Rob Angel is the creator of Pictionary® and author of GAME CHANGER: The Story of Pictionary and How I Turned a Simple Idea into the Bestselling Board Game in the World (38 million games in 60 countries before selling to Mattel in 2001)
In 1985, while waiting tables in Seattle, WA, Rob found his “aardvark”. He started from using his college-worn Merriam Webster’s paperback dictionary, a No.2 pencil, and a yellow legal pad to create the first Pictionary word list, to putting together the first 1000 games by hand in his tiny apartment, to licensing the game around the world.
Today, Rob Angel is an entrepreneur, explorer, investor, philanthropist, and sought-after speaker on a mission to help others create their own success and best life by taking their first small step. From running with the bulls to swimming with sharks and parachuting out of airplanes, Rob seeks out adventure and aardvarks wherever he goes.
- My New Favorite Adventure Burning Man
- What is Intuition My Definitive Step to Overcome Fear And Self Doubt
- How I Breakdown The Smallest Step to Create a Game
- When to Take Action And When to Listen to the Inner Voice
- What 3 Bits of Advice Would I Give My 26-Year-Old Self
- The Journey From Curiosity, to Passion, to Love
- How I Kept My Faith Going Before I Had Traction
- My Path to Refine My Purpose After Pictionary
- My Advice to Those Going Through Existential Crisis
- How I Use Challenges Intentionally For Growth And Personal Discovery
- How I Define the Phrase ‘Personal Journey’
- Where And How I Cultivate Healthy Relationships
- What Structures You Should Put in Place to Foster Productive Cofounder Dynamics
- My #1 Counter-Intuitive Advice to Entrepreneurs
- The Counter-Intuitive Power of Saying No
My New Favorite Adventure Burning Man – Rob Angel
from a very young age, you would love adventures from pole vaulting to burning man, to starting a, A big game, company. So tell us a little bit about your favorite adventures right now.
boy, you mentioned burning, man, that is one of my new favorite adventures actually did it even a little mini burn since they’re not having it, but burning man is great. I was ready for it. I was invited for 10 years by people ready wanting me to go or whatever reason I wasn’t ready.
Didn’t want to go on excuses. And then one year on seven years ago, eight years ago, I ran into a couple and I literally looked at them after knowing him for three seconds ago. I think it’s supposed to go to burning man with you. And six weeks later, I’m a burning man and it was magical. it was what, everything I wanted.
And at this point I’ll say everything I needed and it started it out, started up my journey. No, I don’t with myself, but with burning man
so paint is a picture, right? We’re looking at burning man through your eyes. Tell us the burning man that you love.
they’re about this big, yeah, it was everything and more, I saw things in people I’d never seen before.
I felt things coming at me that I’d never felt before. I was open to everything. That’s one of things I’d always talk about is being open. And sometimes I am, sometimes they’re not, we got to burning, man. I was ready to experience. Yeah, pretty much everything. And if I didn’t want to, I wouldn’t. And so it was a little overwhelming, the sights, the sounds, the smells, the vastness of it, the inclusion of it, the ability to be really anything in anyone you want it to be.
Cause we talk about it in society and they Pat you on the head. And so you can do and be anything you want. society still has norms that you have to control, conform to and same thing with burning man. But when I was there, it just opened my eyes and my heart and my mind and my ears to what was possible.
It just was overwhelming and sucks. It stuck with me.
Yeah, so I’m a PhD guy, right? It can be as material as you can be. If I couldn’t see it and measure it then, and then I went to burning, man. I had a spiritual awakening moment and to me, burning man is a very spiritual experience. what’s beautiful about what you said is there’s something to say about anything is possible, but there’s something to actually see it.
Cause at burning man. All of the social constructs are wiped out, right? They didn’t care what you do or your quote, unquote gender, or you know who you are, your garb. You can create a whole new identity while you’re burning man. And you can actually experiment with different things and try on different perspectives.
and as you said, try on different senses. Is there a specific moment? When I mentioned about burning man, that was really beautiful a fond memory that you have from burning man, besides losing my bike, you can go there if you want.
I know it wasn’t lost, like I got it. Yeah. yeah, for some reason I just keep going back to, this is one moment my first burn and I got lost, which happens in about the Playa and I’m by myself, which is not that big a deal, but I want to get back to camp and everything’s swirling around me and it’s a whiteout and I’m just kinda standing there. And I think I’ve lost everybody. I lost my tribe. I don’t know what to do. They’ve gone off somewhere. I started getting nervous, even though I knew I shouldn’t be, I was. And so I, in the middle of the sand store, I closed my eyes and I just put my head down and I take a couple of breaths and all of a sudden the word ‘home’ comes to my mind and it was just this overwhelming feeling of that’s where I should be. And I got on my bike and made my way back to the camp and that’s where everybody was. And it was just this for me, powerful moment at the end, actually it was the end of burning man that I can communicate that way.
And I could feel that. And finally it was open and everything that I needed was not at home, wasn’t searching. It was in here when I just stopped for a second. And said, okay, what is it you need right now? I need home. And that was a great ending.
What is Intuition – Rob Angel
was that intuition that intuitive knowing honed already that you’ve been working on it or was it really the first time that you felt like, Whoa, what is this ability to have.
I think we all have intuition. We all do. Now whether we listen to it heated and understand us and you need to the conversation, but I know I, in that moment, I don’t think it was my intuition. I think it was an overwhelming feeling. It wasn’t like I was thinking, where would everybody be?
Oh, they must be back at the camp. I was like, ready to go off into the desert, into the Playa, in the middle of the sand store to find them. Because I was lost, in that point, spiritually and physically. And no, I absolutely believe I was given a message aside. Something told me to do that.
My Definitive Step to Overcome Fear And Self Doubt – Rob Angel
in your book, you hinted at a few times that a lot of times you just following your intuition, that voice, that inner voice as you were developing Pictionary. but when I read it as it’s like a Cinderella story, it sounded like, yeah, I was just open. I trusted, I had a vision and I did it in spite of all of the challenges that I faced.
So if you don’t mind going back to the moments where you really had to dig inward to listen to that inner voice when the external are chaotic crazy uncertain.
Tell that story a bit, because otherwise it’s a little bit unrelatable to people who were just reading the book. Does that make sense?
Sure. I’m following my intuition. when the whole thing got started with me panicking. There’s wasn’t just coming up with an idea and let’s make some games and sell some games.
Yeah, it was, I was overwhelmed when I got started, I thought, okay, I’m going to make a game. I’m going to do this wide-eyed yes. At 24 or 25 years old, I can do it. But then as soon as I started or even tried to start, I got inside my own head. I started over thinking everything had started labeling myself.
I was just a waiter. I was waiting table. I’m just a waiter. I can’t do it. And so it was the ability and it was like two years to get over this feeling that I was inadequate, that I didn’t have the scales, that it wasn’t going to work. And so finally, when I got started, I took a little step and it worked.
So I took another little step. I started making the word list, out of the dictionary, but it was, it took me two years to actually get started. And then there was times along the way.
I hired a friend as a business partner. My intuition told me it wasn’t right, but I was desperate and I didn’t listen to myself basically.
And fortunately it didn’t work out with him. still a great friend, good guy, but, nothing’s linear. Nothing goes in a straight line and as I joke, it wouldn’t be any fun if there wasn’t any problems . It wouldn’t be fun. It wouldn’t be worth it if there wasn’t any angst. Cause you know who you are, your friends are, really what you are made of when shit goes bad. It’s easy to plug along and okay, this happened, but when the chips are down or you’re confused or you really don’t know what to do, that’s when your intuition takes over.
And that’s when I found out. I can do it.
How I Breakdown The Smallest Step to Create a Game – Rob Angel
what I heard you say is you chunk it down. Instead of this big thing that you had to do is chunk it down to the smallest its simplest the easiest micro steps that you could take. And for you taking that single step of coming up with a word list, essentially, transcended your identity from, I want to be to someone who was a game inventor.
that was the whole thing. when I was overwhelmed and it was regularly when I got started, I had to break it down into its smallest step. And that was the word list, That was the easiest and the most accessible first step, because everything I needed was in front of me cause instead of overthinking, Oh my gosh, how do I get started?
I had a paper pictionary and a pen right in my house. So I didn’t have to overthink that. And also what I did. Or I should say didn’t do is I didn’t write out all the steps necessary to get from creation to an actual product, because even now it would’ve been too much for me. So is that if I broke it down, but I just took that step and I got start, I didn’t start thinking of all the other steps.
Cause I kept present. I get my head down. I kept in the moment of making the word list. So I took all these things in the backyard, and opened up the dictionary and first word on the first page that made sense to me for the game was I wrote down the word aardvark. Now, writing down a word doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it was a big deal picture.
I didn’t start with an idea. It started with writing down the one word cause I was stuck. So I wrote down the word aardvark. I got excited. I’m literally breaking into a cold sweat. I’m running around the article. I got started to be two years to write down that one word, but the switch, as you say, was it no longer was a waiter. Because I was waiting tables, a mindset, a mind shift was I was a game inventor.
That was the, my shit at all. it was running down that one word. So it took two years to get to. Aardvark. It took about 60 seconds to get to abicus, which was the second word snowballing. And it’s the same thing in life when she started trying something, whatever it is, but it’s businesses per reality or whatever.
it started, once you do things, start snowballing, things are accumulating and it just starts getting easier and easier to keep moving forward. And that’s what.
When to Take Action And When to Listen to the Inner Voice – Rob Angel
on this podcast would love the ying/yang sign a lot because this is a beautiful symbol of dualities of what we call life. Sure. Yang is all about intentionality. Do it being action. My idea sovereignty manifesting the world, the yin it’s about surrendering flow. just riding the wave, so to speak, right? So you just share is of very masculine approach, like taking action. And some people on the flip side would say, Hey, during those times you want to be quiet and stablize so that you can actually hear the inner voice that we had talked about earlier. Sure. What would you say to that side? and let people who believe that may not necessarily be better to take an action. We may be better to just be scale and listen for this inner voice within.
I have no problem with either. And the way you’re describing it is that it’s an intentional listening to your inner voice.
But I was joining that without knowing it. Right back then I was 26, 24 and I didn’t know what that was, but I had to have been doing it. So there was a lead up to that. It wasn’t just one day I’m going, okay, I’m going to take action. It was like getting the angles were working out. We for a couple of years, I said, no, I completely agree.
And now that I’m a little older, a little wiser. I totally get. And quite honestly, now I can take a little longer. Now I do go in longer. I do pay attention more to my inner voice. I do pay more attention to what’s going on before I start taking action is a lot more intentional. because man, I was 20, 26 years old.
I had nothing to lose. I got started. If it didn’t work, I do something else. both sides are relevant and prevalent in every decision because ifwe don’t take action, it doesn’t matter.
What 3 Bits of Advice Would I Give My 26-Year-Old Self – Rob Angel
your kids are right about 26, About that range you started before 26. Knowing what you know now at 62, what would you say to your kids? Your younger self, who is that? There are 26, 27 ish. what three nuggets of wisdom would you give them? If you can give them just perfectly hand it to them.
1)be self centered, speaking of words, that they would get, but it’s self centered that word’s been hijacked.
it’s means negative. It’d be all about yourself. I true. You need me about yourself. You need to be heart-centered before you can go succeed before you can go do a lot of other things. Life gets in the way you still have things to do and responsibilities, but when you’re heart centered, that’s when things start to flow to be passionate.
2) About what you do, but to get there, I tell them, they’ve got to do a lot of different things. You don’t know what you’re really passionate about. Most of us don’t wake up. I didn’t wake up one day. I’m passionate about Pictionary. You’re only passionate about philanthropy for me. They were just going down like the aardvark, a lot of different steps to find out what I was passionate about.
And it was never just one thing. And so I would tell them to keep going down a lot of different paths to find your passion. 3)And the ying to that is if it’s not working, it’s okay to admit it’s not working and turn around and go a different direction. sometimes I see the kids that push and push to go down a certain path and that’s okay.
The Journey From Curiosity, to Passion, to Love – Rob Angel
yeah, one thing that I wanted to drill in on is your passion. from reading your book, listening to your podcast, I get a sense that you’re really hungry for life,hence this desire for the adventures, hence why you’re not quite retired, just hanging out, playing golf somewhere and just, like I’m done guys . I really feel your passion. what’s your definition of passionate? let’s start there.
passion is something that ignites a fire and a feeling within you. and it doesn’t come for me. It doesn’t just come from. I see. A business opportunity and I’m going to be passionate about it. I see a woman I would be passionate about. It takes a little bit of warm up. It takes a little bit of time.
So for me, passion is the igniter for that. And then eventually for me, passion, it kind of fade sometimes there’s some days where you don’t like your mate, there’s some days where your business sucks and you don’t want to wake up in the morning. Some days you’re not passionate about what you’re learning.
And so that’s okay because that’s how it is. But when the passion turns to love and the passion turns to this feeling inside and out passion is excitable, but when it starts becoming part of your DNA and you start loving what you’re doing, that’s when you keep going. That’s when I was standing at the bottom of an escalator, Nordstrom with a pencil for 16 hours a day.
My Passion was gone. I was tired. I don’t want to do it anymore, but I love my partners. I love pictionary. I love what I was trying to accomplish. I loved our mission and so I can’t be gone then that would reignite my passion to go stand at the bottom of the escalator. so passion is all consuming to get started, but, you need a little more than that to keep the fires burning.
So the way I’m the, when you are describing it, what I’m envisioning my mind is, concentric circle and the highest level or the most superficial level, you have curiosity and an interest and then passion and then love. And then at the core of it in my mind is purpose. on the more superficial aspect of it. Sometimes you may not feel so positive towards this thing that you’re doing, but you’re on purpose. you’re committed to this love that you have. So if you don’t mind going into it a bit, because I would say, would you say Pictionary is accidental or was it cultivated that you just cultivate this love for Pictionary?
Oh, totally cultivated. I didn’t know, I was going to love picture to be passionate about Pictionary until a year or two into the process. So during the word list, was I passionate? No. Was I passionate about the word of his shirt? Was it passionate about Pictionary as a vehicle for my life or for what I was going to do?
And I would say, no, but with each passing steps, the word list and I got partners and then about a year and some months after, the game was physically produced by my hands and it was in my hands. I put all those pieces together in that game. And so when, and I physically had it, there was another switch that was flipped in my brain and my heart.
I’m like, Holy moly, this is real. It’s no longer this nebulous idea that people are going to draw pictures on a pad of paper. And so now I’m going, okay. So when I started selling pictionary as an experience, it wasn’t a game. It was an experience. That’s why it, the brand, what it was, that’s why it kept selling.
It wasn’t just a game. It was an experience. But once I started feeling that experience myself, it started growing into passion. It started growing into love. It started growing into my life’s work. I was like a lot of entrepreneurs, 16 hours, 20 hours a day. Because I wanted that thing to succeed.
I wanted to succeed. I want him to do anything else in the universe. I wanted people to play this thing and that’s what was driving me. We did it make any money for a long time. So it was never the money that was driving this machine eventually. Yeah. You’ve got to monetize and make money, certainly.
But to begin with, it was just about sharing this experience with as many people as I could.
When I saw that and the people started telling me these stories over and over how the life was influenced or changed by this silly little stupid ass game that I invented, that was powerful to influence and on people was amazing.
so if I’m hearing and then see if I can recreate what you just said. Okay. One, it became a child when you saw an idea into a physical manifestation of something. So that was the pivotal moment. Another pivotal moment is you start to. Also experience firsthand for yourself as well as with your friends, the beautiful concrete transformation or the product.
So that’s another pivotal moment. Another pivotal moment is you started to hear this brand child of yours making a difference in other people’s lives, bringing family together, cultivating friendships. and all that. So that’s another pivotal moment. Is that accurate? I want to make sure I’m hearing it right?
Yeah, absolutely. it’s it’s I said earlier, everything in life, let alone Pictionary or overtired, it’s just builds everything. Just builds until it doesn’t. But in this case it just kept building. and there were many pivotal moments, not only in the game, but in life and they just kept happening.
How I Kept My Faith Going Before I Had Traction – Rob Angel
so as an entrepreneur, you were selling this product for $30 a pop. And you made maybe $300 a day in the early days, that was a good day. I remember you mentioned that in your book, but at the same time, you weren’t making a full time income there yet.
Tell us a little bit about how did you know that this was the thing that you want to double down on and you just say, I’m going to do this even though there’s no external feedback loops there should, I can continue to do this, to feed myself, my family and my partners and so forth.
Yeah. I think a lot of it is faith that it’s going to work out what was young enough, where I could just keep going. Like I said to my kids , I just keep going until I couldn’t go anymore. And I just had faith that it was going to work out and it wasn’t willing to quit until the universe told me that it was time to quit.
And just with each step, and as you say, she’d say I’d stand on the bottom of the escalator, Nordstrom 12 hours. I sold three games. One day. That’s a 90 bucks retail. Only 45 bucks. Wholesale price was 15. Yeah. That’s a big day from a thousand, selling three games, man. That was very cool.
Then I figured out no more. I mean I learned right. Not I to figure it out more. so I just switch my marketing tactics, but that’s from a business standpoint, nothing’s static. But my mission didn’t change of people enjoying the game. The game had to remain true to itself, and if people would enjoy it, but some of the mechanics could change.
And we changed the market from where the crux of the game from a guessing game, excuse me, withdrawing game to a guessing game. I’m just more comfortable guessing. Good drawing. And I figured that out. So the next day, instead of three, I sold nine. So yeah, just adapting as I went along with each roadblock with each little, a little problem.
So what I’m hearing you didn’t say this in your book or in this conversation, but what I’m hearing is if I can sell three, I can sell nine. There’s a belief there. Oh, absolutely. Like I said, one, I guess sell a million.
Oh wait, but the hold on. that’s a pretty big jump though. If I can sell one, I can sell a million.
did you actually believe that if you can sell one, you could sell a million at that point.
hell no, at that moment, we only had a thousand games at that moment when I sold six the next time. Okay. Okay. It’s going to build now maybe 10. Yeah, incrementally, they were not big numbers.
I remember getting an order for 12 games in one order. We sold 38 million when I owned it. But I could remember that 12 game order, those little numbers, those little sales, the standing about an escalator goes through so much fun. To me, those are the best time. The not knowing.
My Path to Refine My Purpose After Pictionary – Rob Angel
on this show, we talk a lot about purpose a lot, passion peripherally as well.
A lot of people go around chasing a singular purpose or single a passion because they feel like they have to go from not knowing to this burning fire. I, the giant leap right . but what you just illustrated is you were essentially pulling this thread of curiosity, interest, like it’s an escalated approach rather thanI got to find a singular purpose of single passion in a single bound. Is that correct? What would you say to the people who are looking desperately for that singular purpose or singular passion? What would you say to them?
Oh, you’re screwed. Okay. it’s hard finding a purpose. everybody tells you have to have one, but does that mean you have to forego all your other loves and hobbies and other passions to find your purpose. I’ve been going down that rabbit hole myself, for sure. it’s after I sold the pictionary in 2001, my purpose was my kids and philanthropy and nonprofits and all these things that totally nourished myself totally made me happy.
But eventually the kids grew up and stopped coming home and then the land profit closed down in a positive way. so my house, blah, blah, blah. And so I spend a fair amount of time trying to find my purpose. I was ground hog day looking around or is it where’s my purpose? I don’t know. I couldn’t find it.
And I was getting frustrated because I think I was told, or I read a book sophomore year that said I had to find my purpose. And so I want to find my purpose. it’s not all consuming like it used to be. And as you say, I just get curious and I think my purpose will find me. And to that point, I really believe that Pictionary was not my purpose.
I don’t think my purpose in life. It took me a while to understand that one. That was that real confusion of. Is really, this is, it is about the contribution to humanity and it’s great. make no mistake. I love and appreciate what happened and what I accomplished, but I’ve never assumed or even hope for a second, that all there is pictionary.
So I know there’s more and I think Pictionary all the, the security that has given me, is just the step to whatever it is. I’m either supposed to do next. will do next or will accomplish next and I’m not going to forego a Pictionary or philanthropy knitting I’ve done. I’m not going to say that wasn’t great. So I love that. Yeah. But what’s next is those are all stones stepping stones to get there. And that took a long time for me to understand.
My Advice to Those Going Through Existential Crisis – Rob Angel
one of the things that I share on my podcast is this entrepreneurial journey, right? In the beginning, you’re bright eyed, bushy tail hopeful, and then you get good at it. Get good at it. And then you have this egoic self expression. nothing I do is wrong. And then at some point you achieve everything you wanted and then you get to the trough of disillusionment. Is there all there is, what’s the point of having all of these accolades, right? But at some point you get to it’s journey of enlightenment. You get out of it. You come to realize Hey, that’s great. And this is great. And what’s next for me. So it sounded like you actually went through that process a bit for you.
for someone who is going through this trough of disillusionment right now, Due to COVID due to the economy due to business disruption, due to all these things right they at the trough of disillusioment is painful. And a lot of people may not be able to relate because most people don’t want to talk about this trough of disillusionment. What would you say to that person listening right now?
I guess it’s normal.
COVID notwithstanding there are going to be trough. So don’t beat yourself up over that. It’s happening, I tend to internalize and say, this is happening to me and this is terrible. And it’s this existential threat to everything that’s happening. As the expression goes to me, not for me.
And so it’s hard to do and with a little work that I’ve done and obviously CK and other it’s, this is all happening for a reason and tell yourself it’s happening for me instead of playing. I’m to say the victim that’s too dramatic. I apologize for that, but know that it’s gonna get better.
Your going to get better. too, I think just keep plugging away. You gotta keep moving forward. And that’s where this whole open and this whole, curiosity that I have, if you’re, if something is not working or you’re trying something, take a little break. I watch a little television go for a little walk. you got to get out of your head sometimes if I’m in my own head and I’m in those troughs as well. And when it happens, I have a hard time getting out. I don’t, sometimes I just don’t have the mental strength or even the tools to always get out. And so when I do, I just have to get away. Break it up.
Even if it’s sitting on the couch for a day. Normally you could go for a walk, bike, ride, whatever it works. read a book.
Not to stress that it’s going to be forever. This is not your life. This is not your life.
What do you mean by that now? Not your life.
if you’re in the trough, right? There’s more to life. Life is peaks and valleys.
Oh, I see this singular thing that you’re having trouble with. It’s not the only thing. That’s what you mean.
When you’re in a trough, whether it’s just COVID sitting at home or spiritual trough, it’s all peaks and valleys. It’s all learning. It’s all growing. And then. When you get to the top, Oh, wait a minute. Now you go back down sometimes. So you try to stay up there. Let’s be honest.
What is managing those peaks and valleys, that helps, the middle part. And we can do that all day long. it’s not just the peaks and the valleys it’s of things that are going really well. Don’t get too comfortable. Embrace it. Love it. Go with it as much hard as fast as you can. What I think you may know in the end, just what goes up, comes down. It’s just a matter of how far and managing that. when you’re more enlightened, you’ll stay up longer and I’m still working. Don’t worry. I’m getting up there and staying up there for a little longer, for about seven years so I’m trying.
How I Use Challenges Intentionally For Growth And Personal Discovery – Rob Angel
one of the reasons why I love burning man or boxing or ice bath or ayahuasca ceremonies is that it’s a safe container, but it’s very challenging physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, that truth gets revealed to me. To me, not necessarily external told by someone else, because someone else tells me the ego goes against eco. And they’re like, who are you to tell me this? But when I’m in those immersive experience, then I get to realize something about myself.
I’m curious to know for you, given that your love of adventures. love for the experience of being alive. How are you using those kind of experiences as a way to discover for yourself your own truth, your own purpose, your own passion, your own self-expression
right. a lot of them, I’m giving myself permission to explore burning man. When I went, I gave myself permission to go and be out there, take some hallucigenics to just be different, to be not even something I’m not, just something I’ve pretty much always wanted to be I always felt and did give myself permission to give it a try. And as you say, is that contained unit of almost security that you can’t go too far off the rails, but with each of these experiences, whether it’s ayahuasca or mushrooms or burning man or going to Bali or whatever. I don’t think there’s any one thing or experience or teacher or anything that is going to be fixed everything or get you in line or, Oh my God, I get it now. Just when you think you get it, they pull the rug right out from under you, they have to go do it again. Come on. so it’s the, it’s all those experiences and they don’t have to be spiritual. You can just meeting somebody on the street for goodness sakes, but they all add up to who you are, who you want to be, what experiences, what spirituality you want to have and what heart-centered person you are.
And with that, you’re not going to let out and be. So they’re all just as I called arrows in my quiver to see what’s going to happen. And it wouldn’t be fun if I knew anyway. I like to explore it. I don’t really want to answer.
How I Define the Phrase ‘Personal Journey’ – Rob Angel
So we are using spiritual journey, these, passion or purpose, these are very meta words. How would you define the word or the phrase spiritual journey for you?
I hate the word. Okay. when I started my spiritual journey.
Okay. I probably didn’t start at first because my interpretation of the word spiritual journey was, I’m going to find a spirit or better find god, all these things. That’s not in at all. So I just call it a journey, a personal journey. That’s just a journey.
what’s the journey, right?
Oh, The journey to be happy. the journey to find out what makes me tick the journey to be comfortable with myself. there’s a hundred different journeys. all leading to me, it’s all just being happy, just being, having that.
I’ll be comfortable in in my own skin and just waking up every day. Excited and charged and ready to go. It doesn’t matter what it is. and so a jerk, by definition a journey, it doesn’t it by definition. And so I’m learned in learning to enjoy the journey more, to enjoy all these things.
Cause again, I can’t even say started late, but I get inside my own head still. A lot of work being in there sometimes. And th the terminology, what did somebody call it? He goes, he calls it frog cause he hates the term as well. F R O G. That’s how goofy it is, right?
Yeah. A frog. I’m going to go frog today. Okay. That, it sounds stupid. It sounds goofy, but it’s. For him, it’s just easy to go. Okay. You could use any word, so yeah, any word at all. And when I talked to my friends who aren’t trying, I want to use the word enlightened, who are not even interested. I talk about simple things and the eyes glass over their head. And so I still talk a little bit, but being around like minded people helps. and I learned, I’m just from just this conversation, you’re teaching me a lot and that’s fun as well.
Thank you. And that’s really the purpose of this podcast. the tao te ching lao tse started with this phrase, if you can stay it, that’s not the way. If he can articulate it, that’s not the way. So by no means, I’m trying to put a limitation on this. This, we call it tao or the way or spirituality, whatever it is.
But by talking about it, I think we deepen our understanding of what it is. So to some of my entrepreneurial friends, they say to me, Hey CK, you intellectualize this too much.
But to me, this is where the juice is. Cause I want to make sure that I enjoy this moment. And bring bringing back a little bit of the people who are searching for a singular purpose, what I say to them, you are actually not looking for a single word that encompasses your entire being?
What you’re looking for is a sensibility and an experience. An experience of our purpose for you. That’s what you’re looking for. Not necessarily a singular title or phrase
Where And How I Cultivate Healthy Relationships – Rob Angel
you’re someone who loves the experience of being alive. You as someone who loves adventures is someone who is very generous. You’re someone who is a deep thinker. What do you find your peer groups?
it’s a good question. I guess just when I’m out, as much as I am, I meet people and then if one person resonates. Then I find out and I see who they’re connected to like metal, as you said, we’re connected to that. I met one Jeff waggle. He’s like 109. He goes to burning man, this instant connection.
wait a hundred nights to go to burning, man. He’s like eighties, he’s 82 or three. Wow. That’s awesome. he is a fabulous human being. That’s amazing. we camped right here each the last year. and I met him and he brought me into metal. He says, you should give it a try. And that the peer group is saying that group of guys yourself included amazing sense of community.
And so I’m in that group. And then there’s other people from high school, even the guys that were at the beginning with Pictionary off getting off the couch just after college. They’re still part of my peer group. They’re my friends. So I have. several different groups. I like a lot of different groups just keeps me active. It keeps me engaged and keeps me on my toes. That’s for sure. Cause sometimes the groups are, diametrically opposed all heart centered, but they just feel and think differently. So that’s fun as well. Shifting into that.
What Structures You Should Put in Place to Foster Productive Cofounder Dynamics – Rob Angel
knowing what you know now, part of your role, your identity is you’re advising game designers, entrepreneurs who look up to you. What’s your advice to them in finding a compatible cofounder. And then let me contextualize this question a little bit. I think it was a lot like dating, we go in with the best intentions, we do something in the interview questions, coffee date, first date, and they’re like, Oh, it’s pretty good. Let’s start a company together, effectively getting married and then you find out later on Holy shit, there’s all these things I didn’t know about you. So what would you say to, younger founders knowing what you know now about couples dynamics? Co-founder dynamics? About vetting the right co-founder for whoever’s listening?
Okay. Oh man. I think there’s tests for this. No, I think you really, you have to do use, three things and I keep going back to it 1)intuition because you’ll never have enough information in the decision you make, whether it’s partners, business, sales, whatever. They’ll never wait around for all the information you can get along great with somebody for a 20 minutes, even a year or two, but then 2)when it goes bad, give yourself a legal out, make sure you have a partnership agreement.
It’s nice to have a handshake, but if it goes bad, trying to untangle something it’s stuff, we didn’t have one for the first year of our existence. We just couldn’t afford it. Couldn’t afford it. But we were men of our words and we. And we lived up to him. So when we could, we got partnership agreement, now you’ve got literally there’s physical things you can do.
3)3if they’re young, you can check their Facebook, you can have conversation. I think most people are more aware now of other people than they used to be. just make sure they don’t have it here. Same skillset. I think you said that earlier, it’s the same thing. It’s For goodness sake, make sure you’re compatible. Make sure you are compatible and then cross your fingers. How’s that for a technical term.
Thank you. No, that’s actually really great. I really love that your underline, the clause about the legal out clause, I think it’s like a prenup, essentially write a prenup postnup so that way
you never look at them. You’re never supposed to look at a contract. You sign it, you put it in the drawer and hopefully you never bring it out. You just leave it in the drawer. But when you need to you’ll get into a, he said, she said, can I go to one of those with an investment I made, but two owners, exactly what we’re talking about,freinds not ending that way. And they don’t have a partial agreement. So there it’s very difficult. Cover yourself legally. that’s, all this stuff. We’re colleagues, he’s, we’re talking about ego and any emotion and heart centers. There’s legal things you need to do to protect yourself as well.
You’re going to be in business. If you’re going to put yourself out there, if you’re going, to be with other people, where there’s money involved. There’s business involved. Get your trademarks and copyrights. Get your partnership agreements, get your buy and sell agreements. you may not need it at first, but eventually you will. So cover yourself.
Yeah, for sure. I want to actually add two more things. I think that may be helpful. I actually learn this from the president of metal. He said before I got into any relationship with a woman. in this case, he was talking about romantic relationships.
He said to really pay attention to how you feel around them. Do you feel good about yourself? Like where you being around them, do they make you feel bad about yourself, right? That’s a good indicator of the future to come to pay attention to that.
And that’s what I say, intuition. But intuition is also a visceral reaction.
So it’s not just your brain saying, this feels right. This feels good. If they’re making you uncomfortable, you’ll know. You’ll know exactly. as you’re saying, you’ll know how you feel because you want to have dinner with them five nights a week. that’s the same thing. How do you feel?
Cause you’re going to be with them all the time. So feeling intuition, you get break in a cold sweat, just pay attention physically, how you feel or how you reacting. I completely agree with COVID. right now, and we’re all online, it makes it a little more difficult. And when you’re not around each other’s often, but you’ll know. Okay. You’ll know
one other thing I want to put in, and this is for me, I think it’s important. I want to see them when they’re really challenged. So I would take them to an ayahausca ceremony or a Spartan race or a cold bath or some kind of a thing, especially I can see Oh, okay. Here’s how they’re dealing with, external stresses, right?
I want to see that. So then that way also they see how I react as well.
My #1 Counter-Intuitive Advice to Entrepreneurs – Rob Angel
you had talked about following your curiosity, interest, passion and then love, right? And at that point, the vision is gets more and more concrete the more you invest in and the more you see the positive feedback loop and so forth. If you can bring yourself back to the point where the vision was still not that clear. You feel it in your gut and you’re like, there may be something here, the vision is not concretized.
What would you say the steps you took to concretize that vision more and more for yourself for yourself?
my answer may disappoint you, with all the information that’s out there in the universe right now. And the internet people have the ability now to find all the answers they need online, the creativity of the openmindedness of life, the curiosity is stifled.
And so back then, it wasn’t even an email when we started this damn thing. That too much information is inhibitive. And so the, what I’m getting at is that question you just asked me, probably there’s a thousand entrepreneurs out there right now, writing down these questions and they’re saying, okay, how can I, concretize, whatever word, because on shark tank. Have all the questions you’re supposed to go all the business questions, you’re supposed to be able to answer. That’s bullshit.
Somebody sitting there going, I’ve got a great idea for a business. Oh. But wait a minute. I’ve got to answer the sharks answers before I get started. That is debilitating.
Trying to articulate your mission, your vision, your goal, your dream, get your marketing plan, your business plan. Where are you gonna find your financing? What are you gonna sell? How much work? And that’s just all that. There you go. Their exit strategy is enough to drive somebody crazy, or at least not them make the right choices for themselves and the product.
But the point is by God, there’s so much information. That there’s a ton of people out there saying, forget it. I can’t do this, i don’t have these answers. my kids call this a ROV answer, I could have answered your question, like in two sentences, but attempt to do whatever that was perfect.
Yeah. That was actually a defensive, apology. So I apologize for that. but it’s like, There was no definitive answer. And I’ve always wondered if the internet was alive now, or if I have the access to information, what does that look like? Would Pictionary have happened? Would it have been what it was?
And I know the answer is no, and no, the answer is no. And not just because of technology because. No, because I would have overthought every God damn thing, just because the questions you were asking, which by the way, I love the questions. I love answering the questions, but if you’re asking me these questions, when I was 26, these terms would have been so foreign to me that it would have thrown me off, caught me off my game, pun intended.
and so I’m going to go back. And actually watch this podcast because you’re asking me questions that are logical. and I know I would like to know for myself so I can tell other people because that’s what people want to hear, use the resources. But at some point you just got to make the decision, pull the trigger, go for it, whatever it is.
The Counter-Intuitive Power of Saying No – Rob Angel
I want to talk about some of the control. we had several nos that made our business successful. It’s easy to say. Yes. We had 9,000 Pictionary games after our first printing. And we’re sitting in Seattle, we’re in our office and JC penny calls and they want 9,000 games. And so all we do is say yes, chip the games were sold out and we’re going, okay, this is what we were working for.
This was, this is the great idea we were trying to get accomplished, but then we started thinking about it. So what if they don’t put the games on the shelf? What if they don’t pay us on time? What, if they decide to set the games back, we don’t have control over that. So it’s all about control.
And so we said, no . So I think saying no is harder, much harder than saying yes, but I think the no’s get you farther along. Cause it’s that sacrificing longterm success for short term gain. I think we all do that instinctively. But removing that from your head and looking at the bigger picture, looking down the road, say no helps keeps your train on the tracks for sure.