In this episode, Chacho is joined by Justin Gordon, the Director of Marketing at Vitalize VC. Together they discuss how rest, sports, exploration, and more all relate to running.
Highlights from their conversation include:
Backstage Capital is a VC firm that boasts one of the largest portfolios of underrepresented founders in venture. To learn more about Backstage, visit backstagecapital.com.
Chacho Valadez 00:08
Hello, hello, everyone. Welcome to running in public. This is the weekly podcast that empowers you to build your running routine, while also making strides in your career. I’m your host, Chacho, validez. And this is my first ever Podcast. I’m so so happy about it. And each episode, I sit down with a startup founder, operator or leader to talk about their experience of running while they also build and run their companies. You’ll walk away feeling empowered to run your next mile while also making strides in your career. And honestly, we support any form of movement on the podcast that suits your lifestyle. So whether you like to run, walk, bike, or swim or whatever it might be. We’re all in this together. Running in public is sponsored by Island, Hamilton’s new recruiting and retention, a startup runner. A really cool name, if I say so myself and totally Quinton Neto, on both our parts. Are you an entrepreneur who wishes there were more time in the day? Have you ever said I wish I could clone myself? Then runner is for you. If you find yourself spending more time scheduling, researching and fielding emails, then talking to your customers strategizing and resting wonder could be a game changer for you. Get matched with fractional and temp to hire operations talent who want to work at your inclusive startup. fast growing larger companies are using runner to hire dozens of operations talent at a time runner is a head of recruiting best friend. Interested in learning more or becoming a runner yourself. Apply at hire runner.co That’s hire runner.co Hello, everyone. Welcome back to your favorite running podcast running and public. I’m very excited to have Justin Gordon here today. Justin is the Director of Marketing at vitalize venture capital. He which is a pre seed and seed stage venture fund. They have a $16 million fund one and also have really cool vitalized angel group with your 100 Plus members. And surprise surprise he’s also an avid runner. So thanks for joining Justin.
Justin Gordon 02:19
Yeah, I appreciate you having me
Chacho Valadez 02:20
on. Cool well let’s get into it. How did you get started running?
Justin Gordon 02:25
I didn’t run start running on purpose necessarily. I was always a kind of a football athlete track athlete doing Sprint’s never thought that running would be a thing for me. I remember years ago an ex girlfriend of mine running like six or eight miles I biked alongside her I was like, how do you do this like run for an hour straight. I was completely perplexed by how that was actually possible because I at the time doing sprints and you know, short stuff I’ve maybe do, like a mile run or two seems like forever for me. And I think it was in 2016 and 2000 14,015 when I moved to Las Vegas in 2016. I always like was there for a while working non stop trying to get a company growing. And I needed some type of release in terms of exercise. And I didn’t really know many people. So I started running there. A lot of that was on the treadmill actually. And so that was kind of the start, we had like a kind of a high rise place. We had a great view. I was like, I’ll hop on the treadmill get some work in and I never really had a big gym at that time. So I didn’t have crank the weights like back in college. So I was like I need to do something else. And so running really started for me,
Chacho Valadez 03:32
I think back then. Awesome. When did you start playing football?
Justin Gordon 03:36
I mean, I’ve been playing so when I was a little kid I started I think it was sixth grade, fourth grade was my first year and then there was like, that was like a full contact flag. And then once I got to sixth grade that was actually tackle football. And then yeah, played it. Through College. I always loved that I always was between football and basketball in terms of sports, so very much so not running miles necessarily always sprinting. But that was kind of the the start. I always loved being athletic and you know, athletic pursuits, training. That was something I always obsessed about. And so I did it from a young age still, from time to time play basketball. I haven’t played football, obviously, though, in a while.
Chacho Valadez 04:11
Sure. Yeah, pick up basketball as a lot of fun. What are some parallels that you think you’ve kind of brought along with because football conditioning is very different than, like, endurance running or like long distance running, which I’ve seen some of your runs on Strava. They’re pretty long. So what are some of the parallels, there are differences for you?
Justin Gordon 04:33
Yeah, I think one of the things with football as you’re growing up, I remember, like my first literally my first like week or so in fourth grade. I want to quit because the conditioning was hard. And for context. I joined like a week late somehow. I don’t know how that happened. But I missed more of the prep week even so like when people were already a week ahead. I thought so I shaved by NSCs. And like I loved football, but I was like man, this conditioning sucks. It’s so hard to do and I remember at that point in time It was a kind of a decision of Do you continue on this path? Work hard push it, or do you not and have maybe get lazy but with it, whatever I remember I started doing laps around my house pushups and situps. I have the notebook still from like when I was Yeah, fourth or fifth grade. And I think in terms of the the parallels of running and how that kind of fits into the mental toughness and pushing yourself and seeing what you can do. And the conditioning for football. Yeah, we did a lot of different things. But everyone sprints, we brand stairs, everything. It’s always a matter of how far can you push yourself. And you don’t really know until you reach that edge and get close to it. And either you can’t do it anymore. And you kind of stop or you continue on. And you’re surprised by what you’re able to do. And I think that transfers over for me to running on some of these long runs really just happened to say, Oh, well, I ran four miles, can I run five? I ran five, can I run six? And then you know if I’m doing that, well, why not try 10? Okay, well, what about a half marathon just because and did a half marathon I remember one time trying to go to a friend’s place in Los Angeles. I was like, well, that’s like eight, eight and a half miles away. 17 mile run. Let’s just see what happens and did that I was like, alright, well, I can do that. And I’ve always just kind of curious and kind of ties back from football days. Like how hard can you push it? I just think that curiosity around your limits is something I got from sports I continue on with today in terms of trying that out and seeing how I can push myself.
Chacho Valadez 06:30
It’s so funny how when you’re a kid, you’re kind of faced with some of these dilemmas of like, when it when you’re playing sports, and I remember playing soccer and fourth grade. And my team like lost every single game. I’m like, Well, this is no fun. So I did I ended up changing the football, which was a lot a lot more fun for me. But yeah, when when you’re a kid you don’t think about at least now as an adult. You don’t think about like how that’s like a big decision for yourself. And yeah, it’s quite the dilemma at such a young age. Why do you run right now? Or today?
Justin Gordon 07:06
Yeah, I think it’s a few reasons, I still want to push myself and is it like a, like a foundational level you’d say of staying fit more generally, and lift weights and stuff, too. But there’s that side of it. I think the biggest thing is that mental break. I mean, we’re at computers for so many hours in a day, especially with all the things I’m working on pretty much the digital, it’s just literally always on the computer and so need to force yourself to step away from me, that’s a huge reason I meditate from time to time, but really like running for me is also that form of meditation slash, basically letting your, your your software kind of debug for an hour, an hour or two and a day. And I need that like, I as much as possible, I need that I think every day, I’ve always kind of said this, every day or a day I run is always the best day like I can never have. If there’s a day I don’t run, it can never be as good as the days that I do run. So I try as much as possible to have a Running Day, which I’ve toyed around with daily runs, I try to run longer runs, still trying to figure that out. But I need that in terms of function to hit like the highest level, the days I run are always better than days down. And so that’s today why I continue to do it, continue to kind of push the limits. And also, it just feels everything else I do in terms of that mental clarity in terms of can I push myself? Cannot Can I take it to the max like that, to me is why I kind of continue today to run and I somehow become a quote unquote, runner, even though I said I would never become that. But I think at this point, it’s I can’t deny it.
Chacho Valadez 08:33
Yeah, yeah, you’re definitely a runner. And yeah, I think it’s interesting, because that’s part of the reason why I really enjoy it as well as like it you really do push yourself and you can kind of test the limits of your your body, but also your mind. And, you know, it’s there’s a lot of parallels with, like, building your own career, but also building companies and whatnot, where it’s like, we’re shooting for audacious goals. Sometimes we don’t make them sometimes we fail, we have to sort of recalibrate and like try better next year. I thought, yeah, that’s really that’s really cool. How does rest play? Like you talked about toying with like running every day or like serving like maybe like six, five or six days a week. So how do you think about rest? Yeah, I
Justin Gordon 09:21
think the biggest thing over the last few years and what I’ve gotten better at is just dialing and how I feel so I don’t have a running plan at all. I think the way I’ve been able to progress both with like times being faster and distance being longer and all that is being very aware of how I feel, and I trying things out, see how I feel the next day. Try it out. See I feel the next day. So last year 2021 In January, I hurt my ankle height couldn’t do anything for two months, completely off for two months, which is pretty miserable, but how I got back into it, trying a few miles and see how I felt the next day and continuing on that path and eventually I got to a point where it kind of hurt Like my ankle kind of hurt in the morning every day regardless, like it was just a little sore and whatever. So when before I’d be like, well, I can’t run today I my ankle doesn’t feel great. I was just got to a point of just being sick of it, like, is it gonna cause any damage long term? Probably not. If it’s a little sore, okay, who cares. And so I got to a point, like, let’s just try to run, this is where my crazy mind goes. Let’s just try to run every day then. And I did that for like, 105 days in a row. completely awful feel. And what that how that worked was, if I felt really good, I’d run longer. If I didn’t, I run shorter. I was aware of days, if I had run more, like maybe I should do less today. But like, what, wherever I was, I was running weather. You know, I was in Las Vegas for a time period. During summer when there’s 105 degrees outside, I want to get my run in. So I’m still gonna do it, you know, travel somewhere else to like ahead of the run. So I still did it. I think I was in like, Idaho for wedding, I still got the run in. And once you get past that block of should I run or not? Today, it’s more a matter of what I’m doing. That for me was like the biggest block on lock, I should say, because even when I was training clients used to be a personal trainer, I tell them same thing, I really have to be more consistent with doing exercise more frequently. And then just deciding what that looks like if it’s an easier day or a harder day or flexibility versus strength. versus you having that question of should I do it today? Because if you have that question, and there’s always a matter of well, I’ll do it tomorrow. But when I eliminated that to be like, Well, I’m just running every day period, end of story, it was like, Okay, well, now let’s figure it out. And in that process of 105, whatever days it was, I really got a feeling for how my body felt each day. And when I was sore, more sore or less sore. If I had weird things my hip or like my hip flexor or my knee or my ankle, I was really aware of it and tried to make sure that I did less or took more of a break. And today it looks you know, a little different. I’m toying with some longer runs. I’m in this 1000 miles for the year running challenge with Ruben Harris and a bunch of other people. And yes, yeah, it’s a great group to be a part of, and I would have hit it last year, probably not for the injury. And maybe I was more focused on it. But I’m on track. Now. I think I love having accountability of that. And also knowing how I feel each week. And each day. I’m kind of adjusting it. So there’s no plan, but I’m trying longer run just to test it out and see how it goes. But it’s all based off a feel at this point.
Chacho Valadez 12:22
Yeah, that’s really interesting. And I think that it’s like important some to tease out some of the stuff you said, I think I actually heard this professional runner say that, if you’re like new to running, and you want to get started running, there’s not like a couch to marathon program that isn’t like longer than a year, honestly. And so it’s like, I think the advice he gave was to just like go out for a one minute run maybe like five days a week for like the first week, second week, run two minutes. And he said, by the end of the week, you’re almost running an hour or under the year, excuse me, you’re almost running a full hour nonstop, which is like huge for a lot of people. And so like starting off really slow. And it might seem ridiculous. Like why would I get ready to go out and run for just one minute. But like, it’s like, you build those small little habits and they end up like compounding over a year for sure.
Justin Gordon 13:18
Yeah, and running is just completely a mind game. I mean, that’s all it is. It’s yeah, there’s a physical aspect of actually getting in a groove and getting in better shape. And it becomes easier as you do get in better shape for sure. Like, at this point, I can cruise and not really feel it. But it is completely a mind game. Like how you tell yourself, you’re gonna do it or not do it? How far you go. Like I mentioned before, I don’t have a plan ever. It’s all by field. So the days I run 15 miles or something, I might have an idea in the run when I start like, this will probably be a long run today. But I’ve had those days where like, I just was not feeling it. Something was off. Maybe there’s work nagging or something. And I was like, Alright, I’m gonna cut it short. And I don’t beat myself up about that. Because there’s other days where I’m like, Oh, I’m gonna go for like four miles, but I’m like, You know what, I don’t have anything after this. I have time. And they become 10 mile rides. And so that’s something I just I think it’s important to mention with that as well. I think one thing just go back to what we had talked about earlier, it’s just mentioned why Iran I think the last reason I want to kind of put out there for people who haven’t really done it yet is exploring your city. There has been no better way of exploring Los Angeles I have found then to run. When I was downtown. I was running all over downtown exploring that goes into like Echo Park and other spots in the city and I got a whole new view of the city. Now I’m in West Hollywood. So I’ve run all through whether it be mid city or all the way up to have gone to Broadway and Westwood and Beverly Hills and Century City all these different spots where I can explore try new routes, different streets, and I find that to be one of the most like therapeutic and fun and just adventurous things in life is to run in your city and explore your city in a new way you never were before.
Chacho Valadez 14:57
Oh totally. Yeah. When I was back Vegas pre COVID when I would travel quite a bit more, that’s part of the like what I love to do while on the road is go running and like kind of explored different cities. And so that’s definitely really a really good point. What are some running roadblocks that you look out for?
Justin Gordon 15:17
I think in terms of running, if you’re talking about running itself, one thing now I’m probably most concerned about is just not getting injured. I have Yeah, though, paranoid since last year, because it’s a dumb story. But I, I essentially felt I’ll say it. So I was trying to run, I was basically saying, Okay, I had this route and where I used to live in Playa Vista. And it’s basically like a perfect 1/3 of a half marathon. So like the perfect do three, three loops, like you do a half marathon. Great. And I remember doing it, I was like, felt great the first round, and never seen this pine cone in the ground that was massive, it was a massive pine cone, don’t think twice about it, come back around, you know, four and a half, whatever, miles later, see the pie going again, don’t think twice about it. On the last loop of that. I’m sprinting, the last like 10th of a mile. And I stepped on this pine cone that I’d seen twice before. And that’s where I rolled my ankle. And that, that experience like that. I mean, just in terms of thinking about running, running in general and everything around it, like knowing that that was that was something that I could have avoided how I’d been more aware during the entire run. I am so aware now when I run from because of that moment. So in terms of roadblocks, it’s like injuries, and avoiding any possible injury in terms of how I feel. And also on the road. He’s like my number one thing. And so as a robot I try to overcome also, as I’m getting busier, just with everything we finalize to just making the time for that it’s always a roadblock. I mean, there’s things with bylaws with what we’re doing. There’s my own side projects, trying to do a course like there’s so many different things kind of juggling right now. To consistently make time for running. It’s a priority, but it’s not always easy.
Chacho Valadez 17:00
Oh, yeah. That’s an unfortunate way to get injured. But definitely been there. I mean, I’ve slipped on ice that I’ve worked done like core workouts too hard that ended up leading to injury. And I think that’s definitely one of the biggest things I look out for as well is like injury prevention, and how to like run you really running smarter and ascent and trying to like not burn out or not do things too quickly. Or, or what have you, Bo, we’ll be right back as we hear a word from one of our sponsors. Hey, thanks for listening to this episode. Don’t forget to check out our sponsor, hire runner.co For all your fractional and temp to hire operations talent needs. Now let’s get back into the show. So Justin, how does running affect your work?
Justin Gordon 17:48
Because I’m in a very creative role at vitalize. It’s so broad as Director of Marketing, it really touches on it’s not even just marketing. If people kind of asked about the role, it’s like, yeah, I’m doing marketing for our brand more broadly, which you want to attract founders, you want to attract co investors, you want to attract LPs, all that you think about from a content perspective. And there’s a lot of strategy behind that. And it’s also like how that leverages to me talking to founders and people come to us, like, there’s that part of the role and all of that. There’s so much creative work within that. And even with the angel community, it’s the Wild Wild West, you basically have just almost like backstage with like, runner, it’s like we have a startup in vitalize. Angels, we have a venture fund. And there’s just there’s so many different parts with me, I like to be able to have time away to kind of process that, through running is everything because with so many moving parts for each of that, and also, in terms of being such a creative role, like we could do anything with the podcast, we have YouTube, we have Tik Tok, we have Twitter, we have all these different creative aspects. And now we have now more recently have a bigger team to where we have some help on podcast production and like video editing. And we’re getting those pieces together. So like keeping all those pieces in mind and every single day, utilizing them to the max in terms of where we’re going big picture. Running helps me with as I process things and on runs, take time step away. Like I said, it’s like a debugging of the system when I run so that that’s how it influences me in terms of work. I need that time away for a little bit, maybe in the morning, which is my preferred runtime. Sometimes afternoons are great, more so for shorter runs, for me at least. But that really influences the creativity and allowing me to process everything that’s going on on a day to day basis.
Chacho Valadez 19:42
That makes a lot of sense. Yeah, we had snake disser, founder of the Juggernaut in a previous episode and she said sometimes like even the middle of the day, she has a lot of armor on her mind. She just let her team know like, hey, I need to go for a run to clear my mind. And she does that and it helps a lot. So that makes a lot Got a lot of sense, would you consider running as part of your job,
Justin Gordon 20:04
I would say, I don’t know, if I would be as good at my job without having running, I would have to either go on way more walks, meditate more, but in terms of like efficiency, if you’re meditating and exercising, so I get the value of meditation with I can kill two birds in one stone, by running and have the meditation aspect of that and all the benefits. Also having physical activity, I think it’s, it’s essentially part of how I can function fully in the role. And also, like I said, juggle everything. So I would kind of consider it. In many ways, part of the job, I just think if you asked that question, maybe like, if I couldn’t run it, like, wow, what would I mean? I don’t think I’d be able to do all the things and maybe not as high above a level. Without that. I think, to me, it’s that at this point, it’s that important, because I’ve had that time when I you know, those two months, I couldn’t run and it was much different. So I definitely need that every day, every week for sure.
Chacho Valadez 21:05
Yeah, that makes sense. Do you have difficulty balancing sort of your running routine and work? You’re doing a lot and you’re going on, like 10 mile runs some some weeks? Or you know, even like during the week, which takes a while. And so, yeah, do you have difficulty balancing all that?
Justin Gordon 21:22
Yeah, I mean, it’s a matter of priorities. I always love that analogy of putting your the big rocks in the jar first, if you’re talking about priorities, if you put the sand and everything else in first, and all the little things that will fill up your jar, and you’ll never have time for the big thing. So running is one of those big things for me. So it always is a priority every week, like right now I’m trying to do 30 miles a week, roughly with a fall back to 20. But I’m hitting 30, about 30 miles relatively consistently, I never have done 30 Miles like consistently, even though I was doing daily, like close to 30, but not necessarily every time. So trying to do that. So in terms of terms of that the balance, it’s more of just prioritizing and for me, like I get up really early and always kind of have since football because in college, we had a site for 40 5am workouts in spring when people said they have clay, they have class. Yeah, people were like, we have class, we can do spring football, whatever they’re like, Alright, we’re gonna start spring football at like 5am. I was like, Whoa, man, I’ve kind of kept their own schedule since then. So because of that, I’m able to do the things that matter most early. So I typically looks like a few hours of deep work if possible file by Iran, I my ideal ideal is like get up have coffee, few hours of deep work, and then run. And if I’m getting up at three or four, that means my runs at like six or seven. And I’ve already done like the highest priority work stuff first. While I’ve had costumey coffee and hydrated everything, so I’m ready for the run. Also feel like I accomplished something for work. So I can have the validation of that. And then run that. That’s my ideal start. And that’s how I would love you know how I balance is just most of the time getting done early. So don’t have any excuses. Because as it gets later and later in the day, just like everything pulls, pulls on you more meetings come up other things pop up by video in the morning, you just have no excuse. You just get it done.
Chacho Valadez 23:12
Yeah. And yeah, it just really does level set the rest of the day. What do people misunderstand the most about running? In your opinion,
Justin Gordon 23:22
there’s so many if you look at like someone prepping for a race, for instance, and a lot of people do it to prep a race like and use it as motivation. There’s always different programs and plans, overcomplicate it, just go on and start running. It’s not at the end of the day, you put shoes on, and they go outside and run. And it’s the most simplistic exercise. And so I think people make it as to be more of a thing than it is in terms of the complexity around it. And also in terms of like, can I or not, like I’m not a good runner, or I have these issues and like most people can probably run and there’s very few. There’s obviously examples. You can’t for many reasons, but most people if they want to, they’re willing to they can even throw it out of shape. Now, like I said, I was a personal trainer for many years, and I’ve seen people progress. It’s like you start where you are. And so just getting started and not over complicating it. And that’s the biggest thing. Like I said, I don’t run on a plan. I think the reason why I don’t run on a plan anymore is after sports in college, I was sick of having a plan for every single thing and we had our workouts nailed down to the weight, we’re gonna lift lift on each rep, and to have that level of like, there’s no flexibility and that’s what if you feel bad, you’re off one day just like no get to do that. It’s like I was sick of Africa. The ability to have freedom and workouts was the biggest joy and I think people overcomplicate what that workout has to be just do something is the starting point.
Chacho Valadez 24:42
One last question before we get into the quickfire round here. What position did you play in football?
Justin Gordon 24:48
So I was a safety in college by y receiver and I like safe safety in high school.
Chacho Valadez 24:53
Yeah, cool. I played football up until eighth grade and then I went to a private school which didn’t have football, but I played wide receiver and wide out. So it’s fun fun positions to play for sure.
Justin Gordon 25:06
Yeah, I mean, I always went back and forth between like which ones I wanted to do. It’s I mean, it’s just, I definitely miss aspects of it. I think it got to a point though, eventually, where it’s just like, the concussion side of it and your head, you feel it. You’re like, Wait a minute. I’m not playing like, Yeah, I’m not going to NFL. Why am I doing this? That was pretty clear. I was like, this is time not worth it. In terms of that. I will say I was great for a team building and relationship building perspective, for sure. Especially in college where you don’t really know anyone yet. So that was amazing. But I knew that I would be done with the sport. And yeah, I was happy to kind of move on to other things. Honestly, like, I got the business entrepreneurial bug at that point, even in college, and I was like, Oh, this is the future, actually. Right.
Chacho Valadez 25:46
Where did you go and play college?
Justin Gordon 25:48
The University Wisconsin lacrosse like a state school in Wisconsin. Nice.
Chacho Valadez 25:52
Are you from Wisconsin, by the way?
Justin Gordon 25:53
I’m from Milwaukee, actually. Yeah. Oh, that
Chacho Valadez 25:56
makes a lot of sense. Yeah. I’m probably near Lake Geneva area. So Oh, yeah. Yeah, number of times. Right. That’s incredible. Yes. Yeah, Wisconsin tugs at my heart. I live in Michigan now. But yes, it’s cool. So a rapid fire questions here. This is actually my first time doing this on the podcast. I did a twitter poll and ask people if they would like this. And overwhelmingly, I think that it was like 100%. Yes. So let’s get into it. Yeah. So what was your dream job as a kid?
Justin Gordon 26:29
professional athlete hands down? Yeah, it’s always football and sports. Were always the biggest part of my life growing up.
Chacho Valadez 26:35
What was your first job?
Justin Gordon 26:37
First, like any type of job, it was a like summer coordinator summer playground at my local kind of school area. They have like basic counselor for summer, you just watch the kids at the playground, make sure they don’t kill themselves. That was like the first official job I’d said before, like graduate from college. Sure.
Chacho Valadez 26:54
So here, fill in the blank here running is blank.
Chacho Valadez 27:01
I love that. So so true. If you had to listen to one song on repeat for an hour long run, what would it be?
Justin Gordon 27:08
I have seven different running playlists that progressively added songs and move songs away. But one that continues to get me hype every day is is Kendrick with all right. It’s so good.
Chacho Valadez 27:19
So good. Yeah, it’s definitely go to so yeah. What’s your go to running app?
Justin Gordon 27:27
I use Strava. So I found Strava. I used to fun fact used to only run on the treadmill until pandemic, like pandemic was the way that I got out of that bubble of treadmill running. And I found Strava. I want I’m obsessed with tracking stuff. Like so kplc stats of running that got me into it even more. So I use Strava. Since then, it was like, yeah, obviously March of 2020. And then yeah, like to see the progression week to week pay for Strava premium love the product can’t speak highly enough of it. And that’s what my go to is now. Yeah, I’ve
Chacho Valadez 27:57
paid for Strober premium. And then I stopped because I’m like, I don’t need all that data. But I might start
Justin Gordon 28:02
so fun to see if I can do anything with it. Like I kind of want to know,
Chacho Valadez 28:07
right, exactly. So this is a fun one you cannonball in the pool, or like, you know, Wisconsin or dip a toe in first.
Justin Gordon 28:14
If it’s Wisconsin, I don’t go in at all. I would say cannon ball for sure.
Chacho Valadez 28:21
That’s fine. And then last one here. What is your favorite thing about yourself? And why?
Justin Gordon 28:26
Favorite thing about myself and why? I’d say it’s all the mentality and perspective. I got really lucky early on in terms of finding, like personal development business books. And it’s not everyone in where I was in Wisconsin was thinking about starting companies and building big things like that. Like it, which wasn’t necessarily I wasn’t around a ton of entrepreneurs. Like I didn’t really have that and no networking startups in VC until I start my own podcast. But I think my maybe it’s a curiosity for learning, I would say is the best aspect of me, but I’ve always been hungry for that. And I got lucky reading those books early on, that gave me the perspective that now, I still take with me kind of day to day every day. So that’s, that’s maybe one thing, but there’s nothing I love about myself.
Chacho Valadez 29:17
Yeah. What’s one of those books?
Justin Gordon 29:19
I mean, that one that stands out for sure is four hour workweek, I mean, that was just a fundamental just in terms of thinking different people haven’t read it. It definitely scammy title but in terms of always kind of questioning the norms and thinking about what the ideal optimal is I’ve never let that go. Since then. I think I read it. I read it in undergrad I want to say and ever since then, always have been thinking about like questioning assumptions, thinking about different different ways to go about it. And that’s where like, I mean, for the last three, four, whatever, businesses, companies I’ve worked with, it’s not Been through applying through a job app. It’s like I build relationships and find ways to meet people. And then I know where my North Star is and where I want to get to. And if it aligns great, and that’s what those 10 people come into your life. And so like, that’s where I met Gail, serendipitously through just seeing her stuff on Twitter DMing her to come on my podcast, her posting a position, like a week or two later around, you know, Director marketing community, me being like, well, I love talking to founders, I love what they’re doing. I love that it’s a female led venture firm, also different, I can see the trajectory of where it will go working on something new this community at the time was like, Well, what is that? Like? All those things stem from me reading that book even years ago around thinking different about what you want, and I could see the impact potential with it. Obviously, your financial upside to all those things kind of stemmed back from some of those readings and books early on to understand enough of the self awareness of one what you want, but to like, what’s the optimal like, where are you trying to get to I think too much. It’s like, we’re kind of coasting through life and not really being intentional around it. And every a lot of things and say everything, but a lot of things have been intentional around building things or creating things that bring serendipity or like, get me closer to where I ultimately kind of like want to get to.
Chacho Valadez 31:11
That’s cool. That book I’ve sort of it’s been on the back of my mind for a while now. And I’ve wanted to get it but then I’m like, is it just a bunch of bullshit? Like, I don’t really know. So I definitely gonna look into it now.
Justin Gordon 31:24
I’ve probably read it. I mean, I’ve probably read it 10 times. I met Tim a while the author now I’ve met him in person now. Yeah, I think in terms of the thinking side of it, I struggle to think of a different book that has been as impactful as like a bookshelf behind me. So there’s a few I can kind of think about and look at, but I think that’s the biggest What about for you? What is it? I’m curious?
Chacho Valadez 31:46
Oh, for me, I think it’s not. It’s a combination of two, I would say it would be Grit by Angela Duckworth, which is like, really dives into like, hard work mattering twice as much as talent. And we put so much emphasis on is this person talented? Are they born with innate skills, which, you know, if you’re like LeBron James, like, of course, you’re, you’re like, God really has gifted you. But I think for like every, like everyday people, like if you just work hard, and you really love something you’re passionate about it, you can accomplish what you want to get to. And then the other one is Mindset by Carol Dweck. But she really goes into the fixed mindset and growth mindset and how in a fixed mindset you believe, like you’re sort of like capped and your skills and your learning capabilities. Like you can’t, like, expand beyond that. And I think that I had kind of learned a little bit of that, like growing up and some of the schools I went to, and it really unlocked for me when I thought about having a growth mindset and knowing that like if I work at something like I can learn it, or I can get better at it. And it might take a while. But like that sort of releases you from like these bounds of like your DNA, essentially what you know. Yeah, so those are two really, really impactful books for me.
Justin Gordon 33:11
Yeah, that’s so foundational about what you mentioned, I think just with thinking about having that mentality of can you do you think can you grow and learn things? And, you know, you obviously talked to a lot of entrepreneurs and everything with backstage and I think from my pockets ever, in the last three and a half years and talking to founders where I get said, I like no network to start this. And then I started and I’m like, oh, yeah, like, here’s like a founder of a billion dollar company. His PR people reached out to come on my show. I’m like, wait, what? And then like, you meet these people, you’re like, oh, like, they’re just people. Like, you don’t know that they just they progressed over time. They tried things that took risk, but like they had nothing special that anyone couldn’t do. You know, some people obviously, have more privilege to start with, for sure. Undoubtedly. But ultimately, like if you have the drive, I mean, out there’s just no limit, which is the fun thing about being in the venture slash startups slash you know, whatever eco tech ecosystem, right, there is no limit. And that mentality kind of permeates which is, which is fun.
Chacho Valadez 34:07
Yes, absolutely. It definitely applies to running an exercise like even if you just start walking like you just start little by little like you’ll eventually get to where you want to go if you do want to become a runner, or just be a walker, too. And so, but just any sort of movement is really important. And last question for you here. Where can people follow along your journey?
Justin Gordon 34:29
I’d say I’m most active on Twitter. There’s a few different again balls in the air to follow me. I guess I’ll try a couple Twitter for sure. Justin Gordon to one two reasons 212 is to take turn 12 degrees to boil water. 211 hates just hot water by two or 12. You can power a train. I read that book to our 12 degrees a while back and I added that to my profiles like that is amazing. I think about that every day every time on Twitter. So Twitter is the main spot. I also have a newsletter started a couple weeks ago Justin’s journal, cataloguing some of the running some interesting articles I read all that I’m kind of testing out substack for both vitalize and us and then tigerstar bylaws so bylaws FEC Angel community at there as well, which you can check out open to everyone non accredited and accredited investors. So that’s where I spend most of the time is thinking about those things and then engage with people on Twitter.
Chacho Valadez 35:17
Awesome. Cool. This has been a really great conversation, Justin, and I appreciate you being on the show.
Justin Gordon 35:24
Thank you so much for having me. Appreciate it.
Chacho Valadez 35:26
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