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#11: The Art of Interviewing with Mixergy Founder Andrew Warner

Welcome to The Creator's Adventure where we interview creators from around the world, hearing their stories about growing a business.

Today we are talking with Andrew Warner about how to conduct an interview, learn from people you admire and turn this knowledge into a sustainable business.

Andrew Warner is the founder of Mixergy and a pioneering podcast interviewer who did over 2,000 interviews. In his book, Stop Asking Questions, he explains how to lead interviews and learn from people you admire.

Learn more about Mixergy: https://mixergy.com/

Get Andrew's Book: http://stopaskingquestions.co/



Transcript

Bryan McAnulty: Welcome to the creator's adventure, where we interview creators from around the world, hearing their stories about growing a business. My name is Brian McNulty. I'm the founder of Heights platform. And today I'm talking with Andrew Warner about how he built a business that did over $30 million in sales.

How he's interviewed over 2000 guests on his show Mixergy and how to be a great interviewer.

Hey everyone. We're here today with Andrew Warner. Andrew Warner is an entrepreneur and host of the hit startup podcast, Mixergy, where he uncovers the secrets of the world's best founders over the course of more than 2000 episodes. Andrew has interviewed everyone from Barbara Cochran to Gary V to the founders of Airbnb and Netflix in his book.

Stop asking questions. He explains how to lead interviews and learn from people you admire. And after building two startups of his own, Andrew started Mixergy as a way to learn from other entrepreneurs. Today. Mixergy is a place where successful people teach ambitious new entrepreneurs through interviews, courses, master classes, and events.

And when he's not interviewing, Andrew loves to spend time with his wife, Olivia and their two children. Andrew is also an avid runner and has completed a marathon on every continent, including Antarctica, Andrew, welcome to the show.

Andrew Warner: Thanks for having me on, you know, what? Running has been my passion for years and years, but ever since I got here to Austin, I've been swimming like crazy.

I went yesterday to Barton Springs. It's like an eighth of a mile each way on the pool. Beautiful water. It's just phenomenal. Anyway. That's awesome. Good to be here.

Bryan McAnulty: Cool. I'm I am not a swimmer actually. I feel like My, my body is completely against that. I feel like I do not belong in water. What's your, what's your sport?

I when I was younger, I was really, really into aggressive, inline skating, so inline skating, but like jumping on the rails and everything like that. Oh,

Andrew Warner: I could never do that, but I was just thinking about getting in line skates. Cool.

Bryan McAnulty: Be fun. Yeah. I haven't done it in a while. Actually. I'd like to get back into it here soon.

Yeah. So I'm really looking forward to talking with you today about how to interview, because I really feel that even if our audience isn't planning to launch a podcast or something like that, themselves, that just understanding how the interview is such a powerful skill to help you learn and talk with people.

But before we get into that, I've been listening to your interviews since I think back in like 2009, but for members of our audience who aren't familiar with you, can you tell me a little bit about how you got started professionally? And then how did you transition from a business owner to hosting Mixergy?

Andrew Warner: professionally. I was just an entrepreneur since the time I was a kid. I was the kind of guy who would go to school fantasizing about starting companies, the way other people fantasized about going out with girls. It was like, that was in my head. And then when I left school, I created an online greeting card company and it just kind of took off because greeting cards are inherently viral.

You send one. And the recipient says, well, if I got one, maybe I should send it to this person who sent me one. And. they would send to that person and then they would send to another and another, and the thing just kind of took off. And, we ended up doing over $30 million in sales and then I burned out.

I mean, like completely and I decided I was gonna disconnect. I think I even disconnected from the internet essentially. I, I know I wasn't spending much time on it. I would just ride my bike all day and. Listen to podcasts and, and well, I guess back then, it wasn't podcasts. It was old recordings of radio shows that I would pay someone on eBay to go and hunt down for me so I could listen to them.

Wow. Yeah, it was great. And at some point I said, oh, I've gotta come back. I wanna find a way to be more helpful at this stage in my life. And I. Let's try doing live events and events are great because you get to meet people and you get to have engagement that you can't do on that. You can't have online, but they don't nearly scale the same way as doing online.

And at some point I just started doing these interviews with people who came to my events. And that overwhelmed everything. It became bigger than the events themselves. It became something that people like you, you're an entrepreneur, you're a creator. You listened. I would never have been able to reach you, connect with you, meet you if it was just a live event that I was doing in California.

And so I. I took off. I'm about to meet AJ from ICR, this company that fixed iPhones and other devices. He, he ended up selling it to Allstate. He's here in Austin. We're connecting, he's gonna bring a rabbit over for my kids. So it's created great relationship for me. Great impact on other people.

And that's the beauty of being online. The thing is that I wasn't the one who was teaching. I never, as much as I felt that I'd done, I felt like it wasn't enough to teach. And I don't know if other creators, if other teachers feel that way, but I just didn't ever feel like it was my place to teach, but I always thought there are these other people who I wanted to learn from, and by recording interviews with them, I was learning and the audience was learning and we were all getting like this in this connection that we never would've had other.

that's

Bryan McAnulty: great. Yeah. I think everyone as a creator has to find their thing, you know, so for some people maybe teaching comes more naturally to them that they feel like mm-hmm , they have something inside that they have to get that out, either, maybe through a book, maybe through teaching people, coaching people, but in your case, that is actually your passion for kind of learning from others and sharing what they know in that way.

So I want to ask actually, You worked as a volunteer instructor for Dale Carnegie's associates and as many know Dale car and Dale Carnegie was the author of many books, including the famous Halloween friends and influence people. I think it really speaks to your determination and eagerness to learn.

And how mm-hmm you thought that reading the book like everyone else was not enough and you actually went to go and work with him. So how was your experience with that? And what did you learn from

Andrew Warner: that? You know, the book was amazing and you're right. I wanted to see do people actually do this stuff and.

So I heard Dale Carnegie associates had an office in Midtown Manhattan. I went and I knocked on the door by then Dale Carnegie had died, but his organization continued. And I, I said, can I just work here for free? I wanna learn. And they said, we got just the right guy. They introduced me to this guy, Robert Reese, who was like the go getter, who was gonna try different wacky things.

And they said, go work with him. And the first day that I worked there, my name wasn't Andrew. I changed it to Andrew. I Americanized it. My name was shook. And I introduced myself and the woman who worked for Robert Reese with me said, how do you spell that? And I said, S H U K I? And she said, oh, like a shoe key, you know, like a key for a shoe.

Hmm. And then she moved on. I thought I saw that in the book. It felt so hokey in the book. Like, am I really supposed to say, Brian, how do you spell your name, Brian? And, and then just. This feels weird, but she did it and it turns out it was, it was nice that she paid attention. Most people heard my name was SHK and just kinda rolled their eyes mentally and moved on.

I saw that she really cared and I got to see a lot of the techniques in the book in action, done naturally by people who'd been doing it for years who weren't second guessing themselves middle way through it, but just doing it. And I like do I like seeing that it helped me embody the, the lessons from the book.

Bryan McAnulty: Awesome. So your interview show Mixergy has more than 2000 episodes and you've interviewed leading entrepreneurs from all industries, including the founders of Netflix, Airbnb, and other popular tech startups of today. What would you say are the ingredients in a perfect guest for your show?

Andrew Warner: I think that the founder of air be of, of Netflix, Mark Randolph in the middle, basically called me out and said, Andrew, you're looking for more of an anal answer than I've got that's unnatural.

And I think that that's a really key aspect of a good guest. Someone who's not just there to perform, but can be themselves, even if it means calling out what they see, because the audience can feel it. I don't know if you've ever heard an interview where you go, this just feels like BS mm-hmm . And if no one says this feels like BS, it feels so awkward to listen to.

And we as listeners want to. So Mark Randolph called it out. And I also explained why I was being so anal that I do like a little bit too much methodology to my life. And I think he's right. That it's one of the things I need to work on. And. Chill out a bit. So that's a big aspect. Another aspect is clear ideas of what you've done.

A clear awareness. So you mentioned the founders of Airbnb. I actually turned them down for an interview. They were listeners they wanted do beyond. And I, I said the company's a little too small. What? I don't know that it's right fit. They gave me a list of the things they wanted to. Teach the messages that they wanted to communicate.

And one of them is now something that we've learned a lot, which is do things that don't scale as business people. We keep saying, if, well, if I do this, what happens if we get big, it doesn't make sense. Why bother doing it? And they said, do things that don't scale. And at the time it was counterintuitive and they told the story and that's the third part, a story they told the story about how they were told by why Combinator, their investors.

Go to New York. You have very few people there, but at least that's the biggest city that you've got. Go learn from them, be in their house, ask them why they're using your service, what they need, and, and then do the things that don't scale. And they did that. And one of the things they discovered from talking to their users was the pictures on Airbnb were too tiny.

If someone was gonna stay in someone else's house, they wanted to see big, giant pictures to make sure there wasn't something weird there. And so the founders of Airbnb took cameras and they. Taking photos of the properties that were listed on their platform. Doesn't scale. The founders can't do that.

They may not even ever be able to hire photographers for everybody, but at least they did it to see if it worked. And then they were able to say, yes, we do need bigger pictures. If the hosts don't do it, maybe we pay for it, but we need it on the platform. So those are the, the three things. Someone who could actually talk openly and call out BS whenever it feel, whenever it feels like it.

Number two, someone who has a clear thing that they're going to teach a clear message. We're not just here to hang out and number three stories. We don't remember anything without a clear story. And we don't believe people unless they showed us how they did the thing. If the founders of Airbnb had just said, go and do things that don't scale without saying, and we flew to New York and we took pictures.

It wouldn't be the same. Those are the.

Bryan McAnulty: Great. Yeah. I really like how actually you call out guests about certain things and it's actually to their benefit because if they say something where the audience is wondering, well, I don't know if I really buy that. Like you, you understand that the audience may be thinking that, and then you call them out and say, well, then what's the, what's the reality of this?

How, how can you explain this? How can you tell me about, to prove yourself to it? And that really helps. The, it really helps the guests to actually get a better image of themselves across. Even if that question might come across, difficult to answer or even offensive at times,

Andrew Warner: I think, I think that it does help a lot.

I think for some people who are a little bit insecure, it makes 'em feel uncomfortable, but I'd much rather be upfront than regret it later on. actually. So Brian, I had a guest on just before you, I was I'm recording today. Mm-hmm and the guy made no fricking sense. And I could see that he made, I'm asking him, where did you come up with the business idea?

And he's rambling. I'm asking him basic things. Like how did you find the partnerships that made your business like take off? And he's given me a bunch of different things. And I started writing down what he said, cuz he said, Andrew, if you let me talk, then I could explain it. So I let him talk. I muted myself and I typed it out.

And what he said made no sense. And I just listed all the bullet points and how they didn't connect. And I said to him, I don't see the thread here. I don't see the response. Mm-hmm and I'm sorry. It may just not be a good fit for me. The way that I'm asking you questions maybe is not right. Or maybe the way that maybe there's something about me.

It's not working. I'm sorry, but I have to, and it was so hard for me to do. But I thought what's the, what am I gonna do? Unleash it on the audience, which stinks? No email him afterwards. That's a little bit of a wooy move to do to spend even another half hour with him. And then afterwards, tell him by email, call him up.

No, I had to call it out. And I, I dumped out in the past. I would've kept that recording and published it. But this year I'm going to, I'm gonna watch myself and

Bryan McAnulty: not do. I mean, I think that's such a difficult skill to learn though. It definitely requires practice to be able to build up the confidence and, and comfort in doing that.

I mean, it's, it's never comfortable to do that.

Andrew Warner: It never is. Unless you're like a sociopath, it never is. I try and I don't always succeed in. Doing it as well as possible by putting, by making the message clear about why it makes sense for the person I'm talking to. And I don't know that I succeeded today.

I think I was a little bit frustrated, but the, the right approach is to say, I think I'm not able to pull out to coach a good story from you that would resonate with the audience. If we give them all of this, they're going to blame you. When in reality, it's pro it's my fault as the interviewer. And I just would rather say that it's not working than put that out there and then have everyone say, why is this guy not like, not smart, not nice to Andrew, not a good storyteller when it doesn't it, you don't deserve to have that.

And I try to frame it that way. Hmm. Sometimes I get a little frustrated, but on the opposite

Bryan McAnulty: side of that, what is an interview that you've done that in your opinion was really, really great. And why?

Andrew Warner: I really think that the interview that I did today with Eli Harris was great. The guy created a company called, R zero.

Their whole idea is they realize, wait, you know, what, why is it that we clean up rooms? You know? And. use Lysol and everything else at the end of the day, that means that during the day all those germs were on the tables and people had to breathe them in the air. And then at the end we clean 'em up. And then the next day it's just clean for a moment.

That makes no sense. And if someone didn't use a room, why are we spending the resources to Lysol that at the end? So, meanwhile, if we just have UV lights in a room, they kill everything. Bacteria viruses, 99 point something percent, right. Actually, I think we could create those pretty inexpensively and sell it to businesses and schools and jails and hospitals that need to have it on to make sure that people don't get sick or reduce illnesses.

And that's what he did. And he built it. And the reason that that was an interesting story is because the idea makes sense. His business is not one that many of us have heard about. He's a guy who started out. Telling us about a failure, essentially, that he just had a regular job in China where he always wanted, he wanted to learn Chinese because he wanted to see if he liked Chinese.

He wanted to see if he liked being in China. He went there to school, liked it, got a job, started a company and got pushed out of his own company. The one that he started and. When you see how devastated he was at the end of it, how much his own personal sense of self at worth was dampened by it, how he needed to go to therapy.

You recognize the child in the person who went to China at 18, the man in the guy who started a previous company, the failure that we all worry about being. This thing that we love that we created is it was called a failure by his investors and he was kicked out. And then the triumph of still having another idea out there that can change the world and change your life.

That is huge. That is huge.

Bryan McAnulty: And also being something that people might not think of as A popular kind of business or something that people talk about. Right. I think people make the mistake thinking, I don't know what to do with I wanna be an entrepreneur. I don't know what to do, but the thing that you hear about the most, just because it's something that people can talk about or, or makes sense in, in marketing, it sounds nice.

It doesn't mean that's the only thing you can do to become successful. There's a, there's so many opportunities for successful businesses about these solving these problems that are not nice or fun to talk about necessarily.

Andrew Warner: And do you know what else he was straight up open with me saying that he recognized that when COVID happened, the world was gonna change and he was gonna look for, I, I don't think he used the word opportunity, but I'll use it.

He looks for an opportunity to start a business, an opportunity in the mess and truthfully. whenever something bad happens. a lot of entrepreneurs go out there and say, where is the opportunity here? I though felt bad when COVID hit saying where's the opportunity. I saw some entrepreneur, friends of mine come out with business.

And I said, that looks like a scumbag move to go and try to capitalize on it. I was wrong when there is a crisis, you're not an opportunist for jumping in and saying, where is the opportunity? You are someone who's making the world a better place for doing that. He's someone who's making the world a better place for that.

A lot

Bryan McAnulty: of entrepreneurs are he's providing value. He's, he's serving some group of people with a solution. and what I would say maybe is I would also feel uncomfortable in, in looking at it that way, but the way I would look at it more, I guess myself, is that like, you're looking through this adversity or these problems, and then thinking to yourself, how, how can I create something rather than, I don't know.

I guess I would have more of that approach in thinking there's this problem that. This adversity that I'm facing. How can I get out of that? How can I make something better? How can I provide value rather than the approach? That's more so strictly being okay. I'm a, I'm wanna create this business and there's a problem.

How can I make money with it? And so I don't know if I'm explaining that so well, there's a difference between that, but I think

Andrew Warner: the people you're saying, how do I make a difference instead of how do I make money? Yeah. And then let whatever solution come through. I think that makes sense. In the past, I would've disagreed with you, Brian.

I would've said Brian's a WIS. Brian's not like hungry enough of a go getter. What I realized was I'm actually in therapy now. I told you I'm taking a creative year. And so my wife said, go sign up for therapy and go show up every week. One of the things I'm learning about myself is I grew up in New York.

Wall street mentality, dominated the culture, every culture. And it's a very transactional, where's the money kind of mentality where you're either a winner or you're a wasy failure. And I, I get that. That's an issue that I have. I think that, that that is not the right approach to bring to creativity and entrepreneurship.

It's better to say, how do I serve people? How do I take care of them and think about the money, because that's, that's a nutrient than think about the output first. And then, you know, the, the serving other people's needs and problems as a mean to means to an end. And I've, I've learned that, but now I'm, I'm solidifying it in therapy.

Yeah.

Bryan McAnulty: I think it's uncomfortable for some people to think about the money. When, especially if they see themselves as a creator or they say, well, I wanna help people, but the money is a result of you actually providing that value to the world. And for yourself, if you wanna sustain and grow and help more people, you're gonna have to make more money.

So whether it feels bad to you or not, it is a key ingredient in order for you to accomplish being able to provide more value

Andrew Warner: to the. And you all, Brian, even with my wall street mentality that I'm now recognizing through therapy. Mm-hmm when I started to create, when I started to publish the interviews that I had on my site, when I started to bring on entrepreneurs to teach what they did well, like the founder of Twitch.

And we mentioned some others. , I didn't feel comfortable charging for anything. I felt well, if you charge, people are going to think that you don't really care about them. If you charge a lot, then people think that you're excluding them. I had all that stuff going through my head and it took. It took a lot of outside pushing from the entrepreneurs that I was interviewing from my audience to say charge, try it.

And to also have them say if it fails, it's okay. If people don't like it, it's still okay. And I've learned that. That is an important, it's an important thing to be aware of, you know, and even for me, that there's a hesitation when you do create and try to serve to charge and that, that issue back and forth of charging verse serving, creating verse profiting.

It's, it's a constant battle, but I don't think it needs to be. I think I need to just disarm both sides of that, of my head and understand that they just both need to work well together. And when I do well, they both work together. They both work together well.

Bryan McAnulty: Sure. I agree with that. I think my background is my dad is a salesman was involved in sales and I, I learned so much about the, the selling and marketing side of things from him.

And so I feel like I'm in a, a unique position that while I see myself as the creator, not so not like the pushy kind of sales guy and my dad doesn't either, but I've learned so much from him and become more comfortable with that, that I. I got past, at least one of the hurdles of feeling like am, is it okay if I charge for this or ask for money for this?

And I think that that's, that's part of where my passion is that I do hope to share some business strategies or sales strategies in interviews like this, because I don't want it to be all about that. But when the creator has some of those tools or tips under their belt, it can help them feel more comfortable and more confident about.

Selling, whatever it is that they have in their business. Yep.

Andrew Warner: I'm down. Do you wanna hear some of mine? Sure. Yeah. Here, here's the number one thing that, that helped me sell before you're ready. And I always thought you had to get everything just right before you start selling. And I still think that you should make it as good as possible, but.

One of the things that I learned from Jason fried, the creator of base camp was that it takes practice to sell. It takes practice to make something that's worthy of buying. And he gave the example of, I think it was the way that he played drums and how, when you, when you learn to play the drums, you accept it.

You're gonna fail at first and you're gonna get it and you're gonna keep working and improving it. But when it comes to selling, we think we have to get it right, right away. And I realized that practicing is fine. And for me, the way that I started practicing was saying, pay whatever you want. I don't yet know if what I've got is ready, pay, whatever it is that you want.

And I've had people who've just paid $5 and people who paid a hundred dollars a month and they paid whatever they wanted. And it was fine for me. And it was fine for them if they were happy with it. And that gave me great feedback and it gave me great. Ability to get started with my software, not being just right at the time with my content, not being right, get feedback from people, huge, hugely helpful.

And then we improved and improved and improved. I, I took my kids out to sell lemonade and I thought, what do we sell? What do we charge for? And I, and I said, you know what? Kids tell people to pay whatever they want. And my kids were scared. I said, really? I said, yeah, you don't know what we're just making lemonade.

This is an exa experiment. We just came up with it this morning. We're gonna go.

Bryan McAnulty: also, I mean, when you were a kid, any amount of money is multiplied exponentially. So

Andrew Warner: though they were, it's so weird that naturally they were scared about the downside of what if people pay a penny, penny. Yeah. Yeah. And in reality, people don't even have pennies in their pockets, right?

Yep. People aren't in. So, and, and even if they do, it's not like my kids paid for the lemonade ingredients. Right. So what are they worried about? But it's natural to think about what's the downside of it. And so I said, I think people are going to, if you trust them, I think they're gonna pay what's fair.

And so they tried it and people paid a dollar, which is what they wanted to charge. Anyway, some people paid more, nobody paid a penny, nobody paid less than a dollar. It worked out great. And now they're asking to do lemonade again when it gets hot here in Austin. And I should ask you, where's a good spot for them to set up a lemonade stand.

I Don. Oh, do you have a place?

Bryan McAnulty: Hmm, to be honest, I don't really know. Where, where do you stay right now? We're in south Austin. Okay. When I first came to Austin, we, we did, I think, I think I heard you mention you're staying in Airbnbs, right? Mm-hmm so yeah, we did the same thing and kind of tried it out and we ended up moving up to north Austin.

So I'm, I'm kind of near the domain area right now mm-hmm but, and after we moved here, we actually kind of left and traveling for a while. So, I don't know, I'm really not familiar with south Austin enough anymore. Okay. To recommend something specif. all

Andrew Warner: right. Fair enough. I should, you know what?

I should have known that you live in, in north Austin because you've got good taste. Like the fricking software that you've created is beautiful. Every little detail is so considered. Thank you, south Austin. Doesn't have that today degree, getting it north Austin has that. I, I feel like you're, I feel like you're someone who really sweats, design details.

Am I right about that?

Bryan McAnulty: Yeah, I think so. Actually. I, I, I like to be a little bit proud with myself of becoming less of a perfectionist with that more recently. So I started as a design studio, a web design studio, and eventually we moved into building our own software products. And what we have today is Heights platform.

Mm-hmm but it used to be that when we were building a website that every pixel would have to be perfect and, and all of that. Right. So cuz I really started on the design side, not the, the software side. But, over time I realized that even if the site is not perfect, it's not gonna stop people from buying from you.

And if you are going to wait so long to make it perfect, then you never get anybody to buy from you. So. It's, it's been a battle and also staying right now. We're trying to stay small as a company. We're, we're staying bootstraps. So it's a constant battle of thinking, well, what is the highest priority?

And yeah, we could improve the website and I really wanna improve certain things on the website, but there are other things that are gonna bring more immediate value. So we, we, I really care about the design, but still, if you, if you tell me that, I still think there's so many things I could be improving.

I

Andrew Warner: was sensing that that's where you're going with it, because I, I don't see that. I don't think I don't see it, but I'm imagining that you see the issues that you would want to fix. Anyway, I, I noticed that about you in, in the stuff that I've seen, even going back and searching for stuff that you did in the past online.

Bryan McAnulty: Cool. Thank. So I wanna ask a couple more questions about the interviewing now. Mm-hmm in your book, you mentioned the idea of, well, let me preface this with, if people wanna interview others. I think a lot of people might get hung up on before even thinking about questions to ask somebody, they think, oh, how am I gonna get somebody on my show?

Especially somebody well known like yourself. So in your book, you mentioned the idea. The motivated moment as one of the ways of getting somebody on, basically when you find out that they have something big going on, where they're doing a lot of press, that's a good opportunity to reach out to them. And so I figured maybe I should explain the process of like what I did and reached out to you.

I noticed that, okay. Hey, Andrew recently moved to Austin and I'm a fan of his show. I just got his book. We're studying his book to do our interviews. And I, I left a great review on it, and now I'm thinking, so maybe he could come on our show as well, because you have this book it's kind of recently released mm-hmm

And so my approach was kind of to like stack as many reasons as possible, why it would make sense for us to connect. I'm curious, do you feel like that worked well or is it just happened that it worked out good for you to be on the show now?

Andrew Warner: No, that's it. I, I, I would've There are a few things I would've done right now.

I told you, I'm kind of picking up the guitar, trying to learn that I'm trying to spend a lot of time swimming. I've really pushing myself and committed to my wife that I would be working almost, not at all this year or at least for the first six months. And so, yeah, I would've said no, but it was so fricking good that I I just had to say yes and I don't regret.

but I'm, I'm amazed. And I impressed. I think that that's true. And I, I think that if we think about the people we wanna reach from a point of what's their motivation, when are they in that? What I call the motivated moment, we're gonna have a lot more positive impact on their lives and we're gonna get better results.

So you think about met Mark Randolph, the founder of Netflix, and I know Tim and Reed Hastings though. He was the first essentially guy, I asked him in the past to do an interview because I saw his website. I read that everyone thinks that Reed Hasting is the founder, but the real foundation of Netflix of how they came up with the idea was so fascinating.

And it was his mentality that went into it. He's the direct marketing guy who used to study direct mail and then do direct mail like advertising. And then he brought it to the internet in the early days. It's just amazingly smart guy. And I asked him, and I didn't get a response. And, I understand why, because why would he, why would he do a podcast?

If who knows? What's the upside for him? It's not like he's selling anything. He made, he made enough money with Netflix. All it could be is potential. Downside. What if I embarrass him by, by making Reed Hastings look like a boob for pretending that he's the founder. When Mark Randolph is made, who knows?

Mm-hmm there's no upside for him. Then he had a podcast. Now as soon as he has a podcast, he has a reason to come on and do my podcast to promote his podcast. And so not only did he say yes, but he also put up with me, like asking him my jerky questions, which frustrated him at times. And we were open enough about what was frustrating, that we could understand this, the significance to me and his, his response and why his response is so important for my mentality to grasp.

Anyway, all that is about motivated moments. That is the heart of everything. And I found. for, if you're trying to get someone to be a guest on your podcast, trying to get someone to collab with you, trying to get someone to promote your stuff. It's all about finding who's the person who's going through the motivated moment instead of how do I motivate someone to do the thing they don't wanna do.

Bryan McAnulty: Awesome. Yeah. And I also wanna bring up though. I think you made a great point that you mentioned the biggest guess that you had on your show are actually not always. The ones that get the most attention are most traffic and how the lesser known guests actually have created some of your most popular episodes.

Is that true?

Andrew Warner: Yes. The most popular episodes are with guests whose whose names you may not ever recognize a hundred percent. The example I gave in the book is Andrew Burnett Thompson. He is a guy who created chart software. What is it called? Oh man. I can't even remember the name of the chart software right now.

Nobody knows him. I can't remember the name of the, the software company, even that he, that he created. There it is. It's it's side chart. So why is he the guy who's the most popular download it's because he was the guy who created, who learned how to program on the train on the way to work, who coded nights and weekends while his new baby was sleeping.

He's the guy who worked hard to teach himself, created this software that made charts and sold it. And did I think what was it like a million dollars in sales? And he was also the guy who within the small startup community people had heard and started talking about. And I knew that they were interested in him.

And I knew that he, that I was interested. And as soon as I interviewed him, I became the guy, the only person to have an interview with this guy that people in the startup community were talking about. Meanwhile, I'll have big names. And I gave some like the founder of the company behind leagues of league of legends, the game incredibly popular more than I think it's at this point more people.

League of legends, whatever the, the, their big game is. Yep. Then watch the super bowl. And I, I didn't get nearly as many viewers for that, or as many listeners for that. It's because there are tons of interviews with him. Meanwhile, Andrew Burnett Thompson, I had the monopoly on his interview and on his story at a time when people were talking about it.

And so I think we keep trying to figure out who's the big name. People keep asking me, Andrew, who do you wanna interview? Elon Musk, the tons of Elon Musk interviews. I wanna interview the person who. who's gonna say something interesting and new who people don't yet know, and I bet you, that person would get me a bigger audience than Elon.

Bryan McAnulty: that's great. So you are famous for your meticulous interview process, and this is something I know a little bit about from following your show, but there's extensive research that goes on with every single guest that you bring on, on your show. And I think that this is something really interesting to reveal to others.

If they're thinking of interviewing somebody. So, can you explain, I guess, as briefly as possible, it might be difficult to like, what is that process for running interviews from reaching out to the guests, to the actual interview itself?

Oh, I think you're muted actually.

Andrew Warner: Oh, sorry. There's a lot of elements. One of them is a, pre-interview where we have a producer who asks the kinds of questions that I will ask ahead of time. So the guest has some time to think about it. We have a chance to see what stories make sense and which ones we should avoid.

We can understand where their hot buttons are. That's really helpful. The other thing I do is I try to think of if I don't have a pre-interview, I try to think of what are the questions I'm going to. and then I kind of ask the internet, like, just start Googling the answers and if they've already come up with the answers, and I think it's interesting in my audience, I'll write 'em down and do it.

But if I think that the answers are not thick enough, there's not enough information. I wanna, I wanna think about what am I curious about and then add to that so that I'm not repeating everything that's already out there. And then another thing that's really helpful that I think people need to do more often, not just for interviews, but in general, I will call someone in their life.

To talk to them and get information

Bryan McAnulty: like some, an acquaintance or someone else that they know, yes.

Andrew Warner: An investor, an employee, a former employee. Do you know how flattering it is for somebody to know that I've spent some time really researching them? I think that that kind of thing is incredibly helpful.

And I've learned that I should do that outside of interviews too. I remember I was, going to meet with one of the founders of living social and I, I was gonna take him out to this. I was really I'm really into French fries. Not was, I still am. I'm really into like beer. I was gonna go out for beer and fries with him.

And then I checked in with the mutual friend. I said, no, to know Kagan. I who runs SMO. I said, no, you know, Aaron, what kind of food do you think he's into? He said, he's really on a health kick. And so I look for a healthy restaurant. I. Change the, the dynamic. I think that, I think that doing a little bit of research on someone like that goes a long way.

Bryan McAnulty: Well, I think a lot of what you mentioned is about the ways that you can ask your questions, the ways that you can interact with the guest to make them feel comfortable about opening up to you. And when they can see that you're, you've done that research, that kind of reminds them, Hey, wow, this guy is on my side.

Look at all this that he learned about me. And it might also remind them about some other story. They're not telling everybody else because somebody else didn't think to answer, ask those

Andrew Warner: questions. Can you imagine if before you go and have lunch with someone, if there's someone that, you know, that knows them, you say, Hey, I'm gonna go have lunch with them.

You text them, say I'm gonna have lunch with Steve. Can I give you a quick call about it? And then when you get on and say, what's Steve into right now? Like, can you gimme a sense of, I know that he, that he had that company before, what's he doing? It could just be like five minutes on the way over. if you say I'm gonna meet 'em in five minutes, it's even better because that puts a little bit of time pressure and lets the person know it's not gonna take forever.

Mm-hmm incredibly helpful. And I I think that people just missed that opportunity.

Bryan McAnulty: Yeah. I, I think that's so powerful to do that. So I saw in an interview, you mentioned how lucky we are these days that we have access to all these resources online that we live in this golden age of interviews and podcasts, where we can learn, and we can really reach out to our heroes so easily.

So how do you think the online environment of podcasts and online learning is going to change in the near future?

Andrew Warner: I think that we're going to get closer and closer to the people who do the things that we admire. And I think it's on us to find a way to bring those people closer to our customers. So you could imagine that in the past, we wanna learn from a teacher who learned not did. Now we wanna learn from a teacher who did not.

Not just learned it. I think we're getting to a place where we want to connect with that teacher more. I think we're gonna want to connect with more people who are doers like us. I think it's gonna be more about this sense that everyone is much more accessible than, than they were before. And so. One great example of that is Nathan Barry, who runs convert kit.

When he wrote his books, he would always do interviews with the people who did the things that he was writing about. And then he would also add them as upsells to his book. So you can buy just the book or you can buy the book. And these interviews with people who are doing the thing that you were reading about in the book.

And so why wouldn't you spend a few extra dollars and get that? And he talked about how that made significant difference for him financially. I think people don't do that enough. Don't say, how do I do more of that? And I think more and more, more and more, we should be doing that. And so if you're teaching something, think about who did it, that you can bring on and introduce to your students in college.

We used to do that. My, my entrepreneurship professor would bring in other entrepreneurs to say, you wanna be an entrepreneur. Here are the people who are doing the thing that you wanna do learn from them and realize also that they're real human beings. Like you. and then if you know that he, that the professor's also gonna bring this big name entrepreneurs over, you're more likely to take the course also.

So it works all the way around. And finally, for the entrepreneurs, why would these people who built phenomenal companies come into a classroom with just 20 students? There's not like a big upside for them. It doesn't have to be, they don't need big audiences. When it comes to education, people are much more willing to give of themselves.

And same thing for me. If I say to somebody, would you come and teach a class? Would you come and help me teach this concept? That helps a lot. If I say, would you come and do a collab with me or to grow my audience in some other way? They're probably gonna say no, but if it's I have 20 students who are gonna be on a zoom even, would you come and help them?

I have 20 people who bought my course. Would you come and give them some more insight? People are much more likely to say yes to that.

Bryan McAnulty: Yeah. Well, I'll tell you, I completely agree. I'm I'm working on doing some of the same things in my own business right now. E even if there's something that I could maybe have enough experience to kind of teach it myself, I'm thinking of, well, who can I bring on to who like that is their thing and have them talk about that instead.

Yeah. One of the things we like to do on this show is have each of our guests ask the audience a question. So if you could ask anything from our audience right now, if something you'd like to know, what would you ask them?

Andrew Warner: So I told you that when it came to entrepreneurship, it really helped me to have my professors at school, bring in other entrepreneurs. My dad bring in entrepreneurs to the house. I got to see what entrepreneurship was like, and I got to be an entrepreneur because it was so much more accessible, their methodologies, the things that they were thinking were.

Were there for me, I'm now taking creative time this year. I'm, I'm working less. I'm just exploring videography photography, music. where the hell do I, I don't, I don't know where to start. All I'm doing is just kind of figuring it out. And I think I'm gonna waste some time and needlessly, how do I get myself to be in a more creative space?

What, what do I do? Do I, are they, I don't even have YouTube videos that I'm watching. What do I type into YouTube? Say, I wanna be more creative. I give a bunch of junky stuff. If there's someone out there who is at all a creator who has some way that they prime their creative juices, open themselves up to be more, more creative, experimental, even I'd say more productive as a creative person.

I'd love to know what it is like. I'm, I'm playing the guitar now for maybe an hour a day, but is there a way that I should be doing more, that I could bring more out of myself? I, I don't know.

Bryan McAnulty: That's a great question. So yeah, if anyone has advice for Andrew on that, let him know the, yeah. And,

Andrew Warner: and by the way, I'm also setting metrics for it.

So it's like, oh really? Am I playing an hour a day? Am I creating one video for myself a week? I don't know what it is. What, what do I do? I'm I'm bringing business metrics to creative endeavor. Maybe there's someone out there who can bring creative understanding and creative direction for me.

Bryan McAnulty: So my last question I have is mainly for myself, inspired a little bit about how I've noticed.

You mentioned that in an interview, you should ask questions selfishly about what you wanna know about. So yeah, my question for you, is mainly for myself, but it could be helpful for our audience as well. Could you honestly rate our interview today? If you were in my place, would you have done anything differently?

Andrew Warner: I don't know that I have a rating. If I were in your place. One thing I would do is I would do two things. One is start off the whole thing by saying, I am creating a podcast here based on interviews. I have a few challenges. Let's talk about those. Okay. And then the second thing is. And so keep bringing it back to you and say, all right, but we have this.

So Andrew you're saying I could go find motivated moments who are the motivated moments right now? Like how would you do it right here for this situation? Or I'm really struggling with these sets of questions or I've got a business I'm running, it's taking me for fricking ever. You're telling me that I've gotta do all that.

What do I do to like in my system, make it faster. And then the second thing is. Find a way to reach out to a few people who are thinking about adding interviews and then see what they're going through, why they're doing it. Or even if they're resisting it, find out why they're resisting it. So you can come back and say, well, Andrew, this I'm seeing that a lot of people don't wanna do interviews cuz the whole other side business to have a podcast in a world where there's too many podcasts, you know, or whatever their objections are.

And then we could do that. So it. What is it that you're looking for and then come directly at it. And then what is it that your audience is looking for or objecting to and come directly at it? And I will even say that, in interviews that I do at live events, I will talk to the audience. Because I don't, it's often a new audience, someone else's event.

I don't know who the audience is. I will go to the audience waiting in line to come into the event, waiting in line, to come into the room that I'm interviewing in and say, why why'd you fly out here? Like, what's the issue. What's the thing that you wanna get out of it. And then I understand them and I could drill in with the guests and say, Steve, over there.

Beth over here, flew out just for this one thing. You didn't even give it to them yet. What's the thing. And then I, and I ask a question. So those are the two things think more selfishly, and that's what I would do anyway. I don't know that you should do it. I would be much more selfish and head on selfish and then much more audience directive and then go, go for that.

Cool.

Bryan McAnulty: I, I completely see that. I think that is really great advice.

Andrew Warner: I think, I think people should hit you up for the emails that you sent me to get me on. I think if there's like, if there's a master stroke in how to do it, it's so subtle and it's so effective and it's not one of these things.

It's a surefire way to get a guest on. It's just a really good way to get a guest on. I would, if someone emailed you send 'em the whole email a chain, they're not gonna be blown away. I think they're gonna be. They're going to have a deeper understanding of how to get guests, to feel excited about being on a podcast.

Well, thank

Bryan McAnulty: you. All right. Well that is all the questions I have for today, but before we get going, of course, mixer g.com, but where else can people find you online?

Andrew Warner: I use Twitter and you can see me at Andrew Warner there and offline I'm in Austin, Texas. So if anyone's out here and wants to go grab a drink, Brian, if you wanna grab a drink, let me know.

I'm trying to get out more now that I'm here. So they're, they're the two things.

Bryan McAnulty: Cool. Awesome. All right. Well, Andrew, thank you so much for coming on the show. Right on.

Andrew Warner: Thanks for having me on

Bryan McAnulty: if you enjoyed this interview and want the chance to ask questions to our guests live tune in on Tuesdays when new episodes premiere on the Heights platform, Facebook page, to learn more about the show and get notified when new episodes release, check out the creators, adventure.com until then keep learning and I'll see you in the next episode.

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About the Host

Bryan McAnulty is the founder of Heights Platform: all-in-one online course creation software that allows creators to monetize their knowledge.

His entrepreneurial journey began in 2009, when he founded Velora, a digital product design studio, developing products and websites used by millions worldwide. Stemming from an early obsession with Legos and graphic design programs, Bryan is a designer, developer, musician, and truly a creator at heart. With a passion for discovery, Bryan has traveled to more than 30 countries and 100+ cities meeting creators along the way.

As the founder of Heights Platform, Bryan is in constant contact with creators from all over the world and has learned to recognize their unique needs and goals.

Creating a business from scratch as a solopreneur is not an easy task, and it can feel quite lonely without appropriate support and mentorship.

The show The Creator’s Adventure was born to address this need: to build an online community of creative minds and assist new entrepreneurs with strategies to create a successful online business from their passions.

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