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PODCAST 134: What Great Teams and Great Leaders Hold in Common with Ilan Jacobson

If you missed episode 133, check it out here: How to Go From Startup to Pre-IPO: Unexpected Lessons From a 20-Year Sales Veteran with Jim Donovan

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Show Agenda and Timestamps

  1. Show Introduction [00:09]
  2. Who is Ilan Jacobson and what is FirePower Capital?[2:00]
  3. What makes great companies great? [10:36]
  4. The qualities of a great management team [15:53]
  5. Ilan’s forecast for our world [25:24]
  6. What FirePower is investing in right now [29:25]
  7. Ilan’s influencers [32:10]
  8. Sam’s Corner [35:21]

Show Introduction [00:09]

Sam Jacobs: Today, we bring you an interview with Ilan Jacobson, one of the leading financial entrepreneurs in Canada. He started FirePower Capital, a company that does M&A advisory work, venture debt investing, private equity investing, and really any kinds of services that growth companies need. Concentrated in Canada, FirePower provides services all over the world. In a wide ranging discussion, we talk about authenticity, what makes great teams great, and what great leaders do to drive growth in their companies.

Now, before we get there, we want to thank our two sponsors.

This episode is brought to you by Loopio. If RFPs are slowing down your sales team, you’ve got to check out Loopio. It’s the leading RFP response software trusted by more than 800 high-performing organizations across North America. They automate the tedious parts of the response process. And man, it does get tedious, like filling in the right answers and formatting documents, so that you can finish RFPs in hours instead of days. So see how Loopio can help you with your next RFP, go to loopio.com/saleshacker to get a personal walkthrough today.

Now our second sponsor, you know them, you love them, you worship them, you celebrate them. Our second sponsor is Outreach, the number one sales engagement platform. Outreach revolutionizes customer engagement by moving away from solid conversations to a streamlined and customer-centric journey. Leveraging the next generation of artificial intelligence, the platform allows sales reps to deliver consistent, relevant, responsible communication for each prospect every time. Enabling personalization at scale previously unthinkable, you never thought, you thought, this kind of personalization it’s not possible, I can’t even contemplate it, I can’t think about it, but it’s here now, it’s here now, but before it was unthinkable, but now it’s here, so think about that. Check them out at www.outreach.io.

Now, without further ado, let’s listen to this interview with Ilan Jacobson.

Who is Ilan Jacobson and what is FirePower Capital?[2:00]

Sam Jacobs: Hi everybody. It’s Sam Jacobs. Welcome to the Sales Hacker Podcast. Today on the show we’ve got Ilan Jacobson. Ilan is the founding partner and CEO of FirePower Capital, and he’s transformed the firm from a small, four-person family office into a 40-plus-strong M&A advisory and private capital powerhouse. He leads FirePower Capital in all his endeavors setting its strategic direction, providing top level guidance on key transactions, and assessing new direct investments for FirePower Capital. Private capital funds under his leadership it’s become one of the leading investors in M&A advisory firms in Canada. And FirePower invests in Canada’s entrepreneurs by financing their growth directly with venture debt or private equity, helping them complete their most critical transactions. Ilan, welcome to the show.

Ilan Jacobson: Sam, thank you for having me.

Sam Jacobs: We’re excited to have you. We like to start with a baseball card, which is really a way of contextualizing your expertise and understanding why we should be listening to this very important person? So I read a long bio, but from your perspective, tell us: what does FirePower Capital do? Who are you, what do you do?

Ilan Jacobson: We are the brand that we hope entrepreneurs think about when they’re going through something transformative, whether it be raising money, whether it be looking to buy a business, whether it be looking to sell their company, whatever it may be, we want them to think about us as the name that’s there to support them. So we do quite a few things in the financial ecosystem.

Sam Jacobs: How long have you been doing it? Tell us a little bit about the history of the firm and then from there we can segue into your background?

Ilan Jacobson: I started in 2009. I was young and dumb and didn’t know I probably shouldn’t start something like that right after the 2008 crisis. But naivety is a good thing in hindsight, and we’ve grown steadily since that inception.

Sam Jacobs: What’s your background, how did you come to the idea? And did you start with capital as a fund, did you start as an advisory firm?

Ilan Jacobson: I’ll give you that, I have a pretty eclectic background. I have a degree in genetics, I wanted to be a doctor pretty much my whole life, and got into medical school. And then had the only Jewish parents probably on planet earth that begged me not to go to medical school.

Sam Jacobs: They wanted you to go to law school instead.

Ilan Jacobson: No, they wanted me to do my MBA. I’m the eldest of four, my father’s in business, and they wanted to know that if something would happen to them that I would be able to do something with the family’s assets. So I ended up doing my MBA and not going to medical school. I started my career actually in venture capital, specifically in SAS venture capital. So I know that the majority of the people that you interview on this podcast are kind of from the SAS world and that is my history as well, just by happenstance.

Then realized fairly early on that I wasn’t equipped to work for others and landed up starting FirePower. And essentially at the beginning, I partnered with a fellow by the name of Mike Stein. Mike is the founder and chairman of CAPREIT, which is close to a $10 billion REIT from the TSX. I landed up approaching him and basically unbeknownst to me, not knowing the terminology, starting a bit of a family office and looking at new opportunities for him, I had the hustle. I was 26 years old at the time. And again, dumb and naive, and he had a capital that he had accumulated and it was a good match. So landed up, looking for opportunities for him, got bored over a couple of years doing a dealer to a year, and then got into advisory and then subsequently directly into asset management through our private credit product. And actually, as of this morning, we just announced our new private equity fund that we raised.

Sam Jacobs: In terms of direct investments, FirePower’s in venture debt, is that right? And now private equity with your new fund?

Ilan Jacobson: Exactly. I call it gap debt. We’ve actually trademarked that term because venture debt, I think implies different things to different people. For us, we like to deploy capital into growth stage companies where they don’t want to raise equity. Sometimes it’s in lieu of a Series A, sometimes it’s to delay a Series A. What’s unique about our product is we don’t only have to look at sponsor-backed companies, we’re more than happy to look at organically grown non-sponsored businesses.

Sam Jacobs: When you think about what makes FirePower special, what is it?

Ilan Jacobson: In Canada, there’s probably less competition in this particular asset class than the U.S. But I’d say our competitive advantage overall, and I don’t care what business unit I’m talking about, is that we are entrepreneurs turned to bankers, not the other way round. So I consider myself a professional opportunist. And by the way, I stole that directly from Sam Zell, so I want to give credit where credit’s due. I read his book called, Am I Being Too Subtle? And I just loved the definition of what he considered himself, because I’ve always struggled with the term entrepreneur, I’ve always struggled with a bunch of different terms, and I loved the idea of a professional opportunist.

I would say that we come at the market with an entrepreneurial mindset because I am one. And I think that helps us have better conversations although we sit as a lender in many circumstances, we want to act like a partner because our belief is, the higher the valuation of a business and the more robust the equity valuation, the more secure our debt is. So I think it’s self-serving in a lot of ways, but it’s also a lot of fun. I love entrepreneurs, is what gets me going, it’s why I do what I do, is I love that energy.

Sam Jacobs: These are typically ventured scale companies or companies that aspire to be venture scale?

Ilan Jacobson: I wouldn’t say always. I’d say 60% of our portfolio is tech. I think when people hear tech, they always assume that every tech company has venture aspirations. But the reality is that there’s a lot of homegrown tech companies doing five to 10, to 15 million in ARR that are just fantastic, organically grown businesses that don’t have those aspirations. In lieu of bringing in equity partners, have looked to us to become a debt partner to help them with their more… I would say maybe conservative growth plans considering they’re not looking to raise the 100 million dollar Series Bs, and scaling the way that you hear on TechCrunch and Crunchbase, et cetera.

Sam Jacobs: Are there circumstances where they’re using your financing to provide themselves liquidity or bundling it into, basically where the money that you’re investing might not go onto the balance sheet, but might go into the pockets of early shareholders, is that something that happens?

Ilan Jacobson: Absolutely. I’m more than happy to look at dividend recaps. A lot of lenders hate the idea of money leaving the balance sheet. If the company is valuable and someone’s working their ass off, I’ve never understood why people aren’t okay with providing capital for that reason. I firmly think that unfortunately, a lot of jealousy exists, and this weird jealousy dynamic that happens between lenders and entrepreneurs. For me, I love looking at success stories, I’ve never viewed life through the lens of for them to win, I somehow lose. I think the more people win, the better.

What makes great companies great? [10:36]

Sam Jacobs: I completely agree. So you’ve been doing this 11 years, so you’ve probably been thinking about what makes companies great for longer than that. And when you look at success stories for yourself, when you look at the great investments that you’ve made, what do you think are the common traits that drive success in a company?

Ilan Jacobson: I’m going to be cliche at first because it’s just factual. It’s the person first, it’s the people, the management team that’s the number one. But that’s obvious and that’s what everyone says, so I’m actually going to switch gears. Maybe because of my genetics background, I always view investment opportunities through the lens somehow of genetics.

So I’ll give you a good example, I invested in the first axe throwing company on planet earth that actually started in Toronto. It started in a backyard in 2006; I invested when they had one location in 2014. And people look at me like I was absolutely insane when I invested in that. But the reality is, I have some core thesis in my brain that kind of relates to genetics. And the axe throwing business hit on one of them, which is there are things in our DNA that we are not aware of and that drive a lot of our behavior.

I know when we spoke last Sam, we spoke about the concept of free will and I’m a big believer that a lot of what we do is just pattern behavior based in our DNA. I think I’d mentioned to you that I’m a massive fan of Dana White. And Dana White says, putting a basketball in a net means something because you said it means something. Kicking a soccer ball into its soccer net, it means something because you say it means something. Punching someone in the face always means something; it’s in our DNA; we like it and we get it.

When I threw that first axe, I had that exact same reaction, I knew that it lit something up in my brain. The first time we ever killed an animal we threw something sharp at it, I guarantee it.

But even when I’m looking at a software company, I’m thinking about things like, does this product actually need to exist, right? Do people actually want it? Have they found a little niche and until it gets disrupted? There’s an opportunity. So I view things through an equity mindset before I ever look at the financials. I don’t care that the company is doing $20 million in ARR, if I don’t believe in their underlying business. But I think a lot of you will make a mistake by getting lost in numbers and not taking a step back and actually thinking about whether a business should exist.

Sam Jacobs: This axe throwing business spoke to a more primitive part of your brain, perhaps that sort of lit up on you. Our primitive selves are not particularly sophisticated or civilized. Do you worry about late-stage moral implications of trying to trigger some kind of primitive response in somebody that might not be good for society?

Ilan Jacobson: Look, I think that anything that I get involved with is always driven by morals and ethics. First and foremost, I have two kids that I want to go home to and look them in the eye and be proud of the things that I do. So absolutely, I wouldn’t want to manipulate vestigial DNA components in an individual that is counterproductive to their health or societal health. So yeah, I think it matters for sure, but I think that anyone who wants to build a long career should be focused on that. First and foremost, because I think it takes you a lifetime to build a good reputation and an incident time to lose it. So I’m extremely mindful of that, and would be very against an investment that took advantage of weakness and it was a zero-sum game, I’m not into investments like that.

Sam Jacobs: And your investments are specifically focused on Canada?

Ilan Jacobson: They could be anywhere. We’re more than happy to look at international opportunities. Businesses that we actually bought about two years ago and just subsequently sold, were about 50/50 Canada and US. Our business in the axe throwing company is now probably the majority US.

The qualities of a great management team [15:53]

Sam Jacobs: You mentioned great management teams, people that really understand whether a product needs to exist. But beyond that way, you’ve talked to me about the importance of self-awareness and that the lack of self-awareness is an Achilles heel for a lot of people. Talk a little bit more about qualities that you think make great management teams and great entrepreneurs.

Ilan Jacobson: I think first and foremost, is genuine care for others. I feel the best leaders actually care. I think that the best leaders that I’ve met are in a lot of ways like philosophers. They’re genuinely inquisitive about why things are the way they are. I meet some entrepreneurs and it’s very engineering-based the way they think and it’s like, there’s supply and demand and it’s as simple as that.

Not to say that engineers can’t be incredible entrepreneurs because they can, but I’m not a huge fan of pure analytics. I really think that the best entrepreneurs that I’ve met have this unexplained feel and I look for that. And I like having conversations about things that aren’t business-related, I want to know their thoughts about existential anxiety, I want to know their thoughts about things that require some form of deep thinking, a creative mindset. Because I think that most companies have to pivot numerous times and it’s those creative abstract thinkers that typically win.

I also think that people that are driven by the pure capitalistic side of the business and don’t have a higher reason for doing what they do. Again, I don’t find that to be a pattern of success in investing. Usually, those that are investing and that are being successful, are truly passionate. And I think when you spend time with individuals, you get a good sense of people that are really passionate, versus others that are just really hard-working because those are very different things in my opinion.

Sam Jacobs: It makes a lot of sense. And sometimes I think it’s a function of trying to find what people’s passion is, and then sometimes they haven’t been trained. I think a lot of people lack the tools to really self diagnose what their strengths are, what their weaknesses are, and as a consequence, what they’re passionate about.

Ilan Jacobson: Completely. To be honest with you, I think it’s hugely to do with ego. Ego is there to protect people, right? It would be very difficult to live your life without ego because I don’t think people fully understand the definition of ego. But you need an ego to prevent yourself from falling into an existential crisis as an example.

But the ego also helps protect you from feeling vulnerable, from feeling upset and sad. And when you think about your weaknesses, I think a lot of people fall into the trap of their ego, kind of protecting themselves from going deeper into exploring the things that are holding them back. I think it’s a really important process to go through and really look at yourself in the mirror and be comfortable with the idea that you don’t have to be perfect. I think that once you get comfortable with that idea, it’s an incredibly freeing feeling.

For me, I say this all the time, I literally would need two minutes to tell you my strengths and we could spend the next two weeks with me telling you what my weaknesses are. And I’m super proud of that because I think that’s one of my strengths, is that real hyper-exaggerated self-awareness and authenticity.

Sam Jacobs: What are your weaknesses?

Ilan Jacobson: Oh my God. Do you have two weeks, Sam?

Sam Jacobs: I have a few minutes.

Ilan Jacobson: I’m a horrible executer.

Sam Jacobs: That’s a very uncommon trait for an entrepreneur.

Ilan Jacobson: No, I’m bad. I require really strong executors around me. I have incredible vision and I can see the puzzle pieces as good as anyone else I know, but I have a really hard time seeing the trees at points. I’m also super ADD, so the idea of sitting at a desk, working five hours on a spreadsheet, there’s just no effing way I could do that. I don’t care how much Ritalin you give me, it’s just not going to happen.

So, my right-hand man who has been with me since 2014, is a rocket scientist from Princeton, EMBA from Kellogg. Everything that he is good at, I am bad at, everything that I am good at, he is bad at. But yeah, so I’m a bad executer. I think that I’m not a great manager either. I do really well with senior executives, but I kind of lack patience for people that can’t keep up and I’m aware of that, so I got to be very careful about not getting frustrated.

I would say that I like control and that definitely is a weakness, I think that a lot of entrepreneurs think they’re right. I could tell you, the biggest transition I’ve gone through in my career is the adaptation to giving up control because you cannot scale a business without it, you have to be willing to give up control. And until I got more and more comfortable and it’s something I work on all the time, my business would have never scaled. It’s just impossible.

Sam Jacobs: But I’ve gotten the same set of constructive criticism/weaknesses/things that I’m not good at for 20 years. And I’ve come to basically say to myself that I’m not sure I believe in the idea that I’m going to radically change my personality or my behavior at this point. What I’m really going to try and do is find situations where I can accentuate my strengths and maybe diminish my weaknesses, but not necessarily change my behavior to modify my weaknesses. Is that how you approach it?

Ilan Jacobson: One, I’m not trying to be good at them at all. I think that the second you spend time outside of things that are holding you back from being successful. But I honestly believe that if you acknowledge your weaknesses and you find ways and you find people to work with that can counter those weaknesses, the idea of working on your weaknesses is honestly silly to me.

I hear people prepare for an interview and people ask, what are your three weaknesses? I think it’s a ridiculous question because I can’t sing, I can’t dance, I can’t do that, but that’s not what you’re hiring me for. And I always say, well-rounded people are fucking boring. I can’t stand well-rounded people. I like someone who’s excellent at something. You look at LeBron James or Michael Jordan, that’s top of mind because of the NBA finals. Do you think that they’re well-rounded? No, I doubt Michael Jordan, LeBron James could do their own taxes, but they sure as hell have a jump shot, and I guarantee you they work on that.

I am a big believer that you double down on your strengths because a weakness, like inherent in that the definition of weakness is that it doesn’t come naturally to you. So I’m going to go work on something that doesn’t come naturally to me that comes naturally to someone else, which seems so counterproductive. Versus doubling down, like you say, on something that I naturally gravitate towards that I really enjoy, that I’m really good and getting even better at it, that seems a much better use of my time.

Sam Jacobs: I completely agree with you. The challenge is, if you’re not exceptional at something, or if the place that you want to get to from a career perspective requires certain things that you are not good at. And then sometimes, you and I have the benefit, luxury, and privilege of running our own companies, but for people that aren’t in that situation, there’s this challenge of — what if I’m not good at the things that I need to be good at in order to get where I want to go?

Ilan Jacobson: I want to qualify my advice, because my advice you should throw out the window if you want to have a career as a banker, as an example. I would be fired from any real institution in about five seconds. I don’t know how to play the political game. And quite frankly, my wife’s a social worker. She has a career in social work that relies on you playing the political game and working on their weaknesses and all those sorts of things and there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s fantastic.

My advice is not for those individuals. My advice is for people that want to follow a similar career path to yourself or myself, and salespeople in general, because I think that salespeople are a different breed. I don’t think salespeople need to be worried about being well-rounded. To your point, to those individuals that are sitting there saying, yeah, but that’s bad advice for me, that’s very possible, it may be very bad advice for you. I don’t think that there’s one broad-brush advice for all people.

Ilan’s forecast for our world [25:24]

Sam Jacobs: What’s your relative optimism about the human race, about the situation we’re in right now, given the global pandemic? And what do you see as the future given that?

Ilan Jacobson: Maybe because I am an optimist, I believe in the human spirit. I don’t want to downplay the realness of global warming as an example, and I don’t want to downplay the realness of this pandemic. But humans are reliably creatures of habit. I do believe the world would go back to a normalcy that will be far more normal than people think it’s going to be.

Do I think that we’re going to have lasting change because of this pandemic? I really do. I think there’s going to be some patterns of behavior that change, hopefully for the good more than the bad, obviously. But we’re still humans and I bet you five years from now, the world will look a lot like it did a year ago.

Hopefully, we do double down on investing in the real threat of global warming, but I do think that will happen naturally, as it becomes more capitalistic and profitable to do so. Because I do think it’s going to be profitable to invest in clean tech as an example. So I don’t really worry about that.

Sam Jacobs: It’s not that you’re not worried about the ice caps melting, the permafrost melting and releasing more greenhouse gases. But your point of view is that you believe in the human races ability to counter these challenges.

Ilan Jacobson: I do. I also think that, if anything, we’re fucked. Nature’s going to be fine. You give it a billion years, we could be long gone and it’ll heal itself. So I never worry about the earth, right? I worry about the inhabitable earth.

But if we shoot ourselves in the foot and cause a situation where the earth can only support half of the population, well guess what? We’ll have more pandemics. We’ll have more earthquakes. We’ll have more of this, and it is what it is. I think that anything that we get from it, we deserve in a lot of ways. But I do think that we’ve got to be focused on it, but you can’t push a string uphill.

I honestly, and maybe this is a lack of optimism. I honestly don’t think a lot’s going to change until it becomes profitable to do so. And of course, government policy can play a huge role in creating that profitability through government incentives, tax breaks, things of that nature, which I’m a huge proponent of. I think all I can do on a daily basis is focus on being the best version of myself. I try not to think about how to cure world hunger and the ice caps melting, because especially for someone with my type of brain where if I get on the treadmill, I’m pretty fucked. That treadmill could be very detrimental for me. So I try and keep the world as small as possible in my own head because it’s already too big.

What FirePower is investing in right now [29:25]

Sam Jacobs: So you just announced that you raised a fund, is that right? New private equity fund. If I’m an entrepreneur listening, tell me about your investment criteria. What kind of deals are you trying to do? What kind of companies are you looking for?

Ilan Jacobson: You know what? We call it FirePower’s Opportunistic Fund. Because to be honest with you, we want to have as little thesis as possible. At the end of the day, we’re going to invest in tech, we’re going to invest in non-tech, we’re going to invest in minority, we’re going to invest in majority. If it’s a good idea, we can get our head around it and we can add value. I’d say the one thing that we are is, we’re not passive money.

Our head of private equity is a fellow named Anthony Lipschitz. He was one of the senior guys who brought iStopOver to Canada. Through and through operator, not a finance guy. And people always asked me, why did you hire someone like that or bring on as a partner someone like that to run a PE fund? And I said, because I think that’s where private equity gets wrong. I think that at the end of the day it’s about being able to help operators operate. The finance stuff in my opinion, table stakes, of course, you have to understand how to structure a transaction and how to use the appropriate amount of leverage.

But it’s those funds that can, kind of dig in deeper and provide more value and actually be there side by side with entrepreneurs and help them grow their businesses, that are going to generate outsized returns, especially now, because I agree with you. Capital is a commodity and it’s going to continue to be a commodity. So I believe there has to be some other edge and I’m going to bet on our entrepreneurial spirit and our ability to operate and help operate, over the table stakes that I consider as the financial engineering side of a business.

Sam Jacobs: And these are controlled transactions? You’re buying companies, is that right?

Ilan Jacobson: Yeah, for the most part. We will look at minority, 25% of our fund can be put into minority investments, if they come up, we will look at them. Trust me, if I told you my portfolio right now, I sure as hell did not think I’d be investing in an axe throwing company.

Sam Jacobs: Until you felt the heft in your hand, and you sent it through the air.

Ilan Jacobson: Exactly. Our other portfolio is a cybersecurity software business, a prop tech company, a home healthcare business, an installation of at-home internet, satellite dishes, it’s really all over the place. It’s just we get involved in situations where we think we can add value with individuals that we really like, and we’ll put our money where our mouth is when we have those situations.

Ilan’s influencers [32:10]

Sam Jacobs: You’ve mentioned a few people, mentors, or great authors, or thought leaders that you’ve found inspiration from, great books that you’ve read. There’s no specific category, the category is content or human beings that you think we should know about because they’ve had an influence on you. So when I frame it in that way, what comes to mind?

Ilan Jacobson: I’d say, the first person I mentioned was Sam Zell. I really like Sam Zell. For those who haven’t read his book, Am I Being Too Subtle? it’s about being comfortable, being eccentric in a lot of ways. I think that a lot of people spend way too much time worrying about what others think of them. I always tell people that are so concerned about what others are thinking about them. I say, I’ll tell you what they’re thinking — they’re not thinking about you. So being comfortable, being an eccentric out of the box thinker is incredibly freeing. And forget about business, just to live a happy fulfilled life. Getting into a point where you’re comfortable in your own skin is one of the best things you can do for yourself, so I’d recommend that book.

I’ve always enjoyed outsiders and people who think differently. I could tell you one of the people who I read up the most about is Salvador Dali. I have Salvador Dali tattooed on the back of my leg.

Sam Jacobs: Just the name Salvador Dali?

Ilan Jacobson: Oh, no. The whole painting of his. And if you saw my office, there is a huge mural of Salvador Dali in my office, and he has a quote where people asked him why he had made the statue of a lobster on a phone, and his response was “Why not?” And I love the simplicity of that response, and it goes back to that comfort in being eccentric, and that comfort in not worrying about what people think of you. If they think you’re a weirdo, it doesn’t affect my life. So yeah, a huge fan of art in general, Dali being one of them.

And then on the business front, I’m a huge fan of Nelson Mandela, so read a lot about Nelson Mandela. Huge fan of Musk, I know that’s kind of the standard. And then I also had mentioned Dana White, massive fan of Dana White. But they’re all kind of eccentric out of the box thinkers and comfortable in their own skin. I would say, the people that I really resonate with are those that are comfortable in their own skin.

Sam Jacobs: Ilan, if folks are listening and they want to get in touch with you, maybe they’re an entrepreneur that has a company that they want you to invest in, or they need some help. What’s your preferred way of getting in touch?

Ilan Jacobson: Email me, ijacobson@firepowercapital.com. Very easy.

Sam’s Corner [35:21]

Sam Jacobs: Hey everybody, Sam’s Corner.

I love that conversation. Why? Because Ilan is an authentic human being. There’s maybe two big takeaways that maybe you can think about. The first is… Your goal in life is to keep discovering and unearthing who you are, and holding things up to the light and figuring out when they are in harmony, when they align, when it is true and when they are discordant, when they are not true. And that sounds like gobbledygook, but it’s not gobbledygook. Here’s what it means — authenticity is what drives success. Passion beyond material concerns is what drives success. You want to make a lot of money, you have to be passionate. So you have to figure out what you are passionate about and who you are at your core.

And that is a process of self-awareness and self-discovery. That takes some time for many people. But if you can do that, then you can be that special kind of person. And the people that have the most power in the world, like Ilan mentioned, besides Ilan himself, Elon Musk, and Salvador Dali, and Steve Jobs. Those are people that were comfortable with the fact that you might not like them. They were people that were comfortable with the fact that they were going to do things differently because they believed in them and they had a process for determining that. Authenticity, who you really are, that is a key driver. Because if you can align the world, what you’re doing every day, the outside with the inside of who you are, and you can be in alignment with the universe that way, you can accelerate your growth, you can accelerate trajectory, so that’s important.

And correspondingly, think about your weaknesses and gaps? And instead of trying to change your weaknesses, change your gaps, become good at the things that you suck at, what would happen if you just became absolutely amazing at the things that you’re just pretty good at? I think that’s a lesson that it was very difficult for me to learn. I used to get feedback at work, I’m very moody, and Sam’s happy when the company’s doing well, and he’s not so happy when the company’s not doing well. And it’s not really about not being moody, although I could take medicine and pills for maybe to numb myself out and be more steady. But it’s really more about, what was it that was making me moody? And could I align my work in a way that brought me more consistent, daily joy. So, anyway, that’s my thoughts.

Before we go, I hope you’re noodling on it. Are you noodling? If you’re noodling, then you’re doing the right thing.

Don’t miss episode #135

Before we go, we want to thank our two sponsors. This episode was brought to you by Loopio. If your team responds to RFPs, you need to try Loopio’s intelligent platform. It helps hundreds of sales teams answer RFPs in hours instead of days. Sign up for a personal walkthrough of Loopio today, your sales team will thank you, trust us. Go to loopio.com/saleshacker.

Of course, our second sponsor is Outreach. They are revolutionizing customer engagement by making personalization at scale that you previously couldn’t even think about. It was unthinkable, and now it’s thinkable. Not only is it thinkable, it’s possible, it’s here, it’s happening. Go to www.outreach.io.

If you want to reach out to me, you can, linkedin.com/in/samfjacobs. If you want to apply to Revenue Collective, go to revenuecollective.com, click apply now. We’ve got a new group membership option, we call it revenue collective for teams, that includes private onboarding, includes customized consulting and access to experts for your teams, so that you can accelerate their growth trajectory. It’s really quite, quite cool, actually, and that’s that.

And then it’s today, if I’m not mistaken, it’s Tuesday, November 3rd, I hope you voted. If you’re an American citizen, I don’t care who you voted for. I just hope you voted. Let’s participate in this democracy, right? I think democracy is important. Anyway, I’m rambling. I’ll talk to you next time, folks. I love you.

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