Jesse Tevelow Joins Us On The Steve Jobs Inspired Join Up Dots Podcast
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Introducing Jesse Tevelow
Jesse Tevelow is our guest today on the Steve Jobs inspired Join Up Dots free podcast interview.
He is an entrepreneur and writer and the #1 bestselling author of The Connection Algorithm and Hustle, as well as an original cofounder of PlayQ Inc.
He is a guy who is getting out there and flexing the old hustle muscle everyday.
Which is really impressive as there was a time that his future could have been so very different.
As he says in his own words “I grew up in a small suburb outside of Washington DC.
After surviving the public schooling system, I attended the University of Michigan, graduating four years later with a heap of debt and a flimsy certificate saying I wasn’t dumb.
Life after college was painfully dull.
How The Dots Joined Up For Jesse
Two years after graduation, I was bored to death, working at a consulting firm in New York City.
So, I quit my job and co-founded a startup, which went on to generate millions of dollars. I worked there for seven years, but I was eventually fired for being (admittedly) combative and generally useless.
Battling intense fear and self-doubt, I picked myself back up again and decided to write a book.
I’ve taken a lot of risks in life, succeeded at a few things, and failed at many―but the world has never let me down.
After each failure, I’m presented with new opportunities.
Along the way, I’ve met some incredible people who repeatedly support my endeavours despite my shortcomings.
I like that point of view.
No actually I love that point of view.
After each failure, I’m presented with new opportunities.
Because that is the truth, when you are developing an entrepreneurial venture, or going for the dreamlife you will fail often.
But through those failings you will learn, you will learn what worked, what didn’t work and where you need to focus your energies.
So what got him started when most people would have settled into the boredom and accepted their place in the scheme of things?
And how do you overcome those huge doubts right at the beginning, when you have no experience to fall back on, or fragile belief that things will work out in the end?
Well lets find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots, with the one and only Mr Jesse Tevelow
During the show we discussed such weighty topics with Jesse Tevelow such as:
Why you can never have too many showers in life. Not just to make you pleasant to be around, but to get the big ideas too!
How he has to deal with the imposter syndrome everyday, and is aware that this will always be a constant battle.
The reasons why he looks back at being fired from his job as a good thing, and in many way the stimulus for starting his writing career.
Why his mantra as he is getting older is one of balance in his life, whether in business or his personal time. It’s ying and yang all the way!
How To Connect With Jesse Tevelow
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Full Transcription Of Jesse Tevelow Interview
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. Join Up Dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK. David Ralph.
David Ralph [0:25]
Yes, hello, there it is. David. Ralph is David Well, I’ve been recording all day, but Sam has gone down. It’s now dark. I might have a cannibal Agha halfway through doing the show. But no, I’m a professional. So I’ll wait till the end for that. But I could do that because the guy today he seems very relaxed. I’m I’m sure drinking on the job. I won’t say he’s ever done it, but I’m sure he’d be okay with it. And he is a guy who is he’s got a load of things he’s doing at the moment. He’s an entrepreneur. He’s a writer. He’s a number one bestselling author of the connection algorithm and hustle, as well as an original co founder To apply q Incorporated, he’s a guy who’s getting out there and flexing the old hustle muscle every day, which is really impressive as there was a time, but his future could have been so very different. As he says in his own words, I grew up in a small suburb outside of Washington, DC after surviving the public schooling system. I attended the University of Michigan, graduating four years later with a heap of debt and a flimsy certificate saying I wasn’t dumb. life after college was painfully dull. Two years after graduation, I was bored to death, working at a consulting firm in New York City, so I quit my job and co founded a startup which went on to generate millions of dollars. I worked there for seven years, but I was eventually fired for being admittedly combative, and generally useless now battling intense fear and self doubt. I picked myself back up again and decided to write a book. I’ve taken a lot of risks in life succeeded at a few things and found that many but the world has never let me down after each failure. presented with new opportunities along the way, I’ve met some incredible people who repeatedly support my endeavours despite my shortcomings. Now I like that point of view, not actually, I love that point of view. After each failure, I’m presented with new opportunities because that is the truth. When you are developing an entrepreneurial venture or going for the dream life, you will fail often, but through those failings, you will learn, you can’t have learned what worked, what didn’t work, and where you need to focus your energy. So what got him started when most people would have settled into the boardroom and accepted their place in the scheme of things? And how do you overcome those huge doubts right at the beginning, when you have no experience to fall back on or fragile belief that things will work out in the end? Well, let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up does with the one and only Mr. Jesse Tevelow. Hello, how are you Jesse?
Jesse Tevelow [2:52]
David, I’m great. Wow, what an intro. That was fantastic. I’m pumped up now.
David Ralph [2:57]
You should be this is a rocky time where we talk about rocky lot in the episodes because that is the kind of music that you want every day and that’s what I want from the introductions I want you to literally rip open your shirt instantly afterwards and jump out of a window and take on the world. So shall we do that Jesse Tevelow, shall we both? with power comes great responsibility, but I’m sure that we’ll be able to do that.
Jesse Tevelow [3:20]
Absolutely. You got you got me going. And by the way, with the the drinking bit at the beginning, it’s only 1130 where I am here on the west coast in the US, but uh, I’d be open to cracking open a beer if, if you’re into that.
David Ralph [3:33]
Well, now you’re entrepreneurial. Obviously, you can do that you can make your own choices. But have you ever
Unknown Speaker [3:38]
David Ralph [3:39]
Yeah, but have you ever drunk at work when you actually been paid to be there when you are an employee? Have you ever drunk at work?
Jesse Tevelow [3:48]
That’s a good question. I mean, at my startup, we were we were pretty laid back with things like that. We would, you know, oftentimes we would go out for, for drinks for lunch on Fridays. That was actually kind of a little tradition that actually So I guess the answer would be yes, in that context, but you know, obviously, you gotta, you gotta, you gotta keep it sort of dialled back enough that you can, you can get things done too.
David Ralph [4:11]
I was up in the City of London for many years and put out a two year period. And I’m not proud of this in any shape or form. I was literally drunk from about 10 o’clock in the morning onwards, and we was in a sales team. And if we hit the sales by we had to get for sales, we could open up a catalogue. So we used to had this competition to be able to do it. And once we hit four, it was it was a free for all literally, the whole day was written off. And I look back on it now and I think to myself, did that give me a creativity and a ability to go for competition every single day? Did it sharpen my edges or bland? Because you do need something to sort of drive you on even if it’s something basically as wrong as drinking at your desk. Do you think that?
Jesse Tevelow [4:58]
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you No, I think everything in moderation, you know, so like, you know, everyone, hopefully listening here is responsible enough to think about it that way. And that’s, that’s how I looked at it. You know, it was really fun part of our culture at my startups, I love that part of it. And I’m a big beer guy too. So I love craft beers and different kind of beers. And so we kind of work that into the culture. I still I still love going out having a good good drink. But at the same time, I’m, I’m really into health too. So, you know, I try to I try to kind of have balance in that sense. I’d say,
David Ralph [5:31]
Are you a very ying yang guy? Are you do you look for sort of balance in your life generally?
Jesse Tevelow [5:37]
Yeah, I would say so. You know, I much more recently, I think as you get older, you start to sort of realise the benefits of being balanced and sort of, I think it’s very easy when you’re younger, to sort of be like, Okay, I’m gonna go, you know, 100 and thousand miles an hour in this one direction, and then you find out that you can’t really sustain that and so as I’ve gotten older, I’ve really tried to pay attention to it. How I can stay balanced. So that’s, that’s a big part of my whole sort of mantra these days.
David Ralph [6:05]
I love the way that you say, as I’m getting older, I’m looking at your Skype. And I gotta put you somewhere between nine and 12. On that picture. So So how old are you actually?
Jesse Tevelow [6:18]
So I’ve actually 33 so I look a lot younger than I am. People always tell me I look, I still get carded sometimes, but I’m 33. So I wouldn’t say I’m old. But, you know, I think I’d say maybe around 20 to 23 to now. So the I guess the last 10 years I’d say of my life. That has been a very big growth period. For me, I think everyone has different trajectories. But for me, that’s been a very a period of I’d say significant growth in terms of like the mental side of things and how I approach life. But yeah, 33 so
David Ralph [6:49]
so what brought on that that growth? Because obviously you did want most people do you go through the education system, just because you have to go there. And then afterwards, you don’t really know What you want to do is go to college, I get a graduation, I’ll be amazed it doesn’t really work out. So what made you want to start growing? Now when some people do it in a much sort of earlier stage of life?
Jesse Tevelow [7:15]
I think it’s just very situational. You know, it’s just stuff like you said, you go through sort of the the institutions that are set forward for us or set forth for us in life and do typically that’s the schooling system. And everyone sort of goes through that, which I think there’s great plenty of great things about the schooling system in education, and obviously, you know, I’m not telling people to not go to school, but for me when I when I got out and then I went into the job force, which is again, the typical thing that you do, I like I think many people who listen to your show and I know you have said that you felt this way is that you get out and then you start thinking to yourself, like is this it is this is this what life is you know, and it’s like, it’s sucks like you’re at you’re at your desk, you’re doing this job and, you know, it’s just it’s sort of very limiting and So that’s how I felt. In my second job, my first job out of college was actually pretty cool. It’s sort of like a startup atmosphere. I did that for six months. And then I got recruited to this other job. And I took that job because I had a pay raise, which again, is like the typical thing that you do, you’re like, Okay, you know, I’m just gonna sort of take the next rung on the ladder and just slowly climb up this thing. But once I got into that second job, which was sort of a consulting job at its tech company, where I was looking at usability, and like, user experience testing, and we were kind of using this survey software to test websites, and that all sounds kind of cool when it wasn’t to some degree. And I had done that because I wanted to get into startups and I wanted to get into doing my own business at some point. But doing that actual job was really boring for me. And it became what I, I typically categorised as a quote unquote nine to five job, meaning not necessarily the exact hours of nine to five, but sort of just That job that you’re not really into it, you’re not passionate about it, you’re not really excited to get up in the morning. And, and so there I was, you know, I was sitting at the, at the desk and you know, I write about this in my book, sort of about, like, staring at the beige walls that were fading into the beige carpet. And like, everything was just like beige, you know, it’s like, that’s what I remember is like, everything was very dull. And I was I was in the middle of New York City, but which is like, most people think of that as something that’d be very cool. And all I could see was just beige. Everything was beige, you know, I wasn’t like I wasn’t able to actually even enjoy this magnificent city that I was in. And that’s sort of when it struck me that like, I needed to do something about it. So So yeah, that’s I’d say, that’s how the, you know, the growth hit me, I guess you could say is that I had to sort of realise that I was unhappy. And I think that that’s sort of a common thing that happens with people is they get into a situation and eventually one day, just hits you, and you’re like, this sucks. And from there, I just started taking action. And that sort of led to all the growth that happened in last decade.
David Ralph [10:09]
But But the difference with you, Jesse, is that you realised you as I’m happy. You know, I was back in the City of London and have local offices for years and years and years. I don’t think that I actually knew I was unhappy. I just think that I was bored somehow. And I, I felt that’s what life was, you’re supposed to be bored. And I remember talking about this on one of the shows, but I think that we are trained to be bored by the education system. I think there’s very few teachers that inspire you. So you basically from the age of about, I don’t know, five onwards, you know that you’ve got to spend six hours, seven hours a day, being bored, so that when you come out and you go into a job, you kind of go, Well, this is it. This is what life is about. I’ve been bored for the last 15 years. This is the rest of my life. And I didn’t I don’t think I got happiness. So You really know, but you was unhappy and you had to do something about it. It wasn’t just a phase you were going through.
Jesse Tevelow [11:07]
Yeah, I mean, I would I would agree. And and I think you definitely sort of i i agree with what you just said about how the system sort of trains us that way. It still took me time. You know, I didn’t, I didn’t realise it right away. I was working at that company for a few years. And so, like I said, Before, I think it’s different for different people took me it took me a couple years after school to realise like, I really wanted to try something else. And I didn’t want to just sort of settle for what I for what I had, and for the situation that I was in. I know for you, you know, lucky you now doing doing Join Up Dots. And so eventually, obviously, it hits you. But I think it’s sort of, maybe there’s a different timeline for different people. But we could go on forever about the education system and all that I think that there’s a lot of things that could, could be done differently. But I think we’re also in the middle of a sort of an entrepreneurial movement and that sort of Of what drives a lot of the passionate work that I’m doing now and a lot of the stuff that I that I write about. So I think that’s exciting.
David Ralph [12:06]
Yeah, by getting back into the education system, but I do think that the thing that lacks is, there’s too much of learning the basics and not enough of learning the possibilities. You know, I think kids should be excited. When you look at all the things you do at school, you kind of remember the science experiment that blew up, or the you know, the teacher that was slightly mad, you don’t remember that there’s sort of the nuts and bolts of it. And I think after a certain point, you know, enough nuts and bolts, my kids now, my daughter is 10, and she’s doing fractions into decimals. And part of me wants to say, you don’t do that when you become an adult. I can’t remember the last time I changed a fraction into a decimal but I have to sit there in the afternoon working out with her. And I think to myself, get to a certain point that you can read and write get a certain point that you can do this and do that and then try to inspire Maybe I’m a bit naive, but that’s what I would like. I would like a school where people come out with a belief that anything is possible instead of accepting the status quo. I’m getting a bit ranty there, Jesse. But that’s what I think.
Jesse Tevelow [13:13]
No, I, you know, I think you’re onto something there. And actually, it just spurted something in my head. I was listening to another podcast with I believe it was Chris Sacca Who’s this like, huge, you know, big time venture capitalist. But he’s, he’s a guy who I think is very interesting. And I was listening to his podcast that he did. And he was talking about sort of this same kind of thing. I’m pretty sure it was him. By the way, don’t quote me on this, but I believe it was him. And I think he was saying something to the effect of what if we had schools that were teaching people how to be happy instead of teaching them how to be, you know, knowledgeable and XYZ. And I thought that was very interesting because to be happy, you need to be inspired and to be inspired. You need to have some sort of passion that’s driving you to that happiness. That means you’re doing something right. You’re not just gonna, you can’t be happy just filling your thumbs on your couch. So I think that the goal of teaching people how to be happy is a very interesting way to approach it. Um, obviously, I think you need fundamentals, you know, you need to understand math and science and how to write and all that. But yeah, no, I totally agree with you that if we could teach people how to think creatively, feel, figure out how to get inspired sort of how to chase that inspiration. And obviously, there’s technical things that you need to understand to be able to do that move forward. But But yeah, I think the overall I think the overall goal of the past 20 3040 years, let’s say of education has just sort of been to set people off into the system, you know, and just sort of work into that system. And maybe 20 years ago that work because you know, a lot of the jobs were more sort of, if then type jobs. If this happens, then you do that. And so it was very easy. To sort of teach that approach, but nowadays, again, with the entrepreneurial movement and sort of power shifting, again back to individuals and all this freelance type work, and all this is spurted from sort of technology and the advancements of the internet and everything. But it’s a different world that we live in now, you know, all the, all the stability of the IF THEN jobs are sort of going away. And so I think people find themselves in these jobs, there’s not much stability there, even though that was sort of promised to people over the past couple decades, that no longer holds. And then beyond that, the jobs are boring. And so you, what you end up with is a bunch of people who are doing these jobs that aren’t very stable and are also boring. And I mean, that’s gonna, that’s gonna lead to unhappiness. And I think, you know, that’s where I ended up. And I think that’s where you ended up and I think that’s probably where, you know, a lot of people listening to this right now maybe are are feeling so I think it’s a movement and part of it starts with with education and the education system, but I think there’s probably A bigger a bigger side of it rests with the actual individual, the actual person so, you know, you me Everyone else people listening you can, you can affect it a lot more now than you used to be able to. And so I think that that’s really compelling and really, really exciting.
David Ralph [16:15]
I’ll tell you what I’m excited about and we should we should do it. We should create a movement Jesse, you go for the White House, or go for Downing Street with me in the middle, we get a load of Africans involved, they’re always good. And we and so of the Eastern Europeans, they’re probably a bit desperate for a bit of cash. We could get voters on board, we could create a beautiful movement by probably the end of this episode. What do you reckon?
Jesse Tevelow [16:40]
Let’s, let’s make it happen. I’m with you.
David Ralph [16:42]
That’s what I’m gonna do. And you are somebody that that you know, being sensible about it. You have got this hustle. What was interesting about the introduction was, you battled intense fear and self doubt you had all these kind of things, but you’ve been, you know, started a million On a startup, you wrote a book you put yourself out there. That is incredibly interesting to me. Why did you do that? If you were battling with the fears of, you know, being noticed as such.
Jesse Tevelow [17:16]
I mean, so you’re kind of you’re just curious, maybe I guess about how how I got into sort of the the startup stuff in the book stuff, is that where you’re going?
David Ralph [17:24]
I’m just interested by your mindset. At those early days, when you are struggling with fear and self doubt, I would have thought the last place you’d want to go into is a startup, which is kind of erratic at the best. You know, if you’re worrying about things, surely you would put yourself in a safe position, but you didn’t you kind of went the opposite route.
Jesse Tevelow [17:44]
Got it? Got it. Yeah. I mean, it was here’s one thing I would say is, excuse me is self self doubt. I think that’s an important thing to talk about. And, you know, I still have self doubt I have self doubt right now. You know, there’s there’s all kinds of stuff I’m working on where I’m There’s a bunch of doubt. And I think that that’s something that people need to come to terms with, especially if you’re the type of person that is not happy doing a typical type of job. And so, you know, in my books, I talk a lot about, you know, rejecting the nine to five and sort of defying the status quo. And you know, what, I don’t mean that people shouldn’t do nine to five jobs. When I say those kinds of things. What I mean is that people shouldn’t be empty in terms of passion, you shouldn’t you shouldn’t be living your life without any passion in it. And some people can do the the more standard type of jobs are the jobs that have been popular over the last couple of decades and, and that’s great and, and, you know, there’s people out there that that have that sort of more expected type of job role where there’s not a lot of uncertainty and there’s not a lot of doubt in terms of what you’re supposed to do. And, and again, I think that that’s great. If you’re not that type of person, though, if you feel you know, Sort of like you’re just slogging through life and you know, I call it the swamp, if you feel like you’re in the swamp, meaning you’re just sort of slogging through and you’re not really happy and you don’t have a lot of energy or motivation, then I believe, you have to confront the self doubt, you have to jump into the fear. That’s the only way to get out of that situation and to get to a place where you’re going to feel more happy. And it’s weird and a sort of counterintuitive, because like you said, it’s sort of like, well, the last thing you’d want to do if you’re feeling doubtful is to go into a situation that that isn’t stable, but in actuality, that’s the only way through you have to go through it. And there’s, there’s another book called the obstacle is the way I think it’s Ryan Holiday, I might be getting that wrong, but I believe it’s, I believe it’s by Ryan Holiday. And he’s talking about how you sort of have to lean into the problem and that that’s where you find the most growth and that that’s where you find the most success. And, and I fully subscribe to that belief. So when I was feeling down And when I was not happy with my situation, I knew that I needed to take a risk, I needed to take a chance. And I figured the bigger risks I took and the bigger chances I took the the more opportunity for sort of amazing things to happen. And that’s one of the sort of the core beliefs that I that I espouse in the connection algorithm, my book. And, and yeah, I mean, I just I really believe in that. And so it’s absolutely scary. Even I’d say even terrifying is a word I would use when you’re going into these things. When I wrote the first book, it was I was pretty terrified. very scared, very nervous about it. But I just I know, at this point in my life, that that’s sort of where the magic happens. And so that’s my mentality. And that that’s sort of how I operate. Now, as I look at, you know, different opportunities and different things that I want to get involved with,
David Ralph [20:52]
so So how do you overcome the imposter syndrome that sits on all of us because I know before we started recording, you had done You’ll research on Join Up Dots and you actually listen to episode one. And hopefully you can hear it’s a very different version of me now to what it was. Because I was pretending I was playing a role. I was playing the chat show host the podcast or whatever, at that time. And it took me a long time to fully embrace what I should be doing. And once you get to that point, and you go, yep, this is it. Ben, it kind of all stems forward. But in your sort of role where you’re doing a bit of this and a bit of fat, you must be dealing with that sort of imposter syndrome in different formats quite a lot.
Jesse Tevelow [21:35]
Absolutely. It’s, it’s incredibly challenging. I mean, and again, it goes hand in hand with the self doubt I, I still experienced that today. I still say to myself, am I am I really a writer? Or am I really an entrepreneur? And it’s hard because, you know, we have these labels, you know, and we have to have labels. Otherwise, you know, we need to, we need to somehow make sense of who we’re talking to and what people do and that kind of thing. But at the end of the day, Every one is different. What everyone’s doing is different. Everyone’s you know, the way you’re doing your podcast is different than the way everyone else is doing their podcasts. And the way I write is different than the way everyone else writes. And at the end of the day, to me, it all it just comes down to one thing, and it really it just come in, it’s a selfish thing. But I believe that that it’s that that’s sort of the whole the name of the game really is that you know, you’re we’re here to enjoy our lives. And so, if you’re doing something that makes your heart pump and you’re you’re into it, that’s all that matters. It doesn’t matter if someone else thinks you’re an imposter or you’re not legitimate or whatever that whatever they might think, who cares, you know, if you’re getting value out of it, and it feels good to you, and you’re and you’re honest and authentic about it. In other words, you’re not you’re not trying to, you know, swindle anyone or anything then then I say, you know, go for it. 100% and it’s, it’s easy for me to say that it’s incredibly hard to do. But I think you know, again, if for people listening, you know, if you can just get over that hump of, of like, you know, it doesn’t really matter if other people think you’re an imposter that the only reason you think you’re an imposter is because you think other people might think you’re an imposter. And so you just have to realise that being authentic is is the key. And you know, when I when I listened to your first episode, honestly, I don’t I don’t know what your reaction is gonna be to this, but I thought you sounded pretty much like you, you know, like you, not you I think you’ve you’ve grown in the podcast, but you sounded damn good on that first episode, you know, it’s like it wasn’t like you needed to improve, you know, miles and miles of from where you are, you know, to where you are now. It’s sort of like you were a natural with it. And I think you were a natural because you care about it. And because you’re passionate about it, and oftentimes when when someone is in a situation that they don’t like and then they go off into the, you know, the pit of fear and they do that thing that they that they want to do. Most of the time, they end up being pretty good at it, because that’s the thing that you actually want to do. And so when you put the energy into it and you’re authentic with it, usually it ends up ends up being, you know, a lot better than than you initially thought it was going to be. Don’t get me wrong, everything takes practice, but but you know, I think it’s a good, good place to start.
David Ralph [24:17]
Yeah, no, I think that’s the biggest compliment I’ve ever had. Because what you’re basically saying was I kind of slipped into a sweet spot that didn’t need that much work. But it was something that I was naturally born to do, and I’ve certainly feel bad. Now I do this now. I think to myself, why did I take so long? Why did I take so long Jesse. But of course, that’s what Join Up Dots is all about. It’s the stumbles and falls of trials and tribulations that get you to that point. And we’re gonna play some words. Now that’s going to take us seamlessly to the next stage of the conversation. And you’ve kind of alluded to this all the way through, but let’s play it again. This is Jim Carrey.
Jim Carrey [24:54]
My father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. And so he made it conservative. of choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant. And when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job. And our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.
David Ralph [25:21]
Now, that still makes me sit up and think every time I play back, literally, and I don’t know if it’s the way he phrases it or whatever, but it’s literally two stories in there. There’s one that the last generation holding you back with their fears, and then opportunities. Were in the generation where we’ve got opportunities, we can create our own book and publish it ourselves. We can make our own movie we can make our own radio station like this is really whatever we want to do within reason we can do it. When you hear those words. What do you actually think Jesse?
Jesse Tevelow [25:55]
So first of all, I love that quote, I’ve actually shared that probably 100 times Um, in various different ways, whether it’s email or social networks or things like that. So I was already familiar with that, quote, um, great, great speech that and that his whole speech, by the way is amazing, but that I love that little section that you pulled out. And, you know, I think I, I love the way he says it too. I think what he’s getting at is that, you know, look at this life is is uncertain, there’s never real 100% stability in anything, you know, and, and the accountant example is so good because a lot of people think of an accountant as like a very stable job. But nowadays, it’s just that’s not the case. And you know, and and there’s a great book called The end of jobs by Taylor Pearson, that amazing new author out there. And and I’ve kind of gotten a relationship with Taylor just over email because our books are similar, but check out the end of jobs, he talks about this as well, you know, and it goes into sort of like the lifestyle of or the expectation of an accountant and how that’s the Not really a stable position anymore. And so, you know, the the little excerpt from Jim Carrey is that look, you know, if you’re gonna go try to do something, there’s potential of, you know, failure, or just everything sort of falling apart with, with anything that you try to do. So knowing that and armed with that information, you might as well aim for something really good, you know, aim aim really high. And knowing that, like, Look, failures, just sort of like that it can happen in any scenario. So so you might as well try to just really go for something that you love, regardless of, of whatever the outcome is gonna be, you know, and, and one thing I’ll add to this, and this is again, part of part of the message in my book is that when you aim really high, and you try things that are really sort of crazy or different or weird or just out of the norm, you will find that you actually, whether you succeed or you fail, you actually end up sort at a higher plateau than where you started. And I think that’s really profound and something that people don’t think about. They just when they’re sitting in their chair, you know, trying to figure out if they want to do the this big idea that they have, they just think about the fear and the potential of failure. But if you actually play it through in your head, you know, oh, if you do these things, even if you fail, all kinds of other doors open up. And you know, that I think I’m somewhat of a good example would that were like, going through a startup and ending up leaving that startup and then writing a book, you know, these are things that have a lot of potential for failure, I ended up getting fired for my startup by my founders after working there for seven years. And that was, that was really tough. But at the end of the day, looking back, you know, I love that company. I love those guys. I love the fact that sort of the right decision was made because at the end of the day, looking back, I can realise that was the right thing. And guess what, because I did all those cool things. I had had a bunch of great material to write a book. And so then when I wrote the book I had, I had all that stuff that I could say. And then the book ended up doing fairly well. And so So my point is that by taking all these chances, even when you sort of have something that people might qualify as a failure, you end up in a position of actually relative power and success based on the fact that you took those chances in the first place. If that makes sense. It makes total
David Ralph [29:23]
sense. There was a guy on episode 82. And for many, many months, every time I I had a few too many shanties in a pub, I would tell the story, I’m not gonna tell it again. But it really does emphasise the fact that if you aim for the stars, you’ve got less competition, because ultimately, most people do not aim for the stars that aim for the nearest being near to them. And this guy tells us amazing story at the end, how he went to something that was beyond lunacy, and literally put himself in a straight shootout with one other person on the planet because they The only two people that tried it. And it just, it seems bizarre to me in many ways, but understandable how we will look for a job in Taco Bell with 1000 other people as more achievable than actually creating our own economy. Now, once you get into the entrepreneurial world, you know, yes, it does take hassle, you have to have a certain mindset you need to push through. But ultimately, your efforts will be rewarded with what you gain. But the majority of the planet don’t go that way. They go the herd. And so you pull yourself away from the herd and you become the lone sheep. And you’ve got a nice grass because they will grow us grazing over there and you’ve got the nice stuff over on the left.
Jesse Tevelow [30:41]
Absolutely. And this is this something that I call the edge and so it’s what the way I describe it is that you don’t have to be the best to succeed you just have to be better than most. And most people are sort of, you know, I don’t know how to put this but sort of lazy right like Most people just they don’t they don’t want to go that extra step. And so if you go the extra step, like you said before you put yourself in a smaller pool. And so there’s less competition. And so sort of counter intuitively you you put yourself in sort of a better position to succeed than everyone else who’s in the herd. And, you know, there’s still all this, you know, there’s still a bunch of difficulty and challenges and problems with trying to, to do something, I don’t say problems but challenges with with doing something that’s different. But at the same time, you are sort of setting yourself in a different different place than than the majority of people and so you have a better chance at sort of making something happen. So So yeah, I love that concept of, of sort of aiming for the stars, or I call it the edge where you just you go that extra step or that extra mile, and all of a sudden, you know, you’re not just one step ahead. You’re like, you’re way ahead of everyone, because just because you took that little extra effort.
David Ralph [31:54]
So you’re taking effort all the way along the line. And as you’ve said, and I mentioned in the introduction You’ve met some incredible people who report repeatedly support my endeavours despite my shortcomings. What do you think that other people seeing you? Why are they going to support you? When you may not be up to their level? Instead of saying, Ah, complete lunatic? Let’s Let’s be on our way?
Jesse Tevelow [32:19]
That’s a good question. I, I think what it comes down to, is, again, going back to the authenticity and doing things you care about. And then the what I’ll add to that is creating value. And so I think this is this is important. So, again, sorry, I keep going back to my book, but so many of these things relate to it. So one of the things I talk about in my book is the third step of my sort of little system called the connection algorithm. And that third step is create and what I what I’m talking about in that step is creating value. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be something tangible but you you have to be doing work that actually is is meaningful in some way. So no one’s gonna really want to talk to you or sort of get involved with what you’re doing, unless you’ve already done some work on the front end. And so, you know, when when you reach out to people, and I think a lot of people struggle with this, they have an idea, and then they just start reaching out to people and say, Hey, can you helped me with this? Can you do this? Can you help me with that, and no one’s going to help you if you haven’t already sort of put in the work to do something, you know, on your own and figured some things out and got over some of the hurdles already. And so I that’s something that I talk about a lot where you have to actually, you actually have to put stuff out there into the world. And so, you know, when I when I’m approaching people, I always approached people with you know, here’s what I what I’m doing, here’s what I’m working on. And you know, I’m working on a new book right now. And I’ve been reaching out to people and I, you know, been able to connect with with a lot of different folks, mainly because a bunch of the books already written I have a bunch of other stuff I did before, you know, this book with my other books and the other work I’ve done and so it all starts to up. And I also talk about byproducts where everything you do creates byproducts. And so the more work you put out, it starts to it just starts to add up. And it’s this, this process that over time, people will start to sort of buy into the fact that you know what, this guy is a hustler, this guy does work hard, this guy is doing something worthwhile. And you’ll start to get more more positive feedback and be able to connect with more people. Once you’ve once you’ve done that, so you got to put in the time and you got to put in the work and I think that all that all kind of comes back around and and you know, don’t get discouraged at first when you know, earlier in my career reaching out to people it was less effective now it’s more effective active you know, as I keep going through the process of grinding and creating content and doing doing things that create value. You know, even being here right now going on the show. It’s It’s great. You know, this is a fantastic this will be a fantastic byproduct, you know that I can point to five times 10 years from now and say, hey, look, I want one on David show, you know, that’s that’s pretty cool. And who knows where you’re gonna go, you know, you’re, you’re, you’re flying really high right now too. So making the connections all adds up and and it’s, it’s at the beginning, it’s a little tough and you got to kind of do the work. But it all starts to snowball over time.
David Ralph [35:17]
Now well when you write your books, I’m interested when you start your first book, do you kind of look at yourself and go right okay, how have I done this? And write the chapters and then look around for confirmation? Or do you assess people because it’s quite obvious you love these subjects? You are an a master of the game you you studied them, so did you look at yourself and then work outward or outward and back to yourself?
Jesse Tevelow [35:45]
That’s a good question. I think it’s kind of circular. I would say, you know, when you’re when you’re passionate about something, you just you’re naturally gonna explore it. And so there were a lot of things that I had had read about a lot of things I had researched when I started working on My first book and there were, there were a tonne of things that I was also pulling from my own personal experience. And so it sort of becomes this. This, you know, big pot, if you want to imagine it and just throwing stuff into into the pot. And some of it was from my own knowledge and a lot of it was from things that I was picking up and learning from from the outside world. So So yeah, that was that was part of the process.
David Ralph [36:24]
And when you come to write a new book, is it as a natural progression? Or do you just come up? You’re in the shower one day, soaping yourself and you suddenly go, oh, that’d be a good idea. Or do you start to get the ideas as you’re writing the last one?
Jesse Tevelow [36:39]
Well, first of all, I love showers. I’m huge on showers. When people ask me advice, I say take more showers and that’s that’s advice I got from my father. But But showers are an amazing place to get to get inspiration and good ideas. But, uh, you know, it comes fairly it. It’s fairly organic. So you know, ideas are coming to me all the time. I use a lot of different tools and resources to kind of corral all those ideas. So I use Evernote and I use Asana is another software that I use to kind of keep all my stuff together. pocket is another one, I’ll save articles to pocket, which allows me to refer back to articles I’ve read online and read them later. So I’m constantly doing information synthesis. I also use Feedly, which is a feed reader. And so I have subscriptions to probably 100 different blogs and all those all the content from those blogs comes flows into Feedly. And then I can quickly flip through those and read through those. So I’m doing a tonne of sort of information gathering just throughout my day. It’s just part of my routine. And I’ve been trying to read a lot more. I wasn’t a very, very avid reader before I started writing. Now that I’m sort of, you know, in this position where I’m writing books, I find that I want to read a lot more because I just feel it really adds to, to my own writing. So that’s another thing that I that I do a lot now and have a bunch of books on Kindle. And I use Goodreads, which is another great site for finding good books. So there’s a tonne of information, this sort of just flowing through my head. But in terms of what I’m going to write about it, it does flow from my heart, you know, it flows from my experiences for my life and sort of what I’m picking up and, you know, there’s a lot of noise out there and I I tried to distil things down for myself. And so it’s very personal. It’s sort of a very personal effort. But I think about Okay, in this personal process, how can that help other people and so that’s what I that’s how I try to write I try to take the own my own processes and then format it and compile it into into a book that other people can read and hopefully get value out of,
David Ralph [38:54]
is interesting that you say that you read more because you become the author that you are because I used to listen to a lot of podcasts. And now I’m a podcaster I listened to, quite honestly the only ones I listened to is myself so that I can appraise my performance and see how I can sort of get another 10% out of it each time. And the Nerdist, which is complete departure and is a kind of, you know, a fun fuel chat with Hollywood a listers. I don’t have the time to listen to other podcasts. But I think it’s a good thing that I’m not because I’m not faced with competition. I’m just faced with doing my stuff. And I think one of the things that holds people back is that they assess too many different options and ultimately fall in the cracks somewhere in the middle. Do you see the same thing?
Jesse Tevelow [39:43]
Absolutely. I think you that what you just said is so insightful, and I’m so glad that you brought that up because you know I was saying saying one side of the coin and you just brought about you know, you just described the other side of the coin and I’m completely 100% in agreement with what you said. So everyone listening Pay attention to that it’s important that you don’t get overwhelmed by all the information as well. And I try to check myself on that. So I’m very cognizant of it. I think a lot of people can get lost in this and get sucked down into it, and then they end up that it turns into it makes people paralysed, they stop working, because they just think, you know, what, there’s, there’s already all this stuff out there, how am I ever going to compete and so that’s extremely dangerous. So you really have to be careful there. On the one hand, it’s great to find as much information as you can and learn as much as you can. But on the other side, you have to be careful with it. And so, you know, David, I was listening to some of your other shows, and I, I heard you talking about that. And I thought, That’s really interesting. And you know, it might be one of the things that makes you so successful with it is that you don’t, you don’t let all that noise come in. And so I think because of that your show is really unique. You know, I think you have a really Specific sort of vibe to it. That’s that’s I don’t think very replicable. And so I think that gives you a very competitive edge. And so there’s benefits on both sides. For sure.
David Ralph [41:10]
When you look at other offers, do you aim for certain? I don’t know, certain similar vibes, honest subjects that you look for other people do. I imagine it’s like a songwriter, songwriter. We’ll hear somebody else write a song. Oh, God, I wish I’d done that one. That’s a brilliant. So do you have books that you go? Yeah, that that, that now that for me, If only I’d got there first.
Jesse Tevelow [41:35]
I don’t think if only I got there first. Because I always know that there’s more room. And that’s one of the sort of tenants that I that I operate within as nuts. Again, that’s a check that I have in my head to say, Look, don’t get overwhelmed by something like that realise that there’s always room for another perspective. At the end of the day, at the end of the day, it’s all about sort of storytelling. And so I think even if you’re telling the same story that’s been told 100 times, if you can tell it with your own unique voice and your own spin, I think it has value. But so what I do is that when I read as I look for a couple different things, I look for really insightful ideas and thoughts. And so if someone has something that I think is very profound, I’ll take a note of that. And, and knowing that I can probably use that in some way in my own writing. I also look for just the actual tone of the writer. And so I’m not actually looking at the words or the content or even or the story or anything that’s actually being said, I’m just looking at how they’re saying it. And I use that as a way to, to hone in on how I want to be communicating. I think that so much of writing is sort of like just can you get the message across in a way that’s not going to bore the hell out of people? You know, I think people get so bored with these things and it’s it’s hard to keep people’s attention and so how do you get through to someone in a way that actually keeps their you keeps their attention and so and so that’s something I try to pay very close attention to. A lot of it comes down to being short and sweet and not trying to be you know, too wordy with things and yeah, you know, so many writers get caught up with like the perfect sentence structure and I think of it as if like I’m just having a conversation with the reader and you know, how can I best explain something to the this person listening to me today understand what I’m talking about. So those are some of the things that I look for. I’m at this point in my career, I’m focused on those kinds of things. I’d love to get into like fiction eventually. I don’t like I don’t read any fiction right now. It’s like it’s just all nonfiction stuff. And I think it’s because I’m really trying to just hone on hone the craft right now.
David Ralph [43:42]
I think we’re very, very similar because I’m very aware and I think this comes from my training background. I used to do loads and loads of training courses. And I’m very aware that you cannot be clever in front of a group of people. To have a might be our to understand it to them. I’ve got no idea what you’re talking about, so you’ve got to speak in layman’s terms, but not over Damn it somehow. And of course, I can ask a question. And you can say Sally didn’t quite get that. And I can phrase it another way. But in a book, if you’re too clever, it just goes over here. I’ve read some books recently, which I’ve given up because I just didn’t, I had no idea what they were talking about. I kind of understood it. But I was just thinking, Oh, come on, boys. You know, just just make it easy. Make it a page turner. And then other ones. It’s like Barack Obama. I’ve got his book in front of me dreams from Farber and I read it. And I think it’s too kind of clever for its own good. It’s just, it’s like, oh, I’m going to be an author. And I’m going to write this book. It’s probably a great book, but I just can’t plough through it. And I’m reading Richard Branson’s. It’s a page turner. It’s funny. It’s humble. It’s got humility is got stories in and you just want to get through it as quickly as possible. And so I do think that we’re very similar that communication has to be built on a structure of simplicity, before anything clever gets better.
Jesse Tevelow [45:01]
Yeah, and and you know, it’s different for different people to different readers like different writers and you know, I, for me, it’s again, it goes back to being authentic. I’m gonna write how I talk how I think I’m not gonna try to be someone I’m not, I’m not going to try to, you know, speak to an audience that I don’t relate to, I’m going to speak to the relate to the audience that I want to talk to and who I want to read my books. And so I think Tim Ferriss talks a lot about this, where he wrote the his book, The Four Hour Workweek, as if he was writing to a few of his close friends. And I picked that up and I said, hey, yeah, that’s a that’s a good approach. So that’s sort of how I do it as well. It’s like, if I was just gonna be talking to some of my friends about this, how would I talk to them about it? And, you know, I’ve been through, you know, I went, I went to the University of Michigan, I’ve gone through enough schooling where I have, you know, a base level of knowledge. So, I’m not talking about writing, as if I’m writing you know, at a third grade reading level or a first grade reading level or something. I’m just saying that when I, when I’m thinking about my tone, I try to be as authentic as possible. If that makes sense.
David Ralph [46:07]
It makes total sense. Let’s play some words now that were said back in 2005, and are absolutely pivotal to what we’re doing on Join Up Dots. But they’re also pivotal in so many other ways, in so many different lives. This is Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs [46:21]
Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever, because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path and that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [46:56]
So do you look back and join up your dots Jessie
Jesse Tevelow [47:00]
Yeah, you know, I do and I love I love that speech. I actually when I heard of your podcast didn’t realise that it was related to that I thought maybe it could have been but then as I started listening to your show, I realised, oh my gosh, it is it is that and I, I referenced that same speech in my book, the connection algorithm, which I thought was yet again another cool connection, since we’re talking about connections. But, but yeah, I absolutely do that. And, and that’s a big part of the message that I that I gave in my book as well that you know, you do have to, it goes back again to the uncertainty You don’t know how things are going to connect. And so you can’t operate as if things will it’s just that’s to me, that’s not a smart way to operate if you if you operate within the mindset that you know exactly how everything’s gonna play out. You’re closing the door on so many different things versus if you just follow your interests and your passions and things that make you think and things that make Question things and just things that get your heart pumping. you’ll realise when you look back five years later, 10 years later, you’ll go, oh my gosh, that allowed me to do this, this and this. And that got me to where I am today. And so, you know, I absolutely agree with with Steve Jobs, you can’t, you can’t possibly connect them going forward, you can only do that. After you look back,
David Ralph [48:21]
I keep on thinking about writing a book myself, I’ve written a couple of books, sort of fiction books that I’ve kept in a drawer, but I like the for the the try every handle, that’s what it would be called. And I just like the image of being in a room with loads of doors and being told to just go through one and one will take you into some situation and another one will take you into another situation, but you just have to deal with it when you go through there. And I think unfortunately for us, most of the time, we know what doors we’re going to go through. So we don’t get that ability to, to have to think on our feet. It’s all kind of written out for us somehow. Try every hand or quite like that.
Jesse Tevelow [48:59]
Yeah, Absolutely, and you should try, you should write a book, you know, you’ve you’re doing amazing things, and I’m sure, um, you know, it could be something that you really enjoy. Or maybe you’ll hate it and then you’ll know that you hate it. And then you’ll go back to and you’re, you’re focusing on your podcasting. You know what I mean? But it’s funny that you mentioned that because I’ve been thinking about about podcasting, too. It’s like I, the more I go on these shows, I’m like, Man, this is a really interesting thing going on with podcasting. So it’s very, that’s very intriguing to me, too. So that’s one that’s on my list of potential handles to to try absolutely try every handle. That’s the way it’s about.
David Ralph [49:34]
Now, this is the end of the show, obviously. But before we send you back in time on the Sermon on the mic, I do need to ask you the question, but is, you know, what is your big deal when you look back over your life leading to where you are now? Did you have a big moment that really sort of pivoted you and got you in the direction that you’re travelling?
Jesse Tevelow [49:53]
Um, you know, I think that there’s there’s so many dots throughout people’s lives and there’s definitely ones that you can look back on and go That was a big one or this this one changed a lot of things. I think when I left my, my, my nine to five job was probably the, the moment when things changed a lot for me. You know, that’s, that’s just a huge leap to be like, Okay, I’m gonna, you know, I have a job where it’s just sort of like a typical salaried position. And I’m gonna go ahead and just quit that. And, you know, I, I launched into this startup sort of journey. So I’d say that was that was probably what set me off on a very different path. You know, since then, it’s you know, more recently, it’s been deciding to to write a book, which was just a huge sort of leap of faith that I did. I did and I’ve been, I’ve just, it’s been really eye opening and so that that’s another big one, and
we’ll see where it goes from there.
David Ralph [50:47]
podcasting legend, I can see you the next one will be the podcasting Emmy Awards or something like that. Well, we have been travelling on the journey that isn’t sort of joining up the dots is a fixed so we’re here. This is the end showbiz is the part that we call a sermon on the mic when we send you back in time to have a one on one with your younger self. And if you could go back in time and speak to the young Jesse, what age would you choose? And what advice would you give? Well, we’re going to find out because I’m going to play the theme tune. And when it fades you up. This is the Sermon on the mic.
Unknown Speaker [51:22]
We go with the best
Unknown Speaker [51:24]
bit of the show.
Unknown Speaker [51:43]
Jesse Tevelow [51:45]
Well, I think I I want to talk to my 22 year old self, who was sitting in New York City and just sort of unsure about the relationship I was in where my job was going what I was doing on this planet, sort of every, every self doubt kind of question that you can have. And it was really tough. And I think I would just say to, to my younger self that number one to chill out a little bit, not not worry so much about where you’re going to go or what you’re going to be or, you know, how how important in this world you’re going to become or or, you know, those were the kind of things that that I was concerned with. Not to mention Money, Money was just a huge thing. Like, you know, how, how am I going to do this? And I think that now looking back, I would just say like, calm down You’re You’re supposed to be on this earth to enjoy yourself. That’s really all that matters. And to just to just not worry about what other people think, because what if you can do that? You’ll take more chances, and you’ll start to really figure out what matters.
David Ralph [53:25]
Jesse, what’s the number one best way that our audience can connect with you, sir?
Jesse Tevelow [53:29]
The best way is J tab.me. That’s just j t v.me. It’s my website. And from there, you can find all my books and everything else I’m working on. I have
David Ralph [53:39]
over links on the show notes. Jesse, thank you so much for spending time with us today. joining up those dots and please come back again when you have more dots to join up because I do believe that by joining up the dots and connecting our past is the best way to build our futures. Jesse tableau. Thank you so much,
Jesse Tevelow [53:55]
David, thank you so much, man. Love the show had a great time.
David Ralph [54:00]
He is amazing to me. He mentioned a couple of names in that episode that I know personally and in the world is so small. And it’s not until you start branching out that you realise that actually, it is an incredibly small place and people are supportive and people are out there looking out for you. You don’t know that until you start, but it’s so true. So for all of you out there, you’ve got an idea, you’ve got a passion, you’ve got a vision or whatever. As Jesse was saying, you’ve got to hustle, you got to put the effort in. But when people see that you’ve done that and you’re trying your best, it does become a lot easier. And certainly, you know, all of you guys, you show me you’ve got work done, you come through to me and I will help you out because that’s important for this show. It’s important for me, and it’s important for all of you to get the dream. Thank you so much for listening. Fairly enjoyed this one. This was David Ralph a coat This is Join Up Dots. And we’ll see you again soon.
David doesn’t want you to become a faded version of the brilliant self you or wants to become. So he’s put together an amazing guide for you called the eight pieces of advice that every successful entrepreneur practices, including the two that changed his life. Head over to Join Up dots.com to download this amazing guide for free and we’ll see you tomorrow on Join Up Dots.