May 18, 2021

116 Matt Kursh: Interview With This Serial Entrepreneur Was a Master Class in Emotional Intelligence at the Workplace

“The goal is how can we have a rich life and that's not measured in dollars. Dollars are nice, but it ain't the answer.” - Matt Kursh

My next guest is Matt Kursh. He founded Clearview (later sold to Apple.) Then he founded eShop (later sold to Microsoft.) Then he ran MSN, the #4 largest website at the time. Today he is the CEO and the co-founder of Oji Life Lab.

We talked about:

  • Why the entrepreneur dream of selling to big companies is not a very good dream
  • The paradox of business goal-setting
  • Why the concept he coined ‘optionFUL’ is especially important for people who must control all aspects of their lives
  • He gave a piece of tactical advice to deal with people who want you to project more certainty than reality
  • Why he continues to start companies after selling 2 to Microsoft and Apple
  • We talked about why emotional intelligence for working adults is important and the potential downfall for any organization if emotional contagions don’t have emotional intelligence. and the potential organizational-saving moments when people are equipped with these skills 
  • Oji Life Lab’s unique approach to mapping out the emotional landscape and give people the tools to get around from point A to point B
  • The 5 areas of emotional intelligence help you in concrete ways:
    • decision making,
    • attention, memory, and learning,
    • creativity and performance, 
    • mental and physical health, and
    • relationship quality
  • Lastly, his straight feedback to fellow CEOs and founders who think their anxiety is the source of their edge

Please enjoy my conversation with the CEO of Oji Life Lab, Matt Kursh


Wisdom Quotes

"You have to learn to hold your goals loosely. You can't make the wave doesn't appear because you want it to the wave appears because it does your choices. You're going to ride it. There's kind of this ying-yang. You have to hold these conflicting ideas. I think you need to have an exit possibility, right? Like you need to have some grounded rational ideas for how you're going to make money for your investors and your shareholders, including your partners and co-founders and employees."


"If you can cultivate that option-fulness, It helps you counteract this impulse of wanting to feel like I need to know exactly what's going to happen. Or I'm going to control and make sure it works out the way I want it to work out. The reality is that desire to want to control how it's gonna work out is completely futile. You can't control how it works out."


"So if you're talking to an investor or a partner or a customer and what they want you to do is talk with a certainty that's not real. I think you should disconnect from that individual because no good is going to come from somebody who feels like reality can be controlled and the future is knowable."


"He said it's all about the curricula, which was his way of saying like everything he did was about what was he learning?"


"People focus too much on goals. People should focus more on process,"


"The universe offers up so many possibilities if you can be aware of them."


"We're really passionate about helping people. Um, get more meaning and, and get more success at work and, and at home. What's fueling our passion for this is a belief that these are absolutely fundamental skills for every human. It's very important to us that this is not something for elites or the highest echelon. everybody needs these tools."


"If you have people who are naturally not aware of their emotions and able to regulate them, you will fail."


"Emotional intelligence is a pretty high ROI learning area. If you can get better at this one thing and make everything better, you know, friends, people who are emotionally intelligent make better decisions because you don't make good decisions when you're triggered."


"People call emotional intelligence soft skills, but there's nothing soft about it."


"What does practice mean? It's a process that goes on for your whole life. This is a set of skills. I'm never going to be a master, but I better get started."


"For the people who are like 'my anxiety drives me. It's what keeps me going.' Let's say you could build a wildly successful company, make a fortune and be anxious for the rest of your life. Is that a good trade-off? I hope the answer's no. Right. I mean, it's hard to enjoy the benefits of that if you feel like shit every day,"


"Map your emotional landscape and learn where the milestone landmarks are and how to get around in it."


"There's five areas that emotion, uh, emotions impact you and that emotional intelligence will help you: decision-making, attention memory and learning, creativity and performance, mental and physical health, and finally, relationship quality."


"The goal is how can we have a rich life and that's not measured in dollars. Dollars are nice, but it ain't the answer."


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