Sir Cody McKibben and I go back to the good days of all night studying and all night drinking. In some ways, we still do that despite being half way around the world from one another. Either way, Cody has been a great connection and inspiration so today, the third day of INSPIRATION Week.
(By the way, if you missed the first two articles of INSPIRATION Week, check them out by clicking the following links:Why My Birthday (TODAY) & Your Birthday Are Meaningless & That’s Awesome & Giving Without Receiving )
Cody McKibben is the type of guy that is willing to help whenever, wherever, and whoever. That attitude and sense of humility in something I don’t always see in blogging, but wish I did more often. Cody has reached out to me to help build a great platform in all that I do online. He is always striving to improve his position in this world and that in itself is something I aspire to do.
McKibben currently discusses his nomadic lifestyle over at ThrillingHeroics. If you are trying to become an independent professional and see the world, you MUST bookmark and frequently visit ThrillingHeroics. As of just the other day, Cody relaunched FreelanceWP. There you can connect with WordPress designers and publishers as well as learn some tricks of the trade to working with WordPress. I am implementing Cody’s FREE WordPress theme entitled ThrillingTheme over at DavidDamron.com (Still being tweaked). I highly suggest you newbie bloggers test that theme out for your blogging domination.
Anyways, Cody has been a great inspiration to me so asking him for a simple, short interview was a no brainer. Thankfully, Cody accepted and today, I am happy to present…
Doing Big Things to Inspire Others : Cody McKibben
Question: Before reading 4HWW by Tim Ferriss, what was your lifestyle goal?
Cody: I studied humanities, religions, and history in college, which gave me a really firm grounding in people. That kind of education meanders into philosophy, the arts, literature, sociology, and more—and I guess I feel like I understand the “human condition” a bit better than some, if you will.
The unfortunate thing is that it doesn’t lend itself well to a proper career the way mathematics, accounting, or finance do. During university, I thought I might like to make the journey into an academic career and pass on what I had learned to future students (I really enjoy teaching and might still do it professionally one day).
But upon graduation I got involved working with the business school, at which point entrepreneurship really started to look attractive to me. One of the things I originally wanted to do was try to weasel my way into Stanford GSB for my MBA—I used to spend a lot of time watching Stanford lectures online, following their publications, and attending entrepreneurship events there. I still love watching their professors, and stuff like TED Talks, and find myself really attracted to the whole creative culture of Silicon Valley and the Bay Area, California.
Question: Who was the biggest detractor to the notion of your nomadic lifestyle of today and how did you handle such issue?
Cody: I was probably pretty lucky in that most of my family supported me in that decision. It took me, well about a year to convince my dad that I could go wandering into the big dangerous world and find my wings. But he was just cautious, not discouraging at all—he’s been my biggest supporter (I still gotta call home every few months to get a good pep talk from my dad!). Now my grandmother, on the other hand—she’s worried sick about me and of course wishes I’d be closer to family for the holidays and as they get older, but there’s still a lot of time for that.
I think the biggest resistance I’ve faced has always been from my coworkers, bosses, and other people who have really, really bought into the world of employment. Going rogue (Dave:I can’t believe Cody just quoted the title of the Sarah Palin Book) and wanting to be a freelancer or an entrepreneur, in itself, I think threatens more people’s reality than the traveling thing.
Question: Who were the first 3 bloggers to reach out to you and really helped propel ThrillingHeroics to the success it is having today?
Cody: Well, I’ll tell you, I’ve reached out to a lot of bloggers since I started this game over three years ago—a few of those relationships have been really awesome and productive and inspiring, a few have failed.
Rajesh Setty was one of the first writers online that really made a profound impact on me. He’s basically a published author, an executive or board member on about 8 different Silicon Valley companies at any given time, and basically a genius—and his approach to business and the way he values relationships was just revolutionary to me. I started a dialogue with him in 2006, and I’m happy to say that he has been a mentor to me, a friend, and a really great client as well.
Another blogger on my radar from the beginning was Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You To Be Rich. Ramit had graduated from Stanford, consulted with all kinds of cutting-edge venture capital firms and social entrepreneurship-type ventures, and he had co-founded a successful tech startup (now PBworks). And he’s only about a year older or so than me, so I’ve always really looked up to him. I found out he and I are both from Sacramento, California, so I met up with him in ’06 and a time or two since. In addition to all that, now he’s a NYT best-selling author, so he’s been a really spectacular example to follow and the guy is just spot on.
Additionally, one guy who I think reached out to me way back when was Jun Loayza. We were both early members of the Brazen Careerist community, and had a lot in common. Jun is a young entrepreneur who lives in LA and is CEO for both Viralogy and SocialMediaMarketing.com. He’s constantly been lighting a fire under my ass in one way or another, bringing cool people together and looking for ways to do big things, and I’m happy to say that you’ll see some awesome collaboration between us in the months ahead.
Question: If you could shake the hand of 3 people (dead or alive), whose hands would you shake?
Cody: Well, I got to shake Warren Buffett’s hand already! So do I get another free one? John Lennon. Richard Branson. Tim Ferriss.
Question: If I handed you $5 and told you to make the biggest difference with that $5 you could, what would you do with it?
Cody: Good question—that’s been one of Tina Seelig’s entrepreneurship challenges at Stanford GSB in the past few years! She makes a few really great points in this video about how looking at the limitations of your funding can prevent you from thinking outside the box though, and that the students who’ve done best with her challenge didn’t use their $5 at all. I’d say you have to start with the resources and abilities you have at your fingertips for free and leverage those as much as possible. I’m gonna dodge the question a bit here, because I don’t want to give away my business ideas(!) but, that’s what I’ve done with most of my businesses and products. That’s what I did with my new relaunch of FreelanceWP for example, but I guess you could say I’ve invested years of experience and learning so that I could create a product at virtually no cost. (Dave: I actually stole the question from Tina Seelig)
You have to look at it in terms of impact. There is NO such thing as a get rich quick scheme. But if you want to employ others to help you, go to where you can get the most skilled labor for the smallest amount—I have several buddies who employ teams in the Phillipines for example, and for 5 bucks you could get about 2 hours of help there. So if you have the knowledge and you put in the time to systematize your process, 2 hours of assistance might make a big difference. If you want to put that 5 bucks into online advertising, think of ways you can immediately filter unqualified leads out of your funnel and therefore run the most cost-effective campaign. Unfortunately $5 isn’t a lot to properly invest into a real business these days, especially with the spiralling value of the dollar, but if you want to make the most impact in people’s lives, with that 5 dollars or with what you might be able to turn it into with 2 hours of someone’s help(?), think about who you could give that cash to who would be able to stretch it the furthest. For example, if you donate to the needy in Thailand, you can buy probably 5 or 6 full meals here, whereas I don’t think you’d be able to do that in the States. Whatever your goal is, you just have to think outside the box.
Question: Who inspired you to reject the ‘Comfort of Conformity’?
Cody: Initially I think I just wasn’t satisfied with the template lifestyle. As much as I enjoyed college, school was never engaging enough for me, and it didn’t teach me the real-world facts I wish I would have learned. (Travel has.) And of course, I wanted to gouge my eyes out when I had to sit in an office for 8 hours a day, even if I completed my work in 3. But I think when I saw the kinds of things that people like Tim Ferriss was able to accomplish in The 4-Hour Workweek, and the travel that Rolf Potts talks about in Vagabonding, and later, folks like Chris Guillebeau— it showed me that there are people breaking the “rules” and living an unconventional lifestyle, and making it work.
Question: If you could name 2 relatively unknown or up-and-coming bloggers that inspire you, who would they be? (Obviously, besides me…hahaha) Please include their links.
Cody:Oh man, in the last several months I have had the pleasure to read and get to know tons! It’s hard to pick favorites, but aside from yourself, Jonny at The Life Thing and Rob Granholm from The Life Design Project are absolutely killing it.
Question: Many people say they have no regrets. I think that is B.S. What are 2 of your regrets so far in life and what do you do to prevent regrets in your life?
Cody: Well, thankfully in the big picture I’m really happy with my life—I’ve been fortunate to do a lot of really cool things, meet a lot of awesome people, participate on exciting and meaningful projects, and I’ve taken quite a few risks that scared the s*** out of me but were worthwhile. But in all honesty, I’ve made a lot of uninformed, immature, or outright stupid financial decisions in my lifetime, and that seriously limits some of the opportunities I wish I could take now. And secondly I haven’t taken very good care of my body since college—too much sitting in front of the computer, too many late nights, too much Red Bull, and probably too much beer too! But I’m confident there’s time to turn both of those things around before I’m done here.
Question: In 10 words or less, say a phrase that inspires you daily.
Cody:Reality is negotiable (hat-tip to Tim Ferriss).
Question: Lastly, what inspires you?
Cody: Constantly meeting interesting, thoughtful people (both in person and virtually) who are each trying to make the world better in their own way. The quiet as the sun sets and the clouds roll in from the ocean (if I’m lucky enough to be on a beach when that happens). And the smiles on their faces when I go spend time with some needy kids here in Thailand.
I hope you all enjoyed as I know I did. Cody continues to inspire everyone and I hope this gave you a tad better look into the man in the middle of big things happening in the blogging world and beyond.