Legends & Losers - Motivational & Inspirational Stories With an Edge

Legends & Losers - Motivational & Inspirational Stories With an Edge header image 1

099: How Villy Wang Uses Stories to Drive Social Change

Many people of color struggle to find where they belong and what resonates with them, because their races are rarely portrayed beyond stereotypes in the media. Who decides which stories get amplified? How do we make sure the voices of these people are seen and heard? How do we build a generation of creators, not just consumers? On this episode, we are joined by the founder of BAYCAT, Villy Wang, who shares on growing up in a world where she felt the story that represented her was omitted, how she found her voice and sense of belonging, and how she’s helping other people find theirs too.


Our stories weren’t lifted and they weren’t repeated with curiosity and with pride. -Villy Wang


  • At some stage of our life, each of us is “pre-disabled”, whether we’re a baby, injured, or pregnant. Making mobility easier for everyone will make the world a better place.
  • Education systems are now digital, and children who don’t have access to tech are left on the other side of the gap.
  • We’re in a new age of authenticity because we’ve been drowning in so much inauthenticity for so long.

At the start of the show, Villy shared on a project she’s currently working on. We also discussed her TED Talk, an event she shared in her speech, and her experience growing up in the melting pot of New York. Next we talked about racism in today’s world and how we can overcome it. We also discussed how monetization gets in the way of amplifying people’s stories and voices. Towards the end of the show, Villy shared why it’s so important to help people find their purpose.

We also spoke about:

  • Why we need to close the technological divide
  • What the absence of racism would look like
  • Why it’s so important to help children who face difficulties
  • How her mother inspired her

Everyone in this world wants to connect, belong, and feel like their story is important. When people’s stories get omitted, we rob the world of something necessary-- a rich, diverse truth of human existence. When nothing resonates with you, it’s hard to figure out where you belong. The gap that has been created by technology can either be inclusive or continuously divisive. If we fight for inclusiveness, we can enable the kind of justice and equality that will make the world a better place.

Guest Bio
Villy is the founder and CEO of BAYCAT, a nonprofit social enterprise that provides access, education and employment for low income youth, youth of color, and young women. Villy had a crazy dream: to create a new kind of social enterprise that helps kids who, like her, grew up in the projects. Raised by an immigrant single mother in New York City, Villy’s desire to tell her story forged a passion for using the digital media arts to capture stories untold and to create social change. That’s why she founded BAYCAT, leveraging her impressive 25-year background in education, arts programming, nonprofit business and law. Go to https://baycat.org/ to get involved.


098: Social Entrepreneurship: Tom Bagamane on Solving Big Problems like Poverty & Homelessness

What really causes poverty? Can achievement co-exist with social good? What are the best practices for social entrepreneurship? We turned to Tom Bagamane, founder of The Giving Spirit, for his perspective. Tom has built one of the largest all-volunteer organizations in the country, while also launching successful brands and building a socially-conscious consulting business. Here are the top 3 things we learned from Tom on homelessness, business and social entrepreneurship.

We call ourselves the greatest civilization in history, but we can’t even take care of our own people. - Tom Bagamane

Achievement & Social Good CAN Co-Exist

“I often tell my friends…I’m a capitalist by day, and a philanthropist by night.” Tom applied entrepreneurial approach to philanthropy to attack a very tough problem on multiple fronts. By providing for both immediate physical needs of the homeless, while giving opportunities to get back on their feet and into the workforce, Tom has proven that you can do extremely well in business while doing good for your community.

Caring is Good Business  

It’s easy to neglect our existing customers in the pursuit of new ones. By focusing on nurturing and retaining existing customers over acquiring new ones, we can create win-win scenarios for our customers and generate enduring loyalty. Ultimately, this strategy is less costly and more sustainable than the hamster wheel of high churn and high customer acquisition costs.

To Truly Do Good, Seek First to Understand

Taking care of the homeless is not as simple as giving them a home. Tom points out, “As we’ve found out over 18 years, these people have lost their ability to understand what it’s like to sleep on a bed….We train to the norms that we take for granted. So how do we solve this? We put a roof over their head, and then we teach other.” There are some incredible, almost unbelievable, examples of homeless being given a home and a bed, and workers coming back a week later to find them sleeping on the floor next to the bed. We cannot simply give and then turn a blind eye to the results of our giving. We must meet people where they are, seek to understand them, and work with them to truly improve their circumstances.

As more entrepreneurs enter the nonprofit world, there are both opportunities and pitfalls. Social entrepreneurship ideas can streamline operations and boost donations, but lasting impact demands more from us. We must constantly ask, “Are we really helping those we seek to help?” It takes a commitment to feedback and monitoring results, then making critical adjustments, to create sustainable change and lasting impact.

Guest Bio

Tom Bagamane, social entrepreneur, brand developer, philanthropist and educator, founded the Giving Spirit in 1999. Moved to action by the plight of the homeless and lack of effective relief efforts, Tom’s organization delivers acute and emergent survival systems to those in desperate need in Los Angeles. It has gone on to serve over 43,000 souls and become one of the largest all-volunteer organizations in the US. Tom is also the Managing Director of Profitable Good Consulting Group (PGCG), a strategic consulting firm focused on working with companies to impact and empower the communities they serve as an extension of their business strategy. To donate or find more information about The Giving Spirit, go to https://thegivingspirit.nationbuilder.com/donate

Download the latest episodes, subscribe and review Legends & Losers on iTunes. Then go out and #BeLegendary


097: Mark Divine on Thugs vs Warriors & Building a Sheepdog Mentality

Today’s business environment is a lot like the battlefield. It’s volatile, uncertain, complex, and it requires agility. What are the mindsets, disciplines, practices and actions that a warrior and business leader should have so they are able to dominate and be in control? Why is it so powerful to have the ability to control your arousal response and have a daily imperative to develop yourself? What is the next domain of leadership development? On this episode, Mark Divine is back to give us deep insights on the warrior discipline of physical, mental and emotional control.

A warrior is someone who took a great amount of time and energy to master themselves at a physical, mental, emotional and even at a spiritual level. -Mark Divine


  • Do box breathing for 20 minutes a day. 5 minutes will make an impact but 20 minutes will transform you.
  • If you’re not in physiological control of your body, you’re never going to be in psychological control of your mind.
  • Self-mastery is working to unlock your highest potential through warrior discipline.

At the start of the show, Mark talked about the different kinds of warriors we have in the world, and he gave a more clarified and rarified concept of the warrior. Next, he talked about why a warrior’s skills with weapons are secondary to self-mastery, and why the new structures of business and developments like the internet have made the landscape more like a battlefield. We also talked about the sheepdog mentality and why it’s so important, and the skills and practices you have to master in order to thrive on the battlefield. Towards the end, we talked about how Jeff Bezos has merged philanthropy with entrepreneurship and venture capitalism.

We also spoke about:

  • The ramifications of not being a category designer
  • Why not taking care of your body affects your brain
  • How to channel your anger into determination
  • How self mastery helps you overcome your biases and monkey mind
  • How to master your breath

Business leadership today looks a lot like warriorship. You have to have a refined mind to be mentally and emotionally in control in this environment. It’s about being able to lead effectively in in complex and dangerous situations, and ultimately it’s about mastery of the self, in service to something higher. The brain is the body, and if the body isn’t functioning properly, your thinking is going to be distorted, you’ll have trouble focusing on the right thing at the right time for the right reasons, which will get in the way of your dominating. The ladder of vertical development is what should matter to us. It’s when we can take active control of our life and development by mastering all the skills of the athlete, the leader, the scholar, the statesman and the monk through the practice of a daily discipline.

Guest Bio

Mark is the founder and CEO of SEALFIT, and a highly sought after speaker, coach, author who makes frequent media appearances to discuss Seal way of life. Go to https://sealfit.com/ for more information.


096: Dushka Zapata on Happiness vs Comfort

Small talk is easy for extroverts but difficult for introverts. What are some of the other big differences between these types of people, and where they get their energy? What misconceptions do we have about introverts? What is the difference between happiness and comfort? On this episode, Dushka Zapata shares on communicating, cohabitating and collaborating with introverts.

Labelling yourself doesn’t matter. What matters is understanding yourself and knowing yourself. -Dushka Zapata


  • A dead giveaway of an introvert is that they usually don’t pick up their phone, they want to text or want to get back to you once they are ready.
  • Introvert and shy are not the same thing.
  • Plugging into who you are is a door opener that allows you to put your best self out there.

At the start of the show, we talked about some of the misconceptions people have about introverts, and why it’s less about labels and more about understanding yourself. Next, we talk about the importance of networking in a way that plays to your strengths. We also discussed what might be causing the opioid epidemic and what it has to do with people not wanting to feel. Towards the end of the show Dushku shared tips for better communication and understanding between introverts and extroverts.

We also discussed:

  • The difference between preference and choice
  • How to come into contact with who you are
  • Why comfort is the death of us

Introverts and extroverts just differ on where they get their energy from. It doesn’t mean being one is better than the other. The key is just understanding what depletes you, because that allows you to present the best version of yourself to others. As you get to know yourself, and you pursue things that play to your strengths, and you begin connecting in ways that open up opportunities for you. Extroverts have to understand that it’s never personal when an introvert isn’t social, and introverts have to understand that extroverts get their energy from a different source. That doesn’t mean you can’t get out of your comfort zone once in awhile, though. Remember, to feel fulfilled you can’t feel comfortable too frequently.

Guest Bio
Dushka helps companies and people put into simple terms who they are, what they do, and where to go next. Her work comes to life through message development, presentation training, media training and personal brand development. It comes to life through executive coaching, workshops and public speaking. It comes to life through what she writes. Her first book is "How to be Ferociously Happy" and her second is titled "Amateur". Her third and newest book is "A Spectacular Catastrophe and other things I recommend". Find her work on https://www.quora.com/profile/Dushka-Zapata or buy her books here https://www.amazon.com/Dushka-Zapata/e/B01F2GZVYQ.


095: The Gifting Guru: John Ruhlin on Accelerating Relationships Through Gift Giving

Most leaders suck at showing gratitude and that their relationships matter. Why is gifting a new category of management practice? What are the biggest mistakes brands make when it comes to the gifts they give? Why is gift gifting a relationship accelerator? On this episode, we are joined by giftology guru John Ruhlin who shares why gifting is the secret weapon of relationship building.

Gifting has always mattered, if you go back 5000 years ago, Old Testament kings would give other kings gifts based upon the value of the relationship to deepen the partnership. -John Ruhlin


  • Personalize the gift, give it at an unexpected time, and don’t be cheap. Don’t spend money to have a negative impact.
  • Personalize the gift to the person you’re giving it to. Don’t make the gift all about you by putting your branding on it.
  • Reinvest 5% of your net into your relationships.


At the start of the show, we talked about the Defy Prison Program and why it’s such a powerful cause, next we talked about cars and hip hop music, and John learned what the LL in LL Cool J stands for. John then talked about why gifting is such a big thing right now, and why most leaders suck at giving gifts. We discussed why gifting should be a cherry on top, not a way to make up for bad business or service. Towards the end we talked about how much you should invest in your relationships and why gifts are emblems of relationship.

We also spoke about:

  • Why relationships are the most important asset
  • How giftology accelerates relationships
  • How gifting inspires referrals
  • How to give a gift to a prospect and pre-buying attention

There’s a reason why giftology goes back to kings and prominent men in the Old Testament. It is a powerful way to show people that they matter to you. Most people have their gift giving strategy all wrong, they don’t personalize their gifts and they try to do it to get an instant referral. If you give a gift just because, you’ll inspire a referral you won’t even have to ask for. View relationships as assets, approach gifting like a 5 year marathon and be willing to invest in people. When you give someone a gift, it becomes an emblem of your relationship. A great gift is a silent trigger that will make an impact everytime they see it.    

Guest Bio

John is the founder of The Ruhlin Group, a gift strategy and logistics company. They help their clients send world class gifts to Cut Through the Noise, Increase Referrals, and Strengthen Retention with their most important clients, employees, and prospects. Go to http://ruhlingroup.com/ for more information.


094: Daring to be Diverse: The Power of Parity in the Boardroom w/Coco Brown

The majority of men on public company boards don’t believe that diversity actually makes a difference to the bottom line. What is the fight like for the people who are at the forefront of changing this paradigm? Why should companies want different perspectives around the boardroom table? What is cognitive diversity and relational diversity, and the other various layers of diversity we need in the world? On this episode, Coco Brown, the founder and CEO of Athena Alliance talks about creating parity in the boardroom.  

If you’ve always played the game the way you’ve played it and you don’t think about the new way to play it, you miss out on a lot. -Coco Brown


  • For the most part companies recruit for qualifications and not character.
  • Why women opt-out of the corporate world: they presume they won’t be supported because they are an underrepresented group.
  • It’s necessary to get the men speaking about diversity because men listen to men.

At the start of the show, Coco talked about the origins of Athena Alliance, and why the majority of public company boards don’t have diversity. Next we talked about the danger of getting hung up on what we think men and women can or can’t do. We also spoke about why digital companies are so different, and why we need to have more men speaking about diversity.

We also spoke about:

  • The value of varying perspectives and life experiences
  • Layers of diversity
  • Diversity and meritocracy
  • Why women opt-out of the business world
  • The most common male biases and how to get rid of them

Across the board, people in the world are still not equal, and the challenge in the context of business is that women and minorities don’t have the equal opportunity to change the dynamic, and change the way things work. This is a very sensitive time for minorities because they’re tired of not having opportunities, and that’s why diversity is such a necessary conversation right now. Boards are the stewards of the long-term success of the company, and they have to design healthy companies at all levels. Varying perspectives, from varying backgrounds are valuable and important to the health of our business landscape.  

Guest Bio

Coco is the founder and CEO of The Athena Alliance, an organization dedicated to advancing diversity in the boardroom with a robust membership and match delivery model anchored in her deep connection to community building, executive consulting, and professional services. Go to https://athenaalliance.org/ for more information.


093: The Power of Movement w/Manny Camara, the Category King of Mixed Method Recovery

We’re in a whole new era of the way companies think about their employees, and the prioritization of wellness and wellbeing is the cornerstone of that conversation. Why is it so important to create a process where individuals can feel successful within the organization that they are part of? How do we slowly kill our bodies when we don’t do any kind of movement? How do we cultivate fulfillment from within? On this episode, we talk to Manny Camara and Keiichiro Yoshida who are making great strides in evangelizing the wellness and wellbeing movement in Silicon Valley.

If I’m going to expect someone to do their exercises and to work on their health, I have to be willing to do that for myself. -Manny Camara


  • Movement is at an all-time low because we don’t have to function so much due to automation doing a lot of the work for us.
  • We live in an age where there’s mixed generational workforces and mixed idealisms.
  • Movement is the core of our body’s ability to function, it’s a baseline of how our skeletal system is moving.

At the start of the show, we learned how Manny got started, and we talked about the lessons we’ve learned growing up as children of first-generation immigrants. Next, we talked about why wellness is such a big topic right now, and why it’s so important to evangelize it. We also talked about why it’s so necessary for our bodies to move, and why wellness is so important from a preventative and behavioral angle.

We also spoke about:

  • The difference between generations in the work force
  • How to cultivate fulfillment from within
  • The Mixed Method Recovery System

For companies to keep their people they have to have several elements. They need a healthy culture, a place where employees find their interactions purposeful and meaningful. They need to create a place where their ideas are relished not threatened, and where they can be the performance engine in the organization. Mind, body and spirit work together. If you’re missing one then there’s something missing in terms of your overall output, your overall performance and your overall connection to the organization you’re serving. That’s why it’s so vitally important that wellness and wellbeing is a core feature and function of what we’re doing. When we can tap into what makes us healthy and what makes us feel fulfilled, we can spread that charisma around and make work better .  

Guest Bio

Manny is the founder, of Myo Technology and the Author of Mixed Method Recovery System™. Go to http://www.myotechnology.com/ for more information.


092: Kim Scott on Radical Candor, Results & How Good Praise Challenges Us to Do Better Work

What’s it like to pitch the founders of Google? How does it feel when Sheryl Sandberg informs you that you sound stupid? What does it mean to be radically candid? Here are the three things we learned from Kim Scott on using radical candor to raise performance, lead our teams more effectively, and set high standards.

"Radical candor gets measured not at your mouth, but at the other person’s ear." - Kim Scott

3 Things We Learned:

Radical candor can change the course of your life.

Sheryl Sandberg’s intervention set Kim on a new course, hiring a speech coach and even laying the foundation for what she now travels all over the world speaking, writing and training on - radical candor. If Sheryl hadn’t intervened, Kim probably would never have realized how she was showing up in pitches or public speaking, and her career and business would have been limited as a result. Radical candor means truly doing and saying what’s best for the person, not just keeping the peace.

People in larger organizations exaggerate risk.

People are often more concerned with their reputation than results. When you start to show up with radical candor, 9 out of 10 times the response will be positive. But that 10th time you might get a negative response. People in big companies often overreact out of fear of the downside and forget about the upside of radical candor. Follow the example of companies like Apple and Google. Worry about your reputation less, and focus more on leading people to deliver results.

Good praise challenges us to do better.

Praise is much more than a way to show we care personally. Good praise challenges us to do good work, shows others what success looks like and encourages us to come up to that level. On the flip side, criticism is also unfairly associated with direct challenge, without the element of care. That’s why the Shit Sandwich doesn’t work, it only results in bad praise and bad criticism. Radical candor means helping people raise their performance, setting the bar higher and encouraging them to meet that higher standard.

Radical candor takes emotional discipline. Most people who start to show up with radical candor in their business conversations find themselves backing down when the other person gets upset. But is that what’s best for them, and especially our team, who are accountable to deliver results? Rather than backing down from the challenge, it’s time to step up on the personal caring dimension. Emphasize that your criticism is for a purpose - to challenge them to a higher standard, and support them to meet that standard.

Guest Bio

Kim Scott is the author of the NYT & WSJ bestseller Radical Candor: Be a Kickass Boss without Losing your Humanity. Kim led AdSense, YouTube, and Doubleclick Online Sales and Operations at Google and then joined Apple to develop and teach a leadership seminar. Kim has been a CEO coach at Dropbox, Qualtrics, Twitter, and several other tech companies.

Previously, Kim was the co-founder and CEO of Juice Software, a collaboration start-up, and led business development at Delta Three and Capital Thinking. Earlier in her career, she worked as a senior policy advisor at the FCC, managed a pediatric clinic in Kosovo, started a diamond cutting factory in Moscow, and was an analyst on the Soviet Companies Fund and has written three novels. Lean more at radicalcandor.com, and follow Kim on Twitter @kimballscott.


091: Hal Elrod on Overcoming Cancer, the 5 Minute Rule, & Achieving Level 10 Success

You’ve already survived a horrific car accident that literally stopped your heart for 6 minutes. You broke 11 bones. Doctors said you’d never walk again. Not only did you walk again, you ran a 52-mile ultra-marathon. Flash forward, and you’ve just been diagnosed with a very rare, very aggressive form of leukemia. How do you handle that moment of truth?  Here are three things we learned from the irrepressible Hal Elrod, international keynote speaker and #1 best-selling author of The Miracle Morning, on personal development, achievement and overcoming incredible adversity.

When I was diagnosed, I called my wife first. That was a hard call to make. Hal Elrod

3 Things We Learned 

Follow the 5 Minute Rule for Negativity

When Hal was diagnosed, he recalled the advice of a mentor. Allow yourself 5 minutes to be upset, then let go and move on. Hal decided, “I’m going to be the happiest, most grateful person I could be, as I go through cancer, versus feeling sorry for myself or letting fear run my life.”

In Times of Adversity, Get Outside Perspective

When things start to spiral downward, it’s easy to feel out of control and decide that we’ve failed. Depression can even turn our minds off to creative solutions. In those times, it’s critical to gain perspective from people who can see what we can’t. Hal recalled going through the economic crash, where he turned to Jon Berghoff for perspective. Jon brought it with one powerful question, ‘Are you exercising every day? If you’re not putting yourself in peak physical, mental and emotional state through exercise every day, you’re not going to think better thoughts that will move you forward.’ Hal revealed, “The Miracle Morning really started with Jon telling me to go for a run in the morning.”

To Achieve More, BECOME More

We all want “Level 10” success, but are we willing to develop ourselves to reach that level? On Hal’s very first run, he heard the Jim Rohn quote that would change his life, “Your level of success will rarely exceed your level of personal development.” We think the key to achieving more is doing more. But it’s really about becoming more. Hal explained, “When you become more, you have the ability to achieve more with less effort...I realized I have to dedicate time to my level of personal development every day, so I become a Level 10 person.”

The way you start your day sets the tone for the day you create, and ultimately the life you create. If you look at the average person, most people go through their days undisciplined, unfocused and not living the life of their dreams. If you have a focused, growth-oriented and goal-oriented morning, you’re becoming a growth-oriented, goal-oriented person, who can apply that to every level of your life.

Guest Bio

Hal Elrod is on a mission to elevate the consciousness of humanity, one morning at a time. As one of the highest rated keynote speakers in the world, creator of one of the fastest growing and most engaged online communities in existence and author of one of the bestselling books on Amazon, The Miracle Morning—which has been translated into 27 languages, has over 2,000 five-star Amazon reviews and is practiced daily by over 500,000 people in 70+ countries—he is doing exactly that.

Hal actually died at age 20. Hit head-on by a drunk driver at 70 miles per hour, his heart stopped for 6 minutes, he broke 11 bones and was told by doctors that he would never walk again. Not only did Hal walk, he went on to run a 52-mile ultramarathon. Then, in November of 2016, Hal nearly died again—his kidneys, lungs, and heart of the verge of failing, which led to his being diagnosed with a very rare, very aggressive form of leukemia.

After enduring the most difficult year of his life, Hal is now cancer-free and furthering his mission as the Executive Producer of The Miracle Morning MOVIE—a documentary featuring Lewis Howes, Brendon Burchard, Mel Robbins, Robin Sharma, Robert Kiyosaki, Vishen Lakhiani, Laila Ali, James Altucher, Pat Flynn, John Lee Dumas, Marci Schimoff, Dr. John Gray, Joe Polish, and more.

Learn more at http://halelrod.com/.


090: Matt Straz on Supporting NYC After 9/11, Building Beautiful Software & Differentiating on Experience

The best innovators are the people who are experiencing a problem. What’s the connection between legendary founders and passion? What is the difference between finding investors on the East and West Coast? After cash flow, what is the next thing companies have to care about? Here are the three top things we learned from Matt Straz of Namely.

The only person in the company that’s expected or hopes to scale infinitely is the founder. -Matt Straz

3 Things We Learned  

There’s a correlation between legendary founders and inexperience

When you unpack legendary innovators and entrepreneurs, they are the people experiencing the problem. Passion around the problem is the real thing that makes them unstoppable, not experience in the space. The entrepreneur that has the pain and the insight, is capable of way more than someone who knows all about the space.

At a certain point, people and talent start to get more important than financials.

When a company has between 10 and 50 employees, cashflow is king. Your finance system is your major and primary system of record because you have to stay in business. Once you get over a certain size, it’s actually the talent that will decide how much bigger you will grow.

Without the ability to measure the data, and evaluate performance you can’t be sure you have the best talent.

In every company, almost everyone is supposed to get on and off at a different point

The people you work with can only scale to a certain amount, so it’s normal for people to get on and off the bus because they are more tuned to one stage than the other. The only problem with people is that getting off the bus makes them angry, but we should accept that businesses go through stages. If we are all self-actualized we won’t take offense, because we are clear on our strengths and weaknesses.  

What makes the most impact is having passion around a problem and finding its solution. The entrepreneur that has the pain and the insight will go further than someone who knows everything about industry. The world needs more entrepreneurs who bring a new energy, and this expands our world, because if there are no entrepreneurs there’s no economic or innovation growth. We should be self-actualized enough to know what our strengths and weaknesses are and know that the people who get a company off the ground won’t usually be the same people to scale it. Remember that leaders are evaluated by the talent around them.

Guest Bio

Matt Straz is the founder and CEO of Namely, the HR and payroll platform for the world's most exciting companies. Go to http://www.namely.com/ for more information and find him on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/mattstraz/.