Jay Samit is a serial entrepreneur and disruptor. He has worked with Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Paul Allen, the Pope, and the President of the United States. He’s the most recent former Vice Chairman of Deloitte. Over the decades, Jay has built and sold many of his own companies, and has been an executive or senior management at major companies including Sony, EMI, and Universal Pictures. He has taken an equity stake in more than 80 companies, has raised more than $800 million for start-ups, has helped grow multibillion dollar juggernauts such as LinkedIn and eBay before they even IPO’ed, and has revamped governments.
Jay talks about the importance and practice of being disruptive in your industry, which is the mantra he has had for decades, himself disrupting and causing major changes in industry after industry. His international major bestseller, “Disrupt You!” now in print in dozens of languages, is critically acclaimed and a must-read according to the heaviest hitters in business. His March 2021 release, “Future Proofing You: 12 truths for Creating Opportunity, Maximizing Wealth, and Controlling your Destiny in an Uncertain World,” is critically acclaimed and set to be another bestseller.
Jay has always been at the forefront of emerging trends and is today known as a world renowned expert in Digital Tech, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR & AR), Smart Wearables, The Sharing Economy, and Autonomous Tech.
Jay has been featured by The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The Economist, Bloomberg, CNBC, WIRED, Fast Company, The New York Times, The Economic Times, Ad Age, Investors Business Daily, Tech Crunch, The Los Angeles Times, Yahoo, and more.
For more on Jay or to book him to speak: https://www.calentertainment.com/portfoliotype/jay-samit/.
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Jay Samit: Future Proof & Disrupt You With Growth Mentality. Truths From A Business & Tech Legend
Joining us is Jay Samit, a serial entrepreneur and a leader. A man has worked with Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Paul Allen, the Pope and the President. He’s the former Vice Chairman of Deloitte Digital, and over the decades, he’s built and sold many of his own companies. He’s been an Executive or Senior Management at major companies, including Sony, EMI and Universal Pictures. He’s taken an equity stake in more than 80 companies, raised more than $800 million for startups and helped grow multibillion-dollar juggernauts such as LinkedIn and eBay before they even IPO and helped transform entire industries and revamp governments.
Jay talks about the importance and practice of being disruptive in your industry which is the mantra he’s had for the past several decades, himself disrupting and causing major changes in industry after industry. His major international bestseller Disrupt You! in print in dozens of languages is critically acclaimed and a must-read according to the heaviest hitters in the business. Jay has always been at the forefront of emerging technologies and trends. He is known as a top expert in digital tech, artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, smart wearables, the sharing economy and autonomous tech. His March 2021 book Future Proofing You: Twelve Truths for Creating Opportunity, Maximizing Wealth, and Controlling your Destiny in an Uncertain World is already critically acclaimed and set to be another bestseller. Join me with the incomparable Jay Samit.
Jay Samit, thank you for joining me on Virtually Speaking. How are you doing?
Fantastic. Happy to be here.
The conversations that I have with you over the years have been some of the most interesting conversations I’ve ever had with anybody on the planet. You have such a wealth of knowledge of the company emerging technologies but also rules of thumb and ideas around what it takes to be an entrepreneur to be a disruptive person or a disruptor. To be innovative and to be creative. I like how you join those two worlds together in both of your books, Disrupt You! and Future Proofing You.
You are a guy who was a C-Suite level. A CEO, founder, partner, investor and board member. You’ve always come from this side as an executive and done so many things in so many industries over the decades. You also talk about how you, yourself, the reader of these books can disrupt yourself and how you can future proof yourself. Tell us how you do that and what the general premise was both of these books. Why did you go towards the person rather than the company?
Everybody thinks of changing the world but nobody thinks of changing themselves. Once you can change that voice in your head that holds you back that says, “You’re not good enough. You’re not smart enough. You can’t achieve.” Once you can change that and realize how malleable you are, you then realize the world is as malleable. I’ve sat in the empty room and started billion-dollar companies. I did the first auction people know that is eBay. I work with Reid Hoffman and launched LinkedIn. I’ve been investing in many startups. I’ve done the other side running companies with hundreds of thousands of employees and I’ve been a public Nasdaq CEO.
I noticed a pattern. If you would have told me at the start of my career that dozens of friends would become self-made billionaires, I’d ask you, “What are you smoking, Chris?” I was a regular working-class family. I noticed there are only two things you need to succeed, insight and perseverance. I can teach people how to hone their insight. I can teach people how to bolster their perseverance. This is not for the individual. This is for the corporation. In a world that is having endless innovation where every career will be disrupted and after the pandemic. I don’t have to make that case anymore. People have to realize disruption isn’t about what happens to you. It’s about how you respond.
I’ve watched major corporations cave in and fall apart because they can’t adapt. They haven’t trained their people to do that. I’ve tried to simplify it. There’s nothing in Disrupt You! or in Future Proofing You that is rocket science. It’s proven impractical. I wrote Disrupt You! and I thought that’d be my last book. I’ve had amazing success with it. The surprise factor of it, it’s now in over a dozen languages that are coming out this year in Urdu, Icelandic and Polish. When I was a CEO, when you run a public company, your inboxes are like, “I hate you. They’re suing us. This is on fire. Here’s today’s problem.” Very few CEOs get to control their whole day.There are more important things you could spend money on to help people that really need the help. Click To Tweet
When you write a book that changes people’s lives and all that I do is hold up a mirror to their soul. They do the change. I get what I call love letters. I get emails every day from all over the world. I’ve kept a tab for my curiosity, 140 countries, people have emailed me. I’d get an email that said something like this, “This is all motivational but I could never do this.” “Jay Samit has thin skin.” That bugged me, because I said, “How am I missing this person? What am I not connecting?” It was somebody more towards the Millennial generation. I set up my reputation on the line.
In Future Proofing You, what I did is I went out, I found a young man who grew up on welfare, who was homeless couch surfing at friends’ houses. I mentored him one day a week for a year to take them from welfare to self-made millionaires. The rules were simple, I gave them no capital, I didn’t introduce them to any business context. I didn’t tell them what business to start and to start a business that took zero capital. If he could do that. I believe that for every reader reading Future Proofing You can relate. We all have this in us. I don’t want to make this an overnight thing that this is easy. His name is Vin, he works nonstop. He didn’t goof off online. He didn’t go to the movies and didn’t date.
How did you get him to change this whole pattern of couch surfing and being an entrepreneur? How did you get him to believe in you and himself?
He had to believe in himself. The subtitle of this book is Twelve Truths. The very first truth is you have to have a growth mindset. I didn’t let Vin read the book until it was typeset. We couldn’t make any changes. He found out in the book that in our very first meeting, I lied to him. I knew if I needed somebody to hit the ground running and hit that million dollars in under a year which is an audacious goal. I didn’t have time for him to build up that confidence slowly. There is a psychological effect called the Pygmalion effect.
A professor went to an elementary school, tested all the kids and told the teachers that three students will be super learners this year. They out excel everybody. At the end of the year when they tested the kids guess what those three kids weren’t, the professor lied. He never looked at the first test and pick three names out of a hat. If you tell people, they’re special and you treat them special, they believe it. It’s the old Ford adage, “If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” When I sat down with Vin in our first meeting, I said, “I’ve interviewed hundreds of candidates. You’re the only one that has all the attributes of a self-made millionaire.” He saw somebody older, more successful believing in him, he accepted it.
At the end of the first 30 days when he’d already earned $60,000, I didn’t have to convince anything. He did it. You think every book is going to be this linear, midway through his business got sucker-punched in the gut. He made about $500,000 and it looked like it was over. Nothing that he did wrong, just too much to go into, market conditions change. I’m like, “That’s not a bad book. A guy comes from nowhere makes $500,000.” He had such a growth mindset at that point. That he instantly pivoted and said, “This isn’t working. Let’s try that.” When we did our month-end, his month’s goal was $100,000. That month, he brought in $96,000. He was beating himself up and I’m thinking to myself, “That’s more than his dad probably ever made.” Six months ago, he couldn’t believe that he’d be upset that he only made $96,000. That’s what he had turned on. I didn’t do it.
You thought about this premise for your next book before you wrote the book. You went out and interviewed or found 100 people who are candidates?
I only interviewed one.
How did you pick him?
That would be unfair. If you went out and said, “I’m going to interview 1 million people. I’m going to teach somebody golf, you young man, Tiger Woods is it? Come over here.” You’re cherry-picking a result. One candidate, I had to make it work or it wasn’t a valid premise. I saw him at a breakfast meeting that we sometimes attend. He was trying to hustle business doing social media as 50 million other Millennials do. He was up on a stage wearing gold LeMay, a one-piece jumpsuit, going back and forth like a cat in a cage had all these ideas, couldn’t get them out of his head. I said, “At least he wants to do something.” A good mentor doesn’t tell you what to see. They point you where to look. The other thing that was different in this book, you learn when you mentor. It’s not a one-way conversation. I learned from him as well.
One of the Twelve Truths that I didn’t address in Disrupt You! that’s in Future Proofing You is you can’t fly solo. You’re going to have to have a series of mentors in your life. The world changes too fast, the skills that you learn won’t get you all the way through. Even if you’re in the C-suite, you’re going to need mentors still. When Bill Gates became a billionaire, his mother told him, “Go reach out to Warren Buffett, you need a mentor on how to be a billionaire.” Mother Teresa got her mentor sitting on a bus pitch. In Future Proofing You I teach people how to use LinkedIn and other tools to find mentors and if not a stranger, “Will you be my mentor?” That’s walking into a bar and say, “Will you have my baby?” It doesn’t work that way.
If you start a dialogue, if you receive who’s posting things, who volunteers a charity, who has that type of heart. You may end up with a lifelong mentor without ever using the M-word. We’ve had great mentorship conversations as you build your business. I enjoy and I learned the whole reason I write these books is to pay it forward. To help others be successful. Not to get into the politics of it but when I looked at what happened in January 2021 at our Nation’s Capitol. What I see are thousands of people feeling left behind, left out, scrambling for leftovers. The bottom 140 million people in the US own less than 1%. They’re clawing. At the same time, the top 150 doubled their net worth during the pandemic, not doubled what they made in a year. What are those people doing differently? How is it possible that a new self-made billionaire happens every 48 hours? Can you teach that?
I’ve taught this at the university level. That was one of the ways I get back to the largest engineering school in the country. First faster I have two students do $150 million, get in trouble with the school when they want to drop out. I’m like, “Don’t worry. I think they’ll endow the University nice things in their future.” I love democracy and you only have democracy if you have a thriving middle class. The only people that create jobs are entrepreneurs. I’ve run large companies that I’ve always been brought into being an intrapreneur. “How do you change the culture? How do you make it dynamic?” That’s why Deloitte brought me in as Vice Chairman. The company’s 150 years old but look to the future, software and AI is going to replace most accounting jobs, most lawyer jobs, most middle management jobs. Half of all jobs will disappear in the next years in the US. Unless you’re learning how to derive from this uncertainty, how to see every obstacle as an opportunity in disguise. The other choice being roadkill.
What a great title you chose, Future Proofing You for it to come out. As we are getting through this pandemic is a wonderful title because it makes us think that this could happen again in the future. How do we have ourselves in a position where we can get through it and not be affected in the way we were this time around that we can prevent the future? How can we disrupt? How can we innovate?
It doesn’t just mean the individual. I was brought in to save Sony. A $200 billion company I was brought in number three way too late. They didn’t want to change in Tokyo. Blockbuster owned the world. Little Netflix, they thought nothing of it. This happens again and again. Here’s what a lot of people don’t understand. Most people were taught that, “Here’s the way you make money. I buy a banana for $1. I sell it to you, Chris for $2. That’s how I make money. That’s how we’re taught in fourth grade.” While that’s mathematically accurate, that’s not true. What that assumes is what’s called a game theory, a zero-sum game. It’s like a poker game. The only way I make money is to make money from you, which means if you get the promotion and I don’t, where they get our jobs, or immigrants are taking our jobs or foreign countries. It becomes this doggy dog where we’re all fighting over scraps.
On the other hand, if I said, “Chris, I started a new company. I will sell you 10% for $10,000.” What do I have? I have $10,000 in cash and $90,000 in stock. I can hire people with that. Most of the millionaires in the US didn’t get there by making a profit. They didn’t make it by slowly getting there. You can invest slowly over time. You should do that with your excess capital. That’s what capitalism is. Warren Buffett, genius investor but it made 99% of his wealth after he was 50. I’m on the wrong side of 50. I would have had a lot more fun doing it as Kylie Jenner did. She became a billionaire at 22. You say, “She’s a Kardashian.” There weren’t any billionaires in the Kardashian family. What did she do differently? What is it that’s enabling people to do this? We’re all interconnected. We’re one click away from seven billion people. You don’t have to be right for a nanosecond to change your future. The Twelve Truths walk people through how to reevaluate their assumptions, how to have a step ladder to get to where you want to go that much quicker.
In the book, you’re talking about the Twelve Truths to Future Proofing You. You also go into some of the technologies and you’ve also been known for talking about technologies. We’ve had incredible conversations about AI, VR, and all of these tools that companies need to embrace that are creating the future and the sharing economy. All the things that you always see coming a mile away from the rest of us.
One of the truths is there is a trillion-dollar opportunity for everybody reading this. Before I tell you what it is, let me prove it to you. Chris, the first thing you wake up in the morning, you look at your phone. The last thing you go to bed you look at your phone. Could you live without your iPhone?
No. I have a Google Pixel.
Could you run your business without your smartphone? It’s part of our lives. Years ago, when Apple spent all that money to introduce us to this new thing and created it. Let me tell you 2 of the top 10 apps that first year. The Fart app and a Game with Cats, which is another way of saying, “No one envisioned Robinhood or OpenTable or any of the thousands of apps that made people millions of dollars.” Over the years, you’re no longer going to be taking your phone out of your pocket. You’re going to be wearing glasses, heads up display, all your waking days, instead of searching for information. Information comes to you. If Google doesn’t own a search here, they’ll go out of business. If Apple doesn’t sell you the glasses, they go out of business. The big guys are spending billions to build this infrastructure, the 5G, the Edge computing everything but they’re not making the apps that solve the day-to-day problems.
Something as simple as you can read any menu anywhere in the world and not accidentally dog because it’ll automatically translate. It can also talk to you so anybody can speak to you in any language. You’ll hear it in your native tongue just as if you’re on Star Trek. This isn’t science fiction. Google’s the client, Microsoft’s client, Apple’s client, I know what’s in the labs. I know what’s when the dates are on these things. If you say, “I’ll never wear that.” I don’t believe it. I’ll prove that to you. In 2020, 80 million pairs of glasses were sold for more than $150 a pair that came with one app, Focus. You get another 50 million. The cost of more than 150 pairs came with a separate app called Sun. You’re outside. You’re going to wear sunglasses.
If I could suddenly walk into the supermarket and show me the products that are keto, halal, kosher or vegan, and everything else disappears. That’s a game-changer. Not only is it a game-changer for you, the user, and there’s a company that’s making that app. That changes all sales and marketing because we’re going to live in a world with trillions of sensors that know where we are, where the products are. When I’m in my self-driving car on the freeway and they know that I’ve skipped lunch, it’s 2:00 and I’ve usually stopped and eaten by then.
They know I like McDonald’s. There’s McDonald’s 1,600 feet ahead and there are French fries is floating in front of me. If I grab it, the card goes there and I get a free French fry. That’s changed marketing, sales, and the funnel. Conversely, it also changes the supply chain. The second somebody touches a product or buys a product, everybody down the chain knows. The amount of impact that we’re talking about in this fourth, computer change. The first was the PC, the second being the internet, the third being mobile is greater than the sum of the three of those. The impact is a shift of trillion dollars over five years.
How do we take advantage of it?
I have this process in my book. Entrepreneurs don’t sell things. They solve things. If you have a problem in your life, can this technology solve it? You don’t have to know how it works. The heavy lifting has been done. I would love to be able to go to Hawaii. I don’t have to know how planes work. I just have to get on one. Pick a problem to solve. Grab that turf. For those that social life involves swiping. There was a time, less than a decade ago that no one had ever swiped before the iPad. Apple thought swiping would be a cool thing. How do you explain it to somebody in the TV commercial? How do you sell those iPads? How do you change everybody’s interface? We use the mouse. No one swiped.
They searched the world for a game. They found a failing game company that had twenty games that are over lost money. The game was called Angry Birds. The iPad was being marketed. They put Angry Birds in every commercial. A $100 million worth of media. Do you know the result was for that gaming company? They did $5 billion in lunch boxes, T-shirts, toys. If you have an app that solves something universal, you don’t need a giant marketing budget. You can use what I talked about to Disrupt You!, OPM, Other People’s Money.
All these people fighting at the top, the Googles and Microsoft want to show and demonstrate something with their hardware. Why not have them demonstrate your solution and give you customers? I’ve done that again and again in my career. When I had a digital download store, I had to go up against Apple. That’s insane. There is iTunes. They’re everywhere. I’m just starting and I have zero budget. I looked around who has problems. It was the year that Spurlock did supersize me and McDonald’s. First time in their history, their sales were down 9%.Entrepreneurs don't sell things; they solve problems. Click To Tweet
All that I have to do is figure out how do I make my product to the solution to McDonald’s problem. I said, “McDonald’s, I’ll make you hip and cool. Buy Big Mac get a free track.” They spent $60 million advertising that promotion, beautiful commercial, amazing talent that they have. What did that do? The opening week of my store, twenty million customers. Not a penny. That’s what you can do this time around because everybody’s scrambling to say, “Look what we have in the space.”
Getting back to the new book, Future Proofing You and the Twelve Truths. What is your favorite chapter? I know people have to read the book to find out what the Twelve Truths are and I don’t want you to go through all twelve but what is your favorite one?
The one that is the opposite of what everybody else tells you is truth number three that you need to embrace fear. I hate all these charlatans go, “Fear isn’t real. Fear is in your head.” They make up some acronym, fruitcakes, ragged tags. Let me explain something. A thousand generations ago, your great-great-grandfather up in the cave. When that saber-toothed tiger came and he hauled butt out of there, that’s why you’re here because he was afraid. The oldest part of our brain, what’s known as the lizard brain, has a fight or flight response. Before I know what you’re talking about, an argument, whatever you want to sell me, when you’re having a meeting, the first thing that goes through my mind, “Is this person trying to kill me?” You don’t have a choice. It’s in a split second.
Everybody has fears. Most people are afraid of starting something or doing something different because “I’ll be embarrassed. Fear of public humiliation, fear of losing my money, fear of losing other’s money, fear of failing.” Those are valid fears, back to the saber-toothed tiger. You have all those fears about your job and your career and everything. You’re walking down the street and an eighteen-wheel semi has no brakes. It’s honking its horn, it’s coming right at you. Do you care whether you look silly? No, you replace those fears with more existential fear. “If I don’t move, I will die.”
If you have a job that you don’t care about, where you’re not learning, you’re growing. You’re trading a day of your life, a week of your life, a month of your life, a year of your life. One day you’ll wake up and you gave away your whole life. The most precious thing you’ll ever have for what? You should be more afraid of missing this opportunity of life, of living a life of purpose, than of any other fire. If you don’t believe me, go talk to your grandparents or go to an old age home and ask the seniors, what’s their biggest regret in life? It’s not what they failed at. It’s what they failed to try.
The second part of fear. If you accept what I’m saying that we all have these fears. Let’s flip the table. Whoever you’re meeting within the business has the same fears. When I was young in my career, I remember once having a meeting with the CEO of Pepsi. All this would change my company, my future everything. I knew everything, researched, put so much time into it. This was the meaning of my life. For the CEO of Pepsi, this was the only thing stopping him from going to lunch.
There’s no time for this argument, his stomach’s scrounging and that’s one of the four things that control your brain. Unless I can get his fear going, I can’t get him to concentrate. Once you elicit fear in somebody, your whole system has to find a way to pacify that fear. You can’t stay frightened. Athletes get the fear of going to get the adrenaline to go the extra when they go through and they win. The adrenaline calms down. If you go into a meeting and saying, “I came here first because of my flight tomorrow to Atlanta, Georgia.” He’s going to lose his job if they do it and he doesn’t if it turns out something good. You’re getting him thinking about self-preservation, embarrassment, the three fears.
I tell the story of when I had a digital agency. As hard as it is to imagine, not a single presidential candidate ever spent a dime on social media advertising. It was all television. I wrote a white paper saying this is what they should be doing. Nobody cares. I use this fear technique. I set up meetings with the four presidential candidates, Obama and three Republicans. I went to the campaign managers and I told him, I could only meet him on these specific dates because I’m going to be in Massachusetts with Romney and Texas. They know if somebody else uses this new tool and they don’t. They may never get hired again. I better just hire this guy and stop them from going to the others. Each one wanted me to work exclusively. No, you don’t do that with ABC or CBS. That’s how I got them as candidates.
This was a startup that had $30,000 in sales when I got there. Eighteen months later, News Corp bought for $200 million. That’s how you harness fear. One of the Twelve Truths, none of these truths are going to go, “I don’t believe it.” You’re going to go, “That makes sense.” I didn’t get to where I am because I’m smarter than the average bear. I got here by making more mistakes than anybody else. You fail your way through. A career and a business are much like a video game. You don’t sit down and go all the way when you hit an obstacle and you hammer until you figure out how to get past it. Guess what? There’s a new one. That’s how Jeff Bezos could lose money with Amazon year after year and come out the other side as the world’s richest man. Money isn’t made that old-fashioned way.
My passion is teaching organizations and governments how to be more entrepreneurial. I started something down in Mexico. In the US, we take this for granted. We have the Gates, Jobs, and Zuckerberg’s. We have our heroes. Other countries don’t. We started down in Mexico, Entrepreneur Week. It’s like Shark Week on Discovery. The President of Mexico and I did a whole big speech. They give awards to kids starting businesses. They build up that this is something to do. In many cultures, if you’ve got out of your top engineering school and said, “I got offered a job at Google but mom wants to start my own thing.” The mom would pick up a frying pan and hit you over the head. There’s such a fear of change.
That’s why my book is connected around the world and hit number one in these different countries that are embracing change and seeing a positive change. Number one in Vietnam. I went over there and I was amazed. The happiest people I’ve ever seen on Earth. Why? The people my age grew up during what they refer to as the American War, a horrible time. They see their kids and their grandkids having a better future better potential. The future looks great.
In the US, life expectancy is getting shorter, not because of the pandemic but because of self-inflicted things. Technology can solve things. There are so many problems tonight and Future Proofing You talking about sustainable technology. The idea of endless growth on a finite planet violates the laws of physics. Eventually, governments are going to come down and have new rules or we cease to exist. Why not get ahead of it? When Walmart figured out after employees’ second-biggest cost was energy, they suddenly went on a massive thing. They changed our fluorescent lights and cut their electrical use in half. Not for the sake of peace and love and harmony. Bottom line. When they do it, what is their competition have to do? Target response is the largest installation of solar panels of any company. As you do this, what you’re going to see is companies have to embrace these values.
Nowadays’ consumer cares about their world and wants to deal with, wants to be employed by and work with them, buy from companies of shared values. If you can put that passion into your product, anybody can make a pair of shoes. When you buy from TOMS and they give somebody that’s never had shoes a pair because you bought a pair, that’s a new connection with the customer. That’s not half off today’s Presidents Day Sale. The more companies do this, and I give tons of examples of the biggest companies in the world are doing this. Why not start your company or a new project on that path?
Can small business people do this as well? We talked about the visual world where you’ll be wearing glasses, and I know contacts will also be using that technology. Where you really won’t be taking your phone out of your pocket? You said that’s within a couple of years. Can the people who run small businesses also figure out a way to be a part of that? How do they do that?
In the beginning, the year 2000. “The web? I don’t get that either.” How many small businesses didn’t create a website? What happened to them all? Gone. “These apps seem complicated. I don’t need an app.” What happened to the businesses that didn’t have apps? If we’re living most of our life in the digital world and your business isn’t there, how are you going to survive? In the 21st century, there’s only one competitive advantage you can have. That’s getting insights from your data faster than the competition gets from nerves. I’ll give you a fun game to play with me. You’ll get the answer wrong, so don’t be embarrassed. I want to give you $1 million if you go back ten years and pick the number one tech stock that would have made the most money of the past decade.
I would say Amazon.
Nope. Facebook, Twitter, Google, Apple? Nope. Told you to get it wrong. Domino’s Pizza. You said, “You said a tech stock.” The majority of Domino’s employees work on IT. The second they became app-centric. They had a direct relationship with their customer saves on advertising. You could instantly see trends. You could test market new things you could reach, analyze, get insights from your market, and they exploded. That’s the world every mom and pop could do.
You say, “I’m not an engineer.” Either was Steve Jobs, and he created the first trillion-dollar company. Back to the first thing I said you’ll only need two things, insight and perseverance. Everything else can be hard. I have been in tech my entire career. I’ve put the first video on a computer start on the net in ‘78. I could do the first all through it. I’m not an engineer. I’ve hired engineers. I’ve hired people much brighter than me. I had the insight and the perseverance. Those things can be taught.
You’re also incredibly creative. You like to think about things. I know you’re creative beyond this stuff because I know you’re also an incredible painter. You have a very incredible mind when it comes to thinking of new things, ideas and problem-solving.
Let me tie the painting back to Future Proofing You. When the pandemic started, I didn’t think we’d be as incompetent as we turned out to be as in society. I thought we’d be locked up for 30 days, 6 days, maybe 100 days. Having a growth mindset, I wanted to show to the hundreds of thousands of people that follow me on social media. If you don’t get the disease, that’s horrible and it’s deadly. I’m not making light of that. If you don’t get the disease, where’s the silver lining? How can this be an opportunity? For me, I speak all over the world. In January of 2020, I was in twelve countries and four continents in one month. I was getting the gift of time. I would not be on an airplane every other day for the first time in decades. What can I do with that time that I always wished I had more time for? I always paint it. I never shared it professionally. It’s my version of meditation and Zen.
I was willing to put myself out there to show people the gift of time. I committed the first 100 days to put up a painting and paint every day. What happens with a growth mindset? I wasn’t looking for an opportunity. I was trying to share, a gallery saw it and an art agent saw it. I had a solo show in New York at a very prestigious Richard Tanger Gallery. I’m now a professional artist, gets commissioned to do works. All because I started and took an obstacle that turned into an opportunity.
When are you going to do your first NFT?
I’m going to be doing that tied into the glasses that we’re talking about. I don’t want anybody beating me to the punch but it will be an art installation tied to the NFT.
The NFT is here to stay. If Jay Samit says so, we can all believe that.
There’s always silly hype at the beginning announcing anything. There are always people that have no regard for money that can spend money on anything. Shame on them but that’s a topic for another day. There are more important things you could spend that money on to help people that need the help. I’m excited about what I’ve mapped out to do in the space. I’m waiting for a specific hardware product to do and I’m taking the advice I just gave, which is one of the majors will be spending a fortune making sure everybody on the planet knows about my art installation. In my heart of hearts, I may have gotten older and gray hair but I never grew up. The little boy in me would love to do this. I’m hoping that’s inside millions of others to enjoy what I want to create.
To get back to the technology thing one more time because there’s so much knowledge that you have about the space, about the future of technology. You talked about the glasses. What’s the actual terminology for that?
Augmented reality or spatial reality seems to be the term that we’re seeing.
Is it a voice assistant? Is that part of it?
Augmented doesn’t just mean graphics. If these are pressed against your temples, the vibrations can give sound to your inner ear. We can talk to you, but nobody else hears it. Jawbone was the first to do that. Lots of ways to use sound, overlays, almost limitless in the possibilities. Let me tell you one other place that’s going to change in technology. We know that the Baby Boomers are retiring and because of this we’re going to have a shortage of 110,000 Doctors. How do we know this? We know how long it takes to make a new one, “We need new doctors by Tuesday.” It doesn’t work that way. What’s going to happen is we’re as individuals going to be more responsible for our health in a way that’s aided by technology, wearables. Your Fitbit that kept track of stat steps also kept track of how much you sleep and heart rate. You’re going to have more wearables with more stuff.
It’s a lot different when your doctor says, “Watch what you eat. You might have a heart attack.” When suddenly your glasses tell you, “In the next 45 minutes, you will be having a heart attack, I suggest you go to the hospital now or die.” There’s a lot happening in that space. When you realize that four of the five leading causes of death, 80% of why we die is self-inflicted. I don’t mean by suicide. I mean obesity and diabetes, hypertension, all those things. If we have a digital nag to help us keep what we want to do, we’ll have more success. The first people to gamify, the first people that tie that into the whole environment, will have tremendous success.
As we come towards the end of our conversation, you’re a positive guy. You’re such an optimistic guy, you know so much about what people are doing to create our future. You are creating it. I know that you’re a very optimistic person. Do you see the roaring twenties again? What are you most excited about? You said our society was slow to react and solve these problems that we just went through with the pandemic. You must have some ideas about what’s exciting to you and what is good news coming down the pike. Tell us a little bit about your mindset when it comes to that.
When Marc Andreessen put the interface on the internet, the web, I suddenly got super excited because it meant that anyone, anywhere suddenly would have access to all man’s information. Millennium is worth the knowledge. You could watch cats playing on the piano or you could learn a skill. The choice is yours but there wasn’t a barrier. What’s exciting me that’s been proven is the twelfth truth in Future Proofing You is the remote workers are our new strategic advantage. We all realize that companies flipped where people could work from home.
What did that change systemically about society? It means I am no longer limited to hiring the best people within 10 miles. I can hire the best people on the planet and they work for less. It also means I don’t have to live in a teeny little apartment in some expensive major city. I could live where the sky is blue and the field is green or as many Millennials are doing, I could be a digital nomad. I could run with the Bulls in Spain this month and do my job. I could go surf in Thailand and do my job, and I could go down to Mardi Gras. Whatever it is that you want to do with your life.
What excites me is we decoupled where we are both and who our customers are, who our co-workers are. It removes the differences between us all. It connects us all not just digitally but as people. Birds fly around the world. They don’t see any borders. You’re going to have to learn to function and compete in a borderless world. That’s also a huge opportunity. At the same time, energy was a big source of holding back different things, energies moving to abundance in your freedom. The Stone Age didn’t end because they ran out of stones. The oil age isn’t ending because we ran out of oil. Renewables are cheaper. You use solar glass to replace all the windows and buildings. Buildings make up 40% of all energy use. You’re going to have buildings having excess energy.
Robotics is getting more useful. I’m the Chairman of Greenfield Robotics, where we’re replacing pesticides and herbicides instead of whoever thought it was a good idea. The best way to grow food is to put poison on it kills everything but hopefully not us. Turned out, it does. Roundup causes cancer. We made little robots, the size of an ice chest to go up and down the rows of corn and milo and cut off the weeds. Let me translate what that one piece of technology does. Do I want to be chairman of another company? No. When somebody came to me with this, I felt morally obligated for mankind to jump forward.
Farmers don’t have to buy poisons. They don’t have to handle poison. They make 40% more on their farm. In 2020, no farm in the US made a profit. Farmers are doing healthier. Number two, what we put in our bodies is healthier. We don’t have cancer and all these other problems. Number three, the excess burden of all these poisons goes down the Mississippi and the Gulf of Mexico has killed every fish. We stop polluting. Everybody makes money, companies and farmers make money. People get better food. The real benefit is 25% of greenhouse gases come from farming. When you tilled the soil to get rid of weeds, you’re releasing stored carbon.
These little robots will sequester more carbon than anything known to man. Every problem in our lives, is an opportunity. This also means that countries that have a shortage of labor can automate farms the way that everything else has been automated. People that are food insecure will have greater success in being able to have food. There’s so much great stuff coming out. When you’ve heard me say it in my talks, “The best way to predict the future is by hanging out with the people that are creating it.”
That’s what we were able to do ourselves here with you. I have been looking forward to this. We’ve had this on the books for a long time because of the book coming out. I’m glad we finally got to do it.
I can’t wait to get in front of live audiences. The feedback is fun. I’ve done a lot of Zoom speeches and they’re enjoyable but you can’t read the room. I try to get my stories and information across with humor. It’ll be fun to go back and be with people. With the brand-new book, I’ll do one pitch at the end of this instead of giving a T-shirt to somebody at your conference or something that they’re just going to throw away. I let you print your version of the book jacket, where I’ll change the back to talk about why your organization is so disruptive, innovative, future proof and then I’ll sign all those books and give them to people. I’m here to help as many people as I can with the time I have left. Chris, I thank you for all that you’ve done to help my speaking.
You have been so creative with the way you collaborate with your clients with the books and the branding that you’re able to do co-branding and collaborative branding. It’s amazing. You do have a lot of creativity within you. These two books and speeches that you give influence a lot of people and change people’s lives. Thank you, my friend, for being on the show with me and for being such a guy who cares about others because that’s when it comes down to it who you are. I appreciate it.
- Jay Samit
- Disrupt You!
- Future Proofing You: Twelve Truths for Creating Opportunity, Maximizing Wealth, and Controlling your Destiny in an Uncertain World
About Jay Samit
Samit is a change agent, who combines his bold vision and humor, to motivate listeners to become disruptors within their organizations. Samit gets people passionate about innovation, overcoming obstacles, and teaches them how to think bigger and embrace change. Samit motivates and delights audiences from Moscow to Mumbai, London to Las Vegas, Phoenix to Philadelphia, Berlin to Beverly Hills, Toronto to Tokyo, Seoul to San Francisco, with compelling keynotes that leave the crowd wanting more. Samit provides disruptive solutions for such corporate clients as Adobe, American Express, AT&T, Best Buy, Clinique, Coca Cola, Disney, Ford, GE, IBM, Intel, Linkedin, McDonalds, Microsoft, Proctor & Gamble, Starbucks, Unilever, Visa, Zynga and dozens more.
His keynote It’s Time to Disrupt You! is a high energy presentation on how to create and embrace change in any field. Designed to be as entertaining and inspiring as it is informative, Samit customizes each presentation to highlight the sales, marketing, and leadership goals of the audience before him. Samit delivers a speech that stays with the audience long after the conference has ended.
- Jay Samit: The Faster You Fail the More You’ll Succeed in the WSJ.
- Jay Samit for Harvard Business Review: OTT Video Is Creating Cord-Extenders, Not Cord-Cutters
- Jay Samit on Bloomberg TV talking about Yahoo and his new book “Disrupt You!”
- Jay Samit in the Wall Street Journal: $25B Available for Startups Willing to Disrupt the Status Quo