Hi, my name is Brandon Boswell, and I’m the founder of this blog, Drunk Passion. The purpose of this page is to help you understand that I’m no different than you. I’m just a normal guy. A normal guy that busted his ass, read a lot of books, and made a lot of mistakes along the way.
Throughout this page I’ll share who I am, where I came from, how I went from bar star to entrepreneur, and how you can do the same. If this is your first time visiting the site make sure that you click on the “Start Here” tab and read that post first.
The short story is that I was able to use the freedom that the bar industry gave me to focus on building a life that I actually wanted. I refused to bow down to the 9-5 lifestyle and did everything I could to avoid it. Along the way I had my share of “real jobs” but I hated every minute of them. I just felt like I was wasting my life away.
I wanted to be an actor, or a filmmaker, or a fighter pilot. Something cool and exciting. I went through all three of those phases before realizing that if I really wanted to change the world I had to become an entrepreneur. Not that I even knew what an entrepreneur was back then.
The Early Years
I was born on April 26, 1981 in Canada and spent the first three years of my life living in West Vancouver, BC. We were just your average middle class family. My dad was a firefighter and my mom stayed home to look after my sister and I. Nothing very exciting that I can remember in the first three years except that we had a cat and I’m pretty sure I almost fell off a boat and died when I was like a year old.
When I was three we moved to a house on the other side of Vancouver in a little country town called Langley, which is where I grew up. The upside was that Langley was much more affordable. The downside was that my dad would now have to drive an hour and a half to work in West Vancouver every day. A sacrifice that I appreciate more than he’ll ever know.
We had a much bigger house, plus there was a massive ravine with a river running through it in the back yard. Half of my childhood was spent playing down there in the woods. Camping, fishing, tobogganing, and maybe a little partying in my teenage years.
I really don’t have a ton of memories from my childhood. Not that there weren’t any to be had, just that I’ve spent the past 15 years filling my head up with other things. I remember little things…
- My dad had an old blue Ford pickup.
- We went to my visit my grandparents every summer and went salmon fishing.
- Mom used to let me stay up late and watch movies with her. My favourite was Top Gun. I’d drive her absolutely crazy asking questions nonstop.
- We had a Dalmatian named Patches… and a bunch of cats.
- We went to Disneyland and Seaworld when I was twelve.
- I played baseball and soccer. Hated soccer… BC is waaaaaay to cold and wet.
I was kinda nerdy in elementary school, but I guess most kids are at that age. I was absolutely convinced from between the ages of ten and fourteen that my mom paid my friends to hang out with me. Confidence and self-esteem were obviously at an all-time high.
Math and science were my thing. I excelled at those and then I’m pretty sure I sucked at everything else other than recess and lunch.
High School Years
I was pretty agnostic in high school. Didn’t hang with the cool kids, not really a nerd, just sort of acquaintances with everybody. I had my select crew that I’d hang with, and most of them were pretty much trouble. At least when it came to achieving anything resembling academic success.
Lost my virginity at fourteen. Decided to bust through the condom and make us a little baby. That was fun. We almost burned the house down at the same time cooking dinner for her nephew, who we were babysitting at the time. Who knew that cauliflower was flammable.
Quick little trip to the clinic took care of that would be disaster. I was fourteen years old getting screamed at by protesters on the way into the blender clinic. Not to mention we got into a car accident on the way there. Still remember the headlight flying through the air in slow motion.
Drinking, smoking cigarettes and weed, skipping school, listening to gangster rap. That was pretty much the norm from grade eight until grade ten. Grade eleven was so amazing I decided to take it twice. Eventually I ended up getting my shit together just long enough to graduate.
I played baseball throughout my childhood until I was around sixteen. I had a ton of talent, but once I found girls I just didn’t care anymore. I had a massive chip on my shoulder and partying like an idiot was obviously more important to me.
I don’t have very many regrets in my life, but I feel sorry for the teachers and coaches that had to put up with me. I was a little punk. If it had been fifty years earlier I would has my ass kicked on the daily by all of them. But it wasn’t really my fault, I was just bored.
My First Job
I scored my first job at a place called Cruiser’s which was a 50’s diner with a hot rod theme. I was fifteen and the finest dishwasher that place had ever seen. Greasy egg plates and nachos were the worst. Whoever came up with the paper under the nachos thing was a genius. I just wish they had came up with it sooner.
Eventually I moved my way up to a line cook position where I happily sweated my balls off for the next three years. The only saving grace was that there were waitresses I could flirt with who were ten years my senior. Get off work… party with hot waitresses. Dream job.
I had a whole bunch of other random jobs throughout my late teens, and I hated most of them. But being a restaurant cook didn’t pay overly well, so usually I was working two or three jobs at a time.
I worked as a gas station attendant, a manual labourer, a tree cutter (where I almost got pulled into a wood chipper), a parts picker, and a dozen other god awful jobs. Lucky for me I was destined to be a star and things would soon change.
I was eighteen when I had my first role in a movie. The role was that of “Guy sitting in booth drinking beer,” and the title of that movie was “The Hot Karl.” In case you’re in need of an education a Hot Karl is the slang term for a guy sitting on the can, taking a dump, while getting a blowjob. Needless to say, I’m still waiting for my Oscar.
A film crew had rented out Cruiser’s to use it as a film set. After closing up shop a couple of us decided to hang around and watch the action when we were approached by the casting director who asked if we wanted to be extras in the background.
She obviously realized that I was born to be a Hollywood superstar and had a raw talent that needed to be discovered. We signed our union waivers and then pretended to have a conversation while drinking water out of a beer bottle… about six hundred thousand times. Hollywood magic at its finest.
The only other thing I can remember from that night was a scene where the cook came out of the kitchen and yelled at some other guy who was wearing a leather jacket. Meanwhile, the cook had a two foot long chunk of beef liver in one hand and a rusty machete in the other.
Absolutely no idea what the movie was about as I never saw it and definitely never got paid for it. And even though that night seems like it was just a chance encounter, it actually shaped the rest of my life and made me who I am today. It opened my eyes to a whole new world.
A few months later I heard about a friend of a friend who had an extra agent. I didn’t even know this was a thing at the time. Essentially this guy had a person who would talk to the movie people and get him work as a background performer in actual Hollywood movies. Like with real Hollywood type people. For actual money.
I flipped open the Yellow Pages (no Google back then) and then cold called every agent I could find. After around nine million phone calls I finally booked an interview with a company called Keystone Extras.
As soon as I showed up at the Keystone office they told me to stand against a white wall so they could take my picture. Then they asked me three questions: Got a car? What’s your availability? When can you start? Wow… who knew the road to fame would be so easy.
Over the next two years I would walk through the background of dozens of different movies and TV shows being filmed throughout Vancouver. I worked alongside people like Brad Pitt, Eddie Murphy, Owen Wilson, Robert Redford, Jessica Alba, Lou Diamond Phillips, Grahame Greene, and a bunch of others. This experience opened my eyes to a whole new way of thinking.
There is absolutely nothing special about any of the people that you see on TV. They are the same as you and I. They just busted their ass and made huge sacrifices to get to where they are. They found their passion and then didn’t quit. It’s not that they didn’t fail, because everybody fails. But when these people get punched in the face by life, they get back up and relentlessly keep going after what they want.
Learning to Cry
Eventually I got tired of being a pylon. Background performers are the lowest of the low in the film industry and for the most part they get treated accordingly. Sitting in a freezing cold tent, eating nasty ass sandwiches, and getting yelled at by wranglers for pretty much minimum wage.
I needed bigger and better things if I was going to become the star that I knew I was destined to be. A few of the other extras had been training at acting schools around the city, and I figured that was probably a good place to start. So off I went to finely tune my craft.
I took various part-time classes at different acting schools all over Vancouver. I’d take a scene study class here, an improv class there, film & TV classes, audition intensives, casting director workshops. Whatever I could sign up for that would help take me closer to where I wanted to be. A super famous celebrity actor making millions of dollars for just showing up and being awesome.
After about a year of part-time study I found a full-time intensive program being offered by the William Davis Centre for Actor’s Study, which at the time was one of the highest regarded acting schools in Vancouver. It would be a year long commitment with nine other Hollywood hopefuls who were also willing to be ripped emotionally raw for a chance at superstardom.
The full-time program wasn’t something you could just walk into off the street. There was a very competitive audition process in which hundreds of people applied for the ten available spots. The reputation of any school is only as good as the talent that it produces, and therefore only the best of the best were allowed to attend.
I submitted my application to the school and after a few weeks I received a letter telling me that I had been invited to audition for a spot. I had to prepare both a contemporary and a Shakespearean monologue, which I would have to come in and perform back to back. For somebody who didn’t come from a theatre background, anything Shakespeare was essentially a FML moment.
Surprisingly enough I managed to make it through the audition process without throwing up. Two weeks later I was informed that I had been accepted into the program. That I was among the best of the best… at least out of those who applied, which probably isn’t saying much. Regardless, I was super excited to take the next step on my journey to becoming an A-list celebrity.
Training to be an actor is a really weird process. Every teacher seems to have a different way to get to the intended destination. The destination being a performance that the audience believes to be true to the story being told on the stage or the screen. That’s really all there is to acting.
If the audience believes your performance then you did your job. But that’s the logical approach, and definitely not how they go about teaching you how to become an actor. The way acting is taught is more based on the conscious emotional manipulation of one’s self. I think, therefore I am. But nobody can seem to agree on what to think, which is really confusing for somebody trying to learn.
Over the next year, the ten of us would attend classes for eight hours a day, five days a week, with rehearsals on evenings and weekends. We would take yoga, pilates, and voice classes every morning, with the intent of teaching us how to effectively gain control of our “instrument.”
This is what the superficial acting people call their bodies and voice, an “instrument.” I’m assuming it’s because using the actual words “body” and “voice” would be comparing them with the non-acting people, which would obviously be complete blasphemy. Stars are nothing like the common folk.
In the afternoons we took a variety of other classes. Mondays would be improv and comedy. Tuesdays and Thursdays were scene study. Wednesdays was Shakespeare, and Fridays were reserved for Film & TV classes.
Every type of class was taught by a different teacher who was a working actor in the industry. Sometimes, because of their schedules, other teachers ended up filling in for them. So we had multiple teachers with multiple different opinions. None of whom were stars. This would be my first step in realizing that I should be very selective in who I decide to learn from, and that not every teacher is for every student.
That year I acquired a very serious addiction. An addiction which will probably stay with me for the rest of my life. It has cost me tens of thousands of dollars, and will undoubtably cost me much more in the future. About a year ago, I spent more that seven hundred dollars in a single day to support this addiction. Over seven hundred dollars on an extreme addiction that the majority of people can’t even begin to understand.
My addiction started when I was watching an episode of the show “Inside the Actor’s Studio” with James Lipton. The guest who was being interviewed on that episode was Johnny Depp, and I can remember watching it like it was yesterday. They talked about his relationships with Marlon Brando and Jack Nicholson, the boots he was wearing, and what he loves about living in France.
The part of the show that had a major impact on me was when Lipton asked Depp what kind of training he had taken. Johnny listed off a few studios that he had studied at, and then went into depth about the various books he had read. He said that the book that profoundly changed the way he thought about acting, and was able to bring it all together for him, was the book “No Acting Please” by Eric Morris. So obviously if I wanted to be a star I had to find and read this book.
After some research I found a place called Biz Books in downtown Vancouver which specifically catered to the film industry and all of its various counterparts. I was able to locate Johnny Depp’s acting bible, and then decided to take a little look around. What I came to discover absolutely shocked me, and was the catalyst for my addiction.
Welcome to the Matrix
It jumped out at me like a rabid squirrel. There on the shelf at Biz Books was the name Michael Caine stamped on the side of a book. For those of you who don’t know, Sir Michael Caine is an icon and one of the finest British actors that’s ever lived. So much so that he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.
I found it rather odd for this book to be on the shelf. Why in the world would Michael Caine ever write a book. He’s an actor, not an author. Then it suddenly hit me. The title of the book was “Acting in Film.” Who better to teach the subject than one of the best and most experienced in the business. That’s when I suddenly realized that it was possible for me to learn from the best of the best. I didn’t have to compromise when it came to what I wanted to learn or who I was able to learn it from.
I left Biz Books that day excited to read not just one, but two different books. Up until that point I don’t think I had ever been excited to read a book in my life. The majority of my experience with books had been teachers forcing textbooks down my throat. Most of which I would never read as I didn’t actually see them having any practical value.
One of the movie scenes I have come to relate to the most in my life is a scene out of The Matrix. Keanu Reeves’ character gets plugged in to a computer momentarily and then suddenly jolts awake and reveals “I know kung fu.” They had literally just programmed his mind with the skills of a kung fu master.
The funny thing most people don’t realize is that our ability to learn is absolutely no different. It just takes a little longer. We can learn anything we want to as long as we are willing to put in the time.
The Need for Speed
When I finished acting school that year my parents decided that it was time for me to actually do something with my life. Enough with the artsy bullshit. Time to go get a “real education” and then go out and find a “real job.” To me that pretty much meant that it was time to go man up and hate my life like the rest of society.
I struggled all summer to figure out which direction I wanted my life to go in. The thought of any 9-5 job where I was sitting at a desk doing the same thing for the next forty years made me want to go deep throat a running chainsaw. Why couldn’t I just do something that made me happy.
One thing that made me very happy was the sound of a jet engine. Every summer, the largest airshow in Canada is held just outside of Vancouver. Military aircraft and personnel from all over the world show up for three days to dazzle the crowd with their incredible machinery.
I don’t know what it is about fighter jets that affects me so much. Seeing them rocket past and then suddenly the sound crashes through me two seconds later. It actually gets to me on an emotional level for some reason. My chest tightens up and my eyes start to water. Top Gun was by far my favourite movie as a kid.
After attending the airshow that summer I decided to figure out what the process of actually becoming a fighter pilot would be. As it turned out, one of the prerequisites for acceptance was that you had to have a university degree. It didn’t matter what degree you had, but you had to have one.
I spent quite a bit of time researching different schools and programs until I found one that would be suitable for me. And fortunately for me, the particular program I found would help me kill two birds with one stone.
The University of the Fraser Valley offered a four year program in partnership with Coastal Pacific Aviation. They would allow you to earn a degree in business by spending half the time at university and the other half getting your pilot’s license. So not only would I get the degree I needed, but I’d also get a head start on learning how to fly.
There were only two prerequisites when it came to the aviation part of the program. You had to take a medical exam to make sure that you were healthy enough to fly, and then you had to actually go up in a plane to make sure that you could handle flying without throwing up all over the place.
Flying was amazing and only intensified my obsession. I took my girlfriend at the time down to the airport where Coastal Pacific was located and signed up for my test flight. After signing the paperwork and paying the fifty dollars to cover the fuel, we headed out onto the tarmac and over to our plane. I was beyond excited as I had never been in a little plane before.
Once we took off and hit five hundred feet our pilot looked over and asked if I wanted to fly. Are you kidding me??? Of course I wanted to fly!!! So for the next hour I got to take us on a tour as we followed the Fraser River north and flew between the mountains.
Eventually I had to circle back to the airport, and then the pilot took over and landed us safely. I was the happiest kid on the planet, but not everybody else felt the same way. As I went to help Sarah out of the back seat I suddenly realized that she had turned a nice shade of green and was pretty much ready to throw up. Apparently she was fine until the pilot said I could fly.
Unfortunately my medical exam didn’t go so well. I had eye surgery when I was young and it had resulted in a very minor loss of depth perception. The result meant that I could fly commercially, but the military would never allow me to fly mach two with my hair on fire while launching missiles at people. And suddenly my dream was dead… sort of.
I decided that if they wouldn’t let me fly their fancy little jets, then I’d just have to get rich enough that I could buy my own fancy little jets. After all, John Travolta had an airport attached to his house with a bunch of his own planes. So what was stopping me from doing the same thing.
Back to Business
Obviously if I wanted to make a ton of money, business was still the direction I should be headed. Sure I could just keep going on the path to becoming a star, but I still had the whole parent thing to deal with. So if I had to go learn something practical, then making money was probably a good direction to go in.
I signed up for the business program at UFV and ground it out for a year and a half. I loved marketing and communications, but I hated accounting and finance. It wasn’t that I wasn’t good at them, I was just bored out of my skull. At least marketing gave me a chance to use a bit of my imagination.
After the first year I decided to take a theatre course as one of my electives. That decision was the beginning of the end when it came to my time at university. I fell back in love with acting, and by the end of that semester I made the decision not to go back. A decision that I have never once regretted.
Begging For Change
Over the course of the next few years I hammered away at the Vancouver film industry. I had four agents and I fired them all. I did numerous independent and student films, but at the end of the day I seriously got tired of going out and begging for work. Plus, driving three hours for a thirty second audition wasn’t really my idea of a good time.
I hated not being in control of my own life. I didn’t want to have to jump through hoops and bark like a dog every time that I wanted the chance to earn paycheque. So I decided to figure out a way that I could control my own situation. If nobody would give me an opportunity, then I would just go out and create my own.
For two years I spent eight to twelve hours a day studying every aspect of filmmaking. From directing to cinematography, to writing, producing, editing, sound design, casting, costume design, and anything else I could think of that might help. I buried my face in every book that I could find.
You’re probably wondering why I didn’t go to film school if I wanted to learn filmmaking. One reason is that film school is ridiculously expensive. But the main reason why I decided against it was that I had already worked with most of the film schools in town and I saw what the students were getting out of it. To me it just didn’t seem worth the money.
The first year I spent studying the practicalities of filmmaking, and then the second year I focused mainly on writing and story design. The script is by far the most important part of any movie. Give an amazing script to almost any director and you’ll have a good movie. But give a horrible script to even the best director, and it will still turn out to be a terrible movie.
I continued in my efforts to only learn from the best, reading books on writing from the best in the industry. I watched every film on the American Film Institute’s list of the Top 100 films of all time, and then I read every award winning script that I could find. Some of this education was immensely painful and time consuming, while other parts were enjoyable way beyond what I expected.
How I Became a Bar Star
The legal drinking age is nineteen in BC but I had been going to the bar since I was around fifteen or sixteen. This was the result of being friends with the waitresses at Cruiser’s. They were always hitting the bars after work and would want to drag me along.
I still remember the first time I walked into a bar. It was a strip club filled with bikers. One of those places where you just knew that there was a bloody baseball bat behind the bar. We didn’t stay long, but I do remember the first stripper that I ever saw in my life. She was wearing white lingerie and dancing to the song “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls. Such a weird song choice for a stripper.
By the time I was legal I had already witnessed dozens of bartenders working around town. They were all rockstars. Especially the nightclub bartenders. Guys wanted to be them and girls wanted to be with them. They all had tip jars jam packed with cash and phone numbers. Not only that, but they actually seemed to be having a lot of fun.
I got my first bartending job at a restaurant when I was nineteen. Technically I was hired as a host and as a waitress bartender. This meant that I had to seat the customers and serve the waitresses. It sucked but at least it gave me a little bit of experience that I could throw on a resume.
Over the next ten years I moved my way up in the industry and bartended at a variety of different venues. I worked at local pubs, sports bars, country bars, and biker bars before I finally managed to become a nightclub bartender. That’s when I started making the big money.
Although I had a lot of fun working in the bar industry, that wasn’t my primary reason for being there. Like everybody else on the planet, I had bills to pay. The way I figured it, I could either pay those bills working a little or a lot. I wanted to work as little as possible so that I could focus on what I actually wanted to do with my life.
I knew that if I wanted a job behind one of the best bars that I would have to become one of the best bartenders. That meant I needed education, practice, and experience. Education I found through books and tutorial videos. Experience I got by only staying behind a bar as long as I was still learning something. Practice meant that I had to dedicate time to becoming the best.
Back in my day, flair bartending was huge. The movie Cocktail with Tom Cruise started the movement and then it just exploded. Guys were literally juggling five bottles at a time behind the bar. Occasionally this had disastrous results that would be absolutely hilarious for anybody watching. But these guys were making some serious money with their skills.
I spent eight hundred dollars on collection of training videos and set out to be a rockstar. I remember practicing for hours and hours in my parents front yard. I accidentally hit myself in the head with so many bottles that I probably suffered mild brain damage. Now that I think about it, that might explain a thing or two.
Though I didn’t have anywhere near the patience or discipline required to become one of the best flair bartenders, this practice definitely made me a better bartender. It had nothing to do with learning all sorts of crazy tricks. It was all about learning how to be as fast as possible. Working flair allowed me to serve more people in less time, which therefore allowed me to make a lot more money.
My ultimate goal with bartending was to work as little as possible so that I could spend more time building the life that I actually wanted. I feel that I ultimately achieved that goal. At the height of my bartending career I was only working two nights a week. I’d make more in eight hours than most of my friends made in forty. Then I’d go home and work on my dreams.
Starting Datamax Installations Inc.
Throughout my twenties there was another industry that I dabbled in here and there. A friend of mine worked in the telecommunications industry and occasionally I’d go work with him. I’d put in six months to make some extra cash, and then I’d quit and go back to building my life.
But in 2010, Vancouver hosted the winter olympics. There was a massive amount of work that had to be done in order for the city to prepare. One part of this was the telecommunications infrastructure that had to be implemented for the various venues to be able to function.
Bell Canada had secured a $500 million contract for the deployment, and Allan was hired on as a project manager. Over the next couple years we installed copper and fiber systems at multiple locations throughout Vancouver and Whistler. Then it was over.
After the olympics, I approached Allan with the idea of partnering together. Being out of work isn’t the best scenario when you have a wife and three kids to take care of. Not that a startup with your best friend is a good idea either, but at that point we were naive and didn’t know any better.
Datamax Installations Inc. was incorporated on August 22, 2011 with a budget of approximately zero dollars. We had Allan’s rusty pickup, a bunch of tools, and almost no clients. I say almost, because we did have a couple here and there. Electronic Arts was one of them, which we lost after about a month of being in business. To say bootstrapping was a grind would be an understatement.
The secret to any sort of success is figuring out what you don’t know and then learning as fast as humanly possible. Ignorance is only bliss for so long, then it becomes incredibly painful. But pretty much everybody starts out the same way. Absolutely fucking clueless. And we were definitely no exception to this rule.
Over the next few years we slowly grew Datamax into an real company with actual clients and actual revenue, but we still had huge problems. Cashflow is like oxygen to a business, and we were choking to death. We were digging ourselves into a hole which would soon impossible to climb out of if something didn’t change. Something had to change.
Even though we were growing at around eighty percent a year, we were hardly making enough profit to pay ourselves. But we had to pay ourselves otherwise we would starve. This meant that we wouldn’t pay other things. And then people would get very mad at us. Threatening letters and phone calls are never a fun way to start your day.
In the end our partnership couldn’t handle the stress. It wasn’t as bad for me since I was still bartending on the weekends which helped pay some bills. Allan was in dire straights. He had three kids and a wife who refused to get a job to help out. I’m actually impressed that he lasted as long as he did.
When Allan decided that he wanted out I was relieved, as this meant that things would have to change. We went through our options and brainstormed through a few different scenarios. We had Datamax up for sale, but I was quite reluctant to selling it. I had poured my heart and soul into this business and didn’t want to just walk away from it.
In the end I decided to buy Allan out and keep Datamax for myself. I let him walk away from all of the companies liabilities and I got him a job as a project manager for one of our biggest competitors. I have no doubt that he is by far one of their best employees.
I came to learn that there are four different personality types when it comes to business. There are employees, there are managers, there are executives, and there are entrepreneurs. In my opinion, you can only really move up or down one spot. An employee will never be able to handle the life of an entrepreneur, and an entrepreneur will never make a good employee. This is neither a good thing, nor a bad thing. It’s just a thing.
Silicon Valley Obsession
When we first started Datamax we needed a website to establish our credibility. The problem was that hiring a web designer was expensive and we couldn’t afford it. So I had to learn to code and then try to build the website myself.
Once the site was up and operational I had to try and figure out a way to start driving traffic to it. We needed new business in a bad way, so I started studying all the internet marketing and sales stuff that I could find. This is when I quickly realized how bad our website truly was. I had spent months designing and building something that was effectively useless. Ignorance was definitely not bliss.
The biggest problem with our site was that it couldn’t be indexed by the search engines because of the way that I had built it. And if a search engine can’t find you, then nobody can find you. Not exactly an ideal scenario. So I had no choice but to completely start over from scratch.
This time around I spent more time learning about how websites and search engines actually function together to handle SEO. If the most important thing was to be found online, then I had to make sure that people could actually find us. That research turned out to be immensely profitable.
Our new site has now brought in over $1.5 million dollars in revenue and we still rank on the first page for the majority of our local keywords. Search Engine Optimization is everything. I learned how to use WordPress in order to simplify things, and then managed to create a website that was infinitely better than my first attempt.
The process of building our website opened my eyes to a whole new world. I had never really been exposed to very much of the tech industry prior to that. As far as I was concerned, Silicon Valley was just a bunch of nerds, doing nerd things with computers. I had no idea that building that website would completely change my life, but it did. I became obsessed with the tech industry.
Becoming a Billionaire
Entrepreneurs in our culture have officially become the new rockstars. Billionaire celebrities, barely into their twenties and thirties, have changed the way that we live our lives. Reality shows like Shark Tank and Dragon’s Den offer proof that almost anybody with an idea can have a shot at making it to the big time.
My love for Silicon Valley is really quite simple. It’s an ecosystem built upon trying to help as many people as possible. Peter Diamandis has a saying that sums up the tech industry perfectly, “If you want to become a billionaire, help a billion people.”
A restaurant can help a few hundred people at a time. A doctor can only serve one person at a time. But a tech company can help millions, if not billions, of people at a time. This understanding has not only changed the way that I think about business, but it’s also completely changed the way I think and feel about my entire life and purpose.
The unfortunate thing about the tech industry is how it’s portrayed by the media. They show Silicon Valley as a place where venture capitalists foolishly throw around billions of dollars to fund any kid with an idea. That might have been the case in the late nineties, but definitely not since the Dotcom crash.
In the late nineties, Silicon Valley was a complete feeding frenzy. You could literally walk into any VC’s office, draw out an idea on a piece of paper, and get funded. Everybody was making a ton of money because nobody really knew what they were doing. The internet was brand new and as far as these guys were concerned anything on the internet was sure to be a huge success.
Then reality hit. At the end of the day, business is still business. There needs to be an actual problem that people are willing to pay to solve. Then somebody needs to develop a solution, and build that solution into a sustainable business. Unfortunately for everybody attached to the tech industry in the late nineties, the word “sustainable” probably wasn’t included in very many business plans.
Million and billion dollar companies suddenly started imploding and they brought everybody else down with them. Entrepreneurs and their businesses were all going bankrupt, and this meant that they couldn’t afford to pay employees, vendors, or anybody else. Investors lost everything. But when I say investors, it’s not who you think.
Venture Capitalists make money investing other people’s money. They take a small percentage of the total investment (usually around 2% per year), and then a percentage of the total profit made in the end (usually around 20% of total profit). Where they find this money is what made the Dotcom crash such a big deal. You probably don’t know it, but VC’s use your money to make their investments.
Investment funds raise their money from a few different places. Most people would think that those places would be businesses, accredited investors, and/or high net worth individuals (aka rich people). While this is true to some extent, one of the major sources of money for a venture capitalist is pension funds.
The theory behind this is that instead of your money sitting there and being useless until you retire, the pension fund managers send it off to a VC to invest. This way you can all get rich together. That is until you lose your entire pension because people started investing in things that they shouldn’t have. The exact same thing happened with the housing market crash in 2008.
That was a long story to illustrate a simple point. The tech industry has changed, and mostly for the better. For the most part they learned their lesson. Now Silicon Valley is a lot more careful about where it puts its money. You have to have a solid purpose and know what you’re doing if you want to go play in their little game.
The End of an Era
The busier Datamax got, the less time I had for anything else. Eventually I had to evaluate where my life was headed and set my priorities accordingly. Opportunity cost is everything. As soon as you say yes to one thing, you’re saying no to everything else. That “yes” is what determines your future.
I had been out of the film industry since before Datamax had even been established, but I was still bartending four years after starting the company. The problem was that bartending was no longer a means to the end. I didn’t need the money anymore. I was just there so that I could have a social life and get off on feeling like a rockstar.
At that point in my life every night that I was bartending was a night that I wasn’t building the life that I wanted. I was simply fuelled by the instant gratification of drinking booze and chasing girls. I wasn’t working on my business or learning any new skills. I was simply wasting the time that should have been spent doing other things and making an actual impact on the world.
So I quit…
Beginning of the New
The bar industry without a doubt brought me to where I am today. It allowed me to dedicate exponentially more time to chasing my dreams than I ever could have in a normal 9-5 job. The education that I chose to give myself during that time allowed me to break out of the mold that society had already made for me. It allowed me to realize that I was destined for greater things and showed me the path to succeed at those things.
My dreams now are worldwide. I have aspirations in education, finance, clean tech, sports, nutrition, online dating, and many other areas. My sole purpose as an entrepreneur is to solve big problems for mass populations of people all across the globe. That’s ultimately one of the reasons why I started Drunk Passion in the first place. The bar industry is filled with people who are trying to figure out what to do with their lives and really don’t have any mentors to help them through the process.
If I can help one kid make my world a better place, then I’ll consider DP a success. My hope is that it touches many more than that. People who chase dreams change the world, but first they need inspiration. The more people that I can inspire to chase their dreams, the better our world will become. I truly believe that and I hope you do too.
Every day I do what other people don’t do. I wake up at 4am to go to the gym and I’ll read a book at a bar on a Friday night. I haven’t had a day off in six years and don’t plan on taking one off anytime soon. Why would I want to take a day off from building the life that I want to have? So I can watch other people live theirs? No thank you… I’m good.
So that’s pretty much me up until this point in time. The epic story all about how I managed to make it from bar star to entrepreneur. I hope this page has served its purpose in making you realize that I’m absolutely no different than you are, and that true success is life is merely a choice. You don’t have to live the way that everybody else tells you to. Find your own path to the top. Just hurry up and make my world a better place.