What’s your ideal team?
“I work with people who have skills that I don’t have”.
In all of his projects, Manu is always looking for someone with a complementary skill set. For example, he works with technical people because he himself can’t code. On the other hand, what he is good at is all the marketing, connections, and sales involved.
The other important criteria for Swish when it comes to getting things done is to find people who hold you accountable. He needs someone to be honest and say the occasional
“Swish you are being a dick. Get to work. Stop complaining!”.
The best co-founders and people to work with are the ones who are straight up honest and know how to give constructive criticism.
You are really passionate about social entrepreneurship, and you’ve been working on a startup called Technotronics. How is that going?
So background. Technotronics is a wearable tech startup that is creating technology that allows athletes and coaches monitor the athletes in order to create better training, optimize rest time, and predict potential injuries.
As a wearable tech startup, Swish is going up against big names like HTC and Google, both of whom have way more resources and connections than Swish.
So what does he think makes Technotronics stand out? It’s the excitement, intuition, and his own belief that “anything can be done if you put your head to it”.
The product they are trying to build would incorporate Augmented Reality and trackers, and they currently have partners in the NBA and the NFL where they can test out their prototypes they are developing.
One of the best thing Swish loves about startups is that if things don’t work out, then at the very least he knows he can fall back on the personal brand and the connections he has made before moving on to his next big thing. Either way, he’s learning something new and setting himself up for a better position. It’s a win-win situation.
Technotronics, you’ve put in the work, man hours, how does patience fit into that? The quote is that “entrepreneurs are the most impatient people you will ever meet.” How do you manage that?
Swish is quick to remind us that, hey he get impatient too. Everyone gets impatient. Everyone wants to see things happen quickly. You can tell from all the accelerated programs, how people want to graduate quickly. We want quick things.
One common misconception that Swish wants to address, is the notion that patience is simply waiting for things to happen. One of the biggest problems in this world is that people are too complacent as they just wait for stuff to happen. Patience doesn’t mean avoiding action and settling into complacency.
Instead, Swish wants to share an idea from Gary Vaynerchuk that on the micro level, the small decisions you make every day, you move quickly. You are deploying, testing, getting out there and talking to people. On the macro level, the big ideas, big initiatives that you want to come true, you have to wait and allow that to happen over say the next 5 years.
Patience means getting out there, hustling, and making things happen. The patience kicks in when you are waiting for the long term results of your work
That’s a perspective shift that a lot of people need.
Macro patience, micro speed. On the big scale, give things time. On the small scale, always be moving.
Technotronics and Brooklyn Nets. Manu, How did that even happen?
To give a little bit of background, Manu is working on a wearable tech startup called Technotronics, that is working to provide a product that allows real-time monitoring of athletes to more accurately predict rest time and potentially monitor injuries. He is currently partnered with organizations like the Brooklyn Nets and Raptors 905 in order to test his prototype.
The funny story was that NBA player Trevor Booker actually reached out to Manu on Instagram. The reason was that his business partner Gary Baze saw Manu comment on a Gary Vaynerchuk post, and Manu seemed like “he was pretty competent”.
So Gary Baze messaged Manu, and because he has too many message requests, Manu never saw it. Trevor messaged Manu, and he didn’t see it for 4 days. But Trevor was really interested in meeting the next time he came to play the Raptors.
When he came to meet him, Manu made sure to avoid the “ask”. Meaning he chose not to pitch an idea and sell something (rookie mistake). He chose to just share his projects, ideas, where he was going, and TREVOR was the one who helped out and took the first steps in proposing a partnership.
The story goes to emphasize the importance of putting yourself out there and how it can make a big difference. Manu comments that he sees a lot of people putting themselves out there, posting videos, blogs, and audio who are getting a lot of flak for their work. A lot of their friends are like “Why?? Who are you?”
Really, Manu goes on to make the point of saying that a lot of people won’t get you. That’s ok. It comes down to the concept of building a personal brand and who you are. He wants to reassure everyone that when it comes to a personal brand if you focus on building a brand with other people as opposed to on their backs, that if you focus on staying humble and giving as much as possible, then you will win in the end.
How do you know when to listen to criticism that people are giving, and when to just drown out the noise?
Big question. Who is the person? Because if it’s a grandma or brother, then Manu is listening. The librarian giving us the stinkeye? Maybe not. If it’s someone who has been jealous of you for their entire life, then don’t take their criticism to heart.
The next part that I personally found fascinating was how Many stated that he doesn’t take advice for anything that has something to do with his dreams. He only listens if it’s about the tools he is using or specific actions he is taking. But if someone ever tells him that “he shouldn’t be an entrepreneur” he never takes that advice. If something is truly your dream, then don’t listen to the haters.
Your end goal is like a ship. You have to turn it in the right direction no matter what. You always get to choose the direction, and if you surround yourself with people who are there to help and empower you, then that’s how you are going to make it to where you want to go.
Criticism is truly difficult to take. Even a guy like Manu talks about times where he has had to face some harsh criticism and doubt himself. One of the biggest pieces of criticism is:
“You’re doing too much. FOCUS!”
To embellish the analogy Manu gives us, if you are a ship, you gotta pick a direction and commit to it. Can you imagine a huge ship just choosing to spin around in circles? It never works.
Be laser focused, and do only the things that you are passionate about. It doesn’t always have to just be one thing, but don’t start spinning in circles.
What is your why? Why the tech company? Why did you want to be a UN ambassador?
- Fulfillment. Manu’s mission is to help people. That’s not just something he says lightly (because a lot of ‘entrepreneurs’ say that to rationalize their actions). The reason he goes out of his way to take calls and interviews (like this one) is that he genuinely cares about people. He doesn’t want to build his brand on the backs of others, but with them.
- Legacy. Gary Vaynerchuk has an incredible quote: “regardless of whether you want to accept it or not, you’re writing your legacy right now”
- Every action that we take, content we post, meeting we attend, is an element of your overall legacy
- 10 years from now, he might not remember the meeting he just came out of, but maybe there’s the potential that something would come out of that conversation that can have a lasting impact and change his legacy. That’s what Manu is always hustling for, he looking for those magical moments
- One story or source of inspiration? There’s a man who designs the covers for the New Yorker. In an interview, he was asked why he goes to his desk every day? Turns out, all he ever does is doodle and draw cartoons. There will be times the man will be 80% finished a cartoon, and then he will mess up. In pen. Which means that he has to throw away his work for the day. But he keeps going every single day because he is always looking for that miracle moment. And if he goes to work every day, that is how he can position himself to win. There is no such thing as guaranteed success, but there is such a thing as positioning yourself for success
What do you believe that a lot of people think is crazy or wrong?
Dropping out of school = Success. The people who drop out of school and succeed are the very people who never wanted to drop out in the first place.
No one wants to drop out of school because if you truly care about success, you want to go to school, get a degree, do things. People who succeed after dropping out of school likely never predicted that they would drop out of school in the first place. It’s just that their situation changed and a better opportunity came their way.
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