Transcript: Thanks, Allan. This is David Brower with Your 20 Minute Podcast. Our special guest today from California is Mitchell Levy. He’s the AHA guy and the CEO at AHAthat, who empowers thought leaders to share their genius. He’s an accomplished entrepreneur who’s created a ton of businesses in Silicon Valley. He’s a TEDx speaker, international best seller with 61 business books, we could go on and on. I just … Mitchell, first of all, welcome to the show. Glad to have you here.
Mitchell Levy: Great to be here. Thanks for having me.
David Brower: I just watched your TEDx Hickory and I was sold, man. I mean, as far as what you talked about, as far as creating trust, vulnerability, those kinds of things. Could you give us a little pitch on what all that means to people?
Mitchell Levy: So when you say sold, because you know you don’t really sell anything on a TEDx, so …
David Brower: I embraced it.
Mitchell Levy: There you go. Thank you. Thank you. So, here’s the thing. I’ve been in Silicon Valley for 30 years. I left and I’ve been entrepreneurial since 1997, as I was working for some micro-systems at the time. I was managing the e-commerce [inaudible 00:01:28] with some supply and this dot com thing was happening and I had to jump on. So, I’ve been entrepreneurial and I’ve done stuff since then. And one of the things I’ve seen and one of the things I do is I actually see trends. I see things that are happening in society, particularly how technology and society collide. And what I had seen happening and where we are right now is it’s a beautiful … Every now and then I think back to what I was talking about and speaking on in the keynotes I was doing in the dot com days, and thinking, “Man, we’re already here.” But when I say here, we’re halfway there.
So, here’s what I was thinking about. The industrial age, where it’s sort of a peak of the industrial age, think about 1920. That you could buy any car you wanted in any color you wanted as long as it was a Ford Model T and it was black. So our society, who we are, our educational systems, the job structures, everything we have in place is a direct outcome of the industrial age. Mankind, humankind, is in the largest transformation we ever had, from the industrial age to the social age. And what I’m going to say to you is we’re only halfway there. And just to follow that, if you think there’s been a lot of transformation in the last 100 years, we will hit the other half in the next decade or two. So, anything that you recognize as being normal today will not exist tomorrow.
David Brower: Well, and a perfect example of that is what didn’t exist 20 years ago that is going through the roof today. I mean the world has changed in so many ways, and obviously the social piece is just huge, but I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday. I said, “You know, it’s … What I had yesterday is going to change tomorrow.”
Mitchell Levy: You got it. And so what I wanted to do … And that’s what the TED Talk’s about. So, you can Google Mitchell Levy TED Talk, or the title of the talk is called Being Seen and Being Heard as a Thought Leader, which I also have an international best-selling book by the same title. Being Seen and Being Heard as a Thought Leader. And my goal was to actually create an easy blueprint of if you want to be successful tomorrow, based on what I’ve seen, there’s a simple mantra. Let me give it to you in a second.
David Brower: Great.
Mitchell Levy: We do business with those that we know, like, and trust. That’s what you embrace.
David Brower: Exactly.
Mitchell Levy: And that’s the interesting part. I mean, I know it sounds really simple and truthfully, the answer is yes. It is. Right? So, people … You can’t … First, let’s give you a new definition of the word expert. Okay? It’s not somebody who’s done something for 10 thousand hours and blah blah blah. I mean you could … Yes, you could call that an expert. Let me say what an expert is. It’s somebody who receives money one time, at least, for a product or service they deliver. So, if somebody pays you something, you’re an expert.
Now, if the value of what you delivered was so bad you can never get anyone else to pay you, you weren’t a really good expert and you may not actually be able to carry that title. What happens is if you did some work for somebody and it worked out really well and you got paid … Even if you got paid a dollar, well, do a video testimonial and use that video testimonial to help get your next client.
David Brower: Absolutely.
Mitchell Levy: So, here’s the interesting part. If nobody knows you, you can’t get paid because if you’re completely unknown and you’re not solving … No matter how good the product or service you’re selling is, if nobody knows you, you can’t get paid. So, you got to be known. And you could … There are so many different techniques, and part of my company and particularly some of my partners, we focus on the getting known part. But that’s for me personally. Where I spend my energy is in the trust part.
Now, here’s what I can’t help you with. So, my services, there are many authors we publish. As a book publisher, we published over 800 books. I could point to a number of our authors that they could help you with the like part, right? But you got to help yourself with the like. It’s really who you are. And in the TED talk, we talk about … I talk a little bit about how to get known, how to get liked, and specifically how to be trusted. Here’s the trust part. And that’s where we spend energy. And there’s no better vehicle for having credibility to be seen as an expert at what you do as having a book. And so as a book publisher, what we figured out is how to press the easy button. If you want a book, we’ll do a two hour interview. Based on the interview, we’ll then do a … We will then write the manuscript. So, I will pull the genius from your head. I will then have one of the graduates of the AHAthat Writing School actually create the manuscript. We’ll send it to you, and then you get to review it.
And our books are comprised of how people want to consume data. So, they have 140 bite sized quotes and seven blog posts. So, when you hand somebody your book, it’s that AHA message that they’re reading. And so I’ll give you an example. So my book, which is Being Seen and Being Heard as Thought Leader, I like AHA number four. It’s my favorite. So, here’s what AHA number four says. Good thought leaders are at the top of the mountain. Great thought leaders are at the bottom of the mountain helping others climb up.
David Brower: Oh my gosh. Absolutely. Love that.
Mitchell Levy: So you know what? It is … As a speaker, as a business person, as a communicator, your job, if you run a business or if you’re a part of a business and the owner has done a good job, their job is to allow you to communicate in three seconds or more … I’m sorry. Three seconds or less, or seven seconds or less. You need to communicate something that says, “Hey, I want that. I need that. I’m interested.” If you knew nothing more about Mitchell Levy, you’d go, “Oh. That’s interesting. I want to be a great thought leader or I at least want to be a recognized expert. But I want to be great. I don’t want to just be good.” Right? And that’s what tells you about …
I’ll share one more, if you don’t mind.
David Brower: Oh, I love these.
Mitchell Levy: There’s a guy by the name of Bill Wallace. Bill runs a group in Dallas called Success North Dallas. He’s been running it for 30 years. He’s the most amazing servant leader I have ever met in my life.
David Brower: Wow.
Mitchell Levy: And what he wanted … By the way, he was sitting on a manuscript of 50 thousand words for five years, and it just paralyzed him. Didn’t know what to do with it. He and I sat down, and we did the interview, we created the book, and within a really short period of time, we then made his book an Amazon best-selling book, and he now uses it as a tool to help bring people into the organization. And also to allow the members to be able to communication his messaging. So, let me read to you AHA number three, which this is of the 150 thousand AHA messages I’ve curated in my life, this is my favorite. You can’t not … You can’t un-hear this once you hear it. So here we go.
AHA number three from Bill Wallace, the book is Being a Catalyst for Success. It says, “Living a good life is determined by the smiles that appear on the faces of others every time they see you, and they keep that smile after you’ve gone.”
David Brower: Oh my gosh. Love that.
Mitchell Levy: How cool is that?
David Brower: Love that. And what I’m intrigued by those AHA moments is how you can use them in social media, how you can use them in public talks, how you can use them in conversations around the dinner table. I mean, there’s tons of ways to use those things that are just brilliant, man. Just brilliant.
Mitchell Levy: Ding ding ding ding ding ding.
David Brower: Yeah, exactly.
Mitchell Levy: So, let’s just use AHA number three, right? So, let’s say you’re a parent and one of your kids is doing something really silly, right? Really silly in such a way where they’re making people feel slightly uncomfortable. Well, if everyone had read Bill’s book, you could sort of make a mantra. Instead of doing anything bad, you could say, “Hey, did you follow AHA number three in how you dealt with the [inaudible 00:09:38]?”
David Brower: Wow.
Mitchell Levy: Right? Because what we’re doing … Think about it this way. We’re … And this is what I help do when I interact with people. I want to bring their core essence. I want … We all are smart. We all have done amazing things. And our job is to figure out is the amazing things we can do, is there an audience who wants to pay for that, right? So, if you have a business, your job is to communicate to those people who can be your clients. You want to communicate the messaging that they go, “I resonate with this person.” Right? So, it’s really … What we’re talking about is taking the finite instances of thought leadership, the brilliance that’s in your brain, and just packaging it into a format where people recognize. So, social media is one place. As a speaker, I imagine, you could … Bill could do an entire speech on AHA number three.
David Brower: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Mitchell Levy: Right? As a matter of fact, what we did when we debuted his book at his event, there were 200 people in the room, we basically gave everyone in the room a copy of his book and we said, “Hey. Why don’t you find the AHA message that resonates with you and ask us a question about it?”
David Brower: Nice.
Mitchell Levy: There was one woman who stood up, and she is a super well renowned individual … She stood up and it was a comment on vulnerability, and she started crying.
David Brower: Oh my gosh.
Mitchell Levy: And it was just crazy. Right? That a vehicle can do that, but it’s not really the vehicle of the book. That’s all I’m doing. I’m harnessing your energy and putting it to a format that people recognize. Hard cover book, a PDF, a paperback. But what we’re really doing is you’re harnessing your superpower into a format that the world sees and you go, “Oh, AHA. I see you.”
David Brower: Well, exactly. Exactly. And all of a sudden, they know, like, and trust you because … I mean, the trust. I love the way you identify trust. Vulnerability, integrity, and authenticity. To be candid with you, that’s the way I live my life. And so I’m all over that, and know, like, and trust is … If that’s not an easy mantra to remember, I don’t know what is. And then getting a hold of some of those AHA moments, oh my goodness. And especially, you interview somebody for a couple of hours and you pull out things from their energy, from their mind, from their creativity that they haven’t even thought of and be able to turn all of that into a book. I mean, that’s … That’s gold, man. That’s gold.
Mitchell Levy: It’s … Thank you. By the way, it’s my superpower, is pulling out somebody’s genius. And how do I say this? In a way … It’s so much fun. A, I love doing it. I love learning. I love growing. I like help … I mean, I just so love helping people be better at what they do, but … Let me go back to Bill for one second.
David Brower: Sure.
Mitchell Levy: So, I’m halfway through the conversation with Bill in our interview. And what was fascinating is that I kind of said, “Bill, you’re the most glass half full human I’ve ever met in my life.” And Bill’s response was, “No, Mitchell. No, I’m not.” And so, there are times when people … In the movies this happens all the time, but there are times in your life that all of a sudden time stops and a million things flashes through your head. So I’m thinking to myself, “Wait. This guy is the most glass half full guy I’ve ever met. What could he possibly say next?” And I went through every possible permutation that could be, and here’s what Bill comes back and says. He goes, “Mitchell. I am glass overflowing. My job is just to share everything, all of me, with everyone I can.” And it completely changed my paradigm.
David Brower: Wow. I’ll have what he’s having.
Mitchell Levy: Right? Exactly. What was fascinating about that is all of a sudden instead of seeing two people … two types of people in the world, at first I saw three. And then I saw four. Right? But instead of seeing two people in the world, I now saw three. There’s the half empty, half full, and overflowing. And I recognized that I put my life in the overflowing piece and I go, “Oh my god. What a different …” It just helped me see [inaudible 00:14:01] in a completely different light. Right? And how it change … And of course, as I was thinking about it, there’s also the bottom, right? There’s the glass never, never full of any liquid whatsoever people. And for me, my job is to … Those people who are half empty, if they can’t change, and those people who just … Their glass just can’t accept any liquid, those people are not part of my life.
David Brower: Well, and some people don’t even have a glass.
Mitchell Levy: Exactly. Well, that’s probably a good way to say it.
David Brower: Yeah. Do you know what I mean? I mean, if they don’t have a glass, you’re not going to waste your time with them.
Mitchell Levy: Exactly. So, anyhow. It was … What’s fascinating is we all have something in us. We all have some expertise, some genius, some ability that the world … Now, let me define the world. The world does not have to be … This is the part of know, like, and trust. On the know part, the world does not have to be the entire population of the world.
David Brower: That’s part one of our fascinating interview with Mitchell Levy. Be sure to come back for part two.
Allan Blackwell: Listen to Your 20 Minute Podcast with David Brower on the go. Downloads are available on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, iTunes, I Heart Radio, Spotify, any podcast app, and on our website, at davidbrowervo.com/your20minutepodcast. Until next time, thank you for listening.