Are You feeling lonely? This episode has the potential to change YOUR life. This will be the most beneficial 50 minutes You’ve ever spent. Listen to David Siegel, CEO of Meetup, as he shares his tips with the Ambassador of Joy, Barry Shore. David Siegel directs the largest Community organization in the world with over 57 million members in 190 countries. You’ll learn that Meetup was formed just after 9/11 to address the issue of LONELINESS. This is a growing concern among all age groups but especially Millennials. David discusses with Barry important points from his book: Decide & Conquer. You’ll learn insights about YOU and how You can use these to further Your Personal Growth and Connect with like-minded people everywhere. Powerful Episode to SHARE. Please feel free to share YOUR views with us, the show is all YOURS!
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Loneliness And Leadership With David Siegel
It Doesn’t Have To Be Hard. Listen To These 9 Tips.
We have a good, abundant, amazing, fantastic and wonderful episode and a transformative personality is going to share with us all about the world of community. You’ve read for one reason and it’s the best reason in the whole world because you care the most in the entire world about yourself. That’s great because you make the world a better place when you are the best you. You build more bridges of harmony and crave more joy, happiness, peace and love in the world.
In this show, we talk about the three fundamentals of life and these will enable you to become happier, healthier and wealthier. Who doesn’t want that? The three fundamentals are number one, life. Your life has a purpose. Number two, you go MAD and it stands for Make A Difference. When you lead a purpose-driven life, you make a difference in the world. The third fundamental is to unlock the power in the secrets of everyday words and terms.
For example, WWW is being carried worldwide over the internet. You’ve asked anybody, “What is WWW mean?” Many will say it has to do with the internet. Factually speaking, they’re correct, but in the world of the positive, purposeful, powerful and pleasant, WWW stands for, “What a Wonderful World.” Even the opening bars of that amazing song, which was given to us by Louis Armstrong, Satchmo and is going around the world and touched not just millions or tens of millions or hundreds of millions but billions of people around the planet. They hear the opening words of What a Wonderful World and you already smile. You can’t help it.
Smile is one of the most important and beautiful words you get to internalize, utilize and leverage in your life because smile stands for Seeing Miracles In Life Everyday. Thank God, the masquerade is over. We’re talking to groups again. I spoke to a large audience, 5,216 people, and I’m telling you this story about Barry Shore and talking about SMILE. Right away, people raised their hands and say, “Barry, you’ve been up for hours and I haven’t seen any miracles.”
I asked him, “Are you here? Can you hear? Can you stand still? I can’t do that. Can you walk? I could barely able to do that. Do you have water to drink, food to eat, a place to seat with your family and friends? Every single one of those is a miracle.” What’s the simplest proof? One million people didn’t get out of bed this morning because they died by definition. If you’re reading, you didn’t. We have an obligation to live life exuberantly.
Imagine the following, standing up in the morning, hale and hearty, able to see tall buildings in a single bound and then being in the hospital paralyzed in the evening. That was me. It was not from an automobile accident, not a spinal injury, a rare disease, which I had never heard of the day before, took over my body and rendered me what’s called a quadriplegic. Nothing on my body moves, my neck down.
I was 144 days in the hospital and 2 years in a hospital bed in my home. I couldn’t turn it over by myself. I spent four years in a wheelchair. I had braces on both my legs, my hips to my ankles and that was progressing. Thank God I’m able to be vertical and ambulatory with the help of a 7-foot walking wand. I’m a tripod, not a bipod. I can’t walk up a stair and curb by myself. I have helped 12 hours a day, 7 days a week but you hear my voice, positive, purposeful, powerful and pleasant, all because of one word and that word is SMILE, Seeing Miracles In Life Everyday.
My niece comes over to me and says, “Uncle Barry, can we spell smile, S-M-I-E-L?” I thought about it. Why not? I ask her, “How come?” She says, “It then would stand for Seeing Miracles In Everyday Life.” Out of the mouth of babes, a kid. What was she doing? She was creating the world that she wanted to live in.
CREATE is a wonderful acronym that stands for Causing Rethinking Enabling All to Excel. Rethinking, we call that neuro-linguistic program, but you control your thoughts. What you think about makes a difference in your life. The six most important words you can ever internalize, utilize and leverage in your life are choice, not chance determines your destiny.
I have to warn people because we have new readers every week. Thank God you’re telling your family and friends and we appreciate it. I do use a lot of four-letter words. I even use the four-letter FU word. I do it for the shock value as funn. The four-letter words we use because we live in the world of powerful, positive, purposeful and pleasant are love, life, hope, free, gift, pray, play and swim. The four-letter FU word is FUNN
Meetup Mastermind: Meetup is the world’s largest platform for finding and building community.
Some people raise their hands and say, “Barry, fun is only spelled with three letters.” Not in our world, a world of positive, purposeful, powerful and pleasant. Funn is spelled FUNN. After the show, when you see your family and friends and you have a twinkle in your eye, a smile on your face, remember what this stands for, point your finger and say, “FU, everybody,” but remember to add right away NN. They’ll say, “Where’d you get that?” “I read it from Barry Shore. He wants to teach the world to FUNN.
Before we bring on wonderful David Siegel, I’m going to urge everybody to do the following. I want you to use the two most powerful words in the English language three times a day from now and for the rest of your life because it will make a difference for you, your family, friends and all living beings. These two words are thank you. THANK stands for To Harmonize And Network Kindness. The Dalai Lama has been quoted as this saying and I’d read it in his writings, “Be kind whenever possible.” As he says, “It’s always possible.”
Imagine going to the coffee shop and ordering your fancy latte, you sit down and somebody brings it to you. Say thank you. You go to a coffee shop and ordered a fancy latte, a couple of minutes go by nobody brings it, you go to the counter and they say, “I’m sorry, we forgot. We’re busy. We’ll bring it to you.” You sit down and somebody brings it to you. Still, you say, “Thank you.”
You’re walking out of the coffee shop. It’s raining out and somebody holds a door up for you, say, “Thank you.” You’re walking out of the coffee shop and it’s raining. Somebody slams the door on you, you say, “Thank you.” You’re in traffic, late for an appointment and somebody cuts you off, you say, “Thank you.”
You get up in the middle of the night and you stub your toe and it hurts, you say, “Thank you,” To Harmonize And Network Kindness. Kind is a fabulous word that stands for connecting in nature daily or in this case, the most amazing person that I can tell you is he is inspiring noble deeds. That’s what KIND stands for, Keep Inspiring Noble Deeds and it’s our beloved David Siegel.
Thank you. What a wonderful world it could be.
This is the infection that we want everybody to catch. When was the last time somebody said FU to you and you left?
Just now. I did enjoy the first part. It’s very inspirational and I’m excited to be a part of it. Thank you.
Thank you. I’m deeply honored, touched and humbled. Everything you want to know about David and what he’s doing with this amazing community-building process called Meetup, you don’t have to write anything down. Go to my website, BarryShore.com. Everything about David and Meetup is going to be there. Enjoy the show. Let’s jump right in.
If I start telling all about David’s curriculum vitae, we won’t get to the show, but I’m going to tell you that David is the CEO, the Chief Example Officer for an amazing company called Meetup. I’m going to let him explain to you. I can’t believe anybody in the world that doesn’t know about it, but there may be a few people. David, first of all, give us an idea of what the vision of Meetup is, what you do and why should anybody pay attention?
Meetup is the world’s largest platform for finding and building community. As you know very well, community is everything. The reason why it’s so important is because of a terrible epidemic that exists in this world, which is the loneliness epidemic. Forty-six people regularly feel lonely and that was prior to the pandemic. People who are Gen Zs, late teens, early 20s is as high as 62% regularly feel only. The vision of Meetup is to cure the loneliness epidemic in the world. That’s it.
I need to revel in that because it is so beautiful. The loneliness factor was exacerbated by the COVID panic because it made people feel even that much more inward and then we recognize that there’s an opportunity to be able to break through the loneliness, meet other people and not share loneliness but exuberance. That’s what you do when you meet other people.
Everything is better when you do it in person with other people. There’s a big difference between doing things IRL, In Real Life. Everything is better in person if you’re looking to learn and you want to join a language group and learn a new language. If you’re Chinese, you want to learn Hebrew or if you’re in Israel, you want to learn Chinese. Join a Meetup group.
If you want to learn how to cook, be part of a tech Meetup group and meet people or be part of our mini outdoors groups and all these different things, it’s about helping people find people that share their common passions. When you find someone who shares a passion of yours, whatever that passion is, you can bond and make friends. The number one search term on Meetup in 2021 was finding adult friends. People struggle so hard in trying to find people. The alternatives out there of going to bars, singing, watching TV and playing video games are terrifying. We’ve touched millions of people’s lives and I’m lucky to be a part of it.
I want to unpack a couple of things and share with you something that everybody knows, but until you hear and see it, you say, “That’s wonderful.” The word community, first of all, is a powerful word, but notice in the word community that the U comes before the I. When you go out and want to touch other people and share your passion, you put the other person first, that U before the I. You have an opportunity to open up what we call the channels of giving and receiving. You need both. Open up those channels and truly create a bond, relationship and friendship. This is such genius. When did the Meetup first begin and how?
It’s a pretty fascinating story. After 9/11, our Founder, Scott Heiferman, was in his lobby in shock like so many people were right after 9/11 in New York, around the country and the world. He met someone and said, “What floor do you live on?” He said, “I live on the fifth floor.” Scott’s like, “I live on the fifth floor too. How long have you been living there?” He’s like, “Three years.” It’s someone that lived on his floor that he had never met. Another person lived on a floor that he had also never met. He said to himself, “It shouldn’t take a tragedy to build community.” He devoted himself and his life to helping build a community for people. I could tell the stories of different people whose lives have been massively impacted, but the numbers are amazing.
We have 56 million members that joined 300,000 communities all around the globe in 190 different countries. We have 100,000 Meetup events every single week or 15,000 events every day. When I walk around with my Meetup t-shirt and I go into a Starbucks and someone says, “Is there a Meetup event happening here?” I’m like, “No, I work at Meetup.” I went on a hike and a couple of people on the hike were part of a Meetup group called the Jewish Outdoors Club. I didn’t even know. I said, “I work at Meetup.” They’re like, “We’ve been using Meetup for years. A friend of mine met their significant other through Meetup.” It’s meaningful.
This is the genius in the community. The U comes before the I. In Meetup, UP stands for Unlimited Possibilities or Unlimited Potential because that’s what Meetup is all about. When you bring together the spark of two or more human beings, we’re dealing with a world of exponential benefit for everybody. I love the story about two people on the same floor living in proximity for years but not knowing each other.
On some level, Meetup is the electronic version of a bulletin board in a supermarket in the old days, put up a note, tear this little thing off and things like that, but it’s much more than that because there’s a stream of goodness that seems to be running through this magnificent process that we are calling Meetup. It’s touching tens of millions of people and enabling people to go MAD, Make A Difference, because that’s what’s happening with Meetup.
Decide and Conquer: 44 Decisions that will Make or Break All Leaders
People recognize that they can make a difference one with the other and look forward to the group. Let’s talk about something that you’ve done. I’m eager to talk about your book. The book is called Decide and Conquer: 44 Decisions that Will Make or Break All Leaders. Let’s delve deeper into that. It’s an intriguing title. We don’t have to do all 44 but let’s select 2 and a maximum of 3 that stand out or people ask about often. What are these decisions that make or break all leaders?
I have to hit on the first one because you’ve referenced it already a couple of times, which is the concept and the importance of being kind as part of decision-making and understanding the difference between being kind and being nice. People mistake the two and I want to talk about the difference between them. Oftentimes people think the goal is to be nice and being nice means not to have someone feel bad.
Sometimes the best thing to do is to give critical feedback, which might result in them feeling a little bit bad about something or if someone is not doing the right job, you give them feedback and they can’t succeed in their role, the kindest thing you could do is say, “It’s time for you to move on to another position at this particular time.” The job isn’t to be nice. It’s to be as kind as possible. Leaders oftentimes are put on a pedestal like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos or other tech titans out there. There’s the perception that you have to be a successful CEO. In reality, great leaders attract people that want to work with them.
The history of entrepreneurs and CEOs is littered with people who are unable to be effective leaders because they’re not good people. Being kind is critical to being an effective leader. Thee’s several different principles in the book around decision-making. When you make a decision, make sure you figure out how to make the kindest decision you possibly can. In times of crisis, it’s when it’s most important to be kind. Several times we had to, unfortunately, because of the pandemic and other issues, scale down the size of an organization. I go into different ways in which you could be as kind as possible when you have to do that activity.
Let’s take a look and unpack this first one. Let’s make a distinction between two words that seem synonymous and are not. I’ll use an example from my book which is called The Joy of Living: How to Slay Stress and Be Happy, eleven strategies for learning how to live and enjoy, no matter the circumstance. I make a distinction like what you said and it has to do with people who are addicted. There are many addictions.
The technology could be a form of addiction as well.
That’s another point. To be nice to an addict does not help anybody. The ability to recognize that you can be KIND, Keep Inspiring Noble Deeds and recognize that the noblest deed you can do for someone on a self-destructive path enables them to potentially find a better path or help them in any way possible. That is the nicest thing, which they might see as mean and no good, but I love more what you’re saying about attraction.
You and I both work in the world of the law of attraction. When they hear the word law, they think, “Somebody’s going to get me,” or the police sirens, but in our world, the world of positive, purposeful, powerful and pleasant, LAW stands for Love And Wisdom. That’s the law of attraction. When you attract much like the Richard Bransons of the world, you’re building something because we want to be with you. They love working with David Siegel and being involved in Meetup because it’s an attractive process. That’s wonderful and the big one.
On that one, one way to oftentimes measure whether or not an executive is all that is how many people they bring with them from other companies that they’ve worked at. I’ve hired an executive and they can hire people and bring people from the past. Our Chief Technology Officer bought 4, 5, 6 or 7 different people from previous jobs into Meetup. At Meetup, we have twenty-plus people who’ve worked with me in the past at different times. It says something about one’s reputation in terms of your ability to attract people to continue to want to work with you over time.
We have people all over the world. We’re like the Meetup. We have a lot of readers from China, a very large contingent from India, Australia, New Zealand, throughout Africa, Europe, the United States and Latin America. People are leaning in and reading to this because they recognize, shake their heads, and say, “That is what you want to be.” Your name makes all the difference in the world by who you are. Your thoughts, words and deeds will work with you throughout your life. Make sure that you have a good, positive, purposeful, powerful and pleasant name. Thank you so much for that, David. Kind is at the top of the list.
The book is about making smart decisions. One of the paths to making smarter decisions is the importance of disagreement. Surrounding yourself with not yes people but with people who are going to disagree, who you create an environment of trust and transparency, where people around you are going to be disagreeing with you consistently.
Abraham Lincoln was famous for being the team of rivals. He surrounded himself with people in his inner cabinet who disagreed. One of the most important reasons why disagreement is so critical is because everyone brings different things to the table. Some people have one background and one with another background. It’s about making a smart decision. One thing that I spent a lot of energy on at Meetup, generally speaking, is, “How do you help introverts to be enabled to disagree as effectively as possible?”
Unfortunately, the world is biased against people who are introverted and who need to be more thoughtful in what they do. What we do at Meetup is prior to any meeting, we share the topic, put it in a document, ask people to disagree asynchronously prior to the meeting, add comments and thoughts so when we have the meeting, I could say, “Denise, my understanding is you don’t agree. Talk about that. John, my understanding is you disagree. Can you please talk about that?” It gives people more time to internalize an idea and be in a better position to disagree.
We’re talking about being a leader. David is using this in the macro sense of leading in business. He would agree with me that this applies in every facet and aspect of your life, in a family unit and friendship circle. When friends think that they have to agree with each other on everything, you may not have the best situation for true bonding.
We’re not talking about using foul language to show disagreeing, yelling and screaming. We’re talking about adult conversation. The ability to build Trust and Transparency, T and T, is huge. In this case, it’s TNT, explosive and wonderful. Allow and enable every aspect of personality, whether someone either is or thinks they are an introvert or an extrovert and not let one dominate the other. Thank you, David. That’s wonderful. What’s the third one from the book?
The third one is that people have common biases when making decisions. People have four most common biases that disenable them to make the smartest decisions possible. The most important thing is understanding your decision-making biases. The four biases are the following.
Number one is recency bias, which is a concept. Say someone is going out with someone and they broke up with their boyfriend. They will look at that relationship as much more influential than the five other relationships that they’ve had and look for the exact opposite of who that previous relationship was. There’s a reason why you have the Shavasana at the end of the yoga.
At the end of yoga, you’re like, “I want to go back and do yoga again.” That relaxing mode of where you’re sitting there is so pleasant and you’re so biased by that most recent experience that you want to do yoga again. Recency bias is a problem for a lot of people in terms of disenabling them to make smarter decisions.
The second bias is confirmation bias, which is the interest in many people and looking for information that will confirm whatever it is that they happen to think. “There’s no person or job for me,” or whatever it is, there’s the confirmation bias that exists. For me, my confirmation bias as an investor in the market is that when the market goes down, I never look at the market or how I’m doing. Only when it goes up do I look and be like, “Look how smart I am.” I’m biased in confirming what I want to believe. That’s very detrimental for any leader or person. It goes against the importance of disagreement and having people have different opinions.
The third is status quo bias, which is people are oftentimes so afraid of change. They’re comfortable with the status quo and even if the status quo is terrible for them, even if they’re miserable, unhappy and lonely, their inclination is, “The devil you know versus the devil you don’t know.” It’s not about the devil. It’s about understanding that everyone has an opportunity for change and the status quo may or may not be acceptable. It shouldn’t be acceptable for anyone’s path towards growth in life.
Meetup Mastermind: Understand your decision-making biases to make smart decisions fast.
The last one has sunk cost fallacy, which people fall into all the time. It is essentially the concept that people don’t appreciate the fact that if they invested 2 years into a relationship or 2 years into a job or they spent a whole bunch of money on something, it’s not about how much they spent or how much work they put into the past. It’s about whether or not they should continue to do that same thing in the future. If it already had a path, it’s a sunk cost. It’s done. “From this point on, what do I want to focus on?”
When I go to a restaurant, I’ll spend a ton of money on some meal. I’ve already spent the money, so I’m like, “I spent so much money and I have to eat all the food.” I eat all the food and feel sick and terrible. That’s not the goal. The goal is to be happy is enjoy the meal. Sunk cost fallacy is another one. Overall, there are lots of different decision-making biases that you have personally and professionally. Understand your most common bias and figure out how to recognize it and ideally avoid it.
More than informative, this has been transformative. That’s why I am so humbled and honored that David to be with us because the information you can get ad nauseam anywhere and to know it directly from somebody who’s worked with and through several major CEO positions, dozens of companies and hundreds of people, processes and be able to unpack for us. We’re going to go deep or dive into each one of these because it’s all for your benefit. That’s why you’re here because you care the most in the entire world about yourself.
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David is the Chief Example Officer, CEO of Meetup, the largest group community building system in the world with over 190 countries, 56 million people, 100,000 meetings every week and growing by leaps and bounds because it makes a difference IRL, In Real Life. We’re slaying the loneliness factor and enabling people to go out and meet up. MEET stands for Make Exceptional Energizing Touches and UP is Unlimited Potential. That’s what you can do with Meetup. We’re so honored to have David here. Everything you want to know about David and Meetup is going to be on my website, BarryShore.com
David’s background is in Philosophy and Politics in Economics and he has an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania and is an Adjunct Professor at Columbia. He’s a basic Jewish overachiever, but we’ll leave it at that. The most important part we’ve been talking about so far is the ability to make decisions and be a leader in your world, to have a great name and such, but I want to make a bit of a shift here.
We talk about shifting perspective for some reason. I don’t know why but a lot of people around the world drop the F and the other stuff happens. They can’t pronounce it. You got to be careful with your F and F. It’s a shift in perspective. Let’s talk about how Meetup shifted and didn’t fall into the trap of the other stuff during COVID. You’re all about physical reality in real-time. What’s going on? What happened? How did you do that?
What did Meetup do when you couldn’t meet up? I remember in February of 2020 when we started seeing 95% of our events in China get canceled overnight. The other things that had happened in China, SARS and Asian flu, haven’t made it over to the United States. We started seeing it in Italy a week later. Ninety-five percent of events started to decline there. Little by little, one of our employees was one of the first cases of COVID in late February, even early March 2020 in the entire United States.
We had to start working from home. All of our employees said, “What do we do?” Our mission had always been about IRL, In Real Life, getting together in person. Our founder, Scott Heiferman, once stood up on a stage at WeWork gathering because we used to be owned by WeWork and smashed a VR, virtual reality, device into pieces saying, “We’re all about using technology to get people off of technology. We are an anti-technology company. What do you do when the only way to get together in person is this?”
We got all of our engineers together and said, “What are we going to do here?” The number one reason why we rejected people to become organizers of communities is that they wanted their community to be a purely 100% virtual community. We said, “No, not on Meetup.” This has been a longstanding thing for years and the company never changed, but we said, “The goal is to keep people connected.” Around this time of isolation, is our mission about IRL? No, our mission is about connections for people. We need to keep people connected in the safest way possible.
We changed our technology and pulled a couple of all-nighters. We had numerous people enabled the ability to use Zoom in any other video conferencing platform to keep people connected, and the results have been unbelievable. We’ve had over 6 million online events and over 30 million-plus people have attended online events. It’s so important.
We have alcohol support groups and support groups for people with ADHD. The number one group that has grown the most and Meetup has been focused on self-help and people who are lonely. Everything around self-help, meditation-related, happiness-related, understanding happiness and growing happiness-related groups. We’d have groups that would go on a run but by themselves because in the early days of COVID, they all come back together online and all drink a beer together, the beer runners’ group. They don’t talk about the run that they happened to have done at that time.
We had sports that were more separated like tennis, badminton and volleyball go up extraordinarily during this time because it was safer to do things during that time. 75% of our events are in-person and 25% of events are still online. Online unlocks great experiences. We have this ecstatic dance Meetup group where I went on and rather than having 6 people from Kansas City, there are 25 people from 20 different countries all doing ecstatic dancing together and experiencing joy together as a global community.
When you have the ability to build relationships between people globally, ignorance goes down and decrease of racism, xenophobia, any anti, hate and ageism that exists in this world changes when you’re exposed to people who are different than you as part of the community, which is so important. It’s been an amazing experience. We’re going to have in-person and online. We’re going to have global events. They both serve different purposes but can be both very powerful for people.
This is so enlightening. I want to unpack a few pieces here because this process that you shared is truly wondrous. First of all, it was a process, not an event. Notice how we talked about it before. It’s how you respond to any given situation which determines your destiny. You were able to shift what people thought you were and identified Meetup as anti-technology, which turned out to be the incorrect label because what your goal was and it didn’t bubble up until you were able to articulate it, was that you are a connecting mechanism. That’s who you are.
Most companies have KPIs, Key Performance Indicators around revenue profit. Our KPI is 30 million connections. We facilitate 30 million connections a year and that’s our goal of how many people we can connect.
We spell connecting with a K as well as a C because that’s what CIND stands for, Connect In Nature Daily. In this case, nature is whatever it is that moves you. That’s the genius of a global community in a world where we didn’t recognize that we could do this before. In other words, “Is there a silver lining to everything?” Absolutely. “Do we want to say there’s a silver line to COVID?” We don’t want to downgrade the severity, but we want to look at what is able to happen. With the severity of lockdown in people’s minds, we were able to open up a different flower, a blooming blossom. I’m so touched.
Meetup Mastermind: The goal is to keep people connected.
Personal growth almost always happens through times of challenge, whether it is at a global level. Meetup was founded after 9/11. Anytime that we’re faced with these kinds of personal challenges and you’ve been faced with horrible challenges and making the world a better place, despite maybe because of the things that have happened to you, we all have to figure out potential ways to see our challenges as ideally potential opportunities but not put so much pressure on ourselves that if we don’t, we failed either.
This is so insightful. Part of the benefit, if they were, of COVID is that it became a global experience. In other words, there were very few people who didn’t experience lockdown in some form, some more severe, some less, but people could relate globally. “A person in the United States doesn’t have the same pressures we do in India, China or Australia.” Everybody was affected.
That brought about a leveling and a benefit to opening up dialogue. The acronym for JOY is Journey Of You. That’s what joy is about. How do you present yourself? At the time when the merger and integration happened, subsequently, it was the correct thing to do. The genius of what Meetup is about and what you’re doing with Meetup is that you realize that you are organic and weren’t locked into a particular mindset. You were able to breakthrough using your 44 decision-making processes.
We have some core values at Meetup that are the basis for all of our decisions. One of our core values is called invite change, which doesn’t mean accepting change or letting change happen and being a little bit upset about it. It’s invited. It’s proactively saying, “We recognize that change is good and we are going to figure out ways in which we can just not begrudgingly accept it but invite it. When you have that culture as a company or that mindset, it makes decision-making a lot easier because you know that you have a receptive audience. That’s the culture that you have.
First of all, you mentioned the word culture and that’s critical. In other words, it’s not just people who work at a place. There is a culture that is interwoven into the process called Meetup. That’s vital. You have core values that you articulate. The most important thing is you don’t articulate them, you live them. It’s another thing to speak about them, but to put the thoughts, words, and deeds into alignment enables Meetup to become a community builder, a good business in the sense that business does well when it does good.
You’ll notice something else about the word business, the U comes before the I. The essence of business is to present value. When you can give value to someone else, then you’re attracting them. There’s a very famous line in business as you’re well aware. “Change is good. You go first.” In your case, it’s what you’ve done because you’ve not just written the book, you’re living the book and it’s part of the puzzle about who you are as a dynamic leader and allowing that to happen with everybody with that you interact with throughout the system.
You’re talking about 56 million people and growing. It’s the ability to understand, invite change and not say, “We have to change.” If you invite it, it becomes a guest of somebody you want to say, “We never thought of that before. What can we do?” You become flexible as you mentioned yoga. “Why do people do yoga?” It’s because they want to be relaxed and become more flexible. That’s what you’re doing and what Meetup is all about.
You are that flexible multi tens of millions organization that is touching people for good. Let’s go back to the pain because it’s the pain point that brought Meetup into the world. This pain of loneliness. I’d like you to speak about the loneliness factor and especially about people under the age of 35. 85% of our audience is under the age of 35 and are highly educated and seekers. They want to know more, be more and help more. Let’s talk about loneliness and unpack it a little bit more.
Let me make it even more alive with a little bit of story of a Meetup person I’m extraordinarily blown away by. His name is Omar Acosta. His story is that he sat on his couch for 10, 12 hours a day playing video games and was a terrified introvert. He didn’t want to go out of the house and meet people. He was afraid of meeting people.
His brother called him up and said, “You have to come to Meetup. It’ll help you to do something. What are you into?” He happened to always be into rock climbing. He started going to the Dallas Rock Climbing Meetup group. After going 2, 3, 4 times, the organizer left and said to Omar, “Can you take over to be an organizer?” When you take over and take on a leadership role, that’s a different thing.
In the last years, he’s had over 900 events, 6 marriages, have come out of his group and transformed his life. It’s not that Meetup transformed his life. That’s not what it’s about. It’s about the community transformed his life because it gave him an opportunity to step up, which is one of our other core values and become a leader in itself.
Loneliness is a result oftentimes of fear, anxiety and low self-esteem. It is an incredibly difficult situation to get out of because, unfortunately, the more lonely that you are, the worse you feel about yourself and the more reluctant you are to be around other people. It’s this self-fulfilling prophecy thing and the downward spiral that exists that then only perpetuates and makes things even stronger.
The key is how do you have some intervention and a disruption of that spiral? The answer is finding something that you care about. There’s got to be something in this world that you care about. Even if you’re around 1, 2, 3 people who care about that same thing, it will give you this feeling that I’m not alone. Once you understand how many other people feel the same, it makes it a lot easier to take that step because so many people out there do feel the same levels of loneliness.
It is about a mind shift, but then it’s ultimately about taking action. If you shift your mind and don’t do anything about it, it’s not sufficient. You need to be able to take that action. The stories that I hear are people who sign up for a Meetup event or any event and they take the car, drive there and see all these people coming and going and they drive away. They go back again, drive there and drive away. Getting out and finding a comfortable way of doing something that can enormously impact someone’s life.
Isn’t it wonderful to be able to sleep at night and get up in the morning knowing that you are making a difference to the Omars of the world?
They say, “Get up like a lion in the morning.” I jump out of bed in the morning. I don’t have any caffeine and I exercise a lot. I swim quite a lot like you as well. I used to swim always with a snorkel. I saw you swimming with a snorkel. At 40 years old, I finally said, “I want to do a triathlon.” I started taking swimming lessons at 40. I do 40, 50 laps at least twice a week. It’s the best exercise out there. I’m very energized by the opportunity to be able to help as many people as I can because the world is an amazing place. Sometimes the fear of being part of the wonderful things that the world has to offer in relationships and experiences is saddening.
The word leader has the same letters that spell dealer. Why? It’s because a leader is a dealer in hope. That’s what a leader is. HOPE stands for Helping Others Progress Everyday because that’s what a leader does. The other thing is that when you talked about the loneliness spiral and I was feeling the pain of somebody or people like that, it goes to the four biases that people have. The biggest one, in this case, seemed to be the confirmation one. “That’s the way things are.” It allows the spiral.
I’ve had this happen because, thank God, I’ve been able to work with tens of thousands of people over the past decades. I urge people to shift when they pronounce the word alone, erase it and realize that it is pronounced all one. When you can move from shift and keep that F in there because otherwise, that stuff happens and you’ll spiral and you recognize that the word is all one and that’s part of you, you become a better you.
When you drove to the Meetup group, as reluctant as you were, you took action. You turned off the car, opened the door, got out and walked in, a whole new world opened up. Thank you, Meetup and humans. What a world we live in. WOW stands for Words Of Wonder. That’s what you’re doing, David. You’re touching people around the world with this remarkable episode. I’m enjoying this.
It’s truly remarkable. Everybody, go to the website and learn everything you can about Meetup and get involved. The most important thing is IRL, In Real Life. In this case, IRL can be physically being together with people and zooming around the world with people because you’re not going to get up on a plane and go to Mumbai in the same from Mumbai to here or to Shanghai, Melbourne or wherever. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to meet wonderful, sweet, loving, singing people from Ghana? It’s truly a blessing. I’m going to ask you three quick questions. Number one, will you come back again?
Meetup Mastermind: It’s important to pause and be happy.
I’d love to. I’m very excited.
Thank you. Number two, you have only 80 seconds to answer this question. David Siegel, CEO of Meetup, what is your most fervent desire in 80 seconds?
It’s not that different from yours. I want to maximize happiness in the world. That’s the reality. My high school quote in my yearbook was, “Sometimes in our pursuit of happiness, it’s important to pause and be happy.” All too often, especially in the business world or you went to Wharton Business School and all this “success,” that’s not real success. We all know that.
Oftentimes people say, “We work hard in my 20s and then in my 50s, I’ll enjoy myself.” They’re 90 years old and then finally, they’re like, “Can I start enjoying myself now?” The ultimate goal is to provide much joy and happiness to everyone. For me, that comes personally through doing meaningful work, whether it’s one-on-one or having a conversation to mentor someone, because it’s not all about big numbers. It’s also about one-on-one type opportunities or being able to help entrepreneurs create organizations that could create lots of jobs and career development.
The third is, are you ready for a hug in front of people around the world?
I’m a big fan of hugs.
HUG stands for Heartfelt Unlimited Giving. From David and Barry, we offer you a blessing and it is going to be that you should go forth, live exuberantly, spread the seeds of joy, happiness, peace and love because you tuned into consciously and conscientiously the show with me and our amazing guest, David Siegel, the CEO of Meetup. You tuned in for one reason and it’s because you care the most in the entire world about yourself. That’s great because when you’re the best you, you make the world a better place.
You build more bridges of harmony and create more joy, happiness, peace and love. We worked with the three fundamentals of life. Your life has a purpose. You need a purpose-driven life. You go MAD, Make A Difference. The third is to unlock the power and the secrets of the words in terms of the results. You’ll be happier and healthier in your spiritually, physical and mental attitude. You’ll be wealthier in every aspect of wealth. That’s because you understand what WWW stands for, What a Wonderful World.
Your SMILE, Seeing Miracles In Life Everyday. As my niece says, Seeing Miracles And Everyday Life. Create the world you want to live in. That’s what Meetups are all about, causing rethinking and enabling all to excel. Use four-letter words, love, life, hope, grow, free, play, pray and swim and tell the word FUNN. After the show, they’re like, “What is Barry’s show talking about?” He said, “He wants to teach the world the FUNN.
Remember to use the two most important words in the English language three times a day, every single day for the rest of your life and you will be healthier, happier and wealthier. You will help your family be happier, healthier and wealthier and your friends, all the Meetup people you’re with and the entire world. These two words are THANK you, To Harmonize And Network Kindness. KIND stands for Keep Inspiring Noble Deeds. That’s what David Siegel does, what Barry Shore tries to do and what Meetup is all about. Thank you all for being here. We love you. We will see you soon on the next episode.
About David Siegel
David Siegel is the CEO of Meetup, the largest platform for finding and building local communities. He has 25 years of experience as a technology and digital media executive leading organizations through innovative product development, rapid revenue growth, and digital traffic acceleration. Prior to joining Meetup, David was CEO of Investopedia and before that, President of Seeking Alpha.
David holds a BA in Philosophy, Politics & Economics and an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania. He is an adjunct professor at Columbia University where he teaches strategic planning and entrepreneurship. He is the author of Decide & Conquer: 44 Decisions That Make or Break All Leaders and hosts the podcast Keep Connected, which is dedicated to the power of community.