"If somebody doesn't have a vision for where they're going, they’re going to jump on somebody else's vision."
Jesse Levine was my first mentor, and it’s safe to say that his impact on my life has been as crucial to my success as that of any other person. In fact, when people ask me who I attribute my mindset or my success to, I always say, “It’s half mom and dad, and half Jesse.”
We met when I was 19, and Jesse was 23. He was my manager at Cutco—the #1 manager in the 50-year history of the company—and he didn’t just help me break national sales records, he helped me to fulfill my potential in ways I never even knew existed.
With a combination of vision, talent, and high standards, Jesse brings out the best in people consistently. His enthusiasm is contagious, and as a serial entrepreneur, he brings it to every single project he takes on.
Today, Jesse joins the podcast to share a few fun stories from our time at Cutco, including how he reached goals seen as impossible by managers 10+ years older than he was when he reached them, how to get highly talented people to buy into your vision, and how he makes things happen that have never been done before.
Click here to check out this episode on PremoCast (iPhone’s only).
- The 3 crucial keys to bring out the best in those you lead, and those you love.
- How to create a vision beyond what you (or anyone else) has ever considered.
- How to see people as better than they are – and get them to see themselves the same way.
- The reason so-called misfits and other people who have dealt with rejection are often the best at handling gritty situations.
- Why you don’t have to have done something to help someone else do it.
- Jesse’s new podcasting app, Premocast, and his vision for an interactive platform that improves listener experiences that you can experience right now. Click here to listen to this episode on PremoCast (iPhone only)
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
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Hal: Goal achievers, what’s going on? This is Hal Elrod. You’re in for a treat today and I’m in for a treat because I brought one of my old friends on this podcast. Not really even just an old friend, an old mentor, someone who started as a mentor then became a great friend and was even now one of the groomsmen in my wedding, so that’s how close of friends we become. But the topic today, if there’s a topic, is really how to bring out the best in those that you lead and those that you love, and sometimes those are the same people. Hopefully, you love the people that you lead, maybe at work or as a CEO or in a business or as a teacher, as an entrepreneur, those that you lead, I hope you love them. I love all those that I lead. But then you might separate them. Well, there’s those that I lead. There’s my professional life and then there’s my personal life, those are the people that I love. So, today, I really want to talk about how do you bring out the best in those that you lead professionally and also those that you love personally. And like you said, if they’re one and the same, awesome. If not, that’s okay too. And the reason for this being the topic is when I’m asked by people who do you attribute your mindset to or your success to, Hal, if I’m asked that in an interview or in any setting if even just at a cocktail party, I always say it’s half mom and dad and it’s half Jesse Levine. And that’s who you guys are going to meet today.
It’s half Jesse Levine and half my parents and Jesse was my manager at Cutco. And I actually had a buddy of mine, we’re going to college. Here’s a quick back story. I was going to college and living temporarily with a friend, Teddy Watson, and Teddy would always say, “Hal, dude, I could get you a job selling Cutco. You’d be great at it. You’re a natural. You’re personable. Blah blah blah.” And I would always reject that notion and say, “Teddy, dude, I am not a salesperson. Thanks, but no thanks. Like I have zero interest in selling high-quality kitchen cutlery via in-home presentation, not going to happen.” And one day I was with Teddy when he had to stop by the Cutco office and I think this was orchestrated like my assumption is that Teddy had this master plan in having me with him but we went inside the office and he said, “Hal, hey, go meet, you know, that’s Jesse who I’ve been telling you about. Go meet Jesse,” and I started talking to Jesse, and I said, “So, what’s this whole Cutco thing about?” Like Teddy’s always telling I should sell these knives and I’m like, “I’m not a salesperson. Tell me about it.” And Jesse’s description of the opportunity of direct selling and how you could create your own income, there was no ceiling on your income. You could really as hard as you wanted to work or as creative. And as your ability improved as a salesperson, your skills, your technique, your understanding of this human psychology and how to interact with the prospect where they were compelled to, A, trust you and, B, purchase a product.
The way that Jesse explained the opportunity and how I could develop the skills that would serve me the rest of my life was really intriguing, and it made me realize that Teddy had not done as nearly as good of a job in selling me on this opportunity. And so, after talking to Jesse, I thought, “You know what, maybe I’ll give it a try. So, how do I get started?” and he said, “Oh, there’s a three-day training this weekend. You know it’s a 9 AM to 6 AM. I think it was Friday, Saturday, Sunday,” and he said, “Teddy gives you high recommendation. I’d hire you right now.” And I said, “I can’t do that. I’m sorry. I’m DJing from midnight. I just started DJing on the radio. I’m DJing midnight to 6 AM,” and I said, “There’s no way I can DJ midnight to 6 about an hour away and then I’d literally have to forego my sleep and drive here and go through training and then maybe sleep a few hours and then DJ midnight to 6. That’s not possible.” And Jesse is you’ll probably get the sense. He’s a very convincing human being and I don’t remember what he said to me. He somehow convinced me to forgo my sleep and that the smarter option was not to delay starting my new career in selling and just to do it that weekend. And so, I DJ’d at midnight to 6 AM, drove to the Cutco office, went to training from 9 AM to 5 or 6 PM, slept for a few hours. I did that for the entire weekend and ended up quitting the radio DJ job as the sales position proved to be a lot more fruitful at least financially and in terms of experience, in terms of fun.
And I want to bring Jesse on so I’ll stop hogging the mic here now but I just want to say just a couple of things about this which is I went up to Jesse after my first day of training and I said, “Jesse, you talk about the sales record, the most ever sold in the first 10 days by anybody in your office and then there’s the division record which is higher sales total. There’s the region record and there’s the national record.” And I said, “I want to break one of these records and he said, “Hal, I’ll be honest, I hear that,” and, by the way, when I told him I thought he was going to jump out of his seat and go, “Oh my gosh,” and like hug me and jump up and down. I really admired him. I just got to know him and admiring through my first day or two of training. And I thought he was going to be excited and he said, “Hal, I hear that all the time but nobody takes it seriously. Nobody’s willing to put forth the effort. If you’re willing to work harder than you’ve ever worked before in your life and be committed for the next 10 days at a level you’ve never been committed to anything,” he said, “I believe that you can do it. I can help you do it. I can coach you to do it,” but he said, “You’ve got to be committed.” And I was excited, not necessarily committed but at that point, Jesse, I really respected him. I admired him. I didn’t want to let him down. I was talking real big and I thought, “Okay. I’ll commit,” and I wanted to give up on the second day when I have made no sales or my first day out in the field and I called Jesse to quit and he wouldn’t let me quit and long story short, I broke the record.
And I broke the record because of Jesse. If it wasn’t for Jesse’s accountability every day making sure that I was making my call, setting my appointments, checking with him and being accountable, I would’ve never come close. If it wasn’t for Jesse’s inspiration when I felt like giving up. When I was facing self-doubt, I would’ve given up on myself, you know, time and time and time and time again. And because of Jesse, my entire career throughout Cutco I fulfilled my potential only because of, you know, Jesse, I know you’re going to come on here in a sec. You’re a leadership though. So, alright, I’ll stop myself and Jesse, man, I would love to you and I just to reminisce about some old Cutco stories, and go from there, man. How are you doing?
Jesse: I’m doing good, Hal.
Hal: Now, did I get the talking a lot thing? Is that from you? Did I get that from you or is that from somebody else?
Jesse: Pretty sure you talked a lot before, man. You are a DJ host, right?
Hal: That’s true. You’re right. I guess I was a talker, man. So, dude, where are you now? You’re at home in Sonoma?
Jesse: Yep. Sitting at my office, home office.
Hal: Home office, and before we get to the Cutco story. Just to kind of catch people up. So, I left Cutco. My last year was 2005. When was your last year?
Jesse: Oh boy, six years ago, seven years ago,
Hal: So, 2011-ish, 2012?
Jesse: 2011 maybe. Yeah. 2011, 2012 something like that, yeah.
Hal: What have you done since then? You’re a serial entrepreneur. Every time we talk, it’s, “Hey, here’s the new venture and here’s the thing, you know, I’m adding this stream of income and I’m doing this and that,” but what have you done since then and what have been the standouts? What’s been your favorite? What are you up to now?
Jesse: Well, it’s so funny. I mean, I literally since then, I mean, the first couple years was just trying a lot of things. Trying a lot of things, focused mostly on trying to get into technology, understanding when you’re building apps or understanding marketing, started the content in paid marketing, agency with a partner, did that for a number of clients. I’ve had a bit of success but you’re working for other people and I have a hard time working for other people.
Hal: I knew that. Yeah.
Jesse: So, I mean, I’d rather starve, to be honest and somebody just told me it’s like, “An entrepreneur is a guy that actually instead of working 40 hours a week, works 80 hours a week, and gets paid less than the person that’s working 40 hours a week. That’s typical, right? For a lot of entrepreneurs, just to be able to be the boss and so I dipped my fingers so to speak into a lot of things and a few years ago, five years ago we started recruiting and initially I, working for somebody and then created my own company and hired people on my team and then started looking for my own clients and currently still have a staffing company right now.
Hal: You’re recruiting for tech companies, right?
Jesse: Yeah. Early stage companies that are typically anywhere from like seed investment, maybe a few million dollars of investment up to typically try not to work with public companies but typically series B, C, sometimes a later stage D company. I like the early stage when there’s somewhere between 5 and 50, that’s fun. Once it gets beyond that, it becomes a little bit more structure, but it’s definitely fun, obviously, the work with the company as they gain steam and then eventually get purchased. I worked with a number of companies that have less than 10 people. When I first started working with them they’re an incubator, just came out, and just got around to funding and then are looking to grow their sales and their marketing or their engineering team and it’s fun to get in their early stage and kind of help companies based on performance deliver a big part of their critical early stage team. And some of those people that walk out there that those companies get sold for hundreds of millions of dollars later and some of the people that get an early get enough equity where they’re actually making million or millions of dollars depending on how really they get in. So, it’s fun to work with companies where the companies actually value their employees enough to give them an equity component.
Jesse: Kind of where the tech world is going, and I think a lot of other companies like even KRAVE Jerky that sold their Sonoma-based brand. They built it like a tech company. As people get involved early stage they give them shares that incentivize them to really work hard and grow with the company. And as they see the companies start to grow, they see their value of their equity start to grow.
Hal: Yeah. Do these companies value their recruiters enough to share any equity with you or is that going too far?
Jesse: Yeah. And that’s actually some companies, some recruiting firms take a piece of equity and I’ve done that in small cases with smaller startups and it’s actually kind of a big thing to give up a fee on recruiting through connect component, but also to get on a CAT table you typically need to have depending on where they are if they’re series A or series B, it’s much harder to get on their cap but if you’re like in the seed investment and you’re really on, I typically like to take companies that are a little bit farther along because I know I’m going to get paid.
Jesse: And I know they have money to be able to pay and they’re all about hurry. The reason they’re paying for the smart companies pay for, you know, somebody go in there and strategically find other people that are already doing the job that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. So, it’s a much bigger way to build a company, take people that actually really have the skill set and are doing it for your main competitor or somebody that has a lot of – another company that has a lot of insight into maybe how to improve this company that they’d be moving to. So, I mean, it’s a quick way to build a company if you’re strategically picking talent and giving them an equity stake in your company.
Hal: Got you. And I know you’re all about tech. Ever since you left, direct sales, very, very few conversations we’ve had then revolve around something that you are up to or interested in or pursuing technology-wise and I know the latest thing is you just launched an app called PremoCast. We’re going to pause on that for later because I want to spend more time on it, but it’s a podcasting app. It’s been called arguably the best podcasting app that’s ever been launched so we’ll talk more about that. I want the listeners to understand how it works. But to start the episode today, the topic, how to bring out the best in those you lead and those you love and for the listeners, I wanted to share a couple things. When I met Jesse, so I was 19. He was 23 and the year I met him he was trying to do something in the Cutco company that had never been done before, which is the first ever manager to do $1 million in sales in one year. I mean, there are managers that time that had been seasoned for five, seven, ten, even longer years that were 10, 15 years old, or 20 years older than Jesse, and Jesse comes in, kind of like the NBA rookie of the year. Just comes out of nowhere and then, well, here’s what was crazy is, and nobody believes like no one know. It was kind of like the four-minute mile like nobody can do a million dollars in a year. We’ve tried it. It just, you know, maybe someday, but not this 23-year-old kid, Jesse Levine. And we ended up doing $1,017,000 that year and we broke the record.
And here’s what’s crazy, so Jesse kind of cemented his legacy as like the first person to ever do this. Since then, just like the four-minute mile, people came after him and seasoned managers learned from him and then go, “Okay. I can do a million,” and then they did. They did 1, 1.2, even 1.5 I think was done by Dan Casetta, another friend of ours, and Jesse comes out of nowhere and says, “Hal, hey, I want to be the first two-million-dollar office.” And that was beyond like that’s not even – Jesse, you’re a big thinker. I appreciate that, but you’re talking like that that’s not even possible. Like the record right now is 1.5 and that’s a stretch. To do 2 million just out of the gate, there’s no way. And we actually moved to Sacramento together. And anyway, long story short, we did over $2 million that year and Jesse became the first ever million-dollar manager which cemented the legacy and then the first-ever two-million-dollar manager. And what Jesse was great at was bringing out the best in others. And so, Jesse, so that’s what I want to talk to you about, man. What is it that and you can use me as the example if you want as a guinea pig but what do you feel like your keys were especially at 23 and then when you did it again for the first two-million-dollar office, how old were you when you did 2 million?
Jesse: It was in 2004.
Jesse: Yeah. Thirty-ish. Yeah. I was born in 1974.
Hal: Okay. Yeah. So, about 30, right. So, yeah, so both either year, either example or what you’ve learned since. What are your keys? What does it take? If someone’s leading whether it’s a sales organization, again, or even if they’re a teacher with students or anywhere in between, we’re all leading somebody. For me, I feel like my kids are the most important people that I lead. But what are your keys? How do you bring out the best in another person? And you did it with so many people and so consistently.
Jesse: Great question.
Hal: I only ask great questions.
Jesse: I think there’s a lot of answers to that but part of it is it’s all about – when you’re building a company or you’re building something where it’s not just your results, but it’s accumulation of all the people that are part of this, whatever it is, whether building a ship for burning man or you’re building a ship to Mars or you’re building the first $2 million office or you’re building a million-dollar book or whatever it is, I mean, it all starts with kind of the people around you that you build your team. Whether it’s your editor for your books or you’re a co-writer or you’re whatever, it’s really about getting talented people to buy into your vision and you got to see that before they see it. And if you have the ability to come to kind of see something, there’s always going to be the question mark, is it really possible, especially when it hasn’t been done and there’s going to be a million times that you lose that confidence where there’s things that happen. But deep down you got to really believe that if you put it all together and you work, I think you have a new book coming out which basically sums it up, which I’m excited to read, but the idea that it’s all about the people on your team, they’re the ones that are going to get results so you really got to pick super talented people and then have a vision that’s big enough where their vision can buy into, you know, can be part of your vision.
So, where their objectives are a reflection or part of your bigger goal and then buying into the fact that without their effort and without them being part of this that your goal is not possible. And not only that, the team goal is not possible, and if you really believe that people perform better in high-performing teams, which I do, like if you’re part of a great sports team that has a great culture, you’re likely to step up your game and be part of something much more interesting and if I’m going to play sports, I freaking want to win. I want to win. I don’t want to be the last place guy. I don’t want to be the middle place guy. I don’t want to be the second-place guy. I want to freaking stand up on the podium and say, “Okay. I built the best team,” and I want my people to feel that they’re part of the best team. I’m embarrassed if I show up and my team’s not number one because that means my people are not number one. And that’s a reflection of me. And so, I guess it starts with high standards with myself of what I think I’m capable of doing. When I was in sales, I always thought I should be at the top of the stage and I knew it was always effort and strategy that got me on top of the stage.
If I can do it myself, then I can teach it to other people, but you got to have willing people, and you got to have capable people and so you got to have a belief of where you’re going. You have to get really good people on board and then you’ve got to be willing to put in the effort because it’s not an overnight. People that become successful, it’s not one conversation you have. It’s a multitude of conversations that gets people to see the big picture and to see themselves doing something and I always say that if somebody doesn’t have a vision of themselves, somebody doesn’t have a vision for where they’re going, they’re going to jump on somebody else’s vision. And I’m willing to bet that 98% of people out there don’t have a clear vision. They have an idea of where they want to go but it’s not something that’s so exciting that’s so compelling that people will give up what they’re doing to follow it. So, you got it as a leader or as a mentor, you got to have what’s going on in your life so exciting that people are going to want to jump on that train. And so, clarity starts with people getting their own goals straight, and then if their own goals are straight, then those goals can be part of other people’s goals.
Hal: I love this, man. This is gold. So, in terms of having a vision that people buy into and also you talked about so here I’ve kind of broke into three things, vision, talent, and high standards. So, that you’ve got a big exciting vision that you’re able to get talented people to buy into your vision and then that you hold high standards for yourself and for other people and that creates that high-performing team that like you said, it brings everybody up. Do you think though that part of getting talented people to buy into your vision is being willing, on your own in the comfort of your own home or your office to be willing to create a vision out of thin air that is big and compelling and exciting? Is that what attracts those talented people to you?
Jesse: Yeah. Obviously, creating a big and compelling vision gets other people excited, but it’s when they have ownership that they are responsible for that, that when it actually happens that that’s theirs as well.
Hal: Yeah. So, it’s our vision. You know, you might have given birth to the vision but now it’s become ours. We’re raising it together.
Jesse: Yeah. I might get a hold of the trophy at the end of the day, right, and put it in my house, but all the people that are part of that team will never forget what it takes to be number one. They’ll never forget the difference the edge that you have when you think and you do what it takes to be number one. When you’re able to out strategize, I’m telling you all these people that were part of our organizations through the time, that saw number one results they saw like how it happens. That it starts with the belief and then it starts with the strategy and then handle all the challenges along the way and you never give up until the very end. It’s amazing what we’ve got done in the last 24 to 48 hours. We would do as much sales in the last 24 to 48 hours as we do in the previous 10 days.
Hal: Yeah. Absolutely. So, when I’m asked or when I talk about like if I go speak at a Cutco conference or just in general and I talk about when I broke the Fast Start record, I would say that the two things, the two attributes that I employed to break that record are two attributes that are universal that we all have available to us at all times and I think these are two attributes that I can really point to you. I can say that to me these are what you embodied that allowed you to lead. The attributes are enthusiasm and work ethic that we all have. We can all get as enthusiastic as we choose to about anything that we want and that enthusiasm I feel like is attractive. It’s contagious. You say enthusiasm is contagious and then the work ethic, of course, you’ve got to outwork your competition and I feel like you brought that. You have that vision and I want to ask you in a second about where that vision came from, but you brought that vision to, you know, when you would speak at a team meeting, at our weekly sales meeting, you are fired and you’re funny so you’re always just kind of crazy and like you’d come with funny. I don’t even know like you’re funny but your enthusiasm just oozed out of your pores and we were like, “This guy is freaking, he’s so fired up,” and your vision was big but the way you communicate that vision with such genuine unbridled enthusiasm that you couldn’t help to be in your presence but to get excited. And, of course, behind the scenes, you are working your butt off. You are talking to every rep. Every day you are recruiting. You are doing all the things that you had to do.
But here’s what I want to know though. Do you remember the moment or the conversation when you decided that you wanted to be at 23 years old the first manager in the 50-year history of the company to do $1 million in one office in one year? You remember like what planted that seed that you could be the guy to do that?
Jesse: It’s probably a lot of things but just starting in the business and watching, just looking at the top of the bar and thinking, “Okay. What’s different between me and them?” At the beginning, it’s experience, it’s talent, they’ve got more money, they’ve already got records. So many people in this world just follow the playbook that’s laid out for them. They have expectations to do certain things in school. They have expectations to go to a certain college. They either do or they don’t do that so they’re either already starting out a life with regret or fear that they’re not going to be successful because they didn’t get in the college they want or get the grades they want. We are programmed that these are the ways that successful people live, and most people it doesn’t play out for them like that. So, they’re already in a fear-based and going into the real world trying to compete and succeed and pay for yourself is a hard thing to do. And I don’t know where the belief that I can go and do a million-dollar office was, but I think it started when I was a rep when I first started with Cutco and I didn’t have a bunch of – I was so embarrassed about selling knives when I was 18. I just have gotten back from Europe and I should’ve been in college and that I didn’t want to go try to sell to anybody I knew because I didn’t want the feedback that I should be, you know.
Hal: You should be in college. Yeah.
Jesse: Yeah. And so, I was on my way to advance training instead of like, you know, I’ve done one demo in somebody’s bed because they are sick and I didn’t sell anything. And I did a demo for my mom. She didn’t buy anything. And so, I just stopped off like at an old person’s home on my scooter like a community, Oakmont. I started knocking on doors and freaking somebody let me in and this woman bought. Let me in and she bought a Galley + 6 and it was a homemaker builder actually. It’s such a weird thing. Nobody even knows…
Hal: For anybody listening, that’s like a $400 or $500 set of knives just to give you some context.
Jesse: Yeah. My first sale and I walked into training with this set to somebody I hadn’t met. And I don’t know where I got the confidence but I guess over in Europe I’ve done Hair Brats. I’ve done braiding like done hair wraps on people’s hair like not like braiding but like these strings to survive over there, right?
Hal: That’s how you’re making money in Europe. Yeah.
Jesse: Yes. So, I mean I guess I had a little bit of confidence to meet strangers and I wasn’t afraid to get rejected. It’s like beginner’s luck when you try something new. It’s there to – the alchemist, right, that in the beginning, you’ll see success and to kind of give you some confidence and I saw a little success there. And then a decent Fast Start and then I had the confidence that I should run my own office and we ran the top 10 office when I was 18. I went out to… So, these little things as much I actually failed a lot that summer. I totally failed but also you kind of grow up and then luckily, these things happen to you but at the same time, you put yourself in a situation to fail and I guess I put myself in a lot of situations where I didn’t know what the hell was going to happen, but I wanted something to happen. And I figured I’d be up to the challenge, or at least the challenge would put me in a situation where maybe I would be a different person after.
Hal: Yeah. I think another intangible too is I think that you’re just a lover of people and that that comes across in your face when you meet them like my mom and dad love you, like you’re my other brother or whatever but I think my mom had said, you’ve heard this before maybe, she’ll say, “Jesse smiles with his whole face,” like when you meet somebody for the first time you’re like, “Hey!” and they’re like, “Oh shit, this guy’s really into me. He’s really friendly,” but I think it’s this genuine, authentic care for people and I think that’s an important part too is feeling like you weren’t just in it so I make a sale to make you a buck. It was like you genuinely cared about every person I felt like that you worked with and that walked through your door and that you trained. I think that was another important piece. And then here’s what I want to ask you because I think this is one of the biggest keys to bring out the best in another person. It’s a fundamental key, one of the first things you’ve got to do and that is to see people as better than they are. I think that goes out saying that the only way to bring out the best in someone meaning bring out something better than they’ve shown or lived by before is to see them as better than they are.
And I’m wondering if you have any thoughts or tips or stories or anything on that? When you’re looking at somebody rather than go, “Man, you’re this, you’re that. You haven’t proven anything extraordinary,” like I was the best example. I was very mediocre my whole life. I didn’t get good grades. I didn’t excel in sports. I didn’t even play any school sports. I wasn’t super popular like nothing. I had not shown any evidence of being an achiever and you literally pulled that out of me from being a class clown and screw up to being an achiever like you pulled that out of me. So, how do you see someone as better than they’ve ever been before and/or how do you communicate that to them? How do you get them to see themselves better than they are? And by the way, the last thing I’ll say on this for you is the question, I just wrote about you in my new book, The Miracle Equation, and I talked about that how I was insecure, fear, self-doubt, all of the above and you believed in me and you saw things in me or at least you made me think you did but you saw things in me. You saw me as better than I’ve ever been and I didn’t believe it at first but I was like, “Well, shoot, this guy thinks I’m capable. Maybe I got at least give it my best in honor of what he is seeing in me and what he’s saying that he sees in me,” and all of a sudden my results sort of they catch up with your vision if you will and then I started – it’s almost like there’s that saying, “You have to believe in the belief that somebody else has in you until your belief catches up,” and it was your belief in me that propelled me to greater heights. So, any thoughts or tips or ideas on how do you see someone as better than they are or better than they’ve been in the past, and/or how do you bring that up?
Jesse: So, I coached – I have a seven-year-old girl and actually I have a little one-year-old boy but I’ve been coaching my daughter in her like soccer and other sports since she’s three and we just had a game this last week or two. Last year we went undefeated. We’re like 10-0. Not just because of the way I coach for sure. I try to pick good kids, but a lot of times it’s just whatever we get and it’s so interesting how the same approach I took to managing people or take to managing people is almost the same approach to managing kids.
Jesse: Or supporting or mentoring or coaching, whatever you call it. And I believe so much that kids have a preconceived notion about how they are as an athlete as they do about how they are at math or English or any skill set. And so, often, parents are uninvolved in their kids’ growth to a certain degree or they’re too involved where they just micromanage everything or they’re not involved, they don’t actually know what’s going on. They don’t know how well their kids are acclimating in school socially or even with their academics, but sports is such a similarity to just everything else. And so, in coaching, you see kids who don’t think they’re a good ball handler or they don’t think they’re fast or they don’t think they have stamina or there’s all sorts of things that hurt kids from or they don’t think they can get a ball that’s out in front of them because they think another kid is going to get it. And so, one of the things I do is and I really try to give these kids confidence that they’re a great athlete and do it in a way that’s real personal. And the kids, obviously, if they’re not a good athlete, they can tell that they’re having a hard time kicking the ball, etcetera.
And so, I try to really acknowledge things that they do well and even just the little things that they’re doing well start to gain confidence and then they seem to try harder and when I take the kids and say who doesn’t think they’re fast and they can’t get to the ball or they always get tired and I just tell them the opposite. So, I say, “Wow. I saw you have a lot of stamina today,” or, “I saw how fast you ran to the ball. I’ve never seen you run like that before.” And to a little kid, they go, “Really?” And they start to go, “Maybe I am fast.” And it’s about sometimes changing their perception of themselves by just self-confidence and so slowly, I mean, for a guy like you it’s pretty easy to say there’s so many things that you do. But for some people, it’s a slow burn. They’re slow confidence builders. And so, to do little things to get confident that they can go and make a call without getting or make a call and still be okay after they got rejected or they can make 10 calls and get rejected 10 times in a row and still be there to make another call.
And so, people’s confidence, some of the kids that are the most like they’re catered to, they’re going to the right school, they did really well in school, they basically have never failed in their life, they sometimes suck at Cutco or a sales job or something where they deal with rejection because they haven’t dealt with rejection a lot in their life. And so, sometimes the people who were a little bit misfit-y or who have like had some challenges in their life are the most gritty because they’ve already dealt with rejection a lot, and they’ve overcome it and handled it in a certain way. So, I actually think that it’s sometimes the opposite. The people that have been really good at everything in their life and things that come easily, as soon as they get into a gritty situation that it’s hard and those people are sometimes more difficult to coach than the ones who have everything not given to them and they have to kind of fight. So, I guess your question is what do I do to bring out what the best in other people? And a lot of it is me taking off my lenses and letting that person just tell me what makes them gritty and using that and everybody succeeded at something in their past and maybe it’s not in the traditional way but for me, it was always kind of digging a little bit deeper and finding out why that person has succeeded at what something in life, and then using that motivator as may be a tool to get them to succeed here.
Hal: And I think you can kind of wrap that into vision where if you look at your first point being that you got a big exciting vision, I think that part of vision is when you get down to the micro, down the individual person on your team, is having a big exciting vision for each person and how that plays into the bigger vision. I think you touched on that earlier.
Jesse: Yeah. What’s in it for me?
Hal: Yeah. Exactly. Yeah.
Jesse: It’s like, listen, people don’t give a shit. I hear it all the time. People like at conferences or events are also that disrupt conference and so many times I just hear people get into conversation and start talking about themselves in a group and you see people kind of fade out. But it’s the people that have interest in you that you want to build a relationship with. And so, if you’re trying to cultivate a relationship with somebody, you really understand if you take off the colored lenses and try to really understand their paradigm, what’s happened with them then you know their hot buttons and you also get a chance to have them willing to listen to anything you have to say because you took the time to get to know what motivates them or what they’re about.
Hal: Got it, man. I love it. I love it. So, vision, have a big exciting vision for something greater than yourself, see people have that vision for other people as better than they are and align your vision with their vision. Get talented people to bind your vision so I got vision, talent, and then standards which is holding people to higher standards. That’s a big part of it. If it wasn’t for you holding me like you held me to higher standards than I would ever hold myself to. I think we owe that to people that we love. As parents, you do that for your kids.
Jesse: And you can hold them to standards higher than what you’ve done in your career. Does that make sense? I didn’t break the record my first 10 days like you did but it doesn’t mean that you can’t coach people after that. People believe, well, I haven’t done it so how can I coach somebody that’s way more successful than me or something? And the thing is you don’t have to have done something in order to get somebody else to do it. You have to just believe in there. So, you have to kind of let the limitations of yourself go sometimes and your person when you’re helping somebody else go because too often you’ll put your negative crap into them and then there’s no possibility.
Hal: Yeah. Your limiting beliefs, you project them onto other people and try to unconsciously limit them and that’s what I think every good leader says is that you surround yourself with people that are better than you. Almost every CEO is like, “Yeah. I’m a good CEO not because I am the good one but my VP is the most brilliant person I’ve ever met and the president that I just recruited and hired.” It’s the team, you know, you want people that are better than you. I mean, like you recruited me. I was way better than you at almost everything.
Jesse: Way better. Yeah. That’s exactly true. The immature leaders are the ones who are fearful of somebody being smarter, better than them, right?
Hal: Yeah. That’s a great point.
Jesse: And Mark Zuckerberg was the guy probably one of the best examples of hiring accountants. He’s great at hiring people that are smarter than them and he wants that and I think that’s the best leaders are the ones who attract people are clearly better than them. And in your case, it’s no question.
Hal: It’s no question. I mean, yeah, better looking. So, dude, I want to talk about so we obviously – this is a podcast. We got a bunch of faithful podcast listeners and you have a new app, PremoCast, P-R-E-M-O-C-A-S-T, and it’s a revolutionary app as far podcasting goes and you’re really trying to disrupt the industry. You’ve got something called hooks that allows this functionality for the listener and you, the podcast listener, the podcast user, to engage and interact and do so much more with the podcast than is ever been enabled before. So, talk about this. What does this app? What even got you into this?
Jesse: Well, I love learning and I was the guy that would buy audio tapes, Hal. I mean, I was buying audiotapes at Barnes & Noble and sticking them in my cars. I had audiotapes before even CDs, right?
Hal: Yeah. Cassette tapes, sure.
Jesse: And I would love to listen to something over and over again because it would become part of me and I’ll also…
Jesse: …to the author and I get to like know them and really feel something versus just the linear experience of reading. So, I love, I love, you know, I can’t tell you how many CDs and books on tape I had because it was such a great way for me kind of really keep learning.
Hal: That must be where I got that from because I’m the same way and I want to listen to it over and over and over and over so like it’s part of who you are. Yeah.
Jesse: I remember listening to The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People literally like 30 times until that became part of my life. And so, back then we didn’t have streaming. Back then we didn’t have iPods. Remember, the iPods, right? And when the iPods came and then I can start downloading stuff. It was amazing and then I would take all my digital files from CDs and put them onto my iPod and then the iPhone. It has come from there. One of the challenges, I didn’t really like the iTunes player is not very intuitive and I wanted like an Instagram for podcast or a Netflix for podcast because it’s the next learning tool but there’s so many things that the podcast didn’t have. It didn’t have a way to take notes. It didn’t have a way to like easily store all your favorites. It didn’t have like a playlist which you could feed in the stuff you wanted to listen to. It just wasn’t a smart player and I wanted something that for me was going to be I love to listen but I wanted something that was also may be more engaging. I’ve always dreamed of the television that you can touch when you see something, you can stop, and you can buy it. It’s something, “Oh, I need those new shoes or my wife to buy,” you know, whatever. She sees an outfit or if I want to buy diapers, whatever, those kinds of things. Maybe diaper is a bad example but…
Hal: Our listeners I’m sure some of our listeners are buying diapers.
Jesse: I do have a one-year-old.
Hal: Yeah. You’re in diaper mode still.
Jesse: I’m still in diaper mode. But I think that’s where television and audio is going to go in the future and right now a very small number of entities own a lot of this content. Netflix now owns a lot of video content, all these syndicates, Comcast and you look down like CBS, how many entities they own. They’re all kind of to get a new brand out there or whether it’s a movie or whether it’s a talk show they all need to go through certain channels. And so, podcast is kind of a new way for people to have their own platform where they can talk and share in the world whatever they want to in the world, whether they’re like into ketogenics, they can have their own podcast about ketogenics and interview people. Whether if they’re a startup investor, they can interview companies or other startup investors and really provide a value to their audience. And that is only growing because all of these new cars instead of AM/FM radio are going to be having…
Hal: A lot of podcast players.
Jesse: Podcast player, yeah, it’s either an iOS, an Android dashboard for everything in the future, and this AM/FM we drive out of the area it’s going to get crackly and you have to listen to commercials. All this is nonsense and right now the only way that podcasters can make money from their podcast is by getting people to either go to an affiliate and they have to go to Squarespace.com/HalElrodPodcast, get the $50 discount. And what I’m dreaming about is a podcasting platform. What I dreamed of with my partner, Phil, is a podcasting platform that allows podcasters to be able to engage with the audience beyond just that linear experience of listening. So, we’re bringing the “Click to audio”. So, instead of just listening to something, you can actually engage in that content as it’s happening through what we call hooks. So, as you’re listening, something will pop up on the screen of Hal’s talking about Jesse Levine, a picture to make it pop up.
Hal: With your website and they just click on the screen and it goes to your site.
Jesse: Exactly. The link profile or whatever, if they’re talking about something, go to Wikipedia page. If you’re talking about a video, you can go there. If you’re selling Hal Elrod Miracle Morning shirts, they can click and purchase with one step. So, we basically created four ways for podcasters to be able to monetize their podcast but without creating the experience that is terrible for the user. It actually increases the experience. So, a lot of times there’s great podcasters out there that spend a lot of time creating really great content whether it’s interviews or now there’s this curated content that’s like long-form like cereal and companies are putting a lot of money into creating great content that people are listening to. But to monetize is a little bit difficult so we’ve created this interactive platform that allows tipping to occur. So, I’m sure you have thousands of fans and so right now on the podcast we can click a tip and somebody can tip you $1, $2, $3 or customize it. If they want to tip you $99, they can. And then they can keep that recurring. If somebody wants to put a recurring tip and pay you $3 a month because they love your content so much, they should be able to do that with no challenge. So, we’re similar to like a Patreon but on steroids. Are you familiar what Patreon is?
Jesse: It’s a giving platform where people can say, “Hey, if you like my content, you can go and donate money to me there.” Does that make sense?
Hal: Yeah, sure, sure.
Jesse: And so, they take 5% of the total proceeds. So, what we’ve created, basically, is a platform where entrepreneurs, I’ve always been about that person like you succeeding. The most exciting thing in my life is when the people around you are killing it and especially if you’ve had something to do and be part of that because then you become a lifelong friend. I know you 20 years later, Hal, because of this and I have literally hundreds of friends that I can truly call friends because I played some sort of mentorship role in their life. And this is kind of an extension of that. Given a platform where people can actually make money and there’s four ways. It’s through tipping, we have a shopping platform so you can integrate with like a one-touch shopping so you can sell your gear or you can sell one-time things, you can sell physical products like a Peloton if you’re Peloton or whatever. And then there’s also on-demand content so you can sell your audiobook. You could sell video. You could sell digital books.
Hal: Let me pause for a second because you’re kind of talking about two different things right now. I just want to clarify this for our listeners. So, you’re talking about kind of years’ experience a little bit. Now, you’re talking about kind of, so if you’re a podcaster, different ways that you could use the app to monetize your content. I want to dive in real quick in case someone listening, if they’re not a podcaster, so some of the cool things that I love about this app is bookmarking is a big one. So, if you’re listening to the podcast and you’re like, “Oh my gosh, that section was huge. I need my boyfriend or my girlfriend or my husband or my wife or mom or sister where they need to hear that, or I need to go back and hear that,” there’s one-touch bookmarking where you just bookmark it and you can do that multiple times. Jesse, am I right? You can do that throughout an episode as many times as you want?
Jesse: Yeah. It saves all your bookmarks and then asks each time if you want to share it. So, a lot of times you’ll listen to something and you go, “I want my wife to hear that,” so you can share it. So, it automatically but you can just say no, so then it just stores all your bookmarks.
Hal: You need to name a bookmark so you can remember what it is that you’re listening to. You can even like when I use it, I’ll actually name it like, “Listen to this for upcoming speech,” like I’ll make a note. I’ll name it with a note that reminds me of how I want to go back and reference or utilize that content. So, yeah, bookmarking is really cool and I know like if you’re listening and then you hear about like an event coming up, A, you can either click and buy tickets at the event or you could get, if it’s like a free event, you can just click and get directions to the event. I mean, it’s really, really interactive.
Jesse: Yes, exactly. I mean, there’s a ton use cases for it. And it’s every time you go, “I wish I could,” and then you look for content there, right? That’s kind of the experience that we want to happen is that whatever you think about, “Oh, that’d be cool to do a little more research. Oh, they already have a link right there,” or they can purchase or they can engage or you have an event, they can sign up right there to the event.
Hal: Or add to the calendar. That was actually a really cool feature. So, imagine, listening to podcasts and they’re talking about some event coming up and you’re like, “Oh shoot, I should add it to my calendar.” You just through the app it’ll say, “Add to calendar,” and you’re like, “Oh, awesome. It’s already there.” So, yeah, talk about being intuitive.
Jesse: Yeah. The goal is to make the most intuitive platform, the user-centric. Listen, if we can’t make a platform that people love and it’s just easy to use and queues you up and it makes it really natural and exciting to go and experience new podcasts or engage in the podcast you’re listening to like we even have the ability to create binge mode. So, let’s say you have a podcast and that there’s a series of podcasts. They send you the new series so that way you can go forward instead of going typically you go from the newest to oldest. You go from oldest to newest so it kind of allows you to do that. We have the ability to speed up or slow down because some broadcasters are too…
Hal: Talk too slow or too fast.
Jesse: Slow or too fast, and it’s really this is the podcast platform that I built for myself that we built for ourselves and going, “If we could just build something that would be like this, and make it look like Instagram or have this kind of intuitive experience, put all the stuff you normally listening to.” I mean, there’s a lot of things behind the scenes that you don’t even see, but what that really make the experience fun and intuitive. But that’s our goal is kind of be ahead of the game and not only allowing the podcasters a way to monetize and engage their audience but really, we have to build a podcasting platform that the listeners love and makes it really easy to listen to. And so, I mean that’s kind of our number one mission and the podcasters are going to want to tell their audience about this platform because of the ability to engage deeper in the content and experience that podcaster more than just that linear listening experience.
Hal: Yeah. I couldn’t agree more. And if you’re listening to this, the app is free. It’s in the app store. Right now, it’s free.
Jesse: Yeah. And every single podcast that’s on iTunes is on our platform, every single.
Hal: So, I’m inviting the Achieve Your Goals listeners to get the PremoCast app and start listening to this. I want your feedback like I’ve been playing with it. I’m loving it. It’s P-R-E-M-O cast, PremoCast and again it’s free in the App Store. You can go to PremoCast.com. Yeah. Start listening to the Achieve Your Goals podcast on that. Use the bookmarks, use the notes, all the different functions and let me know how you like it.
Jesse: So, Hal, basically, we’ve launched a few months ago. Okay. We have done zero marketing. Our whole focus is just making sure that we’re capable of scaling that when podcasters go and tell their audience that we have the capability to make sure that app runs smoothly. That’s the onboarding process. Everything is clean and smooth. Your first real podcaster, we’ve got a few smaller podcasters to go through the onboarding process, but you are our beta and all of these your listeners are beta and so we really would love feedback, we love like we know we have – we want to improve and any type of effort that you’re willing to give to communicate to us directly how to make it better, we want that.
Hal: What’s the best way for them to communicate? Is it go to PremoCast and click Contact?
Jesse: Yeah. Or they can just go to jesse@premocast and give me direct feedback. I would love it.
Jesse: Yeah. Connect with me on LinkedIn and give me your feedback or whatever, but we’re about to do our major onboarding process of getting new podcasters and you’re kind of our first guy. Because we need all the content on the backend to make them interactive we need to engage the podcasters. So, most of the podcast out there don’t have these folks in them. Does that make sense? Yours as well for this one because we’re going to…
Hal: Set that baby up, yeah.
Jesse: Yeah but anyways, I want us to buy some stuff from Hal, you guys. Tip him. Let’s see if it works and Hal is going to be our case study. So, if you fail, if this fails, Hal…
Hal: It’s on me.
Jesse: Yeah, dude. I mean, we’re facing…
Hal: All the mentoring you gave me is just forsaken that I would do that to you. All right. Goal achievers, let’s step it up.
Jesse: Yeah, and we’ve been working on this for two years and finally it’s live. You know what I mean? And we really want to get an engaged audience and I like to see how it works with you, Hal. It’s only on iOS right now. Sorry, guys, but we will be launching an Android version but not until we get some success on the platform.
Hal: Sure. One thing at a time. Yeah. Cool. Jesse, well, hey, man. Great catching up with you today. This was fun.
Jesse: Me too, Hal.
Hal: Yeah. Great time. And then great value for the listener. I mean, I think that the topic I end every speech with the following quote and it’s my own quote, but it’s, “The greatest gift you can give to those you lead and those you love is to live to your full potential because only then can you help them live to theirs,” and I guess the greatest responsibility that we all have is to live to our full potential and you heard Jesse saying one of the, you know, holding himself to very high standards was that starting place and then holding other people to higher standards and they’re willing to hold themselves to is a big component in bringing out the best in others.
So, goal achievers, thanks for tuning in. Go download the PremoCast app and, yeah, I don’t know exactly how it’s going to play out. Jesse gets it all set up for this episode but I’ll be listening to it with you. I’ll be like, “Oh cool. I can bookmark. Oh cool, I can donate. I’ll donate to myself.” I don’t have anything to sell but we’ll find something. Anyway, but goal achievers, I love you. Hopefully, I will see you at the Best Year Ever Blueprint this December in San Diego, getting geared up and geeked out for, but, yeah, thanks for tuning in. Hopefully, you enjoyed this conversation with my good friend and mentor, Jesse Levine, as much as I enjoyed having the conversation and I love you and I will talk to you next week.