Category Archives: Hacker Practice

How to Get Shredded, Break World Records, and Write Killer Copy with Stan Dutton (003)

Stan Dutton has multiple world records in power lifting.

Stan Dutton overseeing a small group class

Stan Dutton is the co-owner of UpLifted Inc. in Boston. He was one of the top 20 165-pound powerlifters in the United States in 2014. He completed 300 hours of hands-on training at the American Academy of Personal Training and earned his Training for Warriors Level 2 certification. He is a second degree black belt in Taekwondo.

I met Stan Dutton while recording the CEO of my startup doing squats at his gym. For form. But that’s not important.

Stan and I immediately hit it off. Two young college dropouts trying to make it as entrepreneurs in the city of higher education (Boston). It was practically destiny that we became friends.

Stan and his partner Nathan were running a Training for Warriors franchise location when I met them. Stan impressed me with world records in powerlifting and constant enthusiasm for life and business. He’s also a genuinely nice guy.

Now, Stan is undergoing a transformation. I feel very fortunate to interview him in the midst of transition.

In our talk, Stan tells me about his philosophy of fitness. He teaches some breathing exercises that helped him break world records in powerlifting. We talk about creatine and copywriting. He shares about the latest developments in his career.

I tell a story about poop.

It’s an exciting time to be a top-flight personal trainer. The zeitgeist around diet and exercise is constantly changing and Stan is right at the edge of what normal people can engage with.

Find out how Stan gets crazy results with ordinary people in episode 003 of Hacker Practice:

Notes

[2.10] Stan discusses being the personal trainer for the CEO of Pavlok and how he met Justus.

[5.20] Stan describes his philosophy on fitness:

  • An empathetic approach without having to a stereotypical “burn them down” trainer and rather “build them up”
  • Built on a foundation of integrity
  • Stan puts the “fun” in functional fitness.
  • Train for consistency and focus on having fun in the process.

[10.30] Stan gives tips on how he would go about training up Justus to become an elite level athlete in only 6 months.

  • Train to your genetic physical strengths
  • Intensive training needs to be supported with longevity training

[15.00] Justus shares a story about how he broke 2 hours in a half marathon after taking a poop!

[21.30] Stan shares details on the records he broke including lifting 3 times his bodyweight as well as the importance of breathing exercises

  • Stan explains how he uses specific breathing exercises to enhance his lifting capability
  • Proper breathing is fundamental to a great posture which is critical to effective and efficient powerlifting.
  • Breathing needs to occur through your diaphragm. You want to feel like you are breathing through your stomach. Your collarbone should remain relatively stable if performed properly.

[31.00] Discussion on Stan’s preferred protein supplements and common misconceptions around creatine

  • Creatine, monohydrate for strength and mass building
  • Creatine essentially gives your muscles extra energy to be able to max out repetitions. The cells will draw in extra water to enable this process which can cause dehydration. So it’s especially important to be vigilant of hydration when using creatine supplements.
  • Stan shares how taking too much creatine as an adolescent resulted in severe nausea, loss of appetite and the beginnings of dialysis.
  • Taking hormones can result in Gynecomastia (enlarged breasts)

[40.00] Pros/cons of fasting

[42.30] Stan says why he thinks college is a waste of time and explains how getting hands on experience, has set him up for success in the personal training industry

  • Not going to college taught Stan how to deal with uncertainty in business relationships

[48.00] “At one point a degree used to be a differentiator…now not having a degree is a differentiator”

[49.15] Why suffering is the best thing that can happen to someone because it forces them to grow and change

[51.00] Stan describes his tips on writing epic emails and copy

  • Attention
  • Interest
  • Desire
  • Action
  • Learn how to be empathetic and put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Remember, people buy from people.
  • Stan suggests Paul Mort as a fantastic resource for writing quality copy

[58.50] Stan describes specific tactics for selling high value coaching services

  • The power of specific personal examples and sharing vulnerability with clients

[1.04.00] Why having a personal coach will help you become a better version of yourself

[1.08.00] Stan describes the “black swan” event that turned his life upside down

[1.15:30] Stan describes his latest venture – busyguyfitness.com an online platform for busy professionals to complete workouts in time constrained environments

[1.18.40] How Ryan Holiday’s, Ego is the Enemy helped Stan reframe his decision to work as intern and take a “pay cut”

How you can get in touch with Stan:

Instagram: @standutton165

Website: busyguyfitness.com  

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StanDuttonTraining

Conclusion

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Jesse Anderson: Mr. Big Data on Data Engineering, Creativity, and Nontraditional education (002)

Mr. Big Data, Jesse Anderson (http://jesse-anderson.com)

If you’ve ever heard the words “Big Data” and wondered what exactly that means, this is the episode for you.

Jesse Anderson is the person Fortune 100’s go to when they realize they are ill-equipped to handle the challenges of big data. He is a totally self-taught genius who is currently defining a new field of computer science call Data Engineering. In fact, he literally wrote the book on it.

Jesse’s work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, CNN, NPR, Wired, TechCrunch; just about everywhere.

His insights into the future of information technology and data were fascinating to explore. We also discuss his approach to learning and parenting and teaching creativity.

Listen to our discussion here:

Here are the notes from my talk with Jesse Anderson:

Continue reading

Michael Alexis: International Investor and Philanthropist on Growth Hacking, Mastering Craigslist, and Surviving Chinese Parasites (e001)

Michael Alexis (left) and myself (right) in Georgetown in the Cayman Islands

My first ever podcast features investor and philanthropist Michael Alexis. I’m so glad to start with Michael because we are good friends and he is a master at making people feel at ease.

Michael got started in adult life as a lawyer, but quickly moved into startups and investing (but not investing in startups). Now he is a growth consultant for some of the highest performing startups and an international investor with stakes in places like China.

Michael and I worked together at an award-winning startup and have since built a relationship around challenging one another to do better everyday in life and business.

Our discussion revolves around investing, growth hacking, marketing, security, startups, business, ethics, life hacks, and risk mitigation while gallivanting in foreign countries (travel is a favorite past time for both of us).

You can hear our conversation here:

  • Michael helped Pavlok win the Shopify contest. (1:55)
    • Have a great team + a great product idea
    • Best Practices = Average Results. Test assumptions by challenging existing models
    • Michael discusses specific conversion results.
    • “Build the email list and prioritize getting people on it over prioritizing the sale right away.” – M.A.
    • Trade email address for price information on low-price consumer products.
    • Simple, single column websites can convert 3X better than “flashy” bootstrap-style websites.
  • Michael talks about his investment thesis [15:30]
    • Why he is an Investor / Philanthropist hybrid (hint: Building wealth is not the end-goal)
    • Why he invests in projects that pay dividends and NOT STARTUPS
    • Why he is willing to lose everything.
    • Michael’s ideal emergency fund lasts for years
    • Why Michael invests in competitive markets (because the model is proven)
    • Better Marketing + Better Service = Winning Strategy
    • Why startup employees should be open to equity compensation even though they likely won’t exit
  • Michael talks about the podcast he convinced me to start (31:30)
    • Risks are low
    • Networking opportunities are high
    • Are podcasts the new blogs?
  • What would you do to market Hacker Practice (36:20)
    • Write up guest posts based on the content. Try to get 8-10 posts out of each interview. [For this episode: Growth Hacking, Drastic Changes, Simplicity as a Philosophy]
    • Interview high profile people and retarget ads at their followers (on top of native promotion)
    • Think about SEO: use transcripts and notes etc to capture long tail [POTATO MARKETING]
    • Multiple Win Scenarios
    • Why you should start a podcast
  • Experiments I should try on the podcast [46:30]
    • Connect with someone for intentional practice. (PEN TESTING, NVC, DIFCON)
    • Make a sale on the podcast.
  • What Michael would ask Mr. Big Data, Jesse Anderson [50:00]
    • How did Jesse teach himself complex skills?
    • How did he acquire his big, impressive, clients?
  • What single critical system should I develop to make the Podcast awesome?
    • Have a great process for ensuring that you have an ongoing flow of guests.
  • What does Michael think of 2-factor authentication [54:50]?
    • Most people should use it. Especially for email + banking
    • Using 2 factor auth is difficult across many accounts
  • Other security measures everybody should do[56:45]
    • Make passwords difficult (long 8+ characters)
    • Diversify your passwords
    • Use a password manager (like LastPass, Michael and I both use this)
    • Encrypt your computer and external hard drives.
  • What’s the worst Black Swan event that’s happened to Michael? [59:45]
    • He picked up a vicious parasite in China
    • How to mitigate the risk of terrible sickness in China:
      • Don’t eat from sketchy street vendors (China is especially bad)
      • Look for hygiene markers
  • How does Michael manage Celiac disease that could kill him? [1:50:50]
    • Cook at home. Some restaurants that claim to be gluten-free aren’t concerned with cross contamination because they don’t take the risks of Celiac seriously.
    • Eat the same things every day.
    • Over-communicate the seriousness of your food allergy.
      • As a side note: Seems like there is no such thing as over-communication. Great teams talk more than you think they should.
  • How Michael makes money sleeping on great mattresses [1:08:15]
    • Good mattress = good sleep = high performance
    • Buy a Tempurpedic mattress on craigslist, negotiate the price down
    • Use the mattress
    • Sell the mattress on craigslist when you’re done at a higher price using superior sales writing and copywriting skills.
    • Negotiating heuristic for Craigslist: offer 20% off posted price, accept 10% off.
  • How Michael stole Groupon’s business model for fun and profit [1:14:30]
    • Steal models that are “hot”, resell them on Craigslist.
    • How he improved his programming skills and made money at the same time.
    • Repeat
  • Michael made a podcast because of the Mixergy podcast (see link below for Interviewing your heroes)
  • Michael talks what he learned working with Ramit Sethi [1:22:30]
    • Ethical Persuasion: If your target customer had all the information available, would the buy your product?
    • Reminds me of Simon Sinofsky’s great question: “Am I inspiring you to act, or manipulating you to act?”
    • Create a product that is totally aligned with your audience’s interests
  • Copywriting Resources and Tactics [1:28:10]
    • You should read George Orwell’s Politics and the English Language (LINK BELOW)
    • Name dropping works. Soundbites work.
    • Read and re-read everything you plan to publish. Reconsider every single word.
    • Headlines should convey benefit and target market: “Learn Practical Copywriting Tactics from the Masters”
    • Subheader should say HOW you’ll deliver: “This 8-week video course includes ____”
    • WHY > WHO > HOW
  • Michael advises me on my blog strategy [1:38:55]
    • What’s the goal?
    • Systems for blog promotion
      • Syndicate the material everywhere: Medium, LinkedIn
      • Post to aggregators: Reddit, HackerNews, GrowthHacker
      • Post to social: FB, Twitter
  • How does Michael cultivate respect and relationships? [1:43:20]
    • Be authentic and honest with yourself.
    • Be truthful even when it’s to your detriment. In the end, it won’t be.
    • How I improve client relationships by applying honesty to my detriment
    • How I talk to girls by being honest
  • Michael says: interview people who do big things that most people have never heard of.

Links

 Conclusion

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