Everyone’s freaking out! How can that be put to good use? In this episode, we discuss the unexpected benefits of the bubonic plague, what the four-day workweek tells us about the future of work, how world-changing technologies become adopted, why business failures lead to success, how to use crises to change the status quo, and more.
This episode originally aired on The Jordan Harbinger Show, as he interviewed me, Build For Tomorrow host Jason Feifer.
The Jordan Harbinger Show | Jason Feifer | Build for Tomorrow
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Coming up next on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:00:03] Jason Feifer: I am fascinated by talking to people who make massive
changes in their lives and business before they are forced to. Because they understand
that by the time they're forced to do it, they're out of options.
[00:00:18] Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. On The
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[00:01:12] Today, we're talking about future-proofing your career. I'm really excited for
this one. My friend, Jason Feifer, and I go way, way back. The book starts with the
premise that your life as it exists now will not exist in a few years. And successful
people and companies are — they're good at withstanding change, not resisting it, but
adapting to it. So this is a guide for people facing an uncertain future, which by the
way, is all of us.
[00:01:35] Jason is the editor in chief of Entrepreneur magazine. So he has seen a lot of
businesses and people in businesses survive, thrive, crash, and burn. And then, of
course, through interviewing him much like myself, he has a chance to dig in with those
responsible for those results or lack thereof. So he really comes at this from a pretty
unique and knowledgeable angle in my opinion.
[00:01:54] Now, we tend to not look at technology as a slow-moving, constantly
changing series of small events, but we get distracted by what is the newest and the
loudest. Remember, when people thought video games are ruining the youth and
before that it was radio or pinball or television, whatever. Politicians love this because
they can get clicks by playing to the moral panic. People thought comic books were
going to be bad for society and it turned out, gee, when kids read a lot, they get better
at reading. So if we panic and we react knee-jerk to change, then we're not going to
correctly identify the problem. And if we can't do that, we obviously can't create
[00:02:30] Again, this is a fun and wide-ranging conversation with a really smart friend
of mine that I know you're going to enjoy. So here we go with Jason Feifer.
[00:02:41] I love looking back at history and seeing how seemingly unconnected events
actually had a massive impact on one another or were causal in some way. And tell me
about how the bubonic plague or the Black Death ends up changing the labor market of
all things and how we are actually still, I guess you'd say feeling the effects of a plague
that happened centuries ago.
[00:03:00] Jason Feifer: I mean, feeling is one way to say it, benefiting from it is
another. I was fascinated to learn this and I did at the very beginning of the pandemic
because it was like March or April 2020. And I'm thinking to myself, we don't know
what's coming but did anything good come out of the worst version of this that we can
think of? Because if so, then there's hope for whatever's coming next.
[00:03:21] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:03:22] Jason Feifer: I call this guy, Andrew Rabin, medieval scholar at University of
Louisville. I love that guy. I really suggest, maybe Jordan, you have one of these. I
suggest having a favorite academic. Like somebody you can just call who's going to
respond. Like, "I got a weird question about something that happened 700 years ago,
you got some time." And so, I said to Andrew, "What good came out of the bubonic
plague." And he said, actually, a whole bunch of really fascinating stuff did. Then he
told me this story.
[00:03:45] So quick, for people who remember this from history class, the medieval
economy was a lord and serf system. It means the lords owned the land. They also
owned the serfs and the serfs work the land for free. We're talking about slavery and
the bubonic plague comes along at middle of the 1300s and it kills upwards of 60
percent of Europe, upwards of 60 percent of Europe.
[00:04:05] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:04:05] Jason Feifer: Gone. Try to process that it's impossible, right? I mean, it just
means like 60 percent of people you know, gone.
[00:04:11] Jordan Harbinger: That's crazy.
[00:04:12] Jason Feifer: Rich, poor didn't matter, you know, once the worst of it, or I
don't even know how to describe what the worst of it. But anyway, well, once
something the lords say, "You know what? It's time to get back to work." And so they go
to the serfs and they say, "Let's get back to the land. You got to start making some
money." But here's the thing, something has changed.
[00:04:27] What has changed is that there are no longer enough serfs for all the lords
because they all died, which means that you have lords who are going to serfs, like
multiple lords going to serfs and saying, "Hey, come work for me." "No, no, no, no, no,
come work for me." "No, no, I'll give you this. Come work for me." And the serfs realize
something has changed. What has changed is that they have leverage and now they
can start to demand compensation for their work. Or they can say, "You know what,
screw it. I'm not interested in this anymore." And they can move to the city and start
the first merchant class.
[00:04:56] And this is the birth really in Europe of the employment contract as we know
it. The idea that labor has a value and that the people who do that work should be
compensated for that value. I mean, basically Jordan, the reason why a lot of people are
listening to us right now is because they would like to figure out a way to make more
money in their own lives or something like that comes out of this moment.
[00:05:18] Now, terrible things happened. We lost 60 percent of Europe as a result. We
wouldn't want to say we want to lose 60 percent of our people, but—
[00:05:26] Jordan Harbinger: I was going to say, I think we're on the same page here.
We got to kill half the people on planet earth.
[00:05:32] Jason Feifer: That'll be better for us.
[00:05:33] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:05:33] Jason Feifer: Little more than half in fact, so, right. But the thing is like the
reason why I love this story and why I put it early in the book is because I want us to
remember that we have no matter what came before, right? No matter how hard a
moment of change is, we have an opportunity for what I like to call a Wouldn't Go Back
moment. 60 percent of Europe dying. Terrible. Nobody would opt for that, but it
happened. There was no choice there. And so the best thing that we can do is look at it
and say, "Well, what good can we make of this?" What can we get to where we say, "I
have something new and valuable and I would not want to go back to a time before I
had it"? That's our only option.
[00:06:07] Jordan Harbinger: Okay. So everybody's talked about remote work was
always there. Most didn't take advantage of it. Companies thought it was impossible.
Now, they know that not only is it possible, I guess there's different schools of thought
here, but oh, my workers are happier and better, or I can get leverage and acquire
better talent if I offer remote work. Now, the commercial real estate market has to
lower prices and that may be even toast in certain cities. I do wonder how we'll see this
play out in the next 50 years or longer though. Do you have any guesses?
[00:06:35] Jason Feifer: My guess is that what you will see play out is a combination of
the best of what came before and the beginnings of what we have now and where we're
going. People ask me about this a lot when we're trying to think about the future of
work and there's really fascinating stuff going on right now. Like the four-day work
week is a really interesting experiment.
[00:06:54] Jordan Harbinger: Is it France, the UK doing that? Some European country
is doing it.
[00:06:58] Jason Feifer: Yeah, I think the UK is running an experiment right now.
Iceland ran a national experiment and it went so well that a lot of companies there have
transferred over. And a lot of this goes back to like the first time that a lot of people
heard about the four-day work week was Japan. Microsoft, Japan ran this study where
they went down to four days of work a week and productivity did not drop now just to
be like really clear. We are not talking about four, 12-hour days of work, right? We're
talking about four normal days of work, literally just eliminating a day of work and
productivity did not drop.
[00:07:27] How did that happen? Well, it's because you start to rethink the way that
you work, the pace that you work, you eliminate meetings that are completely
unnecessary. You find all these efficiencies and as a result, people are happier and
they're getting the same amount done. And so a lot of companies now, as people have
rethought what they want from their jobs, what they are willing to sacrifice for their
careers, they start to say, "You know, I'm looking for a different balance here." And as a
result, companies are starting to think, well, how can we shift the way in which we are
operating so that we can create an environment where the best talent wants to be?
[00:08:01] So we shift to, and a bunch of companies are doing this, this is not just
experiment stuff. And it's not just in Iceland. There are plenty of companies in America
that are doing this.
[00:08:07] Jordan Harbinger: I'm surprised Japan was one of the countries to take
this. I feel like they would be the last people are like, "You know what? We need to work
less. And while we're at it, maybe we drink a little bit less too and go to bed at a
[00:08:17] Jason Feifer: Right. Because they have such a strong, like work culture that
dominates their culture. But you know, Japanese love efficiency.
[00:08:23] Jordan Harbinger: That's true.
[00:08:23] Jason Feifer: So this is super interesting. I called a bunch of companies that
have been running four-day work weeks to ask how it's been going. And the most
memorable thing that anybody said was this woman who runs like issues like the head
of people or whatever at a company called Buffer tech company. They're about a year
in now to the four-day work week experiment. And she said, people are, they're really
happy. They love it. She was talking to somebody recently who said that they would
have to make an extra $100,000 at another job to make them go back to five days a
[00:08:49] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. That's a lot, that's a huge change.
[00:08:53] Jason Feifer: Huge change, right? Like if that's how you value that time,
that says a lot. But here's so interesting. After about a year, she started to hear some
complaints. And the complaint was people started to feel disconnected from their
colleagues. Because, you know, when you shift to four days of work a week, you're
eliminating all those meetings. You're eliminating like hanging out in Slack. You know,
you're eliminating all the kind of downtime that seemed like it was pointless, but
actually was creating bonding and culture. And so when you eliminate that after a
while, you start to feel disconnected from your colleagues.
[00:09:24] So now, the people at Buffer are not saying, "Oh my god, this is a terrible
disaster. And we have to go back to five a week because that's not the right answer,"
right? I mean, I think that whenever we face a problem, a question of trying to manage
change, the thing that we should not ask is, is this perfect? Because that's a useless
question. Nothing's ever perfect. Instead, the better question is, are our new problems
better than our old problems?
[00:09:47] And in this case, the answer is yes, because people are happy. Retention is
very strong because people love the support that they're getting, but they have this
problem. This problem is that they're feeling disconnected. So now they got to solve
that. And so they're experimenting with all these different ways. Can they build in these
little micro bonding moments throughout the day or whatever?
[00:10:03] And anyway, the reason why I tell you that is because I don't think that the
future of work looks like what we had before the pandemic, but I don't think it also looks
like whatever our current experiments are. Because our current experiments are really
only going to drive us to learning more like Buffer is learning right now. So what will
come in the future will be an integration of the best of the old, the best of the new, and
best of what's coming next.
[00:10:25] Jordan Harbinger: Interesting. I like that. That was a little bit of an aside,
but I was curious to your thoughts there because I know this is something that you're
always kind of, you're always waiting in those waters for entrepreneur and for your own
[00:10:35] The big takeaway here is that crisis is opportunity. Force change can
produce good things, but we should maybe want to make those changes on our own
terms. So instead of waiting for a massive pandemic to slay millions of us, it's that
changes the labor market, maybe we make the move beforehand.
[00:10:52] I wonder. Does it count that our team has been working remote for like 15
years before? Because we were too cheap to buy office space. That seems less like
seeing the future and more like a broken clock is still right two times a day.
[00:11:02] Jason Feifer: Well, I think that what you'll find is that there are even more
innovations and efficiencies, things that you can find now that new tools are available
for, you know, communication for operating work remotely. I mean, the thing is that
teams that were doing this before the pandemic were doing it with what we now would
consider to be pretty archaic tools.
[00:11:21] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:11:21] Jason Feifer: I mean, even just in the last few years, it's been amazing,
remarkable to see how many people, how many entrepreneurs looked around and said,
"You know what? There are new needs. Instead of being very concerned about holding
onto how to serve old needs, I'm going to start developing things based on what people
want right now." That's where innovation comes from. And that's what the most
adaptable people do.
[00:11:40] Jordan Harbinger: Another concept I really like to apply to my own life is
that failures often look like wins, but you have to zoom out far enough on the timeline.
For example, and you wrote about this in the book, Netflix tried to sell itself to
Blockbuster for, was it $50 million.
[00:11:55] Jason Feifer: Yeah.
[00:11:55] Jordan Harbinger: Which is hilarious.
[00:11:56] Jason Feifer: $50 million.
[00:11:57] Jordan Harbinger: Because that's like a week of revenue or something at
Netflix now, maybe not even that.
[00:12:01] Jason Feifer: Right.
[00:12:01] Jordan Harbinger: Now, it's worth 200-plus billion dollars or at least, as of
publishing the book. Who knows? The market's crazy right now.
[00:12:06] Jason Feifer: Yeah. Right. That may have been outdated by now.
[00:12:09] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Like don't check your Netflix stock. Take my word
for it for the sake of this conversation. But it probably seemed like such an epic failure
at the time. You know, like, "Oh, Blockbuster, that was our big exit. What are we going
to do now? I've got a warehouse full of DVDs and these little red envelopes. I'm such a
loser." I would imagine the conversations kind of went like that either to themselves or
to their significant others.
[00:12:29] Jason Feifer: The wonderful thing about that story is that Reed Hastings at
the time in which he was trying to sell Blockbuster. He could have very easily gone
home and said, "I have failed. I have failed at building a company that I can sell. And
now it's just downhill from here." Instead, what he did was he clearly looked at this as
an individual moment in time. Just one, one of what was going to be many. And when
you are willing to and able to zoom out, and I know it's hard. Believe me, I have many
times, almost daily basis where something happens and it doesn't go my way. And I feel
like, damn it, that is the end of it all.
[00:13:06] But if we are willing to say, you know, everything that happens is simply a
point on a continuum. Well, then we can learn something from that point. We can say,
you know, this moment that feels like failure is actually data. We can think of failure as
data, and it starts to inform the next thing that we do.
[00:13:22] Have you heard this stat, which I really hate, which is that nine out of 10
[00:13:27] Jordan Harbinger: Within four years, right? Is that the thing? Nine out of 10
businesses fail within four years or most small businesses fail within four years. And
that's so discouraging if you're thinking about starting a small business, especially if it's
your first time doing it. Because you're like, "Geez, I'm not special enough to be one of
the minority that makes it, why would I be that?" Right?
[00:13:45] Jason Feifer: That's right. It makes it seem like trying something new is not
even worth it. Because if nine out of 10 businesses fail, and look, this is like, you don't
have to be thinking about starting a business in order to feel this, because if nine out of
10 businesses fail, then that feels like why on earth would I even try? Why would I try
something new? But the thing is that statistic just isn't even close to true.
[00:14:09] If you look at the data, what you find is that about half of businesses, I think
survive something like the first five years. I wish I had the data right in front of me, but I
don't remember it exactly. But anyway, when you look at, and the government research
has done this, when you look at what actually happened to those businesses that
closed, what you find is that a good bulk of them did not close because of some
catastrophic failure. They closed because of some natural conclusion, either because
the business had succeeded in doing whatever it was going to do, or the person
decided to retire or they sold it or whatever, there was some natural reason in which it
[00:14:43] And the other ones, even if they did close because of what we might call a
failure, what we don't see in that data, is that the failure may have informed the next
thing that they did. And that was the success.
[00:14:54] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:14:54] Jason Feifer: It's not reasonable to say that just because something didn't
work, that the person who did it is a failure and will always be a failure because when I
talk to — and Jordan, you do too. When we talk to people who have had massive
successes, they have done that on top of a pile of failures.
[00:15:12] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Slack comes to mind. Wasn't it like a video game
[00:15:16] Jason Feifer: Yes.
[00:15:16] Jordan Harbinger: No one cared about, basically for years, like a decade.
[00:15:19] Jason Feifer: There's like endless varieties of this in which the company
that, you know, actually came out of some company that completely failed, and that's
[00:15:28] Can I tell you a quick story? It's like one of my most memorable—
[00:15:30] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:15:30] Jason Feifer: —encounters with an entrepreneur. All right. So before kids, I
liked to listen to podcasts in the shower. I don't do this so much anymore.
[00:15:39] Jordan Harbinger: What does that have to do with kids? I know there's a
tangent, but why?
[00:15:42] Jason Feifer: Well, because one, the kids will often burst in and then they'll
need something. And then I won't be able to focus. Two, because I don't have as much
time to shower as I used to.
[00:15:48] Jordan Harbinger: Ah.
[00:15:49] Jason Feifer: My showers are extremely fast right now. I can't make it
through a Jordan Harbinger episode. And I mean, I wasn't taking hour-long podcast
[00:15:56] Jordan Harbinger: That's a pretty long hour of showering.
[00:15:58] Jason Feifer: But yeah, you know, I usually would try to take a nice
leisurely 10-minute shower. Now, it's like four minutes, right? Like how fast can we get
in and out of this thing? And then I got somebody screaming.
[00:16:06] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:16:06] Jason Feifer: And then I got to get somebody breakfast. Anyway, I was
looking for a speaker. I wanted it to do two things. I have three things. I wanted it to be
waterproof. I wanted it to be Bluetooth. I wanted it to be wireless because I wanted to
be able to just kind of beam the show into a speaker in the shower and not have the
[00:16:24] Jordan Harbinger: Without running an extension cord into the place where
you're taking you're bathing.
[00:16:27] Jason Feifer: I'd like to survive my showers.
[00:16:29] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:16:30] Jason Feifer: Anyway, I went out to Amazon and I couldn't find anything
from any brand that you've ever heard of that had these three things. There was only
one speaker on Amazon that did this and it was a brand called Hipe. What the hell is
Hipe? You ever heard of Hipe? No. Nobody's ever heard of Hipe. And I look at the
reviews and people say, "I've never heard of this company before, but the speaker
worked as advertised. And if I had any questions, there was an email address that came
on a piece of paper and I emailed it. And a guy named Sam responded." And I was like,
well, I've spent $70 on more questionable things. So I bought it and the speaker shows
up and it works as advertised. I had some question, I can't remember, some
connectivity issues. So I emailed that email address and sure enough, like a day later,
this guy Sam responds. And Sam says to me, he's like, "Thanks for writing. Here's what
China said—" and then like a block of kind of broken-English text that once I spent some
time with it did answer my question, but now I'm thinking, okay, what is Hipe? Who is
Sam? What is this? What did China say? What is he talking about?
[00:17:35] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, he is a reseller or something, right?
[00:17:36] Jason Feifer: Seemed, maybe, I don't know, but I got very curious. So I
started badgering Sam. I'm really, really good at badgering people. And I said, "Sam, I
got to know what's going on. What is this company? Who are you?" And then, I started
googling around. I found that Hipe was connected to a company called C&A Marketing
in New Jersey. I email Sam, I say, "How is Hipe connected to C&A Marketing?" He sends
me back a smiley face. Now, like I got to know. And so I'm sending this guy multiple
emails. Finally, he makes a time to talk. Then he takes it back. He puts me in touch with
a publicist who puts me in touch with a marketing person who tells me that what I need
to do is in like a week or two show up at this photography industry convention at the
Javits Center in Manhattan, I live in New York, go to the Polaroid stand and ask for
[00:18:17] Jordan Harbinger: That's where I took a bar exam. So I'm familiar with this
like crazy, like old event area, event space.
[00:18:22] Jason Feifer: It's the least welcoming space in New York. And that's really
[00:18:25] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:18:27] Jason Feifer: You know, you got to do that, right? So I showed up at the
convention hall and I go to the Polaroid stand and I ask for Chaim.
[00:18:32] Jordan Harbinger: Which Chaim? There's 800 Chaims here. This is
[00:18:36] Jason Feifer: That's a good point. Well, fortunately, I find my Chaim.
[00:18:39] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:18:39] Jason Feifer: My Chaim is this guy with wispy red beard. And he sits down.
He's like talking in riddles and he's like, "Every time that my wife or daughter come
home with a product, I say, you shouldn't have bought that because I make that." And
it's like, what are you talking about?
[00:18:52] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:18:52] Jason Feifer: And I could not, I just could not understand what he was
saying. So finally, I say, can I just come to wherever you work and see what's going on
here? And he says, okay. So like a week or two later, I go out to New Jersey and I meet
Chaim and I understand finally, what's going on. So, Chaim at the time was running
C&A Marketing. This is the whole reason I'm telling you this story is because this is
about learning from failure. So Chaim started in the camera film industry, like, you
know, making a camera film. And he saw that eventually there was going to be an end
to that industry. So he got into digital cameras. And then he saw, you know, this is kind
of a difficult industry. He got into camera accessories, and then he saw, well, this is a
difficult industry. And he's trying to figure out what to do, "How do I pivot? How do I
make this work? I'm like in a bunch of failing industries right now."
[00:19:34] And then, he has his realization. His realization comes because of all his
failures, which is that he has been making these products and selling them on Amazon.
And he realizes that Amazon isn't just a great place to sell products. Amazon is a free,
massive R&D facility. You can put something on Amazon and instantly see how people
react to it. And even better, you can go to other company's products and go into their
comments and see what people like and they don't like, which means that you can go
to, for example, a speaker product made by Bose and look down and see people saying,
"You know, I really like this thing, but I wish that it was waterproof."
[00:20:13] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Okay. Yeah.
[00:20:13] Jason Feifer: And then, so Chaim would say, "Oh, well, why don't we just
make a version of that waterproof? It'll put it on and then we'll see what happens." So
he assembles this team, he walks me into this room. Chaim is an Orthodox Jew. And he
[00:20:26] Jordan Harbinger: You don't say.
[00:20:27] Jason Feifer: Yeah, yeah, in case, I wasn't clear. Right. I walk into this
room. It is just full of these Orthodox Jewish guys. He's like hired his network. At the
time, he said, he has one Italian guy. He lets him work from home.
[00:20:39] Jordan Harbinger: That sounds a little bit like they just don't want him
there, but okay, fine.
[00:20:43] Jason Feifer: I'm sure. I'm sure. This was pre-pandemic. I'm sure the guy
was like, he felt very excited that he had a rare work-from-home job. Anyway, so these
guys are all working from home and they all have these different areas that they focus
on. And so Sam was working in the speakers in whatever department. And so Sam's job
is to identify these products, find a way in which somebody might want some upgraded
or slightly different version of it. Go to China, have somebody make it, slap some
random brand on it called Hipe, and then put it on Amazon and see what happens. If
people like it, they make more of it. And if they don't, then they kill it.
[00:21:12] And this is how he's built this business. And it is a massive, massive
business. I can't remember the size of it but it was growing at like 30 percent a year
when I talked to him. And now—
[00:21:20] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:21:20] Jason Feifer: —years later, it is called C+A Global. He's got offices around
the world. He bought Ritz Camera. He bought SkyMall. Remember that thing? And you
sit down in an airplane—
[00:21:30] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that's where you buy like inflatable hot tubs from
[00:21:33] Jason Feifer: That's exactly right.
[00:21:34] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, yeah.
[00:21:35] Jason Feifer: Yeah, Chaim owns that now.
[00:21:36] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:21:36] Jason Feifer: All off of learning from these failures. And so the reason I love
this story is because it should inform you that — look, any single time in which you're
doing something and it does not work out, you could look at it as this was a terrible
failure. Or you could look at it as I have an advantage that other people don't because I
got to the front lines of where this challenge is. And therefore, I see this challenge in a
way that other people don't and I can build what I learned into whatever I do next. And
that gives me an advantage over other people.
[00:22:05] Jordan Harbinger: You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our
guest Jason Feifer. We'll be right back.
[00:22:09] This episode is sponsored in part by TextExpander. There are a few
productivity tools that I can't live without. And TextExpander is definitely one of them. I
use this every single day. I found out about it and reached out to them to see if they
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[00:23:09] Jen Harbinger: And when you're ready to sign up, get 20 percent off your
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[00:23:20] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored by IPVanish. Did you
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[00:24:32] Jordan Harbinger: If you're wondering how I managed to book all these
amazing folks for the show — like I said, I'm friends with Jason. We go way back. He put
me in the New York Times. I can't complain about that. I've got a great network and I'm
teaching you how to build your network for free. It's one of the most important things
I've ever done for my business and my personal life. For that matter, I met my wife that
way. Most of us have. The course is free. It's at jordanharbinger.com/course. This
course will make you a better networker, a better connector, and more importantly, a
better thinker. Again, it's free at jordanharbinger.com/course, and most of the guests
you hear on the show subscribe and contribute to that course. So come join us, you'll be
in smart company where you belong.
[00:25:07] Now back to Jason Feifer.
[00:25:12] I wish I knew this zoom out, used failure as data in this same way. I mean,
I'd heard that kind of thing before, but it's like in the moment, you're like, "Whatever,
this still sucks." This is kind of what it was like for me, transitioning from my old
business, my old podcast to my new show, it felt like such an epic kick in the nuts.
[00:25:29] But once a few years had gone by, I realized that all the cliches that people
had thrown at me in many ways were true. It was the best thing that ever happened to
me in terms of my business, because like all the previous knowledge that I had, and I
know we'll get to that in a little bit, but all the skills that I had, all of these relationships
that I had actually made a lot more sense, but instead of slowly pivoting, which is what I
thought I wanted to do, it was actually better to just rip the cord out of the wall and
throw the machine out the window and rebuild it because it was such a mess that a
new iteration was better from the ground up.
[00:26:01] It's like you don't remodel a skyscraper that's before World War II, to go back
to your Manhattan analogy, like you don't rebuild that thing and then slap an elevator
on it. You just demolish it and build a new one. It's got different materials. The elevators
are in the middle. You could put central air in the thing. You don't have window units
everywhere. That's what I needed to do with my business. But you kind of don't know to
do that if you don't know about these concepts and about zooming out and about
realizing that everything that you've done before is going to play a part in what you do
in the future, because sometimes you can't really see that.
[00:26:32] With big changes, you wrote, that we go in stages. Stage one is usually
panic. Tell me about margarine.
[00:26:42] Jason Feifer: I didn't expect that turn on the question.
[00:26:45] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Keeping on your toes.
[00:26:47] Jason Feifer: I appreciate it. So, okay, yes, you're right. So there are four
stages to panic. Well, I assume to talk about though, but the first one is panic, which is
what everybody feels, right? As soon as change happens, you feel absolute panic. And
the reason you feel panic is pretty reasonable. It's because you feel like the thing that
you knew is gone. And then you start to extrapolate because we want to know what's
coming next. So we say, "Well, if I lost this thing, I experienced change is loss. Loss is
so much easier to see than gain. If I experienced change and loss, now I know what I've
lost and because I lost this thing, I'm going to lose that thing because I lost that thing.
I'm not going to be as relevant anymore." And now, I've got myself a kind of spiraling
[00:27:24] So this brings us to what you shouldn't do at that moment, which is
margarine. So thanks for bringing that up.
[00:27:30] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:27:31] Jason Feifer: Okay. Here's a fun fact about margarine. So the original
margarine is not what you know of as margarine. The original margin was like a kind of,
it was beef tallow. It was like a kind of weird concoction that came from beef and it
spread like butter. And it came out of this challenge that the French emperor Napoleon
III in the mid-1800s had made. What he wanted was a butter-like substance that could
travel easily with his soldiers. And in 1869, this chemist in France came up with this
thing that he called oleomargarine. And it did exactly that. It was basically like a cheap
transportable source of protein for soldiers, which was really helpful. And then, it made
its way across the Atlantic.
[00:28:10] At the time, you know, this is the mid, late 1800s, most people in America,
they couldn't afford much nutrition. I mean, they were living on stale bread and
anything with protein was very expensive and that included butter because butter, one,
it was really expensive, but two, you couldn't store it anywhere.
[00:28:30] Jordan Harbinger: No refrigerators or anything.
[00:28:31] Jason Feifer: No refrigerators. Right, so this is just a pre-refrigeration era.
So margarine comes along and it is cheap and it stores easily. It has access to many
people who cannot afford butter. It has access to some nutrients, you know, some fat
and some protein that they can put on their stale bread. It's very, very useful. And so
margarine takes off and this puts the butter industry in just absolute panic, right? I
found all these really funny newspaper articles. This one in 1874, it was like some
declaration from the butter industry saying, that every measure must be taken to
ensure "supremacy of the dairy in our agriculture." And they start working with local
lawmakers to pass these insane laws, that limit how people can access margarine. So
first they tax the ever-loving hell out of margarine. There's a congressional act in 1886
that does this, but then the big one states start passing these laws, mandating that
margarine be dyed in unappealing colors, like pink margarine or black margarine.
[00:29:33] Jordan Harbinger: Ooh. Yeah, that is gross. That is gross.
[00:29:35] Jason Feifer: Who's going to buy that? And the whole reason for this was
just to make it seem unappealing because what butter wants to do here—
[00:29:40] Jordan Harbinger: Is to compete unfairly.
[00:29:41] Jason Feifer: —is to compete unfairly, right?
[00:29:42] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:29:43] Jason Feifer: Right. Which you can find, it's a tradition that is alive and well
[00:29:46] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly.
[00:29:46] Jason Feifer: Just look to the halls of Congress. So, what I think is important
and the reason why I like the story is because it shows you how the butter industry in
panicking did not even attempt to try to think about how to solve problems for people.
They did not think about how this change could ultimately drive them to improve their
product and the way in which they serve people and therefore expand the reach of their
product. Instead, what they tried to do is they just tried to stop the change entirely, and
that never works out for you.
[00:30:15] So what happened as a result? Well, this crazy pink margarine thing ended
up in the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court said that you cannot force margarine
to be dyed crazy colors. But what it did leave open was that margarine could be
stopped from being dyed yellow. So margarine couldn't sell itself yellow to compete
with butter. So margarine companies started selling their margarine, pure white, and
then they sold a little yellow capsule along with it, which people could mix into the
margarine, and then it would look like butter. And it turns out kids really, really loved
that. So they started stirring the yellow into the margarine and then a whole generation
of people thought that butter was this thing that shows up white, that you pour yellow
into. And for like 50-something years, margarine sales actually outpaced butter sales,
and butter really, really struggled.
[00:31:02] Jordan Harbinger: Like, oh, I want the kind that you mix yourself. I don't
want the kind that's already yellow. Buy the other one.
[00:31:06] Jason Feifer: Right.
[00:31:07] Jordan Harbinger: Meanwhile, you're choosing margarine over butter.
[00:31:08] Jason Feifer: Exactly.
[00:31:09] Jordan Harbinger: Oops.
[00:31:09] Jason Feifer: And then butter became the subject of these health scares.
Anyway, the whole point of it is like, if you look back on this now, you could have said,
well, what could butter have done differently? Well, they could have used failure as
data here. They could have seen, well, butter sales are going down and margarine sales
are going up. Why? Because margarine is serving a need that we are not serving. So
how could we do that better? Is there a way in which we can either reduce our
manufacturing costs? Can we get in on the development of refrigeration because, boy,
that would've been amazing? That was happening right around the same time. Big
margarine could have easily gotten in bed with big refrigeration. There were all sorts of
things that they could do and they didn't. And instead, what they did is they panicked
and they made a stupid decision because when you panicked, that's what you do, you
make stupid decisions. And as a result, they harmed themselves for about 50 years.
[00:31:47] Jordan Harbinger: Big Dairy is trying to do the same thing with almond
milk, oat milk, alternative milk like you can't use the word milk. And so that's going to
end up with, I would imagine predictable backfire somehow. I don't know how, but
somehow it's going to blow up in their face.
[00:32:01] Jason Feifer: It absolutely will. It's crazy how the same exact story is
playing out right now.
[00:32:05] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:32:05] Jason Feifer: And instead of thinking, how can I be more innovative? How
can I learn from the reason why people are leaving me? Instead, they just try to stop
people from leaving them. It doesn't work that way.
[00:32:14] Jordan Harbinger: We saw that with Spotify, or not Spotify, Napster in
music. I see it now. I've got little kids. We talk about this all the time, panic about kids
and screens. And I also was/am worried about that. But then when I read your book and
it's like, well, yeah, they did that with the radio. And it's like, they were worried about
kids listening to the radio. How quaint that sounds these days? Forget about the
Internet with access to 24/7 like hardcore pornography that we have now. Wow, the
kids might listen to music a lot and of course, original radio, it's all-live musicians
playing in studio. So it's don't let your kids near that string quartet. Everyone knows
after the violin concerto, the next step is intravenous heroin. Like what a weird thing to
worry about. My kid does become a frigging zombie when he is watching something on
the iPad. But the idea that the radio would corrupt children or that, and I remember
Ryan Holiday saying something like the stoic or at least early philosophers, maybe in
Greece were worried that reading was going to cause people to not be able to
memorize everything anymore. So books are a terrible idea. Now, it's like nobody alive
is saying, books are bad for you, not one person.
[00:33:22] Jason Feifer: That's right. So, that is a controversial reading of, I think
Aristotle. The point he was making was the difference between feeling like, you know
something for sure. And that you just have a kind of thin understanding of it because
you read it. I don't know, whatever. I'm not a Greek historian, but—
[00:33:39] Jordan Harbinger: He's probably right about that, but I don't think he's
like, by the way, so what I mean is no more books.
[00:33:43] Jason Feifer: No, right.
[00:33:44] Jordan Harbinger: It was more like, understand what you're reading, I
think was his point, right?
[00:33:47] Jason Feifer: There was in the late 1800s and mid to late 1800s, actually a
whole thing about how books were terrible. Novels were considered to be a terrible
influence on, particularly, women and children. And there was like Thomas Jefferson in a
letter in 1818. He wrote that books are poison that infects the mind.
[00:34:07] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:34:07] Jason Feifer: There were all these concerns that people were going to be
addicted to reading. They were addicted to radio. There was a national moral crisis over
teddy bears in 1907. There are all these things where new things come out and people
start engaging with them and it changes the way in which we appear to be behaving.
And therefore, we read it as some kind of foundational, very dangerous change to our
lives. And it's just never proven to be the case.
[00:34:35] They're like two stories that I want to tell you. I'll see if I can remember to do
both. One is on this point about like witnessing change in the way in which new
technology can alter us. There's this woman named Sherry Turkle.
[00:34:45] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, yeah.
[00:34:45] Jason Feifer: Yeah.
[00:34:45] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:34:46] Jason Feifer: So Sherry Turkle writes books about how technology is going
to inhibit our ability to have meaningful conversations with people and it's tearing us
apart. And I'm not a big fan of her work, just to be frank. A while ago, years and years
ago, she wrote this piece for the New York Times that drove me insane in which she
was explaining how having these phones in your pockets lead you to live what she
called the documented life in which you're no longer experiencing life but instead,
rather what you're doing is you're simply going around documenting that life, which is,
yeah, I guess an interesting observation, but I don't think is very true once you start to
think about why people are doing things.
[00:35:21] So anyway, so she describes walking around LA with Aziz Ansari, the
[00:35:25] Jordan Harbinger: Oh yeah.
[00:35:25] Jason Feifer: She writes that as she's doing this, people start coming up to
Aziz, they start demanding photographs with him. Very important, she uses the word
demand in there. She says they don't ask for an autograph. They demand a photo. So,
you know, there's a value judgment there and Aziz instead of just taking a photo with
them tries to engage them in conversation. He asks them about their tastes in music or
what they like about his performances or his sitcoms or whatever. And she describes
his fans as being mollified but not happy. And then they walk away seeming a little
unsatisfied. And to her, this is evidence of a plague, a change-driven, technology-driven
plague in which, because people want the photo and because they are so used to now
just documenting things, they don't seem to have the ability to have a
[00:36:16] But I really challenge that. And the reason I do is because I think that Sherry
and Aziz have not thought through what the interaction with Aziz was for, from the
perspective of somebody who has come up to him. The person who has come up to Aziz
— well, first of all, they don't think that Aziz wants to spend a lot of time talking to
them. And so if he does, they're going to be probably nervous that what they're going
to say is not going to feel interesting to Aziz. And also, it's pretty weird when a celebrity
is like, "Oh, thanks for liking my work. Tell me very specifically what you like about my
work." That's uncomfortable. I wouldn't know how to answer that question.
[00:36:50] Jordan Harbinger: I do that when people write to me and often they're like,
"Oh, well, now that you're asking—" or some people are like, oh, if it happens in real
[00:36:57] Jason Feifer: Yeah.
[00:36:57] Jordan Harbinger: It's funny because some people are like, "The latest one
about this was great, but that there's so many favorites," and other people who are just
lying to you because they want that selfie. They're like, "Ooh, all of them are great." Or
they're like, "Oh man, the one you did with Kobe Bryant four years ago. Oh, it was so
good." And it's like, "Mmm, you literally only know that one thing that you saw on a
homepage or something. Come on."
[00:37:16] Jason Feifer: My god, I am so glad I'm not a Jordan harbinger fan coming up
to you, asking for a selfie that would've—
[00:37:21] Jordan Harbinger: No, I love that I just don't like when people lie about
something and they're like, "I want to pitch a guest to you. I'm a huge fan of your
show." And I'm like, "What's your favorite episode?" "The latest one." That's lazy people
write, the latest one. I'm like—
[00:37:31] Jason Feifer: Right.
[00:37:32] Jordan Harbinger: Dude, you didn't mean try.
[00:37:32] Jason Feifer: Well when people are pitching, I mean, you know, as the
editor in chief of a magazine, I know very, very well that when people are pitching me
and they say they love my work at the very beginning 99 percent at the time, that is
definitely not true. They don't know my work at all. They just want me to write about
[00:37:45] Anyway, here's the thing about this thing with Aziz. I think that Sherry has
misunderstood the situation here. People who are coming up to him are very interested
in personal connection. They're just not interested in a personal connection with Aziz.
They have a transactional relationship with Aziz. He makes something and they
consume it. And they're very happy with that relationship and they don't know what
else to do with that relationship. So when they go and they see him, what they don't
want is an hour-long conversation. What they do want is a photo of themselves with
Aziz so that they can share it with their friends who they do have actual relationships
with. There's value to that. Don't devalue that.
[00:38:18] This is the thing that I think we really need to keep in mind whenever we see
changes that are driven by new technologies or really anything else, can people have
bad experiences? Yes, of course. Can people overdo it? Can they be on social media too
much and to the detriment of other things in their life? Yes, of course, on an individual
basis, absolutely. But let's not say that just because something looks different, it is
different. Let's not say that just because it appears as if somebody is doing something
that I find unfamiliar, therefore that person must be broken in some way. That's some
fundamental part of their humanness must not exist anymore. That just doesn't track
because we have gone through history where, like you said, people have been
concerned about the radio being too addictive and novels being too addictive and teddy
bears destroying girls. And over and over and over again, there's endless examples of
[00:39:02] Jordan Harbinger: Potatoes, right? Was it potatoes, one of the examples,
which makes no sense to me at all?
[00:39:05] Jason Feifer: Yes. There's actually quite a lot of foods that people were
extremely concerned about. Some of them actually there's like good reason for that
because tomatoes, for example, like you go back and I think people call them the
devil's apple, but there was good reason for that because the tomato that we know has
like been cultivated over hundreds of years. Like back then, it was like small and bitter
and you know, it was like a totally different fruit. But yes, like there are endless, endless
versions of — the car, people called it, the devil wagon. People like to throw devil
around a lot.
[00:39:30] Jordan Harbinger: I read it in your book that people would see a car
driving down the street and throw rocks at it and be like, "Get a horse."
[00:39:35] Jason Feifer: They would.
[00:39:35] Jordan Harbinger: Which is hilarious because it sounds fake.
[00:39:37] Jason Feifer: They would literally yell, get a horse at people when they
drove down the street. Yes, it's hilarious. Right? And there's a good reason for that
actually a good lesson that comes out of that story, which we can tell you, but like let's
not forget that our fundamental humanness can take different expressions in different
generations, depending on what happens to be available to us.
[00:39:54] I talked to this guy, Lee Rainie, he's the head of the Pew Center for Internet
research or something. I'm sure I have that a little bit wrong, but anyway, he made this
really interesting point to me, which was, he said, "Look in the past, a sign of
intelligence was the ability to quickly retain and recall information. Today, a sign of
intelligence is the ability to quickly find and process information." Is one better and one
worse? No, they're just different. And that's okay. It's okay for things to be different
because we are adapting to our environments and to our new needs and not everything
is always going to look the same.
[00:40:29] Jordan Harbinger: It reminds me of when my teachers used to say, "You
have to memorize this because you're not going to walk around with a calculator in
your pocket." And I thought to myself, probably I won't need to walk around with a
calculator in my pocket because I'm going to have one of these computers doing
whatever I'm doing in my job, because I love computers and I'm 13. Now, well, jokes on
you, Mrs. Orva because every human that, you know, walks around with a calculator in
their pocket and a video thing, an email, and everything else for better, for worse in
their pocket. And if you don't memorize your multiplication tables, it pretty much
doesn't matter. And oh, you need to know how to write things quickly by hand because
— nope, the last time I wrote something by hand was probably like on a piece of wood
that I was about to cut or something like that. I can't even remember the last time I
wrote something by hand that was longer than two words.
[00:41:15] Jason Feifer: And that's fine because the thing is you have tools that can
do that, so you can learn other skills.
[00:41:21] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:41:22] Jason Feifer: It's not like you lost something that we all needed. You lost
something that people needed at a particular time. And instead, you are devoting your
brain space to developing other skills that are useful in your time. And that's a good
[00:41:33] Jordan Harbinger: I got to tell you, man, I earned the ire of many of my
mother's friends on Facebook. This is a few years ago. Sorry, mom. Somebody had
posted something like, "Kids can't even write in cursive anymore. It's ridiculous. And
they do this and that, and they have to print and it's like, it's so pathetic. I used to be
it." And my mom liked it or shared it. And I went in the comments, of course, like a total
a-hole son would do. And I go, "How many of you can type faster than a hundred words
per minute? Every kid you're complaining about can do at least that, every kid that
you're whining about who can't write in cursive. Now, how often do you write in cursive
at work versus how often do you use the computer? Y'all are sitting there using two
fingers to type, and the kids are done with the first page, by the time, you're done with
the first paragraph or even the first couple of sentences. What's more useful?" And it
was just like meltdown, "Whose kid is this? Shut your mouth, your little twerp," kind of
replies. And I just thought like, this is what we're looking at in real time is this failure to
adapt, which is understandable. I'm going to be that way too, but to not see it and then
complain about it is somehow just absolutely peak boomer in many ways or a peak old
person in any generation, actually, I guess you'd say, right?
[00:42:45] Jason Feifer: It's peak every generation. So let me tell you, we were talking
about music earlier. Let me tell you like the other music story that I want to tell you
because I think it leads to some good advice for anybody who feels stuck in this kind of
thing. It's fun to rag on these folks, but like, it's also important to realize that we will
become these folks. And so let's arm ourselves with some—
[00:43:01] Jordan Harbinger: Let's be aware of it and not, and go, oh, I'm the old one
and they're doing the right thing. And maybe I see where the puck is going. And then
I'm the person who's 70, you can actually type.
[00:43:09] Jason Feifer: Yeah. Right. So turn to the century, the phonograph, brand
new innovation, the very first record player, consider how completely insanely
revolutionary this was, for all of human history, before the phonograph. If you wanted
to listen to music, there was only one way to do it. And that was to be in front of a
human being who was playing an instrument. There's no other way. How are you going
to listen to music? And then this machine comes along and can do it for you, can play
music. Unbelievable. Consumers didn't believe it at first. Like they literally, they had to
be shown like, no, there is not a person behind the wall playing music. Like they had to
be shown. And then once they believed it, they loved it. They brought it home. You
know who hated this?
[00:43:45] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I don't know. Musicians?
[00:43:46] Jason Feifer: Yeah. Musicians hated it.
[00:43:48] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:43:49] Jason Feifer: Hated it because they saw themselves being replaced here.
That, you know, they see this new technology doing the thing that they do and they see
change and they equate change with loss and they say, "We got to stop this," right?
They pull a margarine. And the leader of the resistance was this guy named John Philip
Sousa. John Philip Sousa, you may not know his name, but you know his music because
it's still around today. All the military marches, [Dah-dah-dah-dah] John Philip Sousa.
[00:44:12] Jordan Harbinger: You know why we know who he is? Because we have
recordings of the music.
[00:44:15] Jason Feifer: Bingo! That's exactly right. So John Philip Sousa, he at the
time was the leader of the resistance against recorded music. He wrote this amazing
piece, like Google it because it is hilarious. It's called The Menace of Mechanical Music.
It ran in Appleton's Magazine in 1906 and it contains all of these wonderful arguments
against recorded music. And my favorite goes like this. He says, "When you bring
recorded music into the home, it will be the end of all forms of live performance in the
home because why would anybody perform music in the home when now there's a
machine that can do it for them." So now, because we're going to extrapolate loss,
remember I talked about that earlier, right? Like you see changes loss and you
extrapolate the loss. So what's next? Well, he says, "Because people are no longer
performing music at home, mothers will no longer sing to their children."
[00:45:00] Jordan Harbinger: It's quite the jump.
[00:45:01] Jason Feifer: Yeah. Quite the jump. Why would they do that? When a
machine could do it. Here's another jump, "Because children grow up imitating their
mothers, the children will grow up to imitate the machines, and thus, we'll raise a
generation of machine babies." That was his argument, like a real thing that—
[00:45:16] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:45:16] Jason Feifer: —people took it seriously. I feel like it's fun to like laugh at
John Philip Sousa for this, but also—
[00:45:20] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:45:20] Jason Feifer: —I feel like what he's doing is pretty relatable.
[00:45:23] Jordan Harbinger: It is relatable. It's very human.
[00:45:24] Jason Feifer: It's very human. You have something and it works for you.
And then you see some change come along and you feel like this change is existential.
It is going to outmode you. So he tried to stop it.
[00:45:36] And it's worth asking ourselves in this moment, three simple questions.
Number one, what is this new thing that's happening? Number two, what new habit or
skill are we learning as a result? And then number three, how can that be put to good
use? Because if you do that, it just helps you reframe any moment of change as let's
focus on the gain. Is there some kind of gain that we can extrapolate? Maybe it's not as
easy to see as the loss, but is it there and what would it look like?
[00:46:06] Because if you ran that scenario with John Philip Sousa, what you would see
is, well, okay, what new thing are people doing? Well, what they're doing is they're now
listening to music on these machines whenever they want. What new habit or skill are
we learning as a result? We're learning that we have control or consumers have a lot
more control over the music that they listen to. And therefore, also have access to a lot
more music because before the only music that they could get was whoever happened
to be able to travel to their town and perform for them. How could that be put to good
use? Well, come on guys. Come on, John Philip Sousa. Like this means that you could
record something yourself. And you could sell it and now people can listen to and enjoy
your music. And you can monetize that in ways that are much more scalable than what
you're doing now. Because you're coming from a world in which the only thing that you
do is perform for people that you can get in front of. And that means that you have a
limited number of people that you can get in front of. But if you can change that
dynamic, then man, oh man, suddenly your economic ability skyrockets.
[00:47:02] As it turns out, John Philip Sousa was protecting a system that limited his
own economic ability. And the reason he was doing that was because he was panicking
because of change. And once he figured it out, he changed his tune. That is not meant
to be a pun, but there it is.
[00:47:15] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I see what you did there. You are a dad, indeed.
[00:47:17] Jason Feifer: There it is. I'm nailing it. I got all the dad jokes. And he started
to record himself and he started to perform on radio and he changed. And this is
something that we all need to be mindful of. There is gain in change and we need to run
ourselves through these things that can just help us focus on it.
[00:47:34] Jordan Harbinger: This is The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Jason
Feifer. We'll be right back.
[00:47:39] This episode is sponsored in part by Outschool. Kids are now back to school
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[00:50:42] Now for the rest of my conversation with Jason Feifer.
[00:50:47] You're not really just cherry-picking the examples here. Movie theaters were
like, VHS is going to ruin everything.
[00:50:52] Jason Feifer: Yes.
[00:50:52] Jordan Harbinger: Meanwhile, people just wanted to own huge collections
of movies and those are movie buffs and they would still go see a re-release of a movie
that they owned in a theater because it meant so much to them. It's not like they
hadn't seen it since it was last in theaters. They probably watched it a hundred times on
their VCR. So instead it becomes a new revenue source for the studios, streaming music
and movies, Metallica, and everybody was panicking. "Oh god, they're stealing from
us." And then, bands that you'd never heard of became super popular and famous, and
existing bands that were already super popular and famous started to sell way more
stuff, have way more huge audiences. Their shows started to sell out no matter what all
the time. It made both industries better all the time.
[00:51:31] And it just seems obvious, but I know we all do this, right? If something
happened to podcasting and they're like, "You got to do this in the metaverse." I'll be
like, "This is going to ruin podcasting," instead of being like, "Well, now I could do all
this metaverse stuff with my podcast." I would initially probably panic and look, well,
hopefully, I'd be smart enough to look and see what other people are doing with it. But I
think my initial thought would be, uh-oh, this is the beginning and the end. Because the
future is coming for us, right? It's not optional. You got to get there first. You got to
adapt. You got to thrive. But at first, maybe you kind of, your instinct is to go, oh crap.
[00:52:02] Jason Feifer: Yeah.
[00:52:02] Jordan Harbinger: This sucks.
[00:52:03] Jason Feifer: And so one of the things that you can do during those times is
that you can really focus in on what is the thing about you that does not change.
[00:52:11] When I was hearing you go through that example with the metaverse thing
where like, I can see why you would panic about that, right? Because you have built a
great business in a particular medium with a particular consumption habit, right?
People are listening to you in a very specific way. When and if that changes, that's
going to feel really, really scary.
[00:52:28] And so what you are going to need to do, and maybe you do some version of
this already, but what you're going to need to do is start to separate for yourself. The
difference between what you do, what is the output of your work, and like, what is the
core thing about you that has value, right? So some people just call it your why. There's
a difference between your what and your why. Because I think we all identify far too
closely with the thing that we produce, with the way in which we.
[00:52:57] When I was just starting out, I started out as a newspaper reporter and I'll
tell you, man, I identified as a newspaper reporter. Like people would, they'd come up
to me at a party and they would say, "What do you do?" And I'd say, "I'm a newspaper
reporter." It was my identity. And then like a year or two in when I discovered that
working in newspapers can suck.
[00:53:12] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:53:13] Jason Feifer: Very unstable industry. Hours are terrible. And I didn't really
want to be in newspapers anymore. But like one of the things that held me back was
like, well, what am I, if I'm not working at a newspaper? Because I think of myself as a
newspaper reporter. Eventually, I made my way to magazines. And then the magazines,
I made the same mistake, I was like, I'm a magazine editor. And then, there were many
times where I was like, maybe I shouldn't be a magazine editor, but I don't know what
to do. And I think of myself as a magazine editor.
[00:53:35] And anyway, then I started to talk to entrepreneurs and I discovered that
they have this completely different way of talking about themselves and of
understanding themselves because what entrepreneurs do is they define what they do.
In this very specific way in which they have clarity on what can't change.
[00:53:54] I was talking to the CEO of a company called Foodstirs. They started by
making baking mixes.
[00:53:59] Jordan Harbinger: I've never heard of them, but it's not my industry. So
there's maybe no surprise there.
[00:54:02] Jason Feifer: You've heard of one of their co-founders, which is Sarah
Michelle Gellar, Buffy.
[00:54:05] Jordan Harbinger: Oh yeah, sure have.
[00:54:06] Jason Feifer: Yes, this would be Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
[00:54:08] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:54:09] Jason Feifer: Foodstirs, you can find them at Whole Foods and whatever.
They make baking mixes, they started by making baking mixes. It was pretty
successful. And then, they spent like a year or so planning for this major change in the
business. COVID came along and it like completely disrupted it, whatever. The details
don't really matter. But anyway, I was talking to Greg CEO and I asked him, was it a big
bummer to have to make this big change? Like you've been planning for this whole big
rollout at this new definition of the brand. And he said to me, "You know, it's not
because you got to go back to like, why do you start a business to begin with? And our
mission is to bring joy to people with upgraded sweet baked goods," or something like
that. And he just tossed it off.
[00:54:42] But afterwards, I was like, man, that's really powerful. Like what you have is
an articulation of something that you do, that isn't tied to the product that you make.
"We bring joy to people with sweet baked goods. We bring joy to people." Okay, you
can do that. It doesn't matter if your product category changes. It doesn't matter if
people don't want baking mixes anymore, you can find some way to do it. I realized I
need like a version of that for myself. So I went through this, I came up with this little
[00:55:05] You want to run through it? Can I ask you some questions?
[00:55:07] Jordan Harbinger: I kind of want to get through it because I love practicals,
but also I'm like—
[00:55:10] Jason Feifer: Yeah.
[00:55:10] Jordan Harbinger: Maybe I do it myself for my own thing.
[00:55:13] Jason Feifer: All right. So here it is. We're going to run the same scenario
three times. Somebody comes up to you at a party and they ask what you do. What's
the first thing that you're going to talk about? I'll tell you what it is. You're going to talk
about your tasks. So I would've said, I'm a newspaper reporter, which means that I go
out, I find interesting things and I write stories and I put them in the newspaper.
[00:55:29] What would you say?
[00:55:30] Jordan Harbinger: Well, yeah, if I say I'm a podcaster, that's a great way to
end the conversation generally. So, I usually would like to say something more
grandiose, like broadcaster, because then at least they kind of think maybe you're not
just a loser who lives in your mom's basement.
[00:55:43] Jason Feifer: Or that you just want them to download your podcast.
[00:55:45] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:55:45] Jason Feifer: Which is what I always feel like every time I tell somebody I
have a podcast.
[00:55:48] Jordan Harbinger: Right. We have eight listeners. Pretty soon though, nine,
[00:55:51] Jason Feifer: It's going to be great.
[00:55:51] Jordan Harbinger: Huh?
[00:55:52] Jason Feifer: Don't forget to review me on iTunes.
[00:55:53] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:55:53] Jason Feifer: Okay. So now, then we've done that.
[00:55:55] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Podcaster.
[00:55:56] Jason Feifer: We're going to do this again. Somebody comes up to you at
party and they ask what you do. Can't talk about your tasks. So anything that you
would've thought to say previous time, put it on a table away from you. Can't do it.
[00:56:06] Jordan Harbinger: So I can't say like, I interview people.
[00:56:08] Jason Feifer: You're going to talk about your skills.
[00:56:10] Jordan Harbinger: Okay. I'm all ears.
[00:56:11] Jason Feifer: I would've said I am very good at talking with people, finding
useful information, and then processing that information in a way that's useful for
others. That's what I would've said.
[00:56:22] Jordan Harbinger: For my job?
[00:56:23] Jason Feifer: No, that would've been what I said for my newspaper job, but
maybe it's true for you.
[00:56:26] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, because I kind of feel like that's very similar to what
[00:56:29] Jason Feifer: So you would say, if somebody said, what do you do? And you
can't talk about your tasks. You'd tell them what?
[00:56:33] Jordan Harbinger: I make brilliant people's wisdom available to others,
something like that.
[00:56:37] Jason Feifer: That's great. I like that.
[00:56:38] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:56:39] Jason Feifer: So now we're going to do it one more time. Somebody comes
up to you at a party and they ask what you do. Can't talk about your tasks. Can't talk
about your skills. At this point, what are you going to talk about? I'll tell you.
[00:56:47] Jordan Harbinger: Oh gosh.
[00:56:47] Jason Feifer: What you're going to talk about is your core. The thing that is
so deep inside of you, that it drove you to develop the skills that enable you to do the
tasks. And my suggestion is that this be a very short sentence. A short sentence that
doesn't really have anything to do with anything that could change about your life. So
I'll give you my example, and you don't have to have one right now because this takes
time to think through. But the answer that I came to for myself is I tell stories in my own
[00:57:22] And the reason I love that phrase is because it has two components to it. I
tell stories, not magazine stories, not newspaper stories, not podcast stories, not books,
not standing on a stage. That liberates me from doing any one kind of thing. Because if
after we are done talking, I check my email and Entrepreneur magazine has sent me a
note saying, "We appreciate your service. We now hate you. And we would like you to
go away." I hope doesn't happen, but it doesn't take away my identity because my
identity is I tell stories and I can do that in any way. And then in my own voice, I am
setting the terms for my work. This is how I want to do it. I'm not telling somebody
else's stories, I'm not showing up and carrying the ball for somebody. I have reached a
level of my career in which I tell stories in my own voice.
[00:58:08] Now, that is a thing that does not change in a world of change. And when
you have that, when you can define the thing about you, that will remain true,
regardless of what changes in your life. At that point, you have a sense of stability. You
understand what it is that you bring to other people and bring to the world. And
therefore, you are less likely to cling deeply to everything that could change.
[00:58:36] Jordan Harbinger: I love this because I resisted doing a live show from
stage for years. And my network was like, "Come on, man." And then Hyundai was
gracious enough to be like, "We will give you a pile of cash that will make this
worthwhile so that you're not just taking out a bunch of risks, which is what it was like
before. And, you know—
[00:58:53] Jason Feifer: Piles of cash really help.
[00:58:54] Jordan Harbinger: But they do. And I was, I told Ryan Holiday that he'd be
a great fit for the show. And I knew he would show up because he's my friend and
wouldn't bail at the last minute and leave me like chewing my nails off. And I did it and I
went, wow, that was a lot of fun. All the stress was self-inflicted, every ounce of it. And I
would love to do it again. And the reason is, to your point, I need to polish this, but the
reason is because I am not a podcaster. I make space for other people to deliver
wisdom to the audience. And that could be on a stage. It could be recorded
environment. It could be on live radio.
[00:59:26] I'm shocked that I didn't realize this because I used to do live radio. And I
used to do interviews that were in different formats in different ways. And yet, I can't
imagine not podcasting because that's the way that I do things now, but it's really
obvious that what I do is not podcasting or what I can do is not just podcasting. That I
just have to make that space and have that conversation. And it really doesn't matter if
the Internet is involved or SquadCast and pre-recorded this and that and the other
thing, none of that is the core of what I'm doing or why I'm doing it.
[00:59:59] Jason Feifer: I was talking to Malcolm Gladwell. Your story reminded me of
this little anecdote. I was talking to Malcolm Gladwell.
[01:00:04] Jordan Harbinger: It's a great namedrop, by the way. Well done.
[01:00:05] Jason Feifer: When you've got 'em, drop him, right?
[01:00:07] Jordan Harbinger: Yep.
[01:00:07] Jason Feifer: So I was talking about Gladwell and — now I've said it like
four times, so I was talking about Gladwell and I was interviewing him for the magazine.
I was very curious, like, how does he figure out what a Malcolm Gladwell project is?
[01:00:20] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:00:20] Jason Feifer: Because everything that he does feels is so distinctly him.
[01:00:22] Jordan Harbinger: It does. Yeah.
[01:00:23] Jason Feifer: And I say like, "Well, is there a filter that you use to
understand what it is that you should do?" And he says, "You know, to the best of my
ability, I try not to do that because," and then this is what he said, and this is what I
think you should keep in mind for those next opportunities and everybody else should
keep in mind for theirs. "Self-conceptions are powerfully limiting." As soon as he said it,
I wrote it down. I stuck it on my wall.
[01:00:43] Self-conceptions are powerfully limiting, which is like, if you have an idea of
what you are, if you have a really strong self-conception, well, then you will turn down
all other opportunities to explore. You will say I do this one thing.
[01:00:57] Jordan Harbinger: Oh yeah.
[01:00:57] Jason Feifer: And the most dangerous thing that we can do if we are not,
you know, 95 years old and have nothing else to accomplish, the most dangerous thing
that we can do is define ourselves too narrowly. That's what you had done for a
moment. Like you broke out of it, but you were like, I'm a podcaster.
[01:01:14] Jordan Harbinger: For sure.
[01:01:14] Jason Feifer: I have a self-conception I'm a podcaster. And therefore sitting
on a stage and talking to people live that doesn't fit into my self-conception, that's
something else. But look how powerfully limiting that was because you did it and you
discovered — oh my gosh, this fits into my self-conception because my self-conception
isn't I'm a podcaster. My self-conception is I'm a communicator. And that allows me to
do all sorts of things. And now that you know, it sky's the limit.
[01:01:37] Jordan Harbinger: Sure. I mean, I look, it's not like I've never done a
speaking gig or trained in a workshop, but I looked at those as kind of different, almost
like side hustles.
[01:01:45] Jason Feifer: Mm-hmm.
[01:01:45] Jordan Harbinger: Not as some natural, very natural extension of the core
of what I do, and don't get me wrong, I love podcasting and the community and all the
things involved with it. But if it evaporated tomorrow, I wouldn't be completely up sh*t
creek without a paddle. I would just go back to whatever the new version of radio is
because that's why I'm in podcasting also, right? Radio wouldn't put me on, so I put
myself on, and then I ended up on the radio and I loved podcasting even more because
I was my own boss and da, da, da, here we are.
[01:02:12] To your point about identity, and you write about this in the book and I think
this is so well said, change seems scary and all-encompassing. And if change happens
to us, which it always does, we worry that we will be changed in an all-encompassing
and permanent way. And if we change in an all-encompassing and permanent way,
then who are we anymore?
[01:02:33] I always bring back this sort of like traumatic business split, but when man,
the loss of identity was probably one of the scariest parts of the whole transition
because it was like, I am this podcaster that does this subject matter, and this is the
show. And the name of the show is associated with me and I am the face of the brand.
So who am I anymore now that that's gone? Nobody, a big fat, nobody with nothing to
show for himself. And I felt so strongly and so immediately, but if I'd had any semblance
of all of this or realized that that's what was happening without just 20/20 hindsight,
making it really clear, I think the whole thing would've been a hell of a lot easier for me.
[01:03:08] Well, I would realize the following, I can ask myself these questions and this
is a great place to sort of wind things down. What is the first step if we face a big
change and we find ourselves in that panic that I was in? One, what did I overcome?
Two, what skillset did I have then that I still have now? That I didn't even think to ask
myself that. So, of course, I just thought I'm starting over, weh, what was me? And skills
are not the actions you took. It's not, I'm a dating show guy or a movie reviewer, the
skill is actually what you could do that enabled you to do your job. So if you're a movie
reviewer, it's not writing, but pattern matching or marketing or humor, or translating
visual concepts into the written word, whatever it is. And then finally, what do I know
now that I did not know then? And that was probably one of the largest things that I
ignored because I knew how to build a freaking business and a show and talk to an
audience and broadcast and edit an audio and get it into people's hearts and minds and
have them share it and have them be on my side and help my business.
[01:04:05] Like I had all these things that I just went, I wrote them off and just focused
on the fact that it took me 11 years, the first time to build it, and then, you know, cried
for two weeks and didn't sleep and then realized, wait a minute, it's not possible for it to
take nearly as long because I have these skills I didn't have, and I know all these things,
I didn't. And for some reason, because I had lost my identity in my mind, and I felt like I
couldn't find it, I felt like the rest of it was impossible. And none of that was true.
[01:04:33] Jason Feifer: I'm so glad that that's where you brought us to because those
three questions are so important whenever you're facing these kinds of things because
we tend to romanticize our past. We say that our success or the thing that we're good
at, or the thing that we're comfortable with now was the product of some kind of
circumstance. And that circumstance was fortunate for us and may not be able to be
repeated. It's like, it's so crazy because we hear a lot about how you're supposed to
own your failures. Own your failures, I mean, we talked about earlier today, like failure
can be data. Man, we got to own our success too. We got to look back and say, you
know, I did something, it wasn't luck. And the reason that I have, whatever I am
comfortable with right now was because I navigated a whole bunch of things and they
weren't all easy and it took a long time, right?
[01:05:21] I have my own version of the story that you just told them. And the first time
I experienced it and I've experienced it many times, but the first one was I worked at
Boston Magazine. It was my very first magazine job. I was like 27 or something. And
then I got offered to work at Men's Health, National Magazine, move to New York. The
big time I was like, so excited about it. I was like 27, 28. Really, I paused. And the
reason was because I had done so well.
[01:05:42] Jordan Harbinger: Because you didn't have a six-pack?
[01:05:43] Jason Feifer: And I still don't. I assure you.
[01:05:46] Jordan Harbinger: You have to have one of those to work in Men's Health,
yeah, every guy in the cover.
[01:05:49] Jason Feifer: The dirty secret, of course, is that like nobody at the
magazine except for the fitness editor actually has a six-pack, but you know, they make
a good magazine.
[01:05:55] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[01:05:56] Jason Feifer: So I was so concerned that I had done well at Boston
Magazine. I had made a lot of friends. I wrote a lot of features. I did well, and I thought
maybe this is circumstance. Maybe this is that I reached the right magazine at the right
time. I made friends with the right people and I don't know if I can repeat this. Can I go
to another place? Can I start over and have the same kind of success? And it really
helped to be able to go back. I mean, you go to those questions that you had asked for
my book. You know, question number one, what did I overcome? Go back and think
about all the really crappy stuff that was there along the way to whatever you're you
[01:06:33] I mean, you forget it because of this crazy thing that happens at our brain
called fading affect bias, where the emotions associated with bad memories fade a lot
faster than the emotions associated with good memories. So it's harder to recall in a
visceral way, the bad things that happened. Trauma is a separate issue, but you know,
like just sort of normal experience, and so you forget. You forget, but if you spend some
time being like, what did I overcome? What were the bad things? Oh, well, there was
that time where I botched a story so bad that the staff writer yelled at me and they
didn't talk at me for two weeks. There was this time where like, I couldn't figure out how
to edit a story and they literally had to take it away from me and give it to somebody
[01:07:06] Like, this wasn't just me like cake walking through. It was hard and I had to
figure it. So once I know that I can say, well, question two, what skillset did I have then
that I have now? I mean, you know, the answer for me, I think was like, I was a hard
worker and I was able to learn. I'm personable. So, I was able to build good
relationships. I still have these things. I'm a good pattern matcher. And you know, it's
like important to know what I'm good at. And then number three, like you asked, what
do I know now that I did not know then? I know a lot more. I know about how to edit
stories. I know how to establish myself inside a magazine. I know how to function inside
of this kind of workplace.
[01:07:42] I am, in fact, far more prepared for this next thing than I thought. And all it
takes is going back to realizing that, like, I was actually the source of my own success
and I say this not to like, praise me, but like, you should do this when you're listening to
yourself. Like you are the source of your own success. You just are, it wasn't some
weird coincidence. And because of that, when change comes, you have things to fall
back on, things that you didn't even know about. And those are the things that are
going to carry you forward. The more that we can just see these as opportunities
instead of as reset. The more that we can say, I am prepared for what comes next even
if I don't exactly know what it is.
[01:08:17] Jordan Harbinger: I love that. It's almost like this sort of dovetails with
imposter syndrome and is the opposite of that self-serving bias that a lot of people
have where they're like every success I have is due to my own doing, but every failure I
have is someone else's fault. This is kind of like the inverse of that. And I notice a lot of
people who have imposter syndrome are also high performers and a lot of high
performers also have whatever the opposite of that self-serving bias is where they go,
"Well, my success is due to luck, hard work a little bit, timing, and opportunity that fell
into my lap, but all of my failures, okay, those are, I can own some of those." So there's
a lot of like, not owning your successes.
[01:08:54] And so I almost think that successful people have a tougher time with a lot
of this change because they don't necessarily see all of these positive things that they
had. Like in my example, I didn't see most of the positive things that I'd done as
something that I could replicate. I looked at them as well. We started early and then we
had all this time in the market and all this stuff BFE us on the topic was magic at the
time. And I rode this wave of podcasting and dating stuff and whatever, but none of
that turned out to really be the defining truth of what was going to make The Jordan
Harbinger Show successful.
[01:09:27] And here we are, which is kind of funny, but also like, man, I could have
used a little heads up there, universe/wish I'd read your book. With respect to big
changes you wrote, don't wait for the moment of pain. Look for the moment of
awareness. Sounds brilliant. What does it mean?
[01:09:42] Jason Feifer: It's so important because I think that what we focus on way
too often is the thing that we feel like we're losing or the thing that we feel like we've
already done, or the thing that we feel like we've built. People go through changes in
four phases. I've talked a bit about it here — panic, adaptation, new normal, wouldn't
go back. I think the hardest phase of it all weirdly isn't panic.
[01:10:02] The hardest phase of it all is wouldn't go back. And the reason for that is
because once we go through this whole thing and we get to a point where we're now
newly comfortable, better than we were before. We have built something great. We
say, I have this thing. That's so new and valuable that I wouldn't want to go back to a
time before I had it. The most terrible thing is going to happen, which is that the cycle is
going to start all over again. And this thing that you've built that you are so happy with
is going to have to change again.
[01:10:31] And the most successful people that I meet have built that reality into the
way that they operate. They may not know how it's going to change but they know that
it is going to change. I am fascinated by talking to people who make massive changes
in their lives and business before they are forced to. Because they understand that by
the time they're forced to do it, they're out of options. They can't see what the right
decision is or their options are limited.
[01:10:58] The story always pops to mind of this guy. Sam has started Dogfish, the
brewing company, and he made this beer called 60 Minute IPA. It's a wonderful beer.
People love it. They desire it. They're calling him. Very quickly, this beer rockets up to
become like 75 to 80 percent of all sales of Dogfish, where it's on track to be, which
means that it's defining it's a defining thing. And you could say, that's what we're out
there to do. We're out there to have success, right? But Sam knows. Sam has built this
awareness into him that the opportunity is larger than any one moment. The
opportunity is in the change. And what he knows is that when everybody is calling for
this one beer, when everybody, all the restaurants, and all the bars, and everybody
wants to order this one beer, he has got himself, a hit product that he can make a
bunch of money on, but he's got a problem. And the problem is the tastes change.
[01:11:41] If you build that into your awareness, that something is going to change,
well, then what are you going to do? Well, he knows that if everybody just encounters
his beer, everybody just encounters Dogfish and says, "Oh, I know that one beer that
they make." Well, then that's cool for a while until that beer stops being as popular or
IPA's stopped being as popular, and then he doesn't have a hit product. Then he is at a
hot brand. Then he's an old brand. And so what Sam did was he limited his sales of his
best-selling product. He capped sales at 50 percent. So again, this beer could have
been 75, 80 percent of all sales of Dogfish, he capped it at 50 percent, which means
that people are screaming at him on the streets in Delaware. They literally screaming at
him on the streets in Delaware, because he's got like bar and restaurant owners and
people want to have this hot local beer and they are not carrying it. And it's like, why
aren't you carrying it? And so then they go and they scream at Sam.
[01:12:27] And I asked him like, did you ever consider that this was a bad idea? And he
said, no, because I understood that this was the opportunity. It was an opportunity to
introduce new styles of beer to people. It was an opportunity to say, "You know what?
We don't just make this one beer." He would say, "Look, I'm really sorry. We make this
fresh. We just don't have it available right now," which was like half a lie because he
could have had it available. But anyway, like why not instead, "Try our say odd, why not
instead carry our, whatever." That is how Sam built a company that became known not
as an IPA brand that became an old brand, but rather as an innovative brand and he
sold that thing for 300 million.
[01:13:01] And that is not what you do if you do not believe that change is coming and
you do not build into the way that you think about the world. It is the opportunity, the
change is the opportunity. You just have to see it that way.
[01:13:15] Jordan Harbinger: Jason Feifer, thank you so much. You're such a fun guy
to talk to, man. I mean, not that that's a surprise. We've been friends for a while, but
you know, the show was fantastic, so I really appreciate you taking the time.
[01:13:24] Jason Feifer: Oh, hey, man, you too. This is so fun. And you know, it's
funny. This is the first time we've ever officially talked. We've just like chatted on the
phone. It's like talking to you in a whole new way.
[01:13:32] Jordan Harbinger: That's true. We've never recorded it. If two podcasters
have a conversation and it's not recorded, did it really happen?
[01:13:37] Jason Feifer: We finally have evidence, so I appreciate you, man.
[01:13:42] Jordan Harbinger: I've got some thoughts on this episode, but before I get
into that, here's a trailer from my interview with Laila Ali, daughter of legendary boxer,
Muhammad Ali. She's got a great story about how she ended up the only other boxer in
her family and how she carries her father's legacy. Whether you're into sports or not, I
think you're really going to dig it.
[01:14:02] Laila Ali: You have to have it in you to want to be a fighter. It's not
something that you just go, "Oh, I think I'll just try boxing," you know? Because as
you're going to get your ass beaten.
[01:14:09] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:14:09] Laila Ali: If you don't have it in you, when you get that opportunity, it was a
brawl. I mean, it was bloody. It was like crazy. And I was like, "I want to do that."
[01:14:16] You would think anyone punching you would hurt, right?
[01:14:17] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Sure.
[01:14:18] Laila Ali: But as fighters it's like, oh, that person could punch that person
can't. Tap and you tap, tap, tap, and then every once in a while there's bam. That hard.
When you're like, "Oh, okay. I felt that." If you're listening to your camp saying, she's
nothing and she this and she that, and then you have to get your ass in there and then
you feel that punch like, "No, she can punch. No, she's not just a pretty face." You see
me across that ring, looking at you. Like, you remember all that stuff you talk? Now, it's
about to happen, just me and you. Nobody else can get in there with you, you know?
And it's like, I'm going to remind you of all the things you said. They didn't know that
street side of me. Not everyone has that. You don't have to.
[01:14:44] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[01:14:45] Laila Ali: But I do. Now you get to meet someone, just to see how they
walk, see how they hold this stuff, and see if there's any fear in their eyes.
[01:14:50] Jordan Harbinger: What was your father's reaction to you wanting to box?
[01:14:53] Laila Ali: He didn't like it.
[01:14:54] Jordan Harbinger: No?
[01:14:54] Laila Ali: No.
[01:14:55] Jordan Harbinger: You guys were sparring before you even put the gloves
[01:14:57] Laila Ali: Oh yeah. He supported me though. He came to a lot of my fights.
He couldn't be at all of them. I could always see that glare in his eyes of him being
proud and just to come into that arena and having everyone chanting, "Ali, Ali." You just
see him light up to see me in that ring and him just remembering himself. Our boxing
styles were similar, the way I'm shaped, my body shape. So just seeing all of that had
to be a super crazy experience for him.
[01:15:20] Jordan Harbinger: For more with Leila Ali, check out episode number 309
of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[01:15:27] I promise you, Jason was going to be great, and I delivered on that, I hope.
Really such a sharp dude.
[01:15:31] Adapting a change means we know what is changing and what is not. So our
job might change, but our skills and our identity do not. This info would all have been
huge for me, by the way, upon my transition to a new business, The Jordan Harbinger
Show for my old one. Like I said earlier, I really wish I had had Jason's book at that time,
which didn't exist. So I can't kick myself too much, but it really would've saved me a lot
of stress and wondering, and the agony of uncertainty. And I talk about uncertainty in
very early episodes of this Jordan Harbinger Show. I think it's like episode four or
something along those lines. I'm really going through it at the time. You can hear it in
[01:16:07] When change happens and we panic, we feel like we are experiencing
something that nobody else has and that our circumstances are unique. And I
remember that feeling quite precisely, but it's important to remember that somebody
else has dealt with this before, even if you really think your circumstances are unique.
Yes, maybe superficially they are, but somebody else has gone through this, managed
it, survived it. Oh, man, it's just, it would've been so nice to know that.
[01:16:33] Further, we often wonder if our future can be as bright as our past. Again,
something that it really rings true for me, that I really went through early on in the
building of this show, this business. If you ask the news we watch and that we read, this
is impossible, right? Of course, everything is getting worse. And it was all better before.
This is called the declinism fallacy — the past was better, the future will be worse. It is a
logical fallacy, for the reason, the idea, the very fact that it is not true. It is an illusion.
So once we realize that that is not true, and we realize that now is a great time to be
alive and that we actually control many elements of what our future will be, it is a gift.
It is very empowering.
[01:17:12] In the book, there's a lot of practicals to deal with change. It's a really good
read for you, no matter where you are in your career. There's a lot of stories. Jason
writes like he speaks in many ways, so it's actually kind of a fun read. Just like this
conversation was a fun listen, well, I hope anyway. So a big thank you to Jason Feifer.
Everything will be linked up in our show notes at jordanharbinger.com, book links, and
all that. Books at jordanharbinger.com/books. Please use our website links if you buy
books from the guests. It does help support the show. Transcripts are in the show
notes. Videos up on YouTube. Advertisers, deals, discount codes, all from our sponsors
here are at jordanharbinger.com/deals. Please consider supporting those who support
[01:17:53] I'm teaching you how to connect with great people and manage
relationships using systems, software, and tiny habits. Jason would highly recommend
this as well. I didn't harp on the networking stuff, because we talk about it all the time
here on the show, but it is a part of a stable and successful career. The Six-Minute
Networking course is free over at jordanharbinger.com/course. I'm teaching you how to
dig that well before you get thirsty and build relationships before you need them. Most
of the guests on the show subscribe and contribute to the course. So come join us,
you'll be in smart company where you belong.
[01:18:22] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen
Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Millie Ocampo, Ian Baird, Josh Ballard, and
Gabriel Mizrahi. Remember, we rise by lifting others. The fee for this show is you share
it with friends when you find something useful or interesting. And if you know
somebody who is maybe going through some uncertainty, trying to get ahead in their
career, please do share this episode with them. The greatest compliment you can give
us is to share the show with those you care about. In the meantime, do your best to
apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you
[01:18:57] This episode is sponsored in part by The Happiness Lab podcast. Our minds
lie to us all the time about what'll make us happy. On The Happiness Lab podcast, Yale
professor, Dr. Laurie Santos, who's been a guest on this very show as well, explores
evidence-based strategies to live with more joy. She and experts hit the gym to flex
their friendship muscles, unravel the mystery of why fear and pain can feel good, and
examine the "you only live once" philosophy, I guess the YOLO philosophy, and why it
doesn't work like you think. Along the way, she's joined by guests like Grateful Dead
drummer, Mickey Hart, and Star Trek, Wil Wheaton to bust the myths surrounding
happiness. Listen to The Happiness Lab, wherever you get your podcasts.
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