The Failfighters Podcast:10 episodes and 1000 downloads later, what have we learned?
As a personal growth and learning podcast, we have hosted successful people from all walks of life on how they failed on the way to the top. Here is a summary of what we have learned so far from each of our fantastic guests on The Failfighters Podcast.
Episode 1: Paul Espinas, CEO of UpUpApp
Paul was the first guest on The Failfighters Podcast. He is a serial entrepreneur from the Philippines who loves playing video games in his free time. He has more than 10 years of marketing and investing experience with a focus on digital platforms in Asia. He has invested in more than 15 startups and has co-founded three in the last 6 years, including UpUp App. Paul talks about his latest mission, which is to “gamify” the workplace with his newest HR app UpUp App. UPUP app is an interactive performance management and HR solution that rewards employees for completing tasks and successfully hitting KPIs.
“Everyone has something to bring to the table, and as a leader it’s important to listen to even the biggest introvert at the table”
On the podcast Paul and our host Carey James immediately dive into his failures as an entrepreneur. Here he emphasizes the challenges and headaches of switching from the corporate world to the startup world. His biggest failure being his mindset of becoming a full-time entrepreneur, after pivoting from the corporate world. His technical skills were there, his experience was there but his mentality was wrong. Specifically, he failed in the way he implemented things at this new startup. Initially, he could not shake the “top-down” leadership style. standard in the corporate world. Furthermore, the constant learning, and constant alignment with teams was tough starting from scratch. After 8 months of using a corporate hierarchical system in his startup he realized that he had to be more transparent with his team. Specifically, this meant listening to everyone’s ideas, no matter their position, or their personality. Everyone has something to bring to the table, and as a leader it’s important to listen to even the biggest introvert at the table and make decisions based on that. Essentially, a more bottom-up approach, which is more suited to a startup culture.
Episode 2: Todd Gilmore, Triathlete and Coach
The Failfighters podcast guest number 2 is an engineer turned Triathlete who shares the pains and gains of becoming an incredibly successful athlete. Todd goes into details about the moment he weighed in at 91 LBS and decided the time had come to change his life.
“I’m getting good at dealing with failure”
This is his journey of endurance and struggle to become a Triathlete and Ironman competitor. Early on he admits that his biggest opponent was always himself. He always found himself struggling to overcome massive bouts of cramps and even Dengue Fever to break personal records in swimming, running and cycling. Todd’s journey came with many falls from grace, including:
- during an Ironman competition in Germany a nagging calf injury broke him and he ultimately ended up hobbling to the end (but he never stopped).
- Upon returning home he immediately signed up again and returned to Hamburg the following year, and again failed due to a nutritional imbalance.
- At Kona Hawaii, the world championship in Hawaii, which is the most important triathlon. Equivalent to the Champions League of Triathlons he faced a technical glitch. Unfortunately Todd’s bike arrived broken, which he did not realize until he was in the race and was stuck with one gear.
Despite this Todd has never given up and is still running, cycling and swimming to this day. Want to hire Todd as a coach? Click HERE for more info.
Episode 3: Csilla Argyelan – Hungarian Tennis Champion
The Professional Hungarian Tennis Player delves into her crippling injury that ended one career, and opened up another. Her career took her from national champion of Hungary to playing on the world arena, but not without major struggles along the way. She goes into depth on Hungarian cultural values that tried to hold her back from continuing to succeed. She was ranked 500th in the world, and in Hungarian culture if you aren’t the best, the view is that one should give up and go back to work. Her biggest setback however was her last; she suffered from a devastating shoulder injury involving a muscle that got inflamed, and eventually ended her tennis career permanently.
“life closed a door and opened up 10 other doors”
This injury came right at a time when she felt like she was reaching the peak of her career. Her feeling of failure and hopelessness, although devastating, did not put an end to her dreams. With a dream career of being a professional tennis player coming to an end she decided to go back to university and go through a career pivot. She finished her thesis regarding the international criminal tribunal over the former Yugoslavia, which received the chancellor’s recognition and she graduated with the highest results possible. A champion on and off the pitch.
Episode 4: Cielo Superticioso – Cancer survivor and activist
Cielo is a native of the Philippines, a cancer activist living and working in Saigon, Vietnam. She tells Carey about her harrowing story of being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, keeping her spirits up and fighting forward. Hers is a story of facing death, surviving and later pivoting to help others in similar situations. Thanks to the fact that it was caught early, the tumor was removed and after radiation treatment she was able to remove the cancer from her skin.
“healing takes a process”
Where is Cielo now? She is the founder of thecancervoice.net where she strives to help others by giving a voice to cancer patients and creating a support group. Her story is truly inspiring.
Episode 5: Michel La Quellec – Founder of Wall Street English
Michelle Le Quellec is a founder and investor based in South East Asia with an impressive history of starting and selling businesses. He lived much of his life around the world including Africa and France, where he went to business school. Michelle started his life as an entrepreneur in Thailand at the age of 42 where he established Wall Street English’s Thai Offices. On the podcast he dives right into the cross-cultural challenges that come with starting a business in a foreign country like Thailand. His first challenge was dealing with his Telemarketing team “losing face” when he spoke very directly to the head of the team, and as a result the whole team quit. He had to adapt from the western approach to handing out criticism directly, to fully understanding the culture and learning about his staff and how to deal with intercultural differences. He had to become more emotionally intelligent in order to understand the differences between people, not just of different countries, but also people from different departments and different personalities within a team.
“I lost my complete telemarketing team because during a meeting the head of telemarketing team lost face because of the way I talked to her”
His second big failure was also regarding human resources and creating the right team. He realized that even if you have a high performer on the team, if that high performer does not fit with the team, he can ruin the relationships and productivity of that team. His advice is that no matter how good one team member is, no matter how high performing he/she is, this person must be removed if he or she does not fit.
Episode 6: Peter Duan – Financial Coach
Failfighters podcast guest number 6, Peter Duan is a successful financier with years of experience on Wall Street under his belt. That is until he decided that life on wall street was not for him and he quit to live the independent and nomadic lifestyle as a freelance finance coach. His early mistake was studying what he considered a useless degree, environmental sciences, which led him nowhere in terms of a solid and profitable career.
“I’ve failed enough times at this point where each and every time that I give enough space to think about it I view it as a learning experience”
At that point he decided to go back to university and study finance, got a job on wall street for some of the top financial institutions. He was immediately disenfranchised by the greed and lack of morals he found among his peers in Wall Street. As a result he quit his profitable, soul sucking, career to travel around Asia. Along the way he slowly started meeting people who asked for help investing their own money. This was the start of what lead to his career pivot, becoming an independent finance advisor, working from his laptop from the beautiful beaches of Asia, currently in Danang, Vietnam. Interested in hiring Peter? Check out his website, peterduan.com.
Episode 7: Nghi Kinh – The rise & fall of a fashion startup
Nghi Kinh was 19 years old when she was accepted to come on the Shark Tank Vietnam show which in turn took her to the finals and she became a CEO. At such a young age, a lot of mistakes were made, but she took them in stride and learned along the wa,y like any entrepreneur should. In this podcast episode she talks about the journey of pitching her concept, being on the show and finally coming out as a finalist. Her idea was a personal styling fashion app, which allowed people to mix and match outfits.
“you’re never going to have experience unless you do it”
Her app idea ultimately failed for various reasons, but the biggest problem was that she didn’t understand her market. It failed in Vietnam because Vietnam wasn’t ready for her product, one of the reasons being that most people still live out in the countryside. Furthermore, even a city like Saigon still isn’t as modern as some of the other financial centers in Asia. Not only that, but 70% of the population still lives outside of the city and aren’t necessarily fashion savvy.
Episode 8: Sean Percival – The Ex- VP of Myspace
We wrote about Sean Percival earlier on our blog page, summarizing his keynote event hosted by 500 startups Vietnam on the fascinating story of the massive Myspace failure. Sean Percival started as VP of Marketing when Myspace was still the king of social media. However due to a series of mistakes which he attributes mostly to a lack of focus, Myspace started running into troubles.
“It was a concert fail. Many instruments were out of tune.”
The major problem was that they failed to focus on the one thing they were good at, which was music. Music was the thing that people loved about Myspace, it was the platform that helped young people find their favorite bands. Indeed it was where a lot of famous bands got started, like Adele and Avicii. But instead, the top brass at Myspace decided to get greedy and capitalize on their success by creating a handful of related pages like Myspace Books, Myspace Movies and more.
Read our full article on the Myspace failure HERE.
Episode 9: Greg Wickherst on being a single dad who became globally known as “the Hair Dad”
Greg became famous for the best reason a dad could ever become famous for, the love for his daughter, and his dedication to being there for her. He became a global sensation out of failure, failure to even give his daughter a pony tail when he became a single dad. From that moment on he decided that this was not acceptable. He then did everything in his power to learn, including a failed attempt at doing a ponytail by following a YouTube video and using a vacuum cleaner which ended in disaster with her hair sucked into the vacuum tube. Following that he started learning from other people on how to properly give her daughter any hair style she wanted. This led him to create a YouTube channel and Facebook page with the goal of teaching other single dads.
“It’s not about being perfect, it’s about being present”
Since then The Hair Dad has gone viral. With 167000 followers on Facebook and almost 14000 subscribers on YouTube, where he promotes his classes and workshops for single dads, and some moms as well, who want to learn how to do their kids’ hair. Look up the hair dad at:
Episode 10: The Top 6 Ways to Lose Money with Andrew Stotz
Andrew Stotz is an award-winning equity analyst, investment researcher & author of 5 business & investment books. He is also the founder of the podcast “My Worst Investment Ever” He is based in Bangkok, Thailand where he runs his Investment Research Firm. To say Andrew is a true Failfighter is an understatement, he bases his success and coaches others to push them to success based fundamentally on failure, especially in terms of investment failures.
Here is a summary of the Top 6 Ways To Lose Money:
Fail to do Research
Fail to Properly Access and Manage Risk
Driven by Emotion and Flawed Thinking
Failure to monitor an investment
Investing in a Startup Company
“Do not avoid looking at the opposing view”
Interested in taking one of Dr. Stotz’s investment classes? Go to academy.astotz.com and type in code FAILFIGHTERS for a special discount just for Failfighters listeners!
Stay Tuned for Episode 11 of The FailFighters Podcast, featuring David J Wood; U.S. Marine Veteran, Entrepreneur and Fitness enthusiast. Check out his Instagram page: @davidj_wood
What kind of guest would YOU like to listen from next? COMMENT below!