Scott Boras is a sports agent specializing in baseball. He is the Founder and President of Boras Corporation, a sports agency that represents roughly 75 professional baseball clients.  He has negotiated more than $9B in major league baseball contracts, with 11 of them worth more than $100 million—more than any other agent. Scott has been named the “Most Powerful Sports Agent in the World” by Forbes magazine.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • He felt it was important to have a backup plan. He earned his Doctor of Pharmacy and law degrees while he was playing baseball so if things didn’t work out, he would have another path to pursue.
  • The hardest part of being an agent isn’t negotiating contracts. It’s figuring out how to optimize a player, both physically and psychologically.
  • To effectively represent a player, you’ve got to not just understand their skill level but to understand them at a personal level as well.
  • You don’t go into a negotiation to win. You go into a negotiation to understand and build a bridge.  And you build that bridge with reasons which benefit the needs and wants of both sides.
  • His firm employs NASA and MIT-trained research scientists and engineers to uncover proprietary player performance data that nobody else uses.
  • His firm also has sports psychologists on staff whose ultimate goal is to increase the durability and hence value of the players.
  • The key to success isn’t comparing yourself to others but just trying to be the best that you can be in what you’re doing.
  • “My measure of excellence is how long can you stay in the game.”

Alain Robert is the world’s leading free climber and is known all over the world as the “French Spiderman” for free climbing skyscrapers. He has climbed 163 buildings in 70 different countries. He has a documentary on Amazon Prime titled My Next Challenge and is the author of a book With Bare Hands: The True Story of Alain Robert, the Real-Life Spiderman.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • His insecurity as a child was the early motivation to try something to build confidence and to stand out.
  • He didn’t start climbing because he wasn’t afraid of heights. He climbed in spite of his fear of heights.
  • Alain used to do free solo rock climbing and was considered by many to be the best in the world.
  • As climbing gained in popularity, he lost interest. “Climbing wasn’t about racing or competing but about freedom and self-expression.”
  • Most people aren’t really enjoying their lives. They do what they need to do to make a living but are bored with their work and just live for the weekends.  They are wasting most of their lives away.
  • “It takes a certain amount of energy to climb a building. If you have the energy, you’ll make it to the top.  If you don’t, you’ll die.”
  • “What scares me the most is a boring life.”
  • “Most people are dreaming their life but I was on the other side living my dream.”

Colin Follenweider is one of the top professional stuntmen in Hollywood. He has performed stunts in Spider-Man, Transformers, Iron Man, X-Men, Captain America, Avatar, and Die Hard and has 86 total stunt credits to his name.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • He is one of Hollywood’s top stuntmen and has performed stunts in dozens of blockbuster films.
  • It’s good to know the direction you’re heading, even if you’re not sure of the ultimate destination.
  • His motto was “Action, Inspiration”. If you always wait for inspiration to hit, you’re going to keep waiting.  But if you start doing something, you’re going to get inspired how to do it.
  • He wasn’t necessarily the best at every kind of stunt but he could do most stunts well enough and unlike many stunt people, he was really easy going. People enjoyed hanging around him which made them want to work with him again and again.
  • Stunt work is a highly collaborative effort. “Spiralling in” is when you start with lots of ideas around the outside and slowly tweak them on the way toward reaching a compromise that works for everyone.
  • Even if you’re very confident in something, when you lose your nervousness about it and you take it for granted, that’s when accidents are most likely to happen.
  • “The pursuit of excellence is more important than the accomplishment of saying ‘I’m excellent’. Being mildly disappointed helps the pursuit of excellence, as you’re always striving to get better.”

Steve Case was the co-founder and CEO of AOL, the largest Internet company at the time, which he took public and eventually merged with Time Warner. Today he is the CEO of Revolution, an investment firm which invests in visionary entrepreneurs focused on building long lasting businesses.  He is also the Chairman of the Case Foundation and an author with a New York Times bestselling book called The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur’s Vision of the Future.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • There were much more heavily capitalized competitors but Steve decided that while the other online services were focusing on content and commerce, he would focus AOL more on community which ended up being the killer app that drove its success.
  • While you’re scaling, vision and strategy are important but the people are the most important thing to get right. You need to get the right people on the bus and in the right seats and going in the right direction.
  • AOL was by no means an overnight success. It took almost a decade to get to the first million subscribers.
  • The $350 billion mega merger of AOL and Time Warner is the biggest merger in history.
  • During the third wave of the Internet, the 3 “P’s” are going to be most critical for success: partnerships, policy and perseverance. The product-led founder archetype who found success with viral apps during the second wave won’t be adequate in the third wave.
  • “Vision without execution is hallucination.” – Thomas Edison
  • “Excellence is striving to do something important and doing it successfully and doing it well.”

In 2019 Victor became the first person to dive in a submersible to the deepest points in all five of the world’s oceans. In 2017 he became the 12th person to complete the Explorer’s Grand Slam, climbing the highest peak on all seven continents and skiing to the North and South Poles.  He is the managing partner of a private equity firm called Insight Equity and holds degrees from Stanford, MIT, and Harvard Business School.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Doing well in school wasn’t about some unfettered ambition but rather, a desire to explore and just be good at something.
  • It’s nice to have a plan but plans don’t always work out so it’s important to give yourself options. When you’re young, you should build a really good skill set and from there opportunities will surface.
  • “We should try to live as maximally as we can and make precious use of this time that we’re given because it goes quickly.”
  • He never set out to climb all 7 peaks as a goal but rather “just fell into it” by wanting to do things that were interesting.
  • “I don’t think we’re put on this Earth just to be comfortable. I believe there has to be an element of challenge and suffering to have a complete life.”
  • “Humans have this ability to draw this incredible strength to overcome our bodies and our minds to do extraordinary things.”
  • “You can’t let fear control you because fear can lead to panic and panic can lead to disaster.”
  • “Excellence is never stopping to continuing to improve.”

Alan Alda is an actor, director, author, and communications guru.  He has received 6 Emmys and been nominated 34 times. He has also been nominated 3 times for a Tony and once for an Oscar. He is most known for playing Dr. Hawkeye Pierce on the TV series MASH and has been inducted into the Television Hall of Fame. He is also an accomplished author with a number of New York Times bestselling books, the latest one titled: If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face? My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating.  He is the co-founder of The Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University. And he is also the host of his own podcast called Clear and Vivid.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • The only kind of formal training Alan had was improvisation which is equally valuable in real life as it is in acting. If you’re able to connect with another person, things happen between you that would never happen otherwise.
  • “You have to get your brain so devoted to what you’re doing and to how you understand what you’re doing that the rest of your body comes along with it.”
  • In regards to acting, “it’s hard stuff but I’m ecstatic and I love it. There’s a wonderful feeling of flying when it goes well.”
  • “If we all thought a little bit more like scientists, we might make better decisions.”
  • “The most impressive scientists attack their own ideas before anybody else can.”
  • External awards like an Emmy aren’t nearly as motivating to him as the internal reward to getting better at his craft.
  • “Rather that strive for excellence, it’s better to strive for pretty damn good.”

Ben Lecomte is an ultra-endurance swimmer and the first person to complete a cross-Atlantic ocean swim without a kickboard.  He has also swum through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to raise awareness for sustainability and the impact of plastic pollution.  He was named one of the World’s 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Swimmers in 2019 by the World Open Water Swimming Association.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • He swam over 3,500 miles from Massachusetts to Quiberon, France. The journey took him 73 days, swimming upwards of 10 hours a day, and fighting off sharks and battling 20 foot swells.
  • Swimming 3,500 miles across the Atlantic was about mind over matter. Swimming hours upon hours a day with limited stimuli, your mind has to be even stronger than your body.
  • As a coping mechanism, he had to learn to disassociate his mind from his body so while his physical body was suffering, his mind could be in an entirely different world.
  • He swam across the Atlantic in honor of his father and to raise awareness for cancer. His father’s passing was the kick in the butt he needed to pursue his dreams and not live life with any regrets.
  • Swimming the Pacific (until he had to abort the trip) was actually easier than his Atlantic crossing 20 years earlier since the older you get, the more you learn to control the mind and mentally deal with the obstacles along the way.
  • He swam 400 miles through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the highest concentration of human made discarded plastic in the world. It was like looking at the sky at night during a snowstorm. You are surrounded by millions of little particles of plastic.
  • He cut open fish in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and found pieces of plastic.
  • “You cannot really know your limit until you challenge your limit.”
  • “Excellence is like beauty… it’s in the eyes of the beholder.”

Terry Fator is a ventriloquist, impressionist, stand-up comedian, and singer. He won season 2 of America’s Got Talent in 2007 and has performing his award winning show at the Mirage in Las Vegas ever since.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Learn how Terry went from performing small shows town by town, fair by fair to having a $100 million act performing at the Mirage in Vegas.
  • He is a rare talent able to combine ventriloquism, comedy, impressions, and singing all into one incredible act.
  • Having ADHD enabled his talent as a ventriloquist as he was able to split his brain into multiple personalities.
  • Happiness is a choice.
  • What’s behind his incredible success? It’s never being satisfied and always striving to make the next performance better than the last.
  • “The human ability to be creative and have ingenuity is limitless.”
  • “If a door opens and you’re not ready to go through, that’s on you.”
  • If you’re not happy now, you’re not going to be happy when you’re rich and famous.
  • “Excellence is doing something that makes us feel that we’re doing it at the best possible capacity that we could be doing it at.”