New Year… New Podcast! We’re kicking off the year with a brand new podcast series called Moments That Made Me.
Following the success of our first podcast series with GROW by Facebook, we’ve launched ‘Moments that Made Me’ bringing all new episodes featuring some of todays most inspirational founders and leaders diving into their career-defining moments.
Hosted by Clemency Burton-Hill, read the highlights from our candid conversation with UK tech star and co-founder of Calm.com Michael Acton-Smith about his entrepreneurial rollercoaster journey .
TURNING THE PAGE
“My dad would always bring random books home for me and my sister; I had a very eclectic childhood. I think that helped develop my creative brain. But it was when I left Birmingham University that I had a nagging urge to do something entrepreneurial.
“My friend, Tom Boardman and I came across this big, thick book called, Doing Business on the Internet. I was captivated. What if you could sell products on the Internet, deliver them really quickly, and take credit cards? That started our first business, Firebox.
“It was very, very slow, until we had a breakthrough and invented the shot glass chess set. We were in a bar one night, lining up tequila shots, and we thought they looked like pawns on a chessboard. So, we decided to build a chessboard made of shot glasses. Every time you capture a piece you have to drink. It’s the thinking person’s drinking game, and we got a ton of press for it. It taught us the power of story.
THE PIVOT POINT
“I think one of the best technologies is pen and paper. I carried them with me everywhere [after the dotcom crash]. I started drawing monsters and thought, “What if we could create a web version and allow kids to adopt their own cute little monster?” That was the start of what became Moshi Monsters, our almighty pivot.
“The kids loved the characters and the stories so much we were able to expand offline. We had the best-selling kids’ magazine, the No.1 Nintendo DS game, we did a music album with Sony and a film with Universal. We thought we were going to be the next Disney, until 2012 when all the growth stopped. You can be hot one minute and not the next. That was a real wake up call for us.
A SENSE OF CALM
“Buying Calm.com was the first seed we planted to build the empire. We talked very early on about creating Nike for the mind. In the way that Nike has built a $130 billion business when, back in the ’70s, jogging wasn’t really a thing, we felt there was going to be a new wave around mental fitness that could be just as big.
“There was an awful lot of eye-rolling and it took a long time to raise investment money. It was really, really tough. I was having a lot of sleepless nights, so I did something I’d never done before. I got away from my current environment [via meditation]. It’s a very powerful way to rewire the human brain. As entrepreneurs, we often obsess over every aspect of our business, but ignore the most important piece of the puzzle. Ourselves.
KNOWLEDGE IS CONTROL
“The four pillars to looking after yourself are getting healthy sleep every night, having some kind of meditation practice, putting healthy food and nutrition in your body, and movement and exercise. When those things come together, everything kind of shifts. Your thinking is much clearer and calmer. I’m in a much healthier, better place. I’m not perfect, but better than I was.
“If I had to say one other thing, it would be to try and understand one’s own mind. That’s where everything starts from. If we don’t, as most of us don’t, we get yanked around by our emotions. We are slaves to our thoughts, rather than being in control of what goes on up there.”
Listen to the full episode on Entale, the interactive podcast app that uses a combination of AI and manual curation to showcase all the relevant content for your favourite shows.