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Secrets of Running a World-Class, Profitable Bar — Yangdup Lama
What makes a bar succeed, and what makes it fail?
How do you build a WORLD-CLASS bar, and how do you run it profitably?
I don’t drink alcohol (honest!), but I’ve always been fascinated with the business and culture of drinking (especially watching friends get drunk, but we digress).
Yangdup Lama is the Co-Founder of Sidecar, ranked among the 50 best bars across the WORLD, and a Partner at the Drinks India Company through which he runs 2 more successful bars. He himself is renowned as the TOP BARTENDER in INDIA since 1996.
Talk about an “eccentric” CEO!
We dissect the operations of his unique bar as he walks me through his thought process about its various aspects, from inventory management to how cute the floors are.
This is a very SPECIAL episode because even though I’m from India, it took me 15 episodes to bring my first Indian guest on the pod.
As always, I promise you won’t find a more insightful conversation like this one anywhere else online:
01:00 - A bartender’s perspective on alcohol as a commodity
06:30 - Smart alcohol management: what it really looks like
14:40 - Profitability of different types of bars
19:00 - Failure and success rates in bars as a high-risk business
26:40 - Metrics to track and optimize while running a bar
32:00 - Why the “rotation of liquors” is so important
37:41 - How to extract actionable insights from a bar’s sales numbers
40:00 - Signature cocktails vs the classics
43:25 - A bar’s “discovery rate” and “return rate,” and how they vary
48:14 - Fundraising and financial planning for bars
56:50 - The most difficult part of running 2 bars
59:01 - Sidecar's vision and future plans
The Delicate Craft of Managing ＞$500M of Other People’s Money — Chad Willardson
Managing other people’s money is a delicate position — a lot of things can go wrong.
Do you ever think about the people who actually MANAGE the taxes you pay to your government? Do you know how to choose the right financial advisor, and how to tell if they’re legit or not?
As an entrepreneur, I always wanted to dive into the unique “fiduciary industry,” which includes financial advisors, financial planners and the like. (Specific to the USA.)
Today I interview Chad Willardson, the Founder and President of Pacific Capital — an independent financial advisory firm based in California. What’s especially interesting about Chad is that he not only manages money for high net-worth individuals but also his city’s entire portfolio of $400M (yes, 400 million USD).
As usual, being the best business podcast in the world, I bring to you the most insightful discussion of the subject available anywhere:
Strange truths about managing $400M of taxpayer’s money for the government in America
Differences between managing the money of an individual versus an entire city
What a city CAN and CANNOT invest its money
The “nutritionist at the butcher shop”: Why more than 95% of financial advisors and planners make more money if they lie to you
How to tell legit fiduciaries from imposters
Shocking inside stories from Merill Lynch and other banks
Ways how the company acquire customers and market their services
Pacific capital’s framework for inspecting clients’ finances and deciding on a plan
The Mysterious, Shifting Landscape of Non-Fiction Book Publishing — Tucker Max
Today’s episode will forever change how you look at a “book.”
For example, did you know that pretty much all bestseller lists are scams?
Book publishing is a fascinating industry, with a rapidly changing value landscape, and is also very opaque — the business is pretty mysterious in its ways.
How publishing business works directly affects our culture, so much that it’s not a coincidence that the word “author” and “authority” have a similar spelling.
Over the last 20 years, this area has completely changed with the internet, and traditional publishers are struggling to keep up.
To pull back the curtain and throw some light, I invited Tucker Max, the former CEO and Co-founder of Scribe Media, which is a new-age book publishing and author marketing company focused on non-fiction. He is himself a 4-time NYT bestselling author, and has helped launch the books of some of the world’s most popular authors, from Tim Ferriss to David Goggins.
We get into many fundamental questions about the books business, dissecting everything about the publishing value chain and uncovering fascinating insights along the way!
As usual, this is a power-packed episode with content you simply won't find anywhere else:
How many books are published each year, and where people buy them
The fluid, changing concept of a “book” — what is a good definition?
Why the future of books is in audio and video
The diverse types of publishing firms, and why new models are emerging
How the traditional “book deal” to authors is dying
Why bestseller lists are scams, and how much it costs to be on one
Why fiction books are a totally different world with their own economics
Scaling a high-end services company — frameworks, economics and strategy
(Since this episode, Tucker has moved on from Scribe to other projects.)
The Challenges of Building Medical Software for Hospitals — Anna-Maria Henell
Building new tech for the medical industry is hard — there's a LOT of regulation due to safety issues, especially when the tech directly influences treatment/surgery or diagnosis.
And then, beyond regulations, just selling that tech to hospitals and departments, and teaching (+ convincing) doctors to adopt new tools and habits, is its own journey.
But how does it look really, from the perspective of an entrepreneur who's actually in the weeds?
My guest Anna-Maria Henell is the Founder and CEO of Disior, which builds 3D medical imaging software that's used for both diagnosis and treatment planning.
As usual, this is a power-packed episode with content you simply won't find anywhere else:
01:50 — the medical industry’s “consistency problem” when it comes to diagnostics
06:25 — types of medical scans that pose special challenges to Doctors, and why
09:11 — the concept of “radiographical parameters” and why they’re important for doctors
14:30 — challenging of selling new med-tech to doctors and hospitals — how to navigate the sales process
22:10 — current medical imaging technologies are 10 to 70 years old?!
27:50 — in-depth discussion of the med-tech regulation process
36:08 — how the regulatory challenges REALLY affect an entrepreneur: the real picture
45:30 — how do you PROVE how good your medical software is?
52:30 — why Disior doesn’t use much machine learning: pros and cons
59:32 — working around data privacy and protection rules as a med-tech company
1:04:22 — the tedious regulatory process of making CHANGES to medical software
1:06:40 — Anna-Maria’s story and Disior’s founding story!
1:09:24 — Fundraising for a med-tech company: investor outlook
1:12:30 — Has the Theranos example affected the med-tech landscape in Europe?
1:15:33 — Why med-tech is extremely competitive despite the huge costs and challenges
Inside the Business of Managing Fashion Models — Briauna Mariah
The world of high-fashion and modeling may be glamorous, but it is still a business. How do models and their agents really make money, how is that changing, and what is it really like to make a living as a model?
My guest Briauna Mariah is the Founder of "We Speak," a new-age modeling agency in New York managing hundreds of models on its roster — with clients ranging from Victoria's Secret to Microsoft Xbox!
Join me as she gives us a peek into the "business" side of modeling agencies, and all its light (and dark).
As always, we cover a lot of ground on the podcast, so here are some topics!
01:27 — What's a "fashion week" and why it exists
06:11 — Major "market segments" and niches for models
09:54 — Surprising differences between luxury vs commercial clients for modeling agencies: luxury doesn't pay?!
15:15 — How Victoria's Secret Angels are going through a transformation
16:58 — How modeling agencies operate and make money
20:32 — Why models, despite being independent contractors, are not really "independent"
27:31 — How do agencies find models to join them?
30:31 — Why most models aren't busy throughout the year, and what agencies do about it
36:31 — Major expenses of running a modeling agency? How much do they spend on "advertising", and how does it vary over the year?
42:39 — How agencies promote and develop models for fashion week
46:57 — Starting a new modeling agency: what does it take, and what's the hardest part?
50:46 — How Briauna fell in love with modeling, and some awful experiences as a model
53:00 — How some models sustain themselves while they look for modeling work
54:49 — Life as a model manager today
Building Aircraft that Disrupt the Economics of Air Freight — Aleksey Matyushev
Today, we're talking with Aleksey Matyushev, the CEO and Founder of Natilus, a company building unmanned cargo aircraft that intend to revolutionize the business of air freight, by making air shipping costs 50% cheaper than the Boeings, Airbuses and Cessnas of the world.
So in this episode, we’ll discuss the fascinating business of building and selling airplanes, the economics of air freight and how they compare to other shipping methods, the history of autopilot technology, the profitability of maintenance and repair, and how it all comes together!
As always, we cover a lot of ground on this podcast so here's a list of the topics we discuss:
00:47 — Different business models in the world of cargo airplanes
03:15 — Why you have to build a plane from scratch, instead of just selling an advanced autopilot
04:24 — The cost breakdown of a single cargo flight from A to B, and how that varies
09:25 — Aman summarizes the economics of air cargo and how that affects plane design
11:01 — Price categories of different cargo planes
14:09 — Profiting from air shipping: domestic air freight vs trucking, and the operations model of delivery companies like FedEx, and building the right type of plane
21:45 — The current global state of Hydrogen fuel for aircraft
24:37 — Deploying the planes: the extremely profitable business of maintenance and repair
28:39 — Choosing the right engines for the planes, and how that varies across the competitive landscape
31:48 — Coming up with the design for the plane — a little history
35:36 — Why companies like Boeing and Airbus are not competitive in cargo
36:27 — Choosing the right material for building the plane, and how it effects the economics
38:47 — The different stages of regulatory approval, and how much it costs to get from idea to manufacturing!
45:47 — Brief history of autopilot technology, and how that compares with self-driving cars in costs and performance
56:00 — Fundraising landscape for an airplane company: raising investment for "moonshot" projects
01:01:00 — Aerospace workplaces aren't funny