Tag Archives: Freedom Fast Lane Live

The Weekly Billionaire Case Study: Jeff Hoffman

“Ideas are welcomed, but execution is worshipped.”

My girlfriend and I attended Freedom Fast Lane Live in Austin, Texas in 2015 (I wrote about this experience here) and we were fortunate to hear Jeff Hoffman speak.  We learned that Mr. Hoffman went to Yale University and graduated with a degree in Computer Science.  He almost got kicked out of school on his first day because he could not pay his tuition bill.  To pay his tuition, he started a software company in his dorm to help pay his way through college.

He learned early on that entrepreneurship is a tool that could allow him to solve problems in not only his own life, but the lives of others as well.

“Entrepreneurship is the shovel you use to dig a path to a brighter future.”

Mr. Hoffman dreamed of doing bigger things.  It did not take him long to start launching his own companies.  As a result of his entrepreneurship, he became a multi-millionaire in his early twenties.  At the time we heard Mr. Hoffman speak in Austin, he had taken two companies public, two companies he had started had failed, and two companies were still going strong.  Perhaps the one company he started that he is most well known for is priceline.com.

“The whole point of being a business owner is to design the life you always dreamed you were going to have.”

Here is some great advice I’ve noted from some of his talks:

Solve Real Problems: Entrepreneurship is about solving real problems.  Mr. Hoffman created software that allowed people to book travel online as opposed to over the phone with a travel agent (this later became Expedia).  He was once annoyed that only one person who worked for the airlines could print boarding passes.  He created and patented kiosk technology that allowed anyone to print their own boarding passes.

FOCUS: Follow One Course Until Success.  Win a Gold Medal at ONE thing.  Then move on to your next best idea or thing.  And winning a Gold Medal is *REALLY* hard.

Harness The Power of Wonder/Curiosity: Stay curious about things around you.  Never stop asking ‘why?’.  Answers to your curiosities can lead to innovations, newer and better ideas, and solutions to problems.  Never be satisfied with the status quo.

Info-Sponging:  Spend time each day reading about things and look for things that interest you outside of your industry.  Write these things down.  Try to connect the dots between interests over time.

Filter Data Through the Eyes of Your Customers: If your executive team is not a representative cross-section of your customers, take their data analysis and decision making with a grain of salt.  Get real feedback from real customers.  Sam Walton used to put on a John Deer hat and go to a diner to buy Apple Pie for people who were representative Walmart customers, so he could learn more about their buying patterns.

Dream Big and Make it Happen:  Hone in on your dream.  Print out a picture of it.  Make it the reason behind the things you do.

“Dream Big, Work Hard, Create Value.”

I could not find an estimate for Mr. Hoffman’s net worth online.  My assumption, however, is that much of Mr. Hoffman’s billionaire status is tied to an equity stake in priceline.com, which currently has a market cap around $88.5 Billion.

Freedom Fast Lane Live, Austin, TX : Day 3

Day 3 of Freedom Fast Lane Live

Here are my notes from Day 3, the last day, of Ryan Moran’s Freedom Fast Lane Live Conference (December 11-13th) in Austin, Texas.

Jaime Tardy and Ryan Moran – Habits of Millionaires

  • Fitness is a top focus of top tier millionaires.
  • Half of millionaires she interviewed eat Paleo.
  • Millionaires tend to work all the hours they can, not reduce work hours (ala Four Hour Work Week).
  • Millionaires know their strengths and play to them.
  • Getting really good at hiring the right people is critical to success.  Culture Index.  Disc.
  • Need clarity on direction in order to create a strategy and steps to get there.
    • This is the key role of a CEO.
  • Make Agreements with employees, not Expectations.

Ryan Deiss

  • In Internet Marketing, need to find the sweet spot between Direct Response and Branding.
  • Bank Vault anecdote relative to online relationship with potential customer.  Need to make deposits and build trust before making withdraws.
  • Book: ‘Product launch Model’, by Jeff Walker
  • Retargeting and Pixel Pushing now more important than list building.
  • Place Pixels now even in the absence of direction and strategy; figure out how to monetize later.
  • The future is Cost Per Pixel (CPP).

Robert Herjavec

  • Sometimes it’s the people you are targeting that makes all the difference in sales.
    • Took $17 million Ugly Christmas Sweater business to $600 million by targeting University students.
  • Poor people save money, rich people buy time.
Robert Herjavec talks shop
Robert Herjavec talks shop
  • Runs the largest privately held CyberSecurity Firm in the world.
    • Slow growth, but there was a tipping point.
    • Biggest competition now is IBM.
    • Took a while for his market to mature and get hot.
    • He was doing $50 million a year and still did not fully realize the size of the market.
    • Trick is to invest ahead of the curve, to anticipate future demand/market, not react.
    • Always know the growth forecast for your company for the next year.  If you don’t hit your numbers, figure out why and adjust.
    • Oracle and Microsoft took 10-12 years to hit $50 milly mark.
    • Growth is hard; dreams are good but you need a path to get there.

Unfortunately, we had to leave to catch a plane before getting to hear all of Mr. Herjavec’s discussion with Ryan Moran.

Conclusion

  • Everyone needs to be an entrepreneur today, for a host of reasons.  Everyone needs to learn to sell.  Sales cures all ills, up to a certain point.
  • Getting to the top takes work and the willingness to out-work everyone else chasing similar dreams.  Sometimes, it takes losing everything and starting over…several times.
  • At least two immigrants were part of the multi-millionaire speaker list at this conference: Gary Vaynerchuk (Belarus) and Robert Herjavec (Croatia).  There is something unique about people coming to America with nothing and crushing it financially.
  • Taking a company to $50 million can take 10-12 years, if you’re lucky.  Making more than $50 milly is rarefied air.
  • Big, successful companies need great employees to reach the big $$ objectives.  Be serious about hiring the best; help employees achieve their dreams and they will help you (Jeff Hoffman). Culture Index, Disc assessments.
  • Per Nathan Latka, on ‘The Top’ podcast, episode 140, Ryan Moran paid out about $150k for this Conference.  He sold somewhere between 400-500 tickets at around $1495 per ticket (people who bought two or more tickets were given discounts on subsequent tickets).
  • We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.  The more time I can get around high rollers like Gary Vaynerchuk, Grant Cardone, Jeff Hoffman, Robert Herjavec, etc., the better.

Austin in the background