I must confess.
I think people are fascinating. It’s been an ambition of mine to have a reason to ask individuals questions and listen to their stories. To discover how they deal with problems and how they overcome obstacles. To ask what compels them to roll out of bed in the morning and what they’ve learned on their journey.
Now I have that reason and I can ask those questions.
Partly deliberately, partly out of necessity, these interviews are not with the famous, the rich, or the influential. They are with people who either don’t get mainstream attention or are unwilling to seek it.
But just because they don’t qualify as internet-famous doesn’t mean they are un-interesting and that we have nothing to learn from them. On the contrary. As a small segment of people seem to occupy more and more of our attention, there’s definite value in going where everybody else ain’t.
And if you’re still unsure that the un-famous don’t have anything to teach, consider this. William F. Buckley hosted Firing Line for over 30 years and interviewed some luminary figures. When asked, “what happens when you get a guest who is not interesting?” Buckley answered:
“That never happens. If you look deeply enough, ninety-nine out of a hundred people are interesting—and the one hundredth person is interesting because he isn’t.”
Bio: Tom Barlow has been training martial arts since 1998 and Jiu-Jitsu since late 2005. A black belt under Braulio Estima (promoted in 2011), Tom is considered to be one of the UK’s best competitors. His notable achievements include:
– No Gi World Champion 2013/14/15
– British Champion 2009/10/11/12
– European Champion 2015
– British Team Member 2007/8
– Polaris Veteran
– ADCC Veteran
Tom also runs two successful martial arts academies in Plymouth, is a Scramble-sponsored athlete, and regularly travels to compete and train with the world’s best.
What We Talk About: Finding balance. The early days of BJJ and MMA. Developing a competitive mindset. The different modes of training and practice. The value of teaching. The principles of jiu-jitsu. Applying what you know under pressure.
Bio: Jo Middleton is the writer and creator of the award-winning parenting and lifestyle blog Slummy Single Mummy. Jo lives in Somerset and has two daughters, aged 14 and 21.
What We Talk About: Being mindful of what you put online. Growing organically. Cracking coconuts. Remaining open to possibilities. Attempting to craft a childhood. Searching for something more.
Bio: Darren Yeoman is the Head Grappling Instructor and Owner of Fightworx Martial Arts Academy. He was awarded his Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt in February 2012 and has competed in major tournaments, such as the World, European and British BJJ championships. During his two decades of grappling, he has also trained extensively in Judo, Sambo and freestyle wrestling. Darren spends his days learning with and coaching a wide variety of jiu-jitsu and MMA students.
What we talk about: The problem with modern jiu-jitsu. Being original and competing where you’re strong. Power and self-confidence. Establishing a base before starting a business. Women and combat sports. Making the martial arts accessible. Who benefits most from jiu-jitsu. Ego and responding to feedback. Learning via problem solving. Transcending the tribal mindset.
Bio: Gwen Yi is an award-winning entrepreneur, writer, and community builder from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She has founded (and failed) 3 startups, grown 5 for-purpose communities, and travel-hacked 8 countries, all by the age of 22. From marketing the largest TEDx conference in Asia to winning $100,000 USD in a global hackathon, she has accumulated a wealth of experience every budding entrepreneur can learn from.
What we talk about: Thinking global, acting local. Intellectual courage. Initiating change in yourself and others. Analogous thinking. Building a foundation for the future. The tribeless. Dropping out of college. Community, responsibility and accountability.
Bio: Andrew Lynch is an accountant, consultant and writer. He has previously worked for a large, old-fashioned insurance company, and a three man startup co-founded by Tucker Max. He likes football, steak, wine, and books, and occasionally writes at AndrewLynch.net. A graduate of the University of Leeds, he now lives in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK.
What we talk about: The difference between what you think you want and what you actually want. Circles of competence. Career capital. Entrepreneurial strategies and myths. Mitigating risk and maintaining optionality. Process improvement. Deliberate practice. The power of reading.
Bio: Lyndon Lane is the founder of LDN Fitness, a strength and conditioning facility that specialises in providing high level programming and coaching to youth athletes. He’s been involved in strength and conditioning since he was 15, and has worked with a vast array of people with different abilities, backgrounds and objectives. You can find him at www.ldnfts.co.uk and follow him on Instagram.
What we talk about: Striking a balance between being a coach and a friend. The value of understanding your own mortality. The 50/45/5 customer model. Integrity. Positioning a business and adapting to demand. Suffering better.