#3 Sam Parr: From The Heartland to The Hustle | The Art of Business & Building a Network
Powder, Keg headquarters in Indianapolis. This is on Valley. The show for leaders who want to unlock their full potential and plug into the biggest opportunities in Tack and startups, Beyond Silicon Valley. I'm at hunckler, CEO, Powder Keg. And on the show today, the co-host of the my first million podcast and the founder of the hustle sampar. Any idea what I was I was not, I'm not technical, I was I going to get a bunch of non-technical Founders to get this event and in order to get speakers, I'm going to blog about it and create a newsletter. And I was like best case I break even and I meet someone who I can partner with and I'm actually start a company with worst case, I just looked a little bit of money and I learn new business, and have fun. So I and we posted it and like 400 people came and I need like 50 or 60 Grand prophet.
Sam and his team went on to build hustle Conover. Several years to include speakers, like the founders of Pandora, bonobos twitch, and dozens of other, well-known tech companies, but the conference was just the beginning of something much much bigger during this conversation with Sam, you're going to hear about the symbol writing techniques, that helps a crate and Norma's opportunities in his career, including at hustle, y'all going to hear about how to optimize your career for Success? Even if you don't have money or connections, I particularly enjoyed the Midwest values that Sam talked about, which laid the foundation for a successful career in Zack and be sure to listen to the end. Because you want to hear why Sam is investing in real estate in on Valley Tech, hubs, like, Austin, that's all coming up on this episode of on Bali. But before we get started, I wanted to remind you that I'm Valley is brought to you by Powder Keg. The only private member Network focus on supporting tech companies and leaders in fast-growing communities.
Beyond Silicon Valley to get the latest news from on Valley, Tech, hubs and startups in Leon Valley. You sure to subscribe to our Weekly Newsletter because each week, you're going to get a curated digest of the most important Tech news in Leon Valley, covering the biggest Trends and opportunities in fast-growing communities beyond the Bay Area. This is one of the biggest opportunities are so, to be the first to know about the best jobs, exclusive Powder, Keg events with leaders from the community, be sure to subscribe to the newsletter at Powder Keg, newsletter.
Okay we recorded this interview with Sam part during a virtual event that was hosted by Powder. Keg and we're sharing it publicly with you for the first time just for you here on the on Valley podcast. Let's hit it.
Books and things must be retarded. Keg & Beyond Valley Community today, man, nice. I've never been called an artist before, so, that's cool. Hey, I really think you are as far as your careers Campground expanded. So they learned a lot from how you grew the hustle. Quite a lot of that to Howard really Community here at Powder Keg. And I think in a lot of ways, what you do is is Artistic, I consider it that, but I've never had anyone else considerate that. So, I'll take it, you're a great writer. You're, you're a stinker. And I think those are two really cute things, being a great artist, but what's going on, I'm excited to talk a little bit about your, your journey to a nice eight-figure exit with HubSpot. But there are so many things we can talk about, but I figured, we could at least for those who may be, unfamiliar with your story, maybe understand a little bit about your roots and your background. I believe you were born in the midwest night. I think I saw a quote online of you calling it. The mid best as well as that's funny.
That sounds like something I would say. Yeah. I was born in St. Louis Missouri. I'm most well-known, because I started this thing called The Hustle, which is a daily email that has over two million subscribers. I sold it to have to go for, let's just say many tens of millions of dollars. I don't love talking about the amount because I own most the company feels weird when people know your finances. I find it a little odd, but now I host are podcast would just call my first million. It's quite popular. One of the most popular business podcast in the world, I think, maybe 5 or 10 most popular and at the hotel. So we own all types of illness Daily Mail that was a really big business and we own Trends which is a paper script newsletter. That was really big before the pandemic. We had that was quite large. And of course, now it doesn't even exist because of the pandemic, but I started the Missouri St. Louis, Missouri to Saint Louis University, High School. When I was 18, I left Saint Louis and I moved to Nashville Tennessee. When I was in Nashville,
Started a hot dog stand. And I worked for the guy who was the main character, or the main guy on American Pickers, and he kind of like top a little bit about our ship and so that's why I started hot dog dance from there. I dropped out of school, a little bit early, eventually finished, but I'd left school early and I boo'd up to San Francisco to join this company, call air bed and breakfast. Now it's called Airbnb. And then I started a company called on box, which was a roommate matching app and sold out for a very small amount. And then started this company, and I've known for like starting media companies, but I've done a fair amount of things come in the background, like real estate Investments and all types of weird stuff. I think it's weird. At least that you were exposed to other entrepreneurs are other artist. Not in the sense, not in the sense that we're talking. My father, my mother and father started our Fruit Stand and that was their first business and it kind of became a little bit bigger than that. And I'm actually my mother
Became a school teacher to support my father. As he was kind of starting the business. And she also worked at night this week and working two jobs and then she would get Summers off and take care of us. But then, my dad was always grinding and he said the things all the became far more successful at and they sold onion basically. Till like, you buy a million dollars are bunions from California and you sell it to Walmart for like 1.1 million dollars and you can only make a little bit of profit on that the return of produce brokerage business. And it wasn't like big in terms of Silicon Valley big. But in terms of st. Louis big by the time I was in high school. It was I'm sure he was earning a few hundred thousand dollars a year. So that that was considered quite large for our family because we didn't have much money before that. And so I needed that sense of Entrepreneurship. Where was small business? I didn't know. Like, when I originally got my job at Air B&B, my mom was like, what the heck? That sounds like a Ponzi scheme, you don't even like him. If we told my family that like Facebook head,
5000 employees. At the time, they'll be like, why do you need 5,000 people to operate a web page to like? It wasn't. Like it was said that, we'd know, it, but it wasn't like we were. I grew up around small business owners for sure restaurant owners things like that. Yeah, yeah. I mean I know you talked to hundreds of entrepreneurs. Now at this point if not thousands what were some of the things that you think you learned growing up in St. Louis observing your mom and dad how they are empowering. Each other. As your dad goes, this business doing onions. Sales has had no idea what the back up stupid for you or some of the things you think you absorb that maybe some other entrepreneurs don't have to San Francisco. When I was young and I, when I got there, I had like my wife went to an Ivy League school and I was like, what should I read about the Harry Potter? So like I didn't do anything. I was like totally like kind of a redneck and I didn't know anything and I got the California and I met
The Berkeley campus and I like and I went to Stanford campus and I like took a selfie. I'm like, oh my God, I'm going to be a campus. So like, I met these people who I, like, I'd only read about the type of stuff. And what I noticed was immediately. The people that I was raised around, were far more humble. They were definitely more like, just shut up and do the work. Don't talk about it. Talk less work more. They were way less entitled and I are generalizations, but I don't think it's bad. Like the people I was on in Silicon Valley. They were way more confident than they thought bigger sometimes. But, so like it's pros and cons, but they were Missouri folks. That Ira Midwestern way Kinder, way more humble, and talked way less that sounds like, it could be a pro or con depending on how it's Play. It's both like it's a, what's a squeaky, squeaky Wheels, the one that gets like the attention, you know what I mean? So like, the people who talk a lot, definitely can get more value sometimes. But yeah, pros and cons.
So, first time living in a different city outside St. Louis, I'm assuming, yeah, yeah, I went to Nashville cuz I got a sports scholarship for track and field and Nashville at the time was like up and coming. So I thought it'd be a good place to meet other up-and-coming people. And can I get like a mentor, things like that? And from there, I think you dropped out of college to go move to San Francisco. Can you tell me that story? How did that come about? And how did you make that decision? Was that a hard one know? So I have been making money on the internet song stuff on eBay. I create an e-commerce store and it was making like $1,000 a day and I was like, many internet is so much better than selling hot dogs and working outside with my hands because like that's physically demanding. I can only make money when I'm there. And so I started researching and I had remembered hearing about this company called air bed and breakfast. And I heard the story about it and I saw their marketing and design as a man. This is so cool. This is so Innovative and I've also heard about Uber cab. It was called Uber cab back, then until I called email, the founders of these companies.
They're like yeah, come interview at the interview you're in the Bay Area. Right. And I was like yeah but the Bay Area when I was I never been west of like Colorado before I didn't even know what the Bay Area meant. I thought San Francisco in LA with the same thing and I was like, yeah, I'm there, I'll see you Monday and I immediately fly out there and I get an interview at those companies and Airbnb. They offered me a job but they offered me a job accepted. And at the time back in college, I had some demons in my life and I got in trouble with the law and I lied about it. And I had a misdemeanor, I got a DUI, I don't drink anymore, I don't party anymore, but back then, I had some Demon and I lied about it on my resume. I basically said, no, I'd not been convicted of a crime and they found out that I lied about it. So when I was out there, I had been out there. I was about to start on a Monday, they call me on a Sunday and they like, do, do you lie to us? Can't hire a liar, so I didn't get to Starr ever at that company. Until I was basically out there. I'm like, shoot
Have a lot of money. Like what am I going to do? And so that's kind of how it started. How do you think get the rest of your career benefited from what I'm assuming was a pretty low low at the moment? Dude. It was tragic like, you know, my mother and father were like devastated for me if you know they're like, I had obviously been in trouble. And I thought I was getting my act together and then I was suffering the consequences, still of some stupid mistakes. So yeah, it was a very low. How did it impact the rest of the career? I mean I'm still friends with those people who fired me and they should have fired me. I was a liar but you know Ryan holiday has that book The obstacle is the way that was 100% true with my life. I was like, you know, this is just horrible, this is this sucks. I got to figure it out and so when I was out there, I started that's when I start my first business and that's kind of like, how I met a bunch of people that would help me. Start what? Became my more successful business. The hustle things I appreciate about you is that one of those first businesses was events, based, and that's how Powder Keg started and where at in French.
Letting right now, we started as an in-person event watching The Hustle, take off and and grow at hustle. Con I was pretty pretty exciting to see and grow what was it like behind the same time that all come about. So after I sold my first business, so I basically have like 50 Grand in my name and I was like, all right that's a good start. I got to figure out what to do next though. And so I hosted this event called hustle time. Any idea it was I was I was not I'm not technical. I was like I'm going to get in order to get speakers. I'm going to blog about it and create a newsletter and I was like best case I break even and I meet someone who I could partner with and I'm actually start a company with worst case, I just looked a little bit of money and I learn a new business and have fun. So I created this event and we posted it and like 400 people came and I need like 50 or 60 Grand prophet, and I was like, all that crazy. I did not expect that to happen. And I met all these amazing people and I was like, you know what, let's do it again. So we did it again and it made like a quarter of a million.
In revenue and I was like, all right, pretty neat. I'm happy that I was able to get distraction but conferences stink. What it's your only source of income because it's very stressful. Everything comes down to the last 2 weeks. It's really really really hard. But if I was able to convince like $300,000 worth of people to fly into around the floor of the wrong around the world and attend this event, maybe there's something here and I was getting those people to come be a content and I was like, maybe I should go to the content route instead and so I learned everything I could about the media business by reading books and that's how we launched the hustle which ended up, you know, that could have. We saw a little we both kind of early, but that would have been me. There was a very clear path to make 9 figures a year in Revenue. It seems to me like those two scales. One yard talk about, which is called emailing people. The other one, being writing and writing. Well, seem to be too kind of superpowers of yours that you put to use in a way that has influenced your career that you
Anyting, that's made a bigger influence in those two particular skills skills. But instead of riding, when I would say, is figuring out what emotions motivate people and effectively communicating bat to get people to do what I want them to do. So, like the learning how to write to get, someone to feel a certain way. Learning how to write that makes someone want to come to your learning, how to write. That makes someone want to reply to your email learning how to write. So you can convince someone to buy something, just like learning how to like get people to do stuff with words to dive into a use case. So I, I love your example of reaching out to Airbnb Airbnb, Uber cab, which was called at the time, two companies I might want to work at. I don't respect, you remember word for word, but it's a writing that today. How do you construct that email in a way that you think would drive the most response? What I did back then was actually like, pretty effective? I thought. Basically around that time, there was a company that I just popped up called rapportive. Do you remember report in?
Remember before. When it came out, it was like breathtaking of course now the technology is just like a commodity, everyone has it but basically what is allowed you to do was see the person who is emailing, you see all their social profiles and I have to to where I may just Google spreadsheet and you can type in someone's first name some of the last name and then the URL that you think their email would be and it would create like a hundred, different permutations are be like a spar at airbnb.com, Sam at airbnb.com SP at airbnb.com and then you can hack it by putting that into the center part of the email and you can highlight each one to figure out which the, which email was real. And then I hacked it further where it says, like, it would also feel like where they worked in the pool and I called him out the CEO or someone that got to go, hey, you know, airbnb's amazing, but I think you guys could get a lot more listings if you tried this strategy. Here's how it works. Does this this? And this
It with using report. If you knew the cold email like people to get them to let their stuff, I think that could be really effective and work. I've got no dog in the, I've got no dog in this fight, but I just love Airbnb and maybe I'll even work there, but I think the implement the strategy, you'll get more sales talk soon. Like it was something like that and it was just trying to give value and Matt like stuck out and I got a reply, I love that story. I think that seems like it paid dividends even though it didn't get the result you wanted in the medium-term as a result. I want it. I'm the one who blew it, but it did get the result that I wanted, so worked out. But yeah, I would still work today. Like, cold emailing is one of the things that were going to look at it back in, like, 50 years in your. Like, I can't believe it. If you could just guess someone's email, talk to anyone, you can email Jeff Bezos and you might get a, you might get a reply, it's pretty wild. I'm going to ask people to drop in the chat, who's who's up for emailing Jeff Bezos enough time to see if they get a reply and see if anyone raises their hands and you can definitely do it.
A lot more people than you think.
I'm sure why it seems like those skills. Yet the humility, the ability to move people emotionally, and then also, just the willingness to go for it. Moved to Nashville, moved out to Silicon Valley, that's giving you some momentum in your career. 100%, tell me what you learned being in that culture of Silicon Valley, I loved it. I still love it. You know, I T separate and I'm mad at San Francisco about some things. But in general, it was amazing. I remember meeting people my own age who are paying rent on their own, with their own business. Like, they're blue their own business and I was like, oh my God, there's other widows like me who likes what can make someone to make money on their own versus getting a job or who want to trade websites that provide value and make money. It was awesome. I felt like I was finally among like my people live in San Francisco at least back. Then, this is Chelsea. Well, which is a long enough that like, startups with that comment, like, it was weird. I remember, I had a, I used to make videos for YouTube.
Like I was a freak, like you doing, this is kind of odd. And, you know, it was like, remember, like what? All my dating was like years ago? Like if you feel like you all my dated weird sign up for OkCupid, like, this is amazing. And so, anyway, when I went to San Francisco, a few things stick out, it was amazing to be around people that all loved the internet and my believing it to be the future number to I met. So many people that were super, super ambitious and capable of getting it done. And so there's a bunch of my friends. We all met one another one where 22, some of them are billionaires now and they're like my buddies and I'm like, I'm like man, dude, I knew you, when you were not that and you're not much smarter than me, you might be a little bit smarter and Dumber, but you pulled it off. It's like being around, it's kind of like in Jamaica. You have all these hundred meter dash Runners that are all really good. It's like I wonder if one of the reason why you guys are so good. It's because
You just drop in a culture of of sporting excellence and in San Francisco. I was like in the culture of business excellence and in that it is that's what it felt like an ID. Number three, the average Joe and San Francisco was fairly open to new ideas. So, like Wednesday before, Uber there was a company called sidecar and you'd pick people up and you'd sit in the front seat, that was a good thing. You sit in the front seat with a driver, in the middle of that first came out, like people were willing to try all these new and weird things and I thought that was so cool that people were open to that. So those are probably the most and also San Francisco's hard to live in man. It's expensive, there's crime. It's hard. And I was like, if I can make it here I can you know, I'm the real deal and so it was like a boot camp fire. Yeah, it was really hard to live. And I remember like like being at trying to be by the time I rent back, then was $1,100 a month. And that was like so much money too because if there's no way anyone can afford this,
You're at your standards change, quick, absolutely, that Silicon Valley culture last year. Gregg Eisenberg spoke at on Valley and talked about the unbundling of Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley is in the cloud. Now, do you think online communities, and even some of the things that you built like Trends has some of the same elements, or do you think of something that is not replicable about internet communities, internet communities are the second best option and they're written. It's a really good option, internet coming. He's a great, you know, I've got a business partner, Joe speiser. And we've been partners with them for like 2 or 3 years and I consider my best friend. I've only met him three times and so I think like you in like, you know, I've got a bunch of friends and Greg, great good friends at this, kind of stuff are blue. I've never met them and I can send them break friends and I consider them to be very inspirational to my life. So yeah, I think it's really, really, really effective.
Do you think that being in a knot like in San Francisco? When I was just starting my company, I had a shared offense with a bunch of interesting. Entrepreneurs. You don't know what's going to hold her own office, we all pulled our money together. One of them was this guy who started the company called native deodorant what you sold in two years, four hundred million dollars in cash in Boots trapped in. Another guy has a d Tom brand. That's doing like two or three hundred million a year in Revenue. Another one was Ryan, Hooper the guy Star product hunt like we are all in this little office, getting things going the same with Sean Perry, my co-host and there was something special particularly when you're young and you have zero direction and you don't have many Role Models. Like a lot of people typically. So I feel like we, We Came as like on The Outsiders and then we came to San Francisco. And we were part of this, we finally met other people like us on you like that. I think there was something special about physically being in the same room as someone. Now as an adult, like a little bit more grown-up, kind of know my values. I don't think it's as important, but it was a very important then.
Some of those those things that you got specifically mention, some of these people was there a particular skill or perspectives early on in those early days, when you're getting the hustle off the ground, that was just a little Paradigm Shift. 100%. So I used to host a pecan and I remember there was one time where we are in a room at House of God. I used to lie to all the speakers and tell them the wrong time that they was going to speak and I would say that would be like yeah you got to be here at this time it was like 2 hours ahead of time and like the reason I can hang out with like this woman who started a classpass, you know, which is like a multibillion-dollar company. The founders of wework, Miguel the founder of a wave. Travel Casey neistat who else would like three other unicorns Powerhouse? Yeah, just like the Ballers of the Ballers like you know, like big deals and I remember that I didn't I wouldn't talk I would listen mostly and they were all complaining about
Stuff that I complain about and they were all nervous to go speak at my event and they were complaining about how they were too nervous about confrontation to fire people at the company, or how they're stressed out, and not trying to raise money or like, they don't know if they're ever going to make money off their business. Like all this self-doubt that I also face. And when I am there was a huge Paradigm Shift when your when I was around the founder of those bounders in that room that day. And I remember thinking, like, oh wait, these people are not different than me. Like they are not, they are not superhuman. I am no different than then, maybe. Sometimes they're a little bit smarter. Maybe, maybe sometimes they're a lot smarter, maybe sometimes there, but like a way Dumber, but like, in general, we're on the same field ballpark, they're just taking action and so that was like, my big takeaway. So now it kind of mystified success, you know, my best friend is guy named Jack, Smith sold his company for a close to a hundred billion dollars in cash.
28th and like I'm like that you're like pretty good. But you're not like eight hundred million dollars better than me. And I just, I've always thought about that it demystified what's possible. There's one person is brought to you by Powder Keg. The only private member Network focused on supporting tech companies and leaders in fast. Going to be on Silicon Valley. You can visit Powder Keg dot-coms. Begin connecting with tens of thousands of professional peers and partners in Tech communities across the US and around the world. You can apply for Powder. Keg, premium membership consideration. Today, I going to Powder Keg.com premium, give you superpowers in the Powder, Keg community, and is definitely worth applying for. If you think you qualify at high-growth companies in startups that are stealing be on Silicon Valley again, that's Powder Keg, premium and you can apply today.
It does seem like a lot of media, especially Tech media seem to overemphasize the person's capabilities in the person's natural skill or or some of their super powers and don't usually talk about luck, market-timing. Some of the other things that I obviously have a huge impact on big exits. He doesn't mean that you think about in in kind of retrospect and seen all the Oscars that you posted on stage. Yeah, so like before I quote became successful, I was like there's no such thing as luck going to make my own luck. Now, I definitely don't think that's his luck is real. Loch is very real. Like, I was lucky that I was born in America. Who was lucky that I've been mostly healthy my whole life. It was lucky that I had emotionally supportive parents so I believe in locked for sure. Yeah. That was a special time. I actually think that's a us is going to have a Resurgence. I think that I think it is it's going to happen and I think that because start up some more popular. I think you could also find your community and a lot of different
It just happened to be that there was more of it in San Francisco so it was kind of fun. Tell me more about that. What are you? What do you see in yourself? Now being a relocation relocating to Austin after being in San Francisco. I'm in Austin now. So I'll I live in Austin, 8 months out of the year and then I live the rest of New York City cuz that's where my wife's from. She wants to be with her family, and Austin is way easier to live in. I would say it's more of a happy and fun place to live in the garage, but I'm crying here as much as other cities. So I think if you I think Austin's ideal to raise a family, I think New York City is crushing it right now and is totally like, I remember when the pandemic hit, I was like, I don't think they're ever going to recover and that was way wrong. So I think that like New York might be the place to be at the moment for young people who are trying to grind me about grinding. Obviously, there's been lots of different phases of December last decade with grinding being something that it was
Heralded as like the thing, that separates the successful from the unsuccessful to grinding is the thing that separates the successful from the unsuccessful the other direction. To now, it seems like 45 more balanced view of it. What what's your particular view on it? My view is not that balance. I think that in order it when you're going from 0 to 1, what's a like, zero two like two or three, maybe 5 million in Revenue. Do you have to grind? I can't imagine. I think there are always exceptions to, to, to this. And there are some people who are just talented or Luckey or something happened. And they're able to work 30 or 40 hours a week and make something amazing. But if you're a nobody, which I was and you're just getting started and you have very little leverage. I can't imagine a world where you're going to succeed working less than 60 hours a week. You just have to put the time in and maybe that 60 hours a week can actually only take like 12 months and then you're able to hire people and you're able to delegate. And when you are able to hire people that
Really great and better than you at specific stuff and delegate then, yes, you can actually chill a little bit or if you already have some success or you already have a well-known name or we already have some money that you can like be, okay. I'm just going to hire a person to run the company. I'm going to put in most the money if you already have that, then yeah, you can get away with kind of chilled a little bit, but I just can't not one hundred percent of the people who grind are going to succeed but nearly 100% of the people who succeed are willing to grind. I think, what about people who are early in your career so they're not on Pandora's. They want to just be a part of something special at a high gross tech company. Yep. Any top pieces of advice from all the different startups that you've seen? Yeah, well, I think that you got to make sure that you picked the right company because when you're joining, an early-stage startup, you're basically investing something more than money, which is more valuable than money was just time. But you have to kind of act like you're investing money until you're like, well, let's say, you know, I'm getting $100,000 of equity in a company. If I had over a hundred thousand,
That's what I'd be willing to invest that into this business. If so if that's the case you have to make sure that it's a good investment. You believe that the outside is like 10 or 20 x, given the rest. You also have to make sure that your paperwork is all straight and Mike, good. And like, you're, you're getting paid the right like this table. You do, you have to make sure all those things, you have that. And so you like, made an educated, guess the good bet to take and all your ducks in a row. Like, you. Y'all paperwork's done, right? And sign, I think that you should grind and do something amazing. And I don't think that you should work necessarily like 80 hours a week, one company. But I think you should work out a lot and then also Network like crazy. So like when I sold my business to a couple parking lot, that was an employee there for a year and about a year and I was supposed to meet up like every single week and that's how I built this network. So, when I was able to launch my thing, I just need a couple phone calls then I had helped. So you want to like, you know, it's called putting hay in the barn.
You want to train train train to put the hay in the barn for when you need it. You know, it's raining hard when he's eaten. So you just preparing preparing preparing and often times, you don't know what you're preparing for, but you do know when you when you need a favor or you could put in the work so your your old one mile of different people so I think that's the way to go. If you are young you don't have a lot of responsibilities. Like you don't have a family. I see no reason why you shouldn't be doing that. Put hay in the barn, your Midwest metaphors. You can go a long way here, Sam keep him cuddled in Focus their on hustle, get it done early, contribute value I think you can run me to buy Lotto go speakers getting it done early by the way, it's a really big deal. Yeah, tell me more about that, man. Like I'm on 32. So I'm just out of school. I'm still young enough, but I have a little bit of wisdom, I hope. And at 21, I was kind of stupid in a good way, like I was ignorant. I didn't know like the pain that I was about to.
I went to and I was stupid enough to think I was good enough and I had a ton of energy. I only spent 2 or $3,000 a month like my from all my living expenses, no family. Sometimes I had a girlfriend, like it was awesome. So like if you put in that work then is actually the easiest time to put in work and it pays dividends like it. If you do it correctly, you should be compounding and it will still pay dividends by the time, you're in your thirties and forties and that's the time when you want the time and you want to leverage things like that. I'm not enough people. Take risks early on. I remember when I started my company, I was so jealous that my friend got a job at pricewaterhousecoopers or one of the accounting firm do with making $60,000 a year. I was like, God damn. What am I doing? I'm in the basement. Building this website. What the heck am I doing? And I was like just have patience will pay off if you if you if it was a payoff and then five years later when I start
A lot of money and it starts working and I'm My Own Boss. They all come to me and they're jealous. And I'm like dude it was the other way around for the longest time I was jealous of you but thankfully I wouldn't say and I was in a situation where I was forced to do it like I didn't have many options. I was kind of not employable so I had to do it. But it, if you need to have patience, need to take risks early on and just be willing to like know that like the first ten years of your career, if you can take those big risk, early on, I'll pay dividends and you're not going to lose out on much. Seems like as your your kind of piling. Hey, now I'm missing the metaphor. I can hear you're almost treating this like density of resources for yourself in your own personal career on a percent. And we talked about that a lot of obviously it's your graphically cities. Like Nashville. Indianapolis don't have as much Geographic density of venture capital of talent of customers wanting to buy some startups. Now, the internet, we can do that. All virtually when you kind of look back at your early days at the hustle.
How do you say that early density? We talked about the 1000 true fans, Kevin Kelly, you don't really days. A wired brother blog post 1000 true fans. If you can get your first 1000, true fans that will buy anything from you. No matter what you share something from you, subscribe for something more in some of those things tip you over the edge in the early days of the hustle. So the biggest thing was that I was always doing stuff and I would tell people about it, I was fairly loud about it and I would say, I just quit my job. I'm starting this thing called, hustle town and it's going to be amazing. I think and I would we just hit you do 100 tickets stole. This is amazing. This is going awesome or I'll just take a picture of me like making cold calls today trying to figure this out and my enthusiasm was contagious and people start living vicariously through me and the good analogy is like if you see someone on the side of the road holding their thumb up because her car is broken down. You may not stop but if
See someone on the side of road pushing their own car to like go get gas, you're likely to get out and help them. And when I learned early on, with that people, particularly successful people, but most anyone they love, seeing someone put the effort in and work and if they see you willing to do that, they're going to help you out. And so I would cold email, like the founder of Business Insider. The name is Kevin Ryan. He's probably a billionaire. He started guilt mongodb, Business Insider in a bunch of other companies, like running for mayor of New York, is the rumor and I can cold email them and he wouldn't reply forever. And I'll get a big fan of yours in this interview that you gave in 2014. You said the struggle of business out of his X, Y and Z. I just started my media company. I think I'm facing that same problem. I'm to overcome it and you can reply, and I would email my month later. Hey, Kevin. So I actually saw the problem here is what I did. Anyway, are currents are current traction, is this this in this just giving you an update talk soon? And I would keep that up literally for 6 or 12 months, and then finally, he would reply
Can you get me on the phone? And you helped me? And I would do that with all types of people, like big successful people, not successful people. I would find the early employees of all the companies that I wanted to emulate out, fine. All of them. And I was like, sending just like that to all types of people, and when I found out was that people, people don't always take action and that makes them love. Someone like me or someone who is starting companies, because they saw that I was action-oriented and it inspired them and made them want to help me. That's a really good inside. That's a really good inside taking back. I remember seeing your hustle and being like men. I can't attend this but I just want to buy a ticket like they want to be part of it. Like I don't have time to read this right now, but I want to support it. So I'm going to buy a subscription. Yeah. And the reason why is people just saw that I was trying stuff and even if it wasn't a success most people are on Earth are afraid to try something and they see me and they're like, well, you're not that smart. You talk
Crudely, like you're not better than I am. If you could do it, I can do it and because you kind of gave me that a little bit of inspiration. I'll support you sold your company. Tell me a little bit about that was that all was a goal of yours to sell a company. My goal when I was 20 was to make at least 20 million dollars by the age of 30 because I was like in my head, 20 million dollars will give me enough money that my family can live lavishly. Somewhat lavishly, depends on, I guess who you're asking and likes to be secure. And the reason why is I remember as a kid, my mom, swipe your debit card and like, bought me $2,000 worth of races of the kid and she didn't have a lot of money at the time of their bank account and I was like that's so amazing that they were to do that. And yet I feel so guilty and like I don't, I'm like scared of running out of resources for my family so I sent that a Jets won and so when I built my company I definitely built it to sell. I like with I had a sale in mind, I had a number in mind, it was all built around that number and looking back. I'm happy.
I did it but I wish that the company. The hustle is an amazing company. I wish that and I love the brand of hustle with my life. It is my life, it's not. It's art to me as a sold to me. So I wish that I was already wealthy enough that I didn't have to sell it, that's for sure. Keep that ownership and keep the playground where you can keep creating. Yeah. And I'm happy about the decision that I made, but I only made it because I'd set this goal. And like, I knew what it was like to be poor, and I do want my family to experience that, but I sure wish I did it. You know, the circumstances were slightly different. Tell me about the emotions you fell. In the days following signing paperwork, dude, immediately after it, kind of felt like I had bad eyesight and I just put glasses on for the first time. I was like, is this how people live? Like you like four years with like 10 years cuz that all other types of businesses, I'd always worried about payroll and I'm always worried about, like, oh man, Ben said, he's having a kid.
Like one of my employees is having a kid. It kind of feels like I'm having a kid because like the decisions I make are going to like help support this chill, this child, like tons of stress, it like that or like a man, I just got a slack message that says like we need to talk like a lot of cleaning, God darn it, like a fighter, flight mode all the time and then when I saw it, I was like, oh my God, like I do own the business anymore. It's so I'm not, I'm not responsible anymore of anything, I got a responsibility and that was amazing. I felt so good. The first 12 months, it was like heaven. I was like, this is, this is the way to live and then the last six months that I've been in, I'm like, all right. What I learned is like people. I don't know if it's like a man thing is probably not, but like, I was like from a man's perspective as like I need a mission. Like I need a task. I need to go. I need like, I need like a car to chase. Like, I'm a dog, you're on a mean. As I got I got I got to go hunting. I can't just sit and
And until like I have to work and so that's kind of in my feelings now where I was all right. I got what I wanted. Turns out when you get what you want you're just going to end up doing what you did before. It's the hero's journey. You're on a quest man. I was on the quest and now I'm like oh well like work is not like it's not like it's something that you have to do in the sense of like like like I don't like wearing those imposed by the outside so much words, like it's more self-imposed to wear it like yours like ingrained as a human being to contribute to improved constantly and I didn't realize that until recently. If you could teleport yourself back in time to Sam knowledge. Now, back 10 years does Sam knowledge than 21 years old or 20, whatever years old in San Francisco. There anything you would have done differently. Yeah. I gave a little bit of a Clea people and I took a little bit of angel.
Money. And when you do that, you basically are obligated your fiduciary. So it's my duty to provide a return and I wish I was able to run the company more selfishly than I had words, like not like we're going to own this for 50 plus years, working to give it to our children. I wish it was like that I couldn't pull it off because I didn't have enough money to pay people what they were truly worth. So I had to give Equity, but I wish I probably could have figured out a way how to do that, to pull that off. And so, I wish I would have owned 100. I owned the vast majority, but I wish I owned 100%. So I didn't have any like obligation or whether as a clean legally to like provide a return for people. And I could have just grown it for a longer. Of time without giving any employees, the expectation of a set of a sale. So that's definitely a thing that I wish I would have done but I'm happy with my decisions. I do think though, that, like next time I start something, I'm going to have a far longer time Horizon because like the real games of our company, we saw them your phone and a half years old.
The real games wouldn't have started in till like around like north of 40 million in Revenue this year. And and that was when the real games were started happening. And I didn't realize that I was not being patient like a real Gang Starr, like maybe pass your five for sure. 5 is pretty early but like seven eight, nine, ten, like, that's like when, when it feels like to start stuff starts working out really well. That makes no sense if it's so hard to start something. So, if you have something that's working, only sell it if you really have to. And that's a great Point, that's a great Point. That's good. Advice by, I really like that a lot, but you might not have, you know, that fire right now, if you had taken it off the table. So which is why I'm not complaining. I'm happy. I did it, but they're in a phrase, rich people, sell wealthy, people, never sell. So if you have something that's working now that I know like when I had the hustle, we are growing like two halves of a year, which is good. It's not dry.
It's really good and I was like, but, you know, we're not going 3 or 4X, it's not world-class there for like some big deal. I can just restart this any given point. Now that I am starting from zero. I don't have any employees, helping me, I don't have a lot of an audience already. Witch is good and I want the money, but it's still kind of from scratch. I'm learning how to get himself off the ground to grow two or three years. Really, really, really hard and really rare. It's challenge challenge. So I was following a long once you're done with your Airbnb, business, can you tell me why you decided to go in that direction? I've always wanted to open up a hotel and my wife works at Airbnb and I met a couple guys that I have like 20, 30, 40 million dollars worth of airbnb's in there paying themselves, a lot of money and I was like to do. That's so cool. I love working with my hands. I loved getting dirty and so I bought this Ranch called Marathon Ranch but a marathon ranch.com you can see it and or the dot, dot,.Com and it's awesome. If I bought this Ranch and I'm building some
It has a really nice house on there and I'm building cabin because it just feels so good to get out and the internet's great because you can start something from nothing really easily, but you don't physically get to see, you're staying and you touch it and you don't mess until I get to enjoy it with like, your family and friends. And so I wanted to do this Airbnb business, because it felt really good to work with my hands and just sweat. And then like, see, like, what's happening? It's all good to like, we have a house cleaner who is like, no not she's not like in the in the socioeconomic status of like a tech. Worker is like good. It feels nice to like employee different types of people in your opportunities for different type of people and likes the people attending my Airbnb. You're going like they're not like, it's like they're just normal families. And it feels good to create a product that like Health Service, Health, Service, normal normal people, and like, for my jaws for normal people and it feels awesome. It's fun to get out your bubble. So that's one of the reasons why I love it. I love that too. It seems to me.
Miss hearing your story knowing your skill set in writing moving people emotionally what you're doing. Now, the Airbnb business, it seems a lot of what your career has been about and your work as an artist is about creating shared experiences, I guess so. Yeah, you're you're being my therapist. So thank you. I've never thought about that. If you could wish one experience on everybody in the world to have one experience, what's one of the experiences you would wish upon people that they could all have? I think making $1 on the Internet is like world-changing? You know, I I encourage my wife to do it recently and she did it and she was like, okay, I understand like so just making one sale on the Internet is pretty amazing. The second thing that like it's a pretty world changing experience cold Outreach to someone who you admire and making becoming friends with them. That's like pretty amazing and one experience
No, I mean, those are pretty good. I us maybe like the fear of, like, quitting your job and having nothing and slowly figuring it out. Once you do that, I feel like nothing can stop me and they did one last thing. I like the box. A box, a box. A lot. Tell me about that. Every once in awhile, I'll get beat up, I got beat up pretty bad. The other day, this young guy cousins, me. He was 21. He cleaned my clock kick my ass and get knocked out, but like to beat me up and I didn't feel embarrassed because I worked hard and he was just better than me, whatever. But after getting beat up I was like that one so bad. Was it? I feel pretty good. Nothing could stop me. But like I just got I just got physically assaulted and I'm perfectly fine. Like, there's nothing to fear. And so finding those times where you can be in like a relative like like when you're boxing when your sparring with your partner like you're not trying to knock someone out but don't
Not really hard in the body, you know, her. And so it's a pretty controlled environment but it's very fearful and very scary. And once you realize that you're able to overcome things like that, controlled environment, it kind of feels like the rest of the world, like the volume is turned down. And so I love experiences like that. And so if you can never find a way where you maybe won't really actually get her some cases you might, but you're able to survive it and walk away, dials, everything else down and makes business going easy mode. I sure hope Chris Rock as having a similar experience right now with his record percent of salt. $59 from that, I would totally go to watch this, but, you know, just because of that. But I think yourself like I'll go take a race car, three different race car classes and like when I do that, I'm like, oh my God. This is so fast. Like, like, I'll drive with the driver and the passenger seat in these. Like, you know, you have a little near death and you're like, oh my God, everything else just called.
Having any of those adrenaline experiences, I I think are actually really good for life and business. We got to get you out here to the Indy 500 track and put him in Indy car. Sometime soon, I'm down. I would love that. It's very frightening. I've done things, I got a couple times. It's it's people are Mad Men onto so I feel like you'd like it. For those reasons to I'm down, I'm in support you and what your passion about right now is notice a few things. So I have our podcast called my first million, it's a pretty good. I think my fantastic, my co-host, Sean, carries the loads and he trades very talented. I also have a thing that I've been tinkering with called copy that. So copy running has changed my my life, so I created a way to help people learn. So if you try copy that. Cam like a fun resource to learn how to write better by Monday for today. I can know how is it. It's fantastic. I freaking love it. I have not done my assignment today, but I did on Monday.
Is a YMCA. You learn. When you write it on my hand, right? It's a magical way to learn because it requires very little effort. You know, you just likes. You don't have to thank you, just right? And it makes you feel, it makes you better. So that's really good. And then you can call me on Instagram or Twitter the same far. I can copy that. So, it's improving your writing. Absolutely. I have studied copyright in through the years, I'm so Rusty and I need just that push over the edge and copy that. So digestible, you know, 7, I think it's seven days, right? Ten days, ten days until you did. Louis c.k., you did the Boron letters. I made that one the hard one early on. And then what else to do Joel own software? He's great. He's a beautiful writer so good. I had no idea. I know him from, you know, all the stuff he's done, my stack Overflow, but I just, I didn't know. He was such a great writer, he's really good. So anyway, that's what copy that is.
Learning how to write better. I'm happy that it's working in the virtual virtual boots in the Expo, so people that are a Tan Valley right now. Right. After the second thing, I check it out. It's really easy to find. We're getting a few of the scholarships too few people too. So make sure you say thank you. Have solutely. Yeah. 100%, man. Thanks for sharing your story here, and thanks for doing everything that you're doing and Sharon along the way. I'm trying, thank you for having me. How you doing a man? Absolutely, that's it for today show. Thanks so much for listening and a huge thanks to Sam par for sharing his story and insights with the on Valley Community. Getaway be sure to check out Sam, stunning Airbnb at Marathon ranch.com. I also highly recommend the copywriting course that Sam created with his wife, if called copy that, and it's one of the best investment you can make in yourself. I've taken it myself. I'm taking it now for the second time now that it's a
New Year because it's that good. So check it out at, try copy that. Cam again that's try. Copy that. Cam will make it all up in the show notes but also co-hosts a great podcast name. My first million with Incredible guest like that, I met Rob Dyrdek and Gary vaynerchuk who happen to be featured on episode 1 of on Valley. So shout out to Gary for links to the social profiles in the website and resources and the people and Company is all of the other things, mention this episode, and check out our show notes for this episode and get further plugged into these awesome opportunities beyond the Bay Area. Thanks for tuning in to on Valley, the show for leaders who want to unlock the full potential and plug into the biggest opportunities in Tech and startups in Silicon Valley on Valley is brought to you by Powder Keg, which is the only private member Network. Stokes, not supporting tech companies and leaders in fast-growing communities.
Beyond the Bay Area to get the latest on Valley News Trends and guides subscribe to the unveiling newsletter from Powder. Keg at Powder. Keg, newsletter. It's 100% free and plugs you into the hottest tech companies start of opportunities. And jobs be on Silicon Valley, subscribe today at Powder Keg, newsletter and could be the first to hear the stories about entrepreneurs investors and other Tech leaders outside of Silicon Valley subscribed to on Valley wherever you listen to podcast at Powder Keg. Cam on Valley included. A bunch of helpful links there so you can subscribe wherever you. Listen. And if you're already subscribed to on Valley, thank you. If you like, what you've heard, I would love to hear from you. Also love to hear from you. Even if you don't like what you've heard a shoot me a note at Matt, at Powder Keg. Calm were always trying to make this podcast better for you but if you're feeling great about what you're hearing and you,
I hear more of it, I would love it. If you could leave us a review or on Bali, you have a chance to get a shoutout on the show, some VIP perks, and maybe even participate in an upcoming interview until then, we'll catch you next time on on Valley, a powder-keg original production,
Can't you just listen to podcast? You might be thinking about starting one for your company. Lucky for you are Partners over a cast and have you covered. It is the first and only podcast in video marketing platform. Made specifically for B2B brand. I love this about them. The platform makes it possible to publish Syndicate amplify and measure the value of your podcast and video content. In fact, we use it for our podcast here at powder keg, of course, this one you're listening to on Valley and if you're a startup, you should listen up because casted for startups is definitely for you. They are offering exclusive deep discounts of up to 82% off retail price for qualifying startups, connect with casted at casted. Us, flash powder, keg,
Sam Parr retired with over $20 Million by age 31, just a few years after losing his job offer at AirBNB. In this interview, Sam goes deep into his journey to share his biggest lessons learned while creating an impressive career and company.
Parr is the founder of The Hustle, a daily newsletter providing an entertaining delivery of the latest news in business and tech. He was born in Missouri, grew up in Tennessee, and moved to San Francisco after graduating from college. His media company The Hustle was acquired by Hubspot in 2021 for a reported $25-30 million dollars.
In today’s episode of UNVALLEY with Sam Parr you’ll learn:
- 7:30 Which Midwest values lay the foundation for Sam’s successful career in tech
- 14:05 The simple writing technique that helped Sam create enormous opportunities in his career
- 28:30 How to optimize your career for success, even if you don’t have money or connections
- 42:30 Why Sam is investing in real estate in Unvalley tech hubs like Austin
UNVALLEY is the show for tech leaders that want to unlock their full potential and connect with the biggest opportunities in tech beyond Silicon Valley. UNVALLEY is brought to you by Powderkeg — the only private member network focused on supporting tech companies and leaders in fast-growing communities beyond Silicon Valley. Join the community at Powderkeg.com.