I recently joined Grant Cardone in his studio for an exclusive interview about our experience as entrepreneurs, and what it’s like for me running a $20 million-a-year ecommerce business.
Watch this new episode of “Power Players” to learn:
- The importance of permaculture (i.e., putting your resources to their greatest use), and how I use it in my ecommerce, information and SaaS businesses
- Why I practice finding comfort in uncomfortable situations
- One BIG thing a lot of entrepreneurs don’t know about success
Plus, a few words of wisdom I think every business owner should know. Enjoy!
The Power of Permaculture
Grant Cardone and I have something in common in how we run our businesses: we both seek permaculture.
Permaculture is repurposing your resources in as many ways as possible.
In farming this is like using the manure to feed your garden, and in business, it’s any way you can get more value out of the content you create.
Once I started viewing my energy output like this, it completely revolutionized how I did things.
In my three companies, permaculture looks like this:
Most of my daily energy goes into BOOM! By Cindy Joseph, my $20M ecommerce brand. It’s where I’m constantly innovating and testing new strategies.
But when I got good at ecommerce, I realized I had all this information just bouncing around in my head not helping anyone but myself. So I decided to publish it under the name Smart Marketer for other entrepreneurs to access.
But my new business model had a serious problem:
Smart Marketer was an influencer brand based on me, meaning it would be very difficult to sell.
So in order to create a sellable asset, I repackaged my ecommerce content into something that had nothing to do with Ezra Firestone.
That’s how Zipify Apps was born. With Zipify I could package all that information into ready-made solutions for store owners.
And now the permaculture has come full-circle, because we’re using Zipify Pages and OneClickUpsell to help grow BOOM!
Permaculture can also happen on a smaller scale within a business when you reuse content in new ways. For example, BOOM! had a ton of great videos on its website, so we decided to stick them in our email sequences too. Why not, right?
So go try it! Do you have content that you can repurpose in new ways? You might be surprised at what you find.
Finding Comfort In The Uncomfortable
In my 13-year career in ecommerce I’ve experienced several business failures, from deals falling through to almost going bankrupt.
And the instability of being an entrepreneur has taught me this: You must get good at finding comfort in uncomfortable situations.
Those moments of discomfort are what teach you how to be successful, and it’s a lesson that has improved every part of my life.
Short-Term vs Long-Term Success
You can’t tear a dollar bill and have change fall out of it. The only time your money has real value is when you trade it for something you want.
Yet I see these young entrepreneurs who start making a bunch of money, and all their focus is on making money, not using it for more valuable things.
Instead they spend it on short-term objects like cars and private jets — things society teaches us look like success.
I’m not trying to knock your private jet here — I travel a lot, I can sympathize — I just want to help you stay in the game longer by buying the things you truly want.
And hey, if a jet really is what you want, then right on. Go out and get your jet, because you deserve it.
Words Of Wisdom: 3 Ways to Get More Power
Grant Cardone always ends “Power Players” with the same question:
What are three pieces of advice folks can use today to get more power in their lives and businesses?
Here are my three:
1. Buy or trade for people’s time.
It’s amazing how much output you get from one employee working 20 hours a week. It can transform your whole operation. And if (like me) you don’t have the capital at the start, then sell them on your idea, and see if you can pay them later.
2. Invest in yourself through education.
The minute you think you have everything figured out, you’re hosed. That’s why I’ve attended every industry conference out there, because if you want to get better at something, you have to go where the smart people are.
3. Give from surplus.
I believe the best thing you can do for your friends and family is to take care of yourself, because when you run yourself into the ground by overworking, you have nothing left to give. That’s why I prioritize my happiness, eat right and move my body, so I’ll have the extra energy to show others.
Or as Grant puts it, “You can’t give what you don’t have.”
6:24 The skill set of being comfortable in discomfort is a real valuable one
17:49 Most people are not in touch with what they want.
32:22 You can sell people on giving you their time for free while you’re trying to make it and I think that’s powerful
33:04 Invest in yourself
34:14 Longevity is part of gratification
35:47 A lot of people give of what they don’t have
Click Here For Video Transcript
Ezra: Thank you so much. And, you know, I don’t know if noticed this, but both times we’ve done an interview, we match outfits.
Grant: Of course, dude.
Ezra: We didn’t plan this.
Grant: Of course, we’re twin brothers, man.
Ezra: Yeah, you know, I was…
Grant: You got the bun. I don’t have a bun, so.
Ezra: I do. You could get one of these. We could get you one. Get you a clip-on just for our interviews. I wanted to start with this thing that I noticed that you do that I just… It was reinforced. I was thinking that you do this. And so let me give you a breakdown of my business, current business, all right, and then I’m gonna relate it to…
Grant: Yeah, sure, I love that. So everybody else, he’s gonna break it down for you. Okay?
Ezra: All right. So let me break it down for you. So here’s how it goes. You know, I’ve been in ecommerce since ’05, so I’ve been in…I’ve grown up in this industry since I was knee-high to a duck. Like, I’ve just been in it since before there was mass adoption in society with buying online, right?
Grant: Yeah, 22 years.
Ezra: That’s how long you’ve been there?
Grant: No, you…
Ezra: No, I’ve been in, like, 13.
Grant: Thirteen years. I’m sorry, I did that math. I’m getting ahead of myself.
Ezra: So I have my main businesses, that one I just showed you. I sell $20 million a year worth of skincare, about 21 actually. And that’s kind of where we innovate, where we focus, where most…I got 75 people. Most of my team, let’s say, 50 of them are focused on ecommerce, right? That’s kind of like the heart that pumps the blood to the rest of our businesses, right?
Grant: Tony, grab those products so we can show [crosstalk 00:01:44].
Ezra: Yeah, we’ll show them off. So that’s one entity, right? And then what we do is anything that works there, we document it and we share it with our community.
Grant: And that becomes the…
Ezra: That’s the information business, the second business, the training business, education. So we do a bunch of free content, just like what you do here. So we do it and then we document.
Grant: You observe what’s working and what’s not working.
Ezra: Share it with people. That business is called Smart Marketer, tagline, “Serve the world unselfishly and profit.”
Grant: I like that. I like that.
Ezra: So then anything that…and I’m getting to the point…I’m gonna get back to you here. It’s not all about me.
Grant: That’s all right. It’s all right, dude. It’s all good, man. It’s about the people, baby.
Ezra: So this is a good lesson for any of you watching. [crosstalk 00:02:22]
Grant: Serve the world unselfishly.
Ezra: And profit. Because if you’re in a role of service, you’re gonna profit and that’s what this…
Grant: And if you don’t profit, you’re not gonna be able to serve.
Ezra: That’s right. Exactly. You can only give from surplus. So you got to generate surplus so that you can give. So these are our…I got a little “10X” mug here. What you guys don’t see is I’m accompanied by double Grant Cardone here. If I get lonely, I got G-City over here twice hanging out with me.
Grant: G-City. I love it.
Ezra: G-City. All right. So let me get back to this. So basically, anything that works on the store, not only do we document and share with our community, but we develop and we offer software solutions to that same group of people. That’s our third business called Zipify. So two reasons we do that. Number one, the Smart Marketer business that’s built around the Ezra Firestone persona is not an asset, it’s only cash flow. I can’t sell it, it’s just business. But by building software as a service and selling it to that same community, that gives me an asset-based business that is now worth something that’s not built on my persona that I could sell to someone.
Grant: The Zipify.
Ezra: That’s Zipify. So do document, develop.
Grant: So you guys got three legs on this stool, right?
Ezra: But check this out. So here’s the interesting part of it. In farming, there’s this term known as “permaculture,” which is the idea that you use… The idea that you, you do this. This is the one I’m getting to.
Ezra: The idea that you use all your assets to their greatest benefit. Capture the rain water, water the garden, use the chicken shit for the compost. So all my businesses flow together and work together. As I’m out here looking at your stuff, you don’t even realize you’re doing that.
Grant: No, no, I do realize that. We are permaculture for sure.
Ezra: It’s amazing and it’s such a good model. And most people…
Grant: We renew everything here.
Ezra: You’ve got to. Like if you can find…it’s like, man, I like to buy old things. You know, it’s the oldest business model in the book, is buy a watch for [inaudible 00:04:06], scrub it down and sell it for two. But take things that are old and renew them. Use your resource to its greatest benefit. And I don’t see enough entrepreneurs doing that.
Grant: Yeah. So your point in that is like, let’s say, there’s a guy out there starting up a deal, he’s new to ecommerce, he’s not 13 years, he’s like me. Like, what’s Shopify? I mean, look, there’s people who gonna see Shopify and before you blink your eyes, it’s gonna be gone.
Ezra: I know. It’s crazy.
Grant: We were talking in my office about the phones, you know, the smartphone will go away. It will cease to exist as we know it.
Ezra: Oh, yeah. This thing is, it’s gonna be on your body, on your eye. You’re gonna have a bracelet that just drops your phone down, you’re gonna have an eyepiece that just displays an augmented reality of, like, Google Maps, the directions in front of you.
Grant: Yeah. You’re not gonna look at your phone. You’re not gonna pick up another piece to look down at something.
Ezra: It’s just gonna be on your body and your physical reality.
Grant: You’re gonna be an app. You basically gonna be an app.
Ezra: Yeah, it’s crazy.
Grant: So I can walk down the street and be playing golf at the same time while I’m shopping. I’m playing golf class right now. It’s an app, new app.
Ezra: Actually, he has one on. You don’t realize this, he’s actually playing golf right now.
Grant: Yeah. So and you’re a grappler, right?
Ezra: I am.
Grant: So tell me how does the grappling relate to the entrepreneurship, relate to the ecommerce? Because I think they’re connected by now.
Ezra: Here’s what I’m interested in life, I’m interested in putting myself in positions of discomfort, and then relaxing in those positions. And what I find in business and anyone who’s been in business, man, I’ve almost gone bankrupt several times. I’ve had several deals fall through. I’ve had several…I mean, now being more established and having a team of 75, I mean, we’re way more established now. But as I was coming up in the game, I had several failures. And growing up as a kid, you know, we were worried about the power turning off. Sometimes we didn’t have water. Like, I never had new clothes.
Like, I went and sold stuff at the flea market on the weekends just to try and make money with my pops. Like, I know what it feels like to not have and to be lacking. And I think that what I see with these younger guys coming up in the game, they just wanna drop ship and make a million dollars. They don’t realize that, like, the skill set of being comfortable in discomfort is a real valuable one in life because you’re gonna experience discomfort. You don’t want a life without discomfort. You want a life that has the whole range of emotions, the whole range of the spectrum so that you have context on what your success even means.
Grant: Yeah, I’d see some of these guys getting off of private jets, right, that they chartered and/or they just figured out how to get a picture on.
Ezra: [crosstalk 00:06:44] JetSmarter app.
Grant: Yeah, the JetSmarter, the whole thing. And I’m like, “Guys, you’re skipping some beats here.”
Ezra: Yeah. And it’s like, man…
Grant: So can you talk about that? Like, the importance like how you grew up, okay? The flea market thing. I think it’s interesting to know this dude grew up poor, they did the flea market deal as a solution to, like, eating, not a hustle, it was the eating. It was, like, taking care of some problems.
Ezra: You need to make money, you know?
Grant: And to see that that discomfort and that thing that you probably didn’t wanna go through and nobody did is what Ezra Firestone will do for millions of dollars later in the future with ecommerce which is basically the internet, which is a flea market.
Ezra: So what we were doing, yeah. So I like to give this history of my family, right? So my great-grandfather, Abraham, he lived in a town called Kolomna [SP], Russia. And what he would do is he’d get a horse-covered wagon full of cotton and wool and he would take it from Kolomna to Vienna, which is a seven-days journey with his three kids in the back of this wagon and he would trade it for more. So he traded for different…like, you know, he traded the wool for leather, you know, and he’d bring it back and the leather would get made into shoes. So he was a trader, right?
Grant: Right. And he was recycling, too.
Ezra: He was recycling. But he was making his money on the people on the side of the road that he could sell the stuff to and also on the trade. So that was great until the war. One of his sons…
Grant: What war?
Ezra: The World War I or II, whatever it was.
Grant: One of the big wars.
Ezra: One of the big war, yeah. So basically, one of his sons that would ride…
Grant: You gotta get that worked out.
Ezra: Yeah, I forgot those stats. Anyways.
Grant: You can’t be like, “Yeah, one of them.”
Ezra: One of the two. So anyways, the point is that his hustle was selling to people on the side of the road and also trading stuff. His son who was in the back of that horse carried wagon came to America after the war, I wanna say World War II. His son came to America at a time when all the Jews were selling schmattas, rags on the Lower East Side. They were selling clothing. And he had a store on Orchard Street selling women’s garments. And what he would do is he’d buy stuff from one guy in Midtown, he’d take it to another guy, get it sewn. And he would sell a fully tailored woman’s blouse in the late ’50s for like $3. And so he made his money on the traffic on Orchard Street.
Grant: And they were saying it was too hard back then.
Ezra: Oh, yeah. I mean, we’re talking about Jewish people, so…
Grant: I can’t pay you $3.
Ezra: They definitely bargain and negotiate, right, that’s my culture. So anyways, his son is my father. Right? So that was Isaac. So Abraham was the guy with the horse carried wagon, Isaac was the guy with the store on Orchard Street. Now, my dad, Jacob…
Grant: Dude, you’re, like, biblical.
Ezra: Yeah, I’ve been in the game.
Grant: I didn’t know this dude was like…
Ezra: I’ve been deep life, right? So check this out.
Grant: Because this guy is, like, biblical and all the biblical names.
Ezra: So check this out. My dad shuns his roots of like…he didn’t wanna be a merchant…
Grant: He didn’t wanna be a trader, barterer.
Ezra: …he didn’t wanna be like super deep into, you know, religious culture. He wasn’t about that. So he moves from New York to California and joins an intentional community where…
Grant: He’s a hippie.
Ezra: He’s a hippie.
Grant: Yeah, totally, he’s checking out, man.
Ezra: But here’s the interesting thing.
Grant: He’s on the protest.
Ezra: He ends up becoming a merchant. Okay, let’s say two teams are in the Super Bowl, right, they make sure it’s for both teams. The winning team and the losing team, right?
Grant: Of course.
Ezra: So we’d give, like, the shirts to a losing team. What we would do is we’d go down to the flea market, we get the corner lot, we build our tent, and they’re not these pop-up tents, like you’d actually build this thing, right? I’d be out there split-testing crayon versus marker. You know what I mean, I’d be out there selling whatever we had, medicine and Gatorade and whatever. And now I do the same thing that my great grandfather, my grandfather, and my dad did except for I have one thing that they don’t, which is I’m not limited by geography. Great-grandpa, selling to people on the side of the road, Grandpa, Orchard Street, my dad, the corner lot of the flea market. I can sell to anyone in any developed nation.
Grant: As long as everyone will pay the shipping, you can deliver anywhere.
Ezra: It’s the same hustle.
Grant: Listen what this guy is telling you right now. The big takeaway out of “Power Players” in this first part of the…our SaaS segment.
Ezra: There we go.
Grant: I can’t get that out. This guy is so smart. Okay. Dude, you gotta embrace the discomfort because it’s gonna teach you something for the future. Stay with us on “Power Players.” We’re back “Power Players.” We’re talking about discomfort, we’re talking about entrepreneurship, we’re talking about, you know, don’t try to skip beats.
Ezra: G-City, 10X.
Grant: Some of you guys are trying to accelerate, man, you’re like you’re trying to go from broke to jet charter. I’m like, “What are you doing, man?”
Ezra: You know what the thing is? People always reminisce about the good old days. These are the good old days. These are them. Enjoy them. Embrace it.
Grant: Even the struggle. Like, to test stuff.
Ezra: Man, I reminisce about like wig season. I was the number one retailer of mullet wigs in America a couple years running. I had a lot of different hustles. But the point is, like, wig season for me was October. I would sell a couple $100,000 worth of wigs and they would all be in my apartment and I’d be selling mullets and afros.
Grant: Yeah, you don’t wanna go back and do that. Dude, that does not sound good to me.
Ezra: I don’t wanna go back and do it. But thinking back on it, it’s a lot of fun to reminisce about that experience. And that experience led me to this experience. You know what I mean? Like, yeah, you got to embrace where you’re at.
Grant: Because you are definitely a power player. Okay.
Ezra: Powerful Grant Cardone.
Grant: You are, dude. What does power mean to you? Because I think everybody has got a different meaning. Mother Teresa was definitely a power player.
Ezra: Sure. I said this on this little Instagram video that hopefully you’ll put at some point.
Ezra: So I think what the game is is it’s a game of resource.
Grant: Oh, yeah, we have his, “I love entrepreneurs.” We’re gonna put it out.
Ezra: So I think it’s a game of resource distribution and resource direction. And, like, my agenda is to generate a bunch of resource that I can direct towards causes that I find noble, causes that I believe in. How do I generate resource? Well, resource in art, in the game we’re playing, the society we live in.
Grant: What do you mean by resource?
Ezra: I’m gonna explain that.
Ezra: The game that we’re playing, the society that we’re living in…
Grant: Smartest guy in the room, man. You know what they say about you.
Ezra: Resource is money, man.
Grant: Resource is money.
Ezra: Look, you can’t tear a $1 bill and have change fall out. It has no value. It’s something that we trade for things we think are valuable, something we trade for resource that we can then direct. So I’m generating a lot of surplus money so that I have resource to direct, i.e., power to direct towards the ship that I think is, that I wanna put resource towards.
Grant: So do you think that a person or a business can have power without money?
Ezra: I think it’s hard. I think you can. Look, here’s another way to have power and influence, to get a bunch of people in agreement. Agreement is control. Like, think about this. Agreement is also reality. So check this out. If you have 1,000 people who say, “This guy is Brad Pitt,” and one guy who says, “I’m Brad Pitt,” whoever the 1,000 people think Brad Pitt is is who Brad Pitt because everyone is in agreement.
Grant: And back to the money thing, Brad Pitt is money.
Ezra: His name is [inaudible 00:13:14].
Grant: So money only has value to the degree that a group of people agree with it.
Ezra: Yes, 100%.
Grant: Okay. Because legal pads don’t have value.
Grant: Because people just waste them. But all of a sudden, you take out a legal pad and you make it look $1, everybody is like, “I can’t use that money… What do you need?” See, people play with that. They’re like, “Oh, that’s nothing, man.” They would never do that with real hundreds, okay? Like everybody would be running around here getting this. I mean, the money that we have, Ezra is making a great point right here, is really worth no more than this except this agreed upon reality.
Ezra: Yeah. And so I think when you say another way to define power for me, if you don’t have money is to get a whole bunch of people in agreement. And you know what does that? This is what I was saying before. I was talking to you about this when I first came in. The guy who drove me over here, I was like, “Yeah, I’m gonna see Grant Cardone,” he was like, “Cardone Zone. I bought ‘Sell Or Be Sold.'” he was going. You have, one of the ways to get a bunch of people in agreement is to reach a whole bunch of people and we are the first group of people in humanity who can go out there and reach the rest of the world through content. And that’s what I think you do really well. I think you have a bunch of people believe in the hype, consuming your content saying, “10X, son, G-City all day.” Like, people are into this lingo that you’ve developed, this culture that you developed, and that is power. And a group of people in agreement about a particular…I think, man…
Grant: And it should because I think a lot of guys out there are working the web, they’re doing the social media thing, and they’re coming up with no money. And I’m like, “Guys, if you’re doing the deal,” and I’d love your input on this, “and you come up with none of the paper, you’re doing something wrong.”
Ezra: Yeah, something is not working.
Grant: “And then if you’re doing it and you end up with paper and you look up and then you don’t have any, then you’re doing something wrong on that end, too.”
Ezra: For sure. And I will say one of the things about… You know, I’m younger than you, but there’s a lot of guys in the game who are younger than me, right? There are a lot of guys coming up, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22 and they’re all focused on making money, but they’re not focused on keeping it. And all these people that I see especially in the ecommerce world who make a bunch of money drop shipping or make a bunch of money in Amazon business or make a bunch of money doing some bullshit in ecommerce never are able to keep that money. It’s one thing to make it, it’s another thing to keep it, right? Like, money wants to flow, right? So to direct it somewhere where it’s gonna be a benefit and [crosstalk 00:15:35] to you.
Grant: Yeah. It will flow somewhere, by the way, it will go somewhere.
Ezra: Yeah. And leveraging it. I’m not saying like “hold”…you’re not gonna hold it down, right? But, like, moving it…
Grant: No, I’m gonna move it to something that makes babies.
Ezra: That’s right. Using it to your best benefit.
Grant: And these guys who aren’t making babies, what some of you guys are doing, some of you punks…
Ezra: Young bucks out there coming up.
Grant: No, no, no. You’re running all over. This is a mistake I never made in my entire career. I made a lot of mistakes, money was not one of them. Like, I value money. I was taught the value. I know you were.
Ezra: Hundred percent.
Grant: You know, and the game for me was, “Hey, I’m gonna go out and produce money. I’m gonna get investors.” But I never got investors, what I did is I sold people a product. I treated their money like it was an investment.
Ezra: That’s right.
Grant: So when I sold you something at the wig thing or the flea market, right, or online, whatever. Online is just another flea market.
Ezra: That’s right. It is. It’s just another…
Grant: It’s just bigger.
Ezra: Yeah. It’s a lot bigger, which is nice.
Grant: You know, and it’s open 24/7. So I would go out and sell whatever that was, right? They would give me money. That was my investor. He doesn’t really think he’s an investor. He doesn’t own this new thing and I’m like, “That’s the best money in the world, dude.” Don’t go out and get investors, sell a product, get their money, and use the money. So what do you see the young…yeah.
Ezra: Here’s what I think, I think there’s a…like, you’re balling out of control. You got jets. Like, these guys are chasing baubles, meaningless bullshit, because they think that is what’s going to bring them status and they think that that’s what’s gonna make them look good in the eyes of other people. I think it all comes back to approval, right? Everyone is looking to be approved of. Everyone wants to be acknowledged and appreciated and told they’re right and sort of found…
Grant: Is that a good thing? Is that a bad thing?
Ezra: No. it’s a motivator to do stuff, but it’s a lack of internal self-worth, right? If your whole game is about acquiring bullshit that you don’t necessarily even need because you’re conditioned…
Grant: The jet, the car.
Ezra: I’m not against jets and cars, by the way, but here’s the thing…
Grant: No, no, but you’re saying prematurely. You’re saying like…
Ezra: Yeah. Like, you’re conditioned to think you should have this stuff because then somehow you’ve made it to some level and now you’ll be approved of. It’s like if you don’t approve of yourself, it’s a much better hustle to go out and get the stuff that you actually desire to be in touch with what you actually want. Is it a jet? Right on. Are you’re gonna use that jet? Like, what do you actually want? I think most people are not in touch with what they want. They’re in touch with what they’ve been sold they want by society, right? Men, in particular, I think are out there chasing accolades because they’re sold that’s what the they should do, not because it’s actually what they want. Now I’m out here chasing resource. I like to consume just like the rest of us, right? I’m out here, you know what I mean? I’m wearing a gold ring, like I’m not against consumption, but I’m consuming shit that I actually want because I want that not because I think [inaudible 00:18:15]…
Grant: Somebody else would. Yeah, yeah.
Ezra: …or someone told me I want or I will then be approved of if I have that thing. It’s a nuance.
Grant: And he’s still discovering. You’re in a discovery mode.
Ezra: Hundred percent.
Grant: You can change your mind on all this, right?
Ezra: I change my mind all the time. I’m always learning.
Grant: So this is really important what we’re talking about because I’m thinking right now as I roll through my Instagram, “Rappers, athletes, young hustlers, young ecommerce guys, you guys, you’re gonna bust out.”
Ezra: How many people have we seen burn out? You know, you’ve been in this game a lot longer than me, but I’ve been in it 15 years. How many people have we seen [inaudible 00:18:46]?
Grant: Nobody knew I had money, bro, up until about seven, eight years ago because I really didn’t have any money until seven or eight years ago.
Ezra: Man, tell me about it.
Grant: So before that, it was just like, “I can’t lose right here. I can’t lose money right here. I can’t afford to lose right now. I gotta go knock doors again. I gotta hit it.” So when you see me do 3 webinars in 22 days and you’re like, “Dude, you work too hard,” I’m still on that thing about, “I have to keep pushing because I’m worried about the internet going down.” I even brought that up in there. I’m waiting for the window to close.
Ezra: Listen, let’s say Google Fiber’s cable goes out, right? You know what I mean, could happen. But just to change the subject a little bit. So before…
Grant: A terrorist attack will not be one with a bomb, it will be one with…
Ezra: People don’t know about the cyber terror that going on. It’s going on. It’s happening. The battle being waged right now. There’s cyber terror…it’s intense when you dig into it. But before, I wanna talk about one quick thing which is, so before I got into ecommerce, I was playing poker for a living. And I moved to New York City… Yeah, get them cards. Give me some chips, too.
Grant: I gotcha here.
Ezra: Listen, I moved to New York City to play cards because there was a big underground scene there.
Grant: You were playing Hold’em?
Ezra: Playing Hold’em, you know. But I came up playing everything, studs… You know, back in the day before Hold’em…
Grant: You play Guts? Three-Card Guts?
Ezra: Oh, yeah. Guts poker? Hundred percent. It’s been a long time. I’ve only played Hold’em for, like, last decade.
Grant: You’re in or out on Guts. You’re in or out and Guts and you match the pot if you lose.
Ezra: Okay, got it. So long story short, is I was real good at reading people, like I was real good. And when I talk about real good, look, I’m 17 years old. I’m playing these underground clubs in New York City. You know, you got guys like Jimmy Two Tone, Paulie the Tooth…
Ezra: …Tony Coconuts, Johnny How You Doin’. So basically…
Grant: Joey Bag of Donuts.
Ezra: Joey Bag of Donuts, Sonny Francheesy [SP] over here. Johnny Bananas. And these guys, you know, they actually talk like, “Hey, you remember the guy who did the thing at the place?” Like, they actually talks like that.
Grant: This guy should be an actor.
Ezra: So long story short is, you know, I was making 300, 400 bucks a night as a teenager at underground poker clubs in New York City, which I thought was real dough. I was really happy about that. That was, like, enough to live on, to eat, to go out. Like, I was living my life, maybe making $70 to $100 grand a year playing cards. And I kept getting invited to these bigger games and being kind of worried, like, “Man, maybe…”
Grant: What was a big game?
Ezra: A big game would be like $3,000 or $4,000 buy-in, you know what I mean. Which would be like, you know, Texas Hold’em. Yeah, maybe 5, 10, no limit, 10, 20, no limit, you know, kind of range. So I got invited to this one game run by this guy named “The Limo.” And I was winning at all these one, two, two, five, no limit games crushing. I’m in the city. This was back when you would have in New York City…
Grant: Wow, this is interesting. I know where you’re going now.
Ezra: You would have 20 tables in one room. But they started getting robbed and the whole thing. So they shut them all down. Now you only have like one or two tables in a room in New York City. You’d walk in, there’d be masseuses and there’d be big-screen TVs and it was like Vegas in Midtown Manhattan.
Grant: So it was like the Molly?
Ezra: It was just like that. It was at that time. It was at that time like Molly’s game. So long story short, I started playing this bigger game and I could not win. I could not win. Now I’m a guy who is…
Grant: You were winning the two, five and then when you went to the higher stake game… Big story here, folks, pay attention.
Ezra: I started getting crushed. Now I’m a guy who believes I’m always a student. There’s always more to learn. I don’t think I have it all figured out. You know what I mean? I feel like as soon as you think you got it all figured out, that’s when…
Grant: You’re gonna get cracked.
Ezra: …when you’re gonna get cracked. That’s when you’re hosed. So I started reading every book on poker I could find. I found a book by a guy named Barry Greenstein called “Ace on the River.” And he was like, “Hey, listen, if you’re playing in a stakes up from where you’re normally are, show up after a bunch of people have had a time to go on tilt. So show up an hour before the game breaks and then play.” So here’s what I did, I started going to sleep at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday nights, waking up at 2:00 a.m, going to this game at 3:00, playing 3:00 to 5:00. And as soon as I did that, I started crushing this game. One little tweak, which was that… It’s timing is everything, man. It was the right time for me to be playing in that game after everyone had a few drinks, you know what I mean?
Grant: Yes. And you’re talking about the guy being on tilt now, meaning, for everybody out there, he is now making poor decisions.
Ezra: Because he’s lost the money, he’s trying to win it back, trying to dig himself out of a hole.
Grant: He’s chasing.
Ezra: Yeah, exactly.
Grant: He’s chasing.
Ezra: So if you look at this company right here, right, this is a company called Boom by Cindy Joseph. These are my cosmetic products. And what we’re doing is we’re selling to women over 50. We’re like one of the biggest online…
Grant: Because they’re on tilt.
Ezra: Well, no. Here’s why. Because everyone else in the world is selling anti-age, anti-wrinkle, Botox, tuck it in, tighten it up, dye your hair. We’re selling pro-age. We’re selling, “Life is good and it’s just only getting better,” and these cosmetics are to support you on your journey and they’re sheer, you can see right through them and celebrate your age. It was the right time for that message in our society and that one message blew this thing up. That one viewpoint shift of instead of, “You’re dirty, bad and wrong for aging,” “Aging is a natural process that’s good that you should embrace and here’s some ways to do it.” It was the right time for women to hear that. Here’s why.
Grant: That’s $5 million a year business right there.
Ezra: That’s a $20 million a year business.
Grant: I’m sorry.
Ezra: Smart Marketer is the $5 million a year business.
Grant: Excuse me.
Ezra: But let me just correct G-City. Behind the scenes, you don’t see him correcting me, but he is. But, all right, so check this out, though, is there’s 80 million baby boomers, right? Half of them are women, 80 million baby boomers. The second largest population, millennials…
Grant: Well, some people say it’s bigger than that, but anyway. It could be up 107 million baby boomers.
Ezra: Oh, my God, all right. So then maybe they’re bigger than millennials.
Grant: Plus the illegals.
Ezra: Hey, now. The first or second…
Grant: Now we’re at 120. Johnny came in.
Ezra: You know, my mom came here on a boat.
Grant: Yeah. My grandparents came over…my grandfather never had papers, W-O-P.
Ezra: Came through Ellis Island?
Grant: “Wop,” you remember “wop”?
Ezra: Oh, yeah.
Grant: That meant “without papers.”
Ezra: For sure, for sure. And that’s still a derogatory term that people use for Italians. My mom came over from Italy, from Rome when she was seven.
Grant: Now we call them “refugees.”
Ezra: It’s a different word. But check this out, 80 million, let’s say 100 million…
Grant: Whatever the number. It’s big. It’s massive.
Ezra: Half of them are women and they’re all experiencing their bodies aging, their skin wrinkling, their hair is graying, and everyone telling them that that is bad. It was the right time for that message. It’s the right time for your message. All these youngsters who have access to the internet, who are trying to better themselves and better their lives, who are getting shitty information from school, the worst information you could get. I got lucky. I just was a bad student. I just couldn’t make it in college. I failed out of junior college three semesters in a row and decided I’m gonna go play poker because this is not working for me.
Grant: But you had a lot of mentors around you, though.
Ezra: I did.
Grant: You know, I mean, you had guys…I mean, look at the Jewish community. What is it, 14, 15 million people?
Ezra: A lot of people. Yeah.
Grant: It’s not a lot.
Ezra: But here’s the thing, I didn’t…
Grant: Fourteen and fifteen million people together, a little piece of land, they control all of the TV business, all of the movie business, all of the radio business.
Ezra: I didn’t grow up in a Jewish community. I grew on a hippie commune. My parents shunned that. They were like, “We’re out of this.”
Grant: But it was still there. What you resist will persist, you know.
Ezra: For sure. For sure.
Grant: Okay, let’s play a hand, okay?
Ezra: You wanna play a hand? All right. You want to play some Hold’em?
Grant: Let’s play Hold’em. We’ll play Hold’em, $10 a chip. Let’s go 15 a hundred.
Ezra: I had a feeling you and I might be playing so I brought some cash because I had a feeling…
Grant: I got my cash, too. Okay.
Ezra: I had a feeling we might actually do it. So I came ready.
Grant: We’ll play 15 a hundred. Let’s see what happens here on “Power Players,” okay?
Ezra: Cash in my pocket.
Grant: Our first live show.
Ezra: Hoo, doggies.
Grant: I need your $100, though. No, no, right here. Just put 10 of these up.
Ezra: Is this $100?
Grant: We’ll collect later. I’ve got an ATM right here at the bank.
Ezra: Yo, anyone watching, if he’s dealing off the bottom of the deck…by the way, new… Is that the base?
Grant: I’m all in. I’m all in. I’m a bit out of order and go all in.
Ezra: Damn, son, he’s punking me. He’s trying to put me on his show, put me in my place, he’s trying to bulldog me, kind of body-check me over here.
Grant: What is it? Do I have it or do I not have it? Should we just end here guys? Okay, and play it out or what?
Ezra: Listen, a good lesson in business is, under pressure, you don’t let your ego to get in the way, you don’t let, the whole world watching, you live to fight another day. You give up the hundred so that you can win. All right, so you got 100, that’s all right. Take the 100 and we go back.
Grant: Okay, go ahead. Let’s see, I’ll take the 100. I bought that. What do you think I had?
Ezra: I don’t know. I put you on like that.
Grant: Let me show the audience what I had.
Ezra: I put him on like a two, seven or something.
Grant: Now, now, look, this guy is a good player. I wanna show you off-camera what I had here. Don’t look, dude. Don’t look. You can’t look. No, you can’t look, dude. You can’t look, you can’t look. That’s what I had and notice what he said, okay?
Ezra: I put him on garbage, right? I put him on garbage, but, you know, think about G-City is he’s flexing in front of his peeps, right? He’s flexing in front of his community.
Grant: No, no, no, I’m showing you off, dude. I’m showing you off. You brought up the poker, I said…
Ezra: Listen, I’m so appreciative. By the way, real quick, like, genuinely appreciative to be on your show. A fan and admirer. I think you’re amazing.
Grant: I’m a big fan, dude. I had him at 10X. If you didn’t see the 10X presentation he did, this guy is the real deal, folks.
Ezra: I’m gonna have you cut.
Grant: How do you go from selling wigs to doing $20 million a year at one business and you got 3 businesses and they all rock, okay? And you wear your hair in a bun like that. It’s crazy, dude.
Ezra: Listen, I get more… Here’s the thing, I embraced the bun. I embraced it because I get so much hate on it. It’s the number thing that I get hate on online.
Grant: It’s up to you.
Ezra: All right. I’m all in.
Grant: He’s all in here.
Ezra: This is how we roll. “Power Players,” G-City, you don’t mess around. You either have it or you don’t, heads up.
Grant: By the way, nobody should be playing this game if you don’t have the money to lose.
Ezra: Doyle Brunson, Russell Brunson. All right, I’ll take 100. I’ll take my 100.
Grant: You take the 100, okay. Okay. Here we go.
Ezra: You guys wanna see what I had? You guys wanna see what I had?
Grant: I think you had 10, jack.
Ezra: You wanna see what I had?
Ezra: I definitely had one face card. I’m gonna show Grant one face card. It’s what I had. I had one. I’m gonna leave that other one under there. Yo, listen, if you wanna get good at poker, you’ve gotta be good with your hands. You see that? You’ve gotta be good with your hands.
Grant: So the “Boiler Room” movie…
Ezra: Is it “Rounders”?
Grant: Not “Boiler Room,” “Rounders.” So, I mean, you played the game.
Ezra: I play the games like that.
Grant: How many guys did you see… 10 to you, you’re the big. Okay, I’m all in. Come on, let’s show it to them. Let’s do it.
Ezra: I can’t. I can’t.
Grant: Yeah, you can. You can. You can.
Ezra: I can’t run this one. I can’t run this one. I fold. I fold. I can’t run this one. You want do a hand?
Grant: Yeah, sure.
Ezra: I can’t run that. Come on. I can’t run that.
Grant: Let’s see how it would have turned out. You wanna see this? Okay, I had a nine, eight.
Ezra: All right.
Grant: There it is.
Ezra: Oh, there it is.
Grant: I would have won that.
Ezra: Oh, look, I would have paired up on that. Wait, go back. Hold up, open that up. Is that four of spades? Is that four of spades? Tell me that’s a spade.
Grant: He’d have flushed out, dude.
Ezra: I would have won that and flushed that on the river. Come on.
Grant: Okay. He would have won that one. [inaudible 00:29:39]. So what do you see like a young player?The game of poker is managing money, not playing above your pay grade.
Ezra: Not playing with money you can’t afford to lose. And I’ll tell you what, being willing to gamble sometimes, being willing to gamble sometimes. Being willing to take risks sometimes.
Grant: Not every hand?
Ezra: Me personally, I’m about 80/20. Eighty percent of the time, I’m playing straight, 20% of the time, I’m feeling that gut. Here’s the thing…
Grant: He’s just playing some bullshit.
Ezra: I’m playing some bullshit, but I believe it. I believe it, you know, and I feel it.
Grant: I got the big blind here. I’m good. I’m in.
Ezra: All right. I’m gonna just bet 100 in. Pre-flop, I’ll bet 100.
Grant: How about another five, then, how about another five of those? This guy comes up short every time. Jesus. My God, man, okay. [inaudible 00:30:26]
Ezra: And he noticed it. He noticed it. It wasn’t intentional, but he noticed it.
Grant: There it is. That’s good for me. All those are good for me.
Ezra: I check.
Grant: I’m all in.
Ezra: I call.
Grant: Damn it. You got the king [inaudible 00:30:36]. You got the king [inaudible 00:30:38].
Ezra: I got that. I got that. No two.
Grant: Boom. Boom.
Ezra: Oh, come on. Come on. Oh.
Grant: Can you show this? Can you show this? Dude,.the guy just picked up the king. He picked up the kings.
Ezra: You got, on the turn, you got two pair.
Grant: I had two pair. Cheers. I owe you 200, dude. Okay? Let me just clean up my bet, right? Let me just clean it up right now. There’s 200. In fact, take three of these.
Ezra: I’ll take the third one. Take a little interest.
Grant: Okay, so look, let’s wrap this stuff now. Talking about power, right? What two or three things can you tell somebody, “Look, if you wanna get in power in your life,” what they should be doing today, what they should be tomorrow, and what they should be doing long term?
Ezra: Do you notice that you’ve got 94 people here believing your hype? Ninety four people in here who are saying, “G-City, son, 10X.” You’ve got me coming in at your event. I was on 10X, son.
Grant: Where are the 94 people?
Ezra: All of your employees, all of your team members. You realize that at your event, after your event, I had in my Instagram private message like 150 people just go, “10X, son.” That was it.
Grant: They love all this little easy…
Ezra: So think about the influence that you have. Think about the amount of people that you have in agreement with you backing your play. That’s power, man. Get people to back your play.
Grant: But how do they do that? How do they do that? So what should they do to…
Ezra: Sell someone on your idea. You know what I did when I didn’t have any money? I got my cousin. I told my cousin, I was like, “Listen, come work with me. We’re gonna make this happen. I can’t pay you now, but when we make it, I’ll pay you.” I got like three or four of my cousins.
Grant: So sell, sell. Learn to sell.
Ezra: Think about this. Yeah, learn to sell obviously. But think about this, I got 8 hours in a day, 10 hours a day, 12 hours a day, whatever it is. I got 4 more people times 10 hours in a day. I’ve just… 5X.
Grant: Buy time, baby. Buy time. You can buy time.
Ezra: You can sell people on giving you their time for free while you’re trying to make it and I think that’s powerful.
Grant: So what he’s saying is like, people are like, “But you only have so much time.” I’m like, “How many hours you work a week? Last week, I worked 90 times 40 hours.
Ezra: [crosstalk 00:32:32] 950 hours.
Grant: 3,600 hours last week plus my time and I’m like four men. Second thing people should do.
Ezra: Second thing you should do, buy Grant Cardone’s stuff. Sell [inaudible 00:32:42]…so, yeah, buy it. Buy. You know why? Here’s why. You get stuff for free and that’s valuable. But you don’t value it when you get it for free. You know what you value, things you invest in.
Grant: You’re trying to get your money back. It’s an investment, right?
Ezra: You know what? That’s right. And you know what you care about? Like, let’s say anyone here who’s an athlete cares a lot more about something they won that they trained for, that they put in the time, they’ve put in the energy. So invest in yourself. You know how much money I spent on training in my career?
Grant: Yeah, tell me.
Ezra: A lot. At least a couple hundred grand, at least. Masterminds, flying around, buying training, consuming information.
Grant: Buying access to people.
Ezra: Yeah, come on. You’ve got to invest in yourself. That’s power. And you know what I see you do on your Instagram? You’re out there. You’re investing in your body. You’re out there eating right, you’re out there at the gym, you know what I mean? You’re out there, “10X, son.” You’re either like…
Grant: I’m working my legs right there because I ignored my legs so long, dude.
Ezra: There’s more than just mental investment, there’s physical investment. This vessel that you fucking walk around in the world in, how are you taking care of that? Are you stuffing Burger King down its face 24/7? Or are you… Like, it’s powerful to take care of yourself. I think it’s a wrong move to delay gratification for longevity. Yet…
Grant: You think it’s a wrong move…
Ezra: I think it’s a wrong move…
Grant: …to delay…
Ezra: …to delay gratification for longevity. You could get hit by a bus tomorrow, but you know what? For me, gratification includes feeling good in my body. Gratification includes the potential for a long life. Should I be blessed enough to be blessed with that? You know what I’m saying? So I’m gonna take care of myself. It’s like gratification for me isn’t cupcakes in the belly every day. That’s not gratification, right? Longevity is part of my gratification. Taking care of myself is part of being gratified.
Grant: Well, we were talking about the longevity thing earlier, you know, like the whole augmented reality. I’m trying to figure out how to make that play to where I could be here in 2150.
Ezra: You know what’s gonna happen is that, and I’ve seen this happen in the tech world over and over, is technology catches up to the desire for what you wanna do. So right now AR and VR, augmented reality and virtual reality are still new tech, but eventually they’re gonna be so seamlessly integrated into society that you as a person who’s out there as an influencer who puts out content, you’ll be able to create holograms of yourself that people…
Grant: Totally agree with that, dude.
Ezra: You will have that opportunity for sure.
Grant: Do you remember playing Atari, the Asteroid game?
Ezra: Sure, yeah. It’s shooting at.
Grant: Yeah. I mean, like can you back and look…
Ezra: Wasn’t that 20 years ago?
Grant: Oh, more than that.
Ezra: Thirty, maybe?
Grant: Probably. So I remember Asteroids, man. I was like, “This tech is unbelievable, man.” I mean, we didn’t even have the word “tech,” right? But I would sit there and play for hours and I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. But you fast forward to today…
Ezra: For me, it was like Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo. That was my age.
Grant: Yeah. And then you go back and play that today, you’re like, “This is dumb,” right? But that’s where we’ll be going forward the things we look at today.
Ezra: People will look back and be like, “You carried that thing around with you?”
Grant: My kids tell me, they said, “Papa, do you think we’ll ever have to even drive a car?” I said, “Probably not.”
Ezra: Probably not. No.
Grant: Third piece of advice that you would let our viewers leave with saying, “Hey, man, if you do this and/or don’t do this other thing,” go either way you want, you’re gonna have power.
Ezra: Yeah. This is in the same vein of what we were just talking about, but it’s a different angle which is only give from surplus. A lot of people give of what they don’t have. You are no good to your friends, family, community, if you’re a freaking wreck. So if you just run yourself into the ground, you got nothing left for anyone else. The nicest thing you can do for anyone in your life is take care of yourself. It’s the nicest thing you can do for your partner, for your kids, to your business, you gotta invest in yourself so you generate surplus so that you can then give from that surplus.
Grant: You can’t give what you don’t have, baby.
Ezra: That’s right.
Grant: You can’t give what you don’t have.
Ezra: G-City, 10X.
Grant: And by the way, if you’re all buried up in your own health problems, your own financial problems, everybody is like, “I wanna help the world.” Dude, you gotta help yourself. When I was 25 years old, all I worried about was me. Everybody even said, “Man, you’re selfish.” I said, “Yeah, I am right now.”
Ezra: But you know what? Look at what you do now. This cab driver on the way was like, “He’s so generous, he’s so giving.” How come you have the ability to do that? It’s because you took care of yourself. It’s because you invested in yourself.
Grant: Ezra Firestone, check this guy out. Folks, if you wanna be in power, man, you can’t be the smartest person in the room and get there. Be willing to learn, be humble enough, be open, ask questions.
Ezra: And power is okay. Power is right. Power is good. All this, like, power gets a lot of negative in our society. It’s like…
Grant: Because everybody wants to be the humble guy.
Ezra: It’s okay to be a leader. It’s okay to take a firm line. And you know what I tell everyone on my team? I say, “If you ever have to like…like let me the bad guy. Let be the end of the line.” It’s because Ezra said so. I’m willing to be that guy and therefore I’m in control because I’m willing to say, “I’ll make that decision.” I’ll be the guy who says, “No,” “Yes,” “Sorry, you’re done.” Like I’m willing to play the villain and therefore…a villain in not like a negative context.
Grant: No, no, no, the bad guy. The tough guy.
Ezra: I’m willing to be the heavy.
Grant: The tough bad cop.
Ezra: Yeah, I’m willing to be that.
Grant: Good cop, bad cop.
Ezra: And that affords me a lot.
Grant: If you and I were doing a movie, what would be the movie be? I’m just thinking about this right now, like what kind of movie could me and you… It would be crazy, dude.
Ezra: I think it would be some kind of like… It would be fun. We should do it.
Grant: I don’t know if it would have anything to do with money. I think it would be something like comedy. Would it be a comedy or would it be a drama or what? Action. I don’t think we’re action heroes.
Ezra: Yeah, I don’t think we’re action heroes. You know what I mean? I think we might be those guys who are like, be kind of like The Sims where we’re, like, just building stuff. You know what I mean? Like strategizing…
Grant: I can see us doing “Dumb or Dumber,” though.
Ezra: I just think…
Grant: Hey, look, do me a favor, what movie would you see Grant Cardone and Ezra Firestone doing together, okay?
Ezra: Mate, I can do a lot of accents, can do Australian.
Grant: We’re getting ready to go on a world tour, dude. We’re getting ready to take the bird. We’re gonna get the bird in August and we’re gonna wrap the whole planet. I’m going to London this weekend, so we’re gonna take my brothers and my nieces.
Ezra: Oh, the UK? I can’t… London is tough for me. I can’t do London.
Ezra: The accent.
Grant: Oh, the accent.
Ezra: Yeah, yeah. [inaudible 00:38:22]
Grant: Yeah, I can barely do an American accent. Okay, Ezra, thank you for coming in. “Power Players,” folks, look, my goal is for you to watch enough of these and get enough information to get yourself in power, stay in power and then share whatever you learn to help other people in power. So you can come sit in the chair where Ezra is sitting right now.
Ezra: Sit with G.C.
Grant: Thanks for watching today, all right?
If you’re not…