Blitzscalability Analysis with Scott Johnson: August 2021 VC Deals
Scott Johnson of Blitzscaling Ventures returns to assess another crop of blitzscalable venture deals. This months deals are: Bungalow Saturn Royal Pintu Balance
September 28, 2021
Love and Faith with Dr. Ken Franklin
The John Madden of Mental Samurai, Dr. Ken Franklin, returns to discuss matters of love and faith. I've long admired Dr. Ken's ability to be loving, even in the challenging environment of Facebook, and he tells the story of how he developed his faith, how it was tested, and why he won't ever stop trying to love others. And if you like the wisdom of Dr. Ken, you can get it on tap in his book, "Spit Out That Apple," which is available on Amazon as a paperback, on Audible (free with your free trial), and via Kindle Unlimited: https://www.amazon.com/Spit-Out-Apple-embrace-rejecting-ebook/dp/B07XNL86MD
September 6, 2021
Blitzscalability Analysis with Scott Johnson: July 2021 VC Deals
Scott Johnson returns to discuss another crop of blitzscalable startups. The companies covered in this episode are: Otter (get paid to take care of one other family's children) Choco (digital platform for restaurant/supplier purchasing) Block Renovation (managed marketplace for home renovations) Jones (insurance compliance for construction and repair contractors) Valora (Venmo for crypto in Brazil) Nas Academy (Make your own Masterclass for influencers)
August 25, 2021
Mental Samurai Season 2 Interview: Episode 5 winner Wesley Chang
I'm pleased to welcome my first Season 2 Mental Samurai to the show (check the archives to listen to my interviews with the three other Season 1 Mental Samurai--with a slightly different definition: Nathan Gonzalez, Dr. Jackie Boehme, and Ben Bergstrom), the purple fauxhawk himself, Wesley Chang. Wesley and I discuss the origin of his trademark look, why his dog has a similar purple fauxhawk, and where he and his fiancee plan on going for their honeymoon. Wesley also talks about strategy and how he prepared for the show. It's a great conversation, and I hope you listen in!
August 10, 2021
Blitzcalability Analysis with Scott Johnson: June 2021 Venture Deals
Scott Johnson returns to discuss five blitzscalable deals from June 2021. This episode discusses: XCLAIM Lessen Co-op Commerce Shef Snackpass
July 30, 2021
Mental Samurai Season 2 Episode 9 (Season Finale!): Recap with Dr. Ken
Dr. Ken Franklin returns to help me recap and break down the season finale of Mental Samurai. We discuss the individual competitors, Caroline Glymph's mental game, and reflect on the patterns we saw for the entire season. Competitors: Hercules Magnus, Real Estate Agent Caroline Glymph, Baton Twirler and Psychology Ph.D. Student Anya Lester, Forensic Scientist Jeromy Robert, Former Navy Cryptographer Joshua Florence, Pre-med College Student Laith Wallschleger, Former Pro Football Player / Voiceover Artist
July 28, 2021
Mental Samurai Season 2 Episode 7: Interview with Jamaal Williams
Episode 7 competitor Jamaal Williams stops in to discuss his childhood in German, his many college majors, and his dual careers in government service and content creation. Jamaal also reveals why so many competitors are talking it out, and how he felt about winning $10,000, but not getting a chance to go to the Circle of Samurai. https://www.maalys-world.com/
July 9, 2021
Mental Samurai Season 2 Episode 8: Recap with Dr. Ken
Dr. Ken Franklin returns to help me recap and analyze Episode 8 of Season 2 of Mental Samurai. This episode featured the fewest correct answers of any episode, and also the first Mental Samurai to wear the crown without a perfect run. We also discuss the extensive IMDB credits of two competitors, who were actually regulars on two popular unscripted shows, and our admiration for Laith Wallschleger. Competitors: Krystyna Ahlers, Triple Valedictorian (Millionaire Matchmaker) Laith Wallschleger, NFL Player/Math Tutor/Voice Actor (Worst Cooks in America) David Rendon, Army Veteran / Amputee / Mountain Climber Charity Clark, Online Business Coach Shadi Ireifej, Veterinarian Nick Santo, Jewelry Designer / Daytrader
July 9, 2021
Mental Samurai Season 2 Episode 7: Recap with Dr. Ken
Hi folks, sorry for the delay on this episode, but I was in Monaco last week, and couldn't record until now. Once again, Dr. Ken Franklin joined me to recap and analyze the most recent episode of Mental Samurai, which featured three perfect runs, and a down-to-the-wire finish. We also discuss why stress and sleep deprivation can lead to flameouts, and learn why Dr. Ken didn't go to Stanford for college (which is the university's loss!). This week's competitors: Tony Mangione, Restauranteur Jennifer Jacobsen-Wood, Librarian Jamaal Williams, Data Analyst / Dad Haylee Hilton, Aquatic Mammal Trainer Ryan Cohen, Mechatronics Engineer (and Stanford alum) Nick Santo, Reigning Samurai
July 5, 2021
Mental Samurai Season 2 Episode 6: Recap with Dr. Ken
Dr. Ken Franklin returns to help me recap and analyze the action from Episode 6 of Season 2 of Mental Samurai. For the first time ever, Fox aired Mental Samurai twice in the same week, likely to avoid running into the Tokyo Olympics, so Dr. Ken and I pulled a double shift to cover the action. Competitors this week: Devin Collins, Stilt Walker (who also sings and as a teenager, opened for Chaka Khan, Dionne Warwick, and Roberta Flack) Jeff Vaughn, Professional Poker Player Jillian Gloria, Aspiring Astronaut Nick Santo, Daytrader / Jewelry Designer Kaitlyn Chu, USC Student Wes Chang, Reigning Samurai
June 25, 2021
Mental Samurai Season 2 Episode 5: Recap with Dr. Ken
Dr. Ken Franklin returns to break down Episode 5 of Season 2. Scott Perry tries to extend his reign as Mental Samurai for yet another episode, but he has some strong competitors standing in his way. Not only do we break down the action, we also hear Dr. Ken's technique for acing the Memory tower. This week's competitors: Avery Kane: Surfer/Drummer Victor Velez: Multi-lingual Speaker Layci Petrakis: Hunter Wes Chang: Fauxhawk Enthusiast Courtney Evans: Dentist Scott Perry: The Man Who Married His Cat
June 24, 2021
Mental Samurai Season 2 Episode 4: Recap with Dr. Ken
Dr. Ken dials in from his road trip to analyze the events of Episode 4, with a focus on defending champion Scott Perry. We discuss the various contestants, my desire for a Wikipedia page, and where Dr. Ken and his wife have been. Competititors: Meri J Van (model) Ashlea Archer (college professor) Jeff Ahern (sales) Alexa Lowery (homeschool teacher) Scott Perry (marketing consultant)
June 19, 2021
Blitzscalability Analysis with Scott Johnson: May 2021 VC Deals
Scott Johnson returns for a joint analysis of venture deals announced in May 2021. This month's companies include: Contractbook Skiff Rally Poparazzi
June 12, 2021
Mental Samurai Season 2 Episode 3: Recap and breakdown with Becky Eldridge
I'm joined by Season 1 competitor Becky Eldridge, who joins me to recap Episode 3 of Season 2 of Mental Samurai. We discuss how Becky's life has changed since Mental Samurai, and what she likes and doesn't like about the new format. Then we recap the action, leading up to the amazing perfection of the newest Mental Samurai reigning champion, Scott Perry. Contestants: Ruby Ortega: Army veteran, antiques Aaron Fraley: Lab scientist, Ohioan Lisa Overman: Brand manager, gifted child Scott Perry: Marketing consultant, laughs a lot Don Hecht: Stuntman, Italian Dr. Laura Kerber: NASA scientist, Reigning Samurai
June 10, 2021
Mental Samurai Season 2 Episode 2: Interview with competitor Peter Freyer, Banker/Magician
I'm joined by Episode 2's Peter Freyer, a former entrepreneur and finance executive who was also a one-time professional magician. Tune in to learn about how I know his childhood BFF, how he earned so much money doing magic, and hear the story of how being unemployed led to appearing on 11 different game shows, including both Wheel of Fortune and The Price Is Right.
June 8, 2021
Blitzscalability Analysis with Scott Johnson: April 2021 VC Deals
Scott Johnson is back to help me analyze a fresh crop of VC deals. The deals we feature this month are: Plentina Atrato Spinny Streamlit Causal StarStock Pearpop Faci.ly With bonus discussion of: Quadrant Eye Firstbase Synthesia
June 5, 2021
Mental Samurai Season 2 Episode 2: Recap and breakdown with Dr. Ken Franklin
Dr. Ken returns to help me break down Episode 2 of Season 2 of Mental Samurai. We discuss the runs of Ben Hockman, his fiancee Dr. Laura Kerber (note that Ben has a Ph.D too), Ryan Shyng, Bianca Harris, Peter Freyer, and Reigning Samurai Gleb Golfin. Tune in for our analysis, and to learn whether $30,000 is more than $0.
June 3, 2021
Mental Samural Season 2 Episode 1: Interview with competitor Michelle Joy Nixon
Michelle Joy Nixon (MJ to her friends) is the first Season 2 competitor to make it into the recording booth. We discuss MJ's remarkable life (which includes growing up as a tomboy, being the first in her family to graduate from college--Magna cum Laude from the University of Florida, realizing her childhood dream by working as a reporter for ESPN, switching to teaching special needs kids, and getting involved with multiple televised competitions) and dive into the details of how Mental Samurai Season 2 came together (first MJ was going to shoot in Spain, then finally in Portugal, which involved flying from Jacksonville to LA to New York to Lisbon). We also explore MJ's pop culture Achilles heel, which tripped her up because she's never seen Star Wars, or many other movies, as I discovered when she referred to Harrison Ford as, "Isn't that the guy that played a cowboy in some movie?", and didn't know him as Han Solo or Indiana Jones. You can learn more about MJ at her various websites, and you can even view some of her local TV commercials on her YouTube channel! http://www.joyisinyou.com/ http://www.mjnixon.com/ https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrro0mYr5Y_8EaQATJxSawg/videos
June 1, 2021
Mental Samural Season 2 Episode 1: Breakdown with Dr. Ken Franklin
To supplement my Episode 1 recap, I'm joined by Dr. Ken Franklin, critically-acclaimed game designer and fellow Mental Samural Season 1 competitor. We talk about Dr. Ken's game design career, and he breaks down the specific changes made between Season 1 and Season 2, and what they imply (e.g. Sequence questions are now easier, because they are all 3-item questions, rather than including 4-item questions; how Ava is moving differently). I'm hoping that Dr. Ken will come back later on in the season, so show him some love!
May 28, 2021
Chris Yeh's Mental Samurai Season 2 Episode 1 Recap
Season 1 Mental Samurai Chris Yeh recaps the Season 2 premiere. I discuss the changes to the show's format, and discuss the events of S2E1, including the right way to approach Gridlock puzzles. Competitors: Anthony Trucks Michelle Joy Nixon Dave Lim Erin McLean Gleb Gofin Deborah Edwards
May 26, 2021
Blitzscaling in the Social Sector with Generation's Mona Mourshed
I'm joined by Mona Mourshed, the founder of Generation, which helps thousands of people find meaningful careers in countries around the world. Mona and I talk about her remarkable life, her work at Generation, how the pandemic has made this work even more urgent, and how blitzscaling differs for organizations in the social sector. https://www.generation.org/ https://www.linkedin.com/in/mona-mourshed/ https://www.fastcompany.com/90611533/memo-to-silicon-valley-heres-what-blitzscaling-looks-like-in-the-nonprofit-world
May 25, 2021
Blitzscalability Analysis with Scott Johnson: March 2021 VC Deals
Scott Johnson returns to analyze another set of blitzscalable venture deals. This time, we cover the month of March 2021, including three collectibles-focused deals: Chums (group shopping a la Pinduoduo) Lev (commercial mortgage managed marketplace) Alt (platform for collectible sport cards) OpenSea (marketplace for crypto collectibles and NFTs) Whatnot (live-streaming auction platform for collectibles)
April 21, 2021
Blitzscalability Analysis with Scott Johnson: February 2021 VC Deals
Scott Johnson returns to analyze another set of blitzscalable venture deals. This time, we cover the month of February 2021: Quilt (female-focused Clubhouse) Koo App (Twitter for India, backed by Modi) Patch.io (Stripe for carbon offsets) Flink (Robinhood for Mexico) Kalshi (prediction market as a regulated exchange) Fictiv (managed marketplace for manufacturing) Sorare (NFTs + Exclusive Rights + Fantasy Sports = $$$)
March 24, 2021
Blitzscalability Analysis with Scott Johnson: January 2021 VC Deals
Scott Johnson returns to analyze another set of blitzscalable venture deals. This time, we cover the month of January 2021: Lowkey (easily capture and share your best video gameplay moments) Landing (easy 30+ day apartment rentals for digital nomads and more) Multiverse (surprisingly, not a VR gaming company, but rather paid apprenticeships for non-traditional candidates) Fashinza (two-sided marketplace for apparel manufacturing)
March 5, 2021
Extraordinary Organizations and an Extraordinary Life with Don Yates
I'm joined by my friend Don Yates, who shares some of the details from his long and remarkable life (he turns 87 this year), and discusses some of his heretical ideas about how companies should be organized and operated. Links: https://www.extraordinaryorganizations.com/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Morning_Star_Company https://sudburyvalley.org/
February 9, 2021
Humor, Seriously with Jennifer Aaker (Launch Day!)
I'm joined by my friend and fellow author, Professor Jennifer Aaker of Stanford University. Jennifer and I discuss the power of humor in business, how a day at Second City led to this book, and try to make each other laugh along the way. Jennifer and her co-author Naomi Bagdonas' new book, Humor, Seriously launched today! https://www.humorseriously.com/ Order the hardcover today and get a special early ebook as a FREE bonus: bit.ly/humorspecialgift. And if you love the book, you can discover your humor style by signing up for the Humor, Seriously Bootcamp. This 21-day coaching tool, delivered by SMS or WhatsApp, will help you get serious about humor and harness it as the superpower it is. Sign up today and get 50% off using the code HUMORYEH
February 3, 2021
Blitzscalability Analysis with Scott Johnson: December 2020 VC Deals
Once again, Scott Johnson of Blitzscaling Ventures returns to help me analyze the blitzscalability of some of the top venture deals from December, 2020. The companies we discuss in this podcast are: Rec Room Beauty Pie Supergreat Storyboard
January 29, 2021
Blitzscalability Analysis with Scott Johnson: November 2020 VC Deals
Happy Holidays! I'm joined by Scott Johnson of Blitzscaling Ventures to discuss the blitzscalability of some selected VC deals from the month of November. In this month's podcast, we look at Ankorstore, Fittr, and Strava. We also discuss Push Party (which is a practical joke from Founders Fund) and the likely post-IPO futures of DoorDash and Airbnb.
December 23, 2020
Post-Presidential Election Special with Ray Conley: Why Ray Believes Trump Will Win
My old friend Ray Conley returns to explain why his Bayesian analysis leads him to calculate that Donald Trump has a 66% chance of being reinaugurated on January 20, 2021, and why December 10 will determine the outcome of the election. We explore the motivations of the Supreme Court and state legislatures, and why he and I disagree so much on the odds. We conclude with some of Ray's thoughts on trades you could make to bet on a Trump victory.
December 10, 2020
Blitzscalability Analysis with Scott Johnson: October 2020 VC Deals
Scott Johnson of Blitzscaling Ventures returns to the podcast to discuss another bumper crop of potentially blitzscalable deals. In this episode, we discuss and score three companies: Casai, EdLyft, and Remotion.
November 18, 2020
Analyzing the Donald Trump phenomenon with John Robb of Global Guerillas
I'm joined by my old friend John Robb, who discusses his life as an action hero, how he ended up becoming an internet pioneer, and how Donald Trump was not a candidate, but a weapon to use the power of decentralized dissent to tear down the establishment. John also predicts what will happen between now and Inauguration Day, and why Trump likely won't be a political force much longer, even if the trends he rode do not go away. https://twitter.com/johnrobb https://www.patreon.com/johnrobb https://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/
November 11, 2020
Ray Conley & The Genius of Dumb, Part 2 (Pre-Election Special)
Ray Conley returns, after his move to Nashville, to discuss how the concept of "The Genius of Dumb" applies to the upcoming election. You'll hear about how Ken Wilber's integral theory applies to our current divided electorate, and what he expects to happen after the election, including the chilling reasons why he believes Donald Trump will eventually be able to use the levers of power to retain the presidency.
October 31, 2020
Talking Lakers with Gary "@TheRealSignGuy1"
What's up Lakers fans! (Just kidding Pete.) Now that the Lakers have won their 17th NBA championship (and 12th in the lake-filled city of Los Angeles), what better way to celebrate than to bring in a Lakers super-fan who is on the Mount Rushmore of Lakers fans, along with Jack Nicholson and Dyan Cannon, Gary the Sign Guy, AKA @TheRealSignGuy1 who also happens to be the star of the most iconic Lakers fan GIF ever. You'll hear how Gary became a Lakers fan, his superhero origin story (how Kobe's 81-point game inspired him to become the Lakers Sign Guy), and his favorite Lakers and Lakers teams from two decades as a season ticket holder. But we also learn more about the man behind the myth, including his childhood, how he amassed his fortune, and what Kobe meant to him. Unless you're a Celtics or Clippers fan, you'll love this episode!
October 22, 2020
Blitzscalability Analysis with Scott Johnson: September 2020 VC Deals
Scott Johnson of Blitzscaling Ventures returns to the podcast to discuss the bumper crop of potentially blitzscalable deals from September. In this episode, we discuss and score three companies: Bunch, Ledger Investing, and Manticore Games. As an added bonus, we discuss a non-blitzscalable but noteworth deal, the Fan-Controlled Football League.
October 10, 2020
How Role-Playing Games (RPGs) Drive Innovation And Entrepreneurship (with Frans Johansson and Tim Harford)
I'm joined by my fellow Silicon Guild members, Frans Johansson and Tim Harford (Order of the British Empire) to discuss our mutual passion for tabletop role-playing games, how they've impacted our lives, how they've become a part of mainstream popular culture, and how we're managing to keep playing during the pandemic.
October 4, 2020
Reinventing the SPAC with Reid Hoffman
I'm joined by my Blitzscaling co-author, legendary entrepreneur and investor Reid Hoffman, to discuss Special Purpose Acquisition Companies, or SPACs, including why Reid is participating in the Reinvent Technology Partners SPAC. You can read Reid's essay based on this episode here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/reinventing-spac-reid-hoffman/.
October 4, 2020
Blitzscalability Analysis with Scott Johnson: August 2020 VC Deals
Scott Johnson returns to discuss two VC deals from August 2020. The companies we discuss in this episode are Crossbeam and Steno. We also discuss the broader market trends, and whether or not the market will rebound to pre-pandemic levels before a working vaccine arrives.
September 13, 2020
Tim Taylor and the importance of getting help
My friend Tim Taylor joins me for a wide-ranging discussion covering topics from what it was like being named Tim Taylor when "Home Improvement" was the #1 show on television, to the transformative moment when Tim realized that he needed to get help and work on himself, thanks to his daughter. Hopefully this will be the first of many episodes in this series.
August 29, 2020
Blitzscalability Analysis with Scott Johnson: July 2020 VC Deals
Scott Johnson returns to discuss four VC deals from July 2020. The companies we discuss in this episode are Bond Financial Technologies, Cityblock Health, Zetwerk, and Cover.
August 24, 2020
Blitzcalability Analysis with Scott Johnson: June 2020 Venture Deals
Scott Johnson of Blitzscaling Ventures returns to discuss another set of venture deals. This month's deals are Pinwheel, Postman, Alkemics, and Clubhouse. Scott and I disagree and debate quite a bit in this episode, especially when it comes to Postman and Clubhouse.
August 24, 2020
"The Genius of Dumb" with Ray Conley
I sit down with my old friend Ray Conley to discuss his journey from Appalachia to high finance and entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley, and we detail our upcoming book project, "The Genius of Dumb."
July 28, 2020
Killer pitches and overcoming obstacles with Precious L. Williams
Precious L. Williams is a world-renowned pitch coach who has appeared on television many times and is a 13-time national pitch champion. She is also someone who grew up in an abusive home where she was told she would never amount to anything, and who, after achieving amazing heights, lost everything after personal tragedy spiraled into addiction, homelessness, and attempted suicide, only to find divine inspiration in helping others succeed and come roaring back to be more successful than ever. This is a remarkable episode that touches on some painful topics, but it is ultimately an inspiring story of how love and compassion can overcome almost any obstacle. https://www.linkedin.com/in/precious-l-williams/ https://www.perfectpitchesbyprecious.com/ https://www.instagram.com/perfectpitchesp/
July 23, 2020
HBS Class of 2000 Reunion: Michele Korfin
I'm joined by my classmate Michele Korfin, who discusses her life growing up in working-class New Jersey, her love of Bruce Springsteen, and the importance of mentors during her distinguished career in pharma and biotech. You'll also hear one of the most unique answers to the "what superpower do you wish you had" question. All Superfriends fans will want to tune in!
July 22, 2020
The Charismatic Leader with Professor Richard Tedlow: Oprah Winfrey
This week, Richard Tedlow and I turn our attention to Oprah Winfrey, the Queen of All Media. We trace her remarkable life story, from the abused child of an unwed teen mother to the first African-American woman to become a self-made billionaire, who has often been named the most influential woman in the world. We examine the source of her charisma, her ability to make meaning out of suffering, and ponder how she has been able to stay relatable to her audience despite her incredible success. Notes: 1) During this episode, we discuss the challenges that Oprah faced in her lifetime, including sexual abuse, racism (including racial slurs), and the death of her infant son. If you listen to these episodes with your children, or if these topics would cause you emotional pain, you might want to skip over this episode. 2) Due to user error on my part, the audio for my portion of the conversation is not as crisp as usual (Zoom recorded using my laptop's onboard microphone, instead of the fancy condenser microphone that I typically use) but I deemed it "listenable," and rather than subject Richard to a re-recording, opted to publish it as is. Links: Here is Oprah as a young anchorwoman (afro and all): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9aqfUhACCU Here is a behind-the-scenes look at Oprah's first talk show, People Are Talking: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dv7RGIWUxE And here is a 30-second commercial for People Are Talking: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Qy62A4m6gQ Finally, here is Oprah talking about that 67 pounds of fat in a wagon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoVmIyzNn-8
July 17, 2020
Blitzscaling Food Security with Ricardo Rocha (Founder, Bondadosa.org)
I met Ricardo Rocha by listening to social impact accelerator Uncharted's podcast. When I heard Ricardo's story, I knew I needed to record a podcast with him, and Uncharted CEO Banks Benitez was kind enough to connect us. At the beginning of the pandemic, Ricardo's organization, Bondadosa.org, was a small, 12-person non-profit that was delivering a couple hundred meals per month to low-income families. Today, just a few months later, Bondadosa has over 60 employees, and has delivered over 250,000 meals. Ricardo and I discuss the journey that led him to Bondadosa, including what it was like to grow up as an undocumented immigrant, and the key relationship that turned his life around when he was a directionless and mediocre student, and the patient that convinced him to switch from going to medical school to become a doctor to being a social entrepreneur. Ricardo is an amazing person, and I know you'll enjoy hearing his story. Here is a short video that will help you picture Bondadosa: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XA2R-gxG0uI Here's a story about Bondadosa's work during this pandemic: https://www.9news.com/article/news/health/coronavirus/denver-metro-emergency-food-network-free-meals-families-in-need/73-afa17251-f3fb-4e1b-9214-4236e73ad266
July 17, 2020
HBS Class of 2000 Reunion: Debbie Hochberg
Lindsey Mead and I chat with Debbie Hochberg, who has been a loyal listener to this podcast series. We discuss a fascinating "Sliding Doors" moment in her life, and how 9/11 changed the course of her career, encouraging her to focus on her passion for non-profits.
July 10, 2020
HBS Class of 2000 Reunion: Dr. Nik Korgaonkar
Welcome to the first post-reunion episode of the HBS Class of 2000 series. People have enjoyed it so much that we are continuing the series indefinitely. Since each HBS class has approximately 880 students, I figure we can keep going for another two decades! This week's guest is Dr. Nik Korgaonkar. Lindsey Mead and I talk with Nik about why he interrupted medical school to go to HBS, and how the lessons he learned in business school are helpful to him. Right before we recorded the episode, Dr. Nik operated on a lung cancer patient; what was once a death sentence is now an 80-90% chance at a cure. As usual, we spend a lot of time discussing favorite books, and Dr. Nik recommends The Power of One.
July 10, 2020
Charismatic Leader Conversation with Richard Tedlow: Elon Musk
Professor Richard Tedlow returns to discuss the first living leader in our series on the Charismatic Leader, Elon Musk. We discuss how essential Musk's charisma has been to the success of Tesla and SpaceX, debate the value and importance of SpaceX, and try to figure out how to reconcile the greatness of the entrepreneur with the unseemly and unnecessary behavior of the man. You can play the videogame Elon wrote as a 12-year-old here: https://blastar-1984.appspot.com/
July 2, 2020
Charismatic Leader Conversation with Richard Tedlow: Mary Kay Ash
Acclaimed business historian and Harvard Business School Emeritus Professor Richard Tedlow joins me to discuss the life and career of Mary Kay Ash, one of the most famous women entrepreneurs of the 20th Century. We discuss the Mary Kay's powerhouse charisma, and how it enabled her to build her eponymous business by enabling other women to become entrepreneurs in a society where they weren't supposed to participate in the traditional workplace. As with Sam Walton, we discuss a specific video of Mary Kay Ash appearing on 60 Minutes, which is linked to below, along with some other interesting videos: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Kay_Ash https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrWz_MzKAMk (Mary Kay on 60 Minutes) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMu5hS7E2Jw (Mary Kay wins the Horatio Alger award in 1978, accepting it from Norman Vincent Peale) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8iG_WEsW6I (Mary Kay’s estate) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYPdIFUz_zo (Mary Kay’s top seller, 2017)
June 23, 2020
Realistic Optimism Despite The Pandemic, With WattPad Founder/CEO Allen Lau and Eli Schwartz
Eli Schwartz and I interview WattPad's Allen Lau (who has been in the high-tech industry since before the Dot Com bust) to discuss his life, WattPad's amazing success, and the reasons why he's optimistic about our ability to recover from the shock of Covid-19. https://www.linkedin.com/in/allen-lau-2344b6/ https://www.wattpad.com/user/allenlau https://twitter.com/allenlau https://www.wattpad.com/story/31986026-what-happened-that-night
June 23, 2020
Loving Day and Cancel Culture with guest Brandon Watson of KOM Partners
I welcome my elementary school classmate Brandon Watson to the podcast to discuss what it was like growing up young, gifted, and black; Brandon's distinguished career in the high tech industry including his current project, InterviewAt.com; his love of endurance sports; and discuss a recent Facebook run-in the underscores some of the dangerous forms of intolerance that social media has engendered, even among the "woke". https://www.linkedin.com/in/brandonwatson/ https://mirman.org/ http://kompartners.com/ https://www.interviewat.com/ And of course, Brandon and Christy's FB live video: https://www.facebook.com/brandonwatson/videos/10105264575829637/
June 23, 2020
HBS Class of 2000 Bonus: Frantz Alphonse on why he's optimistic about race in America
Frantz Alphonse returns to discuss growing up black in Boston, "The Conversation" that all black parents have to have with their young men when they're old enough to drive, what you can do to be a good ally at this time, and what he hopes for his sons. https://www.linkedin.com/in/frantz-alphonse-5575a5/ https://www.apch.com/
June 17, 2020
Blitzscalability Analysis with Scott Johnson: May 2020 VC Deals
Scott Johnson of Blitzscaling Ventures stops by to discuss the May deals by top VCs. We examine how financings have rebounded from the Covid-19 dip in April, and discuss Commonwealth Fusion, Clyde, and Knowde, with a special bonus discussion of Clubhouse. https://www.linkedin.com/in/scott-johnson-49345/ https://cfs.energy/ https://www.joinclyde.com/ https://www.knowde.com/ https://www.forbes.com/sites/alexkonrad/2020/05/15/andreessen-horowitz-wins-vc-sweepstakes-to-back-clubhouse-voice-app/#6b678c6e6f2a
June 17, 2020
HBS Class of 2000 Reunion: Class Panel with Stephan Bancel, Shari Hubert, and Christa Quarles
For our virtual 20th reunion, Lindsey Mead and I moderated a special class panel discussion featuring Stephan Bancel, the CEO of Moderna (likely to be the first company to market with a Covid-19 vaccine), Shari Hubert, the Associate Dean of Admissions at The Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, and Christa Quarles, former CEO of OpenTable, and board member of Kimberley-Clark. This session discussed memories of HBS, the Covid-19 pandemic and its effects on education, the restaurant industry, and the broader economy, and the murder of George Floyd, the protests in his name, and the Black Lives Matter movement. https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephan-bancel-8185251/ https://www.linkedin.com/in/sharihubert/ https://www.linkedin.com/in/christaquarles/
June 14, 2020
Charismatic Leader Conversation with Richard Tedlow: Sam Walton
Professor Richard Tedlow returns to discuss an iconic, charismatic business leader. This time, we discuss Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, how his background enabled him to build Walmart, the two keys to the company's success, and the many ways that Sam's charisma won the hearts and minds of his hundreds of thousands of associates. In the episode, we discuss Sam's final public appearance, shortly before his death from cancer, when he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George H. W. Bush. You can watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgqoRzj62dY
June 12, 2020
Talking Marketplaces with Josh Breinlinger of Jackson Square Ventures
My old friend Josh Breinlinger joins the podcast to describe how he grew up in a family of MIT engineers, how he ended up in the startup world, and what he looks for in marketplace businesses. We also spend some time discussing how much we admire Amazon's business model and execution, and I share two of my crazy Amazon predictions. https://www.linkedin.com/in/jbreinlinger/ https://acrowdedspace.com/ https://www.jsv.com/
June 11, 2020
Special Mini-Episode: General James Mattis on the events in Lafayette Square, June 1, 2020
Many people have heard that former Secretary of Defense James Mattis wrote an editorial criticizing the actions of President Donald Trump. But I fear that very few have read his letter in its entirety. In this special mini-episode, I provide my own reading of this document.
June 10, 2020
George Floyd Protests, 1968, and Section 230 with former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt and historian Richard Tedlow
When Reed, Richard, and I originally set up a time to record this podcast, we had intended to focus on the Trump Administration's Executive Order targeting Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, and more specifically, Twitter placing warning labels on the President's inflammatory and/or false tweets. But life happens. By the time we recorded the podcast on June 2, the murder of George Floyd, and the protests and police responses to those protests had become the focus of the nation. In this podcast, we discuss current events, how they compare to 1968 (when Reed and Richard met as Yale undergraduates), the insider history of Section 230, and why we should still strive to be optimistic, even in times of crisis. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Floyd_protests https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reed_Hundt https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_230_of_the_Communications_Decency_Act
June 3, 2020
Charismatic Leader Conversation with Richard Tedlow: Henry Ford
Renowned historian (and my former Harvard Business School professor) Richard Tedlow returns for the latest installment in our series of conversations exploring the lives and lessons of charismatic business leaders. This time, we consider the story of Henry Ford, the legendary entrepreneur who put American on wheels, but whose later years were marked by a declining business and virulent anti-Semitism. We explore the question of how such successful entrepreneur, who appeared invincible, can fall from grace.
May 27, 2020
The Unanswerable Questions of Social Impact with Teju Ravilochan
Teju Ravilochan, co-founder of the Unreasonable Institute / Uncharted social enterprise accelerator, and founder of of GatherFor.org joins me to talk about his journey in the world of social impact and dive deep into the unanswerable questions of social impact. Teju takes a deep and unflinching look at the shortcomings of the social impact space, where he was such a star, and tries to find a better way forward. https://www.linkedin.com/in/tejuravilochan https://uncharted.org/ https://gatherfor.org/
May 27, 2020
Blitzscaling During Covid-19 Fireside Chat with Eli Schwartz
I recently held a live Q&A session via Zoom. While I can't share the Q&A session for privacy reasons, I am sharing the fireside chat portion of the proceedings. If you want to attend a future live session, follow me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chrisyeh/
May 23, 2020
HBS Class of 2000 Reunion: Anthony Marino
Lindsey Mead joins me to interview our classmate Anthony Marino. We discuss how Lindsey and Anthony knew each other at Princeton, what it was like growing up in a big, traditional Italian family in New Jersey (hint: a Cadillac full of cantaloupes was involved), and recall some memorable moments from Anthony's time at HBS. We also convince Lindsey to stop donating her old clothes to Goodwill, and start selling them through ThredUp! https://www.linkedin.com/in/anmarino/ https://www.thredup.com/
May 23, 2020
Charismatic Leader Conversation with Richard Tedlow: Steve Jobs
I will be collaborating with my old friend and former professor, historian Richard Tedlow, on a series of episodes where we discuss some of the most charismatic business leaders in history. We kick off the series with a conversation about Steve Jobs, how his status as an out-of-wedlock adopted child may have affected his path, and how his guiding principles made both using his products and working at Apple an emotionally compelling experience. Note that at one point in time Richard mentions meeting with Phil Schiller; he misspoke. He actually met with Ron Johnson.
May 23, 2020
Getting the most out of neurodiversity and remote work
With all of us settling in to remote work, who better to learn from than Ultranauts, an innovative remote-first company. Ultranauts provides onshore quality engineering using a neurodiverse team (75% of its employees are on the autism spectrum), which enables the company to outperform both IBM and CapGemini. I speak with the company's co-founder and CEO, Rajesh Anandan (an old friend via Unreasonable) and SVP Quality & Strategy Nicole Radziwill. We discuss the company's origins from Rajesh's time at UNICEF, how Nicole first received her autism spectrum diagnosis in college, and Ultranaut's innovative "biodex" Slackbot for creating "user manuals" for every employee. http://ultranauts.co/ https://www.linkedin.com/in/rajeshanandan/ https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicoleradziwill/
May 21, 2020
Coronavirus Stimulus Guide, Part 2: Interview with Trevor Loy of Flywheel Ventures
The very awesome Trevor Loy returns with an update on the government stimulus programs that entrepreneurs should apply for. A lot has changed since our last podcast a few weeks ago, so tune in for the most up-to-the-minute advice! https://www.flywheelventures.com/index.php/website/flywheel_team/
May 20, 2020
Mental Samurai Grand Champion Heather Hurley
It's one of the most-requested and most-anticipated interviews in the history of the podcast. Finally, I sit down with Mental Samurai Grand Champion Heather Hurley to talk about life under quarantine, her childhood, her history with game shows ("my weird side hustle"), and the fact that she really does wear pink and dress like a librarian in real life. During the podcast, we talk extensively about her appearance on "The Chase," which she first encountered on vacation in the UK, and on which her team won a then-record $180,000. You can find the complete episode on YouTube. We end with some words of inspiration for all you aspiring game show contestants out there!
May 16, 2020
Blitzscalability Analysis with Scott Johnson: April 2020 VC Deals
Scott Johnson of Blitzscaling Ventures returns to talk about three interesting VC deals from April. We discuss mega-success Square, loyalty currency Props, and the brilliantly-named Trash Warrior. We also discuss the continuing impact of Covid-19 on the venture business.
May 15, 2020
Negativity, Risk, And Why Rugged Individualism Is (Mostly) Bunk
This is an experimental short episode to test whether you, my loyal listeners, want me to turn my blog posts into podcast content.
May 11, 2020
HBS Class of 2000 Reunion: Kurt Daniel
My guest in this episode is my classmate Kurt Daniel, who talks about his long career in high tech, what it's like to be an entrepreneur for the first time, and some of his interactions with Bill Gates during their time at Microsoft. A fun bit of behind-the-scenes trivia: our recording was interrupted by a major Comcast internet outage which took down my home internet connection for two whole days, forcing us to split our recording into two sessions. Can you guess where the audio switches from session 1 to session 2?
May 8, 2020
HBS Class of 2000 Reunion: Arcadia Kim
We're back with another Class of 2000 Reunion episode. This time, Lindsey and I chat with Arcadia Kim, dialing in from Hong Kong. We discuss Arcadia's meteoric rise in the videogame industry, why she chose to retire to raise a family, and her new initiative, the Infinite Screentime movement, which encourages parents to stop feeling guilty about screentime (especially during this pandemic) and instead focus on how to make screentime a positive for their children's development.
May 5, 2020
Historian Richard Tedlow on Charisma, Steve Jobs, and Donald Trump
One of my professors from my time at HBS, the acclaimed business historian Richard Tedlow, joins me to talk about his long career and his upcoming book on the power and peril of charismatic leaders. We discuss the positives and negatives of charismatic leaders with a focus on Steve Jobs and President Donald Trump, including an analysis of how Richard believes Donald Trump's opponents should puncture his chaotic charisma.
April 30, 2020
Blitzscalability Analysis with Scott Johnson: November 2019 Venture Deals
Scott Johnson of Blitzscaling Ventures drops by for another round of blitzscaling investment analysis. In this episode, we discuss two venture deals from November 2019, Guild Education and ACV Auctions. As with our October deals episode, we cover the analysis we produced last year, then discuss how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected their businesses.
April 29, 2020
Moving Forward from the Covid-19 Crisis with Patty McCord (Part 2 of 2)
My old friend Patty McCord returns, this time to discuss the future of work and corporate culture post-Covid-19. We discuss how the pandemic will not only affect how people think about work, but offers a once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunity. Now is the time to ask yourself, "What are we doing better because of the pandemic (so that we don't go back to the old ways)? What have we learned doesn't really matter (so we can never do it again)?"
April 29, 2020
HBS Class of 2000 Reunion: Sejal Shah Gulati
Join Lindsey Mead and I for a very special podcast episode. We catch up with Sejal Shah Gulati, who discusses her life growing up on Long Island and how her life turned out so different than she expected while she was at HBS. Sej also tells the story of how her beloved, completely healthy father contracted Covid-19, and went from minor symptoms to organ failure in just a few days, how a caring doctor allowed Sej's mother to hold her father's hand as he passed away, and how she, her sister, and her mother have mourned his death. None of us is safe from this terrible disease; the best we can do is to try to draw what lessons we can from its seemingly senseless impact. We also ask our usual lightning round questions, and find out the very specific reason Sej would want the power of invisibility. Tune in, and bring your tissues.
April 29, 2020
Responding to the Covid-19 Crisis with Patty McCord (Former CHRO of Netflix, author of "Powerful")
Wondering how to lead your team during the Covid-19 crisis? I persuaded my old friend Patty McCord to come on the podcast and share her wisdom. Patty is the world's leading practitioner of building high-performance cultures, and is also a lot of fun to talk with. Patty and I discuss her book, her career, and her advice for CEOs navigating the crisis. Patty also comes up with a brilliant podcast/book idea during the interview...if we end up pursuing it, this episode will mark where it all began!
April 27, 2020
HBS Class of 2000 Reunion: Frantz Alphonse
Frantz Alphonse, fresh off the birth of his second child this week, stops by to chat with Lindsey Mead and I about his post-HBS life, how he changed his diet and lifestyle for the better, and how a single chance remark changed the trajectory of his career.
April 25, 2020
Covid-19's Impact on Marketing with Eli Schwartz
I'm joined by my friend Eli Schwartz, one of the world's leading SEO experts, to discuss how Covid-19 has impacted marketing, why companies should keep investing in marketing during the pandemic, and how they can best "play the rebound" when the Covid-19 pandemic recedes. You can find Eli at https://www.elischwartz.co/.
April 24, 2020
HBS Class of 2000 Reunion: Kwame Jackson
Lindsey Mead and I are joined by our classmate and my old friend, Kwame Jackson. We discuss Kwame's unique career path (from Goldman Sachs to The Apprentice to entrepreneur and TV news stalwart) as well as how he and the rest of us deal with shocks like the Dot Com bust, 9/11, and the current Covid-19 pandemic. We also reminisce about our HBS days, and the time that Kwame was the headliner for a political fundraiser for an obscure Illinois State Senator named Barack Obama.
April 23, 2020
HBS Class of 2000 Reunion Series: Greg Pal
In this episode, I'm joined by classmate Greg Pal. We discuss his many years in Boston, how he used an RFP process to choose a religion to join, and how his very first comment in Aldrich Hall was the highlight of his HBS career!
April 21, 2020
Blitzscalability Analysis with Scott Johnson: October 2019 Venture Deals
Scott Johnson of Blitzscaling Ventures returns for another round of blitzscalability analysis. We look at deals done in October of 2019, sharing the assessment we produced then, as well as an update on how those companies are doing during the Covid-19 pandemic. This months companies are e-commerce enabled Faire, oil and gas services marketplace RigUp, and lending platform PeerStreet.
April 21, 2020
Blitzscalability Analysis with Scott Johnson: March 2020 Venture Deals
Scott Johnson of Blitzscaling Ventures joins me to review three March venture deals: AllSet, Proxy, and Lyra Health. We also discuss how Covid-19 has negatively impacted many startups, even "bits-based" businesses like software and marketplaces.
April 14, 2020
HBS Class of 2000 Reunion Series: John F. Carrier
In this episode, Lindsey Mead and I interview our classmate John F. Carrier, who now teaches at MIT's Sloan School of Management. As befitting a business school instructor, John shares his knowledge and erudition (including some very interesting book and article picks). Fun fact: He actually remembers 26 of the cases we learned in TOM (Technology Operations Management) our first year. Honestly, I couldn't even remember one! It's a good thing he's the one fixing factory floors and not me. You can find John's blog here: https://jfcarrie.mit.edu/blog In particular, he will be leading a webinar on Using Digital Technology to Rapidly Recover from Operational Interruptions on April 30, so register now!
April 14, 2020
Understanding Coronavirus Relief Programs (Free Money) With VC Trevor Loy
Trevor Loy is a venture capitalist and all-around good person who has been doing great work on Twitter demystifying the alphabet soup of coronavirus relief programs. I invited Trevor on the podcast to talk about his journey (he is the only prominent VC I know who works in New Mexico) and explain what he has learned about the various coronavirus relief programs that Congress has passed in the past month. Trevor also explains how you can help your favorite local businesses obtain tens of thousands of dollars, rather than simply ordering a takeout meal or buying a gift card. Trevor's Twitter account: https://twitter.com/trevorloy Programs mentioned during the podcast: FFCRA: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employer-paid-leave PPA: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program-ppp EIDL: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/economic-injury-disaster-loan-emergency-advance ERC: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/employee-retention-credit
April 10, 2020
HBS Class of 2000 Reunion Series: Gadi Slade
Lindsey Mead and I interview our classmate Gadi Slade (whom I also knew when he was an undergraduate at Stanford) about his experiences at HBS and how his life has gone over the past 20 years. You'll learn the key roles that Frank Sinatra, Simon and Garfunkel, and Mt. Everest played in his life, and get his advice about how to manage the coronavirus crisis. https://www.linkedin.com/in/gadi-slade-03048660/
April 10, 2020
Blitzscalability Investment Analysis with Scott Johnson: February 2020 Venture Deals
I'm joined by special guest Scott Johnson of Blitzscaling Ventures to review three hot ventures from February 2020. Scott and I walk through three different deals: Roblox, Maven Clinic, and Iora Health.
April 6, 2020
HBS Class of 2000 Reunion Series: Chris Yeh and Lindsey Mead
My friend and HBS classmate Lindsey Mead and I preview our upcoming series of interviews with our business school classmates. Since our in-person reunion has been cancelled (current plans are to replace it with a "blackjack" reunion in 2021), we're filling the gap with a series of interviews to allow our classmates to catch up on what their old friends have been up to. In this introductory double episode, Lindsey and I interview each other, previewing the set of questions we'll be asking our classmates.
April 3, 2020
Blitzscalability Investment Analysis: Pestachio
In this special episode, I'm joined by Scott Johnson and Jeff Abbott of Blitzscaling Ventures to discuss the merits of Pestachio, a new startup with a focus on sustainable, eco-friendly pest control.
April 1, 2020
Blitzscalability Investment Analysis: OfferUp
I'm joined by Scott Johnson of Blitzscaling Ventures to discuss OfferUp, the local marketplace company that recently bought its rival LetGo and raised $120 million. We discuss the history of OfferUp, my own usage of the service as a substitute for hauling goods to the garbage dump, and run through a blitzscalability analysis of the company before congratulating my friend Josh Breinlinger of Jackson Square Ventures, who led the company's Series A round in 2013.
March 30, 2020
Blitzscalability Investment Analysis with Scott Johnson: January 2020 Venture Deals
I'm joined by special guest Scott Johnson of Blitzscaling Ventures to review three hot ventures from January 2020. Scott and I explain our blitzscaling analysis and walk through three different deals: Security.ai, Launch Darkly, and Roof Stock.
March 12, 2020
Mental Samurai Finale: The Dr. Jackie Boehme Interview
Dr. Jackie took time out of her incredibly busy schedule (she just had time to squeeze me in between 28-hour shifts) to record this interview. Think of it as an appetizer, allowing you to learn about her incredible family, how trying beauty pageants in college helped turn her from a shy nerd into the amazing, born-to-the-stage nerd we know and love, and her other television in a famous singing competition. Start thinking of follow-up questions you'd like me to ask when Jackie returns!
May 29, 2019
Mental Samurai Finale: The Ryan Jones Interview
I hope you enjoy this super-sized interview with Ryan "Mr. Fabulous" Jones. We discuss Ryan's life, including the impact of Hurricane Katrina on his family. Ryan then reveals that he is actually a second-generation game show contestant, following in the footsteps of his mom and dad, who both won big on Wheel of Fortune. He was literally raised to be on TV, which he proved on Wheel of Fortune, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, and Mental Samurai. We also talk about his passion, Soulcycle, and how his first session literally changed his life. Finally, we do a deep dive into the behind-the-scenes machinations of Mental Samurai, which explained a number of things that I had been wondering about, and conclude with some suggestions for how we might return to your living rooms in the future. Enjoy!
May 24, 2019
Mental Samurai Finale: The Chris Yeh interview (feat. Joey Gutmann)
In this special episode, Season 1 competitor, seasoned game show guy, and litigator extraordinaire Joey Gutmann interviews me about the Mental Samurai finale, my April 30 run, and my future in the game show world. We do discuss the results of the finale, so if you haven't watched it yet, this is your spoiler alert. Stick around for the end, where Joey makes a surprise announcement to share some incredible news.
May 22, 2019
Mental Samurai Episode 9: Ben Bergstrom Interview
In this episode, I interview fellow Mental Samurai Ben Bergstrom, whose run appeared in Episode 9 of Season 1. In this extended interview, Ben and I discuss his amazing life story (he is the biological son of a famous actress, his adopted parents are actors, and he thought he might want to become a lawyer before ultimately moving to Hollywood to become an actor), the dramatic events of his run, and why his birth mom was so animated during the show. This is the longest interview yet, so enjoy!
May 18, 2019
Mental Samurai Episode 9 Recap
My recap of the final regular season episode of Mental Samurai, Season 1. I discuss the runs of Boris Chernin (the emergency consultant), Marlie Clarke (the flight attendant), Courtney Courter (the model), Miles Nye (the game maker), Eric Schroeder (the tennis pro), Josh Kronz (the math teacher) and Ben Bergstrom (the bartender). In particular, I discuss how Ben's approach helped him become a Mental Samurai (don't rush!) and fill people in on the story behind his surprisingly young and attractive mom, Amy!
May 15, 2019
Mary Hayes of WorkBay on how communities can help connect more people with meaningful work
I sit down with Unreasonable FUTURE fellow Mary Hayes, the founder and CEO of WorkBay, and talk about the remarkable work she does in communities around the country. To learn more about Mary and WorkBay, visit: http://www.workbay.net
May 15, 2019
Pascal Finette of Be-Radical.Today
I'm joined by my old friend Pascal Finette as we discuss his career, what brought him to Silicon Valley, and how important it is to encourage entrepreneurs to be thoughtful about how they are changing the world.
May 14, 2019
Mental Samurai Episode 8 Recap
Chris Yeh is back with another Mental Samurai episode recap! This week's competitors were Alex Goines (the adventure racer), Marissa Willman (the woman gamer), Arius George (the trick shot cop), Zach Engel (Tom Selleck meets Billy Ray Cyrus), Kristy Agamegwa (the late-in-life graduate), and Dylan Gentile (the classical pianist). This week's episode features two winners who are going on to the May 21 season finale!
May 8, 2019
Mental Samurai Episode 6: Competitor Interview: Stella Zawistowski
It's a banner day--two episodes in a single afternoon. Can we go for three? In this episode, I interview my fellow Tuesday competitor Stella Zawistowski. We get to learn all about her eclectic life, including how she got into crosswords, and how "revenge dating" after breaking off an engagement allowed her to find true love with her husband. Tune in and hear about her upcoming performance at Carnegie Hall!
May 8, 2019
Mental Samurai Episode 7: Competitor Interview: Adam Thomas
In this episode, I interview former Marine Corps intelligence officer and current stay-at-home dad Adam Thomas about his life journey, and his run on Mental Samurai. I think you'll enjoy hearing the details on how he and his wife met in Iraq without ever seeing each other face-to-face, how he ended up on the show (hint: Once again, it was MENSA), and why the circumstances of his run may have contributed to his going too quickly.
May 7, 2019
Mental Samurai Episode 7 Recap (my episode!)
In this extra-special recap, I discuss the action of Episode 7 of Mental Samurai, including my own run which led to my being crowned the third Mental Samurai (after Nathan Gonzalez and Dr. Jackie). I also talk a little bit about the experience of hosting my own Mental Samurai watch party. Competitors covered include Nick Bremner (the Accountant), Matthew Schultz (the Handsome Pastor), La Tawnya Robinson (the 3rd-Grade Teacher), Kenyatta Smith (the Firefighter), Roz Paul (the 74-year-young Retiree), and Adam Thomas (the Marine turned Stay-at-Home Dad). This episode features some extensive discussion of the pros and cons of taking your time.
May 1, 2019
Mental Samurai Recap: Episode 6
In today's episode, I recap the action from Episode 6 of this season of Mental Samurai. The theme of today's show was the Memory tower, as contestant after contestant--including two memory champions, Ron White and Luis Angel--lost on Memory questions. Today's competitors were Hannah Cussen (Stanford freshman and tae kwon do black belt), Steve Kaye (Las Vegas entertainment executive), Chad Poist (farmboy, dad, and supply chain manager), Stella Zawistowski (crossword champion), and the night's big winner, Ryan "Mr. Fun" Jones (soulcycle instructor, fabulous).
April 24, 2019
Mental Samurai Episode 3: The Nathan Gonzalez Interview
I hope you enjoy this extended interview with America's first Mental Samurai, Nathan Gonzalez! We dig deep into his life, including how he ended up carrying on the family tradition in the hospital, his days as a football star, before a devastating injury ended his dreams of a Division 1 scholarship, and what he has planned for the future. We also discuss some of the crazy things he encountered backstage, which make his amazing run even more impressive.
April 24, 2019
Mental Samurai Episode 4: Matt Potts
In this episode, I interview Mental Samurai competitor Matt Potts, a Marine and Mensa member who came up just one question short of perfection. Matt and I discuss his life and journey, and his very cool plans for after he retires from the Marine Corps.
April 20, 2019
Mental Samurai Episode 5 Recap
In this episode, I recap the action that took place in Episode 5 of Mental Samurai (Tuesday, April 16). I discuss the runs of Glenn Hetrick (the black-belt pilot), Ed Moses (the Olympic Gold medalist), Jack Vomacka (the USC freshman and aspiring fantasy novelist), Nancy Jo Perdue (the retired journalist), and Dr. Jackie Boheme (the anesthesiologist). I also spend some extra time discussing Dr. Jackie's amazing story, which I think the show edited down simply because it is so unbelievable that a single person could be so accomplished. I hope you enjoy the episode!
April 17, 2019
Special guest Reid Hoffman discusses the decision to blitzscale
My old friend and co-author, Reid Hoffman, stops by to discuss how you should make the decision to blitzscale.
April 15, 2019
Mental Samurai Episode 4: Stephanie and Jameson Thornton
In this episode, I interview the first pair of spouses to tackle Mental Samurai, Stephanie and Jameson Thornton. We talk about how they met (Mensa), what they do for fun (Mensa), and re-live their thrilling pair of runs, which ended up giving Jameson the family bragging rights.
April 13, 2019
Dispatches from Unreasonable FUTURE - Emil Hewage, BIOS Health
Greetings from Unreasonable FUTURE! I sit down with entrepreneur Emil Hewage, who is building the technology to treat illness and enhance health and performance using neural stimulation.
April 11, 2019
Mental Samurai Episode 4 Recap
I recap the action in Episode 4. Stephanie and Jameson Thornton became the first husband and wife couple to compete on Mental Samurai, and while Stephanie might win most of their matchups, Jameson came out on top, though neither finished the course. Matt Potts, the Marine intelligence officer completed the course and nearly became a Mental Samurai, missing only the final question, but still won $75,000, and will be back for the season finale on May 21. Leah Khoury and Marlena Gasper both had good runs, but may have been tripped up by time pressure. And finally, Andrew Ames set a new record by taking all five minutes and failing to answer Question 1. Hey, he still got on TV!
April 10, 2019
Mental Samurai Episode 3 - Marie Criddle
In this episode, I interview Episode 3 competitor Marie Criddle. We discuss her upbringing and family, how she ended up going on Mental Samurai, and what it felt like to sit across from Rob Lowe. I think you'll enjoy Marie's story, and I hope we see her on television again soon.
April 9, 2019
Mental Samurai Episode 3: Competitor Interview: "Queen" Jaimi Alexander
Join me for an interview with Episode 3's "Queen" Jaimi Alexander. We discuss her eventful life, how she got into show business, and of course, whether or not she listens to Neil Young or has been to Albany. Enjoy!
April 7, 2019
Mental Samurai Recap - Episode 3
Chris Yeh discusses the runs of Kevin Hays, Marie Criddle, Bam Bam Bloise, Jaimi Alexander, and Nathan Gonzalez. Lock it in!
April 4, 2019
Dispatches from Unreasonable FUTURE: An Unreasonable History with Daniel Epstein (Part 1)
Greetings from Unreasonable FUTURE, the first social impact accelerator focused on the future of work. I sit down with Unreasonable Group Founder and CEO Daniel Epstein for a conversation about the past and present of the Unreasonable Group. We even swear at one point!
April 2, 2019
Mental Samurai Premiere: Extra interviews with Jorden Halvorsen and Becky Eldridge
Hey Mental Samurai fans! I hope you enjoy these interviews with two more competitors from the season premiere, Jorden Halvorsen, one of America's only female bull riders, and writer and performer Becky Eldridge, who came oh so close to completing the course. Thanks to both of these wonderful ladies for making time to record these interviews!
April 1, 2019
Mental Samurai Episode 2: Dr. Ken speaks!
I had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Ken Franklin after his run on Mental Samurai, and I hope you'll enjoy the conversation as much as I did!
March 28, 2019
Mental Samurai Recap: Episode 2
I provide a recap with color commentary on Mental Samurai Episode 2 (airdate March 26, 2019). One of the in-depth topics I discuss is the dichotomy between the "all business" and "dramatic" approaches to running the course, illustrated by Heather and Mitch's respective runs.
March 27, 2019
The Mental Samurai Premiere Extravaganza
Want the inside scoop on Fox's Mental Samurai? Season 1 competitor Chris Yeh (that's me!) talks about the show and interviews his fellow competitors. In this episode, hear from Clay Anderson (the astronaut), Joey Guttman (the lawyer), and Episode 1's big winner, Sam Durbin (the drag queen).
March 23, 2019
Greetings from Monterrey
A quick hello from Chris and Jeff Abbott of the Global Scaling Academy (http://www.globalscalingacademy.com/)
February 6, 2019
Harding House Interview
May 22, 2018
Greetings from Phoenix!
Podcasting is the future of thought leadership for every industry.
May 17, 2018
Big Rocks and Small Details
May 11, 2018
The Power of Naps
April 20, 2018
Optimizing Event Attendance
April 13, 2018
Live from the Menlo Country Club
I say hi to my friend Don Yates.
April 11, 2018
Drivetime Thoughts: The Portfolio Life
How to think about "investing" your time.
April 11, 2018
Episode 2: Using Bluetooth
In which I figure out how to use Bluetooth.
April 8, 2018
Episode 1: Let the Adventure Begin!
My first (brief) podcast.
April 8, 2018