story riot

The Shackleton Sniff Test: A Game Changer

One of my favorite thought experiments is what Bryan Johnson calls, “The Shackleton Sniff Test.” Bryan, who is the founder of OS Fund and Braintree, exposed the world to this great idea on the Tim Ferriss Podcast back in 2015 (check out the episode).

Creating any sort of project or business often comes with the occasional wave of self-doubt and fear, especially when things don’t go as planned. At least, that’s been my experience. And whenever I’m in a funk, I’ve found this “test” to be an incredibly helpful tool that always pulls me out of it.

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Jimmy Gonzales - The Art of Burning Your Ships, Playing the Cards Your Dealt, and Going After What You Love

Born and raised in a world surrounded by violence, drugs, foster homes and crime - Jimmy pulled himself out of a reality the majority of us wouldn't survive. He realized he had a passion for film in his early 20's, and committed his career and life to becoming a professional actor. Now at 40 years old, it's finally becoming a reality for him. 

Jimmy's story serves a great reminder that if we're willing to completely commit ourselves to the things we love, we can eventually achieve them. 

Over the past few years he's had roles in shows ranging from the Walking Dead to House of Cards, and has upcoming guest star roles on two new TV shows - Containment on CW, and Game of Silence on NBC, and will be co-starring in a movie with Nicolas Cage later this year. 

We discuss how he navigated his way through childhood, getting put in foster homes, how he discovered his passion, what it was like following his dream in his 30's (when all of his friends we're settling down), and the point in his career where he began to see some light at the end of the tunnel.

Listen on: iTunes | Stitcher  

Follow Jimmy on Instagram, Twitter, IMDb

Steve Rennie on Managing Incubus, Overcoming Resistance, and Making Shit Happen

From promoting concerts, to becoming a record executive, to managing the platinum selling rock band Incubus, Steve Rennie (a.k.a Renman) has been working in the music business for over 35 years. Today, he runs Renman Music and Business - a mentoring platform that helps aspiring artists and professionals succeed in today's music business. 

How we went from booking concerts at Santa Monica Community College and getting turned down from William Morris, to becoming SVP/GM of Epic Records, and managing one of the most successful bands in rock history is a killer story filled with honest, no-bullshit advice on becoming successful, moving through fear, and taking action. 

Listen on: iTunes | Stitcher 

Check out RenmanMB & Renman U
Watch Renman's YouTube Show 
Follow him on: Instagram / Facebook / Twitter

How 3 Guys Launched A Travel Show On Netflix

How 3 Guys Launched A Travel Show On Netflix

Recently I interviewed Nick Maher on the Story Riot Podcast, who is one of the hosts and executive producers of Unplanned America, a new travel show on Netflix. Although it required some significant sacrifices, what they did and how they did it was surprisingly simple, and their entire journey to make this project is filled with good lessons for anyone trying to create anything.

Ever since an eye opening experience with LSD as a young man, Nick was determined to carve his own path in life. After getting some exposure to audio and video equipment during one of his first jobs at Best Buy...

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Nick Maher - Unplanned America

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Nick (far left) is the co-host and creator of Unplanned America - a travel show about 3 Australians who drive across the U.S. with no money, no plan, and limited equipment. Now streaming on Netflix and airing on SBS2 (an Australian network), they've finished 3 seasons and have just begun what seems to be a promising and rewarding career traveling the world and sharing their experiences through a camera. 

Listen on: iTunes | Stitcher

David Evanko - MINIVAN Photography

"You can always find a job... And I liked the direction I was going with the hotel, but it gets to the point where you can't be yourself. They're like, 'you got to cut your hair, and you go to dress this way, and you got to talk this way.' And that's not me. I'm not going to fake it the rest of my life... I'd rather be myself for the rest of my life, make less money, and feel good about what I'm doing. It never sat right for me."

On this episode of the Story Riot Podcast, I chat with David Evanko. After graduating college, with no previous experience in photography, he just started showing up at venues by himself and taking photos. Three years later, he's shot hundreds of bands that have come through the L.A. music scene, making himself well-known, touring with several brands, and getting featured in various magazines. We discuss everything from how and why he got started, to why getting robbed and loosing everything became a huge turning point, and his thoughts on dealing with the inevitable self-doubt that comes with creating anything. 

Listen on: iTunes | Stitcher 

David's Website

Fuck It, We'll Do It Live

Fuck It, We'll Do It Live

If you’re making an online show right now – especially if you’re just getting started – chances are you’ve had some bad days. Days when equipment breaks down, guests don’t show up, things don’t upload correctly, etc. I’ve heard it all, and go through it all the time. It can feel like a never ending uphill battle, which is why I constantly try to remind myself and remember this... 

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Max Temkin - Cards Against Humanity

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"I think people imagine that we had some plan and the pieces all clicked into place, and I think that’s also a story people often tell about their past successes. If you’re successful, it’s easy to look back into the past and see your progress as the result of like this clean thrust forward… But the reality was we were always panicking and trying to put out one fire after another, and we never knew what we were doing." - Max Temkin 

Cards Against Humanity Co-Founder Max Temkin gets on the podcast to discuss how him and 7 other childhood best friends created one of the most iconic and recognizable games over the last several years. From not accepting any outside investment, to shipping people boxes of actual bull shit on Black Friday, these guys consistently march to the beat of their own drum which inevitably keeps feeding their momentum and success year after year. 

Listen on: iTunes | Stitcher | YouTube

LINKS:  Twitter // Facebook

Charlie Todd - Improv Everywhere

Charlie Todd is the creator of Improv Everywhere, a popular YouTube channel and prank collective. They've been terrorizing New York City and the world with humor and fun since 2001, and have since completed 100+ missions and have built a foundation of 1.7+ million subscribers online, making Improv Everywhere a powerful and well-known online comedy brand. Being one of the first (if not the first) prank style YouTube channel and online show, they've done everything from performing musicals inside of grocery stores, to getting thousands of people to ride with subway system without pants. 

Zach Luczynski - Mindset Coach for High Performers


After an injury destroyed his dreams of being a pro soccer player, Zach switched gears and put all of his focus into the world of entrepreneurship. He joined forces with a few friends from school, and together they experimented with different ideas until something worked. Eventually, it did, and they created what's now known as William Painter. But as time went on, he realized creating the next big mega brand wasn't for him, and what he really enjoyed was helping people on an individual basis with both their life and career. And now... that's what he does and does well. 

Liston on: iTunes | Stitcher 

Related Links: 
Zach's Website