it comes to online marketing. So that’s really how I got into a position of expertise where I could come to people like you and some of the other clients or authors, now, that I work with and show them how I can help make their lives a lot easier. ARI: It’s funny, because I try to really emphasize with people the optimize, automate, outsource methodology that I’ve instilled. And I say that you can outsource everything you want; you can just tell someone else to do it, but that doesn’t make it more efficient, and it certainly doesn’t help you identify weaknesses or problems in the process because you’re really just offloading that. It’s basically the same as the difference between deferring the procrastinating, in that I mean procrastinating is basically where you’re afraid to do it, essentially, or you just don’t want to do it, so you push it off, but that’s not making it better. It is interesting to see someone go through that process. It’s really nice, of course, when you have this whole system at your disposal and you really don’t have to worry about a lot of that stuff. But if you had to go ahead and set it up yourself, that would be the problem. What also is so cool when you came to me is that you have these processes in place that are pretty extensive, honestly, and I feel like this is something that happens a lot with people now in business, where they do have complex processes – and not that you did this, but they make them more complex because they’re trying to integrate all these different systems, and then they lose sight of really what they’re actually doing. So tell everybody what you actually do, because it was hard for me to even understand that before we started to streamline some of this stuff. SAM: Yeah, basically I guess what I do for authors – because really my main client base is authors, people who are thought leaders. I made a decision about a year or two ago that although I know how to do digital marketing for a lot of people, my ideal is to do – really find my niche. What I realized was I’m happiest when I’m working with people that have great ideas, that have a positive impact. I’m incentivized on the upside to help them get them out there. And when you’re a publisher, you basically come to an author and you offer to publish their work in exchange for a percentage of their sales. That’s what all publishing houses through history have done.
  3. 3. But I looked at the publishing industry; what I realized was authors, right now, all they do is they put out a book. When an author puts out a book, there’s a hunger when you read a good book to say, “Man, I would just love to sit down with this guy and pick his brain.” I’m thinking of like Jim Collins from Good to Great or one of these big business authors. I actually have met Jim Collins, and Mark Allen, who’s doing his book launch, I’m helping with his book launch coming up, the 6-time Ironman World Champion – Jim Collins wrote the forward to his book. So I’m working with Mark and people like you, and I’m saying to them, “Once you’ve done this book, what else can you do?” Because people want more from you. They want to see you talk about it in more detail. As awesome as your book is and as efficient as it is, some people actually would love to watch a lot more of that stuff. It’s kind of counter less doing, sitting and watching 10 hours of videos on less doing. But in order to learn your process, people really want to dive deep into it. You don’t just learn it in a day. It took you years to develop it. So what I developed is a digital publishing company that allows an author who has a book to create the next level of engagement, which would be video courses. But even more than video courses – like you have a bunch of videos; you want to create a video area where people can watch those videos, but then also have interaction with you on some kind of digital medium. I’ve noticed that that’s a really successful business model that my mentor taught me, and he does that for himself. And then beyond the videos, there’s other levels of engagement that are much higher that people are looking for and are willing to pay for. ARI: Right, of course. Obviously, it’s a changing media landscape, and something that someone told me that does similar stuff that was really interesting is he was saying how you can buy a course online for $20 bucks or you can get an eBook for $10 bucks or you can buy the book for $15, you can read all this stuff for cheap or free, in a lot of case; he’s like “But some people just want to hear it from me.” So there is that sort of special interaction that comes from that. Plus, I can tell you from personal experience that it’s always been interesting for me working with one- on-one clients till recently, where identifying the problems that they were dealing with is what made me better at the craft, as it were. SAM: Yeah. And this is a classic – you just identified something that’s really interesting, is authors love to interact with their readers because it allows them to know that they’ve got something, that they’re changing lives. ARI: I mean, otherwise you’re just yelling into a vacuum. SAM: Yeah, you’re like standing at the Grand Canyon and yelling and hoping someone hears it. So authors really crave that kind of interaction. But the problem with interaction with clients or people who have read your book, especially as you get more famous – which you are going to undoubtedly do – is you can’t give every one person that attention. If everyone who read your book, who emailed you, once you become a New York Times bestseller and have millions of books out there – which you’re on your way to doing, because I’m helping you – and
  4. 4. really, because you have a great message. I mean, at the end of the day, if you don’t have a message that changes the world, then no help is going to get you there. But I look at authors like you, you really want to serve everyone well, and I’m like “How can I make your process more efficient so that you can serve more people better?” The funny story I noticed about you when I hired you for private coaching was how accessible you were and how available you were. It was awesome. But I also looked at that and thought, “There’s got to be a way, and I know the way, you can make this much more efficient and reach a lot more people.” And that’s why I helped you develop the new concept that we’re doing. But really, what I do on a business level in a nutshell is allow a thought leader to automate and systematize their messaging so that they can reach a lot more people. And not only reach them in an automated way, but in a personal, interactive and meaningful way, but automating all those systems and processes. ARI: Right. Of course. Again, for everybody, this is why it’s been really interesting with us working together, is it’s been a very symbiotic relationship, I would say. Because as you see my process and I see your process through the process of working with each other, it seems like it’s refined itself very quickly. SAM: Yeah. That’s the funny part. We were on a call the other night and we were laughing about how I’m like your Less Doing for business and you’re looking at my business and saying, “Sam, here’s how I can make you personally more efficient, because if you’re personally more efficient as an executive of a publishing company, you can help me better, Ari, and all your other clients.” I have a huge blind spot, which I’ve always had, when it comes to my own personal organization, which I think any entrepreneur can identify with. And you being the maestro of personal efficiency and productivity and stress relief, leading to a more fulfilled life, in your business, ironically, although you’re way better than 98% of the authors I’ve ever dealt with, there’s a different level that you could reach, which you need to get to, which you just didn’t have the systems and training that I’ve gone through to get. ARI: What I would hope that some people take from this – because I know that there’s a lot of people listening to this podcast who have this great knowledge to offer for whatever they do, and that’s one of the things that I talk about in my seminars, about how people can turn knowledge into an income source and stop trading hours for dollars kind of thing. When I started this and started Less Doing, I just wanted to get the message out there. I had no idea where this was going to go as a business, and in some ways, I’m still sort of riding it to see where it’s going, and now to have this opportunity for us to work together has been really helpful to refine it. But there’s so many people like that, who have a great message – I mean, I’d like to think mine is – but they have wonderful messages to offer, and really a gift to give, but they really don’t know what the format is. So why don’t we talk about the Mastermind now? SAM: Yeah, let’s talk about – Ari, with your permission, I’ll give people a little bit of a rundown behind the Less Doing business as I looked at it, because I think if someone is a thought leader or thinking about
  5. 5. becoming a thought leader, this would give them some kind of framework which they could maybe work on achieving, or finding someone like me who could help them achieve it depending on where they are. ARI: Yeah, please. SAM: Okay. The thing I noticed about – first of all, I listened to your podcast with Dave Asprey. Just like any podcast I listen to, if I like the person, I usually go look them up online, download any of their free information, and then I get – or actually, I think I bought your eBook straightaway because I usually like to buy stuff right away to see the product. But when I went to your website, I bought your eBook right away, downloaded it, and then I also started to get a series of emails from you. And for someone to get a series of email from you right after they give you their email or buy the product is extremely rare. Most authors have a website; it’s very hard when you go to their website to find anywhere to give them your email, which a lot of people would gladly give their email if you would just make it obvious. Make it simple and Less Doing-ish. So I looked at that and I said, “Okay, this guy’s pretty switched on. He knows what he’s doing.” And then I think I got an email, or maybe I saw on your website that you had one-on-one coaching. I thought, “Well, I really would like to – forget reading the book. I just want coaching.” Because I’m one of those people, and I think we’re probably like the addictive ideal clients that thought leaders run across, is it’s like 1% or 2% of your client base spends 80% of the money or half the money or something. Whatever the 80/20 Principle is. It really magnifies itself on your client base, and I’m one of those kind of guys. When I start following something, I’m willing to spend money to learn it. So I signed up for your coaching, which I think was $500 a month for basically daily texting interaction. I thought to myself, “Man, this is really inexpensive. This is cheap. There’s got to be a catch. Either this guy’s a fraud or he’s just not going to provide the services he promised.” So we start texting, and every day you’re hunting me down to say “What did you do for your meal planning or for your productivity?” I thought, “Man, if he does this for every one of his individual coaching clients, his wife’s going to kill him.” Right? I’m thinking, “Okay, how does this fit in with the Less Doing lifestyle and all that for Ari?” Because I think you got so passionate about Less Doing and you wanted to help so many people, but I knew from experience, because I’ve done a lot of consulting and private coaching, that you’re going to reach a limit where if you take on any more clients, your wife will divorce you, right? Which is going to be really frustrating for you, because you love your wife, you love your kids, but you also want to get your message out there and help people beyond just them reading the book. I knew exactly what the answer was, because my mentor, who’s a digital publisher – and I’ve done this for other clients; I knew exactly what your answer was. The answer for you is different levels of engagement. You have a Facebook page, but really what people want when they really like an author is they want to go to the next level where they feel like they start to get to know that author. This podcast is that next level for people, and it’s free also, which is great. But beyond this podcast, there has to be something more. People want to be able to see how to implement. It’s one thing to have knowledge and understanding the theory and the background, but then the next level – sorry, it’s one thing to have information; that’s one level of learning. So there’s
  6. 6. facts, then there’s information, which is organizing facts. But then there’s knowledge, which is actually knowing what to do with that information. To achieve knowledge –and I used to teach at West Point, I taught history – you have to actually do. And in order to get people to actually do what you recommend in your book, they need that next level of engagement. So what I did for my other clients who were authors is they all had – one of them, Bobby McGee, he was a running coach, and I took Bobby right from the beginning, where he was making $8,000 a year to $220,000 in 6 months with a $20,000 ad spent. So really, $220,000 after advertising costs is what he made. And all we did for Bobby – and I say “all we did” because it was a tremendous amount of work – was I had Bobby take everything that he’d published in books and turned it into a video course. When we turned it into a video course, people who loved his books were able to get that next level of interaction, because when you have the audio and the visual interaction online, inside a membership area, with the downloadable worksheets below it and the ability to type in chat comments, you basically get – it’s like an online classroom. People, we found, were willing to pay $300 for this video course. Why? Because when they went in there, they knew that if they watched the video and they had a question, they could type in a comment and Bobby would talk to them. So they also knew that – I’m in a membership site where I pay $79 a month for interaction with an author that I follow; I know that when I go into that thing and watch one of his videos and post a question, within a day that author will personally answer me. It’s brilliant because you get that next level of, beyond the book, you feel like you’re sitting there talking to the person because they’re online talking to you on their screen, but then you get to ask them questions just like you would a teacher in class. You think about university, how much do we pay for one semester of learning? We pay thousands of dollars for that. And you might be sitting in that lecture hall and the guy will never even answer your question. It’ll be a TA. So you think about this online learning model that this running coach did, and I’m members to these other sites too, it’s actually very affordable and it’s very practical, and it’s what you pay much more for at a university. So that’s what we did with him. And then the next thing we did with him beyond that – some people like that, but some people are like me and they want that one-on-one coaching. But as I said before, if you do one-on-one coaching at the price you do it and also at the level that you do it, you’re going to reach a ceiling where you either reach that point of “Okay, more clients or divorce?” You’ve got that kind of tradeoff. What you have to do is next level, is I pay $1,500 a month to be in a Mastermind group with about 30 other people, and the way the Mastermind works is I wanted a mentor in my business that taught me how to do digital publishing, what I do, and when I found this guy, I immediately called him up, did an interview, and he basically – he doesn’t let anyone into his Mastermind. He basically interviews and makes sure that they’re the right fit, and then he lets you in, if you pass the criteria, to a high level Mastermind. He charges $1,500 a month. Every week we have three calls. He runs three different calls because we have 30 people in the group. You can show up on any one of the calls. You get to speak for 10 minutes – or actually, as long as you need. If you need 15, 20 minutes to solve your problem that week, you get to. But basically what he
  7. 7. does is you have access to all of his videos, so you can watch those, but then you can email him any time as part of the Mastermind inside the forum or the Facebook group. And then you get to get on the phone with him every week, and what getting on the phone does is he asks you a couple questions. He says, “What was a big win that you had last week? What was a success?” We celebrate it, like, “Hey, that’s great.” And mind you, 10 other people that you know very well, because you’re on the call with them every week, are there listening to you. So you get on the call and they say “Here’s a success. What do you need help with? What problems are you running into? What can I help you with?” And then the last thing he asks you is really critical. It is “What is the one thing you’re going to do next week to make your business better?” There’s actually a book that I read called The One Thing, and it talks about the myth of multi-tasking and how you have to do one thing at a time, right? And once you do it and you set it up right and you systematize it and you make a checklist, it’s forever a part of your business. What he’s done for a business coach, for me, is every week, I have one thing that I tell him I’m going to do, and because I’m paying $1,500 a month for him, I actually do it. Because you get what you pay for, and when you pay too little for something, in my opinion, and especially coaching, you don’t value the advice. When I’ve given free consulting to people – I give free advice sometimes to friends or whatever – they almost never follow it. Why? Because it’s free. It’s like, “Oh, that’s cool, that sounds good,” but if they would’ve paid me for it, I bet you they would’ve implemented it because they valued it based on the fact that they had to pay for it. ARI: I just want to say, the other thing about the group thing is that in the 60 or so private clients that I’ve worked with, there’s an enormous amount of overlap in the issues that people end up having, and then if there isn’t necessarily overlap in the issues, a lot of the solutions that I offer seem to help an array of problems. So sometimes hearing an issue that somebody else is having in a group might make you realize or help crystallize the issue that you are having and help you solve it faster. SAM: Yeah, it’s funny; my friend Ryan Spanger, who is a documentary filmmaker that I’m actually working with now on a documentary film, he listens to every single call. An hour, he’ll be on the phone for 3 hours every Tuesday, and he’ll listen to everything that is on that call. Because he says to me, he’s like “You know what? I hear everyone else’s problems and their mistakes and their challenges, and I just learn from them and don’t make them.” I wish I were that efficient – this is where I need your help and Less Doing, where I can sit there and listen to all three calls, because I’ll be on the call sometimes every week and I’m so frazzled by doing all my work that I’m like, “Okay, I need to get on the call”; I’ll hop on for 20 minutes at the end; it’s a group call, you can jump on at any time. I jump on, I wait my turn, and I get in there and say my piece, so I get that one-on-one time with James, which is the bare minimum of the value. But the value beyond the interaction with James is I get to hear other people talking about what they’re doing, and I’ll tell you that in my Mastermind, I would say that maybe 20% or 30% of my value actually comes from James, my mentor, and the other 70% of the value I get from the Mastermind is all the other people in the Mastermind.
  8. 8. Why? Because they all pay for it, so they’re high caliber people who care. They’re all switched on. Some of them actually have much better solutions to my problems than James, my mentor, and he’s fine with that. In fact, if I come to him with a problem and I say “Look, I need help with an email copywriter,” he’s like, “Well, I’m pretty good at it, but the best guy in the world at email copywriting, Andre Chaperon, is in my group, so go talk to him.” Literally, the best email copywriter in the world, in the online marketing world, is in our Mastermind group. One of the best sales page writers who works for the best sales page writer in the whole industry is in our Mastermind group. The best filmmaker in the online digital marketing space is in my Mastermind group. And I’ve hired all of these people, the designer – so basically, in my Mastermind group, I’m able to – the biggest problem in business is finding people who you can trust, and because they’re in a circle of trust, I know that hesitation that if I go to them and ask them for a quote and pay for their services, that it’s going to be fair. I’m not going to get ripped off, and there’s accountability because if any of them were to screw me over, what would that do to their reputation inside the group? ARI: Right. SAM: If you think about that from my perspective as a consumer, it’s actually more valuable for me, I’m willing to pay more for a Mastermind than individual coaching. Which is amazing. But let’s float that to your side. So you’re Ari, and let’s say you have 25 clients and you’re talking to each one of them once a week for 30 minutes, and you have to line up your schedule and their schedule. You might be doing calls three, four, five times a week. This is what I told you; I said, “Hey Ari, what if I could put all of your coaching on one day where you know that that’s all you do that day, and then you’re totally blocked out and you’ve chunked that work into a day where you don’t accept any appointments, you don’t do anything, you have the babysitter lined up, and that’s what you do that day?” And you looked at me and you said, “That would be amazing. That would be like Less Doing for business, right?” ARI: Right. Which would be good. SAM: Yes. So that’s really what we decided to do, and we’re actually launching that, I think coming up – we’re going to send out a few emails to see if people want to get in on that this week. Because you’re in demand and because your Mastermind group isn’t for everyone – I mean, some people just might not be at the level where they can use it yet based on criteria that you’re going to set – you’re going to have to interview people to get into the group and see if they’re a good fit and also make it at a level where the group actually works well for everyone. So if people pay enough to value it, they understand that everyone else who’s in the group is also a high functioning person who is at a certain level in their entrepreneurial or life journey where they have things to add to the group, and then once you do that, you should have an awesome group coaching program which will be not only more valuable than what you’ve been doing with your clients, but also more efficient, more valuable for you, much more valuable for the clients, and just create kind of a group of Jedi knights for the Less Doing movement.
  9. 9. ARI: Exactly. I am really excited about this, and I think that we’re going to get a really good group together. For the people listening, let this serve as a sort of preview announcement for you, that this is going to be starting up very, very shortly. I am basically stopping one-on-one coaching for now, and we’re going to start doing it in this format, which I think we’re going to get some amazing results for people. SAM: Yeah. And Ari, if someone’s listening to this – and we’ve talked about price point for this – a group coaching program, like we said, has to be valuable so that people actually follow your work. It has to be a high price point to allow people to make a significant investment where every time there’s a group call, they actually get on it. But for the people who aren’t there financially or who aren’t there just in the developmental stage where they wouldn’t get value out of it – because the last thing you want to do as an author who really cares about everyone he helps is take money from someone when they’re not getting the value that he has. That’s why we have the lower membership site where people are going to be able to watch all of your videos, post comments below the videos, and that will be very affordable. I think under $100 a month for people who can just watch anything you’ve ever done, watch any speech that you’ve ever given that’s been videotaped, will get to go in there. ARI: And have the messaging component. For the people who are paying $10 a month for pro content right now, I’ve been consistently delivering a video every 2 weeks with something that’s really high level, but this is going to give you access to dozens and dozens of hours of content as well as some interaction with me. SAM: Yeah, what we’re going to do is we’re going to take your current membership site, upgrade the value of it by putting all of your Udemy courses, your Less Doing course, your Biohacking course – actually, Ari, why don’t you just talk through all the different video courses we’re going to put in the one membership site? ARI: Yeah. Okay, so there’ll be the Gmail IFTTT and Virtual Assistant course, which is really the ultimate down and dirty how to get your email working, how to get automations going with IFTTT and Zapier and how to get a virtual assistant running your life. There’ll be the Biohacking course, which is how to take your biology to the next level – sleeping less, eating better, working out less and getting better results. The main Less Doing course, which is all in new HD, really, really well-shot videos. They were shot right here, actually, in my gym. Then we also have the Entheos interviews that I did with some unbelievable experts; that was a conference a couple months ago. The CreativeLive seminar, which was a 2-day live event; I’m going to have videos from that as well. Let me think if there’s anything else. I’m not sure other than that, but there’s going to be a lot more – oh, and then of course all of the pro content videos, which are those 5 to 10 minute videos I’ve done about just interesting techniques that I know apply to people who have already got the fundamentals of Less Doing down, but want to take it to the next level. SAM: Yeah, and the other thing we’re going to do is every speech that you do – because one of the reasons we have to do this group coaching program for you is you’re now in very high demand as a
  10. 10. speaker, and when you can go out and give speeches for – I think you’re charging five figures now for speeches, at least, and that will go up as your profile gets higher – when you go out and give speeches, we want to get those videoed, as many as possible, and you get the content and put it in the area so people can actually get what you’re charging a lot of money to deliver. ARI: Right, that’s true. The CEG financial advisors had me speak in San Francisco about a week ago, and they’re going to be sending me that video shortly, so that is exactly where I’m going to be posting that. SAM: Yeah, and the other thing is I think what you’re going to do in the lower level membership site that the Mastermind people will also have access to all this content is you’re going to do a monthly webinar – because you’ll probably have hundreds of people in that community, and some of them are still going to want to be able to talk to you on a webinar format, where they can ask you a question. Actually, you want to use UberConference. But really, they just want to be able to talk to you in a video format and get 5 to 10 minutes of your time to answer that critical question, because the library of videos that you have is so extensive, but really the value of you interacting with people is when someone says “Hey, I’m having this specific problem in my life,” you can hone in and say “Go to this video right here. That’s the one you need.” ARI: Right. We’re going to be basically getting a lot more organized and a lot more Less Doing-like. SAM: Yeah, and really that’s why I’m so excited about this program, is this is what me, as one of your ideal clients, the guy who’s willing to pay as much as you’re willing to charge for your services, it’s exactly what I want. The beauty of my job as a publisher now is I actually just find authors that I actually would pay to follow, and then I just go ask them if they need help getting their message to the next level. That’s what I’m doing with you, that’s what I’m doing with Mark Allen, the six-time Ironman World Champion. I want Mark to introduce me to Jim Collins after that. Jim Collins is a very famous author. But those are the kind of people that I think I can help reach more people in a more meaningful way and also make more money doing it, which means everyone benefits. Because I know a lot of people would pay for your time if you just had more of it. I don’t know if eBay’s going to put time up for sale anytime soon, but I’m looking for it. But until then, we just have to become more efficient. ARI: That’s right. Sam, thank you for giving everybody that really good overview. Again, it’s been really interesting working with you, and it’s cool for me to – this is like opening the kimono in a way, giving people insight of how we came to this and how I work with people, how you work with people. But even though this has been an unusual interview for hits podcast, I’ve still got to ask you the three questions. Not the three questions, but the one question: what are your top 3 personal tips for being more effective at everything? Again, for people listening, this is someone who’s been in Iraq, in the Army, in West Point, successful entrepreneur. The last conversation we had a couple days ago, he was in the Philippines; a few days before that, he was in Australia. So what are your top 3 tips for being more effective? SAM: I guess the 3 things that have made me most successful in life is first of all, a willingness to learn. And when I say “learn,” I’m an avid reader, and I absolutely consume information. I’m a voracious consumer of information. I listen to podcasts when I’m running and walking; I read as much as I can.
  11. 11. Just really becoming a lifelong learner and understanding – and I used to teach history at West Point, and as I learned more history in graduate school, I started to get depressed, because I realized how little I would ever know about the totality of world history. If you think about there’s six billion people on the planet that all have a personal story that mixes together to create these national histories, and then you multiply that all the way back through time, it’s just absolutely unknowable, all the information in the world out there. To have the humility to understand that you’ll never know it all, but to constantly hunger for the process of learning more, while understanding that the more you know, the less you know, is a great paradox. But that’s really my greatest productivity tip, is just never stop researching and learning. Ari, 5 years from now, you’ll probably think 70% of the things you taught right now were wrong, and you’ll refine them and you’ll get better. You’ll get better. So I think that is – understanding the infiniteness of knowledge out there and how to attack that is one. The second thing is really understanding how to fix mistakes. When you learn as much as I do and try as much as I do, understanding how to fix things when they go wrong is absolutely critical. I like to joke that I’ve made 10 times more mistakes than most people in life, but that’s because I try 100 times more things. But when I make a mistake, the key thing is going up to someone who might’ve been involved in it, fully owning up to it, understanding how you can learn from it. And I’m a big believer that every mistake in life, whether it’s in your personal life, and it can be big mistakes, it can be small mistakes in business, big mistakes, bankruptcies, whatever – every one of them is just an opportunity to learn and get better. I’m not advocating just screwing up for fun to learn, but as soon as something bad happens, if you just have the attitude “How can I make this into a positive? It must be a positive.” But that has to be a decision, and it has to be something you consciously make happen. It’s not like “Oh, something bad is going to happen and everything will come together.” It’s actually a very conscious decision. And then really, the third thing I’d say around productivity or success is just networking. My mentor, James Schramko, who I’m in his Mastermind, he likes to describe me in the group as a master networker. When I quit the Army, started my digital publishing company, I actually made a couple decisions. One is I said “I’m going to have a remote staff” because A) I couldn’t afford the office space, B) I don’t want my team to be limited by time and space. I have a copywriter in Paris, I have a bunch of contractors in Australia, I have a web team in the Philippines; I have people all over the U.S. and the world, and I actually go and visit all of them on my business travels. I’ll go sit down with them and forge those personal relationships with people, because I understand that I’m not very good at most things in life compared to everyone else. I’m not a great copywriter compared to the best email copywriters. I’m not a great designer compared to the best designers. I just like to find and hire the best people, let them do my work for me, and the only thing I have left to do is just synthesize it all and come up with strategy documents and visions. That’s my gift, that’s what I’m good at, and I think networking is the biggest and most underrated skill in the business that a lot of people could work on and make great impact in their lives through doing.
  12. 12. ARI: Those are three very cool ones. Sam, thank you very much. We’re going to have a link in the show notes where people can find out more about the Mastermind, but where can people find out more about you? SAM: Okay, a couple places. My website is Prism Communications. Unfortunately, the NSA commandeered “Prism” as a brand name for one of their spying things, but it’s prism- I have a couple examples of my video work on there. What’s funny is I spend almost no time on my website compared to the ones that I do for my publishing sites, but that’s where people can contact me. But also, Ari, for people who are interested in your Less Doing courses, whether it’s the Mastermind or the lower end membership area, we’re also setting up a URL called, and that’s going to be for people to just enter in their email and get more information about these programs. But those are the two places where people can find me. ARI: Great. Awesome. Sam, thank you so much, and you guys will be hearing more from Sam and me in the Mastermind coming up. SAM: Yeah, I look forward to launching it, Ari. I can’t wait to see you impact more people’s lives. You’ve got a great message to share, and people out there want more of you. We’ve just got to figure out how to package it right. ARI: Let’s get to it. SAM: All right.