Reflective Thinking is the Key to Success: Interview with Tech Entrepreneur Noah Blumenthal
Do you want to be a best-selling author? Give a TED Talk? Start your own tech company? What about hearing advice from an executive coach who was named as one of the “Top 100 Minds in Personal Development” by Leadership Excellence Magazine and has done all of the above?
If you answered yes to any or all of the above questions then settle in for a series of short articles which will change your perspective and spark ideas to propel your career.
Your MBA Purpose was honored to interview Noah Blumenthal. He is an award-winning writer and tech founder of SavvyRoo.
During our interview, we specifically focussed on insights and advice he has gathered over two decades of being an executive coach and tech entrepreneur. Over the next three weeks, we will cover his actionable tips for success, advice for starting a career, the three things an executive would say to their younger self, and his morning smoothie with cayenne pepper.
This interview completely altered my paradigm on the essentials of beginning a career whether with a company or starting a business. The goal is that the article would do the same for you.
Who is Noah?
Before we get too deep, you should be asking yourself, who is this Noah character? I was introduced to him by one of our contributors, Alejandro Esquino. Noah and I hit it off and ended up with an interview.
To better understand Noah professionally, some of his accomplishments include:
- Over 15 years as an executive coach
- Keynote speaker at conferences
- Best-selling author, his last book Be the Hero ranked in the top 20 of all books on Amazon while topping the charts in Business, Self-help, Careers, and Success
- TED Talk alumni, where he spoke on the “Danger of Hot Sexy News”
- Co-founding SavvyRoo, a technology company which creates digital collaboration within companies
His credentials are legit and advice profound, yet what about the real Noah? You know the important aspects of his life. Of course, we mean what does he eat for breakfast? His morning routine consists of alternating between two breakfasts.
The first: egg, cashew nuts, and coffee.
The second: cashew nuts, coffee, and an awesome smoothie with bananas, blueberries, grass fed cows milk yogurt, cinnamon, cayenne (pinch), vanilla extract, coconut water, and a blend of hemp/chia/flax seed. My immediate thought was, I need this in my life.
He explained his morning routine provides energy and sets the tone for the day. Although this was a fun question, there is wisdom in his breakfast. The moment you start your day is the moment you decide where the day will take you. Are you going to lazily get out of bed, grab something to eat (if anything at all), or set a standard of excellence which begins you on a path to reaching your goals?
There was one more fun question which really showed who Noah is. I asked, “If you could eat with 3 historical figures who are no longer alive, who would they be and why?” His answers help explain his true self.
- The Happy Buddha: this isn’t the Buddha, instead, this was a Chinese disciple of Buddhism who traveled in the 6th century and was known for an aura of positivity and wisdom which built into his legend. I.e. the joyful Buddha statues you have seen are based on this person. Noah reasoned he would simply like to be around him to experience this level of joy.
- Gandhi: he is one of Noah’s all time heroes, and explained the world could use more of his philosophy and thoughts.
- Victor Frankl: he was a Holocaust Survivor, author of Man’s Search for Meaning, psychologist, and all-around incredible individual. His ideas can be summed up as: you can survive any situation if you have a strong why and purpose.
As we continue, knowing who Noah is will be important to remember as his company and advice rests on the notions of helping others, listening, and collaborating. This series isn’t a puff piece to simply highlight SavvyRoo. Too many people wander through life without a clear purpose.
Take the time to understand the insights over the next three weeks are intended for you to reflect and ask yourself difficult questions which have the ability to push you toward your desired life.
What is SavvyRoo?
Now you have a baseline of who Noah is, let’s look at what he created with co-founder Stephen Ostermiller.
SavvyRoo is an online platform which creates a virtual brainstorm. The software is ideal for teams as a question, or what SavvyRoo calls a “Spark” is submitted, the Spark is sent to teammates, and they play a game of giving answers and voting on the best answers.
Instead of just describing SavvyRoo, take a moment to play their demo.
When I first tried the product I immediately thought of my clients. I sit in many meetings which go on for hours with a few people dominating the conversation. SavvyRoo reduces the overall time of meetings as people give input simultaneously, everyone has the ability to interact, and true collaboration occurs.
To get a better feel for the platform, before the interview we both sent Sparks to our friends. I asked, "What questions would I ask a tech start-up president for an upcoming blog post" while Noah asked, "What are the suggestions you wish you had listened to when you were first starting your professional career?" The results became the questions during our interview.
As you can see, the top answer from my question was, "why did you make this?" The why is really important and a question who should constantly ask yourself. Why do you do what you do?
At first, SavvyRoo was going to be a platform to change the world by providing news backed by factual data (how appropriate for our election season). The platform was built with Noah’s business partner, Stephen Ostermiller, and the idea was universally praised. Here was an important lesson, just because people love the idea, does not mean they will love the product.
For entrepreneurs out there, take the lesson to heart. You could have an amazing idea, but that does not mean it will sell. For Noah and Stephen, they realized facts are difficult to get excited about when the media sensationalizes news. Their idea was sound but the product failed to gain traction.
Time to pivot.
The next iteration was an 8-week long course which was touted as an innovative game to encourage engagement within companies. Again, the problem occurred with the product and not the idea. People loved the idea but were not enthralled by the execution. Noah listened to his customers and took their advice. Here is a key step to your professional path, listen! Data and customers will provide the insights you need to scale your ideas.
Time to pivot again.
SavvyRoo became what customers wanted, an innovative way for people to engage in less than 5-minutes. Now meetings can be conducted in less time than it takes to order a coffee while gaining insights from all employees. It is also ideal for students, imagine how many times you have been doing a group project and you are either stumped on how to proceed or one person takes over the conversation. Send a Spark and all of a sudden ideas burst forth, everyone participates, and it only takes a few minutes. Hello more time, how I missed you.
You will be asked to reflect multiple times in this series. Notice how Noah, although very accomplished, had to be humble and listen to his customers. He could have shrugged them off and kept moving forward. Instead, he was thoughtful and pivoted to create a product which was more than an idea. Now he and his team have something that is both a great idea and a product people want.
Ask yourself some questions:
- Should you pivot ideas? Essentially, is what you are doing in your education or job simply a good idea or something that will get you to your goals?
- Do you listen? Let’s be honest, most of us would enjoy the level of success Noah has already attained, yet if you notice he showed humility by listening to his customers. Are you listening to those around you?
Reflection can be difficult as it shows truths which we don’t always want to face. Perhaps you have spent too much time doing something you don’t enjoy, your habits are not in line with who you want to be, or you are stuck in a rut. These are issues we all deal with and the people who break through obstacles are the ones who are honest with their personal reflections.
Yet, how are you supposed to reflect in your crazy schedule? I get it. I have two businesses, a family, and occasionally a personal life. Time is limited. One of SavvyRoo’s goals is to help people with the time crunch.
On a weekly basis, SavvyRoo has four recurring Sparks. These are four questions to help you reflect and track your progress digitally. Oh by the way . . . it’s free!
The questions relate to your goals, gratitude, recognizing others, and just for Your MBA Purpose’s audience: “What can I do this week to go above and beyond?”
In the next article, we will explain how going above and beyond is one of the foundational elements of successful executives and one you should do weekly.
Check out the recurring Sparks. In a few minutes per week, you can maximize your time and track your answers to important questions.
To sign up for the free weekly Sparks click here, signing up takes a couple minutes and will begin the reflective process to positively change your life.
As we continue in this series we will explore Noah’s experiences as an executive coach and tech entrepreneur. In the next article, our focus will be the three pieces of advice every young professional should hear and do. These three action items are based on working with hundreds of executives and identifying themes.
Then in the third article, we will examine the importance of reflection with questions you should ask yourself weekly. Most people spend their entire week going a hundred miles an hour while never identifying why they are going, where they are going, what they are grateful for, and how they will improve.
We will dissect the science of reflection and key questions to ask.
To learn more about SavvyRoo and to sign-up for their free service visit today, when you are ready to take your business or department to the next level see their paid plans as well.
FOUNDER AND CEO
Heroes: Gandhi, Pema Chodren, Victor Frankl
Noah Blumenthal, a bestselling and award-winning author, brings 20 years of business and consulting experience to SavvyRoo. He has supported the strategic planning and leadership development of senior executives around the globe in financial services, pharmaceuticals, high tech, professional services, manufacturing and more.
Noah was named by Leadership Excellence Magazine as one of the, “Top 100 Minds in Personal Development.” As a keynote speaker Noah has presented at TEDxUNLV, Brandeis University Business Commencement, the Clinton Presidential Library, and numerous conferences and corporate events.
Noah’s most recent book, Be The Hero, reached the top 20 in all books on Amazon, ranked #1 in Business, Self-help, Careers, and Success, appeared in the Wall Street Journal’s list of business bestsellers, and won a Silver Axiom Award for Best Business Fable.
Noah’s goal for SavvyRoo and for life is to contribute to moving our society and world toward more equitable and sustainable ends. When he isn’t dreaming of saving the world, he enjoys playing ukulele, juggling and cheering on the New York City Football Club (COYBIB!).