Customer empathy, fatherhood and prioritizing work/life balance

Customer empathy, fatherhood and prioritizing work/life balance

Host: Joshua Strebel | Published: October 28, 2019

Gregarious Narain has been involved in fourteen different startups over the course of his career. He was the VP of Product at Klout and his last one “Chute” was a YCombinator company and recently was acquired by ESW Capital. In this interview Josh and and Greg talk about how entrepreneurs can better strike that balance of focused work life and family life, what entrepreneurs can do to emphasize fitness, how to achieve better customer empathy, details on Gregarious’ current hustle “Founder Craft” and his next venture in the works: “Fanabulous.”

Show Notes

0:00:42   Welcome and context
0:03:58   What does being a father in a new city with an opportunity to reinvent yourself mean to you?
0:08:32   “People are not like code, you can’t debug them.”
0:09:08   Give us the low-down on the tech scene in Denver vs. San Francisco
0:14:34   What sort of things are you doing now more that you weren’t able to do in the past?
0:16:58   “I lost 14lbs in 110 days and went from 20% body fat to 10% body fat.”
0:21:14   Skin in the game with paying to be in a contest
0:24:34   “If you can’t be the cheapest, be the most expensive.”
0:25:58   Let’s talk about your fashion
0:27:02   “I’m building my 14th company.”
0:27:48   “We’re not living in that classic prospect/customer/advocate model anymore.”
0:29:46   “I try to immerse myself in that process of producing, curating and creating content to understand more fully the process my potential customers go through.”
0:30:56   “Once you’re an entrepreneur you are no longer the user.”
0:33:20   FounderCraft: breaking the “I can’t do that until” roadblock for founders
0:36:36   Breaking away from the glorification of overworking as an entrepreneur
0:38:18   “Fitness is something that a lot of people have on their mind and it doesn’t suffer from the Medium problem.”

Show Transcript

Joshua: 00:43 Alright. Welcome to the show today. I’m with my good friend and GQ man of the year. Gregarious Narain. Say hello, Greg.

Greg: 00:50 Hello everybody. How are you out there?

Joshua: 00:52 Oh wow. I hopefully they’re doing great. so Greg, it’s been several years since we caught up. Ah, man, you’re a Renaissance man. San Francisco, many startups recently moved to Denver. Tell us about what the last, decade has been like for you briefly,

Greg: 01:11 the last decade. Let’s see. It’s been an interesting journey, you know the last year, my last startup, which was, a YC company, it was acquired by a private equity company. So that was probably one of the larger changes. but I’d actually retired from there a couple of years ago actually before that, and was busy. I’ve been been doing innovation work actually, so helping large companies sort of understand how to operate more like a startup. give them some insight to start up ecosystem. probably the big move, the, the one you alluded to is, we decided to leave the Bay area after, you know, 12 years living in San Francisco. now with a four year old, done so made our way out to Denver. that’s been a, I think, a very welcome change, and important change in our lives. I love it here.

Greg: 02:09 It’s been, it’s been great so far. and I, you know, I, I think, you know, the big learning for me or the big change for me, you know, and we were sort of re loosely talking about this before, it was just, I think I’ve made a transition away from defining myself as a founder and sort of like reclaiming my life and sort of trying to be the things and the person I want to be where for, you know, the last 25 years as an entrepreneur, like my identity was entirely and fundamentally, commingled and replicated with my startup itself. Right. and I think that that has been the biggest, boldest Mindshift sorta that I’ve made in the last, you know, several years have been tapering my way down towards this. But I think, you know, now I, I spend most of my time helping other founders and other startups, more by sharing my experience and ultimately trying to help them get off of sort of the, the edge of the saw, right.

Greg: 03:14 Like basis. and, and that’s what I’ve been enjoying the most, you know, as of late. So, you know, that’s a, that’s a 25 years you’re in the grind and, you’re, you’re eating, sleeping, breathing, your company, your, you know, for much of that time you’re in the Bay area, which is, you know, as everybody knows the epicenter of that lifestyle and you’re just kinda like, I’m ready for a change. I’m ready for a switch. So Denver is, you know, it’s, it’s a very different culture, but it’s, it’s growing and kind of has its metropolitan feel. And you became a father and that, tell me what that means to you. Being a father in a new city with this new opportunity to kind of reinvent yourself, right? Yeah. So, number one, being a father I think is the most important thing in my life.

Greg: 04:10 Right? and I will say this in a, it is weird because it is important in a number of ways, right? So it’s like depending on the, at the edge of the spoon you’re looking at it from, right. So, it is important for me like one big, Oh my son is like the center of my life. It means everything to me. and so there’s this, you know, there’s that saying that’s sort of like, you know, having a child is like sort of having your heart live outside of you. Right? Yeah. And so there’s that sort of aspect of it, of like me wanting to create this perfect world for, for this little person, right. And like, pave the path for whatever opportunities I can help him achieve and et cetera in life. And that, that means everything to me. But there’s this other thing that I think is really interesting that has happened.

Greg: 05:00 and it is the part of the other end of the spoon, which is really the me having a chance to reflect on, I guess, you know, like the relationship I had with my own father. and in a lot of ways to correct or, to encapsulate what I idealize as what a good father. And I think like there, there’s this like self reflection in the process of like analyzing what I went through, what I felt or what I experienced, and then trying to do that, tried to not make the mistakes that I feel like my dad may have made inadvertent, intentional or inadvertent, right. Like that it’s kind of a, I mean it with this little judgment as possible, but the reality is there’s a, there’s a state that I believe that I had with my dad and I don’t w I, and it’s not that I want to be the polar opposite per se of it, right. It’s just

Joshua: 05:58 that I know that I have this idealized state of what I want to be as well. Right? And you don’t know what you don’t know until you become a parent. Right. Oh, you, you just like, I’m never gonna do that. And then you find yourself doing exactly the same thing and you’re like, shit. Yeah, you’re just arguing with the smaller version of yourself. That’s all you’re doing and, and more powerful version. So yeah, that has been interesting. and you know, I, I have a dad blog I guess, or I don’t call it, my, my site, letters to Solomon on it and we write letters to, you know, our, my, Maria and I both write letters occasionally to our son. and that was an important part of the lesson of me, should be like that journey for myself actually, and capturing who I am and what, what those things that are happening to him mean to me.

Joshua: 06:46 That’s where I’m sort of, I’ve been putting those thoughts and those memories that I’ve, I’ve read a few of those and did, they’re just so heartfelt and meaningful and, you know, part of me is like, Greg, will you be my dad? You know, just the, the love that you’re putting into words about your son. And even when he was a baby, I mean, I remember the first couple of them, it’s like, yeah, no, he was barely a few days old or a few, a few weeks old and you’re just gushing and you know, that’s going to be such a treasure to him when he gets older to be able to read, look back. And I hope so. I hope so. You know, it’s, it’s hard to tell, but kids these days, we, you know, quick sidebar, we went through this last night where, our youngest was a little upset about something and you know, it comes out, he’s, he’s almost six, but it comes out, kind of gives my mom, you know, give Sally the stinkeye and like, I wish she weren’t my mom.

Joshua: 07:42 Oh God, I don’t like you and Sally Sally like literally looked at me and like her lip started quivering, came out of her eye and I’m like, Oh no. So we talked about it later. I’m like, honey, are you okay? She’s like, that just stung. Wow. I’m like, you know, he doesn’t mean it and dah, dah, dah. You know, these are big feelings that small body, but boy, parenting is, is a roller coaster. Sometimes you, you know, I, my background’s like engineering, right? So like, when I think about kids, I think about them like as a, as a device, right? All of a sudden there’s like pure input for a long time, right? Like with, with zero feedback in the loop, right? And, you know, like you get some reward for it and then suddenly a turn, it makes it turn for the worst. You’re like, all my tests are failing. What happened here? Right?

Joshua: 08:30 Oh yeah. You know, but people aren’t code. You can’t debug them. Right? No, you cannot. You can very readily. Right. so, you know, it is a, is a complicated, thing with children, but, but you know, you learn a lot about yourself having a kid, right? You certainly do. I’ve, I’ve softened so many bad habits and hopefully eliminated more. Yeah. And, you know, learning to really kinda reflect on my actions and, and my effect on people, you know, like empathy. Like, I think having kids taught me empathy, which I was probably lacking for a large part of my life. So, Denver yes, for everybody. You know, there’s, there’s, there’s been kind of this San Francisco flight, you know, Austin, Seattle, Portland, Denver. Give us, give us the lowdown on the tech scene in Denver and, and how it may be better or different than San Francisco.

Greg: 09:25 So, Denver’s like the third most popular place that people leave San Francisco come to apparently from what I saw study on this. so I’ll tell you, I’ll tell you a few things. I mean, you know, I haven’t been here long, but I’ll tell you what I’ve learned.

Speaker 3: 09:38 Um,

Greg: 09:40 Sanford Denver reminds me of San Francisco when I first moved to San Francisco. So go back to what is that 2006 ish. Right. And if you, if anyone remembers back then, you know, there’s a lot of like various similar like, things about these too, right? Like, so Boulder is like, is sort of like Silicon Valley. Yeah. Right there. So Alto or something, education center. It even looks like Pollo too. When you go there. Right. you know, it’s got sort of, some VCs and investors are all hit situated there. It’s a startup startup town. It’s a small town. and then there’s this city next to it, right. And so back then it was San Francisco and no one wanted to be in San Francisco. Like I remember when I first moved to the Bay, you’d have to go down to Palo Alto or mountain view or something like every two or three times a week for some event or something that was going on.

Greg: 10:31 And eventually that gave way and everyone was in the city. Right. And that only like really large companies and still the VC stayed. But even though all the VCs are in the city, and I feel like that’s exactly like the kind of geographic sort of similarity that we have in Denver. Right? Like where Boulder is the edge is this educational hub, but we have a lot of education in the city here. Yeah. But you know, that’s the stalwart sort of existing culture, but it’s small. It can’t fit more people. And so you see people moving into the city more and more. Right? I, you know, there’s 50 coworking spaces, 50 brands of coworking spaces in Denver. Wow. Right? Which is crazy when you think about it. Right? and there is a ton of entrepreneurship. There’s a ton of startup activity. you know, and, and more and more of it, I think is happening in the city itself, right? So I think that, that, that part, that’s part of what I like about it, right? Is that I’m not disconnected from the startup ecosystem, startup life. I still love that. Right. I just don’t identify myself as it purely, right. Yup. and then the second thing, that I think that I find interesting and, and just important to me, I guess, and increasingly I think to more people is I would say like, you know, this whole notion of like work, like life work balance, as I like to call it. Right?

Speaker 3: 11:48 Okay.

Greg: 11:48 I don’t think there’s any like laziness or any nonsense like that, but what I do think is there’s more an aspiration here for having that balance right now. Look like startup life is crappy, sometimes startup life is all in and sometimes it does require like tons of sacrifice, not a very balanced, you know, system, a system of living. Right. I get that. Right. But I do feel like people try to have a life outside of like their startups here. Right? Because yeah, we have access to like, like all kinds of nature, right. All kinds of outdoor things to do. I live in a, in a, in a suburb, which is, you know, I don’t, it’s not a suburb, I don’t even know what to call it. It’s like, it’s still in Denver, but it’s like, you know, a neighborhood, but it’s like whole city unto itself.

Greg: 12:32 Right. Are you on East or West side of town or say I live in Stapleton. Yeah. Gotcha. Okay. Denver is West of me. so I’m like kind of over here. I’m from the city, I’m in between the airport and yeah. Right. And, and so where I live, you know, is a very family oriented place. Like everyone on our block has a kid, basically, you know, there’s playgrounds in every neighborhood. And that’s just something like you couldn’t even have in San Francisco. Yeah. Great. you know, but at the same time, like the guy across the street from me is like, you know, a developer and the person over there like is a CRO of a startup. Right? And so there’s still like startup people and their start up hubs in everyone of these surrounding areas. But you know, people still have a life. And I think that that’s like, that that means everything to me at this point. They have, they have a sense of like protectionism for that life. Part of the balance. They try, I think, you know, like I said, it’s not a perfect science and you, you, you don’t get it right all the time. Right. But, but I feel like there’s more of it, you know, when I, now when I talk to people and they’re like, well, what was San Francisco like? And I, I always say like, well, you’re either a founder or an employee.

Greg: 13:43 That’s a very binary tree. They’re right. It is though, right? I mean, and, and, and the deal that was my, my sphere of, of the world, right? Like, but you know, like I either dealt with, you know, founders, employees or VCs. Right? And I’m sort of like, you know, you’re one of those three, right? Like, so Denver’s allowing you the opportunity to kind of get a little bit of that balance back and spend time, you know, learning to be a father. You know, that’s what I’d tell my kids all the time is that, you know, just like you’re learning to grow up. I’m learning to be a dad. So kind of, we’re kind of in this together. Fair to put, it sounds like it’s given you some opportunity, you said to kind of like shed that, that one size fits all suit of being a founder, you know, kinda, you’re pigeonholed a little bit, isn’t that sense of identity.

Greg: 14:31 So what sort of things are you doing now that maybe you weren’t able to do in the past that you’re, you feel more free to explore? So we were talking about this a little bit. So when I moved out here, I sort of said, well, I’m going to a new place, I don’t have a job. Right? Like, so, and I’m like, and I all these other interests and I’m like, I could be whoever I want to be when I get here. And so, you know, being in a new place, I, you know, I, I’m not being someone, I’m not, I’m actually just being more of who I was, right. Like, and so, you know, I’ve always been interested in style and fashion and so like, I started like an influence on my Instagram account and started doing like daily fashion and whatnot, right.

Greg: 15:13 Like I’m not into like high fashion stuff. Like I like that stuff personally, but like, I’m actually more interested in making more people comfortable in developing their own style. Right? Yeah. and so, so that was like one thread that I was able to pull and sort of start to do. And, and you know, I, I was doing that in San Francisco. I just never talked about it. And when I got here, I was like, wow, you know, I, I have a routine. I dropped my son off, I take my picture, I come home, I share my picture, right? Like, yeah, no for school in the morning, right? Like Graham is off the chain.

Greg: 15:44 and then, so that was one thing. And then, another thing is I started to like continue to invest in sort of my health and my fitness. and you know, when I, when I got here, I don’t know what the heck I was thinking, but, you know, I was on YouTube. I’d always, when, when I had my son, I’d never watched YouTube at all, right. Until I had my kid. And then I was like, man, we’re up all night. And I’m like, what am I going to watch now? I’m like, ah, just like dying, sitting there in a chair, rocking chair. And I’m like, I need something to watch. So I started watching YouTube, subscribing and I, I’ve always been into fitness and working out and whatnot, like 25 years as well. And I, I ended up falling a bunch of these people.

Greg: 16:22 And then one guy who I followed for years, young kid, he’s like 25 or 30, I don’t know. He was right. He always did this contest every summer to like see who could transform their body the most, right? Ah, like a weight loss challenge thing. And I’m like, and I got here and it was like after South by Southwest, I got back and I’m like, why am I watching this? I was like, why don’t I just do this? Right? So it was an online contest. You paid $20 to enter. And I entered and you know, so I started, if you look at my Instagram, like half of it is like style and fashion stuff and the other half is like fitness, and whatnot. And so I entered this weight loss transformation thing and I lost 14 pounds in 112 days. you know, I, I went from like 20% body fat to 10% body fat.

Greg: 17:06 and that, you know, gave me a little taste of it. And I loved giving myself that physical, mental challenge, like this thing that was like seemed really hard and it was hard, but I think it was hard because I didn’t know what the heck I was doing. Yeah. Right. and so now, you know, interestingly enough, now I have like a Facebook group, like where I’m helping motivate and drive more of my friends towards, their own fitness. like I started it like actually a few days ago. We have like 20 plus members already. and I’m coaching more and more people. Like I’ve been coaching a bunch of my parent, my kid’s parent teachers at school on like their own weight loss journey. and I decided to enter my first bodybuilding contest. Oh, nice. Nice. Yeah. So, so that’ll be, yeah, I literally like we’ll have to do the tanning, the shaving.

Greg: 17:57 I just came from posing practice, which is why I was late. I suppose real quick. I do, I suck at it. So there’s no point in it. okay. It’s like totally horrific and you will be amazed at like, yeah, like all the things you have to learn, like, you know, I love, that’s what I love about it and this is the scariest thing in the, you can imagine. so learning, investing in my health, my nutrition, you know, like, but that last 112 days like that I trained the first time I cooked almost all my meals. You know, it was fun learning all these different hacks about how to like, fit the right macronutrients into like a meal and have it tasted good and all that stuff. Right? The diet and the nutrition is a huge part of it. People don’t understand, honestly, like the working out is, it’s not that important.

Greg: 18:44 It’s important. Like I would say like, you know, I always tell people, if you’re trying to lose weight, don’t worry out. Doesn’t matter. Right? Like, yeah, it’s all diet, right? Like really if you want to lose weight, fix your diet. Everything else we’ve mined, right? everyone has muscles underneath. If you get that, then they’ll show up, right? Yeah. Then you can improve it and make it better, but the reality is you don’t need any of that. You don’t need to worry about any of that. but, yeah. You know, so it’s been like working out six, seven days a week, you know. I go to the gym now, like, usually like three 34 in the morning. Oh yeah. but I do that because, you know, like I’ve got a busy day. Like I, I try, I try to manage the drop off in the morning for our son.

Greg: 19:25 And so, I, you know, at three 30 I leave, I’m at the gym by four. I work out for an hour. I’m not doing cardio right now, but when I do cardio, do cardio for 30 to 45 minutes, and then I get in the sauna almost every day. Oh yeah. You know, which is great. Like I one, we didn’t have a sauna in San Francisco going to. I’ve always loved to tell him I’ve been my favorite thing. And now having access to that, like at a gym that costs 20 bucks a month is amazing. You know, I do drop off two in the mornings and I think that’s such a great little part of the routine of my day is, you know, we’re both up getting the house going and breakfast and clothing and toothbrushes and all those things. But that, you know, it’s a short drive that 12 minutes with Jamie and the two boys in the back.

Greg: 20:09 And sometimes it’s quiet and we’re just listening to music. And sometimes like this morning they’re just going at it. It’s like I cherish it every day. And then, you know, that little kind of, it’s like a social social hour at school meeting all the other dads and the other moms and you know, as you’re walking into class, you know, it is interesting because now I live in a suburb, right? And I used to live in a city and the routines are different, right? Like, but, but I think they’re equally important. Right? Like, before I had to drop my kid off, but it was just like stressful, right? Like when I was in the city, it was like driving through traffic and like, you know, hustling or where are we going to park the car? And like all this, there was, there was just as much BS associated with the drop off as there was like the good part about it.

Greg: 20:56 Right? Yeah. And now it’s just mostly the good part. Right? Like, and I think that that’s a, that’s why I just like, again, it’s, those things are what I love, you know, but by, but yes, by the time he’s at school at eight 30, I’d been up for five hours. Wow. Done a bunch of stuff over it. Hey, I want to, I want to go back to something you said that I thought was interesting. you paid 20 bucks to being an online contest with, yup. I think like if you think about product pricing and marketing and promotion, that 20 bucks puts your skin in the game and that makes you now accountable. And I just, I just, you know, I just wanted to note that. How interesting. I thought that was that you paid 20 bucks to do this yourself. I did. Absolutely. I, you know, you’re raising an interesting thing like, so, the, the thing that I think a lot of people get wrong, right?

Greg: 21:49 Product people, software people, startup people, is that they fundamentally don’t understand the customer and what’s valuable to them. and so most startups start with a PR, a technology, right or, or AKA a solution and then try to find the people that that fits, right? and that’s like the opposite way of how it should be. And I’m not talking about like lean and all that nonsense, right? I’m telling you about really understanding what’s valuable. And so that thing like that $20 right represents like the right kind of motivation. It understands like what I’m after and it understands that that’s, that’s sort of the way to create the stake in it. Right? But I will tell you the $20 was nothing. Now I have all these friends that I met on Instagram that were all like, did, I didn’t know like, these are people, like, I mean, I know like 20 year old kids in the Netherlands and I know like 50 year old man, like in like, you know, in Phoenix, right?

Greg: 22:56 Like, and I’m just connected to these other people who are part of this shared experience. And that is what I remember and take away from it more than, you know, like anything, anything else, right? The last week was totally horrible, right? Like 1100 calories a day, not you getting carbs. Like I’ll never forget that week again in my life. Right? Like so terrible. Right? But, but having those other people who’d be like, how are you doing today? Right? Like, you know, like that $20 was to make those friends. It wasn’t for anything else as far as I’m concerned. You, you paid money to do that to yourself, to put yourself in the grind, but then also to expose yourself to a new community and some new lifestyle, ways of living. And that’s pretty neat. You know, I think it’s, it’s the whole, you going back to business,

Joshua: 23:45 the freemium model of things and the way some of the SAS is priced, you know, just putting a little skin in the game, we’ll commit your, your customer sometimes much more at, but as you say, you got to do it in such a way that it resonates with them. Then you know, some other kind of half brain idea where it’s just like, we’ll throw it against the wall and let him use it for free here. Half these freemium things, right? Like you, like until you pay any pay enough for it, you don’t value it. Right? Yup. There’s this great book that I, I’ve, this book, I’ve been reading this way. Everybody, I’ve like got a book club now I get everybody to read this book. You know Russell Brunson? I do now. Yeah. So he’s the guy who created quick funnels. This book is called expert secrets.

Joshua: 24:29 It’s amazing. I recommend it to anybody who basically has to sell anything. And one of the things he says in there, he’s like, if you can’t be the cheapest, be the most expensive. Yeah. Oh thank you. God, you hit it, hit it. And so if you cannot be the cheapest, then figure out how to be to justify being the most expensive. Right? You just called out our business model right there. Cause we, we started this or created this kind of narrow channel. VC came in, there’s huge players. The channel got big dominated saturated. And it’s like, what the hell am I going to do? All right, now what do you know? We’re the most expensive option. And we do everything in our power to justify, justify and people understand it and they know what they’re getting and they don’t come unless they’re serious. Right. And PIP, all of that is all that matters.

Joshua: 25:23 And it’s been able to, you know, keep us. That’s essentially how we survived, right? Because without, without a burn rate and a B round, we would have been dead a long time ago. So it was a revenue, revenue funded company that was the Avenue that worked for us. And hopefully maybe anybody lives, it will work for them as well. So you, you had San Francisco, you moved to Denver, you got into some new, clubs with your bodybuilding, your, your experimenting with this influencer thing. And I gotta say though, your fashion man, it’s too hot in the desert for me to rock 23 pieces. I showed you that jacket you had on the other day. I told you to get that one. I was actually in San Diego and that’s whether appropriate, but you know, and Tucson and Phoenix, you’re not wearing a wool suit. Okay. This suit here is from Uniglow. You could buy the whole thing for like 60 bucks and it’s the fitness material. You can wash it. All right. See I’ll, I’ll have to follow closer, but that’s my point, right? Like you can always do it like, Hey, I remember when you used to be mostly a tee shirt guy, so yeah. Yup, yup. You know, and there’s many days you’ll catch me in a tee shirt still, but I’m a man of a

Greg: 26:44 certain age now. You know, I’m, I’m past 40, I’m 41 now. I’ve got two kids. I kinda gotta look the apart. I guess, you know, so that the influencer thing you mentioned in our kind of approach show. Yeah, that’s for kind of a reason because what, what are you working now on professionally? What’s keeping you busy? It is. And so, yeah, I actually don’t talk about this too much yet. but you know, happy to share it here. so I building my third company now or while it’s not my third, I build 14 companies already, but my, okay. Okay. That’s a Delta. It’s not my third. It’s my 14th. I’ll say my next. Okay. Okay. so I have a new company, it’s called [inaudible]. and it is a CRM and marketing automation platform for influencers. Ah, the best way to think about what we’re doing is we’re building a CRM for your followers.

Greg: 27:41 because you know, basically increasingly, the way we see the world is that, we’re not living in that classic prospect, customer advocate sort of funnel anymore. We will, we, when we imagine the world, we imagine it as followers, fans, prospects, customers, advocates, and then fanatics. Right? And so this whole social realm that now is encapsulated most businesses, we think there’s a ton of opportunity for businesses going forward to leverage and work with and partner with their customers in an increasingly scalable ways. Right? Yeah. But the problem is that, you know, if you’re a Nike, let’s say, and you’ve got 20 million followers out there, on your Instagram, how many of them have you attached like a customer record to, right? Like, yeah, million, 2 million, right? Or maybe even fewer because the walled garden, you know, that don’t necessarily have access to Facebook data or Twitter creating a whole new CRM for all the people you wouldn’t put in your CRM.

Greg: 28:39 Right? and so we’re building a system like that. Now, the reason I’m, I started, you know, I do everything with the double meaning, right? And so, I don’t have time to do things for just one purpose. Right. and so when I started doing my Instagram content, part of it was I wanted to do the expressive part. Like I wanted to just create that kind of content. [inaudible] Oh dude. Show dudes. Like do that, yes, you can. You can wear a suit in 95. Look, it’s, it’s like 95 degrees out today here. Right? I’m still wearing, you know, you know, we can do it. but more importantly, it was what I wanted. What I wanted to do was I also wanted to have that firsthand experience. To your point earlier about like, that empathy about what does an influencer go through to create content?

Greg: 29:22 What does it, what does it take to gain followers, right? What is it like, what is the workflow like to make content on her on a regular basis? Right. and so I wanted to sort of try and experience that in a more firsthand manner, right? Like to understand sort of what’s going on. As, you know, like I do a LinkedIn live show three to four times a week as well, which you will be a guest of at some point soon. you know, and so that process of producing and sort of like, you know, curating, moderating, creating content, like I’ve just sort of tried to immerse myself in the whole experience to really have a better understanding of what my potential customers go through. right. you know, and I’m not trying to become an influencer per se, right. I don’t care. I don’t need brand sending me stuff. I’ll take it. Hey. but, you know, but the, the goal more is to understand what they go through so I can help, like help them create better solutions.

Speaker 4: 30:17 Oh

Greg: 30:20 yeah. There’s, that’s my wife calling. So there’s nothing more appropriate when you’re trying to get a business off the ground and then understanding the real needs of your customer and what their day looks like and their journey so that then you can find the pain point that you really need to try to solve. Right. But I will give you a very, someone said this to me and I can’t, I wish I could remember who it was a, I think it was Lindsay T Tevez. but pretty sure it was going to stay. But she’s awesome. She’s called the, she called the lady engineer I think is her, she’s a product person, used to be an engineer, but she said this thing I think is brilliant. She said that once you’re an entrepreneur, you are no longer the user. Right. And I think this is a fundamentally really important bit of advice, right.

Greg: 31:07 Is that as much as I am trying to understand the user, it is important to understand that I am not the user, right. Like, and so like whatever insights I have really just sort of apply to my perception of this problem, but that is not usually representative. Yeah. But the problem set itself, right. and it may be a thread worth pulling, but you have to verify this validated with others. But the, the second you keep putting yourself fish needs above, like say your customer base is needs, you’re likely robbing yourself of delivering the opportunity that you’re really trying to create. Right. So you can get close, but you’ll never get an exact, you get directionality. Right. But, you gotta you got to always hold yourself like separate then you know like no you’re not the user now you are a business trying to monetize the opportunity and that is an entirely different thing.

Greg: 32:02 Right. Then actually being the user. Yeah. Wow that’s pretty, that’s that is a lot to unpack there in terms of you know, looking at the social media landscape very differently because you know I look at it as what sort of a annoying thing can I, can I say today on Twitter? How can I poke, how can I put over here users, we’re all users of Twitter, all users of Instagram but the second that’s because we’re not doing it like cause our lives depend on it, right? Like but if you have your Nike and you spend $10 million a on social media, you’ve got like real fundamental business concerns going on that you were trying to map those things to. That activity is all part of a plan. That plan is part of a strategy. That’s strategies is accountable to deliverables and budgets and other things like that. And our job as the entrepreneur is not now how to make pushing the tweet button easier. It’s how to fulfill the broader and higher and fundamental promise of why you’re doing.

Joshua: 33:07 Oh wow. Well, I wish you so much luck in that endeavor. It sounds pretty, pretty interesting and exciting. So this would be your next startup. And is there anything else you’ve got going on right now? You know, what’s, what’s keeping you busy? If, if there is anything else.

Greg: 33:22 There is, the only other thing I do is since I became a member, I said I really liked being a dad. I kind of realized I really liked being a dad for everybody. Ah, you gotta you gotta kind of a paternal street? I do. I’ve got his big brother, paternal kind of thing going on. And so, since I’ve been here, I actually love being a coach and a mentor now as well. and so I do have like a consulting practice coaching practice called founder crowd. and I, I sort of offer a model where I help founders. My goal is to ultimately help them to achieve that balance. The same kind of like Zen that I have achieved in my own life. Yeah. I’m trying to help them achieve that. But I, I do I use a model or where we go from consulting.

Greg: 34:08 Yeah. Here’s what I realized is that no matter what I, you could be like a founder like, Oh yeah, I know I need to lose weight. I know I need to spend more time. My kids, I know I need to do whatever, but here’s what you’re going to do. The first thing you’re telling me by Greg, I know I need to do that, but I can’t do it until, yeah. And that till part is where I start. And so I start with a consultative model where I actually have, you know, being a founder of a bunch of companies being in every operational role in silos. I’m like, fine, what’s your, until is your, until like until this product shifts. Okay, great. Let’s go look at your roadmap. Let’s go look at the feature. Let’s go look at the U S let’s get that thing shipped. So that we can then move you to the next phase.

Greg: 34:48 Next phase is going to be the mentorship part where I’m like, great, now let’s give you better skills. So you stop having work overflow constantly to your life, right? And so now it’s like, okay, so here’s this product took you nine months to ship. It should have taken you three. Let’s go look now at what, what did we do wrong? How did we manage it wrong? What skills were we missing? Let’s increase and change those things. Then the last phase of it is coaching. Where am I great? Now let’s look at your trajectory. Where do you want to be? And not really work so much, but like where do you want to be in your future? Right? And so the idea is, you know, we move from all me to all you, right? Sort of over time.

Joshua: 35:31 Yeah. You know, I heard this is, this is timely. Sally last night told me this story. It’s a very story.

Greg: 35:38 I won’t mention any names, but a founder had grinded and grinded. What’s, what’s the past tense of grind grown. alright. Stay had worked very, very hard. Eight, nine years, finally got the big exit was kind of sitting in the boardroom signing the papers. Wife called and I showed her, sorry. Yeah, yeah. I talked about this last night, yesterday on my show. Horrific. Right? So like there’s no time like right now. Yeah. It is absolutely. Exactly the worst, most horrible thing that I imagine to many of us doing to ourselves. Right. Like, you know, I say this over and over again, but I feel like there’s this very toxic relationship that has developed between us and work and some of that is, like a necessity, right? Like there’s always more work to do to start up than there are people. Right? Yep. But some of it is this glamorization or you know, glorification of like the hustle itself, the, I call it hustle porn.

Greg: 36:40 Yeah, totally. Right. And like, I’m not saying people shouldn’t work hard. I’m those people, if people can’t do, should like ignore the work they need to do. I’m saying that they have to be mindful of all of the parts of their life and everything they sacrifice to achieve whatever return it is that they want. And that’s in anything you can’t like work out all day, the gym, either net, ignore everything else. Right? Like that’s also not a realistic thing. And you also can’t spend all your time, your family if you also have to provide for them, right? Yup. Oh, this is not an all or nothing thing. And I’m not condemning like startups. I’m condemning, this glorification, right. of what we’ve, what we’ve gotten to. And there are times where you do have to do all of it or more of it. And there are times where you got to start to say, how do I have a life again to be so founder craft is you kind of mentoring entrepreneurs with trying to help get them over this little hurdle or, or, or sidestep the hurdle or what have you to get to having a life.

Greg: 37:38 Exactly. now some people come to me and they’re like, all right, I raised around, I have an assistant now. I, I’ve hired some people to help me with this, but I’m having trouble with this. And so honestly, like for example, when I was like doing this training, this trim body online transformation thing, I didn’t share any pictures of my progress, right? And then at the 90 day Mark, I finally, it was like, Whoa, wow. I was like, Holy crap, I look kind of good. So I shared a picture. and then you would be amazed, Josh, like I got like 30 of my friends. So like that I never knew like were texting me, emailing me, deeming me like, Hey, can you help me with my nutrition? Can you help me with this? Right. And what I realized was that fitness was actually a thing that a lot of people have on their, in their brain, in their head, and it doesn’t suffer from what I call the medium problem, right? The medium problem is, is that like in business, I feel like people feel like they can read an article on medium and they know how to do it.

Greg: 38:35 I would let me know. Armchair quarterbacking. Yeah. Right. Well, when it comes to your own personal health, like, like, or your fitness, they know they need help, they need motivation, they need tips. They need someone to kick their ass, right? Like that stuff. They realize they’re, that an external entity is usually better. And so a lot of times people are coming in and they want to start with that kind of help. Right. Like, I look, I need help with my, my health. I need help with my fitness. I’m not a trainer. I’m not dietician. What I do is I connect them to like other people who can advise them. What I provide them is a feedback mechanism. I provide them accountability and provide them a way to make it an integrated part of their founder or startup life.

Joshua: 39:15 You’re that 20 bucks on the 20 bucks. Yeah. You know that, that keeps them honest and keeps them committed. That’s great. Well, it sounds like you’re doing a good work on behalf of yourself and your family and helping other people and Denver settled in well with, yes. So, you know, it’s so been so nice to catch up with ya. Greg, can you please tell everybody where to find you, which is apparently everywhere.

Greg: 39:40 Yeah, no, I’m, I’m in a lot of places. The easiest place, the best place. Just go to founder if you want to email me, it’s gregarious, F founder, If you want to find me on Instagram, I’m at gregarious Lee, and I am aggregator, yes, on Twitter as well. And you should definitely follow me on LinkedIn. I’m most definitely the most heavily cause that’s where I produce content three times a week. that’s where you’re gonna see Josh snacks. and so, follow me to get notifications when our show goes on.

Joshua: 40:08 All right, Greg, well thank you so much and I can’t wait to, get a chance to see you and your family again soon. Absolutely, man. It’s good seeing you again. Alright, cheers.

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