How To Be The Most Interesting Person In The World


A while back, I saw a tweet from Ted Rubin, king of RonR (return on relationship) and someone who I have a lot of respect for, mainly due to his viewpoint of how to conduct yourself in business through the seemingly basic principle of being good to others (hence the term he coined, Return On Relationship).

I am a strong believer in the getting is in the giving and it seems as if Ted seems to be quite an authority on giving so, when he mentioned that Dale Carnegie’s, How To Win Friends and Influence People was on the top of his list of must-read books, I knew that needed to be the next in my Audible queue.

I finished the book a few weeks ago and am happy to report that Ted was right on the money. There were so many takeaways I have from the book that I will be dedicating a number of posts on Hustle Branding to discussing some of the principles.

There is a reason I am very passionate about this subject as I went a very long time in my business career believing that in order to get the respect of people I needed to be ruthless and feared by all. I simply thought that was the only way to be successful. The result was not pretty. I just became an a*shole who had some money in his pocket. Nothing less, nothing more.

Today,  if I can’t win the respect of people and still maintain a kind and giving mindset, I simply won’t do business with them.

So what in the world does this have to do with learning how to be the most interesting person in the world?

If you read the book you probably know the answer to this question. If you haven’t, let me give you the cliff notes answer in two words…

be interest-ed.

Interesting People Who Are The Opposite Of interesting

I have been fortunate (or unfortunate) enough throughout my years to have met a number of people who have achieved very high levels of fame, power and fortune. I was very excited when this started happening to me. Now, however, it quite often is more of a burden than something I look forward to.

Why? Well, for the most part, they are very predictable. Though I always try to go in with an open mind and no negative assumptions, invariably most of these people lose me after 15-20 minutes of listening to them talk about their favorite topic…themselves.

The Hidden Gem of Being Interest-ed

In my opinion, there are tremendous advantages to being interest-ed that most people seem to either overlook or completely ignore. You should see after this list that, as ironic as it may seem, the more interest-ed you are, the more interesting you become by default.

Let’s look at a few reasons why:

1)   By being interest-ed, you stay in constant learning mode. There is a phrase (I’m slightly paraphrasing), the more that is revealed, the more that is required. The truth is, we can never master anything. No matter what the skill, we can always get better and no matter what the subject we can always learn more and the more I learn the more I realize how little I know.

Staying in constant learning mode will negate any sense of complacency and allow your skill or knowledge to be extremely impressive without even trying… The result? …. You will be infinitely more interesting.

2)   The more you show interest in someone, the greater your ability becomes to network and grow, both personally and professionally. I have seen people spend entire conversations talking about themselves and then simply turn around and leave the person they were talking AT (as opposed to talking TO). When this happens there is a tragedy that occurs that the person never realizes unless it is pointed out. Let’s look at one such tragedy…

I witnessed a (one-sided) conversation where a ‘friend ‘ of mine was talking to someone about this amazing technology he had developed and his company was in the process of looking for investors to fund their early-stage growth. He finished his conversation and then walked away from the person.

A few minutes after the conversation, I was talking to my ‘friend’ and I asked him if he bothered to ask the person he was talking AT what he did for a living. My ‘friend’ said he hadn’t bothered to ask him so he asked me why I brought it up. I answered, “He invests in early stage technology companies.” … IDIOT.

3)   Most people think that the key to selling is to show how great your product or service is and wow the client into the buy. Though that may be the end game, the way you sell a product or service is, not to show how interesting your product or service is, but to show INTEREST in the client, listen to what he or she is looking for and then reverse engineer your thinking into how your product and/or service will fill that need.

You never go in talking about how great your product or service is. You go in with questions, and showing interest, then you simply work backwards. That is the only way to develop the connection to turn the prospective client into an actual customer.

4)   Showing interest and asking questions, plays into the ego of the other party. This is exactly what you want as it allows you to gather intelligence that you otherwise would not be able to gather if you are too busy talking about yourself.

The more interest you show in people, the more they will let their guards down and feel comfortable telling you more about themselves. As Gordon Gekko says, information is the single greatest commodity in the world. Personally, I disagree and believe it is the second most important commodity as I feel there is one thing infinitely more important. You can read about my thoughts on this here.

5)   Being interested never gets old. People don’t get tired talking about themselves but they do get tired listening to you. No one kicked anyone out of a party or failed to invite anyone to a gathering because they were too interest-ed.

Let’s be clear, there is a difference between being pesky and nosy and being genuinely interested. How many times, on the other hand have you not wanted to invite someone because you are sick of them talking about themselves?

So be interesting by being interes-ted. Learn to shut-up and listen. God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason!

I encourage you to go out and take this knowledge today and turn yourself into the most interesting person in the world… and stay thirsty my friends! … and thanks Ted!

Have a great day!


 Note: To read Ted’s book, Return On Relationship, click here.
 To read How To Win Friends and Influence People, click here

8 Powerful Benefits Of Being An Experienced Screw-up


If you look at my twitter profile, you will see the words, “experienced screw-up.” I think a lot of people try to be very cute and gimmicky when trying to describe themselves. The truth is, I was just trying to be accurate. Truth be told, those are quite simply the two words that pop into my mind when I try to give a two-word answer to such a heavily loaded question.

Being an experienced screw-up in my opinion, is one of my greatest qualities and there are some very specific reasons why.

I do believe however, that the benefits of being an experienced screw-up is not specific to me in particular, but to anyone else who has insight into the powerful benefits of screwing up on a daily basis.

Here’s a list of 8 Powerful Benefits Of Being An Experienced Screw-up

1) Puts you in Constant Learning Mode

I used to think I had all the answers to anything and everything that people threw at me. As it turns out, I didn’t know sh*t. The upside? Well, for one, it taught me how to shut-up and listen.

Additionally, Having the knowledge that I know so little makes me crave knowledge with a passion and soak up as much information as humanly possible. The result? I end up learning infinitely more in the process.

2) Acceptance Of Failure In Advance

I mentioned in the last post that I heard someone at a meeting the other week say, “know that you will fail today.” The truth is, we all fail and screw-up at something every day.

Accepting the fact that you can AND WILL screw-up takes away the fear in advance and to me, that is a game-changer as learning how to overcome fear is one of the powerful conquests an individual can have.

3) Beats The Ego Into A State Of Humility

I love confident people. I love them almost as much as I hate egotistical pr*ks.

Knowing you are in a constant state of screwing up puts you in a state of humility. When you couple confidence with humility you hit the jackpot.

4) Proactive vs. Reactive

If you are screwing up that means you are being proactive as opposed to reactive. Translation: You are in the game.

Lebron James can AND WILL go the entire season with no screw-ups, not a single mistake… if he sits on the bench and watches everyone else play. Or… he can screw-up 18 of his 37 shots and score (at least) 38 points. Which do you think he would prefer?

I did an interview with Daymond john in Forbes a few months ago on how to learn from failure. One of my favorite comments that he made from that interview was, “if you’re not making mistakes you’re not making moves.”

5) It Reminds You To Get Help

Being an experienced screw-up makes you come to terms with the fact that you can’t do everything yourself. You need help. Everyone does.

When I screw-up enough at something I do one a few things. Either I keep trying until I get it right, OR, I delegate the responsibility to someone who has a better skillset in that particular area.

6) It’s How I Know What I Don’t Know

When Gary and I started our first business in college, I took the job as the designer and he ran the business side. As it turns out, I suck at designing and he is great.

What happened? We switched roles and built a great business… until we screwed up of course.

7) You Are Part Of An Elite Crew

The greatest entrepreneurs in the world have had and continue to have screw-ups. Here are a few experienced screw-ups you may know.

Jeff Bezos

THE SCREWUP -Amazon Auction

Bill Gates

THE SCREWUP- Traf-o-Data

Richard Branson

THE SCREWUP- Virgin Brides & Mates (Condom Company)

8) It’s Not Only Boring But Useless To Talk About How Great You Are

That one is self-explanatory but must be mentioned. I learn nothing from people who talk only about how great they are or how they succeeded without mentioning the screw-ups they made to get them to succeed… and if they say they didn’t have any screw-ups… they are full of sh*t.

If you are a reader of N2ITIV, you know I wrote a book entirely dedicated to my failure, entitled, How To Ruin A Business Without Really Trying. It is a 13 chapter 200+ page book filled with case-studies of all of my screw-ups. Then, AFTER I describe the screw-up, I talk about knowing what I know now, how I would go about things differently.

The goal is for aspiring entrepreneurs to learn from the mistakes of others (like me) so you can concentrate on the screw-ups you can’t avoid.

Final Thoughts

I encourage you to screw-up today, hopefully more than once!

Here’s your assignment (assuming you wish to take it)….

What is 1 thing you screwed up on in the past and how did it help you?

… Please, however, take note of one request… Normally I encourage people to answer me via email and it is getting a bit tough to manage. If you can, please use the comment section below. That way I can guarantee I will respond to all of your comments!

Have a great day!



5 Rules To Live By To Build Your Character During Chaos


Character is an idea that is earned and forged over a period of time. Your character reveals itself most when the road is rocky and uncertainty is abound. It’s a test of the human spirit and how it will respond when confronted.

Fight or Flight

Pressure has a way of dampening our spirit – the outcome of this event can leave you suspended in animation and unable to move. There seems to be this invisible monster that only WE can only see, and if we don’t move, we believe ‘It will blow over.’ The only problem, however, is that ‘letting it blow over’ doesn’t do anything other than weaken your spirit.

On the other hand, there are people that thrive amidst the chaos and uncertainty. It’s like fuel to the fire for them. We see it in sports, and we see it everyday at work. When we watch big sporting events on the big stage, we understand what’s at stake, and applaud those who are able to shift into another gear when the stakes are at their highest.

Chaos refines and exhibits our true character. The progression of your life depends on YOU meeting your internal challenges – it has nothing to do with anybody else but you! Part of thriving in chaos is more about you understanding the consequences than just being brave or having guts. Once you put the outcomes in perspective, the goal becomes much bigger than anything else – including the consequences of a negative outcome.

Consider these 5 perspectives to live by, and use them to build and extend your integrity. When times get tough, your perspective is a vital weapon in cutting through the chaos and finding your focus.

Character is at the heart of the human spirit and it will play an important part in seeing you through tough and challenging times. Dig deep and reveal your inner giant and see 1st hand how your confidence will rise to the occasion.

It’s not the hard times that define us. Those come and go. How we react to them however, is something we can carry with us and use for the next time. We know ‘The next time’ will come and like anything else, we must be prepared!

Work Hard, Work Smart & Stay Hungry!


15 Reasons Why Being Realistic Will Lead You To Being Average


Being realistic, for most, has meant leading a life that we can predict, and where the ‘unknown’ has little chance of rearing it’s head.

If your idea in life is to experience new things and continually progress towards personal fulfillment, then being a realist will surely jam the brakes on your path to get there.

Felix Baumgartner (above pic), expert parachutist, best known for his stratospheric jump and free fall, exemplifies a person who focuses on expanding his own boundaries. Yes, his may entail life or death acts of courage, or some may say he is a crack-pot, but his principles are built on why we as humans progress.

 – Ability to see ‘What Could Be.’
– Belief of ‘What Could Be.’
– Desire to act on ‘What Could Be.’

Lets face it, the average joe would probably think he’s crazy, but crazy can be interpreted in different ways. I’m sure Felix believes it’s crazy not to challenge yourself and go beyond your comfort zone.


Are we giving up on the possibilities in our lives because being realistic is just plain easier and non-confrontational?

Are we blind to the extraordinary things that happen around us all the time?

Shouldn’t that be the reason we say, ‘I Can.’ For Heaven’s sake, we’ve landed on the moon! Isn’t that enough reason to follow your dreams – which are probably not as lofty as walking on the moon. If we continue to give ourselves the short end of the stick, then who gets the long end? Nobody! Because we are not competing with the world or anybody else – we’re competing with ourselves, but we seldom look at it this way.

Bruce Lee said it best,

Quick Question… Why is it easier to:

Eat junk food than to eat healthy food

Work a 9 to 5 than to start a business we’ve always wanted

Have careers we hate, instead of changing them

To blame the world for our problems vs doing something about it

To allow relationships to flounder when we can strengthen them

Maybe it all comes down to risk. The costs can seem so insurmountable that the reward is just not worth the investment. But this is an investment in You. Why on earth would you invest in things that don’t give you something greater in return? It’s irrational, isn’t it?

My take is that we sing a prelude of self sabotage and doubt to the point of making the real, well, unrealistic. I’m not saying that being realistic is bad – far from it! But I am saying that using a view point of realism as a basis for everything in your life, will lead you down a path of being average – which the world has plenty of.

If you are the select few that wants to experience your full potential, steer clear of these 15 excuses and remove them from your vocabulary and thoughts;

  1. I might not be as good as I think
  2. My friends and family don’t believe in me
  3. It’s too much work
  4. What if I fail
  5. I’ll do it when I have more time
  6. I’m too young
  7. I’m too old
  8. I haven’t seen anyone else do it
  9. I’m doing ok in life and don’t want to chance it
  10. Don’t want to waste all that time, and it not work
  11. It will be embarrassing if it doesn’t work out
  12. No time
  13. There’s no guarantee it will be successful
  14. I have a family
  15. I like (not love) the life I have now

Seeing is believing, so don’t think your way out of your possibilities. We can only know what we experience, and to experience is to try – which the average person doesn’t do. Sometimes you have to take yourself by force and allow new things to happen in your life, business and personally. Average takes no creativity, no will, no dreaming, no improvement and most of all it takes no real effort.

Do you really want to just sit in the recliner of comfort enjoying the easy life watching the lives of others instead of pointing that remote at your self and changing your life? … Hardly!

I’m with those who believe in self transformation in spite of circumstances and the opinion of others. I haven’t reached satisfaction yet, but every little bit of progress has made me stronger and better and I hope it does the same for you!

Work Hard, Work Smart & Stay Hungry




6 Reasons Why I Encourage You To Fall Flat On Your Face


For any of you who know me, you are aware that, if you haven’t had the fortunate opportunity of falling flat on your face, I very much hope you do sooner as opposed to later. In fact, the more I care about you, the sooner I hope you get there so you can go through the experience.

There are tremendous advantages in both your business and in your personal life to falling flat on your face. Continue reading “6 Reasons Why I Encourage You To Fall Flat On Your Face”

An Impressive Post About Being Impressive


The world is filled with people trying to impress one another in one way or another, so much so that I find that it has become nearly impossible to spot authenticity these days.

It really takes me some time to tell if you are being authentic… as opposed to being full of it. Continue reading “An Impressive Post About Being Impressive”

4 Ways To Tell If You Are A Know-It-All or a Learn-It-All

15. 4-Ways-To-Tell-If-You-Are-A-Know-It-All-or-a-Learn-It-All

Have you ever had the experience of dealing with a know-it-all? If you have, you know it can be an extremely exhausting experience. It is one thing to be confident, but quite another to be an a****** …  I leave it to you to fill in the blanks.

Personally, listening to a know-it-all seems to give me a sense that the person is not self confident – despite the fact that is nearly always their primary intention. Continue reading “4 Ways To Tell If You Are A Know-It-All or a Learn-It-All”

6 Powerful Lessons I learned From Failure and 18 Quotes To Support Them


I have grown to love failure, although I’ll be the first to admit it kicked my a*s for many years. I remember the helpless and empty feeling of losing my first business and having to put both the business and myself through bankruptcy. It was absolutely horrible.

I remember losing the house, the office, the warehouse, the car, & putting the furniture on the front lawn for people to take it as I didn’t even have the money to put it in storage Continue reading “6 Powerful Lessons I learned From Failure and 18 Quotes To Support Them”

18 Reasons Why Your Rejection Is My Favorite Aphrodisiac


I have grown to love rejection. I used to absolutely hate it. I used to fear it, loathe it, and avoid it at any cost. If there was any chance you would say no I would run for the hills… and never come back unless I had a guaranteed yes in advance.

Now, after twenty plus years of business and forty plus years on Earth, rejection has become my favorite aphrodisiac. Let me explain why… Continue reading “18 Reasons Why Your Rejection Is My Favorite Aphrodisiac”

3 Sure-Fire Techniques To Make Sure Your First Impression Won’t Be Your Last

34. 3-Sure-Fire-Techniques-To-Make-Sure-Your-First-Impression-Won’t-Be-Your-Last

In a world that focuses on light speed interactions, how do we make sure that our first impressions aren’t well, our last?

Today, it seems things move so quickly that we tend to judge people after the initial seconds of meeting them. First impressions can be sticky and hard to reverse when they are of the negative variety. If we don’t like what we see or hear we simply move on, and the same rule applies when the shoe is on the other foot. Continue reading “3 Sure-Fire Techniques To Make Sure Your First Impression Won’t Be Your Last”

You Were Born With Two Ears And One Mouth For A Reason


One of my favorite quotes is “You were born with two ears and one mouth for a reason.” It originated around 55 AD from Epictetus, the Greek Sage and Stoic philosopher.

In case you don’t remember what is on the other side of the comma as to why … “so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” Continue reading “You Were Born With Two Ears And One Mouth For A Reason”

What The Heroes From September 11th Can Teach Us About Business & Ethics

61. What The Heroes From September 11th Can Teach Us About Business & Ethics

13 years ago today we witnessed the most cowardly act in history. We responded with the most courageous response.

As I look back on the heroes from that fateful day and compare the purpose of their profession to the purpose of those in digital platform, most specifically the social media space, I can’t help but notice such a polarizing difference between those who use their profession for the sole purpose of helping others, compared to those people who use their profession to help themselves. Continue reading “What The Heroes From September 11th Can Teach Us About Business & Ethics”

Who Are You And What Are You Good At?

70. Who Are You And What Are You Good At

My idol growing up was basketball legend Dr. J (Julius Erving). The problem was, however, as hard as I tried to be like him and make the moves he made, I simply couldn’t come close (mild understatement)… and I was pissed as hell! Years later, I had business idols. First it was Sam Walton of Walmart, then Steve Jobs, then someone else, then someone else…

The Transformation From Idolizing… To Admiring… To Learning

Fortunately, at some point along the way, I unconsciously switched from ‘idolizing’ people and brands to ‘admiring’ them, and it wasn’t until then that I was truly able to establish my own identity, which helped me develop into my own individual ‘brand’ if you will. Continue reading “Who Are You And What Are You Good At?”

Why “Keep It Simple, Stupid” Is The Best Advice I Ever Received


One of the best pieces of advice in life I was ever given and didn’t realize until much later, was when one of my mentors told me, “keep it simple, stupid.”  At the time, I actually took offense to it because I thought he was calling me stupid, so I paid it no mind. It wasn’t until much later that I found the profound value in that statement. Continue reading “Why “Keep It Simple, Stupid” Is The Best Advice I Ever Received”

We Know What to Do. So why Don’t We Do What We Know?

75. We Know What to Do. So why Don’t We Do What We Know?

How many times have you heard somebody say to you Do As I Say Not As I Do? That’s’ something my father used to say all the time, and still does. I used to always think, ‘if you’re giving me advice and you know what to do, then why in the world are you not doing what you know?’ It made no sense to me then, nor does it make any sense to me now. Don’t get me wrong, I love him to death, greatest guy in the world, but it still makes no frickin’ sense! Continue reading “We Know What to Do. So why Don’t We Do What We Know?”