High-speed chases. Cars crashing through houses. Shots (nearly) fired. And that’s not even the exciting part.
I was 8 when my parents and the doctors sat me down and told me I had a superpower. They called it a bunch of letters – something like ADHD – and looked all sad about it. God only knows why. The awesomeness of my makeup was abundantly clear to me. Nature had put a little whirring motor in my body that few others had. It had selected me to live not a boring life, not a safe life, but a life forever redlining. I had a doctor’s note to go through my entire earthly existence focusing on the most exciting stuff, making up my own instructions, and asking questions while everyone else just stared at their shoes.
Sure, my superpower was hard to control in the beginning.
Hence the high-speed chases. But that’s just my history. That’s not my story.
I’m Dan Martell. A speed demon, a geek and an instigator.
My wife Renee – the love of my life – has a rule: I can drive anything I want as fast as I want, as long as it’s got a roll cage on it. Go hard. Just don’t be stupid.
Decent life advice, right? Fantastic business advice.
You may know me as a programmer. As a mentor at 500 Startups and Highline and an advisor to the likes of Hootsuite. As the guy who raised more than $2M for my startups – Clarity and Flowtown – then grew and successfully exited both. As an investor in 30+ startups you’ve definitely heard of and more than likely used, from Unbounce to Udemy to Intercom. All that stuff is good, and I’m proud of it. It excites me like a car chase never could. But I’d like to invite you to look a little closer.
Just sorta zoom in like you’ve got a superpower – like you’re flying down to earth from way up in the clouds. Your red cape’s flapping. You’ve got one fist punching ahead. You’re zooming through all the money and impressive brand names I’ve just rattled off until you arrive, at last, at a little sandwich shop in downtown San Francisco. You’ll find me here, sitting at a table with eight people who really needed to meet each other. If you’re seeing this, you’re seeing me. I am an amalgam of a hundred thousand people. I look like one person, sure, but that’s just the exterior. Take away the people I know, meet, help, love, mentor and connect with every day, and I vanish. That’s who I am. That’s why I am. I am Dan Martell because of the people who’ve believed in me, shaped me, and allowed me to help them. Now that we’ve met, let me hit you with some serious truth. Because truth is better than anything else.
Here it is:
The more relationships you build, the more exciting life gets.
The people at Portage first helped me manage my superpower. Renee helped me amplify it. The premier of New Brunswick wouldn’t let me give up on it. (Ask me to tell you that story sometime.) Founders like Joe and Brian of Airbnb, Drew of Dropbox, Travis of Uber, Ryan of Hootsuite and yup, even Richard Branson helped show me how to use my powers for incredible, scalable good.
Some would look at my history – no Ivy League, no trust fund – and say I’m a self-made man.
I say there’s no such thing.