Working Smart and Taking Unique Approaches To Get Better Results With Shane Snow- TCE 009

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Shane Snow

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How the heck does someone build a burgeoning tech startup, contribute as a journalist to world class publications, and write a book at the same time?

Unless they’re holding out on me that they have a secret machine to slow time, the only possible answer is by working smart. Like really really ridiculously smart.

Today on the show, I talk to my buddy Shane Snow who is the co-founder of Contently, a journalist for publications like Fast Company and Wired, and soon to be author of a kick-ass book.

Shane shares some of the ideas he’s used to find smarter routes to accomplish things and how sometimes getting what you want requires taking a different approach.

Plenty of hustle moves and good tactics in here. Listen in below…


Shaneism: “The person who works smarter, will accomplish more” – Shane Snow (tweet this)

What You’ll Learn By Listening

  • How the brain is biologically wired to be more receptive to stories and some of the anthropology behind that
  • Shane’s fast lane approach to writing for some of the web’s biggest publications like Wired in a fraction of the time
  • The powerful concept of progressive access and how you can use it to bring awesome people into your life
  • My strategy for building out my podcast guest lineup
  • The concept of 10X thinking and how you can apply it to your life
  • The trojan horse strategy to finding needs and building products that can be lucrative for your business

Listen to the episode here:

Subscribe on Itunes for more interviews or Listen on Stitcher

Thank Shane for dropping knowledge on us (tweet Shane here)

Mindshare segment at the end:

How you might be in the absolute best position to write a book or create something no matter where you are in your journey. This realization has been super powerful for me.

Links & Resources Mentioned:

For more on Shane check him out at: BlogContently, Wired, and on Twitter @shanesnow

Other resources mentioned:

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*You’ll find a full searchable transcript below

Music Credit: Carousel Games & Stay Awake

Searchable Transcript of This Shane Snow Interview:

Scott:  Okay, today on the show, we have Shane Snow. Shane is a New York City based technology journalist and web entrepreneur who is the co-founder and the Chief Creative Officer of Contently. Originally from Idaho, Shane holds a Master’s Degree in Journalism from Columbia University. He also writes for Wired magazine and Fast Company and has designed info-graphics for the likes of MTV, Gizmodo and United Nations. Shane, how’re you doing today, man?

Shane Snow: I’m doing great and I guess I should tell you, you have a great voice for podcasts. [Laughter] I just thought I’d get that out there first.

Scott: Thanks man, I’ve been massaging the vocal chords all day getting ready for this.

Shane Snow:  Nice.

Scott:  So Shane, I usually like to dive into the meat of the content because I feel like a lot of these podcasts, entrepreneurial stories are just a bit played out but the first time we met, you told me an awesome story about your start in entrepreneurship and a funny story about how you started making money online. And I think it would be cool just to start off by telling that story and by giving a brief introduction into how you got to where you are today.


Shane Snow:   Sure, so the story is that I grew up in Idaho and I had a couple of friends who were really into computers like me and we were in the computer club and the math club and when the Internet came to our high school, we started building websites to try and make money online. And one of the things that I did was that I built the site that was an online greeting cards where basically it was someone’s birthday and you could find this page on my site that had dancing, smiley faces or whatever and animated birthday cakes and you could email that to your friend whose birthday it was.

And then I would make advertising money off of the ads that were associated with that. And so what happened is I started making some money and it sort of trickled in at first and then it started snowballing until one month, I got a check that was larger than my dad’s paycheck. And my parents suddenly started getting worried about what is this thing that our son is doing, 16-year old son is doing to make money like checks are being sent to him from the Internet. The Internet was new and it was kind of scary and I guess so they did this to deep-dive into ‘what exactly are you doing?’ ‘and is it legal?’ and ‘we’re nervous about it’ and eventually came to the conclusion that it made them uncomfortable enough that I needed to shut the website down.

We had this big fight about it and still kind of a sore subject I think a little bit with them; but it actually was really motivating for me later on. And so I shut the website down and it kind of was like, ‘you can’t do the internet money-making thing until you move out of the house’. And so that kind of planted this fire under me where after I left home and I went to college, I said, ‘this is what I want to do. I want to prove that I can make a living for myself on the internet and that I could build businesses’.

And kind of one of the things that they had said, I remember, is ‘we would like you to learn the value of hard work’ like working construction with my dad doing houses and working for the gas company and I hated that [Laughter] and so I really like the idea of hard work with your brain or doing smart work. And so that was — all those things kind of catalyzed in me a desire to do entrepreneurial things and to find smarter routes I guess to accomplishing things. So, that kind of led me into my career that’s towards technology and also Journalism, which is a very entrepreneurial sort of hustle on your own and figure out smart solutions kind of thing.

Scott:  Absolutely and I cannot wait to get started talking about some of the hustle moves that you have used to build a name for yourself in journalism and get a lot of amazing stories in very household-name magazines and publications. But first, why don’t we just tell everyone who is not familiar with Contently, exactly what it is.

Shane Snow: So Contently is my current business, started it in 2010 basically as a way to connect journalists who are freelancers, with work. We have envisioned it as sort of match dot com, we collect data about what you write about and where you have written for and how well it’s done and match you with people who want to hire freelancers. And it’s turned into a software company now where build tools for our publishers to help them manage their newsrooms, to manage their content marketing and on the other side we built free tools for journalists to help them manage their careers.

So that’s been going for over three years, we have raised 11 million dollars from investors in total and we have now, coming up on 40 employees and 30,000 journalists and 50 enterprise customers. And so it’s this thing that has sort of taken off faster than we thought it would. But my interest in that came from sort of a combining of my passions which were computer science and technology entrepreneurs and the field of journalism which is what I really loved; telling a story, telling true stories, finding the interesting stories that are out there and interesting people in the world who have knowledge to share and taking that and turning it into information and entertainment and education.

Scott:  Shane, you mentioned prior to this call that you recently read a book about storytelling and how stories are such an empowering way to communicate a message. Let’s riff on that man, tell me a little bit more about this new discovery that you just came upon.

Shane Snow:  Sure, if you think about it, stories are part of our everyday life, since the beginning. And every night we tell ourselves stories all night long when we dream, when we day-dream all day long but even when you sit down for coffee or for lunch with a friend or a family member, all you are doing is telling stories. You are re-enacting the comedies and the dramas of you day and that’s what all the gossip is. You’re telling the story — that’s what we are doing right now, telling stories about — I guess presently sort of my journey. That is the basis of our human interaction and it is interesting because we all know that and we all can intuitively tell that that’s what builds relationships.

But I hadn’t really thought about how that is a biological thing and sort of a psychological thing until I read this book recently called ‘The Storytelling Animal’ which is by an author called Jonathan Gottschall. It’s a really good book and he’s a fiction buff and he sounds like, from reading the book, it sounds like he set out to kind of show why fiction is important or is it? But he goes through the science of how humans developed the storytelling capacity in our brain and also this need and how at the same time that we develop language and logic. We also started telling each other stories and that was originally — in sort of caveman days a way for us to package information like the wide world of stimuli that we had and be able to present that to others in our tribes to help them learn stuff quickly that they couldn’t learn having been there.

But it also had this side benefit of bringing people together and building relationships. So, when you think about people who are very patriotic, one of the main reasons that often were inexplicably patriotic is because we grew up hearing these stories about the noble and heroic efforts of our fore-bearers who founded the country and you hear about how George Washington and his men nearly froze to death at Valley of Forge and had no shoes and they went out and bravely fought for our freedom. That story itself is kind of memorable which is the point of the story but it also builds a relationship between the story teller and the story told and the object of the story.

So that’s what this book is about and it goes through kind of the biology of how the brain is wired for that and how we succumb to stories. Like if you watch a movie, you’ve probably had this experience, where you’re watching a movie and suddenly there’s a noise and you snap out of it and you realize that you’re ‘oh yes, I’m in my living room and that was a truck driving by’. But you kind of have this awareness as if it sort of happens to you like wow; I was so absorbed in this movie that I kind of blocked out my surrounding. That’s what a story can do which is really fascinating.

Scott:  It’s really interesting to hear that stories are actually something that is biological in terms of being able to optimize recall. When I was doing business development in sales, I always used to tell people stories and when we were describing our product in the used cases of our product. Because just to give some actionable and so for listeners here, maybe people in sales, maybe people pitching their companies, a lot of times what happens is that when I was pitching, I would be pitching someone who would then go back to other members of their team and be responsible for describing our product and service.

And I knew that it was much more effective for that person’s ability to be able to do that if I told a story instead of just describe the feature.

Shane Snow Interview: Absolutely.

Scott:   So, an example is, we provided menu data for publisher websites and I wanted to display the importance of that and so instead of just saying ‘yeah, we have 600,000 menus and it’s really important because it’s going to drive engagement’, the story is, yeah, I went to — ‘I was over on this other competitive site dot com and I went there and I couldn’t see the menu and my girlfriend is not happy if we go somewhere and the only thing on the menu is a Caesar salad that doesn’t have meat on it. And I’m in the dog-house. So, I’m — I’ll leave that site and then never go back again because the menu or the thing that I needed to make that decision wasn’t there’. And that is like an example that you are giving someone and a way for them to remember what your service does besides a bunch of stiff data points that just have no emotional connection.

Shane Snow Interview:  Yeah, absolutely; if you think about it, when you make decisions between products or who people will work with or the companies we want to do business with, all things being equal, the one with the better story is going to be more memorable and it’s going to be the one I want to do business with. But I love this startup here in New York called Zady, they sell like sustainable fashion and sustainable luxury goods and what they do is, the example I always use is, if you are shopping there and you are looking at these indigo, skinny jeans that they sell, and instead of just showing you the product they actually have this long page of the story of the cute couple in Kentucky that makes these jeans in their garage.


You can see pictures of them, it talks about how they met and you could see pictures of their dog and they look so happy and this is their labor of love. And once you read that story, the next time you’re in the market for indigo skinny jeans, that’s the first thing you’re going to think of. When you see that next to whatever the jeans in the mall, assuming that price and quality are equal, you’re going to pick the one that has the good story and we don’t often consciously — that’s really on-the-nose example; we don’t often consciously do that but that’s why people shop at Whole Foods. It’s because of the story of ‘this is organic and this is like good for the world and we care about’ — this picture that Whole Foods paints makes their product somehow worth more to us than the tomatoes across the street at the Farmers’ Market in a lot of cases or at the [Inaudible 0:11:33].


Scott:                     Absolutely. I also tell myself that I’m healthier when I eat at Whole Foods regardless of the stuff that I get which often isn’t very healthy but it has a Whole Foods sticker on it and so I’m safe. So one of the things I also wanted to talk about today Shane is you’ve told a lot of other people stories; I mean you’ve written for Wired, Fast Company; some of the biggest publications out there and I know that this has brought in a ton of value to your life. So, what I am curious is first, what are some of the cool opportunities that writing for these publications has brought to your life and then I want to talk about how you have been able to accomplish that so people listening, who want to get in these mainstream media outlets might be able to do the same.


Shane Snow:         I guess the first thing is, I love writing and I love journalism and part of it is because of that story factor but I also — I find other peoples’ stories more interesting than my own and so I’d rather write about someone else’s success than write about my own because it’s less [Inaudible 0:12:49] but it’s also — I find journalism and writing in general to be an educational experience. You are always learning and that’s the great thing about writing for these places like Wired is the thing that you get from that name is access.


So if I email — and all the time I do this, I email and find out about something interesting, or I hear about someone that is doing something cool or some new famous person and I’ll actually email them and say on the subject line ‘Wired writer interested in talking to you’; it gets you such great access. I use that to hopefully get a story in front of my editor. But using that stamp of credibility opens a lot of doors to really interesting people that wouldn’t otherwise talk to you. NASA engineers and kind of people who —


Scott:                     Give us an example of an interesting person you have been able to invite into your life because of that access.


Shane Snow:         Well, it was last fall and the movie Ender’s Game was coming out and so I emailed Orson Scott Card the author, the very famous author who has written 60 books and Ender’s Game is one of those classic books and he’s also very hard to get a hold of. And so I emailed him saying, I write for Wired and I’d love to interview you and the thing that he wrote back is that you had me on Wired. Like he literally wrote that. And that was awesome and I got to call him up and so he’s — well, he’s a controversial guy in his personal life which I find fascinating and interesting but it turns out, he’s also one of the sweetest guys that I have ever talked to.


And we talked for a couple of hours on the phone; really interesting, told me a lot about the Ender’s Game and obviously about the movie but also about his life and his family. And that’s really cool and it’s great to be able to meet people like that and meet your heroes. And then of course I wrote about it and it got published in the magazine. And so, being able to bring that kind of access to other people is really awesome too. And it’s one of those things that builds so to your second question, how I got there — I haven’t been in journalism for that long, I started writing for my undergrad newspaper but I wrote humor and it wasn’t really journalism. I really sort of became a journalist I guess in 2009 when I ended up at the Columbia Journalism School here in New York. That was when I first did real reporting and learnt to be, I think, a real writer.


And so if you think about that, that’s only five years ago and in that first year, my goal was to write for Wired which was my favorite magazine. So I did this thing and I tell a story a lot to freelancers that the typical path if you want to write feature stories for a magazine is you get an internship there, you beat the other 1,000 people who have applied for the internship and then you hopefully work really hard and you hopefully get a job as — they hire you afterwards as some really low-level position like junior fact-checker. So basically you are calling up sources for other people’s stories and saying ‘hey, did this reporter talk to you? Okay, great’. And so you get that job and then you work at that for a couple of years and then eventually they let you write something small and then you apply for a staff writer job and you do that for a long time.


You kind of write these thankless stories, stories that aren’t up — really great ones so you really hustle and you try to find good stories yourself and then you sort of climb your way up the ladder over the years until a feature-writer or a columnist dies of liver failure and then if you are the next one in line then you can get that gig.


Scott:                     That’s a lot of ifs [Laughter]


Shane Snow:         Exactly, that’s how it works and especially in newspapers and magazines. But, what I noticed is that there are a lot of people who were writing feature stories, big old impressive stories who were not on staff of the magazine, and so they were these freelancers. And so I asked the question, how did they get the credibility with the editors to do that? So this was an idea when I first got to J-school is I emailed an editor, a features editor at Wired with a story idea. I was really excited, I thought it was a good story, I had great access and he wrote back and said ‘hey, really impressed, really happy for you, but just so you know we don’t send big feature stories to unknown writers.


Come back in a few years when you have experience.’ And so that got me thinking about what’s the minimum required credibility that I would have to have in order to get this guy at Wired to print a story for me? Probably it’s to have written for a slightly smaller publication, you know, when you are usually willing to take a risk on someone that is one rung on the ladder below, I was like ten below. So I kind of reconstructed this backwards ladder of like what are the minimum credibility of each tier to get up to Wired? And I ended up basically choosing what I call now an anti-platform — what’s a blog or a small publication that’s in the vein or Wired but that it was so small that they wouldn’t print anyone and desperate for a content, if you give them a good story, they’ll go for it.


And so I ended up emailing a bunch of these types of blogs, that looked desperate, one or two people running them but wanted to do stuff in the vein of Wired. And so I ended up getting a response from this guy at the Nextrev which is now a pretty big blog but at the time was very small. I basically wrote to him and I said, ‘hey free story, I had the story idea, I have already written it, I just want my name on it; are you interested?’ And he said ‘yes’. And I wrote the story for him and I wrote a few stories for him and then once I felt like he would say, ‘yeah, I know Shane’ when someone reference checks me, then I went to the next tier up like one shade above the Nextrev and I pitched them and the pitch was, I am a journalism school student, I have written for the ‘Nextrev’, and I write about technology, here’s the next story that I would love to pitch you.


And so I did that and the next level up at that time was Gizmodo and so I pitched them at Gizmodo, I wrote a few stories for them and then I went to the next level up after that which was Mashable. And the same thing, I said, hey — I met the editor and I said, I write for Gizmodo and the Nextrev and I am a journalism school student and I would love to write stories for you. So that’s how I got there and I wrote several stories as a freelancer and so I was a free agent and I was basically leaning on the brand equity of the other publications. So for Mashable, I had a great relationship and I wrote a bunch for them and I very quickly moved from there to Fast Company and then from there to Wired.


So a Wired editor will look at this guy has written a bunch of stores for Fast Company, that means that someone has trusted him, that means he knows the topic and we’ll give him a shot. So, I ended up in six months actually, writing a feature story for Wired that publish it on wired dot com and that was my foot in the door to get Wired on the print side which I now write for every few months. And actually recently, just this week I had my first story on The New Yorker which is kind of like a great accomplishment for me that — that’s one of the top publications and I got there because of leaning on this credibility of hearing the brand stamps that I have, that I have written for and showing past work.


And so I guess all that is to say if you are interested in pursuing a career like this and you are willing to treat it like an entrepreneurial thing and hustle, then this sort of sideways ladder climbing thing works really well. You provide value, you hustle, you work, you just don’t do one story but do several until you establish the relationship and then you use that credibility to go one rung up the ladder as fast as you can.


Scott:                     I may or may not know a guy who is doing that with his podcast right now.


Shane Snow:         [Laughter] how’s it going?


Scott:                     It’s going good man, it’s amazing. I found that — and I’ll be totally transparent to everybody listening and because I think this type of framework is universally applicable whether you are trying to write for publications or you’re trying to get on a TV show I can talk about — I wrote a post on that or you are trying to get people on your podcast or even new customers. Starting off, getting one anchor that is somewhat respected and then leveling up one person and once you have that person’s name, you level up again and then you continue to get better and better access and that’s totally been the story for me in terms of building out this podcast line up which has just been an amazing series of events that just keeps getting better and better.


So, I guess I challenge people who are listening to this right now to think about whether whatever they are trying to accomplish if they haven’t made any progress through that initial, respectable but low anchor could be that they could then use to get progressive access that’s going to open up even more opportunities for them.


Shane Snow:         I like that term progressive access; I think I’ll steal that.


Scott:                     Yeah, steal that, put that in the moleskin. So Shane, what I love about your just general approach to your business, to your life is that instead of trying to be the hardest worker and I’m not saying you don’t work hard, I feel like you have a very focused intention of working smart. And this was just an excellent example of that. Is there any other instances in your business or life where you have taken a counter-intuitive approach to something and it’s actually worked out and you achieving what you wanted much faster and much more effectively?


Shane Snow:         I’m trying to think of a good example — so I can back up a little bit and talk about one of the things that my dad taught me in addition to building houses and sort of working hard. He did always say, you can work hard and you’re going to have to work hard but the person who works smarter is the one who is going to accomplish more and who’s going to win. And so he and so he uses object lessons on my brother and I were he had like a nail basically in a board that was really hard to pull out.


And so he gave us a hammer and he said, try and pull out the nail and — he’s used this lesson on us a few times; if there a really hard task, you use all your strength, you try to pull it out and it’s really difficult. And then kind of with a smile, he brought over like a metal pipe from the garage and just puts it over the handle of the hammer, turns it into a lever and then when you pull on the end of the pipe, it’s much easier and the nail pops right out. It’s the law of the lever that Archimedes, way back in the day, said that the longer the distance from the fulcrum, the less effort there is to sort of pull or to tip something up. And so the object lesson basically was that there is an established way to do everything and sort of a straightforward way to do everything and often it’s really hard.


But there’s also ways to multiply effort that you are doing, that you are using so that it’s not only less harder but it’s also going to get more bang for your buck. And it’s not cheating to make the job of pulling the nail out easier, it’s just smart. So that and other object lessons like that have kind of influenced, I guess, the way that I work. And I mean trying to think of a good, not convoluted story in business and typically the thing that I like to ask myself and the partners like to ask ourselves in our meetings at Contently is, how can we do — so what is it that we are doing and are we doing it just because that’s the way everyone else is already doing it? Is there a way for us to do it smarter — and actually — so here’s an example, there’s this guy at Google, who runs Google[x] [Inaudible 0:24:24] really fascinating guy with the greatest —


Scott:                     I was going to say, doesn’t sound like a Google[x] guy [Laughter].


Shane Snow:         Yeah, and I had a conversation with him recently about something else about what he calls 10X thinking which is this idea that everyone thinks in terms of 10% improvements and it’s actually very hard to improve something 10% in a general sense. You’re trying to make your business 10% better, that’s a lot. But his whole philosophy is that if you think about things in terms of how can we incrementally do better but what if we had to do this ten times better, what would you have to do?


And that’s their whole thing at Google[x]; they have these crazy ideas where they are like — let’s not just make Wi-Fi faster, let’s make Wi-Fi faster for the whole world. Let’s give free internet to everyone. That’s a crazy idea but it turns out that when you start thinking that way, it forces you to question the assumptions that we make in the course of our life and business that often sort of prevents us from doing big things. And so when you tear down those assumptions and you start from scratch, often you are able to build something more elegant. So we do thing at Contently where we periodically have these 10X meetings where we ask ourselves, how can we do what we are doing, how do we trade what we are doing for something better?


Either 10X better or twice as good and so what’s come out of that, a good example of this is that we initially started the business — not to make this too complex. We initially stated the business as kind of this marketplace, so writers on one side, buyers on the other side, publishers paying for writers to do the work, Contently makes 15% of that transaction kind of like eBay or any kind of marketplace. The difficult thing with that to grow is we wanted to work with really high-end professional writers who charge a lot of money or to get that publishers to pay that kind of money that we wanted to broker for these writers, there actually has to be some sort of a sales process, some sort of a hands-on thing, people won’t just sign up for this.


And so we have a sales people who had quotas and had their commissions. But it turns out that when you have a sales person getting commissioned on something where you are making a 15% margin; it’s really tough to scale a business just because we make nothing at the end of the day. And so, we were thinking about how do we trade this success that we have? And we got a lot of traction; this is like very much revenue but not much net profit. So we were asking ourselves, how can we take it and make it much better? How can we trade what we have for something bigger or better? And the initial idea was — the natural idea would be well, let’s get more transactions.


Let’s just have more people doing more stuff and therefore our tiny couple of percent of profit that will eventually mean something when we have huge scale. It turns out that it’s really hard to do. The other thing that came out of it though was well, what are other ways that we could get — who has the money in this equation? It’s not the writers; journalists are poor, we are trying to make the money, we’re trying to help them out so we can’t extract much from them but these publishers, especially these big brands that wanted to be publishers, they have tons of money. What is that they — what else do they have problems with? What is their willingness to pay and what are they willing to pay for? And so that got us thinking about basically building software.


And so basically we are hooking these brands and these publishers and with access to talent but they also need workflow tools and they need help with measuring how their content is doing and things like that. And so we started building software for these guys that we could then sell at 100% profit and charge thousands of dollars a month for subscriptions. And so we started doing that and suddenly our business revenue increased, we sold a dozen big brands on our software the month that we started selling it and then of course we built more and more features. So our revenues increased dramatically over the last year I think in 2013 we had 400% revenue growth and we had something like ten times the net profit growth.


And so that was just, I guess, a product of us sitting back and saying the way we are building this, the thing that we are doing — and we are working really hard. If we just work harder at the same thing, it’s not going to get us to where we want. What if we had to get ten times better, what is the smartest thing to do? So I guess, that’s an example of that.


Scott:                     That’s great, literally my brain is exploding right now with different things that I want to talk about and ideas but really it all stems back to the notion that what we think about and the way that our brain works, it’s determined by the questions that we ask ourselves. That’s who we focus on, that’s what determines whether we are happy or sad, whether we think big or we think small and ultimately at the end of the day, one of the things that I have learnt is you end up where you aim. And so when you have this mindset of thinking 10X, like how can they make this 10X better, maybe you will end up 10X better.


But even if you only end up 7X or 8X better, you are in a much better place than think about just improving that one percent. And I really like this mindset and just another thing for everybody out there who is building software companies and SAS companies is, it just reminds me from my background is the toughest part is getting that initial buy-in from a large company and getting them comfortable in working with you and getting within the workflow. But once you’ve been able to do that, you can do these things like you are doing; like up-sell, like create new products and guess what; you also have the best place to see what they are pains are once you are on the inside.


And they’ll tell you because you are already providing value for them. So I think this is like an amazing, almost Trojan Horse story of just to get a little story in here, and to think about this, yeah, just getting in a way by solving an immediate need and then once you get inside and solve that need, addressing potentially bigger that actually are more lucrative for your business.


Shane Snow:         Yeah, and it’s the same thing along the lines of the progressive access. As a tiny company startup with just couple of people, it’s really hard to convince Coca-Cola and American Express to work with you but we did essentially the same thing as with my journalism. We got early customers who were small and willing to try stuff and we put their logos on our website and we use that to sell the next tier up and then put their logos on our website and use that to sell the next tier up until two year old company going to Coca-Cola and saying, ‘hey, you should use our stuff’.


We then point to ‘here’s all of the people’ one rung below Coca-Cola and a hundred of them that have already trusted us that sort of is this proof. And then I guess, it’s the tiny step in the door which then allows us to expand and grow bigger within Coca-Cola. So it’s the same concept I guess applied I guess to selling customers to an unproven product.


Scott:                     Shane, I think we might have just branded a concept on this episode in progressive access.


Shane Snow:         I like it.


Scott:                     I’m pretty fired up about it. So Shane, I know you have to run but there’s one question that I always like to finish these episodes with; if you had one piece of advice for people out there, maybe they are looking to start a business, they are just looking to get more abundance of the things that they want in their life. What is one way that you can tell them that they could get an edge to do that?


Shane Snow:         Get an edge to get more abundance of things in their life?


Scott:                     Yeah, that was phrased really bad.


Shane Snow:         It’s cool, I mean there’s so much there —


Scott:                     A piece of advice that’s been really helpful for you in terms of getting more of what you want, being more effective in business and in life.


Shane Snow:         I mean the sort answer I think is read and listen to programs like this and read the stories of people who have done this. For me, I always did this entrepreneurial stuff in high school and all of that but when I was in college, I joined a startup; a two-person startup where I got to see firsthand how a startup works and how a really great entrepreneur worked and that totally changed the way that I approach business. And it has had a big impact on the stuff that I have done, whether it’s journalism, whether it’s straight entrepreneurship because I was able to live that and sort of see the lessons firsthand that other people — that this other guy had done.


So I can sort of learn from the lessons and the mistakes and the sort of the lack of mistakes that he made and why he did things the way he did. And I always recommend to people; join a startup before starting a startup. If you aren’t secure about how you will make it work, just so you can see that on the inside, there is no reason that you have to get a great mentor to mentor you when there’s so much out there that you can obsessively learn about the lives of these great people who have done this stuff before. So I would say, read biographies and autobiographies of people who are real hustlers or great entrepreneurs and learn about the way they think and the decisions that they make because that’s the most helpful thing I think for anyone who is wanting to change the way they approach work.


Scott:                     That’s great advice Shane, if people want to learn more about you and Contently, what is the best place for them to go?


Shane Snow:         You can learn more about me at my website, it’s just my name Shane Snow dot com, Contently is Contently dot com I mean that’s probably the easiest way. My contact info is on my website too and I’m happy to trade stories with readers and with listeners and point them places.


Scott:                     Shane, I love it man, thank you so much for coming on, I really appreciate all the amazing insight that you provided today.


Shane Snow:         Thank you Scott, you’re a great host and yeah, looking forward to our next conversation.


[End of recording 0:34:45]


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