Hey everyone, in today’s episode I share the mic with Jacobo Lumbreras, co-founder of Yoi Corp, a SaaS company that leverages advanced analytics to significantly accelerate an employee’s ramp to productivity.
Listen as Jacobo takes us through his unexpected journey of founding Yoi, the importance cultivating authentic relationships, how his connections linked him to Keith Ferrazzi, and why mindset is the most crucial element in business and personal outcomes.
Download podcast transcript [PDF] here: Jacobo Lumbreras On Why New Hires Cost 30% More than Their Salary & How Yoi Helps Retain Them Longer TRANSCRIPT
Time Stamped Show Notes:
- 01:24 – Jacobo was born and raised in Spain, did engineering and design in the UK
- 01:36 – He moved to the U.S.to start his own business after leaving his job in London, but the business didn’t quite work out
- 02:06 – A friend of Jacobo, Keith Ferrazzi, was building a software business that was similar to Jacobo’s business
- 02:37 – Jacobo and Keith connected right before Jacobo was about to fly back to Spain
- 03:00 – After their talk, Keith got Jacobo a flight to L.A. to see if there was a way that they could work together
- 04:23 – Jacobo’s mentors are his unicorns
- 04:33 – Set of characteristics that define his unicorns are high IQ, high EQ, and have done well in business
- 04:45 – When you meet one, it’s easier to meet others
- 04:54 – Our thinking of mentorship today is upside down. Instead of thinking “How can I find a good mentor that will help me do this?” you should be saying, “How can I find out aspects of their lives in which the things that I do can add value to them?”
- 06:03 – How Jacobo connected with Keith
- 06:22 – Jacobo was finding a way to stay in the U.S.
- 06:53 – He cultivated relationships
- 07:01 – One of his friends was willing to make that introduction to Keith and it happened
- 08:04 – Yoi is an enterprise software company that focuses on serving HR by creating experience for new hires so they can be productive and engaged throughout their entire first year.
- 09:26 – Jacobo shares examples of companies with high turnovers
- 09:57 – “When you hire somebody, about 20-30% of that person’s annual salary is going to go into the hiring process”
- 10:16 – Keep your employees for as long as you can
- 10:32 – “It becomes really valuable when you can find ways to engage and retain those people for them”
- 10:45 – Yoi is in the process of closing their fundraising series
- 11:03 – You learn a lot in this process
- 11:45 – Yoi charges implementation and monthly fees
- 12:31 – Contracts range from $50K to $150K plus a recurring fee based on subscription
- 13:28 – Jacobo shares how they closed their first big contract
- 14:03 – Relationships are important
- 14:55 – Jacobo held a gathering a few months ago because of the concept of “adding value”
- 15:27 – Creating an environment with peers where you can be safe, vulnerable, and authentic
- 16:38 – It’s not about what you do – it’s about who you are as a person
- 16:56 – How Jacobo finds the right people to bring together
- 17:37 – Jacobo encourages his invites to bring along somebody, too
- 18:40 – He has a set of “rules” for his gatherings
- 19:16 – He pays for everything
- 19:53 – The personal and professional check-in
- 21:27 – Mastermind Dinners
- 21:44 – People are social creatures
- 22:17 – The habits Jacobo cultivated and the habits Keith has taught him
- 22:26 – Keith is conscious of how he spends his time: a day that is fully planned is without procrastination
- 22:58 – Find the methodology that works for you
- 23:08 – Jacobo is emotionally invested in everything he does
- 23:21 – He learned to rationalize negative feedback
- 24:20 – Intrinsic motivation is a commonality among entrepreneurs
- 24:58 – Eric shares his conversation with Gary V
- 25:39 – Emotions start with motions
- 25:59 – Jacobo tends to take action without charting a path forward
- 26:24 – Find a way to take that first step and the next ones will follow once you’re moving
- 26:45 – What’s one big struggle you faced while building Yoi? “It would be about mindset and overcoming challenges”
- 27:45 – Question how you spend your time and how you allocate your resources
- 27:56 – It’s not about the things that happen to you – it’s about the things that happen for you
- 28:19 – Overcoming something gives you power to move forward
- 28:26 – What’s the grand plan with Yoi? “For us, we’re in the business of improving human performance in the workplace…for us, the goal here is to optimize the human aspect of the enterprise”
- 30:15 – What’s one piece of advice you would give to your 22-year old self? “Stop eating bread”
- 31:54 – Eric’s concept of journaling
- 32:09 – The concept of journaling for Jacobo: “For me, it’s the ultimate storytelling for myself”
- 34:12 – “The goal is to get the most accurate representation of who I am”
- 35:14 – Do the Five-Minute Journal
- 35:41 – What’s one new tool that you’ve added that has helped you in the last year? “I’ve recently been acquainted with Alexa”
- 38:15 – What’s one must-read book do you recommend? “Never Eat Alone and The Founder’s Dilemmas”
- 39:35 – Follow Jacobo on Twitter or send him an email
- 40:16 – Jacobo likes to read his Twitter feed in the morning
3 Key Points:
- Don’t lose hope—you never know what’s in store for you.
- Build your relationships and give importance to them.
- Add value in somebody’s life without expecting anything in return.
Resources from this interview:
- Yoi Corp
- LinkedIn – Jacobo Lumbreras
- Keith Ferrazzi
- Mastermind Dinners
- Gary V
- Must-read books:
- Twitter – @Jacoboplu
- LinkedIn – Jacobo Lumbreras
- Jacobo’s e-mail
Leave some feedback:
- What should I talk about next? Who should I interview? Please let me know on Twitter or in the comments below.
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Disclaimer: As with any digital marketing campaign, your individual results may vary.
Full Transcript of The Episode
Automated: Do you want to impact the world and still turn a profit? Then you're in the right place. Welcome to Growth Everywhere. This is the show where you'll find real conversations with real entrepreneurs. They'll share everything from their biggest struggle to the exact strategies they use on a daily basis. If you're ready for a value-packed interview, listen on. Here's your host, Eric Siu.
Eric: Before we jump into today's interview, if you guys could leave a review and a rating and also subscribe as well, that would be a huge help to the podcast. If you actually enjoy the content and you'd like to hear more of it please support us by leaving us a review and subscribe to the podcast as well. Thanks so much.
All right everybody, today we have a special guest and a friend of mine. His name is Jacobo Lumbreras, who is one of the founding team members of Yoi. Jacobo, how's it going?
Jacobo: It's going great. Thank you very much for having me.
Eric: Yeah. Thanks for being here, man. Why don't you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do over there at Yoi?
Jacobo: Sure. I'm born and raised in Spain. I lived part of my life in the UK, in England, where I went to school. I did engineering and design over there. I moved to the US a couple of years ago. It was quite an unusual move. I was working for a clean tech education company based in London. At the time I decided to leave that company to start my own business and I moved to Philadelphia, on the east coast, to do that. I spent a bunch of time building that business and about a year into it didn't quite work out the way we expected it.
One of my goals was to be able to stay in the US. At the time a friend of mine had met a guy called Keith Ferrazzi who you might know as the writer of a book called Never Eat Alone, and one of the people that kind of coined the word networking.
Eric: Great book.
Jacobo: Exactly. Yeah. It's a very good book. At the time he sent an email to both of us and he knew that Keith was trying to build a software business in the enterprise space around personal development and training, and so what I was trying to do for consumers, it was somewhat similar. We got on the phone, Keith and I got on the phone for a couple of minutes. The time in which that happened I was actually packing my bags and moving back to Spain. Things hadn't worked out well in Philadelphia and so it was a Wednesday and I was sitting on my suitcase and I was ordering the Uber and then my phone rang and it was Keith. After we talked on the phone for a couple of minutes he decided to get
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me a flight to come to L.A. and come and visit them at Yoi and see if there was a way that we could work together.
Eric: How did that conversation go? Because it was only a couple minutes and this guys stops you from leaving, going home to Spain, literally in a few minutes. What happened there?
Jacobo: It was interesting. I tried to remember exactly what I said in those two minutes that really got him to book me that flight to come to L.A. I don't quite remember. I know that I, a few minutes before I was on the phone with him I was looking into Keith and sort of what the company did. I was trying to find ways in which I could add value to him and from my perspective from the work that I had done. What could I do that he could find valuable and that could help him achieve his mission?
I think I just focused on that. I tried to understand what his goals were and if I could fit into that and provide value to what he was doing.
Eric: I want to back up a second because I can probably hear people saying in the audience, and I get this question, I was telling you earlier, I get this question a lot. How do you go about finding mentors? How did you even run into Keith in the first place because, well guess what, just for the audience to know, we're actually sitting in Keith's house right now. This is the first live interview I've ever done for Growth Everywhere and we're sitting in his house, but how do you even meet people like that in the first place?
Jacobo: You know, I call those people unicorns usually. There's a set of characteristics that define them and they're intellectually, they're very high IQ. Emotionally they have very high EQ. They are individuals with high agency, they've probably done very well in business. The good thing about it is that they all tend to hang out together, and so when you meet one it's easy for you if you're able to build a strong relationship to meet the others through that person.
In the first place I think, the way that we think about mentorship today, it's a little bit upside down. You think, "Well, how can I find a good mentor that will help me do this?" Now, if you think about that statement and you flip that and you say, "Okay, well, there are people that I admire. There are people that I like because of what they do and the value they bring to the world. How can I find out things and aspects of their lives in which the things that I do can add value to them?"
Not because you're a good Samaritan and you're going to live your life only for other people, but because at the same time that you add value to them, you're always, or you try to do things that you're passionate about and that you care about. When you connect that journey, doing things that you care about together with improving somebody else's life, they'll be really grateful, usually.
Eric: What were the steps for you to eventually run into Keith Ferrazzi. I mean, how does that phone call even happen? I know, I get it, right? You have to add value to people first before they'll even consider you, but how did you even get him on the phone with you?
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How did that happen? Were you friends with him before that? What happened there?
Jacobo: No, you know, it was good friendships that got me to that. It was a difficult time because nobody likes to try to start a business and for it not to work out. It was mentally a difficult time and I was trying to find a way to be in the US because I'm, as you probably know this is a phenomenal place. It really is a catalyst for entrepreneurship. In my mind I was thinking, "Well, if I'm really starting a business this is the right place to do it so I have to find a way to stick around."
As you know, the immigration system in this country is slightly outdated. I knew it was very difficult. I knew the only way that I could find an option to be here and to continue to do that, to build businesses, was through relationships, and so I cultivated enough good relationships with people that have done well and so one of them just happened to know Keith well and he was willing to make that introduction and to help me get through to him.
Eric: Got it. It's the same way with my mentor. I did a lot of reaching out in the beginning because I just didn't know what he was talking about by reading his blog, but eventually it came down to, what can I do for him? Right? These people, they're time-strapped all the time. They don't have time to think about somebody new. They already have enough friends as it is. What can you possibly do for them? It's more about what can you do for them first? I'll tell you, there's people in the audience that sometimes, they'll just reach out directly saying, "Oh, here's this. Here's what I can do, too, to help you." One of the best hires I've ever had came directly from this podcast, so it takes a certain kind of person to listen to this podcast, for them the even reach out and offer to help. That shows that you're another kind of person.
Anyway, I think we can jump back to a lot of the other, a lot of the Keith Ferrazzi stuff in a bit. Tell me about Yoi. How are things going overall right now? You went from almost flying back to Philadelphia to start this thing up. What is Yoi in the first place? How does it help people?
Jacobo: What the company does today is an enterprise software company that focuses on serving HR, human resources. What it does is it takes individuals on day one as they get to a new company and it creates experience for them to be able to be productive and engaged throughout their entire first year. One of the things that we've observed in the workforce is that the first few months of a person at a company is the most critical time for them, because they're experience in those first few months will determine whether that person is likely to stay in the long term or whether they're likely to look for other jobs.
What we decided is to build a software that really focused on creating that kind of experience and understanding what the motivators are for people to do what they do, and also to provide them with the content and the tools and the knowledge they need to be able to succeed at their job.
Eric: Cool. It's to help them get up to speed and also retain them for much longer, right?
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Eric: Got it. I know there's a study, I think it was done by Greenhouse.io about how if you do good onboarding, you do good training, all that kind of stuff, you can, for like a sales rep for example, because other roles are hard to measure. For a sales rep you can add additional $1.5 million ARR, annual recurring revenue, because you did all that stuff, right? This is basically going to make companies a lot more efficient and effective.
Jacobo: Absolutely. If you think about it, we have a great example here in California with high growth technology businesses where turnover is very high. If you think about companies like Google or Facebook, their attrition or their turnover rate is about 11 months, 12 months. That means that by month three or four people are already looking for other jobs. When you think about investment in terms of human capital investment, when you hire somebody somewhere between 20 to 30% of that person's annual salary is going to the hiring process.
The first year that you hire somebody, if that person cost you $80,000 or $100,000, it's not going to cost you $100,000. It's going to cost you $130,000. What you want to do is you want to try to keep them for as long as you can. That is becoming in the new workforce and with millennials, becoming the highest sort of more than 50% of the workers today in the US, it becomes really valuable when you can find ways to engage and retain those people for longer.
Eric: Awesome. Walk me through what's going on with the business right now? You guys just raised a round, right?
Eric: How did that process go?
Jacobo: Well, it's never easy. We're in the process of yeah, of closing our series A, and it's always a challenging process. Fundraising, it's kind of the necessary evil for companies of our nature. High growth software businesses. It's a process in which you learn a lot. You learn a lot about who you are as a company. You learn a lot about what are market values, and you learn a lot about how to communicate that, which is equally important.
For us we'd raised a considerable round of money before that and this next one is really going to be the one that, it's going to allow us to expand the team aggressively and be able to expand our sales, our engineering, etc. It will allow us to build product at a much faster rate.
Eric: This is something I just want to take out my wallet and buy. How do you guys plan to charge for this thing?
Jacobo: You know, it's a SaaS model. Software as a service so we charge an implementation fee for the software and then we charge on a monthly basis.
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Eric: Do you know what those numbers are, roughly?
Jacobo: It depends, really. It depends.
Eric: Let's say I'm starting out.
Jacobo: We work with big companies. Some of our companies have more than 10,000, 30,000, 50,000 people. Those are companies, some of our clients like for example NCR, they're in 172 countries. When you first approach one of those companies it doesn't really happen company-wide straight away. Right? You approach a business unit where you find a good use case. You prove yourself within that business unit or that department, and then you expand it within the company.
Contracts range from $50 to $100,000 plus a recurring fee based on subscription. Based on number of users.
Eric: 50 to 100?
Jacobo: To 100, 150,000.
Eric: Oh, beautiful.
Jacobo: Yeah. You know it's, in that sense the challenge with enterprise sales at that level is that the sales cycles are very long. Although the number might seem very appealing it takes a while to get to that. There are a lot of gatekeepers and there are a lot of different stakeholders that you need to convince. You not only have to sell from the outside to the company but you also have to sell within the company in order for you to expand the footprint of the product.
Eric: Okay. Great. You guys are closing a round right now. Have you guys closed any big contracts yet?
Jacobo: We have. Yeah.
Eric: How did you guys close the first big one? How did that go? How did you find it?
Jacobo: Interestingly enough, relationships. When you have somebody like Keith who has, most of his career, it's been based on how do you build, how do you maintain, and how you nurture true relationships. It's interesting. Our sales have been very different to what a normal startup would do. Fortunately a lot of times we can just walk into the stakeholders in those companies and be able to talk to them directly. Talk to, see HRLs of big public companies that startups wouldn't even dream of getting to.
For us it's come mostly through relationships. NCR. Ebay at the time. Yeah, I couldn't put more emphasis on the importance of those.
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Eric: Yeah. I mean, the relationships also, it's also because Keith has that brand, right? I think we can talk about that in a little bit, but diving into relationships a little more. I think the thing is Jacobo actually had this gathering, I think it's a couple months ago, that I went to. Mutual friend invited me to, and it was great. There's a lot of great people there and it's Jacobo, it's you that put that together, right? It's you, yourself. You're starting to build this, you can call it a movement. Not a lot of people are doing that. I think doing something special there, whether it's blogging or whether it's throwing dinners like what you did is incredible. What made you want to do that in the first place?
Jacobo: I think we go back to the concept that we were discussing before which is that of adding value. For me, I'm a person that's fairly uncomfortable in big, public settings. You and I have talked about this before. I had to find a way in which I could build the meaningful and authentic relationships I wanted to build in a place where I would be comfortable enough to be able to share who I am. Because as you know vulnerability leads to building meaningful relationships, is the fastest route to be able to do that.
If you can create an environment where people can come in and they find themselves among their peers. They find themselves in a place that is safe to share and where they can be vulnerable and they can be authentic, then you're accelerating intimacy. When you're accelerating intimacy that leads to relationship forming much faster than if you attend a conference or an event. A lot of that authenticity, it's kind of lost through social media.
Again, you create an environment where those people can come in and get together and have food and discuss topics that they care about, and even share things that are challenges for them, openly and without the fear of being judged, then incredible relationships stem out of that.
Eric: It's great, because when you do thing like that, these gatherings, it's like you mentioned, it's more intimate. There's a lot more depth versus the width, right? Where you go to conferences to try to meet as many people as possible and it just becomes like, "What just happened there?" When you do something like this it's unique and I'm just wondering for people that are, honestly there's a lot of benefit from doing this because the people that Jacobo had there, everybody's great, right? One guy I met, he's actually got one of the top five podcasts in, I think, in all of iTunes, right? You just don't expect that to happen.
Beyond that it's not even about what you do. It's about just who you are as a person and how much you can help each other. When you meet these people it's not so much, "Oh, what you can do for me." It's more of like, "How can I help?" Right? How do you find the right people to put together, because sometimes there's really transactional people.
Jacobo: Absolutely. Look, you're going to find all kinds of people when you bring them together. For me I literally pick up the phone. I pick up the phone or I email the people that I want to spend time with. The people that I want to meet that I admire. Then it's a gamble. What you try to do is, try to do what works for you. For me is, well I know a set of individuals that I admire deeply so there's a concept in psychology which is when there's
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somebody that you admire, anybody that's friends with that person or they're somewhat related to that person, there's going to be a credibility that comes automatically with that.
I usually invite some of the people that come to the dinner to bring somebody themselves. It's a good methodology to be able to expand the network. At the same time validating that the person that comes, it's also somebody that is willing to be authentic, that is willing to be vulnerable, that is willing to open up and discuss challenges without judging other people.
Then sometimes you get people that are very excited and sometimes you get people that don't want to buy into it, that are afraid. That don't want to put themselves our there and come to a place where they don't know the people, they don't know the location. They've never been before. Most of the time, frankly, it's worked out really, really well and being able to open people up that way, it's been incredible for building new friendships in this country.
Eric: I always like getting into the tactics on how things work, right? When you throw these dinners, what is the setup? Are you paying for it? Are you cooking all the dinner? How many people are you capping it out at? All that kind of stuff. What are the logistics exactly, because people are looking for steps.
Jacobo: Yeah. Absolutely. Yeah. Sure. I have a set of rules. They're not always, they're not set in the sense that, sometimes I go above a certain number of people. Sometimes it's not too few. I usually tend to keep it around 15 people. 15, always less than 20. I think it gets more difficult to build that kind of intimacy when you have a group of more than 15 people because then what happens is it breaks up.
Eric: I totally agree.
Jacobo: With a group of 15 you can really manage the room and manage sort of the vibe of the dinner in a way that is constructive. There's around 15 people. I pay for everything. When I invite people to my house I don't believe in them having to pay for it. It's very Spanish, you know. We are big hosts and we like to bring people together and sometimes we'll get food delivered from somewhere, catered, or we'll have somebody come and cook for us.
Yeah, I'll cover that. Beyond the number of people, I think there are a couple things that we do in every dinner that it really helps, like I said, build that kind of vulnerability and authenticity. As we do this thing that I learned from Keith in his consulting practice, it's called a personal and professional check-in. It's essentially you provide kind of the ability for everybody to speak to the group about the things that they care about while they're challenged professionally and personally. It's almost like, it's a minute. It's about a minute to two minutes. It's very quick, but I try to start and set the tone and lead with vulnerability.
When people see that, when they see their host be able to open up with a few people
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that he's never met before, it suddenly becomes easier for them. We do a round of that before the dinner. As we sit down and start the dinner, I usually put these things, these little cards under the plates called table topics. What those are, are a set of very provocative kind of questions. Some of them about love, life, family, things that you care about. What I do is, there would be somebody I say, "Okay, well, why don't you lead?" Start with the first question. That person doesn't have to respond to the question. That person has to appoint somebody else to respond to that question. What you allow for when you do that is you let them be able to connect one-on-one with each other.
Jacobo: When you start doing that you're setting the tone of the dinner and you're bringing it to a place where, again, people can be vulnerable. People can be themselves.
Eric: Love it. Okay. Obviously there's a couple ways to do this. You can search online. I think there's a site called Masterminddinners.com. I think there's that book that was written about it. A lot of different ways to skin a cat. There's other friends that might have, a couple friends get together at a restaurant and everyone just forks over the bill on their end. However you decide to do it, I think the main thing is getting people together because we're social creatures, right? Everybody's looking on Instagram nowadays. We were just talking about that. Everybody is on YouTube all the time, but being able to connect with people just like you're able to connect with people at a conference, is a lot more powerful and people like to do business with people at the end of the day. It all starts with relationships, right?
Jacobo: Absolutely. Business is human.
Eric: Right. Let's talk about habits for a second. We're sitting in this meditation room right now. What kind of habits have you cultivated on your own and also what kind of important lessons has Keith taught you? I'll go ahead and re-ask that later.
Jacobo: Okay. In terms of habits I think one of the things that I admire the most about him, and having had a chance to live with him, is it's how conscious he is in how he spends his time. I think he, I deeply admire that for so many years now he's been able to really wake up early in the morning. Wake up around five, five thirty in the morning, and just keep going throughout the day, and have a day in which it's fully planned and in which you don't allow yourself to fall back. You don't allow yourself to procrastinate, right?
I think the trick there is finding the methodology that works for you. Right? For me, procrastination and the monkey-mind, it's something that I fight with. I'm a person that is emotionally invested to the nth degree in everything that I do, so positive or negative feedback, it really affects me. When it comes to negative feedback I think one of the habits that I'll learn to cultivate is, it's rationalizing.
Being with Keith I've had the privilege of being part of many conversations and being in rooms where some of the most successful entrepreneurs and CEOs in this country tend
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to gather up and talk among themselves. It's really interesting because the way in which they think is they understand emotion and they process it and they try to bring rationale into it. It's not that they don't feel as much as the rest of us do.
Jacobo: They just choose a different path to be able to react to that. That's been a huge practice that I've learned from them. From Keith and also from the people that he spends time with. That's been critical. There's a book that calls that executive presence.
Eric: Executive presence.
Jacobo: That's one practice. I think the other practice is intrinsic motivation. I think there's a commonality among some of the most successful entrepreneurs and it is that they don't seek their ecosystem and their environment to draw that motivation. Their motivation comes from within. It comes from an alignment between what you believe in and what you choose to do with it. When there's an alignment between those two things they can tap into that intrinsic motivation. They can wake up every day at five in the morning and they can keep going that two or three hours more than any of us can do, because they believe in what they do and because it's rooted in their values.
Eric: Yeah. That's huge. At Summit I asked Gary Vaynerchuk, I was like, "How do you ... " Because he works 18, 19, 20 hours a day, whatever it is exactly. I was just like, "Where do you draw your energy from?" I guess this kind of ties into the intrinsic motivation where he says it's not like some morning routine or whatever. It's just, he has a lot of gratitude and that's what pushes him forward every single day.
To a lot of people I think it's like, it seems very ra-ra. It's the ra-ra stuff that helps, right? We're sitting in a meditation room, for example, and this stuff actually helps. What other habits have you cultivated that have made a major impact on your life?
Jacobo: Well, like I was saying I think managing emotions is a very, very important part. The second one is emotion starts with motion. I mean when you, a lot of us don't like to think deeply about the things that we do. Some of the times we get stuck in that. We don't connect the thought to the action. One of the things that I tend to do all the time is, and it truly makes me uncomfortable, it's to take action without necessarily having charted a path forward. Just take action so you can get moving and then you can devise the path forward from there.
They say with entrepreneurship it's almost like jumping off a cliff or jumping off a plane and trying to put together the parachute on the way down. It's very much like that. A lot of the times when you try to strategize too much before you get started, your own mind, it's the one holding you back. Finding a way in which you can take your first step and then think about the second and third once you're moving, it's been very helpful. Remember that most of the times the things holding us back, it's our own thoughts, our own mindset. Not so much the external factors.
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Eric: Ready, aim, fire, right?
Eric: Yeah. Tell us about one big struggle you faced while building Yoi?
Jacobo: There are a lot of, I think we have a lot of books out there that talk to us about the different methodologies and the different tips and tricks on how to run, how to start a company. It wouldn't be so much of that. For me it would be a lot about mindset and overcoming challenges. In the last six months I've found myself with a fairly serious sickness. At my age I was thinking, "Well, how am I going to get sick?" I'm like, "No way. I'm way too young."
Eric: Indestructible, right?
Jacobo: We're indestructible, moving forward. You wake up every day and you go on about your day and you never really think about how can anything go wrong that really can change everything in your life. I find myself in that place and I find myself going from doctor to doctor and kind of having something in my life that really conditioned every other decision that I was making.
One of the things that you realize is that you start questioning a little more how you invest your time and how do you allocate resources everyday? Again, when we're talking about challenges a lot of the times it's not so much about the things that happen to you, it's how things happen for you. How can your mindset be pivotal in the outcomes that you have in your life?
For me when that happened I tried to understand, "Okay, well this is the sickness. Who is the best doctor? What do I need to do? What is the action plan? How can is solve this problem?" Overcoming something that is so intrinsic to you, it gives you a lot of power to move forward.
Eric: Love that. What's the grand plan with Yoi? What would be the best outcome for you?
Jacobo: For us, we're in a business of improving human performance in the workplace. It's interesting. As we move into an era of automation at a time in which we're set to see self-driving cars and we're starting to see that a lot of people are going to lose their jobs. The interesting part is like, how do you somehow are able to find yourself in place, you understand what your skillset it, you understand how to apply that skillset, you understand how do you develop and grow within an enterprise, right? At the end of the day an enterprise is just another community. It's just a place where you go and you provide a degree of value and you get something in return.
For us the really, the goal here is to be able to optimize that aspect. Optimize the human aspect of the enterprise. If you have somebody that comes in, how can you help them understand what they should be doing, what they're good at, what they're not so good at, and how do you have them optimize their performance in a way that works for them
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and that also works for the company they're part of.
If we get to a place where we're able to measure, really, human performance inside of work, we'll be able to allow them to make better decisions as to what to do.
Eric: Huge. Yeah. There's literally, I mean, the only tool we use right now is a tool called 15Five and it's basically you get some feedback from the team members and that's it. To be able to have something so scientific, right? That has a lot more utility, especially like large enterprise that is spending so much money every single year hiring the best people. How do you optimize that? I think that's going to be huge. Congratulations on that.
What's one piece of advice you give to your, let's just say, 22-year-old self?
Jacobo: Stop eating bread.
Eric: Stop it. That's a good one.
Jacobo: I think coming from where I come from, every Spanish person would tell you we eat bread with every single meal. When we talked about energy and about optimizing performance, bread is a really bad way to get energy.
Eric: It's so good.
Jacobo: It's so great, but you get full very quickly. You burn out the energy very quickly, and you get kind of tired and sleepy after you eat a lot of bread. Changing your eating habits, I think it's critical and it's not something that we usually think about as much.
I think something else that I would say is pay a lot of attention to your scene. For me, I was brought up in Spain. I moved to the UK, to England, and I ended up in the US. I wish I'd known a little earlier what would be the optimal scene, what would be the optimal ecosystem to do the things that I wanted to do.
Eric: Yeah. Big one.
Jacobo: In my case I wish I'd moved here earlier. I wish I had come to California a little earlier because it really is a place that if you want to build businesses, if you want to be in technology, if you want to be in high growth leading companies, it's a phenomenal place to be. There's a degree of inertia and momentum that exists here that doesn't exist anywhere else in the world.
Eric: Totally agree with that. I think, one other thing I wanted to touch upon really quick. You mentioned the concept of journaling and that's something I started, I think I started adding it maybe two and a half years ago or so, and my concept of journaling is basically Tim Ferriss's recommendation, the five minute journal. What has journaling done for you and why did you start doing it in the first place?
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Jacobo: I was 16 when I started and at the time my grandfather had passed away from Alzheimer's, a little before that. As I saw the development of the entire disease, one of the things that struck me the most was the fact that all the memories, all the things that, all the experiences he had throughout his life, they were fading away. It was somehow fading away. I thought, "Well, if one day I find myself confined into a hospital bed at an older age, how cool would it be if I could essentially read about my entire life?" Even if I could not remember it, it would be just like a story.
For me, it is the ultimate form of storytelling. For myself, right? If I'm able to log my thoughts, my feelings, my emotions, whether it's on a piece of paper or a camera, I think it would make up for a very cool story if one day I get the chance to watch it.
Eric: Cool. It'd also be a good book, too. When you journal what goes into it? It could be a high level, you don't need to go too much in detail.
Jacobo: It's a very personal thing, right? It's not something that I would share with the world. It goes a little bit of everything. I think one of the things that humans do is we tend to filter a lot of what we say. There's a difference, there's a delta between the emotion that we feel and how we portray a reaction to the world, and rightfully so. Right? You want to be constructive. You want to be able to add value. You want to be able to have healthy interactions with the people around you. Naturally you filter and you kind of curate and frame the things that you say.
With a journal there's none of that. All the filters get removed, and it's just my raw self. All my feelings, all my emotions, all the things that I think about, whether they're negative or positive. It doesn't really matter. The goal is to get the most accurate representation of who I am. The interesting thing about that is just very much like learning, the best form of learning is usually teaching somebody else. When you speak to a journal and when you write things down suddenly things become a little more clear in your head.
Eric: That's probably the biggest immediate benefit is you're adding more clarity to your everyday life, right?
Eric: When I look at the five minute journal, it's much simpler, right? It's three things you're grateful for. Three things you're going to do today, and one affirmation. That starts in the morning. Then at nighttime it's three amazing things that happened today. Right? Then one thing you could improve on. It's practical. You start the day strong, you end the day strong, and there's also one thing you can fix. I think no matter how you decide to do it, you can have blank slate and just write whatever. I think some people just write whatever's on their mind. That's good because it adds more clarity. Or if you want to use it for another way you can just do the five minute journal, and by the way I'm not affiliated, but you can do the five minute journal and just get that boost of energy in the morning and end the night on a good note, no matter how bad your day was.
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I think there's use to it and people are probably thinking, "This is ra-ra. Meditation's ra-ra. Journal's ra-ra." Stuff actually helps. I think it's the ra-ra stuff that actually pushes you forward, right?
Jacobo: Absolutely. Absolutely. It's grounded in psychology.
Eric: What's one new tool that you've added? Could be a program, whatever it is exactly that's really helped you in the last year?
Jacobo: That's a very good question. In the past year, I think there is a, well there's a couple of things. I recently became acquainted with Alexa. Amazon's Echo device and I think it's been wonderful. It's easy to do things that we would be lazy to do otherwise. It's easy for me now if I get home to just ask Alexa to play a meditation playlist, or play some sort of ambient music that really helps you concentrate, that you wouldn't bother perhaps to go on Spotify or a different service to look for that. Right? There is a tangible benefit on.
Eric: You literally will just say, "Play ambient music," or "Play meditation music"?
Eric: That works?
Jacobo: That works.
Eric: It's funny, I have Alexa at home and all I use it for in the morning, I only talk to it once per day. "How's the weather?" Also, "What time is it?"
Eric: That's all I use it for, but now that you give me this, that has a lot more practicality to it. Any other commands people should know?
Jacobo: I mean, there are so many funny and interesting ones. For me, I don't spend as much time reading the news as I used to so what I do is I programmed technology news into Alexa. I programmed Hacker News, I programmed Tech Crunch.
Jacobo: When I get up in the morning and I ask for my news brief as I get dressed, shower, brush my teeth, get ready for the day, I'm hearing the latest news in the field. It's a great way to consume that because it's narrative. It's like telling you story about what's happening in the world while you do other things.
Eric: Is that like, how long's a snippet of news? Is it typically for a minute?
Jacobo: It's four, five minutes.
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Eric: Four, five minutes. For the whole day?
Jacobo: For the whole day, and you can make it as long as you want. You can add different sources and you can only listen to a single source of news. You can really tailor it and I think it's incredibly practical. It was, again, it was going back to the topic of relationships I was able to help a friend become a writer for a specific publisher that he was looking to become a writer for. It was a gift. It wasn't intentional. I was incredibly surprised and I was very grateful for it. It's something, it's a little thing that it's really improved my everyday life.
Eric: Got it. Okay. Awesome. What's one must-read book you recommend to everyone not called Never Eat Alone?
Jacobo: Yeah. Besides that. I definitely recommend that one, but besides that I'm reading an interesting book right now. A lot of the things that I'm reading right now are, they're very practical. They're not so much storytelling because I'm trying to learn more and so, I think ... There's this great book. He's Noam Wasserman and he's a USC professor and he wrote a book called The Founder's Dilemmas, and it's a very interesting book. It's a tough read. It's very grounded in science. There are a lot of studies. There's a lot of data, but it's almost like it's a great set of guidelines as to if you're starting a company, if you're starting a startup, what are the main topics that founders deal with everyday? What are the main challenges they deal with everyday? Practical approaches with actionable insights as to how to tackle those.
I love reading that book. I love putting Post-It notes in places that I can go back and check. It's a very comprehensive guide on how to run a better business.
Eric: Okay. We'll drop that in the show notes. We'll also drop Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi in the show notes as well. Jacobo, this has been great. What's the best way for people to find you online?
Jacobo: Probably the best way is Twitter, @jacoboplu. P-L-U. Twitter or email, perhaps. [email protected] Y-O-I-C-O-R-P dot com.
Twitter is a very interesting tool that I've recently started engaging with more. Not so much as a way to communicate but as a way to actually have access to really interesting information. I'd be happy to engage in discussions through that anytime.
Eric: Awesome. Are you saying you use it more to look for the right news or look for the right discussions? What are you doing there exactly?
Jacobo: I like to read that every morning. I like to read my Twitter feed every morning. I think it's, the beauty about it is that, again it's bite-sized information so you can be very targeted in the things that you want to consume. You can be efficient around it. I like when you, when I look at Twitter I almost learn just as much from the articles as I learn from the discussions. Being able to see the two aspects of it and being able to be very targeted as to who I want to follow and the kind of people that I want to learn from. It's
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very interesting to me.
Eric: Yeah, no. I love Twitter for exactly that reason. It's not super intuitive but once you have it going it's really efficient. The thing with the news is it's still, there's a lot of click bait out there. That's going on. The thing is if you follow, for example, you follow Founders you see there's a trend. People are talking about ideas all the time. People are talking about how you can do this and all trying to help each other out, right? Then yeah, occasionally if something really bad happens, let's say God forbid a really bad earthquake, you might see it pop up. Okay, that's real news, right? It's not like, "Oh, somebody's running naked down Hollywood Street right now," or something like that. Right?
Eric: Yeah. That's it for today's episode. I hope you guys enjoyed it. Check out Jacobo online. Follow him on Twitter. We'll drop everything in the show notes and we'll see you in the next episode.
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