Submarines, Software, Mindset, and Startups with Andrew Amann

Andrew Amann is the CEO and co founder of NineTwoThree, an Inc 5000 software studio.  What that means is that he and his team build software for clients needs.  His team has also has spun off many SaaS product out of the studio.

Andrew is a friend and, very importantly, a business partner in my project VideoSnap.  VideoSnap is a content repurposing too that that allows users to upload longform audio or video and quickly create social ready video shorts in just a couple clicks.

I built this tool specifically to scratch my own itch of getting the best moments of this podcast out in front of more people on the podcast.  And Andrew’s team has been a big part of that process.

I really enjoyed speaking with Andrew.  He’s one of my go-to friends when it comes to ideas around mindset as an Entrepreneur.

It’s really special to get to share this conversation with you.  I hope you enjoy it.


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In this episode you’ll learn:

  • Andrew’s early career before he got into software
  •  Andrew’s experience working in Nuclear submarines and interesting facts about submarine
  •  Transitioning from working with Submarine to Software and Entrepreneur
  •  Andrew’s apprenticeship model of transitioning from worker to entrepreneur
  •  How he found the people who’d help build their company
  •  Where the name  923 came from
  •  What forced him to be Full Time in Software Entrepreneur
  •  Andrew’s process of getting clients when he was a starting entrepreneur vs to how he gets clients now
  •  Andrew’s advice to listeners and the idea  of apprenticeship

Resources Mentioned:

Andrew’s website

Software Generated Transcription:

Dan: Andrew, thank you so much for joining me. Welcome to The Meaning Movement podcast. It’s great to have you.

Andrew: thanks for having me, Dan.

Dan: The question I like to start with is how do you begin to talk about the work that you do?

Andrew: Begin to talk about the work that I do. Uh, if I talk about it from a human perspective, as opposed to like the work that I do, I believe that I’m a products builder. I’m a person that creates products for companies and for startups. And I take those products from basic ideas or conceptual, uh, conceptual drawings, wire frames, napkins, whatever they are and put them into reality and give them to the world to test out and.

Dan: I love it. I love it. So just to, uh, fill that out even a little bit more specifically software, right.

Andrew: Yes. It’s always been software. Although like, I mean, I have a coach now, too, and we look back at like when I was a kid, I always used to play with Legos even through high school and stuff. So, and you know, when I was growing up, I was a mechanical engineer through college, so there’s a lot of hardware stuff early in my years, but I switched to software when I realized software was the future.

Yeah,

Dan: yeah, yeah. isn’t that one of the great parts about having kids is that you get an excuse to play with Legos. Again,

Andrew: I hon honestly, it’s I buy the Lego kit because half, because I wanna play with them. And then I try to get my kids to build them with me. And then even if they like walk away, I’m still like, well, I still wanna build this. Like we didn’t finish.

Dan: Someone’s gotta finish it. 

Andrew: It’s like Zorg has two legs and needs like a head still, like let’s, let’s finish the head.

Dan: I love it. I love it. So, uh, tell me what you mean about, um, software being the future. sounds like that was kind of a transitional moment for you.

Andrew: I was in college, uh, as a mechanical engineer and I think it was the right move for me just because I, well, I, I tried as a software engineer for my first two years, but when you’re in college as an engineer, all those first two year classes are the same, regardless of what your, you know, specific major is.

And so, uh, I I was taking software engineering classes and I decided to be a software major. And I didn’t fit in. I never coded before I was learning from scratch and everybody else in the class, you know, had this dedication, this just like career from high school of, of coding. And so I was so far behind, even in those first few classes.

And so it was really easy to switch mechanical engineering. Um, but for me it like was a great. Place for me to be, I, I fit in, I, you know, was able to do the type of work I did well in school. And when I graduated, I worked on nuclear submarines for the first, you know, five years of my life. And again, it’s, it was a good transition to be in a mechanical engineering environment.

Um, but software was the transition, you know, apps were coming out in 2012, 13. That was, you know, when I started my first dive into apps, but I’d always fiddled with computers and I just saw more freedom there than mechanical.

Dan: Yeah. Yeah. Well, so tell me about nuclear submarines. Like you can’t just like skip over nuclear submarines. Like what were you living on a submarine? Were you building submarines? Like what were you doing?

Andrew: Yeah. So, uh, when you graduate as mechanical engineer, I was at university of Connecticut and, uh, Connecticut has a lot of government different. I guess they call ’em civilian companies that you can work for building different parts of the army or the Navy. And so when you graduate in the career fair there’s tanks, which is right down there in Connecticut, there’s Otis elevators, which is not really military, but elevators are kind of cool, uh, submarines.

You have Sikorsky which is helicopters. Uh, you have Pratt Whitney, which is a lot of the, um, airplanes that they built. And so there’s a bunch and, you know, Raytheon is up here too. So you graduate and you have all those options for me, nuclear submarines kind of fit the billers near the ocean. I love the water.

Um, but I was a civilian engineer that built parts of the submarine. The part that I was responsible for was called the hovering. And what that does is when the submarine is going out for a mission, it ends up needing to stay in a single split, uh, spot in the water at a certain time. And there’s a lot of movements going on.

You know, water’s moving all the time and what the hovering pumps responsibility is, is to figure out all the algorithm of what water is coming towards it. What tides are being pushed against it and keeping the sub in one spot in the ocean without moving. That was its goal.

Dan: Wow. That’s awesome. It sounds, that’s like way more complicated. Like, I don’t know. You just think like, well, submarine, just this thing that this tank that needs to be underwater, but then you think about like, oh, does it keep, keep a submarine in one spot is actually pretty complicated. I 

Andrew: Yeah, the AC 

Dan: thought about that before.

Andrew: you know, what the most, uh, top secret and interesting thing about a submarine is, is the fact that submarines do not create bubbles. and the technology that goes into not allowing submarines to create bubbles is some of the most top secret stuff. Because if you create a bubble, you give up your location or the sound of the bubble popping gives up your location.

And so the science and technology, and I’m sure there’s another word of like Aqua engineering of not creating bubbles is one of the highest sought after jobs. Yeah. Yeah.

Dan: That’s that’s amazing. That’s amazing. Well, my kids would be so dismayed about that because they’re, they would love it if there could just professionally make bubbles. Um,

Andrew: Yeah. But you think about it, like how do you move water without pushing air and how do you surface and go underwater without pushing? There’s a lot of calculations in there and it’s, it’s amazing. The submarine is still today. I think the only piece of technology that we have on earth that is, you don’t know where it is on earth, cause our radars have gotten so good with the air.

I don’t even think they use stealth jets anymore. Right. Cause we just figured out how to find jets in the air. um, so I think the submarine is kind of the last known secret of doing things on earth without people knowing where they are.

Dan: Fascinating. I love that. Yeah. I’m just having visions in my head. I’m like I’m dating myself hunt hunt for red October and like, you know, uh, submarine that’s when I think of submarines. That’s what I

Andrew: Yeah, but there’s a, when you go on a submarine, it is nothing like the movies. Um, all those rooms that you’ve seen on the movies with the digital screens and all that it’s nonexistent, like submarines are not like that. And you can see ’em on Wikipedia, so it’s not like a top secret, but when you are standing in a spot, it is impossible for the person to walk behind you or in front of you.

Anywhere in the submarine, even in that like pretty room when like, you know, who is it? It’s um, Sean Connery is in one of those movies and he is like in his bed and there’s like a wall and he has like, he can walk around his room. No, no, it’s wherever you’re standing to your right is an object to left is an object to the front of you is an object.

It is very tight and I’m six feet and I have to wear a hard hat. And you don’t know the distance between your hard hat is an extra four. The ceiling is six feet and I constantly hit my head on all the pipes and stuff. So yeah, it’s, it’s very tight.

Dan: were you, were you primarily, I assume you were primarily working on actually on the, the boats when they were not out. Um,

Andrew: Yeah. Yeah.

And 

Dan: I was just curious, like, did you go out on missions or did you go under 

Andrew: No, there is an engineering group called the test group, uh, which everyone wanted to be in because once the submarine goes through a specific, like they come to the dock and they get refurbished for some sort of thing, or they just get restocked or whatever it happens to be, then they go out for testing and that’s when they breach.

And so the, the famous story is if you are a testing engineer, And you go out for the breach, they go down to, to test depth, right. Which is pretty deep it’s, it’s classified how deep it is and the rope, they tie a rope on the submarine from side to side. And the engineers have to sit where the nuclear missiles go, cause there’s no nuclear missiles.

And so there’s this thing called the dance floor and they all the engineers sit in the dance floor with this rope tied from end to end. And as you go down in depth, the hull will collapse the rope will sink. And so you sit there with nothing to do. Except watch this rope start bending, which means the hull is compressing in on you.

And you have nowhere to go and sit there until

you sit there until they hit test depth and then they come back up to surface and the rope expands 

again 

Dan: Is

the rope there just to, just to freak you out.

Andrew: yeah. Oh yeah. I mean the stories are there to freak you out. It did, they actually put a rope? It makes sense that the rope would sink as the hall collapses. I mean, but they would always say that you’d sit there and watch the rope.

And that’s what they meant is they would watch that rope sag. Yeah.

Dan: I love it. That’s terrifying. That’s, that’s really terrifying. And just like the fact that you’re, you’re so deep under all this pressure and there’s nowhere to move. That just sounds

Andrew: no, no.

Dan: so scary.

Andrew: Yeah. So me personally, to answer your question now, I was in either Puget sound, Virginia or Gratton Connecticut on a submarine that was docked in a like boatyard where you can walk on and off at any time, pass the guards with the guns. But 

yeah,

Dan: That’s so great. That’s so great. So then tell me about the transition from, from working on submarines to, to software you’re you’ve already alluded to it a little bit, but I mean, it’s a big, it’s a big change. It’s a, it sounds like a leap.

Andrew: Yeah, software, you know, 2008 was a different world, right? I mean, think back then it was what is what 12, 14 years ago at this point. But at that time we had just discovered. Computers in your house, right? Like we barely were having computers. We were still texting by typing three times on the same digit.

Right. And like our cell phone plans had 10 cent texts. And you know, that was the big, so transitioning from 2008 to 2012, where the years that I was working on the submarine and mechanical engineering was fine, but software started to make a transition to the mobile. And I saw that coming as I was having a lot of fun with the mobile phones that I was playing with, but I realized that like, there was a huge future with building apps and the ability to get your software onto somebody else’s device.

To perform a task, whatever that task was was just inspiring. Cause it’d be in their pocket. And you know, at the time we were replacing so many things that there was a translator for the people that don’t know are too young. In this podcast, you would go to another country and you had this little keyboard and you type in the word that you wanted somebody to read and they would translate to the English word and there’s a flashlight.

And there’s all these things that like the cell phone is. now You know, taken over and it was just inspiring to be a part of that revolution and say, you know, we’re gonna try to solve a problem. And so in 2012, you know, myself and my co-founder Pavel we decided to solve the digital business card problem. Well, the business card problem by putting digital in front of it.

But our idea was basically to replace digital business cards.

Dan: I love it. I love it. And, uh, so were you at that point, did you just go all in like, Hey, this is what we’re gonna do. Did you, you know, were you working on the side? Like, tell me about the, the, the transition. Was it a cl, was it a clean break? Was it a 

gradual, a gradual switch? What was that like?

Andrew: Yeah. And I’m a huge teacher of this. I think now if you are on my website or blogs, um, I believe I did it the right way and I believe that it is a stress free to do the transition into a startup. And I call it, uh, Ryan, um, holiday calls it, the canvas model. I like calling it like the apprenticeship model of.

Working for somebody that is paying your paycheck, you know, from a nine to five job and doing that action as well as you can. And so in 2012, I was working still on the nuclear submarines, but I was creating entrepreneurial experiences for myself, which they call entrepreneurial, uh, jobs at that company.

And at the same time I was exploring software, which I wasn’t capable of getting while I was at my job. I was exploring software from, you know, 9:00 PM till 3:00 AM So while I was at my job, I was still performing as well as I could. And I was actually creating opportunities for myself. And at the same time when I left work, you know, I was single at the time too.

It made it a lot easier to just work on my passion, which was. The entrepreneurial side of software. And so there wasn’t a clean break at all. It took five years of doing that. You know, our company today is called 9 2 3 because Pavel and I like, I’m not even kidding. Every night for five years, worked from 9:00 PM to 3:00 AM on our side project cause we loved it.

And then when that got inquired in 2016, uh, we just, we kept the team and just kept going.

Dan: Wow. I I’ve always been curious about the, uh, about the name, the, the name and with those numbers before I assumed it was like an area code or something. That’s But I love that nine to three. That’s so great. Where did you meet at what point did you meet Pavel And did you have a concept or did you meet him and then choose a concept?

Andrew: so after the submarines, I had created experiences for myself that other companies wanted me to work for them to do. And it was more that I call it entrepreneurial, but I was creating software like processes and systems inside of. The nuclear submarine companies and also for this company called Weir, which is in Massachusetts.

So I moved up to Massachusetts at this time with my now wife. And when you get to Boston, after coming from Connecticut, you’re all of a sudden presented with like a city, with people and like movements and a bunch of startups and MIT. And you’re like, well, it’s be cool if I can meet some other people that are also trying to, to build companies.

And so I started there, I started going from event to event. And as you’re going to events, I’m shaking hands thinking, this is awful that I have to have a business card and I don’t even have a business, uh, just to like collect numbers. And so I had come up with this idea and I started working on with some Chinese manufacturers, the ability for two people to shake hands with wristbands on and send information back and forth between those wristbands to the phones.

And so I had printed out how to do the wristband. I had figured out the Chinese supply chain of like how to get that wristband to us. And so then I printed it on a pamphlet and walked around to all these meetups and passed out the pamphlet to find a developer to code it. And Pavel was that person. He was like, yeah, he looks like he has no clue what he’s doing.

I will help him.

Dan: I love it. And he was at a meetup just to meet other people that were interested in, in tech or like, what was like, why was he, what was he looking for?

Andrew: I think Pavel, uh, Pavel had many entrepreneurial experiences he’s from Israel. Um, and so a lot of his friends and other travelers from Israel that had made it over here to the states had started companies in the past. And I think Inigo was his fifth company. If I’m not mistaken that had started up, the other four had failed.

And he said they had failed because he built the code. properly The sales and marketing never was executed. He could never find somebody that like had a passion enough to, to grow it. And so when he met me, he’s like, this is the first person that like just keeps going, even though we’re kind of failing for the first two years, he just, Andrew kept going.

And so I think Pavel you know, while why he was at that event, cause he wanted to find that person that can help. Be the sales side while he can develop, cause he really did want to build a startup, I believe. Um, but when you’re a coder and you’re as smart as Pavel is, you know, you need that like other half, just like I needed the other half, I needed Pavel on my side.

Cause I didn’t know how to code. Right. So it was like a match that we kind of fit the puzzle pieces together.

Dan: I love it. I love it. And so what year was it when you met, when you met Pavel?

Andrew: 2012.

Dan: 2012. And so you had that concept, you met Pavel and then you built it up and then you exited that company in 2016.

Andrew: 2016. Yeah.

Yep. 

Dan: Wow. That’s That’s incredible.

Andrew: It might be 2017. It might be. Yeah, no, it’s 2016. It’s yeah, somewhere in there. Yeah. It was five years. There was officially five years, but I also think we started transacting emails like the end of 2011, which makes the 2016, the end of 2016, the five year mark. Exactly.

Dan: Yeah. Yeah. And then at what point in that journey did you go, did you quit the quit, the submarine job?

Andrew: Yeah. So, uh, I went from nuclear submarines to Weir and while I was at Weir building an Inigo and working a day job, um, I had created a, uh, patented supply chain system. Basically. I was the first person to put Bluetooth into a supply chain in manufacturing. And so we got three United States patents on how to flow parts through a manufacturing floor and track them in real time using Bluetooth triangulation.

And so I had created this whole system. I presented it like a thousand times telling ’em how much money they were gonna save. Finally, they, you know, succumbed to my annoyance of telling them that we should do this. And so I created this system and then I created a job for myself to maintain this system.

And I started traveling around the world trying to implement it. Cause they had like 45 nuclear plants that were building different parts of, uh, nuclear power plants, like, you know, uh, pumps or heat exchangers. And I started traveling around the world trying to install this. And nobody wanted it. So I came back home and they laid me off.

Uh, so it wasn’t exactly like I’d quit. It was, Hey, you’ve now been laid off, you know, this was 26, early 2016 6 months ago. Pavel had just quit his job to focus full time in Inigo So, you know, Pavel quit his job six months go by. I get laid off. Now him and I, the only thing we have to rely on is this startup that we’ve building for five years.

And when you really put all your energy into one thing, we were able to get it acquired, you know, three months later.

Dan: Wow. Wow. That’s fast 3 

Andrew: yeah

months

Was it, was it profitable at that point? Cool.

It was to the point where one of us would, I think, yeah, one of us would start being paid. For sure. One of us could make like equivalent of a salary, uh, especially during tax season. One of our biggest customers was, uh, tax agent. And so he would transact basically between like January and April. And so that was the time when Pavel quit, like right before tax season and that would’ve, Surco like, it would’ve survived.

One of. us And So we needed to get two of us to survived for the next year. The acquisition just was a, it was a match for us at the time.

Dan: Yeah. And then that I I’m just, you know, filling in some of the gaps, like I assume that capital gave you the runway to then keep going and find your next project, your next thing to build.

Andrew: Yeah, it was an acquihire. So our next two years was building specifically for this company, uh, the same product we had built for five years. We built it into their product and they’re now the fourth fastest growing company in Canada. Uh, even today they’re, they’re still doing very well, but that process like of getting acquired and building, we were still consultants.

We weren’t employees. And so we still had our three or four projects that we had been working on the side. One of them being a baby monitor, and we were balancing all of that. What we found was most rewarding about our jobs. And our days was the team. We had acquired this awesome team over the years and because they weren’t part of the acquisition, they were still available to work and stay with 9 2, 3.

And you know, that was the best part about this is we just continued to build products for cool people over the years.

Dan: I love it. I love it. And so then what I mean, I, I just love so much of your story cause it feels like you’ve continually just had to, I don’t know. I feel like the continual process of reinventing yourself. This is what I always tell people that entrepreneurship is at its core is like having to. Come become a new person, every, you know, I don’t know.

It feels like once a year in my, in my case. 

Um, but I see that in your, in your, your process, cause it’s like, okay, now, now you have to go land some clients. Right. And like, that’s a new, that’s a new thing. Um, and so like, I don’t know how, where do you start? How did that, how do you fill up the pipeline?

You’ve got these guys ready to work.

Andrew: Yeah. to switch to an agency model is, is probably one of the easier startup. You know, mentalities, you can get yourself into, because it has such instant gratification. One of the problems when you build software is you go through the software cycle, first of building the product, and then you wait for the gratification because you know, one person signs up, then three people sign up, then 10 people sign up and then you have to pivot, cause you’re like, well, you know, my original ideas, not really working but with consulting, you get that instant gratification that like somebody wants me to help them.

And once you find that, you’re like, oh, this is great. I can help you for a month. But the profits, it’s, it’s a hundred percent profit, right? If it’s just you and it’s your time. But once you start adding the team to that, now you start realizing how to run a business in which not only can you consult, but you can repeat consult.

And I think the knowledge of that and the understanding of that, we all kind of, know it’s just consultancy gets such a bad wrap that people like I’d rather build a software product, cause it has higher returns. Well, it doesn’t have higher profit margins. though Profit margins can be just time based. It’s what you charge your customers.

It’s what you believe you can charge your customers. And so I think, you know, we built product, product, product, product. We got acquired, we were building a product, but in the core essence, what we were really good at was telling people how to build products properly. And once we like it took us until literally last year.

So 2021 to all sit down and tell each other we’re really good at building products for other people. We don’t need to be the sales and marketing and advertising and all that. That’s not our jam. Like that’s not our expertise, it’s not our, I ICP, whatever, like the word you want to use. We’re really good at building products.

And we should just double down on that and find how to do that over and over again. And consultants, if you do that, people will come to you rather than you seeking them.

Dan: Mm. Mm. Just because you are the product guys, you’re the guys who, I mean, I know I, I made an introduction for you earlier this week because I like this sounds like the kind of thing that Andrew and his team would crush. Um, and so yeah, that, that, that’s what you mean. Like, they’ll come to you.

Andrew: Yeah, there’s, there’s, uh, a thought process. I think Dan, you and I are reading the same book now, uh, by Jen Sincero but there’s a thought process that she preaches in it of when you go out into the world and ask for things, you won’t receive it, right. Because you’re specifically trying to force something towards you.

So you’re, you’re, you’re taking your ego and you’re saying, please give me this because I want it. The difference is you go out into the world and you say, I’m going to ask for an experience, or I’m gonna ask for an existence, or I’m gonna, I’m gonna be part of like this success story and I’m gonna manifest it.

How am I gonna manifest it? I’m not gonna ask for this specific item. I’m gonna ask for this to happen to me. So, you you know, you wanna be a consultant, you ask the world like, all right, who else do I know that’s a consultant. How can I manifest the fact that I need to get business into the door? And then you go through that process of bringing them in through.

Them coming to you because you’ve put out into the world. Like I want to, I want to help a certain type of person. Then those people are like, well, I need to be helped. And I see that Andrew’s trying to help this type of person. I will ask him to help me, as opposed to me being like, Hey person, do you need help?

I’m gonna go do this and this and this for you. Like, they’re like, take it easy. Like I don’t need, I don’t, you need you now. But if you find the right person at the right time as a consultant, they’re coming to you.

Dan: I love it. And it’s just such a, I don’t know, it’s much, so much more of an invitation. It feels like than like it’s not hard sales, right? You’re not forcing anyone or coercing anyone you’re inviting and helping. And I think just a, a healthier way to build something to yeah. To

Andrew: Yeah. And I remember we were struggling as an agency, you know, just a year and a half ago of getting our own sales. And I talked to a guy who was in a much larger agency. And he said to me, he is like, it’s easy people just talk to you. People just, you just talk to them, they talk to you and then you sell.

And I was like, no, it’s not easy. Like, I, I can’t take that first step to, to get enough client work in the door. I’m worried we’re not gonna have an agency in a year. Like I have all these worries and he’s like, sales should not be your problem. And he explained to me why, and he gimme all the details. The now, if I had to advise somebody and they called me, like I called him, I would tell them like, sales is easy.

You just have to talk to people. You just have to get ’em in the door and just tell ’em like what they like and what they want. And then they’ll start working with you. And the only difference was I had no confidence when I was doing it years ago, because I didn’t believe that the product was going to actually help them.

I believe that that product was just gonna gimme money to get to the next project. Once I realized that like, we’re really good at what we do. And people really wanna work with us now I just call and be like, Hey, like what do you wanna build? All right, cool. We’ll build that. Like, when do you wanna start?

Right. Like I have the confidence that we’re there for them. And it’s the same confidence that like a coach has in his basketball player. Right. That basketball player, like LeBron doesn’t need to prove that he can take the last shot, but the coach wants to push him and push him and push him and push him so that he can be in the right, like state of mind and the right frame of reference so that when the last shot comes, he knows exactly what to.

do

Dan: Yes. I love that. I love it. And it, it just takes so much of the anxiety out of that conversation, cause

you’re just

you’re not trying to, you’re not trying to extract money. You’re trying to help somebody and that’s such a fundamentally different, um, outcome, different way of viewing, viewing it, which, which is great.

Did you always like think of yourself as an entrepreneur?

Andrew: I think I had a tough growing up of who I was. I, um, I had a lot of, I didn’t have friends growing up. I didn’t have, you know, relationships growing up. So I think I had a lot of lonely, like Years, uh, through high school and college. Um, so I didn’t know what I was going to be, but I knew I was gonna build something.

And I always knew that building something made me happy. It took this last year, these last two years for me to realize that like I needed to have more like confidence in being happy rather than ego. And status and I, as soon as I separated those, I think, you know, knowing that you’re an entrepreneur is different than just like going online, seeing Y Elon Musk and being like, I can do that too.

Cause I’m awesome. And then just pretending and taking the steps and reading the books and like just being an entrepreneur. Once I succumb to the fact that I’m like really enjoying what I’m doing and work is not stressful and I’m happy now, I just feel like if I had to identify myself. I identify as an entrepreneur because that’s who I am to make me happy.

So I think the difference is like, I always knew I needed to build something. Now I’m finally identifying as like that builder that is successful

Dan: Yeah.

Andrew: that is confident. I should say. That is confident.

Dan: Yeah. Well, I, I love that because it also feels like, um, a more, I don’t know, generous or broad approach to identity like that. You’re a builder. And like there’s a different, a lot of different ways that you could put a lot of different places. You could put that energy, 

Andrew: Yes. 

Dan: building, power in the world, as you did it as an entrepreneur, right.

You were building for the companies that you worked for. And so then the, the, the. Current iteration of, of Andrew is as an entrepreneur, cause you’re just applying that energy towards entrepreneurship, which I think

is great

Andrew: Correct

There’s a frequency. Right. And I was always striving to be that entrepreneur by like reading the books and practicing and being like, oh, I can just like bounce at this wavelength. I know how to do it cause I see how you do it. And then there’s all of a sudden just being that frequency and just.

Always having that energy and always matching the client and always just being like, yeah, this is what we need to do together. And I’m not pretending anymore. I’m just balancing that frequency and that person has that same frequency and we’re just, we’re just sine waving together. Um, and, but I don’t like looking back, I don’t think you can achieve that without the hustle and the stress, because you don’t know enough, you, you you’re resonating at a lower frequency when you’re in college.

Right? Like alcohol is like a shiny object and, you know, dating is a shiny object and so you’re not focused. And then it takes kids and family and failures and all that. And then all of a sudden you start, you know, balancing yourself back out again. And I think that that hustle is what gets you there, but then once you’re there, you realize.

This is what I wanted

Dan: I love it, which is how you said that, like you’re, you’re, you’re trying to be at that frequency and then, and then you become that frequency. Like that feels, that feels like a kind of a, I don’t know, I kind of feel that in my, feel that in my chest, when you said that, I was like, oh, that’s super, super interesting framing.

And I think like, how do you, what does that mean for like the ideas of fake it till you make it. Like, are you still faking it till you make it? But I don’t know. I just, I, yeah. What, how do you respond to that, that, that concept, which is so popular, right?

Andrew: Yeah, you look back and you know, when you were faking it, right, you can always look back and you can say, I was trying to be somebody I’m not. And it just means that you were resonating at a different frequency, but you read a book and you knew what you needed to do at that time to respond. So you’re like, I’m just gonna pretend that I’m bouncing in wave in sineal form with whoever else I see.

Right. I see what Elon Musk does every day. He tweets every day. I’m gonna tweet every day. He, you know, reads a book every day. I’m gonna read a book every day and you look back and you realize you’re faking it till you make it. Now I look at it and I can, I can understand when I’m off frequency and I’m trying to force myself back on and it’s not meditative.

It’s more understanding the balance of, Hey, this was working for me before and today just feels off. So I need to just fake a little bit today to bring that frequency back. But in reality, it’s, it’s kind of succumbing to your, your ego as opposed to just remaining confident and remaining calm and remaining like stress free so that you can resonate more regularlly 

Dan: Yeah

And so then if you’re in that, you know, if you’re off frequency, and you’re like, I, I’m not where I, where I need to be. Would you say that the goal is not to try to force yourself, you know, to, to that level or. Yeah, I guess, what would you say like is, is that, is that a, is it a bad thing to, fake it?

Andrew: That’s a tough one, right? Because. it’s impossible to stay resonating consistently and daily and monthly, whatever you wanted to say. It’s like just physically impossible with all the stresses that we have from outside forces. and I, you do have your updates and your bad days, but. For the most part. I think, you know, we hear the Budda talk or like Naval talk or something like that.

You realize that they can maintain that level regardless of outside circumstances. And even when you read stoicism, there’s that emotionless state that they try to put themselves in so that you can’t be affected. The more you practice that. I wonder how beneficial it is because you’re not responding truly of how you’re feeling.

You’re not like showing your emotions. Um, so I don’t know. It’s something, I guess you gotta play with, with what keeps you happy. But I think when you get bounced off from your frequency levels, especially for a day, maybe it’s okay just to like let that day pass and figure out the next day. Right. Instead of focusing so hardly like, like stoicism tells you is like, ignore the outside circumstances.

And focus on what you can control, which is fine. If you can do that. But if you can’t do that, kind of like drowns you out and it gets you more affected and then you just, you know, spitter,

Dan: Yeah, no, I, I like that. I like that. How do you think about, and I think we’re already talking about this, but I’m, I’m curious for you, like, how do you think about words like vocation or calling or purpose or, or like, like, I think that, that, that builder, like you said, you knew you were gonna be a builder.

Um, maybe, maybe just start, like, what is that? How, how do you

Andrew: Yeah. Vocation. Vocation’s s one of those words that when you study it, you realize how true it is to an entrepreneur. Right? Because I think most entrepreneurs can say, I have manifested my vocation. I have become my vocation. Right. Like my hobby is now my vocation. I think an entrepreneur can gladly say. Uh, that they’re kind of one unit when somebody is stuck in a day job, I think they alter their vocation into their hobby because they enjoy doing something which isn’t work, or they enjoy doing something that doesn’t bring them money, which they call a hobby.

Right. And I think what an entrepreneur can do so well is figure out how to marry the two of, I really enjoy this and it can be profit. And You think of most entrepreneurs that, you know, we read in the books and stuff, they figured out to do it on a massive scale because Elon Musk is having so much fun.

Dan: Yeah.

Andrew: Richard Branson is having so much fun. Right. And even people like Charlie Munger, like they are still entrepreneurs and they just fully enjoy what they’re doing. So they’ve been able to bring their vocation to profitable like returns. And so I think that’s kind of ties the entrepreneurial. If you want to like use those words.

But I think the downside is when you start chasing a vocation, that’s a hobby that doesn’t have returns. Like let’s say, I don’t know, gift like basket weaving or something like that. You have a ceiling, right? Like it’s gonna be very hard. Even if you love basket weaving, you’re gonna have a very hard ceiling of like being profitable and you’re probably still gonna always need another job.

So where did that conversation go? I’m not positive, but I think the, what you asked is how do you marry the two? And I think vocation and profitability is what an entrepreneur can do.

Dan: Yeah. Well, I think you’re answering it from your, you know, from your experience, which is as an entrepreneur. And so I think that makes sense, right? You’re not, you’re not, 

um, 

a basket Weaver or, know, in a creative field, that’s really hard to make it a painter or something that You know, not trying to make it as an artist and like artists, you know, it’s the top, you know, point 0.01% that actually get to like, make a really good living at their art it’s possible, but 

a different. Um, 

path that you’re on. So I love that. I love that. 

What do you, 

when you think about, you know, again, just kinda looking at your zooming out on, in your career, your trajectory, when you think about like the future and what comes next, like what’s the next iteration? I mean, and I know that you, 

you, 

like, I assume the answer is, I don’t know, but 

like, 

what

do you

know 

Andrew: No

I didn’t think it was important for a while 

to, 

to plan that. And I think that comes from the ego. Just forcing yourself to be successful at regardless of what it takes. But I think once you then start getting your way form 

and, 

and understanding how business is working and what works well, what doesn’t work well, and you’re at the state of just kinda like happiness, happiness with the business, happiness, with the results that we’re getting, cause we’ve been through so much in the last two years between the Ukraine war and 

um, 

COVID I think the next 10 years is basically trying to find this place in the world where.

We are the experts at this and people come to us. 

Uh, 

regardless of us outreaching or whatever it happens to be, we’re just 

this, 

this core, this ball of energy that when somebody has a specific problem, that they need 

a, 

a product, whether it’s a mobile app or, 

Dan: you know, 

Andrew: a web app, and they say, 

Dan: you know, 

Andrew: I have a hundred thousand dollars.

I don’t want to do VC backing. I don’t want to go put together a team of five people. I just wanna build a product with people that will take away by headache and build a world class product that works 100% of the time scales massively because they know how to scale products and can just be beautifully designed.

They think of 9, 2, 3. And I think if we can achieve that, all of the little pieces that we’re building now is putting us out into the ether of. like Marketing and sales and partnerships and friends, and trying to bring this world to understand what we do so that when somebody thinks of us, we don’t have to do any outreach whatsoever.

People would say, yeah, you just go work with 9, 2, 3, like you did with your friend.

Yes. I love it. I love it. Well, I think that’s a, that’s a great reality that I, 

Dan: I, um, yeah, I, I 

Andrew: hope I could be a part of, 

Dan: uh, 

Andrew: helping you, 

Dan: helping you 

Andrew: build, right. Like, just like I did with 

Dan: my, my, with, with, with 

Andrew: Paul, 

Dan: my 

friend, like, you know, like this is, 

Andrew: this is the right fit. This feels good to, you know, that’s 

Dan: the right, right.

Andrew: The right energy that you’re you’re attracting, which is really, really.

great

Right.

And I think it’s result based and I appreciate you thinking of us and bringing us people that you know, are in that mode of I need a product. 

Um, 

but I think it’s also 

Dan: like 

Andrew: just a balance 

of, 

of results. If we perform badly, we wouldn’t get recommended. So we have to keep that performance up. And the only way to do that is to hire phenomenal people.

Right? And they have to have the same morals and the same work ethics, and have the same beliefs. And no matter what project or what team you’re working on, when you come to 923 we all have the same motives and objectives and same kind of style of communication. And so that helps the entire growth, cause no matter what part of our business you’re touching.

You’re you’re getting the same results. So when Paul comes to work for us or, you know, Paul’s asking for a project, I know the team that I’m giving him is gonna be just as good as our a plus team. Yeah.

Dan: Yeah, I love that. That’s fantastic. Well, just to kinda zoom out again here, 

um, 

for people listening, people usually push, 

push, 

play on this podcast, cause 

they’re, 

they’re looking for, you know, some sort of increase in their sense of purpose or fulfillment in their life or work, you know, whether it’s in a career or outside of a career, 

But a lot of times they get really stuck along the way.

And aren’t sure where to turn. And I’m curious if you have, whether it’s, you know, from your experience 

with, 

if you’ve ever been in moments like that in your career, or just advice that you’d have for people who are in a space like that, I’m curious if you have any, any words of encouragement 

or, 

or inspiration that you could offer listeners right now.

Andrew: Sure. So I think a lot of people get in this situation in which what they’re trying to do is, is create an instant win for themselves and they can go online and they can go on social media and they’re watching all the happy, pretty faces on beaches, or they’re watching all the quotes that businesses are putting out there of how successful their business is doing.

And they’re thinking I can just do that. too Right. And if I just join this startup, or I just start this product, it’s gonna be super easy for me to be on a beach, smiling with my business, quoting in the background, right? Like that’s the dream, but the next step of that is not necessarily to quit or to drop anything.

What I have been finding, especially more relevant with what I’m considering like a unique message is the idea of apprenticeship The idea that your first move should be to go find an industry or a person in which you believe you’re gonna be really good. at And if you, even if it’s a hobby or something that doesn’t make massive amounts of money, go find somebody that is making massive amounts of money in that industry, and then work for them and provide as much value as you can for them.

Give them your ideas, give them the different products that you’re thinking of building in this space and just be an apprentice and watch that business grow. Watch that business operate, watch how the customers interact with that. business And you might not know it, but inherently what you’re doing is you’re learning an industry that, you know, you’re gonna have a lot of fun.

And you’re also getting paid for that. Right. And so most advice from like Gary Vaynerchuck is like, quit your job, go like sell baseball cards. And once you sell enough baseball cards, then go do your startup. Right. Like, yeah. Great. But how am I gonna do that with a kid and a wife and all, like, it’s just not realistic.

What is realistic though? Is you can change your job or your vocation to something that is more apprenticeship You can go down the ladder and, and work for somebody that you really enjoy doing in the industry and then grow in that industry, up towards the person that you’re modeling yourself. After, after a few months or years, you’ll be professional enough to say, you know what?

Every single time this person does this on the computer, they could save an hour of their day. If they just did it this way. Now you have a startup. Now you have an idea. Now you have a product that fits an industry in a specific niche and something that you love doing. Now you have a whole customer list of people that you worked with for the last year that you can approach and say, do you like my idea?

Or do you think it’s good? You’ve just created this. Like we talked about from the beginning of sales, you’ve just created a place in which people will then come to you and that’s super valuable, right? You don’t have to go find your first customer. You’ve created this product that you already know has a need.

And now you can just say to all the people you’ve been working with for the last year, if I built this, would you buy. it And now all of a sudden, you don’t have to do any work on sales and marketing. Right. So being in apprentice early on allows you to learn the industry. So it’s just specifically that you don’t have to worry about, you know, the, the jump or the risk as much,

much 

Dan: I love that that is such a great, um, and yeah, reframing of, of how we typically think of, of a career, a career journey. And I think it is a lot of missed opportunity because in our culture, we just don’t, we just don’t do that as much. Like apprenticeship is, feels like a lost, a lost art. And so I

Andrew: It is

Dan: yeah, I appreciate that 

Andrew: no problem. 

Dan: Andrew. This has been so fun. having you on the show, getting to hear about, I, I know I knew there was a submarine in your background, right? Literally, literally there’s a submarine in your background right now, uh, on the shelf behind you, but, uh,

Andrew: that is, yeah. That’s the Jimmy Carter.

Dan: Yeah. Yeah. But, uh, but I knew there was a submarine that you’d spent some time on.

I hadn’t heard that story. And so it’s just fun to fun to fill out the picture of, of who you are and, and where, where you you’ve, you’ve come from. So really appreciate you, um, coming on and sharing with me and, um, yeah. For people who wanna follow along with your work, is there anything you’d like to invite people to.

Andrew: Sure. Yeah. And Dan, thank you for having me on, you know, I, I have known you for a year now. We’ve talked through business through life, through situational stuff that we’ve both been through. Um, I’ve listened to your podcast off and on for a year, but coming on to this, I listened to four or five in a row.

You’re really helping people. It’s awesome to hear that people come on and, and be a part of your show. So you’ve done great, great things for the world. I think everybody I’ve talked to, including the guy you’ve introduced me to just say how humbling awesome you are as a person. So thank you for having me on thank you for being, you know, part of my life for the last year and assisting me through many of my turmoils that I’ve told you I’ve gone through in the last two years.

So, but, um, yeah, I appreciate everything you’ve done as well.

Dan: Thank you. Thank you. I really, I really appreciate it means a lot. Yeah.

Andrew: Yeah. and so places to contact me ninetwothree.co is our website. Um, I’m on Twitter. Most of the time. I do not have a Facebook account. I’m barely on LinkedIn anymore because of all the messages. Uh, so Twitter’s the way you can get ahold of me. My eyeballs are there most of the day.

Dan: yeah,

Andrew: So Andrew Amann is AMANN and then I write a lot on our blogs.

So you can see some of the stuff we talked about today on our blogs. And I do wanna leave your reader. They are listeners with one submarine thing.

Dan: Yes,

Andrew: How do you think submarines get oxygen? If the RO pumps fail? Like they normally get it from the water. If it fails, how do you get oxygen on the submarine?

Dan: I have no, my assumption would be like, you get to the surface as fast as possible. Maybe you, maybe you, uh, you put up a, put up a host and suck it from, from the surface.

Andrew: Not a bad idea, 

like a, but you’re creating bubbles. You’re giving up your location,

Dan: ok So tell 

me what’s 

Andrew: right 

Dan: the magic. How do you do this?

Andrew: You create a fire while you’re underwater, you create a fire and you harness that fire in a way that it produces oxygen. And then that oxygen gets distributed throughout the submarine. And that is your secondary source of oxygen.

If the water pumps fail, that’s bringing your first source.

Dan: That’s mind blowing, but doesn’t, doesn’t a fire consume oxygen.

Andrew: Uh, not the way they do it. You have to look at it. It’s crazy how they do it. They can reverse engineers so that the oxygen gets, I mean, the way that fire produces, the reason why fires need oxygen is cause it can produce it in carbon dioxide. You just need split 

Dan: Yeah 

Andrew: it after it gets produced. But it’s phenomenal that you’re, you know, hundreds of feet under water and you have no oxygen.

Let’s go start a fire in a giant, you know, metal tube and let’s see what happens. But yeah, it’s one of my favorite things. Yeah.

Dan: As if its not scary enough to be down there. Let’s start a fire.

Andrew: Let’s start a fire. It’s it’s always my favorite story because you never imagine that like the emergency situation let’s start a fire, but Dan, thanks for having me. This has been really great.

Dan: Yeah. Likewise. Thanks for coming on.Andrew: No problem.

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