Matthew Zachary – Founder of Stupid Cancer and Founder & CEO of OffScrip Media

Episode 195

How can a cancer diagnosis at the age of 21 turn into a social movement? Matthew Zachary, creator of both Stupid Cancer and OffScrip Media shares how his journey with cancer helped create some beautiful community and advocacy for people who have been touched by cancer. Learn all about the changes he has helped make happen on this motivating episode of #TheKaraGoldinShow

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Kara Goldin 0:00
I am unwilling to give up that I will start over from scratch as many times as it takes to get where I want to be,

I want to just sort of make sure you will get knocked down. But just make sure you don’t get knocked out knocked out. So

your only choice should be go focus on what you can control control control. Hi, everyone, and welcome to the Kara golden show. So join me each week for inspiring conversations with some of the world’s greatest leaders. We’ll talk with founders, entrepreneurs, CEOs, and really some of the most interesting people of our time. Can’t wait to get started. Let’s go Let’s go. Hi, everyone, its Kara golden from the Kara golden show. And I’m so excited to have my next guest here we have Matthew Zachary here who is the founder and CEO of off script media. And maybe you haven’t heard of off script media, but you are going to really, really want to dive into off script media when I share a little bit about his story. So he is the founder, you’ll always be the founder, as we were saying, but also the CEO of off script media, which is the first audio broadcasting company dedicated to cancer research and patient support. We all know someone, if not ourself who has gone through cancer. And Matthew previously had founded another organization called stupid cancer in 2007, which was the largest nonprofit advocating for young adults diagnosed with cancer. So why did he do this? What was his purpose in doing it? Matthew has an amazing story. At 21 he was diagnosed with the terminal brain cancer, which derailed his plans of becoming a calm, I’m not going to pronounce this right compositional pianos. Thank you my did I did I say that correctly?

Matthew Zachary 2:02
A film composer, but there’s always a running gag with you whether it’s pianist or pianist.

Kara Goldin 2:07
pianist. Exactly. There you go. It’s it’s the afternoon right now. So my I’m a little tongue tied. But I just want Friday to on a Friday. Yes, exactly. And so with only six months to live. I mean, absolutely insane to ever get that message. But a decade later, after a full recovery, he decides to dedicate his life to helping other young adults whose lives have been turned upside down by their cancer diagnosis. So we are so lucky to have Matthew here with us today to share a little bit more about the story. So I’m excited to get going and and have everybody engaged in this conversation with me. So welcome, Matthew, I really am excited to have you here.

Matthew Zachary 3:01
Kara. It’s been a long time coming. I really appreciate being here and hello to all your fabulous listeners.

Kara Goldin 3:06
Oh, thank you. Thank you so much. So take us back to the beginning. What was I always ask people that’s like, what’s the beginning story? Like, who? Who are you as a kid? What like, what, like, did you know that any of this stuff was gonna happen, and you would be doing what you were doing today.

Matthew Zachary 3:25
I was born and raised in New York. My mom is a film historian and a amateur pianist. She taught first grade for entire life. And my dad is a bob Vila kind of guy. He was the assistant president well, high school and on all the stuff that isn’t academic, but 30 years. So I was reared in this world of creative and arts and occupational therapy and, and all sorts of stuff. I had no aspirations to do anything in music until I just my dad bought my mom a piano one day when I was in like seventh grade, and I came home and there’s a piano in the house. And I kind of said, I know what this is, how do you play, my mom said, you move your fingers like this. And I said, Oh, like this, and I did it. And she like, had a stroke, like no one does this. So I had lessons like 24 hours later. And I was classically trained for for 10 years. So I became the piano guy on Staten Island. But because I, you know was the son of a film historian, I knew all of the music from all the films of the last 100 years and I wanted to learn to play them. I became a Billy Joel freak, and the girls wanted to hear journey in Chicago and I learned jazz. So that’s the story. I kind of knew. Within a few years of playing that I wanted to be the next john Williams.

Kara Goldin 4:44
So interesting. So you play the piano and composed music for me from a very, very young age. And what was the career that you ultimately imagined for yourself?

Matthew Zachary 4:57
Well, I I had that I went to undergraduate at bingum In New York for music, computer science and sociology, true major, and I dabbled in musical theater because I’m just a nerd and I love all that stuff. I applied to USC film school, I applied to several film schools to get in as a as a, as a composer for like a four year Master’s in film composition to be eventually interning with the likes of you know, James Warner and Hans Zimmer. And, you know, man plans, God laughs But that was my goal, I wanted to move to LA, where you have no water, but you had water back then this was 98. And enter Hollywood, and just write music and compose for film and television.

Kara Goldin 5:39
So interesting. So 21 years old, take us back to that moment.

Matthew Zachary 5:44
So during the summer 95, right before my senior year began, my left hand started acting all wacky, and any musicians in the audience anyone that knows who that knows what arpeggiation is, it means when you run your fingers up and down the piano really fast, it’s how quickly you can be dexterous and hit the notes. I was experiencing some challenges in arpeggiating, for no reason, in my left hand, when I got back to school showed up out of nowhere, and it kept getting worse. And I’m like, I’m 21. You know, you’re supposed to be stupid, and invincible and fantastic. But you’re 21 I didn’t think anything of it. And I got worse. And I went to doctors repeatedly. And they’re like, Oh, it’s nothing carpal tunnel syndrome, just put your backpack on the other shoulder, you know, we’re whatever. And then eventually, I started slurring my speech. And that was like, oh, maybe there’s something really wrong with me. And I went home, and I saw my doctor, he’s like, Yeah, you got a problem. So then I kind of finished the semester and after finals ended, I was no longer able to use my left hand, I couldn’t grip a pen. Because I’m a lefty, I couldn’t play at all. And I an MRI, and they found a giant golf ball inside my brain. And it was like, part of me was like, thank God, it’s something because I thought was literally going crazy. And then the other part was like, what else is going on? And I’m making light of now because it was a quarter century ago. But it was very surreal. It was incomprehensible that this could happen to someone, not like me, but someone young. This doesn’t happen to 21 year olds. And that was when the rabbit hole opened.

Kara Goldin 7:28
And you felt like it was almost overnight that this happened. I mean, it was, you know, you look back and probably connect the dots a little bit. But I mean, like, there, there was nothing that you did that you felt like, caused this. I’m sure you’re you went through that whole process, like thinking what the heck.

Matthew Zachary 7:47
I mean, all those years are dipping my head and toxic chemicals paid off.

Kara Goldin 7:52
What, uh, right. I mean, what else can you say about it? It’s crazy. So you went through treatment?

Matthew Zachary 7:58
Yeah, I was very fortunate. Even though I was 21. And not a kid. I was in cancer land. They put me in pediatrics. So I was a little weird because I’m meeting like two year olds and babies with cancer. And it was really awkward because everyone thought I was a parent of a patient. But the fact that I was in pediatrics was actually better than if I were treated with geriatrics because I kind of they cared about who I was, they cared about what was going to happen to me because I wasn’t at they, they bank my sperm, because they knew that I could potentially be infertile, which I was. They prepared him with social work, just in case I needed to worry about, you know, dating in whatever. This is before Obamacare. So I was on my parent’s insurance laws 24. So I had like a three year window to figure out what the hell to do. This stuff was crazy expensive. And yeah, I just kind of muddled through what they thought was the best treatments for me, because there was nothing in the 1990s for anyone. And I had surgery what kind of need for brain cancer, which was eight hours long and tragic and terrible and nearly died. And then I had radiation therapy, which was the standard protocol, because there is no chemotherapy for brain cancer in the 1990s. And that was my spring of 1996. I called the university. I told them, I may not graduate on time, I want to be alive. I call film school. And this was the worst day of my life at the time where I got my deposit back, and I would not be going to grad school.

Kara Goldin 9:31
Wow, that’s that’s just crazy. And so Wow, I mean, I’m just hearing you talk about this. So is this. So they tell you that you have six months to live? I mean what and so, I mean, amazing that you’re still here today and fully recovered, but how does that happen? How do they you know tell you that you’re you may not be around and And you are you just feel like, I mean, what what were you going through at that moment? Because you kind of planned at this point that you might not be around, I mean, not going to graduate school, not sort of planning for your future. But like, where when did you start to see? Well, actually, I think I’m okay. Yeah.

Matthew Zachary 10:20
When I kept on living past my expiration date. Yeah, you know, it was just the amount of time I think a lot of people in the audience I say the audience because I’m just a theater guy, but the listenership can resonate with the fact that you’re the last day of anything is the scariest and when they said you’re cured, go home. That’s not really the end of the story. But like, that’s how they treated the cancer patients, the 1990s. And I was done in like, you know, a May of 96. And like, here, go live your life, you’re 22 and you’re we nearly killed you. I lost my immune system, I lost my hair, my fertility, like my I lost 110 pounds, I lost many friends, I lost the ability to go to grad school, I wasn’t able to get a piano like I was a shell of a human being Emily, oh, you’re done going good, you’ll be fine. So thankfully, it’s not like that today. But for me and others like me who were diagnosed in the salad days, you kind of just have to learn to fend for yourself. Because there was no peer support. There was no in we had like AOL floppy disks, right? That’s the closest thing to peer support we had. And there was nothing in play, especially for 21 year old 22 year old little kids and breast cancer was the big thing. I just kind of flotsam my way through a plan B, which became Plan A, which was I fixed computers, I just like to tinker going back to my dad. So I got a job that I hated having to have, because I couldn’t go to grad school, like I wasn’t able to move into my parents house because I was so terribly sick, all my friends that didn’t abandon me, just went to grad school. So it was literally alone. But over time, back in those days, it’s important to recognize that they didn’t consider you cured. Until you are five years out, that’s changed now with chronic disease and managed care and designer medicines, whatever. So the countdown to five years was the most terrifying time of my life. Like Am I really in the clear, when I hit that five year mark, if I’m four years and 11 months out, so my 90 sucked, I lost my 20s just in this this way. I’ve been horrible, you know, end of the decade,

Kara Goldin 12:31
crazy. And so you’re waiting, hoping at this point that you’re in the clear, as I mentioned to you, I have a nephew that I know very well, those five years that was like the magic number, and we kept, I kept thinking every time my brother calls me on the phone, it’s it’s a, you know, it’s good. Hopefully, it’s not going to be that bad news. It’s a scary, scary time for everybody involved, and for sure the individual. So you’re doing computers, what was the moment that you woke up, and you said, I’ve got to actually use my experience to help other people get through this really rough time?

Matthew Zachary 13:16
Well, a lot of it stemmed from how long it took me to rehabilitate my left hand and play piano again. Because it was the one thing I wanted to have control over. Like cancer took away my ability to be a professional pianist, the least I could do was try to retrain myself and take something back. And that was for me that I didn’t know anyone I didn’t know you could help. I’ll jump ahead to come back. But when I met a guy who was my first peer, right, it took me seven years to meet a guy who had brain cancer in his 20s, which is ridiculous, because there were tons of us.

Kara Goldin 13:48
Yeah. I mean, seven years. Yeah.

Matthew Zachary 13:51
he happened to be on the board of directors of one of the leading nonprofits in DC that does pit cancer policy and advocacy for the last 30 years. Kind of like deep end of the pool stuff. But he asked me had to like to be a cancer advocate. I said, What the hell’s a cancer advocate, because you don’t think to know what these things are. If you don’t know you can help somebody. So I rehab my left hand, it took me five years, I recorded some CDs for myself, I wrote 60 original compositions on the piano. And I just did it myself. And eventually those CDs got leaked out to all these places. And that’s how I met this guy named Craig. And then, you know, I’m muddling through computer land. And I worked in agency life and digital brand. Macromedia Flash PDF 2000 stuff. And it wasn’t until I met him that I realized that advocacy to me was something I never considered, but it meant making sure that the next me doesn’t have to go through as much crap as I did. What can I do? It’s a very simple Pay It Forward philosophy and humanity. I want to make it suck less for the next period. And so what does that actually mean? I didn’t know yet.

Kara Goldin 14:58
And so this is 2006 2007 ish.

Matthew Zachary 15:03
No, this is 2004 2004 This is like live strong wristband, Sheryl Crow, Lance Armstrong, Oprah heyday.

Kara Goldin 15:11
Okay. And we’re, what was the point when you said, I’m going to, I’m going to formalize this in some way and create a group? What What was the stupid cancer and in 2007? Or was there something right before that?

Matthew Zachary 15:27
I muddled through the idea of a nonprofit, it took many different shapes over time. But I really approach it almost like a product, like a brand. I knew that any knee jerk effort to get into charity, I wouldn’t know what I was doing. Because I don’t know what, who knows what they’re doing. When they start a company, you think you know what to do, you have great ideas, but like, until, till the rubber hits the road, right? I did eventually pmsf away from my career. And I quit everything to start what was then called IP young for this, which was stupid cancer, and then became stupid cancer. by just doing a lot of survey analysis, what’s the competition? Like, think of a business plan, right? Think of what it took for you to start hint how much you have to go through with him, the investor stuff, market, all that stuff. I did that to figure out if I’m going to jump into charity, I don’t just want to be another ribbon company. Yes, telling you here, you’ll be fine. You know, I don’t want to be a kind of like a just a shallow Hallmark card cancer organization. If I’m going to do this, I’m going to disrupt as much as I can back when that word meant something. And it was basically this entirely countercultural approach to advocacy, which is we’re letting you be angry. We’re not telling you it’s okay. And I had the everything kind of foment in the summer of oh six. And I spent six months building the brand identity in the case and the website and everything. Because you know, you did everything on your own back then. Yeah, there wasn’t Wix. Right, right. We launched in January, oh seven. And the New York Times did a piece on us two weeks later, which came out of nowhere. And that exploded, everything in oh seven was just this, this avalanche of early What the hell’s going on success. That proved the point. People are tired of being pander to we don’t want more restaurants. We want permission to be pissed, and a way to become an advocate.

Kara Goldin 17:17
That’s amazing. So how did you get the word out? What was like the first thing that you did? I mean, you said you were establishing the nonprofit and you were, you know, obviously redoing research and getting the branding. Correct. And but then how did you? How did you think about getting the word out? I mean, you’re sitting in New York. Obviously, 2007 Online is happening. So it wasn’t like, right, you know, 1977, but it But still, it was? I mean, it must have been a real challenge in here. You had never done a nonprofit. I mean, you’re you had never founded one before. Hi. Like, where did you even start?

Matthew Zachary 17:59
literally had no idea what I was doing. You know, Buzz Lightyear falling with style was like, kind of like the plan all day every day. I mean, I had amassed a fairly decent Rolodex, bio six, having worked since I met Craig, you know, for within two years, I was the only concert pianist, you know, I was the only brain cancer guy, I was the only, you know, I was the only guy that cursed a lot more than everyone else. And I had CDs and you know, this perception of having been in magazines, because people like my CDs or whatever. So there was a unique sight guys around what I represented, because I wasn’t a researcher. You know, I wasn’t a cancer doctor, I wasn’t a nonprofit law wasn’t a policy person. It wasn’t in any of those spaces. I was just this guy who had all these things, and I wanted to start something new. So when I started the organization, I was like, what everyone’s like, what the hell is this? And I’m like, Alright, this is for all of us. But then honestly, The New York Times piece came out 30,000 people hit the site that day. I was offered a talk radio show in 2007. And I became the world’s first healthcare radio show guy. Before we call that podcasting.

Kara Goldin 19:14
What was it on by the way,

Matthew Zachary 19:16
it was on kind of it was a live stream and it went on am radio every now and then. But remember live like if you missed it, tough luck. Like that was the lure. Right? Everyone’s got to listen to this crazy show huddle. It had a chat room. At the same It was crazy what we could do over like DSL and dial up, you know, toward the pre real internet. And then I think what really happened that was came out of nowhere you’re talking about how do people learn about this was we were ranked number 17. In the Time magazine best 50 website of the year in August of oh seven. I don’t know how that happened. But then the millions of people found out about stupid and the floodgates then The money started coming then I started hiring and then it really became a real business. And I never expected like that we didn’t even say the word viral back then there was no Twitter, right? There was no anything Facebook barely got started. Obama didn’t know seven on like, Oh, what’s this Facebook thing. So it was just this total free range explosion.

Kara Goldin 20:22
So you think that between the article so using press, I mean, he didn’t plan on doing that, but the press kind of kick started it. And then people started knowing that you had, you know, this platform, this radio show, and do and do you think it was primarily just word of mouth? I mean, were people telling you, yeah, that’s amazing school,

Matthew Zachary 20:46
grassroots organic word of mouth. Because there was nothing, right? I mean, let’s really go back, you know, let’s go back to 2007. There was nothing for anything. Like we were still scared to put our credit cards on eBay in 2007 or eight.

Kara Goldin 21:02
Were there messageboards did you have like what was going on at that?

Matthew Zachary 21:09
At that point, it was either Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera had message boards on their their early websites. So I stole the code. And I made a mess stupid cancer message boards based on either Christina Aguilera, his code, or whatever it was, it was open source. So I wasn’t getting sued by Christina Aguilera. But we had the first like cancer community boards for young adults for Gen Xers who were in their 20s and early 30s back then, and then flogging because I don’t want to talk the geezers I don’t want to be with little kids. I want to have a hive, a tribe of just Gen Xers. I mean, it wasn’t millennials yet. They were in like high school. For people like me, I want to be angry, I want to express myself, I want my voice. I want to feel seen and heard by people like me, that had never happened before. So it was this reciprocal pay it forward that everybody flocked to this brand new shiny object that actually helped them. And it wasn’t done in any way. Like I’m planning this. It’s working. Like there’s no Dr. Evil pinky that I’m working according to plan. Everything just kept happening because I think right place, right time, right? Cause, right promise.

Kara Goldin 22:18
That’s why I’m so amazing. I’m just like, what you’ve done is just, it was so meant to be in so many levels, right? I mean, it just it was so needed and just build organically. So what was probably the most difficult part of starting this business, I always think about, you know, whether it’s a nonprofit or for profit business, we always look back and think it’s always really important to look back and think about the mistakes she made or some of the hard challenges. What would you say to that?

Matthew Zachary 22:49
Well, again, it was a different moment in time, similar to how there was no internet, there was also no real regulations on what nonprofits can and can’t do. Nobody got slapped on the wrist. And if you didn’t have the right board, minutes, no one. So do you want to get audited, everything changed after a bunch of stuff in like 2011 12 when everything, all the scandals of the nonprofits and the boy scout stuff came out. So I think the biggest challenge I had for the first three years is what the hell am I doing? You know, we didn’t have money to hire a staff. There were tons of volunteers. How do you manage volunteers? Right? What does the board of directors really look like? Who should be on there? How do you deal with egos and personalities, and, you know, nonprofits aren’t shareholders, they’re volunteers who should be doing things. And that was really kind of the biggest, almost like a fight or flight. Like I’m reacting more than I’m being proactive because that’s just the way everything was cascading. Understanding payroll, was like, What is this? How do we deal with that, but it really wasn’t until like formal infrastructure started to take place when we became like, you know, had a bookkeeper at a tax preparer, you know, had a financial person on the staff. And once there was some basic structure, the fun really started because we had runway we had revenue, and we weren’t donor dependent which was also something I didn’t want to be and people listening have nonprofit experience every charities donor dependent. You want mom to give you a couch cushion dollars, and I didn’t want that. So the way I approached the innovation at the time to keep it sustainable was becoming the largest Gen X angry mob of consumers you could possibly ever want to be attached to. So it was caused marketing. That was the thing back then. So I just leaned into cause marketing is that hey, I’ve got 150,000 people listening to this radio show every Monday, you should advertise our sponsor these episodes. And you know, there was no back when CPM was like me the company’s going people and dialing things up. I knew how to do that. So That’s kind of how things started to come together. The chess board was slowly getting set by this, this perspective of sustainability.

Kara Goldin 25:10
That’s amazing. So people, so it was all ad supported

Matthew Zachary 25:13
sponsorships, and ads were what drove the organization for a little while. And the radio show drove most of that revenue. Because we had, I think, a million listeners by the end of the first year. Wow,

Kara Goldin 25:29
that’s amazing. And during that time, too, I mean, that was That’s incredible.

Matthew Zachary 25:35
I mean, this was before iTunes, I was like, you know, you couldn’t get podcasts on iTunes until, like, 2009. You know, I heart there was no Spotify back then. You know, you could only listen to it on Monday at 8pm. And if you missed it, you missed it. That’s just how TV used to work.

Kara Goldin 25:54
That’s incredible. Well, it’s such an incredible story just in founding that I mean, just and then you didn’t stop there. So So basically, what what happened was stupid cancer.

Matthew Zachary 26:06
Well, it $14,000,000.13 years later, it’s still the largest young adult cancer organization in the world. It has changed policy for the better for millions of people. It has redefined guidelines and standards of care, it has recruited 10s of 1000s of people into clinical trials. It has advanced medical care, it has changed everything, it forced fertility benefit coverage at hundreds of companies, so women who get cancer can have their eggs frozen for free. As a benefit. It’s done. Social and Cultural. real damage, good kind of damage, big dent in the universe. Yeah,

Kara Goldin 26:45
I love it. And and I think what, like, Can you imagine you just wanted a forum for people to just be able to vent. Right and, and what and the good that it has done is just incredible. And and that must feel really good. I mean, when you think back on it, it was hard. I mean, I’m sure just like building any company. It’s It’s tough. But I mean, to be able to build the company that really does that much good. I mean, that’s just so incredible. You’re right,

Matthew Zachary 27:15
though, in the end, I really just wanted to create what I wish that I had. And I no one had any idea what it would become.

Kara Goldin 27:22
So you are no longer running it Are you still involved in in the board.

Matthew Zachary 27:28
I stepped down in 2018, after a six month deep velcroing of myself from the sedimentary layers with the organization, pass the torch, they have new leadership. Now I did leave the board, just for the sake of letting new leadership make it their own kind of company, I didn’t really want to have any. I was kind of like an in case, emergency break glass, and I’ll pop out situation for a year and a half. I’m very involved in strategic planning right now the new CEO and I are very, very good friends. I helped them raise a bunch of money. And they’re great partners to this new venture that I have, which is an extension of everything I did there. Which goes back to what is Oscar media and I’m back behind a mic, the most important thing that I think historically I can bring to the national conversation is talk radio. And once I left the stupid cancer show, which was the name of the broadcast, four and a half million listeners later, was gone. And I took a sabbatical. And nearly every single person in my universe said to me, You better get back behind the mic somehow and make a lot of money doing it. And that’s the origins of off script media.

Kara Goldin 28:38
I love it. So you started off script media last year. And like what was the biggest challenge, I mean, coming off of this incredible thing that you had built and stepping away from it. I, I, I know I talked to many founders who have who have founded one company, and they’ve done a similar situation to you that if you’re still sticking around an organization sitting on a board or whatever it’s like, sometimes it’s hard for the new leadership to kind of do what they need to be doing. So I totally get that. But you go off and you start this new company. What So tell us a little bit more about off script media. You talked about it as a extension, but I think it’s a little more than that.

Matthew Zachary 29:21
Yeah, I mean, the seed was planted because the one thing I could take with me from stupid cancer was my voice. And the platform that I’ll just call it radio because we’re old, like radio works. The world has gotten so complicated, we missed the almost the the simple pleasure of single sensory audio in your ears, with the person who you’d like to listen to. Yeah, it’s not social media. It’s media. And I felt like there was a hunger for a return to that because there weren’t any companies that existed that I felt like I’m gonna go to the wringer and tell them hey, we should do it. spin off on the ringer or go to wondery and say this, like, this isn’t a news organization. It’s a sports organization. It’s not political, like crooked. It’s not going to be derivative like pineapple. You know what should exist in the entertainment audio space in healthcare. It’s a giant ocean to boil. But where do you start? And the seeds were planted by all the people in my network, who agreed that if you try to create the largest listenership in the country, in health, they will come it’s one of those, like, if you build it, they will come and they will come not like the we think we’re going to do stuff when people show up. Just the notion of a podcast network doesn’t have shows with highly charismatic DJ hosts like me, talking about things people actually want to listen to, coupled with the idea of long form documentary series that are social justice oriented. And the idea of using listenership as opportunities to create more advocates to get more policies done to almost funnel them to opportunities that can shift the way health policy is organized in this country, and to look at audio as an opportunity for research and ways to improve mental health. And that wasn’t done it had never been done. So it was a candy store of opportunity to build this. And we moved even since we started almost two years ago, four out of oncology into mental health into cannabis into Silicon Valley, digital health, investor leadership culture. I’m Multiple Sclerosis breast cancer specific, you know, we’re really and we have 16 million people listening to our chosen series after 20 months. And I think from that perspective, it sounds like a great number. But if everyone was happy enough with what was going on, we’d have no listeners. There’s clearly an appetite for mostly Americans or our listenership to hear and not see,

Kara Goldin 32:08
I love that I read an article actually, in my research from People Magazine, and they were talking about off script, media and and how it it just really elevates the voices that so many people, I think, like, when I hear you talking about this, I mean, you’re you’re a real leader. I mean, I don’t know that you sort of like put stakes in the ground to say, I’m going to be a leader, I’m going to, you know, be a success. But you did that, right? Sometimes you need that person to put that direction in place and hold on to the stakes, and then figure out, how can you How can you do what so many other people really want to see done. And that’s, that’s what I got out of that People magazine article, too, that they that the end game here is really, you know, helping to create policy and, and helping people to really, you know, get what they need to get done. But you are leading a lot of those efforts. And I mean, you should be incredibly proud, because that’s not easy to do. And unfortunately, many people just go to sleep and just decide, someone else will do it, or it must not be that important. And that’s why it hasn’t gotten done yet.

Matthew Zachary 33:27
I mean, I’m sure you’ll nod your head when I say this, and this is really endemic of of genuine leadership is you tend to want to feel, in a humble sense that if you don’t do it, it won’t get done. And then you find out the people who want to help you do it. And that’s the greatest gift when you find others like you who want to join you with humility, and no ego that just know that if we don’t do it, it won’t get done. Not just if I don’t do it, it won’t get done.

Kara Goldin 33:51
How do you find people to support your efforts?

Matthew Zachary 33:55
I’m a chick magnet. totally kidding. I mean, at this point in my career, I’m I’m very famous in a very small pond, and I’m a notable figure I own that. And people just know me in many different circles and they’re very intrigued that what the hell man is going to do next very, it’s very howard stern ish, but not what the you know, half the people can’t wait to see what I do next. And they hate it and have to move on can’t wait to see do i mean they love it. People are excited to see what I’m doing next. And it’s just all about you know, this relationships. You know, I’ve we’ve basically grown up with hundreds of people in the industry, who are now CEOs of companies, we would like p on nothing’s, you know, 20 years ago. We’re all excited for ourselves and the success we’ve done. And I guess the best way to answer that question is by using a Steve Jobs quote, which I think he’s starting to sum up, I’m gonna say to Steve Jobs, quote, never give people what they want. You give them what they never knew they needed. Yeah. And if you Think about the content we’re producing. No one ever wakes up and says, I can’t wait to have to listen to a podcast on multiple sclerosis when I get it. Everything we’re doing is antithetical to discovery consumption culture. And we’re proving though that when you enter the Oh shit, something’s bad store that you didn’t want to go shopping him. There’s this thing for that that you might find valuable to you. And then you become a brand ambassador client for life.

Kara Goldin 35:36
What do you think that cancer advocates of the past can teach the cancer advocates of today?

Matthew Zachary 35:43
I know you’re teeing this up, because I’m here to send me promote this amazing documentary we just released to the universe called the cancer Mavericks. I’ve never been a documentarian, I’ve never been a narrator. But one of the blessings of this company in its incredible financial success, the first 18 months as we had the benefit of doing something that’s been a dream of mine for 15 years, and this comes back to the fact that a 2021 thankfully not 2020 it is the 50th anniversary of Nixon’s war on cancer. 50 years don’t get 150 year anniversary. So I wanted to tell the story about the people, not the medicine, not the disease itself, the human beings who no one’s ever heard of, that did the most insanely incredible things to get us from there to hear names you’ve never heard of before, that did miraculous impossible things, forcing doctors forcing the government forcing the NCI literally doing Diane’s and sit ins, similar to any other social justice movement. So we’ve debuted the cancer Mavericks, it’s an eight part series is dropping monthly episode five drops as of next week of this recording. And we have Patrick Dempsey involved, we’re very excited to have many other massive notable figures from the government. And the whole point of it is to teach history passes prologue, where are we at today, in terms of what is the next 10 years of advocacy mean, versus what I had to fight for in the 2000s versus what this person at the front of the 70s is vastly different. And to understand truly, how anyone wants to become or advanced their existing advocacy in the cancer space, we learn from history, and this is a true history Series.

Kara Goldin 37:42
I love it. And I think that’s so true. I think whether you’re looking at health history, or you’re looking at entrepreneurs history or nonprofit history, I mean, I think history really does speak and and it’s it’s a, I’m really, really excited to see this series because it come to life, because I think that there’s a lot of really important stuff in there that we can all get a lot more educated on. So very, very cool. And Matt, you’re so inspiring. So I really, really appreciate you coming on today for sure. Where do people find out more? First of all, on off script media, but also on the new series, the cancer Mavericks? Where do people get that?

Matthew Zachary 38:29
Well, like anything else, just Google the cancer Mavericks, and you’ll see the website you’ll see in iTunes on Spotify. My show is called at a patient’s we’re gonna get you on my show at some point soon. banter back and forth, again, because this is a great chemistry. I’m the only Matthew Zachary in podcasting. Just type my name with any podcast. And the cancer Mavericks is available wherever you listen to podcasts.

Kara Goldin 38:52
I love it. So great. Well, thank you so much for coming on. Thank you, everyone, for listening. We’re here every Monday and Wednesday with cool and inspiring stories from founders and CEOs and authors and nonprofits and amazing amazing inspiring things that you hear on this podcast. So please give Matthew a five star rating and download the episodes. And subscribe on Apple or Spotify, wherever and hopefully you all will also follow me. And if you haven’t read my book yet undaunted, overcoming doubts and doubters, I have to put my plug in there. And thank you everyone for coming and listening this afternoon and thank you, especially Matthew, for sharing your story. I appreciate you.

Matthew Zachary 39:43
Thank you so much, Kara.

Kara Goldin 39:45
before we sign off, I want to talk to you about fear. People like to talk about fearless leaders. But achieving big goals isn’t about fearlessness. successful leaders recognize their fears and decide to deal with Head on in order to move forward. This is where buy new book undaunted comes in. This book is designed for anyone who wants to succeed in the face of fear, overcome doubts, and live a little undaunted. Order your copy today at undaunted, the book calm and learn how to look your doubts and doubters in the eye and achieve your dreams. For a limited time, you’ll also receive a free case of hint water. Do you have a question for me or want to nominate an innovator to spotlight? send me a tweet at Kara golden and let me know. And if you liked what you heard, please leave me a review on Apple podcasts. You can also follow along with me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn at Kara golden thanks for listening