Jeff Hays: Entrepreneurship, Crowdfunding, & Controversy – #195
By: Dave Asprey
February 13, 2015
Jeff Hays is a filmmaker, serial entrepreneur, and the visionary behind Capstone Entertainment, a film and television production and distribution company. Jeff is most well known for his work on the controversial documentary, FahrenHype 9/11, and for his production of On Native Soil, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award in 2005. His most recent work was the production of Doctored, a deep investigation exposing the unseen tactics, deception, and criminality that are rampant in the medical industry, a film that became one of the most successful independently distributed DVDs of 2012 following its release in theaters. Jeff is currently working on a follow-up film titled Bought, which will dive into the world of Big Pharma and the controversies behind vaccines and the truth about GMOs in the American food supply. On top of his film-making prowess, Jeff has also started more than 20 companies, including NextFitness, Zingback, and Talk 2 Technologies, and he also owns eight tech patents for good measure.
Why you should listen –
Jeff comes on Bulletproof Radio to discuss crowdfunding, how to avoid the buzz-saw of failure, the controversy surrounding vaccines and GMOs, and walking the line between two extremes to find the truth. Enjoy the show!
What You’ll Hear
- 0:16 – Cool Fact of the Day!
- 1:15 – Welcome Jeff Hays
- 2:09 – Jeff’s road to becoming an entrepreneur
- 4:43 – Avoiding the buzz-saw of failure
- 9:28 – The importance of language in determining success
- 15:12 – Avoiding failures by seeking validation
- 17:28 – Crowd-funding
- 26:05 – Bought, the Movie
- 35:47 – Good vs evil in business
- 39:55 – Health and capitalism
- 41:40 – Harm reduction and scientific honesty
- 43:35 – Walking the line between two extremes
- 47:08 – Top three recommendations for kicking more ass and being Bulletproof!
Dave: Hey, everyone. It’s Dave Asprey with Bulletproof Radio. I’m recording live for this episode, which is awesome. I’m doing it here at JJ Virgin’s event called Mindshare in Tampa, Florida. Today’s cool fact of the day is that where you live, how you grow up, the culture you’re in actually changes your brain. It changes the way you see the world. If you look at people who grew up in Western cultures, then we’re going to look at what’s right in front of us, we’re going to focus on the object. But, if you grow up in an Asian or an Eastern culture, you’re much more likely to look around you and to look at the context in the situation around. You have a broader focus, versus a narrower focus. I don’t think there’s a way to say that one is better than, or more useful than the other, they’re just different. Your cultural view changes your brain scans, and you can actually figure out that people from different cultures recruit different parts of their brains to process the same picture. This is fascinating, and stuff that we never would have known if we were just a bunch of cavemen sitting in caves. At least, I wouldn’t have imagined as much.
Today’s guest is an amazing entrepreneur. His name is Jeff Hays. Jeff is a filmmaker, but he’s also raised $100 million in venture capital, and started companies like Deals That Matter, Nextfitness, Podfitness, Zingback, and a bunch of others. This is a chance for us to learn from someone who has succeeded multiple times, failed multiple times, and made some kind of cool movies, including one called On Native Soil and one called Doctor, that look specifically at what happens with the American Medical Association and doctors in the US. There’s some health-related stuff, some performance-related stuff, but mostly, Jeff has just had a lifetime of ass-kicking, and I want to know how he did it so you guys can learn. Jeff, welcome to the show.
Jeff: Thank you very much. Good to be here.
Dave: Tell me about how you started as an entrepreneur?
Jeff: It’s funny. My sister has been a professor in a medical school for 25 years, has a PhD, all the education. I’m a high school dropout. I didn’t have the right altitude for high school. My attitude was– Okay, I’m 56, so if you put this in a time frame, my altitude was bad for high school, so I evolved. When I was 18, I was a door-to-door encyclopedia salesman.
Jeff: I was so dumb, I thought that was a good job. I literally did that for a couple years. You know that you learn a lot, but that … starting there, the natural evolution to an entrepreneur. I closed other doors to myself by not having an education, but the reality is life was perfect. It was a long road with a lot of damage, and a lot of wreckage, and a lot of success. It was a really natural evolution to starting businesses due to lack of being able to do anything else.
Dave: Necessity is the mother of invention.
Jeff: In me, it was. I was also predisposed. One time I got interviewed at the University of Utah, their Business School. They said, “Can entrepreneurship be taught?” Then, my thought was, “Absolutely, as long as you’re teaching it to an entrepreneur.” There’s lots of stuff you need to know, but you have to have the right mindset. I remember being seven years old and having a toy sale. Everything was marked down to a dime, and my mom comes home and it’s like, the stuff she’d just given me, it’s all a dime. The kids who are in the neighborhood are running over, and I’m selling stuff that I’m sure they payed significant money for. Everything’s a dime. It worked for the Five and Dime store, it worked for me.
I sold seeds, and that’s where I learned the difference between gross and net. Where, back then you could order seeds from the back of Boy’s Life Magazine. They’d send them to you. Then, your dad’s on the hook to pay for the seeds. They send the seeds out, and the kid goes out and sells them. I go out and sell all the seeds, and spend all the money, not understanding, “Oh, I’m supposed to pay for the inventory.” I learned an entrepreneurial lesson of, “Okay, there’s a difference between your gross and net.” There’s no question that I was predisposed to do this.
The entrepreneurial path … Right now, our education system isn’t taught– Isn’t set up to teach it. There’s very … It comes from people like you that are front runners, that turn around and go, “Okay.” They’re bridge-builders. They say, “Okay, this is the way I went. This is what other people are doing.” It’s not … The road to succeed is through failure but it doesn’t have to be. It doesn’t have to be your failure. In my case, my road to success definitely passed through lots of my own failures.
Dave: I never understood, until probably I was about 30, that people, at least some people, actually really just want to help, and like that’s a reward in and of itself. I definitely made a lot of my own failures because I wouldn’t listen to anyone. I was advice-resistant as a young man, because I figured I had to do it all myself, like I would know best… You could say even mistrustful. I found, even now, I work with young entrepreneurs, how they … four out of five of them, are like, they’ll hear the advise, and then they’ll go out and then walk into into a buzz saw. You’re like, “I told you there is a buzz saw in there,” but they do it anyway. That one that doesn’t, those guys are kicking ass before they’re 25.
Jeff: You can feel it when you talk to somebody, and you watch their– Especially, what is really amongst entrepreneurs who have a creative mindset, is we tend to be doing five or six projects, or ten, at the exact same time. Anybody will tell you that if you want to magnify something, you do it by subtracting. If you want to multiply something, you do it by dividing, like a cell multiplies by dividing. If you want to magnify and increase your chances your success, you subtract everything else until that’s the only thing in focus, and then you magnify that. You tell somebody like me that, and you watch their face glaze over and go, “Yeah, but I’m not giving up these other things I’m doing.” You just go, “Okay. Welcome to your own personal buzz saw.” The other thing that … when we listen to an expert, we have two criteria. One is, we want to know, does this person know what they’re talking about? Then, number two, what are their motives? I’ve seen you at conferences. I’m very familiar with … I started drinking Bulletproof coffee a year and a half ago, after 20 years of no coffee.
Jeff: Now, I’m a fiend. I’m not even going to thank you. I enjoy it but, still, it’s like, “This,” I’m like, “Okay, I’ll do this every now and then.” But every now and then means all morning and into the afternoon. But, I didn’t trust you, until I read your book.
Jeff: Once I start reading the book, I’m like, “Okay, I get it. This guy knows what he’s talking about.” It took me to separate you from other experts, “Does this …” I had no problem with your motive, but the questions is, “Does this guy really know what he’s talking about?” The book goes into enough detail, and your own personal history, I go, “Okay, I get it.” By the way, just a complete side note, the single smartest thing … I send out 20 to 40 books a month to friends. I buy books, and whatever the best book I read last month, I’ll send out. The single smartest thing I read last year was you saying, “We’ve got to quit saying fruits and vegetables like it’s one word.” I quote that. I no longer give you credit.
Dave: Oh, that’s all right. I’m used to it.
Jeff: I say that. But the first few times, I gave you credit. Now, I just say, “But literally, that’s so true in our soc–” You know, fruits and vegetables, like they’re one thing, and they’re radically different. That single message could probably, if we could just get that phrase spread through the culture, we could probably affect diabetes in this country. By people thinking they’re doing the right thing, and by hammering down a bunch of sugar every day in the form of fruit.
Dave: Well, thank you for that. I didn’t even know you’d read my book, so I appreciate
Jeff: By the way, I haven’t finished it yet. It’s strategically placed where I read it maybe five minutes a day. I don’t want to go into detail where …
Dave: It’s a good place for a book.
Jeff: But it’s guaranteed to be finished, and it’s likely to be one of my books that I send out to friends.
Dave: Oh, I’m honored, actually.
Jeff: You’re honored that …
Dave: That you’ll send it to your friends. The other part …
Jeff: There’s an image nobody wants.
Dave: It’s funny how language affects things. You mentioned that the fruits and vegetables coming together. In your time as an entrepreneur, has language, the way you’re approaching yourself from associating words that are unrelated, or other things like that, language of success, language of failures, is that something that comes up for you, or was that something that wasn’t a big deal?
Jeff: I got certified in neuro-linguistic programming.
Dave: There you go.
Jeff: In the 80s. We used to call people meta monsters, who learn the meta model from NLP, and then took it too far. I was a meta monster for a while.
Dave: What is NLP, if people who are watching or listening right now, often times in their cars, if they don’t know NLP, can you just define it for a minute?
Jeff: Neuro-linguistic programming was where Tony Robbins started, and it was the study of how language affects your neurology. I started studying it in the 80s, really to learn how to be a better salesperson, but it became much more than that for me. It affected every area of my life.
Dave: I read the original, I forget, what’s the guy’s name? Barlow? The original NLP things, back in the 90s, and honestly, I couldn’t make heads or tails of it at the time. I’m aware of neuro-linguistic programming techniques. I don’t consciously use them. You can tell when someone’s misusing it, because it’s like they’re talking in a funny way that they want to be manipulative.
Dave: Thank you. Bandler, that’s the guy.
Jeff: This was definetly. Then, Bandler was who I trained with–
Dave: Wait, you trained with Bandler himself?
Jeff: I went and did my master certification with him in 89. The stuff, it was very manipulative, and that people kind of gave it more authority than what it really had. As if you can drop these hidden language bombs, and people lose their power of choice. It was a therapeutic way of speaking that was effective. The main thing that it taught me was the power of language, and the power of language on my own neurology. Now, it’s so ingrained on me, I don’t remember to use it or to not use it. If I want to create mental images in your mind that are movies, if I say to you, “Can you think of a time in the past that your ran to the store?” You’re going to get a still image. If I say, “Can you think of a time in the past where you were running to the store?” The choice of that. Now you’re going to get a movie when I say that.
Dave: “Ran,” versus, “Were running”?
Dave: Changes you’re–
Jeff: If you think of a time you ran, boom, there’s a still image. Can you think of a time where you were running to the store? That distinction between those two past tense ways of stating something, I can literally choose words that cause different images in your mind. We react to these images in our mind. It has an effect, but it is not the Svengali, you know …
Dave: Puppet master kind of thing.
Jeff: The main thing is learning how to talk to yourself, what to say to yourself, and what not to say to yourself, and to start to edit your own language. It’s funny, Dan Sullivan, who coaches entrepreneurs says–
Dave: Me too. I’m a client, too.
Jeff: Oh, he’s unbelievable. I’ve never heard this concept, that an entrepreneur’s job is to protect our confidence.
Jeff: I’m like, I had to go, “What? What did you just–” To protect your con– Because I’ve always been, I got to tamp down my confidence. I think I’m capable of too much, I want to take on the world, I think I can do great things. It’s a little bit unrealistic thinking that entrepreneurs suffer from. He points out, “If you’re in flow, when you’re confident, that’s when you do great stuff,” and so, “No, this is not a bad thing. I have to protect it from other people who want to bring us down.”
“Dave, what makes you think you can have a best seller? Get back in your box, where I’m comfortable keeping you.” You go, “No, I’m going to have a New York Times bestselling book, and I’m going to build a brand.” “God, that Dave,” you know?
Dave: There’s a phrase in Chinese – the only phrase in Chinese I know, by the way – but it’s, “[foreign language 00:13:55].” I’m sure I said that really bad. All my Chinese listeners right now are mad they’re throwing food at the camera. I’m sorry, people. It means, “Who do you think you are,” roughly.
Jeff: Isn’t that the best?
Dave: And that people say that to their kids. I would never do that, but we get that ingrained, right?
Jeff: Yeah, “Who do you think you are?” It’s never, “Who do you think you are–” I wish we used that when somebody’s speaking ill of themselves.
Dave: Oh, that’s brilliant.
Jeff: Because it’s a neutral question. Who do you think you are? Do you not understand you’re a world leader, you’re a champion?
Dave: How did you change your way of relating to yourself? Did that make you a better entrepreneur, or was it all through the NLP training that you became aware of that?
Jeff: It’s funny, because I came from a lack of education, I have spent the rest of my life gathering an education. Even like where you and I are now, we’re spending our weekend learning more, doing more. I’m 56. I assume 25 years from now I’m going to be sitting in a room somewhere learning how to be more, contribute more, do more, give more, have more. It’s just a never ending process.
Dave: Part of learning, as an entrepreneur, is failure. What’s your biggest failure?
Jeff: The list goes on and on. In the dot com area, we raised $75 million in venture capital for one company, that we later sold for $10 million.
Jeff: A fairly spectacular torching of capital. Those aren’t the ones that bother me. What bothers me is when I’ve started projects, and gathered people around me, and said, “Follow me, I’ll take you to the top of the mountain,” and I get us half way to the top, and everybody’s killed on the side of the mountain. Friends, neighbors, relatives, people who bought into my ideas. One of the key things I’ve learned about being an entrepreneur is this new lean methodology, of minimum viable product validating your … I used to go out and raise all the money, and then we would find out if our concept was valid. It never is. There’s always, you’re going to have to pivot. Then you can never go back, and go, “Okay investors, let’s quit,” and you got a ring in your nose. Then you start the process of trying to pivot into success, while projecting confidence, while raising more money. This led to some spectacular failures. They were smaller, but devastating, where I damaged relationships. I have one good friend who lost money in a company of mine, and he goes, “Jeff, nobody has ever worked harder at losing my money than you.”
Dave: Still a good friend, I’m assuming.
Jeff: Yeah, and because he saw I put my heart and soul into it. Now, the real distinction, the thing that could have avoided all of that, is validate the concept before you get too much of other peoples’ money into the project.
Dave: Are you a fan of Patrick Vlaskovits?
Jeff: I don’t know the name.
Dave: He’s one of the big authors in the Lean Startup community. I figured you might have come across his stuff. Also a friend.
Jeff: I will now.
Dave: Yeah, I’ll send you phono of his book, and we’ll post that in the shout-outs, too, if this is the kind of thing you’re interested in.
I think that this new idea of crowd funding startups, and plus, just changes in the cloud. I look at what I’ve done with Bulletproof, Bulletproof Exec, and I used to, for a living, put together professional services engagements to make websites. I would design the architecture, like the full redundancy, all this stuff, at the company that really created modern cloud computing, called Exodus Communications. I would literally quote $1 million setup, and roughly $100,000 a month of operational stuff for what happens somewhere with Bulletproof. I can tell you I don’t know what state my content’s in, I don’t care. I’m not even on Amazon web services, and I’m like an original cloud, OG cloud gangster or something. It’s so cheap now that I also don’t know how much I spend on hosting, because it’s thousand dollars, or something. This is a substantial website, like very substantial. All of those things have gone into making lean startups, making rapid prototypes happen, but the funding side was still broken. Now we’ve got these basically crowd funding things. What’s your take on crowd funding? How do you use it? What do you think about it?
Jeff: Amazingly enough, I’m one of the world’s experts on crowd funding. Forbes did an article about me. I’ve done close to $2 million in crowd funding. I’ve done, now, a dozen successful crowd funding campaigns. When I say I’m one of the world’s experts, what I’m really going to say is I’m king of the midgets. There are no experts in this. This existed a couple years. It’s funny, I get called, I’ll get interviewed on crowd funding podcasts, and crowd funding shows, and I’ll be talking to the host. It’s like, he’s got some crowd funding site, and I go, “Man, this is great. What projects have you done?” And they’re like, “Well, I’ve consulted on it.” I go, “Well, which ones have you done?” “Well no, I’ve never actually crowd funded, myself.” It’s like all the guys out there coaching and doing these– Not all. Surely somebody else has. But there’s nobody who’s actually done crowd funding that’s teaching crowd funding. You know, there’s consultants, who consult on 200 crowd funding campaigns, and four succeed, and they’re taught those four. This, to me, is a staggering shift in access to capital for entrepreneurs. Crowd funding, you have the equity side, which is not my interest. It’s regulated, it’s …
Dave: It’s annoying.
Jeff: Yeah, it’s not the direction I want to go.
Dave: If you’re listening to this, and you’re not into crowd funding in business, what we’re talking about is a whole bunch of people each put in $20 to get something they really want, even if they don’t get it in a year. If enough people put the money in, then you build the thing.
Jeff: That’s really it. Gathering … This donor crowd funding is brilliant, and now you can validate your concept, you can test your language, you can find out if you should do this project at all. Then you can raise your initial money. I’ve got a crowd funding campaign, that as of this minute, I just set it, on just a small project on a film I’m going to re-edit for a specific group, we set it at $50,000. We went over $50,000 this morning. It’ll probably close at $75,000. I put this together in a day, and over 45 days added 75,000 to something that we’ll fund, and I’ll make money on once it’s finished. This is … I can’t imagine not having at least one crowd funding campaign going all the time.
Dave: It seems like you’re in an ideal space, because you’ve been an entrepreneur, you know all the pieces that go into building a company, and then you transitioned over to being a filmmaker. Crowd funding is about prophase for films, because they’re digital, because you might sell a lot more films after it’s done, but everyone who puts money in is getting a copy of the film. It’s a digital product.
Jeff: There’s other things I can do … The key to crowd funding– My business model on films, Jeff Hays’ films are tag-lined as movies that make movements. I don’t make a film because it’s a great story. The criteria is I want to make a profit, and I want to make an impact. Movies that make movements. That means I don’t make films that I want to make, I make films that other people want made. I give a voice to people who have no voice. This is key to the crowd funding. You don’t fund the project you want to do, you fund a project that there’s a crowd that wants done. If there’s no crowd, maybe you shouldn’t do the project. It’s a great place to find that out. If you approach it from that standpoint, there were a lot of people who wanted a Pebble watch. Their goal was $100,000 and they raised $10 million. Who knew? There were a lot of people that wanted an updated cooler, and suddenly $13 million of a cooler … Crowd funding something like this, and what it really allows you to do is sell your product before it exists. I can sell a film before I’ve shot one frame of film. The other thing I did with the movie Bought that I am just releasing, we did four crowd funding campaigns for one film.
Jeff: I know.
Dave: Four different ones at different stages?
Jeff: At, yeah, every stage. Nobody’s ever done it before. One of the founders of Indiegogo goes, “I didn’t know you could do four campaigns for one film.” But, because I’m one of the world’s experts on crowd funding … We’re redefining what this is. The thing about a film is at each stage, when I did the first campaign and raised a couple of hundred thousand dollars for this film, we hadn’t shot anything. Well, now with a few hundred thousand I can start filming, and I can start releasing. Now, I can run another campaign and say, “Look what we’ve got.” At each stage, I’ve got something to show. Sequencing these campaigns, nobody had done before, but literally, we went, instead of one campaign that did $200,000, we ended up raising close to $700,000.
Jeff: On four campaigns, which, the money was just there by going after it.
Dave: I’m now feeling like I probably have made some sub-optimal decisions at this point. My first documentary, Moldy, about environmental toxic mold, I just funded it myself. I’m like, “Okay, I’ve been fortunate. I’ve sold some coffee. I’m going to take the profits from the coffee, and I’m going to pour it into a problem that I know genetically affects 100 million people. My goal is to once a year make a movie about something that affects 100 million people that they have no idea about.”
Jeff: That’s a great idea. It’s a noble … Let me encourage you to not use your own–
Dave: I’m going to crowd fund the next one.
Jeff: Well yeah, because it’s not just the money. It’s like, once I finish the film Bought, now I have about 8,000 people that have joined me, that want to see this out there. When we now are going to offer the film, I already have several thousand affiliates that were built from the community that we built through crowd funding. We have … We’re not entering the market brand new. You entered the market with Moldy, nobody had heard of it. Again, it’s very noble that you’re doing this, but you did … Then, what you can do, what I like to do, is if you have money you’re willing to contribute to that, put it up as matching funds.
Dave: That’s a great idea.
Jeff: And you go, “Okay, I budget for this. It’s $200,000. For every dollar that comes in, I’ll match it dollar for dollar up to $100,000.” Your contribution–
Dave: Thank you. You made this interview way more valuable, going this way. Seriously, thank you.
Jeff: Yeah, and then there will be $100,000 next year, and it builds your group, it builds your community, and it allows people to participate in a noble cause. It’s like, “Okay, wait a minute. You’ve convinced me enough on the mold issue. I would like to participate. I don’t want to write a check for $100,000, but I’ll write a check for $100, and I’ll join you in this fight.”
Dave: Wow … You’ve really helped me. Thank you.
Jeff: My pleasure.
Dave: Tell me more about Bought.
Jeff: Bought … When I did the film Doctored, it was about the AMA, and how the AMA systematically tried to get rid of alternative medicine, especially chiropractic. This is not like web rumors and stuff, this actually, five chiropractors in 1974 sued the AMA in a David and Goliath story. It took 15 years, went to the Supreme Court, but the AMA was found guilty of conspiring to contain and eliminate the chiropractic definition. In the process of telling this story, we kept running across two issues that we didn’t know what to do with. That was GMOs and vaccines. People would be like, “Oh, you’re going to cover vaccines, aren’t you?” I’m like, “What’s the problem with vaccines?” It turns out a lot of chiropractors are anti-vaccine, and I’m like, “Why would you be anti-vaccine?” Then, the GMO issue. We tapped into these a little bit, enough to know there’s a lot of controversy in each one. On the GMO side, how do we make a film about health, and not cover food? We mentioned both of these, but this … Bought, we dug into big pharma, GMOs, and vaccine dangers. It’s funny, in this country, you can’t be … If you’d like to say, “I would like to see about making vaccines safer,” you can’t have that conversation. You’re either anti-vaccine, or you’re pro-vaccine.
Jeff: It’s an incredibly radioactive subject. We filmed at Harvard, we filmed at MIT, we filmed at University or Purdue, the University of Wales. The film opens with a woman who’s a neuropsychologist PhD talking about her vaccine-damaged child, who had, at six months, was damaged by the pertussis vaccine, brain encephalitis. The camera pulls back, and she’s sitting next to her now 20-year-old son wearing a seizure helmet and a diaper. She’s a neuropsychologist. She went through, and in 1986, Congress made it illegal to sue a vaccine manufacturer.
Dave: Yeah, what the hell?
Jeff: It’s funny, and it was with good intent. The vaccine manufacturers went to Congress and said, “Because vaccines are inherently and unavoidably unsafe, we’re getting out of the business unless you give us liability protection.” To stop them from leaving that business, we gave them blanket protection, and we set up what’s called vaccine court, but it’s the vaccine injury compensation system. It was designed to quickly get money to people whose child was damaged, because it’s going to happen.
Jeff: Vaccines are inherently and unavoidably unsafe. Once we did that, this weird bureaucratic bastardization happens, and suddenly the vaccine program becomes more important than the children that it was designed to protect. It takes like seven years to go through the vaccine injury compensation system, and the odds are two thirds against you that you will win. You’re suing the United States government.
Here’s this woman, she and her husband are both advanced degrees, have good incomes. They go through seven years of hell, with everybody and her doctor, on the day that it happened, go, “This is a vaccine injury.” Everybody agreed, and it still took seven years of fighting. The government found his autism and mental retardation were caused by vaccines. The film opens with a woman, where a lot of times they’re dismissed, “Oh, she’s just a mom. She doesn’t know what she’s talking about.” Here’s just a mom, who of course got divorced in the process of this, 95% lose their marriage. A neuropsychologist, educated, smart, intelligent, with a child who lost, she lost that life at six months, that now, at 20 years later, he’s in a seizure helmet and a diaper. It makes it very difficult to say, “No, this doesn’t happen.” When, especially when, the government said, “Yes,” and they paid her $8 million dollars over that child’s lifetime for an annuity to take care of him. But it was a bitter, horrible experience, and this is going on all the time.
Once you dig into it, and then we find that we’re being lied to about the safety and efficacy of vaccines, people have … This year’s flu, you know. The flu vaccine, the Cochrane Commission has reviewed it three times, and said they just don’t work. There’s no benefit. There is a downside. This year, the CDC came out and said, “Okay, we admit it. This year it doesn’t work.” But still get it.
Dave: You can still buy it at Walgreens.
Jeff: Even though it doesn’t work, please still get it. You really still need it. It’s time to have, the purpose of this film … I’m thinking about running a full page ad in the Wall Street Journal. I got to decide whether I have the guts to do that. I’ve done this three times in my career, where I run full page ads in the Wall Street Journal.
Dave: That’s like hundreds of thousands of dollars, right?
Jeff: Actually, we got them on a remnant rate. You can do it for less now, but it’s still quite … I ran one for Podfitness, a company that I had, and it said, “Dear Steve Jobs, thanks for the iPod. PS, wait til you see what we did with it. Call me.” And it had my cell number. The next day, Apple sued me over the name Pod. It cost me $1 million for that.
Dave: Thats ballsy, though.
Jeff: That’s my mentality, is find the biggest guy on the field, and go stick your finger on his eye. I want to run an ad in the Wall Street Journal, see if I have the courage to do it. It’ll say, the headline being, “Is it time to short Merck and Monsanto? Boughtmovie.com.” thinking. Because–
Dave: It’s brilliant marketing. Whether or not you do it, you have to do it.
Jeff: That’s what I think, too. We’ll see if I survive doing it. This film, we need to get it out there to start the conversation, to let people know. GMOs, it’s a contentious subject. The bill that failed in Washington State, there was $12 million that was spent fighting that bill. Of the $12 million, $500 came from inside Washington State. All but one contribution in the entire state. Everything else came from business interests outside of the state, that literally bought that vote.
Dave: So Bought’s about that, or is Bought about vaccines?
Jeff: Bought is about vaccines, GMOs, and big pharma. We have two big pharma whisle-blowers, both of whom, they’re cases have already been settled for billions of dollars. These guys went through hell. It turns out it’s the same culprit in Bought. It is the same people doing GMOs, vaccines, and big pharma. It’s the same shareholders, the same companies.
Dave: The most important thing that you said, and the thing about vaccines, is that … The script says, “More is better, and they’re all evil, and the middle is a wasteland.”
Jeff: You’re not even allowed to have that conversation. It’s like, “No, no, no. Which side are you on?” You’re like, “I’m on the side that would like to see these be safer.”
Dave: I’m on the side in the middle.
Jeff: I’m on the side that would like to see … We’ve never done a test of what happens to a kid that you give all of these to. We’ve never done the study that tracks people who’ve been vaccinated versus people who haven’t. The CDC said it would be immoral to do that study. I promise you, I can get a million people to volunteer their children for that study. They say vaccines are so important, we can’t do the study. We can even do it retroactively, and follow the kids that we know haven’t been vaccinated versus the kids–
Dave: The Amish.
Jeff: Yeah, so they don’t want to know the answer to this question, and that’s the part that … Most of the people, most of the indies that really dig into it become anti-vaccine. If I was headed back to Africa, I would struggle, “Do I get the yellow fever or not?” It’s a dangerous vaccine. Yellow fever isn’t dangerous. I literally– Even, as much as—in Solotrate people that I have an open mind on the– I don’t know what I would do.
Dave: I’m in the same boat. My wife’s a Karolinska trained physician, and she volunteered for Doctors Without Borders. When she got the round of vaccines required for Africa in med school, she got encephalitis. She couldn’t, she had to take a semester off, because her brain was gone from the vaccine.
Jeff: I’m telling you–
Dave: It caused autoimmune issues that she still has. She knows it happened. There’s no lawsuits. It’s in Sweden, they don’t sue anyone in Sweden. The thing is, to say that they’re all harmless, no. There is a benefit to some of them, and that’s where it gets really weird. If I went to Africa, I don’t know what I would do, either.
Jeff: This is when I– At the very beginning, I talked about experts. We want to know do they know what they’re talking about, and what are their motives? Most of these conversations on GMOs, and most of these conversations on vaccine are fueled by people with bad motives. That distorts the conversation. That’s the purpose of the independent documentary filmmaker, like me, is I weighed into these conversations with hopefully no agenda other than shining a light on. I usually end up with a bit of an agenda, but I don’t start with one.
Dave: You did something, it sounds like it’s in your personality, but you didn’t just pick one thing to go up and poke in the eye, but you picked GMOs and vaccines at the same time. The two-finger poke.
Jeff: That’s just it.
Dave: Aren’t you just going to get like sued, or killed, or something?
Jeff: I hope not. This is strategic, in that what I wanted to do for the vaccine group. The GMO people are scared to associate with the vaccine people. They believe it, and they … Jeffrey Smith is one of the big voices in anti-GMO.
Dave: He’s a friend, too.
Jeff: But he didn’t have the … I don’t want to say balls, I don’t want to say courage, I don’t want to … I’m frustrated with him, that when it came time, that because it will hurt his movement, he made the rational decision to not participate in this, because he can’t afford to be associated with the vaccine movement. It’s very frustrating, I need these guys to stand together. At the same time, you know, when I talk to him, I go, “I get it.” Literally, had be been associated to this, it could drop his funding and jeopardize his entire organization for his mission. But, these guys need to know, I want to knit them together, because they belong together, and they’re fighting the same villain. Whether that will be successful, I don’t know.
Dave: The big villain we’re talking about here, it’s funny. You’ve taken on other big regulatory bodies as well, and what we’re talking about here is when large organizations with an agenda put themselves in charge of your choices, we tend to run into this behavior. I’m not fully convinced that it’s always with negative intent.
Jeff: I agree.
Dave: I think there’s always, It’s an emergent behavior of lots of small decisions.
Jeff: Warner Erhard said, “All organizations eventually turn evil.” What he means evil is when the organization starts to serve itself, instead of serving the people that it was set up to help. The vaccine injury compensation system was set up to serve people who are injured. We started this, we set up the protection, liability protection, because it was in our best interest. There was no evil, you know, somebody twirling on their mustache. The same thing, farmers are trying to get better yields, and so Monsanto is trying to serve their customer, the farmer. Even a restaurant. If you and I opened a restaurant, we wouldn’t go, “I’ll tell you what. Let’s have okay food. We shouldn’t have great food, because people will eat too much.” We start down this trail in making our food as great as it can be, the next thing you know, there’s food scientists who have figured out how to manipulate the flavors, how to keep it in your mouth longer so it stays on your tongue, so you absorb more of the fat, or are happier and more satisfied with the meal, get hungrier, more salted. We do all this, it’s not out of evil. We want to have the best restaurant we can have, but we end up a long way from where we started.
Dave: Yeah? One of the things that motivated me to start Bulletproof, and I’m a tech entrepreneur, and I’ve been hacking my body for a very long time, so I have some background on this. It’s that every time I see food, and supplements, and everything else, there’s cost optimization, and then there’s basically flavor optimization.
Dave: Right? When you get to flavor optimization, you’ve created addictive stuff. When I see the slogan, “You can’t eat just one,” I’m like …
Jeff: It’s an instruction.
Dave: It’s drug!
Jeff: And it’s an instruction. “Look, I’m telling you, you can’t eat just one.”
Dave: It’s true. In fact, can’t is one of my four big weasel words. Any time one of the Bulletproof employees says can’t, I’m like, “Ah, weasel word!”
Jeff: That’s it.
Dave: My kids are trying to, if I say can’t, they, “Dad, you’re lying. You’re lying.” So, with you there, but as an instruction, and also just as an addictive kind of thing, you’ll make more money in a restaurant if you make addictive food. If you make food that satisfies you, so you’re like, “Wow, I just don’t want to eat anything else. I don’t even crave dessert.” You might make less money, unless you change other things about your model.
Jeff: It’s a bummer. I’m a capitalist, and as I watched the deformation of what happens to health when capitalism applies to it, it bums me out as a capitalist. Then, somebody pointed out, “This is not capitalism. This is Crony capitalism.” This is what’s happened, I’m actually making a film about this, called Feckless this year, that the CEO of Overstock asked me to do, and funding. When we watch how 80 years ago we transferred so much power to Washington that … Really starting about 80 years ago, then it made sense to have lobbyists in Washington protecting you. The more we move power from state and local governments to Washington, the more this has happened. Well, the democrats always wanted a big government to protect us from big business, but they never imagined what would happen when government became a subsidiary of big business, which is really what’s happened. This is a bipartisan issue. We’ve got to move power back to state and local governments, instead of, and away from what’s called regulatory capture, where these guys … They’re not in the market like you and I. We’re out there creating value, and attracting people, and building a brand, and carving out a niche. They’re skipping all that, and legislating it, and it happens in vaccines, where we make my product, I can’t be sued for it, and the law says your job has to take it, and the state pays me for it. That’s not what you and I are in.
Dave: There’s also the notion of harm reduction. When you put regulations in place that create a framework where you’re not allowed to admit that there’s a potential for harm, you can’t reduce it.
Dave: Right? I said can’t. But … At least, you can, but you’re breaking the law to reduce it. There are people who before they vaccinate their kids, they give them extra vitamin C, they give them other antioxidants that protect the liver and try and reduce inflammation, because they’re worried about it. Now, that’s a rational response, and maybe, if anyone ever bothered to test a protocol like that, you might find that it reduced adverse incidents. But if you deny adverse incidents–
Jeff: But there are no adverse incidents.
Jeff: So why would you do anything like that?
Dave: How do you make it better? This is what bothers me. Like, even another real contentious issue, are EMFs harmful? I’ve done enough research on this. Sometimes, yes. In fact, I have equipment in my house that improves the rate of healing using EMFs, and I know that if I can make it help, I can make it
Dave: It’s there.
Jeff: Yeah, I just bought a BEMER bed.
Dave: Oh, there you go, nice. You understand some of the EMF both benefits and risks. If we acknowledge this problem. We’ve got $40 billion in wireless equipment, well probably more than that out there now, if we acknowledge the problem, we could then change the protocols. I mean, I’m an engineer by background. We change the protocols, so that the ones that actually help people at least don’t harm them, but by denying risks, we become unscientific. Just saying, “Look, there’s risks and there’s benefits.” I dearly love having the ability to have a computer in my pocket, and I don’t really want to give that up, but if I had a computer in my pocket that made me grow new stem cells instead of cancer cells, that’d be kind of legit. I just want some scientific honesty across GMOs, across vaccines, across the EMFs, and all the other stuff that are flash points for people getting angry. Why would you get angry about that? It doesn’t make any sense. If you’re getting angry about that, you got to wonder, “What programming am I running, because it’s not thinking programming.”
Jeff: This is where people like you– I love the Bulletproof … This is where there are– It’s funny, when I worked with software developers, I encountered a group of logical people that were logical to a level I never encountered before. You see now, people are moving into executive levels, and CEO spots, that are coming out of the IT department, or coming out of programming. It’s because this logical thinking will save us. It needs voices like yours, and it needs a crowd, needs crowd funding, it needs … This is, it’s not just technology will save us. I’ll quote Dan Sullivan, what’s his deal is, “All improvement starts with truth.” Step one is to tell the truth. You get people that have a biased towards logic and intelligence, we can work our way out of this.
Dave: There’s also the flip side. I wrote a post a couple years ago. One side of like the health, the soft side of the healing profession. You get sort of the open heart, open mind, but you open your mind so much that your brain falls out.
Dave: That’s one side of things, called the land of the lotus-eaters, right? You go to the other far extreme of super hardcore skeptic rationalism, and you get to the point where you’re a robot.
Jeff: If it doesn’t fit in a test tube, it doesn’t exist.
Jeff: When you have to look at the … This making films on alternative health, I got … When you swing open the door to alternative health, there’s no telling who will come in.
Dave: This is one of the things.
Jeff: Yeah, this is one of the things we really have to … But it turns out, your thinking does affect your body directly.
Jeff: Electromagnetic fields do affect your body. There are frequencies and wavelengths that can … NASA uses them. It’ll add a stem cell standing on my BEMER– You know, it’s like, “Let’s just, this just really does” … This is where rational thought, and I have to apply it when I decide who do I allow to be in one of my films, because some of it is so … Maybe they’re right, but …
Dave: I’m sure some people on both extremes are right. I spend a lot of my own conscious energy on walking the line down the middle. I don’t want to fall into the land of robots, and I don’t want to fall into the land of the lotus-eaters, because there’s great value from people who spend their entire day in ashrams meditating, and they figure out something neat, and then it becomes translatable to a general population who isn’t going to live in an ashram. There’s also great value to hardcore scientists who are looking at quantum interactions, and saying, “Well, damn. I didn’t know that worked, but here’s a truth table, and it’s real.” If you deny either side of that, or you only live in one camp, it’s like you’re a republican or a democrat. Neither side is very accurate.
Jeff: My phrase is, “God bless the lunatic fringe.”
Jeff: Because that’s what creates this space in the middle to flourish.
Dave: That’s where progress seems to happen, is where you listen, but don’t always believe either side.
Jeff: Great point.
Dave: We’re nearing the end of the show, and there’s a question that I’ve asked every guest on the show. Given your path as an entrepreneur, as a crowd funder, just as a human being, the three pieces of advice you’d offer for people who want to perform better at whatever it is that they do. “If you want to kick more ass, do these three things.”
Jeff: First off, I’m an introvert, and by the end of the day, I don’t have any energy to talk to another human being, because I spend my day pretending to be an extrovert. It burns up energy. Literally, I’m not … But I … Number one is you shouldn’t be siloed. You’ve got to be out. Success comes from relationships, from other people, from … So often, we get so focused on our own projects that we forget to build relationships. Now, my Rolodex is my most valuable … Rolodex. My contact–
Dave: Rolo-what? Is that like an album?
Jeff: I know …
Dave: Well, let me tell you something, sonny. I get it.
Jeff: Yeah, my contact list … It’s not just contact list, it’s the relationships that I built. Number one, focus on relationships. Number two is a sub-point of that, is it’s not about what they can do for you, it’s about what you can do for them. What they can do for you will always work itself out, assuming you’re associating with the right kind of people. The third thing has nothing to do with productivity, but it’s always pay your withholding tax.
Dave: That’s great advice.
Jeff: I’m serious. When I go and look at a business, sometimes people will want me to invest in a business, or a business is in trouble, and I learned to ask the question, “So, have you paid your withholding?” And you see this sheepish look, and you find out there’s this $100,000 or $200,000 or $1 million withholding tax liability. The reason this is important, this is the one– You can go broke, and it’s okay. You can dust yourself off, and start over. That particular tax will pierce through to you, personally, and you can’t run away from it.
Dave: You can go to jail for that, too.
Jeff: You can go to jail over it. This is where, when people would … They’re a risk to take as an entrepreneur. Don’t take risk that can ruin your life. Don’t take risk. That’s really the point three, is know what your risks are, and don’t take stupid risks that can follow you and haunt you. When our business become so important, none of them are really worth that.
Dave: Amazing advice. Where can people find info about your latest film, your other films, where can they go?
Jeff: You can, jeffhaysfilms.com.
Dave: Spell that for everyone.
Jeff: It’s J-E-F-F H-A-Y-S. No E in Hays. Jeffhaysfilms – with an S – dot com. Then, individual movies you can link to from there. I got shortlisted for an Academy Award on On Native Soil, so I’m a legitimate documentarian. This is not a guy with a camera going, “Hey, I bet I could make a movie.”
Dave: Yeah, there’s a difference between real documentaries, and you sort of, “I’m on a mission, but I just got a camera.”
Jeff: Although, sometimes the people that are on a mission, have a camera, you end up going, “Dang, that’s good.”
Dave: That’s a fair point, that does happen.
Jeff: Yeah. I hate that, but it’s true.
Dave: Thanks for being on the show. We’re going to include all the links to Jeff’s movies. They’re worth watching. Doctored, On Native Soil, and your very latest one …
Dave: Bought. You’ve got FahrenHYPE 9/11 as well. This is a long history of these things, and we’ll post the links to jeffhaysfilms.com. If you enjoyed the show, I would really appreciate it if you would head on over to iTunes, and say you like it, and just share it with others. We’re just about at 11 million downloads, and I’m putting a ton of time and energy into this, because I think it’s helping a lot of people. If this helped you, whether as an entrepreneur, or as someone interested in all these cool things we just got to talk about, just head on over and let me know that it’s making a difference, because that keeps me motivated. Also, let other people know that you thought it was worth your time. It just takes a second to go to iTunes and click. Thank you.