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October 17, 2023
Jeremy Barr

Unlocking Billion Dollar Startup Success with Investor & Mentor Jeremy Barr

Unlocking Billion Dollar Startup Success with Investor & Mentor Jeremy Barr

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Show Notes

Mudassir (00:00.281)
Okay, so we can pronounce your name correctly. I was like, oh cool, that's like, that's a rarity. All right, please do a clap for me. That's gonna help us in syncing the audio and video later on. Do a little louder one.

Jeremy Barr (00:14.127)

Mudassir (00:14.529)
Yeah, a little louder. Yeah. Oh, amazing, perfect. Yeah, yeah, perfect. Okay, awesome. Yeah, so we're rolling three, two, one, now. All right, hey Jeremy, welcome to the show. How are you doing today?

Jeremy Barr (00:30.364)
Doing good, how are you?

Mudassir (00:34.957)
Amazing, thank you so much for the time, appreciate it.

Jeremy Barr (00:40.49)
Honored to be here.

Mudassir (00:44.597)
Yeah, there's so much delay, I think, coming on. It was OK.

Jeremy Barr (00:47.658)
Yeah, that's weird. The delay happened like after we started. It says... Uploading. I don't know what that-

Mudassir (00:51.481)
Started recording, yeah. Yeah, so what it does is it takes the footage and then just upload it on the back end. So we should not be worried about that. But yeah, just so you know. I think if there's a delay, we'll just slow down a little bit, okay? No problem that way. All right, okay. Back again. So every single time we have, yeah. Okay, so every single time we have a guest on the podcast.

Jeremy Barr (01:09.284)
Hopefully it's not too much.

Mudassir (01:22.289)
I ask them this particular question like all the time, like what's the earliest context of your life? Like who you are? How did you end up becoming whoever you are today? So what is the earliest context you have of your life? And how did you end up becoming whoever you are?

Jeremy Barr (01:40.198)
I would say when I was a DF student for a while, and this is how I usually kind of start my story too, I was getting poor grades in school per a school metric, getting Ds and Fs, and then my mom in seventh grade, she was a teacher, she took me out of school, got my grades up to As and Bs, she built up my competence-confidence loop, which I now teach to founders where it applies, put them back into school where I got As and Bs from there, so it wasn't just mom giving me good grades. So that was like a starting kind of point in my head.

Mudassir (02:14.645)
And how did you end up becoming whoever you are today?

Jeremy Barr (02:19.658)
Yeah, that's a bit of a story I can dive into. So starting with the confidence-confidence loop, there was that point, which was the major point. With that, I then got really into school and went after my computer science degree, where I then built a super website, became CTO, managed people for five years. But I wasn't very social at all. I was like a super nerd in that phase. So I...

I moved to, when I moved to San Diego, I was director. I started working on a hundred thousand dollar a day media buying budgets. And I wrote artificial intelligence for a project with the FBI and secret service. But I was really, really super nerd. And so when people started inviting me out in the new city I was in coming from Arizona, going to San Diego, people started inviting me out. I would go out to the bar or whatever, and people would be like.

you know, talking for two hours and I wouldn't say anything for two hours. And I didn't know at 27 years old, after being CTO for five years, I didn't know that not talking was weird, right? Or just not common, right? So for two hours I'm out and everybody's talking and I'm like not talking and I'm just in my head, right? Half of it is uninteresting to me at the time and half of it I couldn't even just chat with, right? And so it's like after being CTO and being 27 years old and I couldn't talk like more than a sentence, it's like, if you got married, tell me about it. If you got a house, tell me about it. Like that's, that's where my brain was at the time, which was, which is wild. And so when they would ask me.

Then when they would ask me, are you OK? Are you OK? Those prompting questions made me be like, oh, I need to talk. And so I then started to use my algorithm brain, which I was good at algorithms. I used my algorithm brain to develop a conversation algorithm. How do you make a conversation last five minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 90 minutes, 36 hours? So I built that out. And then while I was doing that, I built out a human algorithm. So

What is an ambitious type of person? What is the person that wants to travel the world? What is the person who doesn't plan beyond 24 hours in their life? What are all these different types of people? What is the purpose of life? And I built out a bit of a human algorithm. And with that, I went from super nerd to super social. And so I had a period where I went out for six months straight and I had 60 to 65 days out, booked out on my calendar every single day where I was snowboarding, surfing, skydiving, racing Lamborghini, shooting machine, get out of a helicopter, game nights, dinner nights, festivals.

Jeremy Barr (04:37.394)
Every day, every night I was out with from super dirt to super social. Then I went to director of technology, managing teams and teams to people at a $65 million DDC, did the $100,000 a day media buying budgets. Most companies are doing, most companies because a lot of companies are small are doing like maybe 10 or $20,000 a month. So $100,000 a day was a lot and we got to learn a lot through the A-B testing there. And I teach that to a lot of founders now. And then

There was a point, there was a shifting point where I was on a four day snowboarding trip with my friends, like 12 of my friends, Airbnb, out of town, snowboarding, skiing, and I was halfway down this run, this blue run for anybody familiar with snowboarding. You're halfway down the mountain, snowboarding down, you're looking at this pretty view, and I stopped halfway down the mountain and I had two thoughts. One, I'm bored. Of all the fun, all the attention, all the money that I had, everything, all the great life for my value system at the time, I was bored.

I'm bored. The second thought was I'm meant for more than this. Given my knowledge in technology and business and communication and being able to digest global problems in a matter of seconds, I was like, I'm meant for more than this. And so I had those two thoughts and one analogy on my mind. The analogy was I don't wanna be in a mansion on a hill while the rest of the world is burning. I wanted to go help and impact the world. My mom passed from cancer five years ago. I thought in my mind, I was like, let's...

I want to go, let's go solve cancer, world hunger, anxiety, depression, race gaps, gender gaps, let's go solve all those problems. And a lot of people, that can sound like intractable problems, very, very hard problems. But I come from a perspective where I wrote AI that took eight months of company work and did it in 60 seconds. And now more of the world is used to things like chat GPT, right? As far as, yeah, more of the world, right? Technology people, we've been talking about it for a long time, as far as the speed and known about the speed, but now hit more public. So...

I set out and I was like, well, I'm not responsible for seven or eight billion people because there's other impactors in the world, right? As far as like, I wanted to make an impact, but at what scale, right? And I wanted to quantify it. And for me, one billion, if I were to just be on my dying deathbed and say one billion people, that's not, that wouldn't be satisfying for me. That wouldn't be sufficient. So I picked three billion people and I committed to it. Three billion people is a number that I'm willing to die for and live for. And so I live that out every day because it's really, really exciting for me. So that is a little bit about how it came to be.

Mudassir (07:01.909)
Okay, that's a good one. How do you plan on reaching three billion people or helping them? Like what's the roadmap you have of all of that?

Jeremy Barr (07:08.854)
Yep, yep, so this will mean.

Yeah, yeah. So this will mean I need to run, invest and advise in hundreds of companies globally. It also necessitates me to build out the world's largest investor and founder network, which I'm doing right now. So I have a global founder investor network right now that I built out by the hour on zoom calls. I'm on 10 to 13 calls a day with eight countries a day chatting with 300 people a month. Building that out, I run startup pitch events where I, where I pull in a massive amount of people more than what even single one on zoom calls do. So I kind of create like a

Gravity Ball type events, just like I invest in Gravity Ball type founders, which is a thesis for me. So scale, I mean, I manage teams and teams of people. And so I have this process in my head where there's gonna be, you know, you hit on certain key things and you have cascading elements. And so when you build out the world's largest investor and founder network, you essentially are getting a large funding, right? I'm a VC investor and a founder mentor. And so it's like for me and every other investor, it's actually hard to give out money because

the high quality, high scale founders are the rarest thing in the world because you have to wear so many hats. And you have to learn all of these different things and learn that you only need to learn about 10% of them. But because you don't know what 100% of engineering or sales or whatever it looks like, you don't even know what 10% is. It's extremely hard. I think being a founder is the hardest thing in the world. And so me being a founder mentor and building out a global team to mentor people, et cetera, on leadership, on company execution and personal development, et cetera, is the key to unlocking.

world impact at scale because right now there's a lot of money sitting on the sidelines as much as people are chasing money money's actually just sitting on the sidelines waiting for high quality high-scale founders to be there and so that's why we're focused on the founder mentoring to do that

Mudassir (08:54.325)
Okay, that's very helpful. So you've been on both sides of the table. Like you've been a founder before, like you're now the investor. Which one do you enjoy the most? Being a founder or being an investor?

Jeremy Barr (09:09.122)
Um, I actually like what may I may call a coordinator position. Um, so I don't like to dive into the details. I used to be a programmer, right? Ones and zeros, every single character in the code matters, design patterns. I would dive into all of that, creating really, really beautiful code. Um.

And I obsessed over it and I went in and cleaned up a lot of companies. I loved all the detail. Now I have like a no computer rule. I hardly ever get on the computer. I'm always on the phone. I'm on the computer for Zooms, but like I don't do any sort of like actual work. And that's what the no computer rule like means. It doesn't like that kind of work, right? It's all, it's all verbal stuff. I'm mentoring and talking to CEOs every day. I'm delegating work out. So I went from, you know, programmer to then managing programmers and then managing.

teams of people across like all the departments. I've done to manage nearly every role now in a company and then managing teams and teams of people and then going into director and then going into C-suite and then now being mentoring of lots of different CEOs. And so now I look at the world where, I can get on a call and mentor a CEO in another country and I'm doing this eight, eight countries a day, 10 times a day where, you have product one, which is a million dollar product, product two, which is a $10 million product. The decision between them is a $9 million decision that you make in three seconds, right?

And so I get on and give them advice on which path they need to do. And product is just an example, right? But what path they need to do, because CEOs make decisions. And so if I'm mentoring a CEO, I'm giving them how do they make the best decisions. Right. And so for me, I look at the highest ROI of my time. I look at every second of my time, three second chunks, five second chunks, 15 second chunks, and say, can I make $10 million here? Can I make 15 million or can I make $50 million here? Right. And so I don't like to dive into the details, but at the same time, I don't want to just be in the investor role, handing out money, not being active because

There's already enough investors in the world and actually a lot of investors with no hate, they're giving out money and they're not necessarily up-leveling people as well as could be done. We still have a lot of VC investments fail. We have a lot of invested companies fail and a lot of bootstrapped companies fail. So for me, if I jump into the founder role, it's not high enough ROI to only impact, to only work on one company would be boring and slow for me.

Jeremy Barr (11:18.83)
And so I like hundreds, I like thousands. The bigger the goal, the more meditative I get. I'm actually happier if you talk about billion size goals or space cities and things like that. And the investor role, if I just did that, that would be very, I think, boring too. Even having, say you have billions of dollars, it would still be very boring for my brain. So for me, it's the coordinating piece, talking to people all day long, talking about every different category and different countries and coordinating all the pieces. That's where I like it.

Mudassir (11:46.459)
Okay, yeah, okay. Most of the VC companies, and I happen to host a lot of those managing partners or GPs or LPs on the podcast, most of those VC companies, they have like a four or five people on the team and that's probably it. They could be managing, I don't know, half a billion dollar fund or something, but they have this small level of the team that they have. One question that randomly comes to my mind is,

In your opinion, this is probably an opinionated question anyway. So in your opinion, do you actually think that VCs are uplifting and creating a better world? Apart from this thing that, yeah, okay, which is investing in some sort of gambling anyway. So it's like, yeah, okay, we just like the idea, we just invest in the founder. And they do their due diligence, you know, so all props to them. But do you think that they're actually doing enough with the cash that they have in hand to create a better world?

Jeremy Barr (12:41.782)
So first I'll say, and not at you, but just in general, to respond to that. I mean, we don't ever want to say all of men, all of women, all of a race, all of a category label like VC or anything as one thing, because everybody's so, so different. And so I try to stay away from it. A lot of people do say, like, our VC's this, or our angel's investor's this. So I'm going to copy out the answer of, like, there's a lot of VCs that are very, very different from each other. Every investor and every VC's different. So some of them are making impact. Some of them are not.

Mudassir (13:07.434)

Jeremy Barr (13:10.666)
A lot of them, right, a lot of VCs like me, right, we're GPs in the VC and we have LPs to report to. And just because where the money came from, an LP instead of wanting to get money on an S&P, you know, 500 stock market return, they wanted to go and get bigger returns, right? 10X, 100X, 1000X divided out by portfolio math and power law. So the forcing function there is, because it came from the LPs, is VCs are mostly looking for returns.

And it's going to be, you know, for those large impacting companies, they're going to drive impact, but whatever that software is doing, right? Like if, and usually, if you look at like what, 2019 Cardo data, if I remember correctly, like 42% of VC dollars went to V2VSATS, right? Like that's in an indirect way going to help companies and those companies might help, you know, the world in a way. But if it's just software, I look at what is the human impact at the end of the day. And so you can't necessarily see all the direct...

hits and the forcing function is mainly for 100X and 1000X returns. You know, at least they shoot for that and then divide it out. So I think there's a lot of people that want the impact and the investors will shoot for it. But if they have to choose, they're going to choose the LPs that they're serving because that's what they're, that's like their duty, their job. So I don't know that all of them are. And so it's like, even for me, like I will uptick, you know, and do angel investing a lot more in the future. That way, you know.

Mudassir (14:10.552)

Jeremy Barr (14:33.624)
can just drive more towards that impact.

Mudassir (14:38.057)
Okay, you're not doing some research on you and one interesting thing that we found out is you help a lot of founders in fundraising and in pitch deck and stuff like that. Like, you know, this is a very important part of the building startup anyway. So I actually wanna take a few minutes and demystify like the whole, this whole fundraising slash pitch deck sort of a thing. Okay, so I have a few sort of questions and then you know, definitely can add more as you go. So you can explain.

All of them, any of them to a length, like whichever you feel comfortable with, okay? So number one is, beyond the slides, how much does a verbal narrative and storytelling make or break a fundraiser pitch?

Jeremy Barr (15:21.43)
The storytelling is way more make or break than the pitch deck slides. I actually don't even like to look at pitch decks as much as other investors are still on that and they like the pitch decks. I tell people, don't send me a pitch deck personally. So that tells you how much I don't emphasize pitch decks. I want to because a pitch deck can be made by a third party company. It's usually too long. I usually only have like five, 10 seconds to start making a decision.

Mudassir (15:37.217)
But why is that so?

Jeremy Barr (15:47.878)
I can do that really quickly when I have somebody talking to me right in front of me, I can see their micro-extractions, I can see their eye movement, body language, tone of voice, micro-extractions, those four. And that matters for the Gravity Ball effect, that matters for how good they are at listening, that matters for how they're going to attract investors, customers, partners, and employees, the whole Gravity Ball thesis that I talk about. So pitch deck isn't going to tell me that. In a pitch deck, I might see that you have brief wording, but again, like, did you write that? Did somebody else on your team write that? Did a pitch deck company write that?

And even if you wrote it and it's brief, it's still not encompassing everything else that you could cover in a verbal story form. I want to hear that emotion of why you're starting this company. Because if you're gonna take the company really, really far, VC funded or not, if you're gonna take a company really, really far, you have to have a lot of failure tolerance and emotional tolerance. And you're gonna have to have a story of like, why are you starting this company? What happened in your life that made you say, I wanna do this for the rest of my life or for a long time?

Mudassir (16:45.749)
And what if somebody says, I just want to make a whole lot of money. That is my why. Is that a pass for you?

Jeremy Barr (16:53.802)
It's going to be a path for me because I mean, look, I'm going to make a lot of money and I'm going to use that to drive impact. But the thing is, so I want people to have a comfortable relationship with money and I don't think it's bad to chase money at all. But the reason why I wouldn't fund it if people just wanted money is because I'm also driving for returns. And when I say I need returns, that return isn't for me to get money. It's so I can drive more impact. Right. So I'm thinking about impact. So if they're going for just money.

then when they go down this path, they can also easily pivot to something else that makes money. And when they pivot, then I also potentially lose money on the direction they were going. And so when I say, I want somebody with a strong why and a consistent direction of what they're gonna do, there's a balance on generalizing what you're gonna do and how you're gonna impact humans. But I want that consistent direction because I need to see the founders' time, energy, and our capital going in a consistent direction because when you're in a consistent direction, it sounds basic, but a lot of people are messing this up.

you will go farther in one direction than you will in three or four. If you take your time, energy and money units and split it by three directions or four or five directions, which is what a lot of founders are doing when they want to pivot an idea over and over and over, pivoting is good, but to a degree, it can be bad if you do it too many times. Or if they're doing three or five or 10 products instead of one, that's an issue.

Mudassir (18:12.793)
Okay, yeah. You talked about, you know, why for each founder. Do you think most people, or like some people, like not generalizing, but just random question, do you think people have their why in their head, but they're not self aware, or like whatever you wanna call that, but they're like not able to state that properly? Do you think so?

Jeremy Barr (18:33.874)
Most people do not know their why, and that is something that I spend time helping them discover because until they discover it, they will be acting on it without being fully conscious of it, and that will cause them to zigzag through and be inefficient with their resources, our resources, et cetera.

Mudassir (18:41.313)

Mudassir (18:52.521)
Yeah, how do you do that? How do you help people navigate through all of that noise and help them find their way?

Jeremy Barr (18:58.998)
Yep, so I will ask them about their experiences, like their most important experiences in their life up to now. Some people will have experiences with their parents they'll talk about, some people will have enjoyed festivals and they like that. Some people will have somebody that didn't do them right in the world or say their race or just something happened, right?

And so we figure out in the past what were the driving factors and we want full authenticity. And then we also look at a future state and say, what does life look like for you say 10 years from now? And most people don't think beyond 12 months. So getting them to think farther is also something to experience. We asked them, I asked them, what does life look like for you in 10 years after you've accomplished everything?

Go into a, I tell them, go into a meditative state, close your eyes and think about what am I wearing? What am I looking at? What house am I at? Do I have a husband? Do I have a wife? What country am I in? What's the temperature? What, I'm waking up in the morning on my ideal day. Do I have kids? What am I doing in the first 15 minutes? What am I doing in the first hour? What am I doing for the next two or three hours? What am I doing tonight? What am I doing tomorrow? What am I thinking about? I want them to get into their ideal state because most people are chasing, chasing their whole life.

usually trying to fulfill an insecurity or a trauma. And so on the left side, you have that where people are going away from that and then they're going towards status or money to kind of fill those things. And so when we get clear with what does your ideal moment look like, and what is 10 or 20 of your ideal moments look like? Because your life is a summation of these undiluted defensible moments, just like companies and people have defensibility, there's actually defensible moments. And so what do these...

Moments look like for your life where you can say this is the epitome of my life write down 10 or 20 of them in detail Is it out of festival? Is it with your kids? Is it impacting the world? Is it being on a podcast actually having an interesting conversation? What are these moments that are the epitome of your life? Write those down and then start backtracking and building towards those so now you have your tenure vision now You have 10 to 20 moments that are that are worth living for

Jeremy Barr (21:18.074)
And you understand that even after getting all the things you were trying to get for you still have more of a life. So then now you got to start thinking instead of in this chasing mindset, you got to start thinking in an infinite life mindset and realizing that actually after that 10 years, you're probably going to want to process through more things. You're like, you know what, I actually want to work on the next challenging problem. I want to work on the next book. And you realize that it's an infinite game and life doesn't have this like ending point where you just sit there and you're like, cool, I achieved all my goals. I'm buzzing happy. And like, that's it. Like, that's what most people.

are thinking, they're like, once I achieve these goals, I'm happy, like I get the house, the car, the kids, the money, whatever, and then I'm done. And people sit there and they're like, well, what do I do with my brain now? What do I do with my life now? Like, and then they get out of retirement, they come back and you know, and it's like, it's really, really helpful for people to realize ahead of time, your life is infinite, start enjoying it now. When you have challenges today, when you have stresses today, start enjoying that today. Today is your life, not after these other things, right? And so we get them into that meditative state, we think 10 years out, we get those 10 to 20 moments, we talk about all our past.

And we, with that, are able to start identifying, with weighting degree, like, OK, how much do you want this part? How much do you want this part? How much kids? How much travel? I'm making things up, right? And we get into that. And now we have, like, OK, now what is your why? And where I feel like they have tone of voice conviction and verbal conviction on if they're talking a lot about a particular thing, about a particular past, or whatever.

that's gonna signal more towards this is possibly a must have why, like this is my why and it's something I must have. But also, if we just identify the why in that conversation for the first time for them, the next thing I usually want to see as far as helping them develop their must have why, not just a why, but a must have why, is let me see you be consistent with this over the next three, four, six weeks. Come back to me. Let's talk again.

And until you get a quantified must-have-why, you start with a why, then you create a must-have-why, and then you quantify it. That's why three billion people is a measure of quantifying it. Because if you say you wanna impact the world, but you wanna impact five people, that's very different tools, strategy, and speed than somebody going for three billion people. So quantified matters. So what is your quantified must-have-why? And then once we identify that and you're solid and consistent with that, and that's how we know that it's true, not just kind of said, then that's the process for developing that at a high level.

Mudassir (23:35.865)
Okay, and that's a very detailed one and a good one as well. Okay, coming back to that particular topic in particular. Okay, so what specific pitching mistakes, you can call that, undermine the credibility, regardless of the business metrics on the slide? Like somebody could say, okay, the TAM is like, I don't know, like 100 billion or something like that. But what exactly are the mistakes that undermines the whole credibility?

Jeremy Barr (24:02.07)
Yep. So when they aren't asking questions of the investor before they start their pitch and they're not asking questions throughout. Because if you are going to run a great company at scale, investing in...

whether it's a founder looking at a rigorous company or an investor looking at it. I use the words investor if you want investment, but it's the same thing as a great company. If you, you know, you can't invest in product or product lineup because product and product lineup is gonna change based on customers, market and employees. You can't invest in the founder's hard skills like engineering, sales, marketing, whatever, they might be really, really good at because their skills are gonna be dwarfed by the first five employees, 500 employees, 5,000 employees, et cetera. Therefore, what you're investing in a founder is what I call this gravity ball effect.

where they are able to pull in investors, customers, partners, and employees, those four, into them. They are able to communicate to and relate to a wide variety of people at scale. And so that means to become a good gravity ball, you need to go and talk to people of different genders, races, ages, educational levels, incomes, groups, personalities, talking speeds, countries, everything, every different type person, different political parties, everything.

And so when you do that, you realize that every conversation you get into, because everybody's so, so different, you realize you need to start by asking questions and listening first to figure out who's on the other side of the Zoom or of the in-person conversation, so that you can adjust what you're doing. And so this, by looking at the entirety of a company and the gravity ball effect needed by the founder, because the gravity ball effect of a founder is the investable part, you then say, well, now looking at the pitch,

If they don't start in the first three seconds with listening eyes, if they don't start asking questions and figuring out what kind of investor they are in their personal life, in their professional life, etc. Then we already know they're not tailoring their speech, their pitch to this particular investor, and they're not going to be a good gravity ball. And it's going to have a failing cascading effect to the entire company. And I know this in the first five seconds of the call. So we need them to start with listening. We need them to start

Mudassir (26:18.617)

Jeremy Barr (26:19.89)
with, so listening with their eyes, watching for listening eyes of other people, listening to non-verbals, listening to non-verbal of somebody is one of the most important things you can do. Eye movement, body language, tone of voice, micro expressions. There's so much that does not fit into the word surface area of words. You can go and say somebody went camping, right? The word camping. Somebody went camping, they got chased by a bear, they had a bad experience, their parents left them behind, they didn't have good food, and that's all of their associations to the word camping.

You have somebody else that goes, has a great family time, has a great hike, whatever, has the best time ever. And that's their associated camping. You say the word camping and somebody's gonna be triggered one way and somebody is gonna be triggered another way. We have the same thing for every single word. When somebody says the project is done, I've had this issue in companies where somebody says it's done and the designer is like, you missed this. You didn't account for the designer part. And the engineer was like, well, it was done based on these specs, right? Everybody has every single word in any language has a surface area, a quantified surface area that is limited. And so...

you can see a lot more in iMove and body language, tone of voice and micro-connections, right? And so we need people to have that skill to be able to read non-verbals. Sometimes on a call, I can actually communicate non-verbal to non-verbal to somebody and I can realize who is able to read my non-verbals and who's just looking at the words, right? And so when somebody starts to pitch, I want to know that they have this effect because that means they're gonna be able to communicate to and relate to a lot of people, they're gonna have a gravity-off effect, they're gonna build a great company, all from the little mechanics that they are as a human being and how they communicate with people. Communication is a big investment.

thesis on how well somebody communicates. Think of somebody who doesn't communicate well with their team or with other human beings as the neurons in your brain, right? The neurons in your brain, if they were not highly connected, you're screwed, right? So the connection between neurons in their brain is like communication between two people. When communication is subpar, you have disconnected neurons and that would be a dysfunctional brain, right? So you have a dysfunctional company. So communication is a heavy predictor. And so...

We want to see in that pitch that somebody's listening, they're asking questions, they're able to connect with you instantly. They're able to understand you. You feel this flow, you feel this vibe. You also should see their confidence. They're confident in what they're saying and they're gonna be confident because they've iterated so many times on this topic. They are so passionate about this topic. They could talk forever on this topic. I wanna know, can this founder write a hundred page report on this topic because they are obsessed with it? They're 24 seven four. They're not gonna talk about a work-life balance because this is like for me.

Jeremy Barr (28:38.666)
I don't talk about work-life balance. None of my high ambitious friends talk about work-life balance because work becomes life when you become an entrepreneur. And that's not to say burnout, that's to say we found our passion, right? I wanna see somebody who found their passion and I can hear that in their tone of voice. I can see that in their focus. I can see that when they listen to feedback that we give. So when somebody comes in and dives in and starts diving into the art and science of their product, they're not listening to me, they're not communicating to us on the panel, they're not dynamically adjusting on the fly.

They're not able to talk about every single detail when we ask deeper and deeper questions. They're not looking at the whole of how to run a company. They're just diving into the art and science of some cool idea, the phrase cool idea, I hear it way too much. Those are things that are giveaways in the beginning.

Mudassir (29:24.865)
Okay, so I want to ask you two questions actually. So one is, is work-life balance overrated? And the other one is, which I would like for you to answer that first is like, what the heck is a gravity ball effect?

Jeremy Barr (29:37.558)
Yeah, yeah. So work-life balance, I think the majority of people in the world, I think work-life balance is great. 95% of people, maybe 90% is great. I think work-life balance is great. I don't believe people should stress out by any means. I mean, even entrepreneurs and founders shouldn't stress out. So we're not talking about stressing out. We're not talking about overworking. But work-life balance suggests that work is one thing and life is another thing. And for most of nine to five mindset, which is great, is beautiful. I am not saying anything about it.

I think every human in the world is beautiful. We all have our beautiful differences and that is great. But it is different, right? And so nine to five mindset is, you do have a bit of a work life balance. You may be working, you may be making money, you may or may not like your job to a degree and you have life that you feel is different. So, but for the entrepreneur or the founder, I use the word need and should rarely because you shouldn't, but if you want to be successful,

at scale, you do need to be obsessed. And for your own life purpose, like forget about investors, forget about anything else, just you as an entrepreneur. You really want to find something that you absolutely love that you could spend 24-7 on. Burnout is not a function of time and energy put into something. Burnout is a function of misalignment. When you are aligned, like I'm aligned to what I'm doing, you can wake me up at 2 a.m. and we could talk about unit economics and I'm gonna wake up like it's a Coachella festival.

I'm excited about everything that I do and I work 24-7 for it and it's my life and I'm passionate about it. So that is the answer to that one as far as is it overrated? It's going to depend on who you are, right? And so 95 versus entrepreneur founder, whatever. Gravity ball effect. So the gravity ball effect is the investment thesis that I look at. So I won't invest in product or in a particular product or industry or whatever. Obviously certain products and industries have a certain math that is conducive to certain size returns, which is why most VC goes for like BVSATs because the margin's there.

Your 80% margins are really, really nice. Your NRR is really nice, ARR, et cetera. So we can look at those things in consideration, but I look at things a little bit more holistically and we'll cross a lot of different products in the impact areas. So I look for this gravity ball effect, right? Aside from the math part, I look at the gravity ball effect because gravity ball is, I said a little bit before, but you cannot invest in product or product lineup because it will change based on customer, employees, market.

Jeremy Barr (32:04.918)
That's going to, it's going to change. You can't invest in, you know, the, the founders hard skills because that's going to be dwarfed by five, 5,000 employees, 500 employees. So their ability to communicate to and relate to a wide variety of people at scale and, and go talk to all those different people, right? Different genders, ages, countries, cultures, personalities, everything. So if you want to become a better founder, it's not to read another book, it's not to listen to another podcast. Although those are great things that you helped build me as well. There are certain tools for certain sizes of scale that you are.

starting with books and podcasts is an acceleration on doing things yourself. So instead of doing it yourself and failing yourself, you can just learn it from books and podcasts to a degree. There are certain things like playing basketball, shooting your elbow, muscle movements. You can't read that in a book necessarily fully, right? Same thing for execution environments, like running a startup. There are certain balances where it's just gonna expand beyond the word surface area that is in that book or in that podcast, right? So books and podcasts are starting point, but you need to be in the execution environment to fail. So-

To be a gravity ball, you need to be able to... So you have tier one of learning speed where you kind of do things yourself. Tier two, books and podcasts, it's much, much faster. You can learn in seven days what might take somebody 10 years to cram into a book. And then tier three is hiring people. Now I don't have to go read the 133 million books that are in the world or listen to all the, you know, billion plus podcasts that probably exist by now. I hire somebody, right? And so it's like...

You know, when I had this finance guy who transfers $6 billion a day, worked at Goldman Sachs, and in one hour I hire him. And now it's like all his 15 years experience and massive experience. Like I'm bypassing books. I'm bypassing podcasts. I'm bypassing all kinds of things. And in one hour, I pull that in on other calls. Like I pull in investors and in five to 15 minutes, I tell them my experience. I tell them all the ways that I think. And in, I've, I've had it in five minutes where I'm getting hundreds of thousands of dollars from somebody brand new, just totally pitched. And then hundreds of thousands of dollars. Right. Um, and that's for like the smaller investors. Nice. Right. Um,

So you have to be able to communicate to and relate to a wide variety of people to be a gravity ball. You have to be able to attract these people because the people in your team are gonna be able to do more than you can do. We have as humans a certain ingestion rate in terms of books, podcasts, et cetera, and learnings. And we have a certain execution limit. Even if you were the smartest person in the world, say you read every book and podcast and say you like experienced everything and you're the smartest person in the world, you are still bottlenecked.

Jeremy Barr (34:26.69)
based on your execution limits on how much you can do. And so therefore you need a team to not only increase your ingestion rate, it's all mathematical, this is all a calculation. You need a team to not only increase your ingestion rate, but also your execution output rate. And so then your job as a high performing, at the highest performing individual is to efficiently ingest all that information from people and also trust them to execute.

when you hire, hiring and interviewing is the most important thing, because then you bring somebody on, you say, I trust you. You have key core seed traits that a human should have, that a high performing executioner should have. You have attention to detail. You have great communication. You have this, the whole list that we can go into. But I don't know anything about how you transfer $6 million a day at Goldman Sachs. But I know you know your stuff, because I checked all these seed traits that are really, really rare. Attention to detail, communication clarity, et cetera, that most people fail on in an interview. You check that in the interview, and now this person is going to go and execute. And.

there on your team, which is essentially one with you, right? So.

By hiring in people and delegating with people, and even pre-hiring people, you can partner with people that are outside your organization. I partner with people globally. I have multi-billion dollar exit partners that I'm working on writing a book with right now on how to go from idea to exit. We're gonna write one of the most definitive books for the year on how to go from idea to like say $5 billion exit. Cause we have some multi-billion dollar exit partners and investors and we're all gonna kind of, I'm coordinating all of us to like write this book together. And so it's like, you know.

You can do a lot in a little bit of time. It's that decision between a $1 million product and a $10 million product, it's a $9 million decision. Or at the larger scale, it's the difference between a $100 million move and a billion dollar move, that's a $900 million. That's a $900 million move, right? And you make it in seconds, right? So you gotta think in terms of these time collapsing things. There's a lot of time collapsing things that people can do. And you being a gravity ball is key to being able to pull in the people and time collapse everything that people are stressing out over.

Jeremy Barr (36:20.942)
Time is not defensible. When people overwork themselves, even in founder world, I believe in a casual billionaire mindset. You do not have to work 40, 50, 80 hours a week to be successful. If you think working 80 hours a week makes you successful, that's the equivalent of two employees. All of some other startup has to do is get VC investment or investment or great margins, fund 10 employees and they outwork you. Time is not defensible because it's a low feature count. Defensibility is a measure of feature count. Time has a low feature count. So you have to, so you can work 10, 20 hours a week

billions and impact billions of lives.

Mudassir (36:55.529)
Okay, again, just digressing a little bit more. What's the difference between a CEO that's running a 10 person company, a CEO that's running a 100 person company, and a CEO that's running a thousand person company plus more than a thousand company person? Or the other way of putting the same question is like a person who's running a million dollar company, 10 million dollar company, and a billion dollar company. What's the difference between that CEO? Because it's all about the scene making, but trades-wise, like what's the difference between this kind of person?

Jeremy Barr (37:26.466)
Yep, so at 10 employees, that CEO is still on the ground, wearing multiple hats, delegating pretty well, practicing their ability to manage a team because they're new at it at that point and they have a lot to learn through on managing people generally. And they're not even to the ambitious people yet because they can't afford to be ambitious people yet. So they're practicing their...

time and energy management, how do they manage different personalities, how do they kind of dive into some of the work? That's 10 people at a high level. 100 people. The CEO is now, if you're a million dollars per head, you might be a $100 million company at 100 employees potentially. And so you are then able to afford these 150, 200K employees in some cases for your, depending on which position you have in the work chart. And so now the CEO is managing

how they are now not the only one setting vision, whereas they were at the 10 employees, they're co-setting vision and in a lot of cases, delegating probably like 90% of the vision. They are only setting the highest level of vision, which says, here's the customer impact we wanna drive, here's the revenue we wanna drive, and here's the profit, probably like three high level variables. And then the rest of the C-suite, VP, director layer, whatever you have at that time, you probably don't have a VP layer, you might have director layer.

but you may still have some C-suite layers depending. You will then have them setting vision, right? So you're learning to delegate vision and a lot of people fail to scale beyond this because they aren't used to delegating vision because they're like, this is my baby, right? So they're learning to delegate vision and manage ambitious individuals. Managing ambitious individuals is way, way different from managing other individuals who, there's a lot of people in the world who want and need.

And they describe it verbally. They want and need to be told what to do. I've had people tell me, I just need to be told what to do. I've had a lot of people just tell me what to do. Right? And it's easier for them. And they like that and they prefer that. And then there's other ambitious people, more freedom oriented people. They want extreme freedom. Usually a founder is extreme freedom or anybody moving up org charts fast is extreme freedom. Right? They want their own autonomy. And so they move up and then eventually they move up and out to their own company because they want so much freedom. They don't want to be told what to do at all. Right? And so...

Jeremy Barr (39:49.918)
When you're managing and leading, I don't differentiate too much between the word managing and leading like a lot of the world does, but when you're managing or leading high ambitious individuals, you gotta be able to, again, do that interview really, really well, where you say, where do you wanna go in your life? And this is where the company's going and find that alignment in the interview so that when you're working with them, you already know you're aligned and you can just say, look, I already vetted you're good at your skill, I already vetted that we're going in the right direction and we already vetted at a high level on the vision, therefore you manage this part of the vision.

I'm going to trust you on that because we did the interview really, really well. The interview is the most important part of every company for every employee. And so, so a CEO, uh, at all levels is really focused on the interviews. And really focused on the one-on-ones, the weekly one-on-ones, uh, a CEO, every manager and an NCEO, your most important job is your one-on-ones because. You need to make sure that your team is taken care of. You need to be able to get in that one-on-one and say, how were things last week? How are, what are you working on this next week?

How can I help you? You don't tell people what to do. So the higher up you go in companies, the more you delegate, share a perspective, share a lens. You never tell people what to do. You don't use money direction and org chart hierarchy as a form of control ever with any employee. And you especially want to be aware of how your words can make that be perceived to an ambitious individual that might feel like they're being controlled. You want to be very, very careful about that. So then when you get to 1,000 employees,

You are now looking at how do you set a vision? And maybe now you're on, maybe you're recording, I mean, for me, I'd be recording videos because I'm doing a large scale. I'm not saying CEOs are recording videos. But you want to think in terms of maybe it's a Friday video to everybody. You got to think in really big scale on how you can talk to people.

And at the same time, how you can make sure that the rest of your company can run without you. You kind of want to do this at the 100 person scale, but you really, really want to do this at the 1000 person scale and kind of work to make yourself irrelevant and tell every other manager to make themselves in a sense irrelevant, even though they never will be, because they're always going to have more information to add. Because the company is growing, it's always dynamic in what you get to add to your team. Managers, CEOs get to be optimizers. You just get to let them be autonomous and you get to say, here's the lens, here's the perspective. What are your thoughts? Right? Memorizing that phrase.

Jeremy Barr (42:16.13)
So CEOs have to have to say, well, there's a balance on how I manage through levels and how I also just trust those levels. And so it's really about managing the direct reports that you have in a way that's going to cascade through a level in mechanisms, in terms of teaching people to listen really well, teaching people to communicate really well, teaching people to respect other people's freedoms really well, teaching people to identify their why and how they do it.

and why they're here and making sure the mechanics go through the levels. That way the mechanics go through the levels at all levels. And then each manager three, four or five levels down can be then looking and applying their own unique sauce or their own unique department type lens to their management and they don't feel controlled. So it's, it's essentially pass down the high level generalized vision of what you want to do as a company and what you want to do in terms of human values. So pass down a high low vision, pass down values.

pass down mechanics and do not pass down any form of control.

Mudassir (43:23.417)
Gotcha, okay. Coming back to the question that originally we were talking about, so there's two main things that I want to touch on that particular topic before we move on. So one is what's the VC attention span is? In your case, obviously, so not generalizing it. So how long do you take, or how long do you spend actually on looking at any pitch deck, whether it's coming from a warm intro or a cold intro, like whatever that is. And the other one is how do you actually make a killer pitch deck?

because you have seen so many of those. So like, what's the essentials that everybody needs to put in there? It's a two part question.

Jeremy Barr (43:59.938)
So I will answer the pitch deck part briefly, and then I'll answer how much time I spend on somebody's pitch to me, which is not in pitch deck format, because I don't like pitch decks. So pitch deck format, I'll tell people YouTube. On YouTube, there is raw startup. Shout out to them, the guy on there. They talk about great pitch decks, and they have a lot of great content. I always just point people to that. There's like the eight standard slides or so.

you know, show your problem on a slide, show your solution on a slide, show your market, show your team, show your traction. Those are the ones that I kind of like think about and there's like the standard slides there, right? When people come in with 12 slides, 15 slides, it's like, it's a no, because you're not following standards, you didn't do your basic research. Put one or two sentences on each slide. You should be talking and dynamic when you're putting that slide up and you're pitching and every investor is so, so different and so.

If you're putting a lot of words on your slide, then they're either reading that and not listening to you or they're listening to you and not reading the slides. So it's like, if you put more than one sentence on a slide, you're not being brief and you're also not allowing yourself to be dynamic. So roughly eight slides, whatever raw startup is, I can't remember about what, roughly eight slides. Do your one sentence per slide and make your pitch very, very dynamic to the investor that's in front of you or that you're sending it to. And then as far as...

You know, me, I don't look at pitch decks. People send them to me and I point them to, there's a post on my LinkedIn. I think I still have it in the featured section. Probably it's like the eighth or ninth featured one. So it's not in the first five that you get to see. You'd have to click see more. But it talks about what I have is like this perfect, like 10 sentences. And it basically takes the eight or 10 components of a pitch deck and it puts it into the sentences. So you get one sentence. And so basically if people want to get into the pitch events that I run.

I have this as a forcing function and I've ran pitch events and I only let people into the pitch events if they do these 10 sentences. And you have to put your problem in a sentence, you have to put your solution in a sentence. And I put an exact example, I put the framework and the exact example. So it'll say like, hi, I'm Jeremy, I have 20 years experience doing X, Y, Z, sentence one. I'm a founder mentor, is maybe like sentence two and maybe you can add some detail in a sentence there.

Jeremy Barr (46:14.402)
I'm a founder mentor that does XYZ. I'm a founder mentor for zero to $100 million founders, for example. Sentence two would be like your solution, right? Solution is, well, problem is being a hard, a founder is the hardest thing in the world and then solution is like, I'm a founder mentor, right? So, and then you'll say traction, right? Traction is your, you know, and you'll say something about the team, right? When you're saying, I have 20 years experience, oh, and I met my co-founder who has 15 years experience doing that, right? Like you're hitting on team already.

Traction is your number one most important thing to convey. And so I always, even those 10 sentence ones, I don't even read the first few. I actually scan to the traction, then I scan to the team, and then I read the rest of it. So if traction's not good and team's not good, I won't read the rest of the eight sentences. I won't even give it eight seconds. So that's telling you the attention then. And to give you a perspective on why, it's not because I don't care. It's because I'm getting 20 DMs a day on these pitches. And so let alone, if I had to do pitch decks, I have to now open a different document.

which takes time, that takes a few seconds, that's a lot of time wasted. I have to open a document, then I have to click next, next on slides. Then maybe there's a lot of words, which I'm like, if I see a blurb, I just don't read it. If it's more than one sentence, I don't read it. So I just, I stopped looking at pitch decks altogether and I basically condensed what is the standard pitch deck format in the world into like those roughly 10 sentences. And then even that I scan for just the traction and the team because it doesn't take a lot of words to say, for example, I made a billion dollars. I made a billion dollars.

Mudassir (47:39.149)

Jeremy Barr (47:39.97)
That doesn't take a lot of words to say. And that's going to grab every investor's attention. Now, I'm not saying come in and say a billion dollars. We don't need that, especially for pre-seed or seed or series A stages, right? But like, that's an example of like how you can make something really, really compelling with just a big number, right? So picking that number. Same thing for team. You could say I have one year experience or I have 20 or 30 or 40 years experience in this. And again, it didn't take more than a sentence, right? So you can learn to be brief and put high power punchy things. And so when I go through those 10 sentences and I look, okay, is there a good traction number? Okay.

Mudassir (47:42.558)
Okay. Yeah.

Mudassir (47:54.485)

Jeremy Barr (48:08.622)
That's the first check mark. Is there a good team? That's the second check mark. Most people fail those two and I skip out, swipe delete, done. But if they pass those, then I read sentences three, four, five on what's the product or what's the problem, what's the solution and product, et cetera. And then if that's good, then I'll put them into the pitch event because I don't even have time to vet these things personally or make personal interactions to my investor network. I've had some people come in with like, one person came in with like $200 million in traction and they wanted, which is really, really good.

and they wanted personal introductions to the investor network. And I was like, come to the pitch event. Because of the goal, I'm going after three billion people. I don't have time for one-on-one meetings a lot. I get on podcasts like this because it's scalable. I get on anything that's scalable. I'm looking at how seconds can turn into millions of dollars. And so I was like, get in front of the pitch event because I will have a lot of investors on the panel there. They'll hear you do your two minute pitch. I'll have everybody else. It'll be a very condensed format and efficient for the investors and the founders all around.

Mudassir (49:04.433)
Is that event online or like you actually host a physical event? Pitch event.

Jeremy Barr (49:09.615)
I do that online because I have a global set of investors in all different time zones and global set of founders. I do that online.

Mudassir (49:21.105)
Okay, awesome. Thank you for answering all those. In my relatively smaller career compared to yours, I've seen startups are all about people. Business is generally a group of people anyway, so it's just all about managing people, building a team or something like that. One question that I often thought about, why is it so hard to find the right people? And how do you find the right people?

Because the founding team is like probably the biggest pain in the ass. You can say that like that. That's like, it's just a horrible thing to, you know, find the right type of people. They have to be your cultural fit. They have to, you know, should be able to go in trenches with you or something like that. Like, how do you actually find those people and why they're so rare?

Jeremy Barr (50:06.766)
Quality people are so rare, it stems from the gravity ball. That gravity ball person that needs to be able to communicate to and relate to a wide variety of people at scale. Most people are gonna fail at that. And they fail at communicating and relating to a wide variety of people at scale because in most cases, your communication starts to fail when your insecurities or traumas are triggered. Most of the world runs on insecurities and traumas. So what you wanna look for is people that have healed.

from those insecurities and traumas. And because most people aren't focused on healing themselves, this is why it's so hard to find great, ambitious people that are successful, great founders, et cetera. So because most people living with the insecurities and the traumas and the things that happen to them are looking outside for validation to cover up their feeling of lack, most people are living in a feeling of lack. I'm not good enough.

Mudassir (50:44.949)

Jeremy Barr (51:04.714)
I need to go get a certain amount of money. I need to go get a certain amount of status. People don't like me, right? And so they're constantly getting triggered based on other people's actions or words. And everybody's living in these siloed, not everybody, but there's a lot of people like two different degrees, living these siloed boxes of like, I need to go, you know, I need to go to the gym. I need to, I want to get prettier. I want to go make more money. I want to, you know, in an indirect form there, you know, people are status chasing is top number one, money is number two. And like fitness looks is usually number one.

This is just a lot of the world, right? And so people are thinking of themselves every day when they're waking up. And in the sense of not personal development, like they could be and should be in healing, but themselves in terms of like, how do I solve me not feeling good? And they think the solution is outside of them. And so they seek outside of themselves as opposed to sitting inside your house, or I mean, you can heal outside too, but, you know, and with other people. But...

to kind of focus on healing and try to, you know, becoming that well-rounded human and going to talk to different people and understanding all the differences and understanding you're not alone. Going and healing yourself is something that a lot of people don't do. A lot of people will say, oh, personal development or meditation or, you know, all these things are like woo woo. And it's like, and most people don't focus on them, but the most successful people are focusing on personal development, healing, understanding communication, understanding what they really want. There must have why in life.

understanding their past, understanding their future and what they really like, discovering like, do I like this? Do I like that? What do I really like outside of what family might want me to like, or what society might want me to like, or what a significant other might want me to like? What do I genuinely by myself want throughout my life? Most people aren't diving into that conversation about themselves. And for the ones that do, those are the ones that are really great candidates for being a founder. And when you create a great human, you then go add in operation experience.

Jeremy Barr (53:20.342)
All right, I see we are back, so let's cut that out. Yep, we're back. Where did I get off and where can I finish?

Mudassir (53:20.621)
Can you hear me? OK. We're, we're, yeah. No, the whole recording was, you know, smooth. So no problem that way. So whatever you said was perfectly fine. OK, do you need to say that again, or you were like done saying that?

Okay, perfect, all right.

So I really appreciate that. Another thing on hiring the right people or something like that. And this is a question coming from a situation that I've been in the past. You can say that it's like for my own selfish reasons for my own selfish turning. A lot of the times what happened is that when you're starting out, you have a cool idea that you had validated that you worked like whatever, 40, 60 hours a day.

and then you have actually validated the idea, you have some initial traction, but you haven't raised any money at all. So you're still bootstrapping that to get to a certain point. What usually happens is that you need to find good people, quality people, people who are really, really good at whatever they're doing. And the problem comes with compensation. So you might be able to hire a great person, you might be able to find that, like you've done, I don't know, a thousand interviews and you actually find the right ideal fit for yourself.

But now you cannot afford that person. And I'll give you some anecdotal. So I know a founder, so he was able to create a group of such people, like you know, such really talented people, smart people or something like that. And then he was like, just don't have enough money to give them. So what he was trying to do was like, somehow convincing, I don't wanna use the word manipulating, but somehow convincing people to work for him for like less compensation or like whatever.

Mudassir (55:12.909)
So the question that I want to ask you is, when anybody is in that position, when he has a great idea, he's building the team, and he needs to find the right people, really quality people, and he's low on cash, how can he structure the compensation for those such individuals?

Jeremy Barr (55:31.626)
Yep. So I would say expand the chess pieces that you have. Don't just look at it as a compensation chess piece. So this goes back to when you're a great gravity ball and you can communicate and relate to a wide variety of people at scale. This means you can look at that person and say, what do they value in their life? In the interview or in the pre-interview or in the friendly interview, pre to a formal interview, whatever, you can ask them and understand.

What are they truly? You might even be able to understand them better than they understand themselves. As a CEO, as a founder, you have to be, your number one skill has to be at people science. And so you got to understand them and say, you know what? They value their husband or their wife. They value traveling. They value this in two years. They value this in five or 10 years. Maybe I can give them equity. Maybe I can give them money. Maybe I can tell them work with me for six months and then I'm going to give you a raise when we pull in an investment and look at this other team, look at this team because this team together can make the traction. Here's the business plan and it's very, very thorough.

And so this is what shows you that we're gonna be at this income level and we'll be able to get this investment or the income level will provide us to pay you. And you're gonna be part of making sure that you can get paid in six months or in three months or whatever, right? So open up the chess pieces. It's not just compensation, it's not just equity. It's also you being a good human being. It's also finding them where they are in their life because a lot of times people will go through life, they're figuring out their life, they get good at a skill, they get really good at a skill, they get high paid, and then they jump into your company or they consider jumping into your fund.

and they're still in their money phase because yeah, chasing money is fun because then you get to go and do all these fun things in their world. But there's gonna be a, there is a time where a lot of people in nine to five where they go up into director and VP and C-suite and they're getting paid really, really well, at some point they get diluted of the money and all the experiences, then you want something more impactful. And that's usually when those people join a great startup. So if you catch somebody in their first beginning two to four years of director VP C-suite layer stuff.

where they're still just enjoying the new fruits of their labor, they're getting a lot of money and they're wanting to travel the world. If they were to think, they're kind of starting to think, I might want to start a startup, join a startup, right? But I'm still going to want my money, right? I'm not ready to give it up. I'm not deluded of it yet to a degree. You know, you don't want to capture them that. But maybe at the fifth year or the sixth or seventh year, depending, people go through their phases differently, then you find out, they're like, I'm over the money. And there's so many people that are like, I'm highly skilled. I'm over a high amount of money.

Jeremy Barr (57:49.006)
And I know that I want something that's impactful. And I know that doing this startup, I can get a lot more money through bigger raises in the future. I get autonomy and freedom, which most people like, especially the high ambitious people, and potentially get a better raise later and more equity later or whatever. So think, open up your chest piece from one to probably 15 or 20.

Mudassir (58:09.065)
Okay, yeah, that's helpful. I immediately appreciate that. So we have, so every single time, you know, we started this podcast, I think, four months ago or something like that, and now we have around 30K plus viewers all around the world listening to this particular podcast. And they're like very, very kind enough to show up to all of them. So every single time there's a guest coming in, so what we do is we send out an email, like a mass email to all of those people, introducing like who's coming on to the podcast, and if they have like any particular questions for that person. So.

Again, we did the same thing, and there's quite a list of the questions that I have for them. We might not be able to get to all of them, but I'll try to cover as many of them as I possibly can. So the audiences, just so you know, most of them are first-time entrepreneurs, second-time entrepreneurs, like people who haven't been able to replicate the same level of success as a very few people, people who had started doing angel investments, early-stage VCs or something. So that's the only audience that we have.

So they're not in any order, so just throwing randomly at you. So where should I start? Is innate talent or developed skill more important for a founder? Can determination outweigh aptitude?

Jeremy Barr (59:21.174)
Yes, you can absolutely develop your skill. It's not something that's innate. Everything is a skill. You can build anything you want. And determination is another word for it is grit. So determination, grit, those are primary core currencies that you should leverage. Because that determination gets you through the A-B testing that you need to do when you're running your startup, whether you're testing products or testing management styles or testing whatever, testing ads.

you need the determination to get through, oh, I tried this A-B test, failed, failed. You're gonna fail 90 to 95% of the time. And then when you win in that 5%, it's gonna more than make up for your losses. Most people get stuck, and when they fail, they think I'm a failure, as opposed to it's an iteration of a failure. So determination is what gets you through the A-B testing failure math, and the math guarantees your success. So if you have a determination, you're guaranteed success.

Mudassir (01:00:20.313)
Okay, so a follow up on that is how great founders build balanced conviction and flexibility, like when the stubbornness is helpful and when is it like harmful.

Jeremy Barr (01:00:32.97)

Jeremy Barr (01:00:36.802)
So we have this process throughout life where you're A-B testing things and you're figuring out what works and then you're saying, okay, this works, this doesn't work, this works. And what it is, is it's a narrowing process. You're narrowing and figuring things out. So the hard thing for a lot of people is to be able to say, I'm looking at a data point in front of me and if I apply my current belief set and my current rule set, I would maybe throw out this data point because based on I'm narrowing, right? But you actually...

Periodically, and periodically is a key word, periodically you have to test which belief of mine am I going to break. And this is hard for people because they're like, well, that belief is there because all the data in the past says that I'm right. But the thing is that narrowing and that set of beliefs only works for your past data set. It doesn't work for outliers and it doesn't work for your next level of scale. And so anytime you see some data in front of you that looks like, oh, this to some degree feels or looks like an outlier.

That is the time that you want to say, I might need to break one of my existing beliefs here for either this outlier or for this next level of scale. So that's how you balance conviction because your conviction is, I really think this is gonna work and I'm narrowing, but you want this hourglass shape where instead of just narrowing, you're also actually going back outward again in your beliefs. Belief breaks are the only place we grow.

So you have to know that if you want to get to 100 million, if you want to get to a billion in terms of dollars or people or whatever, that you actually need to break 99% of your beliefs. And that's a wild thought to say, I'm highly successful today. And yet still I will have to break 99% of my beliefs because they worked, but what got me here won't get me there. They won't work for the next level of skill. So the question is only about when and how will this belief break? So doing a periodic testing of this usually works.

but I'm gonna test it. This belief usually guides me right. It's data-backed, but I'm gonna test. I'm gonna assume for a moment or a day or a week, I'm gonna say that this belief that is totally true, I'm gonna act like it's wrong, and then I'm gonna see what happens. Oh, it enabled me to win? Great.

Mudassir (01:02:44.761)
Okay, so it's about being open and understanding that whatever you're believing today might not be the thing that you would be believing in future. Okay. The next one is all these great startups, and by great I think he's put unicorn under the parenthesis which I somehow don't agree with because nowadays people have this notion that only great startups are the unicorn ones. But anyway, so.

Jeremy Barr (01:03:06.179)

Mudassir (01:03:13.069)
What's the biggest hiring mistakes do you think people have made while they were building big successful startups?

Jeremy Barr (01:03:23.81)
Biggest hiring mistake, they are probably hiring for skill, and they haven't learned how to hire for great, well-rounded humans who can communicate really well, have attention to detail, have non-verbal listening skills. Most of the world's not looking for that. And when you do that, you're gonna hire much, much better, dramatically better, because most of the world doesn't have that skill. And so you'll have to probably...

up level people and teach people that which is why I teach people that because I can't just if I just put strong filters out There in the world nobody's getting hired But that's why you have to take that mindset as a founder as I'm going to up level people and teach them Nonverbal listening which is actually I have I have lessons where I actually go out and teach people that I teach people how to communicate better Etc

Mudassir (01:03:57.507)

Mudassir (01:04:12.037)
So one question that comes to my mind is, every single time somebody says, you should hire for aptitude, and you can teach a skill or something like that. Suppose I'm hiring for, I don't know, a solutions architect or a higher level developer position. I need to find people who at least text the basic. Like you're good at development, okay, check. You're good at managing 10 people team, okay, check. So I need to do that. It's just not like, yeah, okay, I can just go and somebody who is like a team player who can.

understands all these things and I hired him and I'm just teaching him all these things. So how do you balance like both of these things? Because you know, I think this statement like hire for attitude and not for the skills needs to have like a little bit more explanation than like whatever this is today.

Jeremy Barr (01:04:57.066)
Yes, yes, it absolutely needs a balance. If you hire just for attitude and no skill, you will fail. So there's a lot of nice people in the world. They sound nice, they talk to other people nice, they communicate well, and they are missing attention to detail, which makes their skill and their aptitude better. They are missing grit to skill up in a lot of different things. And so you should be able to see some degree of sufficient engineering or sales or whatever the role is.

Mudassir (01:05:06.314)

Mudassir (01:05:10.795)

Jeremy Barr (01:05:25.662)
And then you want to see a high degree, so a sufficient degree in skills and a high degree in their ability to learn quickly, listen, communicate, attitude, et cetera. And that is a balance. It's a calculated balance that people need to do.

Mudassir (01:05:44.125)
Yeah, yeah, that makes sense, that makes sense. Okay, so the next one is my favorite one on the list. So it's not uncommon to change the founding team in like a year or 18 months or something like that. Why often early hires are let go of? Why does that happen?

Jeremy Barr (01:06:02.598)
Usually, it is, I'm a very calculative mind. Usually it is, and that's not to say that I'm not very, very human, but you can range them down these things, right? So usually what happens is the startup grows faster than the individuals inside. So when you have a group of people that together are able to produce more together than they would individually, this gives you the mathematical framework that shows you

the startup is going to, in most cases, outpace the individuals inside of them, except where the individuals inside of those companies are fast growing and growing through time collapse mechanics like books, podcasts, and mentors. So most people, they jump into a company and they are at the right skill and maybe even the right attitude.

but the startup is gonna grow much, much faster than them because all the combined parts of those people allows the startup to grow much, much faster. And then you actually end up having to hire in people from the outside who were one to three scale levels above so that they can take the startup to the next level. And then the old people who weren't growing fast enough or didn't have the experience of the next level scale have to either be let go or be in management positions that are now below the leaders that are gonna take them to the next level.

Mudassir (01:07:28.693)
Okay, we appreciate it. The next one, people have funny questions today. So the next one is how far off is the shows like Shark Tank and Dragons Den are from the reality? Like in a reality world, actually in our TV, in a reality world, how do you compare these shows with VCs? Like what exactly is happening there? Because you know, these shows, and I'm sure you have seen all those, so in these shows, I think people have a very different sort of a,

Or you could say that they pitch and then they need to talk to all these people and it seems like there's a cash on the table and you can figure out the deal or something like that. I'm going to give that much personal equity. I'm going to take that much cash. In reality, it's not happening. In reality, people are having a really hard time raising whatever they're raising. So founders usually don't have that much of a negotiation power or something like that. So in your opinion, how far off these shows are from reality when it comes to investment or raising funds? You could say that.

Jeremy Barr (01:08:28.634)
Yeah, I think they're quite a bit off. It takes a discerning brain to be able to watch it and identify, oh, that's an interesting detail about the startup. Oh, that's an interesting question by the investor. Because without that discerning brain going into it, if you're just using that as a learning platform and absorbing everything, you're going to absorb some of the good things that an investor or founder says. And you're also going to absorb some of the bad things that the investors or founders will say.

on those shows. So what I would say is for people that are watching those shows, because they can be great, is go and supplement it with following people on LinkedIn, go read books, go listen to podcasts and start to develop that discerning brain. So just like when you take in almost any information, take it in with a grain of salt and then start to balance it out. Don't say I saw this on Shark Tank or Dragon's Den and this is de facto because there's a lot of weird ways that people will present on those shows.

There's even some weird questions by the investors that don't make sense or are not common in a VC or angel investor world outside of that. It is a dynamic that is on TV. And so even just the founders getting visibility and the investors getting visibility on that show is a part of the mechanics that play into it. People will talk about how not all the deals after the fact are getting funded. Well, that's because a lot of people don't pass due diligence but they still got massive visibility and still they still get a win.

And so because now the show becomes a little bit more about optimizing visibility, now you're not optimizing the true things that you would optimize for in a real pitch with a VCR at Angel Invest.

Mudassir (01:10:08.765)
Okay, how much of an investment is just gambling?

Jeremy Barr (01:10:14.77)
Oh, this is this part's annoying for me. Love the question, happy question, but I don't like the gambling part of it. I think it's, you know, when a lot of VCs will do the power law and the portfolio approach, right? What is that saying? It's saying I don't know how to pick a founder. You know, to say that like it's a guessing game.

Mudassir (01:10:41.442)

Jeremy Barr (01:10:41.698)
to say that like, I don't know how to pick them. So I'm gonna out of my 100, I'm gonna hope that one of them will get 1000 X return so I can divide that out by 199 can fail. That's just says to me, you don't know how to go into a call and understand that communication is really important in a founder. And actually, how do you dive into what is good communication? How do you dive into what is good attention to detail? How do you really, really dive into your people's eyes? How do you really...

analyze a company at scale. And I mean, even Gravity Ball thesis, right? Like I intend to bring that to the world of investors and founders to both views, right? As I build out the world's largest investor and counter network, I will propagate that out there. And I'm going to share this lens and perspective that I have, right? I think there's different VCs out there. They're all different, right? There's a lot of really, really good ones too. So we can't put one label on everybody, right? But there are ones out there that are former investment bankers. And if you're a former investment banker, you're gonna be good at analyzing numbers.

But you're not necessarily good at operating, right? An operator type VC versus an investment maker VC is different. I'm more of an operator VC because I have been at million dollar and billion dollar companies, DTC, BDB, public, private. I've managed teams of teams of people. I've done and managed nearly every role. That's very, very rare. I made that career path on purpose. And a lot of people just haven't had those perspectives, right? So.

VCs don't always have the most experience in operations. And even if they have experience in operations, are they really, really good at personal development and human and humanness, becoming a well-rounded human? Because that's actually the most core thing. So you have investment bank or VCs, a common entry path. Those are missing operations experience. Then you get better with operator based VCs, that gets better. But what makes good operations is good people. And most people are not really, really good at people and analyzing people.

upskilling people. And that's the major missing component, which is then has a lot of VCs and other investors playing a bit of a gamble because they don't, they can't offset with deeper skill on like say humaneness, for example. And that's not everybody. There's a lot of really, really good people out there that can do it. But I see a lot of that out there. And so a lot of it can be gambling. And I don't love that aspect. And I tell founders, if you want to be funded.

Mudassir (01:12:54.855)

Jeremy Barr (01:13:02.154)
by a VC and get operation experience and get human development experience, which is what you really need, go and find the people that are not playing the power law and portfolio approach. If you see somebody talking about power law and portfolio approach on their LinkedIn as a VC, it's not to say that all of them aren't gonna do it. Even all math some of that in, just because it's the standard and it's a good catch all. But we want their focus, which is displayed based on how many times somebody frequently says something. We want their focus to be on operations, development.

people development, et cetera. So if some VC is talking about parallel and portfolio approach a lot, the founder is not going to be as supported with those ones because that is the main focus for them.

Mudassir (01:13:44.521)
And what about if some founders don't want to be supportive? They just want the cash. What about those founders?

Jeremy Barr (01:13:52.698)
If they are fully developed, which 99.99% of the people in the world are not, great. But in most cases, the founders that think they just want the cash, and some people come to me, they go, I don't need mentorship, I just want the cash. And I say, good luck. Have you run a 20 million or a 50 million dollar company? Because I don't see that you have. I have. I've managed teams and teams of people at large scale. I've been a million dollar and a billion dollar company. So you haven't done that yet. You don't know what's coming. And you think you know a lot.

You know a lot more than a lot of people around you. You probably know 500 times more than a lot of people around you, which makes you overconfident. But because you haven't run a 20 or $50 million or $100 million company, you haven't been in a billion dollar company, you don't know what you're missing. And the fact that you can't look and say, oh, you know what, I'm trying to grow a hundred million dollar company or a billion dollar company, and I haven't done that before. The fact that you can't have that awareness is already telling me the key ingredient of awareness and listening, which is how you grow the most.

is missing and now you're missing a key fundamental ingredient. So as soon as you come and say, I just need the cash, I now know you are unqualified.

Mudassir (01:14:57.209)
Okay, all right, okay. So next one is, as a startup scale, how can founders maintain control and not get diluted like crazy, right? So what leverage do they have usually?

Jeremy Barr (01:15:12.874)
Running a really great company. So when you run a really great company and you become that high quality, high scale founder who can sell really well and what is great, how do you sell really well? You communicate really well. How do you communicate really well? You listen really well. How do you listen really well? You do non-verbals and how do you do non-verbals in a landing page at scale? That's gonna be a challenge that you need to focus on, right? And you need to do VSLs, video sales letters, et cetera. Or if you're doing high price B2B sales, you want all your sales agents to be doing this really, really well, right? So creating a really good company.

gives you all the leverage for not getting diluted because then every investor has to fight for you, lower the price per equity, et cetera. So you being really good at being a great human and communicating well is what gives you all the leverage in the world to not get diluted.

Mudassir (01:15:59.565)
What's a great company look like? Like what exactly is a great company?

Jeremy Barr (01:16:04.458)
A great company is having a great and clear vision in brief words, having a team that is capable of achieving that vision, and having a founder or founding team or management team that is really great high quality humans, which comes from being that well-rounded human that can communicate and relate to a lot of people that can listen really well and listen to non-verbals really well and balance variables well and have attention to detail.

Mudassir (01:16:34.549)
Okay, all right. Why most founders are not great leaders? This should be your favorite.

Jeremy Barr (01:16:43.446)
Yeah, I mean, this is the end and we've touched on a lot of it already, right? And so a lot of founders are not great leaders because they, you know, they're jumping out of their nine to five mindset, they're wanting their freedom. It's all focused on them. And they haven't, most of them haven't yet focused on the customer and the impact that they want to drive yet. And because they're not focused on helping other people, whether it be their employees or their customers, and they're focused on themselves and their vision and their baby, they don't lead a team well.

because they're still so focused on themselves, be focused on yourself in a personal development minds. Don't be focused on yourself in an insecurity lens or in a what you wanna achieve type of lens. Be so focused on other people and helping other people and uplifting your team, that's what's gonna enable you to become a great leader. Most founders are not great leaders because they haven't developed themselves as a human being. That is the core of all of this that we keep repeating, which is good.

Mudassir (01:17:36.765)
Okay, okay. If you go and you Google like why most startups failed, which is the percentage is like really high. Some people say it's like 90%, some say it's 99%, I don't know. So the most common answer that you'll get is they're not out of cash, they're not out of money, lack of resources, like right, somewhere along that line. If cash is that big of a problem, and you mentioned at the beginning that there's so much cash like still sitting on the table like right now.

people are looking for good founders, great founders. Why so many companies fail and why not great founders being found?

Jeremy Barr (01:18:16.758)
Yep, yep. So cashflow is looking at it from one perspective. Cashflow is like that comment. Yeah, cashflow is a common answer for why startups are failing. But what is happening when you're messing up with cashflow, right? If you're messing up cashflow, you or your team didn't manage what steps need to be done in what order. If you didn't manage that well, then either you're not communicating to yourself in your own brain very clearly because you're verbose in the way you talk to yourself and to others.

or you didn't communicate clearly to the team and the team can't communicate clearly to each other, we need to do this step here and this step there in week one versus week two versus hour one of the day versus hour two of the day, the unique order of timing of this action and buffering it appropriately and A-B testing properly, those things are what lead to the failed cashflow. So it starts from the talent in the organization and the talent collaborating, which is coming through communication.

and communication as modified through insecurities and traumas, because a lot of people are having these miscommunications in companies and they're like, you said that, you meant that, and it's like, no, no. Just ask, here's what I heard, here's what I saw, here's what I felt, and then say, here's my lens, here are my thoughts, here's my perspective, and then what are your thoughts? Is those three things in order? Here's what I heard, saw, felt, number one. Number two, here's what I think, here's my lens, here's my perspective. Number three, what are your thoughts?

do that all the time, then you're going to start figuring things out. You're going to communicate better. You're going to make your strategy better. You're going to make the order of operations better. You're going to be precise with your estimates on how long do you think that engineering is going to get, how many sales do you think you can actually make versus like pressurizing somebody to make sales that they can't make because they didn't understand the sales pitch or they didn't get the right ICP in the funnel or they were pressured by somebody. Right. And then that cascades to messing up cashflow. So cashflow isn't the cause. Cashflow is a lagging indicator.

The leading indicator of the failure came from the communication, came from people not focusing on personal development of themselves as individual human beings. And you can tell how good they are with how well they communicate and relate to a wide variety of people at scale and how well they can communicate. And this is something you can tell in the first 60 seconds of meeting somebody.

Mudassir (01:20:31.773)
Yeah, yeah, okay. The last one is what actually, so what's the most common startup advice that you have listened, you have heard, you have watched on YouTube or like whatever, which is actually a bullshit? Like you don't believe in that.

Jeremy Barr (01:20:50.414)
What is the most common one I've heard that I don't?

Jeremy Barr (01:20:55.902)
I hear a lot of good ones. I don't know that I have an answer right off the bat for that. I hear a lot of good ones. I focus on a lot of the good. I don't have a quick answer for that one, actually. Surprising.

Mudassir (01:21:10.545)
Okay, that's fine. So every single time I meet somebody, one of the things that I do is I want to learn something for my personal reasons, purely personal reasons. So I ask a question that I actually want to learn. So this is for my own learning. You're not selling a product, you're selling a vision. What is your opinion on that statement?

Jeremy Barr (01:21:34.506)
That's correct. You are selling, you should be selling a vision. You should be selling the impact to humanity. The product is just something that helps deliver that, right? At the end of the day, I care. Did you make somebody happier? Did you make someone less sad? Did you help someone achieve their goals? Like your product is just an intermediary. Your product, AI, company operations, the whole company as a whole, all of your actions are just an intermediary. But at the end of the day,

Did you achieve that customer or human impact of making somebody happier? And that's the vision. The vision is I wanna make people happier or I wanna solve X, Y, Z, right? So yeah, you're absolutely not selling a product. You're, and that's why all of sales is all about benefit and not features, or at least that's what's taught and it's proper to teach that. But a lot of you will miss that up. So yes, I agree with that.

Mudassir (01:22:17.762)

Mudassir (01:22:22.401)
Yeah. OK. Amazing. So we do have this small ritual on the podcast. What we do is we ask all our guests a question for our next guest without telling who the next guest is going to be. So we obviously got a question for you. I'm going to take a question for our next guest. So the question that the last guest left for you is, who was a VC, by the way? What childhood experience has most influenced your current view of the world?

Jeremy Barr (01:22:53.558)
I mean, and maybe I just quickly say the seventh grade thing, right, when, you know, mom took me out of school. I had D's and F's, she got me up to A's and B's, she built on my confidence, confidence loop, and, you know, and then I'm able to see other people through that lens of like, we all have different learning styles and learning paths, and school is one way of doing it, right? I didn't do well in that lens. And even if I never did good in school, we all have different capabilities as human beings, and we gotta find out.

what capabilities do we have, what ones we want to develop, and we all have different ways of doing it, and every human is beautiful in all of the different ways, and we don't all follow the same path.

Mudassir (01:23:36.821)
Yeah, okay, amazing. Question for our next guest, please.

Jeremy Barr (01:23:41.998)
Question for the next guest.

Jeremy Barr (01:23:49.162)
Why, I don't know if this is interesting for anyone else, but like why must you, why must you like live and die for whatever it is that you're doing?

Mudassir (01:24:05.625)
Okay, thank you, appreciate that. All right, Jeremy, thank you so much, I appreciate it. Appreciate the time, I love the conversation. Thank you so much again.

Jeremy Barr (01:24:14.934)
Thank you, it's an honor to be here.

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