This month's Tech Talk, I have a very, very interesting guy with me. Manu, who is a number of things:
But rather than me trying to explain, because I looked at his LinkedIn profile earlier and I got lost because there’s so much going on. All good stuff, maybe Manu, a brief description of you and what you do.
Manu: I'm a kid who likes doing things. That's the best way to put it. Every time I get interested in something instead of just reading about it and being done with it. I like doing something about it. Whether that's entrepreneurship or speaking or LinkedIn or VC work, or just philanthropy, any time I get captivated with something I just want to go and do it.
And of course, that does mean that, especially a year or two years ago when I came to university here in Toronto, I was stretching myself way too thin. Part of the reason why I decided to gap year now - I live in New York city. I’m working on my own startup and I've figured out my niche - Part of the reason why I’ve done that is to try and focus in on three or four things which is already a bit too much. People are like ,‘you should focus on one thing’, that's what my Dad said but whatever, who cares?!
I do. 100%. And one thing too, everything feeds into each other, right? Right now I'm running SuperFan, that’s an influencer platform. I have my own little influence on LinkedIn which feeds into that for promotion. I speak a lot and when I speak I talk about SuperFan which feeds back into the business and the VC of course. And any time I'm able to help out any of those guys who started by a basketball player Trevor Booker, he's willing to help me out when it comes to meeting players and meeting teams. All of that. Everything seems to feed back into the one nucleus which is SuperFan.
I took a gap year. But I'm still underage in the US to drink. That's the only thing that makes me feel a bit young now.
So you make the most when you come over here to Canada.
That’s why I love coming here!
In Ireland, we drink from birth.
You were taught to drink!
The disclaimer here is that I actually appreciate those people too. If you have a job that you really want, that you go to school and you enjoy school which is something I can never really do. I had good friends but I was never able to get the college experience of going out and getting belligerently drunk after exams, and the grind, and the struggle procrastinating on assignments and all that. I just didn't show up to class even, I just did not interact with my profs. So there's a bliss in being that person too.
But for me the number one thing when I was younger was there were a lot of problems around me that I'd talk about, I was a competitive debater for seven years. Debated for Team Canada. And all these topics I kept learning more about them. I kept debating them but I felt inadequate for just talking about it and not doing anything.
Ian: There’s loads of crazy shit going on. We’re at stage now where it's accelerating like this and it was like that.
Manu: There’s so much in it right? The one i like the most, which I think is undervalued, and people can easily go into it right now is augmented reality.
When I was at the Calvary Science School (great name for a school right?), from grade four to nine we had AR in the opening days of every single year. We were all given iPads, there was a one-to-one IPad program. We would go around, we literally had to take QR codes as part of a scavenger hunt. Something would pop up like a puzzle or something that we’d have to solve and then go to the next one.
AR - everyone lost their freaking’ minds when Pokemon Go came out… Remember that picture when Mark Zuckerberg is walking down the aisle with the Oculus? People were so weirded out by that? I was reading about people in Washington Park going around going around being like, ‘look, look I got Charizard’ or something like that. I don’t understand why people don’t look at the back-end of that technology which is...Oh my God! If you’re an advertiser and you can do something like that, have a massive influencer campaign. It would be insane and this technology lasts about 30 years. People need to capitalise on that and stop caring about VR and caring about all of this other future stuff. Care about the things we currently have and start making money off of it.
I do have bad days. I have many bad days!
You seem like you surround yourself with positive people. What’s your motto there? What do you do?
My whole thing is that if I’m having a bad day I shouldn’t make someone else have a bad day. I don’t project that energy. Sure, internally I might be breaking. But while I'm talking I’m always going to put a smile on my face because I don’t think that’s fair to do that to someone else, to make them drown the way you’re drowning yourself. But beyond that, yes, surround yourself with the right people is great.
And more importantly, again I think going back to the whole process thing. Just understand that if you stick with it then things will work out. That type of optimism.
Yes, I do. I play basketball.We have weekly games now for our business where we invite investors, advisors and partners to come out and play ball. When I was 16, the reason why I went into entrepreneurship full time is because I realised, ‘Crap, I’m not going to get in the MBA.’ I should probably do something else.
Ian: You still have time man!
I still have time. I don’t know if I’ve even gotten bigger or even stronger. Maybe a couple more years. My dream is to work in this space, in the long-run maybe get a one-day contract for like the Los Angeles Lakers. Play that one game and then I’m done. Maybe I’ll put like Jeremy Lin, 29 points or something and they'll sign me forever
I definitely do think I’ll still have a business. I’ll run something for sure. I’ll continue speaking, I’ll continue being positive, being alive.
Beyond anything else my goal is to pivot into entertainment within four or five years. I had two goals when I was growing up, one was to be a politician. I definitely want to come back to Canada for that. I hate the U.S. system. It’s toxic. It’s terrible.
But the second thing is, a step before at 25 or 26 is pivot into the entertainment space. Do like satirical but political commentary like John Albert, Jon Stewart, Trevor Noah. All those people. I want to do something around that, around politics - making it more conducive for younger people to understand.
Ian: I think you’d be very good at that.
Watch this space! Watch this guy Manu. Probably gonna be a very rich entrepreneur, successful, just from your positive attitude.
Best of luck with everything and thanks for sharing your story.