The path up success mountain requires us all to take one small step at a time. Learn 19 steps you need to take to become wealthy taught by Tim Redmond who built and grew a software company from 2 employees to $120 million of profit.Sign Up to Watch
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-I want to share this little anecdote and business education with the Thrivers, because you mentioned "In Search of Excellence." it is bizarre how, as we've interviewed Thrivers all across the country, how you hear countless of them, these mentors, mention. They say, these people who have built million dollar businesses, these success stories, you say, when was your moment? When was ah-ha moment? When did you decide that you would become the head of this company or the CEO, or the guy would start this mega business.
And they all point back to a book, usually. Or specific seminar or busienss education training. But it was a learning opportunity that exponentially increased their learning opportunity. And so I just love that that's a book that in 1984 got you going. Now Tim, I want I want to read this quote to you. Gary Keller-- again, bestselling author, co-founder of Keller Williams realty. The reason why I love Gary Keller is that he is a phenomenal author, but he's a phenomenal real estate guru, and he's phenomenal business person. And he says this. He says "a college professor once told me, Gary, you're smart. But people have lived before you. You're not the first person to dream big. So you'd be wise to study what others have learned first, and then build your actions on the backs of their lessons. He was so right, and he was talking to you, too."
Tim when you were growing "Tax and Accounting Software" from two people to 400 people, how did you experience success as a result of maybe studying other companies, or studying other people? How did you guys not get stuck? Because you could have been stuck where it was just two people. How did you study other companies and apply it to your own business there?
TIM REDMOND: Gee. I remember when Fast Company came out. We had already been going as a company, but just reading-- I would read "Ink" magazine. So I would be watching other people, what they did and how they attacked their problems. And I'm surrounding myself with people that are overcoming odds and building big. And so I just like-- that's what I surrounded myself with, so that's what my expectations began to just come in line with that. And I would do this, Clay. I would get my top guys. I would get into a book. Or there's this thing by the House of Being or by the Peter Drucker association.
We'd get these executive briefings there. And I would gather my team around. And we will have had to read this thing. We'd come in and we'd talk about it. Then we'd say, well, how are we going to apply that right now to this company. And so reading on my own, and also getting a group where I'm reading together with my people that I want to pour into. And then our last question is, what are we going to do about this knowledge right now in our company?
-I will say this. Old school, this is 2001, when I interned for Tim. We did not know each other. I remember just coming up there on the floor, and there's probably close to 400 employees of the time. And I remember looking around. And there's all these people, and all these computers, and all these phones, all this office space. And one of that really deeply impacted me was there was a professionalism. There was an organization. There was a systematic approach to what you were doing.
And the training was over the top. It was very systematic. It was very good. We had a lot of Subway that we got for free. We'd had a lot of pizza we got for free. I'd try to take that home as an intern there. But one of things I would say, I just I just remember that it was such a systematic-- it was almost like the Death Star of accounting software. It was just a very-- it was awesome. Very efficient. But you don't get to that level of success without studying these companies like with what you were doing there. So you literally got the teams together and would deep dive into these reports?
We would deep dive. And then people that went before us, that were a lot smarter than us, we read what they did right, what they did wrong, their success. And then we'd dive into it. Well, what's happened behind the scene? And I would hire really smart people. And they were obsessed with their own opinion. And so there were thinkers. And they would get in and begin to think about this, and we'd really dive down and say, what problem did they have? And what were they feeling on the inside?
And we're coaching each other. It was just an amazing environment where we would coach each other and challenge each other on this. And we created our own language, really, based on what we learned in this.
-Was it sort of like a Klingon dialect? Were you there long enough to be introduced to that language?
-That might have been a new guy sort of hazing they were doing.
OK. So, Tim, now we're talking about Sir Isaac Newton, for those of you might have been studying some history. Sir Isaac Newton, he's this long-haired man that was sort of a big deal. He was an English physicist and mathematician who many believe will be-- who was one of the most influential human scientists of all time. And he helped launch the scientific revolution.
The point is-- what do you care-- he made this quote. He says, "If I have seen further it is by standing on ye shoulders of giants." He used the "ye" because he's old school. But standing on the shoulders of giants, it seems like instead of only seeing what he can see, he would get up on their shoulders and look into the future.
TIM REDMOND: That's beautiful.
-'Cause they'd already seen it. Can you talk to me-- I'm a business owner, I'm watching this right now, or I want to be a business owner, talk to me about this concept of standing on the shoulders of giants.
-Yeah. Wealth flows through learning. And so it's from this expanded perspective that you can see the future better. Your business-- which camera is it that we need to look at here?
-I'm like a human camera. They've embedded a camera into my cranium. But you can also look into that camera, too. But it's embedded in my skull.
-I want to look here, and I want to look right there at that guy, look at that gal looking at me right now. I'm just saying that your business is crying out for your leadership. And the word leader actually means to set your face towards the future. That's what leader-- leadership is all about that.
And so standing on the shoulders of these giants here, is you don't read books because you have to-- you do have to if you want to succeed-- but get to a point where it's not a have to, but you get to, and there's a joy in this.
Do you like having a lot of money? Do you like being successful? Well, I don't like to read. I don't like to learn. Well, then like to be poor because that's what you're going to be, right? Is this too blunt?
Well, I just want to share this. Because if you're watching this, I'll just tell you, specifically "Think and Grow Rich," that book alone, applying the principles, it probably generated $5 million, $6 million for me. Then I think about "The E Myth." That book, the book "The E Myth" by Michael Gerber, that book is easily responsible for me make another $40,000 or $50,000 every year.
I mean, when you read these books, these are not just ideas. These are things that can actually be applied and can make you a lot extra money here.
-And one thing that I love about you and your approach that really influenced me on this is when you read a book, Clay, and I've asked you about this, you will not let go of that book. You'll squeeze it until it bleeds. And you're going to demand of yourself to apply something immediately to your business about that.
That's the difference that makes a difference. Because we read books-- wow, I read 50 books! Are you applying it? Because that's the key. It's not just learning it but learn in order to do.
-I love what you said there, not because you were talking about me in a positive way. I love that you complimented me.
-I affirm you!
-No, but when I read-- I remember going to college, and I had a professor named Amanda. I cannot remember her last time, but I had to take an English class over again, because I do horrible on standardized tests. And she explained to me that every time you learn it, an idea in a book that you could apply your life, you need to write in the margin, dog ear the page, think about how you can apply it.
And just that concept of not just reading something to have finished it but not to finish reading it until you've applied it was unbelievable to me. Now, I want to read you-- I want to ask you this question.
A lot of entrepreneurs watching this are definitely tempted to-- you get to a point where you say, well, I'm not a reader, I'm not a movie watcher, I'm not a Thrive online content viewer. I'm just going to go out there and learn from mistakes. Now, what would you say to the entrepreneur who's tempted to learn that way, to learn from mistakes?
-OK. You have to look at how much-- to buy a product, you're going to have to know how much you're going to have to spend on that product. So I'm just saying, economically, you're going to spend a lot more dollars buying that mistake than you will buying the learning. The learning is about $14.
And I buy used books on Amazon. Go Amazon. I buy Kindle, I buy all kinds. And I'm talking about $10 to $14. And if I really read it in order to apply it-- not read it to grow wiser but read it to apply it-- if I do that, I'm going to spend a lot less on the learning than I am on the mistake.
-I just want to make sure that-- hopefully you're hearing that. It gets a lot less painful, monetarily, to learn from mentors than mistakes.
-Yeah. Clay, I've talked to so many people. Because we work with entrepreneurs, we coach them. I was just with a guy this morning. Anyway, it was like, well, I just want to be original! OK, so you're going to reinvent the wheel? How is that square thing going for ya? It's like, we--
Square wheels. I've heard this from Steve Jobs and other good friends of mine-- personal friends of mine. Someday we'll be-- someday we'll have-- I've got you as my personal friend.
-That's right. We're very personal friends.
-All right. So he says, it's a lot cheaper-- it's a lot cheaper to be a pirate that a pioneer.
CLAY CLARK: Boom.
-And so why do we want to reinvent everything? Build on what you're building. Build on the shoulders of these people. That's how innovation, that's how technology, that's how business, that's how life happens. It gets better because we built on the business and the knowledge that other people have already ability before us.
-Now Tim, Jack Welch, the American business executive, author, chemical engineer. This guy served as the chairman and the CEO of GE, General Electric, between 1981 2001. And he actually rose the company's value over 4,000% during his time. And he says, "The ability to learn and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage."
Tim, why is it so important for the Thrivers watching this right now that if they want to achieve in the business world, that they become rapid appliers of knowledge? Can you explain when you say rapid, is this something like every week I should be learning something new and applying it?
-Yeah, every week is if you're going to really slow the process down. But if you have a mindset of every day you can apply something. Learning isn't just gaining information, Clay. Learning is contrasting. It's trying things. It's seeing what works and what doesn't work.
So the learning is when reality collides with that idea and you see what happens. Learning is saying oh, I need to adjust. So learning has more to do with adjusting than it does gaining information. And so if we can adjust quicker, we'll become better quicker. And that is the competitive advantage.
I like what Tom Peter said. He said if you're learning, the true learning which is adjusting, if you're adjusting and making changes to the market but you're not making changes faster than your competitor, you're actually falling behind. And so it's think weekly, but even think daily or even hourly.
You think that's melodramatic, again. It's not melodramatic. That's how people that have these businesses that kick the rest of everybody else's butt in the marketplace, that's their mindset.
-Now Tim, I know in my career I started running a business while I was still a teenager and I had a lot of success early. So I started to kind of, I didn't do it too long, but I started to drift a little bit. I'm like, OK, we just bought a new house, have a lot of extra money, don't really need to work super hard-- so you start to maybe have a month where you kind of drift a little bit there.
And then I had a competitor do some crazy stuff which motivated me. So I want to thank that guy, but it motivated me to get focused again.
-He probably worked for you at one time, didn't he?
-Well Richard Branson, he says-- this is the English billionaire entrepreneur. He's the one who's famous for starting Virgin Group, Virgin Records, Virgin Airlines-- he says, "What's my biggest motivation? Just keep challenging myself. I see life almost like one long university education that I never had. Every day I'm learning something new."
Tim, throughout your career, how have you challenged yourself to maintain a certain motivation? Because you've obviously had some high points, low points. How have you continually challenged yourself to maintain your motivation?
-Well first of all, it's easy to drift. The disease that destroys our business and our business growth, is this disease called comfort. So we get comfortable where we are and we lose our motivation. Why? What is motivation?
Motivation is pursuing an unmet need. So if your needs are met, usually there's a lapse in the motivation. So what my good friend Richard Branson, myself, Clay Clark, other people that I know and respect-- they stay motivated because they keep clear in front of them a need that's not yet met. So they're pursuing to fulfill that need.
That's motivation. Motivation is motion. Creating motion towards that and that's what it is.
-You created a fire hose of knowledge. It just exploded my brain here. But I want to clarify this 'cause it was so much goodness, I'm being serious. Comfort is a killer. I just want to make sure if you're watching that's like, gosh, that's dangerous.
And you might have been in countries where they say they have island time and they joke around. But basically, there's enough abundance with the vegetation and with the climate. It's nice enough where you don't have to do a lot to make it. And so you see a lot of comfortable people not doing a lot. And if that's your goal, that's OK, I guess. But I believe how you said comfort is a killer.
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