David Henzel van MaxCDN

Oprichter Koffie aflevering 011

Ik ben Jeroen van Salesflare en dit is Founder Coffee.

Elke twee weken drink ik koffie met een andere oprichter. We bespreken het leven, passies, leerervaringen, ... in een intiem gesprek, waarbij we de persoon achter het bedrijf leren kennen.

For this eleventh episode, I talked to David Henzel, Co-Founder of MaxCDN and now TaskDrive. In his previous life he was delivering content faster to web visitors, now he’s helping companies to find the right leads.

David is German and used to live in the US, but is now living on a warm Turkish beach. He’s very much into mission driven businesses and managing happiness, and maintains a blog and podcast about the topic.

We praten over hoe hij zijn eigen geluk beheert, hoe hij bedrijven opbouwt met een missie en visie erachter en waarom de juiste mindset het belangrijkste is dat je kunt hebben.

Welkom bij Founder Coffee.

Liever luisteren? Je kunt deze aflevering vinden op:

Jeroen: Hi David. It’s great to have you on Founder Coffee.

David: Hartelijk dank voor de uitnodiging. Ik vind het geweldig om hier te zijn.

Jeroen: You are mostly known as the Founder of MaxCDN. But you’re now working on Task Drive. For those who don’t know these companies yet, what do they do?

David: So MaxCDN is a content delivery network that makes websites faster. We started MaxCDN in 2009 and sold it early — two years ago actually, to a company called StackPath.

TaskDrive daarentegen is een bedrijf dat leads onderzoekt. Wij vinden B2B leads voor bedrijven die aan outreach doen.

Jeroen: Dus je krijgt B2B bedrijven e-mail leads of is het in een andere vorm?

David: Yeah, it’s email leads. But well, they could be from anywhere. It could be from someone who is running an SEO campaign and wants to find places, or someone who’s looking for affiliates. We basically have a very large team of researchers that can find you anything that is hard to find otherwise.

Jeroen: Hoe kwam je in eerste instantie bij MaxCDN terecht en hoe evolueerde dat uiteindelijk naar het werken aan Task Drive?

David: I’ll give you my background — very compressed. I’m originally from Germany and I have always been an entrepreneur. School was never really my thing. But I went to 14 different schools. Yeah, I was a trouble student!

Toen vond ik iets voor ondernemers dat heel goed voor me werkte. Ik had een IT-bedrijf in Duitsland waar we de interne service van lokale bedrijven onderhielden. In die tijd was een van mijn klanten de grootste importeur en fabrikant van bijvoorbeeld waterleidingen. Hij was erg volhardend en pushte me om een winkel voor hem te openen.

Dit werkte heel goed, dus moest ik stoppen met mijn IT-business en online spullen gaan verkopen. Maar mijn grote droom was altijd om naar Amerika te verhuizen en daar een bedrijf te beginnen.

Jeroen: Waarom was dat?

David: Ten eerste heb ik altijd van LA gehouden. Ik was er voor het eerst toen ik 19 was en ik werd een beetje verliefd op de stad. Daarna was ik altijd gefascineerd door startups. Toen ik deze beslissing nam, was er nog geen grote startupscene in Duitsland of Europa. Ik voelde me erg aangetrokken om naar de westkust van Amerika te gaan.

Dus verkocht ik mijn e-commercebedrijf, wat me genoeg geld opleverde voor mijn investeerdersvisum om naar de Verenigde Staten te verhuizen. Daarna hebben we MaxCDN opgericht en acht jaar gerund. Het was een heel persoonlijk moment voor mij.

My wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. Knock on wood, she’s doing good today. But back then, this really threw me off to make me reconsider everything. I basically thought of me on my deathbed looking back at my life thinking, “Did I do what I was supposed to do, did I have the impact I wanted to have,” and basically will I be dying with regrets?

MaxCDN was cool and all. It was growing and it was fun. But it wasn’t really what I was truly passionate about. So my business partners and I, decided that it’s a good move to sell the business.

We moved back to Europe. My wife wanted to go back to Germany, but I couldn’t get myself to move to a cold climate again. So we moved to Bodrum, Turkey, which is on the same latitude as Los Angeles. So a nice and warm climate!

Toen was ik eigenlijk bezig met een cursus genaamd Managing Happiness, waarin we bedrijfsprincipes toepassen op mijn gezinsleven. Mijn vrouw en ik hebben dit bedacht om het voor mijn vrouw gemakkelijker te maken om getrouwd te zijn met een ondernemer. We brachten de cursus uit, maar ik voelde me nog steeds aangetrokken tot het bedrijfsleven. Dus begon ik als mentor op te treden en een paar bedrijven te adviseren.

One of the businesses was my old business partner’s business, called Task Drive, which is the lead research business. He was kind of tired of it and wanted to focus on the stock market. So it was a good opportunity for me to acquire this business. We’re almost done with the acquisition process now.

Jeroen: Because you mentioned that MaxCDN wasn’t really your passion, you do feel that Task Drive is?

David: I went through a, how do you call this, a soul searching journey in terms of really figuring out what I really want. What it comes down to, is what I’m really passionate about and it was to help businesses or to help entrepreneurs succeed. This is why Task Drive is one element of this — the purpose or the mission of the business is to make sure your team wins. We work with our customers to make sure we set them up for success, so that they can grow their business.

Jeroen: Let’s say you work with Salesflare. What will you do exactly to make us succeed?

David: Nou, met Task Drive ligt de focus op leadonderzoek. Dus we zouden de ideale klanten voor je vinden, je ideale klantprofiel analyseren, bedrijven die verkoopteams hebben die groter zijn dan X maar niet te groot omdat ze waarschijnlijk de voorkeur zouden geven aan een bedrijfsoplossing, en andere aspecten. Onze onderzoekers vinden de contexten die relevant voor je zijn en dan kun je deze mensen bereiken en ze overtuigen om dingen van je te kopen.

Jeroen: So you’re actually delivering leads. How do you differentiate this from other lead generation businesses? Because there are so many out there right now.

David: The thing that make us unique, is that we provide dedicated researchers that are trained and dedicated to one customer. So they really understand the customer profile and they’re not working for random customers. We found that this approach makes it much more effective.

The second thing is that we always deliver you a product manager that is managing the researchers. So it doesn’t matter how many researchers you scale up to, you always have one point of contact and this project manager always knows all the playbooks by heart.

Er zijn dus verschillende manieren om leads te vinden of dingen die werken voor bedrijven. Je hebt altijd iemand die kan brainstormen en nieuwe campagnes kan bedenken. Het derde punt is dat we ons richten op operationele uitmuntendheid, dus we hebben een apart QA-team.

We hebben kantoorhulpmiddelen die ons effectiever maken in het leveren van hoge kwaliteit en goede output.

Jeroen: I’m supposing you target slightly bigger companies with this then?

David: Ja, dus de ideale focus ligt op bedrijven met een verkoopteam van ten minste tien vertegenwoordigers. Dit is wat voor ons het beste werkt.

Jeroen: Begrepen.

David: But lately, we started to branch out into the SEO world, focusing more on marketing teams for the affiliate outreach and to find pages that have good draft back links to the article that you just published. I haven’t fully defined what’s the ideal target market here. But this is also working really well.

Jeroen: Gaaf. Terugkomend op je jeugd, je vertelde dat je een probleemleerling was en naar 14 scholen ging. Was dat omdat je familie op reis was of was er een andere reden?

David: It was partly both. We moved twice, but yeah. When I liked a teacher, then I had straight As and when I didn’t like the teacher, I had Fs. I showed the teacher I didn’t like them I guess.

Jeroen: So it was a bit about feeling your passion and then you could do anything. But if you didn’t feel it, then you couldn’t do it at all?

David: Yeah, absolutely. And then when I dropped out of school, I discovered that I actually love to learn. It’s not that I don’t like to learn. I’m a huge personal development geek. So I consume lots of books on random topics that are of my interest. I’m constantly learning, reading a minimum of one book a month. But I just want to be self-directed in terms of what I want to work on first.

Jeroen: But you seem consistent in your choice as to what you like because you’ve been working for many years on MaxCDN, for instance. It’s just specific things that don’t appeal to you, right?

David: I guess so. It’s not that I’m only doing stuff that I like. I often have to do, when you have your mission or your vision defined in your business or in your personal life, then sometimes you have to do things that really suck. That just drives you towards this goal that you have. It’s not that I want to avoid things I don’t like, but they have to bring me towards the right direction.

Jeroen: Was er iemand die je beïnvloed heeft in het ondernemerschap? Familie of een vriend?

David: A good friend of mine, actually. He took me by the hand and showed me what it is like to run a business. He used to freelance before in IT and we started this business together. He basically took me by the hand and said, “Hey dude, let’s do this together.” This worked out great!

Jeroen: Dat was de man met wie je de IT-business bent begonnen?

David: Ja.

Jeroen: Werken jullie nog steeds samen?

David: No, he’s back in Germany. When I started the eCommerce business, we separated and I focused only on the eCommerce stuff.

Jeroen: Did you ever have a quote-unquote, “real” job then or was it always startups?

David: Nee.

Jeroen: Nooit?

David: Actually, as a contractor, I did something for Lufthansa. Like some rollout, IT rollout for two months or something like it but never really a ‘real’ job.

Jeroen: Dus het was een soort adviesklus op locatie?

David: Yeah. But I never really had a ‘job’ job.

Jeroen: Je deed dus altijd startups?

David: Ja.

Jeroen: Is there any big founder that ever inspired you? Someone that you looked up to; that you say, “This is a guy that I want to be. This is how I want to build my business?”

David: Niet echt. Maar ik bewonder bijvoorbeeld wat Elon Musk doet door zo missie- en visiegedreven te zijn. Of eigenlijk heb ik net een boek gelezen dat Conscious Capitalism heet. Heb je ervan gehoord?

Jeroen: Yeah, actually. My wife is into CSR and sustainability, corporate social responsibility and sustainability. So she told me about it. I didn’t read it myself though.

David: Het idee van het boek is dat een bedrijf het beste middel is om een positieve verandering in de wereld teweeg te brengen.

A traditional business only focuses on the shareholders, increasing the shareholders’ value. Other businesses are focusing on taking care of all the stakeholders like employees, customers, partners, suppliers and also the community, and the planet.

Het boek laat zien dat als je echt goed zorgt voor alle belanghebbenden, je bedrijf meer zal floreren. Het voelt veel beter om je op deze dingen te richten dan alleen op geld. Ik denk ook dat geld slechts een neveneffect is van het bieden van waarde. Als je zoveel mogelijk waarde biedt aan zoveel mogelijk mensen, dan zul je het rijkste bedrijf zijn dat er is. Ik heb dus echt bewondering voor wat ze in het boek delen over de belanghebbenden. Bijvoorbeeld het belang van de co-auteur van het boek.

Jeroen: Is this something you’ve always had as a basis for your business? Like looking at value, not so much at money, or is this something you’re just learning?

David: I never had any scarcity growing up, so I was never really money-driven. I really like people, helping people, solving people’s problems. This was always the thing that drove me way more than money.

Jeroen: Dit is dan een beetje het passiegedeelte in het opbouwen van je bedrijf?

David: Ik denk het wel, ja.

Jeroen: Voor jou is het bouwen van startups een soort manier van leven?

David: Yeah, absolutely. If you’re not helping other people with your startup, then you probably will not be successful in the first place and the startup will not be around for very long.

Jeroen: Helemaal mee eens. Waar ben je op dit moment mee bezig en besteed je de meeste tijd aan?

David: I’m in the process of taking over the operations of Task Drive. I basically reviewed all the processes that we currently have in place and optimized them. I have an engineering background, even though I haven’t really touched a server in a very long time. I’d like to build quote-unquote, “machine” like processes that work really well together and then always review them and tune them consistently.

I’m pretty much done with it so everything is running really well. I implemented the entrepreneurial operating system into the business which is something that so simple and amazing. I wish I could have had this at MaxCDN. It’s basically all the pitfalls that we fell into, would have been avoided by following this framework.

Jeroen: Welk raamwerk is dit?

David: It’s called EOS, Entrepreneurial Operating System. The website is EOSWorldwide.com and the books around this are Attraction: Get A Grip On Your Business and more. One book is called ‘Get A Grip’ and the other one’s called ‘Traction’. It basically outlines how you run your business in a very effective manner.

Jeroen: Is er een grote takeaway die je meteen kunt delen? Iets dat we kunnen toepassen of is het alleen het geheel dat werkt?

David: I mean there’s just tons of takeaways to it. One is how to figure out your mission and vision statement, which we had at MaxCDN. We started as NetDNA, which was an enterprise-focused CDN. But we didn’t really have a differentiator; we were just the light version of an EdgeCast or an ARCNY.

We were basically doing it for the money and we didn’t really think about providing lots of value to people. We just said, “Okay, we just make it a little cheaper and this should work.” But it did not really work.

Then we thought about, “how can we provide real value to people?” Back then CDN was something that only big companies could really afford, because it was like having a long-term commitment. You had to sign a minimum of 12 months contract and it was at least a several hundred dollars a month. Not really affordable for a small startup!

We thought, “Hey, let’s just make this a very frictionless, easy process to sign up and get started, for the user.” This really took off and we launched this under the MaxCDN brand. So this started working really well. But the thing that we messed up is, we never wrote down that our mission is to get CDNs into the hands of everybody, to make it as easy as possible to use. We never wrote down that mission and we never communicated it to the new hires.

The company grew and we ended up running into ten different directions. The new VP of sales wanted to focus on enterprises, and our head of engineering built this crazy analytics platform that was good for a handful of customers but the majority of our customers had no use for it. This is all because we didn’t really stick to our mission and vision.

Jeroen: So you started for a reason. At least you moved to a certain direction and then didn’t stay with it because you didn’t communicate this mission and vision correctly to everyone.

David: Yes, correct. So this is something that they show you in the book — how to define your mission and vision and how to communicate it to everybody or to figure out if the right people are in the right seats. They show you how to run your meetings in the most effective manner. I really recommend every entrepreneur to read this book. It’s really life-changing!

Jeroen: I will certainly do so. It’s interesting, actually. It’s exactly where a lot of startup businesses fail I think, on really keeping the direction and not tweaking it. Some moments like going upmarket is a classic. Many companies see that there’s more money upmarket and forget their initial goal of helping small companies, making it accessible, easy to use and all these kind of things.

David: Then you get lost, yeah. It’s also I think an amazing management tool. A friend of mine started Ring.com. They just sold it to Amazon for over a billion dollars. Lucky him!

Another friend of mine is running his development team for AI in the Ukraine. They just released a new product, where you have on the side of your house, a camera with floodlights. So when somebody walks past, the lights go on for security. Their mission is to make neighborhoods safer. One of their engineers said, “Hey, since we have a microphone at their end, we have these lights that we could make the microphone listen to music and then the lights flash to the music.” But nobody said something like, “Dude, what the heck does this have to do with making neighborhoods safer?”

If you have a strong mission and vision statement, it becomes very easy for everybody to make the right decisions and not build stuff that is not really in line with what you’re doing.

Jeroen: Exactly. You know where to go. Don’t you think that is kind of the role of the founders and the CEOs to do?

David: Absoluut. Lance Crosby, die MaxCDN kocht, CEO van StackPath, was ook de CEO van Softlayer. Ze verkochten aan IBM voor $2,7 miljard.

He told me once that a CEO has only three tasks. One is to preach the mission and the vision like a parrot to everybody on the outside world and everybody on the team inside, to constantly repeat it so everybody knows what you’re about. The second thing is to make sure the company doesn’t run out of money, make sure sales are on track and that you raise enough funds. The third thing is to hire people who know what they’re doing in the key positions and then leave them alone, hire people that are much better than you in this area. And then leave them alone, let them build a team and just focus on KPIs and not be too much in the weeds.

Jeroen: Klinkt een beetje logisch denk ik.

David: At MaxCDN, we were very much in the weeds and it was a real wake-up call to see how he was managing the team. After the purchase, I was the chief marketing officer for the business and while putting together the brand and the marketing plan, I was following meetings. He sat through the meetings, said, “It’s good,” and then left.

After the second time, I was like, “Dude, am I not doing this right? Give me some feedback.” He’s like, “No. You got this. I’ll just let you run with it.”

Het was heel ontluisterend voor me om zoveel los te laten en het aan iemand anders over te laten.

Jeroen: Was jij eerder de COO?

David: Nee. Bij MaxCDN was ik verantwoordelijk voor product en marketing.

Jeroen: Product en marketing, oké. Over de balans tussen werk en privé gesproken, omdat je dit al eerder hebt aangeraakt en er actief over praat. Wat zijn precies de dingen die je mensen adviseert als het gaat om het bereiken van die balans?

David: What my wife and I have put together, it’s called Managing Happiness. You’ll find it at Managinghappiness.com. The idea is that you apply business principles to your family life.

We kwamen op het idee toen ik thuiskwam na een vergadering over rollen en verantwoordelijkheden bij MaxCDN. Ik zat op de bank met mijn dochter en mijn vrouw en mijn dochter had een schone luier nodig.

I said, “Hey, did you see Emma had a full diaper?” My wife got a little bit upset that I told her basically to change the diaper and didn’t do it myself. I thought, “Okay, why are we fighting about this? I’m totally happy to do it but I didn’t know it’s my second this turn right now at 8:00 PM on a Tuesday, this is my turn now.”

Then I felt like, “Hey, let’s sit down and talk about our roles and responsibilities in the relationship.”

Door dit te doen, verdwenen al deze onuitgesproken verwachtingen en dit elimineert echt het grootste deel van onze wrijving in de relatie.

Jeroen: Specifiek voor deze zaak, hoe doe je dat nu? Is er iemand verantwoordelijk voor de luiers of is er iemand die een deel van je werk overneemt?

David: Ze zit niet meer in de luiers! Maar we verdelen gewoon de verantwoordelijkheden.

Jeroen: Haha, natuurlijk. Maar jullie hebben het werk duidelijk verdeeld. Toch?

David: Yeah. I bring my daughter to school in the morning, my wife picks her up in the evening. During the week, my wife puts my daughter to bed and on the weekends, I put her to bed. It’s just things, and they’re not really set in stone but it’s nice to have a guiding framework so you don’t have discussions about this. Like, “I’m tired, I don’t want to do it.” She’s like, “Okay. It’s my task, I’ll do it.”

Jeroen: So you have set clear responsibilities. Everybody knows this person does that, the other one does that. You can jump in when there’s an issue or something. Correct?

David: When there’s a need or even if you want to do it then you can do it. Yeah.

Jeroen: Maar de rest van de tijd loopt het als een trein, toch?

David: Yeah. Building machines again, that’s the German engineer in me.

Jeroen: Doe je nu hetzelfde in bouwbedrijven?

David: Oh yeah, absolutely. It’s super-important that there are clear roles and responsibilities. Also a clear mission and vision statement for your personal life and for your business, or clear core values.

Telkens wanneer je een grote beslissing wilt nemen, is het zinvol om je missie, visie en kernwaarden door te nemen om te zien of het in lijn is met wat je wilt doen of wie je wilt zijn. Dat maakt het veel gemakkelijker om nee te zeggen tegen dingen. Ik vind het heel moeilijk om nee te zeggen.

I always want to help and I always want to do everything, and I always see tons of opportunity everywhere. But by doing this, it makes it much easier to say, “Thank you for the offer but I’m not interested because it’s not in line with what I want to do.”

Jeroen: Meer over de balans tussen werk en privé. Hoe ziet je dag eruit en hoe houd je de dingen in balans?

David: The word work-life balance, is not ideal because it is always changing. You always have a tug of war between work and life. I think it’s better to call it a work-life integration, and to find ways to how you can integrate your work and your life so it fluidly runs together.

Ideally, you set it up in a way that you don’t really feel the need for and go,”Oh, I need a vacation now.” I think if you’re doing it like this and need a break from your life, then you’re doing something wrong.

So the idea is that you have a holistic view on things. In terms of structuring my days — In the morning, I get up fairly early. I do a quick yoga — meditation routine. Then I bring my daughter to school and then I often go to the gym, have some call. I work from home right now, which was very irritating for me in the beginning because I was always used to having lots of people around me.

The gym is in the hotel, so I just hang out in one of the restaurants in the hotel and have a few calls there. Then, I have lunch and come back, work a little bit from home. Then my daughter comes home and then I have a blocked time where I play with her — like two odd hours.

Because I have a hard time saying no, if you would ask me to schedule this call at 3:00 AM, I’d say, “Yeah sure, let’s do it.” Or even if you want to schedule this call during the time I want to play with my daughter, I would do it as well. So I’m always using Calendly and I have this time split in my calendar. It’s not only much more efficient in terms of finding a time but I protect myself from myself by doing these type of things.

Jeroen: How does it then actually work when you’re a CO or a Founder? Isn’t your job partly to say no to things?

David: Oh ja. Het wordt heel gemakkelijk als je nee zegt tegen dingen die gebaseerd zijn op je waarden en je missie en visie.

Jeroen: Begrepen.

David: It’s like my tool to always run it through and then it’s very easy to say things like, “Hey, thanks, but no thanks!”

Jeroen: Je zou hetzelfde kunnen toepassen op je leven, denk ik?

David: Ja, correct. Natuurlijk!

Jeroen: “My mission and vision is that I also need to sleep” or something like that.

David: That’s all something. You have to see it in a holistic manner. So when I do my daily planning, I have my roles spelled out — I’m a father, I’m a spouse, I do Task Drive, I am a consultant and I also have to do personal growth and self-care. So when I plan out my day or my week, I always take these things into consideration. I make sure that I don’t say, “Oh, I actually haven’t done anything for personal growth in a while, or self-care, or going to the gym, or working out.” So I’ll make sure that I schedule these things into my day or my week.

If I don’t do this, then I focus 100% on work and I forget everything else around me. So this is a very healthy thing for me to always remind myself, like, “Okay, I have to do these things as well to stay productive, healthy and happy.”

Jeroen: I think many entrepreneurs have the same issue. Because you’re working for a passion, you’re very involved into what you do. I remember before I was building my own business, that I could very easily flick the switch at a certain time and forget about work. But that’s not really the same anymore since I am now in business.

David: Het houdt nooit echt op!

Wat mij in dit opzicht helpt, is om de afleiders weg te laten. Zoals mijn telefoon niet bij me hebben als ik quality time met mijn vrouw of dochter wil doorbrengen. Want als ik mijn telefoon bij me heb en ik krijg een Slack-bericht of iets dergelijks, dan dwalen mijn hersenen met volle kracht terug naar mijn werk en denken ze aan het oplossen van dit probleem of wat het ook is. Maar ik wil op dat moment aanwezig zijn bij mijn gezin. Kwaliteitstijd met mensen doorbrengen.

This is something that helps me to keep these things away, or when I spend time with my wife, we often go to the gym together or we go for a run and do yoga together. Because after you exercise, your mind is kind of clean. It’s easier to spend quality time together then.

Jeroen: It’s true. I also just started running again and you can really feel the difference of exercise and then the time you have after that. It’s really nice.

David: Also, I have the best ideas or I solve the most issues while running or after yoga when my mind is completely relaxed, in free flow state. For me, it’s really necessary to solve hard issues.

Jeroen: You mentioned you’re located in Bodrum in Turkey now. Are you then working remotely for Task Drive or how does that work?

David: Ja, we werken op afstand. We hebben een kantoor in Oekraïne, een kantoor in India en ook een paar mensen in Servië. Voor klanten en conferenties reis ik regelmatig naar DS.

Jeroen: Sorry, je doet eigenlijk alles op afstand, alleen, vanuit Turkije?

David: Yes, correct. I mean nowadays with video calls that doesn’t really matter.

Jeroen: Ja, waar.

David: With MaxCDN, we also had an office in Belgrade, Serbia, one in the Philippines, headquartered in LA, and also an office in Vegas and a team in the Philippines. It doesn’t really matter where people are anymore!

Jeroen: Zijn er nog andere startups in Bodrum of ben jij de enige op het strand?

David: It’s just me on the beach. I haven’t found anything!

There are some guys who are into Bitcoin mining and stuff like that, but no real startups. Only in the summertime, you see a lot of wealthy Turkish families here. So in the summers, lots of entrepreneurs come over and in Istanbul, there’s quite a startup scene.

Jeroen: Cool. Wrapping up a bit now. What’s the latest good book you read and why did you choose to read it? You told me already about Conscious Capitalism. Is there any other one?

David: I don’t read books anymore, I only listen to them.

Jeroen: Naar welke heb je geluisterd?

David: I just re-listened to ‘The Four Agreements’, which is on the top three list of the books that influenced me the most in my life. I highly recommend it!

Jeroen: En waarom is dat?

David: The Four Agreements talks about the agreements that you make with yourself. They have an example in the book in the beginning. A mother comes home from work, had a terrible day at work, has a crazy migraine and her daughter is jumping on the bed and singing and the singing makes her migraine goes worse. She loses her cool and yells at her like, “You have a terrible voice, nobody wants to hear you sing, stop singing.”

And then this girl makes this agreement with herself that she has a bad voice and never sings again; even has a hard time speaking up in public. It’s because she has made this agreement with herself. Same thing if you make a disagreement with yourself like, “Hey, I can’t be good with numbers, I can’t do this or I can’t do that,” then it sticks with you.

My favorite quote by Henry Ford is, “Whether you think you can do it and whether you think you can not do it, both times you’re right.”

So I think it’s a really big mindset thing. And another aspect in the book with the agreements, is that often we have conflicting agreements in our minds. For example, I want to be the world’s best dad and I also want to be the world’s best entrepreneur. These things don’t fly together and you’ll always have conflict in your mind.

If you come to terms with what you actually want to do, then everything becomes much easier. It’s a very short book but it’s really, really packed with amazing personal development tips. So I highly recommend it.

Jeroen: Leuk. Als je opnieuw zou moeten beginnen als ondernemer, wat zou je dan anders hebben gedaan?

David: I would have implemented traction, that’s another book I recommended before. The US entrepreneur operating system, I would implement this as soon as humanly possible in every business.

Jeroen: Wat is het belangrijkste uitgangspunt van Traction?

David: It’s a whole system on how to run your business, how to run meetings, how to define mission, vision values, how to pick the right people for the right seats, et cetera. So it’s like a holistic view of running a business.

Jeroen: Right. Finally, what’s the best piece of advice you ever got?

David: It’s going to sound very hippie but my yoga teacher once said that every decision you make in life, you either make out of love or out of fear.

If you make decisions out of love, you’re on the right track. If you make them out of fear, you’re on the wrong track. For example, let’s say in sales, I want to sell you a product. If I sell it out of love, then I sell it because I know it’s a good product and I know that this product solves the issues. That it’s good for you! Then you will feel my intention is I’m selling out of love and you’re more likely going to buy it. It’s going to be very easy to sell that way.

Same thing we talked about before you recorded, we talked about being insured. If you act out of fear, you’ll always get locked. If you act out of love, then things become much easier. Back to the sales example, if I sell out of fear and my motivation of selling is because I want to make the money to pay my mortgage or my VP of sales holds me accountable to hit certain numbers.

If this is the motivation behind why I’m selling this, then you will sell out of fear and the other person will also feel this. Then selling will become much harder.

Or back to the introvert thing. If you have to give a presentation and you give this presentation out of fear, you’re going to deliver a very shitty presentation. If your predominant thought in your mind is fear, then you think about how I’m perceived, what do people think about me, et cetera.

But if you turned around and you do this presentation out of love, because the things that you’re going to tell this audience will help this audience to do things better, then it becomes a whole different ball game and you can actually deliver a much better presentation.

Jeroen: Cool. That’s actually a great advice!

David: That’s my best advice to everyone out there.

Jeroen: Well, and that’s all I had to ask. Thank you again David for being on Founder Coffee.

David: Bedankt dat ik mocht komen. Het was leuk!

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Jeroen Corthout