There’s Always A Way: Alex Banayan on The Third Door

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“Life, business, success . . . it’s just like a nightclub. There are always three ways in.”

Alex Banayan


The day before his freshman year final exams, 18-year old Alex Banayan hacked The Price Is Right, won a sailboat, sold it, and used the prize money to fund his quest to learn from the worldʼs most successful people.

Over the next seven years, he pursued a graduate degree in persistence and perseverance from the University of Life. He snuck into Warren Buffett’s shareholders meeting. He chased Larry King through a grocery store. He celebrated with Lady Gaga in the hottest nightclub. Along the way, he landed remarkable one-on-one interviews with Bill Gates, Maya Angelou, Steve Wozniak, Jane Goodall, Quincy Jones, and many more.

Alex’s major discovery? Each and every icon shared one thing in common: they all took something he calls The Third Door.

Since that fateful day on the Price Is Right, Alex went on to become the world’s youngest venture capital executive, a coup that landed him on Forbesʼ ’30 Under 30′ list and Business Insiderʼs ‘Most Powerful People Under 30.’

He has delivered keynotes at prestigious organizations like Apple, Nike, IBM, Dell, MTV and even Harvard.

He has contributed to publications like Fast Company, the Washington Post, Entrepreneur, and TechCrunch. And he has been featured everywhere from Fortune, Forbes, Businessweek and Bloomberg to Fox News, & CBS News.

This week, Alex’s new book chronicling his wild seven-year adventure — aptly entitled The Third Door — hit bookstores everywhere.

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I first met Alex about 6 years ago. Just 19 at the time, he was in the very early stages of putting his book together. I liked him instantly, and left our lunch impressed with his rare mix of precociousness, infectious enthusiasm and raw authenticity. We stayed in touch. And that day I made him a promise: should he ever finish his book (something I doubted at the time) that he had an open invite to share his story on the podcast.

Today I honor that promise.

This is a conversation about one young man’s determination to find his way in the world.

It’s about a quest to learn what cannot be taught in the confines of a classroom.

It’s about never giving up.

And it’s about always finding a way.

But most of all, this is a very personal exchange between two friends about what it really means to pursue a dream.

Peace + Plants,

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SHOW NOTES

Check out Alex’s book: The Third Door: The Wild Quest to Uncover How the World’s Most Successful People Launched Their Careers*

Background, Context & Reference:

Notable People Discussed in today’s podcast:

  • Tim Ferriss:  podcaster, public speaker, entrepreneur, multiple NYT bestselling author and podcast guest
  • Gary Vaynerchuk: (Gary Vee) 4x NY Times bestselling author, speaker serial entrepreneur and podcast guest
  • IN-Q: or “IN-Question“, is the stage name of Adam Schmalholz, an American songwriter and National Poetry Slam champion and 2x podcast guest
  • Elliott Bisnow: co-founder of Summit & co-owner of Powder Mountain Resort in Eden, Utah
  • Malcom Gladwell: Author, staff writer for New Yorker Magazine and host of Revisionist History
  • Peter Thiel: entrepreneur, venture capitalist & hedge fund manager
  • Rick Horgan: Scribner Vice President and Executive Editor of commercial fiction, current events, biography, “big idea” books, politics, subculture, popular psychology and sociology, crime, business, and sports
  • Cal Fussman: journalist and author. He is a Writer at Large for Esquire magazine, known for the What I’ve Learned column
  • Dustin Moskovitz: Internet entrepreneur who co-founded Facebook and left in 2008, to co-found Asana
  • Tony Hsieh: CEO of the online shoe and clothing company Zappos, internet entrepreneur and venture capitalist
  • Reid Hoffman CBE: American internet entrepreneur, venture capitalist and author. Hoffman was the co-founder and executive chairman of LinkedIn
  • Qi Lu: Chinese software executive and engineer, previously Executive Vice President at Microsoft
  • Larry King: American television and radio host, whose work has been recognized with awards including two Peabodys and 10 Cable ACE Awards

Related Podcasts You Might Enjoy:

Thanks to Jason Camiolo for production, audio engineering, interstitial music. Video, editing and graphics by Blake Curtis and Margo Lubin. Theme music by Ana Leimma.

*Disclosure: Books and products denoted with an asterisk are hyperlinked to an affiliate program. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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