I’m so glad you joined us because we have Dr. Ellen Langer and JCron Cronstedt here. Dr. Ellen Langer is the mother of mindfulness. She’s a professor of psychology at Harvard. Her work has been more than 40 years in the making. She has done so much that’s popular right now. She is the one who started it all. It’s going to be fascinating to talk to her about that. JCron is the President of Kajabi. They do some amazing things on their website. Anybody who’s interested in digital marketing or EdTech or direct sales, that’s going to be such a fascinating look at some of the software and the platform that is available now to you.
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The Wonders Of Mindfulness with Dr. Ellen Langer
I am here with Dr. Ellen Langer, who is a social psychologist and the first female professor to gain tenure in the Psychology Department at Harvard University. She is the author of eleven books and maybe more. She does a lot of research in the area of mindfulness. I’m anxious to talk to you. Welcome.
Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here, Diane.
I’ve had so many guests on the show talk about certain aspects of mindfulness. A lot of people tend to think of it as something that’s strictly about meditation or a way to empty your mind and to not focus on things. It gets confusing for some people. I know I’ve been set straight by a couple of people who I’ve talked to about it. I would like to know since you’re the mother of mindfulness, you are the researcher in this area. I would love to know if you could give a little bit of background about what mindfulness is and how you got involved in that.
Many years ago, I started studying meditation. It turns out that meditation sets you up for post-meditative mindfulness. Meditation isn’t mindfulness. It’s a practice. Hopefully, that leads to meditation. Then I realized that there’s another way to get to the same place. That is the very simple process of actively noticing new things. When you actively notice new things about the things you know, you realize you didn’t know them as well as you thought you did. Your attention naturally goes to them. When you’re actively noticing new things that puts you in the present. Everybody says, “Be in the present, be in the moment,” but it’s an empty instruction because when you’re not there, you don’t know you’re not there. 40 years of my research says, sadly most of us are not there most of the time. You notice new things. The neurons are firing you. It makes you aware that context makes a difference as you’re actively noticing new things and then thereby in the present, you feel good. You’re energized.
Mindfulness is energizing. We’ve done these experiments now for 40 years. We find that no matter what measure we take, we get significant improvements to one’s health, one’s happiness and relationships. As you’re being mindful and actively noticing, you seem to be alive. People see you as more charismatic. Your memory improves. Your vision improves and everything. The nice thing about it is that it’s so easy. It’s almost hard to believe. You just notice. What is behind a lot of this is that most of us have been taught in schools by parents to learn facts. These facts when taken out of context, absolutes, keep us thinking that we know. If you know something, then there’s no reason to pay any attention. It turns out we don’t know because all of these facts change depending on the context. I was at this horse event many years ago and this man asked me to watch his horse because he was going to go get his horse a hotdog. That was bizarre. Horses are herbivorous. They don’t eat meat. He comes back with the hotdog and the horse ate it. It was at that moment that I realized virtually everything I thought I knew was wrong.
The upside of that is that everything is new. If we approach everything is new, everything stays fresh and exciting. We have studies where we have people being more mindful. It improves their relationship. We have lots of research with all sorts of diseases and we find improvements. For example, we have studies going on now with what we call attention to symptom variability. That’s a fancy way of saying being mindful, noticing the change. We did this with lots of chronic illnesses, but it’s true for virtually anything. Let’s say you’re stressed. We have studies of stress also. People who are stressed think they’re stressed all the time. People who are suffering from chronic pain think they’re suffering all the time. Nobody is doing anything all the time. Things change. What we do is we contact people at random times throughout the day, throughout a week and simply ask them, “How do you feel now? Is it better or worse than before and why?”
Three things happen then. The first is since you thought you were stressed or in pain, whatever the issue is all the time, and you say, “Gee, it’s not all the time you feel better.” Second, I was asking the question, “Why do you feel better now than you did before or worse?” Searching for that answer is mindful. The 40 years of research I keep mentioning tells us strongly that that’s good for your health. Third, you may find the solution. Let’s say you find that you think you’re stressed all the time, when you’re speaking to Ellen Langer, now you’re not stressed. That’s been interesting. When you’re speaking to your mother, you are stressed or maybe I should have said, “That’s rude.” The point is then all you have to do is speak to me frequently and that will take care of a lot of stress or stop speaking to your mother or whoever the person is.
Make the interactions with one just like the other. The point is once you start asking these questions, many solutions become obvious in situations where we previously thought we had no control. We have these studies with multiple sclerosis, with ALS, with severe traumatic brain injury, chronic pain, stress and so on. Sometimes it’s with the caregiver as with severe traumatic brain injury and ALS. Most of the time it’s with the person suffering him or herself. We teach them to attend to the changes in their symptoms. What most people do is they don’t pay attention unless they have the pain or whatever the symptom is. The key is in recognizing when you don’t have it. People gain control over things that the medical world that hasn’t led them to believe they have any control over.
That wouldn’t be profitable, would it? That’s the problem.
Our earliest research and all of this, we took old people and we gave them mindful choices to make and they live longer. That’s helped usher in mind-body medicine that most people now take for granted but 40 years is a long time.
I worked twenty years for AstraZeneca. I was thinking of the research they used to do for the pharmaceuticals when I was in that division of how they got the side effects. A lot of it they’d ask them the question, “Do you have a headache?” If you ask them in that way, then all of a sudden you got a headache. A headache would be the top symptom on the list. It’s interesting the way things are posed to us, the way we think. When I was studying curiosity, what I was interested in asking you about on that was you talk about assumptions that we have. We don’t think horses will eat meat in our mind. We’re trying to get people to be more productive and innovative, and all these things at work. We have this voice in our head telling us what we’re going to find something boring, that’s not interesting, horses don’t eat meat or whatever it is that we have told ourselves.
The simple way of understanding that is when you think you know, you don’t look to find out. Why should you? The point is that since everything is changing, everything looks different from different perspectives. It turns out we don’t know. That’s a good thing rather than a bad thing. Also, people don’t realize that our scientific facts, for example, are all based on probabilities. They’re not absolutes. They say that if we were to run this study again exactly the same way, which we can never do, but let’s put that aside. If we were to run it again, we’re likely to get the same results.
That’s translated by the popular press by teachers, friend to friend as absolutes. It’s not that most horses under any circumstances don’t eat meat. It’s horses don’t eat meat, which then you respond very differently to the circumstance. If you were, I don’t know, I’ll have you on the desert now where you’d have a camel. Do camels eat meat? No. You’re riding someplace and get lost in the woods. There’s no food. All you have are hotdogs. You’re not going to give your horse a hotdog. You’re not going to have transportation home. I never know where my thoughts are going to lead you.
When I was reading and listening to some of the interviews you’ve done and reading some of your work is how many negative stereotypes we have. I would love to get into a couple of your studies because they’re so fascinating. If we can maybe touch on maybe the counterclockwise study and the chambermaid study. Let’s start with a counterclockwise because I think a lot of people would find that fascinating.
Let me put that in the context that when I was realizing that we don’t know. It occurred to me that even when we talk about mind and body, these are words. I said, “Let’s put the mind and body back together and treat it as one.” The first test of this mind-body unity theory was the counterclockwise study where we took old men and had them live in a retreat that had been retrofitted to twenty years earlier. They were going to live as if they were their younger selves. The mind was being put back in time. The movies that they saw, the discussions that they had were all from the past spoken of as if it with the present. We had a control group that was supposed to reminisce for that same week. Spending time in this novel environment was going to be good for both groups.
Both groups showed improvement. What we found for the experimental group, the group that allowed themselves to be their younger selves, their memory improved, their hearing improved, their strength improved and their vision improved. We took photographs of people before the study. Again, at the end of the study and had those photographs rated by people who knew nothing about the study. They also looked significantly younger by the week’s end. That was the first test of this mind-body unity. That was first done in 1979. In 2007, Ali Crum and I did a study with chambermaids. If you asked chambermaids, “Are they getting any exercise?” that’s what they’re doing all day long is getting exercise. They don’t see themselves as getting exercise. The question is what happens when they change that mindset? Now, they see themselves as exercising. We took many chambermaids. We taught one group that their work was an exercise. That making a bed was like working on this or that machine at the gym and so on.
As a result of simply changing their view of their work to exercise, they weren’t working any harder, they weren’t eating any less and nothing was different except their change in mind. They lost weight. There was a change in the waist to hip ratio, body mass index on their blood pressure came down. Clearly to your readers that there’s something strange about me. I’m asked to read the Snellen eye chart. Everybody else read through them. They point to a letter. Do you see it or you don’t see it? For me, I noticed that these letters get progressively smaller. That’s creating the expectation that soon I won’t be able to see. What we did was to turn the eye chart upside down. Now the expectation as soon you will be able to see. What happens is people can see what they couldn’t see before. Another version of that, for many people you start to have trouble seeing around two-thirds of the way down the eye chart. What we did was to start the chart a third of the way down.
Two-thirds of the way from there is going to be much smaller letters. Without people paying attention to that, to them it’s still two-thirds of the way down the chart. They were able to see what they couldn’t see before. I did with diabetes. People who have Type 2 diabetes showed up for the study and the others take lots of measures to start. We sit them down next to a computer. They’re going to play computer games. We have a clock next to the computer and they’re asked to change the game you’re playing every fifteen minutes or so. The reason for that is for a third of the people, the clock is going twice as fast as real time. For a third of the people, the clock is a half as fast as real time. For a third of the people, it’s real time.
The question we were asking, was blood sugar level going to follow real or perceived time? It turns out it follows perceived time. In another study, we have people in a sleep lab. They wake up to think they got two hours more sleep than they got two hours left or the amount of sleep that they got. They’ve given all sorts of cognitive and biological tests. The measures follow perceived sleep rather than real sleep. In another diabetes study, people are given a drink and they see on the label of the drink that it has a lot of sugar or it doesn’t have sugar. It’s the exact same drink, neither has sugar. When they think it has sugar, their blood sugar level spikes. Our minds are far more powerful than most of us realize.
If we’re telling people that you’ve got a family history of cancer, are we doing a disservice? That’s what I’m trying to decide.When you actively notice new things, you realize you didn't know them as well as you thought you did. Click To Tweet
If people are led to believe that your mother or father had cancer, therefore you’re going to get cancer, we’re doing them a big disservice. If we say, “Your mother or father had cancer. There are some ways that cancer may run in families so be careful.” It’s not dangerous. You don’t want to give the data that our probabilities as if they are absolute facts. You don’t want to be telling people horses don’t eat meat or diabetics can’t have any sugar. This is not what the data show.
We need to think of alternative outcomes. I know you’ve said the placebo is the best medicine we have. You’d love to be able to make a pill like that without having a fake pill. What are you working on now?
What I’ve said about is exactly as you quoted me that placebos are probably our strongest medicine. We have to realize that when you take the sugar pill, it’s not healing you. Who’s healing you? You’re healing yourself. My goal over my career has been to return that control over our health to people rather than a physician needing to prescribe a pill. That’s nothing. How do we gain control over our own health? The attention to variability work leads us a long distance towards that goal. You say, “I’m fine now. I’m not so fine now.” What’s the difference between the two situations? Let’s stick with a vision. You go to the doctor and the doctor tells you what your vision is. That’s the way you see in the doctor’s office at that time looking at random letters on an eye chart, which is very different. I don’t know about you but for me, if I’m hungry, I see the restaurant signs in the far distance. I see better from nine to eleven than I see from four to six. I see better on Saturday than I do on Friday. I’m making this up. The point is that things vary.
If let’s say one has no troubles seeing early in the day and has trouble later in the day, which most people wouldn’t realize. Let’s say you went to the doctor late in the day. They take that as your vision. You say, “Why is it that at 4:00 I don’t see as well as I do at 11:00? Maybe I’m tired.” Take a nap and have an energy bar. Maybe it’s because you’ve been spending too much time reading, so take a little break and so on. You test different things. What happens is because we take these probabilities as absolute truths, this is your vision. You go and you buy glasses. You’re forever wearing the glasses. You think about laxatives that if you took a laxative every day, your body would stop functioning. It would become dependent on laxatives. They become dependent on some of this medical equipment. What we need to do is notice this when it’s better, when it’s worse and that may speak to the way placebos work. You take a pill and what you do is expect there will be some change in your symptoms. You’re looking for a change. Noticing those changes again is good for you in all the ways I’ve mentioned.
This is all fascinating to me from working with doctors in the time I had and how people think that they have the answers to everything. Everybody has this preconceived idea of the way the world is. I wanted to change directions a little bit because your background is so impressive. We didn’t touch on that because I wanted to make sure I got your information about what you’re writing about and what you speak about and all of that. Your background, as you said, 40 years is a serious amount of work. What you’ve attained at Harvard and a woman, I’m sure you’ve probably seen the movie on Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I’m curious what you think of that first of all. What did you think of that movie?
She is great.
I thought it was an interesting movie. I’m so focused on curiosity and what makes people overcome and try harder and be more interested in trying things.
Let me tell you first the difference between mindfulness and curiosity. When one is curious, they’re going to be mindful. However, curiosity has built into the idea that there is an answer. I’m curious about how this thing works, whatever it is. You’re still thinking how it works and now I think that’s the way it works. The way it works is going to change. I’m holding it still. An example of some of this is, but if they asked people who are, let’s say 50 and older, you’re driving a car and the car starts to skid on ice, what do you do? What most people will tell you is that you gently pumped the brakes. That was true and it was a lesson that was learned for safety’s sake way back when. Now that we have antilock brakes, it’s exactly the wrong thing to do for safety’s sake. What you need to do is firmly press on the brake. What happens is we learned something at a time once, we freeze it in our minds. We don’t pay any attention to it anymore because we think we know. Since things are changing, we often come up short.
We don’t deal with that much here in Arizona. I realize that was a change.
We’ll have to play this for people on the East Coast.
This is definitely the national show so we’re good there.
We ask them how much is one in one. What will people in Arizona say?
If you add one pile of sand to one pile of sand, one plus one equals one. We don’t know even the simplest things that we think we know.
Another guest on my show said something that I thought was interesting. If you’ve noticed on watch bands that have Roman numerals, they have one, two, three, four. The Roman numeral four on a watch has four lines instead of a one and V. Wouldn’t you assume is that a one and a V?
The only attention I paid to watches is the difference between analog and digital. I think that analog, that’s the one that has one, two, three, four, five and so on. It says it’s 12:15. It was 12, soon to be 12:30. When the numbers look you in the face and it says it’s 12:15, it’s 12:15. It’s much more absolute. It doesn’t give almost and just was, but that has nothing to do with anything.
Everything you do is fascinating. I can’t imagine what it would be like to take your courses. All this stuff that you’ve done is overwhelming. If I had to read your bio, we would still be reading it. Thank you so much for being on the show. This was such an honor. I hope everybody checks out your work and what you’ve done. If they want to reach you, is there someplace you would like people to know about to find out more about you?
I think you google me and I’ll come up. I have two websites, EllenLanger.com. There’s also the LangerMindfulnessInstitute.com.
This has been wonderful. I appreciate all the insight. I think so much is going to be focused on mindfulness this year. I think it’s such a hot topic you were so far ahead of the time. This must be interesting to you to see the tension it’s starting to get at this point.
I hope the concept doesn’t get too watered down. People come to see that you don’t need to meditate. If you have a big problem, probably the mindfulness as I study it, which is so easy may not feel good because big problems you think need big solutions. For most of us, most of the time, there’s no reason not to be mindful all the hours you’re awake. That it’s easy. It’s fun. It improves your health, wellbeing, the products we produce it turns out to have the imprint of our mindfulness. People find this more attractive. I hope you and your audience can do more of this.When we approach everything as new, everything stays fresh and exciting. Click To Tweet
Thank you so much for being on the show, Dr. Ellen Langer.
Thanks, Diane. It’s nice talking to you.
Reinventing Marketing And Learning with Jonathan Cronstedt
I am here with Jonathan Cronstedt, who is also known as “JCron” to those close to him. He is dangerously dedicated to executive strategy. He is an income-driver. He is blessed to be married to Nicole, as he puts it. He enjoys a freezer full of fabulous Vodka and a puppy named Stella. I know him as the President of Kajabi. It’s so nice to have you here, JCron.
I’m glad to be here. I’m looking forward to it.
We have some mutual friends in common that I didn’t know about until we were chatting and it seems like a lot of people who have been on my show has had some exposure in the past to working with a lot of big names. You’ve worked with Chet Holmes and Tony Robbins’ groups. I’m curious what impact that had on what direction you took once you left.
What was most interesting about my time with Chet Holmes was watching the business evolve. When I started with Chet Holmes, it was Business Breakthroughs Consulting, which he was launching at the time. Watching that then turn into Business Breakthroughs Consulting and then the Ultimate Business Mastery Summit, which was a pilot event we did with Tony Robbins that then led to Tony acquiring that from Chet. This is even before Tony had Business Mastery. It was an exciting time working with some of the most brilliant minds in the business and enjoyed it. It bore in me a real love for systems.
Chet is one of the most systematic in his approach to marketing and sales and I enjoyed that time. Quite frankly, a lot of the marketers are still benefiting from all of the things that Chet did. It’s a hard time to be in marketing. There are so much going on. I went to the Forbes CMO Summit a couple of years ago. The challenge with so many vendors and so many people trying to get a message across that scaled. Trying to keep it personalized it. It’s a confusing time for so many people. Do you get people who come to you from larger organizations, smaller organizations, who’s your perfect customer and what’s their biggest issue that they come to you for help with?
At Kajabi, it continues to get more and more varied. We are an online business platform which essentially means our goal is to deliver success in however you measure it. For some that’s going to be marketing, selling and delivering an information product or a course. For some that’s going to be marketing, selling and delivering a coaching program or a membership site community experience. Even for others, it’s going to be simply aggregating and communicating with an audience that they want to have any universe that they can own and control rather than be subject to the whims of the tech platforms that seemed to change the rules all the time and not tell anybody. For us, it’s something that when the company was founded, there was no way to effectively share and monetize information online especially in video format. For us, our focus has always been providing an immersive digital experience that people will pay for it.
What does that look like? For somebody who hears immersive digital experience, that can mean a few things. Can you paint that picture?
It’s something that there are so many applications beginning with its most common, which is I know something, I’ve created a course about it and I would like to sell that course to others that would be interested. Maybe I’m good at hair extensions and I want to teach salon how to market and sell hair extensions better. Maybe I’m a great Pilates instructor and I know how to help people get back in shape and improve flexibility. Maybe I am good at horse ballet and I want to teach you how to get better at dressage. It literally can be that varied on the course side of things. You move into more of the coaching application. I have a curriculum that I want you to go through. It’s coupled with calls either one-on-one or via group with me to help you with the implementation of it, or maybe I have these physical products that I want to put on Shopify, but I want to sell them via sales pages rather than dumping them into an eComm experience. Utilizing Kajabi to build those pages, leveraged the email and marketing automation, and all of those elements. Anything that you would like to do online and drive visibility and results for your business, Kajabi can help you do that.
When I use the term immersive digital experience, that’s doing a bit of foreshadowing where I believe you’re going to see the industry continue to go, which is the days of shipping a product with an instruction manual are over. You’re seeing companies right now to try to do this poorly by putting instructional videos on YouTube, but oftentimes they get lost to the interwebs. The comments of people that think they’re talking to the company go unanswered. God forbid trying to find those videos the second time in the same place, in the same order. It gets to be complex. The consumer is expecting a lot more involvement, support, and resources from the companies that they choose to do business with. For us at Kajabi, we feel that we are very well-positioned to work with individuals on that inflection point in the industry and help them interact with their customers in very different ways.
I’ve written some courses and what I’ve been working on since I developed courses for helping people improve curiosity. I’m tying into what you’re saying. The hardest part was some of the creation of finding people who could create the assessments that I created to go along with some of the stuff I did. What kind of LMS do you guys use? Do you have your own or do you use something that the schools would use if they have the course?
LMS is a category of software that we are quite frankly hoping to kill over time. When you say LMS, there’s a reason the term mess in that because normally it’s an extremely complex, archaic online Albatross that requires an IT team to make any changes, to implement any updates or anything along those lines. It’s a category of software that has some giant players that have been there forever. People are frustrated with whether you look at a skill share that’s looking like they haven’t updated their user interface since 1998 or it’s blackboard that is the bane of existence in schools and education industries. We had a local school district here in our office like, “You guys can do all this and we don’t need any of this. Why are we using this?”
The LMS perspective, Kajabi is going to give you the ability to serve up video content, look at user’s progress through the content and quiz them at the end of it. It’s going to give you the vast majority of what an LMS does without any of the over complication that odds are most people don’t need. I’m sure most people that are teaching courses are not necessarily concerned with SCORM capabilities. There are a lot of things that see as standing in the way. If the goal is getting someone from their current state to their desired state with this little brain damage is necessary.
For anyone who’s not familiar with learning management system, if you take an online course, I’ve taught thousands of online courses as a professor, it’s the interface that you have to look at for the classroom. It’s very confusing and a lot of schools use blackboard. A lot of them are using canvas now. What you’re doing is fascinating to me because I’ve developed enough curriculum even through Moodle and some of the things like that are very complex. Are you talking to a lot of universities about what you can do for them or is it strictly organizations that are using this for other reasons?
I would say for us, we’re getting a lot of those universities in these cases. I would say organically. We’re not going out and targeting them because our favorite group to help and work with is for sure the entrepreneur. It doesn’t mean that we can’t and it doesn’t mean that we might not in the future. It’s more along the lines of them finding us as a better alternative. If you think about it, we are a platform that has been put through the rigors of trying to make technology easy to utilize and leverage so that I can take somebody who doesn’t know technology and give them superpowers online. For the first time, they’re going to be getting pages live and using marketing automation and all of those kinds of things, which is very exciting. When you talk about the demand of trying to make that type of complex technology accessible, it’s definitely not easy.
We’ve been at it for eight years, so we’ve learned a lot of things. If you think about an enterprise that is used to having such complexity that it requires an IT team and a whole lot of headaches. They happen on a platform that’s been through the crucible of, “Can somebody use this without a technology team?” If it has the same level of power, they’re going to be far more excited to use something where it’s like, “No, I don’t have to call Phil, the angry IT guy, every time I want to update a video.” It’s something where they’re finding us and using us. We’re hearing about it in lots and lots of cool ways. No, we have not dived into going after those markets just yet.
You can see why you get angry because it’s very challenging the technology in a lot of the things that I’ve had to deal with. It would be so great if you could do a lot of it for yourself. That was what I find frustrating with coming up with my own platforms of how I deliver training to organizations and to consultants and all that is I want to be able to update something without having to go through somebody to do the code behind the scenes. Are you saying the customers have access to be able to make those changes without having to go call up angry Phil?
If you think about it, we are a platform that is designed that if Aunt Mabel has the greatest chocolate chip cookie recipe in the world, she’s never done marketing or sold anything online, our platform is designed to help her show her how she can film the recipe with her iPhone, put a PDF download of it, get it online, sell it for $1 from whoever she would like to get $1 from and have the email capture, landing pages, marketing, selling, delivering all of those things. Done in a way that if she’s never used marketing technology, it’s still able to be used.
What if she has a WordPress site? Is this like a plugin that she would add to it? How does it connect?When we take probabilities as absolute truth, it becomes your vision. Click To Tweet
I would say that WordPress is a great CMS. They’ve done a lot of wonderful things. I think that the key difference between us and a WordPress is we’re going to set you free from the perpetual update purgatory. It’s funny that one of our power users, who’s done amazing things on the platform. He still holds the record of leaving behind 64 WordPress plugins to run his business. He brought it all over to Kajabi. The last time I spoke to him, he’s saving about $8,000 a year by not having all of those platforms that he needs to connect and plugin. Whenever WordPress rolls out an update, it breaks everything. The way that I described Kajabi is Kajabi can be your only friend, but it can also be friends with whatever else you would like. We give you all of the things that WordPress does and you can do it on our platform, integrated out of the box, no plugins needed. If you have a blog on WordPress, you can still use Kajabi to capture email. You can use Kajabi to market and sell your courses. You can use it for email automation and all of those kinds of things.
How does it compete with what AWeber or some of those sites do?
AWeber is going to be an email autoresponder. We have much of what they have except the difference is we give you the ability to automate based on a whole lot more things because we have a whole lot more things. Rather than sending and receiving emails, we’re going to be able to let you trigger emails based on a course behavior, “Congrats, you completed a module. We noticed you left this module without completing it,” all of those kinds of things. We’ve got the marketing automation side as they do. We have a lot more things to automate from that don’t require a connecting anything.
How long does it take to create a course with you guys, say you wanted like a four-hour, five-module course, no big superbills and whistles? Is this something that takes a long time? Do you guys create it for people to begin with and then tell them how to do it or you tell them how to do it and they create their own course? How does that work?
They’re going to create their own course. They’re going to produce it. We are purely the platform that gives them these online market superpowers.
The different choices that are out there. I’ve tried a couple different ones that you could do on your own and everything does seem to be easier than it did in the past. It can be hard for somebody who’s not super tech savvy. Do you still need to have an IT guy at the meeting? What if you’re an individual and that’s it? You’re a mom and pop and that this is the only thing. What kind of support can they get from you?
I’m glad to say depending on what level you choose it. Our basic level, we have chat support during business hours and email support 24/7. If you move to our growth plan, which is a measly $50 a month more, you get access to chat support 24/7, in real time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We’re here to help and walk you through it. We also have numerous different courses that we can take you from. One of them is our 28-day challenge where we focus on taking you from, “I have no course and I’ve never sold anything before,” to “I am going to get my course produced, launched and selling in 28 days before my free trial even comes up.” We’ve got a lot of course support, course material. We’ve got a great support team. We also do onboarding phone calls with everybody that joins to help you get oriented within the app and all of those things.
You say within the app, is this something that has an app component?
We call it the app, but it’s our software as a service. You would log in through your web browser and have everything available to you.
What if they wanted to offer their courses as an app somehow, do you do that?
We are in the process right now of building some mobile applications that we’re very excited about, so that’s going to be forthcoming.
I read a little bit about your background. You say you’re an avid YPOer. For people who aren’t familiar with what it means to be a member of YPO, can you tell a little bit about that? What makes you so interested in that group?
If you’re familiar with YPO, it’s a cool organization. It’s Young Presidents Organization. There are 25,000 of us globally. You essentially have to qualify before you’re 45. It has to do with leading a company of a certain size and corporate complexity. It’s a group that is going to be part networking, part experiential learning and enrichment, and getting to hang out with cool people that are doing the same things with the same goals that you have and a lot of global travel and fun experiences. It’s a little business supercharger and a lifestyle supercharger. I enjoy it.
You’ve worked with the who’s who of the internet marketing world. I’ve seen some of the people you’ve written and talked about. Who has impressed you? The Reid Hoffman’s and others of the world, who do you want to emulate in terms of what they’ve done and their success?
When I look at the online marketing and software technology world, I don’t know that I would point to one person that I would necessarily want to emulate. Elon Musk’s willingness to question everything and bet big on his assumptions is an amazing quality worth emulating. There are a lot of thinkers that are in the industry that may be not as well-known, but Joe Polish being one of them is probably one of my favorites. Joe has gotten so good at discovering what is unique gifts are and building an entire business around it with Genius Network, which is an amazing think tank of extremely capable entrepreneurs that he facilitates. Going through that process of figuring out where you can impact the world and be at your best is a worthwhile pursuit that he’s modeled very well. We at Kajabi continue to ask ourselves where can we be the absolute best in equipping our users for success.
That’s certainly something that we gravitate towards as well. Mark Zuckerberg has turned into a very cautionary tale. The halo effect that Facebook has had for a very long time is now being confronted with the reality of data misappropriation and unintended consequences of forcing and developing children’s screen time rather than socializing. With anybody who’s in technology, you’re always developing with the goal being to impact things in a positive fashion and not put yourself in a position where you’re opening yourself up to that type of missteps. Certainly for us, we do our best to foster creativity and freedom of speech. Certainly, all of those things are going to be very important because we don’t view ourselves as the arbiters of what is or isn’t worth teaching. It’s making sure that you’re giving people control over their data, over their followings. It’s not being in the game of these social platforms that are more than happy to take your content when they agree with you and build their platform on your popularity. The moment that you and they don’t agree, they silence you. We’re not into that.
You’ve mentioned a lot of things in that, which is interesting because I totally am fascinated by Elon as well and is questioning everything since my research is on curiosity. I wonder if you and I maybe even met at one of Joe Polish’s Genius Network events. I’ve met some interesting people from Joe Polish’s group. JP Sears has been on the show, Verne Harnish and Naveen Jain. The list goes on and on. There are so many interesting people to meet who have great stories and that’s one of the things I liked about attending the Genius Event was the help that they were giving each other to get from the startup to scale up heavy. I think a lot of people get motivated and driven. They hit this point where it’s overwhelming. Do you get a lot of people to come to you that they started off as a one-man, one-woman entrepreneur and then they’re scaling up to scale them?
We’ve got tons of stories of literal individuals that started off. One of my favorites is Leah McHenry at Savvy Musicians Academy. She is a single mother of five and homeschooling her kids. She was a Celtic musician and reached this point where she realized, “I’ve got five kids, I’m homeschooling them. I’m probably not going on tour.” As a musician you only make money when you’re going on tour, “I’ve got this music that I love, what do I do?” She started selling her music via Facebook and begins to find amazing, dedicated, and interested audiences. All of a sudden she was like, “I bet other musicians would like to know how to make money without touring.” She launched a course on Kajabi on how to leverage Facebook as a musician. It ended up doing $2 million in sales for the first year on the platform. Her husband was able to quit as long-haul trucking job and work with her in the business. Just total transformation on the family front, total transformation on the business front and a growing enterprise with unbelievable results in year one and certainly greater results since. A lot of cool stuff.
People who normally would want to have a course on Udemy or Lynda or someplace else, how do you differentiate what you do from what they do? If people are thinking they want to sell their courses on those types of sites.
It’s going to come down to how you want to market your course. Udemy and course platforms like it are great for exposure, for early-stage individuals that want to get their content out there to an audience. The big challenge with Udemy and platforms like it is you’re surrendering control over your content. We had an individual, one of their top selling people that I’ve spoken with multiple times who had made hundreds of thousands of dollars on the platform. He had a master class, his magnum opus, his life experience, and his industry. The class was $300 or $400. It’s not a cheap course, but also nowhere near expensive comparative to what you’re learning from this person.In technology, you're always developing with the goal of impacting things in a positive fashion. Click To Tweet
One morning, Udemy sends out an announcement saying, “We’ve decided that all courses should be $20.” It took me twenty years to learn that. I’m not giving this away at $1 a year. One of those things where you very quickly realize when you go to a platform that their job is audience aggregation, you lose control of your content. It’s something that Udemy for many people can be a great lead generator. It can be a great discovery process of what’s being taught out there. What does it look like? Outside of that, I’d be moving to a platform where I get to decide what my insights are worth. Not surrendering that to somebody else who doesn’t know me and doesn’t know all of those elements.
It’s interesting to see how much other aspects of the marketing and things that you offer through your site. They wanted to check out all these different sites, but then it gets overwhelming. There are all these choices. Is there a way to compare it side by side? Do you guys have anything like that on your site?
On our blog, we’ve got comparisons of anybody and everybody that you’d like to take a look at. What I tell people, the easiest way to do it is you can certainly read a comparison and all that it’s going to do is show you what somebody else thought was important. We have a free trial. Hop in the app, play around, have some fun, hit up our support team. When you see the community and everybody that’s involved with Kajabi, I can’t imagine you going anywhere else. If you do go anywhere else, we’re still going to wish you well because ultimately all we want is you to succeed online. We believe we’re the best place for you to do that. If you believe it’s somewhere else, then we’re happy for you too.
That’s a great way that you let people have a chance to try it out. A lot of people are going to want to know, first of all, how to spell Kajabi and how to find your information. If you wouldn’t mind telling them that, that would be great.
Kajabi.com and you’ll find that on there, there are a whole lot of fun things you can take a look at. We’ve got our hero section there, which are all the individuals we that have achieved different levels of success on the platform. It’s a great way to get an idea of all the amazing businesses that are out there being marketed on Kajabi, all of the ways that you can expand your creativity and profit from it online. Certainly, a lot of the solutions, capabilities of the application, everything that we have.
JCron, thank you so much for being on the show. This was interesting.
It’s my pleasure, Diane. I’m glad to get the information out there and anybody that’s reading or considering, “Should I be doing this?” I will share that it was so interesting to see domain names coming out in the mid to late ‘90s. This idea of having a website being more and more popular but yet taking until 2016 for Wix and Squarespace to be able to popularize the idea enough that they could drive mainstream media to it and have it work because now all of a sudden, it’s seen as a requisite must rather than a nice to have. I wholeheartedly believe that this industry will be no different. That the way that we learn, teach and connect with the influencers that matter to us is going to change. The sooner that you position yourself for it, the better off you’ll be. We’d love to give you a free trial and have everybody experience what we do.
Thank you, JCron. It was a real pleasure to have you on the show.
Thanks, Diane. I’m glad to be here.
You’re welcome. I’d like to thank both Dr. Ellen Langer and JCron Cronstedt for being on the show. We get so many different types of guests. That’s what makes us so fascinating. I learned so much every day from everybody in all these different directions. If you’re interested in getting more information about the book, Cracking The Curiosity Code or The Curiosity Code Index, all that is available at CuriosityCode.com. I hope you join us for the next episode of Take The Lead Radio.
- Dr. Ellen Langer
- Young Presidents Organization
- Genius Network
- JP Sears – previous episode
- Verne Harnish – previous episode
- Naveen Jain – previous episode
- Savvy Musicians Academy
- Cracking The Curiosity Code
About Dr. Ellen Langer, Ph.D.
Dr. Ellen Langer, Ph.D., is a social psychologist and the first female professor to gain tenure in the Psychology Department at Harvard University. She is the author of eleven books and more than two hundred research articles written for general and academic readers on mindfulness for over 35 years. Her bestselling books include Mindfulness; The Power of Mindful Learning; On Becoming an Artist: Reinventing Yourself Through Mindful Creativity; and her most recent book, Counterclockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility. Her upcoming book, the Wiley Mindfulness Handbook, is an anthology on mindfulness in which leading researchers integrate work derived from her western scientific theoretical base of mindfulness with research on eastern derived forms of meditation. It will be published in early 2014.Dr. Langer has been described as the “mother of mindfulness” and has written extensively on the illusion of control, mindful aging, stress, decision-making, and health. Among other honors, she is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and three Distinguished Scientist Awards, the World Congress Award, the NYU Alumni Achievement Award, and the Staats award for Unifying Psychology.
About Jonathan Cronstedt
Jonathan Cronstedt or JCron is the President of Kajabi, the premier integrated marketing automation and digital education platform. A leader at the executive level in finance, digital marketing, SaaS/EdTech, and direct sales, Jonathan’s skill set is diverse. He is results-oriented and capable of delivering them both quickly and sustainably. Well versed in all categories of demand generation, sales and marketing methodology, communication, public speaking, strategy, and executive leadership, he is comfortable in any business setting and welcomes networking with an attitude of abundance and a desire to deliver value to others…as well as being an avid YPO’er.