Cameron Herold is the founder of the COO Alliance & Second In Command Podcast. He is known worldwide as THE CEO Whisperer and is the mastermind behind hundreds of companies’ exponential growth. Cameron has built a dynamic consultancy by speaking, not from theory, but experience. He earned his reputation as the business growth guru by guiding his clients to double their profit and double their revenue in just three years or less.
Cameron was an entrepreneur from day 1. At age 21, he had 14 employees. By 35, he’d help build his first two $100 million companies. By the age of 42, Cameron engineered 1-800-GOT-JUNK?’s spectacular growth from $2 million to $106 million in revenue and 3,100 employees—and he did that in just six years.
Not only does Cameron know how to grow businesses, but the current publisher of Forbes magazine called him “The best speaker I’ve ever heard…”.
Cameron is the author of the global best-selling business book Double Double, which is in its 7th printing and multiple translations around the world, as well as Meetings Suck and The Miracle Morning for Entrepreneurs. Look for all of Cameron’s five business books on Amazon today.
“Working hard isn’t the path to success, but working smart is.”
Worst investment ever
Cameron used to judge people based on the way they looked. He naturally gravitated to the good looking guy, the woman who looked successful, people who dressed and carried themselves well. In his mind, those were successful people.
He would not give a thought to people who didn’t look successful, dressed more casually, who didn’t shave, probably overweight, and weren’t attractive. Cameron judged them as not being successful. He would avoid spending time getting to know them. Because he would judge very quickly, he would often miss out on opportunities.
Snobbing the outsiders
In the summer of 2008, Cameron invited Tim Ferriss to come to his first time at Burning Man; it would be Cameron’s second time. Tim said yes and brought two friends with him. One of Tim’s friends was an entrepreneur.
At Burning Man, Tim and his timid friends didn’t quite fit in with Cameron’s group. Cameron’s friends did not embrace them, so they became the outsiders to his group. Being his usual judgy self, Cameron spent more time with his group than Tim and his friends.
The missed opportunity of a lifetime
One night, very late, Tim’s friend, the entrepreneur, wanted to pitch Cameron and his friends on a business that he was starting and had an investment opportunity. Cameron, however, did not give him any credit when he pitched his idea. He just brushed him off, thinking that because his first business was such a silly one, his second business wouldn’t be very successful.
Tim’s friend explained his idea of pressing a button on an app, and a taxi or limousine would come to you. Apps at the time were a new and unpopular phenomenon. Cameron and his friends thought that this was the stupidest idea they’d ever heard. Cameron and his friends refused to invest in the business. Tim, however, put in $25,000 into the business. This business turned out to be Uber.
The guy that Cameron judged as weird and not worth his time was Garrett Camp, the original CEO and founder of Uber. By saying no to him, Cameron missed out on $108 million, considering the company’s valuation the day of its IPO.
Do not judge a book by its cover
Do not judge people at face value. Take your time and get to know people before you judge them. When you go to conferences and other events, sit with people who don’t necessarily fit in. Get out of your comfort zone, meet new people, get to know them, and connect with them.
Opportunities are all around us
Often, we look at the opportunities that we miss and feel bad about it. But it’s always important to remember that there are millions of opportunities that we’re missing every single day. So don’t beat yourself up over a missed opportunity.
Do not judge what you see at face value
Don’t compare your insides to other people’s outsides. Everybody is broken in one way or another inside. Most people are trying to keep up a facade and look good. Don’t let this intimidate you.
Change your mindset
Our mindset is shaped by our past, our emotions, and our judgments. Our mindset can hold us back in one way or another, so be open to changing it and have a growth mindset if you want to be successful.
Go into situations and try to meet people that you wouldn’t necessarily try to meet. Some of the smartest people in the room are the ones that aren’t talking. They’re the ones that are listening and writing notes. The ones learning and paying attention. They’re not trying to get seen or get known. They’re there to learn.
No. 1 goal for the next 12 months
Cameron is very cognizant about the time he has left with his kids, 19 and 17 years old. One of them is going into second-year university this year, and thankfully, he’s at home for four months because of COVID. His second son goes to university in 12 months, and Cameron feels a sense of loss already. Therefore, his goal for the next 12 months is to have meaningful time and connections with his sons.
“Remember that none of this matters. At the end of the day, we’re all gonna die. Let’s have fun along the journey.”
Andrew Stotz 00:03
Hello fellow risk takers and welcome to my worst investment ever stories of loss to keep you winning. In our community we know that to winning investing, you must take risk, but to win big, you've got to reduce it. This is Andrew Stotz of a Stotz Academy where we help people facing four different challenges. investors who want to better manage their stock portfolio, aspiring professionals who want to learn how to value any company in the world business leaders who want to make their companies financially world class and even beginners who just want to learn how to implement a simple lifetime investment plan. Join us for free at my worst investment ever.com slash Academy and get instant access to my short course called six ways to lose your money, and six strategies to win. This course comes from what I've learned from all of these podcast interviews. And now on with the show. This is your worst podcast host Andrew Stotz and I am here with featured guests Cameron, Harold Cameron, are you ready to rock are ready, Andrew, thanks for having me. I'm really excited to have you on. And I think the audience will get to know why that is. But you know, I really am interested in business and about how we grow our business and how we grow it profitably. And I've listened to your story actually from various outlets. And I just really excited to bring it to the audience. So let me let me tell the audience a bit about you. Cameron. Harold is the founder of CEO Alliance, and second in command podcasts. And he is known around the world as the CEO whisperer, and he is the mastermind behind hundreds of companies exponential growth, Cameron's built a dynamic consultancy by speaking not from theory, but from experience. He earned his reputation as a business growth guru by guiding his clients to double their profit, and double their revenue in just three years or less. Cameron was an entrepreneur from day one at age 21. He had 14 employees by 35. he built his first two, ladies and gentlemen, that's to $100 million companies. By the age of 42, Cameron engineered one eight hundreds, one 800 got junk, spectacular growth from 2 million to 100 and $6 million in revenue, and 3100 employees. And he did that in just six years. And that ain't no junk. Not only does Cameron know how to grow business, but the current publisher of Forbes magazine called him the best speaker I've ever heard. Cameron is the author of the global best selling business book, double double in its seventh printing, and in multiple translations around the world as well as meeting suck. And the Miracle Morning for entrepreneurs. Look for all of these, all of these books on Amazon. You can find them right now. Cameron, take a minute and filling further tidbits about your life.
Cameron Herold 02:54
Thanks, Andrew. Yeah, I was groomed as an entrepreneur grew up in an entrepreneurial family. I built a number of brands, as you mentioned, there's actually two other books now I've written five books still. Yep, the last two are vivid vision, and free PR. And then I co authored, as you mentioned the Miracle Morning for entrepreneurs with Hal Elrod. So yeah, I've written the five books. I've done paid speaking events to groups of entrepreneurs in 26 countries on six continents. and father of two kids and I live part time in Vancouver, Canada, part time in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Andrew Stotz 03:25
Yeah. And one interesting thing about you that you mentioned before was that you came to Thailand in 1991, which was a whole different world that Thailand was at that time.
Cameron Herold 03:35
I did, I actually had a business venture that I was trying to pull off in Thailand. That was not my biggest mistake ever. But one of my big mistakes. I spent a couple of weeks in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, buying products that I was going to ship back to Canada and resell and ended up getting a kind of a good deal on shipping all my stuff and they were going to avoid some taxes and regulations. And turns out that only 20% of my stuff that I bought ever made it to Canada, the other 80% probably never made it out of the warehouse. So I got scammed up in Chiang Mai and learned the lesson that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Andrew Stotz 04:10
Exactly. And then, you know, I would love to just talk briefly about some of the I got a question for you, you know, the books that you've got, you know, for instance, the double, double fantastic and you know, thinking about how to grow your business. And everybody knows the Miracle Morning and how Elrod and your collaboration and working together with Tim is pretty amazing. And I think I've learned a lot about how to start my mornings and I do I actually do start my mornings with a pretty serious routine that I never very rarely interrupt. But you know the talk that you the the book about free PR and I've listened to you talk about that on podcasts. And you know, it's just like, in some ways, it feels like there's hundred dollar bills all around us. And we're just not picking them up. Or we're not seeing them. And that's the feeling I felt when I listened to you talk and what you've been through. And I just curious out of all the different books and all the different things, how would you encapsulate kind of the most important lessons that our listeners should take away from all the work that you've done over the years?
Cameron Herold 05:22
Yeah, I think I think the big one for me has been that I was never a smart kid in school, you know, I was always told to pay attention and stop being so distracting and sit still. And I would study and try my hardest, and I'd get 62%, you know, and then I'd study some more and try my hardest and get a tutor and I get 64%. And that was all the way through high school and all the way through university, I was a 65 62%. student. So I learned that the cheat sheets already existed, the shortcuts already the answers were in the back of the textbook, there were smart people that I could hire to do stuff for me, instead of me doing it, I could just get them to do it. And I started to realize that working hard wasn't the path to success, but working smart was. And so as you mentioned, there's $100 bills lying around, pick them up. And I don't understand why people will listen to a book, listen to a book, or listen to a podcast as a podcast, or go to a conference and not do what they're being told to do. You know, there's some really, really good tips out there. And if you would just take them and run with them, you're going to do better than trying to figure it out on your own. So for me, for me, my RMD stands for ripoff and duplicate.
Andrew Stotz 06:33
Oh, I like that. I mean, I guess one of the questions I have to continue on with that line of discussion is just the idea that why is it that people don't do it? I mean, like you say, it's out there. I mean, the books are out there. And I mean, I can say even myself, I've read some books, and I've put them in actions. And other I haven't. But I'm just curious, like, why do you think that people aren't doing it? I think
Cameron Herold 06:55
it's that we were unknowingly conditioned by the school system to think that we had to be smart, and we had to memorize everything. And it had to be difficult. And that, that we weren't allowed to collaborate. We weren't allowed to get the cheat sheets, we weren't allowed to look up the information. You know, every but the reality is now everything is an open book exam, you know, the information is there, go look it up, and then just do it. But we end up trying to somehow overcomplicate it for ourselves. Hmm.
Andrew Stotz 07:21
And one last question on this. And then I'm going to get into the big question. And that This question is for those people in the pandemic time, you know, and they're coming out, and they're trying to get their businesses back up and running there. I'm just curious, from, from your experience with double, double and on all of your speaking in your consulting, what, what specific advice would you give them? If they're kind of thinking, how am I going to get my revenue out, you know, up and out of that out of this current situation.
Cameron Herold 07:51
And put everything on it, like just really, really become a monomaniac around focus? So, revenue solves every problem, right? Gross Margin solves every problem, there's not a single problem that exists that a check can't solve. And if you really spend your leadership team time, your management team time, your board of advisors time, your thinking time, your reading time, you're listening to podcast time around, how do I grow revenue, you'll grow revenue, but you have to do that almost at the expense of other areas of the business. So right now, I don't never believe in full balance. Now, you sometimes have to let a couple things slide and become monomaniacal around a couple to really get that momentum going, and then you can course correct. So if this is a quarter to really drive revenue, then everything you do has to be focused around driving revenue, and you have to get the other stuff off your plate or let it go for a while. It'll be okay. It'll be there later.
Andrew Stotz 08:42
Fantastic advice. And yeah, when you think about all the major accomplishments that each of the listeners out there has achieved, it's probably has been achieved by putting your head down and saying, we're gonna focus on this one area, I think about my own dissertation when I was working on that for my PhD, it's like, seven months, every single morning, three, first three hours of every single morning, I got to work on this. And I did and it took seven months, but I stayed on track. And I got my dissertation done and passed my PhD. And it was really, a lot of things did have to be pushed on the wayside. And I think anytime you try to achieve something big or something that's a real challenge for you. That's part of it is that you are sacrificing other things at the time, which you know, sometimes it's not the right time for that. But if now is the right time.
Cameron Herold 09:30
Yeah, you're clearly a reader as well. You've got a shelf full of books behind you. So you remember Tom Peters, when he wrote the book In Search of Excellence, talked about mana maniacs with a mission? Yep. And that's always stuck with me that to truly be successful, you had to become monomaniacal around that one thing.
Andrew Stotz 09:47
Yeah. And for the listeners out there that that particular book and Tom Peters and what was the other guy Waterman, I think, was the other author in that book but that was the Bible at the time you know that you're referring to So yeah, good, good memories. Well, all right. Thanks for that. That's a lot of great nuggets there. But now it's time to share your worst investment ever. And since no one ever goes into their worst investment thinking it will be tell us a bit about the circumstance leading up to it. And then tell us your story.
Cameron Herold 10:16
Or what's funny is behind you on the bookshelf over your left shoulder is a book by somebody, Tim Ferriss, and Tim Ferriss is involved in the story. And I didn't know that the book was going to be there. Tim wrote his first book with the four hour workweek. Tim is heavily involved in this story. So I met Tim 1314 years ago. This story, by the way, cost me 108 100 and $8 million. And it only cost me about 30 minutes to make the mistake that cost me 100 and 8 million. And it's a true pure gross margin, gross profit 100 and $8 million loss.
Andrew Stotz 10:54
Cameron Herold 10:56
I judged. And I say judged in the past tense, I used to judge people based on the way they looked, I was naturally gravitated to the good looking guy, the good looking woman who looked successful, dressed successful carried themselves well. In my mind, those were the successful people. And I missed the people that didn't look successful, they maybe were the Millionaire Next Door, maybe they were dressed more casually, maybe they hadn't shaved, maybe they were overweight, maybe they weren't attractive, but I judged them as not being successful. And I used to avoid spending time getting to know them at the expense to myself. So because I would judge very quickly, I would often miss out on opportunities. So years ago, the summer of 2008. And I have an email to prove all of this. I invited Tim Ferriss to come to his first time at Burning Man, it was going to be my second time at Burning Man. And Tim said yes, he would come and decided he was going to rent an RV. And he called me two nights before Burning Man. And he said Is it okay? If he brings a friend with him. And I said, Sure, bring your friend. So he's like my friends and entrepreneur. And I'm like, it's okay, bring your friend whenever he goes. And he's gonna bring like a freezer filled with fudgesicles, you know, popsicles, I'm like, it's great. Just bring your friend. So he brings his friend and timidness friend didn't quite fit in with our group that year. And it wasn't their fault. It was my group's fault. They didn't embrace them. So they kind of became the outsiders to my group. And I became very cognizant that I was caught in the middle of these two, these two groups. So I tried to spend more time with my group in my core instead of Tim and his friend and these other two friends that he brought in. And one night, very late at night, his friend wanted to pitch us on a business that he was starting. And there would have been an investment opportunity to invest. And in those days, I would invest 25,000, as my wouldn't want to lose it. But it's not going to kill me if I lose it. But that would be my investment into a company. So around that same year, I invested in 15, five and in tiny pulse and a couple of other brands that have done well. But this one was a significant mess. And it was because I wasn't giving this time this guy the time and wasn't getting to know him enough that when he pitched me on his idea, I didn't give it credit. And I also thought because his first business was such a silly one, that his second business wasn't going to be very successful. So when he was explaining to me how you would go to an app, we didn't know what an app was. We didn't know what the app store was the app store was just launching and he was trying to explain the App Store. We thought it was like going to a corner store at a mall. He's like no, no, it's on your phone. So he so we that didn't make much sense and then when you were on this app, you press a button and a taxi or limousine would come to you and we're like that's the stupidest idea we've ever heard. So of the four of us that judged him and didn't give him the time to get to know him. We did not invest. And Tim did invest. Tim put $25,000 into Uber. And I said no to investing in Uber and a $25,000 investment. The day they IPO It was 100 and $8 million. And that was Garrett camp who is the original CEO and founder of Uber another Canadian six months before he hired Travis Zelnick to come on board as a CEO. I was being pitched to get in on prior to would have been a founders round it would have been prior to series A and I said no to that which turned out to Tim was Tim Tims 25 grand was 100 and 100 and $8 million investment. And it was because I judged and didn't give someone the time and didn't get to know them. My lessons since then has been to not judge a book by its cover and to try to get to know people. And so I often now will go to conferences, and I'll go to events. And I'll just sit with people who don't necessarily fit in. So about five years ago, I was at the main TED conference, I go to the main Ted every year, it's a five day event. You know, Bill Gates is in the audience, Sergey Brin. And I have sat together chip Wilson from Lululemon. And I have had coffee there a number of times. So you sit with these very, very Uber successful CEOs and venture capitalists from around the world. And I saw this guy who was very disheveled and kind of not that clean. And hair was kind of unkempt, his shoelaces run tight. And I sat beside him because I kind of felt sorry for him. But I also wanted to know who he was, which was very opposite from what from who I used to be. And I'm sitting talking to him, I said, so what are you doing so well, I want to clean the ocean and clean the clean the atmosphere, and everyone at TED is doing something on a big way. So I'm like, whatever this this guy is going to clean the atmosphere in the ocean. But I'm like, I need to know more. So I'm going to talk about it. And then Bill Gates comes over and says Addison, so wonderful to see you. And it gives this guy a hug. And then two minutes later, Al Gore comes over and gives this guy a hug. And then Cameron Diaz comes over and says hi to him, I'm like, Who are you? Like, I just sat beside like, the superhero of the group. I don't even know who you are. And it turns out it was Allison Fisher, who was the original founder and CEO of RSS, and VeriSign, VeriSign that you see on every website, he built $2 billion companies, but he doesn't really have friends or family. So he's donating all of his money to try to clean up the atmosphere and the oceans. So that was my, I think my lesson was, you know, was hard learned. And now I really worked hard to just get to know people.
Andrew Stotz 16:51
Hmm. All right. So let me let me summarize what I took away from that, that it's a little bit it's always painful. I mean, look at the things the opportunities that we missed. But also, you know, there's a, there's a particular bias, particularly when it comes to investing, in that we look at the opportunities that we miss, and, you know, we have regret and all that. But it's always important to remember that there's millions of opportunities that we're missing every single day. And so, you know, obviously, the first thing is don't beat yourself up over it. But yes, when that one happens, it's just terribly painful. But I think, um, one of the lessons that I learned and I remember someone telling me this many, many years ago is don't compare your your insides to other people's outsides. Now, that had to do with the idea that, you know, everybody's broken in one way or another inside. But it also reiterates the point that outside, you know, people, most people are trying to keep up a facade, and trying to, you know, look good. And, you know, and it can be intimidating, it can be overwhelming, I can remember, when I first started as a financial analyst, I was like, how are these guys so sure, what the profits are going to be of this company a year from now. I mean, they were like, really sure. And I'm sitting there trying to calculate this and thinking, I have no certainty whatsoever, I must just not know, the secret that they all know. And then now, as I teach young people, I just say, we're all making it up. It's just that those guys made it up in a much more compelling way. And they presented it with much more confidence. And so I think that that's lesson number one, you know, is this idea of not judging, you know, what you're seeing at face value?
Cameron Herold 18:43
Yeah, and mine was also just getting out of my comfort zone and getting to meet new people as well. You know, really getting to know them and connect had I spent a few days getting to know good because it was on day three, probably it does have I spent a few days getting to know him, I probably would have invested because I would have known him, I would have spent time but I was uncomfortable getting to know him because my my friends didn't really like them right away. So I, I let that influenced me and then my insecurities kept in and you know, I didn't tell anyone who Tim was because he didn't want people to know. So we call them Tom. And so there was no like Star factor around him that had people biasing their decision, it was just Tom with this guy with a stupid idea. So I let my biases get in the way a little bit.
Andrew Stotz 19:29
Yeah. And that brings up to the next, you know, lesson that I learned and it's about mindset, and how do we overcome mindset, and we're shaped by our past, we're shaped by our emotions, we're saved by our judgments. And you know, I guess in some ways this goes back to that question I asked you the beginning which is like we got hundred dollar bills sitting all around and people, you know, like your, the free PR book and what you've talked about, about you know how to get PR it's like so frickin awesome. obvious. But mindset is such something that holds us all back in one way or another. And I guess that's the the other lesson from it that I'm thinking about anything that you would add about mindset.
Cameron Herold 20:12
Yeah, I think my mindset is I'm very introspective. And I also blame myself instead of others for everything. So, you know, other people can say, Oh, well, it was because of the environment or Oh, well, it was because you were busy or Oh, well, it was the party seeing Oh, no, those are all excuses. Like, I missed it, because of the way I treated the situation. I missed it, because I judged I missed it because I didn't connect. So I'm very good at blaming my contribution for the problem first. And that's been a big lesson that I've carried with me for a number of decades that, you know, I think I lessons stay, because I don't externalize anything like, I know why I got my crappy grades in school because I didn't focus and I didn't really try to focus. And I realized that it didn't really matter. So it's not like I wasn't smart enough. I didn't apply myself. I was too busy partying and running businesses and chasing girls and smoking pot. And I had a great time in university. I was ski racing. So I'm not kidding myself. And thinking that I wasn't smarter. I shouldn't try. Yeah. So I think that's been a big lesson for me, as well as the introspection and blaming myself first.
Andrew Stotz 21:18
Right. So based upon what you've learned from this story, and what you continue to learn what what action would you recommend our listeners take to avoid suffering the same fate?
Cameron Herold 21:28
I guess to go into the situations and actually try to meet the people that you wouldn't necessarily try to meet. Some of the smartest people in the room are the ones that aren't talking. They're the ones that are listening and writing notes and learning and paying attention. And they're not trying to get seen or get known. They're there to learn. I sat beside a guy, Robert Allen, who is big in the real estate space. And we were at a conference together years ago for two days. And on the second day, this guy finally puts up his hand and ask the question, I'm like, I hadn't heard this guy talk for two full days. And then afterwards, somebody like Akka is worth 100 $80 million, unlike what he didn't even like, oh, he didn't need to say anything. He already knows he's successful. He's not there to prove himself. He's there to keep learning. So it's going to talk to those guys or women, right? The ones who aren't saying much, might have more to learn from them.
Andrew Stotz 22:23
Yeah, I guess that also highlights another lesson for a person like myself, for instance, that loves to talk. And you know, it's for all of the listeners out there that you know, we're good at talking. We like to talk it sounds like part of that lesson is, listen.
Cameron Herold 22:38
Yeah, God gave us two ears and one mouth, right? Let's use them in that ratio. Listening. We talk.
Andrew Stotz 22:45
So true. All right. So last question, what's your number one goal for the next 12 months.
Cameron Herold 22:52
Number one goal for the next 12 months. on the business side, it's really focusing on growing the COO Alliance. But that's not my core, my core right now I'm very, very cognizant about the time that I have left with my kids who are 18, or 19, and 17. One of them is going into second year university this year, and thankfully, he's at home for four months because of COVID that he can't go way back to university. My second son goes to university in 12 months, and I'm really feeling the sense of loss already so much, it's about having meaningful time with them and meaningful connections with them, and, you know, not wasting my evenings and just spending time with them.
Andrew Stotz 23:37
That's beautiful. And I think that's something that we often miss, you know, we talk about hundred dollar bills laying around. There's hundreds of, you know, millions of emotions that we can gain that's around and I know, I've been taking care of my mother for the last four years. And one of my friends said, you know, you 1020 years from now you're gonna look back and you're never gonna no matter how hard it was frustrating it was, you're never gonna regret one minute of what you've done. And so I believe, when you know, you're never going to regret the next 12 months of what you're doing. So hats off to that.
Cameron Herold 24:10
Yeah, I agree. My mom passed away. 18 years ago, I'd give anything to have one more day with her love alone for years.
Andrew Stotz 24:17
It's been amazing. And after this call, I'm going to go in and sit down with my mom and sit down on the balcony and have a cup of coffee. It's amazing. So we got to enjoy each day as we have it. Well, listeners, there you have it another story of laws to keep you winning. Remember to go to my worst investment ever.com slash Academy to get access to the short course six ways to lose your money and six strategies to win. As we conclude, Cameron, I want to thank you again for coming on the show and on behalf of H dots Academy. I hereby award you alumni status for turning your worst investment ever into your best teaching moment. Do you have any parting words for our audience? I guess
Cameron Herold 24:59
partially It's just that remember that none of this actually matters at the end of the day, we're all gonna die. Let's have fun along the journey.
Andrew Stotz 25:05
Let's have fun along the journey. Well that's a wrap on another great story to help us create, grow and most importantly, protect our well fellow risk takers. This is Andrew Stotz, your worst podcast host saying, I'll see you on the upside.
Connect with Cameron Herold
- How to Start Building Your Wealth Investing in the Stock Market
- My Worst Investment Ever
- 9 Valuation Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
- Transform Your Business with Dr.Deming’s 14 Points
Andrew’s online programs
- Valuation Master Class
- How to Start Building Your Wealth Investing in the Stock Market
- Finance Made Ridiculously Simple
- Become a Great Presenter and Increase Your Influence
- Transform Your Business with Dr. Deming’s 14 Points