Peter McCormack was addicted to cocaine and alcohol so badly he was unable to leave his house. He now runs a podcast with over a million listeners, he’s interviewed presidents, and he even owns his own football team.
So how did he do it?
Peter explains how he escaped addiction and went through recovery, the elements all successful businesses share and the central importance of branding and marketing.
He also talks about what it’s like running your own business, the ways he was able to monetize his podcast and the online abuse that comes with being successful.
Peter McCormack of What Bitcoin Did
Website: What Bitcoin Did
Twitter: What Bitcoin Did
Facebook: What Bitcoin Did
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Discord: What Bitcoin Did
Peter is a full-time journalist and podcaster covering topics such as freedom, human rights, censorship and Bitcoin, and is a long-time Bitcoin advocate. He is also chairman of Real Bedford FC, established block 712003.
What you’ll learn in this episode
- [1:50] Why Peter bought his own football team and what his aspirations are for the club.
- [5:35] How Peter describes what he does for a living with multiple business roles.
- [6:30] The problems with university and the benefits of work experience and apprenticeships.
- [15:20] The archaic nature of the education system.
- [17:15] How Peter started his own agency.
- [18:57] The difference between running your own business and working for someone else.
- [21:00] The dangers of drug and alcohol addiction.
- [23:40] Where business and work fit into recovery and how Peter became a podcaster.
- [29:00] How Peter learned about blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
- [30:18] The benefits of running your own podcast.
- [32:24] How to make a podcast (or any business) successful.
- [36:00] Why some jobs feel harder than others.
- [39:02] How your business changes as your priorities change.
- [40:50] The business model of a successful podcast.
- [44:00] The benefits of podcasting outside of financial gains.
- [45:03] The challenges of running a successful podcast.
- [51:24] How to make buying a football club financially possible.
- [55:22] The most surprising thing about owning a football club.
- [57:10] How to achieve your dreams in life.
Resources mentioned in this episode
Please note that some of these are affiliate links and we may get a small commission in the event that you make a purchase. This helps us to cover our expenses and is at no additional cost to you.
Episode 161: Hitting rock bottom: How I went from drug addict to top Bitcoin podcaster - with Peter McCormack of What Bitcoin Did
Jeremy Cline 0:00
How do you go from absolute rock bottom to being one of the biggest influences in your space, as well as owning your own football team? That's what we're going to find out in this week's interview. And just so you know, we do cover a few pretty dark topics, we talk about drug addiction and drug abuse, so if those are topics that you may find difficult to listen to, I just want to give you a warning that that's some of the things that we talk about, but we also cover a lot of other really, really amazing stuff. So, I hope you enjoy this episode. I'm Jeremy Cline, and this is Change Work Life.
Jeremy Cline 0:36
Hello, and welcome to Change Work Life, the podcast where we're all about beating the Sunday evening blues and enjoying Mondays again. If you want to know how you can enjoy a more satisfying and fulfilling working life, you're in the right place. Long-time listeners will know that, over the past couple of years, I've started to become very interested in the crypto space and Bitcoin in particular. Well, my guest this week can claim credit for a significant part of my education, not just on Bitcoin, but on economics, the energy market and freedom of speech. Peter McCormack is the host of the What Bitcoin Did podcast, a twice-weekly show where he interviews experts in the world of Bitcoin development, privacy, investment and adoption. He's also the owner of Real Bedford Football Club, which at the time of recording has recently celebrated promotion to the Spartan South Midlands Football League Premier Division. How did Peter get to where he is now? That's what we're going to find out in this conversation. Peter, welcome to Change Work Life.
Peter McCormack 1:49
Jeremy, how are you?
Jeremy Cline 1:50
I'm very well, thanks. Great to have you on. So, Real Bedford are now in the ninth tier of English football. So, eight tiers below the Premier League. With the backing of Bitcoin and assuming you can get all the investment that you'd like, what are your ambitions, what are you targeting for the club, and what's your timeline?
Peter McCormack 2:10
Yes, a great, great first question. And there's a lot to unpack there. Ultimately, I want to create a successful football team in my town, which leads to a number of benefits, one being economic inflow, people visiting the town, spending money here, that leads to success for the businesses here, but also leads to more opportunities for people to get out and play sports, whether that's men, women, boys, girls, people with disabilities. And we're certainly well on the way of that journey, I mean, we're one year in, and as long as I can tell you about what we've achieved so far, but to do that, you need to have a successful team. It's hard to do that without some form of success. So, the starting point is what is the goal for the team. Ultimately, I set the most ridiculous target, that I would like to get Real Bedford in the Premier League, which anyone involved in football has laughed at me for, completely laughed me out the building for. But the reason I said that target is because, in anything I do, I set the highest target possible. And if you come short, you come short. But in setting the Premier League as a target, we have to have pretty solidified plans over the course of the next decade or two to consider that even a reality. And so, just to give you the perspective on that, whatever we do, whether it's our ground, our programme, our photography, our social media, we set up benchmark as what are Liverpool, Man City, Arsenal doing. And then, we say, 'How close can we get?' So, talking about our ground, we can't get there. There's nothing we can do. We are a tiny, grassroots, non-league football team. But when we put our programme together, we don't look at our competitor set in our division or the division above. We look at the Liverpool programme, the Man City programme, and say, 'Well, how close can we get to that?' Again, we will come short, but how close can we get? When we do our player photography, again, we will look at their photos and say, 'How close can we get?' When we consider how they integrate ladies football into what they do, again, we see how close we can get. There is a more short-term target, which is to get into the Football League. We were six promotions away when I took over, we've done the first one. So, essentially, we're five promotions away from the Football League. And the reason that's a big and important goal is that you're in the professional leagues then, and that opens up a whole range of different avenues for revenue and opportunities for football. But momentum drives a lot of this, and success drives a lot of this, and so, everything I want to do, and everything I want to happen with my town is on the back of those lofty goals.
Jeremy Cline 4:46
I absolutely love that attitude of how close can we get now, thinking what's possible. It reminds me of a chap I follow who was saying, he puts out an email asking what he could do to enjoy a billionaire lifestyle. So, he's not a billionaire, he's not going to do private jets and that sort of thing. But he kind of figured, well, a billionaire might get a chauffeur to the airport. Well, I can't do that. But I can get a private hire cab, rather than relying on public transport, for example. And that's kind of the mindset, the how close you can get. So, I think that's a great lesson for people, always think what can you do now to get you there. The dinner party question, someone asks you, 'Peter, what do you do for a living?' What do you say to them?
Peter McCormack 5:35
That's funny you should ask that. Because I always really struggled with it. Because I do so many different things. I operate a podcast, I make documentaries, I run a football club, I invest, and I own a bar. It's a real broad range of things. And the things I want to get into next, I'd like to open up a pizza restaurant and things like that. So, it's a really hard question, and sometimes I tailor it to somebody, if I know they're probably more interested in the podcast side of things, I say, well, I'm a journalist of sorts, I make a podcast, and I make documentaries. But it's a question I really struggle to answer. Which I'm kind of glad about, because it means that I get to do a lot of different things. But I guess the best answer I could give is, I'm an entrepreneur, I'm a businessman. And that really then encompasses everything I do, which is to build and grow businesses.
Jeremy Cline 6:30
Going back to your early career, you've got a quite an amusing description on your LinkedIn profile, when you describe university, course was rubbish, dropped out to write HTML for failed.com. Tell me a bit more about that.
Peter McCormack 6:47
Yeah, so I really wanted to work in the music industry as a kid. When I was about 15, I set up a fanzine, a little music magazine for heavy metal. I did four issues, and it was really cool, because I got to interview bands, and once you get the first issue done, and you send out to the record companies, it opens up avenues. So, I got to interview some pretty cool people, I interviewed Korn, Slayer, Pantera, Biohazard, a lot of cool hard rock, heavy metal bands from my childhood, and the record companies would send me the CDs to do reviews. And it was a really cool thing to be doing at 15 years old. And that made me want to work in the music industry, two of the record companies that would send me CDs and get me the interviews allowed me to do work experience at East West records and Roadrunner Records. And I loved it. And I was like, okay, this is for me, I want to work in the music industry. And so, I remember I was at school, and I was in my sixth form, and there was this computer programme where you answer a bunch of questions, it tells you what courses you should do. Mine came as music industry management, and there was only one place that did it was back in Children's University. So, I assumed it was the best choice for me, and I applied and went to the uni. And I think I realised within the first week, it was a waste of time. And I definitely knew within a month that it's a waste of time. The problem with these very specific university degrees, that people call Mickey Mouse degrees, where they're basically designed around a specific industry, is actually the standard of education, I felt, was a massive drop down from A levels. I found A levels very hard. I found them a massive drop down. And I got a very quick lesson in the right way to do things, in that one of the lads who was on the course with me, a friend called Tony, he quit within about two or three months, and just went and got a job at a record company. And so, by the third year, when everybody was graduating, he had three years' experience, and he was just three years ahead of everybody else. He was out there working in the music industry. And that was an important lesson to me that nothing beats experience. You cannot teach experience. And I've got a very firm view on this now, unless you're studying something where you need the education, maybe it's accountancy or law or medicine, most of the university is actually a bit of a scam, because essentially, unless you've got very wealthy parents, you're essentially racking up a bunch of debt to not learn how to work in the workplace. And to the point whereby I've got very good connection with the school I went to, and one of the teachers approached once, he said, 'Look, I've got this lad, he's really interesting, he's a really, really smart lad, and he's thinking of going to university. But he's not sure.' And he wanted to work in advertising, and he came to see me, I said, 'Listen, lad, if you work for me for three years, you're going to get paid, you're not going to rack up any debt, and you will be more employable than anyone who's done a university degree.' And listen, he did, and he joined us, and that thesis proved right. And so, anyway, so I'm going on a bit of a tangent here, but the point was, it became very clear to me at university that university wasn't for me, so I decided to start my fanzine again. But the internet was just starting to become a thing. And so, rather than pay someone to build a website because I couldn't afford it, I learned HTML. And then, the weird set of events, at the end of my second year, my brother turned up at my house at university, and my sister had just been knocked down by a police car, she was in a coma. And so, I ended up missing a bunch of uni. And so, I deferred my third year, but I've been learning HTML, and what happened was, I put my name up on this forum, saying I'm an HTML coder, this dot-com got in touch called ecountries.com, and they said, 'Look, we need HTML coders now, can you start Monday?' And I was like yeah, and they said, 'Okay. The only problem is we can only afford to pay you 900 pound a week.' Bare in mind, I was working at a carpentry shop, I was probably getting about three pound an hour. And I was not making much money, obviously, snapped their arm off, I went there, worked there for two weeks, and then built a website for my landlord for 400 pound that took me about a day, and then built one for a recruitment agency, and I remember this, for 2500 pounds, and that took me a couple of weeks, and then I got another contract being paid 1000 pounds a week. So, I very quickly learned how to code HTML and got paid very well. And I didn't even finish my degree. My dad wasn't happy about this. Because I said, 'Dad, I'm quitting.' He's like, 'What are you doing?! You have this to fall back on.' I was like, 'Dad, I'm done. I'm earning good money.' And yeah, we had a big, big row about it. But yeah, that was my journey into the career which became an advertising career and really highlighted me the waste of time that university is for most people, waste of time and money. Look, if either of my kids came to me said, 'Dad, I want to go to uni, I'm just going to do my first year, I want it for the social life', that's fine, because they're being honest. And they should do that, because that is fun. But if one of them came to me and said, 'Dad, I want to work in marketing, I want to do a marketing degree', I'll be like, you're financing that yourself, I'm not paying for this, because it is a waste of money.
Jeremy Cline 11:53
Yeah, I'm still very much on the fence when it comes to university. So, I've got a daughter, she's 10 years off when we're going to have to start thinking about this, but I had a great time at university, and I wouldn't have traded it for not going there. But on the other hand, I mean, I'm a lawyer by background, so I've been doing it for 20 years, and I did a law degree, and I probably use about 5 to 10% of my degree in terms of what I do now. Because the content is, it's an academic subject, it doesn't set you up for being a lawyer, it sets you up for being, well, I mean, if you wanted to take it further, you could be a legal academic, you could go and work in a university, but you absolutely don't need a law degree to be a lawyer. So, I'm very much kind of, yeah, I don't know about university. I'm undecided about it.
Peter McCormack 12:43
Did a law degree set you up with a framework for understanding the law and understanding legal arguments?
Jeremy Cline 12:49
It trains your mind, it definitely helps you to think more logically, more rationally. You can approach things with a much more reasoned mindset. But I don't think that a law degree exclusively helps you do that. So, I mean, for my A levels, one of them I did was computing, I also did maths A level, and I've actually found, particularly when it comes to drafting documents, that computing and maths has probably helped as much as anything else. Because it's like the logic, like when you're writing code, you need the definitions, and everything needs to kind of flow from that, so I've actually found that that's been almost as equally helpful as doing a law degree.
Peter McCormack 13:38
Well, I blame, I think it was the Tony Blair Labour government that essentially destroyed, I think, started the destruction of the university system, because they set out with a noble goal of trying to get as many people the opportunity to go to university as possible, get it away from being like this elitist opportunity, but the truth is, what it did is it got rid of the free education part of it, it got rid of the free university places, I was the last year when it was actually free, they got rid of that, and so therefore, it's opened up more people to go to university, but more people are getting into quite difficult debt to pay off, because it's a lot of money to pay off at the end of it. And I personally believe a lot more should have been invested in work experience or apprenticeships. I mean, look, I talked to you about that young lad who wants to do a marketing degree, and we gave him a job, and for the first, I think, six months, we paid him 12,000 pounds a year, then 18,000 pounds a year, but he was a great find for us. And I say to anyone now, if you're thinking of going to university, again, you want to work in marketing, you're going to go to university and get a lot of debt, but if you really want to go and work in marketing, go around to any local marketing agency and say, 'Give me a job. I will work with you. I will work for you for free for six months, I will work my absolute hardest, I will be in there every day, I'll do every job you ask me, but just after six months, if I've done a good job, you'll give me a job', then I think you'll have people snap your arm off for it, because you've got someone who's enthusiastic, who wants to work in an industry, and there's little, there's still a cost to the company, but there's little to no costs. And so, I don't know, I'm just, I think the other thing, the other problem with university now is the whole education system, not just university, even schooling, is very, very archaic. I have a 13-year-old daughter, I mean, I'm using ChatGPT nearly on a daily basis for work, because it's useful, and it saves me time. I have got no idea in five years' time how much AI is going to have changed things, but I think it's very clear and very obvious AI has changed things. This isn't a fad. This is very clear change to the way we work and the tools available to us. The kind of jobs she's going to want to go for might be eradicated by then. And so, it makes me now look at what she's doing at school, and I just think this is so archaic. Why are we sending these kids to sit in a room and memorise facts? Why? I mean, she even said to me this morning, she said, 'Dad, why do I have to do French?' It's always good to learn another language. She said, 'But I've got Google Translate.' And I was like, yeah, no, I understand, but like, it is very, it's good to be able to naturally speak a language. She's like, 'Yeah, but I have Google Translate.' And it's not the fact that she's right or wrong, it's the fact that she realises she has these tools. She knows she has a supercomputer in her pocket that can answer any question, translate anything or find any information for her. I think we should be spending a lot more time now on problem solving, critical thinking and a different skill set. Now, that's annoying, because it's not measurable for governments, and governments want league tables, so they can use those for propaganda for election time. But I don't know, look, if my daughter came to me and said, 'Dad, I want to quit school tomorrow', and I said, 'What are you going to do?', and she said, 'I'm just going to learn stuff that I want to learn. I would really back her.
Jeremy Cline 16:51
It's a really interesting approach. And it would be possible as well, I mean, just the amount of free content, high-quality content out there, it's absolutely incredible. Just going back to your story, so you talked about basically being hired to write all these websites for people, how did that then translate to starting your own agency? What sort of agency was it? Was it designing websites?
Peter McCormack 17:16
After I finished the contracting, I got offered a chance to build a website as a project for a company, and it was a decent sized one, I can't remember the price, it was for a company that used to do picture framing. And so, I decided to set up a company to do that. And that company did okay, and I became friends with another local company in Bedford. My company was me and some contractors, like a freelance designer, a couple of freelance developers, but this company had 15 employees. And so, the CEO of them said, 'Look, can you come and work for us? I'll buy your company, and I'll make you the commercial director.' And I was like, great, a lump of money came with that, which enabled me to buy a house, so I took that on, and I became the managing director of that company, it's called Evolving Media. And then, after that, I was there for a few years, I decided I wanted to go out on my own and actually own my own agency, so I quit that agency, I went contracted in London within a big advertising agency, and I told the CEO I was going to set up my own agency. So, he said, 'Well, base yourself here, and I'll finance it', which was great. And that was McCormack Morrison, so my old account director at Evolving Media, Oliver, joined me, Oliver Morrison. We ran that agency for eight years, we grew it to, I think our peak 35 full-time staff and a central London Soho office, just approaching three million turnover, which wasn't bad. We got approached, someone wanted to buy it, and we should have sold, it was a big mistake. And that was up until about, Gosh, that was, funnily enough, about a decade ago, before everything fell apart.
Jeremy Cline 18:52
How did owning your own business compared to working for someone else?
Peter McCormack 18:57
I mean, I would, I'm stuttering here, because I don't want to give an answer for everyone, because this stuff is very personal. I am unemployable. Because I always want the top job, I want to be in charge of running things. So, if you employ me, I'm coming for your job. I want to make you retire yourself. So, I'm just unemployable. And so, for me, running my own business was perfect, because I got to do things as I want. I'm essentially a corporate tyrant, because I want to be in control. But also, the bigger point of this is that, when you're in charge, you reap the benefits of what you create. Whereas, yes, like the old saying, you either take risks, or you work for somebody who take risks. And I want to be the risk taker. And so, even when I went to Evolving Media, and I was given a job as commercial director, I think within two years I was the CEO, because that CEO, I wanted to make him retire from that position, he did, and he was grateful. But it's not for everyone. I mean, you make a lot of sacrifices running a business. You make a lot of time sacrifices, you make sacrifices with your family. Sometimes you make health sacrifices, which I have done, I haven't looked after my body in the way I should have some time. But also, you do reap the benefits. But some people do not suit operating a business. I had somebody reached out to me recently, and he said he's thinking of starting a business, and he wanted my help. And I didn't have the heart to tell him, but I knew he wouldn't be suited to it. I knew it wouldn't work. Some people need to be guided, and that's fine. That's okay. You can have a very successful or happy career working for somebody else. That said, if you want to work for yourself, you don't have to build a company of multiple people. There's plenty of incredible one-person businesses.
Jeremy Cline 20:41
There is a book out there, I think it's called Company of One, where it's exactly about that, how you don't necessarily have to start employing people and build this multimillion-pound turnover business. You alluded to something about it going wrong. What happened?
Peter McCormack 20:58
Yeah, so if we go back to 2013, I got married to the mother of my children, and sadly, that marriage collapsed within three months of the marriage, I won't get into the details, I've talked about it before, it doesn't really matter now. But it was a very difficult thing to go through, a failing marriage, a breakup of your family. And I didn't cope with it well, I developed an unhealthy cocaine addiction and a rather unhealthy drinking habit. I stopped going to work, couldn't get out of bed, I started suffering from chronic anxiety. And the company started to fail because of that. Yeah, multiple reasons, but mainly because of that, because I wasn't there, and I wasn't focused. And it culminated with me ending up in a hospital after a massive cocaine binge, and not in a good place psychologically, emotionally. And so, I quit the agency and handed it over to Ollie, he's carried on and been very successful since. And I lost nearly everything, I mean, I think in the space of a year, I got divorced, my company failed, and I nearly lost my house. Yeah, it was really rough time. And then, my mom was also very sick with cancer. And so, I had about a year period where I quit work to focus on recovery from drugs, spending time with my mom and figuring out what I was going to do with my life. And you know, it's a very strange one, because losing a parent is terrible, losing a parent to cancer is terrible, but at the same time, I had that focus, I would go over to Ireland, go and see my mom, go running every day, and I had that period away from work stress, just to kind of fix my life, which had reached rock bottom. I mean, there's shameful stories I could tell you about the absolute state I got myself in, home alone, late at night, doing drugs, feeling like I'm about to die, and getting in and out of the shower, trying to calm down, shaking with panic, taking drugs to feel normal. That's when you know you're an addict, you stop taking to feel high, you just have a low, and every line you take, it's just to get to normal. But I'm glad I went through it all, because I did go to the rock bottom, the worst possible places you can go in life, and fortunately, got to rebuild it all.
Jeremy Cline 23:23
If this was the subject of the podcast, I'd be fascinated to go into more of that and what recovery looks like. But instead, what I'd like to turn to is, when you're at a stage of recovery, you're going back up again, what's work, what's business look like at that point?
Peter McCormack 23:46
I will add one comment to that thing, even though you said it's not the subject of the podcast, just in case it resonated with anyone that feels rock bottom or something isn't right, I'm just going to say one thing. My brother used to phone me every day, checking on me, and he used to say, 'Things will get better.' And they do in time. So, that's the only thing I just want to add to that, in case anyone is going through a rough time. There is no work at that point. Honestly, at that point, I am running every day. That's all I'm doing. I am waking up, lacing up my trainers and going out to run five, ten miles, even a half marathon, listen to podcasts, and not think about anything other than just health and happiness. That's all I would do. I would run, I would go to the gym, and whatever class is on, I would do it, I didn't care whether it was a spin class or pilates with a bunch of old ladies, whatever class it was, I just kept myself busy. And I cooked every meal from fresh food, I was a vegan at the time, I went vegan. And all I did was focus on myself. Getting back into work was purely a weird set of coincidences that led to me having a podcast. So, I went vegan because my mom had cancer, and she went vegan. And then, I bought a new car. And the car, it was a first car I had where my phone would connect to the stereo, and one of my friends said, 'Oh, you should get into podcasts.' I was like, alright, cool. I've never listened to a podcast. I went home, and I Googled top 10 podcasts, and I discovered one. I think on the top of the list was Rich Roll, the Rich Roll podcast. And he was a vegan ultra athlete. I was like, that's cool. I'm kind of vegan at the moment. And I'm running. So, I just started listening to his podcast while I was out running. And then, I Googled him again, and I found out he was doing this retreat in Italy. It was a yoga retreat. And so, I phoned up, and they had one place left, and I was like, right, screw it, I'm meant to be on this. I booked the flight, went out there and spent a week doing yoga and running with 40 other people. And at the end of it, Rich said to me, 'Well done. I hope you've got a lot out of this week. If you're ever in LA, look me up.' And I'm assuming he probably said that to everyone. But I went back, and I was like, 'God, I'd like his lifestyle.' I don't want to go back to building a big company with 40-50 people, I've had my go at that, it's draining. And so, I basically booked a flight to LA, I called Rich, I said, 'I'm here.' He met me, I went up to his house, and I said, 'Listen, I want to do what you do. How do you do it? Tell me how you do it.' And he said, 'Right. Two things. Here's the equipment you need. No, three things. You need a topic. Here's the equipment you need. And go and watch this course.' And it was on online course by Smart Passive Income about how to be a podcaster. You've probably seen it.
Jeremy Cline 24:04
I'm very much involved in the Smart Passive Income ecosystem. So, yeah, I know it very well.
Peter McCormack 25:33
So, yeah, I watched that, I went on to Amazon, I bought all the equipment, I bought a Zoom H6, two Shure SM7B mics, a couple of mic stands and the cables. They got delivered to my friend's house I was staying at within the next two days. I was into Bitcoin at the time, I messaged a guy called Luke Martin, who was also in LA, I said, 'Listen, I'm going to start a podcast. Can we interview you?' He said yeah, two days later, I made my first show. And that was coming up to six years ago. It was just a weird set of coincidences. So many things could have not happened, and it didn't happen. I could have not bought that new car at that point. I could have not asked my friend about podcasting, sorry, about my car and about podcasting, I could have not gone to Italy, it was just a pure, weird set of events that led to this happening.
Jeremy Cline 27:31
You say that, but the going to LA to meet Rich and asking him that, I mean, that is very deliberate, that's absolutely not coincidence. I mean, that's something that everyone should do if you see someone who does something that you want to do, go and ask them how they do it, because that's just priceless.
Peter McCormack 27:48
Yeah. And I don't know where my life would be if I hadn't done that. But I've always felt like I would always be successful, and the agency I built, it did really well, 35 people in a Central London office is pretty good. And if I hadn't done a podcast, I would have done something else. The football team I've bought, we just won the league, I think there's a quite a simple formula to being successful in a business, and I think I can apply that to almost any business, as long as the fundamentals of the industry are fine, then I think I will always be successful. And I don't say that in an arrogant way. I just work really hard, and I just think I know the formula for being successful at business. So, if it hadn't been podcasting, it'd be something else. There's an old famous advert with Muhammad Ali, he said, 'If I hadn't been a boxer, and I would have been a bin man, I would have been the best bin man, I would empty more bins than anyone', and it's kind of funny, but he's got a point. With the right skill sets and the right hard work, most people can be successful. There's no point looking at the world with envy and thinking I wish I could do that. Just go and do it.
Jeremy Cline 28:50
I want to unpack a bit of that, but first of all, when does Bitcoin feature, how does this become something that you're, A, interested in, and B, something that you decide that's what you're going to podcast about?
Peter McCormack 29:01
So, when my mom had cancer, we wanted to treat her with cannabis oil, and the only way I knew how to get cannabis oil was on the dark web, and I needed Bitcoin. So, I talked to my dad about it, he transferred me the money, I Googled where to buy Bitcoin, up came Coinbase, we bought whatever amount of Bitcoin is we needed, we got the cannabis oil, sadly, it was too late, and mom passed away, but I was still left with a little bit of Bitcoin. So, I was like, 'Oh, what's going on with this thing?' And I think at the time, Coinbase also had Ethereum, so I started looking at blockchain and Bitcoin and thinking, okay, this looks like an interesting, new technical revolution, it feels early, it feels like a good time to get into this. Again, just a weird set of coincidences. And I first started by trading, so that was early 2017, I was just trading, and I hit the market. I timed it right, I mean, I think I bought for 600 dollars, by I think February, it would have gone over 1,000 dollars, and by October that year, I think we're at 20,000 dollars. I got very lucky in the timing, rode it all the way up and most of the way down, but it was towards the end of that year, obviously, I started the podcast, which was fortunate, because I wasn't made to be a trader.
Jeremy Cline 30:12
So, why start a podcast about it, rather than just being in it for the ride?
Peter McCormack 30:18
Well, I wanted to do the podcast. As I said, I liked that lifestyle. I liked the lifestyle Richie told me, he would fly to places and interview people and go home. I was like, this sounds like the best job ever. I mean, outside of playing up front for England or guitar in Metallica, if you're going into the world of normal jobs, getting on the plane, meeting really interesting, intelligent people, talking with them for two hours and getting paid for it sounds brilliant. I mean, what better job could you get? And I had to pick a subject, and at the time, Bitcoin was what I was interested in, it was new, it just felt like a good opportunity, there weren't many podcasts. I mean, Laura Shin had Unchained, which was the biggest show at the time, but it felt like there was an opportunity. So, I just went for that.
Jeremy Cline 31:02
So, you started the podcast with the explicit intention that it wasn't just going to be a hobby, this was going to be your business, this was going to be your means of living?
Peter McCormack 31:12
I hoped it would be. Yeah, I hoped. Did I think it would become what it's become? God, no. I didn't think I would have millions of people listening and getting recognised on the street or in an elevator in New York, I didn't think I'd interview presidents of countries. All that's come off the back of it, I cannot believe how lucky I've been, and I'm really humbled by it, but there's no way that was the plan. The plan was, will people listen to this, and can I make enough money to survive on this, that was all it was. It's just become so much more than that.
Jeremy Cline 31:48
Clearly, you did more than hope. So, I can see definitely that your timing was great in terms of finding a niche which wasn't particularly well served at the time. And maybe six years ago, podcasting hadn't quite exploded in the way that it has in the past few years. I mean, I know as a podcaster myself, I started three odd years ago, and trying to get an audience from that base is a challenge. But there's got to be more to it than that. So, I mean, what were some of the things that you did, to which you can attribute the success of the podcast?
Peter McCormack 32:25
I think the things I did are applicable to any business. So, you can take my podcast, my football team, and my bar as my three primary businesses, and the reasons that they work are pretty much all the same. The first thing is, I work really, really hard. So, I'm not the smartest person in the world, but I can outwork anyone. And I would say, most days, I'm up between five and six, I'm working 12 to 14 hour days, most days, and I'll work weekends, and I don't take all the holidays. So, I will outwork any competition, or at least match them. And so, you got to think, if I'm up, it's five, let's say if I started work today at five o'clock, by nine o'clock, I've done half a day's work for a normal person that does an eight-hour day. If somebody starts work at nine, I've done four hours more than them. So, I'm four hours ahead of them. Now, again, this is not suited for everyone, there are sacrifices for that. I'm not at the gym at seven in the morning, I've made sacrifices with how much I see of my children because of that. But that's one side, hard work is an edge. If you can outwork your competitors, that gives you a real edge. Secondly, having a basis of understanding branding, sales and marketing is really important. It doesn't matter whether you're a fan of it or not, there is a reality in the world, people buy into brands, and marketing achieves reach. As I haven't worked in the advertising industry, the digital industry, I'm able to put together a brand and a website and a marketing plan within hours. I mean, if you're going to look at my bar, I built that website in three hours. It's a nice-looking website. What Bitcoin Did website is a very good website. The Real Bedford website is as good as some teams in the Football League. And that gives you a real advantage. But to really win, again, this is applicable to any business, if the industry you're going into is a viable industry, so you've not invented some new industry, again, football club, bar, podcast, if you know that's a viable industry, there is money to be made, all you have to do is look at what the competition is doing, how can you do better. And so, with the podcast, I was like, well, I have to be a good host, because that's one of the key points. So, what is the product? The product is an interview, and there's two parts to the interview. There's the host being a good host and having good guests. That's the product. Okay, so can I become a good interviewer, and I'll have to work at that, and then, can I hustle the best guests? Okay, once I've done that, how else do I beat the competition? I've got to get as many people listening as possible. So, I've got to be good at marketing. You take that same analysis to the football team, it's like, what is the product? It's football. Well, how do we create a good product? We have to play entertaining football and win. Okay, great. That means we're better than everyone else. But how do we win? Well, we also have to do marketing to get people in. So, you give me a business, all I'm going to do is, I'm going to break that business down to its key components of success. Now, if it's a bar, how many people come, how good is the experience, how do we let people know? I just break down all the components of that business and say, how do we do that better than anyone else? And so, that's why I think some entrepreneurs start to, it's almost like seeing The Matrix, they can look at any business and go, 'How do I make that a success?' It doesn't matter whether it's a record company, a pizza restaurant, an art gallery, whatever the business is, they are able to isolate what are the things that make that successful and how do we improve it.
Jeremy Cline 35:57
Does hard work feel like hard work to you?
Peter McCormack 36:00
Sometimes, yeah, I'm getting older. I've got a different way of answering that. My worst job ever was hammering, putting handles on umbrellas. I used to work in a factory when I was about 16. It was a rubbish job, all day long, eight hours a day, putting handles on umbrellas. I hated it. I watched the clock all day long. That is rubbish. The best jobs in the world are the ones where you don't watch a clock. And so many people have had jobs, I bet you've had jobs where you've watched the clock, ah, six hours to go, ah, five hours. I mean, it's sad that people have to live their lives with such nonsense. The best jobs in the world are ones we don't watch the clock. But that doesn't mean that hard work doesn't feel like hard work. When I go on one of my journeys, my trips for work, my next one, I got to fly to Nashville, be there for five days and record two podcasts a day, I will have to do some social events in the evenings, and then fly to Austin, I'm there for three days, two nights, where I'll make six shows. Then, I get an overnight flight to Argentina, seven days, I'm making a film, so I'm filming all day, then I fly back to the UK overnight, so I can come back and watch our last preseason friendly of my football club. That does feel like hard work. It is tiring. Now, you feel it at the end of it. But there's different ways of feeling hard work. There's feeling tired, and there's feeling stressful. And they're two different things. Hard work, which is stressful, that's a problem. Hard work, which is tiring, that's a sacrifice.
Jeremy Cline 37:27
And in your case, hard work is largely conducting these amazing interviews with people, which presumably, it seems clear to me, but presumably, you absolutely love doing it.
Peter McCormack 37:38
I do. I do. But I am starting to slow down, Jeremy. I'm not rich by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm comfortable. And I can talk about that as well, if you want to know my views on money and wealth and the myth of being rich. But what I would say is that I'm now starting to slow down, I'm 44. What I want to do in life is changing. I'm very focused now on my community in Bedford and what I can do for the people here. And so, travelling out to America for two weeks to make 20 podcasts, which used to be my sole focus, is now not my sole focus. My sole focus is how do I do more for my community, and so what role does the podcast play in that. And it is a changing dynamic I'm starting to deal with right now.
Jeremy Cline 38:30
How do you think that could play out?
Peter McCormack 38:32
It's a good question. In terms of what? What happens to my town, or what happens to me personally?
Jeremy Cline 38:38
What happens to you and your business interests? So, for example, do you cut the cadence of the podcast from twice weekly to once a week? Do you do more remote interviews rather than in-person? I mean, I know from your own podcasts that you always prefer to do in-person, but do you even call it a day on the podcast?
Peter McCormack 39:02
I mean, I wouldn't do the podcast forever, so at some point, I will call it a day. And I think the way it plays out is, I don't think too much changes in terms of the content topics over the next two to four years. But I think, increasingly, I will conduct the interviews from the UK. And so, we've done a couple of tests where we go up to the US and do the sprints, we've now started doing them in the UK, and people come to us for the interviews, and then as your profile increases, you can do that more. There's certain guests I'll never get to, Michael Saylor is not going to fly to the UK to come on my podcast.
Jeremy Cline 39:38
Michael Saylor in Bedford, that would be brilliant.
Peter McCormack 39:40
Yeah, it's just not going to happen, but people will fly to Rogan, because he's the number one. So, I think, over time, I'll gradually have people fly here more, so I travel less, and therefore I can operate it from here, but also, you hope with Bitcoin that Bitcoin becomes so boring, people don't really discuss it anymore, it's just thing that exists. It's a bit weird to listen to a podcast about gold, I think. And the most interesting thing about Bitcoin isn't really Bitcoin itself, it's the impact of Bitcoin. It's those topics. So, eventually, the podcast might just evolve into being the Peter McCormack Show, rather than the What Bitcoin Did. And I'd be okay with that, because that means Bitcoin has done its job, I've done my job, and I can increasingly focus on other topics that interest me, activism, charitable work. Yeah, hopefully, I'll have enough money that I can just focus on what I want to do, and if that happens, and I can be based in Bedford, then what I'd like to do is grow businesses and business opportunities in Bedford and grow opportunities for the people who live in my town.
Jeremy Cline 40:46
One of the things about podcasting in particular is, it has a pretty low barrier to entry, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. It's good that anyone can get started, but it's a bad thing, it means that anyone can get started. So, just to give people an idea as to what making a living, making a business out of podcasting looks like, can you go into that? I mean, what is the business model? What is the economics? How does it work?
Peter McCormack 41:15
Yeah, I mean, look, there are multiple revenue streams you can get from podcasting. The primary one is to sell advertising on it. And that's usually done on some kind of CPM model. So, say you've got a 25-dollar CPM, for every 1000 listeners, you get about $25. I don't operate that model, I have a fixed price, and the reason I have a fixed price is I say to my sponsors, if we're on a CPM, I'm incentivised to only go after certain types of guests, certain types of topics, to drive the listeners up, but actually, what we want is a broad range of listeners. And whilst we want Michael Saylor one week or Jack Dorsey, the next week, we might want to hear from some activist in Afghanistan, who's helping women to build with Bitcoin. And that's not going to have as high listeners, but it's an important subject. So, I go on a fixed price. But essentially, you have to get to a critical mass of listeners, and then find sponsors who want to sponsor it. But there are secondary incomes. Some people operate, say a Patreon, and have their podcast behind a paywall. And you can pay a subscription, you don't have advertisers. We do live events, people come out and watch us do a live show off the back of it. What I would say, though, I'm fortunate that I can make an income off this, and there's six people who work on the show full time now, we have six employees, not many people get to that point. There's a lot of podcasts out there, and getting to that point where you're going to make money off it is hard. I mean, I don't think I took a check for the first 18 months, and I think I gave my first three advertiser slots away for free, so other people would realise I've got sponsorship opportunity. And I got very lucky in that I picked the right topic at the right time, which saw a lot of growth. I would almost say to anyone, do not send out creating a podcast to make an income off of it, because that will skew your incentives. Set out to make a podcast that you want to listen to, which covers what you're interested in, which shows your authenticity and your personality as a person, and if it's successful, then you will make money of it. But if you set out to make money, it's going to be very hard. It's not like if I open a shop, it's passing traffic, I'm definitely going to do this. There's a lot of competition out there, and it's very hard work, and it takes a lot of time. I mean, God, the first few months or a year, when you put out shows, you're like, 'God, my audiences have grown, or it's dropping.' It's hard work. You've got to be relentless, year after year, delivering constantly, consistently, high quality, it's hard.
Jeremy Cline 43:52
This is a conversation I wish I had had about four years ago when I was first thinking, okay, I'm going to start a podcast. Because, yeah, all that is true and so much more.
Peter McCormack 44:01
But Jeremy, there are other weird reasons to start a podcast. I don't know about you, but it's really changed me as a person. I've become a lot more grounded, empathetic, a better listener, I've become better educated. Yeah, you can get so much out of being a podcaster beyond the financial returns.
Jeremy Cline 44:22
You and I would not have met if I hadn't had a podcast. And I'm delighted that I've had this opportunity. Because I've been following you for a few years, and now we get to speak, which would not have happened if I hadn't had a podcast. So, yeah, I completely agree. It's understanding what podcasting can do for you, and when I started, and I was seeing people like John Lee Dumas making a fortune making a podcast every day, and I thought, yeah, I could do that, and then I've realised, yeah, you need something quite special to do that. You've already talked about the challenges of the work ethic, the travelling, that kind of thing. What else have been particular challenges that have come with the success of the podcast?
Peter McCormack 45:04
Online abuse, that's a challenge. I get a lot. I get a lot. I had a back surgery a couple of years ago, and I had stopped running. And I was, obviously, in a fine balance of my diet and exercise, whereby my weight was okay, but when I stopped running, and my diet's the same, I've put weight on. I mean, I must have been on a stone and a half in the last two years. And to regularly be called fat, fat loser, fatty, on Twitter, on YouTube, people say don't be a snowflake, I mean, it's just constant relentless attacks and abuse, and it's not fun. It's not fun to see. And that's just a sliver, you get all other kinds of abuse. And even if I can handle it, which I can mainly, my kids may see it. There is a reality that my kids Google me, or they go on to my YouTube, and they see the comments, and they see the abuse. And so, I have to explain it to them that these people are just losers. False accusations made about you, you're a scammer, you're a thief. It's relentless. It's something you aren't prepared for. You go out there to create this podcast, because you want to create content, maybe create a business, and you don't expect all this torrent of abuse that comes. Death threats, threats of violence, weirdos turning up at my house, online trolling turning into personal trolling in person, where somebody tried to start a fight with me in front of my son. That's one of the hardest bits. Sadly, we live in a world of a lot of people who are very angry, who've got social issues, have got mental health issues, and they use other people as an escape for that. That's not been fun. I'd say that's the main downside, and most of it is really upside. You take that away, and it's the perfect job.
Jeremy Cline 47:02
And I think you're right, it was crossing my mind that the sphere in which you operate kind of is, that's part of it. I mean, crypto Twitter is notorious for being quite shouty. But having said that, lots of other people who operate in completely different spaces face the same abuse. And yeah, you're right, people just want to take to Twitter and shout at people.
Peter McCormack 47:29
Yeah, Twitter, Instagram. I mean, look, we've got England footballers, black England footballers, they will post Instagram stories or Instagram posts about games they played, and I've got no doubt, if you go under there and read the comments, there's going to be a torrent of racist abuse. Social media, sadly, has weaponised mental illness, weaponised stupidity and weaponised insecurities. It's elevated the worst characteristics of some people who aren't in control of their emotions and aren't particularly, I'd say, aren't particularly well balanced people. And so, I wouldn't just blame Bitcoin Twitter, I think this is a general social issue, that we have not come to terms with as a species, we have essentially given billions of people a platform to rant and abuse and shout, and yeah, it's not great. It turns me off a lot. But I've developed a thick skin for it. I don't like the abuse, but I've developed a thick skin for it. Other people won't. I mean, God knows, I'm so glad I didn't have it as a kid, because God knows the abuse that kids are getting or are given each other. It's not good. I think social media is like any technology, there's good and bad. Social media has done so much for us. I think the Twitter in the Arab Spring was a real revelation in terms of getting access to immediate, on-the-ground information. But we have all these other issues that come with it. Bitcoin, itself, there's so many benefits, but there's some downsides to it. Any tool can be a weapon depend on how you point it.
Jeremy Cline 49:13
When I look at that, people using Twitter as a platform to abuse people, it occurs to me that people focus on personal freedoms and freedom of speech and that kind of thing, but I think we've lost personal responsibility, people being responsible for their actions and thinking, okay, yes, I may have the freedom to do this, but does that necessarily make it the right thing to do? So, anyway.
Peter McCormack 49:42
Yeah, and look, I agree, I'm a proponent of free speech, I absolutely think the UK Government should have something similar to the First Amendment in America. We should have free speech. As soon as you criminalise speech, you weaponise speech for the elites. And that's not a good thing. But at the same time, some of the biggest proponents of free speech say some of the most stupid stuff. And great, you've got your free speech, great, you've proven that you can use your free speech, but where's the intelligent discourse these days? You just go on Twitter, this last 24 or 48 hours, we've seen Rogan trying to arrange a debate between the doctor, Dr Hotez I think his name is, and RFK. It would be a very fascinating debate, I would love to hear that happen. The doctor has declined it, and the amount of abuse he's received is horrendous. Just go in the comments. And then, I've seen a video, some guy turned up at his house harassing him. I mean, this is just not behaviour that I think is conducive to a civilised society. I'm sure people disagree with me and shout at me for holding those opinions, but I just don't see directionally the world going in a good way at the moment with regards to discourse, debate, disagreements. And I'm not sure how we turn the corner on that.
Jeremy Cline 51:11
I feel the need to lighten the mood a little bit. So, let's talk about the football club. How did you decide that what you wanted to do was buy a football club, and this was going to be the football club that you were going to buy?
Peter McCormack 51:23
Yeah, well, this is something I've wanted to do since I was a kid. I told my dad as a kid that I wanted to buy Bedford. I'm from Bedford, we don't have a team in the Football League, we've never had a team in the Football League, I think we're the largest town in the country without a team in the Football League, if not, one of the largest. So, I as a kid supported Liverpool, they were the big team at the time, hours away and never got to watch them much and never really had that thing where I had that passion for my local side. I'd always said I wanted to do it, but there's wanting to do it and having the ability to do it and win. I didn't want just to have a local team and float around whichever division we're in. If I wanted to buy Bedford, I wanted to get them in the Football League and be successful. And I just didn't know how to do it, because I didn't have the money, it's expensive, football. And it was only about two years ago, I just thought, hold on a second. Just a second. Bitcoin is a cheat code. Bitcoiners around the world, whether you agree or disagree, are still on the same team, right? And so, if there's a Bitcoin football team, that will be the team that the Bitcoiners adopt, it'll be our team. And so, that would give us an opportunity to grow a successful team. But you have to be the first one. There can only be one Bitcoin team, if another one comes along and does it, you might have some interest, but we're the original. So, once I realised it, and then I kind of thought about the math of running a business like this, well, local football teams, they have a couple of primary sources of revenue, how many people locally come into the ground and buy a ticket and buy a pint or a burger, and how many local sponsors sponsor them. Well, that's a limited revenue model, in that you're limited to your local community, how successful you are and how successful the businesses are and what they can afford. If you're the Bitcoin team, you've essentially got a global audience, because Bitcoiners all around the world will care about this team. And therefore, you've got access to global sponsors who want to talk to those people. And so, you've also got people who will travel further afield to come and watch them. So, instantly, you've just got a competitive advantage. So, I just put together a plan. I was like, okay, this is how we're going to do it, this is the team we're going to be, this is how we're going to brand it, this how we're going to market it. And it's worked. I mean, look, I'm in a fortunate position, I know the companies because of the podcast, but I went to them all and said, 'This is my plan. Will you sponsor me?' And I got yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. So, instantly, we have very good sponsorship numbers. I actually did want to buy our neighbours, Bedford Town, who were three divisions above us, but they turned me down. So, we bought the smaller team next door, Bedford FC, and rebranded them. We're now a division apart. But yeah, so I've just built this plan, and so far, it's worked. Our crowds are up, we sell a lot of merch, we've got international sponsors, we've got a growing following, we stream the games online, people watch it. And one thing I will say, though, Jeremy, is I think a lot of people didn't get it, I still think there are people who don't get it, but more are starting to get it, I think there are people listening to my podcast that think, 'I wish you would shut up about football. I don't care.' But I think what they're missing is, they should care about this for the same reason they care about El Zonte and El Salvador, in that, that is a Bitcoin project. Stop thinking of this as a football club. Think of it as a Bitcoin project. Don't worry about the fact that you don't like watching football. Think about the fact that every month we have a meetup where up to 100 people come and learn about Bitcoin. Think about the fact that every time this team wins, is successful, and they're written about the press, whether it's the BBC or local press, they mention Bitcoin. This is just a Bitcoin project, and you don't have to like football to like it. I mean, people make their pilgrimage to go El Zonte to check out the Bitcoin sort of town. People are now making the pilgrimage to come to Bedford to check out the Bitcoin team. And so, I think, as we continue to be successful, it will start to click more and more for people.
Jeremy Cline 55:14
What's been for you the most surprising thing about owning a football club?
Peter McCormack 55:19
Good question. Surprising thing. How much work there is to do, it is unbelievable, there's no business also like a football team. Okay, so my podcast, the math is simple. If I do a good interview, and I have good guests, I'm going to get good downloads. With the football team, I can do everything perfectly, we can have the best players, we have the best manager, we have the best pitch, they can go out, and it just doesn't click that day, or a referee decision goes wrong, or a player does something stupid and gets sent off, and you lose. And you lose. And so, it's this unique business where you do everything to give yourself the best opportunity to win, but it's completely out of your hands for that 90 minutes of the game. It's in the hands of the players and the match officials. That's who it comes down to. And so, that is a unique surprising thing, and that's what makes it so much fun, so exciting, so stressful. But that was surprising. Not surprising. Is it surprising? I don't know, I never really thought about it, but I'm aware of it now. But yeah, the amount of work you have to do, the amount of administrative work, all the different things in terms of looking after the ground, the marketing, doing programmes on match days, paying match officials, feeding players, sorting kits out, equipment now, washing kits. I mean, you see my to-do lists on my football team, it is endless. Endless things to do.
Jeremy Cline 56:44
There's an absolute tonne more stuff that I'd like to ask you, but I'm conscious of time. So, let me ask you this. You've interviewed presidents, you've interviewed US senators, Tongan nobles, you've had Michael Saylor, the founder of a half billion dollar NASDAQ listed company on your podcast giving your son careers advice. Do you ever look back and think how on Earth did all this happen?
Peter McCormack 57:11
Yeah, it's funny you should say that. When I did the interview with President Bukele, the first time I interviewed him, I didn't really think about it too much in advance, in that I was just focused on the interview, how best to do the interview. So, I went out to El Salvador, met with him, did the interview. I had sciatica at the time, and my back was in a bad way. So, I upgraded my flight on the way home to business class. Which was pricey, but I had to do, because I could not sit down, I needed a lay flat bed. Anyway, I got on that plane, it had been such a whirlwind during that interview, I put my bag up, we took off, I laid my bed down, I just laid back and went, 'Wow! That's mad!' I mean, from going to a yoga retreat, off the back of a Google search, and then heading out to LA because you kind of got a semi invite, to starting that podcast, doing that first show, to four and a half years later, I sat down with the president of a country. I mean, a president of a country and interviewing, and being credible, considered credible to do that interview. Honestly, I was like, 'Wow, I cannot believe this has all happened.' And since then, I now have a football team that has just won a league and cup double, and we're going for another promotion, and I'm getting to do so much more. And to give the listeners something to think about, I am not an intelligent person. I'm a hard worker, but I'm not particularly intelligent. I know how to work smart, I'm willing to pick up the phone and ask for things, I'm willing to graft. And I've managed to turn a terrible situation where I was a rock bottom drug addict, about to lose my house, going bankrupt, suffering from chronic anxiety, unable to get out of bed, to be able to have the absolute gift of being able to travel the world, interview some smart people, and own my local football team and give stuff back to my community, what I would say is, whatever you want to do, you can probably go and do it. All right, if you want to win the 100 metres, you need a natural talent. You're not going to go and win an Olympic gold, and maybe yeah, maybe it's in you. But whatever you think you want to do, or you want to make of your life, you can go and do it. You just got to go and do it. You know, I'm overweight, I need to lose weight, and I've never dealt with that. I just need to wake up one day and go, I'm going to stop eating crap, or sorry, I'm going to stop eating junk all day every day. And I'm going to get down the gym. And I've not been great at that. But maybe you're good at that. But if you want to start a business or do something, you've just got to do it. Just go and do it. Because you will be amazed how things can turn out. Especially if you're willing to ask for things, if you're willing to pick up the phone and phone somebody and say, like you, drop me an email, 'Peter, can we have this interview?' And I say yes. You've just got to go out there and ask and do the work, and you can create whatever you want to create.
Jeremy Cline 1:00:18
Awesome. Absolutely awesome advice. Peter, I always ask my guests this, along the way, what has particularly helped you, books, podcasts, people, what resource could you give people that, if they're interested, they could start with something?
Peter McCormack 1:00:35
Yeah, I mean, there's so many things I could answer with this, and a lot of obvious ones, but I'm going to throw out a bit of a curveball out there. When I had my digital agency, I did a lot of the UX work. And there's a really brilliant book called Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug. And so, he talks you through when you're designing a website, every time you make somebody have to think, you might lose them. So, a perfect example was, you design the website, and the Buy Now button is below the fold. They're looking at the product they want to buy, and they can't see a Buy Now button, they might leave that web page. So, you've got to make sure it's above the fold. Or if you give two buttons which aren't clear which one does which, again, you've had to make them think. So, the idea of designing a website is to take people from what they want to do to the end, from the start to the end, with as little friction as possible. And that kind of thesis of don't make me think is applicable to a lot of other things. So, in terms of my podcast, it's a Bitcoin podcast. I'm kind of known as the guy who's willing to ask the most basic questions. But that's the Don't Make Me Think attitude. So, I say there's three types of podcasts, interview podcasts, there is a smart person and a smart person, smart person and a moron, and a moron and moron. So, I think my show is a smart person and a moron. So, I have the super smart people come on, and whenever they ask me something, which I don't immediately understand, I always say, 'Can you explain that to me? Explain it like I'm five. Just talk me through that.' Sometimes I know the answer, but I know the listener might not, and I get them to do it. And I've consistently done that, and that's worked out well for me, because people that listen say thank you, because you're asking the questions I want answered. And so, you then take that to any business I do. In the back of my mind, wherever I think there's friction for the business, I try and eliminate that friction. So, I can take that to my bar. I bought this bar, right? Some nights, it's super busy, it can be three-four people deep, queuing to get a drink. And what I was doing, I was watching the staff. And they're taking the drinks orders, and then they go into the till, which they share, and between them, they've taken turns to put it in. And so, all I did is replace that with handheld POS, so each one's got their own handheld, and so they're plugging in the order as they take it from the customer, and then the person scanned it there and then. That is just an applicable part of Don't Make Me Think.
Jeremy Cline 1:03:07
Fantastic. If people want to find you, follow you, where would you like them to go?
Peter McCormack 1:03:12
Well, you can listen to my podcast, it's called What Bitcoin Did. You can get that at whatbitcoindid.com. If you want to follow my football team, it's called Real Bedford, it's like Real Madrid but in Bedford, and that's at realbetford.com. You'll find any of those on social media, and if you want to find me on social media, it's @PeterMcCormack. DMs are open, and I try and reply to anyone, just don't send any weird stuff.
Jeremy Cline 1:03:33
Peter, I'll put links to all of those in the show notes for this episode. Good luck for next season with Real Bedford, and thank you so much for coming on the show.
Peter McCormack 1:03:40
I thank you for having me. And hopefully, we'll get you to a game.
Jeremy Cline 1:03:42
Okay, hope you enjoyed that interview with Peter McCormack of the What Bitcoin Did podcast. Now, it's unusual in this section for me to challenge any of what my guests said. But I do feel it's necessary just to perhaps add a slight nuance on to what Peter was saying. Peter said that anyone can do anything. And he said, yeah, there might be things that perhaps you can't do, like running 100 metres to competition standard, because you need certain natural talents and gifts to do that. But aside from that, his advice was that you can do pretty much anything. And I don't disagree with that. I think that most people do have it within them to do almost anything. The bit I'm going to add is that it's an awful lot easier if what you do and what you'd want to do plays to the things which you're already good at and what you enjoy doing. What struck me from this interview was two gifts in particular, which Peter has, which sets him apart and enables him to do what he does. One is that he clearly has a real interest, indeed a fascination into what makes a successful business. He talked about how he could look at almost any business and figure out what's required to make it a success. Not everyone is going to have that interest. And that's fine. But the fact that it is something which really interests Peter is something which has enabled him to do what he's doing, especially once you add in his experience of branding, sales and marketing. The other superpower of Peter's that I'd like to highlight is his ability to understand the knowledge of his audience and ask questions on his own podcast that he is pretty sure his audience is going to want answering. Peter has a lot of extremely technical knowledge about Bitcoin, way, way beyond my understanding, but I really appreciate it when he asks his guests on his podcast to explain a technical topic, knowing that the listeners don't always have the level of understanding that he has. So, all this is to say that, in my view, anyway, Peter has become the success that he has by leveraging those particular superpowers, those particular interests, those particular things that he's really good at, in order to achieve success. And if you want to achieve success for whatever success looks like for you, simply copying the template isn't necessarily going to work. Sure, there are business principles that you could probably apply. But if whatever you set out to do does not resonate with you, does not align with you, then you're going to find it a much greater struggle. And we were talking about what hard work looks like, it's going to feel like hard work, it's going to feel like something that makes you groan and go, 'This is just not for me.' So, if you take anything from this interview, I hope it's the inspiration to take a look inside yourself and find out what are your own superpowers. I have a couple of exercises on my website, which I know many of you will have heard me mentioned before, that if you haven't tried them, you can find them at changeworklife.com/happy, that's changeworklife.com/happy. It's a couple of exercises, the first one of which really begins to draw out your superpowers by identifying those things in your career history that you've really enjoyed doing. So, do check out those exercises which you'll find at changeworklife.com/happy, and see how you get on. I've decided this year that I'm going to take a little bit of a summer break. So, I don't plan to publish any new episodes during the month of August, but I am going to try and put out some of my archive episodes that particularly, if you've not been listening from the start, you may be unaware of and may not have heard. So, make sure you stay subscribed to pick up those archived episodes. And then, there will be new episodes coming your way from September. So, as always, make sure you are subscribed to the show, and I can't wait to see you next time. Cheers. Bye.
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