Ep685: Brenden Kumarasamy – Follow the Data, Not Your Emotions

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Quick take

BIO: Brenden Kumarasamy is the founder of MasterTalk; he coaches ambitious executives & entrepreneurs to become the top 1% of communicators in their industry.

STORY: Brenden decided to promote his YouTube channel by sending 500 cold emails per day to university professors. After sending 2,000 emails, he received very negative responses. Instead of reviewing his strategy, he sent more emails for three months and got nothing out of it.

LEARNING: Follow the data and remove emotion as much as possible when making decisions. Make sure your marketing content offers undeniable value.


“If you want to be in the top 1% of any category, you need to behave in a way that 99% of people aren’t willing to.”

Brenden Kumarasamy


Guest profile

Brenden Kumarasamy is the founder of MasterTalk; he coaches ambitious executives & entrepreneurs to become the top 1% of communicators in their industry. He also has a popular YouTube channel called MasterTalk, with the goal of providing free access to communication tools for everyone in the world.

Worst investment ever

When Brenden started MasterTalk, he had this brilliant idea to send 50,000 cold emails to university professors in Canada and the US. His thought was pretty strategic. Even if 10% or even 1% of the recipients shared his videos with their college students every year, Brenden’s distribution would be unlimited, and his YouTube channel would explode in popularity.

Brenden didn’t know how automated email campaigns worked, so he’d manually send 500 emails each day. He would open universities’ websites, pull up their faculties, find their emails, and start sending emails. About 2,000 emails into it—about a week into it—he started getting negative responses from the university professors. Brenden got so much hatred; it was insane.

Despite the hate and realizing his strategy wasn’t working, Brenden didn’t stop after 2,000 emails. Being the 22-year-old knucklehead he was then, he spent the rest of that summer sending 500 emails daily for the next three months. After all that dedication, Brenden got just two positive responses.

Lessons learned

  • Follow the data and remove emotion as much as possible when making decisions.
  • There’s no silver bullet to entrepreneurship, just hundreds of lead bullets. So don’t push just one primary strategy, have hundreds of little different strategies.
  • When something starts working for you, instead of guessing why it’s working, ask your customers. You’ll get to see what’s working, and through that, you’ll get the results you’re looking for.

Andrew’s takeaways

  • Try A/B testing across many different things to determine where you’re making a breakthrough.
  • When you send any marketing content, make sure it has some benefit to the recipient.
  • Be relentless when you’ve got the right target, and follow up without giving up.

Brenden’s recommendations

Brenden recommends subscribing to his YouTube channel to access hundreds of free videos on how to speak. He also does free live communication training on Zoom every two weeks. If you want to join that, go to Rockstarcommunicator.com and register for the next one.

No.1 goal for the next 12 months

Brenden’s number one goal for the next 12 months is to scale his business to another level to create more impact for everyone around him.

Parting words


“Realize that the relationship successful people have with failure is very different than the one unsuccessful people have with failure.”

Brenden Kumarasamy


Read full transcript

Andrew Stotz 00:02
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 win in investing, you must take risk but to win big, you've got to reduce it. Ladies and gentlemen, I'm on a mission to help 1 million people reduce risk in their lives to join me, go to my worst investment ever.com and sign up for my free weekly become a better investor newsletter where I share how to reduce risk and create grow and protect your wealth. Fellow risk takers this is your worst podcast host Andrew Stotz from a Stotz Academy and I'm here with featured guests Brenden Kumarasamy. Brenden, are you ready to join the mission?

Brenden Kumarasamy 00:42
Absolutely, Andrew.

Andrew Stotz 00:45
I'm excited to have you on and let me introduce you to the audience. Brenden is the founder of master talk. He coaches ambitious executives and entrepreneurs to become top 1% communicators in their industry. He also has a popular YouTube channel called Master talk with the goal of providing free access to communication tools for everyone in the world. Brenden, take a moment and tell us about the unique value that you are bringing to this wonderful world.

Brenden Kumarasamy 01:13
Absolutely, it's a pleasure to be on the show. So for me, the you know, the unique value that we provide, is I bring simplicity, practicality and generosity to the communication space. When I started in my field, I thought communication information in general wasn't that practical, you know, you hear advice, like, hey, you know, imagine everyone's their underwear or, you know, just just be yourself. Or as me, you know, with Master talk, our goal is really how do we make communication free. That's what the YouTube channel and different workshops that we give for free.

Andrew Stotz 01:43
And when you think about, you know, it's quite a claim to say, Okay, I'm going to help you get into the top 1%. And until you realize most people don't work that hard to improve themselves, and then you start realizing that, yeah, if I find somebody that can guide me, and I put in the hard yards of really, you know, practicing and getting, you know, opportunities to communicate, that I can get up there. And so I'm just curious, you know, tell us maybe a case study of one or two of your clients or the type of thing that you're doing. So we can understand kind of like, how do you get someone to that point,

Brenden Kumarasamy 02:20
you absolutely enter and you pretty much nailed to hit the nail on the head that R which is, hey, if you want to be the 1% of anything, you eventually have to do what 99% of people aren't willing to do. And it turns out, you don't have to do that much to differentiate yourself from those people. So in our case, how that works is a three part strategy. Presentation, mastering leadership, mastery, and relationship building messages. The first part is saying, Hey, we're making a lot of basic mistakes in our communication that we need to fix is in ours, we don't you look at the camera lens correctly, our eye contact is all over the place. Our pacing, or vocal tones is too Monotones. It's fixing that. The second part is leadership mastery. What are the other areas of communication that we don't think about as leaders? Which is how do you get on a podcast really effective? How do you answer questions in a boardroom? How do you give feedback to people in a way that's inspiring, not just information. So it's about the day to day comms. And then the third piece is relationship building, when you're smiling in a presentation, when you're learning how to pause, are you applying those concepts when you're meeting people for a coffee, when you're meeting the CEO of this account when you're meeting this person, so you build a relationship and a rapport with them. So you can either increase your impact or increase your sales or better both. So that's the approach we take.

Andrew Stotz 03:35
So presentation, leadership relationship, get your presentation, you know, fix the low hanging fruit, you know, that you've talked about on presentation, then think about how you are representing yourself as a leader, and then developing relationships. You know, when I was thinking about when I was a young guy, I came out of university, I didn't feel very confident. And as a result, whenever I saw some training or something like that, I tended to do it. And the big one for me was CFA, and to become a chartered financial analyst. And then I also taught finance because I realized, like, I've learned so much. So I've been teaching finance now for 30 years. And I've learned so much. And then I did my MBA. And then I had an opportunity in 2016 to do my PhD in finance. And so I had been also was the president of CFA society in Thailand. So not only was I a leader in, you know, I was, I had the skills of a CFA charterholder. But I also had the relationships and the ability to lead that I demonstrated and then I topped it off with a PhD in finance that I got when I was 50. So I really think that I'm probably in the 1% You know, in my industry, I don't know how you measure that. But I am fearless. When it comes to the finance topics, even though ones that I didn't, I'm not an expert, and I can still get around in them. But I'm fearless about, you know, talking to anybody about finance and all that stuff. But still, I probably could do a lot better to make, you know, I'm trying to reach a million people, through my podcasts, I'm trying to bring my business and all of what I'm doing out to a wider world. So on the one hand, I've done the work, I've done a lot of work to become an expert in the field. If someone like me came to you and said, helped me to really, really make a bigger impact in the world. How would you what would be maybe just give the listeners some ideas about the types of things that you would do to help in that case?

Brenden Kumarasamy 05:48
Absolutely. So of course, Andrew, we both know, I have a bachelor's degree in accounting. Funny enough, I thought I was going to be an accountant my whole life. That's how my life started. So I can definitely relate. So what I will say is, the advice I'd give you is very different than the industry that you represent. Because in the communication field for accounting and finance, you're definitely in the point 1%, because it doesn't take that much to compete, you're probably the most charismatic finance professional in the world, honestly. But for the average, let's say CFO, finance executive has done really well in their career, but they're really horrible at communication. Generally speaking, you probably know this being the president of CFA dialer, yourself, is, we really walked them through a systematic approach to master communication. That's the difference. So I'll give an example what that looks like. Communications like juggling 18 balls at the same time. And one of those balls is eye contact. One of those balls is smiling. One of them's body language. One of them is knowing how to tell stories, and they get really confusing for people. So the question now becomes, what are the three easiest balls to juggle? So the first one is the random word exercise, pick a random word like, so box, books, shelves, lightbulbs, and create random presentations out of thin air. This serves two main purposes. And the first one is it allows you to think on your feet quickly. We're all in situations where we're dealing with uncertainty, somebody asks us something and we're going oh, I don't really know how to answer that. And the other piece is, if we can make sense out of nonsense, we can make sense out of anything. So it's exercises like this, where we can tangibly measure the progress. And then we get to the other ones, like the video messages, sending a few of those and answering questions through the question drill.

Andrew Stotz 07:30
That's, that sounds like a fun one, it kind of reminds me of this is this is very different. But a friend of mine, and I have pretty good memories for lyrics. And basically, any song that I've heard a couple of times, I can pretty much remember the lyrics of the song. So we drove in Thailand, about four hours south to the beach. And what we did is we had a challenge, and that is, say a word, and then sing a song that has that word in it, like Moon, Moon River, right? So we had a lot of fun to try to, you know, improvise with that. But that sounds like a real good one to try to randomly to pick a random word and then try to come up with something like, you know, let's take a word like collaboration. You know, why? Why is this such an important word? Because it's the lack of cooperation that causes the collapse of businesses, of countries of politicians. If you can't collaborate, then you can't bring together more than your own forces. But when you can collaborate, you can bring together the forces of many people. So there's an example on collaborate, how did I do?

Brenden Kumarasamy 08:48
I mean, exceptional entry. I've done so many interviews, you're the first one to not only ask me to do it, I mean, not even asked me, you actually picked your own word. And you just did the exercise yourself, which I think is so powerful. That's, that's a great example of how I want your audience to take this and you demonstrate it in spades whether and you did a great job. But even if you did a terrible job, you still win. Because the key is to take action. And that's something that most people miss. The Best Way to speak is to speak, you can listen to me and you talk all day. But if you want to get better at speaking, you actually got to book some time in calendar. And I'm not talking three hours, I'm talking five minutes, every single day to do the random vortex Exactly. As you demonstrate, though, what I will say your audience won't be as good as you the first time around because you've had a lot of experience. Just in general speaking, when you get started. The key is not to do it. Well, like Andrew did. The key is to just do it a lot. And when you do it a lot, you'll get really good really fast.

Andrew Stotz 09:44
Yeah, that's great. I think it's a lot of good nuggets for the audience to think about how to improve yourself in this area. And really, it makes a huge difference to your life. A huge difference to your life. I just had a guy that I had met about six years ago, he was a potential client. I went to meet him when I was in Hong Kong. And he was trading through us at the time. So, but I hadn't talked to him for a long time. And he came back. And he sent me a message says, Hey, would you be willing to do a video call, I just want to ask you some questions about Thailand. And I got on a video call with him yesterday. And I was, you know, smiling, as I always do, because I learned that particularly in Thailand, and he said, you know, the thing I remember about that meeting with you was your positive energy and your smile. And then you were really focused on one particular part of investing that was like, return on equity, and you know, but it's an you don't look a day older, you know, and I was like, I always tell people about presenting as like, forget about the words that you say, five years from now, nobody will remember the words that you said in your presentation, but they will remember the energy that you bring. And I know I looked at your LinkedIn profile, and just just looking at, for anybody out there, I'll have the links in the show notes, but you bring the energy, and that that I think right there as part of what you know, makes what you're doing powerful for people who really want to improve themselves in this area. So hats off to you,

Brenden Kumarasamy 11:19
hey, I really appreciate that answer. And you're so right, and energy and passion at the end of the day, is what gets you far, there's a great quote on this from Lewis Howes, which is, the world will always make room for passionate people. As long as you're showing that energy, that enthusiasm, the world will always make room for you, and what you want to showcase to the world.

Andrew Stotz 11:39
So ladies and gentlemen, there is a great learning right there is bring your passion, and you may not have it the first time you present and all that, you know, but just keep bringing it, just keep bringing it, you know, and one of the things I love about presenting as a professional is that we're not presenting on random topics, you know, when you're in school and stuff, it's like, okay, give a presentation on abortion, give a presentation on free speech, give a presentation on rural development. And it's like, I got to learn all these things and present on things that, but once you get into business, what I love is that, you know, we're giving presentations on you know, similar material. And so for everybody out there, present, present present, that's what I would say, from this introduction. And actually, I want to thank you for that, because there's a lot of great value to the audience there. And now it's time to share your worst investment ever. And since no one goes into their worst investment thinking it will be tell us a bit about the circumstances leading up to it. And then tell us your story. For sure,

Andrew. So thankfully, for me, my worst investment isn't a complete, complete, utter destruction of my life. So I'm still fairly young. So I still haven't made my biggest mistakes in life. But I'll give you one that's particularly annoying. So when I started Master Talk, I had a quote unquote, and I'm being sarcastic here, brilliant idea to send 50,000 cold emails to university professors in let's say, Canada, in the US, because my thought was pretty strategic. Even if 10% or even 1% of them, shared my videos with their college students. And they did that every year, because the students change every semester, every year, my distribution be unlimited, and my youtube channel will explode in popularity. And that makes sense, right? When you think about it, in theory. So what I did, because I didn't know how automated email campaigns worked, and I still don't to be honest. So I start by summer, day one, and I send 500 emails, and I'm not exaggerating the number, I would literally open websites of universities, pull up their faculties, find their emails, and I would start sending emails. And I find out a few days into this process, maybe two 3000 emails into it. So probably a week into that university professors Andrew really didn't want to hear from me. Oh, my goodness, I got so much hatred. It was insane. I remember one guy said, first of all, you don't call me my first name. And second of all, don't send me your garbage videos. And I was like, okay, so that was one because at this point, yeah, I said, thank you. I just wanted it wasn't a business, right? It was just, I was just trying to share free videos for college students. So I didn't expect this I was explaining Hey, I liked your initiative here. Let me help you. Because I wasn't selling anything. And then now obviously, I'm service but back then. So then somebody else said, your video sucked. You're too young. I don't think you can share information. I got a lot of hate from other communication professors that are like come on your what's your knowledge based on? But the reason it was my worst investment for Andrew? Is because I didn't stop after 2000 I should have realized I should have realized that wait a second. This isn't working. But being the 22 year old knucklehead that I was at the time I was stubborn. Like every other kid is an immature so I was like no, I'm gonna say In emails, so I spent the rest of that summer answering every single day. 500 emails a day, for the next three months, dedication got dedication for one positive response, maybe two. And there were nice positive responses. But my God, what a waste of time. Whereas if I'd done that with 50,000 podcasts as an example, but I didn't know that I could guest on podcast back then. But if I done that, it would have made way more sense. They want to hear from me, they're interested in new ideas. They selfishly want to get better at communication, because they want to be better hosts, and they want to share that knowledge with the world. So yeah, I was stubborn, and I made the mistake.

Andrew Stotz 15:40
So how would you summarize the lessons?

Brenden Kumarasamy 15:43
Absolutely. So let's go through them. The first lesson is follow the data, remove emotion in the way that you make decisions as much as possible, you can't remove it fully. But try and remove some emotion in the way that you process decisions. So if I had realized that it wasn't right, wrong for me to send emails, but it was wrong for me to send emails to the wrong audience. So I needed to really reassess and say, How do I make this different? That's the number one piece of advice that I have the second piece of advice and entrepreneurship in general. And Ben Horowitz, this is best, there's no silver bullet to entrepreneurship. It's just hundreds of lead bullets. But what he means by that is hundreds of different little strategies, not like what I did, which is 1000 lead bullets in the wrong strategy. That's the wrong approach. But what I should have done is I should have split test across 100 different types of people. So I should have sent emails to this. And that's what I did later. And now I know what my niches and where I should be targeting for clients and things like that. But if I done it from the beginning, I would have gotten that information ahead of time, whereas entrepreneurs make the mistake of spending too much time in their minds. Oh, like, I wonder who's gonna buy from me, Oh, I wonder what my sales process is going to be? When the truth is, is you just got to take a ton of action, you got to spray and pray because you just don't know anything like what's gonna work. And then later you find out in retrospect, what worked and why.

Andrew Stotz 17:10
Yeah, it's, it's interesting, maybe some of the takeaways this first one is that there's great the autobiography of the personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant, which he wrote in 1889. And right around there, just before he passed away, and he was the one who won the US Civil War, and also was a two time president. He was an amazing guy. And he, his, his writing is just fantastic. And he's just, he's all about verbs. And he had some general order that he gave to one of his generals. And he said, you know, disentangle yourself from your trains, and feel the enemy do not engage. Well, this is a like, when I first read it, I was like, feel the enemy. I don't even understand what that means. And how is it that you're going to come upon the enemy, and you're not going to engage. But what I learned is that the best generals, with all of my reading that I've done on strategy in war, particularly US Civil War, where I would say I'm an expert in that area, is that the best generals were constantly along the line poking and prodding to try to find the weakness in the line, because they knew they couldn't attack across the whole line. And I think that what, what then then what they were able to do when they found a breakthrough, then they were able to rally their forces in that breakthrough, and then break through the line. And that is really what made the best generals, I would say, the most successful. And so what you're talking about kind of AB testing and testing it across a lot of different things. It's trying to figure out where am I making? Where am I making a breakthrough here. And if you only target one area, and say, I'm gonna do 50,000 In this area, you should be doing, you know, 500 in five different areas, and then seeing, and that's, you know, so much of what we learned from lean startup and from, you know, you know, all the different guys Horowitz and the likes that are basically telling us to do that. So, I think my biggest takeaway is that, you know, what you said is, feel the enemy. That's what I say in the second part is that when you send an email, you know, it better damn, well have some benefit to the, to the listener, you know, to the receiver. And I would say that, even when you think that you're providing benefit to them, You better read it out again, I print out every email before I send it, if I'm sending out to a group of people, I'll print it out. I'll sit down and I'll read it and then I'll revise it. And then I have a system where I send it out to Joe Have my employees. And as if they are the receiver, and then they come back with critiques that I didn't even think of. And once I've done that, then I do a small scale, you know, send out to see what the response is. And, you know, and yet you're always gonna get, and then and then what I learned is consistently follow up. I have one guy I got on this podcast. And he got on and I said, you know, I just wanted to ask you, do you know how many follow ups I did to get you on this podcast? He says, No, I said, 17. I was doubting him 17 times to get him onto the podcast. And he's like, Jennifer Lopez. Yeah, exactly. He's got to get a hold of him. But the point is, is that be relentless when you've got the right target, because for many people, they're overloaded. And I say, just follow up, if you've got the right list, the right people fall in, you're adding value, follow up, follow up, follow up until they either say yes, or they say, eff off. So that's my takeaways. Anything you would add to what I've said,

Brenden Kumarasamy 21:10
the only thing I'll add Andrew is your real time general, forget about the people you study, you're the real follow up general. But you're really pointing to the stark reality, that if you want to be in the top 1% of any category, you need to behave in a way that 99% of people aren't willing to. And that's one example of that, you know, following up 17 times, with a prospect and I think my version of that, which is the third piece is it's going to be a little bit different podcast guests, but just in general, when something starts working for you, like in my case, why why would a podcast host having me on their show? I don't even know why at the beginning three years ago, literally? Or why is that specific client buying a service from me? Why are so many people like that person by? So instead of guessing why ask them? Like literally sit them down for a coffee, have dinner and say educate me be my teacher? What do you think they can learn here? And they tell their whole life story, you're like, Ah, now I see what's working. And then through that, we get the results that we're looking for.

Andrew Stotz 22:15
So what's a resource that you'd recommend for our listeners?

Brenden Kumarasamy 22:19
Yeah, absolutely interest. So two ways to keep in touch. And thanks for having me on the show. The first one is the YouTube channel, just go to master talk, you'll have access to hundreds of free videos on how to speak. And the second resource is I do a free communication, training or resume every two weeks that's live and absolutely free. And if you want to join that where I facilitated myself, you can go to Rockstar communicator.com and just register for the next one.

Andrew Stotz 22:44
Fantastic. And we'll have that in the show notes, ladies and gentlemen. So you can sign up and join. Last question. What is your number one goal for the next 12 months?

Brenden Kumarasamy 22:56
My number one goal for the next 12 months is probably to scale the business. So now I've been able to last year was like the year of survival, trying to figure it out. And now this year, the business is doing really well. So now it's about okay, how do we scale this to another level so that I can create more impact for everyone around me?

Andrew Stotz 23:15
That's exciting. That's a great phase to be in. And it's a challenge of a lifetime. And I was just talking to one of my students in one of my courses. And I said to him, to her, I said, if you she wants to be a CFO, I said, How long is it gonna take to become that? And she said, Well, I would say about eight years. And then I said, What would it take to shorten that in half to four years. And then we started to discuss that, you know, and going through those kinds of exercises are ways that we can always think about scaling. So I'm excited to watch you scale. Alright listeners, there you have it another story of laws to keep you winning. Remember, I'm on a mission to help 1 million people reduce risk in their lives. If you've not yet joined that mission, just go to my worst investment ever.com and join my free weekly become a better investor newsletter to reduce risks in your life. As we conclude, Brendon, I want to thank you again for joining our mission. And on behalf of a Stotz 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 the audience?

Brenden Kumarasamy 24:21
My parting words, Andrew is realized that the relationship that successful people have with failure is very different than the one that unsuccessful people out with failure. Successful people look at failure and say, I had 10 sales calls. I only closed one client and Wow, I'm so excited. My goodness, if I do 10 calls every day for the next year, I'll close 365 clients, whereas the unsuccessful person will go. Nine people said no. So I might as well give up be on the right side of the winning strategy here.

Andrew Stotz 24:53
Fantastic. And that's a wrap on another great story to help us create, grow and protect our well fellow risk takers. Let's celebrate Today we added one more person to our mission to help 1 million people reduce risk in their lives this is your worst podcast hose Andrew Stotz saying I'll see you on the upside.


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About the show & host, Andrew Stotz

Welcome to My Worst Investment Ever podcast hosted by Your Worst Podcast Host, Andrew Stotz, where you will hear stories of loss to keep you winning. In our community, we know that to win in investing you must take the risk, but to win big, you’ve got to reduce it.

Your Worst Podcast Host, Andrew Stotz, Ph.D., CFA, is also the CEO of A. Stotz Investment Research and A. Stotz Academy, which helps people create, grow, measure, and protect their wealth.

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