Naveen grew up in India where he and his family had to relocate every 6 months due to dealing with poverty. Resources were so scarce that Naveen remembers school being outdoors and not having proper utensils and tools to write/learn. As he talks about in the episode, the love and care he received from his family outweighed all the difficult times.
After college, Naveen came to the United States with just $5 in his pockets in search for a better future. He worked at several Silicon Valley startups before joining Microsoft as a program manager. After working for Microsoft for 7 years, he decided to quit and start an internet company called InfoSpace, which eventually led him to becoming a billionaire.
Since then, Naveen has started 7 other businesses including most recently Viome, where he currently serves as the CEO. Viome was founded on the question: "What really causes diseases/illnesses, and why can't we make diseases/illnesses a matter of choice?" He has also co-founded Moon Express, which was founded on the question: "Why can't humans travel and live on the moon?"
Today, Naveen is still one of just a few people on earth to own a private space company.
00:00:04 Ash Faraj: Hey guys, welcome back to Season 2 of ExecuTalks. It’s the show where you train your brain to think like today’s top executives. I’m your host Ash, and in this episode you will get to hear from the famous Naveen Jain.
00:00:25 Ash Faraj: Before we get into the show, I’d just thought I’d share some exciting news with you. Our community is growing fast and eager to help in any way possible. If you’re currently feeling stuck in your career, or having trouble just getting your foot in the door in an industry or even for a company that you’d like to work for, we’d love to help. Feeling stuck can lead to feeling lonely and when you’re at that stage it always helps to have a powerful community behind you. Please join our community for free by visiting our website and subscribing to our newsletter at www.ExecuTalks.com. If there’s anything I can personally do to help, even if it is just some career advice or consultation or if you just like someone to talk to, please feel free to reach out to me via email at Ash@ExecuTalks.com. That is A-S-H-, Ash@ExecuTalks.com. Now sit back, relax, and enjoy this inspiring conversation with Naveen Jain.
00:01:21 Ash Faraj: Naveen’s story begins in India where he and his family would move around every few months dealing with poverty. After he graduated college, he moved to the United States with just five dollars in his pockets in search for a better future. He worked for several start-ups before joining Microsoft as a program manager. Then after seven years at Microsoft decided to quit and start a publicly traded Internet company called InfoSpace. Since then he has successfully started seven other businesses in different industries, and Naveen is also currently one of the only human beings on earth to own their own private space company.
00:02:07 Ash Faraj: Can we start off -- paint us a picture of your childhood growing up. I know there’s a little bit of information online and some videos. Why don’t you paint us a picture of your childhood growing up and how that was?
00:02:19 Naveen Jain: We did really have a poverty we grew up. We literally moved every six months, nine months a year, and we moved from village to village. And we really didn’t have a place we called home. The thing that really -- what I learned in life was that change became so comfortable. Today, most people become uncomfortable with change. When change happens, they get to some extent out of their comfort zone, and to me living life where you have to move all the time, change was really nothing to me. Change became a part of life. And I think that’s the reason when you start a company, or you do anything, you’ll no longer worry about a change. You no longer worry about what happens, and to a large extent expecting that things will go wrong.
00:03:04 I feel that expectations in life is one of the biggest sources of dissatisfaction. It is the biggest source of unhappiness that we get because we expect something, whether it is from our partner, from our friends, or from the business. When you start to expect something, and if it doesn’t happen then you feel dissatisfied. And to me it is -- if you expect the life of an entrepreneur is always going to be that ups and downs. As I talk about the life of an entrepreneur is about -- like a heartbeat it goes up and down. When you are down, you just have to hunker down knowing the next beat is going to be up. And the trick in life is, when you go on top of that beat never get too cocky because you should know the winter is coming, and winter shall come. And so that means you never want to get so attached to your success that when things fall apart then you suddenly say, “Oh, my God, I have lost so much.” The fact is you never had anything to begin with so what have you lost? Right? So my point is that attachment for the things you somehow temporarily believe you have, or the attachment of thinking that your happiness will come when you have this financial resource, your happiness will come from something else. Or knowing that when you are on top, you think you are now at the top of the world, and things will never go back. Just know they do, and they will.
00:04:29 I think to me that is the key to life, is being happy with who you are. And know that if even if you get the financial success, you are at that point nothing but a trustee of the God’s kindness, right? Always know that the reason, if you have financial success, it is because God believes in you as a good trustee. And if you don’t use that financial success to do what he wants you to do, or she wants you to do, or that God wants you to do, that means if you don’t go out and help the humanity in any way, then God takes that away and say you’re not a good trustee. Let’s give it to someone who’s going to put it to better use. And that to me really is that we never own anything. We’re going to die with nothing. We were born with nothing. In between you’re simply a trustee of his kindness, and that’s how you should look at life.
00:05:28 Ash Faraj: Wow.
00:05:32 Naveen Jain: We do go through about life, lessons of life, is that it’s not about -- you know, a lot of people talk about being an optimist or a pessimist. Is the glass half empty or half full? I always felt that is such a dumb question to be thinking about; is the glass half empty or half full. The only question you should really ask yourself is: “Is the glass worth filling?” If the glass is worth filling do you really care if it’s half empty or half full? If it’s not worth filling do you really care if it’s half empty or half full? So, my point is, all that matters is: what it is that you want the world to be? Not what the world is. That to me is the trick of success in life. Focus on what you want the world to be, not what the world is.
00:06:12 Ash Faraj: Naveen, there’s just something that I was so curious about. I know you don’t like to talk about yourself, but this is something, if you can tell me this it would make my day. Your father was a civil engineer in India. And he worked -- obviously, the government was corrupt at the time and officials would take bribes. But your father did not do that. He was a very moral person, right, and you guys kept moving every nine months. And you ended up in a rural neighborhood where you would be in school and you were sitting on the floor, right? What part of your childhood specifically do you feel had the most impact on you today?
00:06:50 Naveen Jain: I really think it is about that loving relationship I had with the parents. When you know you have nothing; I still remember when I was very young -- you know, my father would say, look this is all we have. These two dollars when I die is going to be divided amongst the few of you. If you can live with that, you’re going to have a happy life. If you think you need more than that you need to really figure out how. Or knowing that my mother she couldn’t read or write. I didn’t know that, but she cared enough that she’ll wake me up and would point out, and say, “What’s the answer to this question?” And I’d say, “Mom, this is the answer.” She would say, “Don’t make me look at it! Tell me again.” She wanted to make sure I was absolutely certain, and then she’d go, okay, look at the next problem now. And my point was, that to me is the key to life, really is. Anytime people worry about this, “Oh, I grew up in a poor family and I don’t have the resources.” To me the best resource you have is the love in the family. Then you have this family, that is a loving family, there is no barrier that you can’t cross. It is -- I think a lot of the times today you look at the broken families, right? The families are -- whether they’re divorced, a single mother, a single father, or there’s just not a love in that family. That’s where you start to see the childhood of that child is getting destroyed. Not because they are poor. Because we as humans really don’t need that much food to eat. Even if you get food every couple of days, I think the human body will survive just fine. As a matter of fact, we eat so much. You and I both, our testimony as to gaining all that weight [laughter].
00:08:30 The point is -- that is the thing is that, you know, us feeling that there’s so much we need. And the answer is we need so little. We really can survive in so little. And I think -- and we constantly want more and more and more, and that never makes you happy. In fact, it’s very interesting is that if you ask people what makes them unhappy, and you can -- and they’ll give you the list of things whatever it is. You’re an employee and say, “God if your employer could change five things. What are the things that makes you unhappy?” They’ll give you all the little things that made them unhappy, and you can take all of those away and solve that problem. What happens? It simply doesn’t make them unhappy, but they’re still not happy. Not being happy is not the same as being happy. So, if you ask them a different question about what makes you happy? It’s very different than to ask you what makes you unhappy. Most of the people tend to focus on what makes them unhappy rather than what makes them happy. They constantly try to move away from the things that make them unhappy, and say, “God, if I just had money it would somehow solve this problem.” They rather think, “Okay, if this does really what I -- what will make me happy?” Right? So, my point is, most of our life we focus on trying to get rid of the things that make us unhappy, rather than focusing on things that make us happy, right? I think that’s one thing.
00:10:02 Other thing is, as an answer to those, we always tend to focus on wanting to know the right answer. What I learned in life is it is about asking the right question. Not about having the right answer. I think that is a key to starting something. Is that, just -- people don’t know how to solve it, or what the right answer is. It doesn’t mean you’re not the right person. Again, just give you an example, you know we talked about this a little bit about Moon Express. I was building the company of Moon Express, and saying, hey, we want to settle down and create a multi planetary society. What do you think the question people ask? All that is great, but how are you going to grow the food on the moon? Right? But when you ask that question, that is a dumb question because the point is when you ask that, the only solution to that is to find a way to grow the food on the moon. But what if you are to ask a slightly different question, which is: why do we need food? Just asking that question shifts everything what you will do because then why you need food is energy and nutrition. What if you can get energy from radiation photosynthesis like plants? If you need the nutrition, what are the nutrients your body needs? Hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen. Why? If there is water on the moon you already got hydrogen and oxygen. Now, I was simply talking about finding nitrogen. If that’s the only problem let’s solve that, right? My point is, suddenly it’s not about growing the food, it is simply about finding nitrogen. My point is that’s how you break down of what [crosstalk].
00:11:36 Ash Faraj: Wow! That’s crazy.
00:11:38 Naveen Jain: And it’s that thought process is really what I think a lot of the entrepreneurs miss out. The other big mistake that I always notice now the entrepreneurs make, is they tend to focus on solving the symptom of the problem rather than understanding the root cause of the problem. For example, everybody would tell you that lack of fresh water is one of the biggest problems facing, especially in the developing countries, right? Now, if you were an entrepreneur that said, if that’s such a big problem I want to go out and solve the problem of that facing fresh water. And now you come up with a nano-filter from the nano tubes, and all kinds of ways you can go get more fresh water. Until someone asks a separate question, and says wait a second, “Why do we have a shortage of fresh water?” Suddenly you realize that the majority of fresh water is used for agriculture. You say, “Aw, oh my God. If that -- If I’m going to go out and see if the aeroponic agriculture, aquaponic agriculture, hydroponic agriculture -- Let’s go fix the agriculture so it doesn’t use all the water, and that’s how I’m going to solve our problem.
00:12:45 And you feel really good until you realize that the majority of agriculture is actually used to feed the cattle. And that’s really is majority of agriculture being used to feed the cattle. And we don’t need to be a model just to say people should eat beef. But what if now, you can take a stem cell from the cow, and instead of growing the cow you only grow the muscle tissue. Because that’s what people want to eat. Now you can clear the bio factories off simply creating bio, the muscle tissue, which is beef. And now you have all of the agriculture you want. All the meats you want. And all the fresh water you want. It’s simply understanding that the fresh-water problem turns out to be synthetic biologic problem of creating meat. That to me is the key on everybody. You can apply the same thing, the same concept, in everything. It doesn’t matter if it’s a personal relationship, business. Are you really dealing with the symptom? So when your wife is angry, and you try to find out what makes her angry; you’re solving the symptom of the problem or you’re trying to understand the root cause of it, because you’re not spending enough time with her. [laughter]
00:13:52 Naveen has now started seven companies. No two companies have been in the same industry, which is something that I thought was counter intuitive. But Naveen’s reasoning is that, because he isn’t an “expert” in a certain field, he is able to challenge the foundation that industry was built on.
00:14:17 Naveen Jain: One thing is not to really be an expert in the field and the problem you’re trying to solve. Because once you become an expert the question you ask are always then tactical. What if… Because you know this will not… I know the foundations now, but you can never challenge the foundation of knowledge. That means you tend to always look for a solution before you ask a problem for your next question, right? If -- Then you talk to a non-expert. He doesn’t know, or she doesn’t know, what you thought. What do they say? “Why can’t we do it this way?” An expert’s job is to tell you that will never work. Then you say, “Tell me why that will never work?” And they start to explain it. Then you know what? Now come to think of it, it might work. And then you say, “Can you explain it to me why you think it just might work?” And guess what? 30 minutes later they want to come to a conclusion and say, holy shit that’s a great idea. And that to me is really the key is that, when you can ask the question to not have -- You see, I have to look smart. And that is the key. As an entrepreneur your job is to ask the dumbest question, “Why can’t we do it this way?”, “Why can’t we do this?”, “Why can’t we do that?” and then push them along to say, “Explain it to me.” And the more they explain, either you understand why it can’t be done, or you say wait a second, I just read this research. This actually is now possible, so your knowledge is ten years old. Just because it didn’t work ten years ago doesn’t mean it won’t work now. Let’s go and attack, right?
00:15:41 And that is the key that every single time now coming back to it is -- you know, I’ve now started seven companies and there have never been two completely in the same industry. The reason for that is because you’re able to challenge the foundation, and that doesn’t matter to me as an entrepreneur, whether you are going to the moon. I’m not a rocket scientist. When I started a computer company, I’d never seen a computer in my life. I’m not a computer scientist. I might be an industrial engineer. What do I know about computers, right? And now I’m doing healthcare. What do I know about healthcare, except that the problem of chronic disease can be solved, because it’s worth solving. Then you can build a team around you to help you, but you don’t have to be an expert in that field.
00:16:25 Ash Faraj: I was so curious about when you first came to the US. Obviously, it was very challenging. Can you talk about the first year when you came to the US? What were like the top three challenges that you faced, and maybe some memories you have from the first year you were here?
00:16:45 Naveen Jain: Wow, ask any immigrant. My story is no different than millions of any immigrant. Your grandfather’s story is the same story as mine, right? You come here with very little, and then you work hard. And you do things that most people will say, “Oh, what? What were you doing?” And that literally is -- Every immigrant has the same story that you come here. You come with absolutely nothing, and you have this dream of going and making a great life for your children and settling down and really be a productive citizen of a society. If you continue to focus on the goal of, that you now going to focus on making money, you going to focus on solving problems. That’s really the key here. When you focus on making money, you’re actually very rarely you do succeed in that. But when you focus on saying, “What are the problems that need solving?” and I’m going to solve them; the making money becomes the by-product of that, right?
00:17:42 Ash Faraj: But when did you realize that though? When did you realize that that is how you look at life versus -- Because I would imagine if I have zero dollars, I’m like oh my God, I need money. When did you realize that?
00:17:54 Naveen Jain: This is the thing; you do need money and money will come. The thing is, think about it. Why do companies succeed? The companies succeed because they’re solving a problem for someone who’s willing to pay for it, right? If you’re focused on saying, if I build something that can help million people, one hundred million people, billion people. And it could really go into help realize your business out of there. So, if you can create it doing well, like doing good, and if you can constantly focus on saying: what problem am I solving? Who am I going to help? And that’s the reason they are going to pay me. Think of it, making money is a byproduct, right? To some extent I say that making money is like having an orgasm. When you focus on how you’re going to get it you just have to enjoy the process right? And that is the key. It’s not that people don’t want the orgasm, but they don’t focus on it. They still just have to go out and enjoy the process, and that is really what about making money in life is all about.
00:18:48 Life is a continuum. In that continuum you constantly are building one small part at a time and then essentially that becomes you. So there really is a jump moment that happens. And that same thing, when you know people talk about what’s life balance, and I think that same concept there. The work-life balance should never be there. Because to me then you say you have to balance two things. What do you really need? You have already concluded that those two things can never live simultaneously. That’s why you have to balance them. If you think your work and life is a continuum in that continuum there’s sometimes more of one and sometime there’s more other, but there’s never a balance. That is the key to life is to living life as a continuum. And knowing there’s going to be more of one and less of other, and there’s going to be sometime more of the other and less than one. That really is what continuum looks like. Never trying to think that I’m going to spend eight hours of work, and then spend eight hours to the thing. Guess what? If you do that, you’re stuck at both. Because your family thinks you’re not spending enough time, and your work thinks you’re not spending enough time, and you suck at both and you will lose both.
Ash Faraj: In 2010, Naveen Jain co-founded Moon Express based on a question he asked himself. “Why can’t human beings travel and eventually live on the moon?” In 2016, he started a company called Viome based on the question: “What causes illnesses and diseases in the human body?” And what if we could make diseases and illnesses simply a matter of choice?
00:20:26 Naveen Jain: To me going to the moon is symbolic of what individuals and small groups are capable of doing. To me going to the moon is showing that an entrepreneur can achieve things that only the superpowers could do before. And that is the key is that showing that is, you know -- only three superpowers have ever landed on the moon successfully. And now, if as a small private company can land on the moon suddenly you become the fourth superpower. And that to me is the key. Because as humans we need someone to show us what is possible. Once you do that there’ll be lot of people who will not probably do that; they’ll go way beyond that. As you remember Roger Bannister, until he came along, and he showed that people could run a mile under four minutes, people thought if you ran a mile under four minutes the human body would absolutely implode into pieces. People used to think that in olden days. If you go back and read, they thought that trains and busses, all these things, would kill people, because the human body is not designed to go at that speed. The body would disintegrate into pieces if somebody could go at that, right? And that’s literally -- Once Roger Bannister did that, guess what happened? Thirteen more people actually broke the record the next year. It is just what it -- So point is, if entrepreneurs can show that you can now land on the moon like a superpower, there’s going to be someone else who’s going to come along and say, “That’s a baby step.” We can go to the Mars. We can go to the Pluto. We can go to intergalactic travel. My point is, suddenly everything starts to become possible and that to me is the key.
00:22:03 Sure, there’s a lot of good reasons to go there. There’s plenty of natural resources like Helium-3 that you can bring back that could power this planet for a long time, because of clean fusion energy. But that’s all set aside. We also have to find a plan B of life, right? In the sense that, all of us are in a single spacecraft we call planet earth. If our planet Earth got damaged somehow, well, we have quite capable people. We can damage it pretty nicely ourselves and if we do, then do we have a plan B for humanity. What I find really interesting is that many of us have such a self-centered ego that we believe and say I’m worried about our planet. What will happen to our planet? I can assure you our planet will do just fine. In fact, even before humans came along it was fine. And even after humans die the planet will be just fine. I mean if you look at -- go back and look at the history. You know 65-75 million years ago when the asteroid hits the planet earth, the dinosaurs which were much more capable animals, they all died. What happened to the planet? It created human beings, right? So, my point is, despite all that it created the intelligent life called humans. When humans die guess what will happen? It will create super humans for all we know. Don’t get too cocky here. [laughter] It is simply about training our mind to the possibilities. Now, would we have to look like we look like today to live on the moon? Probably not. If the gravity is nearly, you know, substantially less on the moon do we still need all those bone structures? The answer is probably not.
00:23:51 So, you don’t have to have this massive underlying bone infrastructure that we have just to live on the gravity. When the gravity is less our bone mass doesn’t have to be as much, and that’s the reason when people come back, even from the Space Station, they have to be carried on a stretcher because they really have lost a lot of the bone mass. My point is we will adapt and live. Just like, think of it when the bacteria can survive in the radioactive nuclear waste. Why is that? Because they evolved to use the radiation as a source of energy. So not only they can protect themselves in the high radiation, they can also use radiation as a source of energy. Now what stops us from taking that genetic material, using CRISPR to modify ourselves, and suddenly we can be not only radiation resistant we say, “Honey you want to go for a walk and get some radiation?” It is going to be within the next decade. I think there’s going to be people living on the moon, and people will have a baby born on the moon. [indiscernible] within the next decade we will do have that happen.
00:24:59 Ash Faraj: By 2030?
00:25:00 Naveen Jain: By 2030, yes.
00:25:02 Ash Faraj: Wow! I’m excited now.
00:25:08 Naveen Jain: Again, that’s a part of the same cycle. The idea is how do you take these massive problems, and how do you go build not only a business around it, but also continue to focus and saying, if you’re successful how would that change the way people live their life? How would it change the trajectory of how humanity is going to live? As you know then I started a second business for the same reason. Viome which was fundamentally with a simple belief, what if we can create a world where being sick is totally a matter of choice not a matter of death now. And again, if you -- why is it that we will develop -- I mean, it’s a hard thing to say, in that -- Currently we’re living on this idea of this epidemic of these infectious diseases or set that aside. This is the first pandemic we’ve had in a hundred years. The point is it happens every hundred years. Spanish flu in 1918, right? As humanity we’ve done a really decent job of taking care of infectious diseases. Now imagine 90% of our people suffer from chronic diseases. When I say chronic diseases, I mean obesity, diabetes, depression, anxiety, autoimmune diseases, cancer, Alzheimer. I mean, we name these diseases right, but the point is ultimately there’s no reason. People talk about, oh my genetics.
00:26:31 What is really interesting I find, is again not being an expert, but what is my first question? Think about it. When you have a certain gene that you get from your mom and dad. When you’re born with that, and they don’t change when you gain hundred pounds. You can do your genetic test before you get a hundred pounds and after you get a hundred pounds. Have your genes changed? Has your DNA changed? The answer is no. Now, you get depression. Has your DNA changed? No. Now you got autoimmune disease. Has your DNA changed? No. You get diabetes, you get your heart disease. The DNA does not change. So how can you possibly blame that my genes are the ones that are causing it because genes haven’t changed. Your DNA is not changing. How can it be that we have been so fascinated by the DNA and that we didn’t realize? And now coming from a completely outside the field, I say: wait a sec. People who have chronic diseases, do their DNA change? No. Then why are we constantly looking at DNA to figure out what is causing them because they don’t change. What does change is your expression of the genes are constantly changing.
00:27:39 So, I said, why don’t we look at the gene expression, and that was the key for breakthrough for us was saying, hey, why can’t we really understand gene expression. I started to look at that thing, and at that point I didn’t know anything about this thing. I am the first guy [indiscernible] the information so I started reading. How do you measure gene expression? Where are all the gene expressions are coming from? And it turns out that human body that less than 22,000 genes are expressed that are protein coding genes that come from our mom and dad. Now forward. About 2 million to 20 million genes are expressed from the 40 trillion microbes that reside inside in our gut. Think about it for a second. 40 trillion microbes live inside our gut. They are constantly expressing themselves and we are in that symbiotic relationship with that. What really happened was, in the early days when we didn’t realize, and we were getting infections, right? Until the antibiotics came about, we realized these bacteria and viruses were our enemies. And we waged the war against them through antibiotics and stuff without realizing when you do that to kill these 40 trillion microbes inside you, and that started this whole epidemic of these chronic diseases. And our thought was what if we can understand what is going on inside your gut. In what -- say if you can use the food as medicine to be able to bring back the balance. So that as symbiotic relationships we feed them what they need, and in turn they feed us the nutrients our body needs. If you think about how we evolved; we evolved together, in some sense, was in this symbiotic relationship. It’s not a parasitic relationship.
00:29:22 We feed them and they feed us. And one could argue that they may have created us so that they can essentially live with us as one, and both benefit each other. And so that really is how humans evolved in a bacterial world. Think about it. These bacteria and viruses evolved 3.5 billion years ago. Humans are only, give or take, a couple of hundred thousand years old phenomena, right? We live in this world. They don’t live in our world, they’re trillions more than us. You literally are living in their world all together. So, my point I’m trying to make is, that not all these people say, wait a second, that is just such a breakthrough idea. I keep thinking go back and look, and whether you look at either five thousand years ago, or you look at much more modern medicine doctor like Hippocrates. What did he say? All diseases begin in the gut. One man’s food is another man’s poison. Let food be thy medicine. Let thy medicine be thy food. It is not a new rocket science. All we have done is now scientifically understand exactly what is going on. So basically, what are we coming back to? Exponential technologies now allow us to look at a molecular level what is happening in our body. Once we do that, we’re able to adjust that molecular thing simply using the food as a nutrient, and when we do that, we can now find the body back in balance.
00:30:51 For example with Viome, we started with the gut testing, and now within a few weeks we’re launching the blood. So, we’re -- by looking at your blood we can now look at your mitochondrial gene expression, your blood cell gene expression, all your inflammation marker, every single thing that is going on in the body. And then you look at your saliva with all the microbiomes. But there’s a whole bunch of microbiomes in your mouth. Here’s what interesting thing I was going to tell you that we just filed with [indiscernible] last week, where we’re able to detect stage 1 oral cancer with 91% accuracy just by looking at the microbial activities in your saliva. That’s it! Just simply saliva and the basically RNA sequence of saliva, and then we see -- we have a signature of what changes in the microbes when you get oral cancer. And we can predict that you have oral cancer by simply looking at that. By the way, we do the same thing, we have the same signature by looking at your gut microbiomes. We can now tell you you’re about to be getting depression. The predictive signature for depression, diabetes, obesity, IBS. We’re now doing 15 clinical trials. We announced a clinical trial with Mayo Clinic where we’re looking at obesity and insomnia. We’re working with Kaiser on diabetes. We’re working with United Healthcare Group on diabetes -- on IBD. We’re working [indiscernible] Health on depression and anxiety. These are the trials to show simply how all these chronic diseases simply can be changed. So, what we do is, we look at your body, and we tell you here are the foods you should avoid and why. More importantly why. For you that food is bad. Here are the foods you should eat and why. Because then we tell you exactly what nutrients you need. And here’s the thing I’m going to announce, and I haven’t even talked about it. In the next few weeks, we will launch a precision concentrated super foods in a pill pack. That means everything that your body needs, only for you, on demand, done one pill just for you. Everything that your body needs is going to be packaged into those pills, and you will get them on demand just for you and there will never be markers for this.
00:33:02 Ash Faraj: Naveen I’m curious, what does the gut have to do with depression?
00:33:10 Naveen Jain: The human gut and brain are connected. Think about what happens is that everything that happens in the gut releases. For example, look at 90% of serotonin. Serotonin is what makes you feel good. 90% of serotonin is made in the gut not in your brain. Think about that for a second. 90% of serotonin is produced in your gut. Your gut was the primary brain. Remember, even before, if you go back and look at the mammals, before they developed the brain, they had the gut. They had [indiscernible] in the gut. Your gut is connected to your brain. It’s vagus nerve. Everything: your mood, your behavior, so if there’s [indiscernible]. Nature published a research that showed how gut bacteria control our behavior and mood for their own benefit. They make us crave the food they want. They make us change our behavior. We know that right? To me if you think about the dog when they catch rabies. What happens? They become aggressive. They start biting. Why is that? So that bacteria can spread themselves by biting. Think about it. When the bacteria can change the behavior of the dog what makes you think that 40 trillion people are not changing [indiscernible]?
00:34:19 Ash Faraj: If you are thinking about starting a company or being an entrepreneur it is important to get into the mind and thought processes of these successful entrepreneurs, like Naveen Jain, in order to really understand what it is that makes them successful. What makes them successful is not how much knowledge they have, but it is in the way that they think.
00:34:41 Naveen Jain: I think first of all passion is for losers, right?
00:34:45 Ash Faraj: Really?
00:34:47 Naveen Jain: Yeah. The winners have obsession. You have to find yourself what are you obsessed about. What is it that you go to sleep thinking about solving, and when you -- do you jump out of the bed in the morning thinking, god, I got to solve this problem, and the way you need -- There’s two ways to find that out. What your true obsession is. Ask yourself what are you willing to die for and then live for, and the second thing is even more interesting is, ask yourself that if you had everything you want in your life; you had a billion dollars, you had a loving wife, you had a loving family. You have everything you want in your life. What would you do? If you do that today, you will get everything you want. To me, you have to really -- The only way you can succeed in business is, you have to be truly obsessed about that. You know I jump out of the bed every day at 4:00 am because I just, oh, my God, you’ve given me so much to live for, right? And I’m never by the way, I’m never obsessed about -- I’m only obsessed about solving that problem. And then I solve the problem, I move on to the next thing, right? So, I am now, besides space and healthcare, now guess what?
00:35:56 Once I solve this problem, I’m going to be equally obsessed about the next problem which is maybe agriculture. Because why is it that we have to use the pesticide and insecticide to grow the food? Because at the end of the day if you can adjust the microbiome of the soil, which is the guts of the soil, then these microbes would get rid of the pathogen, and that’s how we used to always do agriculture. Then we have a rich microbial soil and you never need any insecticide or pesticide. So, my point is you can look at all these problems. The problem by the way -- you don’t think you have to be a genius or a crystal ball to say, oh, I think I have a great idea. You go look at the stuff and say, what are the biggest problems? Here are the biggest opportunities. That’s it right? Ask, Ash, Ash! What are the things that are just absolutely fucked up in this world? Let me give you a list of them. They’re all entrepreneurial opportunities. [laughter/indiscernible] what you say. You know, pothole. It’s a fucking thing that your money in there somewhere, right? Anything like. Don’t say why can’t someone do something about it? Ask yourself what can I do about it?
00:37:06 Ash Faraj: Yes. I have a follow-up question to that. I want it to be in the context of you personally. When you were at Microsoft, and you decided just to leave after seven years to start InfoSpace. What do you wish you would have known before you started InfoSpace? If you can go back in time and talk to yourself what do you wish you would have known?
00:37:27 Naveen Jain: Really nothing. Because I tell you why. Because the learnings in life come from the experience you have. And then every single experience you have makes you who you’ve become. And if you cut short any of that experience, I won’t be today who I am. Because you grow from success and you grow from failures. You grow from things that don’t work and you grow from things that do work, right? So, in a sense, that if there’s anything you could change, then it will not be who you are today because it will be a totally different person. Because if you take a different path because you knew something won’t work, and you will take that path, the person you become is going to be a very different person, right? To me anytime what makes you who you are is everything -- strings of experiences that you have had. And any experience you change that string changes, and the trajectory of who you are and where you end up changes. You know, things that we see in life, the people we meet, the stories you have tell yourself. I think the story that we tell ourselves is most powerful thing we do. One of the biggest mistakes in our life we make are -- you know our brain is a pattern matching device. Anytime you do something, and it looks similar you say, oh God I’ve seen that movie before. I know how that ends. And you say I don’t want to do that. What you don’t realize is if you constantly going back and replaying the old movie. Guess what? You can never create new movies. The best way in life, is to every time you get that idea, stop for a second and say, I am the writer, producer, and director of this new movie. It is not going to end the same way the last one ended, because I’m going to change that damn ending. Because I’m conscious that I’m replaying that movie. I’m not going to replay that movie. I’m going to write a new movie now.
00:39:24 Ash Faraj: I love that analogy. In my opinion, the most important life skill is?...
00:39:31 Naveen Jain: Curiosity.
00:39:32 Ash Faraj: One quality I think every leader needs to have to be successful is…
00:39:37 Naveen Jain: Inspire.
00:39:40 Ash Faraj: I’m in my mid-twenties. I have a day job and I’m making above average income, but I’m not truly obsessed about my work. The best way for me to discover my obsession is…
00:39:52 Naveen Jain: Find out what you’re willing to die for.
00:39:57 Ash Faraj: Some qualities or characteristics I look for when choosing to partner with somebody on a business venture or to hire somebody is…
00:40:07 Naveen Jain: Respect. That you know -- it’s not about who you know. It’s not about who you like. It’s not even about who you trust. It is about who you respect. And I think to me that’s a key. When you’re looking for a friend, you want someone who’s like you. When you’re looking for a partner, you want someone who’s unlike you, because they’re complementary to people who are very unlike you.
00:40:31 Ash Faraj: Very interesting, I like it. The worst advice I have ever received is…
00:40:37 Naveen Jain: You can go do the things on the side. That means, while you still have a job you can start an entrepreneur business. That is completely shitty advice. Because then you have feet on two boats. Then you’re guaranteed to fall in the water, and you lose both. Make a jump. When you’re ready make a jump.
00:40:52 Ash Faraj: I love it.
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