The First Customer

The First Customer - Empowering Entrepreneurs Worldwide with BOSS Startup Science's Gregory Shepard

February 26, 2024 Jay Aigner Season 1 Episode 113
The First Customer - Empowering Entrepreneurs Worldwide with BOSS Startup Science's Gregory Shepard
The First Customer
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The First Customer
The First Customer - Empowering Entrepreneurs Worldwide with BOSS Startup Science's Gregory Shepard
Feb 26, 2024 Season 1 Episode 113
Jay Aigner

In this episode, I was lucky enough to interview Gregory Shepard,  CEO and co-founder of BOSS Startup Science.

Gregory shares his journey, highlighting his challenges growing up with autism, dyslexia, and other conditions in a tough environment. Despite adversities, he recalls his entrepreneurial spirit emerging early, from selling Rubik's cubes to catching and selling rattlesnakes for profit. Gregory's determination led him to overcome obstacles, from learning to code and starting internet businesses to eventually founding and exiting 12 companies.

Gregory's entrepreneurial journey evolved into a mission of empowering others through education and opportunity. He discusses his research project on why founders fail, leading to the creation of Startup Science, a platform offering free micro-learning courses for aspiring entrepreneurs. His passion for fostering opportunity equality drives initiatives like the Fulbright Entrepreneurship Initiative, aimed at supporting founders in environmental sustainability and inclusion.

Don't miss out on Gregory Shepard's eagerly awaited book, 'The Startup Lifecycle: The Definitive Guide to Building a Startup from Idea to Exit,' which is now available for pre-order! Get ready to dive into this essential resource!

Pre-order the book here:

Guest Info:
BOSS Capital Partners / BOSS Startup  Science

Gregory Shepard's  LinkedIn

Connect with Jay on LinkedIn
The First Customer Youtube Channel
The First Customer podcast website
Follow The First Customer on LinkedIn

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, I was lucky enough to interview Gregory Shepard,  CEO and co-founder of BOSS Startup Science.

Gregory shares his journey, highlighting his challenges growing up with autism, dyslexia, and other conditions in a tough environment. Despite adversities, he recalls his entrepreneurial spirit emerging early, from selling Rubik's cubes to catching and selling rattlesnakes for profit. Gregory's determination led him to overcome obstacles, from learning to code and starting internet businesses to eventually founding and exiting 12 companies.

Gregory's entrepreneurial journey evolved into a mission of empowering others through education and opportunity. He discusses his research project on why founders fail, leading to the creation of Startup Science, a platform offering free micro-learning courses for aspiring entrepreneurs. His passion for fostering opportunity equality drives initiatives like the Fulbright Entrepreneurship Initiative, aimed at supporting founders in environmental sustainability and inclusion.

Don't miss out on Gregory Shepard's eagerly awaited book, 'The Startup Lifecycle: The Definitive Guide to Building a Startup from Idea to Exit,' which is now available for pre-order! Get ready to dive into this essential resource!

Pre-order the book here:

Guest Info:
BOSS Capital Partners / BOSS Startup  Science

Gregory Shepard's  LinkedIn

Connect with Jay on LinkedIn
The First Customer Youtube Channel
The First Customer podcast website
Follow The First Customer on LinkedIn

[00:00:27] Jay: Hi, everyone. Welcome to The First Customer podcast today. I'm a little hoarse, but that doesn't keep, my excitement down for this incredible guest. We have today, Greg Shepard, just a man of a million talents and things. I could go through them, but we wouldn't even get into the end of it before I started the podcast.

So let's just meet Greg. Greg, thank you so much for joining me today. and, welcome to the show, buddy.

[00:00:51] Gregory: Thank you very much. I appreciate you today having me.

[00:00:54] Jay: Oh, you.

got it, brother, the CEO and founder of startup science. why don't you just tell us, where did you start your journey? and did that have any impact on you being an entrepreneur?

[00:01:03] Gregory: Yeah, so, I, so I have autism and dyslexia, synesthesia, and, they call it savant syndrome. I don't like the name syndrome, but anyway, and so when I was little, I had a lot of problems with school and education and stuff like that. And my. Family didn't have very much money. We lived in East Oakland in the 80s, which was like, it's kind of like an active war zone at that time.

And, so we were, there's foster and adopted kids in our family. So we were getting like, beat up. So my mom, 1 time I got beat up really bad. And then my mom said, okay, that's it. And then we moved to grass Valley, which is like in the mountains and we bought a piece of property and we camped on our property in tents while we built our own house.

And then we lived on the property, like, and I raised animals and I sold them and I sold Rubik's cubes and I used to catch rattlesnakes and sell them. And,

[00:01:58] Jay: I heard that story. Did you dig into that a little bit? Was it a true story that you sold the venom or something? What did you do with that?

[00:02:05] Gregory: no, totally. Yeah. So what I would do is I would take a stick, a long green stick and if you get a long green stick and you slice it down the center, it wants to close back where it was. So I put a little twig in between and it would hold it open and then I could stand back. And put it around the snake's neck and trap it like it would go in the dirt and not hurt the neck and then the stick little twig would break and snap the thing closed and would trap it and then I could grab it behind the neck and throw it in a feed sack and take it to the back door of this pet store.

It was like black market and I didn't know I was just a kid

and I, and they would take the venom out for antivenom and they would clip the fangs and sell it as an exotic pet. I got 200 bucks a snake, man. This is like in the 80s. This was good money for a kid.

[00:02:51] Jay: Yeah. Yeah.

Did you ever get bit?

[00:02:53] Gregory: No, I mean, you know, you learn their behavior and they jump about, they can leap about half their body length.

So you just look at them and you're like, okay, and you have a stick and you're. You kind of distract them and then you kind of move around them and then you get behind them and then boom

and then, and they wrap around the stick. So, they, like, get pinned and then they immediately wrap around and start going nuts.

And then sometimes you don't even have to grab them. You just take the whole stick and throw it in a feed sack.

[00:03:20] Jay: That is like, the most incredible, starting out entrepreneur story. so where did you go from there?

[00:03:27] Gregory: So then,I would, import Rubex cubes. I would go, used to go to the swap meet and buy them. And then I ended up buying them by the case for that guy and sell them in school. And then my mom caught me with the rattlesnake thing. Cause they were a bunch of underneath the house in a cage and she called the animal control and then they were like, and then my mom knew it was me and that was over.

So then I started selling rats because the guy told me at the pet store that they would eat rats. So I got a female and a male and I started breeding them and selling rats to them. instead of the snakes, and then I would, and during Christmas, I would go, my sister would climb up or I would go climb up the trees and throw mistletoe down and then my sister would put it in little sandwich bags.

We put a bow around it. I'd stand in front of the grocery store. then as I got older, I tried to get jobs, but because I have level five dyslexia, it was really hard to, I joined the Navy, and then I got kicked out of the Navy for having asthma and lying about all these things. And then I had 133. 77 and I started working 4 jobs and eventually I started, My own, I started the first business.

I really started was a bungee jumping company. and we did like 

[00:04:39] Jay: that? why did you start a bungee jumping company?

[00:04:42] Gregory: I was, I, since I was 18, I take on things every year that I think are impossible. So, you know, like, I wrestled a crocodile, last year, I did a 30 day water fast before that. I swam a marathon. I did a base jump before that. I rode 500 miles on a bike before that, you know, since I was 18.

With the idea that because life is so hard for me all the time that I would

Because life was so hard for me all the time I would take on challenges that I thought were impossible to make me stronger and to give me confidence and so I did that and then I started 12 companies Sold all 12, for private equity awards for transactions between 250 and a billion. cause I sold,one of my companies to as part of a transaction to eBay and then I became the chief strategy officer and then the chief technology offer to officer to put it together.

And then I left and then I went into politics, and then that's when I met Barack Obama a couple of times and a man, he's the coolest frigging guy you ever met. I mean, he is so cool.

[00:05:54] Jay: That's on my bucket list to meet Obama.

[00:05:56] Gregory: man, he is so cool, like, you can't even imagine, like You see him on TV and stuff and you think, Oh yeah, this guy's cool.

But then when you meet him for real, you, I felt like he was like my friend, like I knew him and it was the most bizarre thing. and I was having like, autism problems, a lot of ticking, which is where I'm like doing things and. This and then so, the secret service was like, had to walk me over to him and then, the secrets and then it was really weird.

I kind of screwed up the whole thing. And then the next time I met him, I had planned it all out and I walked up and I told the secret service right away that I had autism and that this is how it is. And then they walked me over and then Obama and then told Obama and then Obama gave me a hug.

[00:06:41] Jay: Oh, man,


[00:06:44] Gregory: yeah, he was so cool.

And then, but then I wasn't letting go of him. And so the secret service had to come and like peel me off of

[00:06:51] Jay: I don't know if I would let go of him either. We, we share a birthday, Barack and I, August

4th, we're both, we're birthday pals. So I feel like I'm destined to meet him, at some point in my life. So I'm very jealous of that story. 

Where did this? I hope so

man. I don't want to get into politics to meet him though.

I just want to like meet him at like.

[00:07:09] Gregory: Yeah. He's just cool, man. Whatever your politics are, the guy's like an amazing story.

[00:07:14] Jay: Oh, yeah. I mean, it just felt like a better time in America. There was like hope and stuff. It was like a wild time when he was that whole thing was happening. I missed that. where did all this come from? Is it from your mom kind of having that? Anything will, you know, we'll get through anything kind of mentality and like, the way that she raised you, like, where do you think you got this?

Just like, because I meet a lot of people and they're surprised with some of the things

from my story, which is like, literally, you know, just a tiny little dot on the map of what awesome stuff you've done. but I just have never, like, I don't have that rollover mentality. Right. I just never, there's never like, not a way forward.

Right. And I feel like it's a similar trade with you. Where did you get that from? Silence.

[00:08:00] Gregory: I was born, I had nine blood transfusions. I died twice technically and I spent a lot of time in the hospital because of Issues that I had and my mom said to me one time, she said that I was here for a reason and that I needed to fulfill that reason. My mom was a nun by the way, and my dad was a priest.

They met in the church and then they left and then started taking care of kids. They went into the church to try to take care of kids. The church didn't want them to take care of kids. So then they bailed and did it on their own. and so I think I have this insatiable appetite for achievement and I don't know, what it.

The only thing I know is thatbecause all the time, in the day, you know, I have things are hard for me, you know, like reading is hard, like even reading a menu or like traveling through an airport is a frigging nightmare or like stuff like things are just hard. Right? So I think if I maintain this high watermark of things being hard, then everything, the normal things that are hard don't seem so hard anymore.

[00:09:08] Jay: No, and

I love the, on your website. I love the challenge. How you kind of just, you've had a yearly or, you know, a couple of times a year, you have these challenges and it may be something I'd try to adopt in my life. I love that. kind of just picking some audacious goal and just going for it.

and what would be your favorite challenge that you've kind of risen to so far?

[00:09:33] Gregory: they're categorized, I categorize them into what I, they're all things that I think are impossible. So, you know, so I could tell you like swimming, a marathon was, because I'm afraid of the water, but the reason why I'm afraid of the water is because I went in cage diving with great whites while they ate seals and that did a number on me.

But this year I dove with sharks without a cage and they just ignored me and it was kind of cool. and I think that the, if I were to say, like, the most scary thing was the shark thing. the most bizarre thing was probably wrestling a crocodile or bullfighting. like the driving an IndyCar and a NASCAR, that was really fun.

Um,I have a ticket to space, which is going to be the height of everything. I'm pretty sure.

Wow. What is that on the blue horizon? Is it on the no, it's called, it's called,world vision dot space. And, it, it's a big capsule that goes up in a giant balloon and, you know, and then it falls to us. Yeah. so, but, man, that's a good question. I mean, difficulty wise, I rode a bike 525 miles down the coast of California, 100 miles a day for a week.

That was extremely difficult and a marathon. Marathons are really hard 

really hard. but this year I did a 30 day fast where I only drank water for a month and that was extremely difficult. I don't know. That's a really good question. I don't know. I know. I'm I don't know. I mean, I think after I do them, I'm always like, oh, that was the hardest one.

But then, you know, I do another one. I'm like, no, this one was the hardest one.

[00:11:13] Jay: it's just such a cool way to make sure you're, like you said, living your life to the fullest. Right. I mean, it's, I love the, something you thought was impossible or something that scared you or something that, you know, you're just deathly afraid of, and kind of conquering it, which is, it's just, it is like the mindset.

So let's get into the business stuff.

[00:11:35] Gregory: Cool. I like it. 

[00:11:36] Jay: I mean, a ridiculous portfolio and, backlog of just incredible things. You know, what was your 1st, quote, unquote, real business, you know, after you got done milking snakes and, you know, all these other things you were doing, what would you consider your 1st kind of real business?

[00:11:56] Gregory: Like, I wouldn't count the bungee jumping. The 1st, 1 was, a bank, a non depository bank. And the 2nd, 1 was an environmental applied biotechnology company. And then the 3rd, 1 was when the Internet came out. And then I found my place and then I just went apeshit in internet stuff. I learned how to code and then I started like, that was like, cause think about it.

Like with software, you can take vapor, just something that's in your head and create a business that people are paying for out of nothing, just some of your imagination. And for me, that was like the most amazing and still is the most amazing thing. That you could ever do, you know, like, it's just, it's magic

[00:12:41] Jay: It's, it really is incredible and I think it gets lost a lot of times how incredible it is to, like you said, take some ether and just like bottle it and then like repackage it and sell it to somebody else and they pay you for something that you were thinking of that you made through code does the dyslexia, come up when you're programming at all, does that like impact the coding side of things?

[00:13:04] Gregory: when I was, I haven't coded for a long time, but when I was coding, yeah, it would. So basically coding is just like learning another language. It really is like integers just mean things just like letters and words mean things and there's punctuation and things don't sound right. They don't work right.

If you don't do the right punctuation. So I just sort of thought of it as I, I used to because I'm a nerd. So I used to think of it as like an alien language and I was just like speaking alien.

[00:13:33] Jay: I mean, it's not that far off. I mean, it is we're talking to computers. So it's not that far off.

so tell me about the eBay thing and like, buying these business and selling these business. Like, you exited 12. I mean, people are lucky to sell 1 business in their lifetime. How the hell did you sell 12 businesses?


[00:13:53] Gregory: I have this thing. I have a, I have this savant thing and my special power, like, I don't know if you ever saw the movie Rain Man. So he's a autistic savant. 10 percent of autistics are savants, but only autistics are savants. And, mine is patterns. So I can see patterns in everything and that allows me to see opportunities and ways to make things function better and stuff.

So, like, as an example, what I did after politics was I learned that 4 percent of people have the ability to get out from check to check living and growing up that way myself, you know, I was like, holy shit, what is the ways they get out from check to check living? And then there was. 98 percent of them do it through a windfall, which included lottery, by the way, which is insane.

And then so the largest group out of that group, 78 percent did it by starting a business. But then 90 percent of the people that try to start a business failed. So then what I did is. I started, I put 500 grand into a fund and then I started a research project to find out how, when and why founders fail.

Because when I was a congressional, I was a chairman for a congressional candidate. And during that time, I, politics were not, I couldn't do, you know, as long as they can lie and there's money in it, especially as long as they can lie, it's like, what are you going to do?

So, so then I said, okay, I'm going to help founders because that's what I'm good at.

I just smoked a joint and went to the beach and I was like, Oh, I'm going to do what I'm really good at. Because I had studied all these operating systems and figured out, had this algorithm of starting businesses. I got better and better. The last one sold in a year and a half,

you know, the 1 or the last 1 sold in 3 years.

The 1 for that sold in a year and a half. and so I was like, okay, I'm going to teach people, I'm going to change and create opportunity equality, not wealth equality. That's a lagging indicator opportunity equality for everybody by teaching them why founders fail. So, I did this huge research project and then I wrote a book about it gets published in September from Ben Bellic publishing.

it's called startup science, the life cycle, which is where I went through and explain to people the innovation life cycle. The startup life cycle, everything that happens, why people fail during it, all of the stuff that I studied to try to help. Then that turned into a school called startup science, where I started creating micro learning lessons that are like eight minutes because, and I gave it away free to universities, nonprofits, all the founders can go in free and take all these courses and they specifically highlight in micro learning ways, exactly what you need to know to start a business, which includes stuff like.

Ideal customer profile personas, you know, all the stuff that you do on your show and in doing that, all these founders come in and then Fulbright, I don't know if you know who Fulbright is. They're like the largest academic institution in the world. They get like a billion dollars a year from the U S government

to give people scholarships.

They contacted me and then I founded the Fulbright entrepreneurship Initiative with, with Fulbright and a few other people, which was like amazing. And then now it's going into universities to give grants away to founders who start businesses, that are in environmental sustainability inclusion items, which is like my whole like world or what I really care about.

And I'm in my fantasy now doing this. It's freaking amazing. So it's so in it also, it has like, it does your ice. It'll do things for you. It has 180, 000 investors. They can find it's got like, it does your Tam Sam song. There's grants in there. Like, it's basically the whole startup ecosystem, one place. And then we just give it away.

And then founders can come through. And that's how I'm trying to help now. Because I think that you have to change the world at the roots. You know, things rot from the roots and they grow from the roots and, you know, if you, what we're experiencing now with, a lot of discrimination, a lot of marginalized people and environmental issues and stuff, we have to start that from the seed and that is the founders.

They change the future, like, think back before, if you remember all the richest people in the world were like. Oil tycoons and sheiks and stuff, and now they're entrepreneurs,

right? And everything that we see changing in the world is coming from entrepreneurs, you know, not from, you know, some old company or some, you know, old, rich turd, you know, so it's like, that's where I want to contribute.

And that's what I do now. And I'm sorry. I talked 

[00:18:33] Jay: No, I kidding me. I love all of it. that's actually how we got connected was, I think, the Philly's, startup leaders founder group was using your platform. And I

think that's how we got connected. because I'm really in with those folks, which is a great organization. By the way, if anybody's in Philadelphia, they should be

part of early startup leaders. Just. And Isabel over there is ridiculously

[00:18:54] Gregory: Isabelle is the bee's 

Oh, my God, I got to spend time with her yesterday. She's like, I mean, just seeing her in motion is like, unreal. Like, she's a wizard. I love her and I can't wait to come out there and I hope I see 

[00:19:06] Jay: yes, I can't please, man, you got to tell me when you're coming. I will be wherever you are. I promise. so, the 1st thing that kind of comes to mind, though, is like, how the hell do you keep all this stuff organized? I mean, you

got a million tracks of things going on. Do you just have like a giant calendar? Do you like have a to do list? Like, what the hell do you do to keep all this stuff? Somewhat, you know, saying. Silence. Silence.

[00:19:34] Gregory: you have to rely on,on other tools, like,

like, if you're somebody that has one late, you have a wheelchair and so on and so forth. Right? So I have all of these things. So I have software that reads to me. I have software that types.

When I talk, I have all kinds of little algorithms, running on, inside of different know, that I have what I call routines and then I have routines separated out into different types. And so basically what I've learned is if you look next to me, there's a picture of Einstein and 1 thing that Einstein, he was also autistic.

And 1 of the things that Einstein said was that you don't, you shouldn't be remembering things that you could keep somewhere else.

You should maintain your brain for the things that are active now. So I store everything. I use Apple Reminders like crazy. I have a lot of spreadsheets that Apple Reminders attaches to, so I can just, something pops up, I click on something, link in there, it goes to a spreadsheet.

I use, you know, the, for work, I also use the HubSpot CRM. I have a note section and these little tools, they keep me operating all the time and I don't have to spend a lot of time, trying to figure out what I should be doing. I spend time setting up my, my programs, my algorithms. So I know what I should be doing.

It's like, you know, if you're going to chop down a tree, you spend 50 percent of your time. sharpening your saw so that, you know, so that's what I do. I spent a lot of time creating processes and algorithms and reminders and things like that, that tell me what I need to do and when I need to do them. And I do it at the point, right at that time.

and you know, I text myself things, I email myself things and the combination of. Mainly the reminders with links to Google sheets, and email and text is that's in my calendar, obviously is my system. So, like, at any 1 time,

like, right now, I finished the book, startup science and life cycle and now I've got a 5 book deal.

So I'm writing 1 on funding and capital and 1 on innovation. I'm doing 2 books at the same time. I have, a bunch of investment companies, 2 of them are selling right now. 1 of them is doing around 2 of them are doing around that. I'm doing that. I'm the lead investor on and I run startup science and I'm part of the Fulbright initiative.

I have a Forbes radio show. I'm on these podcasts a lot of days and I'm training to ride up a 14, 000 foot mountain on a bicycle. So that is like, and I have, you know, three kids and you know, a pig and the pig is like, we have a dog too, but she's like a dog. And that's like my.

You know, that's how I, you know, that's the maintenance, right?

But on top of that, I have all these processes. I get up at 5 30. I do yoga, meditate three times a day, you know, I train in the morning and then I do yoga again in the afternoon, again in the evening and meditate each time I have a specific eating regimen, everything is planned out. A lot of people don't like to live that way, but I can't live another way.

It makes me very nervous. Yeah. 

[00:22:53] Jay: like, predictability and foresight and, you know, some sort of process and methodology. And I struggle with that. Like, I've been successful, but I've been successful on the fly. So it's like, I struggle to really like, you know, a to do list is like, My best friend and my worst enemy, like I think I'm going to use them and I think they're going to be great and I've used 50 different tools and I have a team, thank God that, you know, does most of the, wrangling of me. but you know,

if I've left up to my own devices, I struggle with that. So I think a lot of people, especially entrepreneurs, Would love to be more rigid with their organization because it's easy to say it, but then like life gets in the way, like all the things you just mentioned, like, most people would just get like, so sidetracked that they can't even do, you know, 1 percent of the things you just said, is there a day of the week that you sit down and kind of calibrate what's coming or is it just everything is kind of in motion.

[00:23:56] Gregory: I do it the day. So, at the end of every day, I do a decompression and then the next day I do a retrospective and a decompression

at the end of every day. And then I get ready at the beginning of the new day. That's what meditation does. It gets my mindset. Right? But, like, basically, I'll just tell you, like, how this, so I have in my reminders, I have a list of annual things.

And then in there, I have reoccurring things. So giving blood every 8 weeks is a reoccurring thing. It just tells me here's what you need to do. Here's the place location. Here's their phone number. Here's their hours. Everything's right there. Right? Then I have monthly. So I moved things from and from yearly annually into monthly.

And then I moved things from monthly into weekly and move things from weekly into that day. And then I have next up and then I have a general list for just stuff that I'm going to slam in that I need to remember. And I go through that at the end of the day and put it in 1 of the other lists and schedule it.

So the thing automatically moves everything through. So I have the 1 of my annual ones as an example is my life list. And my life list has all of the challenges I want to do all of the places I want to go,

you know, it takes time to do this, but you can do it on airplanes or whatever, like watching TV, you know, and it's fun.

And then I choose things from those things, put it on my annual list and then move it through so that, you know, like, right now I'm training for this cycle climb. It's the fourth hardest cycle climb in the world and, I have asthma, right? So this is really hard for me. And so now every day I have something that I need to do in the morning and something I need to do at night to get ready and it ramps up over time.

That putting together that whole schedule may take me an hour, but now it's good for the whole year.

So, you know, you just on my birthday every year, I sit down, I take the entire day and I plan out everything and then at the end of the day, I'm done. I feel this great feel of relief. And then I just follow what it's telling you.

It's like having a secretary or like an assistant.

I don't know if you could say secretary anymore.

[00:26:05] Jay: I don't know if it's politically correct, but, 

[00:26:07] Gregory: I don't know what you know what I mean? Like, you have 

[00:26:09] Jay: I think you can say it because it's not, I think it's still a job

[00:26:13] Gregory: gender. It's

[00:26:14] Jay: Yeah. It's not gender. specific. It's like saying

[00:26:16] Gregory: flight attendant. Like you assume that it's probably a female, but there are, you know, Well, I'm sorry if anybody 

[00:26:22] Jay: No, I don't think anybody's going to take offense to that, but if they do, we apologize profusely.

Yeah. I love the birthday thing. That's a great dude. I feel like I'm, maybe you can be my life coach. I feel like I'm like learning so much just for my own personal self. I don't

[00:26:37] Gregory: dude, I would love to show you. Yeah, I would love to show you what I do because think about like this, right? People do New Year's. Well, New Year's is an arbitrary thing. Your birthday is your new year.

[00:26:47] Jay: right. 

[00:26:47] Gregory: So I do it on my birthday,

[00:26:50] Jay: I love 

[00:26:50] Gregory: I have to be done by my birthday. I have to decide the next year by my birthday.

And then the whole year is to achieve things. So the next birthday I look at my list and I'm like, fuck it. I crushed it this year.

[00:27:00] Jay: Right. Well, what do

you do if you, what if you do, if things don't work out, if things don't get finished, if things, you know, 1 of your big ticket items, something happens and you couldn't do it. Has that happened? And then what do you do to course correct from that?

[00:27:15] Gregory: so just like when you're doing a startup, right? Like, people are always like, pivots and all this kind of stuff, right? There's iterations, which are slight adjustments and there's pivots, which are turns, right? So, like, the way I do it is that if I, something isn't working, like, I'll give you an example.

Like when I was 19, I was, I started bodybuilding because I wanted to not get beat up anymore. And I ended up competing in the nationals and everything. And I haven't done it until I was 50. And I did a 550 pound deadlift five times for my 50th birthday. And so now this year, I was going to train and I was going to do bodybuilding again.

Right. I did the fast and I was like, okay, I'm going to do bodybuilding, but I couldn't do it because my shoulders jacked up. So I just changed, I just said, well, what I go back to the list and I'm like, okay, what are the other things I can choose from in business? It's a little different because in business, every failure is progress.

I mean, if you think about it, like athletes, they work, they work out until failure, right? And everything that is strong does it through struggle plants grow cell by cell and bust through concrete and they're stronger evolution only occurs at failure.

Right? Things fail and they evolve. So for us to live and think that we should be living without struggle is means that you're truly not living up to your potential.

Because you should be struggling all the time if you're struggling all the time, then you are moving forward. Even if you fail, it's part of the process. I tell people like entrepreneurs all the time. They're like, well, I failed and I'm like, oh, man, did you learn? Oh, awesome. Well, congratulations. You know, like, that's you achieved failure, which is a form of achievement.

So when I am doing something and I get to failure, I'm like, fuck right on. Sorry. I said that word. I'm not supposed to say

[00:29:12] Jay: now, it's you can say that word, you say whatever word you want. It's like, we're in the woods out here. You can say whatever.

[00:29:17] Gregory: Okay. so I would just like do things to failure and then I would fail. And I'd be like, man, I am glad I learned that the trick is to fail fast. You know, like if you think you're gonna bomb, then do it and get and move on,

you know, don't like try to hold on to some something that isn't like some shit.

That's not gonna like work out. A lot of people do that with relationships. A lot of people do that with things that their own life and jobs and businesses and everything. It's like, no, man, if you as soon as you. Realize that. Be honest with yourself and move on.

[00:29:51] Jay: No, I cannot agree more. Where do you get. Your list, your challenge list, your inspiration. Like, do you just see something and you're like, I want to do that. Or like, is there just this immense backlog that you're never going to work through because you have so many things.

[00:30:08] Gregory: there's an immense backlog. There's like 380 things on the list and one of them is like saving a life. Right? And when Ukraine happened, I was trying to get out there so I could save a life. and then when Israel happened, I was trying to get out there so I could save a 

[00:30:22] Jay: That's still going to, that's going to be going for a while. You might have a chance to get out there and do that. If that's what you want to do. I don't know if you come back though. It's scary over there right now.

[00:30:30] Gregory: Yeah,but I, but I, you know, yeah, I just have this huge list and I watch a lot of documentaries. I don't like to watch things unless they are, unless I'm learning from them, except for like Star Trek and Rick and Morty and stuff. I'll watch that, but I don't like to watch things that are just Unnecessary information.

So I watch documentaries and I'll get a lot of stuff from documentaries, you know, I'll watch them, but I'll be like, just a little flash or something. Like, oh, that's cool. I want to try that. You know, and then I add it to the list.

[00:31:03] Jay: your favorite, most recent documentary you've watched.

[00:31:07] Gregory: it's a documentary series. My favorite all time 1 is through the wormhole with Morgan Freeman 

[00:31:14] Jay: That's a 

[00:31:14] Gregory: I love physics.

And it's, yeah, but it's not just physics. It's all kinds of stuff. It's amazing. I love it. but then I watched this one called the human, something, the human play or something like that.

And, it's all these people that do like how humans play and all these really bizarre things like, you know, wrestling in Africa and all kinds of crazy stuff. And I got a lot of ideas from 

[00:31:42] Jay: Well that.

was the one with the, the cliff diver on the trailer, I think. Right. Like the

guys that would jump off the guys, some, like some third world country, they like jump off a cliff as like their way to have fun. I think.

[00:31:54] Gregory: yeah, I have that on my list. I tried to do it actually this year, but I couldn't because the tide has to be in a certain place for you to jump in.

well, if the climate keeps going that way, you'd be able to jump probably from your house. Yeah.

[00:32:09] Jay: the water keeps rising the way it is. so what, you know, we, I mean ridiculous. Just like. The inspiration level from somebody that, you know, talks to you, I'm sure is ridiculously high. How are you going through your day to day and, you know, how do you disseminate that inspiration?

Is it through your founder work? Is it through books? Is it through talking to other people, like on a day to day basis? Is it through your kids? Like, what is it that you're like, how are you getting out that ridiculous level of like drive and determination? Because that is a really Cool thing a lot of people don't have, like, how are you helping other people with that?


[00:32:52] Gregory: Well, thank you. First of all, like, you've said so many really nice things to me and I really want you to know that I appreciate it and gratitude J. that's 

[00:33:02] Jay: you're probably the coolest guy I've met in a very long time. So I'm, I do mean, all of it.

[00:33:08] Gregory: thanks man. well, 1 thing I did is I, when I did the Ted talk, I did a Ted talk. I forgot to talk about that, but I did a Ted talk on, it's called thriving with autism.

And when I did that, it was. a big deal for me because it was the 1st time I ever talked about autism, openly and it was scary because I thought everybody, like, it was coming out, you know, and I thought everybody was going to be like disguise, you know, and I was going to have the same kind of stuff that they used to.

Do when I was little, it didn't, it turned out the opposite, but I didn't know that at the time, but I did that. And then sometimes like, you know, I try to speak at universities and I, you know, do these one minute mentor things on YouTube. And I post a lot of content and I really try to, and I do a lot of podcasts.

I do like one of these every day. I've done like 100 and I don't even know how many and I do and I try to get to talk about it because I really feel like I know for a fact that, you know, people are more capable than they think they are because we all have the same hardware. It's just different software.

And that means that if I can do it, then that means anybody can do it. I mean, I have asthma man. I swam a marathon. You know, I have autism and dyslexia. I wrote a book. Right? Like, I mean, I didn't, I dictated a book to a writer. But still, you know, it's my handicap, right? So everybody can, you can do things that you think you can't do.

You really can. And I know it sounds cliche and like, you know, and this isn't like some Tony Robbins bullshit, right? This is like, you can actually do these things. It takes a methodical process. It does. And it takes what I call a handful of things, like five fingers in your hand, focus, drive, enthusiasm, discipline, and optimism.

And because if you can't do anything, if you can't focus, you have to be able to get yourself to focus. But if you can't, then you use discipline and then you have drive and drive is,

is trying to go somewhere, wanting to do something and feeling that the outcome of whatever it is when you get there is worth the process.

And the way that I do that is by thinking the process is the destination. Like training for something is the fun that the doing it at the end is just dessert, but the meal is doing it the whole time because you feel better all the time. And, you know, all that stuff. So, that's focus and drive and then enthusiasm is 1st of all, enthusiasm is contagious and you have to be enthusiastic about things to get yourself excited and to get people excited around you.

So you have to pull some enthusiasm. That's focus, drive enthusiasm. Discipline is like the linchpin. Like when you, like this morning, you know, I got up, I'm like, I smoked a little too much weed last night and I had to get up at 5 30 and I was like, fuck, you know, and then I, you know, because I was going to go do a cycle and train.

And I just deployed discipline. It's like this other person that you just kind of kicks you out of bed and says, you know, just go do it. Once you're there, you know, and then optimism and optimism is the biology of hope. Right? The concept of optimism to me is the idea that you can, that you are optimistic about the outcome.

You're not thinking you're going to fail. You're thinking you're going to achieve. Even if you fail, you're still going to achieve. So the handful focus, drive, enthusiasm, and discipline and optimism is to me, the, that's like the ingredients that

[00:36:39] Jay: Silence. 

[00:36:44] Gregory: like you need a screwdriver, you need a wrench, whatever you need, you know, sometimes it's a hammer.

Discipline is usually the hammer.

[00:36:51] Jay: usually is a hammer

as somebody with five kids. it's usually a hammer. the hammer like bounces. It's like a rubber mallet for my kids more than a hammer because it doesn't really work. all of that. I love all 5 of those, by the way. And I totally agree with everything you just said. How I think personal discipline is easier than. Business discipline as an entrepreneur, and I don't know why, and maybe it's just me, but, you know, to get up at 5 a. m. and to work out and to do the things I'm kind of on the same kick as you. I've got the little, you know, the guy on my shoulder. It says, get out of bed, go do what you gotta do. It's gonna suck.

My flight instructor told me 1 time the story about this

guy who ran a mile every day and like, he broke his leg and he was still running the mile and like, blah, blah. And the guy sits down and asked me, he's like, how do you do this every day? He's like, I put my feet on the floor. He's like, I get up every day.

It's like, I just put my feet on the floor and he's like, so I think about that just about every day. And he's like, just put my feet on the floor. I put my feet on the floor. I'll get up and finish the rest of the day. But, you know, I sometimes struggle with maintaining that focus or the discipline or the, you know, the different things in. Business, do you have that? Have you seen that? Is there a difference between the kind of personal accountability and versus being an entrepreneur? We have all this freedom to do everything and you can do anything. And there's a million things that you have to do. how the hell do people stay focused?

And is that something you've kind of seen people struggle with compared to their personal life?

[00:38:18] Gregory: totally. I mean, most entrepreneurs have the attention span of a fruit fly.

So you know, you tend to back go bounce around and the other thing is that most entrepreneurs do what they want to do, not necessarily what they should be doing. So what I do is I have an achievement stack. Okay, so the achievement stack is you have a mission.

Something you want to have you want to achieve. So I want to do this by X so that I can do this. So it's like a customer user story. I want to do this by this date. So I can do this or have whatever outcome it is. Right? Then it's that simple. Right? And then underneath the mission is your, it's called a, I call it a modem.

So, the objectives, yeah. So what are the objectives that I need to achieve in order to make that mission happen? And then I don't need the objectives are the tasks. So this is like the roll up your sleeves and actually do the task. And then measurement is the last 1. so that's the modem and what I do is I start out and I have different missions for different things.

I have personal missions, family missions, physical missions, health missions, so on and so forth. And then I have. The objectives, what is the objective of accomplishing this mission and then the task? What are the steps I need to achieve it? And I focus on the tasks. So like a lot of times in business, people focus on their financials and this will make sense.

I bounce around because I think dimensionally, but this will make sense in a minute. Just bear with me. A lot of people focus their business on their financials and investors focus their business on financials, but your financial started six months ago. And so looking at your financials when you're building a business is like driving down the freeway, looking at your rear view mirror.

So you have to pay attention to what creates the financials and those are the leading indicators, the things that create those. So it's sort of like people go to go and they get on the scale and they're like, oh, my God, I put on 5 pounds and then they think, oh, but it's already too late. You already have the 5 pounds.

So you have to think now you have to say, okay, if I want to lose five pounds, I have to change something at a tactical level in my day to day life. Like

don't eat, get exercise, whatever it is, like maybe stop drinking Coke every day or something. Right?

And then you, that one change ripples all the way up to the mission, to achieving the mission.

So in business, I do the same thing. So, you know, like right now, today, I'm writing this book funding and capital to try because founders don't understand. This is something that I really need to make sure people understand, like funding and capital, how it all works. So. So I don't write, like, I don't sit down and go, I'm going to write the whole book.

I decide I'm going to write, a table of contents and I'm going to write the individual chapters. And I just work on it a little bit every day. I don't try to bust it out. I don't do like massive amounts at one time. I just do a little bit every day. It takes me, the last one took me three years, you know, and that, that is how you achieve missions.

So on a daily basis, as a founder, you got to sit there and you got to say at the beginning of the month, What do I want to achieve? And by what date and what is that going to mean for me and then you have to say, okay, in order to achieve that, I have to have these objectives. So 1 big mission and maybe like, I always tell people don't do more than 5 objectives.

Typically, you do 3 and then you don't do more than 10. Tasks, and if you achieve those tasks, you achieve the objective. If you achieve the objectives, you achieve the mission and it's an easy way to ladder up and down. Right. And that's how I do it. And I always tell myself, it's not like, you know, you founders think they're free and you can do whatever you want, but that's not, that's bullshit.

You have to do what you need to be doing, not what you want to be doing.

And you don't need to do everything on your list. You just need to do the things that are the most important things. Right and every day you have to choose what are the most important things and then you have to stay focused on those things.

And if 1 of those things is something you don't want to do the way I handle that is I have a 3 time rule. If I have something on my list 3 times is the 1st thing I do. So, instead of like, keep procrastinating on something like, you know, some giant report or some deck for a board meeting or something, you know, like, I'm like, oh, I'd rather like, I would rather like, walk on glass than do these things.

So, I'm like, okay, it's the 1st thing I'm going to do just get it over with and I'll feel happy when it's 

[00:42:51] Jay: right. No, I love that. That's great advice too. who are some of your 1st customers? I mean, you've had so many different businesses, but who are kind of your memorable 1st customers to some of those businesses.

[00:43:03] Gregory: Oh, man, the bungee jumping company, we had Mountain Dew. We did Mountain Dew commercials.

[00:43:07] Jay: Oh, that's awesome.

[00:43:08] Gregory: Yeah. We jumped a GMC Jimmy truck off a bridge one time. It didn't have anything in it. It was like a frame, but it was for a commercial and that was fun. And then a bunch of like rock stars, like Motley Crue and stuff.

and then, I think,in, In banking, when I was doing banking, I had this old guy who, was in Vietnam and he got Agent Orange poisoning. And it was a, it was real, really rough life for this guy. And so I did the whole loan for him for free. And, You know, restructure everything. It was really cool.

I helped him a lot. That was really meaningful to me. I'll never forget him. and then, in biotechnology, we had some major, we had all the franchise restaurants because of the grease that they put into the system. It's hydrocarbons and my business use bacteria to eat up hydrocarbons and innocuous process that produces oxygen.

And water, so instead of using chemicals, which are toxic, it was a little before the time before we became all green and everybody was like, you know, didn't believe it and everything, but it worked eventually. in that business, we had a few really large wastewater treatment plants that we were.

Getting rid of, they were going to have to build a whole new treatment plan and then they didn't have to build it and it reduced the amount of emissions that were leaving the wastewater treatment plan going into the ocean and other waterways by 80%. And that was pretty rewarding. and then, you know, in the, performance marketing business, we had, like, every major brand, you know, gas sketchers.

I mean, every anything you'd see at a mall, we had a mall.

And they were not very cool though. They were not cool at all. so,but you know, I, in terms of like, out of everything I've done, what I'm doing now, like helping founders succeed, like really trying to help founders on really.

Seriously dedicated. This is like my last hurrah.

and it is the most rewarding thing I've ever done because you know, like I'm getting to talk to you and all the people that are listening and I get to talk to founders and universities and I get to go into the system and look at the data and I could see these people, achieving things.

I can see them not making the mistakes that I studied and I know that they're going to be better off because of that. And I can see their businesses moving and I can see them solving problems. And I can tell you that is the most rewarding thing I've ever done, by far. and I'm super frigging pumped about it.

Sorry, I went a little 

[00:45:39] Jay: No, I loved that was an incredible customer list. well, I usually have a question that I ask everybody. It's kind of the mystery question. But it's not Going to be fitting for you because the question is, if you could do anything on earth and you knew you couldn't fail, what would it be?

But you do that, like, multiple times a year. So that's not exactly a fit for you. But if you have anything for that, my alternative question to that. What, what is your most, anticipated or the thing you want to do the most on your big life list? Your backlog of 300 plus items? What's number one?

[00:46:21] Gregory: I

[00:46:22] Jay: to do it. When does that happen? By the way?

[00:46:24] Gregory: have a ticket. Do you want me to get it and show it to you? 

[00:46:26] Jay: Yes, please show me the ticket. I have to see 

[00:46:28] Gregory: Okay, hold on 

[00:46:28] Jay: Are you kidding me? 

[00:46:30] Gregory: It's so cool. It's so cool.

So, this is my ticket.

[00:46:47] Jay: Holy shit. Look at that official reservation.

So it takes off from the Grand Canyon. Is that where you leave

[00:46:56] Gregory: Yeah, you can choose where it takes off. Mine leaves from the Grand Canyon. I was going to do the Rory Borealis, but I would have had to wait another year.

And I'm passenger 617. You can see

[00:47:08] Jay: Wow.

[00:47:09] Gregory: means 617 people would have gone before me.

[00:47:12] Jay: So they can

work out the kinks before you go up.

[00:47:15] Gregory: yeah, well, yeah, I hope so. I think if I could do anything and not fail, I, I would, probably, Be the president,

[00:47:25] Jay: Wow. 

That's the first person, first time anybody said that.

[00:47:29] Gregory: yeah, because I think that there are some standards that we need to fix regardless of whatever party you believe in.

Like, I think everybody agrees that people shouldn't be allowed to lie. If you're in public service, teachers, cops, politicians, like, nobody should be able to just flat out lie to people when they're being paid by the people they're lying to.

I feel like that is the most stupidest, illogical outcome of a public service that you could.

Possibly think of

I don't care who it is, right? If you lie in a court of law, you go to jail. If you lie in your public service, you go to jail period

[00:48:07] Jay: right. Right now

[00:48:08] Gregory: You know

[00:48:09] Jay: get promoted right now. if you lie in public office,

 all right, Greg, I feel like I could literally talk to you for probably all day. can people find more about, startup science or about you? where do people go?

[00:48:21] Gregory: gregoryshepard.Com. So GREGORY S H E P A R D dot com. And there's like so much in there. Like I really, like if you're listening, like I really, I'm trying to help you. Like I really sincerely I'm trying to help you. so go there and there's a tab called visionaries on that website. If you click on that, you can get into the platform for free.

And there's corporates looking, to fund companies in there. There's 180, 000 investors. We've got like grants in there. I mean, you know, like it's free, man. Like you guys should go in there and like, take advantage of it. Cause it didn't, it was not free for me to make's my way of giving back to people for, because I feel I'm, maybe I'm an optimist, but I feel that in our, in the subatomic particles that we are made of, that we are inherently good.

I don't see, animals and things in nature randomly creating suffering and torture and hurting people and, doing things that are bad for their own backyard. And I think that is our inherent nature and that we are skewed by things. And I think that if people go in there, they can actually change things.

Entrepreneurs create the future. So let me help you. Please go in there. And it's free. You know, I mean, I've worked really hard for this. So, you know, and then also, like, I think that. for people to know to that, startup science, if there's an accelerator or, if you're working in incubator or something like that, you know, whatever, tell them to go to startup science because those platforms, we, private label for different places, you know, I mean, we have Harvard, Stanford, M.

I. T. Columbia. You know, these are school. What's you want to hear? What's funny, Jay?

There's no way I could get into any of these places, but they're teaching my stuff because when I was little, everybody called me retard and stuff. And now those schools have my stuff. And it's so funny because I could never even get in those schools.

[00:50:27] Jay: to say you're an inspiration is a downplaying it, my friend. I think the world needs more people like you. I hope people check you out. I will link your stuff all over the place. I'm in the startup ecosystem here in Philly, which I will be, you know, sharing out your stuff with everybody and I hope everybody uses it and I hope everybody. Buys your books and, just learns from you because you've got a lot of knowledge to share. And, I feel very fortunate to have gotten some of your time today. and I'm probably going to be a better person after talking to you today, Greg. So thank you very much for your time and, talk to you again soon.


[00:50:59] Gregory: Thank you.

[00:50:59] Jay: Thanks.