TIP 011 | Make Love Not Porn

Welcome to Influencers!

Today, we have with us Cindy. For those of you who were listening last episode, there were several hints to suggest who Cindy is. She grew up in Brunei in Borneo. She openly says that she dates younger men. She’s had an illustrious career in advertising. And as a hint, if you watch porn, then you should know who she is and you certainly need to know who she is.

Then, the second interview is anonymous. If you can figure out who it is before we reveal it in the following podcast, you could win a coveted invitation to the Influencer Salon.

Listen To The Podcast Here:

Social Sex: Make Love Not Porn with Cindy Gallop

Today, as you may have figured out, we have the incredible, audacious, beautiful, and legendary, Cindy Gallop. Cindy, thank you so much for coming on the show.

Jon, thank you for having me on the show. Thank you for that fabulous introduction.

Why don’t you tell the folks at home a little bit about your career and what you do, and then I’m going to share the anecdote of how we got introduced?

My background is over 30 years working in brand building, marketing and advertising. Sixteen of those were in the same advertising agency, global creative agency, Bartle Bogle Hegarty, BBH, for whom I worked in London running big pieces of global business. I moved to Singapore in ’96 to help start and run BBH Asia Pacific. I’m based in New York these days because I moved here in 1998 to start up BBH’s US office for them, which I ran for a number of years. I left BBH in 2005 to work for myself. I have two startups: If We Ran The World, which is redesigning the future of business, Make Love Not Porn, which is redesigning the future of sex. Alongside those, I work as a consultant and public speaker. I work with brands who want to change the game in their particular sector. You come to me for radical, innovative, groundbreaking, transformative. I don’t do status quo. I like to sum up my consultancy and speaking approach as I like to blow shit up. I am the Michael Bay of business.

That’s like that quote that Oppenheimer said after seeing the atomic bomb, “I’ve become the destroyer of worlds.” Just to give the listeners a background, I get an email from a common friend of ours saying, “Jon, you’ve been running these dinners for a while. I have the most kick-ass of all kick-ass women. You have to meet her.” I said, “Who is she? What’s the deal?” I get a link to a TEDTalk. Your TEDTalk began with the phrase, if you will Cindy.

“I date younger men.”

Then went on to the insights. Is it okay if I share the general age?

TIP 011 | Make Love Not Porn

I am totally happy in the way I live my life to help redefine what society thinks an older woman should look like, talk like, be like, work like, and date like.

Jon, I tell people how old I am as often as humanly possible. I regard myself as one of the most visible members of the most invisible segment of our society, which is older women. I am totally happy in the way I live my life to help redefine what society thinks an older woman should look like, talk like, be like, work like, and date like. I am 57. Back at TED 2009 when I gave that talk, at the time I would have been 49.

The men you date are in their 20’s. When I came across your talk, I messaged back the person. I said, “I would love an introduction. I know I’m a little bit too old for her but if I really work on my cardio and show up with a bottle of Gatorade and a power bar, would she make an exception?”

Quite frankly, Jon, it’s all about lots of stamina, very short recovery periods.

I have to say that we’ve been friends ever since but I’ve never had the opportunity of grabbing a power bar or Gatorade. I have to say, I am in awe of you because I wish there was a real word in the English language that wasn’t associated to being a man. We’re used to saying, “He’s got a pair of balls on him,” or something like that. I wish there was that level of language that was non-gender specific because I’d want to ascribe that to you. To get out there consistently and keep pushing the boundaries of what people even realize, everything from inequality and discussions on sexual harassment and so on. People are so completely unaware. My experience of you is that you’ve dedicated your life to have people be woke. It’s incredible.

I’m enormously appreciative of those very, very kind words. I would actually characterize what I’ve dedicated my life to slightly differently. First of all, I’m doing what I recommend everyone they should do, which is I’m turning things that I passionately believe in into businesses. The reason to me that’s important is because everything in life and business starts with you and your values. When you identify what those are, what you believe in, what you stand for, and what you’re all about, when you then have the opportunity to turn those into your work, and by the way in order to do that, the best way is to actually work for yourself. You can certainly seek companies that share your values but the best way to express it in the way you really want to is to start your own thing. It doesn’t feel like work because you are living what you work and you’re working what you live. You feel passionate about it every single moment you’re doing it. That’s the first point I make.

The second point I’d make is such a very important part of that is business. The issues that I champion and want to solve, gender equality and diversity, are issues which are so fundamental, you cannot have too many of us coming at those in many, many different ways. There are many amazing people, men and women out there, all working to change the things that I want to change as well. I have a very particular approach, which is that I am a pragmatic hardheaded businesswoman and I am out to prove how much diversity drives innovation and disruption. Without it, you cannot have true innovation disruption. I’m also out to prove that there is a huge amount of money to be made out of taking women seriously. I am dedicating my life to turning what I passionately believe in into businesses and to demonstrating through those businesses just how much creativity and talent and skills there are as yet untapped in women and people of color and just how much money the business world can make when it taps into that creativity, those talents, and those skills.

I would actually love to take a step back. Your two companies, could you give a quick explanation of what Make Love Not Porn does and If We Ran The World? I want to make sure the audience is well aware of the breadth of what you’re trying to tackle.

The fact that I have two startups is an accident. Everything in my life and career has happened by accident, by the way. Nothing has been consciously planned intentional. If We Ran The World is the culmination of my over 30 years working in marketing and advertising, which have led me to believe that the future of business is doing good and making money simultaneously. Not in the old world order way that most companies do it which goes, “We make money here and then we do good by writing checks to cause us to clear our conscience over here.” The new world order way of, “We make money because we do good.” We find a way to integrate social responsibility into the way that we do business on a day-to-day basis that therefore makes it ultimately a key driver of future growth and profitability.

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I believe the business model of the future is shared values plus shared action equals shared financial profit and social profit.

I believe the business model of the future is shared values plus shared action equals shared financial profit and social profit. In other words, when brands and businesses come together with their audiences and those can be consumers, employees, business partners. When they come together with them on the basis of values that you all share, which by the way is the most important requirement for a good relationship and life as much as business, you will never truly bond if you don’t share the same values. When you’re then all enabled to collaboratively and collectively co-act on those values, to walk the talk together, you can then make things happen in the real world that will benefit consumers, benefit society and benefit the brand and its business.

If We Ran The World is co-action software designed to enable brands to inculcate that business model and to turn corporate good intentions into action by collaborating with consumers to turn their good intention into action as well. I was working on If We Ran The World when Make Love Not Porn blew up in a way I never anticipated. I had to back-burner If We Ran The World because even I, super human as I am, cannot run two startups simultaneously. Once I’ve raised the funding I need to hire a full-time team for Make Love Not Porn, I wanted to go back and reactivate If We Ran The World because the world has now really caught up with that thinking. It is absolutely what corporations’ understand they need to be doing today.

Make Love Not Porn again was an accident. I date younger men, as we’ve discussed. About ten or eleven years ago now, I began realizing through dating younger men that I was encountering what happens when two things converge. I stress the dual convergence because most people think it’s only one. I realized I was experiencing what happens when today’s total freedom of access to hardcore porn online meets our society’s equally total reluctance to talk openly and honestly about sex. The convergence of both of those factors results in porn becoming by default the sex education today in not a good way. I found myself encountering a number of sexual behavioral memes. I went, “Whoa. I know where that behavior’s coming from.” I thought, “If I’m experiencing this, other people must be as well,” because ten, eleven years ago I didn’t know that. No one was talking about this. No one was writing about it. Being a naturally action-oriented person, as you’d expect with If We Ran The World, I went, “I want to do something about this.”

Nine years ago, I put up on no money this tiny clunky public service website, MakeLoveNotPorn.com that posts the mix of hardcore porn and balanced them with reality. The concept was porn world versus real world. I had the opportunity to launch Make Love Not Porn at TED back in 2009. I became the only TED speaker to have said the words, “Cum on my face,” on the TED stage six times in succession. The talk went viral instantly. It drove an extraordinary global response to my tiny clunky website that I have never anticipated. It was so extraordinary that thousands of people wrote to me from all around the world; young and old, men and female, straight and gay.

I felt a personal responsibility to take Make Love Not Porn forward in a way that would make it much more far reaching, helpful and effective. I saw an opportunity to do exactly what I believe in; do good and make money simultaneously. I saw the opportunity for a big business solution to this huge untapped global social need. I used the word ‘big’ advisedly because even then back in 2009 at concept stage, I knew that if I wanted to counter the global impact of porn as default sex ed, I was going to have to come up with something that at least have the potential one day to be just as mass, just as mainstream and just as all pervasive in our society as porn currently is.

What I’ve decided to do was I always emphasize that Make Love Not Porn is not anti-porn because the issue isn’t porn. The issue is that we don’t talk about sex in the real world. If we did, amongst a whole host of other benefits, people would then bring a real world mindset when they view what is simply manufactured entertainment. Our tagline at Make Love Not Porn is, “Pro-sex. Pro-porn. Pro-knowing the difference.” Our mission is one thing only, which is to help make it easier for the world to talk about sex. Talk about sex open, honestly in the public domain. By that I mean parents to kids, teachers to classrooms, everyone to everyone, and crucially talk about sex open and honestly privately in your intimate relationships. I decided therefore to take every dynamic in social media and apply them to this one area no other social network platform will go in order to socialize sex and to make real world sex and talking about it socially acceptable and therefore ultimately just as socially shareable as anything else we share on Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram.

A little over four years ago now, my team and I launched the first stage of this mission, MakeLoveNotPorn.tv, which is an entirely user-generated crowd sourced video sharing platform that celebrates real world sex. Anyone from anywhere in the world can submit to us videos of themselves having real world sex. We’re very clear what we mean by this. We are not porn. We’re not amateur. We’re building a whole new category that has never previously existed: social sex. Our competition isn’t porn. It’s Facebook and YouTube, or rather it would be if Facebook and YouTube allowed sexual self-expression, self-identification, which they don’t. Social sex videos on Make Love Not Porn are not about performing for the camera. They’re simply about doing what you’re doing every other social platform, capturing what goes on in the real world as it happens spontaneously in all its funny, messy, glorious, silly, beautiful, ridiculous, wonderful humanness. To make sure of that, whatever video, don’t publish unless it’s real, and we have a revenue-sharing business model.

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We want to hit critical mass where one day your Make Love Not Porn video could hit a million rentals at $5 per rental. We give you half the income.

Part of sharing economy like Uber and Airbnb, you pay to rent and stream social sex videos and half that income goes to our contributors or as we call them, our Make Love Not Porn stars, because we would like to have our Make Love Not Porn stars one day to be as famous as YouTube stars for the same reasons: authenticity, realness, individuality and to make just as much money. We want to hit that kind of critical mass where one day your Make Love Not Porn video could hit a million rentals at $5 per rental. We give you half the income. We are the answer to the global economy, by the way.

It’s brilliant and it allows self-expression in a new way. Let’s ask a few questions. When people discover what you’ve accomplished, what’s the most common question they have?

When I tell people what I do, here’s an interesting thing, I don’t get asked questions myself. What happens is an immediate outpouring of the fact that everybody desperately wants to talk about sex because we don’t. What I’m doing with Make Love Not Porn socializing sex absolutely demonstrates the need for it in people’s responses. Literally I will meet complete strangers and I will tell them what I do and they will just start talking to me immediately about their own sexual experiences, their own porn habits, their own sex lives. One of the reasons why, which is also very key to what we’re doing at Make Love Not Porn, Make Love Not Porn is in many ways a manifestation of me. What I mean by that is it’s very simple. I’m a big fan of radical simplicity. It’s very straightforward, open, honest, down to earth, utterly non-judgmental and it has a sense of humor. We never get to have conversations about sex within those parameters. The moment we do it, the floodgates open. The most frequent response that I get is people just opening their hearts and bearing their souls to me in this area of universal human experience that is the one area of all of our lives that we are the most fucked up about.

It’s interesting because when people find out that I’m a behavioral scientist, they often start talking about their issues. I have to remind them that I’m not a trained psychologist. I can only imagine with something that is so traditionally kept private, that people are desperate to communicate it in a safe environment. It really currently doesn’t exist unless you have a therapist that you even feel comfortable talking about it with or a doctor.

I’m very clear with people right upfront. I go, “I’m not a trained professional. I’m not a trained sex educator. I have no professional qualifications. What I can do is share my personal observations and experiences and maybe those will be helpful.” It’s because I’m normalizing all of this. I remember years ago when Steve Jobs died, I was invited on to a documentary that was being made about a tribute to Steve Jobs and his legacy. A documentary in which by the way, depressingly, I was the only woman speaking, everybody else was male. I went to be filmed at 30 Rock, in fact. While I was setting up, in order to test the mics and everything, the crew asked me to just tell them what I did, so I did. Everyone’s riveted and very appreciative. Then we did the Steve Jobs part and then I said goodbye to everyone. I headed out to the elevator and the producer who was a woman came running after me. I was at the elevator by that time, I was about to press the button. She held the door open and she went, “Cindy, my husband and I haven’t had sex in these many years. What do we do about it?” This is someone I only met an hour earlier. But because we so rarely encounter a completely normalized, naturalized, socialized attitude towards this thing we all do what we all enjoy, yet feel we cannot talk about. That is what happens.

Even that people don’t enjoy and they don’t feel comfortable talking about.

Precisely. Make Love Not Porn’s mission is one thing only, which is to help make it easier to talk about sex. People go, “Cindy, we talk about sex all the time.” I go, “No, you don’t.” Because we don’t really talk about sex, it’s an area of rampant insecurity for every single one of us all around the world, no exceptions. We all get vulnerable when we get naked. Sexual ego is very fragile. People therefore find it bizarrely difficult to talk about sex with the people they’re actually having it with while they’re actually having it. Because you are terrified in that situation that if you say anything to them about what is going on, if you comment on the action at any way at all, you’ll potentially hurt the other person’s feelings, you’ll put them off you, you’ll derail the encounter, you’ll potentially derail the entire relationship. But at the same time, you’ll want to please your partner, you want to make them happy. Everybody wants to be good in bed. No one knows exactly what that means.

TIP 011 | Make Love Not Porn

The reason amateur is the most explosive sector in porn is because everybody wants to know what everybody else is really doing in bed.

You will seize your cues on how to do that from any way you can. If the only cues you’ve ever seen them given are from porn because your parents didn’t talk to you about sex, your school didn’t teach you, your friends don’t ask, those are the cues you’re going to take to not very good effect. That’s why what Make Love Not Porn does is so badly needed. I have to explain to people that the reason that amateur is the most explosive growth sector in porn has nothing to do with porn. It has everything to do with the fact that everybody wants to know what everybody else is really doing in bed and nobody does. Now for the first time, with social sex, we’re showing them.

Let’s talk about the industry as a whole. I can only imagine that there are quite a few pitfalls. It’s not like the sex industry in one form or another has existed forever, but in our conversations previously you’ve shared the interesting dynamics of getting investment capital, for example.

The one thing I did not realize when I began building MakeLoveNotPorn.tv was that my team and I would fight a huge battle every single day to grow this business essentially because every piece of business infrastructure, any other tech startup can just take for granted. We can’t because the small print always says, “No Adult Content.” This is all pervasive across every single area of the business in ways that people outside the sphere don’t realize. Not only is it enormously challenging getting funded, I can’t get banked. It took me four years to find one bank that would allow me to open a business bank account openly for Make Love Not Porn.

Our biggest operational challenge is payment processing. PayPal won’t work with adult content. Stripe can’t. Major credit card processes won’t. Every single tech service I want to use, be it hosting and coding, encrypting, the TOS always say No Adult Content. I have to go to the people at top of the company, explain what we’re doing and beg to be allowed to use their service. We had to build our entire video sharing, video streaming platform from scratch ourselves as proprietary technology because existing streaming services, off-the-shelf components will not stream adult content. I’m so envious of friends who’ve built video startups on Vimeo; quick, easy, simple, I can do that. Even something as apparently simple as finding an email partners to send membership emails out with. MailChimp won’t work with adult content. We got rejected by six, seven before we found one that works, SendGrid.

By the way, I’m fighting this battle very publicly because the answer to everything that worries people about porn and sex is not to shutdown, sensor, clamp down, block, repress. It is instead to open up. Open up the dialogue in the way that I’m working to. Open up to welcoming, supporting, and funding entrepreneurs who want to disrupt all of this for the better. Open up to allowing us to do business in the same way everybody else does. When you do that, you completely transform the landscape of adult. I like to repurpose in this context Wayne LaPierre of the NRA’s infamous gun control quote, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a business is a good guy with a better business.” As you say, Jon, funding is a particular challenge.

I began two and a half years ago setting out to raise just $2 million to scale Make Love Not Porn. By the way, $2 million is minimum viable ask. I’d love to raise more but I deliberately made it the lowest I could and still guarantee investors’ returns because I knew it would be challenging. Our biggest obstacle raising funding is the social dynamic that I call fear of what other people will think, because it is never about what the person I’m talking to thinks. When you understand what we’re doing and why we’re doing it, no one can argue with it. The business case is clear. It is always their fear of what they think other people will think, which operates around sex unlike any other area. Incidentally, fear of what other people will think is the most paralyzing dynamic in business and in life. You will never own the future if you care what other people think. I realized very early on in the fundraising process that I was going to have to pay for my own way. I have to break down the business barriers in my own path if I want to scale Make Love Not Porn to be the billion dollar venture I know it can be.

I began doing what I tell other entrepreneurs to do, which is when you have a truly world-changing startup, you have to change the world to fit it, not the other way around. I like to say that I got into the Steve Jobs business of reality distortion. If reality tells me that I can’t grow Make Love Not Porn the way I want to, I’m going to change reality. What I mean about that is, two years ago, I deliberately began defining, pioneering and championing my own category, sextech. I literally wrote the definition of sextech. If you Google what is sextech, I’m result one on page one. Sextech, by the way, is any form of technology or tech venture designed to innovate, disrupt and enhance in any area of human sexuality and human sexual experience. I coined the hashtag sextech. I didn’t invent the term, but I’m responsible for propagating the hashtag as widely as it is spread today. I began speaking at tech conferences around the world on why the next big thing in tech is disrupting sex.

At base level, if I just say that loudly enough, often enough, in enough places, people will start to believe it. I’ve been doing this for the past two years purely to create a climate of receptivity to get my own startup funded. I have spectacularly failed. By the way, I have met investors who want to fund Make Love Not Porn but they’re all waiting for that one big lead investor. They all want that one person to come in, make a big vote of confidence, big chunk of change. I haven’t found that one big lead investor. About eight or nine months ago, I went, “This isn’t working. I’ve got to have to take things to the next level.” I realized that in order to get my own startup funded, I was going to have to get the entire category funded. I’m now doing two things simultaneously. I’m still working to raise $2 million to scale Make Love Not Porn; my startup is my priority always. But I’m also now working to raise $200 million to start the world’s first and only sextech fund, because if nobody else is going to then I will. By the way, I haven’t the faintest idea how we start a fund but I’m going to anyway.

Cindy, one of the things that’s probably most interesting to the people listening is this incredible ability that you have to take action in the face of opposing views or an opposing social conversation. Is there something that you do, people you surround yourself with, a certain way that you think about these issues that really give you the strength to move forward around them?

The single thing that most motivates me that will make me get off my ass and do something is the dynamic I characterize as, “I’m going to fucking well show you.” You tell me it can’t be done? I’m going to fucking well show you. You cross my path, I’m going to fucking well show you. I take all of these difficulties, all these challenges, all these regular demoralization, demotivation and I turn them into inspiration and motivation. As a sextech startup founder, that’s the only way to keep yourself going. I also just refuse to accept obstacles. Jon, you’re a behavioral scientist. My background is 30 years work in advertising. To be good at what I do in advertising, we have to be masters of psychology and consumer insight and human behavior.

With If We Ran The World, I always like to say that I have the best possible background for a venture that turns good intentions into action because I’ve spent 30 years working in the business of getting people to do things they originally had no intention of doing. I refuse to believe that there is not someway over, under, around, through any obstacle if you really apply yourself to extremely ingenious strategic thinking and extremely creative execution of the way forward. Those are the things that keep me going.

What’s something completely unexpected about reaching this level of success or attention?

TIP 011 | Make Love Not Porn

Every single one of us undertaking micro actions every single day to change what we want to see changed.

Honestly, I would not call myself a success because I’m still working to make Make Love Not Porn and my sextech fund a success. The thing that actually I find personally most gratifying is that I’m living my own philosophies, one of which is that change happens from the bottom up, not the top down. That is my philosophy of micro actions. Every single one of us undertaking micro actions every single day to change what we want to see changed cumulatively add up a scale to enormous impact. In my industry, advertising and beyond, I now regularly hear from people, young women and young men and older women and men as well, who tell me that because of something I said, because of a talk I gave, because of inspiration I represent, they left the corporate world, they jumped ship and they started their own business. I’m always thrilled to hear that.

I say to women and people of color, “Why would any of us want to carry on battling to be recognized and succeed in a world defined by corporate white male values? Start your own business, redesign business to work the way that you want it to and big business will learn from that.” In fact, I have this very surreal encounter. I was on a train in the UK last week heading down to Kent in the countryside to spend the weekend with my family. I was about to get off the train at a pretty obscure station called Ashford. A young man standing by the door looked at me and he went, “Ms. Gallop?” I went, “Yes?” He said, “You’re such an inspiration. My friends and I started our own agency because of you.” That was just fantastic, on a train in Kent. I love hearing that because ultimately, those are the businesses that are going to redefine the way we do business and that big businesses will absolutely follow when they’re successful. That’s the reaction I’m getting more and more these days that I’m really, really pleased to about.

Who is your hero?

Every single person in this world who is overcoming enormous odds to change the way that we think and behave around gender equality and diversity.

What would have you accept an invitation from a stranger for a meeting? Let’s say you’ve got a totally random email, what do they say in that email?

I want to put a shit ton of money into Make Love Not Porn and your sextech fund, all the sky holdings. I’ll take that meeting.

Is there a nonprofit that you’re a supporter of, or an organization?

To be honest, I’m a supporter of many nonprofits. But I’ll be perfectly frank, whenever anybody says to me, “I want to start a nonprofit.” I go, “No, no, no. Please make it a for profit business,” because nonprofits get marginalized. You don’t get taken seriously until you prove you can do good and make money simultaneously.

If you could have dinner with anyone who’s alive, it could be even two or three people, who would they be?

My answer to this is enormously colored by the fact that I went to a screening of Wonder Woman last night and I absolutely bloody loved it. I am now positively gagging to have dinner with the director, Patty Jenkins, and the star, Gal Gadot. Just to throw in a bit of what I like there, I’d also love to loop in the costar Chris Pine, for recreation.

Cindy, this is an absolute pleasure. Thank you so much for coming on the show. If people want to find out more about you, where can they find you, Instagram, Twitter, all those, and your website?

You can find me on Facebook.com, Cindy.Gallop. You can find me on Twitter @CindyGallop and @MakeLoveNotPorn. You can find me at MakeLoveNotPorn.com. You can email Cindy@MakeLoveNotPorn.com. One last request, go to IFundWomen.com/Project/MakeLoveNotPorn, help crowdfund us and the rewards are access to me. If you would like me as your coach, adviser or martini drinking partner, crowdfund our startup on IFundWomen and we can make that happen.

Thank you so much. Listeners, stay tuned for the anonymous interview.

 

About Cindy Gallop

TIP 011 | Make Love Not PornI like to blow shit up. I am the Michael Bay of business.

  • Website: http://www.makelovenotporn.com/
  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cindy.gallop
  • Twitter: @cindygallop
  • LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cindygallop/

Anonymous Guest Interview

 

Listeners, we have a new guest with us. Tonight we have, Max. Max is a super close friend and really just a fascinating person. Max, welcome on the show.

Thank you. Thanks for having me.

Max, let’s give the listeners some hints about who you might be. First of all, where did you grow up?

I grew up in Lexington, Kentucky. It was actually about 30 minutes outside of Lexington.

Did you stay there your entire high school, college?

No, I actually got out for boarding school. I could play a little bit of basketball and I had good test scores, so I was able to get out and then leave at sixteen.

Was there an incident or a teacher or an experience that inspired you to do what you do?

No, not really.

You’ve accomplished quite a bit. If memory serves, you’re one of only a handful of people in history to have three New York Times bestsellers on the list at the same time. Is that right?

Yeah, me and Malcolm Gladwell and Michael Lewis.

Of all of your accomplishments in your career, what are you most proud of?

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It was the first time in my life that I saw someone that I had no connection to be impacted by what I had written and my ideas.

This is going to sound a little bit weird, but it’s the God’s honest truth. When you asked that question, it’s the first thing that popped into my mind. When I was in college, I was writing a column for my college newspaper. It was my going away column, like my final column. I was graduating. It was probably the funniest thing I have written to that point in my life. It wouldn’t rank as funny for me now, but at the time it was really good. I was sitting in this place watching this kid. I didn’t know who he was, he didn’t know who I was, and I saw him reading my piece. I saw him laugh multiple times. I didn’t know it at the time but if that was a movie, that would have been the scene where my destiny was set and then it will have flash forwarded years ahead. That had such an impact on me. I don’t think I realized it at the time, but I think about that moment so many times. It was the first time in my life that I saw someone that I had no connection to be impacted by what I had written and my ideas.

In that theme then, if there was a movie about your life, who would play you?

Which answer do you want me to give? Because that already happened and I could tell you who did play me.

That’s hilarious, I totally forgot about that. Did you get the person you wanted, first of all?

I’ve got a very good person. It’s probably not the person that I should have picked to make the movie bigger or whatever, but he was a good actor.

I guess for you, I’d go with a Ryan Reynolds.

That’s who I wanted.

Is there a song or a movie that represents your life besides the movie about your life?

I can be like the total cliché and say Lose Yourself by Eminem or something like that. I love his stuff.

When I think of you, I think of Ferris Bueller but way edgier. I love that movie. It’s the lame amateur version. He’s the G version of your story.

It’s the Hollywood version.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done on a dare, bet or a stunt that has caused your success?

There are so many. I drove an RV. It was a rented RV. I’m not defending this and I’m recommending anyone else do this. I got very drunk and drove an RV around Harlem and then crashed into some cars and then there was police. I deserved it. Thankfully no one was injured. It was funny because it wasn’t that bad. It didn’t end up bad. Basically, the dare or the challenge was when there was me and seven other dudes in the RV and we’re being surrounded by a lot of people, many of them cops. The guys are like, “We’re going to go to jail forever. This is terrible.” I basically was like, “No, just let me take the fall for this and I’ll be out of jail tonight.” They were looking at me, “What are you talking about? You just crashed a bunch of cars and you’ve been drinking and we’re in Harlem. There are people very angry.” I’m like, “Just trust me. Tell everyone I was driving,” which I was, so that wasn’t a lie. Long, long story short, which you can actually find this story, which I won’t talk about where right now, but I got out of it, I got out of prison at 12:17 that night.

That’s incredible. I wish I had your skills of convincing people to do stuff. I’ll let the audience know where they can find this. This was featured in your first book?

That was featured in book number two.

What hint or riddle would you give people to figure out who you are?

You said Ferris Bueller, that’s really good. What I tell people who had never heard of me, I say I’m like the frat boy David Sedaris, even though I wasn’t in the fraternity. That’s a hint. I’m someone either you know who I am or you don’t know who I am.

They either love you or they hate you.

If they know who I am.

The funny thing is they hate you for all the wrong reasons.

There are reasons not to like me, but the reasons they don’t like me … What I do is tied to what I used to do, but not directly. It’s so great now because people meet me and the bar is so low for a lot of people. If I don’t take a dump on the conference room table, they’re like, “You’re so nice and smart.”

After writing a book myself, it’s amazing that people don’t get the difference between the character that you are in the book and the person you are in real life. Everything in my book was also completely honest and true but nobody can live that way every single day. Literally, you’d kill yourself at the age of 25 if that’s what my life is like every day. You read the book and you have this impression and then it doesn’t occur, “But I’m a Behavioral Scientist. I work at research with labs across Kellogg and NYU.” My hunch is that’s probably similar to you that people have read your stories and don’t realized you’re a happily married man with currently two kids and a thriving business in the media world.

Listeners, let’s see if you can figure out who Max is. If you can, you can potentially win an invitation to our Salon at Influencers.