Bottom Line: You can ignore the rest of my emails

So here's how it all began. 

If you aren't already signed up for the updates of the Former Founder Podcast, be sure to sign up here or use the form at the bottom of this post. 

Warning: This is a longer post than I normally write and you normally read, but there are a few things I want to make sure you understand. Then, if you choose, you can never read another email from me again.

First off, please know that you're getting this email because you asked for more information about the Former, Founder Podcast. 

I've worked on a lot of interesting projects recently, and this is by far the fastest growing, most intense and oddly strenuous activities I've dedicated myself to -- here's why:

My career path, my personal journey, and the biggest lessons I've learned in life have all come from one source...other people.


But you can only attend so many conferences, watch so many TED talks and read so many  Quora posts.


Even then I wouldn't always meet the quality of people that I wanted to -- until I found a way that helped me connect with employees of largest and fastest-growing companies in the world, even as a 24-year old from Nebraska

I've been laying the groundwork for this podcast project for a while, and I want to share the full story with you. 

Ever since I can remember, I've tried my best to spend as much time as possible with people who are older than I am.

When I was growing up, I primarily looked up to my parents and my three older sisters. My family taught me the core values of empathy, good manners, and perseverance. I am complimented on these values regularly, and I have a lot to be grateful for because of that. 

As I got older, I found coaches, teachers, and composers to learn from. In these settings, I was always a part of a larger group. I made sure to ask any questions I had. 

Looking back, questions:
helped support thoughts/ideas I had
gave me new ideas/systems to try
could even remove false or incorrect ideas

What I appreciated even more, is that by the very nature of prompting another person, you can easily start a conversation that gets you excited about life.

Who doesn't want that?

I continued asking questions after I graduate from college. This time, they were leading to interviews and job offers. Offers from consulting firms, ad agencies, tech startups, Olympic athletes, and Inc.

Up to that point, I had always reached out to others who were in a position that I wanted to be in. 

That's not the best way to do it, is it?

No. It's not. 

When I explored that idea more in-depth, I realized that the best people to ask are the ones who don't have the same background or experience as you. Unless you have a very technical question, you can talk broadly with anyone about any topics. 

The next question is.. who do you want to ask?

Growing up in the rural midwestern United States, I had an affinity for larger companies. For the types of companies I pay attention to (you saw the list when you signed up), surprisingly few of them have locations in Nebraska. 

As tech startups have become a norm, I've watched some of them grow from first pitches to IPOs. Companies that grow that quickly deserve attention, because for whatever myriad of reasons they grow at a rate that the vast majority of this world will never truly understand

Wait, understand what?

In any company, in any industry, you will find companies that are growing and companies that are not. 

It's not that the companies that are growing have simpler problems; it's that they're solving problems faster, often by - you guessed it - asking better questions. 

But it can't be just anyone from those large, innovative companies. It has to be the boldest ones in the group. The outliers

There is no better outlier than an entrepreneur. 

So I laser-focused on former employees of these companies who had made the decision to start something on their own. 

So I've got my list of people I want to talk to; What do I say?

I ask them a question. 

It's a simple one, too. 

I ask them if... I can ask them more questions. 

Now, allow me to quickly explain why this email is first being sent out April 12th, 2016 instead of June 6th, 2016. (keep reading, it'll make sense)

We've established that I've properly pestered quite possibly the most important people on the planet by asking them if I can ask questions.

And all but two said Yes.

All but two? That could be a lot if I only asked four people. 

Remember that I just told you that I moved up the date for this first email by nearly two months? 

As you, too, have probably noticed in life, events tend to get pushed back. There are delays, people get sick, life happens. 

So for something to get kicked off 55 days early, an overwhelminglysupportive response must be the case. 

So, this is the inaugural email that will be telling you about the progression of this podcast project, where I'll be interviewing former employees from some of the coolest companies in the world who have left to make a difference on their own way. 

NOTE: We are still recording, so the podcast is not fully live yet.

**There will be many of you who will be getting this email on a day after April 12th, 2016. 

Except for 671 of you who signed up the weekend of April 10th, 2016, the rest of you signed up for my email list today (whatever day it is).

Instead of getting the boring old emails with fancy graphics and bright buttons everywhere, I thought I'd take a more pragmatic approach: sharing real stories of real people who will talk entrepreneurship, life, and their experience at the companies most of us want to learn more about.

This is the first email on this journey, sent first on April 12, 2016.

No matter when in the future you sign up for this list, this will be the first email you get.

The next email you'll receive will be the second email I ever sent.

Each email I send in the future will be added to the end of a sequence, and you're at square one.

Are you a part of this curious crowd?
 

Here’s how it’ll work:

You’ll get 1 email every 1-3 days for the short-term foreseeable future. Be sure to carve out a few minutes each day to read all of the way through each email, because every day I am hearing from those of you who want this to succeed, who want to learn right along with me. 

If you have any interest in big company culture/structure, entrepreneurship, or a mix of both, then I promise you're in the right place. 

I tell my clients there are two basic things you need to do in business:

have an end-product that is easy to love
tell everyone about it

Honestly, if you aren't excited about this, please reply to this email so I can quietly remove you from the list. I'll also look to see which book(s) you recommended. 

Another reason to keep an eye out for these emails is because I'll be sharing what marketing strategies I've used to grow. 

Oh yeah, remember that this started 55 days early?

I'll be writing more about how to use Quora because those 671 email subscribers this last weekend surely didn't slow down this momentum.

I'll just go ahead and admit it -- You definitely don’t want to miss a single email.


 -Zach

P.S> Today I left my full time job, and if there's one thing I've learned in life, it's the power of self-awareness. Knowing I need to learn quickly, I write down a list of wins, losses, and growth marketing and business lessons each day to reflect on. This list is not solely meant as a celebration. It is also meant to serve as a positive memory when it seems that there is little to celebrate. If you'd be interested in getting that email, please reply directly to me. 

P.P.S> Here are a few Quora questions I answered today:

How can I stop being average?

What do you wish you would have known as a young entrepreneur that you know now?

Working for a 'great' corporation vs. working for yourself- which leads to the better quality of life?

P.P.P.S> Remember when I asked for your book recommendations? You can see that list (updated weekly) here

Most people don’t focus on growth; they rely on others to manage their personal growth instead of taking in into their own hands.

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