TYL #1: Building Killer Cultures with Passion and Struggle with Derek Flanzraich
Written by Tracy on 19 Feb 2016
Today I have the pleasure of sharing our very first peer interview on Transform Your Life with Tracy Timm!
In this episode, I interview peer entrepreneur and dear friend Derek Flanzraich.
Derek is the CEO and Founder of Greatist.com, a next-generation media company working to build the first truly-trusted, consumer-facing health brand for Millenials. Greatist is currently the fastest-growing media site in the digital health space, with nearly 10 million unique visitors per month.
Derek is a Harvard grad (boo…hiss), a Google-rejector, a serial “starter of things,” and a believer in the incentive of killer culture.
In our conversation, Derek and I discuss how to find your passion, how to stay true to who you are, what gets him through the really tough days in the start up world, how to know if you’re ready to start something new, and my personal favorite, why he would never wish starting on business on his worst enemy. Derek is hilarious and has really incredible insight into the power of authenticity through our struggles.
Here's a play-by-play, in case you only have a little time and want to hit your favorite parts first:
0:30 Welcome message
1:15 Derek’s backstory
2:00 What does Greatist do?
2:30 Some surprises that are coming your way
3:30 Derek’s explanation of kick-ass company
4:55 Derek’s decision-making process post-college
6:00 How to deal with the pressure to do what everyone else is doing
7:10 Making Google want you even more by accident
8:45 Working for a “high flying” start-up
10:15 How to know what’s right for you, rather than right for everyone else
11:55 The best unsolicited question ever during an interview
13:00 The road most traveled and how that’s made all the difference
13:30 How to know yourself and stay true to that
14:10 Figuring out what you want to do with your life
15:00 Building a legacy of your own by being yourself
15:30 How to get out of the “box-checking” life-style
16:30 Why Derek doesn’t wish starting a company on his worst enemy
17:30 This is the story they don’t tell you about the start-up world
19:30 Building a billion dollar business instead of a million dollar business
19:45 Derek’s personal passion and struggle and how they happen to be the same thing
21:00 Derek’s current obsession and how that fuels his business
22:10 How to learn the most you can from the negative influences in your life
22:30 A CEO who leads from the bottom with authentic service
23:20 The second most important thing it takes to make a successful business and positive culture
25:40 The non-traditional way to learn to be a leader
26:50 Learning from your mistakes
27:00 How to know if you’re ready and able to start something new
28:30 Derek’s advice for someone who’s scared to take the next leap
29:00 The only reason that Greatist is still around today
29:40 Derek’s favorite time management hacks and dealing with the lure of being “busy”
31:10 Time-blocking to spark creativity and optimize your schedule
32:20 Why sleep is one of the most important parts of being productive
32:40 What’s new and exciting at Greatist
33:40 Going beyond media at a media company
34:20 Derek’s #1 piece of advice for you
35:00 How to be authentic to who you are
35:50 How to get in touch with Derek
37:10 How to connect with us to get even more from this podcast
I've also compiled a list of references that Derek and I mention during the podcast here (links included!):
CBS Buys Clicker for >$100mm
Founder of Clicker
Greatist’s benefits and offers
Howard Schultz, Chairman and CEO of Starbucks
Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO of Disney
Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group
Jerry Colonna, CEO “Yoda”
Thanks so much for being here, guys!
I'd love to hear from you: What is the most insightful thing you heard during Derek's interview today?
Share your answer in the comments below!