One of the amazing things about living in today’s world is that we have entrepreneurs who can build a fortune and at the same time make a difference by helping those who are in need. Led by Yanik Silver, Maverick 1000 is doing just that. To top it off, these entrepreneurs are making a game-changing adventure out of it. Learn how being a transformative leader will cascade into an impactful change for people and the world.
Maverick 1000: Game Changers Change The World with Yanik Silver
My guest is a business expert who wasn’t content to just be successful. He decided to change the way business is done all over the world. His landmark book, Evolved Enterprise, has struck a chord and has become the blueprint for doing business that does good. He is also the founder of Maverick1000, a private invitation-only global network of top entrepreneurs and industry leaders. In addition, he serves on the Constellation board for Virgin Unite, the entrepreneurial foundation of the Virgin Group and the Branson Family. His lifetime goal is to connect visionary leaders and game-changers to capitalize business models and new ideas for solving 100 of the world’s most impactful issues by the year 2100. Let’s welcome Yanik Silver to the show. Yanik, welcome to the show.
Mitch, how are you doing?
I’m doing great. I’m so glad you’re here. For full disclosure, I was a guest at Yanik’s event called Camp Maverick and I had so much fun and met so many amazing people. Yanik and I reconnected and that’s when we arranged to do this interview. Yanik, it was great being with you. The camp was a blast. I hope everybody enjoyed it as much as me.
It was quite fun and I’m glad you came out. You’re right, it was really wonderful to reconnect with you there.
We always start the show with just about the same question because it’s so relevant to the listeners. We want to know how you began. How did you start in business? When you made that decision, what was your mindset? Tell us the juicy details about what it was that drove you to go out on your own and build your own company.
It definitely starts with my family immigrating to the US from Russia. We came over when I was three years old. My dad was a biomedical engineer and he actually worked at a local hospital center repairing all their medical equipment. On the side, he was very entrepreneurial as many immigrants. It’s actually fascinating that I think immigrants are five times as likely to become millionaires, than nationally US-born citizens. I think it has to do with this hustle mindset and this idea of doing whatever it takes. These are some things I’m sure you talk about on the show but I’ll give you my side of this. My dad worked for clients moonlighting on the side, so private doctors, repairing their equipment. The hospital administrators found out about it and they said, “You have two choices. You can either stop or we’re going to fire you.” He took the road less traveled by all of us entrepreneurs and he said, “I’m going to go out on my own.” I’m sure it was a scary decision for him.
I ended up working for my dad, growing up. Medical equipment, sales and service, fourteen years old, I telemarketed, called on my own clients, got my own leads and sold them straight out of the Yellow Pages essentially. Every sixteen-year-old wants a car and my deal with my dad was I got a car if I went and actually cold-called doctors. I’m this little sixteen-year-old punk calling on doctors and that’s where the first inklings of my entrepreneurial spirit really came from because I got introduced to a gentleman that you know well, Jay Abraham. A doctor client of mine, I had sold him this entire surgery center, he gave me this Jay Abraham tape and it really turned the lights on for me about direct response marketing and how to do copy and so forth. I was just fascinated by this. We started applying it in my dad’s business. Pretty quickly, my clients that I was working with they were like, “You’re very interested in marketing. Maybe you could help me.” A lot of times, that’s where those inklings first come from is people that you already know.
I started working with a dermatologist who was a client of mine, helping them get more cosmetic patients because managed care was crushing his practice and I was much better at marketing than he was. I’ve been working with urologists and a couple of other people. Then I thought to myself, “As a consultant, you only have X amount of time in the day.” I had less than that because I was working full-time for my father and part-time just helping out some of these doctors. At that point, I was in college when I first started doing that. I got the Jay Abraham tape when I was about seventeen or eighteen, so really I honed my skills from my dad’s business. I remember giving him these long form Joe Sugarman-like sales letters and ads for medical equipment and he’d look at me, he has a Russian accent, he’s like, “Who’s going to read all this?” I call my dad Joe because we work together. I’m like, “Joe, let’s just try it.” He’s like, “Okay, we try it.” It was one of our top-selling ads ever and it helped him move from a regional player to this national competitor.
I got this idea that maybe I could turn what I knew what I was doing into a kit to help other doctors as well get more cosmetic patients because the economics of it were great. If you got a cosmetic patient, it was worth $4,000, $5,000, $10,000 to you and your practice. I ran a little ad in Dermatologic Surgery journal, which I’m sure is a reading that everyone has sitting around. It’s a must-read. I had this little ad and I got ten dermatologists to raise their hands and be like, “I’m interested in this.” I didn’t have anything done. I literally had the sales letter which was a report. It had some good information in there but it was really a sales letter. I had the sales letter done. I sent it out and got zero responses. This whole time, I’m listening for the fax machine because I put the fax number down on my dad’s business. Not everyone on this podcast probably even knows what a fax machine sounds like.
Everyone knows what a fax machine is, but you’re right listening for that zippy sound, I know exactly what you mean.
That connection sound and then you hear the very slow sound whenever it starts printing out whatever the fax is. Every time I’d run up there, “No, no,” and I sent out a second notice, “No.” Finally, on the last day of this deadline that I gave doctors I had been instructed to do and I learned about deadlines, out comes this fax of my first $900 order. I was selling this kit for $900. That peeled me off the ceiling, I was so excited. It was the first time that I truly had sold something on my own just by putting out my thoughts and ideas onto paper.
What year was that?
This was 1998.
The internet had already been created but you probably realized that not many doctors were on the internet and probably didn’t even have email at that point.
I didn’t even have email at that point. In ’99, I had email. ’98 was pretty early, so I was running industry journal advertisements. At this point, I had $900, I had a credit card. I sent back a note to this doctor saying, “The material was going to be republished. It’s going to be available in 30 days. We won’t charge your card until then.” I literally clocked out at 5 PM everyday and in many nights worked until 3 AM in the morning, finalizing what really was a binder of all these great ideas that I’d been doing with this other client of mine. That continued to sell. Fast forward about a year and a half, we were doing about $15,000 a month. That’s when I decided it was time to leave my dad’s business.
Let me give you a couple of comments on what you said. First of all, a little bit of a kudos to Mr. Jay Abraham who has been a personal mentor to me and many people in that regard for many years. His material changed my life and it changed the lives of thousands of growing entrepreneurs, growing their businesses back in the late ‘90s. That same era while you were doing what you were doing, I was building a software company. All of our business came through on the fax machine. We had a fax room in our little company and there were five fax machines on a table in a row. When we would send out an upgrade notice, in a matter of 48 hours those fax machines started to sing. I would take my lunch into the fax room and sit there and eat while all five fax machines were churning out money. I loved it.
It’s quite something when you learn that skill of direct response and copywriting and understanding human psychology. Jay has such a great foundation for that. I started learning everything I could from people like Dan Kennedy and Joe Sugarman and Ted Nicholas, you name it. I just devoured that information. That really set up my next iteration. I always think that you don’t see the full path but by continuing the road, you see what it sets up when you go backwards and start connecting some of the dots and so forth. All the work I did for my father, other clients, I had my uncle who owned a deli at the time, I was writing copy for him, I had some other clients that I had, the medical doctor clients and all that. I remember sitting there about late 1999, I literally had this idea that maybe I could come up with a website. I asked myself a question, I literally said, “What’s something I can do that creates money while I sleep, is an incredible value for people, isn’t just an eBook?” I wanted something different even at that point. I woke up at 3:00 in the morning with this idea for instant sales letters. That was this next iteration.
I had been doing good selling, publishing this doctor information, how to get more cosmetic cases. I saw the internet. I saw there was a big opportunity. I obviously didn’t see how big of an opportunity it was going to be. I woke up at 3:00 in the morning with this idea of instant sales letters. I got out of bed and I did what most people might not do and where I started working on it. I took all the material that I had already amassed from all those clients and started also imagining other clients in other industries like what they would do and need. These instant sales letters were just fill-in-the-blank sales letter templates for any kind of business owner. I had no idea how to build a website. I still don’t. Obviously, the technology has gotten so much easier now but back then, you really needed to know HTML and all sorts of things. I didn’t let that stop me. I just hired a firm to do it for me. This sounds like an infomercial. I remember I was living in this one-bedroom apartment with my fiancée at the time and literally got the website up and going. The same thing, overnight, someone sent me money via email at this point instead of a fax machine. It was $29.95. That just blossomed then into our first thousand clients.
Did you have a list at that point? You must have built that website and sent out that email to somebody.
We didn’t even send out an email. I had somebody else who I had hired to write a press release for me. Actually, it was Joe Vitale. You probably know Joe. This was way back. I hired Joe and he said, “This looks like a really interesting thing. I’ll get it out to some of the people that I know.” He had a very small list at that point. We didn’t have the credit card even hooked up to take payment but we got the form that said that somebody had paid. There are a couple commonalities there which was putting out. To me I think writing the copy first, getting the idea of what you want to sell. If you can’t get the copy, if you can’t make it compelling enough that someone’s going to reach into their wallet and buy, I don’t really believe in surveys. I believe that people vote with their wallets. If I had tried to put out something like, “Would you be interested in sales letter templates?” I may or may not have gotten the response that I wanted. Putting out the sales copy and actually promoting it and selling it, we saw who was interested in it. This idea of writing copy first, to me is really important. Getting that yes first. Then that creates the energy. You’re just excited.
Here’s the thing about writing the sales letter first. One of the things that it does force you to do is understand who your client is. By writing the copy first, you have to figure out exactly who you’re selling to and exactly what their needs are so that they will come up with a credit card and buy something. By the way, for many people and it is for me, that is a challenging way to do it. You did that and it sounds like you had a homerun right out of the bat.
The sales letters really did become a homerun. That turned into our first product that we sold over $1 million of. I think it was $1,800 the first month, maybe $3,400 the next month, $7,800 the next month. It kept growing and growing and it was on track to do six figures within three months. That turned into, “How did you do that? Maybe you could help me.” That turned into me connecting the dot backwards of helping other people who had information, content, expertise get that up online and sell that. that turned into a whole other career.
What did you learn in month six that you didn’t know in month one?
From instant sales letters, I learned the power of leverage. Where we really grew was we started tapping into affiliate networks so that they have a familiarity with affiliate networks. It’s essentially getting someone to become your sales agent. It’s the easiest way to explain it. There are different websites I’d contact, people that already either had traffic coming to their website from good search engine positioning for the word sales letters or any other words that were related to what we’re doing like marketing letters. I’d reach out and contact them and I’d say, “We have this product here. It’s been selling really well. We have a very easy way that you can earn a commission.” I also provided them with a lot of pre-done templates. We use pre-done templates not only for affiliates but also for our actual product. We gave them everything that they needed so that they didn’t really have a reason not to promote it. If they needed banners, we gave them banners. If they needed just great links with good copy on it, we gave them that. If they needed emails, we gave them that. That was how we grew an affiliate network of about 40,000 affiliates pretty quickly. During that time, that was really responsible for a lot of the growth that we were seeing.
You provided a very rich swipe file as we are now calling it, right?
Yeah, a swipe file, plus a very generous commission, plus a good-selling product that was unique at that time that filled out a need or a want that any small business owner really needs.
The question I have for you is once you sold them instant sales letter, what was your upsell?
Originally, we had none. It wasn’t too long after. It might have been month four or month five, we added a gold version. The gold version was $15 more. We used a very simple process where they clicked that they’re ready to buy and then up came the offer. We had some 60% of people actually take that offer for $15 more. It’s just a few more templates. I think they were actually something that I grabbed out of the public domain that were just templates that they needed for all sorts of correspondence. They’re not sales letters but just different business correspondence and some other marketing bonus or something important. It was pretty impressive. That really increased our average order size. We didn’t stop there. We had one more upsell actually as we got more sophisticated on the order form itself. We had a checkbox upsell. I can’t remember what that one was. We had maybe 10% to 15% if I recall take that. Again, it increased our average value. After that happened, we had a pre-done sequence of autoresponders that went out. They would provide good content. You would have a nurture sequence but also give them other opportunities to get products and services.
This is how great business people think. This is the stuff that you take and you start with and you have one product, and then you have your upsell, and then you find JV partners, and then you bring people together. Then you do a launch where you organize JV partners all going out at the same time. Yanik, you were the blueprint for this entire process it seemed back then.
It was. What I want to make sure that also listeners get though is I had a core value that really ran everything that we were doing at that time and still does, which was I’ve written in my journal, “I get rich by enriching others 10X to 100X what they pay me in return.” Every single thing that we put out there, I was looking at, “How do I make sure that this provides at least a 10X to 100X value for what they’re paying?” That was for any partners that we’re bringing in, anything that we wanted to promote afterwards, anything that we came up with ourselves. That core question really drove what we’re doing in order to have a very loyal customer as well.
Let’s build on that theme and let’s start fast forwarding a little bit. That core belief led you to where you’re now currently at. Tell us a little bit about how you got there.
Fast forward a little bit, other people were asking me how I could help them and then that turned into this whole other career of helping people in internet marketing. Digital marketing really started growing and growing. What I always was good at was, “How do you position and sell everything that you’re really great at?” I got really good at selling pretty much every type of content that there was. Everything from eBooks, to membership sites, to live events, peer to peer groups, you name it. I have a lot of experience in that world. About ten years ago though I looked at where I was, I was making a lot of money on my own. From the outside looking in, I was incredibly successful. I had a great reputation in that space, which isn’t the easiest, but I just wasn’t happy. I asked myself a very simple question which was, “Am I happy? Would I be happy doing what I’m doing right now for another ten more years?” If I was honest, the answer was, “No.”
I think it’s a question that we all have to ask ourselves. It’s better to ask it voluntarily than to be forced into asking it. To find yourself ten years into a business and miserable, feeling like you’re trapped in a business or in a job and the fact that you can’t get out of, well done on that. Tell us what happened after you started asking the question.
I’m a big fan of journaling so I journaled quite a bit about this, what would make me happy and so forth that I came up with three things. They’ve really become this core part of everything that we offer and the essence of it. If you think about a dollar sign, a happy face and a heart. It was about making more money, making a difference and having more fun. I smooshed them all together. Think of a Venn diagram, which I had only learned about that terminology when we started putting that together, these three interconnected circles and where that connected, we started calling a Maverick entrepreneur. I said, “That sounds really fun. Let’s do adventure travel trips for entrepreneurs. We combined that with business building and some charity aspect.” True to my nature from before, I put the flag down and said, “We’re going to do this thing. I have no idea how we’re going to get it done,” because I wasn’t in the travel space before. Everything we were doing before was digital content. The profit margins were completely different. It was just a different ballgame.
January of 2008, we said, “We’re going to do this Baja dune buggy racing trip.” We had about 26 entrepreneurs that joined me on it and ended up bringing in Jesse James who was a big motorcycle noble. It worked out really well except for one thing. The P&L at the end, it had lost about $40,000. I’m like, “That’s fine. It’s a whole different business and this is one of our investments to get in there.” Keep fast forwarding a little bit longer, we’re about $400,000 in and my wife was like, “What the hell are you doing?” I said, “That’s a good question.”
I always think that life continues to bonk you on the head repeatedly and it’s a harder bonk until you pay attention. If I had said, “We have $50,000 to figure this out,” it might have had a different outcome. Maybe, maybe not. It’s really fascinating because this was something I was so passionate about. I was so excited by it. At the same time, it wasn’t working. My publishing company, which my passion had been waning, which was the one paying the checks and really the one that was the cash cow, I didn’t put much attention on it. You have that going down. At the same time, this business that I’m trying to get up and going, I was just trying to figure it out. There was something there and I didn’t know what it was, but by having that reversal, it really forced me to look at, “What did I really want to do here?” The essence of it, I got right but the expression of it changed. That’s when we came up with the idea of it being called Maverick1000, of this notion of 1,000 game-changing entrepreneurs together that could actually change the world. Now, we really reference them as 1,000 suns who can each light another 1,000 suns and made it more of a collective network. The adventures and the retreats, we’d get together in a more structured way, not just every once in a while we’re in an adventure trip. I’m happy to say that we’re able to then take that company into the black and make it something that has been sustainable and being able to do some really profound things with the impact that we’re able to do. It’s funny that this is the First Thousand Clients and our group is called Maverick1000.
I’ve got to tell you the truth, it sounds a little woo-woo to me. It sounds like, “Let’s get together and dream about the future and we could change the world.” I’m surprised anybody showed up and paid for that. It sounds so silly. How did you play it so that it really made sense to people and motivated them to step up with money?
For me, there are a lot of dynamics at work when you try to create a community or a group like that especially at a very high level. They’re successful people. They have a lot of options for what to do with their time. What we did was we really based it on my reputation and then the other people that were in the group and then providing these unique experiences that really brought them together in a whole different way. You were able to experience some of it at the summer camp that we did. It’s this unique combination of really high-level smart people engaging and sharing what they’re doing, not taking themselves too seriously but then also having that element of that giving heart and that servant mentality. We put them together and there is this magic that happens. It’s hard to describe and that’s also partly why we weren’t able to just market it out to the entire world. It’s something that we really need a particular person for. We’ve done well with referrals because once you understand what it’s about, it’s easier to say, “This person would be really right for you.”
We never market it as, “You’re going to make an extra million dollars because your part of this group,” or whatever it is. It’s a little softer than that. Here’s what I’ve always done is this was really created to scratch my own itch. The original idea for it was I had friends that I love that I didn’t get to see as much and I want to hang out with them more and for us to do fun things together and also make a difference in some way. My biggest fear had always been was that, imagine that you have such an incredible gift and you have all these resources and talent, but what if you don’t quite measure up to what you were supposed to do? To me there will be nothing sadder than that. Then when we changed it, it was really designed to support you in that way.
Now, I understand it better because that truly resonates with me. I think everybody listening to this show, there must have been a moment in your own lives when you had that very same question, “What happens if I don’t live up to my true and full potential? What would I feel like and what would the world be like if I did?” Those are really great ways of doing that self-exploration to see if you’re even in the game of being a Maverick1000 and more importantly becoming an evolved enterprise. This whole thing eclipsed in this book of yours, the Evolved Enterprise. Tell us a little bit about that.
During this process of figuring out what Maverick is and being exposed to some really incredible people that we were able to bring in and become friendly with and have us co-conspirators and presenters and participating icons, I just ended up putting all these puzzle pieces together of something that we call the Evolved Enterprise, which is this framework for how business can truly make the greatest difference in the world and it starts with you. That idea of living up to your full potential, being the transformative leader, being the most enlightened, most profound version of yourself, it starts there. Then it actually cascades out from there into what’s the impact that you want to make through your business. That’s your cause and then that creates the culture. It creates the community, which are your customers that can’t wait to buy more from you and spread the word. Then the product or service itself which is the creation has this impact built into it.
I was going to say the trend behind this, it’s much more than trend, it’s a vast movement that’s happening. It’s happening from the inside out and the outside in. Consumer buying behavior is changing in a way that we’ve never seen it before. Consumers are willing to spend more or at least spend the same but change brands for ones that have a greater mission and greater purpose to what they do. For team, especially for employees and especially millennials, they all need a purpose and they’re willing to even get paid less to work for a company that has a profound purpose.
That’s absolutely true and I completely agree with you. I read your book and I love the examples in the book and we’re going to talk about a few of them. It seems as if the timing of your book was almost scarily perfect because just as your book is emerging, we have a world that is changing and headed in the direction that you have pointed in this book. Let’s take for example Toms. Tells us the story of Toms and why they are an evolved enterprise?
I have eleven different evolved impact models I’ve talked about and Toms is one of the first ones, the buy one give one. They’ve really become incredibly well-known. It’s a company started by Blake Mycoskie on a trip to Argentina. He was there for a polo trip, he ended up getting injured, and he saw these little flat shoes. I forgot exactly what they’re called but he saw all these people running on these flat shoes and he said, “This is really interesting.” He also saw kids running around barefoot. He said, “I’d love to put shoes on those kids.” That’s how the idea of Toms was born where they would essentially, you buy a pair of shoes and they would give another pair of shoes to someone else in need. I’ve had the opportunity to interview Blake on stage. What he will always talk about is the number of shoes they’ve given away and so that becomes, we call it impact scoreboard in the book. That impact scoreboard the last I heard was 35 million pairs of shoes and he’d be the first one to tell you they never, ever, ever thought they’d be so big.
I want to clarify something because it’s not buy one get one free like you’d go to a McDonald’s and get a free breakfast if you buy one. It’s buy one and we give one away to someone in need. I wanted to be clear about that.
Exactly. I think they weren’t the first to do that but they’re definitely the most widely publicized one. If you asked a lot of their customers, they even thought that they were non-profit. They were pushing this mission for them because of the simplicity of it as well. Then there is also an identity that’s created and that’s part of the community aspect. If I’m wearing a pair of shoes and has a little Toms label on the back, then I look at that person and I know, “That person is someone that has given just by their typical wallet share.” They were buying these pairs of shoes anyway but now they are able to make a greater impact by what they consume.
Blake, they use that impact scoreboard. How many pairs of shoes they’ve been able to giveaway because there’s a byproduct of it? There’s profitability to it. What I proposed in the book and I actually see it more and more and more and more is that there’s a greater even acceleration of companies that have this aspect to it. There’s a door that’s opened to celebrities and to influencers. There are doors that are open to key distribution partners. They were able to get into Nordstrom’s very early on because of this unique aspect that they do with their giving. I can’t remember which main retail store it was in New York that gave them an entire window during one of the holiday seasons. It could have been either Macy’s or Bloomingdales and again because of the giving that they were doing that was built into their creation, into their product or service.
That’s a fantastic story and a great business model. Here’s the question, are they profitable and do they make as much money as they would have? It seems counterintuitive from a profit standpoint.
They sold half their company to a private equity firm, Bain Capital. I think they sold it for $600 million for half the company but it was a very, very significant amount. There’s another company called Warby Parker that got $1 billion valuation and they have a buy-one-give-one component in a way where they sell sunglasses and prescription glasses. Now, they also have retail shops. They were able to grow incredibly fast because of the impact that they were making. When it’s done in a way that it fits their profit model, they have to make sure it works. To me, it’s become a massive accelerator.
I could see why and I can also see why from a consumer standpoint because if I have a chance to buy something and know that I’m not paying more yet still do good somewhere else in the world, then that’s a very strong incentive to make that purchase. I understand that completely.
It’s also going to be done in an authentic way. It can’t be just added because you read about it somewhere or you think that it’s a great trend. It’s really got to come from the heart of the founder, even the soul of the company itself. It’s got to be authentic to that and there’s a lot of really interesting examples of not just that buy-one-give-one but how do we maybe empower employees that when it got a chance and look at something that could be a disadvantage and turn it into an advantage. One company I talked about in the book that I love that they do quality control testing about cross browser platforms, how things look across different browsers and different platforms. They employ people who are on the autistic spectrum. As a typical stereotype there, they are more attuned to repetitive tasks and attention to detail and so forth. They’ve taken something that could be a complete disadvantage and then turned it into an advantage for their company.
You said that there are eleven business models and you described one. Can you tell us about some of the others?
That second one that I was just talking about, I call it empowered employment which is bringing in people that would be at a disadvantage and making that an advantage for your company. Another one is a percentage. Taking a percentage or a fixed amount and applying it towards wherever you want to make difference. A good example of that, there’s a company called Sevenly. They were a t-shirt company and they did something really interesting when they first started. They said, “For one week, so seven days, we would do a limited run of a t-shirt design and $7 from this t-shirt would then go to this cause.” They’ve since grown, so they had seven big umbrella of the cause that they’re working on. They’ve since grown and they looked at their economics and how they’re able to grow. We had the co-founder come and talk to us at the Maverick Group and he told us that 80% of their new customer acquisition came from social shares. You’ll like Patridge, Mitch. That’s a really interesting one because that means I have to spend way less on my marketing because I have the advantage of customers wanting to spread the word.
In fact, if I’m not mistaken, Salesforce has a 1% program where they donate 1% of their profits, 1% of their corporate workforce hours to do good in the community and elsewhere. This is real.
They also have others that are signed up for that. They call that 111 Program. It’s just a commitment and a pledge to give away 1% of your revenue, your talents and your product.
What we’re talking about here is a complete shift in the way business is done and in the way we think about business. Since reading your book, I am shifting the business model of a new company that I’m involved in forming as well. This is a very powerful idea and it’s not motivated entirely by profit. It’s motivated by this thing that you talked about, which is solving 100 of the world’s most impactful issues. If you, as an entrepreneur, can start a company with a cause and your success is accelerated because people want to help you on your mission, then everybody wins. Tell us a little bit about the 100 of the world’s most impactful issues and give me an idea of what some of those are.
It’s my BHAG of what it can look like. It’s one of those things that I like, I guess number alliteration, I don’t know what it would be called, but I think a lot in terms of exponential numbers and how that could work. Our big picture is I think of the 100 global issues as the soil and then Evolved Enterprise are actually the seeds. That’s the DNA that we’re injecting into entrepreneurs, new and old. These 100 thousand seeds which are the books, the training material and then Maverick1000 are the suns and a 1,000 suns who can each light another 1,000 suns. We used the power of the sun to then nourish all these seeds that are planted and then that comes up with 10,000 blooms that can actually change the world.
Some of these issues are things like bees. Bees dying off and how that has a tremendous impact on the globe and feeding the globe. Not many people might realize that one out of four bites of food, bees are responsible for pollinating. That’s a big issue and we have about 30% of bees dying off in many areas through a combination of colony collapse disorder, toxins, loss of their foraging grounds. A bunch of things going on. Things like ocean conservation. We’re just involved with a really interesting project down in the BVIs where we sunk a World War II ship and turned it into an artificial reef to help protect some of goliath groupers that are down there and then it has a really multifaceted impact, dive operators. What I didn’t mention on this ship, we actually put this gigantic kraken, so a huge, huge octopus statue. The Maverick members that were in charge with that built Burning Man cars and it’s this gigantic octopus. It makes it really worth going down there to dive. The dive operators will charge an optional $10 fee to go down there and dive but we have some other goodies that are down there. Then that goes to support programs in the BVI where I believe it looks like eight or nine out of ten kids don’t know how to swim. It’s a multifaceted impact. Those are the things that that we think about in using business. You think about, “What does business have?” Business has opportunity to use their distribution, their voice, their employees, their product and service in some way, who they serve in the community. There are all these different levers that they can pull. They can change where they buy and who they buy from. They can change what they look at from their supply side. They can look at how are they able to use their social media, their voice, their distribution channels. There are so many places that businesses really can make a profound difference.
There’s an element of this that rings to me a like bit of a distraction. We build businesses, we’re capitalists, we’re entrepreneurs, we build them to make a profit to support our families and to have a vision of what we want out of our business. Usually, what we want out of our business is to have happy clients, happy customers. Tell me if you discovered anybody in this process that has taken this so far to the nth degree that they’ve gone out of business.
To me, it has to be about business fundamentals here. I started off copywriting, direct response marketing and so forth. All those pieces come into place. Not just, “If you do good or you add this impact element, then your business is going to thrive.” You need all the other pieces. To have one without the others is really shooting yourself in the foot and making it really tough for you. When you have all of them together, then you can really accelerate and use the digital marketing to just boost what you’re doing in a tremendous way. If you went out of business because of that, maybe but I would probably challenge that there are other things that are at play there and they were just not good businesses.
I would agree with that. I think the danger here is to avoid the temptation to use this as manipulation. To manipulate people into buying your product simply because you attached a rubber stamp the cause on top of it. I want to elaborate a little bit about on what you said. Is this really has to come from the soul of the management team and of the founder? If it doesn’t, it will probably be pretty obvious to the people who are either in the company and potential clients.
Absolutely. A perfect example of this was a couple of years ago, KFC ran a campaign where they had pink buckets of chicken. They were partnered with Susan G. Komen foundation for breast cancer. They’re going to donate $0.25 from every pink bucket of chicken sold. There’s a tremendous backlash on social media as well as there really should be because it wasn’t done authentically. It wasn’t done with a genuine heart. It was just done out of, “This is a trend that we want to be on top of.” When you even go back and look at it, I didn’t understand the tie in and then one of my friends explained, “They sell breast of chicken.” I’m like, “I get it.” The research coming out was about that diet high in saturated fat has been linked to cancer. They’re part of the problem, not part of the solution necessarily there. They got a tremendous black eye from it and that’s the time that we live in right now. There is tremendous transparency. If you’re doing things that aren’t quite on the up and up there, it’s most likely going to be found out sooner than later.
I think there’s a huge opportunity here, Yanik. I think there’s an opportunity for all of us to take a look at how we do business now and think about how we could do business as an evolved enterprise and ask ourselves the three questions that you asked yourself, “Am I having fun? Will this help others? Ultimately, will I be fully and completely fulfilled in this mission?” This is really a terrific place to be. Entrepreneurs today, we live in a world where we can do both. Where were can make a fortune by building a great company and at the same time, help millions of people by helping ourselves and our customers do good. What that simply means is to become something that I think is bigger and in fact more powerful than who you are today by sharing. If people were intrigued by this conversation and wanted to find out how to become an evolved enterprise other than buying your amazing book, Evolved Enterprise, how would they go about doing research on this?
Certainly the book is one of the key spots. We also have been forming a community of business owners that are intrigued and engaged by this and that’s at EvolvedEnterprise.com/1000.
Yanik, I have a couple of questions for you. One of my favorite questions is this one. Who, in all of space and time, would you like to have one hour to enjoy a walk in the park, a quick lunch or an intense conversation with? It’s somebody you have not yet had that conversation with. It doesn’t matter whether they’re dead or alive.
I think it would have to be my great grandfather. I’ve never met him and he actually owned, as my aunt told me, an entire street in Moscow. The businesses, everything under the real estate and then the revolution came and they said, “Either you can give us all your stuff and get the hell out or you can stay and still give us all your stuff.” I would love to learn from him about how he built that empire and what that looked like.
That’s the DNA you’ve been infused with obviously. I have a feeling that he has been watching you all along and thrilled with the things that you’re doing in this world. By all means, I’ll see if I can arrange that for you, Yanik. The next question I have for you, and I honestly know the answer to this question but I’m going to ask you anyway. This is my change the world question and you already answered it, but tell us again, what is it that you are doing or would like to do that truly has the potential to literally change the world?
Exactly what I’ve been working on and living and maybe I’ll give a little more detail about my thinking on that. It’s really come from what we talked about originally about how I grew in sales letters, that affiliate network. I think in terms of leverage and leverage nodes. I think of myself as this catalyst of other catalysts. If there are 100 people that have a reach around the planet of let’s say 1 million subscribers or people that watch them or pay attention to them, then to me that 100 are the ones that I want to be helping them become the greatest version of themselves because then that’s going to cascade down to everyone else that they worked with. In my entire world that I worked with are entrepreneurs so it’s working with these catalysts in the entrepreneurial space, who then if they learn about the Evolved Enterprise, you getting exposed to this message right now, the clients and the businesses that you’re a part in, I would imagine from here on forward they’re going to have an impact element that’s more tied into what they’re doing deeply ingrained.
I so completely agree with that. You’re absolutely right. Yanik Silver, I applaud you for taking on this job of influencing the rest of us by showing us the way, by catalyzing so much of the thoughts that you’ve had and the best thinkers in the world today about how to do well and do good at the same time. Yanik, thank you so much for being on the show. It was my pleasure having you.
Thanks, Mitch. It was fun.
Resources Mentioned in This Episode:
- Evolved Enterprise
- Virgin Unite
- Yanik Silver
- Camp Maverick
- Jay Abraham
- Evolved Enterprise
- Bain Capital
- Warby Parker
- Susan G. Komen