Hey everybody, how's it going? I'm Chase Jarvis. Welcome to another episode of Chase Jarvis Live here on CreativeLive. You're tuned into the 30 Days of Genius series and that series is where I sit down with the world's top creatives, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders and get actionable insights for you to apply to your hobby, career and life. Help you live a richer more rounded and exciting life full of knowledge from smart people like the person sitting next to me. Don't look yet, don't look. If you're just new to the 30 Days of Genius series go to CreativeLive.com/30DaysOfGenius all you have to do is click that blue button and you're gonna get a badass interview like this one in your inbox every morning for the next 30 days. My guest today is someone I'm, I've actually known Kevin for a little while. I've said his name so you probably know where I'm going with this one. He is the founder of several companies. Two of which you'll know for sure, Digg and Revision3. Then he went on to ...
be a partner at Google Ventures and now is the CEO of Hodinkee. Here in New York City my guest today is none other than Kevin Rose. What's up buddy?
Thank you, sir.
Boom. (upbeat music)
Alright welcome to the show, Kevin. Thanks so much for coming.
Yeah thanks for having me, 'preciate it.
Super good to have you on the show. We have been in the same friend circle for a long time. You actually made an investment into Creative Live when you were a partner at Google Ventures.
Thank you very much. Now you're on to something bigger and better, dare we say?
I'm all over the place.
You are (laughs). Kevin moved to New York, what?
This has kinda been my care, though. I've bounced around and done a bunch of different things. I find that my brain is always one that wants to try new things every six months. Most of the time I just shelve stuff and other times I go and try something, it blows up. Other times it works out. It's all over the place.
Hodinkee, I wanna go right at it. I figured out how to pronounce it and it was exactly what I thought.
Took a little while before we got it going here.
I had to say it like five times off camera first. I'm in no way, shape, or form a connoisseur. I appreciate fine watches, but why don't you tell me, by extension the people at home, what is your day right now? You're CEO of Hodinkee and what does that mean?
It was kind of a weird move, no doubt. But honestly it was one that I kind of fell into by chance. My father passed away and left me with a watch. And I knew you were talking about your grandfather having some watches, things like that. I think that's typically how a younger generation kind of acquires these things. I had a watch that he left me and obviously it was cherished, something I wanted to hold on to for a very long time. Started kind of slowly researching things, reading about watches and got the bug. I created an app for the App Store just out of, just for fun, just to see what would happen. That kinda pulled together all the different watch news from around the web and then really clean, consistent view, very readable. If you were were reading these sites on mobile a lot of them didn't even have modern style sheets so the weren't presentable for a mobile audience. You had to do a lot of pinching and zooming. I fixed all that and lo and behold it kind of just blew up, it took off. Hundreds and thousands of people downloaded the app. It had five-star reviews. It has done really well. And then I was like, wow, there's actually a business here. And on top of that there's the people that are curious about collecting watches but then there are the really hardcore, kind of luxury enthusiasts so it's a very monetizable lucrative market to get into.
There's opportunity. My understanding of it is it's very A, un-aggregated, B, it's about older, manual time pieces and that really doesn't have a technology angle to it. Is that fair to say?
No, that's true. And I think that one of the things that we looked at when I was at Google Ventures were these verticals, these spaces where not a whole lot of attention, or technology had been applied to yet. There's so many entrepreneurs going after what is the next Snapchat, what is the next Instagram. Not so many people looking to take over the luxury watch space. It was just an experiment. It was something I had built in a couple weekends. I launched it and it was clear by the uptake and the retention in the app that we were kinda on to something.
There's there, there.
Right, exactly. We took that app, merged it with Hodinkee which had been around which was the number one, kind of largest online news site for luxury watch news. We merged companies and now I'm out here in New York. We've got a small staff of 14 people. We're just having, perfect size, just having a lot of fun.
You can walk in, you can see everybody in one room.
You know everybody's names we're all on the same page, it's great.
New York, you've been in Silicon Valley as long as I, and you got a little stint in L.A. I think.
Yeah, that's right.
Around the TV stuff. How's New York?
New York's definitely, there's only a handful of places that I really enjoy in the States as far as wanting to call home. There's a lot of places I visit but I think like New York, Portland, San Francisco, Austin, L.A., all great hubs. Chicago, places that I could see myself living one day. You come out here, you get hooked on the pizza, that nightlife and it's just like game over.
It's impossible to go to bed at a decent hour in the city.
It's impossible. It's really tough.
So many friends, oh yeah, I'm just around the corner or there's always something happening. I love that about New York but I can see that being A, bad on your liver, C, bad on your- Wait, A to C? A, bad on your liver, B, bad on your sleep patterns.
Got a little too much AA in there.
(laughs) It's been a rough couple of days.
It's easy to get hooked on this kind of culture out here. All the luxury conglomerates are out here. And so all the brands that we work with are within a stone's throw away so it just made sense to be out here.
Awesome. One of the things I like to get on early here in this series of interviews and in particular with you. The folks that are watching on the other end of this camera here or these cameras, rather. They identify as creative, entrepreneurial, freelance-y, and/or wants to lean more into that. There's all kind of data that says something like by the year 2020, I think, something like 40% of the working age folks in the United States are going to have a side-gig. There's a lot of side-gig, wanna do something, they're already in it and doing it and loving it and thriving.
That's been my life, this is great.
You're journey, one of the reasons I had to have you as part of the series is because you have done so many different things. Television, tech, now fine time pieces. Are you pursuing your interests? What is your sort of, guiding principle? Just give us a little bit of back story and how that you ended up here.
When I first got started I was into technology so I was always kind of a technologist. I studied computer science in school and I moved up to the Bay Area to kinda pursue that dream. Obviously working for other people.
Moved up as in you're from L.A.?
No, I was living in Las Vegas at the time. My family moved out there when I was young. I hate to claim it, it's not my home. I was born in California but it was a place where my dad found work so we lived out there for a while. Moved up, lived in San Francisco and at first was obviously just working for someone else. You kinda have to do that. That was kinda my way just to pay the bills. I knew that the opportunity and the networking potential of the Bay Area was a thing and so to get up there and just get into the coffee shop scene, start meeting fellow entrepreneurs. Pull some inspiration from that and then also figure out a way to eventually get into a company that I'd really enjoy working at. Or, start my own thing. That was kind of the place to be for technologists. For me, it ended up taking a somewhat different route. I got into television. Took the lowest paying job there was just to kinda get my foot in the door. And then eventually started playing around with and trying ideas on the side. I had that base salary to kinda get me through and cover the rent. And then I would carve off a little bit of savings to go and try new projects. With Digg, it was taking pretty much my life savings, which at the time was $10,000 and investing that into the idea. At the time I didn't have really, I studied computer science but it had been a few years so to go back and to relearn all the syntax and everything that's involved. I didn't want to do that. Especially when you're working a full-time job. I hired a freelance person to help me out on the coding side. I did the design myself. I hired a friend who was really good with HTML and CSS. Again, I could have done all those things but it just made sense to speed up the process.
And that, you took your ten grand towards-
Took the ten grand, formed a little corporation around it. Didn't really know what I was doing but I was like, you know what, I'm gonna get this to a state where I can launch it and just see what happens. Over the course of three months, built it out, really pissed of a girlfriend at the time because she wanted to use that money for a house deposit and had bigger plans. We weren't aligned on that front, maybe that's why it didn't work out. That was what it took to launch that project and that really started to take off. Honestly though, I tried a couple other projects prior to that. Another little shareware software application that I had built by a freelancer off of Elance out of Russia that I paid $1,000 for, I won't go into details it was kind of a stupid program. But I ended up making some money off of that by charging and selling it as shareware meaning I charged $15 a copy but you could download it for free initially. And I realized, wow, there's something to this software thing. You write it once and you can make as many copies as you want, hmmm. I should just go and explore that. That's kind of what made me realize the power and potential there to go off and build products for the web. Where you do the work up front, one time and then you can make endless money depending on how many people wanna consume that. Did that, and that's how Digg got started and really took off from there. Then eventually I went and took venture funding for it and grew the team and what not.
There's like 10 things I want to put a pin in. One, that you talked about, first thing is obviously I got a job because I think there's so many folks out there, "Aw I'm going all in, I'm just gonna stop working "and see if I can figure out this design thing "of this photography thing, or this entrepreneurship thing" and I have people after I give a talk or whatever on the internet, "Aw, isn't that how you do it?" Jesus no, that's like the worst plan. Make it so that, if you're thinking about trying to get enough food to survive the last thing you're doing is thinking about all these great ideas and the way to be creative and entrepreneurial and sustainable. I need to survive.
Is it fair to say that you gotta take care of your basic needs and then sort of explore from there?
The only way I would say to not take care of your basic needs and not have to worry about this is if you're at the point where you're 23, you can always go back in with mom and dad and you can just, who cares.
Sure, or your, like, living in their basement.
Right, exactly. Then it doesn't really matter if you have those. But for me, I had already moved out of home. I was up in the Bay Area. I needed to cover those basic expenses.
Which in the Bay Area is like 25 grand a month.
Which is insane. It was even insane back then, it's crazy.
It's so bad now.
For me, it was a nights and weekends project. People would always say, "I don't know how you find time for that." Well, it's easy. I don't watch television.
Don't do other shit.
I work on my projects. I get off of work, I come home, I have dinner and then I get back to work. It doesn't feel like work when it's something that you're super passionate about and you're excited about. It doesn't have the same, sorta, mental burden that a nine-to-five job does.
That's again, the A, the exploration. You talked about that and that's another thing I wanna, you tried several things. You admitted, sort of. Great, I tried this thing. A little bit worked and made a little bit of money. It wasn't ultimately the thing you poured your heart into. But that's okay.
Again, so many people out there, they find something they're passionate about. If you're wondering if your passionate about something, you're not. Is that fair?
I think that's fair to say. If you don't know, go out and fail fast, I think is a good way to do it. Go in there and give it your all and try and then you'll know very quickly. "Ah, this sucks. This isn't for me."
As soon as shit gets hard, if your like, "I'm not so sure this design thing is for me." Or the photography thing or the whatever. You putter in your five-to-nine, get ready a couple times, hire some friends. Basically cobble it together to push a V-1 out there. You push V-1 of Digg out, and
Basically at that point, the first couple weeks were solid growth and then a couple things happened where we were breaking news stories faster than traditional media sources. What we had is we had turned the user base, all these registered members into would-be reporters for us on the internet. And they were going out and finding this really cool blog articles and things people weren't reporting on that were interesting little tidbits and they would post them to Digg and then all the community would vote them up to the front page. That's how Digg functioned, is the best content would flow to the front page based on the votes of the users. And we were breaking stuff and Google was then indexing it. And we were showing up really high in search results. That just created this crazy cycle that all of a sudden our servers were falling over. I had to figure out ways to go and buy more hardware because back then there was not-
You literally had a box of stuff in the corner.
There wasn't Amazon web services or anything like there is today. This was a lot of hustling to keep the servers up. That's when it got really stressful and thankfully I was able to go out and I had a friend that lived in L.A. that I was able to raise, he wrote me a check for $50,000. And then later I brought in a CEO to help out, because this was my first rodeo. I'd never done any of this before. To help me go out and raise proper venture funding.
Got it. Following that, I think it had a lot, I ended up on the front page of Digg. You don't these things because you put out content and someone else finds it and all of a sudden you're shit's crashing. I remember that time very, very vividly. It was very impactful. I'm going to fast forward, Revision3. Where was your idea for that? How? Why?
We basically, well at the time, this is part of my ADD issue. And you can be my therapist for today.
The issue was that I was working at TechTV. We had moved to Los Angeles. I didn't really like the direction the company was going. It was getting a little bit more dumbed down than it was before. The internet was a thing, obviously. So we were like, why don't we put more video online. This is really before YouTube blew up. Podcasting had just been announced as a thing to do. We're like, let's just do content for the web and cut out the middle man. Work directly with advertisers. Myself and a couple other friends got together and was like, let's create an online TV, video network for this to scratch our itch when it comes to all things technology. We created this series of different shows, one called System, that we launched initially. Another one called The Broken. There was my show with Diggnation with Alex Albrecht that we did. And then a bunch more after that. We raised some money for that at the same time that Digg was raising money. So we kinda had two companies that we were building at the same time.
Oh, I didn't know that was in parallel. What were you doing, back and forth?
It was mostly, David Prager kind of ran the things over at Revision3. I was just talent at that point and on the board as well. It was just too hard for me to run Digg and Revision at the same time.
I get it.
I was just focusing on Digg.
I'm gonna keep fast forwarding. You end up selling Revision3 to Discovery.
Maybe some other things happened. And then you end up at Google Ventures. Did you ever see yourself as a venture capitalist?
I really enjoyed angel investing. I'd been an angel investor prior to that and was lucky enough to back some great companies and have some decent outcomes there. I think that's what attracted Google Ventures to the whole VC thing. I admired their approach. They wanted to take a different, more hands on approach with companies and really leverage Google's resources to help out entrepreneurs. Google just has tremendous amount of not just capital and cash to provide entrepreneurs but expertise in a bunch of areas. The cool thing about working at Google Ventures is that if an entrepreneur had an issue, like we had that special kind of magic, red phone to pick up to go inside of Google and say, how can we solve this issue for this founder? Bill Maris, in creating Google Ventures, his mandate was we have to be doing something positive for the internet ecosystem and that if Larry or Sergey were starting Google today, they would turn to Google Ventures and raise money. Let's find the next Larry and Sergey and help them out and help them scale. That was awesome and I had a great time. I spent three years there. It was a tremendous amount of fun in seeing and growing that team. We did some great investments,
Thank you for investing in CreativeLive.
Uber, at a pretty- You've never heard of them?
Sorry, I'm not familiar. It's new.
New transportation thing. That was a crazy deal. That was our largest investment.
Yeah, I think it is nine. It was four-nine, something like that. To be in that room when we were debating whether to do that deal was just pretty intense. It's a big check to write.
(laughs) Yeah, I was gonna... I'm out, I don't have that much money.
It was lot of fun and you see a lot of these founders running into the same issues over and over again. Anything you can do to, not help them avoid it 'cause there's always something you can learn there. But smooth out those kinda rough edges I think is,
The reason I was fast-forwarding through your life at a pace that's probably unfair to your life,
That's all good.
To get to the Google Ventures part is because that's one of the things that you just said which is like, you see the same things over and over again with founders and remember our audience is not just founders of tech companies but they're founders of small, mom and pop, entrepreneurial, solo-preneur, freelance world. You clearly have seen a lot of shit. What are some common pitfalls, what should people who are interested in, again sort of the people who are interested in not just in going from zero to one. I want to pursue my dream but I've got a mortgage, I've got all these other things. There's probably a handful of pieces of advice that you would give maybe a couple different groups that represent the people on the other side of the camera here.
Which group do you wanna talk about first?
Do you have something? Do you have a preference? Or where you most, get most your mojo?
I think that a couple different things. I think that on the more mom and pop, and I just wanna get something started, it seems that in chatting with would-be founders they tend to think it's a lot more expensive and a lot more difficult and that they need to kind of over produce it if they're gonna start something new. It's like, "I would need a lawyer to do this, "I would need to get pattens and trademarks "and all these things." They've heard all these buzzwords floating around in the past
They're very expensive buzzwords. That's not necessarily what you need to do to launch a business. It doesn't need to be that complicated. You don't need to spend a ton of dollars doing it. That's kind of one camp and then you have another set of founders that are more, kind of technical which are the tech folks that I would talk to often times that I feel they, a lot of people are risk adverse. They have an idea but they don't want to go and really take that leap. They're looking for someone to kinda bless they're idea. I think that's often a founder that I would run into where I would give a talk at someplace and then have people come up and say, "Hey, I have to show you something. "I'm thinking about doing this. "Should I go do this?" My answer has always been like, gosh, I remember so many people that I pitched Digg to or Revision3 or any other idea that thought it was a horrible idea. And had I just gone based on that feedback I never would've created that product to begin with. Often times the best founders, without a doubt this is true, the best founders are the ones that see something before anyone else. Including myself or anyone else. There's a reason why Uber was on Angel List and trying to raise a round of funding. People didn't see it. They had to go on Angel List and put themselves out there and say, "Hey, who wants to invest?" And everyone's like, "Hey, I don't know." They were able to see something before anyone else. As a founder, if you think you have that insight that thing you've been able to capture and see before anyone else, go run with it. Don't listen to anyone else and let them tell you it's a bad idea. That's a hard thing for people to adjust to and believe in.
As a founder of a couple things I feel that there is so much resistance to new ideas. I can't think of a single thing my, even something as simple as my photography career included, I was bound for a career in professional soccer, then medical school and I just kept sorta pivoting in the traditional shit. Mostly because I was scared shitless about the things other people would do to judge me in the, "Wait, you were gonna be a pro soccer player "and then you wanted to be a photographer? "Like, what the fuck is wrong with you?"
Who cares, that's the fun of life though. For me it's like, I know without a doubt that when someone goes back and either looks at my Wikipedia page or wherever it happens to exist if it does exist. The things that I tried, I want there to be a history of so many failures. There's gonna be a few wins in there which is like, awesome. I don't know, the fun is in trying new things that no one else has done before. I like launching new apps that people think that's a little bit crazy or that's stupid. I don't know, it was my idea. Who cares? At least I tried something. So many people just sit there and they work for someone else and they hate their life every single day. I'm having fun. Even the failures are fun. You know what I'm talking about.
Oh, I do.
Who cares? You're having a good time doing it. And you always learn something. For me that's what gets me excited.
I think there's a, maybe even an abundance of programming in our culture now like, try it, fail fast. But there's still something that keeps people from doing it. There's still this barrier from zero to one. I don't know, maybe you have some insight having talked to so many people who are trying to start out. Are the biggest barriers, is it sort of fear of public humiliation? Is it fear of loss of money? Is it fear of shame and guilt? What are the-
I think it's all those things. I don't think there's one straight forward answer there. I've seen it all over the place. From founders that, I have a great example. One that I won't name his name, he grew up in a very strict kind of, tiger mom, Chinese household and when he dropped out of college to pursue his passion in, he's a brilliant entrepreneur, his family almost disowned him. And it was really brutal. And it was just like, you know, that's like heartbreaking. He's going out there, trying to do something that he's not the standard path and his family just really cracked down on him. It wasn't until he started having success there that they were like, oh, wait a second.
It's funny how that happens.
It's funny how that works out. Think about all the people that might not have success. That's really difficult. There's a big, I remember when I left TechTV and I was going to start Digg. My parents were, kind of, just, what are you doing? You're on television.
Why would you ever do that?
Why would you leave television? That's as good as it gets. I could tell me friends to tune in to channel whatever on DIRECTV, 754. Or whatever it is, it's always like, crazy, not the top 100.
But it's so much about there will, not necessarily yours.
That's part of that challenge, I feel like.
And then your spouse, too. I'm very lucky in that my wife is just like, she's always been very supportive and she's always just been like, a fellow entrepreneur, which is awesome.
Say hi to her for me, it's been a while. She's awesome.
Will do. She just loves it when I try crazy ideas. Having that backbone in a partner who supports you. It's a big piece of it.
It's a huge piece. And I think it's fair to say that parents and spouses, it's fine that they're generally, no one's ever trying to pick the worst thing for you. Input is very natural for them because they care about you and they want to keep you safe.
Sure, sure. A lot of this comes from just straight love like, not wanting to see you hurt.
And that is where either the stubborn, bullheadedness of a founder, but maybe that's the difference between people who found companies and don't is either that brute ignorance or I don't know, there's some force. Again, I'm trying to play back in my own experience. What was it that, I've ranted on this show and others other stages around the world about how powerful intuition is. Talk about intuition for you. If you're here in New York, Hey, invite Kevin to the party. Oh, Kevin moved to New York. I was like, what the, what? So clearly you're following some intuition. Talk about it through your lens on yourself and your lens on other people who are interest in going from zero to one or living their life dream.
I think that we called it, we talked about this a lot at Google Ventures as well. It's the different between IQ and EQ. It's like the ability to,
IQ, intelligence quotient, EQ, emotional for those of you who are new to the,
Yes, it's like a lot of people, it was really difficult for me to fund a founder that was just straight brilliant but didn't have anyway to convert that brilliancy into a usable product for the end consumer. I think that, in a lot of the founders that I've run into that have been successful, they have this internal kind of drive that something must exist and it comes from a very creative place. I think that if you are one of those people that feel that and you're like, I have this I know this would work. That's kind of like your EQ telling you like, hey go create this thing. This has to manifest out of you into some physical thing. The best things that I've ever created and some failures have been all from that kind of bubbling up internal, I must do this. If I don't do this someone else will at some point in time. Closing your eyes and saying, if this works this is where it'll be and this is how many people will be enjoying it or using it, 6, 12, 18 months out. I can play that out in my head. Do you ever do that?
Before I go to bed I play out those scenarios in my head. If this works the,
Oh yeah, absolutely. I actually start with the, I have to scratch my own itch. I'll never start something, or in theory, I also am an angel investor. I tend to piggyback on your investments and Tim's investments. And however I can get in sideways to some of these things. I only participate in those things that I feel like I can actually, I have insight I can add value or in particular with the things that I found where I have to found it. Like I'm scra- it's a problem either I have experienced myself or there are a lot of people ideally, you're aware of a lot of people who have this problem. The reason I put that lens on it is because shit is gonna get hard. It's gonna get really hard. And it generally speaking gets 10 times harder than you think hard is. At that moment when if it's your own problem, you are more willing to keep going versus if it's a market opportunity. You're like, ah okay. Someone else is gonna have to solve this 'cause they care a lot more about it and they're gonna fold up shop.
That's the whole difference between, I think we've all had those ideas where like, Ah man, if I just went and built that I could make a lot of money. It's not something your passionate about but you think, I could make a lot of money if I went and did that. It's just kind of like those, everybody has friends like that. We're all like that. We think like, that would be crazy. I bet you that'd sell if I had a blender that did X, Y, or Z. But that's not something that's really from that creative process. That's not something that's, to your point when it gets really difficult you're just gonna dump it. That's the first thing that's gonna go. 'Cause you're like, oh, too stressful I'm out. I've seen it happen so many times.
Could you imagine if Travis and Ryan weren't up for a hell of a fight in founding Uber or you know, with Garret, obviously. I just remember how bullish they were. There's probably no other group of people who were as fucking stubborn as those guys were and the willingness to play through, to take on the New York Taxi Commission. Who wakes up in the morning and says, you know, I got this great idea. I'm gonna go fight this hundred year old, 75 year old institution that has all kinds of the underbelly, let's just say is not that pretty. And it's all kinds of power structure. That's when I'm gonna wake up and go to work, do that. They wanted it so badly they saw it, both in there own experience, wanting to be able to get around and having a shitty experience with cabs. Whether it's Paris or San Francisco. Enough to care to go to work to fight that thing.
The thing is with Travis, the CEO of Uber it's, if you know him, he's very and you do, I'm just saying in general. If one does. He's a very kind of, hard, badass, like gritty, doesn't take no for an answer. And it's clear from his previous companies where he was sued by the RIAA and a bunch of other folks for like,
Quarter of a trillion-
A quarter of a trillion dollars or something. You have to have that demeanor to run a business like that. I don't think I could do it.
Oh, no way.
It's just like, people want to kill him. It's scary shit. I don't know if we can bleep that out at some point.
No, no. Take it, roll with it.
Make sure that you match yourself up to the right type of business as well. Clearly he was really passionate about it, got excited about it, wanted to go do it and was the right person for the job. Just happened to be the right person at the same time. So it was a perfect match of original idea with founder. That doesn't always happen.
But being honest I think a fair point to go back, re-establish the context here. What are some things you should think about when you're wanting to go from zero to one? Should I start something, something you care deeply about because it's gonna get hard. Something ideally you have inside knowledge, experience with. Travis certainly had a inside experience in all the legal stuff that he'd had with his previous company.
Something that plays to your strengths, too. If it requires you to go knocking on people's doors you should be pretty comfortable talking to other people and knocking on doors. To make sure that that matches up as well.
You've got this deep passion. You've got, aptitude is probably the right word. You've got some aptitude. And then your, is it fair to say that you lumped, when I was trying to identify individual challenges like, is it fear of failure is it loss of money. There's just a huge bucket and you call it fear. What helps people play through that?
Well, that's a good question. I think that sadly, there's not, at some point you just have to take that leap of faith. For me, it was going out and not going into debt when I took this kind of jump. So I went out and had savings. I went out and saved that $10,000 initially. Because I had been in debt before and I didn't want to be in debt again. So I made a promise to myself I wouldn't go start a new venture until I had some savings that I actually properly funded. So I wasn't funding at all through credit card debt. But everybody's different. I wish there was one magic, what's it been for you to push through?
I think that that intuition thing I sorta harped on a little bit. It is the I know this is I thing, I'm using this thing and I have a problem that, created the first iPhone app that shared photos to social networks the year before Instagram. I'm taking a picture with the iPhone when it first came out, iPhone one, before then actually Palm Trio. I don't tell too many people I was taking photos with Palm Trio. Point two megapixels. I'm like, let's just go to iPhone, so I have to take a picture and then there's this other app that'll allow me to change that picture. This bullshit Photoshop-ish thing. Then this new thing, Facebook. Now I have a Facebook thing and I want to share it, there's like 10 different apps. A, I just wanna share a picture. I wanna take a picture, I wanna add a cool effect and I wanna share it. And I'd like to do that with the touch of one button. It doesn't exist. Hmm, interesting. I had so many people tell me it was a terrible idea. I literally had a hard time finding a developer that would do the work because what they wanted to develop was the next lighter app. Oh, dude we're gonna get a million downloads. I'm like, yeah but that's not a business. The future of these small apps is gonna be huge businesses. No, no, no, you're full of shit. That, I got 10 no's in trying to find someone to, that I was willing to pay six figures.
So you had to go out there and just kept knocking on doors until you found the right developer to build it.
That was kind of my issue too. I had a few check boxes. I wanted to find a developer. So before I even created the business I went out there and interviewed and found a developer. You gotta like, check those boxes and say, okay I have my team assembled that's gonna help me get there. Okay, now I'm ready to go and do it.
I had turned my photography studio into somewhat of an incubator only because I feel like I had achieved enough in photography that I was satisfied with the trajectory of that business. It was growing year over year. I had the kinds of clients that I wanted to work for. And I wanted to do something like, again, seeing around the corner. That's what you're paid to do as a venture capitalist or as an entrepreneur. What is the next thing? And I'm thinking this photography thing is really interesting. I can see the future of mobile, light, small. The phrase that helped popularize the best camera is the one that's with you I own the trademark for. Applied that to mobile and like, wow, there's something here. And I'm looking around and can see where this transcends language, it's immediate. What is the web? The web is universality the web is immediacy. Maybe if I put these things together they might be, some there there. I felt like I had to bust my head to find some people to do some heavy lifting. It did help that I had built up a community of photographers so that when I launched the thing I could point them at it. But it was not pretty. It wasn't easy. It was expensive and hard. But I felt like it had to be made. There's a designer friend of mine named James Victore who says in the particular lies the universal. So if it's a problem that you feel like is common place and there's enough people that have that problem already. It's not just your problem, it's probably the problem of many other people. Just kind of put that filter on there. Still many painful hours, days, weeks, months, years. I think that's the lens for me. What about you?
I'm kinda the same way. When I'm meeting with founders I always look for that one truth that they believe that no one else does. The thing that Peter Thiel's said before and several others. You have to find that and then you also have to believe it. I remember
Cellularly, like deeply.
Totally. When I saw Vine for the first time I got really excited. Because Vine was a way to really create watchable videos. There was video content, you probably remember this. People would just hit record and then they would just go on and on forever and you weren't getting to the meat. YouTube was great for little funny things and well edited videos but how are we able to pair down these long videos on mobile in a fun way. I remember when I met the founder of Vine I was like, oh my god, the touch to record and when you let go it stops and then you can resume again and you have to let go again. You get just the best parts and cut out all the extra garbage. This could be massive. And he's like, yeah. All the other investors think so too and I'm over subscribed. And I was like, damn it I can't invest. It's little things like that. It was like Twitter with the following. No one had the ability to have followers before. It was always a two-way relationship. On Myspace you had to friend someone they had to friend you back. And it was always two-ways on Facebook and then all of a sudden they introduce this idea of just being able to tail off of someone you don't know. Massive.
Boom. Those little tiny insights can be so huge. So it's just trying to find those. And when you meet with founders, you sit down for that initial cup of coffee, looking for those, be like, ah, that's one I haven't seen before that could be massive.
Big leap, ready for this one?
Coffee. You just said sit down with a founder for a cup of coffee. I hail from a small ville in the Northwest called Seattle. Treats its coffee very seriously.
Does it, though?
No it doesn't.
It does. There was so much more coffee
The coffee's okay out there.
There's so much more passionate coffee culture for ten years before anywhere else.
Where is it now, though? It's all in San Francisco now.
There's a handful of great manufacturers.
No, God no. It's all the small ones. The Caffe Vitas, it's the- I know you are, you're trying, he's kicking me out of the table. You guys can't see that. But you invested in some coffee?
Let's talk about that for a second.
We don't have to talk about that. So Blue Bottle is a little coffee company based out of San Francisco. Did an investment there and it's been growing like crazy.
What a cool, I'll just confess. I was very excited, one opened up across the street. I'm at 10th and Market down from Twitter and there's a little one right down there. It feels very, you feel lucky when you get to have one of those right across the street from your house. Did you see it coming? Was it the founder? Was it the idea? Was it coffee? Was it like, ah this is interesting application of venture to a thing that doesn't usually receive venture?
It's funny, speaking about San Francisco being a hub for entrepreneurs to get together. The founder lived above me in a building when I was living in San Francisco, back, gosh, in like 2002. Way back in the day when he was roasting beans on trays in his oven. And had a little, tiny hole in the wall place that was just in Hayes Valley. And at the time it wasn't such a nice neighborhood. And serving out of a shed where he would just grind his beans there and serve cups of coffee. The founder, James, is such a brilliant, simple person and has a very clean aesthetic about everything that he does. You'll notice that in the store design. He's always believed producing and roasting locally, delivering those beans in a timely fashion to the storefront and treating coffee, just taking it to the next level. Doing the pour over right there. If you think about how coffee's been served forever it's been in these big containers.
Exactly, you brewed hours before.
Yeah, brewed at 6:00 a.m. and they serve it until three or whenever it runs out.
It's almost unthinkable now, actually.
It is, but it's funny that wasn't the norm.
And then he started doing the pour over right in front of you and you can taste the difference. It's not like it's a pinky up, snobby, granted it is a little more expensive but you do taste the difference.
That was a little bit on an indulgence for me. We don't need to talk about coffee. But I knew that you were involved early in that. Never talked to you about it.
It's a founder. You were asking what it was. It was just meeting him and realizing that this guy cares more about coffee than anyone I've ever met and is doing it differently.
So do you back ideas or people?
You know, I've seen some brilliant ideas just blow up and a couple that I've backed so I tend to, I try to find a healthy mix of both. But at the end of the day it comes down, the founder can't scale forever. You can meet someone with a really brilliant idea but they're only just one person and they have to hire a remarkable team around them and surround themselves with good people or the idea's not gonna work. That's important. It does come down to people.
Great, I'm gonna also shift gear now. Not to coffee, we touched on that but it's gonna be a little bit more about Kevin. What you feel like is your biggest strength? As either a founder or as, maybe not or. As a founder first and then as someone who invests or supports others.
Gosh, I would say that as a founder it would probably be just the random ideas. It's a strength and a weakness in that I have too many of them. Most of them are probably crap. Every once and a while I kick out an idea that is unique and different and can gain some traction and I think that people have used or appreciated over time which has been awesome.
So vision I think, in original ideas which I love to do. I think that is my biggest strength, for sure.
What about on the investor side?
On the investor side it's helping other founders flesh those out a little bit. I love brainstorming sessions and I love getting in a room with a whiteboard and some markers and a founder saying, hey, I'm thinking about building X, Y, and Z. And then just riffing with them, going back and forth. Taking it, in many cases too far, but I love leaving a founder with a fresh perspective on things and then 90% of the time they throw away everything that you say but then every once and a while they'll implement something and it works and then you're like, wow, that was awesome. That was a great collective session that we've had together. And I think that I work best that way with other people and people have helped me that way as well. Daniel Burka, one of my friends for a very long time and he was an early designer on Digg with me.
Great designer, he's helped us with CreativeLive.
He created the yellow Digg button, the big kinda Digg button. We were going back and forth and just riffing off of ideas with each other and we found that we were collectively creating better products than either one of us did as a silo. And I find that when you find that partner in crime, we haven't really touched on this as well, but if you can find a really good co-founder or a partner that shares your vision. Not in a like, I'm just patting you on the back and saying your ideas are great. People will challenge you on certain things. That's so powerful. Have you found?
My background, is in school at least, in philosophy and you may have heard of the Socratic method which is basically a dialogue and through a dialogue there's a dialectic where you take an idea, a thesis you just got this thesis, you debate and then you synthesize different ideas down to have a new thesis. And it's this sort of upward spiral and spiral line thing and you basically do that through dialogue. When you were saying, I love with a whiteboard and there's people on the other side of these cameras that are having, oh my God. A room with a whiteboard and a pile of markers I'm like, that's where I feel really, really comfortable. Absolutely, 100%, having someone or a group to riff off of or with, way more, way higher quality output, for sure.
So those are some strengths. How about, personal habits. Is there something that you do that you feel gives you an edge or that if someone didn't know about you they'd be surprised, like, oh wow I had no idea that Kevin could do 20 one-legged squats and that's the thing he attributes to all his wisdom.
I take a lot of ice baths and ice showers.
Oh, the Wim Hoff thing.
Ferris was like, you have to come climb this mountain in your underwear with us or something like, he was trying to get me to go to Poland. I don't know, that never worked out. But you went and sat with him, you worked with him.
I've taking his course. I did his 10 weeks of training and I've since been fully sold on the whole method and now I'm all in on it.
It's breathing and ice and a bunch of stuff.
It's mostly breathing in ice. There's this compound, I've since gone really crazy into the science piece of it. There's a scientist out there. Well, let me step back.
I got excited, I leaned too far in.
Let me just say what it is for people out there. Basically what this is is it's a little body hack that a lot of people have started to use to kind of get more energy, a little bit more focus. Just overall I'd say a 20 or 30% boost in mood in general. I would say that it's really helped me at work not to have that late afternoon cup of coffee. I just don't drink it at all anymore, which is crazy. I used to be hooked on coffee and now it's not even needed. This is something that's been backed up by science, by a scientist by the name of Rhonda Patrick. She's studying all this stuff and she has a great PDF on her website that you can check out, it's like a 10 page report she does for free about cold therapy and sauna, actually. It's a 10 week course by this guy by the name of Wim Hof and he's the guy who popularized this here last few years and he holds all the world records for exposure, submersion in ice, swimming under several foot deep, they break a hole in the ice and then go down a hundred yards later break another hole and he swims underneath the ice and there's people with oxygen and SCUBA equipment in case he passes out in the water. He's crazy. That kinda stuff, do not try at home. Do not do. There has been, science has backed up the fact that your brain releases a substance called norepinephrine when you get hit with cold water and that boosts the mood it gives you energy. It makes you feel just amazing. I took this 10 week course and at the end I was able to, as my like last challenge I got 12 bags of ice, I filled the bathtub full of water and ice and I laid in it for 15 minutes without shivering or anything.
No shivering? Is that the objective, the no shivering?
The no shivering just means that I'm just used to it by now and I'm burning fat rather than using shivering as a way and I can also produce heat through breathing exercises from the inside out. It's part of yogic breathing. A lot of people that practice meditation can create heat through their body by doing breathing exercises. Long story short, twice a week now I do a five minute ice shower and it just incredible amount of energy and just mood it really, really helps you out. So I'm sold on that. That's my one little body hack.
I love it, I love it. I will confess that, gosh, maybe even, January? Nah, maybe it was the fall. Started taking cold showers.
Really, how long?
I take a warm shower, I clean my body. And then I just go from what you think of as a nice hot shower and then I go to the absolute coldest possible in the shower.
Great, for how long?
Nothing shorter than a minute. If I have more I will do more. It's basically a function of how much time I've allotted in the morning.
How often are you doing this?
Every single day, without fail, 100%. And it has been a game changing thing.
That's great, that's awesome.
I played soccer in college and this was long enough, let's just say it was in the 90's. And about halfway through my career we started experimenting and you know you're in college, there's the medical aspect of it. We had a very, very high end training that was, the trainers that took care of the athletes. So we were just sort of like experimental. We were lab rats, basically, for the psychology department for example. I did a lot of visualization early on and that has stayed with me today, very powerful. And ice baths were just starting out. The first year or two I was in college we would ice from the shins down and then we started getting in these baths, big steel, and it was miraculous. The inflammation in my body, the amount of pain. You're running 10 to 20 miles a day, half of it in sprints and your doing that for 300 days a year. It's hard on your body. Ice baths were a game changer. I, whatever, I'm a habit guy. I started really focusing on habits and I brought that cold thing back. Definitely through talking to Tim, he's been interested in the cold thing for a number of years. Instant game changer. I felt like I kind of was in a little bit of a slump. Working really hard.
Yeah, you feel like you shed like, seven years of your life. I feel like I have so much more energy. I'm like, wow, younger.
I get out of the shower instantly in a better mood.
And it stays with you, too which is crazy.
The energy level's up, just kinda sleepy, I go from sleepy to, I will confess there are many times I'm like, fuck, am I really gonna flip the switch to cold right now. And I literally, there's a discussion some times, a negotiation but there's never been a time when I'm like, not today. Cold.
It is crazy. You should read this 10 page report. It's all the science for what you're thinking, it's all the science backed up. She even goes in and shows the studies where how cold you need to be and for what duration causes what effect in the increased levels.
I do feel actually sort of disappointed now, this is really not even cool. At a hotel you can't control how cold the water gets. I'm like, oh well, I'm just going to try to get the most, and I'm sure I'm not scientifically going to all the places I need to go at all times. But I know that a cold minute or three, a game changer. That's powerful, man.
There's a bunch of different ways to get there. And if you're doing it everyday and that totally makes sense or you could do it a couple times a week just longer duration or colder. Also, I've been doing cryotherapy as well. Which is where you stand in the liquid nitrogen. And it freezes you at negative 240 degrees Celsius. For three minutes. You should try it, it's right up the street by the way.
Yeah, go today. And it's just a little three minute experiment and it's awesome. You walk outta there just feeling amazing.
Is it like a $40 juice that you can also get here in New York?
Juices are like, crazy expensive here.
That's something that people wouldn't know about you. How 'bout, I'm a habit guy, I don't try and say I wanna lose 10 pounds I say I wanna do these 10 things and just so happens if you do these 10 things you can't actually not lose 10 pounds. To lose 10 pounds is a really brutish example, not the best example. Any habits in particular that you're excited about? Besides the ice stuff?
Besides the ice stuff, I make it a habit to track all of my various ideas in online journals. I keep little reminders app will have them all different tabs for different types of things that I'm working on. I have ideas in one tab, immediate work stuff, I have personal things. Those are just like, keeping things organized.
Frees up RAM when your writing these.
Frees up RAM, that is so essential. And then, honestly, a big thing for me this year is just saying no. Just knowing that if you're not going to be able to give 100% of your effort to something, you're gonna do a half-ass job or you're just feeling a little bit stressed. Focus on one, maybe two things max and say no to everything else. I just had a really awesome business opportunity that was a new venture that I was gonna start this little company with a couple of friends. And I had no doubt it'd be successful, it'd be a fun little lifestyle business. But I had to, unfortunately just say no. 'Cause I felt too stretched. And I don't think you do your best work when you're that stretched or stressed. You have to be able to cut back and really focus on the important stuff.
Was there some lens through which you could say this would put me over the edge? Was it hours a day? Was it money in your pocket? Was it, what was the lens? I'll just reverse the idea and say I'm always going, if I do this and this and this here's how I could say yes. And I know that can be very toxic. What's your lens to make sure you don't get there?
As Seth Godin just had a 15 reasons to say no post,
I was with Seth yesterday.
Oh really, yeah so I put that in my most recent newsletter. His are spot on for the reasons why you should be saying no over saying yes.
Do you wanna share a couple, actually first of all what's the best way, I know you just started your newsletter I'm excited to receive it. How do people do it?
I started a newsletter, it's called thejournal.email. There's actually .email domain names now, which I didn't know. But I was like, hell yeah, it was free. I didn't have to pay some squatter, which is great. But it's only once a month. It's crazy because I put a lot of time and effort into every single product. I'll give you an example, this is kinda crazy. This is how obsessed, this actually goes to what people don't know about me. I get really obsessed about things and I go really deep. I got obsessed with paper journals recently. You know how you can buy those little journals like Moleskins or things like that. Field Notes, all that. Well who makes the best, journal? Who makes the best? Well what does the best mean? Who makes the best paper quality? Who makes the best binding? So I started researching it. I was reading different online forums and started asking my Twitter followers. I got into where they source the paper from. And then I found a guy who has nothing but dedicated his life for the last eight years writing a blog about pen and stationary and pens. And he geeked out at me on a podcast for 45 minutes about paper quality and found this two little independent manufacturers in Japan that hand make their paper and make the best possible paper. And it's not expensive. It's just really hard to find. And so I found these awesome journals that are like $ but they're impossible to find, and they're like handmade in Japan. And that's the best pad of paper that will like, archival quality, stand the test of time. All that stuff.
That goes into your newsletter.
That goes in the newsletter, that review of that particular paper. And I do that for all different types of stuff. Whether it's sneakers or cool backpacks or an app. Last month I didn't have any app in the newsletter because I'm like, there's nothing that's worth their time. If I found something that was worth their time I'd put it in here but this month it's not. I wanted to make it super, super vetted and once a month.
I took us on a right hook there, that's your newsletter but what got us into the newsletter? Do you remember?
We were talking about, what was it?
Yes, Seth. And the things to say no. So his reasons to say no was in my last newsletter.
Go to your newsletter, that's how we can get it. Any teasers? Any, what were a couple that stood out?
One thing was about the fact that if you can't, well, one was funny is if you're not proud to tell your mom about it, don't say yes. The other one that he's like, if you really can't give it your all, you can't give your best work then why are you saying yes to it? Another one that I think I added to Seth's list, that was from my list was that if you're doing it just to be nice you probably shouldn't do it.
That ends up biting you in the ass.
You know how many times you've said yes to something and the event comes due and you're sitting there like, why did I say yes? And you're just doing it to be nice. Say no next time. 'Cause you're not gonna be your best person when you're doing the event or whatever it may be.
What about our inability to foresee happiness in the future? Turns out we're really bad at,
We're really bad at that.
What will make us happy. Is it a no-win situation?
There's many things I've gotten, that's gonna be so fun. And then the day of I'm like, fuck.
I think you have to just er on the side of saying no.
The other one, too, that really drives me nuts that I've gotten a lot better at, is have you ever just put off saying no? You know what I mean? You look at that email and you're like, ah, I wanna say no to that but I'm gonna get back to that. And then time goes by and you're guilted into it? The thing is, it's not fair to the receiver, right? The person that's asking you.
I know, I know.
It's better to say no up front than to put it off. So I've gotten a lot better at that as well.
What's the best way to say no?
Just be straight up and say I can't do it.
Dear Carrie, no. Come on, gimme-
Ah gosh, the best way to say no? It really depends on what it is.
Hey man, I'm outta time. Hey man, I have the flu.
I did have the flu. I was supposed to make this yesterday but I had the flu. You can see I'm sweating today.
I can tell and it makes me wanna let you outta the hot seat.
I have hot tea.
Turn down these lights, you can have hot tea. You are a champ and I'd never put you in that category, don't sweat it. I mean, I just said don't sweat it but I meant like,
It's all good.
I'm glad that you're feeling better.
So saying no, it's funny. It's something we had to do a lot at Google Ventures because we would say no to like, 98% of the founders that would come in. Often times we would, it's a struggle for anyone because we had, I don't want to share too much of our internal stuff but, we'd all sit down and say how's the best way to say no to a founder that one, is honest with them and sets the right direction and two, it's hard to be honest but not, you don't wanna be an asshole at the same time.
Of course, that's why I'm asking the question. If more people in the world said no probably more, and again I actually like saying yes but I like saying yes to like, do you wanna go to the park right now and throw the Frisbee? That'd probably be a good thing to do, okay great. I'm talking about saying no in order to focus. If we can nail this right now I'm sure there's 10,000 or 100,000 people who are going to see this and say, God that's helpful. And be able to say no to more things.
I think that, the way that I do it is that I say I can't make it because I'm feeling over committed right now and I need to focus on these other things.
That's the most honest,
It's honest and it's true and it's relieving the stress. If I'm saying no to a business opportunity I'll typically say, I've had to pull up the email to figure out exactly how I word it. I typically point out something that I don't necessarily agree with and so I'll say,
Your thesis or something.
Yeah, your thesis. I don't quite see eye to eye with you on this for X, Y, or Z reason. But I wish you the best and by the way, I frame it in a way that I've said no to a lot of things that have gone on to be very successful, which is absolutely true. I said no to Pinterest when I should have said yes. There's been a few things. And so, just me saying no should be a nail in the coffin.
Don't let this
Don't let this, right. And there's a much more elegant way that I have when I'm not on Tamiflu that I could share with you that you could put in the show notes. It's a way of saying I don't necessarily see eye to eye but continue forward, march on, because there is potentially a massive business there.
So that's business, there's smaller, I actually like the, I'm just totally over committed right now or X, Y, Z. But I absolutely wish you the best.
It's the truth in that,
You're not gonna get my best self or,
Yeah, you feel stressed and it'll wear you down. You'll get sick like I am or whatever it may be. You don't want that, they don't want that.
Fair enough. What's something that really bugs you? That really gets under your skin? And I'm a very positive person. Socially I'm not out there saying, I occasionally tweet not so nice things at airlines when you fly enough, you get millions of miles you understand when they're actually effing you. And so I will send a not so nice, spirited note out there and funny, nevermind. Is there something that irks you that you don't often decree? Would this therapy session be an opportunity for you to share something with the world?
I think I have similar issues where it's hard not to take it out on Twitter and just lay into a company that's doing bad work. I think that really drives me nuts when you have something that you're paying for. Free services I don't mind so much. A lot of people, what I think is funny is how many people get upset at free services. That's the other thing. 'Cause imagine when you're giving away your videos and people are watching it, streaming for free. And all of a sudden they're like, eff you because you're not doing something the way I want you to do it. You're like, my service is free. How could you even be so upset?
There are so many other things you could be doing right now than typing a note to me about hacking my free,
Right, exactly. I think that's the funny thing. And I tend not to get upset at free services but paid ones I do. I've gotten a lot better at that. I try to zen it out a little bit. I had this person that wrote me this really nasty email. They were tearing into me and it was really aggressive and weird, more weird. And I saw they had an About.me profile at the bottom of the email and I clicked on it and I was about to write back a really scathing response and I went to the About.me and I read through their bio and paragraph two it said that they were schizophrenic and that they were working through it and they had written a book about how to conquer being schizophrenic and all of this stuff. It was a free ebook, it wasn't published by anyone major. And I immediately realized there's always another story on the other side.
It probably has something to do with you, if you are so incensed that you want to respond that's also probably reason to look at something.
Right, and I took a deep breath and I was like, oh my God. Email is such a emotionless thing. You just have to realize that. When I'm, I always have that email saved because I just got it. It's such a good way to remember that. I try to use that as a way to stay a little more grounded.
Why I'm asking the questions, I think it would be slightly healthier if I had sort of allowed myself more external frustration. I'm not quite sure the right way of doing it, that's literally the MO behind the question.
Have you tried Calm? The app, Calm? It's a great, free meditation app. It's awesome.
Give it 15 minutes today.
I'm already a huge TM guy.
If you're already doing,
Oh yeah, that's part of like I almost never have this urge but when it does overcome
Great, you're set.
Sometimes I do need to overcome it though. Are you meditating?
I am, yeah.
I remember Ferris was up in Seattle,
It helps a ton.
Oh man, he was like, why are you so chilled out man? This was maybe five years ago. I was like, ah man I've been meditating. And I don't mean to be presumptuous but dare I say you might try this. No way man, I'm gonna lose my edge. Or, that edge is actually an anchor? So why don't you think about it. And we talked about it maybe once a year for three or four years. And then I think a couple of us ganged up on him. I think he likes it. You're a meditator?
Yeah, I've been doing it for a while. I find that it just really helps. It takes a while, like anything, it's not overnight. But it definitely is another little valve you can turn to let off a little steam.
And something is better than nothing. It's like, oh, if you can't meditate 20 minutes a day twice a day then it's not worth it. I totally don't believe that's true.
I don't believe that either.
This morning had to get up quite early and I think I was in the 14 or 15 minute, I took a peak and was like, that fact that I'm taking a peak, I've pulled out of it I can tell. That's what I can do today. Powerful medicine though, is it not? That plus cold,
I know, it's nuts.
It's really good. I really hope the people who are watching this go and try that. It's a fun combo for sure.
So hacks are sorta nerdy things. Anything else you wanna leave people with? You said you're note eating from late in the night to early in the morning.
That's a whole nother thing.
I don't wanna, there's a lot of stuff.
I think the reason why you and myself and Tim are like in this circle of friends is because we all like to experiment and try crazy things.
There's a curiosity.
And I think that a lot of, you're audience is probably a lot like that, too. Creative people are like that.
There's an experimentation a desire.
Absolutely. Intermittent fasting was really interesting. It is, I believe fasting, there's more and more data that's coming out saying the benefits of fasting and again, Dr. Rhonda Patrick is kind of pioneering a lot of that stuff, too. Or at least coverage of it. I've been trying to do one day a week of a 24 hour fast.
I literally just, my stomach just rumbled when you said that. There's something, some cue.
It's fun, you feel really refreshed and it puts you in a light state of ketosis which is a whole nother can of worms we could get into. Intermittent fasting, I was first drawn into because Hugh Jackman used it to get ripped when he became the Wolverine. So as superficial and as stupid as that sounds that's how I first heard about it several years ago. And I had been drinking too much beer at the time and I was like I gotta lose my beer gut. So I tried this 16 hour a day fast for two weeks. It's basically as simple as not eating for 16 hours. So after I had dinner I hit start on my timer on my iPhone and then when it went off at 16 hours which was around noonish the next day I could eat again. And I just lost a bunch of weight doing that. And I was like, wow this actually kinda works. Then I started reading about the health benefits that go along with it. And then, just recently coming out in next months, or two months from now's newsletter, The Journal, I interviewed the trainer, Hugh Jackman's trainer. He talks about, I spent an hour with him and he talks about crazy stuff and also intermittent fasting. So that got me kinda back into it.
Advice for people who are stuck. Just, and I know that you could give many pieces of advice but you've clearly been stuck, creatively blocked. I'm trying to throw it all under, not just creative but just blocked. We could talk about any form of blockage. Help people, theoretically if you just did the numbers like 50% of the people listening to this are blocked in some way, shape, or form in their lives. So what do you do to get unstuck?
I think that when you try to get unstuck is when sometimes you can get more stuck. Does that make sense at all?
Oh, for sure. 'Cause then you're over-
You're anxious about the fact that you're stuck and it just leads to no, nothing creative comes out of that. And I feel that there's a couple times in my career where I just didn't really know how to break out of that rut so I just kept the norm but I allowed myself to do whatever I wanted that was different from what I should be doing. Meaning like, I was supposed to focus on creative, technology things and instead I went and learned Fusion so I could make furniture. I wanted to learn how to do more woodworking and furniture and that had nothing to do with my day job.
At all, but it was just like,
Kevin Rose, carpenter.
I wanted to make a chair. And I'm still working on that chair. It's not done yet. It looks pretty cool, I'm pretty happy with it. It should come out sometime in the next couple years.
So is it fair to say do something wildly different that you're drawn to.
You can still be creative but if you're a writer take up yoga or something completely different. And I've noticed that with Tim and other people that I've worked with. It's that break and that space you give yourself that eventually allows that creative process to reboot in your normal life.
I was talking with the designer Stefan Sagmeister about what's the right number of projects, creative projects. There's some data that says that five's the magic number.
Yeah, five is the magic number of projects.
Wow, that seems like a lot. Same time?
Five. Yeah, I just heard this data two days ago. Five is the right number, seven's too many. Obviously it decides what's the magnitude of the project. Is the project a chair plus building a billion dollar business? Or is it like,
Five, billion dollar businesses.
Right, five, billion dollar businesses. Obviously we've got a sizing issue there. I think my experience as basically a lifelong professional creative is go do something different. When you feel like you're bashing your head and it's like 11 o'clock at night and you're like, I'm just gonna finish, I'm gonna push through. You like at that shit the next morning like, that was stupid, that sucked. Whatever the work that I outputted there. If you can afford to drop it and go pick something else. A, in that case you should go to sleep. B, if you can't just go to a different project sometimes even the thing you were thinking about over here can help that. But what's more than anything beneficial is something different.
That's my experience.
And you may never go back there, too. That's another thing I've realized.
Oh, I'm glad I'm not that.
When I was big into Digg and social news and how that evolved and that we had Reddit on the long tail of products. Take all the categories out, which was a very smart move. And you had Twitter on the more recency kind of eat away our breaking news launch and what made us really substantial on that front. I just realized that the world had evolved and changed and is going in so many different directions now. It's not even worth tackling it. I used to think about that obsessively. How can I rework it, how can I change it? You know what, I've creatively moved on. How about, peace? Thank you for being a part of my life for the time that you were with me and like, I hope to see you again someday, you know? That was a nice venture.
I love it. I'm gonna put a bow on this. What is something I haven't asked you that you think I should've or that you'd like to leave the world?
It's an easy way, it's a cop out for me to end the interview is having you end it, actually.
I would say the only thing I'd like to end with is that I hope people drink more green tea.
Green tea? You're a tea freak, aren't you? You love it?
I do drink a lot of coffee but I've gotten back more into tea. A couple times I do love the sauce from time to time.
Green tea, what's your favorite, something like,
No, I would say go with a, some people don't know I'm actually a tea master.
I got certified.
Of course you did. One of the other like, what are you gonna do this weekend? Tea master certification class.
It took a little while. I'm not the highest level. I'm only level two. There's three levels.
I'm not judging, brother. You're still a tea master, recommend one tea.
I'd say for people getting started probably a sencha tea that you don't over steep. So many people leave the tea bags in for too long and all of a sudden you've got this really nasty taste. Bitter, it's game over. So just a quite 30-45 second infusion of a nice, Japanese green sencha tea.
There you go. Green tea for you all. Thank you so much for joining us. I'm Chase Jarvis this has been an hour and 20 minutes or so with Kevin Rose.
Thanks for having me.
I'm super grateful. You're still getting over your thing so I'm let you sit over there.
It's all good.
Thanks a lot for coming, brother. Signing off, another great interview coming tomorrow. 'Preciate it.