James Nord Joins Us On The Steve Jobs Inspired Join Up Dots Podcast
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Introducing James Nord
James Nord is today’s guest joining us on the Steve Jobs inspired Join Up Dots free podcast interview.
He isn’t just a guest but a man who takes fashion very seriously.
Unlike the majority of men in the world who throw on a few items, and that is the grooming done, he prides himself on looking not just like he got dressed, but that he was designed for the event.
Even to wearing a tie at the weekend….yep I kid you not.
James Nord’s image is one of sophisticated class, and so it’s not a surprise that with a love of looking good, his career has moved towards the fashion industry since arriving in New York City.
A dreamer, and a thinker, he seems to have a naturally strong competitive streak, that has run through much of his life since growing up in Georgia.
How The Dots Joined Up For James Nord
If he is going to do something then he doesn’t want to be just of those guys that is happy to simply be taking part. He wants to win.
He excelled at wrestling, and racquetball and for a while was almost invincible at both but just fell short at greatness and state recognition.
But it is fascinating to see someone’s life come together in such a way that you can see the elements he displayed early on his life being displayed with such force.
James Nord has moved through jobs at quite a speed, not staying much longer than a year at most, but all the while learning the skills, and fine tuning the talents which has led him along with his business partner Richard to launch Fohr card.
They founded Fohr card with the purpose of bringing together two groups of people who share a love for storytelling, creative bloggers and creative brands.
Alone, each can create beautiful stories.
Together they believe they can create even greater ones.
It is that passion to connect and inspire which is the corner stone to everything that he does.
So what is about visuals and storytelling that so thrills him daily?
And where does he see his vision developing in the future?
Well let’s bring onto the show to start joining up dots, as we discuss the words of Steve Jobs in todays Free podcast, with the one and only Mr James Nord.
During the episode we discussed such weighty topics with James Nord such as
How fashions and personal style are very different areas…..which made me realise that I’m not fashionable but I do have personal style Whoo Hoo!!
How the ideas in the beginning are not overly important, but the execution is vital to the success you want!
How even as a small child he knew he wanted to be great, but didn’t know what area of greatness he should aim for!
If you are feeling content with yourself then you should check in and audit…..Contentment is when things can go badly wrong!
Why he feels that bad jobs are similar to degenerative diseases and should of course be avoided!
How To Annoy Your Girlfriend
How To Connect With James Nord
Or if you prefer just pop over to our podcast archive for thousands of amazing episodes to choose from.
Audio Transcription Of James Nord Fohr Card Founder 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 [0:26]
Yes. Hello, everybody. Welcome to Episode 177. of Join Up Dots. Yes, we’re going to New York this morning. So strap on your overcoats and whatever you need it. Probably quite nice and sunny out there at the moment this time of year. But this is where we’re going. And it’s it’s going to be fashion. Fashion is the name of the game today. And we’re going to be talking to a man who takes passion very seriously. And like the majority of men in the world who throw on a few items, and really that’s grooming done. He prides himself on looking not just like he got drunk but but he was designed for the event even to wearing a tie on the weekend. Yep, I kid you not. His image is one of sophisticated class and so it’s not a surprise that we have a love of looking good. He’s career has moved towards the fashion industry since arriving in New York City. Probably before that even a dream and a thinker. He seems to have a naturally strong competitive streak that has run through much of his life since growing up in Georgia. If he’s going to do something man, he doesn’t just want to be one of those guys, but he’s happy to simply be taking part he wants to win. He excelled at wrestling and racquetball and for a while was almost invincible at both but just fell short of greatness and state recognition. But it’s a fascinating tale to see someone’s life come together in such a way that you can see the elements he displayed early on in his life being displayed with such balls now, he’s moved to Jobs at quite a speed not staying much longer than a year at most. But all the while learning the skills and fine tuning the talents which has led him along with his business partner Richard to launch forecasts. They founded ball card with the purpose of bringing together two groups of people. We share a lot of storytelling, creative bloggers and creative brands alone. Each can create beautiful storeys together, they believe that they can create even greater ones and it’s that passion to connect people and inspire which is a cornerstone to everything that he does. So what is it about the visuals and storytelling that so thrills him daily? And where does he see his vision developing in the future? Well, let’s find out as we bring on to the show to start Join Up Dots. Probably the most well dressed man I’ve ever had on the one and only Mr. James Nord. How are you James?
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [2:36]
I am totally Excellent. Thank you for that introduction. And I will say that I am I bet I am the best dressed man you’ve ever had on. I’ll you honestly because I’ll
David Ralph [2:45]
be honest with you, James, you don’t know what I’m wearing at the moment.
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [2:50]
That’s true. That’s true.
David Ralph [2:52]
So let’s mentally undress each of us, shall we? Shall we start with mentally I’m going to sort of suggest what you’re wearing and you try to suggest what I’m wearing.
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [3:00]
Okay, go for it.
David Ralph [3:02]
Okay, I think you’re wearing glasses.
Unknown Speaker [3:05]
David Ralph [3:06]
Time. Damn, I’m looking at your skype picture. Okay, I’m gonna go with a tire. Yes, okay. Okay, a tie and a shirt shirts go well with ties.
Unknown Speaker [3:16]
One of those pair of trousers Yep. Done about No. Oh no power how not
David Ralph [3:23]
wear trousers without a bell you say you know fashion.
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [3:26]
That’s just madness. To get pants that fit you don’t need about
David Ralph [3:30]
No no, you buy pants that you can grow into. That’s what you do. Socks
now this is bad. Okay, my turn to Me tend to me mentally undressed me James. Have you ever done this to me in a bit in when you’ve only met them? About two
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [3:48]
minutes before kids I have I can’t say how but I’m up for the challenge. Go for it and having having heard your voice now for a few minutes. I’m it has a velvety kind of silky quality to it so ongoing with a robe made of either velvet or silk?
David Ralph [4:04]
Absolutely. You’re spot on. Have you gotten a pipe?
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [4:09]
David Ralph [4:10]
yeah. Yeah, I’m like that he’s a kind of no coward look you’re going for? And yes, you would be spot on. But I’m his fashion. You know, obviously, fashion is your passion. But Has it always been there ever since he was a little kid? We were were you ever the grubby little child running around in Georgia, James? Or were you always somebody who looked naturally smart in school photos?
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [4:33]
I think that we certainly I grew up with with two brothers. And we certainly spent a lot of time rolling around in the mud. And I think for me, it’s always been less about fashion and more about a personal style. And I had parents that especially my mom who really encouraged us to be weird to be strange and different. And so, you know, that manifested itself in a lot of different ways over the years. I mean, when I was in third or fourth grade, I remember I was really into silk shirts. And so I would make my mom made by me all these silk shirts, and I was wearing silk shirts to school every day. And then I got really into you know, ties. And I didn’t really know how to tie a tie. So I wore the zip ties at the time, which I don’t know if they still make but I always prefer the zip tie to the clip on tie. I thought it looked a little bit better.
David Ralph [5:25]
I’ve never seen it yet. So I was enough time.
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [5:28]
It’s just what it sounds like. It’s it goes around your neck. And then you just it’s pre typing and just zip it up. What you
David Ralph [5:36]
see under the collar us up up there. All right. Yeah. Long the whole length of it.
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [5:41]
Yeah. Yeah. It just kind of like it works. like as if you’ve tied your tie. And you’re tightening it. That that tightening is a zipper. I’ve never seen one. Do you
David Ralph [5:51]
say you’ve changed my life?
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [5:54]
American ingenuity? Maybe they haven’t made it over there yet.
David Ralph [5:59]
see where this is going? James? Are you saying? The Americans are leading the way? That’s what you’re saying? Yes.
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [6:06]
In zip ties and laziness? Yes, we are.
David Ralph [6:08]
Yes. And when we can do history and culture. So um, that’s that’s what we can do very well. So okay, so you’d like to get baptised? Well, what interested me what’s the difference between fashion and personal style, ven isn’t
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [6:20]
the same kind of thing. It’s not know and fashion is so much more about taking the trends that other people are investing in, and other people say or what you should be wearing and following those things. Fashion changes, literally every month, there are different things coming in, there’s things that are in style, then next month are not in style, that’s fashion. That’s the industry that we work in, it changes very quickly, the personal style is something where, you know, I’ve been wearing a suit and tie every day for the last eight years or so. So my personal style really hasn’t changed. Certainly, it’s evolved. And it’s it’s gotten more expensive, maybe and you know, things change, kind of within that style. But you know, I’m not wearing a suit and tie one season. And then the next season that I’m wearing, you know Nike’s and jeans and a T shirt in the next season, I’m wearing whatever everyone else is wearing. So personal style is something that evolves a little bit more slowly, and doesn’t necessarily follow the trends of the market.
David Ralph [7:24]
So that that’s perfect, isn’t it, I suddenly realised I’ve got personal style, because I I do kind of wear the same shirt that I’ve been wearing for the last 15 years. And I don’t follow the trends in any shape or form.
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [7:38]
You have a very strong sense of personal style. Absolutely. You know, it’s not maybe necessarily good, but it’s a
David Ralph [7:44]
it’s James, you’re turning again. He’s He’s happened twice now James.
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [7:51]
My like three strikes, I’m out or
David Ralph [7:52]
No, I’ll keep going. But I will get nasty. I promise. I will fight back here just but just before we answer will return kick into the interview I was showing, well, I tell the listeners I actually phoned up and said, you know, tell me when you’re ready. And this is the only time this has ever happened to me. James said, Oh, we can’t record at the moment because my girlfriend is drying her hair. And I thought well, Howard Stern never gets it. So I’m sure he doesn’t. But as I was sitting there, I sent him over in a video of these guys who fill up a hair dryer with talcum powder. And so when the girlfriend turns it on, absolutely blossom hugely. Finally, I will put it on the show links. I never lose a passion for it. Can I ask you, James, since I’ve shown it to you, have you now got that image that is going to be part of your life? Are you going to try it on your girlfriend?
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [8:44]
No. I actually she came over and saw the video.
David Ralph [8:49]
Dad Yeah. You say you see your mind? sophisticated, but you’re not clever in the way of women? You should have looked at it after she left.
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [8:58]
Guys. Yeah, she would, she would definitely eviscerate me. So there’s no chance.
David Ralph [9:04]
So So let’s take us back to start joining up the dots because that’s why we’ve got you on the show. And your your thoughts are quite interesting. Because that there, there’s themes that run through them. But there’s also elements, but I found very, very interesting. So if we go back to the the young James in Georgia, what was life like that for you? Where were your parents? For example? Clothes conscious? Were they entrepreneurs? Did you have a similar vibe that you naturally absorbed? Or are you a different character to the rest of your family?
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [9:37]
Know I think my, my parents, my father was an entrepreneur ran businesses entire life, work mostly in the healthcare space. And so that was kind of, you know, our structure for what adult life looked like and working was running your own business and, you know, having these ideas and starting these businesses and chasing those ideas. So that was kind of our, you know, our leader for that. That was kind of what we knew as normal. And then he was always dressed very well. But really, for him, it was like having his little quirks. Like he always wore white shoes, he loves white shoes. And so no matter the time of year, if he was, you know, going to some event or something, he would generally wear white shoes. And that was just like he had a thing that kind of defined him. And he had phrases and things like he always said he was totally excellent. Like that was something you asked, How are you doing? He said, I’m totally excellent. And so he just kind of had these like, things that he always did that started to define him a little bit that that built up a brand that made him memorable. And it’s something I try and do with wearing suits. Like, I wear suits, not only because I love wearing suits, and I think you look great, but it helps people remember who I am. I’m the guy that always wears a suit. And so you can take James Nord, and you can associate that with something that’s really easily memorable. And so I kind of learned that from my father and my mom, is she’s always very stylish Uber’s a lot of vintage. And like I said earlier in the show, she always just encouraged us to be a little bit different and a little bit strange. And kind of the only disappointing thing for her would be if we wanted to fit in too much. She would kind of pull us aside and say like, you know, you don’t, you don’t have to do that fitting in is not actually very important. And they always believed in us so much. And they you know, my dad always called us future leaders of America. And he took it seriously. And we took it seriously as well like that was the expectation that we would eventually be leaders in America. And having somebody believe in you that much also allows you to take chances that maybe other kids wouldn’t take. Because if you’re going to go into school and get made fun of your clothes, you don’t care because you’re a future leader of America, you have this kind of great life that you’re trying to lead and the fact that you know somebody is telling you, well, I don’t like your shirt. They don’t they don’t matter really like that, that insult doesn’t matter. And so their belief in us kind of gave us the ability to take those chances. And you know, I look back and I say like I wore leather pants to my 10th grade homecoming dance like, was that a great decision? Probably not. I don’t know if people should be wearing leather pants. But it’s you know, it’s a decision I don’t think many 14 year old 15 year olds would make. And, and I really respect and thank my parents so much for building environment where I thought it was okay. To in the south. wear leather pants to a dance as a 15 year old.
David Ralph [12:42]
Have you actually said thank you to your mom and dad? Oh, is it just kind of it’s unspoken in your family?
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [12:48]
I have Yeah, we’re big talkers. No, we’re in a big TV family or anything. And every night, when we sat down to dinner, it was required that you would bring a question for everyone. And some sort of big question not like, have you seen any good movies recently, but like, do you think it’s important for your work to have purpose or, you know, whatever kind of get conversation flowing. So we have a really open dialogue and, and I’ve written many times on my personal blog. And then also said to them, just thank you for making passion, such a big part of our childhood and making originality and uniqueness such a big part of our childhood as well.
David Ralph [13:28]
Well, that there was so many nuggets of Golden Bear, but I was trying to decide which way I’m going to go. Because for all the listeners out there, one of the things that James is saying, and hopefully it comes across on this show as well is when you play to your unique self. And when you play to your natural talents, you’ve got more than half a chance of becoming successful because you’re playing to the strengths that night nature has naturally given you. But the thing that really interested me with you, James, and I’m going to touch on all of these, but I want to start on this one, but you clearly defined but words personal brand, because so many people think that if they are starting a business is all about the business. And I must admit I was exactly the same. But now I realise that my own personal brand, the getting to know me is as important as the actual show itself. And you can start working on that side of things before you even start looking towards a leap of faith and making moves into whatever commercial direction you want to go to. Can you?
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [14:33]
Absolutely, yeah, I think what people don’t understand a lot of times in starting a businesses, the ideas is not the most important part of the business. There’s so many good ideas. And and how many times have you seen a wildly successful business where you said, I had that idea, I wanted to do that. But what’s important is, is the people behind it. And execution, like those are the only two things that matter the idea is is is in the grand scheme is kind of meaningless. I mean, Facebook, look at Instagram, all these businesses, the ideas were not new, right? Facebook is not a new idea. It was just executed incredibly well by a unique genius. Instagram was not a new idea. We had a lot of photo sharing apps, but it was executed incredibly well by someone who had a unique vision. And so what becomes important then is who is building it? And how well are they building it. And to speak to your point, personal brand is such a big part of it. Because people especially in the early stage, if they’re engaging with your product, or they’re buying something from you, or they want to work with you, they want to work with you personally, and it’s all about you and the business for a very long time, I think is about the founders, and about the people that started and so if you’re not unique, and if you don’t have a big vision, and you can’t inspire people to say, yeah, I’ll take a chance on this person. And then it’s never going to work because people don’t take chances on ideas. They just don’t they’ll take a chance on person that I didn’t shake, take a chance on an idea.
David Ralph [16:06]
It’s interesting, isn’t it really, because you have gone through quite a few jobs very, very quickly. But it seems to me that you have found your place you found something that lights you up inside, and you’re working towards with your partner, Richard Tom, and actually building something extremely worthwhile for so many people. But was that a vision that you had white from the word go? Or was that something that just incrementally kept on creeping up on you until you couldn’t resist it any longer?
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [16:35]
Yeah, no, it definitely was not. It was not something I’ve thought about for you know, my entire life and I sometimes, you know, I envy people like that my brother’s a surgeon and, you know, we used to go into the swamp and he would he would like shoot a frog with the BB gun and he had a little dissection kitten, you would open up these frogs and, and he would be able to tell me what the frog ate recently, like, he has been interested in this his entire life he
David Ralph [17:03]
you want. He was training to be a serial killer or something.
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [17:06]
It was one of the two, it was either serial killer, a doctor and I think they share a lot of the same attributes actually, God complex all of these things, but
you should want to be a doctor his entire life, I wanted to be great, I wanted to be great at what I did. And that was kind of what I wanted to do. And I knew, eventually, I wanted to run a business, I didn’t know where it would take me. And so you know, the fact that I’m in fashion now, three years ago, I wasn’t at all I was just doing digital marketing, I certainly was interested in style, and I liked dressing well. But if you would have told me that I was working with Chanel and believe Bhutan and Oscar de la Renta, and Gucci and Saint Laurent and all these brands, were coming to my to me for advice and coming to me and paying my business to do something for them, I would have never, I would have never believed you, I probably wouldn’t even known what some of those brands were. So it’s it’s definitely been a progression. And eventually, you know, once I met rich, and I’m sure we’ll go into the storey in more depth later, but, you know, I met rich and, and we kind of stumbled upon this idea. And it, it grew. And it’s something that, you know, I think all the people that listen to the show that probably have no shortage of ideas. And some of them you get really excited about for a week. But it’s the ones that kind of nag you for a while. And three weeks later, a month later, three months later, you’re still thinking, you know, I still think that’s a pretty good idea. I’m looking around and nobody’s doing it. Those are the ideas that eventually you just have to pull the trigger and say, Okay, I’m going to I’m going to go after this.
David Ralph [18:47]
I had this idea years ago, and I don’t know if he’s even out there now. But I still think it’s a brilliant idea. And I had this when I was about seven years old. And it was the seafood toaster. Because I could never understand why when I put him bread, I couldn’t see how brown it was going before it popped up. And that’s a great idea. I thought, a see through when I could just go Oh, that’s perfect. Come and get it out. I’ve given Well, if it’s not out there, I’ve just given my idea away, but the seafood toaster.
Unknown Speaker [19:15]
I love it. I’ll buy one. There you go. You see everybody would
David Ralph [19:18]
we’d save a fortune on burnt toast and all that kind of stuff. But your your greatness because it doesn’t surprise me that you say that you you felt that you wanted to be great, because even you know at school, your competitive side was evident to anyone and the fact that I I’ve done a quite a bit of virtual stalking on you, James. And more often than not, I found sort of details that alluded to the fact that you was highly competitive. And you you, you know, you lost the racquetball game once. And it still rankles with you today. And I kind of go James just move on. Move on. Hey, was one game. But um, it’s that you know that that competitive streak? Is that really something that you look at now? And go? Yes, that is that is a talent that I had. And I’m now using it for the right reasons.
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [20:09]
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think I’m not I try and balance the competitiveness and make sure it doesn’t become over competitive where I’m just trying to win for winning sake. And for me, it’s about holding myself to a high standard. I think that people oftentimes don’t expect enough of themselves. And if you don’t expect enough of yourself, then you’re not going to get a lot out of yourself. And but if your expectation is greatness, and that’s what you expect to achieve, then, you know, the chances of getting there a lot greater than if you just expect mediocrity, certainly, that’s probably what you’re going to get as mediocrity. And so for me that competitive nature and that those kinds of things, like they have been a defining characteristic for me through wrestling, and, you know, then racquetball and also. And, you know, now I still race bikes here in New York City.
And it’s just think,
when I do things, I tend to try and take them as far as I can. And so it usually, then things turn into a competitive thing. Because you, you want to see where you stand against other people, you want to see how far you can take it you need, you need competition to set your benchmarks to understand how you’re doing.
David Ralph [21:31]
I like this, this feeling of greatness that you had, because I’ll be honest with you, I’ve had the same thing that runs through my life, I’ve always thought I was going to do something worthwhile. And for many, many years, I was an employee in corporate environments. And I just thought I was going to do something and it was going to be like, I was going to write an amazing novel, or I was going to be the lead singer of a band or, or something that was just going to occur and would push me on. So it’s quite difficult, isn’t it when you have that feeling in you over time, and you look around at your colleagues working? And you kind of think, hey, look content here, but I’m not I just feel like I need more, but you don’t know what you want more?
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [22:13]
Yeah, I mean, and that’s okay. You know, I think the thing that’s not okay is, you know, contentment, it’s it’s like a little hog hobgoblin, it’s a hobgoblin of your future success. And I think if you’re feeling content, you shouldn’t be afraid. And you should take that, that very seriously. And I check myself, I mean, anytime our businesses felt like it’s going well, and we’re feeling content, without fail, a month or two down the line, things start going wrong. Because we weren’t sharp enough. We weren’t staying on top of things, we didn’t feel like we needed to keep pushing faster and faster and harder. And I think, with contentment, and looking at other people, a big problem is I don’t think most people have had somebody, come up to them, sit them down, and say, I believe in you. I think you’re great. I think you deserve greatness. I think you deserve a big life, I think you deserve all these things that maybe in your darkest part of the night you think that you deserve. But without somebody there next to you that says, I also believe that, and I think you should go after it. In fact, if you don’t go after it, it’s a disappointment to yourself. And to me, I think, without that, it’s much more difficult to stand up in front of the world and say, I want these things, I want to be great, I think I can be great. And so few people have that. And and I again, going back to my parents, that’s why we all my brothers were so fortunate. Because from when we were very, very young, we had those people say, you know, not only can you be anything in the world that you want to be, but our expectation is that the thing you’re going to be is great. And you’re going to be in not just successful, but a future leader of American. And again, my dad and mom did take that seriously. And we have as well. And it is that support that allows you to say, I want to be great. I try and you know, make sure that all of my employees know that I believe in them. And I think that they deserve that, that they can do that. And I’m enabling them to get there. And you know, one day they will leave me and I hope they do and they leave me and they go do something even bigger for themselves. That’s that’s kind of what be trying to
David Ralph [24:32]
would would you like to be the leader of America now?
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [24:37]
I wouldn’t want to be the leader of America, in a presidential sense. I, I think that is not something I have any interest in. Because politics, politics bore me, they bore me in the workplace that bore me. As far as the how the country is run. It’s a it’s an industry that sets great people up for failure, I think. And I think we see that with Barack Obama, I think he is amazing. And I think he had an amazing idea about what he could do for country. And every day he will happen just gets punched in the face over and over and over again, by the political system that he has forced to work. And so I don’t want to affect the country in that way, in that traditional sense. But do I want to be successful enough, financial enough that I can build something that helped change the fabric of of how the country works in some way? Absolutely, yeah.
David Ralph [25:36]
So you’re empowering your staff, which is great. And you’re building that environment of support. And I suppose dream making is it that important for people who are in jobs when they’re surrounded by negative people and people that are dream crushes, to find people that will actually support them and empower them?
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [25:58]
Absolutely. Hundred percent, it should be a big focus of yours, if you find yourself in that situation. And that’s the great thing about the internet is that you can, you can now you know, get on Instagram or Tumblr or wherever it might be. And you can find these communities of like minded people who will support you. And you can take their support, and you know, turn that into changing your life. It doesn’t have to be the people that you work with, or the people that you you know, go to the bar or the pub with whatever it might be. The Internet allows you to find these really niche communities that can be supportive of your of your interests and ideas
David Ralph [26:36]
is astonishing the power that we’ve got, isn’t it because you know, I see it on a daily basis, and I’m having a conversation with the amazing James node today. And then this afternoon is going to be some other like minded, motivational, inspirational people. And you really can build up a network now across the globe, which you just couldn’t have done maybe five or 10 years ago. And so for the people who are sitting in Jobs going, so right for you to say, but every time I say to somebody while I want, like, that’s never gonna happen, your be here in five years time, you can really start transitioning quite secretly, but have a network of hugely supportive people that can really push you on and tell you when you’re being an idiot, and point you in the right direction. And just help you I’ve got, I don’t know, hundreds probably now a people that I can just Facebook or Contact or email. And I can say to them, what do you think about this? And they will help me and I would say to a man and a woman, I’ve never met any of them. But you still build up that connexion? And it’s hugely powerful, isn’t it? James?
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [27:39]
Absolutely. Is Yeah. And also, you know, to take it one step further, that some of the people that had the biggest impact on my life, don’t even know I exist. And they, I’ve never reached out to them. I we’ve never spoken. But they were living lives and doing things with their lives. That made me look at my life and say, why aren’t i doing those things, these guys at the same age as me, they’re, you know, running these amazing businesses, they’re doing all these amazing things with their life, and I’m unsatisfied. And, you know, that’s on me. And if they can do it, then then why can’t I do it. So I think that you can have those people that you interact with. But you can also just have people who inspire you. And if we’re living a life that inspires you to try and to change yours.
David Ralph [28:29]
I think one of the things that we’re saying here is really, you’ve got to become aware, you need to look around, if you’re sitting in a job, that’s, you know, it lacks inspiration to you, and you’re just going through the motions. Unfortunately, that’s all you’re going to get. So you need to spend time in the evening on the internet, or, you know, just looking around reading books, autobiographies, looking at the news. And when you see what other people are doing stuff. And basically we all become, we all start as babies. So it’s just a matter of choices that we’ve made literally all the way for a life that put us in different positions. You can take control of your future, can you and you can change it. I’m going to play it a little speech. Now James, and this is this is from another famous James. And this is Jim Carrey, he said this recently. So this is Jim,
Jim Carrey [29:15]
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 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 [29:41]
Is that is that the message that we should be getting out there, James?
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [29:46]
I think it’s part of it. Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, look, failures is a part of it’s a part of everyone’s life, it should be a part of everyone’s life. And I think that a question I always love to ask people is what’s been the biggest failure in your life? And I find that people who struggle with finding an answer to that question, aren’t taking enough risks, and they’re not doing enough to put themselves into a position where they might succeed wildly, but they might also fail wildly. And so yeah, if you understand that, failure is not necessarily a bad thing, and it’s a natural part of life, then why wouldn’t you try? And, you know, as Jim Carrey says there fail it, something that you love doing, because your chances of success are probably going to be a lot higher.
David Ralph [30:31]
Because I get asked that question a lot. I get interviewed on quite a lot of shows. And people always say, what’s the biggest failure that you’ve had? And I always say to them, I’ll be honest, I look back over my life. And did I do things that I could do better now? Yes. But were they failures at the time, and they weren’t. Because everything that I did, I did to my best of my ability, but my knowledge level was just not up to scratch to be able to make it, quote unquote, a success. So it’s a kind of different mindset. Looking at it, isn’t it? I know, what you’re saying is absolutely right, you’ve got to be trying these things, to have perceived failures. And if you’re not trying them, you’re just going to be sort of in limbo land. But there’s a mindset to keep on moving forward moving forward, because it is, quote, unquote, a squiggly career, you’re not going to go from A to B, but you are going to get there, ultimately. And that’s what we’re seeing with you. You know, you started off at the South Florida centre because of medic surgery. And then you kind of moved on through a series of Jobs very quickly, it seemed. But you’ve ended up at one that you were there for like three, nearly four years and four card is going on the same. So would you class yours as a squiggly career as well?
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [31:42]
Definitely. Yeah, I mean, my first job out of college was Wall Street. I was a futures and commodities broker trading foreign exchange on on Wall Street. And it was soul crushing, and it was terrible. And I hated every second of it. But it taught me so much. I mean, I look back, and thank God, I had that job it, it taught me one that life’s too short to work a job that you don’t like. You know, I often say that, I think bad jobs are like degenerate diseases, I think that they denigrate the person that has them. And that breaks them down so much that they lose the will to get out of their situation because they feel stuck. And they lose that will. And then they ultimately lose what kind of makes them human. And they just become this person that wakes up every day and says, I hate my life. And a bad job can do that. And that’s why it’s so important to recognise those bad jobs early and move on. And so I got out of Wall Street, and I went and worked at a little startup and help them with a few things. You know, I had 23, I had eight people working for me and no idea what I was doing. And then, you know, jumped over the digital marketing for a few companies, and
David Ralph [32:58]
how did you overcome fear? That’s a key question for me, you but eight people working under you, and you don’t know what you’re doing. That must been scary every single day.
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [33:09]
It was then it still is today. I mean, I don’t you know, I’m CEO for card, and it’s going well, but I feel like a fraud nearly every day. Because I don’t know what I’m doing really, I’ve never done this before. I don’t have a playbook for running a fashion technology company. And so there’s, you know, there’s this feeling that you’re a fraud, that that you don’t know what you’re doing. And getting over that fear, I don’t think that you can get over that fear. And from talking to other CEOs and other founders, it never goes away. It’s but it does, hopefully spur you on to learn more. And it, you know, encourages me to go out and try and learn more and talk to as many other CEOs that I can be very honest, my shortcomings as a manager, and as a leader, and try and fill those gaps, you know, very neatly and find people who can give me the knowledge to make the best decision possible for me and for my company,
David Ralph [34:13]
I can see how it’s scary on a daily basis, when you’re growing a company, everything that you do is going to be new, and you haven’t got that background experience to go or we tried this before and it didn’t quite work. So you are you know, that’s what makes it vibrant. That’s what makes it fun. But I can imagine that you must have sleepless nights when you think how did I make that right decision? Should I have done this? Should I’ve done that. But it generally you have that faith in it and you do things to your best of ability. And you you kind of zip around a bit, don’t you if it doesn’t work, and ultimately you get there, but it may not be exactly where you were hoping. But it’s close enough to make progress.
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [34:51]
Yeah, absolutely. And you have to be okay with that, you know,
it’s like running a company and building a life or job, any of these things they’re not, they’re not something that you can plan out every single step. And then once you’ve planned it out, hit, you know, ignition, sit back, and wait for it all to work out. It doesn’t, it doesn’t work like that. I’ve heard it described like, you know, driving a car where if you have a commute, and you drive to work, you could probably do that commute with your eyes closed. If I asked you, okay, write down in, in full detail, every single movement that you make, to get from your house to your office, you couldn’t do that. And when you hit a detour on the way to the office, you don’t just say, well, there’s a detour, I’m just going to go home, because this is not part of my plan, you follow the detour, and eventually you get to where you want to go. And then, you know, I think people don’t look at their lives in that way enough to say that. You don’t have control over everything. And you don’t have control over the market and over the way that things change. And so all you can do is be adaptive, but also understand your vision and know when to push your vision forward and say no, no, I’m right here. And, you know, the world will prove that I’m right, in another year. And I’m just going to keep going and when to say Okay, it’s time to pivot. It’s time to change something and change the way I’m doing something.
David Ralph [36:25]
Now, you’ve got obviously a supporter and a founder and a friend, Richard, Tom, do you play off each other? Do you? Does he have strengths that you haven’t? And vice versa?
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [36:36]
Absolutely. Whenever a new entrepreneur comes to me and says, I want to start a business, what should I do? It’s my first time I say, first thing you should do is find a co founder, find a co founder, if it’s your first time rich, is is so instrumental in everything that I do. And without him there is there is absolutely no for card. And basically, yeah, every one of my weaknesses is one of his strengths and vice versa. And when I met him, almost instantly knew I wanted to run a business with him. And I didn’t really care what it was. And I you know, at the time, he was leaving his job at Tumblr, and we went out for drinks one night, and I said, I want to, I want to work with you. I want to build a business with you. I don’t have an idea. I don’t know what it is yet. But whatever you you know, whatever we can think of or anything you want to work with on on game, and let’s do it.
And so that relationship is is so important,
David Ralph [37:38]
as an amazing storey, isn’t it, that you have a drink, and the two of you just connect to such a degree that you’re both willing to walk into the unknown with each other, knowing that you’re working out together?
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [37:52]
Yeah, it’s and it’s it’s so important. And it’s underrated in its importance, I think because running up running the businesses. As you know, it’s a lonely and scary things sometimes, and having somebody there who totally understands you and totally understands the situation, because your friends won’t get it when you say, I can’t, I can’t go get drinks this weekend, like, I have to work. They just they won’t understand. And so it’s it’s just so important to have someone there who can not only fill in your weaknesses, but also can just just be there when things aren’t going well. To say, it’s going to be okay, we’re going to get through this. Because without that support system, it starts to feel very, very lonely.
David Ralph [38:37]
I’m in a situation at the moment. Now I started this this job, and I built it up and it’s gone great guns. And part of me wants to hand off certain things. Because pretty much it’s just taking over my life. It’s like 17 hours a day doing this. But the other half of me wants to, I suppose Is it is it arrogance or whatever. But I’d like to see how far I can take it on my own effort. Now I look at it in certain ways. Like last night, I was laying in bed, and I just couldn’t sleep and it was going around my mind I was thinking, What am I doing this? Why am I trying to keep control of everything, where actually I would be better by freeing up certain things that aren’t my natural strengths, and focusing on the things that are. But I haven’t found anybody that I’ve had that simpatico and that connexion with that I would trust. And so you you, you’re blessed on you, you are blessed to be able to find someone but you can have such, you know, a kindred connexion to, you will literally just support each other, even if you don’t know what you’re doing.
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [39:42]
Absolutely, yeah, we’ve been very, very blessed. And as for card is hit any sort of speed bumps or tribulations. I’m just reminded of how important the founding partner relationship is. And just become even more of a believer in especially first first time, founders and having that support system. And having that person that with you, I think later on, you know, as you go down your career, and let’s say you’ve done two or three startups and you’ve had exits, and you can raise, you know, $10 million, before you even start, you know, having a co founder is less important than because you’re going to go hire a staff of 10 or 15. Right off the bat before you even have a product. And you’ve done it before you kind of understand things a little bit. You have that playbook a little bit. So you you maybe you don’t need a co founder as much. But especially in the beginning, so important.
David Ralph [40:38]
I feel like hiring an aeroplane and flying over Central Park with one of those banners. Just saying it’s just you can’t go wrong if you’ve got Richard tongue. And I feel that’s what we should do. This is not the Richard Tom Levine at the moment.
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [40:52]
Absolutely. Yeah, I’ll split that with you. If you want to do that. He deserves it.
David Ralph [40:56]
I promise you, I promise you if I can get to the point that I can afford bang, yeah. What’s gonna be cheap, but I’ll go with tongue because it’s only four letters, you go with riches.
Unknown Speaker [41:06]
That sounds good.
David Ralph [41:07]
Where we do that. So to get this sort of the listeners are flavour because we’ve been talking about your storey of getting there. But what it actually is for card because I’m not convinced I did the best job of explaining it in the introduction.
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [41:22]
Yeah, so for card is essentially a directory of fashion blogs. So brands have an incredibly difficult time reaching millennials right now. And if they for their marketing purposes and telling their storeys to young people, because young people don’t watch TV, they don’t read magazines. They ignore banner ads. So it’s almost impossible to reach these people in a scalable way. So what four card does is we built a system that allows brands the opportunity to come in and work with these influencers. And this is a place where Millennials are paying very, very close attention. They’re following. You know, Instagram stars, they’re watching YouTube beauty. bloggers talking about beauty tips, they’re following fashion blogs for fashion advice. And, and we give brands a really easy way to find these people and allow them to work with them seamlessly and easily. And understand what they’re going to get out of that relationship, understand exactly how many people they’re going to reach when this person talks about them. So they can say, I’m going to work with this blogger, they reach 500,000 people a month, I know if they talk about my product, 500,000 people are going to see that. So in turn that is worth X amount of dollars to me. And so that’s what our business does just makes that that relationship and working with influencers a lot easier.
David Ralph [42:45]
So you’re kind of like in as opposed employment, you’re like a recruitment consultant, you link one party with another to get in product.
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [42:54]
Yeah, we’re, you know, what we’re building is is a marketplace, really where brands have opportunities, and bloggers had the ability to create content for those opportunities. And we’re bringing those two groups together.
David Ralph [43:07]
It seems a great idea. But it also seems like one of those ideas that you alluded to at the beginning that you kind of think hasn’t somebody’s done this already. It seems too sensible.
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [43:18]
Yeah, I mean, we thought that when we started, and certainly when we came up with the idea, we, we fully expected to stumble upon someone who had done it, and nobody had done it, especially in the fashion in the fashion vertical. And so we said, okay, this is this is worth trying. And we went and raised a little bit of money enough for, you know, for me to quit my job, and we went for it. And, you know, it’s it’s been hugely successful beyond what we thought we would do as quickly as we have. And, you know, we’ve got 3500 influencers now, and the platform reach nearly 200 million people a month for 6 trillion impressions. And we have, you know, nine of the world’s best brands, brands that, you know, we all grew up knowing, and I certainly grew up respecting, who come to us and use our service to make them better at their jobs. And that’s really, that’s really amazing for me, and the end result that we’re really proud of is that we are helping to change these people’s lives. I get emails all the time from our community members who say, you know, because of for card, I got my first paid job as a fashion photographer, and I’ve wanted to be a fashion photographer my entire life. And you guys made that happen for me. So thank you. And so those are the storeys that really keep us going
David Ralph [44:37]
to give you sort of an idea of the speed. You started it in September 2012. So it’s only been going two years and two months.
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [44:45]
Yeah, we officially launched January 2013, actually, was our launch day.
David Ralph [44:53]
on LinkedIn. It says,
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [44:55]
Yeah, that was when we started working more full time on it. Yeah. But when we launched it to the public was was January.
David Ralph [45:04]
So so like, the crunch question is, and obviously it’s panned out well for you, but I know it’s the thing that stops so many people taking that risk, making that leap of faith, but you actually had to take money out to quit your job. Now, did you sort of was that people around you going? Hang on Jane, think about what you’re doing? You know, are you sure about this? Did you have more supporters when people that were trying to anchor you to where you were?
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [45:31]
Um, yes. And no. You know, I had people who are like, sure, this is it, you sure you want to do this. And I mean, I was working in a very well paying comfortable job that I, you know, I enjoyed, and I love the people I worked with, and I make great money. But everyone knew that this was my path. They knew I wanted to start a business. And so everyone was was very supportive. Really. I’m excited for you, you know, I think a lot of people have the idea that they want to do something like this with their life. And when they see someone do it, they’re, you know, they’re supportive. And they, they’re usually very much like, congratulations, that’s amazing. So yeah, I didn’t have too many people saying like, you should, you should stay on the straight and narrow, and get that accounting job because that’s safer. I think, you know, to Jim Carrey’s point the that those days are done, the days of getting a job and sitting in it for 40 years, and then getting the gold watch, those are gone. And if that’s your, you know, if that’s your path, and you think that’s the way your life’s going to go, I would urge you to really take a look at what’s happening in our world. And understand that, that’s just not going to work like that. Because the speed in which the world changes, jobs change, and companies change. And so you can’t just pick a company and say, This company is going to be here in 40 years. Because now it’s like, we don’t know if they’ll be there four years.
David Ralph [47:01]
It does, there’s nothing is it, I joined my first company in 85. And it was job for life. So they say, and the company is still going now. So I could still be there. But it’s not the safe choices it and I try to get that across my own family. But being an employee, ultimately, they could just not like you one day and that’s it is gone. And you by actually creating your own income and developing something, but you have got the passion and enthusiasm to do it. Even when you’re not getting paid for it. Because you’re building something, ultimately, as long as it pays off, will pay you back big time. And I’m a great believer, now I’ve been doing this James VAT, I hear so many towns of people that have said to me, once I made that leap of faith, once I decided that was my route, I wasn’t going to let it fail anyway, I would have done anything I possibly could to make sure it’s succeeded. And even if they’ve had failures, but gone again, and I’ve gone again, like ultimately, it has paid off for them.
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [48:03]
Absolutely. And you know, nothing, nothing spurs you along, like necessity. And I think that’s the value in going out on your own. And certainly like their businesses that you can, you can start to run on nights and weekends. And I’m sure you’ve had this in your own experience where you kind of are doing something 10 1520 hours a week, whatever it might be. But once you quit your other job and you quit that other source of income, and you commit, you say this is my life, this is this is my identity, this is what I’m doing and this thing, and this is what’s going to pay the bills, you will never hustle as hard as you will from that moment on. Because it has to work. Because you have stepped out and you said, okay, corporate America, or, you know, wherever you might live, like I reject that I’m on my own path and jumping, you’re never going to really be able to just jump back into that stream. One because your experiences are going to be different the two, I don’t think if you are the kind of person that was going to start a business, that you’re the kind of person that would then want to jump back and work in corporate America, you know, work that corporate job again. So yeah, it does have to work. And, again, speaking to failure, realised that like one failure is not a reason to say, Well, I’m not good enough. And it’s not going to work. I mean, every successful person is is just a trail of of failures. And it’s the people who have the gall to say, That’s okay, like, let’s do it again. Or the people that that really do succeed,
David Ralph [49:46]
let’s play the words of somebody who did have that courage and conviction to keep on going, even when things went badly wrong. This is Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs [49:56]
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 leaves you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [50:31]
Can you connect the dots in your life?
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [50:34]
backwards? Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. 100%. I mean, every again, everything I did, from the wall street job to the two years I spent as a fashion photographer, all the digital marketing, the, you know, the time I spent in Italy, the the losing the state championship and wrestling all these things ladder up to the person I am today, and to be able to run this business successfully. And you know, it’s Steve, I love that quote from him. And I’ve read it before and heard it before. It’s so true. And it’s to what we were saying before is that like, you can’t, you can’t plan these things out, you just have to believe in the end in yourself, I am going to be successful, this is going towards somehow I believe in this idea. And you just have to you have to go after it. Now entrepreneurs have to be a little bit, you know, a little bit crazy, a little bit quirky. People who, in the face of everything saying no, no, no, this is not working. Just keep just keep going and understanding, like Steve said that, that the dots will connect and everything that you do, nothing’s a waste of time. It’s all just something that’s in the bank, basically. But down the line you might use, you know, he talks about the famous calligraphy example how he took calligraphy at Stanford, he sat in on the class, and how that inspired him to include script fonts on the neck. And that was the first time that was ever done. There’s so many examples like that, where you can look back at your own life and say, oh, that thing that I thought was a waste of time for me Wall Street, right? Like Wall Street was terrible, I hated it. I made 230 phone calls a day, every single day for eight months, trying to get people to give money and invest in foreign exchange. It was soul crushing. But it taught me to pick up the phone. It taught me to take rejection. And to keep pushing, it taught me to be a better sales person. And it was hugely, hugely important. And creating the person I am today, would I do I wish I didn’t do that job at a time I did. But now I’m so I’m so thankful that I had it because not many people have a job where somebody says no to them 220 times a day to get the one or two yeses. And when when you get the phone slammed down and you and you get said no to over 200 times a day, it starts to get a lot easier. And you’re not afraid to ask your things. And so, you know, I feel like I’m rambling a bit here. But something that’s so important is, is asking for the sale. And just, you know, you’re not going to get what you want unless you ask and I think people sometimes sit back and say like, I haven’t, you know, I’m not getting this, I’m not getting that I’m not achieving what I want. It’s like, have you asked for it? Have you just straight up, asked for it and say I want this? And most of them will say No, they haven’t. And so I say well, then how are you? How do you expect to get it, you expect someone to just recognise that, potentially, that’s something that you want, and then just give it to you. That’s not how the world works, you have to just say, explicitly, this is what I want. This is what I want out of my life. This is what I want in this business. This is what I want out of this meeting, this is what I want out of this relationship. And if you say those things, I think you’ll find that you start getting more and more what you want. And and at least if you don’t you get a straight now and somebody says I’m not gonna do that, boom. Okay, great. Let’s not waste our time on that, that let’s move on.
David Ralph [54:04]
I can hear you’re still and determination coming out? Do you think that wall street job was your big dog? Is that the one that really made you start becoming who you are now?
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [54:15]
I don’t think so. I was thinking about this this morning, as I as I heard your conversation with Nick. And I think for me, my big dot was actually Tumblr, Tumblr, you know, I started a Tumblr. And I started following all these guys who worked at college humour, and Vimeo, and all these sites, they were young guys, 2425. And they were doing amazing things with their lives. And I decided that, why can’t Why can’t I do that? Why can’t I just be the kind of person who has an idea and does things. And starting that Tumblr, and gaining some popularity there and eventually becoming one of the most followed photography tumblers in the world. That opened up all of these kind of different doors for me, and it gave me It gave me clout and legitimacy in an industry that I didn’t understand at all. And I didn’t know. But it gave me kind of an in there. And so I think starting that tumbler was my big dot, it’s where I, that’s where I started working in fashion. It’s where I met rich. It’s where I started to understand blogs and bloggers and kind of how that was going to be important for marketers and moving forward. So yeah, it’s, I’d say, that was my my big dot.
David Ralph [55:36]
Well, this is the end of the show. Now this is the part that we call the Sermon on the mic. And this is when you get a chance to actually join up your own dots, and we send you back in time. And if you could go back in time to have a one on one with your younger self. What advice would you give them? Well, we’re going to find out because I’m going to play the tune. And when it fades, you’re out. This is the Sermon on the mic.
Unknown Speaker [56:00]
Here we go with the best bit of the show.
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [56:20]
I want you to remember, as you move forward in life, that it’s okay to want great things. It’s okay to expect them of yourself. And while certain people might call You arrogant, or think it’s silly, or not believe you to continue to believe in yourself, continue to believe that you deserve and can get those things and you work hard for them. And you’ll get them eventually. And also, don’t forget to have a little bit of fun. Don’t take yourself so seriously, and don’t be so hard on yourself. And we have a short time on this earth. And if you’re not enjoying it, then why does it matter? anyway?
David Ralph [57:00]
James, how can our audience connect with you, sir,
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [57:04]
you can always email me James at four card. Or I am on pretty much all social networks at James Nord. And love hearing from anyone and everyone really enjoyed that. So thank you so much for the opportunity.
David Ralph [57:18]
He’s been a pleasure. We have all the links on the show notes. And thank you so much for spending time with us today joining those dots of your life. And please come back again when you have more dots to join up. Because I do believe that by joining up those dots and connecting our past is the best way to build our futures James node. Thank you so much.
James Nord Fohr Card Founder [57:35]
David doesn’t want you to become a faded version of the brilliant self you are 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.
David Ralph [58:03]
Hi, he thought you got rid of me. Now I’m just gonna ask you a favour anyone out there who’s enjoyed the show, and has enjoyed all the shows. Could you go over to iTunes and leave a review the more reviews I get, the better the show will perform. And then it’s a win win. You’ll be getting me every single day for the rest of your life. Don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. But yeah, iTunes, David Ralph, Join Up Dots and I love you so much or even come down to walk your dog. Thanks very much. Bye