Dan Chan Magician Joins Us On The Steve Jobs Inspired Join Up Dots Podcast
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Introducing Dan Chan
Dan Chan is today’s guest joining us on the Steve Jobs inspired Join Up Dots podcast.
This is a man who has had a very interesting story to where he is today.
He grew up in San Francisco, CA, and as a young child has to go through the heartbreak of seeing his parents divorce.
Times were not easy for him and he was picked on a lot while growing up.
As he says “Looking back on the pictures I was a bit of a goofy looking kid.
It didn’t help that I was a pretty nerdy Asian kid who acted goofy as well.
In Middle School I really didn’t want to be known as just the nerdy little Asian kid so I started lifting weights.
I was probably the most buff kid in high school.
I also started dabbling around with magic and juggling for fun because no matter how hard I tried fitting in “with the crowd”, my inquisitive nerdy side never quite went away.”
And so his interest in magic started taking shape, but how do then go from that interest / hobby to one that pays.
How The Dots Joined For Dan Chan
Well our guest did just that thanks to some very attractive ladies and am expert in the profession he was interested in.
As he says again”Well one season there was a convention going on one weekend where there was a lot of entertainment including a magician and a lot of Playboy Bunnies.
As awesome as it was to be a college student surrounded by all these really beautiful women, I was absolutely fascinated by the effects the magician was doing!
I ended up following the magician around all weekend trying to pick his brain and figure out his effects.
This guy had the ultimate dream job — fooling people, crashing parties, travelling, meeting girls…and getting paid to do it? Sign me up.
After winter break was over, I ended up going to the magic shop and picking up a ton of stuff to practice on friends at school and found out I was pretty good.
I did my first gig after college while I was working at PayPal.
It was for a birthday party and I got really great feedback and people actually recommended me to other friends.
When I started getting gigs pretty consistently to the point where I was calling in sick at my “real job”, I started thinking…” hum, maybe I got something going on here”.
So that’s the perfect place to start today’s episode of Join Up Dots.
So when something that at the beginning seems great, starts to become just a job, how do you keep the motivation going.
And how do you scale, to gain the time back after performing gigs to gain your cash?
Well lets find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Dan Chan
During the show we discussed such deep weighty subjects with Dan Chan such as:
Dan shares how the grand illusions of David Copperfield are as much about growing their name as they are about the trick or illusion themselves.
We discuss the reasons why so many magicians rarely get laid even when they get good at magic.
Why it so important to pre-qualify your clients before committing to them to ensure you get the best value from them and for yourself.
Dan reveals how he is planning his exit strategy from his magician career. If you dont plan for things to happen sometimes they simply dont occur.
How To Connect With Dan Chan
Return To The Top Of Dan Chan
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Audio Transcription Of Dan Chan 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, a good morning to my listeners. Good morning. Thank you very much for sticking around and being here with another episode of Join Up Dots. Yes, the show that can go in literally any direction. And it normally does. Well, today’s guest that’s joining us on the show. He’s had a very interesting storey to where he is today. He grew up in San Francisco in California. And as a young child had to go through the heartbreak of seeing his parents divorce. Now times were not easy for him. And he was picked on a lot while growing up. Now. As he says looking back on the pictures, I was a bit of a goofy looking Katie didn’t help out. I was a pretty nerdy Asian kid who acted goofy as well. Now in middle school, I really didn’t want to be known as just the nerdy little Asian kid. So I started lifting weights. I was probably the most bath kid in high school. I also started dabbling around with magic and juggling for fun because no matter how hard I tried fitting in with the crowd, my inquisitive nerdy side, never quite went away. So he’s interested in magic started taking shape. But how do you then go from that interest hobby to one that actually pays you were our guest digitas bad thanks to some very attractive ladies and an expert in the profession he was interested in. As he says again, well, one season there was a convention going on. And it was a lot of entertainment, including a magician and a lot of Playboy bunnies. as awesome as it was to be a college student surrounded by all these really beautiful women. I was absolutely fascinated by the effects the magician was doing. I ended up following the magician around all weekend trying to pick his brain fake him out he’s effects and this guy had the ultimate dream job fooling people, crashing parties, travelling meeting girls, and getting paid to do it. Sign me up, he said. Now after winter break was over, he ended up going to the magic shop and picking up a tonne of stuff to practice on friends at school. And he found out he was pretty good. And he did his first gig after college whilst he was working at PayPal. Now finally, it was for a birthday party. But he got really great feedback. And people actually started recommending him to other friends. And so when he started getting gigs pretty consistently, he started coding in sick at his real job. And he started thinking, maybe I’ve got something going on here. So that’s the perfect place to start today’s episode of Join Up Dots. So when something that at the beginning seems great starts to become just a job. How do you keep the motivation going and keep it fun and entertaining for you? And how do you scale the to gain the time back after performing games to gain your cash right at the very beginning? Well, let’s find out as we bring on to the show to start Join Up Dots with the one and only Dan Chan. Good morning, guys. How are you sir?
Dan Chan [3:13]
Good morning, David. Ralph is 5am over here.
David Ralph [3:16]
Hey, okay, Dan Chan. You don’t have to call me David. Ralph. You can just call me David. We’re friends now. Where we’re buddies. I’ve dragged you out of bed at 5am. And that’s why you’ve got a slightly Whispery voice because I imagine there’s people in the house asleep at the moment.
Dan Chan [3:30]
Yes, they are.
David Ralph [3:31]
Okay, well, we will whisper together because I’m starting to lose my voice first cold of the winter, little bits naughty, but we will fight for. So I gave you the big build up down because it was quite fascinating as I was reading your backstory, because so many people in school, want to have something that connects them with people. And it could be the case, but they get picked on. So they want to make them laugh. And so they become comedians. It could be case they want to sort of fit inside become a sportsman. You went with a magic? Was it really a natural fit? Or was there a lot of persistence involved?
Dan Chan [4:10]
There was actually a lot of persistence. I had to do a lot of research and go to lectures and conventions because started off at the bottom with a kid shows I sucked after 4000 shows. I’m pretty good. And after 5000, I started performing for the billionaires.
David Ralph [4:28]
Now, if we go back to the sucking stage, when you’re out there and you’re you’re doing your card trick or you you pull a rabbit out of a hat. I was actually talking to my son about you last night I was saying that you were going to be on the show. And he said, why is it that you don’t see people pulling rabbits out of hats anymore? Is that an old thing? Because as a magician, that’s that’s what I’ve got in my head. But you never see the rabbit anymore. What’s that meant to the rabbit?
Dan Chan [4:53]
I believe it was started off by a comics and drawings. But people have done them. It’s just very difficult to do. But people are fed more visually than anything. So I think that’s exactly where it came from.
David Ralph [5:09]
So it’s more a case of you put a rabbit out of a hat and you kind of feel like you’ve seen it already. So now you’ve got to put out an elephant or something bigger and bolder to keep people’s attention.
Dan Chan [5:20]
Yeah, doves are a lot easier. Back in the day you saw a lot of doves like just because it’s Channing Pollock, Lance Burton. But there were magicians in the past who did a lot of rabbits out of hats. But because of the technical setup, once you get good. Everyone ditches the doves and rabbits and things like that. I can still do doves and rabbits. But it’s a lot easier to do close up magic, wherever where I believe everything is now going towards.
David Ralph [5:48]
Yeah, I can’t pull a rabbit out of half I can pull a hair out my ear does that does that make the site
Dan Chan [5:55]
you’re on your way to becoming a magician. And bam,
David Ralph [5:58]
I’m halfway there. Now, the the fascinating thing with magicians as well. And I suppose it’s with everything really is, as we said, the amount of practice that it takes before you can actually do anything, you know. And most people nowadays really want to press a few buttons watch a YouTube video and they think they’re so you know, David Copperfield, whatever. When was the first trick that you actually thought, wow, this isn’t just good. This is really good. This is something that I can really show people
Dan Chan [6:29]
on the same special that David Copperfield walk through the Great Wall of China, and perform something that most magicians now do, which is called crazy man’s handcuff. And that was popularised by Michael Mr. But out VHS tape on how to do it. But it was with two rubber bands penetrating through each other. And that was pretty much for a lot of people. One of the first tricks that they made their foray into magic
David Ralph [6:57]
because that that walking through a wall, I remember back when he walked through the Great Wall of China, that that to me, that wasn’t a magic trick. That was some kind of camera angle stuff. Do you? Did you feel the same? I don’t buy into his stuff. As much as I would somebody doing a card trick right in front of me.
Dan Chan [7:15]
Yeah, those are grand illusions. And that’s how you make your media presence in your height. For me now, it’s just jumping on podcast, because it has a very global reach. I’ve performed on Shanghai, Germany and Las Vegas. But that’s how you kind of hype what you’re doing. And the trick that I’m referencing was on that same special, it was two rubber bands. And that’s when I started realising, hey, if that guy who doesn’t mix millions of dollars, can do a trick that involves two rubber bands on TV. I can do that same trick. Maybe I can get in this. Yeah,
David Ralph [7:54]
but I agree with you. I agree with you. But I don’t watch that. I don’t remember that. But I do remember him pushing himself through the Great Wall of China.
Dan Chan [8:02]
Yeah. We don’t have them as magicians, we don’t have a budget to do what David Copperfield does. But if we could do even one thing that he can do that starts realising, hey, I’m a magician, or that guy, that guy’s famous, he does that trick. And you start connecting the dots. Have you ever
David Ralph [8:20]
met a magician that’s actually well rounded sort of emotionally? No, I was a bit surprised when I went over to your page, you’ve got your family involved, your son James is very much involved in and I believe your wife is now starting to be part of it. But when I look at sort of a lot of the magicians, certainly the ones that have been on TV in the United Kingdom and stuff, they all seem to be a bit of a loner, they seem to be a little bit strange, you know, headed by David Blaine, David Blaine seems to be the weird is one out of all of them. Are you sort of unusual that you’ve got quite a good ground, you got very good grounding and family life.
Dan Chan [8:58]
Yeah, that was a very good motivated effort. And that’s why a lot of times when you do, you’re successful in your home life, you’re probably not as successful in other things. But I feel like there’s a real healthy balance. And a lot of times I go to these magic conventions, and I’ll be honest, a lot of them are magic geeks, they can do the magic, they can flip the cards, or they can just shoot something on Instagram, but they have a hard time connecting. So there’s so many talented magicians that show up. But they don’t know how to connect or work or sell or have the soft skills necessary to integrate yourself to go in and out of conversations in a cocktail hour, you can be really talented and I see a tonne of people who are so talented, I post up things on my Facebook feed for I’ve got a gig for $500. And people are telling me, I’d be perfect for this gig. And I would tell myself, you might be technically the perfect magician. But socially or the way you dress you just don’t fit in.
David Ralph [10:02]
So what you’re saying without magic, these guys would never be getting laid. Is that what you’re saying?
Dan Chan [10:07]
No. Even with magic as good as they are, they would not be getting laid.
David Ralph [10:14]
They keep their wand firmly away from everybody.
Unknown Speaker [10:19]
Yep, you just don’t pop that one out.
David Ralph [10:21]
Especially not in children’s parties. There’s there’s rules about all that kind of stuff. Okay, so let’s talk about away from the magic because I could talk about magic all the time. It really does fascinate me. Well, Brent, blending that into a business, especially a business that from the outside looks like it’s great. And it’s fun. It never is. There’s always a lot of hard work going into it as well. The marketing side and the branding yourself is as important as your skills and growing anything online needs vo skills as much as the sort of the magician ship that you’ve got. How did you start learning that? How did you start getting your name out into the marketplace? You know, that’s a perfect question.
Dan Chan [11:04]
My name is Dan, Daniel Chan. And Dan Chan. The Magic Man kind of has a catch jacket. And I have people singing my name. After my show. I when I first started, I did a lot of kid shows. And I had the kids chanting My names. I would just say say the magic words stanchion, the measurement, everyone hate that. But I even had my friend, a very famous magician in the Bay Area, when I was starting off, said my daughter chanted your name all the way home, I can a bitch slap you house like Those were his words. And I was like, I did a great job that was perfect. And then I rebranded to dance and master magician, maybe several years ago. And now I’m Dan Chan, the billionaires magician, because I’ve performed for quite a few billionaires in yesterday, I just met a billionaire,
David Ralph [11:53]
I find that a lot actually, I speak to a lot of people and they, they have to grow in competence to be at helping to change their title. And at the beginning, they very much market themselves with the surroundings. So if I are in a certain peer group, they are that peer group. Now you’re working with millionaires and billionaires, does that actually make it easier to attract business? Are you in a more rarefied environment? So you don’t need as much business? Because you get paid more for the actual work?
Dan Chan [12:26]
It is that is absolutely a case that for the right time asking the last couple of I told myself and stop kids parties, but I’ve been given some offers. Where I performed the 11th, employee of Twitter, I had to say yes to it, his kids seventh birthday party. He, he’s a 11th, employee of Google. And now at twitter. I’ve also performed for Evan Williams and Biz Stone, and some of the other founders is Twitter just most recently, so they pay a lot more than what I could get anywhere else. So I’m focusing a lot less on volume. And now I have my head toward making a documentary on my son again, which we’ve already done in myself, we went we thought it was very interesting dynamic of what we’re doing with my son juggling five balls, three flaming torches and even picking pockets. I’m just really moving towards doing less getting paid a lot more but being very, very intentional and present in the moment with my performances.
David Ralph [13:30]
Now, let’s really delve into this because I think this is gold, as I say on the show is entrepreneurship go. Now, when you start, I think everybody scrambles around for clients, and we take rubbish clients and we take clients that will pay us $50. And I want a billion pounds worth of, of volume and an effort back. And as we move through little by little our competence grows. So we actually believe in ourselves. At that point, the world starts to believe in us back. Can you remember when you actually thought to yourself, I’ve stepped forward? I’ve moved into the next group. I’m leaving behind Bowser, rubbish clients that wanted 1000 pounds worth of stuff for $50?
Dan Chan [14:17]
Yeah, sometimes it’s when you get screwed over. When you I’ve had this client, he called me and I put the storey up on Quora. He tells me I have a party in Mountain View. When I google his name, you immediately something pops up about him and this epic house where he throws parties. I’m like, why doesn’t this guy throw his party’s over there? Because his name’s associated with it. I’m like, Dude, this doesn’t make sense. The day I show up that the day before he tells me I moved the party to Los Los Altos Hills or Los Altos. I’m like, what, oh, by the way, it’s at this house at the address that I was already looked up, he didn’t have that sense to use a fake name. And unlike I could have charged a lot more to be honest, I wouldn’t a price gouging I’m really straightforward shooter. But he thought that magicians would look up the zip code or that area of the city and then charge him to three x. And I was just like, this is going to be an epic party. I knew that the house was one of the, you know, imagine what a $45 million house looks like. And it’s historic, it’s beautiful. And he thought he was going to get screwed over. And I probably should have charged him a lot more to be honest with you. But you know, when you end up at houses, and they show they’re driving Porsches and Mercedes Benz is and they’re sitting there on a budget. Yeah, they they’ve committed themselves to either paying for that or being so cheap that they don’t respect you as an artist. And that’s when you start getting a little bit pissed off when they when they abuse that fact. And they say, you know, hey, I am on a budget. So I have strategies now to really deal with that.
David Ralph [16:01]
Tell us about them. Tell us Don’t leave us hanging there, Dan Chan Magic Man, tell us about your strategies.
Dan Chan [16:07]
Well, if they truly are on a budget, I asked a lot of questions first, asking them where it’s going to be the exact location. Because if it’s at the SET ON OFF Sand Hill Road, you know, they’re going to have a little bit of budget. So you offer them a lower end package a medium and high. But you, you can always upgrade them a little bit. I see if you want to pick pocketing, and you want the iPhone tricks, and the very high end sleight of hand, you must hire me. But if your events on a little bit of a lower budget, you can hire any one of my teammates. That means that I have the option. You know, when you have stocks, there’s options to buy? Well, at a certain price point, I have the option to pass those and off. If I do not want to do the event. That means that if my kids want to go to Disneyland, I go to Disney anyone. If there’s a bigger event, and a billionaire caused me last minute, I take the billionaire and I find you someone else, even if it means paying the difference. It’s not like I’m going to send you up a crummy magician, I sometimes will pay the difference to send someone else, just because when I already have one in the bag, I’m going to 2.5 exit or 3.5 exit and that helps my guys on my team that helps them. When I choose them. I say hey, can you cover me on this event? This is what the clients paying. But I’m going to pay you a little bit more.
David Ralph [17:32]
Now. This is interesting. So so you pre qualify your clients First of all, so you don’t just say yeah, I’m available Wednesday afternoon, let’s do it. And it didn’t come across on your website and your business but you actually are franchising out your name. For people to actually work on your behalf. You’ve got a team of, of wizards. You’re here like, like Harry Potter, and they’re all running around California doing gigs on your behalf when you can’t do it.
Dan Chan [18:01]
Yeah, I don’t try to do it too often, because I like protecting my brand. But whenever I realised there’s lots of demand, I’m going to do it. I don’t want to wipe out the entire market. And I just feel like people don’t like you. If you’re dominating. It’s like Microsoft or Facebook, they feel like you’re killing the competition. And sometimes people speak because I’m posting stuff on there and I’m not choosing them. They’re kind of like getting resents resentful, you know, like, hey, Pick me Pick me and there’s only so much out there.
David Ralph [18:35]
And that’s always going to happen down in there. People are people are always going to resent you. You know, no matter what you do, if you put your head above the parapet, you are going to have people slagging you off being critical of you or saying that you’re dominating, but it doesn’t mean that you’re doing anything wrong. It’s just their point of view on it. And in fact, I would say, sir, it’s a badge of honour that people think that way.
Dan Chan [18:59]
Yeah. And, you know, those guys who helped me all the way up to the top, they’re getting back some gigs in there, those guys are really helping, but there’s some guys who are, you know, calling me and still talking to me and are like, pick me, but they’ve never even sent me a gig on my way up or helped me that much some of them that, you know, like, I I’ve been asking for, hey, pick me. And the tables are switched. But everything just comes in waves. But yeah, I picked people that fit my style. They people are always asked me, What does it take to get on your team? Dan, I get so many messages. And I, I did this as a social experiment just to blow up on Facebook, my Facebook feed to see who would react. So I just, I have this thing on Facebook that they call me a conversation starter? Because I’ve been thinking what would get the most amount of engagement in terms of traction, what would make my post show up and other people’s feeds? So I started asking, and one of those in those social experiments was posting, I have a gig in you know, San Francisco, I have a gig in here and just putting up there, and then you just see that, that chain of replies off, off that feed really sure.
David Ralph [20:10]
And then do you do magic tricks on social media. So people see the trick and it kind of, because they would share it with their mates with my boy, imagine,
Dan Chan [20:20]
I’m like Dan Chan magic on Instagram. I’m still figuring out the social media stuff. I’ve my son’s on there making the Statue of Liberty disappear on a card, we have some things that I’ve been playing around with. But I’ve been cleaning up my feed. We’re recording on clean feed, but I am deleting what I’m putting up there. I’m just putting it out there. And then putting it away, kind of documenting it because I don’t want anyone first of all doing it. So they have to be following to see all my stream because there’s also something else about my Instagram that I use an Instagram based trick. So is that Instagram, the trick is pushed down in the feed. I don’t archive everything. When I’m doing that trick. It actually takes a lot of time for that trick to load up. Right. So it’s kind of interesting how I’m incorporating Instagram, I had a semi viral video, I got 14,000 views in about three days. BuzzFeed mini Silicon Valley’s favourite magician. I still I snuck the reporter into a party as my sound guy for a high profile party. And he ended up he ended up writing a full feature article I just said, you want to see what it’s like to be at Silicon Valley’s epic holiday parties. And I’ve been to parties with live tigers in the backyard. And penguins and lemurs and leopards and alligators. And the alligator I think was either alligator or crocodile
David Ralph [21:48]
I think it was in a zoo.
Dan Chan [21:50]
I think that’s where you went. You went to a zoo? No, I did not go to a zoo. They brought the zoo to the guys health well and I
David Ralph [21:55]
broke that they were the penguins wearing bow ties and the monkeys wearing bow ties with it little waiters.
Dan Chan [22:00]
No they weren’t they were just like in they brought like a mini pools for them. They did not have bow ties. But I have pictures. I only posted a little bit of the pictures on my Facebook page.
David Ralph [22:13]
I love the fact that you are Dan Chan the magician man and you have to snuck a man into a party. Can you just like pulled him out of a hat halfway through or or just done some kind of big illusion on that?
Dan Chan [22:27]
Yeah, David, I can’t afford my own right you can you say expensive?
David Ralph [22:31]
Because I I love the word snuck. I don’t use the word snuck but I’m gonna up again can be smoking for the rest of the day, I’m sure. Well, let’s play some words. Now we’re going to come back to Adana Chen, he’s Jim Carrey,
Jim Carrey [22:44]
my father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative 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 serve. 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 [23:11]
Now, the question with you, Dan, is Do you love it? Because after a while, as I said in in two direction, a lot of Jobs become a job, even though I look sexy from the outside. Do you still love it?
Dan Chan [23:23]
Yes. But I’m already planning my exit strategy. Yeah, I mean, yesterday at the event that I was TechCrunch Disrupt, which was, which is something that you might not hear where you’re at. But if you know the series Silicon Valley, yeah, you probably seen them at TechCrunch Disrupt. So to be a part of TechCrunch Disrupt, I think I’ve been there for years. And I sent a guy that years at last year, I couldn’t be there because I was performing in Germany. But I’m waiting to open up a new magic club. And I’m want to hit up these billionaires that I’ve performed for because one of the billionaires gave a billion dollars to a hospital or school. And they’ve, they’ve committed a billion and they’ve already given 100 million away. So I am trying to create a social media presence by being both here on podcasts and other places by making strategic as a multiplier effect. Because when I do get bored of it, I want customers to come to me and I’ve come to that traction point where I can still do some of these events. But some of them I could say pass on. When I’m done with event. I’m like, I should have spent my time working on something for TV or for my venue or in venue design. So I’m already thinking about what I’m going to do when I want to get out of performing for these epic parties and celebrities.
David Ralph [24:42]
And when you do that, please just climb into a box and then the box opens up and you’ve gone Can you an exit strategy Viva.
Dan Chan [24:49]
I have a thing that is absolutely amazing is my friend Carrey Pollock built this thing called that the materialisation chamber and it looks like it looks like a star trek illusion, it looks like you fade out. And that’s what I’m going to bring to this venue. I’m going to try to maybe run a me funder or Kickstarter, pre sell tickets, but I’m going to be one of the few venues in the US I just found out there was another venue that got one of these. But I’m going to be the second one probably or the third one with this illusion. And it’s not going to be a box. It’s going to be D materialisation chamber. And when we get off the podcast, I’m going to send you a link to it and you’re going to see that illusion and it looks it’s in store the
David Ralph [25:35]
LPA it’s more than that you’re getting me excited. I think we just stopped the show. Now we stop the show now. And then we dive straight into it. Who cares about the listeners when we’ve got this kind of stuff going on? So um, when when you do magic, does he ruin you when you go and see other magicians, where when you’re looking at it has the magic gun and you’re just looking at it as a sort of a practical sort of examination in front of your palate done it.
Dan Chan [26:01]
Yeah, it’s really hard to enjoy the moment because I’m always thinking of how it works. I’m a lot some of the shows, I know half of how it works. Some of the shows I know 90%. But what I enjoy and stuff, the small percentage, I don’t know how it works, because I’ll go see the show again and again. And again until I figure it all out. I’ll sometimes stop or it might take me five or 10 years before I figure something out. But when that moment happens, you kind of have this eureka moment. I love when I get still get forward because if I know how everything works, it just the show just really sucks for the most part unless they’re comedian or makes me laugh. I seen certain shows about like, eight or 10 times. And I remember the first time I saw her first three or four times I thought I remember laughing and having such a great time. And now when I go to and I’m like I know every single beat in that show. And it sucks
David Ralph [26:52]
if we took you back as we will do later on in the show to that guy who was at school having a rough time and been going to and the Jim a bit long The Karate Kid really I’m watching that at the moment and and puffing himself up.
Unknown Speaker [27:05]
We were you.
David Ralph [27:07]
What was this to pop us always going to be on or looking back on that guy. Is this a surprise where you’ve ended up?
Dan Chan [27:14]
I would not have believed I would have performed for paula abdul Timothy Ferriss, y’all me, George Lucas. john madden. I didn’t even know who those people were, you know, to be honest with you. When I met john madden it he was in front of me for the 45 minutes, and I heard of his name, but I didn’t realise he was a commentator. I thought he was still football player because I was so far removed because I was that magic geek. And I wouldn’t not believe that I would have been where I’m at. But I just started seeing a little bit and I started dreaming bigger and bigger and bigger. Because so many
David Ralph [27:50]
people out there listening. They can’t believe even at the beginning. Like they don’t even start the first bit of belief. Is it? Is it action? Is it belief. What actually starts it off? Do you think then for people who end up global superstars,
Dan Chan [28:08]
curiosity is first. The first thing and I honestly did not believe in myself. And that’s why I played it really safe doing kids birthday parties. But when I tell someone Hey, join my team, you’re going to start off at kids birthday parties. They discounted. But all the guys I talked to looked up to Jay Alexander told me don’t Pooh Pooh birthday parties. And he was the guy who I looked up to because he was working for the very famous. He he performed for Bono. And he performed for Robin Williams and he performed annually he would go to Robin Williams house. And this was this guy who was he didn’t share with me any secrets he just shared with me how to hustle just said, you know, it’s okay to be the lowest you’re not lowest, but it’s okay to do what you’re doing now. And you can always level up but don’t Pooh Pooh it, it pays the bills. No, he said he never disrespected any kids, magicians or entertainers. So a lot of times people think just because I can do the same trick as David Blaine, David Blaine, that’s bullshit. You have to be able to connect with people and feel the moments and the pauses. And just because you do a trick doesn’t mean you can do as well as someone or you think you can. And a lot of people are dreaming because you can go to the magic shop and buy something and then technically you can do the trick. But there’s so much more to it.
David Ralph [29:34]
And yeah, there is isn’t there? Yeah, there is because it’s the competence factor. Because Yeah, you can do the trick. But the trick is only a fraction of what a magician does. It’s the showmanship, it’s the it’s the connecting with people, as you say it’s that ability to bridge that gap, and take somebody from wherever they are into that moment of wonder and fascination. And that can lead forward to everything that is marketing, that’s brand that is everything you need in the online world is the other side of that pack of cards.
Dan Chan [30:06]
And it’s also what not to say, to stay in these very sophisticated high end parties, and what not to do when you sometimes hit them with something so strong anything else with the anti climatic. So I can talk about the tech world I can talk about, you know, not just Tesla’s but Tesla’s valuations and all the pros and cons. I’m very much involved in tech. And that’s why I was a pre IPO PayPal employee for 13 months prior to being a magician, I started taking my sick days once in a while, like I wouldn’t do it a lot. But when there was some really nice event, I would call in sick, I would leave work early just to do my side hustle. So that’s part of the storey,
David Ralph [30:52]
I can understand why anybody can’t listen to this show and be inspired. Because as I want in the very beginning, even shuffling a card pack of cards, not many people can do that. And so to be able to do that, that is practice, practice, practice. And once you do anything, and you get to a point where it seems natural, you actually look at it, and you go, I’ve achieved that I’ve actually done but I remember once quitting my job many years ago, and studying an IT degree. And it was so hard, it was so hard, it was untrue. And it really wasn’t my sort of wheelhouse of experience. But I got my head down. And I’m really focused on it. And I passed with with honours. And I always say to people, that was my Dumbo magic feather. That was the moment that I realised that I could fly, if I put my mind to something. And that applies to everyone doesn’t need that.
Dan Chan [31:52]
Yeah, you need a runway, it’s, you definitely need a runway. And you also need to take the right progressions most people think fail because they don’t take a logical progression. I connected the dots, I went to what was easiest in one place, and I kept on pivoting and I kept on adding value in the value chain for my clients and I fought for market share in the beginning, you got to do a SWOT analysis, you gotta figure out strength, weakness, opportunity and threats, and you’ve got to wait for your time, you’re not just going to perform for billionaires right off the bat, I could teach you a lot. But you can’t just jump out there because someone’s in that market space. And I’m willing to train people, you know, most people will even want to consider passing out my cards or being a part of the brand. And they just say I want to do it myself, it’s going to take you 20 years. But when people join my team, it, I cut down the learning curve, they literally learned my best tricks immediately. I get them to sign a nondisclosure, I make sure that they don’t market themselves and I control the feed. But it’s it really is a little bit different people, you either you have to give something up, whether it’s you starting off at the bottom or giving up some freedom and then you break away. But there’s there’s definitely a progression. And what I feel that I’ve done once I thought about how can I make this as simple as a guy at McDonald’s, someone who’s enthusiastic about it. And so one of the things that I’ve been experimenting with that has not been completely perfected is I asked myself, what are the effects that will make you look just as good as me without any effort? And how do I do that in a party. And I’ve been able to teach someone five minutes of magic that’s really solid that makes you look like a master. But I send the guy to a party where there’s two or 300 people. So they go in the crowds, and they only need to know five minutes. And that’s hard thing to do because they usually don’t trust you to go to a party right off the bat. But if you know which parties to send them to, you can get a lot of experience under your belt a lot quicker. So I have created what in the Bay Area we call incubator. We have like a white, you know, Y Combinator and all these incubators, I’m creating my own magic incubator and
David Ralph [34:15]
magic beta. I imagine I have to be careful. I said that because once again, you could get into trouble if you miss hear it. So I’m looking on your website, one of the things that you do is hand miracles which I can understand mental miracles I’m going to ask you about and the unexplainable feats of mystery. Well, what’s back then, because I had it in my head that you was a magician, but now, I think you are a mentalist as well. What’s all that about?
Dan Chan [34:45]
Yeah, I’m branding myself to
2.5 x when I’m doing as a magician because magicians are somewhat of a commodity. mentalist, you actually have to play a character. There’s some misdirection involved. But there’s a lot less visible magic, the magic happens in your mind. And that’s what the storey that people tell themselves afterwards, like, he knew the first person I kissed, or he knows where I want to go, if I were to exit on, you know, when you exit this company, where do you want to go? So I’m making it about them. Before I was a hero, now, I’m the Yoda. And people want Yoda, they don’t want to see the hero. They want themselves to be the hero.
David Ralph [35:32]
That is that is wise, isn’t it that once again, in a business sense, it’s about making the business about your ideal client and not about yourself, which is one of the big mistakes that so many people do, by picture themselves in that and not actually who they’re trying to market to.
Dan Chan [35:51]
Yeah, and if you really think about this, most magicians fail because they don’t understand their clients and who they’re targeting. I love very high end fine dining. And I love Michelin rated restaurants. I’m a Michelin rated Hunter, like I’ve been to your next door neighbour, who’s a millionaire who needs to show off to their friends. And as an entrepreneur, you’re hiding yourself to either reward your employees. And you have to know that and you have to thank them for working so hard on behalf of the person who hires you, some lady who hires you as a magician, they’re betting their job. So if you’re charging a certain amount, you have to cultivate that relationship and make her look good. And that means for me doing a little bit extra magic for the CEO, so that they are totally engrossed in what you do. So when next year, you send that invoice to them and you’re charging $500 more. They they don’t blink an eye, they don’t just try shopping around because you You are a commodity. If you want to move up the value chain, you have to always add value. So when they pull me up on the phone, I’d say I’m sorry, super excited for you hiring me this year. And they see my social media feed, they see everyone I’ve performed for and they’re like, dude, we hired him when he was cheap. You know, even for billionaires. I am the cheapest guy that they’re hiring. Sometimes because they’re hiring freakin David Blaine. You know, I know how much he charges and undoing for some of these parties in the Bay Area. venture capitalists. They’ve made a tonne of money and the one guy walked up to me, he said, Dude, you better than David Blaine. And I love David Blaine. I just, I don’t want to knock that he is so good. And He’s my hero. But when someone else says, I saw David Blaine at a party, and I got this testimonial, one guy said, I saw David Blaine at a maximum party on Treasure Island a couple weeks ago, I said, let me capture that on video. And he gave that to me. A couple other guys I saw I saw David Blaine. And in terms of sleight of hand, he does way less than I do. And I do. I’m doing a lot of technical stuff that happens. But I realised that it’s not about doing the doing more. It’s about doing less than knowing when to do it and amplifying. So my next goal is to be on TV a lot more. So my son is going to be on a TV show coming up. I’m not going to talk too much about it. But he will be up there. Once the show airs. I’m going to be posting it on my social media on all my social media feeds. But I want to be like David Blaine, because one thing I didn’t get was, he was on TV four times. I mean, back then, all magicians are looking at David Blaine. And he didn’t get to that we could do that. The one thing that he had was a team behind him like Paul Harris, Bill collusion, and they knew to flip the camp, whether it was him or his team, he slipped the camera on to the spectators reaction. And before everything was done in magic studios. And most people don’t know that like most people don’t realise how thoughtful he was when he chose his editing. And I believe it was Spike Lee that edited the video for him. I kind of know who I would love. I would love to maybe have some like Emily or some other. The guy who did crazy rich Asians, his dad owns chefs choose in Los Altos, but Jon Chu who did crazy rich Asians, I would love for him to be my director. So that when I do TV, or when my son does TV, we have some someone of his calibre his name, you know, the name will get somewhere, but I know what I don’t know. And I do not know TV. And I’m trying to build up my team,
David Ralph [39:37]
amplifying amplifying your message and doing less. That’s, that’s, that’s brilliant. That’s what everybody wants, isn’t it, they want to be able to do that one thing that’s in their absolute skill set and gain gain the most back from it.
Dan Chan [39:52]
Yeah. And that’s why I am on. I’m on a couple of podcast because I initially did not like the way I sounded. I did not like the sound of my voice. But I did everything that I thought was uncomfortable, and get used to being uncomfortable, get used to sucking like, I’ve been on maybe like, six or seven podcast now. And when I listened back on it, I realised I’m not a very good listener. I’m not a very good storyteller. I’m getting better at it. And I’ve been a lot better now than I was in the past. But finding authenticity and being in the moment and not trying to script everything out is probably who I am.
David Ralph [40:35]
I think so I think that’s absolutely right. Well, this is the end of the show. And this is the bit where we’re going to 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 young Daniel Chan, what age would you like to speak to him? What advice would you like to give him? Well, we’re going to find out because I’m going to play the music. And when it fades you up this is but sermon on the mic. We go
Unknown Speaker [41:06]
with the best.
Dan Chan [41:22]
You know all those shows that you’re doing, saying that you’re doing 200 to 350 shows a year, max it out, maybe two or three a day. Don’t do that crazy stuff. have six shows in the day, we’re the first show starts at 10am. The last show starts at midnight. On the third show of the day, when you get that inquiry asked for 1.5 X for the for show as for two, three or five x, because you’re going to wear yourself out Dan, when you got traction.
Start using that as leverage.
Focus on putting out high quality things. When you’ve got a project like a podcast or TV special coming up,
drop everything else.
Send the gigs to someone else, you’re going to build up relationships with other magicians. You can need those other magicians, when you open up your venue, you’re going to need a team behind you and you’re going to need the best. So only associate with the best. Ask those that you respect and cultivate relationships with them. It’s, it’s not a zero sum game, talk to the guys you looked up to and start building relationships earlier with them to help them out. Because the better you get, the more in demand you’re going to get. And you’re not going to be able to take all the demand. So start helping others because the dream of the Magic Castle in the Bay Area, the dream of a magic venue is a lot bigger than yourself. You’re going to need people. And don’t worry about what people say about you do the uncomfortable things a lot earlier. You’re not going to be a voiceover actor. Maybe you will be but that’s not until you become famous, there’s going to be a lot of other things out there and enjoy the journey. Spend more time with your parents, go out with them to eat more and be more generous. Because people love generosity. It’s you’re living your dream now help people live their dream. What sort of legacy Do you want to leave yet. And as you see yourself with so much success. You want those under you around you to be successful, and you want them to be as successful as possible. And that’s the only reason why people join your team is that they believe that you’re going to help them be successful and you’re going to cut down their learning curve. So give even all your students you’re all
David Ralph [44:05]
great stuff. Great stuff and advice to the young Dan and everybody else. Dan, for the people that are fascinated by your work and want to check you out, especially in the Bay Area. How do they find out more about you?
Dan Chan [44:17]
Yeah, I’ve got my website, Dan Chan magic.com. That’s da n ch in ma gic. com. That’s for private events. I also have a ticketed show that’s touring its Bay Area dinner show. I have a magic in dinner show. Right now. There’s no dinner party. Part of that we’re looking for investors. for that next phase. Before we had a very nice venue we partnered with dynasty Cupertino. But there’s a lot of storeys that I’m telling, you can follow our journey online as well. On Facebook. It’s Dan Chan, billionaires magician on Instagram at Dan Chan magic,
David Ralph [44:57]
we will have links on the show notes to make it as easy as possible for people who didn’t get chance to scribble those down. Dan, 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. Dan, thank you so much.
Dan Chan [45:18]
Thank you, David. It was pleasure.
David Ralph [45:22]
Mr. Dan Chan, the billionaire magician. It’s It’s funny, isn’t it business, you know, you would say that a magician’s got nothing to do with business. But it’s still it’s got a market himself, he’s got to understand these customers, he’s got to understand these price points he’s value, he’s got a glowing confidence, there’s no difference on any of the episodes of Join Up Dots really doesn’t matter what the person is doing. They all start with that, Oh, I’d like to do this. And then they go into Oh, I’m not going to do this. And they move through little by little and their support group changes and their competence changes and Benny income starts coming in little by little and then they move into bigger and bigger, you know, no difference between you sitting there and somebody earning, I don’t know, hundred thousand pounds an hour or whatever, you know, it’s just that they managed to move their way through and they understand their market. Until next time, thank you so much for being here. If you are interested in starting your own business and a stress free online business, which works even when you’re laying on a beach Yes, just jump over to Join Up Dots and drop us a line and we will interview you to see if you are a fit for the next group going through until next time. See you again. 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