MFM #93: Why Tai Lopez Bought Pier One

Shaan and Sam talk about being a "wartime CEO", the business of meditation, Tai Lopez' acquisition of Pier One, and the Twitter hack.


July 17, 2020

The wartime CEO ⚔️

Sam talks about enjoying challenging times at his company, and being a “wartime CEO”.

  • Ready, Fire, Aim: A book on growing a business from 0-$100m in revenue. 0-$1m is about finding what customers want, $1m-$10m is about hiring people and surviving, $10m-$100m is about innovating constantly while maintaining processes.
  • Pioneer, settler, town planner: A framework by Simon Wardley that compares pioneers, settlers and town planners to different types of entrepreneurs. Pioneers are great at figuring out new things (finding new land), settlers create the first camp on the new land,  and town planners can lead a large group of people.
  • Chiefs, priests, thieves: A similar framework by Matt Ridley on different types of people within an organization. Chiefs are the people in charge who like the status quo, priests are all about  rules for how things should be done, and thieves are just in it for their own personal interest.

Selling sanity 🧘

As Naval says, people want peace of mind, but what they should really want is peace from mind. Living in your head makes you unhappy. Activities like meditation, trimming bonsai trees, and even attending concerts induce the same outcome — taking people out of their heads.

  • Bonsai Mirai: A website where users can learn by watching bonsai tree trimmings as well as purchase them. Average 20k-30k visitors monthly.
  • Happy Body: Exercise philosophy with slow, low intensity, breath-based weight lifting that is more like meditation than lifting. 
  • Examples: How It’s Made, ASMR Barbers, Primitive Technology, Mounir are all popular content because they are designed for meditative relaxation.
  • Takeaway: There is a need for relaxation-inducing activities and content — and there is a way to profit from it.

Here at my pier 💸

Shaan and Sam break down the business of buying brands.

  • Retail Ecommerce Ventures (REV): A fund acquiring well-known distressed retail brands (Dress Barn, Pier One) and attempting to transform them into successful ecom brands. REV is headed by Tai Lopez and Alex Mehr. 
  • Dating apps: Both Tai and Alex have backgrounds in dating apps, an industry Shaan describes aptly as “user acquisition companies that happen to sell dating”.
  • MentorBox: Another of Tai’s and Alex’s businesses. The company has 60k subscribers and is purported to do 8 figures in revenue.
  • Examples: In a similar vein to REV, Sam brings up brand holding companies like Iconix Brands, (Rockawear, MUD Jeans, Umbro, Ed Hardy, Joe Boxer) and VF Corporation (Dicky’s, Vans, Jansport, Timberland, The North Face) who buy and hold iconic brand names.

Other nuggets 🏆

  • Twitter Hack: On July 15th, verified Twitter accounts were hacked, with the hackers attempting to get users to send Bitcoin to. The scam generated over $100k.
  • Shaan’s warning: User data is often unsafe with big companies, but it is definitely not secure with startups. Apps and extensions often ask for access to a lot of data, which we give over without questioning.
  • Compass: A real estate brokerage startup, that offers zero interest loans on home improvements. This cost is later subtracted from the home’s final sale price. This also happens with taxes, and in education via Income Share Agreements. Shaan asks, what other industries is this possible in?

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