Ilan and Guy Ferdman Interview Transcription
Jordan Harbinger Interview Transcription

 

Harry Duran:

Podcast Junkies episode 29. So last week we spoke to Jason Stapleton from the Jason Stapleton Program and you might want ot check that out. If you want more information on how to get a $100,000 dollar studio built, yeah, you heard that correctly. He's a interesting guy and a friend of mine. I think what's most impressive is his dedicate to making his sure the most quality program that he can, that's within his capacity to do so. When I asked him what his plans for the future was, you know, some people tell me, “Oh, I got some plans for the next couple of months.” He very quickly told me he had his eyes set for the next two years. We talked about who he models for inspiration. So, give that a listen, check it out.

 

So, this week we speak to Ari Meisels. He's the host of the Less Doing podcast, which is another one of the shows I've been listening to since the beginning. I think I caught it the near first couple of episodes. Given that a productivity nerd that's one of the shows I've always followed, always checked out. I recently had the opportunity to join one of Ari's boot camps and got to know him a bit better.

 

I was really happy when he agreed to be on the show as he's somebody I had on my list for a long time and we had a nice chat. I dare say this is going to be one of the most productive episodes ever, right? If you got the master himself, Ari, on there, so we talked about where his inspiration comes from and the he challenges he had to over come health wise to get to where he is today. It's a very inspirational story. I really think it'll resonate with you guys. So, enjoy.

 

Real excited to have you one. I'm a huge fan of your show and congraduiations on recently passing the 100 episode mark.

 

Ari Meisel:

Thank you it was pretty exciting and it came up quickly. When I started out I was doing one episode every 6 weeks and now we've got 2 a week. It's really cool.

 

Harry:

The great thing is, I know with folks who have been podcasting a while, they always start out with good intentions and a lot of people that are familiar with John Lee Dumas, for example, say, “5 a day? John did it, I can do it.” And then they try and do it and they very quickly realize all the little pieces that are involved in getting something like this off the ground. What were your thoughts when you first started? Was it something where you were inspired by other shows or did you figure it was something a bit more casual?

 

Ari:

I'm not a very good writer. So, I decided I needed a better medium to get out what I wanted to talk about. It was just something exciting about it and cool and it was just another medium, basically.

 

Harry:

Were you listening to podcasts at the time?

 

Ari:

That's a good question. Let me think realistic. You know what happened? I was interview by the Bullet Proof executive, which was shocking at the time, honestly. Dave and I have become good friends now and it's funny because at the time he was already kind of huge. He got in touch with me to be on the podcast and I was like blown away and then I was like, this is a cool format. What I also realized it was a really good way for me to be able to talk to a lot of people in the industry and get a foot in the door that I wouldn't normally have.

 

It's kind of shocking and I'm sure you've seen this, but you can get people on a podcast who would say no to a CNN interview because they can be in their underwear and socks and they can do it at any time day or night from their computer and you get yeses from people that you wouldn't expect. I know tons of people at this point who have started podcasts where they weren't even published yet, they were recording episodes in the can and they would say be able to email somebody and be like, I have a podcast, loved to have you on, and they'd get yeses and those are amazing conversations.

 

Harry:

Yeah, I think it's the intimacy. You just alluded to the fact that a lot of times they can do it from their home. They don't have to get up, they don't have to get into a car and get into a studio under lights and all that sort of stuff. It puts them at ease where it relaxes them to where they feel..they'd probably be giving the same information they gave, but I think when you are in a more relaxed environment, you sort of come up with more causal conversation.

 

Ari:

Yeah, exactly. I think it makes the whole flow make much more sense.

 

Harry:

So, you had Bullet Proof Exec. I've been listening to Bullet Proof Exec for a while and I remember that episode where you were on and I think what is interesting the more you start podcasting the less time you have to listen to podcasts.

 

Ari:

Yeah, absolutely. So, I listen to some really quirky podcasts at this point. Some of the off the beaten podcasts and they get some really great ideas. A lot of times though the mainstream ones like Bullet Proof or like Ben Greenfield Fitness or some of the really big ones. A lot of times I'll just listen to them for a few minutes to see what the guest is like and then I'll have that guest on my show to have the real conversation that I wanted to have. I also listen to podcasts at double speed.

 

Harry:

What's your app of choice? I'm currently using Overcast.

 

Ari:

So, Overcast is very nice. I use Cast, which is relatively new and I just think is beautiful the way it's setup. What I like about it more than any other..you know, all of them kind of do the same thing, but just laid out in different ways, but what I like about Cast is that it updates faster than any of the podcasts I've seen and it gives you push notifications of that. One of the podcasts that I listen to is the NPR hourly news podcast, which is a 5 minute podcast that summaries the news for the hour and they do it 24 hours a day, every day. So, I actually, it's really annoying to see the 6 hour refresh on the podcast app and it's like oh..It's a really great app, it's really well done.

 

Harry:

It's funny you say it's annoying, but it's annoying for folks who like to be as efficient as possible with their time, so we're looking for the best and fastest app. One and half speed or 2x speed is no longer enoguh.

 

Ari:

Well, so, that's the other thing. This app is the only app I've seen that lets you do gradients of point 1. So, you can do 1.1, 1.2, you can go beyond double speed. There are actually a couple of podcasts where 2 is too fast, but I can listen to the 1.8 speed, which is kind of funny.

 

Harry:

The Overcast app is nice because, I don't know if you've noticed, where it has..it takes out the silence, so if there's a long silence within the actual conversation it'll cut that out and the other thing that it does it does a variable speed increase and it shows it, which is pretty cool as well. So, oppose to showing 2x, it shows 2.12, 2.5, and then it goes up and down. So, it's always nice to get a feeling that you're getting a bit more than 2.

 

Ari:

Yeah, it's always nice to see that progress bar like the app is working for you.

 

Harry:

So, for the benefit of the listener, I think it's safe to say that you weren't always such a student of productivity, so if you wanna talk a little bit about your history and how you ended up on this path and how Less Doing came about.

 

Ari:

Sure. So, I've been an entrepreneur my whole life and for the last 12 years or so I've been a real estate development. The short story is that 8 years ago I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease which is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the digestive tract, considered to be incurable and I was taking a lot of medicine and getting sicker and sicker and after trying do all sorts of things the conventional way I had a big turn around and started on a path of self-tracking and self-experimentation and after 4 months I was off my meds and two months later competed in my first triathlon.

 

As I was setting my sights on Iron Man France, which was about a year later, I realized that the diet, nutrition, supplement aspect of my illness was actually pretty straight forward and simple to figure out and even simpler and simpler I find as times go on. The hard part is managing stress and stress, people never give stress its credit for what affect it has on your ability to function and not be inflamed. Stress was sort of taking over my life and most people have some sort of stress in their life, so I responded to that by creating a new system of productivity called less doing, which was my way of teaching people how to optimize, automate, and outsource everything in their lives in order to be more effective and stress less and do more of the things that they've wanted to do.

 

Harry:

It's fascinating. I think I sort of joined you in your podcast journey early on because I remember when I started I used to listen to podcasts just for music and it was only when I started creating a mobile app there was other venues from getting information on how people do this better, more efficiently, and I listened to a lot of mobile app podcasts, which eventually led me to Pat Flynns podcast and then it just became a rabbit hole. Any good podcast will eventually turn you on to others. You need to listen to Joe Rogan and obviously Bullet Proof Executive, Dave Asprey is on there, so there's a whole list of stuff that I don't get around to listening to now simply because there's so much.

 

You tend to be selective right, podcasts that you used to listen to in the past you don't listen to now because it's almost like are they the best use of your time.

 

Ari:

Right, exactly and depending on the industry you're listening to, you do have a lot of cross over too. There's a lot of people interviewing the same people, especially if someone has a book coming out, like you see them suddenly on every podcast.

 

Harry:
Yeah, I think once you've listened to the first one, unless the host does a really fantastic job of pulling out some nugget of wisdom or something they didn't talk about in a previous episode or total goes off on a different tangent then 9 times out 10 it's just going to be the same stuff on the 10 other interviews.

 

Ari:

Exactly.

 

Harry:

So, when you're doing as you realized, when you found this medium and you started realizing this was a great opportunity to start to people you either admire or loved to have extended conversation with, how did you start to think about your production process? I remember in the beginning you were just turn on the Skype conversation and use your regular iPhones mic and have at it.

 

Ari:

No, I was actually the guy who's like I'm going to do it better. Everybody's been doing it for years, I'm going to do it my way and my way is going to be cooler and more efficient. So, originally I was using a service called Call Trunk, which still exists, it's actually a really great service for recording phone calls, but I was doing it over the phone, so you put in the person's number, it calls them, it calls you, and a lot of the times they wouldn't pick up so the first three recordings were like a voice mail and the sound quality in retrospect was pretty bad,

 

I did several podcasts with my new born on my chest and there were two comments about people saying that they heard what sounded like a baby eating while I was podcasting.

 

Harry:

I think I remember those, yeah.

 

Ari:

I mispronounced the name of my first guest on my show. It was not polished, I'd say that. Another thing to was like I did the recording and then it was like..oh, the other thing was the first one was 15 minutes and it was also a function of the baby stuff. Like, I was trying make this as efficient as possible so I was doing 15 minute interviews and it was like, people would get to their 13 minutes and I'd be like, okay, it was great talking to you, thank you so much for all of that. It was terrible. I don't even know how I got from here to there.

 

Yeah, it definitely evolved, but basically in the beginning did the recordings and then I was editing myself using GarageBand simultaneously watching a YouTube tutorial while I was doing. Messed up a lot of those and then putting in the bumpers, the music, and the graphic stuff. I was using SoundCloud for a long time to host. That was a good decision, honestly. I really was happy with SoundCloud, now I've switched over to Libsyn, but SoundCloud I think is a great hosting platform if you're starting out or if you just kind wanna do this for fun, honestly.

 

And then transcripts I was getting that all taken care of and then posting it to my blog myself, but in very short, I created this very complex system which I am happy to talk about if you want to get it done pretty much all automatically and at a much, much higher level, higher quality, and I hope it sounds pretty good right now. People should be able to tell I'm talking into a nicer mic with headphones and there's no babies.

 

Harry:

Yeah, there's no babies involved. No, it's funny, to folks I've talked about this before and when you are a fan of the podcast, I happened to catch you when you were just getting started, but for others I've been a fan of, I go back and I listen to the beginning and I listen to old episode, so it's always interesting to listen to the struggles of how they got started and you don't feel so bad about your own podcast when you do that because you're like okay, there are bumps along the way and it's nice to see the evolution as people get more polished, more professional, have better interviews, just fun to listen to.

 

So, as you were going through this process obviously you were doing it on your own and then I think you found someone who was a fan of the show and volunteered to help you out a little bit with the production?

 

Ari:

Yeah, so that happened not so long ago honestly. So, that was Aaron Olson who contacted me from the Paleo Runner Podcast a year ago, I think at this point. So basically contacted me, it's great, love your content, it could be so much better and I'd love to be your co-host. He had a new born baby also, but Aaron was great. He started using better audio software and he was my co-host.

 

What I liked about that I had for a very long time on my blog I had a weekly Friday post about the interesting links I found that week without much decision of it, just sort of the links, and that was something for a while I wanted to bring in some more of a decision, so basically he came on this call so I could tell him about those interesting links, he did the show notes, he did all of that stuff, and all the editing and posting and stuff and I think we did 6 or 8 episodes together and then basically got too busy with his new child.

 

So, that point, I brought in my brother in law and my brother in law Felix Berg is a professional composer for film and TV. He's done movies, he's done the music for How I Met Your Mother and the show Greek and all these different shows and stuff, so he's a real music audio guy and immediately he got me setup with a new mic and a new sort of setup in general and he uses Logic, which is like the pro, pro version and he's also now my co-host and he's British and he's got the very nice speaking voice and people have said that he brings a tough of humility to the podcast.

 

It's kind of amazing actually. Since Felix has gotten involved we've been getting really interesting reviews from people and fan comments. We have a lot of fans in Australia now, which I'm not sure how that happened, but as far as quality he's taken it just beyond anything and I've actually, it's pretty cool, I can see the different and I can also contact friends of mine who have podcasts and be like, hey, you should have Felix take a look at this because the little tweaks that could be a lot better.

 

Harry:

It's funny that you said that comment because as you were saying that I thought you were going to say Felix ported a touch of audio professionalism, but you actually said humility, which I thought was interesting.

 

Ari:

Well, that's the feedback I've gotten.

 

Harry:

That's funny. So, all this time you were looking for someone to help you take the show to another level and that person was in your own family.

 

Ari:

Exactly, yeah.

 

Harry:

How did he get involved? Was he listening and said, hey, I think it's time for me to jump in and help out here?

 

Ari:

No, as with most of my good ideas they come from my wife. We were in the car and she was like, “Why don't you have Felix do it as your partner? I'm sure he'd love to.” I asked him and he was really into it and it's opened up a whole new side business for him now because he did a customize intro for us and new music and he's doing that for other people as well. It's just one of those things.

 

Harry:

What's funny it's opening up a whole new genre or a whole new business for a lot of folks like Felix who were involved in audio and now it's niched down to podcasts.

 

Ari:

So, on that note, I'll tell ya, I stopped doing transcripts several episodes ago. I don't know if you caught that.

 

Harry:

Yeah, I did see that.

 

Ari:

Okay so, I found this guy named Mike Rossi, by the way I love to give credit to everybody who is involved in this stuff. So, Mike, I found on Elance and I hired him as a show notes writer and the thing is the first couple of episodes he just killed it and wrote the best show notes ever with really great descriptions and time stamps that are so detailed. Like, he's got time stamps sometimes that are 7 seconds apart. You know, I realized I didn't need the transcripts for that and the other thing is…Do you do transcripts? I haven't noticed.

 

Harry:

Yeah, I'm doing them right now and I'm still..how do you say, the jury's still out on the effectiveness.

 

Ari:

Jury is still out. That's what everybody's says. No body who does a podcast seems to know if there's any value to putting the transcripts out, honestly. Somebody like John Lee Dumas doesn't do them mostly because he's got 100s of episodes to do, but everybody does transcripts, but no body knows if anybody reads them and I've never had somebody give me the feedback that they liked it, so I switched over to these much more detailed show notes that I think are much more efficient honestly and it just works in the flow better. It's been great. That's the official team is Felix is the audio engineer and Mike is my show notes guy, but then there's a whole bunch of virtual people in getting the thing done.

 

Harry:

So, that's the perfect segue to your new…I picture this Willy Wonka-type everlasting gobstopper machine process that you got going on, especially since I saw the last version of the diagram. So, you wanna talk through the Frankenstein you've created?

 

Ari:

Sure, and actually that diagram has changed a little bit too since you've seen it. So, I've almost have to pull something up to make sure I get all the steps, but basically think of things like Rube Goldberg machine, you know, like the Ok Go video where they have the guys with the paint and like, you know the one I'm talking about?

 

Harry:

Yeah, is that the one where there are photographers in the studio and it's like this 10 minute long..I've seen it like 3 or 4 times. It's fantastic.

 

Ari:

I think it's like when the morning comes or something. So, there's two parts of my podcast. There's the interview and then there's the co-host session with Felix. Like, I have interviews recorded for episodes that won't post for the next two months, you know, so I have many, many interviews in the can since we're releasing twice a week and there's…I guess I'm about 14 interviews ahead of where we are right now, which is a nice place to be. Every week Felix and I on Monday mornings we'll record two sessions together. So, we'll record the two episodes for the next week together, which is great because what that means is I can have somebody on the podcast for a interview weeks in advance, but I can still talk about something very topical and relevant with Felix, which is a nice mix I find.

 

So, we do our recording and basically what happens I record my interview and I put it into Dropbox and I call it person's name and interview and there's software or an app called SortMyBox.com which sees files in your Dropbox and based on certain parameters such as a name or an extension will automatically put them into different folders. So, anything with the word interview in it in that public folder, it moves into that interview folder into Dropbox, then when I record with Felix, I do the same thing, I call it the interview episode name and then I write co-host and SortMyBox sees co-host and puts that in the co-host folder.

 

A few things happen, on Felix's end, he's got notifications from Zapier, you know Zapier, right?

 

Harry:

Yeah. We will have to have detailed show notes because we're definitely leaking out on productivity hacks, but yes.

 

Ari:

You can feel free to use that graphic from my website too. There's a post on a blog called, “A Well Oiled Machine.” So, then Zapier is notifying a few people. So, first of all, when the new interview goes in there, it notifies Felix that the interview file is there, it notifies Mike for the show notes, it notifies our graphic design virtual team that they need to do a new graphic and it also creates a new Evernote note in my podcast links notebook so that's where we sort of pull everything from where Felix and I have our discussion from and also where Mike writes the show notes.

 

That's sort of our central location, where everything sort of spins out from Evernote. So, then, Felix works on the file, he does what he needs to do and he puts it in back into a different folder in Dropbox, which is called podcast episodes and that sends another notification to a Fancy Hands' virtual assistant and tells them to go ahead and post it to Libsyn and it gives them information to check my Google Calender so they know when they're suppose to release it because it's automatically put in to the Google Calender for the right date and so they know when to release it and not only that, they're pulling the image from a special Dropbox folder, they're pulling show notes from Evernote, they're getting all that information, they're getting the file from Dropbox, so it's kind of all pulled together into one thing. They post it to Libsyn.

 

Once it goes live, another Zapier email goes out to a Fancy Hands' assistant and has them create the blog post that's associated with it on my blog. Then the final final two steps is that when the new blog posts comes out, it creates a draft email in my gmail to thank the guest that was on the show and send them a digital copy of my book and it also has a three month follow up CC on it, so I can follow up with that guest whenever I want and it also pays Felix using SquareCash, which is just really a cool little thing I threw in there.

 

So, there's a few little steps in there in between that I left out, but that's basically is what the process looks like and it's great because, again, what it requires from me is recording two thirty minute files, that's it.

 

Harry:

The two thirty minute files that is the prep with Felix.

 

Ari:

Yeah, so the co-host section and the interview.

 

Harry:

Nice. How has that been tweaked over time?

 

Ari:

Before Felix got involved I was having a virtual assistant put it through Auphonic by themselves, which is a free processing thing. It was getting transcribed, so it was going to fiver to have a transcription done, which we're not doing any more and there were a few more moving parts to it, but now it's gotten quite streamlined I would say.

 

Harry:

It's fascinating when that happens. I'm outsourcing most of the production and show notes now too and it's sort of like a release and a relief when you can put all your time and effort into the interview and, like in your case, your prep with Felix as well. It's not that you can't do those things, but I find that there's people that do it better and more efficiently than you and those are the people that should be doing it.

 

Ari:

You're right, I could do those things, but there's no way I could do two episodes a week if I was doing that.

 

Harry:

So now that you've got that load off your mind, do you find that you put a lot more of your time as far as the podcast is related into research which guests you wanna have on the show?

 

Ari:

Well, I have more time to listen to more podcasts, which is honestly how I do a lot of my research. I find guests either from listening to other podcasts or from meeting people in person. I do a lot of, sort of, passive networking. I'm very fortune that I'm involved in several groups where I just get to meet a lot of really really interesting people. Authors tend to make really good podcast interviews. Also, at this point, I get contacted by people who say they want to be on the show and to my surprise 90% of the time they're actually good fits where as everyone who wants to write a guest post is not a good fit.

 

Harry:

Yeah, exactly. I think people probably, I would think, had done their homework and are familiar with the show and listen and know what the content is and think that what they have to provide is something that would be valuable for your listeners.

 

Ari:

Well, the other thing that I like about somebody contacting me about being on the show it means, to me, they wanna have a cool conversation.

 

Harry:

Definitely. It's funny, when you start podcasting you get this inspiration to like…everything looks like a podcast material for you, so every time I talk to people I'm like, well, you have this niche in this thing you like doing and knitting, crocheting, you should start a crocheting podcast and it's weird how that starts to happen.

 

Ari:

What I like is the podcast content can come from anywhere now. Good example, not from me personally, but Joe Polish is somebody who I've had on the podcast and I've been on his and I recently interviewed Jordan Belfort who is the Wolf of Wall Street character and that was thanks to a connection through Joe, but when Joe put me on the phone with Jordan, he was at Jordan's house and they were watching the Wolf of Wall Street and he was recording the whole thing and every time he would pause a scene and ask Jordan about it, like, what really happened here. He recorded the whole thing. That made an awesome podcast.

 

You know, I went to the Bullet Proof conference a couple of months ago and there were three or four conversations that I had with vendors and people who had companies there, I didn't, but I could have recorded those, and I saw Ben Greenfield actually walking around recording a lot of those conversations and that makes for really good content.

 

Harry:

Yeah, a lot of my friends that are podcasters got their mobile rig setup. They use the Zune H4 or H5, which is sort of like the go-to mobile rig. You can plug XLR mics directly into it and the sound is fantastic, especially when you go to these conferences you see people having this hallway conversations and they've got their Zune at their side. I think it just blends to more natural conversations and you can have it on the spot and both people are up for it.

 

Ari:

Absolutely.

 

Harry:

Ben Greenfield by the way is a beast. Not only in terms of his workouts and his work ethic, even from just a podcasting perspective, it's so hard to keep up because I'm not sure what his current schedule is but I always feel like I'm 10 episodes behind with him.

 

Ari:

Yeah, he is a content powerhouse, there's no question. He's actually going to be speaking at my live event in my next year, which is going to be awesome.

 

Harry:

So talk a little bit about that since you've mentioned it. What do you have planned coming up?

 

Ari:

So, I do these quarterly retreats for my mastermind coaching group. May 1st through 3rd of 2015 in New York City, we're doing a 3 day open to the public conference, which I'm so excited about. It's going to be amazing. We're going to have, me speaking, obviously, but then Dave Asprey, Ben Greenfield, Joe Polish, and Dean Jackson. We're going to have workshops on all of Less Doing stuff. Lots of really new advances people haven't heard about and some exhibitors who are going to be showing off new technologies and it'll be a really cool mix of wellness and productivity. I can't wait for that. If people want to find out more, people can go to LessDoingLive.com.

 

Harry:

Very cool. So, you started to have a couple of repeat guests on the podcast, I think, right?

 

Ari:

Yes, I have. People have different books coming out and different things they want to promote and we can have a different conversation. Tonight, actually, I'm not sure when this is posting, but tonight, Wednesday, December 3rd, we're having a live webinar with Dave Asprey, which will be released at some point. He's got a new book coming out, the Bullet Proof Diet, actually it came out yesterday, so we'll be talking about that. You know, the people who always produce this content always have something new to talk about, which is nice.

 

There are people who just want to come back on the show and talk about something different and also sometimes you just can not get it all out in an hour or a half hour.

 

Harry:

No, definitely. I found myself trying to actually reign it back in because, I'm sure you've had it before, these conversations where you feel like time just goes by and before you know it you've been speaking for like an hour, sometimes an hour and a half, and I guess you're trying to be considerate to the listen and some people try and chop those up into episode part one and part twos, but I think when you really, really vibe with a guest it's really causal and the listener can see that these folks are comfortable speaking to each other and they're really having a fun conversation.

 

Ari:

Yeah, exactly.

 

Harry:

So, as you think about, you know obviously, 100 is a nice milestone for a podcaster, what are some of your more memory conversations that you've had with guests where you felt like, man, I could go on speaking for hours with this person?

 

Ari:

That's a good question. So, Mark Divine of SEALFIT will definitely be one. He was just so interesting to speak to and so calm and like well versed. That was an awesome conversation plus I've had this joansing to be a navy seal for a long time in my life, so that was something..

 

Harry:

Did you go through his program?

 

Ari:

No, I have not. If I knew about him when I was single, that would have definitely happened, but it's a little hard to take off 12 days for a seal fit camp now. Also when I spoke with David Allen of Getting Things Done, which is a system that I don't use and I know a lot of people have had huge benefits GTD and some people find it to be very stressful, but the conversation with David nonetheless was absolutely fantastic. I really, really enjoyed that. I think I've had Dave Asprey on the show like three time and those are always really great conversations. It's real nice.

 

Harry:

Overall, if you think of when the podcast started, how would you say the podcast has changed your life?

 

Ari:

Well, I would say it's a lot of what I do now, honestly. I feel like my job in Less Doing is a curator and creator of content. That's really what my..people talk about 80/20, but I think it's more like 95/5 and that 5% only I can do and do better than anybody else is, for me, is content creator and curation. So, I put a lot of effort into the podcasting now. It's not something that's monetizing specifically, but it opens up some many conversations. It has lead to so many things.

 

It's also one of the easiest ways to tell someone to find out more about you. It's like, what else are you doing, well, I'll tell you right now, but why don't you listen to a couple of these episodes and they just gets people a really great overview. Plus it's a really great feedback mechanism. It's a really great way to open a conversation with people and find out about fans and who's listening and what they're really getting out of it. Fortunately and unfortunately people seem to read less and I'm one of them. I don't read as much as I used to or feel like I should be reading, so it just opens up so many more pathways. It's a big change, quite honestly.

 

Harry:

When you say you read less..Because I listen to..I go through spurts where I listen to audio books. The actually only physical book that I started recently was the Tony Robbins Money Matters. It's a fascinating book. I actually through a podcast. He was on Tim Ferriss's show. That was a two parter. If you haven't heard of that one that's fantastic episode with Tony Robbins. Even with audio books, Audible,you can do that at actually 3x. I recently listened to Adam Grant's Give and Take, which is a really good book, highly recommend it. I think it was listed as 11 hours or something like that, so obviously you gotta do that.

 

Ari:

Yeah, Money Matters is 21 hours.

 

Harry:

Yeah. Some of those books I think they have so much content you gotta take notes and highlight anyway, so they probably lend themselves better to physical form.

 

Ari:

Yeah, I think there is actually some benefit to physically reading. I do like audio books, but between that and listening to podcasts, it's like where do you find the time. I think there is benefits to reading a paper book, but it's one of those things that tends to put me asleep, unfortunately. What I found really effective for me is two things, one is Blinkist, so Blinkist is that app that sort of gives you this, they're not summaries, they're basically the key points for non-fiction books and for fiction, I really like DailyLipid.com, which basically sends you two or three pages of a book a day and it makes it really hard to not read it or to come up with an excuse to not read it.

 

Harry:

Do you remember something you've read recently through either Blinkist or DailyLipid?

 

Ari:

Yeah, I read a bunch of books by Jules Verne in the last few weeks. I never read Journey to the Center of the Earth or Around the World in Eight days and they were both fascinating. I really, really enjoyed reading those and on Blinkist, not the last thing, but I read Thinking Fast and Thinking Slow on there, which was a great book and really helpful with some of my work actually.

 

Harry:

So, you were doing some public speaking before the podcast, right, if I remember, you were on a YouTube video and there was a Tedx talk, right?

 

Ari:

Yeah, I did a Tedx talk for Tedx East, which is back in May 2012, I think, or 2011. That was an amazing experience and that also was a huge turning point for me as well because it was the first time I publicly talked about my illness and the path and I hadn't completely overcome it at that point, I mean I had, but I was sort of on my way to training and I wasn't in the throws of Less Doing yet, so it's interesting looking back on it, but it was a huge turning point for me as speaker because I do do a lot of speaking now.

 

Harry:

Yeah, one of the things..so since you were a speaker, do you find that the way you've had interviews and the interaction you've had with interviews and being an actual host where you have to engage with folks sometimes an hour, have you sensed that arch in terms of where you were originally speaking and what you're doing now?

 

Ari:

Oh yeah, my god, so 13 years ago I started working on a project in upstate New York in Bampton..12 years ago actually and it was a relatively big real estate development for that area so I was in the news a lot and you can see my first few interviews were just horrible. I was uming and ahing a lot and stumbling over my words and I didn't know what I was saying and then those gradually improved and speaking was the same thing.

 

I'm pretty happy with my Tedx performance and it's also something I feel like I've gotten better and better at. The weird thing for me is when I'm introversial situations and even at home with my wife, I have an issue with mumbling, because I think that my thoughts are trying to get out of my head faster than my mouth can move, but when I'm podcasting or on stage, I stand up straighter and enunciate much better. I measured this actually, so it's just kind of a weird thing for me. I guess I'm in a flow state when I'm in performance mode.

 

Harry:

I can relate because when my wife tells me the exact same thing, she's like, you're mumbling, you're not articulating or enunciating your words correctly. So she's constantly having to tell me to speak up, but I noticed when I'm out with friends and stuff like that I don't have that problem.

 

Ari:

Yeah, it's funny. It's one of those things. Your mouth just wanna move faster. It's the same thing though..so I listen to everything at 2x sped, when I listen to things at 1 times speed, I feel like I'm on drugs.

 

Harry:

Yes.

 

Ari:

I feels like somebody's like..desensitizing myself to normal speech.

 

Harry:

It's funny because when you hang out in these circles like in the group or in the boot camp I am apart of with you, everybody's on the same page, so when you step out of it and talk to someone else, first of all, you gotta explain a podcast and then you explain you listen at a faster speed and they're like, “Why would you do that?” And you're like, no, it's not a chipmunk. It doesn't make them sound like Alvin, it just changes the pitch. They're like, oh, okay, but when they try it they're hooked.

 

Ari:

I was at dinner a few weeks ago with JJ Virgin who wrote the Sugar Impact Diet and I had her on the podcast and she's really awesome and she had just done this really, really greats interview with Joe Polish and I had listened to it on the way in the car and we were talking about it. She's like, “Did you listen to the whole thing?” I was like, yeah, well, I listened to double speed and she's like, “Of course you do.”

 

Harry:

So funny. It's literally you can't go back and it's almost like, okay, if there's something after 2x, how fast can you go. I think somebody explained it to me once or I read it once, that it's sort of like..imagine if you're on the autobond and you're going 130 miles an hour, there's literally nothing else that you can think of beside like, how to keep that car on the road as oppose to driving down your normal city street and you're going 30 miles an hour, but you are multitasking and looking out the window, trying to text, changing the radio station, I think it's something about the focus at that speed forces you to pay attention.

 

Ari:

Exactly.

 

Harry:

So, you grew up in East Coast?

 

Ari:

Yes. I grew up in New York City my whole life.

 

Harry:

Actually in the city?

 

Ari:

Yeah

 

Harry:

Yeah, I grew up in Yonkers.

 

Ari:

Oh nice.

 

Harry:

I mean, I'm in LA now, but we just moved in April, but yeah, most of my life just Yonkers just hanging out in the city and recently lived in the city. We were just in East Village as well. I've always talked to my dad, my dad is still back there, about the change in seasons and if they've ever had any thought about retiring to Florida, but you're still the fan of the snowy winter?

 

Ari:

No body's a fan of snowy winters, but I'm also not the fan of being at the beach for too long. Although my parents do have a condo in Miami, which is kind of funny. With the three boys we're pretty much weather doesn't bother us so much. We're always busy with something. I have three boys under the age of three, so our house is a little bit of a mad house and we're never dressed appropriately for the weather, none of us are. It's just kind of those things we just have to..we split our time between New York City and the Hamptons.

 

Harry:

Oh nice. I think..Obviously, you don't think of this as parents, but I have two brothers and obviously when it came time for winter, it's more manual labor to shovel the drive way.

 

Ari:

Yeah, right, well, our guys are good at throwing things in the garbage right now.

 

Harry:

Gotta get them started young. You mentioned your boys, you have twins as well right?

 

Ari:

Yeah, so, Ben is just going to be 3 in January and the twins, Sebastian and Lukas, are 19 monhts and a half, almost 20 months.

 

Harry:

You also have that in common with Ben greenfield and I think one of your recent podcasts and I dunno if this came about just as a result you being on eachother's shows, you actually ended up developing a pretty good friendship with him and started working on projects with Ben, right?

 

Ari:

Oh yeah. So Ben has identical twin 6 year olds and we did a course on double dads and it's basically the twin dads guild on raising health and happy twins and we did I think 12 videos where we were just talking to each other about this stuff and it came out really great and we've become friends.

 

Harry:

Very nice. So, as you think about the growth of the show, what's got you excited in terms of the podcast coming up and is there any ideal guests that you're trying to go after?

 

Ari:

Ideal guests..well, it's funny, because people tell me they want to have Tim Ferriss on the show and I've asked him, I mean, I sort of brought it up, I didn't really ask him and the truth is I don't know if that'll be a good one, to be perfectly honest. We're not competitors by any means and I've shared the stage with Tim now and I'm going to again in April, but the problem with talking to productivity people, which I don't do a lot, surprisingly.

 

I don't actually talk to straight up productivity people most of the time because it's like you're basically comparing strategies or you're…if you're sharing secrets or tips that's great, but it just doesn't come off that way a lot, especially like with talking to David Allen, it was kind of a risk for me, because I don't use GTD and I actually..there's some things about it that I don't like, so fortunately we didn't talk about the mechanics of the system that much, that's not what we got into, which was great.

 

So let me think who would be awesome to have a podcast. The truth is that I've had some really big reaches and I've gotten them and so I'm going to have Peter Diamandis on the podcast soon who is the creator of the XPRIZE, so it's not always the big names that excite me so much, more like some of the really cool founders that I working on some amazing technology or some cool app, but I don't have some wishlist because fortunately everyone that I've asked, I mean, I've gotten some nos, for sure, but the people that I've really want that are fresh in mind have said yes.

 

Harry:

What's interesting is that as a podcast develops it becomes more of a reflection of your personality and not so much, oh, this has be a guest that has something specifically to do with like Less Doing of productivity. It's someone you've met and you're just in the topic they talk about or something, like you said, a book that they wrote and I think you just want to have a conversation with that person and that's where it stem from.

 

Ari:

Yeah, basically. It's almost impulsive.

 

Harry:

I know you had a pretty good system for resourcing links. You had a whole list of Feedly links you were looking at, are you still doing that?

 

Ari:

As far of..for what?

 

Harry:

In terms of how you find out new tools and…

 

Ari:

Oh, yeah, there's some key websites like Product Hunt is a really good one for me and I follow about 3-400 different feeds and I go through about a 1,000 posts a day, I say, that I..I don't read them all, I process them I like to say and that's where I found a lot of really good stuff, but again, one of the nice things to getting to like sort of a tipping point or critical mass is that a lot of people come to me now, which is amazing. It's something that I never expected and I get to find out about stuff. Also, I advise several companies now and that has put me into this whole other world of finding out about things before they kind of hit the public.

 

Harry:

The other thing that's happened is you've started to, I don't know if it's on a regular basis, but you started to have advertisers on your show, right?

 

Ari:

Yeah, so that was a big..it was a hard decision honestly, I didn't want to, not sell out, that's not what I'm really worried about, but I didn't want it to seem like I was pushing something just to be commercialized and the truth is I said this with the first couple of episodes, I only have sponsorship from companies that I have had relationships with and actually really believe in and use personally. So, yeah, we've had those at the beginning. It's not about money, it's really about giving some sort of more legitimacy and also giving back to some of those sponsors that have been really supportive of me.

 

Harry:

I think as long as they vibe with your brand and, like you said, you don't feel like there's any problem with talking about the service because it's something you use, I think, that resonates more with the listeners.

 

Ari:

Yeah, exactly.

 

Harry:

One thing I wanted to ask, Ari, and I think you're in a good position to give a perspective on this, for me there's always an example, and I don't know if you've seen it and talked before where they talk about the span of time between technologies and I think maybe the printing press, the radio, the TV, the internet, those windows get shorter and shorter as we move forward, so it's almost like, people call it a quickening or increasing our speed over evolving technologies, is this something you feel yourself, you know, being in a space where we're constantly trying to find, like, ways to be more productive, ways to be more efficient, have you noticed that's something that's increasing overall or with people you interact with on a daily basis?

 

Ari:
Oh yeah, I mean the rate of change in technology is absolutely amazing. My podcast, the production process alone I couldn't have done any of that stuff when I started three years ago. Just, none of that exist and now there's things where..we're literally at a point now where if you can think of a problem, the solution is out there somewhere if you just Google it. It's crazy. I wish there was something that did this and it's like, oh, there's three teams in Israel that are doing that right now.

 

Harry:

Seems like there's a lot of technology..I was following startups for awhile and a lot of technology companies are coming out of Israel.

 

Ari:

So many. It's kind of amazing. A lot of bio-tech stuff too.

 

Harry:

Is there any stuff you've seen that, at this point, is totally..are you just amazed or jaw-dropping in terms of technology wise?

 

Ari:

Well, one thing there's this thing called the MUSE Headband and I actually have one right here. They're actually going to be at the live event giving demos, but it's a brain sensing headband that allows you to get immediate neuro feedback and really maintain a sense of calm and focus with their 3 minute training in their app and it's awesome. It really, really works. I mean, it's scanning your brain, with an app!

 

Harry:

You've also had the folks from HeartWave on in a recent episode.

 

Ari:

HeartMap. Sorry, SweetBeat, rather. They do heart rate variability testing.

 

Harry:

And the stuff that she was talking about that they can do just by having the heart rate monitor strapped to your chest. It used to be things where you have to like download or put your finger on the camera to do, but now they're doing it just with the blue tooth monitor, right?

 

Ari:

Right, yes, exactly.

 

Harry:

Yeah, it's kind of mind blowing all the stuff that's going on. Where we're heading I'm not even sure if Skynet is probably going to be the least of our worries.

 

Ari:

That thought comes up quite a bit.

 

Harry:

But, I guess we really can't be afraid of it because the most part everything I'm seeing is really helping us to lend more efficient and health lives. All these sensors are pointing out things that in the past people would live their whole lives and not realize they had a certain condition.

 

Ari:

Right, that's true. The thing is with some much unawareness or lack of awareness and that's really what I try and work on with people in terms of optimizing their productivity, sometimes they just don't know what is that time suck and what we're spending our resources and time on. So, there's actually this quote that I love from Alfred North Whitehead, he was a mathematician, and he said, “Civilian advances by extending the number important operations to which we can perform without thinking of them.” That's true. It really is true. Sometimes we create problems that then require technology, but at the same time it's one of the ways we can progress.

 

Harry:

What's the quote that says, “May you live in interesting times?”

 

Ari:

Right.

 

Harry:

We're certainly there. For me, it's fascinating to be here at this time when you think of maybe 30-40 years ago in the time of your parents and I guess our future generations ahead of us, I can't imagine the sort of life they will be living, the technologies. If you think about it right now if you take a picture with your camera and you show it to your niece or nephew is like automatically primed to see that picture right away and just reach for whatever you have in your hand and swipe it just so they can see the next picture. Like, those actions come naturally to kids nowadays and I'm sure you've seen that in your kids maybe.

 

Ari:

Well, they are a little young, but maybe.

 

Harry:

It's amazing how many parents will just put up an iPad in front of a child and have that be their entertainment or education for the next hour.

 

Ari:

Yeah, so, my three year old likes to use iPad for games mostly now, which is great. So, this is actually kind of funny for me and I think there is a place for an iPad and I like that the kids can use the iPad very effectively, but no, I agree with you. They're not sitting there for hours that's like their thing. My kids are ridiculously active, so we kind take a breathe of fresh relief when they sit down with the iPad for a few minutes.

 

There are videos on YouTube that are so popular and there's one person called, her tag is DisneyCollector, and these videos, there's hundreds and thousands of these videos of people just opening toys and reviewing them.

 

Harry:

Yeah, yeah. I've seen those.

 

Ari:

But they have millions of views and these people make literally millions of dollars. Number one earner on YouTube is this EvanHD who is 12 years old and he makes 3 million dollars a year from YouTube ads and all he does is open toys. Like, c'mon! I gotta tell you something, I am mesmerized by these videos. You watch DisneyCollector, I think that she's in the Philippines and she's like, “Hey everybody, this is DisneyCollector and this is the Tomator from Cars and this decal is actually painted on and the tires are rubber.” I'm watching this like, oh my god, keep going.

 

Harry:

That's hilarious.

 

Ari:

It's pretty amazing, so there you go.

 

Harry:

There's something for everyone out there.

 

Ari:

I bought up Evan HD, his most popular video has 57 million views.

 

Harry:

Oh jesus..

 

Ari:

And it's a Play-Doh set that he was playing with.

 

Harry:

Wow, that's crazy.

 

Ari:

Yep!

 

Harry:

So, getting close to the..

 

Ari:

How do you top that?

 

Harry:

How do you segue from that. So, stepping back, I was actually curious, I had this decision with Ilan and Guy Ferdman who I heard on your show and thanks for that I reached out to them..

 

Ari:

Ilan and I are very close by the way.

 

Harry:

I really connected with those guys. They're really genuine and they speak their mind pretty openly, which I think is why I got along with them, but we got into the topic of education and I'm wondering if that's a thought in your mind in terms of what path you want to take for your kids.

 

Ari:

Public school for one. I went to a private school growing up and I think private school is very different now from what it was then and I think public school gives a much more realistic view of what the actual world is like and what the work force is like and what the real world is like. I think private school has gotten very specialized now so you're getting a lot of the same people in one school that are very, very similar to each other.

 

So, that's one thing, but the other thing is I've never been an academic person. I went to a very good school, but I barely graduated. I sort of always got along with doing extra curricular activities and, you know, I graduated from Warwood with a 2.68 GPA, which I think is a C+ or something, but I also am one of like six people in my year out of 500 or so who got a letter from the dean thanking me for my excellent service to the school.

 

So, you sort of create your path and so that's something I think is important and I believe that's something that'll be important with my kids as well. There's a lot of education that happens in school, but I think it's very important what happens at home and the extra curricular activities they get and the culture that they're exposed to and the other activities lime martial arts and sports, learning how to build things. There's all sorts of life skills I want my kids to learn. So, I try to get a holistic view of it and I'm not just going to rely on any school system regardless of what it was. So, my wife and I are very, very involved in..we are their primary caregivers and we're here with them all the time, my wife more than me.

 

Harry:

Very cool. It's very exciting to hear. We don't have any kids ourselves, but I'm always fascinated to hear what folks have planned. It's pretty intimating stuff to kind of think about you holding their future in your hands.

 

Ari:

Yeah. That's true.

 

Harry:

So wrapping up, Ari, when you're not trying to be your most efficient version of yourself and there's no technology around, like, what do you do to in terms of down time for yourself?

 

Ari:

So I only officially..my work days are two days a week. Mondays and Wednesdays, so I'm doing “work” on my phone and phone calls and things on other times, but my official work is only two days a week. I really kind of disconnect and focus on my kids and spend time with my kids and my wife and our two dogs. I mean, right now we're half in the city and half in the Hamptons. When we go to the city, I don't even bring a computer with me, so I won't look at a computer for 3 or 4 days. I'd do my email on my phone, but yeah, basically..

 

Harry:

No hobbies you're working on?

 

Ari:

You know, not right now. I've historically been a hobby collector and I have a lot of weird skill sets, but not at the current moment. Honestly once we get a more normalized schedules I want to get back to a more regular workout schedule, which I'm not on right now.

 

Harry:

Yeah, we re-signed up for Crossfit with my wife and we'll start again in January, so it was nice to get back to that grove. So, where can folks track you down online for everything Ari Meisel related?

 

Ari:

LessDoing.com is sort of the central HQ for everything and if they want to find out about that live event it's LessDoingLive.comg. The book is LessDoingBook.com. I try to make all this stuff really easy, but LessDoing.com is where everything is.

 

Harry:

The other thing that you might not know about Ari is he's also a fan of late night infomercials.

 

Ari:

Yes. That is my vice. If its been on TV at 3am then I probably own it.

 

Harry:

Yeah, you mentioned that on one of the podcast episodes. I'm sure they're all stacked up on your garage somewhere.

 

Ari:

Some of them are useful, some of them are definitely not. Of course, you can't return them because the company stops existing.

 

Harry:

Good point. Alright, Ari, thanks so much for coming on. I really had fun talking to you and I hope you have a fantastic week coming up.

 

Ari:

Well, thank you for having me.

Ilan and Guy Ferdman Interview Transcription
Jordan Harbinger Interview Transcription