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The Pissed-Off Entrepreneur: How to Turn Problems into Opportunities: Danny Warshay on PYP 513

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  • Horrible tasting prenatal vitamins the size of horse pills that pregnant women hate to take.
  • A clothing industry that ignores the needs of women who struggle to dress themselves because of chronic pain and disability.
  • Rampant and systemic sexism and misogyny.
  • $408 billion in perfectly good food going to waste in the US every year.
  • Hatred and suspicion in Israel and Palestine.
  • Poverty and illiteracy in Zimbabwe.
  • A predatory elder care system.

What do all these problems have in common?

  1. They piss people off.
  2. They affect lots of people.
  3. They're persistent, and unlikely to fix themselves.
  4. Someone, without special abilities or extensive resources, applied today's guest's Entrepreneurial Process to create a breakthrough success. (Except for the predatory elder care system — that one's still up for grabs.)

Danny Warshay is Executive Director of the Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship and Professor of the Practice at Brown University. He's a serial entrepreneur, co-founding and selling companies to organizations like Apple, Medline, Time, and several others.

He teaches the most popular course at Brown, titled The Entrepreneurial Process.

He's taught entrepreneurship around the world, including in China, Egypt, Portugal, Bahrain, Slovenia, South Africa, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, the UK, and Jamaica.

That's all great, but the important thing is, Danny is a mensch.

That's a Yiddish word that beggars translation, although Merriam and Webster (bless their hearts) do a pretty good job with “a person of integrity and honor.”

Danny is one of my closest friends. We were roommates on the Mount Scopus, Jerusalem campus of Hebrew University in 1985, and therefore know more about each other than is comfortable or frankly, prudent.

Three future Plant Yourself guests and me sharing a meal and a beer in Jerusalem, July 1985: (from left) Rabbi Hillel Norry, Doctor Michael Rothberg, Danny Warshay, and me (shirtless).

But although most of his secrets are safe with me, I can share that Danny has a truly gigantic heart, and earnestly strives to make the world a better place for everyone.

And through his entrepreneurship, consulting, and teaching, I've seen him bring light to dark places for the past almost-40 years.

So it's a real thrill to present his FFB (first book), titled See, Solve, Scale. (I didn't like the title, which pretty much assures that it's going to be a bestseller. When T. Colin Campbell told me in 2011 that some guy wanted to make a movie about his life called Forks Over Knives, I told him that the title was stupid and the project was probably stupid and it wasn't going to go anywhere. Luckily he ignored my advice.)

I won't say much about the book except that you should absolutely buy it and read it cover to cover — and maybe also get the audiobook that Danny narrates (he has a lovely Cleveland accent, resonant and tinged with the perennial grief of routing for the Browns and the Indi – er, Guardians).

The subtitle of the book, “How Anyone Can Turn an Unsolved Problem into a Breakthrough Success,” is a big promise, and as you'll hear in our conversation, the key word for Danny is “Anyone.”

As a teacher of entrepreneurship at a University that lacks a business school, Danny has had to bust the myth of the “natural entrepreneur” and the “born entrepreneur” and the “entrepreneurial spirit.”

To Danny, entrepreneurship is simply using a structured process to solve problems without regard to the resources you currently control.

Which means that, when you look at the unsolved, awful, maddening, unjust, scary, and fucked-up things in your world that you wish were different, you may just start seeing opportunities to flex your entrepreneurial muscles.

Opportunities to engage others to address those problems.

Opportunities to learn from those most deeply affected.

Opportunities to take small and survivable risks, learn from failure, stay humble, get inspired by others, and make an outsized contribution.

And, if you so choose, to get rewarded financially for your efforts.

But this isn't a book specifically about how to become wealthy, unless you define wealth as a life of abundant passion, spirit, compassion, connection, and impact.

It will show you, however, how to create a sustainable (“scaled”) enterprise that doesn't require you to fund it from your third job and 401k.

In our conversation, we cover the 3 Steps of See, Solve, and Scale, and go over why each is important, and why their order is non-negotiable.

We talk about the myths of entrepreneurship, including the myths of scarce and abundant resources, the myth of homogeneous teams, and the 11 cognitive biases that can derail entrepreneurial success.

We discuss systemic barriers to opportunity, and how part of the mission of all who call ourselves entrepreneurs is to level the playing field and break down those barriers.

We talk about why “thinking big” is actually safer than thinking small, and why Facebook and LinkedIn are terrible tools for building an entrepreneurial network.

And why the words “could be” are magical.

Enjoy! And get the fucking book!

Links

See, Solve, Scale, by Danny Warshay

DannyWarshay.com

Linda Hill TEDx talk on Innovation and “Creative Abrasion”

Anne Morriss and Frances Frei on Inclusion – interview with Dorie Clark

Plant Yourself interview with Ben Chesler

Plant Yourself interview with Micah Hendler

Looking for Transformational Change?

You know how when you discovered plant-based eating, you basically went, “Holy shit, how come the entire healthcare system isn't totally embracing this as one of the most powerful keys to disease prevention and reversal!”?

That's how I feel now about a psychological approach to transformational change called “Memory Reconsolidation.” Few psychologists have heard about it, and when they do hear the radical transformations it can bring about in a very short time, they're often skeptical to the point of disbelief.

But I've added Memory Reconsolidation work to my own coaching, and can attest to its amazing efficacy. So much so, that I'm devoting the next year to mastering it, studying with the best clinicians and teachers in the world, and then introducing it into health coaching through my trainings.

Right now, I want to triple my coaching practice to get more and more opportunities to do this work. And I'm lowering my fees – a lot – to make it easier for people to work with me.

If you're interested in working with me (and willing to commit to a minimum of 2 months), click the link below to open the form in a new browser tab and I'll get back to you within 3 business days.

Yes, I'm interested in Memory Reconsolidation Coaching.

You CAN Change Other People!

Well, that's what Peter Bregman and I claim in our provocative book of that title.

What we really mean is, you can help the people around you make behavioral changes in their own best interests. If you think you're powerless to help people change, it's because you've been going about it the wrong way.

Discover our straightforward, replicable process here: You Can Change Other People.

Audiobook: Use the Weight to Lose the Weight

Listen to Josh LaJaunie and me narrate our latest audiobook, about how to start moving when you're obese.

It's $10, and Josh and I split it evenly 🙂

Tip Jar

This podcast is not underwritten by advertising, so I can experience complete editorial autonomy without worrying about pissing off the person paying the bills. Instead, I pay the bills, with your help. It's free for those who can't afford to pay, and supported by those who can. You can contribute to the growth and improvement of the podcast by clicking the “Support on Patreon” or “Donate” buttons on the right to help out.

Music

The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.

It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.

You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website, WillRidenour.com.

Gratitudes

Thanks to Plant Yourself podcast patrons – Kim Harrison – Lynn McLellan – Brittany Porter – Dominic Marro – Barbara Whitney – Tammy Black – Amy Good – Amanda Hatherly – Mary Jane Wheeler – Ellen Kennelly – Melissa Cobb – Rachel Behrens – Tina Scharf – Tina Ahern – Jen Vilkinofsky – David Byczek – Michele X – Elspeth Feldman – Leah Stolar – Allan Kristensen – Colleen Peck – Michele Landry – Jozina – Sara Durkacs – Kelly Cameron – Janet Selby – Claire Adams – Tom Fronczak – Jeannette Benham – Gila Lacerte – David Donohue – Blair Seibert – Doron Avizov – Gio and Carolyn Argentati – Jodi Friesner – Mischa Rosen – Michael Worobiec – AvIvA Lael – Alicia Lemus – Val Linnemann – Nick Harper – Bandana Chawla – Molly Levine – The Inscrutable Harry R – Susan Laverty the Panda Vegan – Craig Covic – Adam Scharf – Karen Bury – Heather Morgan – Nigel Davies – Marian Blum – Teresa Kopel – Julian Watkins – Brid O'Connell – Shannon Herschman – Linda Ayotte – Holm Hedegaard – Isa Tousignant – Connie Haneline – Erin Greer – Alicia Davis – Heather O'Connor – Carollynne Jensen – Sheri Orlekoski of Plant Powered for Health – Karen Smith – Scott Mirani – Karen and Joe Crabtree – Kirby Burton – Theresa Carrell – Kevin Macaulay – Elizabeth Rothschild – Ann Jesse – Sheryl Dwyer – Jenny Hazelton – Peter W Evans – Dennis Bird – Darby Kelly – Lori Fanney – Linnea Lundquist – Emily Iaconelli – Levi Wallach – Rosamonde McAtee – Dan Pokorney – Stephen Leinin – Patty DeMartino – Mike and Donna Kartz – Deanne Bishop – Bilberry Elf – Marjorie Lewis – Tricia Adams – Nancy Sheldon – Lindsey Bashore – Gunn Marit Hagen – Tracey Gulledge – Lara Hedin – Meg from Mamasezz – Stacey Stokes – Ben Savage – Michael K – David Hughes -Coni Rodgers – Claire England – Sally Robertson – Parham Ganchi – Amy Dailey – Brian Tourville – Mark Jeffrey Johnson – Josie Dempsey – Caryn Schmitt – Pamela Hayden – Emily Perryman – Allison Corbett – Richard Stone – Lauren Vaught of Edible Musings – Erin Hastey – Sean Owens – Sagar Naik – Erika Piedra – Danielle Roberts – Michael Leuchten – Sarah Johnson – Katharine Floyd – Meryl Fury – for your generous support of the podcast.

Disclosure

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1 comment on “The Pissed-Off Entrepreneur: How to Turn Problems into Opportunities: Danny Warshay on PYP 513

  1. B. Kimmel says:

    Thank you for this inspirational interview. I can’t wait to read Danny’s book!

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