So often we are afraid to go all in.
Whether it’s in a relationship, in business, or in an investment, the fear of failure keeps us from fully committing. What a mistake.
I’ve had to learn to love failure.
I have to consciously tell my brain, “You’re going to fail. And it’s going to be ok.”
Take the leap. Make the commitment. Dare to take a stand.
If we’re not failing, we are staying too safe. And you won’t grow unless you are constantly making yourself uncomfortable.
On today’s episode of The School of Greatness, I dive deep into the idea of going all in when the time is right with one of the most successful investors in the world: Matt Higgins.
Matt Higgins is a proven operator, investor and business builder with a knack for helping founders at pivotal growth moments achieve breakout success. He serves as CEO of RSE Ventures, a private firm that incubates and invests in companies across sports and entertainment, food and lifestyle, media and marketing, and technology.
Higgins co-founded RSE with Miami Dolphins owner, Stephen M. Ross, the most prominent private developer in the U.S. and a serial entrepreneur. Together Higgins and Ross have helped build enterprises from scratch, including the largest privately owned soccer tournament in the world (International Champions Cup) and leading brand strategy and communications agency Derris.
Matt didn’t graduate from high school. He came from a humble beginning but never let that hold him back from getting where he is today.
He says that when you do things your own way and you start with a blank page, it’s going to be a lonely journey. You have to trust yourself and be careful about the advice that you take.
So get ready to learn what makes Matt a great investor and why certain businesses are winners on Episode 727.
Lewis: This is episode number 727 with Matt Higgins. Welcome to the school of greatness my name is Lewis Howes, a former pro athlete turned lifestyle entrepreneur and each week we bring you an inspiring person or message, to help you discover how to unlock your inner greatness. Thanks for spending some time with me today now let the class begin.
Warren Buffet said “In the business world the rear mirror is always clearer than the windshield.” And Winston Churchill said “Success is not final, failure is not fatal you just have the courage that counts.” Today we have my good friend Matt Higgins who, I actually interviewed about 8 years ago. Back in the day when I had a whole another site called sports networker, for those listeners who’ve been following me that long you might remember sports networker as 1 of my first ventures back in the day. Matt is a very successful businessman and the co-founder and CEO of RSE ventures, a private investment firm that focuses on sports and entertainment, media, marketing food and lifestyle and technology. In 2012, he co-founded RSE with Steven Ross, who is the founder of related companies and the owner of the Miami Dolphins, and Higgins also served as executive of the Dolphins and he had been a high level executive with the New York Jets. Before that he appeared as a guest investor on the 10th season of the incredible series that I love called shark tank, if you guys watch shark tank you probably seen Matt in shark tank.
In this interview we talked about investing businesses and how Matt chooses the best companies to invest in, to power a pattern recognition over conventional wisdom. When it comes to business how lonely the journey is when starting a business from scratch, how to scale a business. We dive into Matt’s journey through poverty and why he supports others in similar situation. It gets emotional for him at one point he shared stories about his mom which he never shared before, and we talked about the importance of celebrating everything in your life and taking the time to be present. So many powerful nuggets in this story whether you’re an entrepreneur, you’re just starting out, you’ve got a massive business and you’re looking to invest money and looking to scale your company it’s got it all in there for you in this one. Make sure to share with your friends and also connect with Matt Higgins over on Instagram and twitter.
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All right, I am excited about this one my good friend he’s on the interview to reveal and share with you all about business strategies and all the things he’s done to overcome his life to get where he is, without further ado let me introduce to you the one the only Matt Higgins.
Welcome back everyone to the school of greatness podcast, we’ve got the legendary Matt Higgins in the house.
Matt: How you doing? Good to see you.
Lewis: We connected like 10 years ago but I interviewed you 8 years ago in 2009 or 2010 and you were showing me the video a couple of weeks ago.
Matt: I hate that video because I’m a good 50 pounds heavier.
Lewis: You look lean man.
Matt: Right, but that’s not the only time I have been 50 pounds heavier. There’s multiple before and after so when I saw that photo I was slightly horrified.
Lewis: You look great right now.
Matt: Thank you.
Lewis: That was fun that was back when you were the head executive of the jets when you’re kind of looking and build that brand up and I interviewed you about sports business and what it was like for your career and all these different things that come then. But in the last 8 years you’ve taken the shift so can you share with us now what you’re a part of and your main business now.
Matt: Yeah, I mean I’m simply put a business builder, I always had the desire to be an entrepreneur and it was burrowed deep in my brain at 2 o’clock in the morning and I had all these ideas and the freedom to execute and like everybody there’s a moment in time where you just say ‘If I don’t make this transition right now I’m never going to do it.’ I had that great office at the New York jets.
Lewis: You were like the VP or something?
Matt: I was the E-VP. So, I was running the business of the team, I had the coolest job a big office on the 50 yard line on the field.
Lewis: The field is like behind.
Mike: Like little buttons I could push and the windows would drop and it would come up like batman type stuff. But I used to always say had everyone’s dream job but mine and I love the job, but I knew that I had one more chapter and if you stay too long you’ll get comfortable and I made the transition to partner up with Steve Ross to create our ventures. So, my day job is just backing companies and entrepreneurs who are looking to go to the next level and they’re missing something, simply put a lot of times its capital but it’s not just capital it’s conviction.
Matt: Yeah, but belief in themselves belief in like I can do it even psychologically and financially.
Lewis: If I got someone backing me I can take the risk that I want.
Matt: Exactly like creating a PR for my partner Jesse Dallas but he was pretty young at the time and I knew he had what it takes to be successful. That was the deal we partnered up together and he’s got one of the best PR firms I believe in the country 4 years later. So, if you are looking at all the deals I am doing the common narrative is there’s always a founder who is pursuing something transformative, he or she is special and they are missing something to go the distance. That is why a lot of our deals have a lot of real estate components, my partner is a massive real estate developer.
Lewis: Really? In terms of what you.
Matt: Well, like restaurants I’m doing a lot fast casual deals in the last couple of years, my partner Steve Ross is the largest developer in the country and if you look at a fast casual concept that has maybe 10 units or 20 units and everyone’s got their favorite emerging concept, they live or die on real estate strategy in those early days, you make some bad real estate decisions it’s very hard to overcome it because you’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to build that unit in the wrong location.
Lewis: And then you’re stuck for 5 year lease or something.
Matt: No one will give you money because now they judge your concept because you screwed up your real estate strategy and you say ‘Well I’m in the wrong spot.’ That’s a strategic advantage.
Lewis: That’s smart.
Matt: Right, so if you look at my portfolio sports and entertainment, media marketing, food lifestyle, technology there’s always a connecting dots component to it, how do I take aspect of a portfolio to help another aspect. Real estate is one big piece of it, but I tend to play far field lots of different investment but always somebody special behind it.
Lewis: That’s cool, so how did you start this in the first place?
Matt: Well we met over the last 10 years, he owns the Miami Dolphins and I had 8 years with jets overseeing the business, I had learned the business in all these different jobs so I understood it. For me, it always make sense if you have a sports team to try to put money to work around it, like you see exposure to a lot of interesting ideas, you have the ability to make sure those ideas get front and center and potentially reach millions of people. It just made sense to try to connect the dots and Steve’s entire career has been connecting the dots, he’s probably one of the biggest under the radar entrepreneur in the world not just a developer. So, we had a similar outlook on life and we basically form a partnership and I would help oversee the Miami Dolphins on the business side, you don’t want to put me anywhere on the football performance. The business side that I understand, hired an amazing CEO his name is Tom Garfinkel one of the best in the country and then we would work together to find deals and incubate technology. A lot of times there’s this nonsense around the narrative and those early days on the PowerPoint nothing ends up resembling the PowerPoint. So, I can tell you the PowerPoint but it doesn’t look like it, what it really is we see a great idea and we have an advantage, we can help at this proportional way, we acquire significant enough stakes so we answer the call at 2 o’clock in the morning because if I don’t own enough I am not going to bother and we back the company. It’s not venture just putting money to work like I work as if it’s my own and we rolled up our sleeves and we build those businesses.
Lewis: How big is the fund? Is that public knowledge or is it?
Matt: It’s in the hundreds and I think what makes us different is we incubate businesses from scratch too.
Lewis: Before they launch?
Matt: Yeah before they launch. So sometimes I hear this from founders a lot, you go to private equity shop or venture firm you might be dealing with somebody who businesses just theoretical and not to be grudge but everything is learn at business school.
Lewis: Not implemented.
Matt: Not implemented right. So something important about going like the pain and suffering about building a business from scratch and I’ve done it multiple times with partners and so as Steve. So if you come to as at the same time you are struggling with the pain and all the employees leaving, you waited too long to terminate somebody or it turns out that product you thought was a business but ended up a hobby. I made all those mistakes that’s very different when you’re working with us because of that background and the fact that when people bring a problem to me I see it as my problem, I’m not saying they are staring at a cell sheet and wondering why you miss those numbers, I am working for you to fix it.
Lewis: What are the characteristics of 4 or 5 individuals that you invested in the last 5 years that really made them stand out for you to be like I have to invest in this person? Whether it’s this, so the next thing is like they got the idea or passion, what’s the thing that they have that makes you want to say yes?
Mike: For me, first thing I look for is tells of authenticity, little signals that are emitted right. Because to me if you don’t have a degree of authenticity especially yourself dialog, when the moment comes that you need to pivot like we all do when we make business you’re not going to be able to pivot, you either are going to be insecure to acknowledge that you are wrong in the first place and if you don’t have any humility to do it you won’t make the move right so I look for a blend of confidence and humility. So when the moment comes I know they’re going to pivot.
Lewis: It’s almost like they’re stuck in their own way.
Matt: Yeah because it’s like downside protection because I don’t care who you are everyone has to, maybe it’s a minor pivot usually it’s a bigger one that things don’t work out the way you thought. It turns out that you’re not as great of a leader and you need to have a COL underneath you, which is a pretty common pattern right. If you don’t have confidence in humility you’re going to be embarrassed by that need and you’re going to wait too long and your business will topple over. So, it’s like when you say it I’m looking for those tells of authenticity because that tells me overtime you are going to be willing to do that. Intellect is important, intelligence is important like are you intellectually curious? Are you going to be constantly looking to figure out what’s wrong with my business? How do I make it better? I’d say those are the biggest ones and then it is a scalable idea. One of the mistakes I made constantly in my early years doing this especially in the last 6 years is I’ll see an opportunity, it looks like a business I won’t ask myself the hard question of how big can it really be and it turns out it was just a feature. So, I got enamored with my own creativity and my novelty and there’s a big difference between whether you can do something or whether you should do something.
Lewis: You can do lots of things
Matt: And you’re also incredibly clever and then you can enamored by your own brilliance and you can waste 3 years of your life and that was just a feature of somebody else’s business.
Lewis: Or you know I could sell toothbrush if I wanted to because I’ve got an audience but doesn’t mean I should, I could also come up with my own rap album but doesn’t mean I should.
Matt: Can you?
Lewis: No, maybe like auto tune.
Matt: No, but that’s right that’s how people tend to not want to ask themselves that question because it’s a scary question to answer because you are excited, right when you wake in the middle of the night and ‘Oh this is amazing I can invent a new product.’ But you never ask yourself whether you should and so I learn the hard way with a couple of bad ideas that I pursued, I’d like to not admit which ones they are but that was an important lesson. So now I got on shark tank and anything else I do I say ‘Is this potentially a scalable business? Can this be worth more than a hundred million dollars? Is it worth my time?’
Lewis: Is that what you look for if it’s worth more? Could it be a hundred million?
Matt: Maybe in the early days the standard was lower, everyone graduates and so I’m graduating each year and now could this be north of a hundred million dollars? Could I own enough of the stakes so that it is worth my time? Because we’re all humans, human behavior acts natural, you could be enthusiastic in those early days when you trying to win a deal and then you get bored and it’s like you are being deceitful. So, I need to own enough of the stakes that I feel like I’m the co-founder so that I’m going to put the time and energy in because I know myself and I know that I got other things competing for my time.
Lewis: How many deals do you guys invest in a year or in the last few years are you allowed to share that?
Matt: I am allowed to share it I have to calculate it.
Lewis: Like 10 years or 3 years.
Matt: I think we are going deeper into the deals we have, my partner is very discipline about this, when you have something that’s great and you know why it’s great or why it could be great you don’t be a bottom feeder don’t sell early you know don’t be a grasshopper, don’t jump from one thing to another. So, I’ve adopted that logic so I tend to go deeper and do more deals in the companies that we have. Gary Vaynerchuk we’re partners in Vayner media.
Lewis: Wasn’t that your first deal or not?
Matt: That was my first deal. I’ll tell you that story so I was at the jets trying to figure my life out.
Lewis: 2009 or 2010?
Matt: 2009 the jets are located in New Jersey and Gary is a massive fan the whole world knows this. My team was convince that he would buy a suit which I was not convince that he would buy a suit at all.
Lewis: No matter how big of a fan you are.
Matt: No matter how big yeah but sometimes you got to support your sales team so I just go see him at his wine library in Springfield, New Jersey. We met a bagel shop I was like what am I doing, so I sat down with him and I always break the conversation in the chapters. So the first 10 minutes was this.
Lewis: The hoody on.
Matt: The hoody and his scissors haircut and all frenetic about how I’m going to crush it and the internet is going to explode.
Lewis: The authenticity of a confidence.
Matt: He did, he was definitely authentic but is he out of his mind? That was the first step because I don’t back out of one’s mind. If you listen to Gary circa 2009 you would start to hear this prognostication about how the world is going to playout and you could start to discern an inside voice that made sense on resume with me. So, I tend to also look past the package because I came from a certain packaging. So I don’t judge the packaging I want to trust my intuition and what is the person really saying. So circa 2009 Gary was making these predictions about how the world would play out and the 2nd 10 minutes I was like he is being probably underestimated because I think he is right. So for example one of his early days he said “Social media is going to continue to take off and democratize the creation of content.” Contents is not going to be in the hands of New York Times or anybody else, it’s going to be in everybody’s hands in people’s hands. Corporation that are this massive battleship carriers are not going to be able to turn in time to figure out how to create that content or manage it because it will be everywhere. So, he says I’m going to create the first social media digital firm specifically to help those companies to create content and navigate that and they’ll never be able, because my next question is but eventually figure out and hire their own in house team, he’s like no they won’t they’ll move too fast.
Lewis: Wow, they need him.
Matt: They’ll always need somebody to help them navigate and so me and my brother AJ we’re still in college, we’re going to create this firm and then a few other predictions and that’s when a seed of an idea start forming, if I could partner with Gary wouldn’t be great to have this machine of social media content creation at your disposal while you are pursuing whatever you are pursuing and also if I could back him we could put real money to work on some of the ideas he had seen. So that was my first big deal, at the moment basically gave him 4 jets tickets so that he could take a player at the time who probably wouldn’t have the profile and then deserved to have the profile based on the position and can you make him twitter famous, and I remember we were having a dinner in Summit New Jersey with Kerry Rhodes and Gary went to work doing what Gary does, elevating his profile and showing me what he can do.
Lewis: And it all happen in like weeks probably?
Matt: I credit Gary a lot that was probably my first deal in business in this new iteration, this new current chapter of my life because he told me a few things ‘It doesn’t matter what anybody says, you don’t need anybody to agree.’ And at the time nobody else agree about what Gary would be I know it. So my pattern recognition skills tell me that I’m right and it doesn’t matter if the whole world is assembled on the other side of you, in fact that’s where the opportunities are that you have what it takes, because we all need reps. I don’t care how confident you are you need practice and you need validation and it doesn’t mean you don’t need external validation, you need validation that you are not being delusional. So, Gary for many different reasons but being right about Gary was an important way for me to get reps and I think I’ve ran that play a few times.
Lewis: Yeah, you are in the same play over and over but you made some other mistakes from.
Matt: I did but I haven’t wrong on people, you know where I’ve been wrong? I’ve been wrong when one I thought is a feature and I got enamored by my creativity and when I thought that the power of an idea would eclipse the downsides of the person. So, I would say this idea is so big, it doesn’t matter that this person is meek you know he’s not willing to put the time in, he’s not all the things that makes somebody not ready to be an entrepreneur or is got a really bad personality and no one is going to follow them because they have no empathy, I’ve made the biggest mistakes when I overlooked that fact.
Lewis: People’s the most important thing first.
Matt: Yeah it’s unfortunate that it’s a damn cliché and I hate to have to repeat it but it’s the jockey and because it’s a cliché people wanted, I just want to say nonsense.
Lewis: If the product is average but the person is incredible can there be a massive business of an average product to start?
Matt: Yeah, I love that. Some of my favorite deals are backing an average product that I actually don’t even believe in, but I love the person and it’s a long term play because I know they will iterate through that mediocre product and will end up somewhere great.
Lewis: Do you have examples?
Matt: Well then I am telling the person that their product is mediocre but in my head, I don’t do that a ton because then the problem is you’re playing a long game and not only that you have to go to the dark days when the person has to iterate, but just cause someone is pursuing a small idea and maybe you see their destiny like I’ve had that, I sit across an entrepreneur and say ‘this is not what you’re meant to be working on.’
Lewis: But I believe in you.
Matt: I believe in you and I don’t need to talk you out of your dream because this is a good place to get some reps. Right and I don’t know why you are pursuing this but I know in 4-5 years when you begin to understand just how special you are you will morph into what you’re meant to be and I like those opportunities because that’s exciting.
Lewis: Play the long game.
Matt: Play the long game like even Gary, I feel like so right and you have such a chip on your shoulder that’s unnecessary because you really are right and you don’t need to prove it over and over again, when you iterate through that tendency then you have an even bigger destiny, we joke about that all the time.
Lewis: How long was it until Gary started Vayner media and then when you invest it right at the beginning or when they reach a certain amount?
Matt: That was probably I’d say 2 years later.
Lewis: When they have like 40 employee or something.
Matt: Yeah, something relatively small and that’s what I love about my partner Steve you know he’s done everything right, he’s in his 70’s and certainly doesn’t need to work but loves building businesses, it didn’t take him anytime to convince them of what I saw and that’s where we connect, he concede the opportunity across the chasm and make a move.
Lewis: Do you guys ever disagree on a person or product?
Matt: I guess he trust me a lot, we might disagree because he might think I am thinking small and I disagree vehemently, he’s usually right which frustrates me
Lewis: Are you thinking small?
Matt: Yeah that’s the thing when you’re the transformational figure everything look relatively small.
Lewis: He’s got billions.
Matt: Billions but also he’s been through everything the projects that he does has been the largest development project in US history, it’s building a whole city you know of to the side.
Lewis: Where is this?
Matt: In New York, he’s building 15 million square feet of commercial residential of retail. Largest project in the history of the United States. That’s like one thing so my only point he will look at some of the things I’ve done or even he’ll be in for anything, doesn’t matter how small the company is it’s my approach and my thinking small approach and my focusing too much on downside mitigation as opposed to how great could this be and it’s great if you have people in your life like that who pull you forward. Steve has pulled me forward in places like, I don’t want to go there yet I need more time.
Lewis: What would you say to anyone who is playing small? Maybe they’re playing big but you know they we’re capable for more what advice would you have for people playing small?
Matt: I would say take that boulder that you’re chain to instead of behind you throw it in front of you and let it pull you forward, like playing small is the best way to ensure that you won’t ever achieve big dreams, don’t get comfortable where you are staying right now get uncomfortable right away and press ahead because you probably know inside yourself that you have more to give in this world and it’s going to haunt you one day when you look back. So I do think there’s something to be said for spending a little time like look around and assess yourself but quickly move on of the dime and press ahead. In fact my biggest regrets in business are the times I played small.
Matt: Yeah, it’s true like I don’t regret the misses and next I understand why I did them, I don’t understand why I played small like there is no great excuse for playing small in retrospect.
Lewis: What do you mean by playing small is that like small investment in this and could’ve gone bigger?
Matt: I think mostly playing small for me looks like I know I’m right I am nervous about optics, I’m nervous about being judge for being wrong or whatever it is.
Lewis: Only put a 100k in supposed to be a million.
Matt: Exactly or something is tethering and I know I’m right and I don’t double down. Now, I haven’t made a lot of those but those are the ones that I regret, because and this is Steve my partner’s point, like when you have a winner and you know it those are hard to come by like go all in right and the spray and pray is nonsense. Spray and pray to me is the playground of people who want to hitch all day long and afraid to be wrong.
Lewis: Invest in those funds.
Matt: Right, you’ll do better anyway, exactly get your annual yield and you’ll be fine. So, I think when you have a winner in your hands it doesn’t matter if anybody else knows, you got to press it and that’s my biggest regret.
Lewis: Now what happens when you press it and you go all in big and then you lose? And you lose all your money and all your time and energy, how do you look at those deals?
Matt: Those are tough.
Lewis: And you felt like I know I was right and I knew it but whatever.
Matt: Those are painful but what I say is when you dissect it you put the patient on the table and you start doing your postmortem, you will quickly find out the thing you missed and the thing you missed and usually related to some miss alignment in your character and personality, like you are worried about the downside, you are worried about acknowledging that they needed to pivot, you didn’t confront the CEO because you didn’t want to offend like there’s you, I had not had a situation like that where I was not able to dissect.
Lewis: Where you miss it.
Matt: Right, that’s what’s great about life we’re all playing the same patterns, maybe there’s like 7 you know allegorical patterns playing out there aren’t new ones being created. So if you spend enough time paying attention you could dissect it. So I much have gone all in and be wrong than have not gotten all in at all, because you don’t get many winners.
Lewis: Big winners. Yeah, you might get small winners like small money there and we exited but the big ones like how many of those are the big winners?
Matt: Well I think for one you have to see so many deals and spot a winner.
Lewis: Even for like Uber like even if you have invested early like you still got all your money all yet, you have to wait a long time.
Matt: You get to wait and things change, I mean look at Birchbox.
Lewis: It’s huge.
Matt: A billion dollar company and I don’t even know what it is now.
Lewis: What is it now?
Matt: I don’t even know, I don’t want to say it because we’re investor and scare technology. That was our fun with Gary but I just remember that one in particular because Gary always be like you love paper, it doesn’t matter like raised it a billion dollars and I don’t even know what it is now, but it definitely did not work out. So but that’s why you have to look at hundreds of deals to spot what you think a winner and then when you have a winner there’s so many intervening events that could make it lose that you have to put your time and energy to execute on. So that when you actually have it you could see it and feel it you have to go all in.
Lewis: There’s very few where that don’t many years to grow and make a lot of money, there’s very few that of those winners that exit in general. You know that’s going to take a lot of your time and energy so you got to be patient with the winners too.
Matt: Everything in life takes 5 years.
Lewis: Is there any investment like ‘oh 2 years later we made 40 million bucks.’
Matt: No, but maybe I am looking at the wrong things although I tend to like brick and mortar elements to it, I like the hard stuff because although the journey is more difficult when you’re there harder to dislodge you. Now, I’d like the pace of fast casual restaurant because there’s so much hard work that goes into it, like right now blue stone lane is a big investment of ours. I think there’s an opportunity to displace Starbucks. Now what I am saying is conventionalism but maybe a year it wasn’t that people are accustomed to paying for a premium experience and a coffee environment and paying $4 for their drinks, but when you have more units that McDonalds that doesn’t feel premium. So, I think there is a great opportunity to create the next not necessarily Starbucks per say but to scaled premium boutique experience and so blue stone is a company that we made a significant investment in.
Lewis: Where is that?
Matt: It’s about 35 units now we’ll double them this year, we’re in New York, in LA we’re opening in different markets now. I am willing to go on record right now saying this is one of the best investments I ever made and it can go back to pattern recognition the fact that there’s an opportunity in the coffee space it was obvious if you were paying close attention about a year ago, but conventional wisdom was saturated and it’s like no it’s actually to have an exclusive experience and not saturated at all. Remember how you felt back in the early days in Starbucks and again not hating on them, I love Starbucks but you remember that feeling? So you know that feeling hasn’t evaporated you still want it.
Lewis: But now it’s going to the boutique stuff because they want to get away from the McDonalds of coffee and they want to have a more artisan experience.
Matt: Right, so let’s talk about the space between there are 27,000. Yeah there’s blue bottle, there’s blue stone there’s room for a scaled boutique concept doesn’t have to be 27,000 units.
Lewis: Can be 500.
Matt: Whatever it’s meant to be is what it could be. Then when the moment comes then maybe it’s exited or whatever, I mean I tend to gnostic about that too that’s why when you think about our philosophy I tend not to worry about exits.
Lewis: How do you know when to sell?
Matt: Well we tend to take 20-30% positions the founders tend to control exit, our philosophy is that the exit should be enough of your byproduct success and we have an opinion for it. I’d rather stay with someone for 20 years who’s got a great idea and a great business. So one of the problems with traditional private equity is they have IRR threshold and they need to exit which makes total sense but because this is a private firm we tend to let it ride, and I love that because then I’m not looking like when are we going to exit? That is not very gratifying, I’d rather take on the world and just keep on building and building. So now I might be sitting here in 20 years and have not sold anything.
Lewis: But you still get returns every year right? You get paid out?
Matt: Yeah of course a lot of what we’re doing is growth, I mean well we don’t play and I like to play at an inflection point where an idea has been validated through some type of traction which is different in every place. So drone racing I was the first investor in drone racing so one would argue there’s no traction, well the YouTube videos in Australia in a park of people playing drone circa 2015 was a form of early traction because organically people are playing with drones. In restaurant fast casual space its 20 units that are performing well right. So I look for early traction but then we go all in and we’re patient so those early days it’s not like you are getting a quick hit or stuff like a flip.
Lewis: And how’d you get started in the first place because didn’t graduate high school and then GED and go to college?
Mike: Yeah, I grew up in bayside Queens and my mother was single mother taking care of our, I have 3 brothers we’re all miserable brothers growing up on the streets of Queens, and she was always my inspiration from my early age and she grew up really difficult circumstances, didn’t even have high school diploma. So when I was around 11 years old she went and got a GED and then I watched her try to crawl and fight her way out of poverty and we were desperately poor, used to take the Q-27 bus and go on the weekends and get a box of food from the church pantries, which always told me a lot about life.
Lewis: So embarrassing and grateful at the same time.
Matt: Embarrassing and grateful mostly embarrassed as a kid looking back gratitude more, but that was the natures of our struggles and at one point maybe I was 13 or 14 I was working at McDonalds, I already have 2 jobs I used to scrape the gums of the chairs at McDonalds. Early on probably one of the most important moment of my life when my career happened around 14 or 15 years old when I said I have 2 choices, this situation is going to get desperate, my mother had a ton of health problems and I can see her deteriorating and that we weren’t going to make it out of here and no one’s going to save you which as a kid I was bitter and resentful about.
Lewis: The government should be saving us.
Matt: Yeah, like no one ever come to my house as a kid because I was embarrassed I was so poor sleeping on the mattress on the floor. Nobody is going to save me, I used to have this conversation with my mother like we have to do something and then I have this idea, she dropped out of high school and not deliberately but got her GED and I thought if I could get a GED, dropped out of high school early and get to college early I could get a job that pays with a college kid and I’m going to accelerate and run as fast as humanly possible to get us out of this situation. So, I made that choice when I was 14, so but then again I want to be practical by time. So, I got left back every year just sitting in the same home room with the kids and just beepers going off and all the things that you could imagine back in the day and then I got left back 2 years in a row and just waited until I turned 16 and then I made the hardest decision I ever made, because it sounds good on paper when you draw up the play but I’m like really going to do this? I remember my last day of high school you have to return your textbooks to every class and you walk in front of the room which is really embarrassing right. Kids could be mean to each other but dropping out of high school is like a pretty big.
Lewis: You’re like the biggest loser.
Matt: I’m the biggest loser like Gary talked about, like dropping out 20 years now you would be like an entrepreneur back then it was not cool. I was walking in front of my science teacher at the time said like ‘Higgins what a waste, I’ll see you at McDonalds.’ And I remember saying ‘If you see it because I own it.’ I remember sitting on the steps opened up a Marlboro, smoke and thought I may just have made the most radical terrible decision of my life. But for me I know this is the right choice that inside voice is telling me if I don’t do something to change my circumstances like we’re not going to get out of here, and it seems unconventional that everybody else they don’t know what I’m dealing with behind closed doors which is something I am telling people like be careful who you listen to. So I dropped out and walked home and thought ‘Okay, now you have to execute your plan.’
Lewis: As a 16 year old?
Matt: As a 16 year old working at Deli at boulevard. Then I went to work to this GED program, I went to Springfield high school and took my GED on standby, took my SAT the following week maybe 2 weeks later I don’t remember the timing and then got into Queens college a couple of weeks later. What’s interesting back then if you get high enough GED you could go anywhere like Harvard, maybe Harvard is an exaggeration but not by much, like you could convert your score that is now not possible. So I started college when I was 16 years old and then the best moment in my life, I was sitting and smoking and thinking like ‘Okay.’ And I’m dying on the inside by the way, I am literally dying I am embarrassed and suffering, I’m like I don’t want to be taking care of my parent and making this big adult decisions. But by the time the best part is I came back to my high school prom and saw all the teachers and I was present like how you like them apples.
So, I learn everything I needed to learn about life during that timeframe and about business right.
Lewis: When’d you learn about business?
Matt: Well that idea is insane you’re actually going to torpedo everything and drop out of high school right? Everyone was telling me that and decisions makes no sense. So what I learned is I have the pattern recognition skills to even architect my own life, when you’re starting from scratch it’s going to be a very lonely journey, don’t expect others to see what you see because if they did your idea wouldn’t exist.
Lewis: They’d be doing it.
Matt: They actually changed the rules you can’t go actually get your GED started and I am almost proud of that. You can’t in some place be careful of the advice you take because they don’t have a window into it and if the idea was easily recognizable or implementable it wouldn’t be there for you to take advantage of and I’m just like do what you need to do, like do what you need to do to change your circumstances and what works for you, and just because it doesn’t work for somebody else doesn’t mean anything. Going back to reps that gave me some incredible reps like when I go through dark moments like I’ve had them various times, I’ve had to transcend I reached back to that moment.
Lewis: Dropping out and getting embarrassed.
Matt: So to finish the thesis I spent the next 10 years of my life dramatically racing as fast as possible to get out of the situation, I became a reporter when I was 17 won a bunch of journalism awards, I started working for the mayor of New York when I was 20.
Lewis: Press secretary right?
Matt: Yeah, I became press secretary when I became 26. So that one catalyst accelerated everything now of course you’ll be judge forever you dropped out of high school I had to clean that up, I went to law school at night. Going to law school and then I graduate and I’m like don’t really want to be a lawyer and that was the end of that.
Lewis: 4 years for you?
Matt: Yeah 4 years a night and never took the bar exam.
Lewis: Because you’re like this isn’t what you want to do.
Matt: This isn’t what I wanted to do
Lewis: Spent 6 months.
Matt: Well that’s the other thing people do too. I got the degree I had the informatory in going to law school but I had really no desire of being a practicing lawyer, but most people would say ‘Well, I’m kind of committed.’ So I raised the part that did not worked out another important lesson is during those years 2016 26 my mother would just progressively get worse and back to nobody is coming to save you despite me raising and raising. She got worse but I kept getting this bigger and bigger jobs you know by the time I was 26 I was making well over 100,000 dollars a year which is hard to do coming from 0. So she was getting worse and then I got this job as press secretary and I was debating how am I going to do that? How am I going to law school and press secretary at 26 in New York? And she’s like ‘Please don’t go to work, don’t go in today.’ And I said we have no money in the bank account, I’m about to become press secretary to the mayor of New York the youngest person to hold that job is well over 100,000 dollars, I’ll finally be able to take care of everything and I have to go. So I went to work that day and she called me later a couple of hours in the office and she said, apparently when you call an ambulance you have to go and just to put it in context we would go to the emergency room all the time, people who have insurance you go to the ER like even when you have head cold you basically sit there and that becomes your doctor. So all throughout law school the time I would spend in the ER at 2 in the morning read my law books stuff a bit. So when she called me that day ‘oh this is just another time.’ But then by the time I got there she had died.
Lewis: No way?
Matt: Yeah, so for me it was.
Lewis: And she told you not to go in that day damn. She called you on the way or at the emergency room.
Matt: Well this is pretty cellphones back in Miami vice big clunky things, I was actually kind of relieved that an ambulance is coming, maybe we’ll have some serious intervention. I remember I went back to the house just to get some stuff and the doors were open and there was 1 ambulance outside and I was like this is different, but I still didn’t think anything of it. I grab a bunch of items and went to Long Island and she had died, but also for me I am the press secretary of New York I finally done it.
Lewis: And you can now take care of her and take care of things and now it’s.
Matt: I’m still not sure of the moral of that story but yeah that was tough. That’s when everything kind of merge and I always look back and say you know could we have gone more help, but society is not really setup to intervene to that extent especially when you’re very poor and your problems are kind of chronic, you know she had obesity she had all these different things like, it’s not like cancer. Cancer you can intervene magically but she has a lot of chronic issues and we don’t have any resources. So for me I don’t know the moral of that story but what it did imprint in my mind that the highest and best use of my time and energy and money when I accumulated is ameliorate suffering. As that little boy at 16 years old and 20 whatever if somebody had intervene it could’ve change the course of her life and my life. So my big take away from that is one it doesn’t always end well and you have to take responsibility for your life being an agent in your own rescue, but when I accumulate resources and money and power that’s the best use of it. So I like telling this story even though it’s hard for me, I don’t talk about this particular day much but that’s what gets me excited about when I think about my business and my track record and hopefully what I will do and well invest them and the resources and all I get excited about that.
Lewis: Being to help other people?
Matt: Yeah, not as unsung hero that’s grandiose it’s more like such a big impact. One thing I do is I now write scholarships for single mother through Queens College.
Lewis: That’s cool.
Matt: Yeah, because I can go back in time and you know she would open the letter and you know we got a scholarship. So for me I get most excited about when I look at everything I am doing if I stay on the same trajectory that I would be able to have a massive impact to people.
Lewis: What’s the biggest lesson your mom taught you?
Matt: Be kind because so many people you know just be kind. It’s just more like the impact of being kind and also don’t judge too, she was very heavy she would always cart around the wheelchair which would fill me with such resentment that world is not setup for people with disabilities and experience it. It’s got better in the last 18 years but I remember I’d be so mad and also aggressive too as much as you’re making me emote on camera.
Lewis: Why doesn’t this place have like?
Matt: Yeah, I have another side of my personality too which is very aggressive as necessary and so I would go to these places and people would look at you like it’s an imposition and that would make me angry. So but be kind at the end of the day life is about eek out some joy and experience.
Lewis: What’s your greatest fear right now?
Matt: My greatest fear is that I’ll fail my kids in some way.
Lewis: 2 kids?
Matt: 2 kids, I have 4 kids now I have 2 step kids. That’s my biggest fear that I’ll fail them when you know, imagine you come to an end of a journey and look at you, you have these books an incredible life, you have inspired millions of people, and if you did all that and the people out of all those millions there are 2 kids and you failed them what would it matter that you inspired the rest. So for me because I am thinking about it I am probably mostly getting it right, nobody is getting it right perfectly. Anybody who has kids knows that you’re probably passing on your problems or whatever you don’t even realized, so unfortunately there is little you can do about it but on balance I think I am getting right and that is the area that I focus the most that I do not want to get that wrong.
Lewis: You take a lot of time for your kids and make sure you structure your business where you have time for them and all those things, you’re not too obsessed about the business that you don’t spend time with them.
Matt: No, first of all people act like that’s the case, like to me you’re not being a hero if you’re ignoring the kids. You have to do what you have to do to feed your family and to agree to express yourself, your destiny if you believe in God, God’s will. But it shouldn’t come at the expense of your children and then you have to define what it looks like, for me it’s regularity of contact and it’s the intensity of how we art it to each other. So I do the best I can to draw a boundaries around my life, I wasn’t that good early on.
Lewis: Yeah probably the jets are more heavily, growing your career.
Matt: Yeah, they have a great mom and I think she’s played a big role in making sure that I stick to that consistency because you know I think when you have a high powered job you want the whole world to bend to what you’re doing, you seem really important and there is a degree of truth to that like there’s only so much you can do when you’re working on a deal, but I have created guardrails around there life to ensure that I am consistent in them, I think about that topic a lot and I’m mostly peaceful with how I’ve done it and for me intervening of that was having cancer when I was diagnosed with cancer about 10 years ago.
Lewis: I remember this when I was interviewing you.
Matt: First of all that’s why I was so heavy because I assumed well now I am going to lose weight right, after one person gains all that weight with a cancer and I had testicular cancer.
Lewis: How’d you get through that?
Matt: Well when I was first diagnosed my immediate emotions was I cannot believe that I have hit this professional success and then my life is going to be derailed. That was my first emotion actually very defensive and very untrusting of the world, now I’m going to be a lemon. I was very, I had crazy emotions, I mean I got diagnosed on a Tuesday and I had surgery maybe in 24 hours and then I went back to work the next full day.
Lewis: You’re crazy man. It takes like a week.
Matt: Well a very macho culture working at a sports team, I think I was borderline delusional like you have a little post trauma response. I remember sitting in a table having wine with a bunch of coaches and I remember this thing on the side and everyone looking at me, looking back probably out of your mind.
Lewis: What do you have on the side like?
Matt: It’s an icepack. Yeah you could imagine its real surgery so I look back and I brag about it too at the time that was 1, 2 though when you are facing the imminent prospect of death which by the way we are every day for some reason completely alienated from it, but when it’s actually front and center you then all the things you think because your mind is still working and you realize 97% of everything you think about does not hold up the prospect of immediate death. New York Times listings for brownstones don’t matter, nice cars whatever it is that I want to achieve does not matter status is irrelevant and so I realized a ton of my thoughts like, I might be dead a year from now and nothing I thought matters. The one that I thought about that mattered was my epitaph going to read in relative to my kids my son was only 3 months at the time and I’ve held on to that thought ever since against the backdrop of death, your children will always matter they’re the thoughts that hold up and that would be the thing that you think about on your death, at least I will how did I do? Which does make sense. So I’ve tried to hold on to that all the other lessons fade away right?
Matt: You know life is precious like I struggle to go back to there, sometimes for a while for 10 years I would go back or whatever. I always liked that day because I felt like I’ve reconnected with the lessons of mortality and now download an app with it. It is called wecroack, 5 times a day it reminds you that you’re going to die and it gives you a quote about death and it’s all based on, I notice you looking at me like I’m insane.
Lewis: Great because it bring you back to urgency.
Matt: A little country called Bhutan and is considered the happiest place on earth and one of the reasons why is because they remind themselves they’re dying multiple times a day and it sounds nut.
Lewis: It makes you grateful for the littlest things
Matt: And also you take a deep breath and it relieves you with the stress that you carry and that is consistent with what I went through battle with cancer because that is the ever present reality.
Lewis: Every day we are dying.
Matt: So somebody at ABC actually gave me this and it’s actually been great and that’s how I reconnect 5 times a day. Somewhere in this interview I’ll be like ‘Okay, he made me emotional I’m annoyed at you but it won’t matter because I’m going to die eventually.’
Lewis: What’s the thing you are most proud of that most people don’t know about? Maybe not some big accomplishment or business that you invested but something that you are proud of that might be.
Matt: The amount of energy I put into being a good dad because I don’t think that necessary would have played that way, I don’t know if it played that way had I not got divorce, even though divorce is probably painful and disruptive and tragic. I mean it does as a divorced parent make you lock in and so I’m proud of the focus because it takes a lot of focus, and I don’t think always man enough room to be honest about their role, I don’t think there’s enough respect for the role of the father and the role that challenges us to balance being in the workplace and also being a dad and a lot of men struggle with that too. So my point to that is that it takes a lot of discipline and a lot of sacrifice to ensure that you’re being the kind of dad that you want to be. You have to be very intentional it doesn’t happen by accident and you have to make sacrifice.
Lewis: Carved out the top.
Matt: Yeah, I’m not gulfing do anything on the weekends other than be with them also don’t want to do anything than be with them and then you know I got to go to work, football days on Sunday, I’m highly intentional about it. So I’m probably proud of that like everything else, again go back to the exercise getting that right is almost important than anything else.
Lewis: How old are the kids?
Matt: Well they’re 10 and 11 and 15 and 17.
Lewis: 10 and 11 are your original kids?
Matt: Yes, exactly and I have the 15 and 17. But they’re all wonderful sweet kids and they lean on to each other and take care of each other.
Lewis: Are you based in Miami now?
Matt: No, based in New York, live in New Jersey, go to Miami. I probably travel 2 or 3 times a day, I don’t stay in the same place for 24 hours, so I can get back and see my kids like in the last 7 days I’ve been to Vegas and back, Miami and back, Green bay and back.
Lewis: Back home?
Matt: I always fly back.
Lewis: What? You don’t just stay and go to the next thing?
Matt: No, because if I can carved out that extra time like I flew back from Vegas and I got to take my son to school. So why wouldn’t I do that? Like God I used to go to China and I take the 2am flight Monday morning go there and get back. But it’s not about being a hero, it’s more gratifying than anything I can do. I am proud of the amount of intentionality that it takes for me to pull that off because it doesn’t come by accident, and I’m unhappiest when I don’t forecast enough my schedule and I compromised, I hate that like that really kind of gets to me. But then again I wasn’t always like that.
Lewis: You’ve improved over the years.
Matt: The only thing that my brother will ask me this question ‘What do you think the key is to your professional success in the last 10 years? It’s not like you are an investor or business holder.’ I think it’s that I made the transition from believing that I was the change like I had the answers and my brain power can get me there and other people were meant to draft behind me and do what I say and follow my direction to realizing that the key to greatness significant success at much larger scale is to find people who are better than you and submit to their greatness.
Lewis: And accelerate the process.
Matt: Accelerate the process, look at Gary he is exceptional. I sit down with Gary and marvel at the level intrinsic of confidence he has and wishes I could get a little more on that, like he has no inside voice that’s doubting him and it’s legitimate. He’s completely authentic say what you will he is what he is. So I draft behind that greatness right and by partnering my PR firm is amazing at taking directly at the consumer brand and building it up. So that I traffic in the land of greatness and find those people, one you get to learn from them and 2 it’s nice to be humbled every day. It’s not interesting to feel superior, it’s much more interesting to reveal where you’re not because in life we get boring overtime. So, I realized that has been the single kind of pivot of my life is to stop thinking that it all had to be in my shoulders and instead find better people.
Matt: Yeah teams has been just marveling at Michelangelo in their own little field and then doing what it takes to support them that there’s no, it’s an honorable life.
Lewis: What has been that experience for you being on shark tank?
Matt: It’s been amazing, it actually began because my son loves the show not big into sports or what not but we can act over that show, I’ve watched every episode and he would ask me if I did a deal. Anyway I love the show and sometimes you just got to do stuff that’s fun for you, there aren’t a lot of things that I do that are just purely fun for me and enjoyment and I thought I would enjoy it, I think I’m capable of doing it and I’m good at it and there’s some elements of the show plays out that I don’t think are completely represent the way I do it. So I saw an opportunity and do it and the experience has been amazing, much more authentic than I would’ve expected. Yeah I would’ve thought it were made for TV and then when you’re a part of it you realized it’s actually, you’re investing it’s just a longer version of what you see on TV and it’s highly competitive.
Lewis: Yeah 30 to 45 minutes per person per pitch.
Matt: And I went on I took the approach of why pretend that you are comfortable in this environment, who would be comfortable going on set of a TV show and Mark Cuban is sitting there like it’s an intimidating environment. So I ask each one for advice and the advice was fantastic.
Lewis: What do they all say that you can share?
Matt: The advice I got from Kevin O’Leary we went to dinner a fugu and had an epic meal 5 hours before the show. He said ‘Don’t worry about which shark you’re going to be because you’re going to be you and the TV doesn’t lie.’ And that was relief because then I said ‘Victory here is probably just confident at being yourself.’ And then the other advice I got from a couple of different sharks was ‘don’t reach.’ In business you don’t reach, in business you go after something you really respect, so don’t reach just because you have to, do a deal that you want to do and I think that was a relief because otherwise your impulse is you got to do a deal. Of course I want to do a deal and I did a deal, I’d like to think I didn’t reach. The deal I made on the show that’s come out is something I would’ve done in the marketplace.
Lewis: With the same type of deal slightly different.
Matt: Yeah slightly different but I would’ve done this deal, I love the founder and I think it is also fascinating to think that you only have 60 minutes to dissect the person or 40, can I learn so much about a person in 40 minutes that would take me months to figure out?
Lewis: With all these due diligence and background.
Matt: Yeah, so Mark Cuban was making fun of me because I said “Mark isn’t it interesting from an anthropological standpoint whether you could dissect a human being.” Anthropological? Who says anthropological? And he ripped me in front of like all the audience duly I should have been. But my point is can you learn everything you need to know if you refined your filter in 40 minutes and I actually think you can, now you can’t learn everything you need to know about a business.
Lewis: Yeah you have to due diligence on the information.
Matt: Well people will say one thing or another but everything I learned about guy in the show has and probably will play out which is fascinating so we can be a lot more efficient in our time.
Lewis: That’s amazing. Is there any questions you wish people will ask you if they don’t ask?
Matt: I can’t think of anything on the top of my head.
Lewis: Is there anything you’re extremely passionate about right now that you want to talk about or talking to?
Matt: I’m really passionate about fast casual because everything is about experience this days and fast, but also exquisite in the past which seem contradictory impulses. How do you scale an exquisite experience? How do you scale a boutique experience? But that’s what this generation in particular expects. So when a brand resonates there’s a tremendous opportunity we have a few of them.
Lewis: And your part of milk bar?
Matt: Yeah I’m board of milk bar.
Lewis: That is amazing.
Matt: Cristina tells the
Lewis: She was at the pencil promise gala.
Matt: She’s amazing.
Lewis: The docu series chef’s table.
Matt: Yeah I’m glad you know it. So if you look at my portfolio milk bar, imafuku with David Cheng. So why am I interested in that? I do think we are eventually due for a down term in a relatively short period of time, corporations are way over leverage. This is going to be you know a correction and fast casuals tends to fair very well in down term. In fact in 2008 fast casual was up 3% only sector of the economy that did well. Why I’m passionate is there’s artistry in food and even at fast casual and somebody is saying, I want to turn this into a big business because I have ambition but I don’t want to compromised quality but I want to scale my vision and the exceptional nature of what I’m producing and by virtue of being them in the space they’re also an artist. Christina Tosi is an artist, so for me it uses the left brain and right brain, its’ also very aggravating you know you’re opening up physical places you’re dealing with, and again Snapchat would be amazing or maybe I should just use Facebook as an example. It’s great when you hit on a digital property but there’s something in brick and mortar physical spaces. So I am really passionate about fast casual, cybersecurity we have a big business in cybersecurity it’s basically privatize if you think about it, it’s only going to get worse and worse. It’s something we all know we need to protect ourselves from we don’t how and we don’t know what it entails and so it’s why I acquired a cybersecurity business thinking that I would build a brand that’s accessible and make it less black box, so that I could communicate with midsize businesses and this is what you need to do about it, I think there’s a huge opportunity and something spending time called skout.
Matt: Yes, what did you wish people would ask you about? Now I’m going to interview you.
Lewis: The basics of the way I think and I think you can reference it a little bit about 1 point and somewhere else, but the thought you were telling yourself, the conversations you were telling yourself I think it dictates someone’s belief in themselves which is going to dictate whether you’re going to invest in them or partner with them based on the conversations that I have with myself every minute of every day. So I like talking about that learn to have a more positive conversation.
Matt: What does your inside voice tell you when it is being helpful and unhelpful?
Lewis: When it is being helpful it just very light and positive and empowering it’s just like ‘yeah it’s going to be challenging what you’re doing but you’re not going to die.’ I think coaches and sports really taught me that I learn from an early age that you have to fail with all the reps, you know I’m out on the football field I never played, I’m going to drop the ball a bunch, you have to fail to learn. So I learn quickly that was the foundation for achievement the failure because that’s where you get the most information. So I always embraced the failure and I always remind myself that I’m going to make mistakes and it’s going to be okay just keep pushing forward. So that’s when it’s helpful when it is not helpful is probably when my ego gets in the way or probably when I get too defensive or my thoughts are too defensive they don’t know me and how they can actually say that about me and my ego gets in the way, but then I come back to gratitude, humility and vision. I start focusing more on what can I learn from this, what do I really want to create in this moment, and is this important for me to hold on to so tightly or can I let it go and breath because I think when you just had a reminder 5 times a day that you’re going to die these things don’t matter and it doesn’t matter what people are saying about me or their judgement or if I make mistakes it really doesn’t matter. What matters is the kindest I bring with other people like you talked about, like the kindness I bring every day because that energy is what will impact the people around me in their day. If someone is struggling and I’m just generous of my smile like that’s a good thing.
Matt: That’s why you asked me what question I wish people would ask me? It’s really more of topic for me when I talk to my wife about this because I can get remarkably anti-social. I think I don’t know why we don’t spend more time commiserating over that which we are ashamed of or that which we struggle on, it’s almost like little dark secret of the world and we’re way to setup those things and yet it’s the common struggle, everyone either has the inside voice we’re going back to helpful and not everyone has the unhelpful inside voice and we don’t provide a lot of room to society to have those conversations and I think it does everybody the service.
Lewis: That’s why I do the show.
Matt: I do like the Irish goodbye all the time, I’ll just exit and literally leave because I can’t take it when the conversation turns to small talk and really can we talk about what we’re really doing?
Lewis: I never go to bars, I never drink and like go out to these places because I feel like if I do I’m going to get into someone’s soul quickly and people don’t want to do that.
Matt: My wife will say like you get excited when somebody is struggling like carrying around the pain of divorce and that is like there is a layer of authenticity in the universe we never reveal in our day to day most of the time, I know that’s what most people like to talk about. Now my wife was telling me well maybe they aren’t struggling with anything.
Lewis: They struggling with something though.
Matt: Struggling with something but isn’t it more interesting, wouldn’t you rather commiserate.
Lewis: Talk about the weather.
Matt: It doesn’t have to be depression or anything even that.
Lewis: What are you most ashamed of?
Matt: Not ashamed of more, I guess I could be ashamed of the dropping out, lots of decision and poverty you know but I don’t think I am ashamed of much it’s more I want to talk about I struggle with.
Lewis: What did you struggle with the most?
Matt: Well you never feel successful it’s annoying and maybe.
Lewis: You don’t feel successful at your level?
Lewis: What would it take for you to feel successful?
Matt: I think steady state of peace, I think success if steady state of peace. The other stuff.
Lewis: How do you find a steady state of peace?
Matt: I’m working on it, I think everyone has their own definition of it for me it’s probably being present, I think that present is the biggest gift that we’re giving to people that the only reality that is true is now and present, not the past and future per say because you may not get a chance to have that future right. So I think for me achieving peace for me is being present about being mindful.
Lewis: Not regretting the past and fixating the future.
Matt: Being defensive like you talked about being grateful, being connected with our mortality, being intentional right. I think the achievement of peace is much more successful than the achievement of professional success so that’s that, but then this generally I don’t reflect upon what I got right and sit around I really reflect on what’s not going around. I remember on the fact that you made me teary on this interview see even though I’m enjoying talking to you.
Lewis: I appreciate that, I feel like I’ve learned more and more the more people I interview I feel blessed because I get to go to school every day here. Who was I interviewing a couple of weeks ago? It was about celebrating your wins like every day and every week, David Goggins who is like guy done more to win mile race, a world record for the most pull-ups in a day, a crazy extreme athlete and he said “He would just keep going to the next hundred mile race or whatever the race was.” And that extreme thing he wouldn’t even collect his medal at the end, it’s like he would win and he would leave, he wouldn’t even take a moment like here’s my medal.
Matt: Did he change?
Lewis: Yeah, he said he started to have peace in his heart when he started acknowledging what he is creating every day, every week, ever milestone, and it gives him that inner peace.
Matt: For me it’s partly about I enjoyed the act of creation and beginning to understand that’s what resonates with me, the recognition the reflective glory of actually doing something is not the part that resonates.
Lewis: Appreciating the creative.
Matt: That’s okay that is something I don’t want to change any more like I’m not seeking agilation or seeking attention, I actually enjoy the act of creation. So the fact that I.
Lewis: But you have to be present to it?
Matt: I do, so if I didn’t appreciate that so taking a step back and seeing the fact that we created this PR firm and now there’s hundred people there.
Lewis: You started from scratch.
Matt: Scratch yeah like that I do enjoy but most of my mental energy does go towards not working.
Lewis: You’re a problem solver.
Matt: I’m a problem solver and you want to go right. But when I will feel ultimately truly successful is a steady state of peace which is where I spend more of my time thinking about now. So meditating is I think very important very passionate about that.
Lewis: Maybe if you put your energy towards the problem of finding more peace it solve quicker.
Matt: I thought I wouldn’t be able to solve all the other problem and the self-talk I get stuff into, I divide my time. But I do I love solving problems, I like creating things, I also like to be right and early to me that’s amazing. I do think you find these people who went to some form of early trauma because you’re so hyper and you’re always scanning the horizon to be safe, you figure out patterns earlier and that’s the pattern. So I like using those pattern recognition skills to see things and it is fun but not fun that I am going to get celebrated for it, fun like that’s interesting.
Lewis: Okay, couple of questions for you this one is called the 3 truths. So imagine you’ve created all the success you want the investment, the businesses, and you’ve got the incredible family and it’s 100 of years away and your last day. You’re going to die one day and it’s your last day you created everything any of the dream you had is manifested and you’re at peace with all your decisions but for whatever reason all the stuff you created you got to take it with you and no one has access to the information you put out on the world, videos, shark tank they don’t have access, but you get to write down the 3 things you know to be true about your life, the experiences, the lessons. There’s only 3 things you can share with the world what would you say the 3 truths?
Matt: I got to hear you.
Lewis: I’ll share with you afterwards
Matt: I would say that being in the moment that is the only thing. 2 on your deathbed you will ask yourself was I great dad and love the journey don’t focus on the result.
Lewis: Where can we connect with you online? Where can we support you?
Matt: Thank you. Instagram which is where I am focusing my attention and energy @MattHigginsRSE
Lewis: RSE meaning?
Matt: We don’t have a meaning quite, Ross sports entertainment he doesn’t love that. So we just gave up RSEventures.com is the name of the company MattHigginsRSE on Instagram. Autism speaks is my passionate cause I just want to mention that autism speaks, I’m on the board of it I spend a lot of energy on kids on the spectrum.
Lewis: Where can people find that?
Matt: Autismspeaks.org anybody out there who is dealing with issues related to child on spectrum, I was wondering whether or not they’ve identified the signs there’s ton of information there, happy to connect with me on Instagram if you need to connect with somebody.
Lewis: You spending time on Instagram do people reach out to you?
Matt: Yeah they do that, I just like Instagram I like the positivity of it and twitter is just the land of hates sometimes. I put my energy into Instagram where people are happy at where you are.
Lewis: Spread positivity.
Matt: Right, isn’t it great? I mean it’s just better and on LinkedIn is nice too but a lot of effort.
Lewis: If someone is interested in raising money how will they get a hold of you for pitching?
Matt: Go to the website RSEventures.com and post shark tank, but yeah feel free to send any ideas we won’t be shy whether we agree with you or not but I’d like to stiff through and find the goal.
Lewis: Before I ask you the final question I would like to acknowledge you Matt for opening up and sharing these stories because I know it’s not easy, so I appreciate everything from your business insides to opening about your mom and all those challenges because you’ve gone through a lot and I really acknowledge you for overcoming so much and using the lessons to help people and I love you heart for wanting to give back with the resource and how you’ve created. So thank you for your kindness as well.
Matt: Thank you.
Lewis: Final question what is your definition of greatness?
Matt: In any sector?
Lewis: Yeah your general definition.
Matt: Someone who is living an intentional life is peaceful with that intentional life and has organized their life and their occupation around do no harm intentionally, I am very passionate about human rights and the greatest right we have is to live untethered, life to pursue your own destiny and to me that’s a combination of peace, intentionality and trying to do no harm as objectively define as possible.
Lewis: Appreciate it thank you.
There you have it my friends I hope you enjoyed this powerful interview with my friend Matt Higgins successful businessman who’s on the pulse of investment businesses and growth. If you have questions shoot him up send him a direct message, an email and connect with him online Matt Higgins.
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Like we said in the beginning guys you have an opportunity to do something great in your life and Winston Churchill said “Success is not final, failure is not fatal you just have the courage that counts.” And I don’t care where you are at your life right now the courage to continue is what matters, whether you achieved great things already in one area of your life and you’re reinventing your life in a new area or if you’ve been struggling for a while, none of that matters what matters is that you continue, is that you learn you shift, you take the adversity and you use the lessons in a powerful way to then grow and try something different. That’s what this is about continuing in a positive and powerful way to inspire your own life and the lives around you. As always I love you all very much and I am so proud to be a part of this community with you and to be able to host this show with some of the most iconic people in the world to have them share and open up and give you the tools, stories and inspiration to help you live your greatest lives.
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