Eric Chan is the MC & CEO of Earthlink Alliance and founder of the Soapbox Revival.
Eric Chan is one of the most recommended pitch coaches, so I’m really glad we had a chance to talk and learn more about him!
Eric studied Psychology at Monash University, Victoria. So, our conversation began talking about how he became the CEO of Earthlink Alliance, as well as how he started in medical research working on the largest medical study in Australia’s history with Monash University and The Alfred Hospital. We also spoke about business failures and business success, dealing with mental health as a business owner, dealing with a lot of people as a CEO and how to build your target market, no matter where you are in your business journey. According to Eric, success is when you can combine hard work and work smart, and I think this interview really emphasizes it!
Nick Abregu: So, it’s Earthlink Alliance, right? Give me a second. Who’s the CEO, Hey Google who’s the CEO of Earthlink Alliance? What do you I look? What is, what do I look?
Alia Steglinski: You guys are doing podcast. Just chill out with each other.
Nick Abregu: Hey Google, who is the CEO of Earthlink Alliance? Oh there it goes, there goes my friend. Alright. Cool! This is working. Good.
Google voice: According to LinkedIn, Eric Chan chief executive of Earthlink Alliance.
Eric Chan: Oh! Damn son!
Nick Abregu: Can we say this? I’ll just gonna put it in the camera. Look at that. That is the answer I’m looking for. Thank you. Alright, cool!
Eric Chan: I’m already on Google voice, voice search optimization. How sweet is that!
Nick Abregu: Well, Eric Chan. Thanks for coming here. You are the CEO of Earthlink Alliance and that is… that’s an amazing thing that you’re doing. Tell us a little bit about what that is.
Eric Chan: Thanks man! I’m awesome to be here. Say how cool is that, right?
Nick Abregu: That was so cool.
Eric Chan: Yeah, because I only had this position for the past, maybe a month? And I wouldn’t think that I’ll be voice search optimized already, right? So, that’s the power of Google and LinkedIn.
Nick Abregu: That’s brilliant.
Eric Chan: Yeah, so, CEO at Earthlink Alliance, you know, we have a mutual friend Johann Nogueira who’s been successful in Business.
Nick Abregu: Absolutely.
Eric Chan: He has quite a few businesses and it’s actually quite an amazing story. So, Johann owns the company, My Alliance which you know about, right? That does like, the apps and the web development and all that. And he was a supplier for this company called, Earthlink Design, who did web design and web integration. And what he said was that after a while, the work started to come in slower and slower and he didn’t understand why. And he rang up Andrew who is his friend inside Earthlink Design who’s one of the partners and owners and said, “Hey man, what’s going on? It seems like there’s been a huge drop-off in the numbers and consistency of the work.” And it turns out that Andrew’s business partner who’s also his mentor, much older than he is, was diagnosed with cancer. Yeah, and isn’t sort of like the latest stages of the cancer where he needs to concentrate on his health, right? And Andrew was planning to sell the business and go working some other job because, you know, he’s more technical minded. He didn’t feel like he wanted to run the business all by himself. So, Andrew decided to sell the business and Johann thought to himself, man, you’re unemployable with someone who’s worked in business for themselves over 18 years. You can’t go back to an enamine job. So, they went look at the business and decided that, oh okay, this might be quite viable. So, he acquired the business and originally the plan was to merge the two businesses together. No sorry, the plan was to absorb Earthlink Design into My Alliance. And just take, you know, the customer list and so on. But then he decided to merge the two businesses together to create, so, Earthlink Design, My Alliance, Earthlink Alliance. And create this new entity with a new focus, new brand and a new vision.
Nick Abregu: Wow.
Eric Chan: Yeah. So what happened was, Johann asked a bunch of us to come together separately. And originally I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to be part of this because I didn’t want to get another job, right? That’s the thing about being in business. You leave a job to go into business and you tell everyone that it’s all about freedom. And I don’t have to worry about that anymore. And you get anchored to this identity where you’re more free, right? Even though most entrepreneurs like you would, you know, work 80 hours in a 40-hour week. But he said no, no. You think about what you want to do, what you don’t want to do and I’ll let you have that. And that was really cool. So, after a couple of weeks of working together, looking at the viability of the business it was all happening. And when everyone put up their hands to ask for which position they want. I put my hand up for CEO and they all gave it to me. That’s why I got to…
Nick Abregu: Well done!
Eric Chan: …this position.
Nick Abregu: This is not your first business?
Eric Chan: This is not my first business no, and…
Nick Abregu: You’ve done… quite you started off in speaking teaching people how to create their own scripts and getting over the fear of public speaking, right?
Eric Chan: Yeah that’s right. You know actually, the funny enough; the way that I started all of this is when I went to my very first networking meeting. I had a coaching background, you know, like a life coaching all that. That’s to doing my medical research job which we can get into a bit later but I came into small business through the coaching world. And then what happened was I went to a networking meeting called the business marketplace. I don’t know if you’ve heard of the business marketplace before. It’s a, it’s a local one in South Melbourne. And I went in there I’m like, okay, what am I gonna pitch because their format was you sit in a circle like 80 people around the chairs. And then the person who’s turned, it was the pitch would go up into the middle and holds a microphone. I said to myself, what am I going to sell here? There’s so many likely because I have like four other life coaches, some friends come to, comes to stage. And I thought to myself, well, everyone here is pitching 60-second pitches. I’m pretty good at writing and speaking. So I went up and there… and I go, yeah, I teach… I’d rather do 60-second pitches. And it worked out!
Nick Abregu: So, what did you go there for? I mean, what was the intention? In the first place?
Eric Chan: Purely for networking, purely for networking. I was told that when you’re in business you have to do this thing called networking, right? Because my background is in medical research. I have no idea about business. My dad owned a noodle shop so I understood that, that’s something that you could choose to do. But I’m Chinese my parents wanted me to go to Uni, become some sort of doctor, scientist or corporate climber, right? And when I became a medical research scientist my mom was over the moon and then impressed a little title with the Monash University thing on it. It was amazing for her.
Nick Abregu: But you went… with that medical background you went to a networking meeting but what was the intention of that? What was the intention of that networking?
Eric Chan: Well, the intention of the networking was to start building business networks and obviously make money. That’s the goal, right? Because what happened was… this is what happened, so, in medical research I was part of this study that looked at dementia, right? And these participants, who were all 17 over, come to research wanting to contribute and give back to the greater good, you know, it’s all volunteer work. And what would happen is they’ll undergo some testing for our data collection but then it had revealed to us that maybe… that they are suffering Alzheimer’s, are on the way to suffering Alzheimers. So, I want and learned coaching skills, life coaching, communication, even sales skills to better facilitate those conversations with them and their family during that tough time. Because their family always wanted to pull them out of the research study to you know not stress them out too much. And by pulling them out of the research study, anyone who understands research retention of numbers is everything, you know. If your sample starts shrinking, the research is no longer viable, if it gets past a certain point. So I was like, oh, I’ve got to learn these communication skills. How do I speak to them better? How do I make them feel more comfortable? And that’s how I got into coaching and then by doing some side coaching as part of my practice, I started to build a small business. And then I thought to myself, oh! This is pretty cool! Oh cool, I’m gonna make quarter of a million dollars in the first six months like, they sell to you at the program, right? Obviously that didn’t happen. But the intention going there… the intention going was to start this game with small business which I had no real familiarity with. Yeah, and I just wanted to grow.
Nick Abregu: Yeah. Well, you know, what my mom asked me the other day she said, because she runs a translation business. And she says, so, she was talking about business sizes. And she’s like, “Oh, I must be extra, extra small business.” And I’m like, “No, you’re still a small business.” Like anything up to 20 million dollars is a small business. It’s like, even in a small business game, you still have some really big players.
Eric Chan: That’s crazy, right? Because people don’t understand that the definition of small business in Australia is like if you have zero to 200 people, in your organization, you’re still considered small businesses.
Nick Abregu: That’s crazy! Isn’t it?
Eric Chan: Yeah, and I heard that big business, you know, like when you think about Cole’s Maia and Disney, all that. There are any makeup, like, I think point 1 percent of all business in the world. Like that huge multi-billion dollar company there are any makeup of a very small percentage. And most of the business in Australia is small business, something like 90% plus I think it is. Yeah.
Nick Abregu: Well I spoke… I went out for dinner with a company that they have 15,000 employees worldwide.
Eric Chan: Wow!
Nick Abregu: That is insane! We have eight!
Eric Chan: Yeah. I know!
Nick Abregu: And that’s enough to, you know, to cause a bit of strife like with 8 chairs and stuff. Fifteen thousand! That’s just tremendous!
Eric Chan: Just like our friend Johann says, all right, when you grow a business you make, what 15,000 staff members mean 15,000 times more…
Nick Abregu: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Exactly, exactly.
Eric Chan: …dealing with people.
Nick Abregu: Dude, what do we got here? We got… from our lovely assistant Alia Steglinski who’s behind the camera. You guys can’t see her but she got us some organic kombucha.
Eric Chan: Kombucha. Have you had kombucha before?
Nick Abregu: I have. I haven’t had this apple crisp one though.
Eric Chan: Yeah, so I’ve got a funny story about the kombucha. So, I was going to a meeting, right? Kind of an important meeting with my previous business partner. And he stopped off at a health food store to get some things that only… you can get at health food stores. He was like, “Do you want a drink?” And I was like, “Uh, I heard about this stuff called kombucha.” Right? I think that it’ll be really good to have. Now, what I didn’t know is that kombucha is fermented. And I didn’t know then and it’s very gassy. So, like I got… I open the bottle and it fizzed out. And I was like, alright, yeah, a fizzy drink and I decided scull like three-quarters of the bottle. So, I go into the meeting and I like, need to burp every, like ten to fifteen minutes. And like the really messed up, Hey, can we swear on this podcast?
Nick Abregu: We can.
Eric Chan: The really fucked up thing was I had Vietnamese foods. So, I had like fish sauce, you know, on the dressing. And the burp’s like, you could taste the fish sauce and I’m like, I am so screwed here. So, you’re trying to hold it in, right? Like, you know when you’re trying to hold in the burp just it travels on the throat. And runs slowly and it’s going back up and down.
Nick Abregu: It’s just like, it multiplies in effect.
Eric Chan: Yes, yes, so, I didn’t know that this stuff is some powerful shits.
Nick Abregu: Dude, that’s the worst.
Eric Chan: So I’m worried about drinking this in this podcast.
Nick Abregu: Right. We should have got, we should have got…
Eric Chan: No, no, it’s so good. I’m gonna, I’m gonna…
Nick Abregu: What are you doing to us? (Referring to Alia) She’s laughing. She knows, she’s… Dude, let’s give it a go. By the way I love this because the marketing that they’ve done on this. They started off in a, like a big bottle and now they’re doing it in these sizes. They’ve just completely revolutionized.
Eric Chan: Yeah, yeah. That’s very clever.
Nick Abregu: Isn’t that amazing? And this is so easy to make.
Eric Chan: Yeah. I see that, a lot of places make it and you can get it from a tap or something.
Nick Abregu: Yeah. So, we make it at home.
Eric Chan: Oh, you make it at home?
Nick Abregu: And it’s nice. Yeah.
Eric Chan: What is it made from?
Nick Abregu: It’s just like, I think it’s a… it’s like a Chinese bacteria. And the bacteria grow into like a scoby. And then and then like you flavor it. So, like it’s this island it’s like that big. It’s just… it looks disgusting. It’s disgusting, right? So, actually we have funny story about your business partner Johann. We gave him one. And he took that, the scoby was on a plate and he woke up because his wife put it on a plate too to change the liquids. And he woke up and he thought it was pancakes. So, he got a fork and knife and he cut and was gonna eat it. I don’t know what would happen if he ate it. It may be disastrous. How is it? How was the apple crisp?
Eric Chan: Yes, it’s nice, it’s nice. You know the first sip, it almost feels like it’s gonna be alcoholic. But it doesn’t have that alcoholic hidden.
Nick Abregu: Well, a guy in this building, his son is coming out with a… they’re in the drink business. He’s coming out with an alcoholic kombucha.
Eric Chan: Oh yeah?
Nick Abregu: Yeah and I said this, I said last three years ago that that’s gonna be the thing. It’s just… you just need to know people to get it done.
Eric Chan: See? The world is full of great idea but how many…
Nick Abregu: Everyone everyone has a million dollar idea. You just have to execute it, right?
Eric Chan: That’s right. The execution is the hap- I think I saw, what’s his name? Ashton Kutcher, say that, right? Within the awards ceremony he said that, people, because he’s a really successful businessman not just an actor. And then he said something like, “Yeah, there’s always great ideas, ideas and million dollar ideas but the problem is the hard work that people need to put in and most people are not willing to do that.”
Nick Abregu: Yeah, that’s it. Like how many people do you know that stay back at the office until eleven at night just working on what they have to get done. Like that’s rare and they’re usually the ones that succeed.
Eric Chan: Well, I want to ask you about that, right? So, I have seen this culture…
Nick Abregu: Dude, I’m burping now and it’s like…
Eric Chan: Yeah, you get that, right?
Nick Abregu: I’m sorry, I’m so… I have to like cover this off.
Eric Chan: So, like you know that culture of a, Gary Vee for example. He’s all about hard work, hard work, hard work which obviously I subscribe to as well. Like, I think it’s really important to put in the hard work. And then I see this counterculture online. I think its maybe from the Mindvalley guys or something like that. Anyway it’s not about hard work. It’s about mindset or you could be doing hard work down the wrong track which actually causes more issues. So, I feel like there’s such opposing idea, where one is hard work, one is like, no you don’t have to work hard you have to work smart. But every time I see someone work smart they’re still working hard. What is that? What do you think at all?
Nick Abregu: Well, you know those Mindvalley people. I think it’s not targeted to the people that are still climbing. Like I feel like once you get past, say, an annual salary would say, five hundred thousand, right? It’s a different ball game, right? A million it’s different. Ten million it’s completely different, right? They’re the ones that need all that mindfulness because the streak, I think anything past… even anything past say two hundred thousand. Even if you’re a CEO or something, it’s still a pressure that’s unprecedented. Because even if you’re not running your own business, right? Your bosses, they expect a lot more from you, right? Because they want valued for money as well. No, they’re not gonna pay anyone two hundred thousand a year with, for them just to sit around unless your daddy owns the company, right?
Eric Chan: Yeah, no. I get what you’re saying in terms of who it should be for especially those who are already in a particular space where there’s a lot of evolution. But the thing is that… the things like the secret, like Gary Vee, and all of them. The followers are the regular people climbing. Like, if you look at the conventions of Gary Vee’s that you have the young girls and guys putting their hands up. And I’m about to start this, what should I do? And it’s all about hard work, right? And then I, on my YouTube, I don’t put any of my… or my Google account. I don’t put any of my personal information so they don’t know how successful I am, really. And I still get those targeted ads. So, I wonder when you’re coming up, when you need that stuff the most because I find that most people, they study that stuff intensely, right? At the beginning of their business journey. It’s a bit hard for me, you know.
Nick Abregu: The other thing that I noticed Gary always says, “When someone comes up to me and says Gary, I’m thinking of starting this business, you know, what’s the first step, I take?” The answer that he gives is like, “If you really wanted it, you would have started already.” Like, if you grind. Like, if you’ve got it in you. If you find that passion plus the ability to work hard, like it’ll just come to you, you won’t, you woke up the next day and just get it done. It happened with me with my charity. If we can plug that, it’s the Winter Care Package.
Eric Chan: Winter Care Package. Doing amazing work in Melbourne.
Nick Abregu: Thank you sir.
Eric Chan: Lead by Nick Abregu, beautiful man.
Nick Abregu: Thank you. Oh my! I’m blushing. We gonna have to cut this podcast. So, I woke up… I went to bed one night. I was, like I just… I felt this overwhelming feeling of guilt. I come back from Noosa and I was lying in bed. Like I was living there working on my business. I came back and I was freezing. I came back in the middle of winter, completely freezing. I had like a jumper pants, I had like two blankets, the heater was on. And I had this feeling of guilt for some reason. Like, I felt privileged, right? The next day, I said I’m gonna do something. The next day I jumped on board and I opened up an account, GoFundMe account. Within two weeks we had, we had raised like I think $1,500 or $3,000, right? So when that passion and the drive is there? You’ll do it. You, you get it done. And you’ll stay up all hours of the night to get it done.
Eric Chan: Yeah, you know, what’s um, coming to me right now? It’s like I said that I’m gonna take up drawing for the past, like a year. And I’ve been telling people, you know my mom’s like, the worst thing you can do is like tell people that you’re gonna do something and not do it. And i think to myself, yeah, you’re right, you know.
Nick Abregu: Dude, what are you doing? Let me get you pen and paper. Let’s start right now, what, what is this?
Eric Chan: That’s amazing! So, you set how it happened. Well, so you got that you got this,
Nick Abregu: Just this drive.
Eric Chan: Drive and,
Nick Abregu: Like the drive. Like, you can get motivated but that motivation dies off. But we’ve got the drive; like that drive is what, what takes you to the next level.
Eric Chan: Yeah, I’ve heard that differentiation between inspiration and motivation, right?
Motivation makes external where it’s never long-lasting but if you’re inspired its self generating on the inside, yeah, that’s, that’s true.
Nick Abregu: And that happened with me with GorillaCo as well. I just, I had this, this drive like to make it happen. for like 10 years. I just needed to package it together better. for like 10 years. I just needed to package it together better. And it’s just crazy; I just come in at like 6:00 or 7:00 in the morning and just don’t leave until late at night. And that was what built it up to what it is. Now, we have seven staff. And instead of me doing all the hard work, I, I, I pass that on to people who are more capable than me. Who are better? So, like I stand under the shoulders of giants. Right? Because they’re the ones that get things done. And I just manage to make sure people need, when they need help they’ve got me there.
Eric Chan: Well, I think maybe what you said there, it might be Well, I think maybe what you said there, it might be there’s hard work and there’s smart work. And I think perhaps success is the person who can combine a bit of the both, right? Because what you’re describing there is good leadership because you could have, because when I look, when I look at my dad, when he worked in his restaurant business. He was doing everything, right? He was the head chef business. He was doing everything, right? He was the head chef he was able to retire early but it was more trading time for money type of work. And to see him grinding, grinding, grinding, grinding, but then when you describe what you do is that, okay, you grind up into a certain point. And then you find people who are really good at doing their things that can replace you. And then you start implementing your leadership ability which gives you time to do other things like Winter Care, like a podcast like this. So, maybe that all things is a balance.
Nick Abregu: If I can just jump in there. What you said is your dad was trading time for money but the way to, to build a scalable business is to trade knowledge for money,
Eric Chan: Yeah.
Nick Abregu: Right? Because when you, you, it’s unlimited!
Eric Chan: Yeah. Knowledge for money, you heard it here first.
Nick Abregu: That’s right. Copyright. So, so, now with Gorilla, so, I’ve got this one guy in my company named Paul and he’s my right-hand man. So, when I when I brought him on it’s actually, he didn’t apply for a job. I just, we just found each other. He just sent me a message it was like, hey, I like what you’re doing, like what’s going on? You know, like cool man! l like what you’re doing too. Let’s talk! So now, I took, I took seven months, so now, I took, I took seven months, board, all I did was just teach him what I know. So I replicated myself in him. So,
He has my entire knowledge set.
Eric Chan: Yeah, okay.
Nick Abregu: And I did that. Because now he manages staff. He manages all the staff. He hires,
he does everything. So, I replaced myself in the company which gave me extra time to do the other things that I need to do for the company to help it grow.
Eric Chan: Yeah.
Nick Abregu: Right? So, the next step here is that we build a team of me, right? Of all the knowledge that I have on how to build businesses, right? Because then, you build a team around that and then they’re the ones that build the businesses for you. So, I’m scaling, building a business from scratch.
Eric Chan: Well, I’ll, I’ll ask you a good question Nick because I’m with this new role as CEO, one of the things that I’ve had to um, manage now is dealing with a lot of people. Now, um, manage now is dealing with a lot of people. Now, out it’s very different from working people who just work for you. Right? And you got to treat them differently and the expectation is different. How do you keep up the culture and the drive and the motivation or inspiration?
Nick Abregu: So, I have Monday morning meetings, right? Every single Monday. And, and my team have access to me but in a hierarchy sort of way. All right so they, they, like the people that are like that have just come on board? They, they connect with the people above them. And then they connect with people above them. So it kind of looked like, like a pyramid but,
Eric Chan: So they don’t ring a golden gong and when you hear it
Nick Abregu: Exactly. Yeah, yeah.
Eric Chan: you come out, you come out of the, it was like [makes weird sound]
Nick Abregu: It’s just like in a jail and I was like let me answer your questions, son. No, I don’t, I don’t do that. So, so it’s important for me, is, is to track their progress, right? Not, not because like I don’t want to know that they’re doing the work. Like I expect them to do the work but more importantly is to not overload them with work. Like a lot of people you say, no, you’ve got a spare time here just do more work, do more work. But I would rather them learn the processes in place so that the culture stays the same. Everyone knows that this is done like this, this is done like that, and when you have systems in place, done like that, and when you have systems in place, goes wrong they blame the system rather than blaming each other. Right? It’s important to keep track of that. And if I can offer them any help at all, I’ll say like just, just let me know what I can do better, like what I can do better so that your job is easier. Because like when you look at Silicon Valley, we look at all those companies, like it’s important to look at the workload that they have, no one stressed out. I mean sure they’re stressed out on some project but they do that because they want to do that. Right? Because they, they believe in the company’s mission.
Eric Chan: I understand what you’re saying that it’s sort of like, when you’re trying to teach somebody a new sport. Well, like how I teach my daughter a new sport, you want to keep flooding them with the next thing, right? It’s like oh, you can do the fourth thing, the fifth thing because if you train these five things together. That’s how you get to that ultimate outcome of a great, you know, on forehand or something like that. But you get them to practice just the two or three things consistently. And that builds three things consistently. Their base, right? And their ability to take on more and see more things just comes at the right time rather than overloading them. So, I really like that. And I really like what you said about making them, making the environment set so that they’ll blame the system rather than blaming each other when something goes wrong. Because the system can always be fixed. And it has no emotion connection.
Nick Abregu: Exactly, and if you look at the system and everyone’s always blaming the system. Then you just have to revise the system. To make it easier because they’re good people, right? They’re not whinges. Because you don’t hire whinges, right? They’re good people and then they’re the ones that tell you that something’s broken.
Eric Chan: Yeah. No, I really like that that happened to me. I recently where, I sent out to my graphic designers to create my new email signature, right? And they returned the HTML code to me with the incorrect size. And so, my first reaction was, oh come on, you know, you’re graphics designer. You couldn’t even put the standard sizing. You know, just because I Google up, I’m like can you Google this stuff? It was like yes, standard sizing for email signatures like four twenty by something standard sizing for email signature’s like four twenty by something And then I realized that, no, I didn’t give you a proper brief. I just said go make me an email signature. I needed to take responsibility for; in fact one of my favorite books is Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink. Mainly the first chapter, like the other principles is fairly standard. But that first chapter about, as a leader you have to take ownership at every level. And he describes the story where he was in Afghanistan with his teams. And it turns out that what he thought, his teams thought were enemies on the other side and they were firing each other for quite a considerable amount of time turned out to be unfriendly. Though actually, but there was some miscommunication, something happened, right? And they were firing at each other and, and pinning each other damage. So they finally realized that it was actually really fellow American forces. And then when he went back to the camp, everyone was very very down about it because, I don’t think anyone died but somebody got injured. And it’s just a horrible thing to be a part of, right? And when they had the team meeting and their superiors were there. Jocko went up to everyone and said whose fault was this, right? Different people put up their hands like, yeah I think it’s my fault because I didn’t communicate the change or I think it’s my fault because I didn’t translate it to the Afghani soldiers so they didn’t know that out of position. And all these people putting up their hands saying that it’s their fault and when you’re listening to the detail, you think to yourself, yeah, you know, that probably did contribute. You are to blame but Jocko’s like, no, no, no. He says as the leader, I have to take ownership it’s my fault, right? And, but he said it not because, you know, you need to blame everything on me. It’s that no, because there must have been a floor in the system in the way that we’re doing this for this to happen. Because that’s what I am actually in charge of. Yes, I understand things change and shifts of. But, I saw that the change and shifts were not supported by the system. And that’s how we got into this situation of friendly fire, he took ownership. And I thought that was really powerful because I think as a leader that’s one of the most important things you do. Whenever I want to give feedback or even on critical feedback. In the moments where I can open with, how I can take ownership of my input into this particular failure whatever it is. It changes the context of the entire conversation.
Nick Abregu: Absolutely.
Eric Chan: Just. Just the way that it feels in discussing it. It’s just a huge thing. It’s an amazing principle to live by as a leader.
Nick Abregu: Yes, someone said to me the other day, we were having a conversation and I may have done something wrong. And they said to me, they said to me, like they stopped me and said, you’re coming in a bit hot. And it stopped me in my tracks and I’m like, shit yeah I am. All right, let me, let me rephrase. Let me start again. And it made you think like, it makes you think like, like don’t, don’t be so emotional when you’re, when you’re trying to take charge of something but see it for what it is. Like, see if that, it’s, it’s, this is, there’s something wrong like in that case something wrong with the system.
Eric Chan: Yup, yup. Because it’s so easy to blame people first, right?
Nick Abregu: Because it’s easy.
Eric Chan: That’s right.
Nick Abregu: Are we, are we stopping?
Alia Steglinski: For 26:30.
Nick Abregu: Yeah, stop it. And then we’ll start again. Are you enjoying this?
Eric Chan: Yeah man! I told you I love podcast.
Alia Steglinski: so much word. So much different dynamics. And lots of seriousness.
Nick Abregu: Let’s talk and sync and relax.
Eric Chan: But did you just burp?
Nick Abregu: No, no, it’s a clap.
Eric Chan: Oh I thought you burp. Alright.
Nick Abregu: Well, we’ll see what we picked up. Yeah, okay. Dude, these are nice.
Are you enjoying this?
Eric Chan: Yeah I do like them. I can see why people really enjoy them. And I have a friend whom I met on my travels to Cambodia, right? So one of the things that I did a few years ago and in fact it relates to our topic of business failures because sometimes there are failures even within success. So, what I mean by that is I was running my business, you know, in developing the pictures and presenting and all that. And at the end of 2016 I had a good year. Like I had two workshops that I was always running. And I ran it every single month you know 80% to 100% capacity.
Nick Abregu: Wow!
Eric Chan: And it was a great year, right? It was a great year. I even have a photo on
Instagram, me like holding a beer chezzing myself in, like you know, to a good year. But the funny thing was at Christmas. Right, I sat back and reflected. And I thought to myself, man, it’s been a good year in some ways but in other ways, I think, I haven’t really achieved much. And people always ask me why, why did I say that, right? Here’s the kombucha coming up guys.
Nick Abregu: That’s alright. That’s someone listening to us and then cut like “burrrp!” They’re, ah, Jesus!
Eric Chan: So, I, I was like, what did I think of this? And I thought into myself, I got into this place of security doing the three things that I knew which was workshop number one, workshop number two and one-on-one consulting, right? The three things that I knew. And that’s all I did. And it felt like being back in a job. Because I had no place to really learn. No place to grow. I had this, you know, scarcity mindset that if I don’t keep going out hunting for these replacement workshop attendees. And you know everything’s gonna fall through and then I have to go back to a real job and be a failure in front of my friends. And the thought dawned on me that maybe I didn’t actually know anything about business.
Nick Abregu: Yeah.
Eric Chan: Yeah. And that’s a huge thing. And I think a lot of people fail in business because they either won’t admit it to themselves fail in business because they either won’t admit it to themselves doing business, I said, this is the gripe that I have with multi-level marketing people, right? Is that they, when they do the sell to the moms and dads is that, oh, it’s super easy your doing in your spare time but when you actually go into it, you realize that, no, you actually have to run a proper business. And you have to take tax considerations and all these different things that require you to learn more or more and more. And if you don’t do them properly they can actually really affect your life, right? So, I was like, I knew nothing about business and I decided to shut down my business for three months in 2017, right? And I went hiking and, you know, spiritual journey and open up. And what dawned on me was the need for contribution and giving back to the greater good. For contribution and giving back to the greater good. Yeah, because when you go into business, I think when we talk about failures, right? Is that a lot of it has to do with this over focus of the self. And, and that’s just, I’m not saying you know, necessarily a selfish way, a deliberately selfish way but it’s more like, okay I shifted from this place of certainty, you know, a paycheck that comes with [super] and annual leave, and sick leave, and maternity leave, and paternity leave, and all of that to working my own business. And all of a sudden every minute that I spent not doing the things that generate money is my livelihood, my house and my family.
Nick Abregu: Yeah, shit, that’s absolutely correct.
Eric Chan: So that’s, the thing is that part um, part of the failures in my business is whenever I get into that space where I’m so self-focused to the exclusion of everything else. I find that I do worse, make less deals, get into more of an emotional funk, you know, you know, a depression or anxiety of any level you know, a depression or anxiety of any level that’s when it happens. And when that happens as the old saying goes, your business is a reflection of your life. And your life is a reflection of your business if you are an entrepreneur. And when I get into those modes, that’s when it’s the worst thing. So, when I went to contribution. I went to Cambodia to, teach kids, right? Teach kids with my particular skill of communication with Project Gen Z. And
Nick Abregu: Project Gen, can you give them a shout out?
Eric Chan: Yeah so, you know, Project Gen Z.
Nick Abregu: I love them.
Eric Chan: Nick who, um, thank you so much for what you do did. We had a charity event and Nick provided his videographer services for free as a donation to,
Nick Abregu: Oh, you’re welcome.
Eric Chan: to charity and it was just amazing. So Project Gen Z was founded by Liz Volpe who and on a holiday in Cambodia at Sunrise Children’s Village. She wanted to visit the Children’s Village because it’s run by Geraldine Cox quite a prolific Australian figure. And she saw these kids and wanted to do something for them. Give something to them but she didn’t know how, right? Just giving money is not enough. You need to do something proper. So, she came back to Australia and she called up her entrepreneur friends, successful entrepreneur friends.
Nick Abregu: Because Liz is a very successful entrepreneur. She’s a
Eric Chan: Yeah, yeah she is. She runs marketing,
Nick Abregu: She’s a tycoon, right?
Eric Chan: Yeah, yeah, it’s like a, a little bit. She had this successful marketing company and events company where she actually ran the after party for Kanye when he was here quite a few years back. So, that’s when he was here quite a few years back. So, that’s call up her entrepreneur friends. One of them being Andrew Morello who won the first Australian Apprentice with Mark Bouris. And they got together and decided to do this thing called, um, The Data Dream Workshop which is sort of like The Apprentice where we teach the kids the business skills that they need like branding financials, leadership sales and all that. And then we’d get them to design and create a business and actually sell physical services and products um, out into the Cambodia, into businesses. And see how much money they can generate which would go back the children’s village and then obviously they’ll get prizes where, you know, some to might get a couple of thousand dollars for education and things like that, all right. So, we went to Cambodia to do that and when I came back from Cambodia, I was changed dramatically. And I don’t think I’ve recovered yet from my trip to Cambodia back in 2017 because one of the things that, um, that happened to me was I discovered how much, how much time and energy I was wasting staring at my screen. Staring at one of these things.
Nick Abregu: Yeah, absolutely.
Eric Chan: And so worried about how people would judge me and every time I made a post, checking the likes, checking the comments, making sure I liked the comments. Making sure that you know, it’s when I hit the share but did it really share because why aren’t I getting as many notifications and it brought out this sort of individual or version of myself that I didn’t really enjoy. And I, when we talk about business, right? I’ve been finding it very difficult getting back into the social media.
Nick Abregu: Yeah, we’ve had a conversation about this.
Eric Chan: Yeah and I’m not sure how to, how to balance that, right? And, and, we’re talking about, I’m, talking about, I’m I’m talking about this it’s because it relates to, you know, the kombucha about what you consider a vice or not a vice, right? So, my friend she, all she drinks now is kombucha. In fact she doesn’t drink alcohol anymore. And she drinks kombucha teas and healthy stuff and she’s become a vegan and all that. And, but she does a lot of social media and I asked her the question. I’m like, oh well, you remove all these vice from your life, and in your life and business has flourished. But then, you know, you’re still doing, you do a lot of social media because that’s where you share your truth has a podcast herself. And how do you balance that? How do you balance that in your own mind? Because I’ve been finding it difficult to balance it in my own mind. And she says, hey, you think too much. You think too much and you just need to do what is true to you. And if being on social media feels right because you’re sharing your message. That’s fine. If you feel that you can enjoy having a drink while you party or hang out with friends. And it doesn’t affect how you are and how you show up then that’s fine. And I guess. It’ll be interesting to hear what you think?
Nick Abregu: There’s a component there depending on what your, what your product is. Like if your product is you or rather in your business there’s two components. There’s the marketing and there’s the branding. Or if you’re the product, you need to brand yourself.
Eric Chan: Yeah.
Nick Abregu: You need to appear, in whatever way it is that your target market needs you to be. In whatever way it is that your target market needs you to be. And I know that’s very vain to say but it’s the truth.
Eric Chan: So, is that what your target market needs you to be or what you or things you want to be in more target market you want to attract.
Nick Abregu: Well, well it depends if you’re building the target market around you, right? Then be yourself. But if you’re building your company around your target market, then you need to be what they need you to be.
Eric Chan: Yeah.
Nick Abregu: Like, right? I, I, I mean, for example like a sexy car, they make the car sexy for the audience. Not the other way around, right?
Eric Chan: No, you’re, you’re absolutely right. I, I definitely agree with you because that’s how business done.
Nick Abregu: But there’s that fine, there’s,
Eric Chan: Well, uh, it’s more,
Nick Abregu: There are fine line, right?
Eric Chan: It’s not just, just the fine line now this goes back to our previous question is uh, you know, the Gary Vee question, right? Is that I hear these opposing principles of how to be in business and be in people. And I wonder whether the confusion is what causes the business failures, right? Because, because on one hand, we talk about even in corporate speak customer centricity meaning putting the customer first. Building everything about their wants and needs which is what you’re talking about regarding the sexy car. But then no matter where I go regarding the individual whether it be a CEO or whatever, and they’re talking about themselves and how they’re dealing with their ability to lead a business or build a business. The words that always come up is authenticity and vulnerability and alignment and all these different things.
Nick Abregu: I’m not so sure.
Eric Chan: So, that’s what I mean like, I think this is intricate because I don’t think people, I don’t think people say I’m not so sure enough to this question instantly. Yeah, I want authenticity and vulnerability straight away but I think to myself, but then how does that fall in line with actual business principles, right?
Nick Abregu: So, so like on that, right? Whinging like, being vulnerable, right? And saying like opening up is, that you see the pattern all the time. Someone opens up, right? And then they get all these likes and all these, they might sell some products or whatever. But then because they see that pattern, they keep doing it. And then they just drop off because no one wants negativity in their life. Everyone wants positivity, right? So what happens there is that they’ve taken that advice and they’re vulnerable and they open up, right? But then, no one wants to be around any negative people, right? Like think about your, like your parents for example. You’re around them like you go to Christmas dinner. You love them so much. But then they start being negative because they’re just like, for me their work as parents, right? That’s just what they do. And then, and then you like okay, okay, I spent enough. I think it’s time, time to go. And that’s like for just a few of us. Although, I love my mom. Mom, I love you. So much. But I think it’s that negative thing. But I think it’s that negative thing. Right? It’s good to get on, on the tabloids or whatever like for personalities but then they drop off. Straight away.
Eric Chan: Yeah.
Nick Abregu: Look what happened to Jim Carrey like, this is a perfect example. He became vulnerable and now he’s nowhere. He’s in a small group of, he’s in a small group but he’s nothing when he was positive, like he was positive he was so much more. But that’s, I’m not saying that’s a good thing, like, I think that’s a sad thing because you change yourself to be what the audience wants you to be. But ultimately that’s what sells.
Eric Chan: Well, wouldn’t you say that Jim Carrey because I know that Jim Carrey has hit the whole DMT mushroom thing and now he is an enlightened individual sharing those type of bits, bits of information in lifestyle. So maybe that’s by choice, you know? But, but I get what you’re saying regarding negativity and I think this is where you know, the comment sections were gonna, were gonna go crazy, right? Because like okay, negativity versus being open versus sharing your journey so that everyone knows that, that not alone, which again is also against, say for example being stoic, right? Because we know that entrepreneurs need intrinsically a lot of resilience, right? So, how do you balance that all out. And sometimes you know, I hate going back to this rhetorical device of, It’s all gonna be a balance. We gonna, we gonna make it a balance.
Nick Abregu: Well, ultimately for your insanity it has to be a balance. But, but think about the people that make billions of dollars.
Eric Chan: Yeah.
Nick Abregu: They’re not sane.
Eric Chan: Yeah, they’re not sane.
Nick Abregu: Like they, they’ve given up their family. They’ve given up friends. They’ve given up everything for the money. That’s a little sad. But it’s, it’s, for me like I know I couldn’t give up family for money. There’s no way! Like if someone offered me a billion dollars, to say, dump your partner, dump your soul mate and you can never see her again for billion dollars. I couldn’t do it.
Eric Chan: Looks like, looks like you’re safe. Even a billion dollars like when you can,
Nick Abregu: But that also makes me realize, like, I will never be at that status of a billion dollars because of my values. Like my values set are so strong that, like for me family’s first but then there’s a balance like, like I want to make a hundred million dollars. Like I’m finding that balance. But, but I will never make a billion dollars. Not with this attitude.
Eric Chan: Yeah. She’s like, she’s like damn!
Nick Abregu: What, what are the loopholes? What are the types of loophole? But on, on that note like, is it better to be MBA trained as opposed to not being? That, the perfect example is, I, I don’t know where I heard this. I want to give credit to whoever said it but I can’t remember. Maybe Tim Ferriss. Anyway, um, maybe we can get some backlinks from Tim Ferris if I say that often.
Eric Chan: Tim Ferris. Hash tag Tim Ferris.
Nick Abregu: Tim Ferris. Tim Ferris. Tim Ferris loves GorillaCo. Alright, that’s going in. So, Tim Ferris loves GorillaCo. Alright, that’s going in. So, so he, I think it was him. So, he said so he, I think it was him. So, he said someone let’s say, Harvard MBA, right? As opposed this to some outback, um, an outback just simpleton, right? They both buy a McDonald’s franchise, right? The MBA from Harvard goes off and says, no, I can do it better. I’m gonna make all these changes because I’m from Harvard. I know what I’m doing, right? So, they make all these changes. Right? The, the country, the country guy just buys the franchise and says, okay I’m just gonna do step one do this, step two turn the fryer. The, the country person doesn’t change any of the processes, right? Within a year the MBA guy closes down because he went and changed. He thought he was better because he had an MBA. And he changed all the processes whereas the country guy didn’t and he succeeds. Right? Because that, that thing about like, I have this knowledge that I’ve learned but I don’t have any experience. With McDonald’s has hundreds but a hundred years of experience or whatever it is. Right? So, the MBA guy goes and changes all the systems to do what he’s learned to do and the country quite doesn’t and the country guys succeeds. He makes way more money than the, the other guy. So, that’s the balance. And like the, real world, um, case takes.
Eric Chan: Yeah, yeah. Definitely.
Nick Abregu: I, I can’t cite where they’re from but I, I’m sure if you Google it.
Eric Chan: No, for, for sure like that’s, that’s the thing about education, right? Bill Gates didn’t complete his Harvard degree, did he? When he came up with his entrepreneurial idea that changed the world. Ah, what is it Elon Musk says, oh, I’ve never been to Harvard but I hire people. He’d never been to Harvard, right?
Nick Abregu: Yeah, yeah.
Eric Chan: So, yeah, there is a balance and of course there’s obviously the really highly educated people who’ve been very successful as well.
Nick Abregu: But this, this is statistical outliers like those guys are like they would have done; they would have been successful in anything. Like if they went to Uni, if they, if they completed college, whatever they were doing it in. They would have been successful.
Eric Chan: Well,
Nick Abregu: Just, because there are just like that kind of person, like not everyone could drop out of college and say and be successful.
Eric Chan: Yeah, that’s true.
Nick Abregu: You know like the majority couldn’t.
Eric Chan: Ah, I guess.
Nick Abregu: I think. I think.
Eric Chan: I guess the fundamental thing is if you talk psychology, right? So, B5 factor analysis which is I guess the leading empirical personality, you know, tests and all that. They say that number one, IQ is a predict of success. Obviously the smarter you are then the more likely are you to succeed. And then it said, the other thing was conscientiousness, meaning that you’re good with detail, good with, um, planning and doing the work and putting the effort in and not being distracted easily, things like that. That’s another predictor of success. So, I guess it doesn’t matter whether you go to school or fall for the, you know, Master’s PhD Degree but if you have those traits and you are guided correctly then you can be successful.
Nick Abregu: Dude have you ever done an IQ test?
Eric Chan: Yeah, I’ve done IQ test before.
Nick Abregu: Have you?
Eric Chan: I have.
Nick Abregu: I did my first one when; when, I think I was like 25 or something, I know, I wanted to join the air force to be a pilot. And was there and I was doing all these things and like all these questions kind of like, they didn’t make any sense.
Eric Chan: Yeah. Yeah, it’s hard, right?
Nick Abregu: It’s so hard!
Eric Chan: It’s hard. It’s hard. I did the IQ test and I realize that I’m not as smart as I think I am.
Nick Abregu: You like, damn, I should have studied. I should have studied.
Eric Chan: Yeah, but I, I, I remember, what we’re talking about originally, right? Was vulnerability, right? Finding balance and this, I guess a dichotomy between being stoic and being open, right. So, I think it’s interesting to talk about this because we’re talking about business failures and business success. And I get the sense that the culture right now is all about vulnerability. And that being stoic especially in the male space is that, no, we’ve been stoic for too long. We need to be more vulnerable and that’s definitely true. That’s definitely true because, you know, people who suffer emotional strain or any form of like depression, anxiety, a lot of the times they do close out, right? But where do you, I guess I’m asking you this question. What do you think about this? Where do you draw the line or what are your thoughts around how much stoicism and, you know, pull up your bootstraps mentality that you need in order for it to actually be uh, beneficial. Or when is it too much?
Nick Abregu: I like the idea that when you’re in business mode, you’re in business mode. Right? You do what you need to do to get the job done for yourself to bring an income in, right? As well as get the job done for the client. And just grind away and do what we have to. And just no emotions just get it done, right? It’s a transaction. But I’m a massive believer in having a support network that you can and unload your thoughts. Like, you have someone that that really loves you at home. That’s so important. Someone you can go home and you can just, they can just hold you like they just know that something’s wrong. And they hold you. And like, you just let it out, like, and that they’d listen. So, I would say like, with my partner, I’m the rock for her when she needs me. And she’s my rock when I need her. Right? You can’t have two rocks at the same time because they just, you know, they just clash. But, but I, I, I feel like; have a, have a small group of friends that really care about you. You don’t need a million friends. You just need like two or three, and a partner that really loves you as well. And I think that is where you can really just, just, just be vulnerable.
Eric Chan: Yeah, okay. I never thought about it like that.
Nick Abregu: But, but when it comes to business, like be that, be that business person. You’re like, you’re in business to make money like, that’s the, that’s when people say they’re in business to make a difference, Alright, cool! That’s cool, right? Like probably ten percent of it, that’s true but ultimately if you’re not making money. If you are not bringing money in then you don’t have a business.
Eric Chan: Yeah, you can’t make a difference. Until you take care of yourself before you take care of others.
Nick Abregu: Exactly, yeah.
Eric Chan: Yeah, look I like your, your separation of, okay, when it comes to the business aspect. You sort of need to um, compartmentalize in your brain that this is where all the stoicism hard work focus should be. But when you are on the personal side you need to be able to go to a space or a safe space to be emotionally free. Yeah, I guess, it’s where they cross over. Right, because I mentioned that as a leader, there’s the emotional strain that comes from having to deal with people, say you’re having a bad year and people’s livelihoods, their salaries, they’re, the things that feed their family are based on you and you have to show up to them that it’s still strong, you’re still strong and you’ve got the right focus. But then inside, you feel that turmoil. And I guess that’s when you go to the people who you love and,
Nick Abregu: And that’s tough. Like I’ve always said like when you have a business and you have staff and you have a partner, you’re in two relationships. One of them is with, with your soul mate, right? The most beautiful person in your life and the other is a group of people that are the most amazing people in your life. Like, they, they work for you. Like, isn’t that amazing that someone gives up their entire, someone gives up the most valuable resource that we have on Earth and that’s time and they give it to you. You’re like, tell me what to do with this valuable resource like how could you, I don’t understand people they’re just assholes to their, to their, to their staff. That is like that the worst thing you could ever do to someone. They’re giving up everything they have for you. And they trust you and they trust you to lead them. It’s like, so, people need to take that, that’s like a serious responsibility.
Eric Chan: Yes, anybody listen to this, I like and that bit you said right there? Imagine framing any new staff member that comes on board to your company or opening your meetings, right? Monthly meetings every so often with that level of recognition. It’s like; hey I want to recognize that you are giving your most valuable resource that you have. Something that money can’t buy which is your time. Not really, right? Because you can your time, you can never get it back and you’re choosing to give it to me as opposed to something else. And making them feel and understand that’s how you view them. Now, that’s some powerful leadership I love that. Yeah. I’ve never thought about it that way.
Nick Abregu: And I make sure I tell them every, every, every Monday like when we all get together. It’s important. And I think that’s why I’ve built a team that is so strong. And when someone’s down like, we’d like, we picked them up. Like how can we make, how can I make your day better? And I think that’s, that’s a, that’s how to build a strong foundation.
Eric Chan: Yeah.
Nick Abregu: And the culture that you’re talking about earlier. I think it’s got a lot to do with it.
Eric Chan: Yeah, well one of the things that I’ve employed into our business right now and with the team members is, I think to myself how do I anchor for my team members, their sense of not only belonging but also their potential, right? So, speaking of what I’m focusing on potential is that, you know, we’ve all heard about the business bottom lines, right? So, you know, profit is the bottom line and unfortunately we’re moving away from that. And there’s that triple bottom line where it’s about people, profit and finet processes where you see corporate social responsibility policies and this huge focus on culture and HR for people. And I’ve been part of a roundtable with this past year where we’re looking at innovation. And the chairperson of the roundtable and one of my mentors talks about in this new era of business in this Fourth Industrial Revolution. There needs to be seven bottom lines and I was like, holy shit seven, right? What do you mean by seven? And guess here, here are the seven. I see if I can remember them right. It’s so people, purpose, potential, performance, profit, finet, and philanthropy. That if you could,
Nick Abregu: Wow, well done
Eric Chan: Yeah. So, I remember that, right?
Nick Abregu: That is pretty amazing.
Eric Chan: So, imagine if you guide your business with those seven bottom lines. And what I really love about that seven is that, these, on performance and potential these words apply not only externally like as in the service that you provide to your customers. But also internally, right? Because if I frame that it is an unacceptable bottom line to go beyond. That my people need to feel that they are achieving their potential. That they can see their potential and they are making it come to life with their performance driven by purpose. Alright. So, imagine thinking that way about what is the minimum acceptable standard in, in your business. So, I thought about how can I achieve this? And we all love stories, right? You’re a storyteller as a videographer and I thought to myself, okay, why is it that our society loves stories so much? Why is that? Like what would you say? Why is it that we love stories so much?
Nick Abregu: I’d say because it’s the oldest way of communication that we’ve ever had.
Eric Chan: Yup. Definitely.
Nick Abregu: To pass on, to pass on like, what do they call them,
Eric Chan: Like wisdom knowledge?
Nick Abregu: cautionary tales!
Eric Chan: Cautionary tales! Yes, yes, yeah, absolutely. Right. So, yes, that’s absolutely right to pass on that wisdom, cautionary tales as well. But I also find that the reason why stories are so powerful is the metaphorical sym, symbolic expression of what our human journey is. Right? So, when you, when you think about things like the Hero’s Journey which is the classic storytelling structure. It talks about how the only way to evolve is that you actually have to go through challenge and adversity first, right? And, and then when you finally go through enough challenges and adversity you reach the dragon. The final dragon. And if you defeat the dragon, you will win the ultimate prize whether it be, you know, the sword or it’ll be the, you know, the elixir of life whatever it is. And then you come back a different person, right? That, that’s what essentially the, the Hero’s Journey is about, but I also believe that stories are really powerful for these symbolism because But I also believe that stories are really powerful for these symbolism because when we see stories of superheroes, of you know, fantasy Harry Potter whatever it may be. The ones that we key into the most. The ones that we feel an affinity for are usually a reflection of the ultimate self that we want to be. The vers-, the best version of ourselves that we want to be, right? So, for me personally, I’ve always loved the story of Superman. But not only because he’s, you know, overpowered and all that which is, you know, a lot of reason why people love Superman because he’s overpowered, he’s a symbol of hope and all that. But when you actually look into the Superman story. It’s more about an individual who does have unlimited godlike power but always chooses responsibility and finding another way over the easy route. Because he could just snap the necks of every villain that he meets, right? And, and basically change.
Nick Abregu: A roundhouse kick.
Eric Chan: Yeah, yeah.
Nick Abregu: To the teeths on some.
Eric Chan: That’s, that’s right but, but he, but he always chooses responsibility and the greater good. And as a leader I think that’s really powerful. Now, what’s really interesting is that, um, Do you game? Do you game at all?
Nick Abregu: No, not really.
Eric Chan: I don’t really game either but there’s a popular DC game called, Injustice. Injustice actually is, come from an alternate story where Superman is married to Lois Lane. They’re about to have their baby. And then the Joker decides that, you know what I’m not gonna fuck with Batman anymore. He’s too smart. I’m actually gonna fuck with Superman because he’s much easier, because he’s a little bit naive, right? So, what he does is that he,
Nick Abregu: He’s a good boy.
Eric Chan: He’s a good boy. Yeah that’s right. Yeah that’s right. And what happens is that, he, um, tricked Superman into, you know, going somewhere. And sprayed Superman with the scarecrow fear gas which makes him hallucinate. And then, um, what happens is that he hears what he thinks is doomsday, his ultimate nemesis, right? And he flies towards doomsday, and he flies towards doomsday, that, you know, he has no oxygen and to take him out. And as he’s flying up and he gets into space. The gas starts wearing off and it turns out that it is, actually Lois Lane that he’s flown up into space.
Nick Abregu: Oh, no!
Eric Chan: It killed him, uh, killed her and his baby, their baby. And the Joker had actually implanted into her heart where once her heart stops a nuclear bomb will set off and blow up Metropolis. And that happens, right? So, metropolis gets decimated. And, and what happens is that Superman flies to where the Joker is. And the Batman has already captured the Joker. And then the Joker’s laughing at him. And Superman in a moment he makes a choice which is the choice that Superman makes every single day, right? About leadership or who he needs to be. So, normally Superman chooses the better route and he goes, you know, I will not kill you, you know, I am not doing anything like that. But because he’s so overwhelmed he proceeds to shove his hand through the Jokers’ chest and kills him. And because of that single choice from that onwards, he falls into that mindset that you see dictators fall into, you know, we remember we’re relating this to business where, okay I’m over collaboration now. I know what’s best. Safety and security is what’s best. So now, I’m going to call the shots. And the government’s end. Then he stops all these wars, right? So, initially it’s really good because all the wars are stopped then there were, but then he becomes this controlling, you know, Hitler like figure, right? Like, no, you have to go. You can’t do this. You can’t question this. You can’t do that because it’s all about safety. We’ve got infinite amount of peace now. What are you talking about? It’s all about safety but no liberty.
Nick Abregu: Yeah.
Eric Chan: So, when we think about anchoring ourselves into these stories. I take that lesson from Superman like, yeah I, if I get overly emotional, have a bad quarter of a profit and all that. What choices am I going to make? And I have to remember that, am I Superman from the core story or am I Superman of injustice, right? And you make those choices. So, when we’re talking about culture, I did, I decided that what be a good way to help businesses grow or help teams grow was that I would anchor my team members to a superhero that reflected their journey right? And where they needed to be. So, that when they’re in doubt, they have this North Star. This guiding lighthouse so what would these behaviors, what behaviors do I need to exemplify? What, what behaviors do I need to or mindset or do I need to have and express right now in order to make sure that I’m always on the right path towards the vision and values of the company. So, I gave them these characters and that’s helped them, you know shift their way of thinking.
Nick Abregu: Wow. That’s amazing.
Eric Chan: Yeah. So, I learned that, you know, through my failures in my business where, when I’m in chaos and I’ve got nothing to hold on to. This is the whole what would Jesus do then, right? Like you know when people are trying to make ethical and moral decisions I go what would Jesus do. But then I had, I was so confused and whenever I was confused, I always made the wrong decision. But now I use these tools like anchoring myself to an archetype or to, to a superhero for example, I’m thinking oh, okay so they didn’t send me the right email signature sizing. Now, would Superman blast them and yell and scream and, and all that? No, Superman will find a way to make them walk away feeling empowered that, oh, actually no, this is about the values. This is about the work ethic and everything, everybody else around us. I’m gonna do better so that we can be better, right? And these things come to my mind easily because I’ve got a figure to anchor to compared to just trying to come up with it right there and then.
Nick Abregu: Dude, what an amazing way to tie that whole thing up? This is what we started with and, and we just tie it all together.
Eric Chan: Yeah.
Nick Abregu: Dude, I want to thank you so much for coming on and doing this with me.
Eric Chan: Yes, thank you.
Nick Abregu: Um, I really appreciate it and I guess Hey Google who is the best storyteller that the world’s ever seen.
Hey Google: Who are you asking about?
Eric Chan: Oh yes, Eric Chan here, I’m sorry.
Nick Abregu: So they’re we go, sweet! So it’s a, it’s a, Google you learned something,
Hey Google: From YouTube,
Nick Abregu: Eric Chen! Could be the best magician on the world all right! Look at that we’ve got Eric Chen man! No, that’s not you.
Eric Chan: That’s not me.
Nick Abregu: Yeah, it’s not you. Well, we don’t know, maybe. Maybe that’s your secret talent.
Eric Chan: That’s the secret talent is that uh, I, I, yeah, I’m a magician. I trained for that.
Nick Abregu: You do kids parties on the weekend.
Eric Chan: That’s right. Now thank you for having me man. I had a really good time.
Nick Abregu: Me too man! Thanks for doing this I appreciate it.
Eric Chan: Yeah, thanks.
Nick Abregu: All right! My man!
Alia Steglinski: Oh my God! How interes–