Missions and Marketplace Podcast
Interview with Matt Tran
Hello Everyone! I’m Priest Willis and this is Missions and Marketplace podcast episode number 29. I’m joined today by Matt Tran. Matt is an up and coming YouTube sensation. He has a100,000 YouTube subscribers that come to his channel weekly to get career advice and goals and to just listen to other professionals that he puts on to talk about what they currently do to help guide other people into their career choices. He originally started off with his Mechanical Engineer Bachelor’s Degree and got three Mechanical Engineer jobs. All 3 in which he was fired from. Then he decided to switch his focus over to the YouTube channel which has since blown up. As we speak, he’s currently in developer Bootcamp which he covers too. So, we talk a lot about career advice and goals and “should you be in college and if not, why?”. We also talk about “Is being a developer something for you and if it is, what are some things you should be looking at”. And also, we talk about Ballroom Hope. You heard me talk to other guests about Ballroom Hope, MLM as people know it. This idea that you can get rich and become a millionaire and everybody wants to be an internet sensation. That just doesn’t look as good as it sounds but people should be going after it slow, and going after it smartly. Without further ado, here is my man Matt Tran.
Welcome to Missions and Marketplace podcast. Join us as we talk to business and thought leaders to discuss their passion in and outside of business and how it drives them to give and be citizens of goodwill. Let’s get started.
PW: Hey Matt, welcome to the program.
MT: Priest, thanks for having me. I’m happy to be on.
PW: Yeah I’m excited to have you. You and I had a chance to talk on your YouTube video Engineered Truth and I was excited to be on there. So, happy to have you on the podcast. Why don’t you tell the audience a little bit about yourself?
MT: I actually graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. I worked three mechanical engineering jobs and actually hated all three of them and also I got fired from all three of them. So, I made a switch to YouTube fulltime about one or two years ago. And now my Channel Engineered Truth currently has 90,000 subscribers, soon to have 100000 subscribers. It also led to a lot of career opportunities. I ran social media for a publisher called Uproxx.com and I also run the social media page for a big YouTube channel called BroScienceLife. And also, led me to my current opportunity. I’m actually in a Coding Bootcamp right now called DevMountain.
PW: Wow that’s really cool. So, we’re going to talk about the coding boot camp later on here but just as you were talking about you picking up these engineering jobs after school and getting fired from them. It doesn’t seem like a natural progression when someone gets fired to just switch over to YouTube. A lot of people tend to just find another job. What made you rollover to YouTube? What was the genesis of you saying “you know what, I’m going to take this whole show online, on video”?
MT: I thought about the life that YouTube can give me. The reason I got fired is because I was late – I was always late. And I thought I wasn’t good enough. I couldn’t fit in. It sucks to be 23 and get fired from three of your engineering jobs, its emotionally hard. I felt very unsuccessful at that time but I thought I’m going to do this YouTube thing coz it seems to fit my personality more. And you got to think about how crazy everyone thought I was at that time. I think I only had about 4000 YouTube subscribers, I think I was only making about $250 a month for my YouTube channel and I’m like “yeah, I want to do YouTube full time”. It was more like I was tired of interviewing for jobs, I was tired of having to work for someone to get paid – getting someone to say yes to get paid. I want to make my own money. A lot of people would think mechanical engineering is more stable than YouTube, right? That’s common sense. I would say it’s actually the opposite. My YouTube channel has always been there earning me money despite getting fired or not, despite having a bad day or not, it doesn’t matter. My YouTube channel has been there for me since I first created it in 2012 and it’s mine. It has consistently made me money since 2012 whereas engineering, one person cannot like you and you stop making all your money. I would say YouTube has been much more stable in my life in terms of income than engineering. And also with engineering, your skills are so specific. If that industry goes down, you’re going to go down with it. One example being the petroleum industry. Right now, in the US its tanking super hard and a lot of these petroleum engineering companies have cut about 25% of their workforce.
PW: Wow. Wow that’s big. I can only imagine especially petroleum, at some point it’s going to go down further but I think that your name Engineered Truth for your YouTube channel has a really creative name because you’re engineer by trade, you went to school for engineering but yet you have a truth to it. Meaning that it’s based in talking about the disconnect between real world and college. But let’s talk about the channel itself. So, you reach out to professionals and your goal is to share what with your audience? And how is that set up?
MT: The reason why I feel so passionate about my channel because in school people ask me all the time “why did you study mechanical engineering if you didn’t even like it?” Well, school was different from working as a mechanical engineer. Mechanical engineering school was fun. I got to do projects that I want to work on, I was challenged every day, I was learning properties of materials, how do you do the calculations. And then when I started working, it was just paper work. 80% of my jobs was just paper work. The most advanced thing I did in my job was program in excel – Microsoft Excel was the most advanced thing. And the reason to program in excel is so I didn’t have to do the boring work. Coz I wanted that my programs, my macros and visual basic to do my job for me. Coz it’s so boring.
MT: That was the most technically challenging part of my job. If I had known that, I wouldn’t have studied mechanical engineering. So, since I wasted about three years of my life studying mechanical engineering, I don’t want anyone else to waste their time either. So, that’s why I want to make sure that people are choosing the career that they think they’re choosing and not their unrealistic idea of what their career is like. I feel like I’m saving people’s time and that makes me feel good.
PW: And what has been the feedback? I’ve listened to your video, I’ve been on the video, YouTube video that is. It sounds like there’s really good feedback from people that you’ve really given them a peek inside digital marketing, physician assistant, that’s all the recent videos you have. But what had been the feedback from the people that have watched your videos?
MT: Overwhelmingly positive. You always get those people who have this idea of a career of an engineer or a physician assistant and when they’re presented the reality, they’re like “no that’s not what it is”. I have an expert who does the job, I guess, on my channel telling it like it is. But for the most part people really appreciate the fact that I’m helping them as best as I can to basically make one of the most important decisions of their life. So, over all, positive but just like any other YouTube channel, I get plenty of haters.
PW: It’s really cool because you started the YouTube video before you really got into the swing or got your engineering degree. Your video was already going and then you were fired from these three jobs, you decided to believe in yourself. You ramped up the videos, you almost have a hundred thousand subscribers, you’ve talked to multiple professionals in multiple fields including myself and you’re really giving those. Especially I would say your largest audience is millennials, correct?
MT: Oh, absolutely.
PW: So, you’re giving millennials a peek into different careers before they graduate which is something that frankly I didn’t have somebody giving me the real of what a job is versus college telling you what they think the job is which is never the case right? That’s why you have a lot of people with degrees to this day that I don’t even know what the percentage is, you probably know it better than me but whatever they graduated with, they’re probably not working in that field because at the end of the day they thought that job sucked and they wanted to move to something that they felt was their real passion or their calling. You’re kind of showing that up front in your videos so I think that’s really cool that you’re doing that.
MT: Yeah. and I think I would say it’s actually more common for people to not use their degree than to actually use it. Most people I meet eventually leave their field or field that they studied in college. I’m especially concerned that most degrees in college are not practical like more than half of them aren’t. Everything in liberal studies almost. Basically, everything except for particular types of engineering and maybe business and medical related, right? But then there’s like 50 degrees out there that are pointless and I always feel like if you’re saving other people’s times, you’re adding value, you’re adding significant value.
PW: So, is college – and you graduated more recent within the past seven years you’ve been out of college, you’re at least in the past decade – is it just an antiquated mode? Are they just teaching people to work for other people and not even to do the job correctly, or what is college from your perception? Let’s talk in terms of outside medical because obviously if you’re a brain surgeon, you’re going to need some of that experience. We’re talking about the guy who is taking up, there is no strong digital marketing degree for example which is what I’m involved in. How much of college is antiquated bottle for people that want to get into goals like that and become developers and all that other stuff?
MT: College has pretty much been useless. I would say, even something that’s a really good degree like computer science. When you get a Computer Science Bachelor’s, you take all these classes that are not relevant. Pretty much irrelevant to what you’d be doing or just outdated. You’re learning outdated code. You’re learning theory that doesn’t really matter, you’re likely never going to use. Why not instead teach us the practical first and then later on you can learn the theory behind it? But you know learn the practical so you can make money. The practical is what makes you money. Whereas when you take these computer science degrees you’re going to be learning really high level math, high level algorithms that are not likely used. So, something even practical like computer science is outdated. So, I would say college evolve way too slow. It’s evolving way too slow. It’s not evolving at all. It’s stagnant, whereas the global economy is changing very rapidly and that’s where you see the need for these boot camps whether it’s coding boot camp, UX/UI design boot camp. I mean there’s like all sorts of boot camps. There might be an investment making boot camp but there’s data science boot camps. You see all these boot camps come out, because, well why? Because college is not adequately filling the demand for those industries so people have been capitalizing on these boot camps. These founders of the boot camp, some of them are making a lot of money from the opportunity because college is lacking. So, college in itself has not updated. Even my mechanical engineering degree, the curriculum I was learning was about 20 years old which is way too old. And that’s like the most updated right. Some of the things I’ve been learning in my Mechanical Engineering degree were about 50 or 40 years old. I mean, how is that going to prepare me for the job market today? It’s not realistic. And so most people who are going to go to college now are usually just wasting their time and a significant amount of their money too.
PW: And just to be honest, if people are looking for… So, we’re going to get into this but Matt is currently at a code camp that he kind of alluded to earlier and we’re going to talk about this. But this is like a very intense training, literally. Where he’s living on the grounds and waking up and breathing everything about coding. Essentially, you can become freelancers. People from Google and areas in Silicon Valley and all over the U.S. and outside of the U.S. for that matter is looking for qualified people that they look past the college degree which has leveled the playing ground. So, college has essentially become college you. Literally you investing in yourself. There’s some opportunities and I’m going to have Matt talk about this. There are some opportunities where you can develop, go on to websites and learn how to code for free maybe elementary to somewhat advanced. But this coding boot camp gets more intense and more involved. So, Matt let’s talk about that since you are in coding boot camp a little bit. I’m somebody listening you just told me that college, especially if I want to become a developer, probably doesn’t make sense for me because they give me out of date languages and all these other things. How can someone like myself who wants to become a developer? What are some steps that you took both from the free side all the way to paying? 10 plus thousand dollars, $15000 to get in the code camp? What can I do to become a developer?
MT: Yeah I think it’s a really tough question because initially before I attended the boot camp I am a big proponent of being self-taught. I self-taught myself everything with YouTube. You know how to make videos, how to edit videos, even how to run a social media page or even how to do public speaking. I taught myself everything. So, coming into wanting to be a developer, it was very similar to my coming into the way of being a YouTuber. I saw the lifestyle that a lot developers had. You just mentioned the freelance lifestyle. That’s really what appeals to me. I want to be in Singapore making money. I want to be in the Philippines making money. I want to be anywhere in the world making money remotely. I mean that’s the dream that a lot of people in my generation have. So, what are the steps that I need to do to get that lifestyle? I need to choose an industry that will let me do that which is developer. Mechanical engineering would have never given me the opportunity. So, I’m on the free side, freecodecamp.com is the best resource for learning front end web development which basically means how to create the front page of a website. What front end lacks is back end which is any information that you need to store on the websites like if you had to give your username and your account name and your credit card information. Anything that needs to be stored on the website that’s back end. So, in terms of frontend, freecodecamp.com is a really good place to start. Now being a YouTuber of being a podcaster or anything, it’s pretty easy to keep teaching yourself based on the feedback that you get from your audience. When it comes to coding, I realize that there are some things that are just so technical that I would have never figured them out on my own. Some of the things I’ve learned at my boot camp, I’m at DevMountain right now – I’ve been here for two weeks, about to start my third week – and I’ve got to say there are some things even Google wouldn’t have answered for me. And even if I did google it the technical jargon that some of these answers are written in, I would not be able to understand. So, to have someone to explain it to be in English has immense value. So pretty much what I recommend is take freecodecamp.com until you get up until the advance algorithms and events projects. You don’t need to do that the advanced projects or advanced algorithms, but you do need to do the intermediate projects and the intermediate algorithm problems then you’re ready for boot camp. If you want to take it a step further, that’s the time to take it to boot camp. Boot camp, I highly recommend not to go in cold because you’re doing the boot camp to learn the advanced. The basic stuff is basic you can teach it yourself. It’s like trying to go to the most elite weightlifting gym when you just started weightlifting. Don’t do it.
MT: If you’re barely learning how to squat for the first time, learn from YouTube videos. But if you’re trying to perfect your squat because you’re about to go in competition, yeah go to the best powerlifting gym you can go to. Coding’s the same way. If you’re just teaching yourself the basics, do you want to pay $10000 just to write a basic function that can multiply by two? No! You want to take a boot camp to learn that stuff that is difficult to learn on your own.
PW: That’s really good advice. So how long do you think if I went to freecodecamp.com, I learned some of the very basic elementary stuff coding because I know nothing. So, I’m going code for free of course. And then I picked it up where I’m comfortable. And then all of a sudden I go to code camp. Do you think that I can come out of code camp and I would literally be able to now launch myself out there as a developer? Or would you suggest going on somewhere like Upwork and just taking more jobs to kind of get some stuff under your wings before you start trying to take on big companies and big project?
MT: One thing I’d like to add, freecodecamp doesn’t have that much theory on it. So, then there’s websites like TeamTreehouse or Code School that I would recommend for theory. I do not recommend Codecademy. I think their website is going down the hole. So, if you need to get supplemental theory, you know go to TeamTreehouse or code school anyhow. Back to the main question, are people going to be ready for a job? I think in all honestly, most boot camps for the bottom 50 percent and I’m talking about my kind of boot camp which is like the generic boot camp. If you go to a really elite boot camp they probably get all 10 other students ready. That’s because they only take 10 students. My boot camp where they’re not picky with what they take- my class is 25. Honestly, I would say the bottom 50 percent will still have to work on their code a little bit before they can get a normal job.
PW: Got it.
MT: The top five though, I can see myself in the top five, we’re going to get jobs very easily 100 percent. We just had our first assessment yesterday actually and I finished the test in less than an hour whereas some people never got to finish the tests.
MT: Yeah and I would say most of the class took about three hours to finish the test and I would say the top five people that were really strong, we finished we finished it without even without even trying really. So, the skill gap is insane. When you go to these boot camps, the skill gap is even bigger than anything I’ve ever seen in college. You have people who are definitely going to be job already – 100 percent job ready. And you have people, most people, who are not going to be job ready. But in terms of getting work, I would say it’s easier to get a local job at some smaller company whether it’s a startup or small business and be their developer than it is to get jobs on Upwork just because when someone hires you on Upwork, they want you to get the job done. Boom. They give you money. They pay you. You know how to do it. They’re not going to train you. It’s not a job where you say “hey, we’re going to train you as you go on”. Whereas, a small company might be paying you like $20 an hour a $25 an hour to start. But then they’re going to work with you. They’re investing in you; they’re going to train you. So, a smaller company would be a better place. Now for me, I think I’m going to be Upwork ready pretty much as soon as I graduate at the current rate that I’m going at.
PW: That’s really good stuff. And again, very inspiring for me. I talked to Matt off line and I even told him it’s something that I want to get into, I want to do some development myself. So, what are some languages Matt that again, somebody says “look I want to be a developer. I want to get into freelance. And right now, I am doing X but I really want to turn my life around.” We know the websites that they can go to kind of jump into it. We understand about code camp getting more immersed in coding and so forth and so on. What are some of the languages that you would say “hey these are some that you should tackle because this is what the real world is looking for, this is what the Apples of the world and other companies are looking for”? What would that be?
PW: Really good stuff. We talked about the YouTube video, we talked about you stretching yourself a little bit here in becoming a developer and wanting to do freelance stuff, but you’re involved in other businesses as well, right? So, if I remember correctly there was a coffee business that you started, like a gummy coffee business. Did you want to talk about those businesses a bit?
MT: Oh, yeah. OK. Well I wouldn’t say it’s a business I started it’s actually a pretty important experience for me. I interviewed for a startup in San Francisco called Nootrobox and one of their products is Go Cubes which is chewable coffee. And I auditioned for them. It’s like a two-day interview. And I was really interested in working for that company because all their co-founders graduated from Stanford. So, they’re like elite people and their company was blowing up. I mean just from basically from go cubes. They went from making zero money to being multimillion. They’re making a couple million dollars off Go Cubes, off selling those chewable coffees in just one year is really impressive. Yeah. You know we always hear stories about how these startup companies work 12 hour days, at least 10 hour days. And I kind of believe, I don’t really believe because I was like “How are you going to work for you know 12 hours a day? You know your brain doesn’t work like that, right?”
MT: I was wrong. So, when I did audition for them or interviewed for them, they actually did work about 10 to 12 hours per day and they’re actually usually work a half day on Sunday too which is about six hours. They easily work. I mean they laugh at a 40 to 50-hour workweek. They’re at the 60 to 70-hour workweek. Easily.
MT: Yeah they did give me an offer but at the current size of the company, they couldn’t offer me what I could get at market rate. So unfortunately, I had to turn down that offer but I would say that that experience was really impactful for me because to me just seeing them work for two days I was like “man if I’m not hustling this hard I’m getting behind”.
PW: What about work life balance? I mean that’s an overblown term and I think cheesy to some sense.
PW: You have to be smart about the chaos that your world creates between work and life. But do you really think people can really go 12 hours a day consistently? This is why I think, just to go on a quick tangent, this is why I think that society has gone to high levels of dealing with anxiety and depression because on the one hand they are talking about hustling and then on the other hand they’re talking about work life balance. And at some point, it all breaks down without finding some true middle ground. So, I think it’s admirable to go at that rate and I think being young also plays a role in that. But do you really think over the long term of a business that that’s productive?
MT: You bring up a good point and I love this tangent because it is an overblown topic. But you and I, we’re a little more experienced so we’re not going to be cliché about it. All right.
MT: I hate it when you are so cliché about things. We just work hard. Every video you’ll see on YouTube about becoming a millionaire would just say to work a lot of hours. You don’t even need to watch the videos anymore.
MT: But I’ve got to say I like this. You got to be able to turn it on. And what I mean is like, when I’m in this boot camp right now I’m turning it on for three months. But I know after this boot camp I’m actually going to go to the Philippines for two months. That’s going to be when I’m working like six hour days when I’m in the Philippines. I’m not going to be working 12 hour days. But I need to be able to turn it on for these three months so that I can enjoy my trip to the Philippines, being a programmer, getting work off Upwork or even just like making YouTube videos. And then in the Philippines I bring my YouTube money and my freelance money to the Philippines. I mean it’s insane. I could basically just spend all the money I want. I would have to try to go through all my money in all honesty.
PW: That’s very true.
MT: So, I don’t think it’s so much that it’s sustainable but as an individual if you want to be successful, you got to be able to do a lot in a small margin and a small-time frame and then be able to turn it off too. So, that’s really important because I feel like a lot of people can’t turn it and if they can’t turn it on, you’re not going to get as much out of things. For example, in this boot camp I could turn it on so I could work. I can study and do my YouTube channel too, BroScienceLife and study, do 10 and 12 hour days. Some people in the boot camps, they can’t turn it on, they’re only doing eight hour days. And so, they’re not going to get as much for these three months as I am.
PW: Matt you’ve put it one of the best ways that I’ve heard to date – being able to turn it on and knowing when to turn it off. I’ve had this conversation with multiple people, entrepreneurs, both high and low, starting towards the tail end of their career and you have summed it up the best. People have to know how to turn it on like he’s in boot camp right now and be able to go, go, go and hit the ground running and hustle and stay up late at night to study. Because you know there’s the end result in mind, meaning the Philippines or wherever you’re going that you can work less hours. So, to me it’s like a banking system, right? You’re kind of investing in building a cushion or of wealth if you will and then you’re going to at some point get a withdrawal down the road. And so, that’s the best way I think we should approach our careers, approach our life. Because again, I’ve heard at rapid rates and I have friends in Silicon Valley and everywhere; people are jumping off roofs and they’re going crazy because they’re constantly on and they don’t see an end in sight. Well you do. You just told me that when I go to Philippine’s are probably to six hours even seven hours.
MT: Yeah. Actually, I’ll probably do less. I’ll probably actually be only working like three to four hours a day and I’ll honestly just keep it real with you guys. Even some days I probably won’t be working at all. So, it’s just, I mean honestly like I’m just being real with you and that’s going to be some times where I’m just not going be working at all in the Philippines and my YouTube income is going to be residual, it’s going to carry me.
PW: And that’s why it’s key for us to create because Matt is talking about the Engineered Truth. As you know YouTube has, is the number two search engine around or number one, somewhere.
MT: Well number two. It’s the number two most visited website in the U.S. Google being number one.
PW: So obviously when you start to get the levels that Matt has, literally his videos generate thousands and thousands of views and his subscriber base is almost at six figures, you get ads, you get to start to get paid from those ads. He has passive income that he’s creating. In addition, he’s going back to what I just talked about with the banking analogy. He’s now investing back in himself by going to code camp because he’s going to make a withdrawal down the line. That’s the kind of tactic that we need to think about. And that’s what I meant by smarter chaos in the beginning was that, it seemed somewhat chaotic that he has these different fires in place and working for BroScienceLife and doing all these things but there is an ultimate goal in mind. So, very, very smart Matt, that’s really good stuff. This is why college isn’t for everyone because stuff like that, being at the seat of your pants is more exciting than being in college and turning out that you’re just miserable in the job but now you have to work it because you’re bogged down by school loans and everything else that you’ve created for yourself.
MT: Yeah I like the chaos because there’s actually been a study that says if you get your income from only one source you have much higher levels of stress and anxiety. Whereas if you have income from multiple sources you have much lower stress and anxiety and I find that true for myself. If I lose BroScienceLife, it’s a pretty big hit but it’s like “oh I still got the YouTube income, I’m at the freelance developer income”. I lose one affiliate major channel which I don’t know why I would lose an affiliate, let’s go. I have two or three other things I’m selling affiliate-wise. So, losing one stream is not too big of a deal because I have a couple other streams to come for me.
PW: And the other part to that is that kind of makes sense with that one stream of income. There’s a recent study that came out that said typically if you have seven streams of income or the average millionaire. let’s put it this way, the average millionaire has at least seven streams of income which means your job isn’t going to cut it. There are examples of guys working in parking lots and saving their money and they become millionaires because they forfeited having to buy TVs and lattes during the day. But you’re going to have to create multiple streams of income if that’s your goal. Some people are saying “look I don’t care about being a millionaire. I just want to be comfortable”, that’s good too. That’s fine. Those are some of the things that you’re faced with. So, Matt let’s talk about finding your passion and calling. So, we talked earlier about you having three – going to school got engineering, having three jobs, getting fired from those jobs, turning your focus to YouTube when you only had 4000 subscribers. Most people looked at you crazy but you knew what was right for you and what you wanted to do. How can people who are in a job or in a function that they’re just unhappy with, how can they find that? I hate the word passion and calling, that’s another cliché, cheesy type word but it is what it is. How do people find that thing for themselves? We can say believe in yourself, but that’s also cheesy. What is it that you can find that works for them? How do they work through that?
MT: I don’t like the term calling or passion because it’s not like my genes evolved to be a programmer.
MT: [Laughs]It’s not like I got my genes evolve to sit down on a computer six days a week and program. So, really none of us were built to do or to do these jobs that we’re doing now. For me, starting that YouTube channel and taking it seriously, a lot of people doubted me. I had one friend who I was the best man at his wedding. He messaged me and I only made about four YouTube’s or five YouTube videos at the time. He messaged me saying, “you know Matt, your YouTube videos like they suck. You’re not good at it. You should really just focus on mechanical engineering.”
MT: Yeah. And that ended our friendship for several years and even now we’re just Facebook friends, we’re just common stuff, we’re not even close like we used to be. I had another friend who told me “Matt you’re too focused on girls. You should focus on your career more”. And I think it’s ironic that he told me that four or five years ago when I have one of the largest career channels on YouTube now. So, there is a lot of hate, not even hate, but there’s people who didn’t see the vision that I did in the beginning of what my YouTube channel was. But with YouTube it’s interesting because I always believed in my channel because I knew the fact that I’m saving people years of their life. And I know anytime you’re saving people time you’re adding value. But there are moments where I wanted to do something more mainstream on YouTube. You know it’s all about pranks. It’s all about entertainment. There’s all that gaming channels right. So, I was tempted to switch and a couple times I did. But what I realize is that my value, my channel might not be as big as a gaming channel or a print channel but because I’m adding so much of value to a small group of people I can still make just as much money as a larger channel. That was a big epiphany. So, it’s not as it’s not about the subscriber numbers, it’s about like how much value are you adding to people in general. And maybe I’m adding a smaller number so I could still make a lot of money off my channel.
PW: You’re right. Pranking right now is this big thing on YouTube which has played its role. A lot of it is even fake. When you go out you, find out they’re getting exposed and all that stuff but yours is over the long term. So, you’ll have long tail success over some of the immediate impacts that we’ve seen with the others. And speaking of that, you can add to that what you want, but everybody is looking for this Internet stardom of sorts. One person that I’ve seen a couple videos where you rail against him and rightfully so because I don’t believe he has that either is Tyler Lopez. Let’s talk about that for a minute.
Hey guys don’t go anywhere. Matt and I will be right back.
PW: What is it that you don’t like about Tai Lopez? And I think we’ll agree about this but why don’t you share those thoughts. Not that you don’t like him personally. You just think he’s a scam artist and I do too. But be specific about that.
MT: Yeah. So, in the beginning I actually bought into Tai Lopez for a while. Actually, for a couple of months because he gets it on, one of my favorite YouTube channels. And I was like “oh he gets it on a lot of YouTube channels and that makes it credible.” I actually went to his first live conference. Funny and I don’t think he does the live conferences anymore. And it was only 100 bucks for the whole week and I was like “oh my god 100 bucks for a conference. I got to go.” So, I go. And he just rambles for about – I would say for the whole course, about 16 hours. Because it was eight hours for two days. It was Saturday 8 hours and Sunday was eight hours. And I think there’s even a Friday day. So, this guy just rambles on just not being very specific. And it was a very over-promised conference. The conference said “16 ways to get a million customers”. I did not find a single way to get a million customers. But here’s the thing. What people need to understand if you’re watching a video on how to get rich or how to become a millionaire, you’re doing it wrong. There’s only two types of content, or maybe three types of content that’s going to help you make money. The first one is a technical skill. Any content that teaches your technical skill is going to help you make money. Second is motivational. Just watch motivational video with some nice music in the background. And that third content is mindset content which I think is what Tai Lopez follows under. But you can watch a mindset video from these podcasts – Priest’s podcasts. Here’s the thing people will say “But Tai, Tai gives some good advice”. Yeah. Anybody that reads a book and just regurgitates what the book says is going to give you good advice because it doesn’t take that much skill. But here’s what I’ve got to say. OK, first of all let’s cover the basics of Tai Lopez. Tai Lopez, he might have that money now but in the beginning, he was renting the house, he was renting the Lambo to give this image that he was successful to get people to buy his program. And now because he scammed so many people, he actually has a house and a Lambo now. So, he actually doesn’t have a real business. Actually, he’s never had a real business. I mean his former businesses were scam dating websites that work similar to, I would say on the lines of Ashley Madison. People weren’t actually connecting with real individuals; they’re connecting with bots or employees of his company. He had these high memberships for these dating websites and people didn’t even connect with real people. That’s how he made his initial amount of money.
MT: Yeah it’s bad. Then he used that money to make his YouTube channel. That’s where he got it funny. He used it to invest so people ask “well if he’s not successful, how did he pay for all these YouTube ads?” Well that’s how he paid for the YouTube ads here in my garage right. So, the next thing is since he doesn’t have a real business, I would equate it to like taking work-out advice from someone on steroids. It’s like you can take advice from him but he’s cheating. You know you can take your workout advice from Kelly Muscle who is like on a buffet of steroids. Or you can take advice from people who have done it legitimately and just like with Tai Lopez why don’t you just take advice from people who built legitimate businesses because there’s plenty of that on the Internet. What’s your take on Tai Lopez? I haven’t heard your take.
PW: Yes. So here is my take. I fully agree with you and I was going to bring up the point that he kind of used the old model – long ago when I was younger they used to have infomercials. They do less and less of it now. But people used to be on solid real estate secrets. I believe his name was Carlson or something along those lines. And they would show him get off a helicopter into a big mansion that he never really walked into. They just showed the background of everything. And then people would buy these secrets and he would send his minions out to local conferences to show the secrets of becoming a millionaire. But then they would sell their packages in the back of the hotel for thousands of dollars. And I’ve called this over the years Ballroom Hope. So, a lot of people they get caught up in a ballroom at a hotel or something along those lines and they start to believe in this system and they pay for it thinking they’re going to go out and execute it themselves. Tai Lopez, in essence, has done the exact same thing. It’s just a modern twist on the internet and such. You brought up in my garage where he says hey guys in my garage this is my Lambo behind me and blah blah blah and he’s just showing you a life that you want and selling you something that you think you want but he doesn’t even have himself. And I’ve read other people’s take on him being homeless for a period and selling ads on YouTube. And that’s what it’s about. Instagram and all these other things people can sell a life to you that you want to trick you to make you think that they know the secret to get there. So, that you’ve purchased enough books, you purchase enough CDs, purchased enough of their schooling points – the best 10 points of selling homes of flipping houses, to the point where you now bought him or her into a place that they got them where they wanted to be. But it even further away from where you wanted to be because you’re giving your money away. You don’t. Tai Lopez. I’ve got to tell you Matt. From day one. I mean nobody had to say anything, I think of sitting in a movie theater was the first time I ever saw a big ad of him where he’s like hey guys I’m in my garage. And you know he doesn’t say anything. One time in particular he’s walking through a house and he goes to the front door and there’s a woman standing at the door as he’s going to the door and he’s totally thrown off by the fact that the woman is at the door. The woman is almost thrown off that he’s at the door. It’s those kinds of things that never made sense with me about him that there were always little pieces that popped out to me that I was like “This guy’s full of it”. I mean there’s nothing about him that says success. Now what’s unfortunate is there are other people in the Internet space that I happen to look to and appreciate and I won’t name names at this point but they’ve almost co-signed him in a sense.
MT: Exactly. And they star in his videos too.
PW: Yeah. Yeah they’re Snapchatting with him, they’re chatting it up. And if there’s anything I kind of lose a little bit of respect and love for those guys more than I gain anything for Tai Lopez because I know the business. He’s learned how to work his way in. And to those other guys point, the reason why they’re getting around him is because now the success and the popularity is on Tai Lopez so they just want to get in there more. So, that’s why I talk to people like yourself who have built true organic pages websites, long tail success versus you chasing internet stardom because again you are given out solid, solid, solid career advice. You’re talking to very, very credible people about businesses and your views are crazy because at the end of the day everybody’s looking to land with a good career. They want a good lifestyle. You know people want nice things. But you don’t want to feel like you’re watching a video and you have to take a shower after you’re done watching it.
MT: Is that how you feel after you watch a Tai Lopez video? [Laughs]
PW: After I watch a Tai Lopez video, I feel like I need to take a shower, go on a walk. I feel like I need to file a police report. It’s just…
MT: It makes me spitting angry man when I watch his videos, it makes me so mad. But at the same time, I feel like “man if you watch the video and you’re like in your 30s and you’re like – this is good stuff. And you’re taking notes on Tai Lopez, you’re writing on my videos like how awesome Tai Lopez is and how dumb I am. Like he’s more successful than you are.” There’s people that do that and if there was like a Venn diagram of people who believe in MLM and people who believe in Tai Lopez, they would only be one circle.
MT: Because the same people that wanted multi-level marketing or pyramid schemes are the same people that are going to buy Tai Lopez’s program.
PW: That’s true. And that’s why I said he hasn’t done anything different than what I’ve seen when I was younger and infomercials blew up big time on television and people would race out. And my mother and father at that period would be like “oh that’s a bunch of garbage”. And sure, enough it would be. You would see in everybody’s living room this million CD set or cassette tape at the time but nobody was selling anything, nobody was doing anything. They just went out to rush and release endorphins in them that they were going to be successful and they were excited. That’s what TeamTreehouse Lopez is. But over time what’s going to bear out true is going to be true. And people that are doing it organically and genuinely, they will be successful. There’s no reason to hate on them. Look, if Tyler Lopez had all good intentions for people and he really was giving out good information like you gave freecodecamp, that’s free. You’re not an affiliate. There’s not a link you gave me that to get credit for that. You’re just saying “hey look if people want to become, they want to change their career, go to this site, look at this boot camp, here’s one that I’m in.” This is along the lines you can go into; people will look to you as an authority of careers. Ironically enough, as you pointed out, somebody who’s been fired from three jobs; one willing to admit that, number two you’re building a website dedicated to the people to say here’s what I’ve experienced, here’s why I failed but here’s where you can find your success. That wins every, every time. You will get these people that jump out and they’ll seem somewhat successful and then they’ll burn out because people get it and then they’ll just write them off. Kevin Trudeau, I mean at one time he used to be on television for years pitching his books about how to reverse cancer. Because what you’re doing is you’re taking people that are vulnerable and in the same sense where Tai Lopez is, again I just mentioned before we really got into this was that everybody is grasping at wanting some kind of Internet stardom. And so, you capitalized on that by telling people, “yeah you want a Lambo? you want to be Internet sensation? Why don’t you come to my thing and pay me ninety-nine dollars a month and I’m going to show you how that’s done.” Because you’re capitalizing on the vulnerabilities of people. Kevin Trudeau did the same thing. He knows that there’s people out there that want to be healed. They’re in certain situations that they can’t find any way out. They haven’t been told anything. And if that means selling his last book for $12 then he’ll take that from you. But now he’s in prison or was in prison and now nobody talks about Kevin Trudeau. And I don’t see his books anywhere, maybe at Goodwill. And I don’t spend enough time there to see it there. So, my point is all that burns out at some point. The best way to tactically approach anything – podcasting, YouTube videos, internet business – is one step at a time and come up with a plan, continue to diversify yourself, what skills, become developer, learn how to YouTube, learn how to plant gardens, whatever you want to do and do it slowly. My father used to tell me “slow growth is for show growth”.
MT: Oh, I like that. I like that a lot. I like it a lot.
PW: My father used to say slow growth is for show growth son. And he’s right. As long as you plod along, learn different skills, you’ll win.
MT: You know it’s actually making me really upset right now that Tai Lopez is blowing up, he’s even had more credible guest recently on his channel. And it’s pretty insane. I hope what you’re saying is true that history repeats itself and he’s going to call it out enough and I think with podcasts like this that are really important to call him out. Because again he is preying on people or the individual. He’s going to start you on his 67 steps like “hey you know what. Just get my six seven steps”. And he used to call it 67 Steps to Become a Millionaire. But I think he’s gotten called out so many times, now it’s “67 Steps to Living the Good Life”. So, then he’s like buy my 67 Steps to Living the Good Life. But if you’re serious about being an entrepreneur, you’re going to buy my Tai Lopez accelerated course. Get this. The accelerated course is $4000. It’s just a video program.
MT: It’s 4 payments of $1000. But here, hey get this though buy in the next 30 days and it’s only going to be a thousand dollars. So, what do you what do you want to do. And I’m like, and I’m watching these videos. And now he has affiliates for the accelerated course and they’re like small YouTube channels that have 500 subscribers saying like “yeah, this accelerated course changed my life. Click on the affiliate link to buy the accelerated course for $4000”. This insane man I feel really sorry for anybody who bought the 67 Steps or the accelerated course.
PW: You know you brought it up earlier. I think the best way to approach this, if you want to learn skills and all this other stuff that Tai Lopez is touting – again that’s just Ballroom Hope – I would pass all that for those listening to this. I would simply go on YouTube, learn different skills, get inspired by people that are talking about – again I’m bringing up development because that’s what Matt is involved in right now – but whatever you’re looking to do; photography, you want to be a UX designer or UX person, whatever you want to get into. Go on YouTube and let people inspire you on there that are doing it. They’re not really trying to sell you anything they’re just talking to you about it. Go out and get a book, read it. Find a mentor. Go to a meet up locally. Those are like five, ten bucks and that’s far less obviously than a thousand four thousand dollars and get inspired by those people. They may not be doing it at the level that Tai Lopez is now. However, Tai Lopez wasn’t doing it at the level that Tai Lopez said he was doing it at the beginning. He did it on your back. So, the best way to do it is just do it one step at a time.
MT: Yeah I think that brings me back, I didn’t really answer your question finding your passion very well.
PW: No, you did but elaborate on that.
MT: So, I think you ought to try a lot of things. I mean there are a lot of things that I kind of forget now. I actually tried to do muay thai and not as a profession but to try it out. And I was like ‘I’m not tough enough for the sport”. But trying a lot of things now is really important. I get a lot of e-mails from students, college students as you can imagine and the ones that have tried the least amount of jobs or careers are the ones that are most lost. And I think one thing my parents tried to do is they didn’t want me to work until I graduated college. And I think that is a wrong mind frame to have. You should try as many jobs while you’re young and you shouldn’t think of jobs as long term commitments. Too many people are afraid that they’re going to lose, I guess momentum. They’re like I want to become an engineer at 20 so I could be the best engineer by time I’m 30. But the thing is when people have that kind of mindset, honestly they’re actually going to put themselves deeper in a hole than most people because you’re going get five years’ experience in this profession that you’re not even going to like and that is a deep hole to dig yourself into especially when you don’t have any other ways to make money. Whereas if you try a wide variety of jobs, once you reach a point in your life or when you’re in your late 20s, you pick the one that’s best for you or you do two or three at the same time like I am. And guess what. Doing the same thing every day? Nobody wants to do that. So how do you avoid not doing the same thing every day? You have two or three skills like you mentioned earlier that you earn money from. So, it’s a matter of trying things and also being realistic on what’s going to give you that lifestyle. I want to live a remote lifestyle. I knew mechanical engineering wouldn’t have given me that. Why would I stay in that profession? It doesn’t make sense. I chose development. If being a developer gave me the same lifestyle as being a mechanical engineer showing up to the office every day, having a routine schedule of showing up at 8:30 a.m., having to stay until 4:00, 5:00 p.m., I would not be a developer today. I only chose it specifically because it would give me the opportunity to work remotely. That was the huge catch. And then also it just happens to be enjoyable. But the remote work was the most important part.
PW: Good, good, good advice there. Try multiple things but figure out where you want to go. If you want to work remotely which a lot of people are doing now, find a job that fits that. You obviously know that being a physician’s assistant, you’re not going to be able to work remotely. So, you have to wait while you’re going through school or when you’re in school, whatever it is. Do I want to really be a physician’s assistant or do I want to work remotely more? And then find what fits you. But that’s, that’s a great way of finding your passion. Look as we wrap up, Matt. tell us what you’re working on right now. What are you doing to continue to build your YouTube biz and your other businesses and I know you talked about wanting to go to the Philippines and other things. What is it that you’re doing right now that you’d like people to know about? And furthermore, how can people get in touch with you?
MT: For sure the best way to get in touch with me is to subscribe to my YouTube channel, youtube.com/engineeredtruth. Also, the best way to communicate to me to ask me questions is on my Twitter. Actually, last tip I’m going to throw you guys. Twitter might be a dying platform but it is the best way to reach popular or celebrity or famous people that you look up to. Twitter is where we don’t get flooded. So, if I get something on Twitter, it doesn’t get hit in. And because it kind of filters out my and most loyal subscribers, I’m much more likely to answer tweet. And also, because it keeps it short because I don’t want to answer a long question. Anyhow what I’m working on right now? This was a really big year for me because this year I’m finally making really good money remotely, like even in this boot camp I’m making as much money as I wasn’t in the boot camp because I’m doing all my work on the weekend. So, it’s fantastic feeling. My accounts are growing while I’m in a boot camp. But then after this I’m going to go to the Philippines for two months. After that I’ll return home, live with my parents for a couple months. And I think this is really important for a lot of millennials. It’s OK to live with your parents for like a couple of months here and there. It’s 100%, I actually like it. In all honesty, coming from renting an apartment downtown L.A. and saving like $3000 just for staying with my parents for three months is as well worth it. But you know my lifestyle from here on out for the rest of my life because I’ve set up that investment like you mentioned earlier. I get to be able to live in the Philippines for a few months, go home live with my parents. After I leave my house for months, I’m going to go to a different country and live for a few months. I’m thinking about living in Singapore for three months and then I go home live with my parents for three months and then you know maybe go to Europe or wherever I want to go. Basically, I have complete control over what kind of work I get to do, what hours I get a set and where I get to live. It’s really an ideal lifestyle for me. And also in terms of promoting, I actually have my book that’s out called The New Grad Job Hacks. It came out just about two months ago. It’s on Amazon right now. It’s actually extremely highly rated. I have 5 stars on it. About the only person that didn’t give me five stars is someone who actually didn’t buy the book yet. They actually wrote in the comment “I haven’t bought the book yet. I was wondering if there’s going to be a Kindle version available”. Every single person who has bought the book, I mean let me tell you I have no problems with someone selling their product at all. We talk about Tai Lopez, Tai Lopez is overselling something, he’s lying is what he’s doing. My book is $10 and it’s going to add, if you read it, it’s going to add way more than $10 with the value to your life especially if you’re a millennial just starting off in your career.
PW: Yeah. And this book is on Amazon, check it out – New Grad Job Hacks: The Complete Guide to Getting a Job After You Finish College. Go on Amazon, you could even search the title that I just told you or look up Matt Tran and you’ll be able to find them under there. Go to his YouTube page, subscribe to it. It’s called Engineered Truth. I’m telling you there is really, really good stuff there. You guys know that I don’t promote just anybody for any reason. That video offers a lot, a lot of gold nuggets in terms of career choices and if you’re always asking around what should I do. I don’t know what I want to do or go to school for or not go to school for. And again, hit them up on Twitter. If you have questions, check them out. He really offers some valuable stuff in terms of career and college and directions in life and sometimes he has one, two-hour long rambling where he’s just talking about good stuff, answering Q and A questions on YouTube videos. Check that out too. He’s a really good dude. Matt Tran, I appreciate you being on the podcast here my friend.
MT: A pleasure to be here. This has been a lot of fun.
PW: Thank you.
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