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Do YOU have a scarcity mindset?

Or are you holding onto the past and failing to move on?

In this episode, we chat with Matt Astifan, Director of Internet Masterminds, the largest internet marketing group on Meetup.com dedicated to helping people start or elevate their Internet Marketing careers. He shares the origin story of how he suddenly found himself in charge of this group, the internal struggles he had to deal with, and how 2 specific mindsets were key to his success and happiness.

About Matt Astifan:

Matt Astifan is the Director of Internet Masterminds. He turned a small 4 person mastermind into the largest Internet Marketing Meetup on meetup. He is also the Founder of Web Friendly, a company that helps business professionals learn how to effectively use social media strategies. His signature workshop is the Social Media Director Certification program which is spread over 10 weeks and held here in Vancouver.

Matt started off by studying Film and then found his way in Real Estate, where he spent a year getting into over $30,000 of debt. He started selling Websites and SEO at the age of 24 and figured out this Internet marketing stuff from there.

Twitter
Web Friendly
Internet Masterminds Meetup

Show Notes:

[Wilson]: Thanks so much, Matt for doing this interview with me. It is fricking awesome.

I actually forgot where I met you, but it’s been a while. 

[Matt]: Yeah, it’s so funny. We met at a mastermind. 

[Wilson]: That’s where pretty much, yes.

Speaking of a mastermind. You are the founder of the biggest internet mastermind. Not in Vancouver, but in the world. 

[Matt]: We are the largest internet marketing on meetup.com. And it’s called Internet Masterminds, but I don’t think Internet Masterminds is a traditional mastermind like we were at. That was a small group of people sitting around a board room sharing ideas and solving problems. 

Internet Masterminds has been a place to educate the public about the best practices of Internet marketing by inviting a local speaker to come and share their case study of something that they did locally or internationally.

They basically share what they did to achieve that success.

And we typically get dozens or hundreds of people coming out to hear those stories. This was a little bit different than like a typical mastermind that we were one of. 

[Wilson]: That’s awesome. And how many people are in this meetup group of yours? 

[Matt]: So right now our meetup is that over 7,000 members. Our goal over the next two years is actually to get to 100,000 members and by going globally and getting to a hundred groups around the world.

My goal is to be within at least 10 countries, a hundred groups at 100,000 members in two years. 

I originally just made up that goal and I actually researched to find out if it was feasible and I found a lot of other organizations that actually exceeded that goal without even trying within a two year period. So I’m really excited now that we actually have a plan in place.

We’re actually building technology to have our own platform that we can actually do this in scale. So I’m really excited about it. It’s what we’ve been working on for the last little while and I’m getting ready to go global.

[Wilson]: Wow. Is that another Hashtag brand of yours? #Goglobal.

At the same time you also have your Social Media Director License Course. I actually have a few friends who were in it.

I think the impact that you’re able to make in other people’s lives has been tremendous because, you know, these kids are coming out from university. They have nothing to do.

Or even these moms, they just take your course and then now they’re killing it through Facebook. 

[Matt]: Yeah. Yeah. Traditionally our courses, Facebook ads, sales and funnels yes, we’ve had people that come out of school, right.

You know, in college you’re learning textbook material. It’s good. But a lot of people come out not understanding the world of business. It’s one thing learning from someone who’s actually done it is that you’re learning like real-world business practices and strategies versus just somebody who’s, you know…I only teach stuff I actually do. 

I don’t do stuff that I just, I read in a book. Right? 

[Wilson]: Yeah. And so not to toot your own horn. 

[Matt]: I’m not trying to talk bad about universities, I think that they help a lot of people, but I have noticed that people who study marketing specifically and get out of marketing, they don’t know a whole lot. 

Again, some people are good and they’re reading books and looking at blogs, watching youtube videos while in school. While there are others who just rely on the information they’re getting in college or university, they come out and they still need more real-world experience.

And so that’s why I think whether it’s our course or someone else’s course learning from someone who’s actually in the industry, I think is just the best way to learn. I think the whole info-marketing world, I think that’s why it’s grown so much over the last decade because you’re learning from people who are actually in it. 

[Wilson]: Right? And I think that’s the reason why you’re so influential in this space. Like any Internet marketers I talk to, they all know who this Matt guy is and I’m like, wow, like your stuff is actually really good. 

Before it actually got to be such the scale it is now – before you’re able to touch thousands of lives – how did all begin for you?

Like was it as easy as like, I came out and this is why I started, I started the Internet Masterminds and went super well or is there any stories where you’re like, oh f***, this sucks?

[Matt]: I started my company, Web Friendly, and started going to Internet Masterminds Meetup group around the same month. Within like a one to two month period. 

Originally, my goal was to be able to be a public speaker. So going to Toastmasters and things like that. And I remember Roger Killen who said, “if I wanted to get good at speaking, you’re just going to go out and just speak more, you know?” 

And then I heard someone else say: “do something every day that scares you.”

I was like – well public speaking scares me. So any opportunity I would get to be able to speak in front of a group, I would do it.

I was part of this Internet Masterminds group, which originally started from a Craigslist ad. It was somebody else’s ad. And they said Mondays, seven o’clock inside this hair salon and you guys can come in and we’re going to talk about Internet Marketing. 

Originally we were watching videos of Frank Kern and other internet marketers. We’d watch a video then like discuss it. These other guys were organizing this event.

One day I show up and there’s like 20 people there and the main guys who are organizing it didn’t show up. They decided it wasn’t for them anymore. And we didn’t have an email list or a meetup or any way for them to communicate that.

So the guy whose hair salon that the group used, had the doors still open and the projector was set up. But the guys didn’t show up. So then everyone’s just sitting there like, well, what do we do now? 

I was sitting in the back and I shyly put my hand up and I said, “I saw a video online we could watch.” And I played them a video of Gary Vaynerchuk. This is 2009. It was almost 10 years ago.

And at the time, Gary V, I think had 30,000 followers on Twitter and wasn’t as popular as he is today. I showed them this video and everyone’s like, wow, that’s amazing. Gary was talking about how social media was going be like the next big thing.

[Wilson]: Huge. 

[Matt]: Yeah. People were like, what’s Twitter? Right? And we’re talking Twitter before Justin Bieber was there, before Oprah was there, Ashton Kutcher – like when celebrities started getting on it, that’s when Twitter really blew up, right? This is prior to that era. 

So they said, can you teach us about Twitter? 

The next Monday came along and I was giving my very first public speaking presentation. I was so worried. 

There was another friend that was in the group and I asked him if he would present with me cause he had some public speaking experience. I’d say, just in case I screw up so bad that you just pick it up in case. I ended up being able to fulfill and did most of the presentation and taught everybody how Twitter works. 

Fast forward six months later, every Monday night I was just teaching what I knew. Then I started thinking, well I’m not getting a lot of value to this. All I’m doing is teaching everything that I know, but like I want to learn stuff too. 

I didn’t realize it at the time, I was actually quite naive. I didn’t realize that when you teach, you learn. You process things, the information in your mind, and you’re basically kind of like blogging or writing, right? You actually can figure out what you actually know. 

But at the time I didn’t know that. So I was like, I want to find other speakers to come in here. Every Monday night we’d have a new speaker and then that grew and grew and grew.

That’s what really became what Internet Masterminds is today. 

[Wilson]: So your teaching in the back of a salon for the longest time. 

[Matt]: Yeah. Just doing these little workshops like one hour at a time. And then eventually I said, hey, I’m going to do a weekend workshop. 

First time I charged a $375. I came up with that number somewhere and then I filled it up. We did it inside of a small room in the back of a coffee shop. I remember that we had our projectors set up in this small room and the projectors. The projector would get so warm from the heater. By the end of the day, the room was so hot and we were all sweating. If you look at the very first pitch of our first workshop, you see everyone had like armpit sweat. 

Then we slowly, raised the prices more and more. Then I realized that I was able to fulfill the lifestyle I had at the time. Not an elaborate lifestyle by any means, but I was able to pay my own bills and that sort of thing by just working one weekend a month. I achieved the four hour workweek by working nights plus a weekend. 

Eventually, I moved all the courses online and that’s what really scaled the business for sure.

[Wilson]: Now you’re charging like thousands. 

[Matt]: Yeah. Right now, our courses cost $2,500 USD. I mean it’s much more than what it was. 

[Wilson]: No, for sure. 

[Matt]: Yeah. It’s like before, it was literally how to set up a social media profile. Like how to set up a Twitter account instead of a Facebook. I was logging people in creating accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and Youtube.

Now it’s how to actually get leads and sales and how to do the sales. 

[Wilson]: I’m saying from $375 to $2,500 USD growth in that value that you bring and the saleability – that’s huge. That’s awesome. 

Now from during that phase, like how you grew, were there any times where you like f**ked over cause we kind of talked a little bit about that.

You’re like, you know what, let me talk about it later on. 

[Matt]: So I tried to put the past behind me, but I will share the story only because I think that it is an important lesson to anyone who’s maybe facing this right now or someone who’s thinking about becoming an entrepreneur and afraid of getting screwed over. 

I will say that if you believe that you are in the right, I think it’s all gonna work out for you in the end.

If you go out and you have the Scarcity Mindset of trying to screw people over or try to, you know, get some early returns or whatever, I think it always doesn’t work out for the best. 

So what happened when we started doing masterminds, we started between me and the other gentleman who owned the property in which we were hosting the events. What happened was we had to buy a projector, a screen, chairs, and stuff like that, it was all coming out of our own pockets. So we said, we should start charging something for this event. They were originally just for free. We started charging like five bucks a door just to cover our cost, right? And we were charging five bucks a door for I think, I want to say like two or three years.

He was our treasurer and anytime we have to use money, like when we needed a projector. One time we did a barbecue for everybody and we bought all the burgers for everyone. It would just like you know, whatever, just a community event. We took it out of our funds.

People would always say, “hey can’t make it to the event, but I’d love to see it talk and I’ll pay for the video.” This gave me the idea that if we film the events and put those videos into a membership site, we could sell a membership that would include access to all the videos as well as access to all the events.

So I thought let’s build the technology to do that. Let’s count our cash cause we have them all. I thought we had them all into separate envelopes for every night. And like they were always a sealed envelope that was going into a safe. And I started asking the organizer at the time, “Let’s figure out what our budget is.”

And I noticed that there was this avoidance and avoidance and avoidance. It went on for quite a while. So one day I showed up before an event and I said, what’s going on? And he said basically that he wanted to be able to have a share of those funds to basically pay for rent for using the space.

So you know, I said, fine. I mean, it’s fair enough, but the challenge was that he wanted to be retroactively paid for those three years. Apparently the calculation that he made equaled all the money.  The number that he gave was in the range of the number that I thought we might have. 

We actually got a mediator involved. There was other people who we call our founding members that were there as well. Mostly everyone was kind of, in a sense, I want to say kind of siding with me or trying to find a resolution. We were not able to find a resolution in the end.

[Wilson]: I see you containing your anger inside. 

[Matt]: I’m not. I’m actually really disappointed because this person was actually a friend of mine at the time. You know, it is what it is.

I said I’m going to let this go behind me, you know. We just moved to a new location. The new location was only a few blocks away. We now needed to raise money cause I want to fulfill my dream of being able to record and wound up that needed membership site.

So we started charging 20 bucks at the door and we made it $10 online. $20 at the door to try to get people to register earlier. And then within that first year, I believe we raised more money than what we had in the previous three years. I built the site and I now we have a membership site. 

Now we’re doing this and am going to go globally. 

It was a hard business lesson at the time. I remember I was really angry. I wrote this long letter that I was going to send, being like this is what’s going on. I sent it to a few of the founding members that were there since the beginning and I said, “Guys, this is what a plan is. You know, I am feeling angry. What do you think?” They told me to not send it, don’t say anything. Nobody knows who’s organizing. You have all this information, but most people come, don’t realize any of this stuff, what’s going on. So they said just don’t say anything. So I just never said a thing.

It was hard at the time, but now the group has continued to grow. I’ve always wanted to create the kind of environment that I wanted to be a part of. 

So when I do an event, I organize the event that I would go to. When I find a speaker, we talk about the topic, we talk about the topic that I’d want to learn about. I ask myself, “would I get out of my office or out of my bed or out of my house or whatever to go to this event?” If the answer is no, I’m not going to do it. 

For a long time we were doing events where anyone who wanted to speak, okay, we’re talking about it. They would do it and I’d sit in the back and would I play on my phone.

I would be bored the whole time. There was a point that I almost shut the group down because I wasn’t really feeling like I was enjoying it. But people were coming and they were learning. 

So as soon as I switched it to be like that kind of environment, that kind of event community that I want to be a part of, the value of having your own in-person community like that is I think my whole business was basically based off. There’s so much value. 

I’ve actually realized that I think that I’ve created more value in the world or the community through Internet Masterminds, even though it’s not me teaching people internationally, it is people bringing people together. 

I realized that I’m so much more of like a connector, where people always come to me and say, “Hey, can you connect me with this person? Do you know somebody here?”

So it’s like we’ve done a lot with Social Media Director course and I love that. I could take a little bit more credit. I’m showing people specific strategies that I spent oftentimes hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars to try to figure out, you know, what’s going to work and then I just give it away. 

Whereas my masterminds, I’m bringing people together, giving them insights, giving them inspiration. And I’ve seen that create a huge impact in our community as well. 

[Wilson]:  For entrepreneurs or leaders, what can we learn from your story? 

[Matt]: Yeah. I think that if you’re going to do a community event like that, I think it is a good idea to charge something.

I’m sure, at the time, I don’t think we made a mistake by saying let’s charge and we’ll figure it out later what we have to do. 

Because we’re not trying to make money. I still don’t make money from the masterminds meet up. Like our profit per event is in a few hundred dollars. And when you look at the time invested in, you’re not going to do it to make money.

You do it to build the community, to build the connections, build your influence. There are other ways that you can profit from doing something like that. So the intention was always to not make money. 

I actually always look at how do we spend this money to market our events to bring more people in. We have expanded our marketing budget per event to bring more people in. We’ve done deals where we actually fly speaker in and we pay for their expenses and then you lose money on the bed. But we’ve made some money in the last three so it works. 

So the intention was never to try to make money from the event. So it’s more so that like kind of go into that in lesson where I wrote the angry letter and then I just didn’t send it in and talk about it and just that was it.

I didn’t go out and try to reattach this guy’s name, retaliate, or whatever. 

[Wilson]: Just do you. 

[Matt]: Yeah. You just move on. Right. I mean there was another time too where we did some consulting work. It was a large project for us. And at the time we got a small deposit that hardly paid for the expenses. We built sales funnels, new copy, new website, new logo. We actually rebranded the name but the domain, like we helped this organization like rebrand everything. 

And then at the end, we were delayed by like three weeks or so because we had some video guys doing some work for us and you know, they’re doing it for a little was a small cost compared to what we’re getting.

And you know, they were late, it was during Christmas time. Some delays and we were like, I want to say like a month late and they were just…you’re a month late, we’re not paying. 

And the whole thing was like, dude like we made no money. 

Like this is an agreement that we had and we spent the, your initial deposit was to get all the stuff done. There’s all this writing in the deal, right? Cause we were expecting to get a percentage on the sale and get this other part which was our actual profit for doing all that work. 

So the way that we structured the deal, we were being very generous and fair. We wanted to work with these guys. Let’s, make it happen. And you know, they didn’t pay us.

My initial thought was, well let’s go to court. This is a small claims court. We are deserving of these funds. 

I was doing that with another partner at the time and we both agreed that it was just wasn’t worth our energy and all the negative energy of going in court. You know, it was like going to court alone would probably take us, one day or two days. 

It’s like if we just spent a day or two prospecting for a new client, get a new client that’s gonna be worth way more. So we’re just like, okay, we got screwed over, let’s just move on. 

[Wilson]: Right. I actually have a similar story like that. Remember in Vancouver I did Winter Wonderland? I got two guys that wrote me a cheque that bounced and just went on and on and on back and forth, back and forth.

It was like, I think it was like four grand. I was trying to fight and ask these guys for it and they’re like, “You don’t have to worry. I will send you guys new cheque later.” 

Two cheques, both cheques bounced. He timed it so perfectly. So once again I was in the same shoe as you as like, hey, should I go to small courts or move on from that whole thing.

Honestly, it’s probably not their first time doing something like that. They are pretty kind of, I would say, educated in their field to keep pulling this stuff off. 

[Matt]: Right. So I’m like, you know what, let’s just bite the bullet and just move on. I think just not letting that negativity consume who you are and just being positive and let’s move on.

I literally, heard this a long time ago. It’s like whenever there’s friction in your life, whatever that maybe, you have to either deal with it or let it go. And I remember when I first learned this concept, I did the 80/20 principle in it. I wrote down all the areas of my life where I had friction and then I ranked them.

And then let’s say, well if I just dealt with being middle as of 10 when, and I’ll just let you know, dealt with the verse to who would lift so much stress off my shoulders or whatever it was. 

There was a, yeah, ex-girlfriend where we broke up and decided that we just wouldn’t talk for a while so we’d have some space. And I felt I needed to get closure. So I like called or messaged. I said, hey or whatever. 

And then we were good. And then, one of my good friends, I was making like your mama jokes to him one night I thought it was really funny, but he didn’t.

We haven’t talked for like a month I was just like, hey man, I’m sorry, you know. Two weeks ago we met for a coffee. And I just remember like feeling this release of stress immediately happening. 

And then yeah, I just always down whenever there was some friction in my life, it’s like, how do I deal with it or let it go? Because if you don’t, it’s going to stop you from maximizing your output to the world, your productivity and your creativity.

I’ve been really big on that. Anytime there’s something like that, it’s like try to avoid them in the first place it is created, which is bound to happen and you gotta deal with it. 

[Wilson]: So I guess that theory or that concept on has been part of your success. 

[Matt]: Absolutely. 

[Wilson]: Do you have any secrets or even secrets like epiphanies or theories or principles that you think has been like, just super life-changing for you? Aside from, you know, deal with or let it go?

Like for people who want to take business to the next level or excel in self-development. Cause I know you’re really into this kind of thing.  

[Matt]: Okay. So, so there’s something that’s been coming out for me lately.

And it’s around this idea of like having a scarcity mindset, right? Like being afraid that there’s not enough for everybody, you know, holding your cards tight, you know? And I didn’t know that I don’t have a scarcity mindset. I think there was areas where maybe I did and some areas in my life or for the most part in business, I don’t. 

And I thought it was great and I started noticing people around me did. There was one particular person that I was working with very closely that was always kind of assuming that I was going to do something wrong or rip them off or whatever.

And I was insulted by it. 

Internally I was like, why would you think that I would do that? It’s beyond my character. And I realized there was their mindset. 

I heard somebody say this, this concept, I don’t know where it came from, but basically, if you look at yourself five years from now and you think, if I lived every single day meeting everybody and thinking, what can I get out of this person? What’s your life and what’s your business going to look like in five years?

Versus if you go out every day and every person that you meet, you think about how can I add to this person. What’s your life going to look like? What’s your business look like?

In five years I really sat down and I really thought about it. It’s like I don’t want to see my headlight in five years where I’m just going and seeing what can I get out of somebody?

I don’t know, to me it just like opened up my mind to the fact that the more value that you add doesn’t just make more friends or whatever, but it’s a mindset that applies to your entire life, you know? So in all aspects of life.

[Wilson]: So coming in and working in abundance is what you’re saying. Don’t work in a mind-frame of scarcity.

[Matt]: Yeah. I think just because I’ve been over the last couple of months kind of dealing with people in my life that I felt were coming from that place and I wasn’t able to pinpoint and identify like kind of what it was about personalities that were kind of not matching. 

Then when I started hearing it with this concept, I realized that people were into. So now I’m able to identify people based on their character, what they say and so on. And if I feel like they’re in that scarcity mindset, if I know them close enough, I might address it with them. Otherwise, yeah.

I think you have a very abundant mindset. 

[Matt]: I do. I actually definitely do. 

[Matt]: Yeah. But you know, otherwise it’s just like don’t, don’t deal with those kinds of people.  

And just kind of like let it go as it is. Looking back at those two people that screwed me over and thinking about their personalities, there was definitely scarcity mindsets in both places, right? 

And now that I know how to identify it, if I meet someone with a client or potential student or business partner or whatever, once I see that they have that sort of a mindset, I know to kind of back away from it.

I know it’s not going to be the right fit. 

[Wilson]: That is actually a very profound principle. And I find that as a recurring theme when it comes to like super successful entrepreneurs or industry leaders is that they’re so giving. Whether it be their time, knowledge, value, whatever the case may be, and the law of attraction just brings it back and it just bounces it back.

The more you give, the more you’re going to get. It’s such a mental thing, but it’s not something you can teach. 

[Matt]: Yeah, absolutely. 

[Wilson]: It’s like something you got a feel for and yet it’s such a profound thing.

[Matt]: But actually I don’t know if I really believe that there is like Karma, I kind of believe in Karma but I don’t think that it is like Karma or like the way the goal or whatever. 

It’s the way that one will react. React with situation 

[Wilson]: Psychologically. 

[Matt]: Yeah that makes a huge difference. You might think, well if I’m giving more in the world then I will get more back. It’s like the more value you create, the more you receive. It’s not Karma, right? It’s, it’s how you’re actually reacting to things and you’re, you’re looking at opportunities in different ways and so it’s, you know, it is your actions that that’s creating the value. It’s not just like the way the world kind of thing. 

So I thought a lot about that as well. 

[Wilson]: So you dove deep into that. 

[Matt]: I used to really be a big believer in Karma.

[Wilson]: It’s like there’s this technique with running a business where if you give something to someone, they’re more prone to buy from you. Like that’s the reason why people give samples. Cause like, Oh sh*t, I feel like I owe this person something so you know what, I’m going to buy a bubble tea or I go to buy some topping. 

It’s along the same principle of human psychology that the more you receive, the more you kind of have to like, oh now I have to give back or something like that.

[Matt]: I just thought of another point. I’d be curious as a chat with you about the two because it’s probably going to be relevant to when this gets uploaded.

So we talk about like, you know, influencing people by giving away free things. I think about the book Persuasion by Robert Cialdini.

Best marketing book in the world. 

It’s always a book I recommend whenever someone who’s getting into marketing and says, what book should I read?  

The way it was written was not so marketers can use it for evil to persuade people, but so consumers could understand what marketers are doing to persuade them. So it’s written in that context. It’s actually written for a consumer. 

[Wilson]:Yeah. 

[Matt]: Right. But of course marketers eat it up and he knew when he wrote it that marketers are gonna want it.

However, this is all this news happening right now around Facebook and Cambridge Analytica. And it’s interesting cause you know, at the time of this recording, Mark Zuckerberg, which is at the Senate answering questions at the congress answering questions about how they were using this information to influence people during the election. 

And I’m not sure, I’m curious about your thoughts. 

Cause when I heard that, I was like, isn’t that what a good marketer does? 

If I were to go and you know, do proper market research. I go to Google and I find that a lot of my audience. That way I could write a better ad, create better content and persuade them to buy.

Is that wrong?

By the way, just so nobody freaks out, I understand why it was wrong that they got the data.

[Wilson]: I get that.

Okay, so I’m getting flamed and then the show get taken down because of your question.

[Matt]: I think that marketers and entrepreneurs kind of get it.

I think it’s a consumer’s responsibility to understand, right? It’s kinda like why Cialdini wrote the book to educate the market, right?

But they’re there, they seem to be saying like, oh, they use this data. You know, we influence people during the election. And I was like, but that’s what we need to do. That’s what you’re supposed to do, right?

So yes, I get the way that they claimed the data and stuff, but there are other ways to find information beyond that. Like Facebook alone, but it’s been around for a long time, but it’s called the audience insights.

[Wilson]: You think it is going to be gone?

[Matt]: So you’ve got Facebook audience insights. If you go on the right now and you typed in women in Canada that are between the ages of 21 to 30 it will tell you what kind of shows they like books they read.

Whatever you want and it’ll tell you that kind of stuff. Right?

So it’s like that data’s already there. And the Facebook’s just one example. There’s a lot of ways you could find. There’s a lot of market research.

[Wilson]: Oh totally.

[Matt]: I know the Vancouver Public Library, I think it was like last year I heard that they bought a whole bunch of data that’s actually available in the back of the library if you want to do lots of market research for your business. If I’m going to do a campaign, I’m going to do a lot of marketing research about the audience.

So to backtrack on this as well, this is another interesting thing is a friend of mine took me to Landmark. I was totally turned off by landmark.

[Wilson]: For people that don’t know, Landmark is basically a three-day discovery workshop where they provide you with a tool to view what the world is like.

[Matt]: It’s a personal development workshop. A lot of people have probably been there probably.

[Wilson]: People either love it or hate it.

[Matt]: Yeah, so my thing with Landmark was I was there and the whole time I couldn’t get over it.

Why was all the staff volunteers? Why are they volunteering? I was trying to figure it out the whole time.

In my mind I was like, cause these are very successful business people. You know, CEOs of large companies, CFOs, a little woman who led our workshop, I think she was like a CFO of like a multibillion-dollar company.

[Wilson]: Lululemon. They put all their staff through landmark as well.

[Matt]: So I was like, why are these people volunteering? So I was listening to the words that are being spoken very carefully. I’m familiar with NLP, hypnosis and so on. And let’s like don’t bash me in the comments here, but my perspective was that they were using a lot of that.

[Wilson]: Yes. 100%.

[Matt]: And they were shifting the mindset of people during the audience. And in order to, you know, get them to enroll. They specifically use the word “enroll”, which is also something that needs to be looked at.

Right. And just the psychology of the wording that they’re using and so on. But they were persuading people in that sort of way. Then there were the people who were actually leading these workshops. The volunteers would tell me that the workshop had such a big impact and this irrational reason or rational. I don’t know.

They were giving this reason that was just like, why? Like what do you mean? And when I ask them why don’t they just do their workshop? They say, oh, but this is a community.

You know that there’s this whole thing about having a significant community around you. When I was at Tony Robbins, when people would go to the back of the room and he’d sell something, he would then bring them on the stage so that way they can show them significance of community on the stage. You know, I noticed that as a marketing thing.

I didn’t think it was wrong if it was interesting, you know, but there was something about Landmark that turned me off. And so later I told my friend, I’m not sure, whatever, but the next day I’m like, dude, Landmark is bad. You’ve got to get out of there. I was really turned off by it.

And later we had dinner plans with a group of friends and I was, you know, we’re kind of doing this whole back and forth about, is Landmark right or wrong?

I couldn’t pinpoint what was wrong about it. And then we had a lot of discussion about it and by the end I, I felt that because they weren’t being upfront with people about what kind of tools are we using to shift their minds. They’re shifting their minds in a positive way to impact them in a positive way in the world and their life, right?

But they were still using these tools to influence them. Right. In order to make them better people. So we were discussing whether it was right or wrong to be using these types of tools. When I say tool, I’m talking about language patterns and physical movement with our bodies and so on. That’s like familiar in psychology.

[Wilson]: A lot of human psychology techniques and everything, right? I tell my people that when you go, go with the mindset like 60% sales and 30% of real content. That’s how I see it.

If you can see past the sales techniques and everything like not letting you stand up or putting you through a 12 hour day of just sitting in a chair and listening to people crying – all emotional sh*t that they put you through…if you can just take the content for what it is, I find it very useful.

[Matt]: And a lot of people do. Right. But at the time there was something that turned me off by the way that they were doing it. I do believe that their mission and what they do is actually a good thing. So I don’t think that Landmark is a bad thing or anything.

However, just going back to the discussion on what is fair use of…

[Wilson]: Techniques.

[Matt]: Yeah. To influence people, right? Like Cambridge Analytica found out through information about the certain demographic that changed their messaging based off of that.

Like where do you draw the line on what’s right or wrong?

I think it’s really interesting because I had this whole kind of argument with a really good friend about this whole thing.

[Wilson]: It was a healthy debate.

[Matt]: Yeah. It actually definitely turn into healthy debate. It didn’t start that way.

But looking at it from a marketing perspective, we have all this knowledge and based on the news and media saying it’s not right to research your market to influence them.

Where do you draw the line?

[Wilson]: I personally think that that’s a very good example.

Either Facebook marketing or Landmark marketing, whatever the case may be, people are using these techniques and I think it’s free for all.

It’s up to you to get the knowledge. What happens when the government has all these crazy technology that is not public access yet? They’re using these on us. You know exactly who they already are.

[Matt]: Right, exactly.

[Wilson]: Who are they to judge people who are using public access information on telling people that they’re wrong. So, I mean, I’m not trying to draw a line here or whatever the case is, but hey, if you are so against it, then go ahead and do something about it. Like as in, Hey, I’m going to start something that is counteracting what you’re doing with the same principle and techniques.

For me, I think that’s a much better way of doing it because it’s a free world. That’s the beauty of what we’re living at right now.

[Matt]: I think the other side too is that if consumers were to be more educated about what marketers are doing, what is their choice though?

[Wilson]: People don’t want to be educated. They love lying fricking the sofa and watching Kim Kardashian. Like even my wife. I’ll be like, hey, go to this self-developed development course with me. She’s like, no, I want to watch my reality shows because I love having my brain being numb. Like she loves it.

It’s the same thing as marketers. We love to buy stuff, but then they don’t like to be sold. So it’s our job to make them want to buy and sell shit to them.

[Matt]: But to the point of like the government stepping in saying, you know you are the fairly or unfairly influencing people and then they’re looking at Zuckerberg saying what’s the solution?

I think what a potential solution is that the types of material in the book, like Influence should be in the curriculum of like high school. I think that that way people understand how they’re being marketed to, how they’re being influenced and stuff. So you’d can be more aware of it.

Because when I went to Landmark, I was aware of what they were doing. I was like, no, I don’t want to, I don’t want to be a part of it. For whatever reason I didn’t like the feeling. But I got to make that decision. If I didn’t have that knowledge of what they were doing, I wouldn’t even be thinking about other things.

[Wilson]: This is a good healthy debate, right?

Thank you so much for dropping so much knowledge and nuggets for us because you know, that’s exactly the whole point of this show. To allow us to look behind the people who are successful, who has done it, and look from their lens to see how you can take from what we have in our brains and go and create your own success, your own aspiration, or whatever you want to achieve. Thank you so much for coming on this interview and just jumping so much problems for us.