Published on 
October 12, 2021

How asking ‘what did I do wrong?’ and ‘what can I do better next time’ led Andrew Warner to create the uber-successful Mixergy

Andrew Warner, founder of Mixergy, has had his fair share of failed business ventures. But, instead of giving up, he decided to take a closer look at what he did wrong. He had two options: trying to understand his mistakes on his own or open up about his setbacks with other entrepreneurs. Andrew Warner began interviewing successful entrepreneurs who gave incredible insights, including our very own founder of ThoughtLeaders, David Tintner. Instead of keeping all this entrepreneurial gold to himself, Warner turned it into a thing of its own - Mixergy. So, what can you do better next time? What questions are you too afraid to ask and what methods should you use to dig deeper and find that million dollar question? We sat down with Andrew Warner, founder of Mixergy, who shared his insights, as well as tips & tricks about the marathon that is entrepreneurship.

You can listen to the episode here: 

Highlights from the episode: 

Andrew shares his thoughts on the following topics…

The importance of opening up about failure and setbacks [1:01]

“I had a company that was failing and then eventually failed. And I wanted to understand what did I do wrong? And I thought I could just kind of go through it on my own, or I can open it up and talk to people who are smarter and more accomplished than me and find out more importantly, what can I do to do better next time? And so I started doing interviews with entrepreneurs who I admired. It just turned into thing on its own. What I learned from them, I brought back into the business of Mixergy, what I learned from them. I brought back into my life...I had to acknowledge what I didn't know, and be open to learning from other people. And then the thing just kind of took off and it turned out that there were other entrepreneurs out there who wanted to learn along the way”

Takes a closer look at the idea that ‘to some degree, it's easier to be a brain surgeon than it is to be an entrepreneur’: [17:21]

“Roger Dawson, this author that I read in, in, college, he said to some degree, it's easier to be a brain surgeon than it is to be an entrepreneur, which sounds like it sounds ridiculous, but he meant, look, if you want to be a brain surgeon, they're going to tell you what you need to do. You know, what schooling you need to go through? You know what hoops you have to just go through and do it to be an entrepreneur. And I'd say today to be a creator there isn't that clear path. There's no school that says, do this, come back, do better tomorrow. And there's no. So we're fortunate to at least when we find our hook, our thing that works”

Reveals his biggest regret [40:35]

“I went into interviews where I didn't ask the big question and I regretted it. My big one was I interviewed Fred Wilson just as Twitter was saying to all the developers who built on its platform go away. Right? These are the people who created all these great tools, including the first Twitter, um, apps for the iPhone. And then Twitter says, actually, we're going to take it from here. Fred Wilson was an active leader of the company. He's an investor. Instead of bringing that up, all I did was spend time on what it was like to start his company, his, venture capital firm, which was interesting...But I didn't ask them that hard question. And I think it's good to feel that pain to say, if I don't ask the question, that's on my mind...next time there's an issue on my mind I'm going to bring it up so that I don't have to suffer like that. I don't want to have that unanswered question hanging.”

Full Transcript: 

Noam Schulman: [00:00:00] Welcome to the thought leaders podcast. We discuss what's trending in the online sphere from podcasts ad tech to the explosion of gaming. We sit down with experts in the field who share their experiences, successes, setbacks, and tips for anyone who wants to understand more about the world of digital content.

Here's your host thought leaders, founder and CEO, David Tinder.

David Tintner: All right, so hello everybody. Today. I am joined with an incredible guest, the founder and host of Mixergy, Andrew Warner. Andrew, thank you so much for coming on the show today and I'm excited to talk to you.

Andrew Warner: Right on David, it's good to talk to you again.

David Tintner: I have been a huge fan of everything you've been doing for a long time. And I've told you this several times before about, , your show, your podcast has definitely been a huge influence on me and my own entrepreneurial journey.

So first of all, tell us and tell everyone who's listening. Exactly how you got started with the podcast

Andrew Warner: I had a [00:01:00] company that was failing and then eventually failed. And I wanted to understand what did I do wrong? And I thought I could just kind of go through it on my own, or I can open it up and talk to people who are smarter and more accomplished than me and find out more importantly, what can I do to do better next time?

And so I started doing interviews with entrepreneurs who I admired. It just turned into thing on its own. What I learned from them, I brought back into the business of Mixergy, what I learned from them. I brought back into my life and what I realized was that one of my problems was that the first company that I started right out of school just wasn't incredibly successful.

It was a hit online greeting card company. Did millions in sales, no outside funding. And I felt like, all right, I know. And I was someone who grew up as a kid selling candy reading books on entrepreneurship. So I had reason to think that I knew what went into entrepreneurship, even if I didn't feel like I [00:02:00] knew what went into the rest of life.

And through the act of asking questions, I had to acknowledge what I didn't know, and be open to learning from other people. And, and then the thing just kind of took off and it turned out that there were , other entrepreneurs out there who wanted to learn along the way. And there were other entrepreneurs who wanted to contribute.

The founders of Airbnb were really helpful. , founders of Dropbox and so many other entrepreneurs came on, did interviews learned and.

David Tintner: And see right there, I think is exactly what makes your show and your style so special is you're super transparent. And it seems like you have no ego when you're interviewing.

Is that, is that something that you've honed over time or is that just

Andrew Warner: naturally, oh, I wonder if it's a mistake to be honest with you, because I know when I listened to a lot of, podcasts and radio shows, even before podcasts existed as a kid, I was looking for somebody who just felt like they were invincible so that I could listen to them and feel invincible to.

And what I ended up creating was not that [00:03:00] not me saying, look at how invincible I am. Look at how invincible these guests are. Take energy from that and go feel invincible through your day. Instead, I created this experience where it was okay for entrepreneurs to come on and be vulnerable and to talk about their problems and that wasn't by design.

I think if I could have organized it from the beginning, I would have gone towards that. We're invincible, let's be invincible, but it just wasn't me. I found that. I connected to people's challenges better and how they overcame them was more helpful for me than to understand that they were invincible.

And so I stuck with that and that is, that's the kind of conversation that, that I could do because I started out by saying I failed and I'm doing these interviews in order to succeed. It's also frankly, the kind of conversation. Especially once I moved to San Francisco and I'd have people over to my house for whiskey, I saw that some of the best entrepreneurs would [00:04:00] talk openly about their challenges.

They might tweet out that they sold their company, but in private they're super open. Even without me bringing it up, talking to each other about how their last round of investors. For this or that. And then they ended up taking all of the equity or all of the, all the sale price and they got very little, and the little was only given to them as like a gift from the last round of investors.

That's the kind of thing. That's very common. And we all learned from that. And so it fits on Mixergy and that's the way it ended up being.

David Tintner: And now that it's been something that, you've been doing for awhile, I believe you're you're what, 10 years or so now that it's become kind of, you know, you have a style, you have a way that people who are going to be a guest on your show know that you're kind of going to do an interview in a certain way.

Is that something that you ever find is a challenge for you to get

Andrew Warner: out of? Maybe I, I don't get out. I don't have a challenge getting out of it because of them. I have a challenge getting out of it because of me, because I'm now in this groove where I'm the person. [00:05:00] Has these super personal conversations.

And by the way, you mentioned 10 years. I actually said about 10 years. Cause I didn't want to say more than 10 years, but then I thought. 10 years as a creator, making a good profit and 10 years as a creator, 10 years, being able to do this 10 years, being able to take it in the direction that I feel compelled to that I'm curious about 10 years to be able to travel anywhere on the world.

We lived in Argentina, we lived in DC. We did, I did this in Tel Aviv. I did this I think. And yeah, in Mexico, I did this on Antarctica. These images. And so the freedom that comes from that as a creator, is this a shock that that is even possible. If I was in school and a professor talked about it, I would have said that they were ridiculous.

If a friend talked about it, I would have said that they were naive. It's shocking that that's possible. It's shocking that that's a world that's, that's there and proven, and

David Tintner: it's re it's really cool. And I mean, a lot has changed in the creator economy and in the world of creators, since you started, what would you say are [00:06:00] some of the biggest changes that you've had experienced?

Andrew Warner: That, who that's doing it and the how intensely they're doing it. So when I started, I was competing against traditional broadcasters and you couldn't listen to Alexis Ohanian, the founder of Reddit, unless you came to Mixergy and he happened to be on it. He was listening to Mixergy and he happened to come on to do an interview with Mixergy today.

I wouldn't be surprised if Alexis Ohanian had his own podcast. Today, we're seeing that Dax Shepard, an actor with actor, friends, and an actor wife can do a podcast. And so we're looking at people like that who have deep insider connections who are also competing. And then we're seeing people who have an absolute obsession.

I don't know if you've checked out the Wondery podcasts, but they are absolutely obsessed with production, with storytelling. To the point where they, they will actually tell a better story, even then the facts might support because they're such good [00:07:00] storytellers. And so the level of competition is definitely heated up.

I'll also say this on the gentler side, the ease for which anyone can come on. And the payoff that you get from it is also been reduced. So you can, you can come in with just a simple podcast, simple, even simpler, even than a podcast, just be on. Twitter spaces, talk to people and create, and you won't be on the level of maybe Mixergy.

You won't be maybe on the level of Wondery, but you'll get access to people. You'll get a broader audience. You'll get to actually see results from it. And so that's, that's, it's been opened up to a lot more people.

David Tintner: So it's essentially, it's easier to do it than it's ever been before, but the competition is much harder than it's ever been before at the same.

So, what would you say a creator who's thinking about starting a podcast and getting into it now, what can they do to set themselves apart or to make it?

Andrew Warner: I find that podcasting is a really [00:08:00] tough area to start because there isn't a lot of discovery. Spotify is doing a better job of introducing users like me to podcast related to the ones that we're listening to.

But even then, It's hard to sample a new podcast because there's a new commitment to listening for a few minutes and it's, it's a big, it's a big investment. I think the podcasting is a hard place to start. It's an easier place to expand. And so you're going to see a lot more YouTube per se. I'm going to add podcasting to this because it's an easy medium to set up.

If you're looking to make it in podcasting, I think it's going to be challenging. I think that it's better to do it somewhere else and then bring that audience to podcasting. I'd suggest though. It doesn't have to be the big thing that many people make it out to be. I would suggest that you can start much smaller and have smaller, smaller needs met in a bigger way than you'd expect.

David Tintner: So I want to ask you about your, your business, the mixer G business, take us through [00:09:00] how you're making money today. Um, different revenue sources and, and kind of percentage breakdown. If you will.

Andrew Warner: Sure. I'll tell you overall what it is. And then we can get to where we are today. The, there are two sources of revenue.

One is advertising. At some point, I decided that I would put a link on the site of soliciting advertisers and they come because they're looking for something that's unique. They're looking for something with a, with a, personal connection. and so advertising's there. I also had somebody come in and help grow the sponsorship.

and so sponsorship, despite my expectations for it has, has gone, has gone bigger than I expected. And then the other part is I take older, I took older interviews and I said, no, one's going into a podcast feed. And looking for older interviews, once you get past 300 interviews, it becomes overwhelming for people to go past and look for more and more of them.

And so I took some of them and I put them behind a, a membership requirement and anyone who is paying for a monthly membership got that. And then I added on to [00:10:00] that. I'd bring back some of my old guests and say, can you help teach a topic you're especially good at whatever. And then I'd ask them to come on and teach it.

And then that also went to my members. That's the heart of the business. And over the years, I've also added other things that were interesting to me or demanded from the audience. And so that would be live events. Um, bigger educational programs have been a component. We did services for a bit as a component, and then that kinda got spun off into its own thing.

And so if you're asking me where we are today, I should tell you that around COVID when my kids were blocked from going through. I said, I'm going to do a little bit more homeschooling just before then. I'd finished seven marathons on seven continents. And I said, I think I want some space to figure out what I want to do and not continue.

So I said that I scaled back a little bit. COVID hit, my kids were out of school. I said, I'd like to try homeschooling. I scaled back a little bit more. And so today we're just at very [00:11:00] basic advertising in the interviews and. membership, for people who are listening to the interviews and they're roughly 50 50,

David Tintner: that sounds a bit like you're, you're, um, winding down mixing.

Andrew Warner: No, I don't. I want to do Mixergy till I die. What I'm winding down is all the extra things that went into it. What I want to focus on is, I don't know. I want to stick with the interviews forever. I don't know what comes after. I don't know. And. I took some time where I said yes to a lot of little things, as long as they weren't long commitments.

Cause I tend to do things for a long period of time. And one of them was this guy, Robbie, in my audience said, Andrew, I'm writing a book on how to, how introverts can talk to people. You've done well, can you write a chapter? Usually I would have said, no, I'm not writing a chapter of your book. I have too much, but this was a period where.

I sat down and I wrote a chapter and then I sent it to him. And then he said, actually, Andrew, this is not very good. Or you said, it's not what I'm looking for. I want you to teach a specific thing. And he told me what that was. So I went back and I wrote, and then he gave me feedback on that. And then I thought, you know what?[00:12:00]

I like this writing. And I said, how do I do more of it? And how do I get somebody to help me? And Robbie introduced me to an editor at penguin, um, who helped me with weekly writing sessions and feedback. And I ended up writing the book that I'd always wanted to do. And I've taken on little projects like that, that I.

I never had the time to take on. Okay.

David Tintner: So, so the book is a, is now being published.

Andrew Warner: it's now going through, what is it called? Line editing where they go through and make sure that Andrew didn't screw things up, you know, that like beyond, is it clear? It's like, is it consistent?

David Tintner: And how was the whole process of, of writing a book, publishing a book, something you do.

Andrew Warner: You know what it was so agonizing that at one point I started looking for a ghost rider and I remember sending an email to Ryan holiday saying, Ryan, this is the worst thing I'd ever done. How do I get out of it? Meaning like, can you help me find someone? [00:13:00] And then he said to me, did you read my book, perpetual self?

It's a book about how to write a book that sustains that survives the test of time. And I said, yes. And I went back to my notes and then I circled the things that I'd highlighted in his book and said, is this what you're talking about? And he said, yeah. And what I sent back to him was okay, Highlights that I made about all the different things that that writers had gone through.

I think George Lucas had pulled out his eyebrows to point of baldness while he was writing star wars. And there was a bunch of others and his point was you have to suffer through it for it to be worthwhile. And you know what? I suffered through it so much. I stuck with it. So it was super hard, but it was super meaningful to have gone through it and to say, systematically, what did I do to have these great conversations over the years?

How do I. How do I articulate it? Show clear examples. So it was painful, but meaningful. And in the end I did [00:14:00] condense the meaningful, useful aspects of interviewing.

David Tintner: Andrew. I got the impression from you that you're someone who has a very high, pain tolerance, let's say, and you you're a marathon runner.

You're, you know, you're describing this process of, of like this grueling process of getting through this hard work. I've listened to your audio essay about, about your life and how you describe your, your first, business, that kind of the same way. Do you think that that has been, pretty core to your success as a creator,

being able to be consistent and gruelling.

Andrew Warner: Yes. Yes. I'm really good at that consistency, lean into the pain and go through it for better or worse. I have friends who will not stick with the pain and they'll move on and move on and move on. And for some people that works for me, I've accepted that I can deal with the pain of it.

The marathon is a great example. You know, you're in the middle. I was in the middle of nowhere and I could just keep on running until I finished. the marathon, like the Southern tip of Chile, I [00:15:00] decided I would do a marathon there on my own super windy. I had no clothes because I was scheduled to go to Antarctica.

and all my cold weather clothes were on the plane to go to Antarctica and I'm just sitting there and it's windy and there's nothing else to do while we're waiting for the flight to be cleared, to go to Antarctica. And I said, I've never done a solo marathon in south America. I contacted one of the people who's taking me to, to Antarctic.

I said, this is a crazy thing for me to do. The guy goes, Andrew, you're the only person who's not done. Something fun while waiting for this plane to go, just go do the merit. It was incredibly cold, super windy. I had to get one of these ponchos that a dude was selling on the street to tourist. And I put that on me and I, and I ran my marathon and I do find, you know, what, if you don't have any other scale, but you can suffer and stick with something and can constantly improve.

I think that there is a payoff in that and perpetual seller. Ryan holiday goes into that too. He says, the longer you survive, the longer you can keep going.

David Tintner: I'm constantly looking for [00:16:00] what makes creator successful businesses successful. And everyone I'm asking keeps coming back to this kind of like, just continue on no matter what.

the consistency is key. And as I hear you talking about in a minute, I think that that's just, it's so core to, you know, you've done. What is it? Well over a thousand interviews. Over 2000 yen for 2000 interviews. Yeah. and, I think that, you know, as you were mentioning before that it's never been easier for a creator to start today or someone to start a podcast.

So only the people who are willing to just grind through the tough times, you know, grit their teeth and stick with it are going to be successful.

Andrew Warner: You know what, David, I think it's a blessing too. Be able to even grind through it. And I'll, I'll tell you why. There been times in my life where I've had the motivation, I had the desire to do something.

I knew that there was something in me that needed to come out, but I wasn't sure what, what direction do I take it in? What business do I start? Which [00:17:00] one makes the most sense? Which customer should I go after all these different things to actually know what you need to do tomorrow and to be really clear about it, but just know it's going to be hard work.

Is it absolutely. Roger Dawson, this author that I read in, in, college, he said to some degree, it's easier to be a brain surgeon than it is to be an entrepreneur, which sounds like it sounds ridiculous, but he meant, look, if you want to be a brain surgeon, they're going to tell you what you need to do. You know, what schooling you need to go through?

You know what hoops you have to just go through and do it to be an entrepreneur. And I'd say today to be a creator there isn't that clear path. There's no school that says, do this, come back, do better tomorrow. And there's no. So we're fortunate to at least when we find our hook, our thing that works, that, that jives with us, that jives with an audience that we believe in to be able to grind it out and just keep going and going and going and, and creating.

And, and I'd say this one, one thing, since I'm, [00:18:00] since I'm praising the act of grinding it out, I say that there's also a challenge in that, and that is that you can end up getting a lot of dust on you. Going and improving. It's easy to make incremental changes and not then say, what can I do to scrap it all and start brand new?

Or what if I had to do it today? How would I do it?

David Tintner: So speaking of your, your systems and your processes, can you take us through your, your company? Who do you have working for you? Who's doing what and what are you doing?

Andrew Warner: We were now at, with two people who helped me. And I should say it's two people and one great piece of software that software is pipe drive.

It's very similar to Trello. It's just a board with columns representing each step of our process. And for each potential guests, there's a card on that. And the reason I say that is because the bit cloud podcast doesn't have that. It's very easy for me to forget that I need to interview someone because we don't have anyone in the pipeline.

It's just, you need a way to keep it all organized. And so when someone suggested guests, they go into the [00:19:00] first column of our board and then somebody else needs to say, yes, that's a good person to come through. And so in that case, it might be Andrea, my assistant, who says, this is a good guest. I think we should do it.

It might be Ari. Who's our producer who says, yes, I can see that. There's a story here. Let's go. The next step is that we do a pre-interview with the person and in a pre-interview we get a sense of whether they could tell their story, whether it's true or not. And also we help them tell their stories. Who a lot of entrepreneurs are not good at telling their stories.

Well, they're not good at letting their story just come out. So we do a pre-interview where we work with them to help them tell their story. So then, um, I record my interview. It's all set up for me because the person's been pre-interviewed and vetted, and we've got research. I get to have a great conversation directed towards what I'm really curious about.

And then I upload it to Google drive and it gets edited and put up on the site. And that's essentially the.

David Tintner: I love how thorough you are before and all the research that goes into it. And I have to say when I did the [00:20:00] pre-interview before, one of the things that I loved about it was even just saying the things out loud and then being able to hear myself say them as, ah, okay.

Okay. When, when he, when Andrew asked me that I'm going to say it a little bit differently, you know, just hearing yourself say something like maybe I'll change that when he actually asked me, but it was a huge help.

Andrew Warner: Yeah. Okay. It's a big investment for us. There've been times when that was the most expensive part.

Doing the interviews. If you could imagine that, especially in the beginning, when there wasn't a process and the interviewer needs to be ready, the pre-interview needs to be ready. It becomes expensive to do it. And then to go through and then spend time going through the notes and through the transcript, but it's worth it.

David Tintner: Well, I think is really cool. Also specifically about your show is that you do so much work beforehand, but your style is so live right here. Oh, let's say the show doesn't come across as overproduced. You don't come over and narrate parts of it. Like some other shows do afterwards, even your sponsorships, even the sponsorships, you do [00:21:00] live in on the spot.

And I think for a, casual listener, Who doesn't know about all the prep work, you know, they're just like, oh man, this guy's just, you know, rolling up to the, to the screen beforehand doing this interview and moving on. And, that's really not how it is at all. I mean, there's a lot of work that goes into,

Andrew Warner: yeah.

I, I really value the work that goes into it. One of the early interviews that I did was with Derek Sivers who sold his company CD baby, and went on to blog about entrepreneurship and creativity. Listen to another interview where the sky, where the, where the interviewer asked a question, he totally didn't do his research.

He said, what did you do with the money you made from selling CD baby? Now, Derek Sivers. If you read anything about him, you find out that he says he donated all the money to an organization. He made the money and he donated to an organization that helps bring music to school. That's the thing, you know, so this interviewer asked him, got an answer that was already public.

I interviewed him. I S I read bit Derek. Sivers talked [00:22:00] about it. I got. How did you donate it? What was the structure now? That sounds very. But here's what we uncovered. He just didn't have a chance to say it. He said he donated it in a way that allows him to take money out every year and gives him this incredible tax advantage.

Now, if you're somebody David, who decides you're going to sell your company to have that filed in the back of your head, that you know what, you could take the whole thing out and have it all taxed, or you could put it into this nonprofit that you probably would want to give the money to anyone. Avoid taxes on the full sale and get money out every single year and feel like, you know what I've done good in the world.

There's a, there's an extra option, a third way that no one would know about, unless you spent a little bit of time doing research on it. That's, that's the difference. And that's where that whole thing came from.

David Tintner: Have you ever done an interview before where you went in, let's say like less prepared or unprepared than you hoped and really regretted that.

Andrew Warner: I went into interviews where I didn't ask the big question and I regretted it. My big one was I interviewed Fred [00:23:00] Wilson just as Twitter was saying to all the developers who built on its platform, Sianora go away. Right? These are the people who created all these great tools, including the first Twitter, um, apps for the iPhone.

And then Twitter says, actually, we're going to take it from here. Fred Wilson was an active leader of the company. He's an investor. And so on. Instead of bringing that up, all I did was spend time on what it was like to start his company, you know, his, his, venture capital firm, which was interesting.

It was interesting to hear the issues that he had raising money. It was interesting to hear how he changed the way that he talked and then was able to raise money. And that's how that's the money that he deployed into Twitter. But I didn't ask them that hard question. And truthfully there had been running.

We're all I did was think about what a was. I was to not bring that up. And I think it's good to feel that pain to say, if I don't ask the question, that's on my mind, I'm going to have to beat myself up on all these runs for hours for years, it's going to come up, forget it. Next time. There's an issue on my mind.

I'm going to bring it up so that I don't have to suffer like that. I don't want to have that unanswered question hanging. [00:24:00]

David Tintner: It reminds me, I've been listening to and trying to read a lot of stuff, by Naval Ravikant. I don't know if it's originally his or something that he was repeating that he learned, but they kind of this Axiom.

Easy decisions, hard life, hard decisions, easy life. And I've been trying to kind of like repeat this and think about this a lot to get myself to do those, those hard things in the moment. Like, you know, if you just do it in the moment, it will really suck. It's going to be a really shitty moment, but it will be easier afterwards.

And if you don't do it, you're going to suffer slowly, forever. So, so in this interview, was that, were you sitting there, you were like afraid to ask the question or it was, it was just that you were, you were unprepared beforehand and didn't know that it was something you should be

Andrew Warner: asking. The truth is it's a combination of things.

I don't know that it was explicitly, I'm afraid to ask this question. I do think that it's more, like I had more reverence in the conversation that I should have brought in. I learned that from. [00:25:00] I, I found that there were these jerks who are dating women a lot. And I was someone who was so sincere, who so had like.

Their best interest in mind and all that, right? There's so much reverence that you bring in that it's overwhelming and it keeps the conversation. It keeps the relationship. It keeps the potential from really coming out. And I find the same thing happens in interviews. The more reverence I bring in or beyond a certain point, I bring in too much reverence and it really takes away from the conversation.

So was there was partially that there was partially me trying to stay on my agenda and, and say, this is what these interviews are about. It was partially me. Just being a little bit nervous in the moment. So it's a bunch of different things and the outcome was, I didn't ask the question that I should have.

And so I take that away from it that I need to be able to ask those questions, but

David Tintner: how do you keep yourself from getting, I dunno, overexcited or feeling like, you know, you're not qualified or something when, when you interviewed the really big guests and you've had some, you know, some crazy guests on your show..[00:26:00]

Andrew Warner: I tell them what I think, first of all, I try to do as much research as possible so that it's not me being lazy and coming in saying, I don't know anything about your business, but it's, I've done research. I looked it up. I spent some time. And by the way, if you don't care enough about somebody to do research about them, that's a good indication that you're not going to, to care enough about them to continue talking to them.

And that's fine to admit that that they're not someone I care about. Let's move on. I remember Howard stern. One of his producers wanted to bring on a major musician. I forget who it was, but they were huge at the time. And he said, I want to bring their huge and how it certain said, I agree. They're huge. I agree.

People would pay attention to that. I just don't care about them. And if I don't care about them, I can't make them interesting enough for the audience. And you have to acknowledge that, that you have to care. I do spend that time. And then when I don't, I tell them openly, I don't fully understand that. The ones who don't ask, what the hell is this business about?

Are the ones who end up sounding stupid completely through the notes. The notes make no freaking sense because they don't even [00:27:00] know what the hell the business is about. And so you see it in other people, you see it in yourself and truthfully, most people feel comfortable if you tell them I don't understand, but I do have this need.

Have you

David Tintner: turned away a lot of guests? what would be, I don't know, like give me like a percentage, kind of like pass rate.

Andrew Warner: it's it's much the thing is that the longer you're around, the more lists you get on for podcasters. And so we get tons and tons of solicitations. I have to hold myself back from being angry at the people who are sending solicitations, who will email my brother at Mixergy, you know, and then say, I've been listening to your podcast for you.

I can't wait to come on and I could see what they did. And so they get Michael at Mixergy and email him and they have their standard thing. And I probably missed some really good people, actually have a team that's not very good, but they deserve to be on, I won't give names. There's some major companies over a billion dollar companies, founders want to do podcast interviews and their team just doesn't know how to, how [00:28:00] to go about setting up the guests.

It's just one of the worst things like you're starting off this relationship for many, for founders of major. It's not that big a deal they'll get over that hit for people who are trying to build relationships. When they send out these awkward messages that are clearly terribly done, they're really hurting themselves and they don't realize it, but that's not, that's not really the big issue.

The bigger issue is. So it just happened on Twitter yesterday. Somebody sent me a message and said, send a message. I respond. And then he responded back something about, well, then maybe this makes P for the fact that we had that interview bust up a few years ago and I went back and I looked, there was no.

What happened was he asked to do an interview. I asked how big the business was. It was under 5,000 sales a month, which is, which is really impressive, especially for a company as age, but it wasn't where I needed to keep my guests. And I said to him, let's hold off and have you come on when the business is bigger, I thought that was pretty politic of me to say, But I understand that [00:29:00] people get hurt.

They, she just hit 60,000 a year run rate. Right. I'm telling him it's not good enough. And for what, who am I to say, it's not good enough. And so I can understand how he would feel hurt. And it was a scar that he's just saved there. And those to me are the hardest ones, not the fact that I'm turning down. A lot of people it's that there are people's egos.

There are people who are really deserving of being on, but they just don't fit whatever criteria. And so I say, no, and it's, it's a.

David Tintner: So I want to ask you about an interview. You did a while back that I actually, I thought it was really crazy that it's a point to your transparency that you published the interview.

I don't remember the name of the guest I'm blanking now, but on the interview, you asked them about the revenue and the guests. didn't want to give you the revenue. And then, you asked another question and they weren't giving, that as well. And now you're doing video interviews and I remember that and the interview basically.

Got into an argument between you both and then it kind of shut down like it with you basically saying like, okay, [00:30:00] so we're, we're done here. Do another interview. I'm

Andrew Warner: talking about, they're actually truthfully a few interviews like that. but I think I know the one you're talking about and there's a reason for that.

the people who I interview a really good entrepreneurs, that's why I'm interviewing them. Good entrepreneurs are often very good at controlling their universe. Of saying this needs to happen, and I know you don't want it, and I know you don't believe it, but trust me. And so when they do an interview, they're losing some amount of control and it's very easy for them to say, Andrew, I need this control to the letter.

And in the beginning I would go and edit out whatever they needed. I would start to make edits and you know, where we have. Um, as being edited, people do not feel comfortable with themselves when they say, um, they want it edited out. And now suddenly I'm getting petty requests and I'm getting big requests where they say, I just reveal this thing and I can't have it.

And so then what do we end up with? We end up with the most bland interview with no arms and no revenue, no nothing. And so I decided as a policy, I'm not going to edit if you're saying it's in there. I give you [00:31:00] plenty of notice. We do. Pre-interviews I give you plenty of notice before I record myself telling guests, before we start.

If I ask you a question, here's how you can say no, I don't want to answer. It's totally fine. Let's go somewhere with this. And so I do it. And then the other thing is I want to be open about my failures as an interview. I don't want everything to feel so polished. I grew up listening to these NPR podcasts, where the host was such good speakers.

They were so good at articulating their thoughts. And then on the media podcast, which examines how media works from week to week, they did this brilliant thing. They said, I know we sound polished. We're going to show you what we edited out. And then I see Bob Garfield, this guy who's so articulate.

Who's a professional stammer through asking a basic question because he didn't know any literally said to the guests. I actually don't know how to phrase this. And my eye was opened up and I said, aha, I've been misled. The idea that they are perfect. Speakers has made me for years as a kid growing up, believe that I am not a good enough [00:32:00] speaker to do this.

And what else is it about speaking about entrepreneurship? That's now being brushed under the table that we can. We cannot do it because then someone else is going to say, I can't believe I did it. I'm hiding. I'm hiding this shame. And so when Matt Mullenweg, the founder of WordPress, I asked him, how'd you get your first users?

And he said, I spammed other entrepreneurs. Might've said, Andrew, cut that out. I can't have that. Go on. You don't understand. We have investors. People in the beginning were spamming, but now spamming is terrible for word, press community. It's an issue for us. I didn't even have to do it with him. He didn't ask, but others would have asked and they would have hurt.

We leave those things in. It's like at this extra data point, why, what else are we hiding that we should be aware of, that other people might be doing? And so I want to have that kind of, openness, you get more vulnerability for my podcast. You get more of me talking about my failures and my guests talking about their flaws.

But along with that comes, other things that would ordinarily be polished off of this rough story that people. I think

David Tintner: the line between creators and [00:33:00] journalists is really blurred if it even exists anymore, but there are so many creators out there that are, are not taking that kind of a stance the way that you are and, and kind of holding up, basic journalistic principles.

Do you think that's big problem in the creator community? And I,

Andrew Warner: I do. I think that, I think. I don't know. I don't think that I'm the Paragon of virtue when it comes to that. I have to admit that they're issues that I have. Like, there are people who, because I know them because they even sent me a gift.

Even if it's an inexpensive gift, it might just be lodged in my head. And then the sense of gratitude comes

out

and I don't have an editor. Who's who's going to say. Why are you leaving these awkward pauses in let's take them out. I also don't have an editor who says you seem to have liked the person a little bit more than you should.

Why not? It's a real, it's a real challenge. You know, you could give a disclosure and say before an interview, I am part owner of this company, or I'm best friends with this guest. Can you really give a disclosure? Okay. [00:34:00] Warmth and, and these soft feelings that you have for someone it's really hard, right?

It's, it's, that's a, that's a genuine issue that I have. I think the only thing that we could do is for now just accept that that's a problem as listeners. And then as creators realize that there's also an opportunity there, that there is an opportunity for somebody to say, I'm just going to be the straight up old school journalists.

The one who's who goes through the sense of, I don't know, Over encumbered ethics. And I think there's a, there's an opportunity for that. Truthfully, that's not the makeup that I have. I grew up admiring entrepreneurs in a world that hated them. I grew up wanting to be an entrepreneur in a world where people wanted to be firefighters and police officers and whatever.

I admire these people who did it. And I can't hold that back. The next

David Tintner: for you. we've heard about your you're kind of in this, I guess, thinking about your name. Stage, right. You're your Mixergy is on a stable ground right now, but are there business ideas [00:35:00] pouring through your heads? I know there's always business ideas.

Yep.

Andrew Warner: Don't know. I never, I never was the person who had a lot of business ideas, except maybe when I was in college and couldn't do anything. Cause I was in college. I'm now like retraining that muscle and seeing what ideas I'm looking at my computer screen here. This is a picture of a tent. And the reason there is a picture of a tent is because I had this idea.

You know what I love. Campgrounds outside of major cities are pretty inexpensive. You could just get land outside of major cities. It's pretty inexpensive. You put some tents on there, you sell it on a rented out on hip camp, which is the Airbnb of tents. A hundred dollars. If it's a, if it's a year, for some reason, people value your time.

We paid $150 to be in a year. As a family. These prices are pretty high considering that it's just tent and camp ground. But you know, when you live in a big city, like I do in San Francisco, the ability to get out and just be in nature and have nowhere for your family to go except be together around the tent and spend an hour lighting the fire and making food.

It's truly valuable. It's worth well, more than 120 a day. I thought what if and what if [00:36:00] I do that? And I started looking at campgrounds. That's not an idea I ever would have thought of before I'm in the frame of mind where I'm up for creating. Ideas. And maybe one of them will be a campground that doesn't end up somewhere.

Maybe another will be a chapter of a book that somebody asked me to write. That then becomes a book of my own because I found a passion. That's where I am.

David Tintner: Andrew. Thank you so much for joining us. this has been awesome talking to you. Is there anything, that you would like to let our listeners know where they can reach you or, or anything that they should check out of yours

Andrew Warner: if they Google me and try on my podcast, they'll get a sense of where, where I am. the last thing I'd leave is not how to find me, but how to find the people that they admire. I think we're living in an unbelievable time right now where everybody's heroes are much more accessible than we ever had happened before, and probably will have happened in the future.

You're seeing Elon Musk suddenly give an interview. To some dopey blogger who decided that this is the thing that he could do, right. That he could do an interview with loggers. Now, Elon Musk has started to go retreat into, into his own world, but there's so [00:37:00] many other people at that caliber who are much more accessible looking to do interviews, looking to be featured on YouTube channels, looking to be associate.

People who are creating good work. I think that we should take advantage of that by going in and saying, I'm curious about this person. I'm not going to have this glass wall separating me from them. I'm going to ask her to do an interview. I'm going to ask her to talk to me and give me feedback. There's just, it's unprecedented.

David Tintner: Love the thought of the agreement and thanks again, Andrew.

Noam: Thank you for listening to the thought leaders podcast. If you'd like to learn more about what's trending in the online sphere, make sure to follow us on LinkedIn and sign up for our weekly newsletter. I thought leaders.io. Subscribe now wherever you get your podcasts to stay tuned for the next episode, this podcast was hosted by David tinner edited by and produced by me.

Noam Yadin.


← Prev Post

5 news/politics podcasts that summarize what's going on in the world

Next Post →

Everything you didn’t know about creator partnership at Twitch, with James Davidson

Want to discuss what ThoughtLeaders can do for your brand?

Request a Demo

Want to discuss what ThoughtLeaders can do for your brand?

1/3

Which option best describes you?

← Back
2/3

What aspect of our tool interests you most?

← Back
2/3

What aspect of our tool interests you most?

3/3

Got it! Let us know of any additional details and our Strategists will be with you shortly:

All fields with (*) must be completed in order to submit
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Book a Demo

Thanks! We'll be in touch soon.
Oops! Something went wrong.