Questions & Insights With Derek Flanzraich, The Founder of Greatist
A little context first, we are kicking off a new interview series as part of the soon to be launched 1X1 brand. This series is about the power of taking small steps, and the impact our environment & surroundings have on us.
The first guest is Derek Flanzraich who I met about a year ago. We had some great chats around work and our passion for health, wellness, happiness, and ways to try and spread that to others.
From our first meeting I could tell Derek is driven to do great things, he has a ton of great ideas & insights, is genuine, and also happens to be a lot of fun. Derek is the founder of Greatist. He and the team are doing amazing and really important work. He’s the perfect person to kick off this series. Enjoy!
1. What’s one small thing you and/or your business has done repeatedly and has led to something substantial?
A personal example: I write notes in a Google Doc I call my “Master Planner” after every single meeting/action I take (or at least filling each of them in at the end of the day). I keep my schedule, my to-dos, and basically all my accomplishments/completed tasks in there. Every interaction I have with anyone goes in— and my thoughts on it, too. This forces me to review and reflect on everything at least once, but there’s something even more powerful to it. It recently hit a year now that I’ve been dutifully updating my Master Planner and my conclusion is that it’s nothing short of magical— I can catch up on all my previous conversations with someone I’m meeting with, get reminded of when we hit that important milestone, even clarify what that payment was on my credit card bill. I can see what I was thinking and what I was doing last holiday season with one quick search. It’s become my sort of second brain and I urge everyone, absolutely everyone, to give it a try.
2. Describe the environment you love spending time at. What’s happening there, who’s there (if anyone), & what does it look like?
My favorite place on earth is currently Greatist’s office (or as we affectionately call it, Greatist HQ). It’s warm and energetic— bright yellow curtains over a couple doors, strong blue tones on the walls, and a few fun stick-on touches: figures doing sports and hot balloons. Every team member gets a cubbie of their own in the main room, but it’s hard to stick to such a small space— so, instead, hilarious objects are strewn all over the place. The whole office is filled to the brim with stuff, healthy snacks, treats, and fitness gear peeking out of more or less every nook and cranny. We have a small room called “The Zen Room” with a couch, some pillows and bean bags, a bonsai tree or two, and, well, zen. And it has another room we call “The Maker’s Mark Distillery,” after one of our team members’ favorite places. We use that room primarily for meetings and calls, but also drinking whiskey (obviously). Typically, our team is hard at work— and there’s almost always palpable feeling of focus mixed with fun. We work hard, but we have a great time— and that shows in everything from the clothes we wear to the Disney songs we choose to sing aloud (or maybe that’s just me). On the weekends, I sometimes get some moments alone at Greatist HQ and the amazing thing is that the feeling doesn’t change— as if there’s just so much positive determined energy built up over the week that it can’t possibly totally dissipate before everyone is back again.
3. What’s an example that illustrates one of the following quotes (ideally from a personal experience, or one you have observed/learned about that has had an impact on you):
“Unity is strength… when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.” Mattie Stepanek
“Build your reputation by helping other people build theirs.” Anthony J. D’Angelo
I’ve been teaching a class called “Awesome Social Growth: How to Grow from 0 to 1M Unique Visitors in Less Than 1 Year” for nearly a year now (through Skillshare and General Assembly) and it’s among my favorite things to do. It takes a lot of time to prepare, update my presentation, tailor it to each new audience, and then meet with each student who’s interested in grabbing coffee afterward— but, when I have the time, every moment is worth it. Ultimately, the reason I teach is simple: I don’t believe the world ever has enough people trying to do great things— and if I can help people do those great things by sharing the little experience I’ve had, to make it easier for them, then how can I not? Similarly, I, like everyone else, have a lot of problems— but tackling other people’s business problems is fun! It takes my mind off all the things I’m struggling to figure out and brings me new, fresh, different perspective. Forcing myself to teach and communicate what I’ve learned is an important exercise to start with— each time I prepare before class I’m learning more, solidifying what I have learned, and sharpening my ability to simply communicate those lessons. And, not to mention, it’s always awesome to meet new people trying to start new things or improve what they’ve started already. Have built some really, truly special relationships with people that started in the “classroom.” Finally, at the end of the day, each class builds my reputation as someone who knows at least one or two things, someone who genuinely wants to help, and someone who cares enough to share what he’s learned. I’m a firm believer in the importance of giving back to a community— not just because a rising tide lifts all boats, but because giving back always just seems to come back in spades.
RELATED & RELEVANT
You can sign-up here if you want upcoming interviews sent directly to your email, or click the ‘Join us‘ button below!