Transcript: Playbook: Brian Scudamore – Founder of 1-800-GOT-JUNK? and Author of WTF?!

Please enjoy this transcript of my conversation with Brian Scudamore, Founder and CEO of O2E Brands, which focuses on home services such as 1-800-GOT-JUNK? And Wow 1 Day Painting.
Last updated
April 2, 2022
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Brian Scudamore has authored two books: WTF?! (Willing to Fail): How Failure Can Be Your Key to Success and the forthcoming BYOB: Build Your Own Business, Be Your Own Boss.
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Please enjoy this transcript of my conversation with Brian Scudamore, Founder and CEO of O2E Brands, which focuses on home services such as 1-800-GOT-JUNK? And Wow 1 Day Painting. Transcripts for other episodes can be found here

“My advice, or challenge, to someone who's looking for their integrator, their second in command, their partner, whatever it is—is to get really, really clear on what your gaps are that you need filled by someone else.” – Brian Scudamore

Brian Scudamore is Founder and CEO of O2E Brands, which focuses on home services and is the umbrella company 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, Wow 1 Day Painting, and Shack Shine. Brian has made it his mission to help people become entrepreneurs through his franchises.




Playbook: Brian Scudamore – Founder of 1-800-GOT-JUNK? and Author of WTF?!

Daniel Scrivner (00:06):

Hello, and welcome to another episode of Outlier Academy's Playbook Series. Each week, we sit down with an elite performer from iconic founders to world renowned investors and bestselling authors to dive into the ideas, framework and strategies that keep them at the top of their field. All and less than 30 minutes. I'm Daniel Scrivner. And on the show today, I sit down with Brian Scudamore the founder and CEO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, which today does more than 700 million in annual revenue. What's more, he bootstrapped the business and has grown it for over 33 years now, which is an incredible track record. Brian's also the author of New York Times bestselling book WTF, which stands for Willing to Fail and is about how failure can be your key to success.

Daniel Scrivner (00:46):

And he has a new book coming out later this year called BYOB. Build Your Own Business, Be Your Own Boss. In this episode, we cover Brian's struggle with ADD and how he found his learning and management style over the years, how he counterbalances his desire to move quickly and fire before he's aimed with being smart and sensible. How he's used the power of brand to build 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, as well as his newest businesses SHACK SHINE and WOW 1 DAY PAINTING. And we also talk about one of Brian's favorite books, the E-Myth, and how it helped him learn the power of systems. And we cover so much more. You can find the notes and transcript for this episode at outlieracademy.com/95. And you can follow Brian on Twitter @BrianScudamore. With that, enjoy the conversation.

Daniel Scrivner (01:37):

Brian Scudamore thank you so much for coming back on Outlier Academy. I'm thrilled to have you on.

Brian Scudamore (01:41):

Thanks for having me back.

Daniel Scrivner (01:43):

So we're going to talk in this episode much more about tactics. In the last episode, we spent a lot of time talking about your book WTF, Willing to Fail, and a little bit about your new book BYOB that's coming out. But in this session, this conversation I really wanted to focus on the lessons you've learned scaling '1-800-GOT-JUNK?' initially, and now 02E BRANDS, from zero to nearly 700 million in annual revenue, which is incredible milestone. I wanted to cover a few things that we didn't touch on the last conversation. And one was, you're very open in interviews, in your book about your struggles, learning, growing up. And part of that's having ADD, I think part of that is just never meshing and enjoying the school experience, which I had a very similar background and our experience in growing up.

Daniel Scrivner (02:33):

And so what I wanted to ask about that is, you've struggled with ADD your entire life. You technically didn't graduate from high school or college. I have to imagine that was very hard or that you struggled with that in periods and time. So I think the two questions I wanted to ask there is what did you learn from that early experience? And maybe this is something you've talked with your kids about now. And then how did you go about figuring out your learning style when what works for you? Because, I think just generally this is not talked about enough.

Brian Scudamore (03:00):

Yeah, I agree. The number one answer, I got to questions as a kid was no. Whatever I asked, whatever I wanted to know, people were like no, no, no. Very curious kid, but I didn't play by the rules, I couldn't sit still and focus and it took down my self-esteem. So I didn't have a lot. I didn't have a ton of friends growing up until maybe high school when I started to mature a little bit, but school didn't work for me. And it wasn't that I don't love learning. I'm so curious. I love learning from people, but my way of learning, I guess to your question of how did you realize how you like to learn? I realized I would take enjoyment out of and light up when I would be in a room with someone having a conversation and getting to ask them questions versus sitting in a classroom, reading books, watching videos, listening to a lecture. I would learn more if I got to pick the subjects versus being told, here's what you need to learn.

Brian Scudamore (04:01):

And so structure just didn't really work for me. You hear often about schools today with kids where they're allowed to stand up and walk around while the teacher's talking. It is really impossible for someone who has ADD as a kid to sit still. And even as an adult with ADD, I will drink coffee all day, because it just keeps my brain going. It somehow calms me versus making me all crazy, but I will often work in different locations. So even when we're in our office, I'll go down to a coffee shop, I'll go to another coffee shop and I'll move around all day because that has just finding what works for me. One of your questions was you might have talked about some of this with your kids. To me, it's all about embracing who you are and not trying to change it.

Brian Scudamore (04:46):

So as a kid, I felt like everyone was telling me you've got to be something different. But the gift was when I realized that I'm okay, the way I am. When I didn't finish high school, I felt a tremendous sort of angst around the fact that everyone of my friends finished, I was the only one that didn't. But when I realized again, that was okay, I learned, but I learned differently. I figured out how to channel that. So what I ended up doing is many people get an MBA. I did not get an MBA nor try because schooling to that level wouldn't work for me. So I created my own, what I call MBA, which is a Mentor Board of Advisors. The way I learn my MBA is reaching out, picking up the phone, getting on a zoom, picking someone's brains about something and just learning from their experience. So my entrepreneur driven education has all been just asking others who have succeeded and failed. Lots of questions.

Daniel Scrivner (05:43):

You touched on that so much of, and this applies to your kids, but applies to everybody that so much of growing up is learning who you are and accepting that and embracing that. Has that experience grown up influenced the way you parent, where you spend more time really asking and trying to understand how each of your different kids learns and learning up, their personality and their learning style? How did that experience in just that notion of I learned differently impact and how's that show up and how you work with your kids?

Brian Scudamore (06:14):

Maybe not a direct answer, but it made me think of, I've never once asked my kids, any of them, what they want to be when they grow up. I remember getting asked a lot as a kid myself and feeling the pressure of, "well what do my parents want me to be?" My dad's a doctor. Does he want me to be a doctor? Does he want me to go to university? And there was some pressure. So I've decided the best way for me to parent with my kids, from my growing up, as we all learn is I just never asked them what they want to be. What does every parent want their kids to be? Happy. So my job as a parent has been, how do we as a family go work and volunteer at the food bank? Take a trip to India and be in rural India and build a school, go to Kenya.

Brian Scudamore (06:59):

We've been very blessed to have some money, which allows us to travel and take some experiences. But these aren't the four seasons type trips. These are, let's go learn and experience the planet. And I want them to open their minds and eyes to different opportunities that they wouldn't normally be able to see and decide for themselves. I've got my oldest right now is going to college and she's applied to a bunch of colleges. I've never done any steering to where I want her to go. What type of program? And it's liberating as a parent because they'll ask for opinions and advice and I get to respond with questions to get them thinking, but it doesn't have to be a "this is what I would do if I was you." I'm not you. For me, it's been a fun way to parent and I think it's been liberating and taking some stress off of "How come my kid's not doing what I want?", because that's not the way it works.

Daniel Scrivner (07:59):

I think that's a wonderful answer. One of the things I wanted to talk about as well too, is we talked about this a little bit in the last interview where there was a moment in building '1-800-GOT-JUNK?', where you realized you have yourself, you have someone else, you're both a little ADD leading the company. You need to go find somebody else that can push back on that. And one, you're strikingly aware of where you're strong, where you need help. You seem to be really great at strength, vision, big ideas, understanding people. And then you can move to execution maybe too quickly, sometimes in that kind of ready fire aim approach.

Daniel Scrivner (08:30):

And so what I wanted to ask there was number one, what do you feel like is the strength and superpower of having a strong bias to action in wanting to go and jump in? Because, I think there's a lot of positive there. So I'm curious, you're aware of the negative. What are the positives and how do you think about that? And then I think the second one just, how did you learn that you needed a counterbalance and what was the process like there? Because I can imagine as well too, it probably is in some ways more comforting to work with someone who's just like you, as opposed to someone who's wired a little bit differently.

Brian Scudamore (09:03):

That's interesting Daniel. So I would agree it is very comforting to work with someone that's very similar to you. And I think that's what I did early on was you want friendship, you want to have fun. And it's like, oh, we're so awesome together. But we're so similar together. How do you find someone that compliments you, the yin into your yang? So I think it just came with time for me to realize, again, others telling me I wasn't good at a lot of stuff that the business needed, but Eric Church and I great friends, but very different. I'm the ball cap, T-shirt wearing guy, he's the buttoned up shirt and maybe a pocket square in a suit, just very different. I'm Vancouver, he's Toronto, West Coast, East Coast, different styles. But thank goodness for that. Different perspectives, different opinions, but we work really, really well together through shared values.

Brian Scudamore (09:59):

You say that I've got great level of awareness. I've made so many mistakes. That's where the awareness has come from, but it's realizing I'm not good at a lot. There's a lot that I just really struggle with doing. Why not find people who it's easy for? We got on the Oprah Winfrey show years ago and it was a vision, a goal that I set and put on, [inaudible 00:10:23] Can You Imagine More? And I was great at pitching press, but I couldn't do it over and over and over to the same contact. Tyler Wright, who I talk about in the book, he pitched for 14 months and landed that mother of all media hits Oprah Winfrey. I had to trust that someone else could do it better. I could come up with the idea, but the execution had to be in someone that could actually follow through and make it happen.

Daniel Scrivner (10:50):

I want to talk again about the power of brand a little bit. And one of the questions I wanted to ask there is to flip it. So in the last conversation, we obviously talked about, why do you think it's important and how did you go about building that? And how do you think about it in your mind? I want to ask the inverse question now, which is when you have founders, you're talking with, what advice do you share around brand? Do you have people you steer towards a brand? People you steer away from a brand? What like generalizable advice, if you were to say, here's what I learned from '1-800-GOT-JUNK?', but now I'm going to tee this up for anybody. What would your words of wisdom be around brand just generally for founders and entrepreneurs?

Brian Scudamore (11:28):

The best book on branding I've ever read is by Al Ries, The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding. Now it's an older book, but it is just phenomenal. Every time I've gone back to that and I followed the so-called laws. So I built my brands based on that book. I think that a brand creates a feeling and creates emotion. Be really careful and intentional with what feeling you're trying to create. So I'll give you a story with WOW 1 DAY PAINTING. We paint people's homes in a day. When we go into someone's home, our initial color... So I bought the company, it was called 1 DAY PAINTING. They came in and did my home, and I was so wowed that we bought it and rebranded it as WOW 1 DAY PAINTING. And the colors that 1 DAY PAINTING was this orange and this blue, took those colors and said, okay, that's what we're going to just rebrand. And it's going to look very similar.

Brian Scudamore (12:26):

We put everyone in bright orange shirts, WOW 1 DAY PAINTING and the whole bit, and a friend customer said to me, Brian, if you're trying to build trust, when you have your painters all flash mob paint a home, don't send people in that are wearing penitentiary orange as a color. It just hit me as... Because we were having trouble growing. We were having trouble attracting franchise owners and it was a struggle for a couple of years and I was immediately like, that's one of the biggest problems. We had the right name, we had the wrong colors. We had the wrong logo and look and feel. We've literally had dozens of franchise partners for WOW 1 DAY PAINTING that have gotten in because they looked at the logo and it spoke to them. It's a smiley little... Someone has to Google it and see it.

Brian Scudamore (13:18):

But the logo spoke to them and I'm like, that's a brand. And here's one more story actually. And it's still WOW 1 DAY PAINTING related. But to follow that vein, when I was about to buy the company, I went to a guy, James Alisch, who's still in our business today. He wasn't at the time. And I said, you come from College Pro Painters, you've got so much painting experience. I'm looking at buying this company 1 DAY PAINTING, what do you think? And he looked at it and we talked about it and he goes, "No way." He goes, "You're freaking nuts. This will never work." Here's a guy with a ton of experience, leadership, painting franchising.

Brian Scudamore (13:53):

And I thought about what he said and I said, I'm going to do it anyways. And I went and did it. Now, he wasn't with the business at the time, he came back to run our business. After he saw the rebranded logo that I gave him, I said I want to get your idea on the new brand we've created. What do you think? And he's like, "How do I get in?" And he left his business and joined ours. And I reminded him. I said, "James nothing has changed here in the model, I want to be clear. The only thing that's changed from you saying you're freaking nuts to, how do I join is a logo." Now to me, that's the power of a brand.

Daniel Scrivner (14:28):

Super powerful. I have to ask two more like nerdy questions around that. And one is you buy a business called 1 DAY PAINTING, and then you rebrand it to very simply WOW 1 DAY PAINTING. What was the idea or the aha of having that WOW in the beginning? Why was that so important?

Brian Scudamore (14:46):

So when I hired this company, I had three different companies coming to give me an estimate for painting my home. First two show up, they were referrals. The first two show up exactly what I expected, cigarettes. They didn't show up on time. I thought they were going to move in for two weeks and live in my couch. Right? The third guy shows up clean shiny van, he's uniformed, he's got his iPad out, professional as can be. He said, prices are the same, quality's the same, maybe better after 22 years of being in the business. But the kicker was when we agree on painting day, we'll have your house done at the end of that day. I didn't think it was possible. And I thought, even if he does it in two days, I'm still ahead of the game. So 6:30 at night, they come home, floor to ceiling, moldings trim, three coats in the kitchen.

Brian Scudamore (15:31):

Wow! That was the word out of my mouth. So when I acquired the business, it was a no brainer. This is like how... We are used as homeowners to disruption. Things are hard, a pipe burst or whatever happens and it disrupts. Painting your house is a disruption. But if a team can come in and... Everyone knows that it takes one person to paint one room, maybe two, if it's a big room, you just coordinate, one person in one room, one in the other one and there's no secret, but it's that coordination of painters and process and boom done without any disruption. It's magical. And the feeling is just, wow!

Daniel Scrivner (16:12):

Well, and it goes back to what we talked about before of a brand is a subset of promises you make and that you keep. And obviously there was something very special in the formulation of promises and the ability to deliver on it there. I have one other question which is for the people that I know that are brand obsessed or just always focused on look, feel, and having the right energy or feeling associated with something, it can often be really hard to say, okay, this is done. And so I'm curious, like when you went through the process of doing the logo, how were you able to just do that once and get it done? And then maybe another way of saying that is how did you know that you had arrived at the right logo? Was it that feeling? Was it something else? What was that process like for you?

Brian Scudamore (16:56):

We had our annual franchise partner convention, our gathering of all owners. We'd spent a year rebranding, I hired a design company, fired that one, brought in another, fired them and brought the other one back. And Noel Fox from FreeBird is the guy that completed the logo who had started on it. And it was me being in Florence, Italy, and I was on a family trip and gelato everywhere. And I see this one gelato that stands out from all other flavors. It's got two lime slices as eyes and a little lime wedge smile. And I'm like that gelato is the one I want, because it's smiling at me. It's connecting with me. I took a picture of that, sent it to my designer as we were finalizing the logo and I said, "Whatever this gelato is doing, do that to our logo." And it's... If you look at the logo, you'd see the connection. It connects. And people buy brands that they feel connected to. And that was the magic.

Brian Scudamore (17:53):

And so I knew I had it right, but then I was going back to our franchise convention and selling everybody on, we're doing a logo change. And by the way, this is also going to cost you money because reprinting, rebranding everywhere, not one person was against the idea. And they said, whatever it takes, we will do this because they knew penitentiary orange and all the other stuff was not where it was at. And this logo just grabbed people.

Daniel Scrivner (18:19):

I love how hearing from your perspective, it is just so focused on the right feeling and the right connection. And I think it's a really interesting, just differentiated approach. And I also love that the story revolves around gelato and a smiling gelato.

Brian Scudamore (18:33):

Oh totally. But you also know when you get it right. When you start to see your brand out there and people are talking about it and now this takes years and years and years, but even I saw in your hand a Sharpie, I can't read with this video that it's a Sharpie, but I could tell it looked like a Sharpie and it probably is. And who for gosh sakes knows the name of a marker, but that again is the power of branding.

Daniel Scrivner (18:56):

It's very powerful. I just think you've done an amazing job and now multiple businesses. I think bringing that to bear and having it be a true differentiator. So I wanted to talk about just a couple of other things that stuck out to me and one was the power of systems. We talked about this in our last interview, you talk about in your book, reading the E-Myth and having this realization of, okay, wow! I really need to start approaching the business very differently. So the question there was twofold, I think for one, the E-Myth at this point, a lot of people know it's somewhat old. I don't know if it's getting read as much. So I think part of it was like what was special about E-Myth and if you could pitch what was unique about that book? And then the question that I really want to ask is what did moving to a systematic approach on lock for you? What was the delta that you started to feel once you started applying that in the business?

Brian Scudamore (19:45):

So the E-Myth written by Michael Gerber, I actually might disagree and think that it's getting ready even more from what right I hear.

Daniel Scrivner (19:52):

Good.

Brian Scudamore (19:52):

I think it's a 30 some odd year, 40 year old book. Michael Gerber is 83. I've talked to him recently. We've become great friends. He came to visit our office and he goes, nobody has E-Myth'd their business like you guys. And he's a fantastic man and a great book. And what's interesting about the book is his whole philosophy was people don't fail, systems do. Systems of how to find the right people, how to treat those people right? How to have all the checklists of everything you need to make sure that you can build and scale a business. And so he studied McDonald's as one of many companies and he said, they succeed at such an incredible scalable level. Again, older book and back in the day, but they still do because everything's the same.

Brian Scudamore (20:37):

If you get a hamburger in Tulsa or you get a hamburger in Hong Kong from McDonald's or in Vancouver, they're the same. Now, is it the world's best burger? No. Is it exactly what you expected and wanted? Yes. The amount of salt that goes on those fries, it's like perfect every single time. So they've got the systems and processes to allow people to take a proven formula and scale with perfection. It blows my mind that Starbucks while not a franchise, so incredibly systematized that no matter what Starbucks you go to and you order your Three Pump, Half-Calf, whatever it is, it's perfect. And everyone has somehow they've been able to train customers on how to explain and use the language of, I want a Grande, Two Pump, Extra Foam, know this and that. It's mind blowing.

Brian Scudamore (21:29):

So it's giving people the framework. And that's what I set out to do with my business was, what is the '1-800-GOT-JUNK?' Way? What is the SHACK SHINE way? Which is a series of things that we do all day every day, but how do you know how to do it? And then inspect what you expect to ensure it was done right.

Daniel Scrivner (21:48):

Yeah. I love some of the comparisons in some of the notes there and just the fact that obviously a system's what allows you to deliver the same thing again and again, and again, and again. One thing I'm curious about is at the scale you're at now, do you have a team or an individual internally that owns the system? Does that become the job of everyone to know it and contribute to it? What does that look like in action today?

Brian Scudamore (22:11):

I'm going to give you the old yes and no. Our managing director of say SHACK SHINE would own the SHACK SHINE way, but in owning that he makes sure everyone else in the business also owns the SHACK SHINE way. So it's up to us to all show up in SHACK SHINE with the same branded gear, don't make mistakes on bringing in a vendor and not quality assurance, checking air, everything the way it's printed and done, and the vans are wrapped and all that sort of stuff. So every process and checklist, and while it's somewhat dynamic and changes over time, because the way we did something five years ago, isn't necessarily the way we do it today. You've got to innovate. You've got to find a better way when there is a better way, but it is really the managing director who owns all the systems in that brand.

Daniel Scrivner (22:58):

And then obviously they're constantly crowdsourcing and getting the best ideas and updating it. And I'm sharing stories with everyone about what's working and what's not working as well too.

Brian Scudamore (23:08):

When I first read the E-Myth, what I set out to do with '1-800-GOT-JUNK?' and we were early days was to take every best practice I had. How do you price jobs? How do you market the business? How do you answer phones in the call center and put them each down onto a one page? Here's how you do that process. And that became the best practice until there was a better one. So we loved when our people said, Hey, why do you do it this way? Have you considered this? That? Let's test it. Let's change it. There's the new best practice.

Daniel Scrivner (23:39):

Well, it's also, what's great. I think in my experience as someone who is by default not systematic at all, it's one been a huge challenge I think, to learn how to think systematically. But once you make that change, I think that's one of the most powerful things. Is it really the way that I describe it or think about it now is if you're approaching something systematically, it can compound because one you have a baseline, you keep doing that baseline and then every single time you get better at it. Great. Then you're just like compounding at an even higher level. And that changes it from, well, it's just work. It's just maintaining it to, no, there's always upside, the point of doing it.

Brian Scudamore (24:16):

And I think we're in such a busy world and where we want and like things to be easier. So I'll give the analogy and this is real life, but most people I know when they pack for a business trip, "what do I need?". And maybe they make a list or they just start grabbing things. The way I do it is I pull out my little checklist that I've got on my iPhone that says, boom, boom, boom, boom. I don't want to miss something. I don't want to put extra thought into thinking about it. And I'm usually in a rush. So why not create that first time and use it over and over type process? I think people, everyone can benefit from systems, especially a business that wants to scale.

Daniel Scrivner (24:56):

My wife has that same list on her phone and packing is so much easier for her than it is for me. So the final kick I needed to be like, okay, [crosstalk 00:25:04]. I really need to do that. One of the other things I wanted to talk about was just the power of audacious goals. Because I think something that shows up again and again in the book, which would make a lot of sense especially in hindsight knowing where you started is one that you gave yourself the freedom to set really big audacious goals, which I think is... A lot of people I don't even think can give themselves the ability to be able to do that. Did that come naturally? Was that something that you just always had innate because you've also done a really good job of making this something that you do in the company. Like you have that wall that everyone can go and contribute ideas to.

Brian Scudamore (25:41):

Can you imagine wall was birthed out of, I felt like I naturally discovered the power of vision, but I had other people like Cameron Harold, my COO say, I can't think in vision. And they said, of course you can. And so I helped him through a process of dreaming big and coming up with ideas, starting with what would the ideal trip, if money wasn't an object, where would you go in the world? Where would you go? What does it look like? What's the temperature? What are you drinking? Who's with you? He was able to answer everything, I'm like, there you go. There is your vision. Can you imagine is a wall where people are encouraged in the company to put up their own big hairy audacious goals that they want to see happen within the company. So one big one for me, I told the Oprah story that we landed on Oprah.

Brian Scudamore (26:22):

And that was the first can you imagine, it took putting the idea out there and someone 14 months later pitching, pitching, pitching making it happen. And there we were boom in front of 35 million viewers and I got to give Oprah a big hug. We set another big one years later, which was Ellen to be on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. And we put it in a painted picture, one of our vision documents and set it aside and forgot about it. And years and years later, Nadine in our office decided to take it upon herself to pitch the show and pitch three times before she got success. And they said, we're interested. And she and Sasha made it happen, and this was in October and we ended up on the Ellen show with '1-800-GOT-JUNK?', a big sort of skit. And Ellen was talking about the company and it was magic. So I did nothing to make that happen except think of an idea and put it down on paper.

Daniel Scrivner (27:19):

But I think it also goes to show if you had not been willing to set these goals, that I'm sure you were like, "I don't know if we'll ever get on Oprah" or there was a part of you that thought that, but you had to be ebullient to put it out there, so you could surprise yourself, so you could be surprised by what could happen in the future, which is really cool.

Brian Scudamore (27:36):

We've got a painted picture for all our businesses and we're rolling out new ones. So as we've achieved one, five years later, you roll out another one. And so we're doing that at our big convention in Las Vegas in end of March. So SHACK SHINE has a painted picture vision for the first time because they're the newest business. And in their vision, there's something really big and bold that I got flack from a lot of people who proofed and were a part of who said, I don't think we can put that in there. I don't think it can happen. That's exactly why it needs to be in there is to excite and ignite and for us to figure out the painted picture isn't how, It's what does it look like? And then we'll find a way, everyone told us Ellen couldn't happen and it did. So it's powerful, it's magical, it takes courage, but people need to do it.

Daniel Scrivner (28:29):

Well I'm glad. And thank you for sharing those stories because I feel like this is another thing that you do exceptionally well that is not super common. I want to ask one more quick question and then one closing question. The quick question is, so we've talked about 22 Immutable Laws of Brand and E-Myth, we'll link to both of those in the show notes. Those are both good reminders for people. Is there anything else you've read that's either helped you personally or that you would recommend to other founders, entrepreneurs getting started or at some point in their journey.

Brian Scudamore (28:58):

For me, Rocket Fuel, which is a book that really focuses on your yin and your yang, your visionary and your implementer and all the systems and processes on how to make that happen. Ironically, Eric and I discovered that book after we were doing it and someone said, you've obviously read this. This is what you guys did. And we looked at it, we're like, no. And it was someone taking and distilling what is a bit of a process out there that some people organically discover and making it easier to apply, but great book Rocket Fuel.

Daniel Scrivner (29:30):

That's another one I have not heard of. So I'm super excited to check that out. Last question. And thank you so much for all the time. So I want to ask you about how you think about success today and how your perspective on that has changed over time. Because one, I think that this is something you have thought about a lot, but as we've talked about in the interview as well, I think just your perspective, you've grown a lot over the last 30 years. So what is your definition today? Maybe what was it if you know it in the early days, because I'm sure probably the bar for success was much, much lower. And how do you feel like that has changed over time? Just your bar of success. And this obviously can be around the business side, but I'm sure the personal side too.

Brian Scudamore (30:10):

I think it actually is a bit of a blend of personal and business. Years ago, I met Paul Orfalea who started Kinko's and sold it for, I don't know, gazillion dollars. And what was incredible is someone asked the question in the audience at our business program I was taking in Boston. They said, what is success to you? Now you've got all this money. You've got your private jet, what is success? And he goes, that's easy. He says, "If my kids, when they're grown up, want to spend time with me, that will be success." He said, "Of course they want to spend time with me now, they depend on me and I'm their dad. But when they're adults, if they want to spend time with me, that's success". And I've always held onto that. And it's been 20 some odd years or more, and it hasn't changed.

Brian Scudamore (30:58):

And where I might broaden that is to would my franchise owners when they're out of the business one day and they're done or my employees and people and team, would they want to hang out with me when we're older and we're all adults? That would be powerful. Because of course employees want to hang out with you when they're working with you and you're on a business trip because hopefully you're a likable person, but you're the boss. But what about when everything's said and done, do they want to spend time with you because you've made a difference in each other's lives? That's success.

Daniel Scrivner (31:32):

That's a beautiful sentiment. And especially with someone with two young kids, that hits home. So thank you so much for the time, Brian. Thanks for coming on.

Brian Scudamore (31:39):

Thank you Daniel. A lot of great conversation, and really enjoyed it. Thank you for having me.

Daniel Scrivner (31:43):

Thank you.

Daniel Scrivner (31:46):

Thank you so much for listening. You can find links to everything we discussed as well as the notes and transcript for this episode at outlieracademy.com/95. For more from Brian Scudamore listen to episode 92 where he joins me on our book club series to go deep on how he built '1-800-GOT-JUNK?' and his bestselling book Willing to Fail, how failure can be your key to success. You can also find more incredible interviews with the founders of Levels, Superhuman, Eight Sleep, Rally, Common Stock, and many other great companies as well as bestselling authors in many of the world's smartest investors at outlieracademy.com You can now also find us on YouTube @youtube.com/outlieracademy. On our channel, you'll find all of our full length interviews as well as the best short clips from every episode, including this one. Thank you so much for listening. We'll see you next week right here on Outlier Academy.




On Outlier Academy, Daniel Scrivner explores the tactics, routines, and habits of world-class performers working at the edge—in business, investing, entertainment, and more. In each episode, he decodes what they've mastered and what they've learned along the way. Start learning from the world’s best today. 

Explore all episodes of Outlier Academy, be the first to hear about new episodes, and subscribe on your favorite podcast platform.

Daniel Scrivner and Mighty Publishing LLC own the copyright in and to all content in and transcripts of the Outlier Academy podcast, with all rights reserved, including Daniel’s right of publicity.

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