Sam Parr: Co-Founder of Hampton & Founder of The Hustle

Episode 380

Serial entrepreneur Sam Parr is no stranger to scaling startups. Now as Co-Founder of Hampton, a highly vetted membership community for entrepreneurs, founders, and CEOs he is creating a safe space for others like him to do the same. Prior to founding Hampton, Sam created and scaled The Hustle to a successful exit to Hubspot in 2021. Sam loves turning communities into excellent businesses and I can’t wait for you to hear all about his journey and takeaways. This episode is filled with so much inspiration you won’t want to miss it! On this 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 be, you just want to make sure you will get knocked down. But just make sure you don’t get knocked down knocked out. So your only choice should be go focus on what you can control control control. Hi, everyone and welcome to the Kara Goldin show. 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. It’s Kara Goldin from the Kara Goldin show. And I’m so excited to have my next guest. Here we have Sam Parr, who’s the co founder of Hampton, and also the founder and former CEO, because he sold the company, but the company was the hustle or is the hustle, but is now owned by somebody and run by the company who acquired it. So we’ll get into that in a minute. But Sam, for those of you who don’t know, has an incredible podcast, too called My first million, which is super, super great. I love listening to it. He’s a serial entrepreneur known for founding as I mentioned, the hustle, which I guess started out as a newsletter, I want to hear a little bit more about that, but definitely is a great community. I was fortunate to be able to go and join them at one point. And that’s how Sam and I met, where I spoke there. And they were acquired by HubSpot in 2021. And he, as I mentioned, also has a terrific podcast you have to check out. And now he’s started a brand new company, which we’re going to dig into called Hampton. So I’m thrilled to hear more about Sam’s journey. So welcome.

Sam Parr 1:56
What’s going on? I’m excited. Let’s do it.

Kara Goldin 1:58
super psyched. So. So I’d love to hear like about the early years. I don’t even know that much about you. It was funny. I was doing a little research. I’m like, I want him to tell me about this. Yeah.

Sam Parr 2:11
I’ll give you like the medium version. Basically, I’m from Missouri, went to college in Tennessee and Nashville, Tennessee. While there I worked for this guy named Mike Wolfe, who’s like the main guy from the TV show American Pickers. You remember that show? Yeah, yeah, yeah. So I met Mike and I asked him for a job, give me a job. And I learned through entrepreneurship through him. Eventually, while in college, I started a chain of hotdog stands called Southern sands wieners as big as a baby’s arm. And that was like my college. Yeah, that was my college shop was just like hotdog stand that I had a bunch of different locations. Then I learned about the internet. And I cold emailed Brian Chesky. And at the time, this was in 2011 2012. Ish. They were just getting going. And I was like, I can help Airbnb grow by doing this, this, this and this. And he probably was like, Yeah, I know. But he was impressed that I like cold emailed them. And so they eventually brought me out to interview. So I got the job. I went back to Tennessee, and I sold all my stuff and left school a little bit early. I eventually finished online, but I like sold all my stuff. I moved out to San Francisco, the day before I’m supposed to get the job and start, they call me and they go, you lied on your resume. Basically, I had I got a DUI in college, and I don’t drink anymore. I’m completely sober. I’ve not drank and drank at nine years. But in college, I was a wild guy and I did a lot of dumb and stupid stuff. And they go we don’t hire liars. And I said, you’re absolutely right, that I don’t blame you. So I was out in San Francisco with like nothing. And so I eventually started a roommate matching business that was only very mildly successful, like I made like 50 grand and in enough to pay myself basically. But we had a very small exit. And with the very small amount of money I had saved up, I started this thing called hustle con, which was like a conference for startup founders. And it went well it made like 60 grand in six weeks. And then I went and traveled the country on my motorcycle and then I got back and I did it again. It made like almost 200,000 in profit in the next eight weeks. I would like basically host it when I wanted to make money. And I grew that conference through a newsletter that I created and I was like well conferences are not the way to go like if it rains you’re screwed. So I was like well this newsletter thing could be cool let’s start a business there and so in 2016 I started this thing called the hustle which was a daily are silly as the daily newsletters like when I was 25 when I started so I called it like Wall Street Journal but tech oriented and for 25 year olds, and I grew that and bootstrapped it and we ended up selling it after four years for 10s of millions of dollars to HubSpot now. The Hustle is read by about three and a half million people a day. Amazing and it’s called HubSpot media and it has like 100 Something like that employees it’s like a great thing and then I still host the podcast that the hustle owned, but we sold called My first million. And then I’ve started a handful of things since then. But that’s kind of the origin.

Kara Goldin 5:06
That’s awesome. So you don’t own the podcast anymore.

Sam Parr 5:09
I sold it and I get paid. I say it’s almost like Howard Stern, like I get paid like a fee based on how well it does to host it.

Kara Goldin 5:18
Oh, interesting. super interesting. So you continued, though, to do the events, right?

Sam Parr 5:24
Yeah, we did all types of events. So we would do events, we call them brand building and marketing that didn’t lose money, because it would make a profit. But like, it wasn’t that big of a deal. But we would do hustle con, which was like our big event. And we would have like two to 3000 people we would do, which I think you spoke at one of those. But you also spoke out we would do these smaller ones where we would get two or 300 people on a, you know, Thursday night to come. And this is like a insider story that listeners might like Kara spoke at one of them. And you said one line or something that was really cool that I liked. So I wrote an article with that one line, and just quoted you throughout the story. And I think we like posted it. And for some reason it went viral and hit ended up making a ton of money off of this article. But that was from an event that you spoke up.

Kara Goldin 6:06
Yeah, no. That was a crazy, crazy story. Yeah, it was like one of your happy hour beer thing. I can’t remember what you call it.

Sam Parr 6:13
Yeah, we call them. So when I didn’t have any money, we would call it pizza and 40s. Because Friday ounce beers are cheap. So we have like free drinks and pizza because we didn’t have any money. And so we call the pizza and 40s and Carisbrook at one and told the story and it was like she called you called the coke executive pitching the idea of hint. And the CO executive was like, Listen, what is it say it was kind of sending was like, Listen, sweetie, America’s Americans want sugar, or something like that. And that was the headline. It was like let’s America

Kara Goldin 6:41
like Americans want sweet and, and I Yes, Listen, sweetie Americans like sweet. And so it was. Yeah, I mean, it was it was crazy. And people asked me for years, why didn’t I hang up the phone on him? Why didn’t I tell him to eff off or? And I was so stunned that he like I thought it was like, Wait, did he just call me sweetie. And then also he just took the name, sweetie and then tied it to like, I don’t know, my brain was playing all these games. And then all of a sudden I’m like, Okay, wait, I got to zero in and what I was realizing, after he said that statement was that he really was drinking his own Kool Aid. Like he really believed that the world was more focused on calories than they were on. Not having sweet.

Sam Parr 7:31
And we had this and we had the same thing. Like we had a we had a CEO of a very large media company that you probably know, and I told him what I was going to do. And he was like, this is never gonna make more than $2 million a year in revenue. And when we sold we were doing like, 2 million a month. And I mean, we had like we had, we had the same like, so a lot of cool stuff gets dismissed early on.

Kara Goldin 7:50
Yeah, no, it was crazy. Well, and then what was super nuts? You’re right. We you guys wrote an article off of that, and helped us out on on that. And then we posted it on Facebook. And then Facebook had just started their algorithms. And they said that they were concerned that people would think that our drink was sweet. So we they took the article down at one point because they were like, you’re can really think the consumer and we’re like, Wait, watch. I mean, this is the craziest, craziest argument

Sam Parr 8:23
article. I don’t remember how it ended. But that article I remember, like for a while it had like three or 4 million. I mean, like millions and

Kara Goldin 8:32
millions. So yeah, it was it was absolutely it was absolutely not. So you guys did such an awesome job. So you sold the company to HubSpot. And how did you decide to sell.

Sam Parr 8:44
So when I started my company, like I didn’t, I didn’t come from money or anything like that. But I always wanted money because like, I remember my mother like buying braces for me and she like swipe your debit card. It was like two grand. And I kind of knew this at the time, but she didn’t know that I know. But she only had like $6,000 And I was like, That’s effing crazy. I can’t believe a I’m so gracious. Like, you did this for me and be like, I don’t want to be in that position. You know, not to this is not disparaging to my mother at all, by the way, but I was like, I want to be able to like provide like, not have to sweat that stuff. And so I wanted to make a certain amount of money by the age I was 30 because I figured that would be like a great way to set me up. And so I built the business kind of reverse engineering to kind of get to that number. And then also COVID happened and I had gotten sick I had Lyme disease and like my face was paralyzed. I had Bell’s Palsy, which is like half your face. It’s like scary and so I remember COVID happening there was like all these riots and then I was sick and I was like I need to pull the trigger now and like get some type of security because if this business goes under, I have nothing that like everything I have is in this business. And so HubSpot reached out to me and my they emailed me some like vague message and I was like I don’t really understand what partnership means just tell me do you want to buy us and they go Yeah, we want to buy you like Got great. Here’s a Google Doc and explains all the reasons why you don’t want to buy me if that is no big deal to you call me. And they’re like, yeah, no big deal. Like everything is expected. Let’s do it. And so they called me and I decided to sell to them because it kind of hit the number that I wanted. I was sick at the time and out in the world was falling apart. Looking back, you know, we would be worth today like north of $100 million. I mean, we’d be worth a lot more today. But I am happy with the decision and so I just kind of like work backwards from a goal that I set when I was younger.

Kara Goldin 10:32
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Sam Parr 12:44
So the hustle is interesting because we’re a media company. So like, by nature, our business is like getting attention. So we had a bunch of attention. So that may not apply to everyone but and the attention that we had were people who actually wouldn’t be making decisions to buy companies. So that’s a little bit of an unfair advantage. One time we had a company that wanted to buy us and I hired a banker, and we went and pitched to a bunch of other companies. And it was a miserable experience. I hated it. And then HubSpot came through a cold email. It was just a cold email. And from a guy named James Gilbert, who worked in corporate development or something, he just cold emailed me. And I said, Alright, let’s talk. And he called Email me in October, we’d sold by February. And I didn’t hire a banker because I was like, guys, like, I’ve been through this before. I’m not, I’m not going to negotiate, here’s the number. Here’s the conditions that I want. And if that scares you away, let’s just stop talking now. Because it’s gonna waste both are times and they go, that’s great. And I said, Alright, cool. We’re gonna be honest with each other throughout this whole process, I’m gonna, like, tell you everything you need to know, I won’t hide anything. And I want you to be honest with me, I don’t want you to fall round and like, do all this stuff. And they were great. They’re awesome. And because they’re such a big company, you know, HubSpot at the time was worth 10 or $15 billion. They have a board of directors and like, they have a huge reputation. And they make a billion dollars a year, they weren’t going to like nickel and dime me. And like all this stuff, because they they want to have a reputation as a good buyer. And I knew that and I was like, This is awesome. We’re totally on the same page. And so they just cold emailed me and then me. And my like accountant who worked at the hustle in secret put together this massive data room got all this data that they needed. It was terribly hard. It was like the hardest three months of my life. It was a threat. So basically, in October, they hollered in November, we signed a letter of intent, which gives you roughly 90 days to do due diligence and due diligence is miserable. Like, they’re like, We want five year projections. And I’m like, Man, my company’s only four years old, like I don’t think five years like I don’t know, like, it’s so you got to like, throw together these projections and then you got to defend them. And then we’d be on the phone with like me and Edie who was my accountant. And then like, eight of their lawyers, and then eight of their accountants all throwing questions at us like and I’m like, I don’t know the answers to all these but you don’t wanna look embarrassing to your people or in front of them. And so we just went back and forth for three months. And then it closed on February 1 or second or something like that. And it was like the greatest day ever, because the money was cool. But I was like, it’s done. Finally, I don’t have to be in secret because perhaps that’s a publicly traded company. So like, I barely even told my parents, I was like, I’m selling the company. And they’re like, who I’m like, I don’t even want to tell you. It’s publicly traded. There’s like weird laws around this. And so it was like super secretive. But the day before the deal closed, Axios wrote an article about it. And I was freaking out. I was like, Who told you know what happened? And so it was like, there was constant ups and downs. Looking back, it was mostly all ups. Like, there was no reason for me to freak out. But when like, 100% of your net worth is tied into this thing. It’s like, what if they find out that I told them, we had never been sued. But then like, I forgot that one time, someone emailed us saying, you use one of my photos on your, on your blog, and we had to pay them $1,000 as an apology, like, I’m like, what did they find out? What did I do something wrong? You know what I mean? Or like, little things like that? And I was like, Oh, is this gonna ruin the deal? Yeah. And it was so stressful.

Kara Goldin 16:04
So looking back on on that time, do you think that it was like, Why do you think they bought you to I mean, to get bigger, obviously, I mean, they, but when you think about like, what was most interesting to them?

Sam Parr 16:18
So I always thought we had media companies want to buy us, but I don’t like meet a lot of media companies. Because like, they’re really tough to work. Like they’re not fun places to be. I always thought like a before we work became like kind of a bad company. Or, you know, like whatever scandal, I always felt like, oh, we worship by someone selling a product should by us, not someone who and HubSpot reached out. And they were the first people that had the courage to do that. And so they bought us because at the time, we had 1.8, or something million subscribers, and they advertised with us, and they made a ton of money off of it. And HubSpot is famous. Because, you know, they sell software to small businesses that makes like, I don’t know what it costs exactly for everyone, but 20 grand a year or something. And they’re like, we built this amazing blog that gets like, you know, millions of people, but like, we’ve reached a ton of people, we need to reach new people. What if we just bought the hustle and had our own audience. And also another thing that I didn’t realize, I didn’t realize two things. One, it’s hard to build an audience. I didn’t realize it was hard because I was doing it. And I was like, what’s not that hard, but looking back, it is quite challenging. And number two, when you’re a company like HubSpot, which maybe they had three or 4000 employees at the time, it’s really hard to create something internally. Like there’s politics. There’s also like no clear leader, or no entrepreneur to like, take on the risk and look stupid in front of their bosses and things like that. And so they bought us because they wanted my audience. And also because they liked our culture of like creating quickly and they wanted that ingrained. And so a lot of my staff is still there. And HubSpot media is now at like 100 or 75 people or something like that. And that culture is still kind of in in the in the business.

Kara Goldin 17:58
So interesting. And so and you didn’t stay

Sam Parr 18:00
well. So it was kind of complicated. Because right when we were in the process of selling, I had just hired a CEO. And I was like you guys, I hired the CEO, because I’ve gotten the I grew the business, like the year we sold, we were gonna do about 20 million in revenue. I was like, I grew it till a good size, but I can’t. I’m past my personal skill set. My skill set is content. So I’ll stay and make content via the podcast, but I’m not going to be running the company anymore. And they said, Yeah, that’s great. Because they probably didn’t, they didn’t say this to me. But I imagined they were thinking like, Yeah, that’s awesome, because people like you typically screw it up. And so they were like, that is exactly what we want. That’s cool to hear you say it. So I was I was pretty much out operationally on day one. And I reported to the CEO who I’d hired, but I didn’t have any reports. So it was like, I just made the podcast.

Kara Goldin 18:50
So did you feel like it was better for you just to leave anyway, and let them kind of figured out like I think sometimes if if the founder is around it, you know, you’re watching people do things differently, or that or I should say not Yeah, founder, but also the CEO. I’ve talked to many people who have gone through acquisitions. And no matter what industry it is, I think it’s just very difficult.

Sam Parr 19:13
It’s difficult emotionally, but like people are like, well, this company is my baby. And in my head. I’m like, Nah, my baby will be my baby. My company’s not my baby. My company has a job that I love. But like if it dies, like, I’m going to be really sad, but I’ll live. And so like it was you know, that’s kind of my attitude. But you know, like, the brag a little bit. I built a great company. I had really good people at the company, we we had great processes. So it was like gonna sustain and grow like, if an idiot was running it. The CEO who I hired Jordan is amazing. He’s actually now the CEO of my new company. And so he like kicked ass in the roll. But no, I wasn’t sad leaving I was happy. I was I was freaking exhausted. I was worn out. I remember, like the first two weeks after the sale. I remember thinking Like, for the last four or five years, I’ve been like partially blind, and I just put on eyeglasses for the first time. And I was like, to my wife, I was like, Is this how the world is you don’t like stress out all the time. Like, I can finally see, like, you’re not freaking out like I, you know, you we bootstrapped. So I had like PTSD typing Ch into my web bar, because that’s And like, looking at the bank balance, like, even though we were a great company, like I still had these anxiety. And so the six months after the sale, I was like, the happiest person on earth, because I was like, Finally, I’ve security, like, I’m not like, you know, like, if something if there’s a pandemic, like I’m not going to necessarily die. Yeah,

Kara Goldin 20:37
it I was, as I was researching you a little bit more, and we’re gonna get into Hampton in just a second. One of the things that I read that you said that you’ve hired a CEO, you just talked about this is this Jordan for Hampton,

Sam Parr 20:51
as well. Yeah. Jordan DPH. So we hired him at the hustle. And in my most recent thing, so

Kara Goldin 20:56
you are obviously a founder and you have run a company up to a certain point, it was interesting, I ended up having conversation with Richard Branson, which I thought was really, really interesting that the only company he’s ever run is virgin cola. And obviously, being the beverage person that I’m known for. We got into that whole, you know, all the nightmares of running a beverage company, which didn’t do so well, in the end virgin, according to him, right. And that was the only company that he’s run otherwise, he is the founder, he creates the idea. That’s where he has the most fun. But his goal in life is just to create, right and launch these companies and then have other people run them. And is that kind of similar? Yeah, kind of what you how you think about the world as well.

Sam Parr 21:52
Well, I remember like reading about, like Mark Zuckerberg, and all these, like famous young people who like started stuffing ran it. And I was like, that’s how you have to do it. And then I remember feeling like inadequate, I was like, I don’t think I have the ability to do that. I don’t know how they do that. And then I like talk to some other people, they’re like, you know, that’s like, that’s pretty rare. And I started realized that like, the skill set, so I’m, I’m like, I would say, I’m really good at going from zero to like three or 5 million in revenue really, really, really fast. That’s my skill set. I’m also really good at hiring. But I think I am capable of running a company that’s like big, but it’s it doesn’t fit my skill set, and it doesn’t fit my personality, because the stuff that requires you to get to like 5 million in revenue, the skill set and the in the personality traits often are like the opposite of what it takes to run something nicely. Because to start stuff, you have to be really good at adapting, you have to be good at improvising, you have to be good at kind of faking things and just figuring out and just feeling it’s, I call it a vibe, it’s an art, you know, like, it’s like, you kind of like do things that don’t make sense. And they were actually worked out sometimes they don’t, they just kind of feel it out. I’m really good at that. To run something, you need to be very organized, you need to be very consistent. You need to be pretty level headed. I’m very emotional. I have really highs, highs and low lows. You need to be pretty stoic, you need to like not get rattled easily. But like those are typically opposite traits. Like most people, I think Zuckerberg probably has both most people don’t have that. I don’t have I don’t have that. Same with Richard Branson, Richard Branson, I don’t know him, but I’ve read his books, I have a feeling if I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s like bipolar or something like that, where he has like, where he gets really sad for a long period of time and super happy for a long period of time. And he’s like an artist, like he’s crazy. If you read his book, he like will skip out of town for two weeks and do XY and Z. A good CEO can’t do that. But like a creative who comes up with these stupid ideas that actually work. I mean, like, Who would have thought this record guy was gonna start a when he was a magazine guy to a record guy to an airline, like that doesn’t make sense at all, but ends up making sense. And so like, typically the people who are good at that aren’t good at like, checking the boxes and sweat the details when it comes to like, you know, making sure that like your, your payroll is set up nicely.

Kara Goldin 24:05
Yeah, no, he’s, he’s very good at many of the things that you talked about hiring people bringing people in, but I think his feeling is that he’s still stayed involved, you know, in those companies, and he’s still because he feels like, you know, the, the founder, really does at every stage of, of growth helps the company to grow and helps to see around corners, but the day to day. Anyway, I thought it was a fascinating way to sort of look at businesses because

Sam Parr 24:36
and by the way, I’m heavily involved in everything.

Kara Goldin 24:39
I think so. Yeah, no, yeah,

Sam Parr 24:41
I’m heavily involved. I still I’m like employed at the places where I hired CEOs I say, I’m employed, it’s my job still. It’s not like I just go on vacation and know totally off. But I like there’s this. I think that like, mostly it’s emotional stuff. Like I just don’t like men to run something. Let’s say that you have a 100 employees, and they’re all 80% of them are super pumped. 20% of them have something to complain about. That’s one complaint today that you’re going to get. And for someone like me, if someone comes to me complaining about something, it bothers me. Like, I think about it. And I’m like, I don’t want to have this conversation. I feel guilty. I are they’re wrong. I’m angry at them. You’d have one of those conversations a day. And there’s some personality types that like, it doesn’t rattle them. For me, I get rattled. And that’s not good for a CEO.

Kara Goldin 25:25
Yeah, no, definitely. Yeah, it was something about that conversation that I really, I don’t think enough people sort of focus on that. And think about, you know, how does the founder fit in, right at when you are growing? Because I think that then it starts to really get sort of hiccups in there. But I think that what you’re doing and staying involved for the vision and and helping with strategy and helping where things you know, need a little bit more attention, I think is really, really key. So let’s talk about the Hampton and Hampton Hampton dropped the the know that Hampton? Okay, we got rid of the with hustles. So now it’s it’s just Hampton, talk to me about that? What is it?

Sam Parr 26:13
So it’s a community for CEOs. Maybe eventually, one day, we’ll have different job titles, but right now, it’s CEOs. And basically, when I was in San Francisco, starting the hustle, I had this community of like five other CEOs and founders who I would meet with once a month, and we would discuss like, our net worth, like, is it going up? Or is it going down? And what do you do with your money? We would talk about like, I gotta lay someone off, how do I do this the legal and ethical way, or we would talk about I’m selling my company, how do I have this conversation, we’ve talked about all these things that you can’t have conversations about in public, or with certain types of people in that group changed my life. And so with Hampton, we created a way for all types of founders to have those conversations. And so basically, you apply, we vet you, we research you, we interview you, we let in, like 8% of the people who apply, you get put into an eight person cohort, or a core group, where you meet with a facilitator and executive facilitator once a month with your group, and all groups have similar sized companies. And so it’s like your time to like, almost like business group therapy. And then we have like a Hampton wide community. And then we have dinners and events all over the country all the time. So you can go and hang out and meet your people. So it’s almost like business group therapy meets like a peer group, things like that. And I launched it, I started working on it in July, very secretly, we didn’t tell anyone that we were doing it, we got a lot of customers, and we built it into a good business very quickly. And then we launched publicly like two weeks ago, and then we got like, maybe 5000 people wanting to join. Wow. And we charge $8,500 a year. And I think it’s gonna be a great thing.

Kara Goldin 27:45
So is it all C suite? I mean, do you have to be the like, with, with YPO? You have to be the CEO of the company. So yeah, is that similar with your?

Sam Parr 27:58
Yes, yeah, yeah. So there’s revenue. There’s like requirements. So you have to have at least like two or 3 million in revenue, you have to have or you have to have raised a certain amount of money, or you have to have sold a company. You have to be like, running the company at the time and things like that. And then we interview you. So you got to be nice, and like, you know, eager to join, you can’t be rude. We have people who have joined or like rude and we’re like, man, you can’t we’re not gonna welcome you. And so, yeah, so right now it’s people running companies, I could see one day soon, not soon, one day, where we have like Hampton for CTOs or CFOs or whatever. But yeah, it’s very similar to YPO. The differences is that our audience is younger. So YPO has a lot of folks who are in non tech businesses, like, for example, maybe someone who owns a bunch of apartment buildings, or me someone? Well, well, so what I’m going to say is, we are just a hair younger, but we also are tech enabled. And so hint, it’s not technically a tech company, but you explained it. If you explain 10 to someone who had no idea about the internet, they’d be like, Oh, it sounds like a tech company. So we’re tech enabled meaning digital companies, people who sell stuff online usually so not necessarily real estate, not necessarily manufacturing, not necessarily so hit would be perfect, but also like a hint Casper, whatever, but then also like software companies so it’s it’s tech ish companies,

Kara Goldin 29:25
one of our you in YPO.

Sam Parr 29:27
No, yeah. And YPO. But my my partner Joe is and he loves

Kara Goldin 29:31
it. One of the things that I think has been I’ve been in YPO for 15 years now, I’ve been in for a long time. But one of the things that I think is really powerful is is training that they do. Have you ever heard about the forum training?

Sam Parr 29:46
Oh, well, yeah, they like make you sit through like an eight hour thing and they teach you how to like receive feedback and give feedback and things like that.

Kara Goldin 29:52
Well, the key thing that I learned in that is that if you give people advice And let’s say then you go to the next meeting, and then they don’t do what you say, you’re sort of like sitting there going, you know, I just spent my time with this person telling them what they should do, and they didn’t do it. And now there’s still a problem. So why am I going to waste my breath? And so they teach you to kind of think about a problem. And really, like, when have you? When have you had to deal with something similar? And so you storytel through,

Sam Parr 30:35
I think they call it shared experience, right? They go, don’t give advice, share experience.

Kara Goldin 30:39
And I and I think like, when I first did that training, I didn’t get it. Right. Like I thought, Oh, God, I have to sit here for eight hours, or whatever it is. But as time has gone on, I think it’s a really powerful thing, because then you start to think about, okay, well, Sam just told me the story about selling a company. And he’s told me all these little pieces that maybe I’m not doing those things, or maybe, you know, whatever it is, then I come up with my own pieces to solve my own problem. And I think like that, it’s just a really powerful way to get people thinking about it. And if if a group is I was in a forum for a few years, and then people ended up moving, and so our forum kind of broke up, but but it was really powerful. Because when it gets going, you really can see the energy in the room and really seeing a lot get done. So where are you doing geographic? Or is it by zoom? Or how are you setting these groups?

Sam Parr 31:45
Yeah, right now, it’s all online. But we have lots of like, dinners happening, and retreats and things like that. We’re trying to figure out how we’re going to balance in person and digital. But right now it’s digital. But I think we’re going to lean more into in person soon. But we’re very young. So my opinion is this is going to be a huge company, as long as we don’t screw it up. It’s not like it’s not one of those companies where I have to prove that there’s demand. I know there’s demand. And it’s ours to lose.

Kara Goldin 32:14
So how do you know if it’s successful? I mean, this is not just for Hampton, but also for any business. How do you know? I mean, is it based on growth? Is it based on? I mean, how do you measure success? Happiness? I don’t I don’t know. Like, I think it’s such a challenging thing for people?

Sam Parr 32:34
That’s a good question. I think, I think that even when things are working, it feels like it doesn’t. So like, even when, like from the outside, if you would see the hustle or any other project I’m doing you’re probably sometimes people think it’s going well, and in my head, I’m like, No, it’s horrible. This stinks, this stinks. And this stinks. And so you have to like, think about from an outsider’s perspective, or look at how much you’ve grown and you’re like, Oh, wow. Previously, I would react this way to this conversation, or our users are up this amount. Or if I was here, if you were to told me, I would have been here five years ago, I would have been ecstatic. And so that like makes you happier. But I don’t think I feel like it’s kind of like working out or like running a marathon, even when you get really fast, it’s still hard work. And you still it’s pretty painful. It doesn’t matter if you run the marathon in two hours, 30 minutes or three hours. Like it’s still pretty painful every time. But you just kind of get faster. And that’s kind of how I’ve felt throughout my career, which is like, it’s pretty much hard all the time. Although starting a company, a new company, when your entire net worth isn’t in the business is definitely a happier place to do it big because like, with me, personally, I’m pretty conservative. So I felt like I was always on the defensive. I didn’t want to like spend a lot of money. Now that like it’s like, well, if this goes away, I don’t care. I’m my family is fine. Like, it’s actually helping me make the company better, because I can like take more risks. So that’s like a big thing. But like when you’re running a company, when like everything is in it, like you’re stressed all the time. And it doesn’t feel like you’re winning a lot, at least in my opinion, when I was running it.

Kara Goldin 34:09
So you have a co founder COVID Obviously you are pro co founder in companies is that is Do you think that’s the way you do things going forward, you always find a co founder.

Sam Parr 34:22
So I’ve got like little things like I’ve got real estate that I own, or I’ve got like little side projects that I like to own 100% of and that’s my playground. When I was starting this business, I worked with Joe because I was lonely. And it was really and I met Joe and we have known each other for five or six years. And we were very like, we had shared intimate information with each other like we shared like, Oh, I’m bummed about this, or I’m thinking about proposing to my girlfriend, what do you think about this ring? And like we like or like, here’s my net worth, like, what should I do? Like, we’re like, we’re like we’re fairly intimate with each other. And I realized that we had the same values, but we had opposite personalities. And I thought that that was awesome and When I was starting working on like the Hampton and the idea, I was really lonely, and I was like, Man, this would be so much more exciting if I had someone who I wanted to share these experiences with. And so that’s why we wanted to partner. It’s just less lonely. So it wasn’t necessarily mean that I probably could not have done what we’ve done without him, or I definitely couldn’t have because he’s far more operational and tech savvy than I am. But it’s just lonely man, having a partner like you partnered with your husband, I actually am envious of that mean Sarah partner and some stuff that we do like little projects. It’s just lonely going at it alone. Really, it’s less, it’s less fun than so Joe and I what we did was, I go alright, homework, tell me where you want to be in 10 years? Tell me what motivates you tell me what makes you angry? Tell me what makes you happy? How much money do you want to have? What type size team do you want? Who do you want to hire, how much you want to pay them. And we each did this, and we brought it together. And we’re like, wow, these are really aligned. It sounds like we want similar things. We’re willing to give up similar things to do it, we’re not willing to do certain things to do it. And so it was very, it was almost like a, like a like a, like a marriage where you’re like outline early on, like, so you want to live in New York, cool. I want to live in California, this isn’t going to work, or, Oh, we both want to live in the same place. We both want to raise our kids in this religion, we both want to do this. That’s awesome. We can compromise on the rest of the stuff. But the main stuff is aligned.

Kara Goldin 36:21
That’s amazing. And to think like when you were doing the hotdog stands, I mean, like you’ve you’ve come a long way. I mean, and I’m not saying that in some like awful way at all. But I mean, you, you know the way you’re thinking about building businesses the way you’re, you know, owning that it does get lonely to be a founder, and you’ve decided that you can be better when you have a co founder. I like all of those things. I mean, it’s it’s just, it’s amazing.

Sam Parr 36:52
Well, I got really lucky because I got to hang out with like, so use both. So we hosted, we’ve had hundreds of speakers at our events, and I would hang out with you. Yeah, before a little bit. And then after a little bit, and then I would text you stuff. And then like, at hustle con, we would tell our speakers. Alright, you have to speak at three. But you have to be there at noon for Mic check. But here’s a secret. There was no mic check that might work. The mic worked. We there was no Mic check. It wouldn’t even work that way. But I really told them that so I could have them backstage with the other speakers. And I could just listen and hear what they would say. And I would meet these people who had like billion dollar companies or billion or there are billionaires. And I remember thinking in most cases, I’m like, Well, you’re not, you know, 20 times smarter than me, but you’re definitely 20 times more successful than me. And yet, you’re telling me that you’re afraid to fire this person because the confrontation freaks you out. Or you’re telling me that you’re out here fundraising and getting all these news articles about you, but you’re not sure if it’s gonna work and you can’t sleep? Like, it just made me realize that like success is not necessarily like raw brain power. In some cases it is. But not all a lot of times is oftentimes it just, you’re still fearful, and you still feel like you’re not going to be able to do it. But you do it anyway. And so I had so much confidence hanging out people, right around competence hanging out people like you and other people where I’m like, This person is a bit smarter or a bit dumber, but like, they’re way better than I am at their job. Like, I could do that too. And so I was really lucky for that reason.

Kara Goldin 38:15
Yeah, that’s great. It reminds me if there’s an old Steve Jobs video, I’ll send you later if you haven’t seen it. But he said that, you know, the day you realize that no one is any smarter than you. That’s the day that you’ll actually find success. And it’s awesome, right? Yeah, like a really empowering thing. You just have to figure out how to get enough confidence and get in, get your curiosity ignited to go and figure stuff out. And I think that’s key.

Sam Parr 38:46
And some people by the way, are smarter, like I’ve hung out with some people like Dharmesh from Dharmesh is the founder of HubSpot, or like the founder of Grammarly, you know, Grammarly, like the type of yeah, I’ve hung out with with him. And I remember thinking like, oh, yeah, we’re you’re just smarter than me. Like, there’s things that you could think about that don’t make sense to me, or I’ve heard conversations with Jeff Bezos and I’m like, Damn your your your IQ, you just have more horsepower than I like, no matter how hard I try. I will not run as fast as you in this sprint, no matter what. But I could still run pretty fast or I could still achieve a whole lot of stuff and be very happy and proud of my work. But like there are some people were they’re just smarter, but most people were in the same ballpark.

Kara Goldin 39:29
Yeah, no, definitely. So best advice you’ve ever received maybe in one of these backstage conversations about building your company or somewhere along the way.

Sam Parr 39:41
I was very, what’s the word impressionable is where you like listen to everyone’s advice, and someone told me be very careful with whose advice you actually follow, because everyone has an opinion. And I remember someone told me that and I, because previously I when I was in silicon ally. someone’s like, oh, Everyone raises money. So I’m like, Oh, I have to do that. And then I, someone taught me that. And I was like, No, I don’t there’s a million ways to get it done. I don’t have to follow your advice. I don’t have to follow this other person’s advice. So that was really big. Another person. Well, I read Henry Ford, about Henry Ford. And he has this cool quote, where he says, If you think you can, or if you think you can’t, you’re probably right.

Kara Goldin 40:20
So true. I love that. Well, thank you so much, Sam. This was amazing. And we miss you in the Bay Area. But we, I watch everything and listen to everything that you’re doing. And very excited. Everybody needs to check out Hampton for sure. And we’ll stay in touch with you. Absolutely.

Sam Parr 40:41
Two, thank you very much. I got to take a nap after this. This is I just this is your this is fast paced.

Kara Goldin 40:47
Very, very fast. So thanks so much, Sam. Thank you. Thanks again for listening to the Kara Goldin show. If you would, please give us a review. And feel free to share this podcast with others who would benefit and of course, feel free to subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode of our podcast. Just a reminder that I can be found on all platforms at Kara Goldin. And if you want to hear more about my journey, I hope you will have a listen. Or pick up a copy of my book on daunted which I share my journey, including founding and building hint. We are here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. And thanks everyone for listening. Have a great rest of the week, and 2023 and goodbye for now. 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 them head on in order to move forward. This is where my 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 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 Goldin 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 Goldin. Thanks for listening