Happy Vs Flourishing episode 3 features Steve Sims, quoted as “The Real Life Wizard of Oz” by Forbes and Entrepreneur Magazine, Steve Sims is a best selling Author with “BLUEFISHING – the art of making things happen”, a sought-after coach and a speaker at a variety of networks, groups and associations as well as the Pentagon and Harvard – twice!
For his clients he’s closed Museums in Florence to place a table of 6 at the feet of Michelangelo’s David, then had Andrea Bocelli Serenade them. He’s helped arrange a marriage by the Pope, in the Vatican, with Sir Elton John providing the music. He’s sent clients down to the Titanic wreck, placing them on stage with their favourite rock group and worked with Sir Richard Branson and Elon Musk.
He’s had quite a life and we hear some great stories during this episode plus Steve’s views on life, failing, communication, book writing and much more.
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Tony Winyard 0:00
Happy versus flushing Episode Three. Welcome to another edition of the podcast where we aim to give you ideas on how to improve your quality of life both from a business perspective and from a personal perspective. We have quite a colourful character today, Steve Sims is the connector in Hollywood, around the world. He's done some quite amazing things that we're going to hear just just the tip of the iceberg and some of the many, many stories that he has. So that's coming up very soon. If you do like the episode, please do share it with anyone who you think would really enjoy this and get some value from it. Why not subscribe? leave a review let us know what you think that really helps to get the word out for more people to hear about the podcast. Right now it is time for this week's episode. Happy versus Flourishing today my guest is Steve Sims and I got the feeling we're gonna be in for quite a ride. So Steve, how you doing?
Steve Sims 1:08
I'm doing all right. Thanks, fella.
Tony Winyard 1:10
And your accent is it in LA you're based?
Steve Sims 1:13
No, I'm actually I'm based two miles outside of Precocious. I'm on the Malibu border by the beach in an area called Topanga, which is in Los Angeles.
Tony Winyard 1:25
But you don't have much of a local accent?
Steve Sims 1:28
I don't do I, no. No, I was. I was born. I was born in Reading, and lived in Basingstoke and Leytonstone and then, from a very early age, we were just chatting about, just buggered off out of the UK to find out where I did fit.
Tony Winyard 1:43
And what was it initially that made you just get up and go?
Steve Sims 1:47
Oh, God, Jesus, you've jumped into a deep story. So let me give you a little bit of context first, which will probably help you with the importance of this because as entrepreneurs We've all got those pivotal moments. And I have often thought back to if this pivotal moment hadn't happened. So as a kid, I left school at the age of 15. My mother and father owned like a little Brick laying firm, which only consisted of my granddad and my uncles, and me and my cousins every now and then just like extensions and porches and patios and that kind of stuff. At the age of 15, I left school, I had one day where I had a lay in, woke up and then the following day, Dad kicked the bed at six o'clock, he was like, you're up, you're working for me now. So all of a sudden, I was on the building sites. Now I had already done the summer holidays and the Christmas holidays. But now this was my life. I didn't have like the end of summer holiday to know that I would be going back to school and this would all be over. And there was one day that I was being a hod carrier I was carrying a load of bricks up a ladder. I get to the top of the scaffolding and just off of the ladder next to me was my dad. Next to him with was his brother, my uncle, his sons, my cousins. And then next to them my granddad in his 80s I literally had this hod of bricks in my head and it was like an aha, hollywood moment. I saw my entire family tree. And I thought, this is it! My uncle was in his 40s my cousins were in their late 20s You know, I'm in my teens; 16, 15 and a half. This is it. This is absolutely everything. And my dad yelled at me to put the bricks down and get some more. Went down to the tee hut, because it had been such a smack in the face of being able to see see your future, see what you were going to become. And I went into the tea Hut. And it was a typical British day it was raining. And you know, and in the tea hut, everything stank, because everyone's soaked and all trying to get warm before they go back out again. I walked up to my granddad; all bunch of Irish people. And I was like granddad granddad, and I asked him a question which should have got me a punch in the nose. I said to him, did you ever think you'd be doing this your age? Now he's in his 80s no idea of a pension. And he didn't even look at me. He just blew on his tea to cool it down before he could drink it, and he said, son, you don't quit today, you'll be me tomorrow. And I was like, whoa. And I I left the tea hut as everyone went out as the bell rang. I was like, Dad, dad, dad, young, typical. Come on, you know, little bouncing bunny teenager. I said dad, dad, dad. I saw granddad and granddad was it and he told me to me, and I spouted on him. But he said what, what do you want? I've got to quit and my dad as I was saying that my granddad walked behind me. My dad couldn't dramatise this more. You know, my dad looked at him. They looked back and my dad turned around looked at me and went, we're light-handed you leave Friday. I went okay, great. And that was it. Now they both understood that I needed to try and find another path. But my mum, my mum, literally used to and even today, she doesn't talk to me. Sadly, it's one of my losses in life. Even as recently as 10 years ago, when I did try to bridge the gap again, she would always turn around and it would always come up in every conversation. You think you're better than us? Well, and even at that dining table that night when I told you I had quit, I said, No, no, I don't think I'm better than you. I think I'm better than this. I think I can be better. I don't know how or why or where or what. But I just think I can be and she always twisted it to and I think part of her I think part of her was always scared that I would be able to achieve what she never could, and you get those people in your life those people to go, oh, that could never happen. They don't want you to do it because they don't want you to validate that they're inadequate to do it. And I think she had a bit of that self doubt me and my dad were good until he died. But now it started my whole journey off to make every kind of mistake and failure if I could to get where I am today.
Tony Winyard 6:24
Well and where you are today is pretty amazing. Some of the stuff...when I was reading through your bio it says; for the people listening who in the preamble before the recording started, I gave you a little bit of background on Steve, so just tell us about some of the things you've done and we'd be here all night if you told me all the stories.
Steve Sims 6:46
I've had a couple married in the Vatican by the Pope. I closed down the museum Accademia de gallaria in Florence and set up a table of six of the feet of Michelangelo's David, because a client wanted a really cool Italian dinner experience. Halfway through his meatballs, I had Andrea Bocelli come in and serenade them. I worked with everyone from Richard Branson, Elon Musk, sir Elton John. I've arranged drum lessons with Guns and Roses, Guitar Lessons with ZZ Top. I had a client that wanted to meet the rock band Journey. So instead of doing that, I shoved him up on stage and he he sang four tunes live on stage with the rock band. And I'm the single person that sent more people down to the Titanic than anyone else, actually down to the seabed to see it. Turned people in to James Bond for a day, had people do walk ons on famous movies. I'm basically the Make A Wish Foundation for people with really big chequebooks.
Tony Winyard 7:43
And how did this all come about?
Steve Sims 7:45
Settling? You know that that was it, I wanted... There's the classic line, that you are the combination of the five people you hang around with. Well, all of that My friends were broke cars, British bikers. So I was a broke ass British biker. So I needed to change my circle. If I could get around five rich people, then guess what, by default, I would become, you know, it's stupid, but no one that knows me for longer than three seconds would deny that I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed, but I'm just as impactful. And so I would, I would try to find a way to talk to rich people. And the goal was if I can get rich people to talk to me and communicate with me, I can find out why are you different? How are you threaded differently, how you can be wired differently, how do you move, talk, negotiate, handle settle? And so as we already spoke, I ended up with... there's a whole long story but I'll pass on this. There is a book you know, shallow plug, Bluefishing, the art of making things happen, which goes through all of this, but I made some bad decisions that turned out to be good ones in what I wanted to do for a career. And as each one of them failed it put me in another area. And Funny enough, I thought I'd fallen on my ass and I ended up working for a nightclub in Wan Chai, Hong Kong called Neptune's and there was quite a few Neptune's nightclubs and they were very original. There was Neptune one Neptune two Neptune three, and it went on. So I was bounced between the different Neptune's but it actually; while I thought this was a low point in my life. It actually gave me the ability to watch social butterflies it actually gave me a soapbox and a pedestal to watch humanity. I would see guys coming to the bar and we'd spoke about this before. You could see the guys walking that were out to score that night. You could see the guys coming to you that was celebrating a business deal. celebrating the birthday, looking for trouble. You could identify it before they got to you. And I would literally stand on the door and play a game in my head. And you'd see a bunch of girls come towards the door. And in your head, you would go, they're celebrating something. I'm gonna go with a new job. And I was like, Hello, ladies, how you doing? What are you celebrating tonight? And they'll be like, oh, so and so's getting married. So I got it wrong. But I got the celebration bit right. And the more I played the game, the better I got. And then I started communicating. Because I knew where were the best clubs were and this was in the in the 90s. before Google. I knew where all the best clubs were. I could go up to the rich people in the club and go hey Johnny, I know you like a good night. We see you here a lot. What are you doing Thursday? And then oh, I don't know. Steven, I'd say do you know there's a club just around the corner. They got a special night on, do you want me to see if I can get you in there? Oh, absolutely. And I learned from a very early age. If they don't pay, they don't pay attention. So I would literally This was in the 90s bear in mind, I would say let me make a phone call and see what I can do for you. I would walk to the front door stand there for like 20 minutes because I didn't even have a phone and walk back to them go Okay, I've made it happen all for you on the guest this just turn up tell them Sims sent you,, by the way it's 100 bucks each and they would pay. And so I tried getting in to affluent people, I went from club promoting, to then throwing my own parties. And the funny thing is, and this sounds really cruel and harsh, but you know, who cares? I never spoke to poor people. Why? Because I was poor. I knew what being poor was like, and I couldn't afford stuff. You know, we'd all played the grocery lotto, where we would walk through the grocery store, and know to the cent, to the penny. What was on our charge card so that we didn't get that sound when you tried to run your charge card through. You know, I was in awe of rich people because they never had that worry. And so I would float around with rich people. I went from club promoting, taking over clubs on bad nights and throwing my own parties, then starting to throw them in mansions then in yachts, then in penthouses, and it grew? And then people were like, oh, do you know anyone in Monaco? I'd be like, sure I do. What do you need? Well, the Formula One Grand Prix? Do you know anyone in any of the Formula One teams? I'm like, What do you need? That sounds great. I think it's 50 grand, and I'll make it happen. And I just started throwing out numbers. And before I knew it, people were paying and I realised that rich people paid to outsource that problem. Yeah. So rich people could go to Ferrari and go, Hey, I'd really like to be in your... but there was always that potential that they could get declined, or that embarrassment that they may not look pretty enough or they may not be the one... I didn't give a..., lucky for these people listening to the podcast. they can't see how devilishly good looking I am but you know, I didn't care. So I was able to massage, manipulate if you want, negotiate, but more importantly communicate, to get these people into where they wanted to be. I never wanted to launch the world's leading experiential concierge firm never, ever cared about that. I only ever wanted to play around rich people and find out how they, how they think how they're how they're wired. And that's what ended up happening. I ended up launching a high end concierge firm. We at our peak had 93 clients. Two thirds of those were billionaires. So you know, we were getting well I'm gonna pop away for the weekend. You know, my budgets $750,000. So we didn't need a lot of clients to be making money. And it grew from there the requests got wilder or wackier. Hey, there's a new Ferrari out. I want to be the first one to get it, well the Sultan of Brunei got the first one can you be the second? Yeah, I can. So you know, all that kind of stuff that we ended up doing. And along the way, because I knew how to communicate with affluent people, I ended up working for people like the Grammys, Kentucky Derby, New York Fashion Week, Chicago art fair, the Palm Beach job fair. And I went from Asia, back to England realise that, you know, with the late hours and the last call being 9.30pm and stuff, this wasn't a place for me. I moved to Switzerland when I started working for a lot of the big Swiss banks. And then I moved over to America to start working for all the big events that I mentioned. And this year, actually, not this year, tell a lie. 2019 was the last year that I ended up like an eight year stint working for sir Elton John. So it's been quite a journey.
Tony Winyard 14:54
Quite a journey and we probably haven't even touched the surface, yet. There's so many stories that you clearly have; I don't know where to start, so what would you say, of those amazing experiences you've had, is there one that stands out more than any other?
Steve Sims 15:18
There is, and it's probably we already just mentioned it actually. And it's probably not for the reason and I want to make sure that anyone listening to this podcast, I want to make sure that you're getting something out of it. Rather than listening to me spout on about how frickin awesome I am because I want you to get the impression or the direction that this isn't hard. I just chose to do it. And so many people run away from it. And my wife always says that I have the superpower of stupidity and ignorance. While you're there building up a business plan to work out if you can make money. I've tried it and discovered it can or can't But I'll give you a story. And this is for you know, everyone else's growth. So I mentioned to you that I had a couple who wanted to get married in the Vatican by the Pope. Yeah, so I was stationed at the time, for like seven months, there is no red tape that can compete with the Vatican is just unbelieveable. You can't even make this up. And that's a whole different podcast on its own. But while I was in Rome, I got a got a call or WhatsApp from a client of mine who said that he was going down to Florence with his fiance, and the mother in law and father in law was going to meet him there, now none of them were Italian. But I need to express how powerful I am and I need to really impress them. I really need an amazing Italian dining experience. Now it was that last word "experience" that stopped me just going on to like the Italian version of Open Table, booking a really good restaurant and then you know, phoning up paying the chef to come out and say hello to them. You know anyone can do that. Yeah. So I've always, my little quote is "Go for stupid". You know, if someone wants x, go for ABCD go for the most ridiculous extremity of that request. And when you fail, you'll still be miles ahead of the original request. Yeah. So this guy wanted a dining experience. So straightaway, I didn't want to be in a restaurant. I wanted to be on a penthouse. I wanted to be on a rooftop. I wanted something that someone went, Oh my god, I cannot believe you had dinner that night. Now. The good thing is over the years, because of the people I've gotten the most amazing things. I've got some good connections now. So it's easier now. But I went through a million no's before I've now started getting 1000 yeses, because that's the ratio. Yeah. And so I thought I wanted to do something that... If you were in Paris, and I showed you a picture of Paris, what would need to be in the picture for it to be easily identifiable, as Parisean?
Tony Winyard 18:09
The Eiffel Tower?
Steve Sims 18:10
Bingo. So I thought to myself What has that capability in Florence? Now there's a lot of Alfrescos there's a lot of statues, but you could be in Austria, you could be in Poland, you could be in parts of England, and see those kind of and not recognise it instantly like you would the Buckingham Palace or the White House. It had to be iconically, this could only be Florence. Now, Michelangelo's David, the world's most famous statue is housed in the Academia de Galleria. So I had some very powerful friends introduced me to them, saying that this was a man that needed something, pay attention, and I went in there and I said to him, I've been challenged with this request of a dining experience. I want to recreate that and I want to do it at the feet of the world's most iconic statue. So I got them vested into the dream. And they agreed it. Now, I also because working with Elton John, I was trying to find someone... because museums, Believe it or not are deadly quiet. You can fart in a museum and if no one else... you'll hear it for the next hour! so I needed something that would kind of like have some atmosphere so we got a string quartet. And then I thought again, go for stupid who's the most famous Italian speaker in the planet. I was amazed how many people said Pavarotti, you know, he's been dead for years, but I was amazed at how many idiots said Pavarotti. So in the end, I managed to contact Andrea Bocelli and he lives in Tuscany, and he was he was at home during that period. So for a donation to his charity, he agreed to pop down and do it for us. So, on the night, on the Wednesday night, the client turned up, knocked on the door, the doors opened up. There was a red carpet with rose petals on it that led down to a beautiful table. So at the feet of Michelangelo's David was the table and a string quartet. They looked around a little bit of the artwork, they looked around, they got some photographs, they sat down, they had an amazing meal from an amazing talented chef in Florence. And then halfway through the pasta, I said that I was gonna bring in a local singer to serenade them during the pasta. I walked in arm on arm with Andre Bocelli. Okay, now, that's fantastic. Yeah, I'm not gonna to be able to deny it. It's just beautiful, but here's the growth that makes that one of my favourite stories. Right? When I got the museum to say yes. They then introduced me to the curator Who would handle the logistics? Now the curator had been told to look after me. So it wasn't gonna, you know, do anything that he shouldn't do. But this guy didn't like me. This guy didn't want to work with me. This guy looked at me as just some kind of like, kid that went around spending rich people's money, which is exactly what I am. And he gave a bit of friction. I'd say he's, I won't mention his name. Can we do this? Let me let me see. Let me see. It was never "Yes, Steve". Let me see. He always wanted to give me friction and made me want to hunt for it. So on the night, now, we had the museum shut down at three o'clock in the afternoon till one o'clock in the morning. About six o'clock in the afternoon. They were set in the evening they were setting up the table. Andrea was setting up the piano with his son, and I was chatting away with Veronica Bocelli, but I'm in the museum that I Steve Sims had shut down. And about 15 feet away from me leaning on the wall was the curator. Yeah. And I'll be honest with you, I don't know if it was the narcissistic prick in me, but I wanted to give him a little slap just for giving me some friction. So I called him over to me. So he comes over me and he was impeccably dressed as most of them are in Florence, and he stood there with his arms crossed looking forward to the piano and Andrea warbling away and just checking out his vocal cords and I said to him, Hey, this is quite impressive, isn't it? Err, Yes, yes it is. I said look at that table. That table is pretty amazing. Can you think of any better table in the planet for eating a fine Italian meal? No that is beautiful. I apologise about the accent. And I said look at the look at the statue. Can you can you imagine being able to have a fine meal at the feet of greatness like that, It's incredible, isn't it? It is. Yes, yes,. I said and on top of that, we got Andrea Bocelli, that's gonna serenade you during your meatballs. Tell me that's not brilliant, no. So I'm getting him to commit all the way along. This is the most amazing experience. So this is where my bitch slap came in. And I know it's petty, you know, stick with me. I wanted him to apologise for being such a cretin to me. So I said, so tell me. How do you think I managed to pull it off? And I was expecting him to say, well, no one's as connected as you Steve, no one knows how to negotiate as well as you. I was expecting a compliment that would have made him internally explode. Okay. Instead, he just looked at me and he went, No one's ever asked. And it killed me. I literally doubled up and he laughed. We actually have become real good friends we've been knocking around for like three and a half years. I texted him the other day regarding how COVID was in Florence. So straightaway from that moment, you know, it all went down. And, you know, we became, you know, good diehard friends forever. But it got me understanding, and it got me thinking and when I got back to the States, I've worked in studios, I've worked in the Pentagon, I've worked in Harvard, I started phoning some of these people that I've dealt with, and I went, hey, we haven't spoken for a few years. I just wanted to ask a silly question. But you know, we did this. And they go. Yeah, we had great fun. Yeah. How come I managed to do it? I'm just going back now. reanalyzed and going over my stuff. How come you said yes. Do you know the amount of times they turned around, they went well, no one had ever asked before. And I realised that we don't as a society, ask for what we want, we ask for what's acceptable, plausible, not going to make us look stupid, you know, but we very rarely ask for what we truly want. And sadly, that's pushing us down a transactional society. So I realised that my ignorance or my stupidity, and my go for stupid, was allowing me the privilege and pleasure of actually exceeding their expectations and dreams. And that's what I teach now in my coaching and in and in the book, it talks about this, but that's what I do now.
Tony Winyard 25:34
Well, I know that you're a speaker, and you speak in many countries around the world. So what is your message that you deliver on stage?
Steve Sims 25:45
It's all about the art of communication and ROE we're in a society now, especially now, and it's getting worse, we have they say about freedom of speech. We don't have freedom of speech anymore. We're liable for anything that we say. And it can be misinterpreted, taken out of context. And we're getting scared to talk. Now we're in a society that since 1999. With the birth of Friendster, and MySpace, you know, I'm dating myself now, we suddenly learned the fine art of outsourcing our communication to the so called social platforms. We've got society parts now, that get upset if people don't respond immediately to them posting a picture of their new baby on Facebook, you know, why don't you phone your mates and tell him or text a picture, but instead you stick it on Facebook, and then you're upset with them, that they had a life and didn't see it on Facebook. The way we communicate today has gone really, really bad over the last 10 years. And it's gone worse, because now we've got COVID has come along that COVID has stopped us Being able to get out and hug people and people are, oh, Oh, I can't get out of my flat.... Let's be blunt. You weren't getting out to start with, you were looking at every excuse, you were using social platforms to do this. We stopped communicating with like the "me too" campaign because we were frightened of what we would say may come across as sexist. The girl looks hot. The goal looks beautiful, the girls got a nice haircut. Can I say Oh, I like your hair, or is she gonna shout at me that hey, you don't have to right the comment on my hair. I didn't have my hair done for you. I've heard people now debating whether or not they should hold open a door for a woman that steps through. Yeah, I have literally opened up a door for a lady and she's walked through, stared at me and gone. I'm capable to open my own door, I was just trying to be nice. You know? So we're in a society now where we're getting there. We're pent up because we've been contained. Look what's happened. Now we've got every possible reason, we got black lives matter. We've got politicians, we've got media, we've got all of the... we're on bubbling point. Now we are scared to communicate. And when you're scared to communicate, you communicate badly. So people are not communicating for fear of it coming across wrong, which is doubling the problem. So I'm out there now showing people how we should communicate, how we shouldn't stop selling, and start solving. And so my whole focus out there now, whether it be through through my training, my coaching my platforms, I'm out there to show people how to do it and then focusing them on your ROE. Now a lot of people know what ROI is your return on investment. I focus on an ROE, which is the return on energy, how much energy should I spend on this, versus what energy I'm going to receive? And how many times have we done a business deal, where it's been... I mentioned to you about the Vatican, you could not pay me 20 times what I earned for that and have me at all interested in replicating it. It was painful. It hurt the almost the belittling the you get for trying to do something like that. It was so... the return on investment, bought a house up in the hills. So you know the money was there, the return on energy, I would literally go back to my hotel room, my family are all here in LA, and I would damn near sob. I just how tired I was at the end of the day. You know? So the return on energy was not that it was not worth it. And it was draining me. And so that's what I focused on. I focused on communication. I focused on support. I focus on the ROE I focus on getting you into a position to solve not sell.
Tony Winyard 30:05
You talk about communication and freedom of speech and so on? How, different Do you find that back here in the UK and the States and other countries?
Steve Sims 30:16
Um, you got cultural differences. Probably the most, most obvious ones are like the Middle East and Northeast Asia, Russia, former communist environments. You know, like China make no mistake has no freedom of speech. And we've seen that with the Hong Kong riots. So culturally, there is a difference. But the trouble is, we need to be talking. We need to be communicating. We don't want to communicate through media sound bites, because that's wrong. It's just amplifying the problem. I think What we've got to do is get off the fence and stand with your opinion. for argument's sake, if I really don't like a level of music, then I should be comfortable enough to say, you know, I really don't like this, you know, without fear of getting, you know, like bastardised or ripped apart on social platform. Did you hear Steve Sims? He says he doesn't like, you know, electronic dance music from Norway. You know, you know, how dare he? Yeah, I don't want to be vilified and I don't want to be under any possible fear of attack. For having an opinion. And that's the problem we've got today. So many people are. So I work on clarity. There's one thing that people have said about me and I hate it. And I'm glad you brought it up. I hate the word authentic. Hate it. And in interviews, people get up god Steve You know, you're so authentic. And I'll be going Whoa, No, I'm not. I'm absolutely Not when you sit there in a conversation in a group at a dinner, an event and you go look at that guy, he's authentic. What you're doing is validating or noticing that all or accepting the fact that the rest of the planet is not. If we are actually looking at someone going, Hey, he's authentic, then what's the rest of the world? And that's sad. It's like me walking up to you and going, Hey, dude, you're breathing. Congratulations. it should be acceptable that the person in front of us is who they are. But the downside is they're not because they're frightened of being judged on any kind of platform that they can be. So what I focus on, and this is a key word that I love, transparency, there is a difference between being easy to understand and impossible to misunderstand. And if I can make my message and my conversation to you, impossible to misunderstand is going to To help you make the decision as to whether or not you want to join my side of the fence, I did an email the other day, I have a it's free of charge. So there's no plugs here. I have a Facebook group called "An entrepreneurs advantage with Steve Sims". And I have a an email campaign from SteveDSims.com, where people can actually register for you know, newsletters and stuff like that. I sent out an email about five days ago, and the subject was "Please unsubscribe". Now my list had got up to I think was about 18,000. And I put on there "please unsubscribe". Yeah. And I said, Look, you're watching, you're following. You're not actioning, you know, I want to commit to those that commit so if you're still floating around on the sidelines, not sure if this is for you. Please unsubscribe and come back at a time when you can. We'll all be fine. But I want to work with those who want to play Yeah,
The dark thing is, and I can give you the figures, email campaigns, if you've got a really successful tagline, and you've got a really good piece of content, if you get up into the top teens knocking on the 20 percents open rate, that's really good. You know that emails never get opened up by 100% of the people. 20% is a really good number for it to be opened up by, you know, I was up on the 37%. I had never been anywhere near that. But it started a conversation because I gave you a side of the fence to be on. And I gave you a couple of buttons and it said, if you don't want to play push this button, and we go and we'll part as friends. I gave people the ability to move away I tried. Now I lost a lot of people. You know, I think probably about thousand people unsubscribed. Okay, but don't You want that? I want the clarity that I'm dealing with someone that I can communicate with. If you're on the outskirts, and my message isn't working, what I can offer in in my, my advice, my videos, my podcast, whatever. If it doesn't resonate with you, then move along. We're gonna be fine. But I think today, people are trying to capture everybody. Now remember, I told you my concierge firm had 93 people at its peak. I don't want to capture everybody. I want to capture those that I can commit to. And I think people today are concerned about commitment. They are concerned about saying, Hey, I don't agree with that. You know, there's but there's statements been going on. Now, around Black Lives Matter. And there are certain statements I hear and I go, Hey, you got me. You know, I've got your back on that. And there's other statements I hear and I go, Well, no, that's wrong. I don't agree. With that, and there's other times they hear and I go, can you explain that to me because I don't understand how that... like the looting and the burning. It makes no sense to me that people are burning shops and stores in their neighbourhood to make a point. It's like shooting yourself in the foot and hoping the other person gets. It makes no sense to me.
Tony Winyard 36:20
Your book, Bluefishing, the art of making things happen? That came out what three years ago was it?
Steve Sims 36:29
Yeah, that was a shocker.
Tony Winyard 36:32
Steve Sims 36:33
Well, again, because of the people that I knew. And this is going to upset anyone that wants to write a book. I was literally at a party. I was introduced to someone. I had a couple of whiskies and a week later, they phoned me up and I said, Hey, you should write a book. So I had no proposal, I had no thought process behind it. And I said to myself, I'm really not sure. I said, if I write a book, I'm just gonna spill it. I'm gonna call it as I feel. I'm gonna say what I think They went good. And we produced the book. And I really didn't think it was going to take off. In fact, here's the funny thing. We didn't even have a website for the book, you had to go directly to Amazon, you can basically search for it. We didn't know marketing or media on the book, and they send me and this makes me giggle. They sent me two and a half grand. Okay, by cheque. Now, they paid me very well to do the book. They obviously had more faith than I did. But they had wired all the other monies, but they actually posted me a two and a half grand check. And I said what's this for? and they said, oh, there's a Barnes and Noble, which is an American bookstore, just down the road from you. We've made a call with them. Go down there on Saturday. They're going to supply you with a table, buy loads of champagne. sit at the table and sign copies on a Saturday afternoon of your book right I said to him now in fairness, I live in Los Angeles, I live in Hollywood, you can bump over celebrities in your local Starbucks. Every Saturday, there's usually someone in the store signing it. But they, they are somebody, maybe they were on the bachelorette. Or maybe they were, you know, in a movie, or maybe they're a singer. You know, nobody knew who I was. You know, for 20 plus years, I was the most connecting unknown person. There's been parties that I've been in, where people have literally because I always wear black, people have literally given me their car keys, or asked me, you know about security issues, where they just thought I've worked there, you know. And so when I wrote the book, I thought, No one's going to do it. So what I did was I took that two and a half grand, and I went down to my favourite little cocktail bar in Sunset Boulevard, great whiskies. And I said to them, I'm going to stick that behind the bar and invite a bunch of my mates. When it runs out, turn the lights on and we'll leave. So I phoned up a bunch of my mates. Now, of course, I got some pretty cool people. So they all came in and we all got drunk. And here's the funny thing. I don't know if you've seen it. Have you seen our book launch party?
Tony Winyard 39:09
Steve Sims 39:10
So they sent me a pile of books to actually sign in at the Barnes and Noble. I stuck them on the side of the bar. So I could show pictures. And I went, Oh, yeah, this is how I'm doing a book. I didn't think anyone would pay attention. Okay. I also and this sounds horrible to say I didn't care. I just wanted to get drunk with a bunch of my mates. So what I did was I stuck the pile of books that they gave me on the edge of the bar, invited a load of friends. And there was a friend of mine there called Cole Hatter, who owns a massive great event in America called Thrive. And he was getting some B roll for another sizzle reel that he was doing and he said, Look, do you mind if my mate comes along? And just videos me in the background, you know, because I had some influential influential friends there. He said, you know, just for my B roll, and I went look, as long as it doesn't get in the way, you know, and people don't mind, knock yourself out. Yeah. So he turned up that night and shot this video. What I had no idea because they sent it to me the following day. He shot the video on me doing a book launch in a whiskey bar. Right.
And the funny thing is, it's on the front page of our website, www.SteveDSims.com, and at the beginning of it, everyone's sober. Everyone's like, Oh, it's such an honour to be here at Steve's book launch. You know, it wasn't a book launch. It was a pile of books and us all getting drunk. And everyones sober and saying nice things. And as the video goes on, everyone's getting drunk and just starting to get abusive and rude. If you don't like foul language don't watch his video, but it's the funniest book launch ever. And the funny thing is, that took me off. I think we sold like about 400 copies in the first month. We put this video out and I said, like, here's me and a bunch of friends just getting drunk. And I think we sold like 8,000 copies like in the next month. And it's now been released in Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Russia, Poland. It's being sold all over the planet now. So it's hysterical, how it did take off, but we didn't think it would. Never thought it would resonate with people. And I never thought I had anything to help people with but then really, inadvertently without realising them, I was giving people permission, that they didn't have to have a degree, they didn't have to be connected. They didn't have to be beautiful, to be able to achieve what they wanted. They didn't have to be any of those things, to have standards and not settle. So I've had a lot of people contact me saying, you know, your website, your videos, your book, gave me permission to be me. And that's what hopefully is going to be on my gravestone,
Tony Winyard 42:02
What was your idea for the book? What did you hope to achieve?
Steve Sims 42:06
Well, the funny thing is they gave me a ghostwriter. And the ghostwriter started. They said, Look, you know, where, where are you most days? And I said, Well, in the afternoon, I'm usually in my garage just tinkering around on the motorbikes. I don't have a car, but I have a lot of motorbikes. And they said, okay, three o'clock every afternoon for 45 minutes. 3 days a week. We're gonna chat on the phone, you carry on tinkering on the bikes, and we'll just have a chat. And I was like, Yeah, okay, then. So, we chatted for about two, maybe three weeks. And then they sent me three chapters of the book. And the chapters were like, you know, I'm Steve Sims. I'm brilliant. I'm connected. I'm wonderful. It was horrible. And my wife read it before I did. And she said there's words in here that not only could you not spell you couldn't even pronounce. She said, this is not you. So as I say, we've got paid very well to write this book, then, you know, Simon Schuster really thought that this was going to go somewhere, which thankfully, you know, they knew more than I did, because it did. But living in Los Angeles, I thought we're gonna have to give the money back. Now, to be honest with you, the retainer that I had got I had already spent, I bought another couple of motorbikes for a family trip to Japan, you know, put a deposit down on some stuff. I already spent the bloody money, but I thought I was going to have to give it back. So I flew to, to New York from LA, which is like five hours, it's an 8 hour trip once you consider, you know, driving to the airport waiting and all that, and I walked into the office of Simon Schuster. And I said to her, I can't do this book. And she was like, why? And I said, because it's not me. You know, this whole book is about how wonderful I am saying words that I would never speak about. This isn't me. And she said, what's wrong with it and I said, and the funny thing was on the flight over to New York. They have these books stands in airports. And I said to Claire, on the plane, I want someone to be able to read this book on this flight. And then to become better. I want them to be able to utilise what I've done and create impact do something different. And so when I got to New York, I said, Look, I want this to be an aeroplane read, I want someone to be able to and funny, funny enough, we came up with this guy called Jerry. I said, I want Jerry to walk into JFK, buy the book, read it on the flight to LA, and then go in to work the following day and do things different. That's what I want. And she turned around she said, Okay, then we don't need to get you a ghostwriter. We need to get you a translator. And I said, What do you mean? She said, we need to get everything out of your head. And onto paper that someone else can understand. She said And trust me, it's going to be simple and stupid now. So then Okay, so they got me this girl who really got me quick. No big words in the book. And I said, when you read this book it's gonna aggravate you, because you're gonna go, I used to do that. But then for some reason you decided that it didn't work anymore. And when you decided it didn't work, probably started working better because less people started doing it. One of the damn things I did about a month ago was I sent out 400 Christmas cards to my members of Sims distillery, I sent them a Christmas card. Now, if you think about how much mail you get today, is getting less and less, isn't it because everyone's gone for paperless billing, so what happens if you get a handwritten card? You open it up with all the excitement and all the triggers of when you were a little kid, you know, and you'll get a birthday card. You open it up. There's a Christmas card in July from me, saying hey, I love you so much. I wanted to be the first one to give you a Christmas card this year. Merry Christmas, Steve And it did exactly what it's just doing to you and made people smile. And here's the daft thing. You'd be stunned at how many people actually went onto their social feeds, or started sharing it with their mates. Yeah, that that part of a community that do things differently and look at this Christmas card. Yeah. From a materialistic and capitalistic and branding exercise, I probably ended up we sent out 400 cards. And we actually did a review on this the other day, because we gave them a QR code where they could see a little video of me wishing a Merry Christmas. And we sent out 400 cards. They shared that barcode with their friends, and it got just over 2000 unique visitors to me wishing you Merry Christmas from just sending someone a Christmas card.
Tony Winyard 46:55
Steve Sims 46:56
So stupid basic stuff, but it's worth And so, you know, quite simply, I've started teaching it, I do the videos on Facebook page I mentioned here, and I do things differently. And Funny enough, I do things that we used to do back in the 80s and 90s. And just for some intelligent reason decided they didn't work anymore.
Tony Winyard 47:18
Well, I mean, you talked a few times about getting people to do things. Why do you think people have such a problem with failing or what they perceive?
Steve Sims 47:27
Oh, you're good at this. This isn't your first podcast is it? The problem is that people aren't frightened to fail, they're frightened of people seeing them fail. You know, there are TV shows there are there are YouTube channels, which specialise in people like walking into doors, walking into walls, slipping on services. You know, being on the phone walking into a lamp, we like to look we like to laugh at people making mistakes and falling over. Yeah. And there's a big difference between those people that fail, and those people that care and I'll name drop, I was doing an event for Elon Musk. And I took a group of literally billionaires, there were 30 billionaires, and we took them through SpaceX in Hawthorne. And I had two of them with me at the time while I'd gone and collected Elon and was walking him down to the main moon where all the other attendees were. And as we were walking down there, the two attendees that I was with, they were two of my high end clients, so I'd done them a favour by giving them a few extra minutes and photo time with Elon. One of them was just happy to be close to Ilan, the other one was jabbering around like a girl at a Justin Bieber concert, and he was trying to strike up a conversation with Elon, who's not a very talkative fella. Okay. During the conversation trying to get Elon to engage. He bought up NASA. Now this was four or five years ago, and he turned around he said, It must be hard when NASA is publicly dissing your energy into the space market. And at the time NASA was publicly ridiculing Elon Musk.
Tony Winyard 49:15
Steve Sims 49:16
And Elon didn't even break stride. He just said, they will always laugh at you before they applaud. It was, again one of those pivotal moments. People don't care or people shouldn't care about failing, because failing is where all the education sits. You see, you don't get rich from being successful. You get rich from things going wrong. And then you learn how to make them better because when you fail at something, you never go back to the original point. You learn what it is that went wrong, or you should and then you get 10 steps ahead of where you originally were before the final year. You see all the growth comes from your darkest moments, every time something's gone, I've lost money. I've made loads of money. I've lost loads of money. But the beautiful thing is, I know how to make money. So when I learn, when I learn how I lost it, I can make sure I don't make those mistakes again. And then I don't get back to my original wealth. I succeeded. So I think today people are looking at failure in the wrong context. Failure is education on what not to do. Failure will only be finite and hurt, when you stop getting up and my dad came up with the best statement. Again, thick Irish fella was walking down the street once we were doing a gig in London. And I was I was like 14 years old. I hadn't finished school at the time. And he was a chain smoker. He was the guy that would have a cigarette going and another one in his hand, ready to light up from the other one so that he had continual cigarettes. Yeah, it was those days. Yeah. And we're walking down the street. He, you know, he wasn't holding my hand or anything like that. And all of a sudden, as we're walking with the cigarette in his hand, he put his hand on my shoulder didn't look at me just carried on walking. I'm looking up at him. And he took his cigarette out of his mouth and said son, no one ever drowned by falling in the water, they drowned by staying there and puts his cigarette back in his mouth and carries on walking. I had stopped and I was like, What was that? You know, I thought had been taken over by a fortune cookie or something. It suddenly made me realise that we constantly fall down. But it's our choice whether or not we stay there. The fights not over when I go down it's when I stop getting up. When I fail, those are my best moments. I learned how to do things. Do you remember Elan Musk said that one of the most expensive parts of a rocket was the fuel cells. And so if he could find a way of landing those back on Earth and reusing them, it cut down on... do you remember these conversations. Do you remember seeing how many times that rocket would land on that float and pad fall over and explode? Do you remember seeing those?
Tony Winyard 52:20
Steve Sims 52:21
When was the last time you saw one fall over and explode?
Tony Winyard 52:25
Steve Sims 52:26
Bingo. Why? Because they don't, you know, they land now. Now. He's not going to be able to have calculated how to make it land perfectly. If originally it didn't. Now, he's had rockets go out there. He's had rockets; Google it. You can find it. They land perfectly. And now it doesn't make the news reel anymore because he succeeded from it. Elan Musk is a perfect example of a guy that does not give a flying turd what you think of him failing. He cares about what it taught him to proceed forward.
Tony Winyard 53:04
This whole failing thing, it seems to be getting worse. And I guess it's been being magnified by social media and that's why people are being even more scared to try things.
Steve Sims 53:14
Tony Winyard 53:16
We were talking about quality of life before the recording started. And I guess similar to the whole failing thing, It seems to be more and more people are just content is to have a day at work, go home, stick themselves in front of a TV for a few hours, and not have the kind of amazing experiences that you've been talking about you in this episode.
Steve Sims 53:42
Well they're not us are they?. You know, there's, there's entrepreneurs, and then there's wantrepreneurs and those wantrepreneurs as soon as they get a scrape, a scare, screwed over or laughed at, they're like, oh I don't like this game. I'm off. You see, let's be honest an entrepreneur is a guy that leaves a safe secure 40 hour week job, where they get paid every Friday to work 100 hours and not make any money. You know, entrepreneurs are those people that go, hey, there's got to be something different. For me. It's a different mindset. Me and you are different, actually not that much different because we had quite a few stories beforehand. But I'm amazed that I can speak to an entrepreneur, all over the planet. And there's similarities. There's a DNA in us that says, No, there's gotta be another way. There's gotta be something else. There's got to be something, you can't sadly learn that, you can get better at it. And that's where the failings give you that education. But an entrepreneur and a wantrapreneur they don't share the same. They don't share the same DNA, they absolutely do not.
Tony Winyard 54:59
When you are Speaking from the stage and coaching and so on, Are you mainly working with entrepreneurs and is that who you're trying to reach?
Steve Sims 55:09
Do you know it's weird. I didn't put any effort into speaking gigs. It just happened like last year, I think I had 32. I was quite well booked up for this year, there's now got pushed into there and I am actually coming to UK, I think next summer, so I'll probably end up doing some some gigs over there. I speak to people that don't don't want to settle and need to refine their message and communication. So for that reason, because of my past in high end luxury, I always thought I would be doing speaking gigs in that in that world. And I did I worked for Tiffany I worked for Campo Nicholson, I worked for Ferrari. I worked for Piaget, major luxury brands. And then they got picked up by realtors and mortgage company and car sales people and frontline sales assistance for insurance companies, all of a sudden anyone that needs to refine how they communicate, and to amplify the message of solving, not selling. I've started working with those. So I've been speaking a lot with sales communities, management communities, middle management, and also entrepreneurs on how to identify that elf business that easy, lucrative fun. That's from Joe polish. I'm focusing on a wide spectrum of people that quite simply shouldn't be doing what they're doing today. They should be doing it differently.
Tony Winyard 56:41
Well, Steve, we're coming towards the end and I want to be respectful of your time. How will people if they want to find out more about you, maybe get in touch? Where do they go to?
Steve Sims 56:51
They can go over to Facebook as I say I got the free group "Entrepreneurs advantage with Steve Sims". If they want to come in and join my live feeds with me I have guests like Jim Kwik and some very famous people, I have www.SimsDistillery.com or you can just jump on a www.SteveDSims.com sign up for the newsletter, and just have me badgering you and my stupid videos and rants and opinions.
Tony Winyard 57:20
And before we finish it, is there a book that you would recommend to people?
Steve Sims 57:27
Yeah, um, actually, there's a whole bunch of them. So I'll give you two that really, kicked me? Well, the beautiful thing about COVID was I got to read more because I wasn't flying so much. So what I did was all the flights that I had that were cancelled. I retag those as book time. So I've got to read a lot of books. two books I really loved one that I've had for ever and never got around to reading was "Trust me I'm lying" by Ryan Holiday. Really good book on how the media actually works and how you can get media but the other one I really fell in love with, was "Hooked" by Nir Eyal. We actually had him on a private ama in my Sims Distillery group Nir Eyal. The books called Hooked. And it's how companies get you to form triggers and habits with their products and communities and probably one of the most obvious two out there are Nike and Apple, how you revere these two brands as communities.
Tony Winyard 58:32
He was a coder. Wasn't he a coder for some of those companies?
Steve Sims 58:35
Yes, he was. He was actually involved with the community establishment and branding for most of those major organisations. He a Silicon Valley; he's actually in Singapore now. He's just done another book which he sent me and we're gonna have him back on our ama as we do these live ama twice a month with these big experts
Tony Winyard 58:59
His followup book I just read that recently it's excellent.
Steve Sims 59:04
Yeah, he sent it to me and we were going to have him back on, well we are going to have him back on but I haven't got around to reading it yet because I haven't finished. Trust Me I'm Lying. I'm on about the last 15% of the book.
Tony Winyard 59:18
Yeah, the follow up book, it's bugging me now. Yeah, great book, really good book. (The book is "Indistracable").
Steve Sims 59:23
I also I just got BJ Fogg sent me a really cool book, his latest book as well, on on habits. So, BJ Fogg and Nir Eyal very close within the mental trigger. If you're looking to build a brand, you want to look at building a community and you want to look at building a following. Those are more important than a brand. A brand is what people say about you when you've left the room, very hard for you to instigate a brand so you each should instigate a message and community
Tony Winyard 59:59
And finally, Steve is there a quotation that you like?
Steve Sims 1:00:03
It was my dad, I always go back to that one. "No one ever drowned by falling in the water, they drowned by staying there". Every time something goes wrong, and things go wrong for me a lot. And I welcome them. If we chat this time next year, and I have failed, it means I haven't tried and I don't want to be that person. So I'm constantly trying every time stuff happens. I go, God, well, I'm in the water. Do I stay here or do I stand up? You know, and it sounds silly but I think of my dad when he gave that to me.
Tony Winyard 1:00:38
Well, Steve, I really appreciate your time and your superb stories. It's been a pleasure for the last hour. So thank you.
Steve Sims 1:00:46
I look forward to seeing you in the UK next year.
Tony Winyard 1:00:48
Lovely. Definitely. I hold you to that. Next week is Episode Four with Massimo Pigliucci, who's a professor in a University in New York. he has a PhD in genetics, another one in evolutionary biology and another one in philosophy. He's quite a character, we have a really good conversation about how you can improve aspects of your life, so that you enjoy life more, and we go into a number of different areas around that. So that's next week with Massimo Pigliucci. Hope you enjoyed this week's episode, please, again, share it with anyone who you think would really find some of these great stories entertaining and maybe would also get some value from them. And leave a review, subscribe and I hope you have a great week.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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