Rob Ryan

Rob Ryan


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Professional Storyteller & Relationship Capitalist

What’s your story? – Rob Ryan

“Hey, what’s your story?”


I am primarily a Storyteller, Relationship Capitalist, Founder @Growthhax Mentor and aggregator of smart really good people worldwide and a uniquely loud/proud advocate of our entrepreneurial economic potential in LA where I’ve lived for 26 years now.

Professionally and personally, I’ve been using storytelling to advance my goals or inspire & help others since I was 20 years old. I just didn’t realize this was my “WHY” until I was 46 years old. My daily goals now are to leverage my lifetime of unique leadership & life experiences to build meaningful relationships with really smart, global people while chasing big ambitious goals & helping others grow! Life’s short and I think we should do what we’re good at and stop chasing missions that suck!



Rob Ryan

The full #OPNAskAnAngel talk

Jeffery: Welcome to supporters fund superhuman episode I’m your host Jeffery Potvin and let’s please welcome Rob Ryan at growth hacks relationship Catalyst coaching and storyteller as our superhuman for today welcome Rob we’re so excited to have you here today.

Rob: Great to be here buddy thanks for having me on the show I don’t know if I’m a superhuman but I definitely want to discuss what it is to be super as a human.

Jeffery: Well I think you’re a superhuman so uh I think everybody we have the opportunity to chat with and learn from are superhumans and because you guys are really diving into this I think there’s so much we can share and learn and you know just to take it back a few steps you and I met a few years back at an event in Mexico and I learned so much from you just on that Journey So today we’re going to learn even more and the way we love to start our shows off is that we want to learn a little bit more about you so if you can share all the way back to your Arizona State University days through the companies you built all the way to where you are at growth hacks today share a little bit about that and then one thing about you that nobody would know.

Rob: Okay all right so I’ll I call this my dad used to call this my sharecropper story like I grew up in a small village no this is this is how I’ll get started so born and raised in Chicago um not not an original West coaster I’m coming to you today from Los Angeles I’ve lived out here in La Southern California for more than half my life now almost 25 26 years um born and raised Chicago went to went to school in Tempe Arizona outside of Phoenix at Arizona State um proud Pac-12 uh sports fan slash alumnus um and basically started building my career there went to work for my dad so my dad was my original boss um uh because he famously told my mom one time uh didn’t tell me this until later in life but told my mom at the time that well I’m just gonna have him come to work for me because he doesn’t seem what he he knows knows what he wants to do yet uh and this way I’ll at least train him in how to build professional relationships and sell stuff to people which will guarantee that no matter how badly he screws up his life he will be employable and so that was the premise under which I went to work for my dad he became my original Mentor in sales and Business Development which is the root of my career I spent the first 10 years of my career working for other companies working for other people as I said um selling everything from Financial Services to um Hardware to software uh and I I like to highlight that sometimes not because it’s about me but because I think in our world today that you and I live in inside of the startup early stage company ecosystem um so many young Founders like are literally enamored with the founder life when they’re in college and they they’re they’re they’re just trying to create ideas or companies out of nothing and I always lean back and go like that’s not how it used to be and this is just me sounding like a old Boomer like that’s just not how it used to be like you went out into the world like I did for 10 years and you worked for companies and you worked in Industries and you built stuff for sold stuff and you you saw problems that were in existence right and that was how we started our first company so 29 28 29 30 30 I started getting the itch in in a in a pre-internet bubble one era like and end of the 90s when everybody was building startups and early stage companies and uh and I myself and my field partner were selling to Big Enterprise clients and we were selling at the time I think it was like customer service software and every time we would sell like another half million or million dollar deal we would wind up in these side discussions with our clients you know out in the middle of North Carolina or the middle of Ohio or someplace and they would take us out to dinner and they would tell us about all these other problems that they had in the and that they were looking for solutions to and and we spotted the problem which at that time would be the problems that later would make up the world of CRM uh but but it was before we ever called it CRM as an industry and so that was what gave us the impetus to launch our first company and then the rest of my entrepreneurial Journey from then to today I kind of bookend really simply I always say the story is I’ve been a part of leading or founding four different companies two of them were my own idea and then two of them were somebody else’s idea and it’s it was the first one that I just referred to which was a company called busy mobile which eventually was a precursor to CRM um and that was my idea along with my partner and then this one growth facts the work that we do now across Latin America and North America um was my idea and the middle two which was one was an investment banking business in Asia um that took me there for five years in the early 2000s uh that was a completely different business born up by someone else that I got invited into lead and then the the third the middle one was a technology company selling Hardware software uh hybrid product um into the I.T space um and again was somebody else’s idea that they brought me in to lead and build so I’ve had kind of the range of experiences in my 35 years of working since I was 19 or 36 now since I just turned 55. um and uh when people say like how do you have this many stories how did you meet these many people I’m like because I’ve worked on a lot of different things over the course of my life right well some people hone in on one job and one career in one company that’s awesome that’s just never been me.

Jeffery: So that’s amazing and I’m gonna oh before we jump in one thing about you that nobody would know.

Rob: Right sorry yes you did ask me that okay so uh no one would ever guess this if they saw me in public or online uh it was about 19. 95 and myself and my dancing partner won a salsa dancing competition uh in public at a bar restaurant against 150 other couples uh we we want this also be obviously competition the only reason we won this Gringo got taught how to salsa dance by that woman who was my dancing partner and at the time my girlfriend um for basically six months every Tuesday night we would not go out anywhere she would cook in and she would move the furniture out of her kitchen because in her little apartment she had like a linoleum floor so we could kind of slide around real easily and she literally taught me how to salsa dance from scratch and then like schooled me in it every Tuesday night because in her mind we were preparing for this New Year’s Eve dance contest that she had gone to for years and had never competed in and then when she did at number one and she was determined that we were gonna win and I was basically just along for the ride but proudly I can say we did win and uh I was also the only white guy in that entire bar that night in Phoenix Arizona um but uh maybe that was also foreshadowing of my life to come uh in Latin America

Jeffery: That’s awesome it’s a great story too because you see the drive behind somebody and they had a goal and that goal was achieved by you know teaching you how to get there and making sure she had the best team to make it work and I love.

Rob: That that’s a six-month planning process that’s what it was she was very determined and I gotta say at the time I’d much rather would have us gone to the movie or gone to a ball game or gone out for a drink or something right but you also saw a little bit of my personality because like I’m open to just about anything and in those things that I’m afraid of or I don’t know how to do it all like I just need someone who knows how to do it to like take me under their wing and be like okay we’re not I’m not gonna embarrass you like okay I’m not gonna make you look like a fool right like and so in the privacy of our our little life in her apartment and I felt safe I felt like I could she was great at making me feel comfortable which is like a good leadership lesson ironically um and we went up dating for a while after that win although we didn’t stay together for a long time but great relationship.

Jeffery: Oh that’s brilliant you know and and to kind of go back to some of the stuff that you shared earlier which I really want to kind of peel back on which I think is fantastic is that your father admittedly and benefiting himself said I’m going to help my son learn a new skill bring him into the fold teach them the business but teach them how to sell and this is going to help him in the future if he ever needs the job to be employable he’ll have this really strong skill set and why I love that is because I think there’s a lack of that today where people don’t actually understand how to properly sell they don’t understand how to make relationships or any of the above and they just assume that I’m selling something great you should just want it and I shouldn’t have to do any work to get it because why it doesn’t make a difference you need what I have and that’s how I’m going to sell and I I kind of want to peel back on that and maybe you can share a few of those things because I’ve experienced it when I first met you and and I remember the I asked you one morning when we were in Mexico and I said to Rob I watched you over the last fe