Welcome to the Join Up Dots business coaching podcast interview with Mr Thomas Patrick Levy
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Introducing Thomas Patrick Levy
Todays guest, joining on the Join Up Dots business coaching podcast interview, is Thomas Patrick Levy.
He is a man who is travelling a path that is 100% true to himself.
As a younger man, he was classed as an at risk teenager, but still progressed to earn a B.A. in English.
However continuing his studies did not go to plan, and although he had great talent, studying at Antioch University was not for him, and Thomas Patrick Levy dropped out of his MFA in Writing course.
And then it seems to me without a clear idea of how to build a future, he lurched from one position to another and then back again, all the while increasing the debit on his credit card bills.
How The Dots Joined For Thomas
He was depressed, overweight, constantly in pyjamas, and lost, but knew that he had something inside that he wanted to express to the world.
As he says “we need something that fulfills us creatively. Everyone does. It doesn’t matter whether or not you think of yourself as an artist or not. Artists aren’t the only ones who do creative things. Cooks are creative, repossession agents are creative, my accountant is creative, my dad — who owns and runs a wholesale florist — is creative”
He is now the co-owner of codeBOX a web development company, and has released two self penned publication to the world.
So lets discuss his struggles, and his successes, and everything else in between, as we start joining up the dots with the one and only, Thomas Patrick Levy.
During the show we discussed such weighty topics with Thomas Patrick Levy such as:
How owning your own business is 95% emotional and 5% business, but amazingly rewarding!
How Thomas Patrick Levy believes the words of Steve Jobs, but wants to add “Work harder than you have ever worked before” to the mix!
How he got to hate working for other people so knew he had to go it alone!
How he smashed up a shower cubicle in a blind range, which actually helped him make the steps to a better future!
How Thomas Patrick Levy loved Lego as a child, and still loves building things today…joining up those dots eh!!
How he found the words of Dylan Thomas and knew that he had to start being creative in his life!
How To Connect With Thomas Patrick Levy
You can also check our extensive podcast archive by clicking here – enjoy
Audio Transcription Of Thomas Patrick Levy 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]
Good morning, everybody. It is Episode 94 of join up dots, we are getting close to the big 100. Unbelievable. And it’s the 31st of July. So we almost ticked off another month. And we are another month closer to Christmas and the end of the year. So all your goals that have you planned in January, you’re running out of time, so really sort of get on to them because you really need to do these kind of things. Well, let’s talk to you today about a guest, who is a man who has got plans and he’s traveling apart but he’s 100% true to himself. As a younger man, he was classed as an at risk teenager but still progressed earn a BA in English. However continuing he studies didn’t really go to plan and although he had great talent studying at university was not for him, and he dropped out of his MFA in writing goals. And men it seems to me in here, MIT is clever. But without clear idea of how to build a future he learned from one position to another and went back again, all the while increasing the debit on his credit card bills. He was depressed, overweight, constantly in pajamas, and a bit lost, but knew that he had some inside, but he wanted to express to the world. As he says, We need something that fulfills us creatively everyone does. It doesn’t matter whether or not you think of yourself as an artist or not. Artists aren’t the only ones who do creative things. cooks are creative. repossession agents are creative. my accountant is creative. My dad, who owns and runs a wholesale florist is creative. And he’s certainly creative, because he’s now the CO owner of go code, a web development company. And he’s released to self pin publications to the world. So let’s discuss the struggles and the successes. And everything else in between as we start joining up the dots with the one and only Thomas Patrick Levy, how are you today? Thomas? I’m great. David, thank you. How are you doing? I am rocking and rolling. I’m I’m, I’m enjoying these conversations more than ever. When when I say that, we want Episode 94. I kind of think, oh, we because in certain ways, it feels like Episode Two. But here we are 94. And I’m loving every second of it.
Thomas Patrick Levy [2:37]
That’s incredible. I’m, I don’t really know what to say. I’m doing well. I’m excited to be on it and interested to hear. I guess what you want to know about me? or What I can tell you or
David Ralph [2:52]
Well, you your introduction that I wrote, what was it about right? Because there were there was, there was a world of impact out there for you. And when I started putting it together, it did seem that for many years, you’re still a young man, but for many years, you were on a kind of transitional path to where you are now. So ending on a positive before we go sort of back and join up dots. Do you think that where you are now is your unique path? Are you happy with releasing publications and creating your web development company? Does it feel the right place for you?
Thomas Patrick Levy [3:30]
Absolutely, you know, I think this is you know, one of the things as as a small business owner, I communicate with my co founder on a regular basis. And for me owning a business is you know, it’s like 95% emotional and 5% like actually being good at your job. And and it’s a matter for me of how much I suppose emotional pain and growth I can live through in order to get to the next stage. And that’s kind of been the story of my life is is kind of knowing I think I’ve always kind of known the direction I’ve wanted to move in, even though it’s not always entirely clear. But but I’ve been aware that things are going to always feel difficult. And that if I if I kind of sit there and dwell in that difficulty, and let it paralyze me or cripple me, I’m never going to be able to move forward. So the important thing isn’t so much. Like, being like feeling great in the moment, it’s just continuing to move forward and trusting in yourself that you’re going to get there eventually, you know, and what I’m always talking about with my with my co founder is that where I might be moving to like the next stage. When I get there might not feel great either. But if I look backwards on where I’ve come from, that’s when I can start to tell whether or not like I’m moving in the right direction, because he because you never feel it in the moment, you can only tell in retrospect that, that I’m progressing, and I’m doing better than I was, say a month ago or six months ago, or five years ago or something like that, which actually, now that I say that out loud, maybe sounds like I don’t have the most positive outlook on my current position. But the The reality is, is that I, I didn’t want to work for people anymore. That was kind of something that I that I realized, which is maybe not apparent in any of my online biographies. In the last like three to four years, I was working on a lot of tech companies and startups and I got really tired and and I decided I wanted to be able to work from home where I could, you know, hang out with my dog all day and be home at 530 when my wife gets home from work instead of get home at 738 o’clock at night. And that’s what I do now every single day as I as I do what I want, and my clients are my clients, not my bosses, clients, and they actually like me for the most part. So to me, that is sort of living the dream. And I don’t think that’s where I want to be for the rest of my life. But I don’t know exactly where I’m going to be tomorrow. So
David Ralph [6:05]
that’s the beauty of life, isn’t it? You know, the beauty of life is what is better tomorrow. And as long as in your heart of heart and your belief structure is going to be better than what you’ve got today. That’s all you will get. That’s a good thing.
Thomas Patrick Levy [6:20]
Exactly, absolutely. And, and you know, there’s always a challenge there too, you know, and for me, I get, I kind of get restless when things are too easy. And when there’s no challenge and and that’s part of the reason I think I’ve jumped around in a bunch of different industries, because learning is, I think one of the most exciting things we can do as people. And in the past, like eight or 10 years of my life since I’ve been jumping around so much, I’ve gotten to start from scratch and like wrap my head around a whole new industry or process or, or work style. And, and then get really good at it. And and that’s like really enjoyable for me, when I look back on what I’ve done so far. Even though, if I put it all together on a resume, it looks like I’m just really flighty. To me, it’s like, well, I’ve been really good at being a repossessed year, I’ve been really good at being a cook. And, and I’ve done all these different things and, and those are experiences that I have, you know, and that’s exciting to me, that’s really awesome. So who knows where I’m going to be in six months or a year, I imagine I’ll probably still be building websites with my company. But the internet is incredible. Because anybody that works in a tech in the tech industry, it’s changing so rapidly, that, that that that you have to be learning something new every single day, which is one of the reasons why I’ve really gravitated towards it and kind of sat in this industry for a while is because there is no point of mastery. In my mind. There’s always just like new levels of mastery, and then things are going to change in a month. And I’m going to have to relearn something so so that’s always exciting to me to
David Ralph [7:59]
the funny thing about you, you know, Thomas is you have jumped from career to career to career. And now hearing you talk about go co box and your development company. you’re passionate about it, aren’t you? it’s it’s a it’s it’s coming out of you, you can hear it you have found your place. Why do you think it took so long to find that position, because everyone out there in Iowa has been in maybe three camps, two campuses to now have three camps. Number one, it’s the ones that were trying to drive people towards, where you can have the dream life, you can have more money than you would dream you could have, you can have more time off, you can have the ability to be able to take your girlfriend or your partner out for a drink in the middle of the afternoon when everybody else is at work, you can have all those kinds of things. But there’s another camp where they are in jobs that by you just like and they are quite happy. And they’re quite content. And I don’t want anything more. And I don’t want to be entrepreneurs. And I don’t think one of the big bucks. They’re just happy being where they are. But it’s that third camp is that third camp, who hopefully are listening to the show, but are in situations that are rubbish, and they are in relationships that are rubbish. And they haven’t quite grasped the fact. But it all comes down to them to take action. And that is what life is about all you’re jumping around. It was just you taking action until something felt natural. And that was your fit. Yeah.
Thomas Patrick Levy [9:32]
That’s a lot for me to process on the fly there. I’m not sure if I necessarily agree with or disagree with how many camps there are. But it’s my show, you should always agree with Lisa.
Okay, that that’s not the way it works.
But I mean, I definitely think that that’s accurate regarding that third camp, I mean, and this partially, I mean, I can die regressed back into my high school being classified as an actor at risky and I’m pretty open and honest about like, kind of what my experience was there. But I did a lot of drugs. And I did a lot of drinking. And, um, I spent a lot of time in the boarding school I was in was for, you know, delinquents, and we did a lot of like kind of therapy, group therapy, self help, that kind of thing. And what I learned through that experience was that, ultimately, you just have to take responsibility for your actions. So if you’re like you’re saying, if you’re unhappy with where you’re at, all you need to do is take action and change it, you know, and and that’s obviously way simpler said than done, because it takes a lot of self awareness. And there’s different different levels of that, in my opinion to you know, from from like, the larger things to just even the smaller things that you deal with on a day to day basis.
David Ralph [10:51]
So, but But well, yes. What Can somebody out there listening in at the moment, and they’re on their way to work to a job that they don’t like, and I’ve got a head phones in, and they’re waiting for that moment, that inspiration that that key to change their life? Is there something now with your ability to have, you know, look back and see that progression that you’ve made? Is there something other than just taking responsibility they can do? Or is it just that?
Thomas Patrick Levy [11:18]
Yeah, I think, for me, it all came down to fear, a lot of it came down to fear.
Whoo. And by that, I mean, you know, everybody has bills they need to pay and, you know, if you if you really lose your job, I’m like, What are you going to do if you quit your job, you know, um, and there needs to be a plan and an action and, and for me, when it when I finally got together with my, with my co founder, his name’s Joshua millage, by the way, I’ll just refer to him as Joshua, when we got together and started code box, we, we both kind of set together and we’re like, if we do this, and we quit our jobs, we’re not going to have a lot of money. Um, and, you know, at the time, my wife was going to be very unhappy with me, because she was expecting me to, like, be able to help pay the rent, things like that. And, and I and I think the tendency is to shy away from all those fears and, and all the unknown there. And, and, and then sit in inaction because you’re scared, or because you don’t know what’s coming. And, and I think the alternative then, and what those those folks can do is, is attempt to embrace that, and just say, you know, what, it’s going to be scary, and I may not pay the bills, but but for me, it’s like, I had to come up with a way to combat that fear. So it’s like, okay, what’s going to happen if I quit my job, and the end of the month comes, and I haven’t brought in any, any clients and, and I can’t pay my bills is, like, I realistically, I’m not going to end up homeless, you know, and I think that’s probably, for me, at least was the biggest fears, like, I can go get a job at McDonald’s, or, or the grocery store or something like that, um, and, and make, do, you know, and, and, and if you have a passion, that’s like, what’s most important, because you got, you need to find, I suppose, what you’re most passionate about. And, and just be committed to doing that, regardless of how much money brings, in order for me, I’m going to talk about money, because that was what the biggest fear for me was, was the money. But that might not be the biggest fear, that might, it might be something completely different. And I, I suppose folks are gonna have to decide that on a case by case basis, but for me, it was kind of like, I’m going to do this, I want to do this. And if it doesn’t work out, that’s okay. Um, I will be able to find something else and, and carry on and persist, you know, and as soon as I started sort of started to accept that it got less scary. And that’s, you know, that’s when we started code box. And, you know, I don’t regret it for a minute. And I mean, so I, I think that’s what I would suggest, you know, but again, I don’t know if it’s hard. pastoral
David Ralph [14:00]
is not is it is a flavor, it’s a flavor of being able to take a leap of faith. And as you say, make do and that’s the key thing. I think so many of us, when we are in joy, certainly in my situation, when my salary was going up and up and up. It was directly linked our unhappy I was, but I couldn’t break free from the unhappiness because the salary was going up. And I was just trapped into that, that sort of vicious, increasing every sort of year, once that was taken away from me, and I realized, actually, I’ve just being made redundant, I haven’t got that is liberation, it really is. And I got made redundant. And I thought to myself, what should I do? And I thought, I’m going to become a student. And I went back and was a student, I had a family, I had a wife, I had a mortgage, and all those kind of things. But I may do and we didn’t go out for meals, and we didn’t do this, and we didn’t do that. And you you do find a way of getting from the hard times. And without doing that. You’re not going to find the good times. Oh, yeah.
Thomas Patrick Levy [15:06]
No, no, absolutely not.
David Ralph [15:09]
That’s, you know, that’s that that age old saying that? That the sweet is only sweet because you’ve known the bitter, right. And that’s sort of, I don’t know, in line with what we’re talking about right here for sure. What it is, we call it our big dot. And in join up dots, there seems to be a moment in everyone’s life that they can look back on and they can go, even though that was awful, even though it was the unhappiest time I’ve been in, even though I wouldn’t want to wish that on anyone else. Actually, when I look back on it, best thing that ever happened to me that was and that really pushed me on to my future. Do you have a moment in your life that you can look back on? And you can go Yeah, that was really dreadful. But I actually wouldn’t be the man I am now. Without that.
Thomas Patrick Levy [15:56]
Uh, yeah, for sure. I went when I first moved to California, I was I was working for this repossession agency. And I, I was working there essentially, because I needed I needed money. You know, I like I needed a job. And I and I failed my way into the job by by agreeing to design a website for the owner of the company, and which I didn’t really know how to do by the way, I was just kind of toying with websites. And I was like, I bet I could do this for a living. And, and I got the job doing the website. And then he brought me in to manage his warehouse. So I so I ended up managing this guy’s warehouse for several years. And then I got into like the repossession aspect of the company. But But essentially, I was working. The moment was I was working, I’d work in the warehouse from like,, seven 730 in the morning till, four 430 in the evening, and then I’d go out reporting at night. And then I get home like 234 o’clock in the morning. And some sometimes I get right back to the yard at the end of the night. And I’d sleep in my office for like an hour, and then go back to work. And I was just I’ve always kind of had an anger issue. I think that kind of stems back to my early early childhood. But But I came home one day, and I was just so burnt out, and I wasn’t really making very much money. Despite the just sheer number of hours, I was working and I was surviving, but I was just I was unhappy and and I think the biggest thing wasn’t really so much the money it was that I had no interest in being a repossession agent or working in a warehouse. It just, it had nothing to do with what I wanted to do with my life. And I knew I was just kind of like sitting there. And, and my dog had I we had just gotten a puppy my wife and I because we decided that we should get a puppy which is a whole other story and not relevant but wasn’t a good idea for where we were at in our lives. And and you know, you have to train a dog when you get a dog and and it would I would come home and there’d be like it would go to the bathroom all over the carpet and it and it pulled books off the off my bookshelf and tore one of my books up and I just wanted to this rage and I destroyed our shower. I just like I destroyed it. It was like one of those fiberglass tower showers and I just like beat the hell out of it. And, and then I was faced with like, I just like lost myself and I destroyed the shower, which I now I’m going to have to spend money on and fix. And I still have this really crappy job that I don’t like, and my dog still isn’t trained, you know. And so all the problems were still there. And at that point, I realized like I not immediately but like, when I look back on it, I was like that was the bottom. Like the most unhappy point of my life so far where where I was just, I realized I needed to change something. And I didn’t know at the moment, like I had no idea what I needed to do. But I just knew I was unhappy. And I had like, I guess I had come to accept it in that moment. And that sparked me to I ended up working there for another six or eight months. But then eventually I moved I quit. And and I think it all kind of started in that moment when I when I like kind of went into this violent rage on my shower.
David Ralph [19:05]
When you have a shower now do you think about every time you step into a shower? You know,
Thomas Patrick Levy [19:10]
I don’t but from time to time, I do think about it. Um, it’s not every time I get into the shower, but, um, you know, and actually maybe even more so than that. I remember. Really, every time I go to Home Depot, I remember it because I had to go to Home Depot to find try to figure out like, how do you fix a fiberglass shower wall, you know, because I because I was too like I had so much shame involved in the whole thing that I didn’t want to like call my landlord and admit that I had done this, you know, I didn’t even want to like talk to my wife about it. It was just something that I was like I was just so embarrassed of. But if I go to Home Depot now I can remember like walking up and down the aisles trying to figure out like what tool or epoxy or whatever I’m going to use to fix it. So which is kind of interesting that maybe even the shame is more more than bottom then the the actual act of it because I do remember when every time I go to Home Depot, and that’s present in my mind cuz I was at Home Depot over the weekend. In the paint, I’ll thinking about it, you know, so
David Ralph [20:11]
but but if you think about it, what you go in there, you smash the show up, which is it’s a stupid thing to do. There’s no getting away with it, because you need a shower. And if I was gonna go and smash something up, I’d look around for something that I don’t need anymore just to get it out. But you need a shower every single day, or you’re not going to have any friends. Simple as that. But, but you smash smash it up and then had to go. Right? How do I mend this in a way it was used starting to take action, wasn’t it? And once you mended it, you it’s almost like you’d sit there going, why? Two days ago, I had no idea how to mend a shower. But I’ve now done it. What else can I go? And you’ve got to smash certain things up, whether it’s quitting a job or a relationship or whatever, to be able to mend what you want happen you.
Thomas Patrick Levy [21:07]
That’s Yeah, that’s absolutely correct. And that’s actually a metaphor I use on a daily basis when it comes to, to what we’re doing at code box. Because our kind of motto is that it’s not always going to feel great. And it’s not always going to be pretty. But we’re going to keep running through walls until we figure it out, you know, which is exactly what you’re talking about. It’s like, here’s the problem at hand, and we need to solve it. So let’s just bang our head on it until it works, you know. And that’s, you know exactly what you’re talking about. I mean, once you break that wall down, you can start to build it back up and solve the problem, you know, and once the problem solved, you can look at it and be like, you know, that might have been kind of painful. But I’ve built a pretty nice wall now, you know?
David Ralph [21:46]
So did you talk about burning your bridges. But if you leave yourself with an escape route, when you’re highly likely when things get tough to try to use an escape route, for example, when people leave a company, I’ve seen it so many times that when things haven’t gone well for them, they even phone up and say Can I have my old job back even though it was that they weren’t happy with. But if you do burn your bridges, and you know you can’t go back, then you have to do anything you possibly can flex that hustle muscle, make phone calls, do some jobs that you don’t like, whatever, until that thing starts to pan out for you. And you look back and you go Thank God, I didn’t go back to that job. But I might have done.
Thomas Patrick Levy [22:33]
Yeah, you know, I mean, I guess in that regards, I do. Although I wouldn’t. I also kind of value personal relationships. So I’ve never left a company in a way where, where I actually like burned a bridge that way, but I think for me, it’s more about maybe not necessarily like ruining a relationship but but making it so that this is my only option, which is I suppose the same thing but but not not really so much in a destructive way. Um, I guess that confrontation and that conflict, it just would never sit right with me if I if I just like mistreated somebody to the point where I could never get my job back.
David Ralph [23:11]
Um, unless they were dressed as a shower.
Thomas Patrick Levy [23:15]
Yeah, yeah, there’s a contradiction right there, huh? Yeah.
So, um, but I mean, I, I do agree with that, you know, um, and although I can’t say that I’ve actually done that, but but in my mind, it’s, it’s, what I’ve done was, you know, when I, when I left the repossession company, I just basically made a commitment to myself that I would not go back, you know, because I’ve seen that happen to I and I see it happen with relationships to you know, it’s like we’re, we’re very strongly believe, if you’d like, if you break up with somebody, there’s like a very good reason why you’ve done that. And there’s no reason to get back together. So so the same should be true of your working relationships, you know,
David Ralph [23:58]
you can’t reheat a souffle somebody once said to me, and it’s a silly little phrase, but it’s always struck, and I have never gone to a company left and gone back ever. And I would never, ever do it. I don’t think you have to have closure at certain points in your life. And you have to have the ability to go, as you were saying, that’s not working. those annoying habits of that company, or my situation, or my partner is getting me down. I’m not going to go back to it. But it’s a comfort blanket, isn’t it? It’s what you know. And so when the girlfriend that you’ve dumped because she drove you mental, suddenly doesn’t look so bad, because you’re not in that situation. You think, okay, maybe I was mistaken. Maybe was okay, maybe I can make a go of it. But I don’t believe you do. I don’t believe second goes ever really work?
Thomas Patrick Levy [24:55]
No, I wholeheartedly agree with you. I just think, yeah, I mean, once you’ve made that decision, you know, you need to remember that you know, and keep keep that fresh in your mind somehow.
David Ralph [25:08]
So so when you live a the word creativity seems to flood out of you. And we didn’t mention it in the, in the introduction. But you you write poetry, and you seem to have a interest in Scarlett Johansson? I do. And so so how did those two things come about? Because poetry in my mind isn’t a natural fit, that somebody who is an at risk teenager, drinking heavily having drugs and over all that kind of stuff. But to sit there and create something as beautiful as you know, poetry is and I listened to some of your poetry on YouTube, and people can go and hunt you down and go listen to it. And it is an interesting style of poetry. It’s it’s almost, well, the one that I I was almost kind of angry the way you presented it, there was there was over passion in it. Is that the way that you feel that you want to present yourself in that format?
Thomas Patrick Levy [26:12]
Um, that’s a yes. In short, yes. I came to poetry. Right at the end of my I guess my last semester of or less six months of high school when I was in that boarding school for the address teenagers and and, and it was actually sort of a kind of rebellion for me, we there were there were so many things that we weren’t allowed to read more and allowed to listen to it. We were basically kind of like, under surveillance for good reason. I mean, we deserved all this, I’m not complaining. But but there was very few things that that that weren’t controlled and, and a friend of mine at the boarding school found we had very limited internet access, and he found this website that had a bunch of he Cummings poetry, and actually even more so than he Cummings, Dylan Thomas, the, the, what is he Welsh, the Welsh poet, I believe, as well. So please don’t quote me on that. I might be 100% off somewhere.
David Ralph [27:10]
He’s Welsh. I’m sure he’s Welsh.
Thomas Patrick Levy [27:12]
Okay, yeah. Um, so Dylan, so we found a website that had this poetry on it. And, and as soon as my friend found it, he like, printed it. And for some reason, it really struck him. And he and he gave me this eight and a half by 11 sheet of paper with a Dylan Thomas poem on it. And, and I folded it up, and I kept it in my pocket. And I would read it when I was in the toilet, because that was the only place that I had like, actual privacy. And because we knew we weren’t allowed to have this thing, you know?
David Ralph [27:42]
Can I just stop you there? Well, why weren’t you allowed to have what? What? issues? Were you having poetry to the authorities?
Thomas Patrick Levy [27:50]
Well, okay, so so it wasn’t necessarily that you weren’t allowed to read poetry, it was that every every book in the library was pre read by the staff. And anything you brought in from outside, like, if my parents would send me a book, the staff would have to approve whether or not I could read it. So so it’s actually very likely that that they may have let us read it. Um, but but I’ll never know for sure. But, but the idea was that, that we could be influenced negatively, by anything, like kind of countercultural or, you know, by it was, especially with music, like any rap music, any like heavy metal music, or punk rock music, just because by nature, it’s like, abrasive or emotional. That could be like damaging to our recovery, essentially, what was the concept, you know, and to a certain extent, I understand it. I think on a ground level censorship, like that is really, really devastating and dangerous, but but in my little secluded, like period of two years, where I was like, trying to get my life together as a young, young man or young adult, a teenager, a kid, really, um, I think it was beneficial for me. And then really, what was even more beneficial is because of that, censorship. When I found these poems, they spoke to me so much stronger than I think, had they spoken to me because because because I mean, I had a mohawk in high school. And I was like, always into punk rock music, even though I didn’t know what like anarchy really meant, or like, what the consequences of that were like, I was into that because it was different. And it like spoke to me somehow. So when I read these poems that I felt like I should not be reading. It was way different than if one of my professors had given me the same poem in a textbook and assigned it to me as a class. So it’s like, I thought, I thought I was doing something that I shouldn’t be doing. So I internalize the poetry differently than Had it been something that I was told to do.
David Ralph [29:45]
If that makes sense. It makes total sense. It makes total sense. But I’m fascinated why somebody like yourself, what was it escapism? When you read these words, of Dylan Thomas? Was it creating a vision of overwhelmed, but you weren’t part of but you would have loved to be?
Thomas Patrick Levy [30:05]
I think so. I mean, I didn’t necessarily want to be inside of his poems, I think the world that it created for me was, was a world where I could create things, you know, it was like, a matter of expression. You know, what, when I read it, I something inside me was like, I want to be able to, I guess more than anything, like I wanted to be able to create something that could speak to other people in the same way that this poem spoke to me. You know, I think that more than anything, is kind of what drew it to me. I mean, of course, I think the words are beautiful, but it but for me poetry and and actually any art, music, etc, has always been more of less about like, what it actually is. And what that response it elicits in me, is like how I feel about it when I listened to it, or look at it or read it.
David Ralph [30:53]
Because one of the themes of the show Thomas, which is come out is is a trend that’s coming out. But and it’s the tagline end of the show, connecting our past to build our future, is that a lot of things that you’re doing now about building stuff, and being creative, is highly likely the things that you liked doing when you was a very small chap, when he was like a little five year old. And it seems that people who are building websites and businesses, you can take him back. And they were very interested in in drawing or, or Lego, or building blocks and all that kind of stuff. Is there a similarity to your life, if you look back and start sort of connecting those dots, but what you’re doing now is a kind of adult version of what you were doing when you was a Bible.
Thomas Patrick Levy [31:38]
Yeah, I mean, absolutely. I think, you know, that that you read right at the beginning of the show, something I had written in an essay about how you know, kind of everybody’s creative. And when I look back to when I was a kid, I actually wrote a bit when I was really young, too. I didn’t, I didn’t really think of myself as a poet, but I wrote songs, I played music. And even younger than that, it’s funny. You mentioned Legos. I’ve always loved Legos. I still kind of love Legos. I just I don’t, I don’t have the right justification to actually play with him. Um, you know what I mean? But I’m can
David Ralph [32:12]
always go with Lego com. Yeah. But,
Thomas Patrick Levy [32:16]
uh, yeah, I mean, I think, and I think every, well, maybe not, maybe not everybody’s creative. But But I think everybody I will speak for myself is like, I’ve always enjoyed creating things, you know, um, and, and making things and there’s something really, like, intensely satisfying to me about finishing. So nowadays, it’s finishing a website. And, and, and, and that moment, when it’s like, Okay, this is done and shipped, and it’s live. And then just kind of like sitting in that being like, I made that, you know, that was something that I made, and that now exists in the world, however, in tangible a website is, but that’s always been really satisfying and gratifying to me. But
David Ralph [32:58]
Isn’t that fantastic, and freaky. But this is the first time we’ve ever spoke at all, we’ve never been in a couple of emails, we, and I can know that about you. Because it seems to be what everyone is saying to me. And it’s a real weird fact that we all go into jobs that we hate. But actually, we should just be looking at what we used to love doing when we were little, and trying to build a job around that. And if you loved you know, making Barbie clothes, then become a fashion designer. And if you’d like to do something like that, it seems that we we had the clues, but dots were there right at the very beginning. I’m absolutely an exponent of that. Now, if I look back on to my early days, I was pretty much doing what I’m doing now. And I can’t imagine why I wasted 25 years. Trying to find that path again. But I just couldn’t see it until I’m into it now. And I look at it and go, this is what I used to do. Why? Why is it taking me so long? It’s madness. Sumit
Thomas Patrick Levy [34:01]
Yeah, it absolutely. It’s funny too. I, I’m faced with that from time to time, because because when I was like 12 I used to build AOL profiles for my friends there. I don’t know if you’re familiar with this at all. But I’m search some some listeners are you could you could like hack your AOL profile with like little bits of HTML and CSS in order to like change the whole thing black and you can only display certain characters and make like designs with the characters and things like that. And but actually hide the fields. Like so you can like hide your first name field by making the background black, because in the text of that says first name would be black. And you can make little designs, but I knew how to do that. And I would like my friends would pay me like $5 to make their AOL profile look cool. And I was doing that when I was in like Middle School, you know. But then it takes me until I’m like 24 to like start actually, like, thinking of myself as a web designer are that can or web developer that can sell websites to real people with real businesses and things like that. And then another handful of years before I like realized, like, I actually want to just do this on my own and start my own company doing this. So
David Ralph [35:14]
when I quit my job, I thought I was going to be a web developer. And I did it for two days and wanted to smash a toaster into my head. It drove me mental and I suddenly realized, my God, I have created a world for myself and I can make websites. They’re not hard. You know, I’ve done it numerous times. And I thought what I’m going to do is build websites for local businesses who didn’t have one, you know, the easy pickings, right? Right. And been sort of developed that way. And I did one. And I’ll just remember this day sitting at the kitchen table, and I hadn’t heard anyone speak all day. And I thought, this can’t be my life. And I thought what I need to break silence and I put the radio on and I couldn’t concentrate. So I put a podcast on. And as the podcast was being played, I listened to this chap. And I thought I could do this. And it was as simple as that. And my whole life changed on that one chap saying those words, I didn’t know how to do it. I didn’t know how to record, I had no idea about anything other than the fact that I bought a quite fancy bass, let’s give it a go. But I look back on it. And it was all it was all Well, me everything. I can look back and say, Yes, I can do that. Because I used to do this. And I can do that. Because I used to do this and all that kind of stuff. But you just can’t see it at a time life. Life takes over you.
Thomas Patrick Levy [36:35]
Right? Yeah, absolutely. It’s, well, it’s that thing where you’re just too focused on, you’re too close to the situation. And there’s there’s no perspective there, you know, and it’s and it’s, for me, it’s always been tremendously difficult to be objective about the situation I’m in in that moment, you know. And,
David Ralph [36:54]
yeah, but what I’m going to do at that moment is bring on Steve Jobs, because I think we need a bit of a powerhouse motivational talk. Not that we need it at all. And this is a speech that he did back in 2005. And really is the theme of the show, and this is why we call the show join up dots. So I’m going to play these words. And I’m going to ask your opinion on them. And whether they’re relevant to you whether they’re relevant to your life, or, and you know what your feelings are, to these powerful words. This is Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs [37:21]
Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards, 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leaves you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [37:56]
What do you think about those words, Thomas?
Thomas Patrick Levy [38:00]
I mean, I think he’s right. And of course, we’ve we’ve spent the past, you know, 45 minutes or so talking about this. That’s kind of what we’ve been leading up to right is, is this this is obviously apparent in my life. And it sounds like it is in yours, too. The only thing I think I could really And I especially being in the tech industry, it’s like almost heresy to disagree with Steve Jobs. But But I think there’s also some measure of hard work involved in all that it’s it’s not only just kind of believing that things are going to work out for you. It’s, it’s, it’s working hard enough. So that that things do work out and, and I don’t remember the author’s name, my wife is really into like medieval fantasy novels. And we went, we saw this author. If I would have thought about this earlier, I would have looked him up. But we saw him read. And he basically said that being a, Oh, wow. When I think about I’m going to say this anyway, I’m going to contradict myself. But what what he said was, being a really good writer isn’t going to get your book published. He said, You have to be lucky. And he’s like, that doesn’t mean you can leave everything to chance, though, because when you get lucky, you better be a really great freakin writer. Otherwise, that that opportunities just kind of kind of slip out of his out of your hands. So and what he was saying was that he’s been he worked for years and years and years on books, and then got rejected by publishers. And he like really worked at writing. And he tried to improve his writing. And none of that mattered. What mattered was that he got lucky enough to get in front of the right editor at the right time. But at that moment, he had the book that he had worked really hard on, and had he not done all that hard work, and none of it would have mattered. So I think maybe I’m not necessarily disagreeing with Steve Jobs. But I think you need you need to trust that that things are going to work out. But you also need to, like bust your ass in order to get there.
We kick ass here.
David Ralph [40:00]
Now, that’s absolutely spot on you. You do you have to work harder than you’ve ever worked before. But hopefully, you’re doing something that you love. And that’s the key thing. So Richard Branson says that he doesn’t think of work as work and play as play. It’s just living. And I think that is, you know, that’s a powerful statement to me, when you can find something that you love doing. And hopefully it comes across. I love this. I love this more than anything I’ve ever done in my life. And even though I’ve been doing it for 10 hours now, I’ll go again tomorrow. And I’ll do it the next day as well. You just can’t get enough of it. So it is that thing about Yeah. busting your hump to make something of an opportunity that you’ve been given, or you’ve created. But hopefully it’s something that inspires you enough to want to do that. So it doesn’t feel like work.
Thomas Patrick Levy [40:55]
Absolutely, absolutely. Yeah. I agree with you. That’s it.
David Ralph [41:00]
Thomas. It’s the first time you’ve agreed with me tonight.
Thomas Patrick Levy [41:03]
Well, you know, if I disagree, it makes you know, more stimulating conversation. Have you been listening to my wife?
David Ralph [41:09]
That’s the kind of thing that she would say.
Unknown Speaker [41:12]
That’s what my wife would say to
David Ralph [41:13]
Yeah, absolutely. Though, they will come from the same cloth. So yeah, so where is go code box? Can I go is human, your mate moment? And I understand that he works in his house, you work in your house, and you drive every now and again to sort of middle California somewhere to sort of meetup? Is it going to have more employees? Is it going to go worldwide? What was your dreams for your company?
Thomas Patrick Levy [41:38]
Yeah, that’s a that’s a great question. Thank you, we actually are worldwide. It’s it’s kind of exciting, where we are an international Web Development Agency. We have two clients in Australia, one client in the United Kingdom. And then a handful of clients here in America, the rest of our clients are all in America, but so we actually are technically worldwide, which we love, like to remind people because it’s it’s it’s strokes, the ego a little bit. But, uh, you know, as far as you know, the company started with with myself and Joshua. And you know, I’m a web developer, he’s a, he’s a sales marketing guru, he kind of does the internal stuff, and I and I actually construct the things, but neither of us really have a good eye for design. So we’ve from day one work with a handful of contract designers. And just in the last two, three months, we’ve started to grow the team. And we’ve brought in project managers and a second web developer to work with me. And we’re in talks with bringing in a full time designer. So the company is growing, you know, and, you know, our, our plan, we actually we got together, the last time we were together was at the beginning of the second quarter this year. So right around mid March, I think. And we kind of we asked each other the same question was like, what, what are we going with? Like, where do we want code box to be in the next year, in the next two years in the next three years? And and and we run a business because you want to make money. So we wrote down revenue numbers and projections and things like that. And then we got a little bit more granular, like, how many people do we want on our team? How many products do we want to have? How many websites do we want to build, etc, etc? Do we want to change anything? What do we want to change? When do we want to change it? And and and really, the answer to that is that we we don’t know, exactly, we know that we’re good at what we do, and we really enjoy doing it. And we kind of I mean, so we wrote down numbers, of course, but we kind of just agreed to keep moving forward with the with the intention of growth, you know, and that’s kind of like a really exciting place to be because when we got together, we had no idea like we were both freelancers at the time. Um, I had just quit my job, and I was half heartedly freelancing, and he was freelancing full time. And we were like, let’s do this together and kind of joined forces. And we had very, like, little commitment to each other. And then as time we went on, we started dropping off our freelance work and, and now we both work full time here. And and it’s like, the The next stage is just growth is to grow the team and bring more people into the fold who, who share the same vision and passion that we do for building websites? Does it scare you? Absolutely, absolutely. You know, that’s, that’s the, that’s the other side of the whole thing is that, you know, at the end of the day, I’m really, really stoked on what I’m doing. But I’m also terrified of what I’m doing. Because every every every new issue we encounter is it’s, it’s all unfamiliar territory to me. And, and some of its familiar to me and unfamiliar to Joshua and some of its familiar to him and unfamiliar to me. And, and some, and sometimes we’re both just like looking at a problem and saying, We have no idea how to handle this, you know, um, and you know, that that’s actually the immediate reason why we started to bring in more team members, because we got to a point where we couldn’t solve problems on our own anymore. And we’re like, we need somebody who’s really good at this one particular thing, who can do that for us, because we can’t do it, you know. And, of course, we tried, you know, because like I told you earlier, our motto is kind of just, like, keep running through that ball. And then, you know, the solution ended up being to hire somebody else, you know, it’s like, okay, we can’t do it ourselves. So now we bring in the expert. And, you know, and I mean, it’s always, for me, initially, the problem was, you know, how am I going to pay my bills, you know, and now the problem is, like, now we have other people that we’re committed to. And that not that we’re solely responsible for their bills, but now we need to bring in enough because we’ve committed to them that we’re going to give them you know, X amount of dollars. And that’s terrifying to and its own, right, you know, because it’s like, now there’s more people relying on us. But, uh, you know, I absolutely embrace the challenge. And I’m hopeful for our future. And, you know, I just like looking forward, I’m just going to try to keep this in my mind that, that if I continue working, and, and, and working hard, things will come together, because they always have, like Mr. Jobs just said, you know, in retrospect, things do come together. So I need to trust that they’re going to continue coming together, as long as I keep my my vision focused, and my, you know, my hard work, put my best foot forward.
David Ralph [46:39]
I loved about your your words fail was, if you went back to your younger self, which we’re going to do in a moment, actually, we’re going to put you on the Sermon on the mic and send you back. But you liked that you could make a website for someone, even though you couldn’t. And now you’re in a situation where you’re bringing on clients, and you and your partner looking at each we’re going, I know we’ve got these clients, but we don’t actually know how to do it. And it’s it hasn’t moved on at all, as it you know, you’re earning more money, you’ve still got to have those leaps of faith, you’ve still got to have that. Screw it, let’s do it. Because then the next time you’ll know how to do that. There’s always got to be that first time that you don’t know anything. And that’s the key message to get out to the listeners.
Thomas Patrick Levy [47:22]
Yeah, absolutely. And yeah, it Yeah, I hesitate to say that and agree with you. Because I don’t want my clients thinking that we don’t know what we’re doing. Because Because we do, but for me, web development has always been about it has been about exactly that. It’s like, okay, here’s something that I have no idea how to do, and I’m going to figure out how to do it. And, and that’s why development has always been so exciting to me, because like I said earlier, learning is intensely gratifying to me, you know, so so we do that all the time, every new deal we close is we kind of have a moment where we’re like, you know, we kind of like look at the the project outline. And we’re like, Is this possible? You know, that’s, that’s always the question is like, can we do this? And then everything’s possible, you know, it’s just like how well not everything, but most things that are requested of us are possible. And it’s just a matter of like having faith in your capabilities. To know that even though I don’t know, right, this moment how I’m going to do it. I’ll figure out how, you know, or, and now like me, and my team will figure out how
David Ralph [48:27]
Yeah, Nelson Mandela, I think he said, He’s only impossible until it’s done. You know, right. Yeah. And I think that’s about right, isn’t it?
Thomas Patrick Levy [48:37]
Yeah, no, absolutely. And and that’s true. You know, of, I see that all the time and fitness. I mean, not too long ago, somebody broke? I don’t know, maybe it’s 10 years ago that somebody broke like a five minute mile, you know, and and up until that point, that was impossible, you know, and as soon as somebody does it, all these other people started doing it to, you know,
David Ralph [48:58]
who comes to mind, doesn’t it?
Thomas Patrick Levy [49:01]
David Ralph [49:02]
Yeah, totally. Well, let’s take you to the end of the show now. And this is the part that I like to call the powerhouse ending of the show. This is a sermon on the mic, where we play the theme tune. And while it’s playing, you’re transported back in time to have a one on one with your younger self. And if you could go back in time, what sort of age younger self would you choose? Would it be the the chap sitting on the toilet reading the poetry? Would it be the guy going on long road trips with your girlfriend, but you couldn’t really afford? It’s up to you. But I’m, I’m going to play the music now. and Europe, this is a sermon on the mic.
Unknown Speaker [49:43]
We go with the best bit of the show.
Thomas Patrick Levy [50:01]
Well, Tom, this is, Tom, when I talk about myself in the third person, I always refer to myself as Tom. Even though I tell everybody else My name is Thomas. And that’s going to be confusing for you over the next couple of years. And you’re going to be constantly wondering whether or not that makes sense. And don’t let that identity crisis scare you. Because at some point in time, you’re going to buy the domain Thomas Patrick levy.com. And then you’re going to be kind of stuck with it. And there’s nothing you can do about it. So regardless of what you might say to yourself over the next few years, your name is Thomas. And you can continue calling yourself Tom in your head and nobody’s going to care. And your dad’s still going to call you Tommy and your mom is still going to call you Tom and your wife is still going to call you stinky. And all of that’s going to be okay. And I’ve been thinking a lot recently, just in the last 45 minutes about what I would say to you, if I had the chance to say to you say anything to you, really. And I know that time travel is not possible. And that’s okay, we’re going to suspend disbelief here. And you’ve done a lot of really stupid things in your life. And there’s a couple pictures of you when you were like 14 with your stupid hair. And at the moment, you thought it was really cool. And and now, you know, several years later, you’re going to realize how dumb you looked. And and that’s okay too, because you’re going to do more stupid things as you grow up and you get older. And and and you’re going to have a lot of jobs that are stupid that you’re going to look back on and think maybe I should have never taken that job. And you’re going to be in some relationships that were terrible. And you’re going to do drugs and you’re going to drink and you’re going to you’re going to hurt a lot of people along the way. And, and as much as I want to tell you not to do that. I think you should probably do all those things. And then when you get to the point where I am today, you’re going to look back on it and and you’re going to regret some things because it always sucks to hurt people. But all the relationships by this point have been repaired. And everything’s okay, and you’re relatively happy and you’re moving forward and you’re hopeful for the future. So, you know, keep it up. And just remember that things are going to hurt. That’s I think more than anything, what I’d like to say to you is that things are always going to hurt. And and and the thing you can really do to make things easier is to embrace that pain, and not fall into self pity or despair or inaction. Because things will get better if you continue to move forward.
David Ralph [52:41]
Words, powerful words, and I hope the young Thomas is listening carefully. For all our listeners out there that have been listening carefully, how can they connect with you and your work?
Thomas Patrick Levy [52:53]
I’d start on my website, it’s Thomas Patrick levy calm, I slip that into my little sermon, but I’ll repeat it again. Um, and they can hop on my mailing list there, if they hop on my mailing list, they’ll get a free copy of my most recent little ebook. I’m just like, 10 pages or something like that. Um, so yeah, they can go to my website, they can follow me on YouTube. Um, I don’t have my channel name off the top of my head, I should have gotten that prepared. I really don’t do a lot of social networking. It can follow me on twitter at at Thomas P. Levy. And I may or may not tweet back at them. Or they can follow me on Instagram. That’s actually the only social network that I really enjoy these days is Instagram. And that’s at Thomas P. Levy, also.
David Ralph [53:36]
And what about code, folks? Can they find you there?
Thomas Patrick Levy [53:39]
Yeah, our website is go code box calm. And we have contact forms on there. If you’d like to get in touch with us. If you’d like a website, you know, we’re happy to build one for you. You can get in touch with us there are phone numbers up on the website. You can also just emailed me directly. I’m always down to take emails, my personal email address is Thomas P. Levy at gmail. com. And, you know, one thing is that I feel like everybody’s really kind of lonely. And social networks allow us to, like, communicate with each other. I get really excited when people reach out to me, you know, I’m so and sometimes I forget that. And when I like want to reach out to somebody that I’m like really impressed with or want to talk to you. I’m like, well, they’re not really going to want to talk to me. But they do every single time somebody hits me up. I’m like, wow, that was awesome. Thanks so much for contacting me, you know, so I’d encourage people just to reach out to me or anybody else you want to talk to you. You know,
David Ralph [54:30]
I agree with that. Totally. He’s always been amazing to me whenever I reach out. I’ve never had a know yet, either. Hey, he’s not quite right at the moment come back in three months, but no one’s ever said no is amazing. Yeah,
Thomas Patrick Levy [54:45]
David Ralph [54:47]
Absolutely. Well, Thomas, 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 believe that by joining those dots and connecting our paths is the best way to build ourselves. Thomas Patrick Levy, thank you so much.
Thomas Patrick Levy [55:04]
Thank you, David.
David doesn’t want you to become a faded version of the brilliant self you were once 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.