Leverage, Environment, and Books

Three Short Lessons From Hosting an Interview Podcast while Still In College

In March of this year, my friend Kyle Bishop and I launched The Louis and Kyle Show out of a mutual passion for deep conversations, self-improvement, and entrepreneurship.

Our goals for the show were simple: grow an audience, learn about entrepreneurship, and gain access to incredibly smart mentors.

Looking back nine months later, I can confidently say we’ve succeeded at all three goals. With substantial help from The Edge Entrepreneurship Center, we had the resources to enable us to reach this point.

This short piece focuses on the main lessons from running this podcast during the fall semester of my senior year, August → December.

#1 Leverage

Having 45+ in-depth conversations with inspiring entrepreneurs in 130 days was a life-changing experience to say the least.

In all honesty, it will likely take me many years to fully internalize what I’ve learned in this period of time. That being said, one main business lesson immediately stands out to me: leverage.

As we continued to add additional aspects to our business such as social media platforms, video editing, and marketing experiments, I found my free time becoming increasingly scarce.

This forced me to take time to ask myself thoughtful questions about prioritizing my work. With a finite amount of time and energy, I needed to ensure that I was only doing the highest leverage tasks.

“What can only I do?” became a frequent question in my head. Did I need to be the one editing every podcast? Of course not. Do I need to be the one to post on social media? Of course not.

Over the course of the semester, I gradually learned to “let go” of various aspects of the business by delegating to Kyle or an intern, automating with computer code, outsourcing to a freelancer, or simply stopping certain actions altogether if their ROI was too low.

In this business, my highest area of contribution is to conduct exceptional interviews and provide strategic vision. Framing every decision through this understanding of leverage has been critical to our ability to scale so far and will continue to become increasingly important going into the future.

#2 Environment Design

In the more personal realm, I learned one especially valuable lesson: environment design. This semester, I chose to go inactive in my fraternity for a combination of health, economic, and social reasons.

This turned out to be an absolute blessing. Jim Rohn said it best, you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. In effect, I traded my literal fraternity (all great people, of course) for a loosely connected collection of dream mentors.

Instead of spending afternoons and weekends rehashing the same NBA and fantasy football gossip like the stereotypical Jewish fraternity member does (a 100% accurate stereotype, I assure you), I spent almost every free moment immersed in conversation with inspiring entrepreneurs or deeply in research for an upcoming conversation with an inspiring entrepreneur. This is not a criticism of sports fans in the slightest. Instead, it’s just a profound and deeply internalized realization of how much Jim Rohn had figured out.

Your inputs (media, people, conversations, environment) determine how you see the world and the beliefs that you hold.

For entrepreneurs to succeed, they need to consistently have unwavering belief in contrarian viewpoints. That is not an easy feat.

For entrepreneurs to succeed, they need to consistently have unwavering belief in contrarian viewpoints. That is not an easy feat.

When every conversation is with another student talking about getting a job or with an adult who does not have a conception of alternate life paths, it becomes improbable and exhausting to maintain entrepreneurial attitudes. That sucks. That’s a perfect storm for the obliteration of hopes, dreams, and entrepreneurial ambitions.

That’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned this semester.

Nine out of every ten conversations I had were with a business owner, entrepreneur, investor, or aspiring entrepreneur. Through this, I have finally achieved a critical mass of social proof and social validation that entrepreneurship is a viable career choice.

By shifting the balance of my inputs and environment in favor of entrepreneurship through the podcast and the friends I’ve made because of it, my mindset has changed. The beliefs I’ve wanted to prevail finally are, and there’s no going back.

Recommendations for Students

Last, if I had to give advice to other students who aspire to grow as entrepreneurs and citizens, my #1 recommendation would be to focus on their physical health: diet, exercise, sleep, sunlight, and hydration.

Until these fundamentals are solidly fixed, most everything else is a waste of time. (In most systems, focusing on anything other than the bottleneck is inefficient).

#3 Books & Bottlenecks

Now, assuming a solid physical and mental foundation, my actual piece of advice is a lesson I learned in episode 35 of the podcast with Nicholas Hutchison.

Nicholas runs BookThinkers, Instagram’s largest non-fiction book community. He also hosts an interview podcast featuring popular non-fiction authors such as Grant Cardone, Hal Elrod, and Ryan Holiday.

In our conversation with Nick, Kyle and I asked how he’s managed to be successful in so many areas in such a short amount of time. Nick responded with a profoundly simple answer. He explained, “ten years from now, when BookThinkers is this massive, behemoth business, it’s not going to be a question of getting lucky, it is gonna be a question of “how many books did we apply?”” (watch the clip here, it’s the first 30 seconds of the interview).

Every success and great idea I had this semester can be directly traced to an eye-opening book. Books are incredible vessels for knowledge transfer: someone can dedicate decades to an idea, and within a few days, you can benefit from all of their knowledge and experience.

I can confidently reduce most business challenges to a simple framework: spend a good deal of time identifying your bottleneck and then find and read the best book about how to fix that problem. Applying that framework over the past few months was extremely valuable. I highly encourage students to explore the life-changing power of good books for themselves.

Humongous Thanks & Overwhelming Gratitude

Overall, working on the podcast has been an incredibly rewarding learning experience. I’m extremely grateful to Dr. Welbourne, The Edge, and The University of Alabama for providing me with the resources and opportunities to have such an enriching semester.

Thank you to all of the podcast-guests from this past semester!

Dee Murthy, Taylor Pearson, Fred Stutzman, Guy Swann, Evan Carmichael, Pierre-Antoine de Preux, Doone Roisin, Jeff Sorg, Jordan Harbinger, Gina Simpson, Brandon Zhang, Eric Jorgenson, Lee LeFever, Nicholas Hutchison, Adriel Lubarsky, Jacob McMillen, Ivan Ye, and Stryker Lewis

Also thank you to past guest Joe Puccio for ongoing mentorship throughout the semester

Thank you to all of the audience summit participants!

Jordan Harbinger, Eric Siu, Brian Ford, Geoff Woods, Joseph Santana, Jake Gallen, Travis Chappell, Nicholas Hutchison, Neil Soni, Kinsey Grant, David Perell, Case Kenny, Danny Miranda, Byron Young, Doone Roisin, Guy Swann, Michael Kennedy, Dee Murthy, Jessie Lee, Brandon Zhang, Hala Taha, Nathan Kennedy, Alex Wiec, Andrew Warner, Chase Maher, Stu McLaren, Chris Williamson, Lauren Armes, Nicholas Bayerle, Bilal Zaidi, and Ellen Twomey

Published on Dec 16, 2020

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