« The Tony Robbins Podcast

Part 2: The most successful founder in history | Tony interviews Bill Gross, founder of Idealab, about his strategies for success and vision for the future

2019-09-30 | 🔗

Last week on The Tony Robbins Podcast, you heard from Bill Gross, one of the most successful founders in HISTORY. In part 2 of the episode, you’ll hear Tony interview Bill about his top strategies for success as an entrepreneur – including how to raise capital, the best ways to incentivize employees for performance, and what has made his tech incubator, Idealab, so effective.

If you’re a business owner or an investor looking for future trends, you’re going to want to pay close attention, because Bill weighs in on his vision for the future, and tells us about the three technology applications that he believes will unlock human potential and opportunity for economic growth.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
If you run a company, whether it be as a first time entrepreneur or a season, see YO, you face challenges every day, for many of you you're doing it alone for more than forty. Yours Tony Robins has helped business owners like yourself understand how successful your business could be the level of that today and how to close that gap faster with fewer costly mistakes along the way and now he would like to underline the cost of a free want one business strategy session from one of his top business coaches. Six hundred dollar value. You're, not session, you'll, learn how Tony's business systems can impact your company see what most people don't know. Who is that when Tony acquires or starts a company, he brings in six systems that are proven to creep monumental growth of two three hundred percent in the first year alone? To learn more about these,
comes to get business owner resources and to claim your free session just go to Tony robins dot com, Slash CEO, twenty robins dot com, Slash CEO! Welcome back to the masters Does this season of the Tony Robbins podcast today you're going to hear part two ever episode Series with Bill gross and entrepreneur who has started and exited from seven companies each valued at more than one billion dollars bill and his team look for synergies that are big and broken, and then brainstorms technology solutions to fix them twenty three years. He started idea lab a technology, you better that Tony is proud to be involved with today during its meeting Two decades idea lab has started more than one hundred and fifty companies created more ten thousand jobs and had more than forty five successful appears and acquisitions
in this episode you're about to hear Tony interview bill about his top strategies for success as an entrepreneur, including how to raise capital the best ways to incentivize employees for performance and what has made his incubator so effective? Now if you're a business owner or an investor looking for future trends, you're going to want to pay close attention, because bill ways in on his vision for the future and tells us about the three technology applications that he believes will unlock human potential and opportunity for economic growth. First of all, you can see now I love this may not just one How did you ever even Have a beautiful mind. We have such a beautiful heart and am yours sire to serve. I reserve but no we desired, sir, but the joy that you have, how many feel that no Europe
example: a beautiful state. I try to teach people about and I think that's a huge part from what I hear that's kept you through and taking you see those dark times. Everybody has in these situations that most people I have no clue about. So I'm curious, tell us that you, as a boy look back just for a moment if we may, and where does this personality come from? Where does this optimism this enthusiasm and this love deserve come come from beautiful? Well, you agree I think, as a little boy, I had a lot of love in my family. Everybody thought I could do no wrong. I took a part everything I was taking apart things and bring them back together. I love inventing things and thinking about things and everybody just compliment to be on it. So it made me feel good about myself. It made me feel good to try and invent something yes and then I would go around in life and just look at things that were wrong as there are complaining about them. Try to figure out ways out of its those. And that's just gave me great joy and then,
low, sharing out with other people and helping other people do that for themselves and this concept of constantly testing and iterating you do that Then I change changing what you're, using changing the stamps and now you're doing it to try to save the world. Tell people- for a long. Are you, for example, on the carbon capture? Where are you in that process? Where is the cost of it? What's the tool called? What's gonna, be the what's gonna be needed for breakthrough to fix the whole planet, you're really side about it? It's a brand new company. We all started in January. We basically have a team of ice. I interests together so professors from Caltech and from Georgia Tech and we're looking at their different methods to be able to get the cost lower by trying different materials and different methods of apply the cuts red sunshine. So we're not there. Yet. I hoped ever a tabletop demonstration by the end of the year, and maybe you do the first demonstration that desert next year respiration
but very very want him for that. That's exciting! Is your twenty five years old, you sell your first company for ten million dollars. Tell us about that Mental but the transition from that to you know when you really got into education software tools, but of your inspiration, but does all but more about that. This was a huge jump and then selling their company for ninety million kind of wants, due in the direction of idea lab well the first company the GM feed it out. As a result, the lotus- I had no idea that signing a company I didn't know even what that was. I just again saw me: people needed spreadsheets to be easy to use, and I thought english typing in plenty,
sentences would make got more beneficial. So is I don't even know the phrase final fruit that you know there are people don't know, but I just thought got something that should happen. So my brother and I began working on a product hired a few programmers to help us. We went out to tell our story we came to convicts. I think I risk everything by raising the money, borrowing the money to get a small booth convicts, but standing on stage frugal booth. I learned a lot about somebody. Things Jonathan says something that you set are so so prevalent in success. We are little tiny booth We had a screen at a microphone and we just talk, hold, are stored. Anybody will walking by sure not one person walks by whose an investor lotus, so he takes the story back. It was then rose in areas where the first investors and combat computer any Lotus. So he takes the story of two guys understanding and stage hawking. Their wares partake.
That's a lotus, so it's just amazing. The serendipity can happen. If you put yourself out there all the time, you're always telling what your passion about. I haven't not just connect with someone and then we're Lotus came to us and want to parted company. We were blown away. We have higher law firm, even know how to do the negotiation or anything, but it was fantastic to learn that experience learn about how to do that will and after being Lotus, I was looking for what The next parts- and I want to make one of the things that I care about the most and the thing I decided to care about the most once I saw the multimedia pc and how it can transform people, because you could sit programme, Here sounds and seem all these and C Mon. I thought these can be when the greatest educational vehicles of all time and, of course it to turn out to be that way, and I want to do that in having a son you. How can I change everything for you, so I want to knowledge about how to do it really were the first incubator there's it's now invoke virtue or the verbal first looking
the idea to do this. What else about? But I dont think it was really an idea. I think it was sobbing an age. So solving it edge of solving a problem. So my problem, as he could tell him pretty unfocused, felt zeros, but I knew you oughta be focused like I just haven't mythology experience, so I want to start a company were I can be unfocused, but tell them to be focused so I guess I do as I say, but not as I do, but I knew I wanted to have my fingers and a lot of things. I knew that wasn't a good strategy for success, but I knew that if each company could be focused they could succeed. So I really was taught us all. My problem of not knowing which idea to do, I did not think it was. I do not think that technology, incubator business was a business model or a good idea but I thought it was only wagon solve my pain point
Haven't his ideas. I want to see happen in the world, so you brutal these companies that requires capital. There are many entrepreneurs newsroom from all over the world, and many of them look at. That is a difficult thing for them, even though there are greater resources today tells open about. When peoples you go for venture capital. What are some things they should, Where was the first time? You really did that worrisome? Lessons learned. What do you know today? We can help somebody's return to raise capital to do it more effectively. Yes, so that the very first business I sold to Lotus, I didn't have any venture capital. I raised two hundred fifty thousand dollars to go to complex from customers of my stereo store. I too, doctors and dentists and for fifty thousand dollars each. I gave them one percent royalty, while I was only wagon raised I you know, I didn't know what equity was. So I certainly united. I didn't think anybody would give me equity. Why would they give me equity? I am I going to do anything with that, but I thought Gimme some animal royalty, maybe that we worked so I scrambled to get around forty thousand dollars.
That pay my way to go to see us that when we did salvage company, I concur that royalty to equity and they got their state that for knowledge venture I put in some of the first money myself and then I did raise venture capital first time I raise money from firm, called more David Out Silicon Valley. I raise two and a half million dollars and I pitch to everybody. And I went up and down trying to tell everybody my story, but they really believed in me and they really saw my passion, for, I think, was the passionate got them over the edge. I don't think that's my business plan. I think it was a saw I'm going to go through brick walls of necessary to make this thing happened, rebuilding a new, yes and- and I think showing that is very important to investors and then finding someone that you could work with that you get along with John Fibre was a particular partner there. I love you and he wasn't my board and we worked together really really well for many many years. So now advice fundraising bothers me:
many more options. Now my particular advice is raise smaller amounts easier, make progress and use a stepping stone raise bigger amounts. So even on a company energy ball, which I think is, can be one of our knockout successes and we even raise a big round a cap that would be an outing next week, upscale that company, but the beginning I put in the first year forty thousand hours we raised, I think, seven, fifty I'd like two and a half million all regulation, just a small amount of evaluation, because it was still a crazy idea. I mean we had the physics proven, but we are not built anything yet. We use us out fifty thousand dollars to buy use crane and build a small prototype with that we raise one half million dollars, eternally known, I wish just six months later, but we use that as a stepping stone there will we have the money to two or the parts for the first system. We then raise two million, a twenty million. I wish then without we raised four and a half million fifty million evaluation, and then we just raise Hamas around recent.
After we have orders, but all that happens banner two years, but I raised for what I need to show a very the marshal thing at the next stage. So I really really think that try to raise as much as need for ever is really really hard, because people may not believe in it yet, but try and find a thing that is the obstacle. They don't believe in and prove that the small sums of money you need at that's one piece of advice. I dont know that applies everything but he's a very successfully. That's great! You still do that today, you guess tell us the concept of everyone knows the value of incentivize in people. You know my education company weren't, you stop so everyone else company, but many people are hesitant to do that at various stages. They don't they don't see the value in it. You ve done it from there
beginning just expel than that of a little, but because I think it so critical for people that want to grow their business beyond just being self employed or having a small team of people travelling gonna grab yeah, I dont know if use seen s life like I had, but if you go into a mom and pop shop and the man who is behind the counter, you get us our level of service and I say hourly paid employees behind the counter. You gotta give level surface and that's the difference between being in order or not, and I always thought that in life- and I always thought two things one. I want people to feel like owners. I want him to act like every day, but the other is I think it will be a hollow victory. If we have success as a company I am celebrating- and I can't celebrate alongside everybody else's on my team- and I was never in sports team- I'm lily, but never never like in high school or college and sports team, and I was never in a play and I watched my kids grow up and they were the play.
In high school and they were such come raw rigs everything's together under one, is tat everybody else's back and I thought got. I can't believe I missed out on that all my life. What a great experience I thought known as a true! I didn't this that's right every day I try and build the same kind of team in commodity. So we all. Like we're in this together and I do that's record getting everybody a stake, everybody feels I want like even all and our building is gonna- be all right, but we haven't. I appeal because they're gonna make out really well and that they feel a lot different levels. Obviously, people are different levels, different contribution. We want everybody cylinder together. How important it is to be generous in business deals? I know you do that we ve done it even our business deals. I always try. If I know give something more than they expected because of Milton Abram. Few people want to do business with the home. Port has not been in your career, and could you expounded some of the ways we have done that in the past? Well, it's important again in these actually waiting to be able to restore, and you see how your treated when there's a knot,
your treated when there's a not honour behind the counter. I saw how I'm treated in business deals on the other side, when I felt shouldn't have to discuss and I just said I don't want anybody, I'm busy with their if that, where the other side and one thing that I really find do is its variant really challenging, but I learned to do this life. When I'm selling some of my full passion on Olaf and I'm so excited about it. I can't help it, but the last thing that I do before I close someone I wonder then also tell mom downsides. I want to enter into it, really understanding that ok, you're hearing my full passion and that's what I believe, but that is not guaranteed to come true here all the challenges we do have really want people to two things really really understanding that as well, and I just feel
There are about it because we're gonna go through those dark times. That's what's going to happen. I want that that person to never be mad at me. That's what happened! You want them to know their willingness to get. Are you do talk? I think was a tattered someplace like that I saw years ago and you are describing you know what are the simple most important reasons why company succeed versus fail and you lead symbols elements out. You talked about the customary talked about the idea: the business model, the funding, the timing, some of the same things you here, but you have a different sequence of the yes- and I wonder if you share with people, because you ve got your forty years of experience now what what is most important? Second, third, fourth, when you entered Jerome businesses, the ones that made it verses, didn't cause. You got a hundred fifty why I used to think the idea that the most and that's different, not true, because the idea is to shift and change, and it could be one time at all that the nice thing the business model now than the most and that doesn't merit is going to happen as mild factories. Should change
this model we're data, then you should think the amount of money raised that are the most, because you need that money. That could be the marketplace, but it doesn't matter. You can compete with small budget, you have to click a clever block or how pull polos what you need and the nice thing execution matter the most. I now think that that timely and execution Erika most time have its beginning execution is is, is how you change your mind, set to overcome all those other things and, and obviously teams are huge, exactly so so we're always trying to choose a tea now. Another thing I learned with us in applying this are you you might all be running. You don't business for me, because I've chosen to have an idea and find other leaders. I have to make the idea become theirs I have to let the idea of change and become theirs. I have to my child at the beginning, but I have to look at shall draw up and leave home basically and that's very hard for me, but I've learned how to do that and at the beginning I didn't want to do that. I wanted to
the one. My idea that doesn't work you ve got to run their idea. That has become theirs and, as you can see, you know, here's a man, who's got that mendous artist, skill writers, capacity to see the idea create the idea movie idea, but his capacity to bring the right team in, but also to see the writer how do you know what the right time that's the regal juice rival? How do you find that out have to be very honest yet to look at the signals, the world was telling you of course you have. You're so passion about its. That makes you think the timings right yes, but you have to look at the outside factors. They're gonna leave your success and see if they are following up on the adoption curve. They won't get in your way if outside factors- and you can't control block you, then the timing is not right, but if you can
Come those with your product you're offering or you can prove that a man than the timing is right. So it's just being very honest about those signals. I thinking that companies need outcome, that we started. We weren't honest about the signals. We saw that there wasn't a broadband penetration, for example, but we don't listen to it and many companies of ours likely. We have sixty failure, so probably twenty five of them. If they'll just on timing and we should have listened to the signals. Why is your computer so affected? What what separates us from all these other incubators that people know besides the fact that your first, what really separate you do think. Well, I think that we are to learn from our mistakes. Reward that successful to begin. Are we really really trying to take those best practices and bring the fourteenth company, but making a start up? Is heart? It's really hard. There's no simple formula at your hearing all these stories. For me, none of this is simple
and everything you ve heard of all happens, it's all very, very hard to do any of the figure out, which is the most important thing of all these things. To do so, there is no magic formula, I would just say we are willing to fight through without persistence those dark days and get to the other side. What's been darkies once one of you ve had so many challenges and somebody companies. We talked about your successors, you alluded to that. Wasn't forty or fifty two. You have talented
not done well on? What's been, the biggest mistake or biggest value had, but what did you learn from her and then how did a sharp later as a success will probably the biggest area we had was not predicting the dot com crash? Now I dont many people did predicted, but not ever understanding the magnitude of it. We were high flying from nineteen. Eighty six to two thousand two thousand one everything we touch turned a gold. How can there be a thing which would wipe out ninety five? Ninety eight percent of value, some of the companies and then, after that everybody said it's over. It's over startups, moreover, nobody's investing anymore storage or done, and we are to use every bit of perseverance to say no closing people told us close idea laboratory on the money stop doing it. Dont do it. I said company start in bad times too, and I know we can do it again. In fact, one of the things I kept on saying to myself and not because nobody would listen to me- was the
The curve of internet adoption kept on going there value, took a deep and came back yes, but the curve of adoption did not stop through the crash is so. I said this is gonna. Come back and it took a long time to combat it took years, so people made fun of us for years. Nobody would invest our companies we put in the first you fifties. People would not put additional monies we put in the additional money beyond. Dont, let us make even more bad mistakes because we felt love their own children. We can funding them all away when the lessons learned from that was outside money. Is it take outside money? What he resisted outside money is to be a great partners to help you a warrior resisting outside money snakes. I sure your ideas not stupid because testing the market, the market. If you can't sell your story to twenty people, maybe takes fifty people who so what try? Fifty people. If fifty people don't care about your story, maybe there's something wrong with your story: maybe not wrong with them. So that was a very valuable learning. So that way,
taken not lorens make a successful. Now is on a company like energy vault. We don't even need other people's money. I still go then take other people's money, because I want to sell the story. I wanted. My story gets better. Each time I tested within those partners into company help make the company better. Yes, I give up equity its way worth its way may work. This is the biggest lesson took away from that energy votes. Example who're you because customers right now, if you permit me suit and how many orders are you serious? One hundred orders, so that's worth nine billion dollars. So this money will be your eighth hurry. I ate uniformly coming up here. That's pretty amazing. Northern Cyprus. People that are making these large orders with you right now. So there are people building, large scale, solar farms now all over the world, because this becoming economical but any power night. Yes, They want to storage their people desalination in the Middle EAST because they want to have water. They need to run twenty four seven. There are coal plants,
shut down and they want to use the assets in the transmission. Heather you're turning coal plants, its renewable energy storage, so all his cousin, All over. That's awesome tell us you have such vision. You you alluded to, little robotics, any eye and certainly cleaning up the environment. If you give us three things that you and vision and in the future, the next gay, better gonna change all realise that the better. What's your vision of what that looks like one of the things you think or is it? Is it in digital health? What are the areas you think we're going to see the greatest increase in the quality of life because of the application and technology for a better world? Well, I hope that we have tremendous breakthroughs in biology, like not my area of expertise, so I can predict what they ought. I know they will happen here. Investment potential I want to work on augmenting. Our brains are meeting our thinking on minting our knowledge. Our memory, helping us use the things we learn and track them like one of the things I took away from your conference last time was all the goals I said
how do I remind myself to stick to them? How do I have myself apply the right one of the right time and I think we can all make ourselves with all of its intelligence to be much better humans. I think that's a great great room for improvement in the coming decades and, of course, I want to admit our living environment. I think cleaning up our air cleaning up our waters and those able to do that. You proud of laughings your life, not proud of eager, were used because you really built it that something you deserved, including me and father of five. Isn't it tell us? What do you most proud of your life and how do you want to be remembered? Cuz she's got so much to be remembered for I haven't really thought about ireland- will never that. I really hope that more people will use entrepreneurship as a way to make the world a better when you think about this, you can make the world a better place
if you think of the ways of people make the world a better place, you can be a teacher, you can go round and spread spread teachings to people. You can be a politician and you can make laws. Are you could put things in place? You know you can you can change society with the legal profession, but I think if you use opera entrepreneurship to make the world a better place and you do it with that pull method, then people just wanted you to proselytize anybody. I just want you innovation and I think that such an exciting, way to make the world a better place to take the problems that we have and make them solutions by Paul, and I want to spread the word that doesn't viable and maybe one of the best ways to make that happen and that's the difference between that product. Its governments, a change of policy as just make a cheaper make it better make it where people want it and the change happens. That's really been your secret between women's Pike, is a collection of interviews and stories and is produced by the Tony Robins team, copyright Robins research, international.
Transcript generated on 2020-04-04.