Julien Smith is the co-founder & CEO of Breather. They provide an on-demand network of private meeting rooms designed for work, meetings and focus. They’ve raised over $80m to date and are on a strong trajectory of growth. Before that, Julien was a best selling author, speaker & podcaster. In this conversation, Julien and Bilal discuss how he thinks about pattern detection, how he used these frameworks to develop the idea for Breather & how you can apply this to your own work.
Full show notes & timestamps:
- 1:52 - Who are you/what do you do
- 2:30 - Detecting patterns. Is that that what you’re good at?
- 4:10 - Scale & growth of Breather, how did Julien get there
- 6:43 - When Julien started Breather, how many units did he start with & how do they keep them secure?
- 8:09 - What does Breather's customer base look like? What are their customer segments?
- 8:58 - How big is this market? How do you estimate market size?
- 9:50 - Thinking about security for a physical space - digital vs analog locks.
- 11:30 - Growing up in Canada & what did Julien want to be when he grew up?
- 13:20 - Learning what you’re good at and 360 reviews
- 17:10 - How Julien thinks about detecting patterns? Is this something we can learn to become better at?
- 20:25 - Is detecting patterns a skill or luck?
- 24:10 - Detecting patterns: is it a learned behavior? Discussing Charlie Munger and Warren Buffet.
- 28:30 - the value of the expert generalist
- 30:00 - What sources of information do you follow? Books, podcasts, people, etc?
- 33:30 - What can people do to accelerate the process of growing and connecting with people they can learn from?
- 36:00 - Jeff Bezos story of the regret minimization framework
- 39:30 - What were some of the macro trends he identified to help start Breather? Are there certain macro trends that he sees right now?
- 42:20 - Cities + network effects + timing
- 46:02 - Bilal discusses idea for supper clubs platform
- 47:50 - Omnifocus app he uses for tasks
- 48:10 - Developing healthy habits? Streaks app
- 51:40 - What is Julien’s routine and a typical day? Morning pages. The creative habit.
- 55:05 - What is motivating Julien right now?
- 56:30 - What does success mean to you?