Carl Smith on Hiring the Best People and Creating a Better Business Story

My guest today is a speaker, consultant, and entrepreneur — as well as a self-proclaimed “deviant hippie” that is attempting to maximize his ‘god’ years.

He is the founder of nGen Works, a digital strategy firm that uses research, technology and creativity to help their clients stand out online. They’ve recently transitioned from a traditional agency model to a fully-distributed team.

He is also the co-host of the Friendly Fire podcast.

Now, let’s hack …

Carl Smith.

In this 32-minute episode Carl Smith and I discuss:

  • Why Carl is trying to maximize the “god” years
  • Learning to hire and keep the best people
  • What happened while creating a company where everyone was equal
  • Dealing with the “impostor syndrome”
  • How to optimize your life for sleep

The Show Notes

Carl Smith on Hiring the Best People and Creating a Better Business Story

Jonny Nastor: This is Rainmaker.FM, the digital marketing podcast network. It’s built on the Rainmaker Platform, which empowers you to build your own digital marketing and sales platform. Start your free 14-day trial at

Voiceover: Welcome to Hack the Entrepreneur, the show which reveals the fears, habits, and inner battles behind big name entrepreneurs and those on their way to joining them. Now, here is your host, Jon Nastor.

Jonny Nastor: Welcome back to Hack the Entrepreneur. Have I told you that you’re awesome? Well, you are. Thanks for listening. I’m your host, Jon Nastor, but you can call me Jonny.

My guest today is a speaker, consultant, and entrepreneur, as well as a self-proclaimed deviant hippy that is attempting to maximize his ‘God’ years — don’t worry, you’ll get it once you hear our conversation.

He’s the founder of nGen Works, a digital strategy firm that uses research, technology, and creativity to help their clients stand out online. They’ve recently transitioned from a traditional agency model to a fully distributed team. He is also the co-host of the Friendly Fire podcast.

Now, let’s hack Carl Smith.

Let’s thank our sponsor, FreshBooks. FreshBooks is the easy to use invoicing software designed to help small business owners get organized, save time invoicing, and get paid faster. Expense tracking, time tracking, estimates, quotes, reports — when you can’t figure something out, they have absolutely phenomenal, award-winning customer support. You can actually call them and get somebody on the phone to help you.

Stay on top of your business with a clear picture of its financial health. Try FreshBooks for free today. Go to and enter ‘HacktheEntrepreneur’ in the ‘How did you hear about us?’ section.

We are back with another episode of Hack the Entrepreneur. Today, we have an extra special guest. Carl, thank you so much for joining me.

Carl Smith: Thank you for having me and for making me extra special.

Jonny Nastor: I didn’t do that. You did that.

Carl Smith: Well, then say my parents did it.

Jonny Nastor: Nice. All right, Carl, let’s jump into this. Carl, as an entrepreneur, what is one thing you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your successes so far?

A or B — What’s Your Story? Carl’s Process for Getting It Right

Carl Smith: I always think about things in terms of stories. When I have a difficult decision to make, I’ll ask myself, “What’s the story I can tell if I select A, and what’s the story I can tell if I select B?” It’s not so much about spinning it as it is which one of those stories do I feel better about in my life? I’d say that’s probably been a big part of it, especially the last six years. It’s helped me tremendously.

Jonny Nastor: Nice, so thinking about the stories. Does that mean that where you’re at today you … like chess? You like to think a number of steps ahead and see where that story will lead you and if you like the way that concludes or goes?

Carl Smith: Yeah, absolutely. An example of thinking it through from a story perspective was, we had this amazing opportunity at my company to work with Microsoft. They came in, and they were being demanding, as you might imagine. We were a little guy. They were huge. I talked to the team about it. They wanted to work on it, but they were worried about the client.

As we got closer and closer to it, I finally decided, “Well, I can tell people that we were approached by Microsoft. They were really rude to us. We decided to do it for the money, and we aren’t allowed to show anything or share anything.” Or, I can say, “Hey, we were approached by Microsoft. We told them they could go ahem themselves. I can tell everybody in the world, and they can’t do a damn thing.”

I really enjoyed B, so that’s the way we went. It’s the same with employees, with prospects, with anybody. It’s about making sure that the story at the end is really amicable and nice and that you didn’t give up on yourself to make a dollar.

Jonny Nastor: Smart, and you’re right. It makes a much better story.

Carl Smith: Yeah, I love that story.

Jonny Nastor: One thing because you get to actually tell it, and the other thing because who knows where that could have went?

Carl Smith: Yeah.

Jonny Nastor: I find that if a deal or a partnership, even, is going to start with so many contracts, nondisclosure agreements, and all these promises of, “You can’t tell anybody. You can’t do all this.” — you haven’t even told me anything yet.

Carl Smith: Exactly.

Jonny Nastor: I’ve been in that situation, and I get this bad feeling in my stomach that this is not going to go the way I want it to.

Carl Smith: My lawyer, who’s a really, really good friend now and started off more as a lawyer, I remember him telling me, “Carl, they have nine of me in a room. They’re rabid, and they’re dying to get out. Tread very carefully because I don’t know if I can handle nine Microsoft lawyers.” I went, “Okay.”

Jonny Nastor: Yeah, I know. That would not be a fun story.

Carl Smith: No.

Jonny Nastor: During it, after it, or anything.

Carl Smith: Yeah.

Jonny Nastor: Excellent. Carl, we’re going to go back to the beginning if we can.

Carl Smith: Okay.

Jonny Nastor: There’s this time, it seems, in every entrepreneur’s life when they realize one of two things. Either they have this calling to make something big and make a difference in the world or they simply cannot work for somebody else. Can you please tell me which side of the fence you fall on, and when you started to discover this about yourself?

Why Carl Is Trying to Maximize the ‘God’ Years

Carl Smith: Absolutely. What a great question. My first job out of college, I actually interned at a full-service advertising agency, and I loved that place. Twelve years into it, I got asked to become president of the company, and I told them no. It was one of these things where I had seen what it did to them.

They were there all the time. It didn’t matter — morning, noon, night, weekends. I had a young family. I had one child and another one of the way. It became this realization that if I was going to have any semblance of controlling my life, I had to do something different.

The other thing was I had seen all of these discrepancies and inequalities in the company. I don’t think it was their fault at all. It was the nature of how things started and how they were ran. A lot of times, when you’re running a business, it sucks, but the squeaky wheel gets the grease, right? The people that ask for money, get money. The people who don’t, don’t. Because you’re always scared about money, you don’t always take care of those people who are truly your best people.

I decided to start a new company where everybody was equal. It didn’t work out very well, but the idea was great. Really, that was it. I knew I had the best boss for me, the woman that I worked for, but it was this realization that, “I’ve got to get out of here. I’ve got to be home more.”

The other part of that story that I think is really important is, I had been on the phone with a client at the previous job, and I’d missed the call — I was about an hour late, and it was because I got the city he was in wrong. I thought that he was going to be in LA, but it turned out he was in Chicago.

I asked him about that because remote working and virtual companies wasn’t really a thing. He said, “Well, I’ve got a young kid, so I’ve only got a certain number of God years.” I was like, “God years?” He goes, “Yeah. My kids seems to think I’m a God until he turns 11 or 12. Then I’m going to go straight into my idiot years. When I’m an idiot, I’ll travel, I’ll work in the office, and I’ll do all that stuff, but while I’m a God, I want to be around as much as possible.” So that was the other. He tipped me over the edge, and I was like, “Oh, I’m going to maximize these ‘God’ years, so I’m totally starting a company right now.”

Jonny Nastor: Wow, that’s huge.

Carl Smith: Yeah.

Jonny Nastor: The ‘God years’ — that’s so absolutely true. Do you have two kids still or more?

Carl Smith: No. Still just the two. My oldest, she’ll be 14 in July, and my youngest is 12. There is this weird middle ground for me. The eye rolls happen, but not until their heads turn. I can kind of ignore it and act like I’m a God, but honestly, I’m a pretty cool dad now. I’m hardly a God, and I’m not quite an idiot.

Jonny Nastor: Yeah. They’re going to stop turning their heads soon, though, aren’t they?

Carl Smith: Yeah. There’s going to start letting me know any minute now.

Jonny Nastor: It’s terrible. You said you created a company where you wanted to make everyone equal?

What Happened While Creating a Company Where Everyone Was Equal

Carl Smith: Yeah. When I was at the full-service agency, hell, I was making about $135,000 a year, and I was 28, 29.

Jonny Nastor: And you quit?!

Carl Smith: I did.

Jonny Nastor: I love it. That’s awesome.

Carl Smith: I jumped out of a corner office, man. One of the people that came over to the new company with me, he was only making about $50,000. He was a chef, and I was a server. It blew my mind when we were talking about it, because employees always talk. As an owner, you have to embrace that. I actually got to salary transparency, which is whole other show. You can just throw people in a pit with a knife and see what happens if you want. That’s how much fun that is.

I wanted us to be on equal footing. We had this concept of time equity, but that fell apart. There were four of us who started off as equal owners. One of them could create five amazing things one day, and the other one needed five days to create one amazing thing. We’re all created equal. But over time, we make different choices until some of us are truly stellar, and others are doing their best. It becomes really, really difficult to maintain that sense of equality once it starts to show itself — who’s got value on the company.

Jonny Nastor: Yeah. Four equal owners, meaning you had three partners, right?

Carl Smith: I did.

Jonny Nastor: Then you went without partners. Now — you told me right before this call — you’ve gone back to having a partner recently.

Carl Smith: That’s right. With the four, we had a series of rules since we were all not in charge or in charge. I like the idea of not having a boss.

Jonny Nastor: Of course.

Carl Smith: Those rules wiped out two of them. If you had three strikes in a year, you were gone. That was pretty painful. Then the others wanted off and to do other things. That was cool. It was amicable. I bought the company from them, and it worked out really well. I had about six years almost of running the company. A year and half, two years ago, I took about nine months off because the company was running itself. We had an opt-in model, autonomy, Daniel Pink, and all that stuff. It was working really well, and it fell apart really quick. When it fell apart, I got pulled back in.

I didn’t know what I was going to do, Jon. I was sitting there looking at it. I had started two other companies, and I was like, “I love nGen Works. It’s my baby. It’s the first thing I ever did.” It was just an organic happening that I met Ben Jordan, who is the Creative Director and Head of Customer Experience at a company called Envision who makes a prototyping tool. We started talking, and he said he was going to start his own shop. I said, “You want a 12-year head start?” And he came on. Right now, it’s pretty cool. We have completely opposite, yet matching skill sets. It’ll be fun to see where it goes.

Jonny Nastor: Nice. Did you say in there at some point, “autonomy, Daniel Pink, and all that?”

Carl Smith: Yes.

Jonny Nastor: What does that mean, exactly? I just saw Daniel Pink last week, if we’re talking about the same Daniel Pink.

Carl Smith: We probably are. Daniel Pink who wrote the book Drive.

Jonny Nastor: Yes!

Learning to Hire and Keep the Best People

Carl Smith: Yeah. I had him on my podcast actually, and it was the biggest fanboy moment. It’s the only time that I’ve listened to myself, and I totally hated it. He wrote Drive. It’s a lot of research, actually, from the ’60s all around autonomy and mastering a purpose. I had read this book, and I’d gotten the opportunity to talk with Daniel, which was amazing. It was the beginning of the year in 2013, and I asked everybody in the company pretty much two questions.

The first questions was, “If you could do anything you wanted, time and money didn’t matter, what would it be?” The second question was, “Is there a way to do that, that benefits the company?” We actually changed the company based on this. We launched a new service for one of the people who had been there for a long time. She had this great skill that everybody loved, so we made that its own service. It’s a quality assurance service.

Then, for other people, we had people who wanted to change jobs, but we were a small shop. They asked, “Could I try some different things?” It ended up being the two most successful years of the company. It was pretty amazing.

My job became more of a community manager versus an owner or a boss. I was never a good boss, but I was pretty good at chemistry and figuring out who could work together, helping to resolve conflict, and that sort of thing.

Jonny Nastor: Yeah. That’s hard. It’s hard being a boss, sometimes.

Carl Smith: It’s so difficult. Especially, because if you’re doing a good job, you’re hiring people that are tremendously smarter and more skilled than you. I was a theater major for God’s sake, right? I don’t have any clue about running a business. I didn’t take any business classes. I’ve read a tremendous number of books just because I was terrified. I probably have some level of knowledge now, although impostor syndrome is a bitch.

Jonny Nastor: Yeah.

Carl Smith: When I sit down and look at it, I’m pretty good at it now. I’m pretty good at running a business.

Jonny Nastor: How do you deal with the imposter syndrome? Is it a struggle?

Dealing with the ‘Impostor Syndrome’

Carl Smith: It is a struggle, especially as a white male — the rare white male who suffered from imposter syndrome. I’ve actually given talks on imposter syndrome at Women in Tech. That was interesting, but they were wonderful.

For me, I actually have a folder in my email that, anytime somebody sends me a complimentary or a thank you email, I keep it in there. If I’m really struggling with myself, I’ll go in there and start reading nice things people have said where I’ve helped them. It actually lifts me up quite a bit.

I’ve also got a journal that I only write down when somebody sent a card or said something. Maybe that sounds a little bizarre to some people if they don’t have any issues with self-confidence, but it’s one of those things for me that picks me up a lot.

I’ve also a handful of friends that I can contact and say, “Man, I just don’t know what the hell I’m doing today. I can’t figure it out.” They basically just say, “It’ll be fine, man. Just power through.” Sometimes you just need that. You just need another human being telling you, especially when you’re remote and pretty much working in a space by yourself.

Jonny Nastor: Yeah, totally.

Carl Smith: You can go to the store, and see people and go, “How are you?” But it’s not the same as somebody who understands what you’re going through.

Jonny Nastor: Yeah. I love that, the folder in the inbox. You get these emails, and they’re great at the time. But then, other stuff happens — life happens — and your business has to go different ways, and you’re like, “I don’t know what I’m doing.”

Carl Smith: Yeah.

Jonny Nastor: It’s nice to go back and have those.

Carl Smith: It’s amazing. It really is wonderful.

Jonny Nastor: Yeah. That’s cool. The not knowing what you’re doing, since I’ve started this podcast, it’s helped me with that imposter syndrome so much because I’ve realized — talking to so many smart people like yourself — that so much of this business thing, most of us don’t know what we’re doing until we do it.

Carl Smith: Right.

Jonny Nastor: Then we’re good with it. When we have that confidence to do it the first time, you’re good to go.

Carl Smith: I had somebody that I worked with call me out once because I was in charge of a new business, and they said, “I want to listen in on your business. I want to get good at it.” I went, “Okay, great.” She asked me, “Can you give me a primer of what you do ahead of time.” I was like, “I just wing it. I don’t really do anything.”

Then we got on the call, and I started talking to the customer, the prospect, and asking them what got them excited about the product, why they thought the product was a winner, and what did it mean if they didn’t succeed because we like to not to take a checklist client. We like a client that needs to win. That’s the kind of thing we’re all about.

She listened, and afterwards, she calls me. She goes, “You’re a liar.” I go, “I’m a liar? What did I do?” She goes, “You might not write it down, but you were preparing for that. I guarantee you, you were preparing for that for a few days.” I was like, “Oh, I think you’re right.” I did check it out. I did think about it, so it’s in the back of your mind. But I think you’re right. That level or experience, after a while, you get in a groove, right?

Jonny Nastor: Yeah, definitely. All right. We’ve found that from the beginning, and now for the last 10 minutes even, all of these things that you’re pretty amazing at. Every blog post, every expert tells us the 80/20 rule. That’s all they want to talk about now, right?

Carl Smith: Yeah.

Jonny Nastor: Do 20 percent, get 80 percent. Do what you’re good at. Delegate the rest.

Carl Smith: Right.

Jonny Nastor: Carl, can you please tell me something in your business that you’re absolutely terrible at?

Why Being Unfocused Doesn’t Make You Lazy

Carl Smith: Oh my goodness. I’m horrible at focus. I will chase every shiny thing that comes along. It’s funny. When we were a located company for a long time, you could see the look in their eyes when I would walk in and be carrying a book. They were like, “Oh God. He’s going to change everything. Who gave him that Jack Lush book? Get that away from him!”

I would say focus is the toughest for me, and it does cause problems. It’s one of those things that, when you explain to somebody that, “I’m not good at focus,” it sounds like you’re lazy, and you don’t want to document things or something that like. The truth is, I just buzz around and really love hearing what different people are working on, so it’s difficult. Focus is definitely my weakness.

Jonny Nastor: Do you think your new partner is going to help with this? Is this one of the reasons why you put this into place?

Carl Smith: Well … I was actually going to shut the company down.

Jonny Nastor: Oh.

Carl Smith: I was at this point where we had a horrible fourth quarter. We had a transparent lay-off where everybody talked about it, how it would work, and that sort of thing. It was very painful. There were only a handful of us left when that happened. It was really interesting when my lawyer, he was like, “If you do this, you can do that. This, you can that.” I would look at my lawyer, and I would go like, “You realize I was going to shut it down?” He was like, “Yeah. Let’s make it as amicable as possible.” I’d be like, “Yeah, if this guy wants it, let’s let somebody want it.”

The best was my wife, though. I was telling my wife, “I don’t know. He wants equity.” She goes, “He wants equity in the thing that you don’t want.” I was like, “Shut up! Okay, I got it. Yes.” You know, “Hey, those things in my yard, do you mind hauling it away for five bucks?” It was one of those things that was just crazy.

Ben’s real skill is understanding customer experience — which I have some knowledge of, obviously, just being in business — but he’s an amazing designer and developer. He’s got all of these different skills that I absolutely don’t have. I think we complement each other because I really don’t want to let him down, so that helps me to focus on what I’m trying to achieve for him. I think he’s got some of the same thing.

We’re building a company over again from the ground up. I’m part of a group called the Bureau. We have all of these different events for owners, creative directors, and different types in the web industry. I have all of this knowledge of how some of the best shops are doing things.

That’s been the fun thing with Ben. It’s truly like having a blueprint to create an amazing company and, at the same time, trying to get cash flow positive — which we’ve done in 90 days — which was great. Now, it’s on us if this thing falls apart because we have everything in our favor.

Jonny Nastor: Now you have everything in your favor.

Carl Smith: Yeah, exactly. It’s going to feel like shit if we fall apart.

Jonny Nastor: Fair enough, fair enough. Let’s see if we can talk projects, Carl.

Carl Smith: Okay.

Jonny Nastor: Projects, let’s see if we can focus personally with you because it seems like you do other stuff besides nGen Works specifically, or it could be within the business, but you have a hard time dealing with shiny objects. You like to take the new thing and run with it.

Is there a process that you go through in your head right now? When a new idea comes across your desk, your inbox, or a book, how is it that you decide a new project is something that you should put your time, effort, and resources into?

Sitting in the Sun (and Other Hippy Sh*t)

Carl Smith: You with the questions. Always the great questions. It’s a feeling. It’s not analytical. There’s not a filter. There’s no algorithm. It’s truly a feeling. Sometimes it’s a struggle. I’m not overly religious. I do like a lot of the tendencies of Buddhism, and I feel Daoists would be cool to hang out with because they’d never get mad at me.

One of the things I would say, especially if it’s a decision on what I’m going to focus on. For example, I was really supposed to peel away from the company and let Ben run with it, but it started looking fun again. It’s almost like there was giggling going on behind a door, and I wasn’t allowed to go through the door. I told him that. I was like, “Hey. What are you doing in there? That’s my ex-girlfriend.”

One of the things I did and I told Ben — it’s obviously a conversation that you have to have — but I live in Florida. If I’m really trying to decide to make shift, I go and sit in the sun. I know it sounds like hippy sh*t, but I’ll go sit in the sun and, again, try to figure out what’s the best thing for me and the people I care about. Normally, you know the answer. We forget that, as primates, we have instincts. We can kind of tell when something is good and something is bad. That’s a big part of it.

How to Optimize Your Life for Sleep

Carl Smith: Then I also look at my other commitments that I’ve made. It sounds a little bit like a catch phrase or a soundbite, but I try to optimize my life for sleep. Especially now with the newer technologies like Fitbit and the different things, it’s real easy to see how you’re sleeping. If I don’t sleep well, I try to figure out why. A lot of times, it’s because of the commitments that I’ve made. If I’ve got too many commitments, that will keep me from changing direction. But if I’ve got an easy way to renegotiate and I can do something that feels positive, then that’s absolutely the way I’m going to go.

Jonny Nastor: Optimizing your life for sleep.

Carl Smith: Yeah.

Jonny Nastor: That’s cool. It’s cool to pick one variable that, if that varies too much, then you know you have to look at other variables in your life and what is affecting it.

Carl Smith: Absolutely.

Jonny Nastor: That’s nearly brilliant in its simplicity.

Carl Smith: Sleep is such a health factor. Lack of sleep leads to obesity and diabetes, heart disease. I think it’s 40 percent more likely to have a stroke or stroke-like symptoms if you don’t have accurate amounts of sleep or good amounts of sleep. Then, almost every form of mental illness is associated, at some level, with sleep deprivation. All of these things really come back to sleeping, so I’ve studied it quite a bit, believe it or not. It sounds kind of silly, but it’s really fascinating.

Jonny Nastor: Yeah, and sleep is pretty awesome, too.

Carl Smith: It’s amazing, isn’t it, if you get a good sleep? I was out of town all last week, and it’s funny because when I’m out of time, my sleep suffers, my resting heart rate suffers. I’m dehydrated because I’m drinking more. I’m sleeping less — all of these things. Then I got home on Saturday. I had 11 hours of sleep. When I woke up, I was ready to tackle the world, but everybody was on their weekends. I was like, “Dammit!” Instead, I threw the ball for my dog. It was fun.

Jonny Nastor: That works, too. All right, Carl. We’re going to end off on a question that I’m looking forward to your answer because of your maximizing the ‘God’ years that mentioned earlier. There’s this theory I’m working with, the “entrepreneurial gap.”

Carl Smith: Okay.

Jonny Nastor: As entrepreneurs and dreamers and always wanting to do big things, we’re constantly pushing, looking forward, and setting goals one month, three months, six months, a year, three years, five years into the future. As we approach these goals, usually before we hit them, we set loftier, bigger goals further into the future. It’s a constant struggle of, “When I get there in a month, in three months, in six months, everything will be better. My business will be there. I will have accomplished this.”

We, often times, fail to stop, turn and look behind us at where we’ve come from, what we have accomplished, really enjoy it, and admit what we have been through and accomplished a lot. Carl, right now for us, could you stop, turn around, and look at what it is you’ve done in your career as an entrepreneur, and tell me how you feel about it?

Why Impacting Others Is a Gift

Carl Smith: Wow! I feel pretty good. I’ve helped a lot of people. I’ve had a lot of people come through the doors at nGen, specifically, these last 12 years, and they’ve all gone on to do really, really good things. One of the things I would say to people when they first came in was, “You’re probably not going to be here your whole career. That’s not the way things work anymore, but my job is to make sure you leave for a really, really good reason. It’s only if you leave for a bad reason if I haven’t done my job.” I only had one person that I had to talk to about the bad reason. Figuring we had 60 plus people come through, I think that’s a pretty good percentage.

Looking back, looking at everything that the company has done, other businesses I’ve spoken with, and things like that, it’s a sunny feeling. I’ve got a smile on my face, and thank you. It’s a gift, Jon, to ask me to turn around and look at it — because you’re right. We’re constantly looking forward. Sometimes we forget the positive impact we’ve had on people.

Jonny Nastor: Yeah. I love how you mention all of these people that have come through, worked with you and for you, and have gotten to go on to big, cool things. That’s amazing. It’s an amazing way to look at it. That’s very cool, Carl.

This has been a lot of fun. I know that it’s a good interview when I spend lots of it laughing really loud at the things you say because it’s good. It’s always a good sign to me, but we’ve to mention, in passing, Carl, you and your business. Could you specifically, tell the listener where they can go find out more about you and your business please?

Carl Smith: Oh absolutely. The web’s obviously the best place. It made a lot of sense over beers, trust me, the way we spelled the name. The company is called nGen Works, and it’s If you show up there, you can find out more about us.

We’ve got a podcast right now, Friendly Fire, which we mentioned a little bit, Jon. That’s actually a weekly show about the struggle of bringing on somebody new to run the company that I’ve been running for the last 12 years. It’s funny, and it’s extremely honest and painful.

Jonny Nastor: Excellent. Are you on Twitter?

Carl Smith: I am on Twitter. I’m @CarlSmith.

Jonny Nastor: Excellent. I’m going to link to your Twitter. I’m going to link to nGen Works, Friendly Fire podcast, and the book you mentioned, Daniel Pink, Drive, in the show notes for everyone, so they can easily find all of that stuff. I welcome everyone to go reach out to Carl on Twitter and tell him you heard him on the show.

Carl, thank you so much for taking the time to join me. Please keep doing what you’re doing because it is awesome and inspiring to watch.

Carl Smith: I appreciate it, Jon. I had no idea I was going to have so much fun. What a great show.

Jonny Nastor: The pleasure is mine. Thanks, Carl.

Carl, thank you so much for joining me. I really, truly appreciate it. I have to say, it’s still a bit weird that you started mentioning Daniel Pink right at the beginning because I had just seen him a couple of days prior. Maybe he’s that popular — I don’t know. He wasn’t totally on my radar until then. I found that weird. That was cool.

Carl, he’s a smart, smart guy, right? He’s done a lot stuff, and he’s doing a lot of stuff. He likes to be non-busy. He’s very anti-busy is his thing, yet it seems like he does so many things and has accomplished so much as an entrepreneur. Plus, he’s raising two children, which is a whole other feet unto itself, and he’s trying to maximize his ‘God’ years, which now you get.

During our conversation, Carl said a lot of smart things. He did, didn’t he? He did totally. He said a lot of smart things. But there’s that one thing that he said. That one thing. Did you get it? Did you hear it? Let’s do it. Let’s find the hack.

“I actually have a folder in my email that, any time somebody sends me a complimentary or a thank you email, I keep it in there. If I’m struggling with myself, I’ll go in there and start reading nice things that people have said where I’ve helped them. It actually lifts me up quite a bit.”

And that’s the hack.

Woah, Carl, just to be clear, this is the most lighthearted hack that I’ve had. It’s amazing because I started doing this after you talked. I think what makes us this type of person and wanting to build stuff and do stuff — I’ve talked about this – how we seem very secure and like we don’t have any issues with self-doubt, but we do. We struggle with it horribly. And you get these emails — whether from a family, a friend, a listener, or a customer — that says something nice about you, something positive. It’s funny because you can get 10 of those and then one bad one that knocks you off because you forget about all of these. So make a folder in your email.

That’s the most simple, beautiful hack we’ve had yet. I thank you, Carl, because it works. I had to do it. Trust me, I struggle with people saying things that might be negative, but it’s whatever. Go and you have this list of people who say nice things about you. Isn’t that awesome? I love it.

Carl, thank you so much. That was an awesome conversation. I loved the simplicity. I love the hack. It was great.

All right, guys. This has been a lot of fun. I thank you so much.

Did you know that I have a new podcast? I do. You probably do. Showrunner. It’s a podcast about podcasting. Also, it’s about content in general — content marketing, but in a podcasting sense. You can definitely get more out of it if you aren’t even interested in podcasting.

Showrunner.FM is the website. It takes you to Rainmaker.FM, the network, and that’s the site. ShowRunner.FM. Check it out. It’s my podcast. I think we’re on episode almost 10 or something. I can’t believe I haven’t told you, if I haven’t. For that, I apologize, but now is your chance to check it out.

Again, this has been a lot of fun. I thank you so much for taking the time. Please, until next time, keep hacking the entrepreneur.