Below the Line with James Beshara

Below the Line with James Beshara

By James Beshara
“The most exciting new podcast in the startup world.” - Eric Ries, Founder and NYTimes Best-Selling Author

Below the Line — Observing what’s really there.

Should we “aim as high as possible” or “detach from results”? Should I be content where I am or always strive for “better”? We now know a lot about the field of sports psychology — but what can the best creators, founders, leaders, and research tell us about the nascent field of creator psychology? What are the real stories behind the men and women leading the world forward?

Subscribe to Below The Line to find out.
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#DeepDive — Space Technology — Mikhail Kokorich
"The most exciting new podcast in the startup world.” - Eric Ries, Founder, and NYTimes bestselling author Today's episode is a deep dive into the space technology sector. It's with the Y-Combinator backed Momentus founder and CEO, Mikhail Kokorich. Momentus is one of the most exciting space tech startups in the world right now — and is a rocket technology company focusing on “last-mile delivery” based here in the Bay Area. He has founded five businesses before but we really focus the episode on his experience in the space tech sector, especially with SpaceX's recent launch of humans into space by a commercial, private company. The first of its kind. We cover everything from the current environment of launching satellites, astronauts, and so on, tourists, into space by a commercial private entity with something like SpaceX and others on the way. We also talk about the various other commercial aspects of Space Technology... from satellites to mining to tourism to energy... it’s about to become a space gold rush, and I wanted to chat with an expert to give us all an overview of where this whole Space “space” is going. You can email James questions directly at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC.
1:21:16
July 7, 2020
#48 — Immad Akhund — The Unlikely Banker
"The most exciting new podcast in the startup world.” - Eric Ries, Founder, and NYTimes bestselling author Today's episode is with Immad Akhund who is a serial entrepreneur and serial investor. He has been through Y Combinator a couple times, and his current business, Mercury, is a bank built for startups. But really, it's a bank built for all businesses and full disclosure, I am fortunate enough to be an investor (but there’s a side to this that I still kick myself for — more details in the episode). Immad shares with us the “below the line” version of being acquired, the toll the founder life can take on a person and their family, as well as the reasons behind starting Mercury. He also shares why he persisted through many negative conversations, and why he still decided to build his current (and now very hip startup) even though there are many people who weren’t fans of the idea in the beginning — myself included. We talk about all of these things and more — and I really loved the candor and the simplicity in which he's able to articulate just what he was going through, what matters (and what doesn’t), and what decisions he would have made differently. You can email James questions directly at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC.
1:32:53
June 23, 2020
#47 — Alfred Lin — Investing In Greatness
"The most exciting new podcast in the startup world.” - Eric Ries, Founder, and NYTimes bestselling author Today’s episode is with one of the world’s best venture investors coming from perhaps the world’s best venture firm… My guest is Alfred Lin, who is a partner at the famed venture capital firm Sequoia Capital. Alfred is an investor in companies like Airbnb and DoorDash and Instacart among others. With one of the best track records, I’ve ever come across… with publications like Forbes saying he has the Midas Touch. His track record as an investor is impressive, but as an operator, building companies like LinkExchange (sold to Microsoft), his own venture firm years ago that invested in winners like OpenTable, and then Zappos (selling to Amazon)… his track record as a builder is just about as impressive as an investor. So, as you can imagine, Alfred has a lot of insights from uniquely being at such high levels on both sides of the table. We talk about how he spots great founders, what the process at Sequoia is really like/peeking behind the veil of one of the most prestigious investment firms in the world. We talk about the books that have impacted his thinking as an investor, it’s not what you would expect. We talk about the silver lining of this new world we all find ourselves in, and we talk about the stories that shaped who he has become… All that and more with one of the smartest (but also kindest) people in Silicon Valley. This is Below The Line. You can email James questions directly at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC
1:52:57
June 2, 2020
#DeepDive — How To Become A Startup “Angel” Investor — Brianne Kimmel
"The most exciting new podcast in the startup world.” - Eric Ries, Founder, and NYTimes bestselling author Today's deep dive is with Brianne Kimmel where we discuss her (persistent) path to angel investing in technology startups. From purposefully connecting with the investor of the company she began working at (within months of starting) to hosting dinners for founders to teaching her craft openly and building a massive community to starting her own fund... and everything in between. Brianne is an early-stage startup investor here in the Bay Area, and her fund is called Worklife. It has a very interesting vision of investing in companies that make work more flexible, creative, human, and balanced. We talk about her journey to becoming an investor, which covers her first investment, and what she was doing before she became an investor... We also discussed her designs in her career path and the choices she made early on that helped her in her current path. We even covered what types of founders and companies will thrive in this post-COVID world... all that and more. It's a great conversation, and I'm really excited for listeners to get a deep dive into what it's like to become an angel investor. Enjoy. You can email James questions directly at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC
1:52:31
May 19, 2020
#46 — John Robb — What (The Hell) Is Going On Right Now?
"The most exciting new podcast in the startup world.” - Eric Ries, Founder, and NYTimes bestselling author John’s monthly “Global Guerillas Report”: https://www.patreon.com/johnrobb Today's episode is with John Robb, a former aeronautical engineer, special-ops soldier, and then the first internet analyst in the 90’s (followed by becoming an extremely successful entrepreneur). He chats with us about his research report that he releases monthly called “The Global Guerillas Report” and answers the question of “What the hell is going on right now?” in the life and times of Covid-19. He predicted social networks and their impact on the world back in 1996. He also predicted this pandemic in January before most people knew what was about to happen. And he has a few other observations that I haven’t heard anyone mention anywhere else to date that make this one of my favorite episodes to date. Simply put, John’s monthly “Global Guerillas Report” is some of the best research and journalism on geopolitical trends I’ve ever come across. John was months ahead of pretty much everyone else with predicting this pandemic, and for someone that thinks deeply about the ramifications of what's happening in the present (and for what can / what will likely happen in the future), this is one of my favorite conversations that I've had in several months cutting across almost every question on my mind with regards to the global situation we’re currently in. Enjoy. You can email James questions directly at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC
1:45:19
May 5, 2020
#45 — Andrew Wilkinson — Life Designer
"The most exciting new podcast in the startup world.” - Eric Ries, Founder, and NYTimes bestselling author Today's episode is with Andrew Wilkinson. I've been really anticipating meeting Andrew for a few years now. I'm a big fan of his agency, MetaLab, his firm, Tiny Capital, and his original views on investing and running technology businesses for a while. He has done things so idiosyncratically that there isn't anyone like him on the internet that I'm aware of — From starting businesses at 15 and dropping out of college a few years later to pursue his entrepreneurial path, that sounds like a story that you might have heard before. But the part that you probably haven't heard before is that a few years later, he's running five businesses at the same time, after that it’s 25. And he’s likely still just getting started. Instead of finding companies that he wants to invest in and deploy capital, they do things a little bit differently at his firm, Tiny Capital. They actually are looking to buy companies from founders that might have been running it for years, and are looking for some smart way out. If you’re familiar with venture capital, this is the exact opposite of that model. I can't wait for you to hear from Andrew himself on the story behind it, and how he thinks through approaching this unique side of investing, owning, and running businesses. You can email James questions directly at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC
2:04:44
April 30, 2020
#Plog — The Wisdom of Insecurity — Audio Essay
"The most exciting new podcast in the startup world.” - Eric Ries, Founder, and NYTimes bestselling author This plog (podcast+blog post mashup) is called “The Wisdom of Insecurity”...“The desire for security is the same thing as insecurity” — Alan Watts. On my blog, podcasts, and even in my music, I reference the philosopher Alan Watts. If you haven't heard of him, you likely will in the coming decades because he happened to do three things uniquely well in the 20th century... He introduced the West to many Eastern concepts such as Vedanta, Daoism, and Zen Buddhism through a deep understanding of each (especially for someone that was born in Great Britain and was an ordained Anglican minister) + He articulately wrote and spoke widely throughout the country + And he happened to record those philosophical lectures for us to listen to 60-70 years later. In one of his books, “The Wisdom of Insecurity”, he makes the case that insecurity is both the inextinguishable and extremely valuable *if* we question why we’re trying to rid ourselves of it. Want to hear my personal point of view about this topic? Listen to this mini-episode to learn more. You can email James questions directly at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC
19:10
April 23, 2020
#DeepDive — WFH Productivity Hacks — Hiten Shah
"The most exciting new podcast in the startup world.” - Eric Ries, Founder, and NYTimes bestselling author I am really excited about today's episode with none other than Hiten Shah. This is a topic that many people are thinking about, myself included — which is how to work from home productively and efficiently. I've been doing it for about a year and a half now. If you google “remote or work from home best practices” Hiten’s content is the stuff that comes up at the top of the list and for good reason. He's been working from home and running distributed teams for almost two decades... way longer than anyone else I know... So when I thought about a deep-dive episode in this topic, I couldn't think of anyone better than Hiten to join us with his best practices in general (as well as a COVID-19 version) of working from home. You can email James questions directly at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC
57:44
April 22, 2020
#44 — Taryn Toomey — The Healer
"The most exciting new podcast in the startup world.” - Eric Ries, Founder, and NYTimes bestselling author Today's episode is with Taryn Toomey, one of my favorite founders in the world, and though I am an investor in her company (called The Class), that isn’t why she’s one of my favorites… Her company is a cult-craze that started in New York City and is now growing internationally. And though it started as a “physical experience” (not going to call it a workout class) in-person in NYC, those who would like to join The Class digitally now have the ability to actually participate around the globe instead of needing to be there in-person. So... now anyone can actually discover what it’s all about. We talk about her company, the genesis (the real version of the story), and also about “grieving well”... a phrase I'd never really heard of before or considered. We talk about the principles behind The Class, the conversations she had in life right before it began, and a whole lot more. I'm really excited for you all, to listen to this episode with Taryn. Enjoy. You can email James questions directly at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC
1:28:24
April 14, 2020
#DeepDive — Growth in 2020 — Mike Duboe
"The most exciting new podcast in the startup world.” - Eric Ries, Founder, and NYTimes bestselling author Today's episode was originally recorded near the end of February, and we usually take a week before releasing a recorded podcast. But with the exponential disruption that the Coronavirus was unleashing in many places around the world in the subsequent weeks, we wanted to hold off on releasing this episode until we felt like people had been able to get their feet beneath them. We recorded a COVID-19 focused episode and released that recently with Eric Ries — Now we're back to our more typical conversation style today with Mike Duboe from Greylock Partners. Mike is an old friend and colleague, and he's one of the smartest thinkers when it comes to startup growth in Silicon Valley. He has a rare combination of analytical, practical, and creative thinking all-in-one which makes him a pretty high in-demand advisor, investor, and name that comes up when people start talking about healthy (and still aggressive) ways of growing your company. We cover a whole host of different topics under the umbrella of "growth". And I'm really excited for a deep-dive like this that goes into how startups and companies grow, how they should grow, how they *could* grow, and how they should *avoid* to grow. Enjoy. You can email James questions directly at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC
1:26:20
April 6, 2020
#43 — Geoff Lewis — Think Different
"The most exciting new podcast in the startup world.” - Eric Ries, Founder, and NYTimes bestselling author Today's episode was originally recorded on February 26th. We usually take a week before releasing a recorded podcast, but with the exponential growth and disruption that the coronavirus has been unleashing on the world, we wanted to hold off on releasing this episode and a few others until we felt like people had been able to get their feet beneath them. We recorded a Covid 19 focused episode and released it recently that you can check out. And now we're back to our more typical conversation style today with Geoff Lewis. Geoff is unique in that he is a previous founder himself, turned venture capitalist at the world-class Founders Fund venture firm, and then became a founder again combining his two passions (founding and investing) by starting his own venture capital firm called Bedrock Capital with partner Eric Stromberg. We talk about Geoff’s entrepreneurial path, the lessons he learned alongside some of the best investors in the world, including Peter Thiel, the creation of a lens into which he finds insights (that has become mimetic with other investors) called “narrative mirages” and “narrative violations”, his hardest moments as a founder and investor, and more. I'm excited for listeners to hear this conversation with a candid and original thinker like Geoff. You can email James questions directly at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC
1:35:57
March 30, 2020
#DeepDive — Responsibilities In Exponential Times — Eric Ries
"The most exciting new podcast in the startup world.” - Eric Ries, Founder, and NYTimes bestselling author Mentioned in the podcast: SchoolClosures.org Ben Horowitz on Layoffs HelpwithCOVID.com From our individual to our community-wide responsibilities, I chat with best-selling author, founder, and investor Eric Ries about what might be, what could be, and perhaps what should be going through each of our minds right now. I keep hearing people say this moment is surreal. I look down empty streets, and it does feel that way sometimes as we struggle for perspective and control of the circumstance. But it dawned on me that, what’s surreal was the moments before all this, when we were under the delusion of control. This is real. Who knows how long it stays this real, how long before we are back under the illusion of control, but no matter the timeline, this is real. We’ve been shaken out of our surreal illusion, and we find ourselves here. You cannot escape circumstance, but you can transcend it. For every leader, creator, thinker, and listener that has wanted to impact the world, now is your chance. Here is your opportunity. But it’s not just about finding and seizing opportunity, but instead, it's about subsuming responsibility. That’s at the core of purpose, that’s at the core of meaning... it’s not about achievement or accrual, it’s about willingly taking on responsibility when the outcome is uncertain, and that’s at the core of this episode. You can email James questions directly at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC
1:36:04
March 19, 2020
#DeepDive — “How to Monetize Creativity and Solo-preneurship” — Sahil Lavingia
"The most exciting new podcast in the startup world.” - Eric Ries, Founder, and NYTimes bestselling author Mentioned in the podcast: https://twitter.com/shl/status/1229844208959152128 Today we've got another deep-dive episode and this one is on monetizing your creativity. It's with Sahil Lavingia, who is the founder and CEO of Gumroad, who's been on the podcast before. A great Below the Line episode with him going into detail in reflecting on his entrepreneurial path. Today goes a little bit more into detail on one specific thing, and that's monetizing your creativity. Not only has Sahil monetized his own creativity, but he is also the founder of a company, a writer, and a painter. But his company actually powers the monetization of a countless number of creatives around the world. Whether they are creating art, making music, writing books, or wanting to pursue a side hustle. Sahil tweeted about this recently, and that tweet thread is why I'm having him back on the show. He sent out a single tweet that went pretty viral that said: “I believe virtually everyone can make a living doing what they love. I discover new creators doing it in new ways almost every day. Do you want to create full-time but don't see a path towards doing it? Reply with what it is and let's see if I can help you outline a plan!”. A lot of people replied and a lot of patterns emerge from that single tweet that I'm excited to dive into with Sahil today. We covered the concept of exercising versus training, prolific versus perfect and setting realistic expectations and timelines. We also talked about being really public, really early. When he started to paint he actually created an Instagram @shlpaints before he even started to paint as a way to give people an insight into his path as a painter, and also as an accountability tool. We talked about why, when, and how to build an audience — and also about the time and dedication required to build the necessary skills and the audience that could provide potential financial freedom while pursuing one's craft. If it's something that you set realistic expectations, and specific goals around then, in Sahil’s words, it's as easy as going to the gym three times a week for two years... He's never heard of that “not working for somebody,” and he thinks the same applies to anyone that wants to pursue a creative endeavor. Speaking of creativity... Do you want more creativity, more flow, more energy, and less stress? Do you want to tap into what nature gives us beyond just coffee? For all of these things go to magicmind.co to get the two-ounce shot that contains 12 magical ingredients that are scientifically designed to improve your productivity. Along with CEOs, doctors, musicians, even Navy Seals, I take it every day (and have been for about six years) — and it is the single most important part of my morning ritual to do more and stress less. To learn more, go to magicmind.co and enter the promo code “BTL” for Below The Line to get 15% off and try it for yourself. You can email James questions directly at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC
1:47:39
March 9, 2020
#DeepDive — The Brand New World of Climate Tech — Gustaf Alströmer & Diego Saez-Gil
"The most exciting new podcast in the startup world.” - Eric Ries, Founder, and NYTimes bestselling author Companies mentioned: Nori - https://nori.com/ Indigo - https://www.indigoag.com/ Joro - https://joro.tech/ LiveGreen - https://livegreen.io/ Sinai Technologies - https://www.sinaitechnologies.com/ Project Wren - https://projectwren.com/ Prometheus Fuels - https://www.sciencemag.org/ Solugen - https://www.solugentech.com/ C16 Bio - https://www.c16bio.com/ Heart Aerospace - https://heartaerospace.com/ Wright Electric - https://weflywright.com/ Drawdown - https://www.drawdown.org/ Y Combinator Carbon RFS - http://carbon.ycombinator.com/ Watershed Climate OpenOcean Today's episode is another deep dive into a brand new space that actually has a *lot* going on already. Though it's a very recently coined term, “Climate Tech” is going to be here for a while. I’m joined by Gustaf Alströmer, a partner at Y Combinator, and Diego Saez-Gil, the founder of Pachama.com. There's Health Tech, FinTech, Ad Tech, Prop Tech and now there's Climate Tech — and these two individuals have helped pioneer this new space. We talk about why it’s happening now and what climate + technology will look like 5-10 years from now. We also talk about whether or not it be like CleanTech that came in 15 years ago and went away almost as soon as it arrived. What makes Climate Tech different? They also share about their paths from passion to profession within this realm — and discussed the early days of people thinking, in Diego's case, that his idea was basically a nonprofit (and not a very fundable business). Or thinking that this space was too complicated and too big to try and tackle with a small team of dedicated founders. We talk about all of these and more, and I'm really excited about this deep dive into this brand new space of climate tech. Speaking of sustainable energy, Below The Line is brought to you by Magic Mind, the world's first productivity drink (and is our proud sponsor because it’s my own company). Do you want more creativity, more flow, more energy, and less stress? Do you want to tap into what nature gives us beyond just coffee? For all of these things go to magicmind.co to get the two-ounce shot that contains 12 magical ingredients that are scientifically designed to improve your productivity. Along with CEOs, doctors, musicians, even Navy Seals, I take it every day — and it is the single most important part of my morning ritual to do more and stress less. To learn more, go to magicmind.co and enter the promo code “BTL” for Below The Line to get 15% off and try it for yourself. You can email James questions directly at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC
1:39:17
March 2, 2020
#Plog — Routines & Avoiding Stupidity
"The most exciting new podcast in the startup world.” - Eric Ries, Founder, and NYTimes bestselling author This plog (podcast+blog post mashup) is called “Routines & How to Avoid Stupidity”. A little over a year ago, a really smart investor, Adam Robinson, was speaking with Shane Parrish on his podcast. He defined stupidity really clearly for me. I hadn't heard it defined this way before, thought it was really great, and it’s been stuck in my head ever since. What makes us miss crucial information right in front of our faces? And how can we avoid that? Listen to this mini-episode to learn more. You can email James questions directly at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC
10:23
February 25, 2020
#Plog — Podcasting: The Truly Free Press
"The most exciting new podcast in the startup world.” - Eric Ries, Founder, and NYTimes bestselling author Today, I’m going to be trying out something that I’ve been starting on an app called TalkShow where I record short daily plogs. It’s basically an audio post instead of a written blog. This will be anywhere from 5 to 6 minutes each but they’ll be on different topics. The first topic is about podcasting. It seems like a fitting way to kick-off this type of experiment and it’s expounding on the concept that podcasting is the truly free press in my mind. I think the internet, in the last 20 years, has been amazing for many things but I think it was built for podcasting more than anything else. You can email James questions directly at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC
09:18
February 19, 2020
#42 — Ben Witte — Recess Is Now In Session
"The most exciting new podcast in the startup world.” - Eric Ries, Founder, and NYTimes bestselling author Today's episode is with Ben Witte. He's the founder and CEO of Recess. You might not have heard of Ben or Recess but it is perhaps the fastest-growing beverage in the country over the last year. You can go to www.takearecess.com to check out their product which is amazingly well done from the brand to the taste of the drinks. I often have a weird quirky drink that I share with a guest on each episode and Recess was one of the first. I remember Justin Kan loved it so much that he asked for some afterward. It is a CBD drink, that is for me, instead of having a beer at night or Saturday afternoon or day drinking, just have a Recess. I really love the taste more than anything else and second to that is the brand, and the kind of universe that Ben has designed around the drink. If you go check out their site or their Instagram, you'll see what I mean. It's really unique. I think what's most interesting about the conversation is that Ben is about a year into the journey. This isn't a conversation of someone that's 10 years on the other side of multiple exits. He's right in the middle of it and shares openly what it's like. It's a different type of below the line perspective, from a creators vantage point that is currently in it all. You can email James questions directly at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC
1:16:05
February 4, 2020
#41 — Vlad Magdalin — The No-Code Movement Is Finally Here
"The most exciting new podcast in the startup world.” - Eric Ries, Founder, and NYTimes bestselling author Today’s episode is with Vlad Magdalin, co-founder and CEO of Webflow. We sat down and chatted about his insane story of failure that spanned for 15 years before getting it right, his early experiences that shaped him as a founder, and what he thinks about that he rarely gets a chance to talk about. Webflow raised $75 million from investors a few months ago and was one of the largest Series A's of the last few years. We talked about the debt he went into financially and personally, including with the most important of co-founders, his spouse, almost ten years before this milestone. He shared with us what he thinks about today as a leader, and we also talked about the r-word (religion!) openly and publicly! It's an in-depth conversation, and it is one of my favorites to date. I think you're going to enjoy this very different kind of conversation and founder story. You can email James questions directly at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC
2:26:18
January 29, 2020
#40 — Sarah Tavel — A Peek Behind The Veiled World of Venture Capital
"The most exciting new podcast in the startup world.” - Eric Ries, Founder, and NYTimes bestselling author Today on the program, we've got Sarah Tavel. She’s a venture capitalist at the legendary and enigmatic venture capital firm, Benchmark Capital, which is one of the most renowned firms in the world. We covered a whole range of topics like, how her partners work together, how she chooses an investment, examples of what made her pass and then later invest in a company that she now loves, and the dynamics with a founder in that situation. We talked about the Gartner Hype Cycle and its implications for what the psychological journey in creation is like, whether it's launching a new company or launching a new feature. We also talked about the stories that have helped shape who she has become (and what has made her so damn impressive). Listen in for all this and more. You can email James questions directly at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC
2:08:25
January 14, 2020
#DeepDive — An Unedited Pitch Meeting: Coffee Between an Investor and a Founder — Diego Saez-Gil
Today's episode is another deep-dive (meaning it's a little bit different than the regularly scheduled episodes), and it is with a founder, Diego. This was recorded as we met and chatted about his startup. About three minutes into meeting / him pitching me his company, I said, “Hey, hold on, hold on. Could we record this? Could we actually sit down and record this as a podcast episode and just release it to the world so that people could see what it was like to have an angel investor coffee.” Many people think that these things are like a shark tank pitch — and that it's adversarial or that the investor sits there wanting to poke holes to fluster the founder. But for angel investors and very early stage investors, even through series A or B investors, they want people to understand that they're not trying to poke holes to try to undermine the founder or try to catch them in a crazy scenario. Great investors want to imagine what the world could be like with that founder. That was what I loved about my favorite angel investors, like Naval Ravikant or Sean Parker, and it's how I approach meeting with founders as well. So I thought, “Man, I've never come across an actual investor founder conversation. recorded before so I would love to record this” and because of time and not wanting to condense the coffee down to around 30 minutes that day, I invited him to do this episode with the right podcast equipment the next day. Diego was really kind enough to do this and to allow it to go out into the world publicly. This was recorded six months ago because he asked for it not to be released until they had formally launched their company, Panchama. You can read about their eventual public launch here: https://techcrunch.com/2020/01/03/pachama-launches-to-support-global-reforestation-through-carbon-markets/ You can email James questions directly at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC
1:08:31
January 13, 2020
#39 — Kamal Ravikant — Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It
"The most exciting new podcast in the startup world.” - Eric Ries, Founder, and NYTimes bestselling author Today's episode is with Kamal Ravikant, the author of the best selling books “Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It”, “Live Your Truth”, and “Rebirth”. Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It”, a self -published book that became a phenomenon (selling over 400,000 copies world-wide, all without a publisher), is now reprinted, updated, and re-released this month. If you haven't checked it out yet, I highly recommend it. This episode talks about where Kamal was in his life right before writing the book, the stories that shaped him, and his experiences that then shaped what became “Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It”. There’s a phenomenal message within the book, and it might sound like you've heard something like this story before — or that it is just another book in the self-help section — but this one is really special, and you'll get to hear a little bit of why during this episode. So go check it out after listening to this episode. It is very rare for a self-published book to become a best-seller that sold over 400,000 copies. And it can only happen if the book’s message resonates so strongly with people (like it did with me and like it has with others around me here in San Francisco). You can email James questions directly at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC
1:11:42
January 7, 2020
#Check-In Episode 3 with Peter Carnochan, PhD
"The most exciting new podcast in the startup world.” - Eric Ries, Founder, and NYTimes bestselling author Today's episode is another deep dive with Dr. Peter Carnochan, who the coach to some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley. He spent 25+ years as a psychologist and psychoanalyst before becoming an executive coach. I love getting Peter's key takeaways from the psychological side of things from recent guests. So today we covered Dr. Andrew Weil’s episode and the topic of death, Paul Austin on psychedelics, Cal Fussman on storytelling, Ann Miura-Ko on investing, Joseph Emmett on yoga for the intellect, Justin Kan on the inner journey of being a founder and creator, and many other areas where Peter shared his insights. Enjoy. You can email James questions directly at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC.
1:31:50
December 17, 2019
#38 — Serena Dugan — Art Meets Business
"The most exciting new podcast in the startup world.” - Eric Ries, Founder, and NYTimes bestselling author Serena Dugan is a founder, an artist, and a delight to chat with — This episode is a founder story that isn't like many founder stories. She didn't set out to create a world-renowned brand. She actually just walked into a small local shop, and before she knew it, she was meeting with the shop-owner the next day... and from there, they were planning world dominance. They ended up creating Serena and Lily, the famous home decor brand. If you don't know about home decor brands, ask anyone who does, and they'll tell you that Serena and Lily is perhaps the most respected brand within the space. But that didn't happen overnight. Serena talks about the honest version of creating Serena and Lily. She also talks about the life experiences that have helped shape who she has become, beyond just an artist and founder. From a consultant to an artist, then to a co-founder, and now back to art... Every time that we have artists on, it's just a very different perspective. A very different take on entrepreneurship — bringing something into the world in a different way than a tech founder story. Her candor and warmth are infectious. And within minutes, I think you will see why people would want to work with here. I enjoyed it immensely, and I think you will too. You can email James questions directly at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC
1:52:36
December 10, 2019
#37 — Anonymous — San Francisco Police Officer
"The most exciting new podcast in the startup world.” - Eric Ries, Founder, and NYTimes bestselling author Today's episode is with an anonymous guest. We're going to call him John Doe. John and I talked about the “below the line” version of the story of being a police officer. We also covered what has changed in San Francisco, some for the better, some for the worse, over the years. There's no doubt there are many good things that have happened in San Francisco in the last few decades. There are also some really strange and unfortunate things in his estimation, and we talked about the root causes of that in his opinion. As a life-long San Franciscan, who has seen the underbelly while living here for 50+ years, it’s a fascinating take on the city. We also covered why he became a police officer in the first place, what he didn't expect to see and experience, and a whole lot more. This is one of the most interesting conversations we've had on the podcast. And we certainly talked about a world you don't get to hear much about — So I think you're going to enjoy this one. You can email James questions directly at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC
1:50:26
November 27, 2019
#DeepDive — Marketplaces — Lenny Rachitsky
"The most exciting new podcast in the startup world.” - Eric Ries, Founder, and NYTimes bestselling author Today we have another deep dive and this one is a really hot topic in the startup ecosystem and yet so little is written, discussed, researched, and talked about when it comes to how to build marketplace businesses. So after spending seven years at Airbnb, Lenny Rachitsky has been advising marketplaces around the world in 2019. He took that experience, and said his own experience at Airbnb wasn’t enough — and so he had conversations with dozens of other people from 17 of the biggest marketplaces out there and consolidated all of his research into what has just dropped this week, which is about a 50-page amazing deep-dive on what makes these marketplace businesses tick. And this episode is the audio complement to this comprehensive (yet simple to understand) compilation of what he has found. You can email James questions directly at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC.
1:59:39
November 20, 2019
#36 — Matt Mullenweg — 34% of the Web & Counting
"The most exciting new podcast in the startup world.” - Eric Ries, Founder, and NYTimes bestselling author Today's episode is with Matt Mullenweg. The founder of Automattic, the parent company of WordPress (which powers an unbelievable 34% of the internet as of recording!). We talk about the beginning of WordPress, about getting started as a founder and organizer, about attachment theory, about what’s in his backpack at all times, his hardest days running WordPress and Automattic, and a whole lot more. We also talked about what it's been like raising $300 million for Automattic just last month, valuing the company in the billions. He also shared with us what he learned in Houston as a kid growing up there and why he still makes it his home base. You can email James questions directly at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC
1:55:28
November 19, 2019
#35 — Beyond Coffee — Book Launch
"The most exciting new podcast in the startup world.” - Eric Ries, Founder, and NYTimes bestselling author When it comes to productivity, there aren’t many things we do today that we did 200 years ago. We send emails instead of post mail, drive cars instead of horse-drawn carriages, and look up things on our phones instead of traveling miles to the nearest library. However, when it comes to our morning routine, 80 percent of the world consumes caffeine each day to wake them up and give them a boost for their daily tasks. Whether it’s black tea or coffee, most of us consume the same ingredients we consumed 200 years ago without realizing two important facts. First, coffee beans and tea leaves are not the only sources of energy that nature provides us. Second, productivity is more than just wakefulness. Its energy, focus, creativity, decreased stress, and improved sleep, among other things. What can nature, science, and global access to different ingredients tell us about optimal productivity? And which ingredients are scientifically proven to be effective and safe? Backed by over 240 scientific studies, Beyond Coffee is a simple guide that answers these questions. You can email James questions directly at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC
17:38
November 12, 2019
#34 — Dr. Andrew Weil — The Medical Nostradamus
"The most exciting new podcast in the startup world.” - Eric Ries, Founder, and NYTimes bestselling author Dr. Andrew Weil has been called “the medical Nostradamus” for his foresight into what’s on the healthcare horizon. He is a world-renowned pioneer in the medical and healthcare space — leading Western healthcare toward an integrative, healing and prevention-based approach to health, decades before it was en vogue. His resume could go on for another few pages, and it still wouldn’t do it justice. He’s the best-selling author of over a dozen books, founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center, and the co-founder of one of my favorite restaurants (and my wife’s all-time favorite) True Food Kitchen. He’s also a massive matcha tea fan. He was one of the earliest healthcare professions to openly write about diet and nutrition, openly criticize the over-prescription of pharmaceuticals, popularizing themes like healthy aging, mind-body connection, breathing techniques... all years (and sometimes decades) before the rest of the medical community started to take them seriously. I asked him after the episode something I wish I had asked him on-air, but he gave me permission to mention it here — and that was his dietary and healthcare advice for founders, leaders, and creators in high-stress jobs. His response was that his “first, second, and third piece of advice” would be to watch his short video on youtube on the 4-7-8 breathing technique. Breathing is one of the only activities that is both voluntary and involuntary, one of the only activities we can do to communicate back to the involuntary parts of our physiology that can get out of whack while stressed — like spikes of cortisol or increased heart-rate — which can be remedied by something as simple as practicing the super short breathing technique he talks about on that video for 4-6 weeks. YouTube video on Dr. Weil’s free advice and free remedy for anyone in a high-stress job or circumstance in life. https://youtu.be/YRPh_GaiL8s You can email James questions directly at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC
1:56:20
November 4, 2019
#33 — Justin Kan Live — Philosopher CEO (Pt 2)
"The most exciting new podcast in the startup world.” - Eric Ries, Founder, and NYTimes bestselling author Today's episode was actually a live recording with a good friend, a former investor and a continual mentor to me (and dozens of entrepreneurs who I also love and respect). His name is Justin Kan, and he was episode number one for Below The Line. Justin is a founder and investor based in San Francisco. He has been building startups for close to 15 years now, and he's seen pretty much everything there is to see when it comes to the founder’s journey. He's also a former partner at Y Combinator and has invested in dozens of companies, giving him a unique perspective on both sides of the table. He is the co-founder and CEO of Atrium, a full-service corporate law firm that uses modern technology to serve startups all around the world in a fast, transparent and price predictable way. It's phenomenally useful. I've used it and so has a number of founders that have been on the podcast. You can email James questions directly at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC
1:20:35
October 30, 2019
#32 — A R I Z O N A — 1 Billion Streams And Counting
"The most exciting new podcast in the startup world.” - Eric Ries, Founder, and NYTimes bestselling author  A R I Z O N A, the band not the state, is one of the top 100 streamed bands in the world in the last two years, with over a billion streams of their music since their first album in 2017. Today they will talk about what the journey has been like as artists and musicians.  We covered many topics like where they were 10 years ago, the path they took to form their band and what it's like to be musicians touring around the world. They just released their second album so be sure to check it out.  You can email James questions directly at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC
1:33:26
October 15, 2019
#31 — Paul Austin — Psychenaut
"The most exciting new podcast in the startup world.” - Eric Ries, Founder and NYTimes bestselling author Today's episode is with Paul Austin, a social entrepreneur in a very unique space, the psychedelic space. He has been featured in Rolling Stone, The New York Times, The Economist, Forbes, and others for his pioneering work regarding microdosing, and his work with a psilocybin retreat center that he co-founded in the Netherlands last year, called Synthesis. I want to point out up front that I don't microdose. I never have and I'm not advocating psychedelic usage. But what interests me about this space, similar to what interests a lot of people when it comes to mental health about the space, is that we've had about 20-25 years of stagnation in treatments for mental health. A sibling of mine has tried basically every treatment there is over the last 20 years with very minimal results and psychedelic therapy is perhaps the most scientifically and effectively interesting approach that we've seen in these last two decades around new discoveries for the treatment of mental illnesses like PTSD or major depression. Therefore, it made complete sense to me to want to follow this space closely. Paul, who is a friend, is one of the earliest educators on the space starting, perhaps the most widely used and most responsible educational courses on microdosing called The Third Wave. It's also an interesting conversation with the founder that has had to blaze a trail in a highly controversial, highly stigmatized, and poorly understood space. He also talks about how this has affected him over the years... I think you’ll enjoy this conversation with Paul Austin. You can email James questions directly at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC.
1:49:48
October 8, 2019
#30 — Leah Busque Solivan — Founder, Leader, Creator, Backer
"The most exciting new podcast in the startup world.” - Eric Ries, Founder and NYTimes bestselling author Welcome back to another episode of Below The Line. Today's episode is with Leah Busque Solivan who is the founder of TaskRabbit and now a venture capitalist in Fuel Capital. We talk about the low points of her eight year journey as a founder, running her own startup TaskRabbit, sparing no details of the reality of that role, and how she transitioned to becoming a venture capitalist after handing off the reigns. We also talked about why she sees herself being an investor for the foreseeable future and not doing her own startup again along with some real talk on her lowest 24 hours she experienced as CEO. Her candor is so refreshing. And that candor along with her experience is what is making her one of the best investors out there in my opinion. Her story and our conversation is one that I haven't heard anyone share — not quite like this on below the line. I think you’re really going to enjoy today’s honest and open conversation with Leah. You can email James questions directly at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC.
1:35:26
September 30, 2019
#29 — Nir Eyal — Indistractable
"The most exciting new podcast in the startup world.” - Eric Ries, Founder and NYTimes bestselling author Today's episode is one of my favorite conversations I’ve had. It’s with Nir Eyal, who is a founder, an investor, and a best-selling author. His first book “Hooked” came out about five years ago and pretty much every tech founder became familiar with his insights in that book. But his latest book “Indistractible”, which came out this month, talks about how to control your attention and intentionally choose your life. It’s not necessarily just for the tech and startup ecosystem, it's for anyone who cares about life — making the most of it and trying to work on not becoming so distractible. We talked about what is distraction, what motivates us, how to prevent distraction, and what is the opposite of distraction. We talk about all of those things, including building indistractable workplaces and so much more. Hope you enjoy this one as much as I did. You can email James questions directly at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC.
1:18:22
September 23, 2019
#28 — Ann Miura-Ko — Path to (ad)Venture
"The most exciting new podcast in the startup world.” - Eric Ries, Founder and NYTimes bestselling author Today's episode is with Ann Miura-Ko a co-founder of Floodgate, one of the original seed stage investment funds here in Silicon Valley. Floodgate has been an investor in Twitter, Twitch, Lyft, Cruise, Okta, TaskRabbit, and a bunch of amazing world-changing companies. We talked about a number of things with Ann including her path to becoming a VC, what she thinks about today as an early stage investor, the things that have shaped her in her life, as well as what's changing about investing today that makes it quite different 11 years after founding Floodgate in 2008. You can email James questions directly at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC.
1:40:37
September 19, 2019
#27 — Christopher Lochhead — The Marketing Legend
"The most exciting new podcast in the startup world.” - Eric Ries, Founder and NYTimes bestselling author Today's episode is with Christopher Lochhead, a marketing legend and best selling author of “Play Bigger” and “Niche Down”. He is also the podcast host of “Follow Your Different” and “Lochhead on Marketing”. This episode is a really great insight into different views that his books cover from “category design” to the things that legendary companies have done to become dominant in their respective fields when it comes to marketing (and when it comes to decisions made right in the beginning of their “story”). We talk about how the things that you might think are your weaknesses can actually be your superpowers, the things that Chris personally has had to overcome in his own journey, and how thinking differently (and giving himself permission to think *really* differently) became the biggest reason for his success as a founder, CMO, author, and more. This podcast is an insightful one with viewpoints that I've never heard before, and I think you’ll enjoy it too — even if you’ve never thought much about the marketing side of creation. You can email James questions directly at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC.
2:14:39
September 16, 2019
#26 — Dave Lomas — Prophet in the Valley
"The most exciting new podcast in the startup world.” - Eric Ries, Founder and NYTimes bestselling author  Today's episode is with the founder and lead pastor of Reality SF, a church where my wife and I attend in San Francisco. Unlike the many founders that I've invited here on Below The Line, what Dave Lomas started was a church, not a company, right in the heart of San Francisco. The Bay Area is known for the tech scene... not necessarily the church scene. But his story is not unlike many other unpredictable paths toward impact.  Dave and his church know their followers, their doubts, the daily influences of being in the Bay Area, and he speaks to the audience each Sunday with a captivating awareness of all of this. You can listen to any of his lectures and sermons online on their own podcast and they are truly mind blowing.  It's a really nice grounding wire for me as a creator to regularly go and listen to someone talk about something that has nothing to do with entrepreneurship, but has everything to do with being useful in one's community. I love this specific conversation more than any other interaction I've had with Dave. It's by far the longest, focused conversation of ours, and easily the most honest interaction I've had with him or any pastor. So I cannot overstate the gratitude I have for how open he is with his life with his congregation, and I think it has something to do with it being one of the fastest growing churches in California.  I think you're going to really enjoy this episode. So let's get into it with Dave Lomas.  You can email James questions directly at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC.
2:12:58
September 10, 2019
#25 — Sam Parr — Natural Born Hustler
"The most exciting new podcast in the startup world.” - Eric Ries, Founder and NYTimes bestselling author Today we chat with Sam Parr, founder of “The Hustle” one of the fastest growing media companies here in America. They have talented writers who create amazing newsletters and compelling content on the most important business news and trends. It covers some really interesting topics outside of what you would normally find in a business-focused media company. I met Sam in 2015 when I was invited to speak at their convention, Hustle Con. Actually, I'm going to be speaking again on December 2nd and 3rd of this year at Hustle Con here in the Bay Area. Sam and I touched on a handful of interesting topics. He's not the conventional founder that raises VC funding in the Bay Area — He's done it completely differently and this conversation is just as unique as Sam has built his business. We chat about him giving up alcohol 6 years ago, getting started in the hotdog stand business, and the way he built The Hustle with very little money. We also talked about him hitting moments with The Hustle that made him want to quit (despite its growth trajectory) and before hitting a new stride in the last 12 months. All of that and more on today’s episode with Sam. You can email James questions directly at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC.
1:37:04
August 29, 2019
#24 — Cal Fussman — Rules of Storytelling
"The most exciting new podcast in the startup world.” - Eric Ries, Founder and NYTimes bestselling author Calvin “Cal” Fussman is a world famous interviewer, a New York Times bestselling author, public speaker, and the creator of the podcast called Big Questions. He was the Writer-at-Large of Esquire, interviewing everyone from Richard Branson to Muhammad Ali to Serena Williams to Robert De Niro. He's on a mission to increase our collective curiosity and inspire storytelling everywhere he goes. We talked about his story of becoming a journalist and the moments of honesty with people like Muhammad Ali that has stuck with him ever since. We cover the rules of storytelling which is a phrase I never heard before but certainly, there are principles that I think we all know deep down, and he articulates them pretty powerfully. We cover all those with other topics and our time together, and I really hope he enjoyed it as much as I did. You can email James questions directly at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC.
2:09:14
August 27, 2019
#23 — Joseph Emmett — Yoga For Your Intellect
"The most exciting new podcast in the startup world.” - Eric Ries, Founder and NYTimes bestselling author “Attach, you lose, detach, you gain”. That simple phrase and along with the phrase “Yoga for the intellect” on a little pamphlet in a hotel in Southern California caught my eye. I was there with my wife for a weekend and got lured into a session with a guy that looked like one of those folks at the airports dressed in orange monk garb, with few possessions, and maybe some wooden beads. That's what I was looking at on this pamphlet. I was so intrigued that I ended up going to the seminar as it promised to include free yoga as well. We met Joseph, a modern day monk from Houston, Texas that had spent 10 years studying Vedanta in India. We started chatting and it was so fascinating because as a creator, there were so many things that he pointed out, that I have knowledge about but never articulated — like the way he did. That concept of whatever you're attached to, that attachment actually repels it from you — like holding something you love in your hands too tightly and actually restricting it. It was an entire afternoon filled with very simple explanations of simple concepts that were just deep beneath so many other thoughts and things that have gone through my mind for years and years. And when I started to think about the concept of the podcast, following the mental journey of creation, and thinking about things that have caused me so much stress in life, I immediately thought of the living antithesis, Joseph. He is the most carefree and stress free individual I’ve ever met. But that's just the beginning of what makes him so interesting. You can email James questions directly at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC.
2:15:58
August 22, 2019
#DeepDive into Startup Fundraising — with Marc McCabe
"The most exciting new podcast in the startup world.” - Eric Ries, Founder and NYTimes bestselling author Today's episode is another deep dive experiment into a topic that every founder dreads thinking about — fundraising. Similar to what we recently did regarding a deep dive on remote work, this episode goes deep (like super deep) into the weeds on fundraising strategies, tactics, and mistakes to avoid. This is always one of the most asked about topics, and I thought it'd be fun to do an episode with Marc who has helped founders raise over $100m in the last 12 months alone. He shares a lot of nuanced insight on the entire process of getting investors to give you millions of dollars, and getting time with him is not cheap, so I'm glad that he's able to spend a few hours with us for free — enjoy this deep dive with Marc and shoot us notes on any other deep dives you want us to do. You can email James questions directly at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC.
2:25:24
August 20, 2019
#DeepDive into Remote Work — With Hiten Shah
"The most exciting new podcast in the startup world.” - Eric Ries, Founder and NYTimes bestselling author Today's episode is a deep dive — Something we're trying out where we go deep into certain topics that people have been asking about, and today is with an expert (maybe the expert?) on the subject of remote work (work that is distributed by many team-members in different geographical locations instead of all under one roof). This is a trend that seems to be here to stay... so we might as well learn as much as we can about the pros, cons, and best practices from someone like Hiten. More on Hiten: He has been building companies for 15 years, solely with distributed workforces and people who work from home. He has built some pretty big businesses this way. He's become one of the experts whom people reach out to learn more about building a remote team, remote business, or remote culture. And today, they've just published perhaps the most comprehensive data driven report and research on remote work.  I'm really excited to have him back on the podcast. This time, we’ll talk about the research that they just posted and dive into the topic of remote work including the pros, cons, and tips to get the most out of the trend that seems is here to stay.  You can email James questions directly at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC.
1:59:44
August 13, 2019
#Check-In (2) — Peter Carnochan with James Beshara
Today's episode is a really special one. It is with Dr. Peter Carnochan, a clinical psychologist, psychoanalyst, author, and executive coach. He quickly became one of the best executive coaches in Silicon Valley in the last few years with his deep understanding of the psychological journey of a founder. I was introduced to Peter years ago by Alexis Ohanian, one of the co-founders of Reddit, and ever since then he's been my executive coach (and compatriot) through a pretty tumultuous journey of creation at various points. I felt like it would be great to have him on the podcast every so often to go over his key takeaways from the previous episodes. We did about 10 episodes and listeners loved it so much that I'm doing it again, and we'll probably keep this cadence of about every ten episodes where we’ll have him talk about his insights from the previous episodes. So let's get into it with Dr. Peter Carnochan. You can email James questions directly at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC.
1:31:22
August 12, 2019
#22 — Kelly Starrett — Foundational Thinking
Kelly Starrett is one of the most widely followed individuals in the health and fitness space. He is a NY Times bestselling author, a physical trainer, physical therapist, and mobility expert. That last thing I mentioned, mobility expertise, is one of the more fascinating parts of Kelly's work in the health and fitness world — where just about everyone is so focused on the results... the look, the tone, or the strength that one is going for.  However, his work is dedicated to the foundations: posture, mobility, daily habits. And that is perfect for a “below the line” look on the foundations for excellence. The other reason I'm pumped to talk to Kelly is because many founders, creators, leaders, etc (just about 95% of people I know) don't put enough time and attention to our physical health; the ultimate foundation to personal progress. And I'm a big believer of the old phrase “:train the body and the mind will follow” rather than the opposite. So let's get into it with the man that thinks about foundations perhaps more than any other person I know. You can email James questions directly at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC.
56:37
August 6, 2019
#40,000 — Voicemails Episode
BTL Hotline: 510-214-3717 In celebration of 40,000 downloads, we’re going to take a few calls and answer the questions from listeners directly. This episode covers some great questions from listeners as well as a note James wrote to himself while going through perhaps the toughest time in his career. Check it out and let us know what you think of this experiment at twitter.com/gobelowtheline — And call 510-214-3717 to ask a question, any question, and we will do this every time we pass another 10,000 downloads (should be around every 2 weeks at this rate).
43:48
August 2, 2019
#21 — fnnch — Art. Everywhere.
fnnch is perhaps the most recognizable name in street art in San Francisco with his mega-size honey bears, pop-art lips, poppy flowers and poodles gracing our city in the unlikeliest of places. He wasn't always pursuing a passion in art, much less attempting a career in it. And he rarely speaks publicly about what it's like to be him. He is also known for being the only anonymous TED speaker to date, and this episode goes deep into the “below the line” version of someone that has very little “above the line” outside of his public work that —by design— is through the medium of street art so that everyone can enjoy the aesthetic upgrade in and around the city. We talked about that very illegal act, and the acute fact that not everyone enjoys it. We chat about how he's taken the risks and intentional, exceptionally hard-working steps to become the prolific creator he is, as well as riding lucky waves to become one of the rare artists to make a living from his art within just a few years of picking up a spray-paint can. Enjoy this episode with fnnch. You can email James questions directly at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC.
2:47:11
July 31, 2019
#20 — Chris Powers — Real Estate Mogul In The Making
Chris Powers is the only real estate mogul I know who has been selling real estate half his life. He began buying and fixing up homes when he was only 17 years old as a freshman in college, was a self-made millionaire by 23, then became a venture capitalist by 24. And today he is a real estate force helping define the future of the small-but-up-and-coming city of Fort Worth, Texas. We talk about how he began his career in real estate while everyone was thinking about fraternity parties and the influences in his life that made him decide to invest in tech. He's a unique guy — and 100% himself throughout this interview. Those two things are probably two of the biggest reasons why he has seen success early in his life. Let’s get into it with Chris on Below the Line with James Beshara. You can email James questions directly at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC.
1:50:05
July 25, 2019
#19 — Dr. Emily Anhalt — The Doctor Will Help *You See You* Now
Dr. Emily Anhalt is a clinical psychologist that focuses specifically on entrepreneurs and what she calls emotional fitness. It is a bridge between psychology and business that helps with your personal productivity and your personal psychological approach each day.  In this episode, she will share with us her invaluable seven characteristics of emotional fitness that she has given workshops at companies from Google to GitHub to TED, and a bunch in between. Let's get into it with Dr. Emily Anhalt. Email James questions at askbelowtheline@gmail.com Follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC.
1:39:56
July 23, 2019
#18 — Burt Blackarach — Music Man
Burt Blackarach is a Grammy-award winning composer, producer, DJ, and sound engineer. You may know his work in producing for iconic groups like Public Enemy. Born into a creative family, Burt got to see his father (legendary soul and rock keyboard player and songwriter William D. "Smitty" Smith) collaborate with everyone from Bob Dylan to Rick James to Fleetwood Mac — and it ignited his love of creating music as well. But what is it like to heed the call to adventure in creating music for a living? What is the inner journey like for someone as accomplished and established as Burt? Let’s get into it with Burt on Below the Line with James Beshara. Email James questions at askbelowtheline@gmail.com Follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC. 
2:07:00
July 18, 2019
#17 — Kevin Rose — The Man Who’s Seen It All
Kevin Rose is one of the most recognizable individuals in the startup world. As a founder, he and his team created the news aggregation site Digg, which became a household name, putting him on magazine covers around the world and creating an iconic brand in Silicon Valley — but it wasn’t a story that ended in champagne and ringing an IPO bell... As an investor, his list of angel investments is next to impossible to beat: Twitter, Facebook, Square, and NextDoor to name a few.   He also was podcasting back in 2004 when the world was still just learning how to pronounce the word iPod... so suffice it to say, if he is into it, there’s a very likely chance it’s about to become a very big deal. He is not only incredibly honest and open about his successes and failures, but he’s enthusiastically trying to get others to share just as openly.   We go below the line on what it’s like to build something to hundreds of millions of dollars to then see it crumble, on how we tend to overcorrect after failure, the necessary side of experiences that help us mature, spouses and their integral part in the equation as an entrepreneur, and more. Enjoy this episode with the incomparable Kevin Rose.
1:43:48
July 16, 2019
#16 — Hiten Shah — Knowledge Bombs
My favorite thing about being a founder is the ability to make your own decisions and have to live with them, and thus have to learn from them. I am constantly introspective about my thoughts: What am I thinking? Where did it come from?  The desire to be “liked” is probably the most selfish thing in the world. You want to be really mindful of the problems you are creating, when things that were working stop working and being able to identify those things much earlier when running a business.
2:21:01
July 9, 2019
#15 — Eric Ries (Pt 2) — Changing The Way Startups Are Built
Eric Ries, NY Times best-selling author, and startup sage comes back to the podcast for part 2 of our conversation we started in episode 3. We cover everything from sustainable productivity of teams, unleashing creativity, and about his (insanely) audacious company that is 8 years into their “beginning” with the Long Term Stock Exchange. It’s one of the most interesting companies out there — and for a man that’s dedicated to changing the way startups are built, it’s no surprise that he’s taken on the task of building a better stock exchange. Enjoy this conversation with the one and only, Eric Ries.
1:22:20
July 3, 2019
#14 — Alex Snodgrass — Food For Thought
Alex Snodgrass, aka The Defined Dish, has built a social media following that would make any brand jealous, with over hundreds of thousands of followers engaging around her simple and incredibly tasty whole30 and paleo dish recipes every day. She has all the social media (and in real life) love that creates a pretty pristine Above the Line version of her business. But a simple ingredient that made the conversation with this creator such an interesting one was her honesty on what it’s really like to be a social media “influencer”. We talk about everything from the fact that 2 years in (and with little traction), deciding if it was still worth doing, simplification being a key to success, anxiety attacks and the importance of investing in mental health — and in the midst of naturally being a people-pleaser, and having a spouse, two daughters, employees and hundreds of thousands of people that would want some of her time requires something simple and powerful: a checklist of things that helps remind her daily what she needs to do for herself. It’s a special episode of Below The Line with Alex today — we hope you enjoy it. About the host: James Beshara is an angel investor, advisor, founder, and general startup-helper in San Francisco, California. He has started three companies, sold one (Tilt; acq by Airbnb), and angel invested in multiple billion-dollar startups in his career. And now he's talking openly and honestly with leaders about what's going on "below the line" in their lives and careers that has made them the people that the are; the 90% of the story you don't read about or hear about anywhere else. If you have any questions, feel free to email us at askbelowtheline@gmail.com and follow us on twitter @belowthelinepodcast or follow James @JamesBeshara. "Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts, LLC.
54:10
June 27, 2019
#13 — Matt MacInnis — A Beautiful Mind(set)
Matt MacInnis is a founder and investor in Silicon Valley, and he’s widely seen as one of the best personal angel investors out there — combining his experience as a founder (and knowing what made his investors actually helpful and others unhelpful) with the insight into what spaces and products are on the rise. That’s his day job though. He is a profoundly deep thinker, an articulate leader, but most importantly, he’s honest. He’s seen all the ups and all the downs a founder can see, so you throw experience into that equation, and you’ve got a hell of a conversation. Some of our favorite quotes from the episode: "It is perfectly acceptable to go start a company with insane odds against you. If you understand the outcome will be beautiful, no matter what, thats the mindset you need to approach it with and it will be beautiful." "I could not be where I am today without the hard experiences I had to go through, and it sucked… but they were necessary." "That was the last time I put another person in the slot of alpha, on a pedestal, someone to emulate…" on his experience with Steve Jobs "You look around and think that everyone else has it figured it out — and they don't…and I am the first to admit that I’m faking it too." “I knew where I was strong and I knew where I wasn't, and I was fighting that instead of accepting it.” “When I sit down across from an entrepreneur…and they really want me to invest, and its not one I can invest in…They’re not answering “should Matt be an investor” while they're trying to answer “can I get Matt to invest in this?” — and these are vastly different questions.” “Don't win job offers. Go see if you test positive for that particular company or role and let “no” be as beautiful as yes because its the right thing. We are not as interested in truth as we are desire...”
1:38:27
June 20, 2019
#12 — Diana Chapman — Coaching Towards Consciousness
Diana Chapman is a best-selling author — her book “the 15 commitments of conscious leadership” is one of my all-time favorites — She is also an advisor and executive coach who has worked with over 1,000 organizational leaders, as well as a founding partner of Concious Leadership Group. Her incredibly powerful book has a great subtitle — “A new paradigm for sustainable success”... with the key phrase being sustainable success. Today I get a chance to talk with her about so many different topics, but they almost all lead back to that phrase. Check out this episode to learn more.
1:42:00
June 18, 2019
#11 — Sahil Lavingia — Solo Journey
Sahil Lavingia is the CEO and Founder of Gumroad, a platform to help creators create more through simple e-commerce and audience tools. He is also known for insightful and refreshing points of view on Twitter and Medium. To round it out, he’s also a designer, painter in addition to being a technology CEO and writer. Sahil and I have had similar paths in creation, from tech to design to art, as well as being a founder that has seen almost everything.  From being employee #2 at Pinterest to starting his own company, to coverage in just about every magazine, every investor in Silicon Valley wanted to be a part of what he was building to layoffs, then more layoffs, to then being the only person running his company, bordering on depression for a long stretch of time, and now back to a tight-knit team and a business that will bring in over $5m in revenue this year, profitable and actually growing faster than ever.  In addition to the experience he’s had, he’s begun to articulate what it has been like as a creator, and his tweets and essays on the topic, up there with Justin Kan, Eric Ries and a handful of other guests have given people some of the most realistic glimpses of what it’s truly like, and I can’t wait for you to hear this behemoth of an episode.
3:05:16
June 11, 2019
#10 — Ryan Hoover — Products of our Environment
 Ryan Hoover is the founder and CEO of ProductHunt — the most popular way to discover new products and services on the web. In 2016, ProductHunt was acquired by AngelList, the worlds’ most popular way to invest in startups. It was a match made in heaven, but it’s hard to say the path to that point wasn’t fraught with its share of challenges.  Ryan is one of the most popular voices when it comes to new services, and we cover the new trends he’s tracking, his love of podcasting, the “grass is only greener” version of the story for a venture-backed founder, and the differences he has noticed in his career from being an employee to founder to founder within a larger organization.  Email James questions at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter (twitter.com/gobelowtheline). "Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC.
1:25:00
June 4, 2019
#Check-In — Peter Carnochan and James
Peter Carnochan is my guest today. Peter is a psychologist, psychoanalyst, and executive coach here in San Francisco — he is also my executive coach. He was first introduced to me in 2014 by Alexis Ohanian, the co-founder or Reddit, who said I needed to meet his executive coach... and that I might benefit from chatting with him. 4 plus years later, I chat with Peter just about every other week, and this conversation isn’t unlike many I’ve had before with Peter — going from tactical topics to expansive philosophical ones and back. We’re going to do check-in episodes together every few weeks where he checks in on the project of this podcast, talks about his favorite take aways (from the perspective of being one of the most highly regarded executive coaches in Silicon Valley), as well as the Below The Line journey of what’s going on in creating this podcast.  You’ll see why I love chatting with this brilliant guy during this episode, and hear our top takeaways from previous episodes. May is Mental Health Awareness month as well, and at the very end, you’ll hear us touch on that from both the creator and human aspect, and I chat about some of the best advice I’ve ever heard on the topic.  Email James questions at askbelowtheline@gmail.com  Follow us on Twitter (twitter.com/gobelowtheline).  "Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts 
1:49:36
May 28, 2019
#8 — Ryan Caldbeck — Talking Allowed
Ryan Caldbeck and his co-founder Rory Eakin founded what has become one of the most innovative investment platforms I’ve ever seen with their award-winning company, CircleUp. In short, they use machine learning analysis to find and fund amazing companies in the consumer packaged goods space, companies like Halo Top, Rebbl, Smarty Pants vitamins — and we actually share some of those companies like Halo Top. But, being the founder of an innovative investment approach that is hitting its stride is only the above-the-line version of Ryan's story. Last year, Ryan started sharing what his entrepreneurial experiences have really been like. His open and candid writing on twitter is shared within founder circles more than any other writing, because in a world of posturing and BS, he has begun to turn the tide on with something as simple as honesty— something the entrepreneurial world is craving. We talk about what he’s shared, what he thinks a lot about, where we can do better, what it’s really like to go through a “Pivot” with a capital P. He does it all with a contagious sense ownership and accountability, which is why I think he is a major force in evolving the conversation of what it’s like to be a founder. Email James questions at askbelowtheline@gmail.com Follow us on Twitter (twitter.com/gobelowtheline). "Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC
1:29:02
May 22, 2019
#7 — Hannah Willson — Leading Within The Org
Hannah Willson is an executive, a mom, and has made the jump from large public company to the world of fast-moving startups — and she’s one of my neighbors. This podcast is an exercise of going below the line with founders, leaders, creators of all kinds, and for any startups that make a dent in the universe, even employee 100 shoulders the weight of attempting to create something special.  Hannah was most recently the VP of Sales (often the most stressful department in a startup) at Rainforest QA, one of the fastest growing startups in the Bay Area, and we talk about everything from balancing being a mother, wife, friend, and an executive, how the things that can make you great at sales can often hold you back as a sales _leader_, the stories that have helped shape who she has become, and the recently acquired habit of meditation; among other things. So let’s get into it with my good friend and one of the most respected executives in San Francisco. And for those looking forward to what crazy drink we shared this episode... you’re out of luck, because I forgot to do that this time...  Email James questions at askbelowtheline@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter (twitter.com/gobelowtheline). "Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC
1:15:11
May 16, 2019
#6 — Corby Davidson — The Entertainer
Corby Davidson is a radio personality from James’ hometown of Dallas, Texas. At age 23, Davidson knew he wanted to “do what Howard Stern does,” and eventually became the award-winning co-host of one of the country’s most-listened to radio station. Corby and James discuss what it’s been like to pursue this career type, the stories that have shaped him as an individual, and after thousands of interviews, what makes for a great interviewer. Enjoy this episode of ‘Below the Line’ with one of James’ childhood heroes, one of the most popular sports radio hosts out there, and last but not least... simply one of the most entertaining people to ever sit behind a mic.  Email James questions at askbelowtheline@gmail.com Follow us on Twitter (twitter.com/gobelowtheline). "Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC
1:17:00
May 7, 2019
#5 — Max Roser — Going Below The (Global) Line
Bill Gates refers to him as his “favorite economist” for the work he does with his organizaiton “Our World in Data” (www.ourworldindata.org). Today’s guest is Max Roser — and he and his team have influenced several best-selling books, countless news articles, and spurred some of the most important discussions in recent years with his simple premise for a website: what can the data of our world tell us about where we came from and where we’re headed?   We cover everything from Max’s background and the founding of “Our World in Data”, to the long-term trends that have really surprised him and his team, to being one of the first non-profits to go through Y Combinator (and how beneficial it can be for non-profits to learn from how Silicon Valley operates).  Join us as we dive into these topics with Max in what I hope will be one of many episodes we get to have with him.  If you have any questions, feel free to email us at askbelowtheline@gmail.com and follow us on twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline or follow James @ twitter.com/JamesBeshara "Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts, LLC
1:12:00
May 2, 2019
#4 — Kathryn McCarron — Cage-Free Entrepreneurship
Kathryn McCarron is a San Francisco-based fashion designer and founder of her namesake ethical cashmere line, featured in stores from Bergdorf Goodman to Neiman Marcus to Lord & Taylor, from New York to South Korea... From being featured in New York Fashion Week at 25 to the cover of Cosmo, she is as humble as she is amazing, and I’m really excited to have the honor to chat with her today. Go to KathrynMcCarron.com to check out her work and see the above-the-line version. If you have any questions, feel free to email us at askbelowtheline@gmail.com and follow us on twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline or follow James @ twitter.com/JamesBeshara "Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts, LLC
1:22:40
April 30, 2019
#3 — Eric Ries — Psychological Journey
Eric Ries, New York Times best-selling author and CEO/Co-Founder of one of the most ambitious ideas on the planet right now (Long Term Stock Exchange) talks about the movement he started with his best-seller The Lean Startup and why the narratives need to change when it comes to building companies. He also shares his personal approach to starting companies now that he's 20 years into it, how to receive feedback, and how weak points can be hidden strengths if you detach from the story of how things should be going in your head.  If you have any questions, feel free to email us at askbelowtheline@gmail.com and follow us on twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline or follow James @ twitter.com/JamesBeshara "Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts, LLC
1:31:10
April 16, 2019
#2 — Mike Maples — The Original
Mike Maples is one of the original seed investing gangstas. Seriously. He was the first investor in Twitter, along with investments in other world-changing companies like Cruise, Lyft, Okta, Twitch, and more back when “seed investor” was barely a term.  He is consistently named as one of the best investors in Silicon Valley and is also "the man who taught me how to invest" according to Tim Ferris, and beyond his brilliance as an investor, he might also be the nicest guy in Silicon Valley. Listen in as he shares his stories from his childhood, what's really causing the growth of inequality in our country, and a bit about a concept I had never heard about called "scissor statements" that is borderline terrifying.  If you have any questions, feel free to email us at askbelowtheline@gmail.com and follow us on twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline or follow James @ twitter.com/JamesBeshara "Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts, LLC
1:58:45
April 4, 2019
#1 — Justin Kan — The Philosopher CEO
Justin Kan is the exceptionally talented Silicon Valley founder and investor that’s co-founded companies like Twitch, SocialCam, Exec, and Atrium (with over $1bn in exits). He is also a former partner of the famed accelerator Y Combinator and a personal investor in dozens more startups.  Today’s conversation covers everything from his near death experience that shaped his life to how to increase your baseline happiness (heads up: it has nothing to do with selling your company).   Email James questions at askbelowtheline@gmail.com Follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline — “Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts LLC.
1:07:41
April 4, 2019
#0 — Intro: Why “Below The Line”
What is the optimal psychological approach to your career each day. Is it “aim as high as possible” or is it “detach from results?” Is it to be content where you are or to always strive for “better”? We now know a lot about the field of sports psychology — but what can the best research tell us about the nascent field of business psychology? We know mental health is a serious issue for founders and creators, but how can we avoid the mental health traps that await us when setting out to create, lead, and impact?  What began as an idea for a compilation and potential book of interviews from the best founders, leaders, and researchers on the optimal psychological approaches for pursuing careers, leading companies, and life in general has now turned into this podcast... And it is a chance for you to listen in on my interviews with everyone from the founders of billion-dollar companies, to legendary investors, to New York Times best-sellers, to philosophers, spiritual leaders, and people researching the science behind finding flow in your work and decision making.  About the host: James Beshara is an angel investor, advisor, founder, and general startup-helper in San Francisco, California. He has started three companies, sold one (Tilt; acq by Airbnb), and angel invested in multiple billion-dollar startups in his career. And now he's talking openly and honestly with others about what's going on "below the line" in their worlds... the things that have made them who they are and the things they *really* think about each day — the 90% of the story you don't read about or hear about anywhere else.  If you have any questions, feel free to email us at askbelowtheline@gmail.com and follow us on twitter @ twitter.com/gobelowtheline or follow James @ twitter.com/JamesBeshara "Below the Line with James Beshara" is brought to you by Straight Up Podcasts, LLC
23:02
March 28, 2019