About Saad Alam
“I think that people that don't believe you can do it all, I think it's a load. And I think you just have to really sit down and engineer your day and your life a little bit more.” – Saad Alam
Saad Alam is Founder and CEO of Hone, which is creating an entirely new type of healthcare company initially focused on helping men with low testosterone. Saad describes it as helping men age with confidence. Saad is a serial entrepreneur who founded two companies before he founded home. He's completely focused on building mission-driven companies that solve problems that have directly affected him. And he's probably one of the fittest guests I've ever had on the show. His daily routine, from his morning meditation to the way he works out, how he changes the personal trainer he uses every quarter, how he uses everything from an infrared sauna to hyperbaric chamber, is the most intense of anyone I've ever interviewed.
In it, we cover Saad's daily health and fitness regimen, from drinking water directly after he wakes up to meditating 10 minutes, two times per day. We talk through all of the equipment he uses, from his infrared sauna to an at home hyperbaric oxygen chamber. Saad shares why he writes down three things he's grateful for every single morning and how that practice shows up when he's burnt out and tired at the end of the day, and being able to remind himself about why he's doing what he's doing.
In this episode, we deconstruct Saad Alam’s peak performance playbook—from their favorite book to the tiny habit that's had the biggest impact on their life. In it we cover:
- 00:00:00 – Introduction
- 00:02:09 – Fixing healthcare and defining the soul
- 00:03:47 – Radical transparency and playing in the dirt
- 00:06:38 – Big swings vs. base hits
- 00:08:09 – Priorities and daily gratitude
- 00:10:43 – Confessions of an Economic Hitman
- 00:12:41 – Understanding markets and emotional intelligence
- 00:14:28 – Believing in what you do
- 00:17:59 – An obsession with wellness
- 00:24:52 – Constructing a purposeful life
Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Castbox, Pocket Casts, Player FM, Podcast Addict, iHeartRadio, or on your favorite podcast platform. You can watch the interview on YouTube here.
An Idea Worth Trying
Our Favorite Quotes
Here are a few ideas we'll be thinking about weeks and months from now:
- “The question you ask yourself all the time as a founder is how can I get the rest of my employees to believe the mission and almost feel like religion or gospel to them to a certain extent, right? There's no one that's going to work as hard as the founder. And the reality is you have to do something that brings people together and they have to believe it in a way, which almost makes it feel like this is what they're putting their life's work towards.”
- “At the end of the day, the way that you make progress is by failing.”
- “There are times for big swings and there are times for base hits. So I would say that when we are thinking strategically about what's the best way to get this done, theoretically, we like a lot of big swings. But when we're talking about how to optimize a very specific process, it's easier to say take these small adjustments and improve them a little bit more.”
- “It took me a while to understand that all of the structures and the laws that we live within are created by a bunch of people. And honestly, most of those people aren't that smart, right? The people that actually make the laws and pass them. So I think it took me a while to understand that just because it's a law, or because someone says, 'it's this way,' the beauty of it is you don't have to do it that way. You actually have this thing called free will. And if you can come up with a better way that's not illegal or hurting anyone or yourself, you should be completely free to go ahead and work in a system that's in large part, been prefabricated for everyone's safety.”
The following books came up in this conversation with Saad Alam:
- Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio
- The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins
- Amp It Up: Leading for Hypergrowth by Raising Expectations, Increasing Urgency, and Elevating Intensity by Frank Slootman
We covered a lot of ground in this interview. Here are links to the stories, articles, and ideas discussed:
- Apple Notes | Notetaking App
- Google Hangouts (Google Chat) |Communication Tool
- Slack | Collaboration Software
- Asana | Manage your team's work, projects, & tasks online
- Ryan Holiday | Best-Selling Author
- Five Minute Journal | Gratitude App
- Oura | Sleep Tracking Tool
- WHOOP | Your Personal Digital Fitness and Health Coach
Daniel Scrivner (00:05):
Hello, and welcome to another episode of 20 Minute Playbook where each week, I sit down with an elite performer from iconic founders to renowned investors and bestselling authors to dive into the ideas, habits, and tactics that got them to the top of their field, all in less than 20 minutes. I'm Daniel Scrivner. And on the show today, I'm joined by Saad Alam, founder and CEO of Hone, which is creating an entirely new type of healthcare company initially focused on helping men with low testosterone. Where Saad describes it, helping men age with confidence. Saad is a serial entrepreneur who founded two companies before he founded home. He's completely focused on building mission-driven companies that solve problems that have directly affected him. And he's probably one of the fittest guests I've ever had on the show. His daily routine from his morning meditation to the way he works out, how he changes the personal trainer he uses every quarter, how he uses everything from an infrared sauna to hyperbaric chamber, is the most intense of anyone I've ever interviewed. This is one of my favorite episodes in a long time.
Daniel Scrivner (01:07):
In it, we cover Saad's daily health and fitness regimen. From drinking a full ounce of water directly after he wakes up to why meditating 10 minutes, just two times per day has been so transformational for him. We talk through all of the equipment he uses and how he uses it from his infrared sauna to an at home hyperbaric oxygen chamber. Saad shares why he writes down three things he's grateful for every single morning and how that practice shows up when he's burnt out and tired at the end of the day, and being able to remind himself about why he's doing what he's doing. And a ton more including Saad's favorite books and what advice he'd give his younger self. You can find the show notes and transcript for this episode at outlieracademy.com/126. It's 126. And you can learn more about Hone at honehealth.com. You can also follow Saad Alam on Twitter @Saad_Hone. With that, let's dive into Saad Alam's Playbook.
Daniel Scrivner (02:04):
Saad, thank you so much for making time. I'm thrilled to have you on 20 Minute Playbook.
Saad Alam (02:07):
Yeah, I couldn't be more excited man.
Daniel Scrivner (02:09):
So over the next 20 minutes, I'm going to try to ask you as many interesting questions as possible to decode some of your habits, tools, tactics that have gotten you to where you are today. Let's get started. To start, can you share a recent fascination or obsession? Something that's been intriguing you that you can't stop thinking about.
Saad Alam (02:26):
Yeah, there are probably two or three that have been on top of mind. And just to give you some back background. So my father unfortunately went through a really long healthcare journey of his own. So we spent a ton of time in the healthcare system. So I'd say the first one is understanding all the different places the healthcare system is broken. And when I say broken, I mean there's so many places that it's absolutely beautiful. It's almost poetic, but the reality is that as a system, it doesn't function as well as it should. So I spent a lot of time obsessing about it. I can code into in detail. The other one, and this is going to sound a little bit too meta, but really trying to understand how is the human mind wired to work? And really, what is a soul per se? And I say that just because there's been a lot of transitory I would say events in their life where people have recently passed away. So it just makes you stop and think what exactly is a soul.
Saad Alam (03:21):
And then the other one that I am obsessed with is I build mission driven companies. And the question you ask yourself all the time as a founder is how can I get the rest of my employees to believe the mission and almost feel like religion or gospel to them to a certain extent, right? There's no one that's going to work as hard as the founder. And the reality is you have to do something that brings people together and they have to believe it in a way, which almost makes it feel like this is what they're putting their life's work towards.
Daniel Scrivner (03:47):
I mean, that's fascinating that you not only had three different things, three uniquely deep topics and obsessions. When it comes to your role as the founder and CEO of Hone, how do you approach leading yourself in the company? And I guess another way to ask that would be if you had to distill down your leadership philosophy into just a few words, what would that be?
Saad Alam (04:07):
So Ray Dalio has a book called Principles. Have you ever heard of it?
Daniel Scrivner (04:11):
It's one of my favorites.
Saad Alam (04:12):
Okay. So he has this concept in it called radical transparency, right? Which is really whether you are the CEO or an entry level associate, everyone's voice matters equally. And everyone is allowed to talk about exactly what they want. Solutions come from anywhere. And if it's the best solution, it wins. End of story. So the way we kind of approach things where we work is we are, and I don't want this to sound the wrong way, but we are mission driven killers, right? We execute hard as hell. We do things for the right reason to change people's lives. And at the same time too, we do so in an incredibly collaborative fashion. Let's have a conversation about it. Is my idea dumb? Great. Tell me my idea's dumb. I can't get upset about it, or I have to try not to get upset about it.
Saad Alam (04:55):
And I think the thing that Ray has done so well when talking about what he's accomplished is they've basically taken an organization of the single brightest minds arguably across the world. And they've said, "We want you to strip your ego out of it and learn how to play really well in a sandbox to create something bigger than ourselves." And I think that's a large way that we kind of approach our business.
Saad Alam (05:17):
The second thing is the conclusion I've come to is that the way, and I think a lot of people talk about this right? At the end of the day, the way that you make progress is by failing. So we actually tell people we want you to actively come up with really off the wall ideas. We want you to try them pending there within the right bounds. And if you fail great. We're not upset at all. Make sure you learn from it and talk about how you can reapply it to the next lesson. I think that's another big part of what we do.
Saad Alam (05:46):
And then another part that is kind of just built by my founders and myself is we love what we call playing in the dirt, right? I don't like executives. And this is just a personal feeling plus employees that if someone ever says to me, "I don't believe in working harder. I believe in working smarter." I literally, in my mind say, "You are not the person for me," because I would argue that you have to work both hard and smart in order to be successful. And you've got to fail off in which comes from having a lot of confidence in your decision-making capabilities. And myself and all my co-founders, we love playing in the dirt. Meaning we love rolling up our sleeves. We love doing the work ourselves. We love learning what the problems are, becoming obsessed with them. So I say that is a key part of our organization too is that everyone has to love the work. I've recently welcomed and seen out several executives because they say they love the work, but they don't love the work.
Daniel Scrivner (06:38):
Yeah, I think that's so well said. I mean, another way of saying that in my mind is skin in the game. You want to have executives that roll up their sleeves that actually put ideas on the table that can be killed, that can talk with the team. I want to ask one follow-up question about this idea of leaning into failure and asking people for the wall ideas. I mean, part of that in my mind is almost telling everybody, "We're going to embrace risk, which means I don't want you to be conservative. I want you to take bigger swings." Is that the root of that idea? Or can you talk a little bit about strategically why you think that's helpful?
Saad Alam (07:12):
I think that a lot of people in their daily lives are afraid to express themselves for the fear of sounding stupid or being shot down. And what we really want people to do is say in spite of your position, in spite of what function you may have at the company, if you are around having a conversation and think that there is A, good idea or B, a stone that's not being looked underneath or something that is being done unintelligently you should speak up and say something, right? I think that's the first one.
Saad Alam (07:47):
The second one is there are times for big swings and there are times for base hits. So I would say that when we are thinking strategically about what's the best way to get this done, theoretically, we like a lot of big swings. But when we're talking about how to optimize a very specific process, it's easier to say take these small adjustments and improve them a little bit more.
Daniel Scrivner (08:09):
Yeah. Well said. When it comes to day-to-day execution, how do you manage your priorities and time? And I guess another thing you can share in there is any tools that you use that work well for you. And that can be as simple as paper and pen, it can be software. But how do you think about priorities, time and any tools that help you there?
Saad Alam (08:27):
Oh God. And you know this too, when you're building a company, your priorities and your time, and the total amount of work you have are constantly in flux and they're shifting. You have nothing but a stream of what feel like urgent things coming at you. And you as an executive have to basically say which one of these things are urgent? What are the things that are important for me to get done? And how do I not get overwhelmed by the urgent things? And probably delegate them a little bit faster.
Saad Alam (08:56):
So what I would say is I may die hard in the morning. I have a long list in Apple Notes. The night before I go over it, I rearrange it. I wake up in the morning, I do my gratitude exercises. I talk about the three things I'm grateful for, the things I want to accomplish that day. I sit down, I look at the list to figure out if anything has changed since last night. And I just kind of start moving down through it over the course of the day.
Saad Alam (09:20):
Now, the reality is that a million things happen over the course of the day and things are constantly moving and shifting around. So I think it's very important that you touch base with the people you work with pretty consistently to figure out if your priorities have shifted, should their priorities have shifted?
Saad Alam (09:34):
We are 100% virtual, right? We've got now about 120 people. And at this point in time, 85% of us have not met in person. Right? And this is all because of the pandemic. So we spend a lot of time thinking through how do you communicate asynchronously and how do you make sure that you're communicating together at the same time. Using Hangouts, constantly being in Slack, constantly checking in with each other, which is a muscle. Because a lot of people, when they're at home by themselves, they have a tendency to kind of say, "Let me lean back a little bit. If I'm not being called upon I'm probably safe." And you have to teach them how to say, how do I actually lean forward at all times?
Saad Alam (10:12):
So we use I would say pretty normal tools. Apple Notes, Slack, Google Hangouts, Google docs, we use Asana. And it is constantly, as you can imagine, it is a balancing act of figuring out how to shift your attention from the different tools.
Daniel Scrivner (10:28):
Yeah. So it seems like maybe another way of saying that is similar tools, but there's a lot of intentionality behind how you use them, which I think Honestly is a big missed opportunity for a lot of people. It's just not so much the tools you use, it's how you use them and the intentionality, and the approach and the strategy that you're employing with them.
Daniel Scrivner (10:43):
One of my favorite things to talk about on this show is books. And one of the questions I want to ask you is what books, nonfiction or fiction have had the biggest impact on you? And if you can share any books that have helped you as an entrepreneur and leader. And we already talked about principles, which is amazing. If there are any others, love, love to hear those.
Saad Alam (10:59):
I read voraciously and I guess all the time. So it's such a hard question to answer because there's so many different books that really say shape different parts of my personality, right? If I could kind of talk about a book that influenced me at an early age, I read Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. Have you ever read that one?
Daniel Scrivner (11:20):
I have not. No.
Saad Alam (11:20):
So it's a fascinating read about how the government actually sends a spy to a guy's house, trains him up, teaches them how to create monetary policies that are obviously going to default, but then sends them into African countries to exaggerate the claims of their natural resources so the IMF and World Bank can essentially take over the country's resources.
Saad Alam (11:41):
So it is based upon a true story. It was fascinating for me because it told me how the world works a little bit behind closed doors. Let's see, I recently read Amp It Up by the CEO of Snowflake. It was great because it helped me understand how to instill urgency in your culture and execute a little bit harder
Daniel Scrivner (12:00):
Just on that one really quickly, reading it, there was a few things that stuck out to me as just being really amazing. Were there any quotes or ideas in there that you just love?
Saad Alam (12:09):
God, quotes. I wouldn't remember off the top of my head. I think the idea, the kernel that consistently comes back to me is how do you define the mission around what you're building? And how do you consistently talk about it over, and over, and over again? And I guess it's basic one, two, three type stuff if I can be honest, but the reality is you forget so much of it in the grind that you almost need to be reminded of it. So I actually ended up having a large number of the execs I work with, we all read it together and basically said, "Okay, how do you move even faster?"
Daniel Scrivner (12:41):
I like to think that we all have unique superpowers. How do you think about your superpowers as an entrepreneur and leader? And I know that title may be a little bit puffy, but the idea there is we all are off the spectrum in a few areas. How do you think about where you're off the spectrum and how do you use those skills day-to-day?
Saad Alam (13:00):
I think that there is what we'll call analytical/professional skills and I think there's soft skills. Right? So when I think about analytical or professional skills, I think I fundamentally have a really good grasp on what's going to happen with markets because I probably tend to dream a little bit or I probably even live in the future in my every day life. So I can kind of understand how large markets will coalesce or move apart over the course of time. I have a really good understanding on what customer sentiment's going to be, just because I'm a huge consumer myself.
Saad Alam (13:32):
In terms of personally, I think that my EQ is through the roof. I can generally meet someone within I'd say 10 to 15 minutes, understand who they are very, very quickly. I can understand what I think their strengths or weaknesses are going to be. I think I can understand how to motivate them and how to push them.
Saad Alam (13:52):
The positive of that or maybe negative is I'm really good at detecting lies. I can tell generally when someone is being very dishonest, almost instantly, it's like a sixth sense. And I'd probably say that I'm pretty good at managing multiple different kinds of people, right? I've had a bunch of different really interesting family members plus a bunch of really interesting people I've worked with. And I tend to be attracted to I'll say off the wall kind of personalities that are almost maybe bigger than life. So once you learn how to work with a couple of them and you have to figure out how to put them together in a really interesting way, I think that it just becomes second nature of fitting puzzle pieces together.
Daniel Scrivner (14:28):
Yeah. I mean, being through the roof on the EQ perspective is an amazing superpower. So you're lucky. I guess curse or blessing and a curse I'm sure many times. You think about yourself as a entrepreneur and founder. And I know that Hone is the company that you're working on now, but you've had other companies in the past that you've founded and run. What are some of the biggest lessons you've learned as an entrepreneur and founder? And for founders listening to this interview, is there any generalizable advice, any general advice that you would give to them?
Saad Alam (14:56):
Yeah. I think that the truth of the matter is when I really think about success, it's very easy to over index and to believe you're very intelligent if you come up with an idea, and that you can execute by yourself and put yourself around a bunch of people who may be incredibly intentional and sincere in the direction they want to follow you're taking you. But the reality is if you're not figuring out how to put yourself around people that are far more intelligent than you and that you are intimidated by, you are probably making the wrong decisions. Right? So I really feel strongly that one of my biggest learnings was going from first to now third company is I find people that are way more smart, intelligent than I am. And I just beg them to come work for me. Right? And I get this beautiful seed of just being able to watch how they move through their work and how they add value to the business and partner with them really well. I'd say that's a really big learning.
Saad Alam (16:01):
I think the other really big learning is it's really easy to read a bunch of books about entrepreneurship and assume that you're ready to go into it. And when I meet people, I always ask them, "Tell me about when you fail, or how you fail before, how you take failure." And I think that at the beginning when I failed sometimes, it was easier to kind of get a little bit down on myself in terms of I didn't have that muscle built up yet. And then I started reading a lot of Stoke's philosophy and I'm sure you're familiar with Ryan Holiday's work and The Obstacle Is the Way. So when you begin just to believe that everything you do, there's going to be nothing but a set of obstacles, it removes the shock from the situation. And when you see one, you basically say to yourself, "Okay, I know how to handle this." Or if I don't know how to handle this, I'm in a calm fashion. So I can begin to separate myself from the problem and think about how to I would say mechanically, break apart the problem into its elements and basically say how am I going to solve these in sequence?
Saad Alam (17:03):
And I would also say people always ask me if you could only do one thing, what would you do? There's an infrared sauna in my office you can see. There's a hyperbaric oxygen chamber. There's a cold plunge on my patio. I literally do almost everything, and it's meditate. And people always probably are a little bit shocked by the answer. And what I tell them is I started meditating probably around eight years ago and I do it twice a day, 10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes in the evening. And learning how to meditate has taught me how to be calm, appreciate life, and not get sucked into probably maybe some of the emotional piss match that I would've as a 30 year old or a 28 year old, where it was just about pounding my chest, frankly. And so I would say that's actually a really big learning. I tell everyone I work with if you are not meditating, you are not actually able to make the best decisions possible.
Daniel Scrivner (17:59):
Fascinating. It leads perfectly into the next question. Obviously Hone is a healthcare company. You're specializing in testosterone. How do you approach health and fitness? And this can be, you talked about I guess the mental aspect, which is meditation. Maybe talk a little bit more about the physical aspect. And talk about the role that plays in your ability to lead at Hone day to day. Because I think it's interesting to kind of make the parallel between what you do and then how you think that helps you.
Saad Alam (18:25):
Daniel Scrivner (18:27):
Sorry if I just opened up a can of worms.
Saad Alam (18:29):
No, I'm over the top obsessed with this stuff, right? Meaning I've been an athlete since I was a child. And in large part, it was such an important part of me actually fitting into this country. I've worked out six days a week for the past 25 years of my life. I eat perfectly, meditate twice a day, track my sleep with three different devices. I test my blood with 40 vials of blood every three months.
Saad Alam (18:54):
This company is 100% an outgrowth of the habits that I built up over a lifetime. Right? So I only build mission driven companies based upon problems I've been through personally. And this one was directly inspired by the fact that I learned I had low testosterone at the age of 35, regardless of the fact that I took perfect care of myself.
Saad Alam (19:14):
So maybe the best way to say is what happens when I don't exercise and I don't meditate? Well, my relationship falls apart. My girlfriend notices it very quickly. I start making poor quality decisions. I actually can't work hours like I normally do. Right? And in order to build the business like this at the speed of which we built it, you're talking 14, 15 hour days, six, seven days a week, no joke, constantly going. I make it a very big point every probably three months or four months, I get a new trainer to shock my body. I would argue that I turned 40 this year. And for being 40, you put me on a court with a bunch of kids, I'll still dust them.
Saad Alam (19:52):
I think the biggest one of it though, is all that has to do with mindset, right? Because I'm constantly forcing myself to be uncomfortable, I'm getting up at 5:30 or 6:00 every morning, hitting the gym, clearing my mind, making sure that I'm clear-headed in addition to feeling optimal. It's what allows me to come to work and be myself every single day. We could go into detail how rigorous the schedule actually is. But if I wasn't taking care of myself, literally zero chance that I'd be able to do it.
Daniel Scrivner (20:25):
Walk us through high level, some of the things that you do. It sounds like you have a lot of equipment, a lot of amazing equipment I wish I had. So you can either maybe walk us through some of the things you do, or just walk through a day when you've done a few of these, and what that looks like, and what your workout routine is like.
Saad Alam (20:43):
On any given day. Right? First thing I do, wake up in the morning, I drink a liter of water. I've learned how to do it over several years. It's a lot to go down. After that, I'll make sure that I practice my gratitude exercises. So a lot of people think they're kind of silly, but there's this unbelievable science behind it. So I use Five Minute Journal. Have you ever heard of that one? Right? So basically, wake up in the morning. And you have to take a second and actually think about what you're grateful for. And you don't just rip out the list. You have to take a second, you have to write it down. And you have to internalize it and literally feel it. And when you feel it, it creates kind of like these connections in your body that serve a much larger purpose, and I'll get to it.
Saad Alam (21:26):
And so what ends up happening is if you do that every single day for several months, and you start to build these gratitude muscles in your body. All of a sudden it'll be 6:00, you'll be pulling into a meeting. You'll be tired as all hell. And you'll be talking to someone you do not want to talk to, having a conversation that you literally want to bang your head against the wall. And all of a sudden you're like, "Oh man, I'm really grateful to be here and have this really shitty conversation with this person." And it's really funny how it sneaks up on you and I've been doing it now for five years. Also helps me basically step out of any situation and see the beauty in it.
Saad Alam (22:03):
So gratitude exercises, head to the gym, work out for about 45 minutes. Make sure I get about a half hour of cardio in. Every single day, I do some form of a sauna, whether it's an infrared sauna, whether it's a dry sauna, whether it's a wet sauna. I follow that up usually because I'm at the gym and I don't get to hit the cold plunge, we'll follow that up with a cold shower. Make sure my meals are all measured out in macros, come and eat my first meal.
Daniel Scrivner (22:26):
It's incredible you measure your meals in macro still. I mean that's amazing.
Saad Alam (22:31):
Well, I've been through several dietary changes just to see what's going to really help my body perform the best. So you almost have to, to make sure your body's responding the right way. Now once you get a feel for it, you can kind of pull back a little bit, but generally I'm still pretty obsessive about it.
Saad Alam (22:48):
And then drink water throughout the day. People will always forget that and I know it sounds silly, but I promise you drink a liter of water every single day in the morning and several times throughout, you're going to realize your brain just works better. And then at night, it's always I try stretching before I go to bed. I always make sure I look at my list for the day before. And then I always meditate. If I don't meditate, I do not sleep as well. And it's going to sound silly. Make sure that I cool my room to about 63 degrees. I have magazine magnesium threonate. I meditate. I haven't a silly eye mask, which if you don't have an eye mask, you're missing out. You're so missing... I used to make fun of people that had them until I wore one. And I was like, "Holy shit."
Saad Alam (23:34):
Halfway through the night, if you wake up, you know you're sleeping better. I was looking at my Oura and my WHOOP. I was getting way more deep sleep. So that's kind of I guess a normal day. On the weekends, I get really obsessed about what they call active recovery. So when I have an active recovery day, little bit of cardio. But the reality is I'm working really hard to probably get into some kind of meditated state. Maybe it's something silly, like a sound bath, which also if you haven't done game changing. I have a hyperbaric oxygen chamber. I'll try hitting that once or twice a week when I have an active rest day. And it really is not just sitting around watching TV per se. Although maybe there's some of those days. It is thinking through how can I get my body and my brain back to being where I was the day before, as fast as possible.
Daniel Scrivner (24:21):
I mean, that's fascinating. As someone that likes to think that I have a pretty refined routine, you've blow me out of the water. So I've already made some notes. I like the waking up and drinking a liter of water first thing.
Saad Alam (24:32):
It's silly, but man, it makes ... here's another silly thing. My girlfriend used to make fun of me when we first started dating because every night, I'd put everything together. Put my clothes out, put my gym bag together. And the days I don't, I don't get up and go to the gym. Just knowing that everything's set up. You just pop up. You move right throughout the day.
Daniel Scrivner (24:52):
Yeah, it's a little thanks. Last question. If you could go back to the start of your career and whisper some words of advice into your ear, what advice would you give your younger self if you give any advice?
Saad Alam (25:03):
I spent a lot of time chasing after my parents' dreams for me, because I didn't have the ability to think for myself at an early age. Right? And that is young Pakistani boy, parents say, "You have to be a doctor." So I said, "Great, how much does a doctor make? I'm going to go be a doctor." So I spent God, years getting into an Ivy league med school and literally like the day I got there, I was like, "This is not what I want." And I went to go on to get two graduate degrees. I would've told my younger self, "Forget about college. Forget about the graduate degrees. You are an entrepreneur since you were a kid, you proved it out throughout high school. You should have gone and start building a company immediately." That's not for everybody. It's very important. I'm not telling people to drop out of school. I'm just saying for me, that's what I would've said.
Saad Alam (25:49):
The other thing too is I think that for better or for worse, it took me a while to understand that all of the structures and the laws that we live within are created by a bunch of people. And honestly, most of those people aren't that smart, right? Thee people that actually make the laws and pass them. So I think it took me a while to also understand that just because a law it's a law, or because someone says, it's this way, the beauty of it is you don't have to do it that way. You actually have this thing called free will. And if you can come up with a better way that's not illegal or hurting anyone or yourself, you should be completely free to go ahead and work in a system that's in large part, been prefabricated for everyone's safety.
Saad Alam (26:32):
I think the other one is when you're young, the FOMO is so real, right? You're 21 years old, your friends are going out and you're like, it's like all FOMO. It's just so real. And I would've told myself, "Forget the party. Listen, the party's going to be there. Focus on yourself. Focus on waking up earlier in the morning." I wish I had bought property early. I know that's a silly one too. But like when you're younger, you don't think about those things. But the people I know that have bought property earlier and built a portfolio by the time they're 30 or 35, they're not working. They can go chase after whatever makes them happy. I think that's a really important one. I didn't build an audience as fast as I would've liked to. And I think in large part, that came from fear that if I built an audience and no one comes, I'll look like a real chump. And I think that I've had to get over that fear. And I'm just at the beginning of that journey right now.
Saad Alam (27:29):
And then I think that the other important thing is I can't stand when people used to always tell me, "You can't have it all. You can only have one or two or three of those things," until I came to the realization that if I construct a life that is very purposeful, you can have it. Right? I'm building the company of my dreams, solving the problem that I'm deeply in love with. I have my best friend, my best friends and my family working directly with me. I've gone through a lot of I would say trials and tribulations learning how to get that right. I get to see my mom, my girl, my family all the time.
Saad Alam (28:04):
So I would say that emotionally, I'm incredibly fulfilled. Professionally, I'm incredibly fulfilled. And I think that people that don't believe you can do it all, I think it's a load. And I think you just have to really sit down and engineer your day and your life a little bit more.
Daniel Scrivner (28:18):
So well said. I would add a huge plus one to that. I mean, I love that perspective and point of view. This has been so much fun Saad. Thank you so much for joining me on 20 Minute Playbook.
Daniel Scrivner (28:27):
Thank you so much for listening to this episode. You can find the show notes and transcript at outlieracademy.com/126. That's 126. For more from Saad Alam, listen to episode 125, where he joins me on our Outlier Founder Series to go deep on Hone, which is creating an entirely new type of healthcare company initially focused on helping men with low testosterone. Or as Saad describes it, helping men age with confidence. In that episode, you'll learn why the testosterone in men has been dropping for decades. How testosterone influences everything from your mood to the level of fat your body holds, and even how you sleep. It's like a mini scientific lesson on testosterone.
Daniel Scrivner (29:09):
We talk about how Hone built a modern direct-to-consumer experience for men to easily test their testosterone levels and then get automated at home treatments that can range from an under the skin injection into your stomach to sublingual mouth drops and even a cream you can apply by hand as well, as how Hone is rebuilding the tech stack of healthcare to take what usually might take six months and speed run it in mere weeks for their customers. You can listen to that episode by visiting outlieracademy.com/125. It's 125. You can find videos of all of our interviews on YouTube at youtube.com/outlieracademy. On our channel, you'll find all of our full length videos as well as our favorite clips from every single episode, including this one. So make sure to subscribe. We post new videos and clips every single week. And if you haven't already follow us at Twitter under the handle @outlieracademy. Thank you so much for listening. We'll see you right here with a brand new episode next Friday.
On Outlier Academy, Daniel Scrivner explores the tactics, routines, and habits of world-class performers working at the edge—in business, investing, entertainment, and more. In each episode, he decodes what they've mastered and what they've learned along the way. Start learning from the world’s best today.
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