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Success under 20 – Stacey Ferreira

♪ [music] ♪ – [David Laroche] Hello achievers today. I am with a new, amazing woman. She is with me to answer my questions. I am sure you will love this interview, because she's the co-founder of MySocialCloud. She is Stacey Ferreira. I don't know if I'm right about the pronunciation, but she will correct me. She is with me, so just watch this interview. Hello. – [Stacey Ferreira] Hi. Nice to meet you. – How are you today? – Good, how about you? – I'm awesome today. I would like to know a lot of things about you and your journey, because I discovered you today, and I listened to your journey yesterday, and it was amazing for me. So, who are you? – Definitely. So my name is Stacey Ferreira. I am a 21-year-old entrepreneur. I've started one business with my brother, and now we're working on the next. – Okay. How did you start? – I guess when I was 18 years old, my brother who's two years older, was 20, we had been teaching ourselves how to program and how to code growing up throughout high school. Once I graduated high school when I was 18, my brother and I were like, “Okay, we've been learning. Now it's time to take those skills that we've taught ourselves and go build something.” So what we did is right after I graduated, we were like, “Okay, we have a summer of three months of a block of time to go do something,” before our parents were like, “You have to go get internships next summer. So live it up while you can.” So my brother and I took that summer, and we moved here, where we are today in Los Angeles, California, and decided to start this business. It stemmed from the idea of… my brother just had a computer crash and we were thinking about the things that we wanted to build. – So the goal was to build an app or a company? – The goal was just to build a website at the time. Because we had this problem. My brother had lost his Excel Spreadsheet with all his usernames and passwords. We were like, “Okay, wouldn't it be cool if we just built a website where you can put up your usernames and passwords and never forget them? If your computer crashes, whatever, you can access it from any computer ever.” So that was the goal. We were like, “We want to build this.” – At this time, there was not any apps like that? – There were a couple, but they weren't easy to use, and they cost a lot of money. We were like, “We are broke college kids, so we don't want to pay a ton of money for something like this, but we think that it's something that's valuable and people should have access to.” So we moved here because my brother had a friend who was living here, who had just finished school here, who had his master's degree in computer security. We were like, “We need that guy to make this thing really happen.” We were like, “Hey, what do you think about our idea? Do you want to come on board for the summer and let's just try and build it?” He had just graduated college, and so he was like, “Sure, let's take a go at it and we'll just see what happens.” – Did you have some fears at this time? – Not really. It was just like we knew that we wanted to build this thing. We knew that it should exist in the world, and so we were like, “Let's just go do it. Let's see what happens.” – Did you know it could be a success at this time? – We didn't. We thought that it was something that… Success for us would have been if we had built a product that worked for us. I guess in the back of your mind, you can always think of these infinite possibilities, but we were like, “At the very least, we want to build this because it's something that we can use.” I think that that was the best way for us to go in it with no fear because at the end of the day, we are like, “As long as we built it and it helps us, then that's good. That's positive.” – Great. So you came in to Los Angeles. You started to build this project. And what happened next? – Yeah. So we just started hacking away, building this project. Then I guess, call it chance or something. I was on Twitter and I saw a tweet from Sir Richard Branson, who if people don't know, he founded Virgin, so Virgin Airlines, Virgin Records, all of that stuff. – A lot of companies. – Yes. The tweet said, “Meet me in Miami for intimate cocktails, donate \$2,000 to charity.” Then the next tweet, because you can only have so many characters in a tweet, the next tweet gave an email address. I was like, “Okay, cool. I want to meet you.” So I took the email address and I was like, “Hey, I'm not old enough to drink cocktails in the United States, but I would love to at least come to Miami with my brother and meet you.” We stayed up all night, and we got an email back that night from– – From him? – Not from him, from his secretary, or someone on his staff. And she emailed back and was like, “Yeah, if you guys can donate \$2,000 apiece, so \$4,000, and be in Miami in 48 hours, so in two days, then you can meet him.” My brother and I were like, “Okay, we're broke college kids who are living in Los Angeles on our last dime, but this is an awesome opportunity. So when else are we going to have a chance like this?” So we did what we could think of to do when we had 48 hours to do this, was call mom and dad. We were like, “Hey, would it be all right if we borrowed \$4,000 from you to go meet Richard Branson?” My dad is a businessman, and so he was like, “Put together a proposal why you need the money, where the money is going, and most importantly, what's your plan to pay me back?” – When he was saying that, do you think he was supporting you or not? – Yeah. I think the thing with my parents, now that I'm older, that I absolutely admire about them, is that the thing that they taught my brother and I, growing up, is that you have to work for everything in life. There are no handouts. Nothing really comes for free. So you've got to put in your best effort and you have to work for the things that you get. What you put in is what you're going to get out. – To give value to people. – Right. My dad was kind of, again, going through that exercise, I think that he'd always taught us growing up is, if you really want something, you need to work for it and you need to earn it. So that's what we were doing. We were building this proposal for him to see if we… I guess it's weird to say if we earned it in a sense, but he wasn't just going to give us \$4,000 to go do this. That's a lot of money, right? – Yes. – So he was like, “You need to build this proposal and show me how much you want it. So we build it and we sent it to him. – Was it a challenge for you? What was your feeling at this time? – I think our feeling was more like, “Are you serious? We have 48 hours to make this all come together and there are other things that if you give us the money, we have to figure out a hotel and a plane flight.” Not to mention my brother was 20, so you can't even rent a car in the United States at 20 years old. We were like, “Okay, we have to figure out how to get from the airport to our hotel, and then to the events that we would go to.” – Okay. “And you add some things to do?” – Yeah. “And now we have to write this proposal?” So we were like, “Really?” But it was a great exercise. It was something that, looking back, I'm really glad that my dad made us do that. – Do you think he helped you to succeed in this process? – Yeah definitely. I look up to my parents a lot, and I think that I owe a lot to them. They were the ones who have instilled these values in my brother and I growing up, and always stressed education and learning as much as you can inside and outside of the classroom. They have been supportive of the things that we've wanted to learn. Looking back, I feel like I owe everything to my parents, and the way that they were able to raise my brother and I to really have these values and instill a work ethic in us. – Are you more proud of yourself, the fact that it was harder to have the money? – Yeah, I guess so. I can go to sleep at night knowing everything that I've gotten I've worked for in some capacity. – It's yourself. – Right. I guess there were a lot of people who have helped me along the process, but I've certainly worked for things. I think that that's important. You need to be able to put in the work and show the passion for something before other people are going to join you and help you do that. – So you have to send \$2,000? How many people could have that? The 10 first? – There were 25 people that could have done that. – The first 25 people. Okay. So you have to be quick? – Yeah. I saw it right as it was coming in, which was great. – That is the only thing you have to do, give money. And you don't have to explain your project or why you want to meet him. – We had already put in our first email why we wanted to meet him. We said we were young entrepreneurs and we wanted to meet another entrepreneur who had a lot of success. So we had already explained that. I'm not sure what the process was for the other people. But I think they probably then took our names and did a background check or something on us to make sure that we weren't weirdos. – You can choose your charity? – No. It was a designated charity. It was for Free the Children. – I know this foundation. – Yes, they are great. – You gave \$4,000 to Free the Children, and then? – So we donated that money, and they said, “Okay, come down to Miami.” So my brother and I figured everything out. We flew to Miami. There were two nights of parties that we could attend. The first night was us with 18 people, in a room with Sir Richard. – During the flight, what was your feeling, your thoughts? Were you afraid or excited? What was your feeling? – I think we were really excited. I think the thing that we were still trying to figure out was how we were going to get from the airport to where we needed to be in Florida. We were like, “We've never really been to Florida before. We can't rent a car. We need to figure this stuff out once we get on the ground, to be able to get there and be the places we needed to be on time. – What was your thoughts? Challenges or maybe more, “I will do it.” – It was more of an adventure to us. – Adventure, okay. – It was like we are going out and doing this awesome thing. So it wasn't necessarily a challenge. It was more of like, “Here is an adventure. Here is us going to a new place and figuring it out.” – Okay. What were the best moments? Before, during this moment with him, or after? – All of it. – Okay. So you had two nights, right? – Yeah. So the first night was that room of 18 people in the room with him. And basically he was just interested in everyone. He was like, “What are you guys working on? What are you passionate about? What are you doing?” We went around the room and everyone explained what they are working on, what they were doing. My brother and I, I guess, where we were situated in the room, we were next to the door. Right when he came in, we had introduced ourselves. Then going around in the circle, we were the last ones to say, “This is what we are working on.” We were also– – Because you have to wait for the end of the… – Right. I personally, I can't speak for my brother, but I liked seeing what other people were working on first, and then it gave us time to kinda formulate what we were going to say, which was cool. Then we were also the youngest people in the room, so I think that stood out too. Then afterwards, we just went straight up to him and reintroduced ourselves and said, “Hey, we'd love to get your contact details and stay in touch with you.” He just wrote down his email on a piece of paper and handed it to us. – Wow. So you explained your project, and what was his feeling about your project? – Right. I don't want to necessarily speak for him either, but I think that it's one of those things where being the youngest people in the room, I think he probably got a feeling like, “These kids are kinda like I was when I was first starting out. They are two young entrepreneurs who are just go-getters and trying to make it happen, and are willing to take an opportunity to put themselves in a room to give them the chance to do that, which I think is awesome.” I think he probably looked at us and said, “These are two people that are trying to make it happen, and I was there at one point too.” So I think that is probably something that he maybe might have been thinking, but… – Okay. Then what happens? – So then we went to the second night and just hung around him and we wanted to hear what he was talking about, the things that he was saying. Then we came back to LA, and– – Just before, I would love to know, how were the people with him? – I feel like there were a lot of people. The second night was a huge party. There were tons of people there. A lot of people like us, wanted to be around and hear what he was saying. Because, how often do you really get the chance to be in the vicinity of someone that you look up to and have looked up to, and read their books and all those sorts of things? I feel like there were a lot of people that were hanging around, wanting to listen, wanting to learn from that. Then there were other people that he was just chatting with, like friends who he probably invited to the party that we were also learning from, because these are other really amazing and accomplished people who are having dialogue back and forth of some things that at 18 years old, I had never thought about before. So it was really cool to be able to see these people that I look up to and respect, and hear some of their thoughts that they are thinking, and just to see how they view the world and the things that they are constantly thinking about. Whereas as an 18-year-old, I came from a world where getting an A in high school was awesome. So that was cool. – What did you learn from this experience? – A lot of things. I think the most important thing that's like a broad, general statement that I try and live with with the rest of my life is, think of everything as an opportunity and don't be afraid to take those. – Take action to get the opportunity, right? – Yeah. I think a lot of people probably would have seen the tweet and said, “Oh, there are probably a million people that are responding to this, so I would never do this.” You know what I mean? But it's something where it's like, you got to cherish that moment, and just… what do you have to lose anyway? So I think that that's a constant theme throughout my life, where if it's even responding to a tweet or if someone messages you at 11 o'clock at night and it's like, “Hey, could we meet up while you're in town?” Just like taking that opportunity– – Tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m. – Yeah, exactly. Taking that opportunity, I think that's what's important. And I think that you learn a lot from those things, maybe more so than the things that are planned. – Do you remember this experience and say, “Oh, I will take this opportunity?” Or now, is it a kind of mindset? – I think it was kind of an impulse thing at the time, or at least the tweet was. It was like, “Oh, I see this, I want to do it.” Now it's something where I consciously think about it. I feel like as we get older, life gets busier, so it's a lot easier to dismiss these things and say, “I don't want to take this chance because I have so many other things going on.” So now, sometimes I feel like it's more of like a conscious decision that I'm making, where it's not as impulsive because I have a million other things going on. But I try and always recreate that and say, “What would I do if I didn't have all these other things going on? Would I still take that opportunity?” – I love this question. It is your way to know if it's truly an opportunity for you. – Mm-hmm. – What did you learn? – I learned that there are a lot of interesting people in the world that live in a different bubble than you do, which I think is kind of a culture shift for me. So going around and listening to all the other people and their stories and their journeys and the projects that they were passionate about in that room with those 18 other people with Richard Branson was, it opened my eyes to a whole new world. Because previously I had lived… so I grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona. Which is like a wealthy part of Arizona where most people are not the same, but it's kind of a very silo'd world where you don't see a lot of poverty. You don't see a lot of other things that I think are things that can really impact you in a way to make you more thoughtful about the world and how you should you help others. So then moving to Los Angeles, again it was a lot different because I was on my own dime, so it wasn't like living in this affluent neighborhood. I was living in South Central Los Angeles. That started to open up my eyes to, “Oh, there is this other world out there.” Then going there and seeing all these other people in this room with, it's just like a quilt and a mixture of different passions and different interests and different life journeys and paths, that I had never really witnessed before because I had been in these silos. So that was cool to me to go and see all these people who were interested in aerospace engineering, or like just an artist who is just doing art every day because that's what they love. Or someone like myself who's like building a business every day, just because that's what they love. Or working on a non-profit and building Free the Children because that's what Craig loves to do. That was super cool for me to be in a room with all these people with different paths, and seeing regardless of the paths that we had, regardless of the journeys that we've come from, we are all here in this room together today. That's awesome. – Your goal was raised after this experience? – Definitely. It opened a new world of possibilities to me. There's something that I was talking to someone a couple weeks ago about this idea of the world that you live in and the people that you surround yourself with, they set a bar to a certain height. That's awesome, but you always want to be setting your bar higher and higher and higher. I think that that was cool because I set my bar super high, but recently I have come to the realization that you can have those things that set your bar super high, but ultimately you need to also then think about that bar and create your own bar that's higher. Because if you set a bar that's here, you'll only ever get there. So you need to think about a bar that's higher than what you could ever possibly imagine ever and reach for that rather than other experiences that you've had. I don't know if that necessarily makes sense. If I had a graph, I could draw it for you. – Let's come back to your story. So you came back to Los Angeles. Right? – Yeah. – What happened? – So we came back to Los Angeles and we were more stoked than ever to work on the product that we were working on. We were like, “This is awesome. We need to build this.” We have a contact that has been an entrepreneur who can give us advice. Let's do this.” So we put together our initial prototype and we sent it to Branson. And we said, “Hey, here is what we have. Can you give us advice? What do you think?” He was like, “This is really cool. Let me introduce you to Jerry Murdock.” Jerry is the guy who lives in Colorado who started something called Insight Venture Partners. Jerry flew out to meet us a couple weeks later, and just came to LA and drilled us on the business. He was like, “What's you guys' vision with this? How are you going to make money? Are you guys going to college?” All of these questions that he had for us, and then– – Was it stressful for you? – It wasn't stressful. – You are amazing because a lot of people in the same situation are afraid, and maybe myself. Let's imagine that someone, in front of his computer now is thinking, “I can't do that.” What could be your advice to help them to be more centered in the present moment? – I think the biggest thing that I constantly ask myself is, “What do I have to lose?” Most of the time, what you have to lose is nothing. You know what I mean? It's like if we had said, “No, we're scared. We don't want to email Branson, ” then we would have lost the rest of the path that I have been on my entire life. If we said, “No, we don't want Jerry to come out, we don't want to meet him because we are fearful. Or we don't want to answer his questions or whatever. Again, my path would be completely different. My path would be different, but it would have been the same life I had always been living. Whereas if we allowed those opportunities to come in, if I say, “Okay, I will email him. Okay, I'll let him come and ask me questions, ” then it's more of like… it can only get better because if he doesn't come, then I'm just living the same life I always was. I think that's important, where it's like if you don't take action on something, you're living the same life you always have, and maybe that's fine for you, but I think– – What if you hate your life? – If you hate your life, then you need to do something else and get out of that situation so that you don't hate your life. – Okay, I love that. So he came, and then what happens? – He came and asked us all these questions. Then that night, we went out to dinner, and he said, “I like you guys. I think you're working on a cool idea. Branson and I will invest, dollar for dollar, a million dollars.” – Wow. And what was your feeling? – We were excited. Honestly, it changed everything for us, because– – Did you have the feeling of, “What can I do with \$1 million?” – I think at that point, we kind of knew that if Jerry was coming out to meet us, something might be in the works there. I think the thought that we had with a million dollars is we knew that we could build a team and build the product that we really wanted to build. So we had some idea already of the things that we could do with that. But it was cool to be able to… I think the coolest thing for… I can't speak for all of us, but for me was like, here are two guys who are investing this type of money in two young people who are 18 years old and 20 years old, and there is not a lot of instances of that in the world where people are putting their bets on such young people. To me, that was awesome. I was like– – Was it kind of proof? – It was what? Sorry. – A kind of proof. – Yeah. It was like, “Here's proof that people do believe in young people.” Not only can they verbalize and say, “Oh, I believe in you. I support you,” but they are putting their money where their mouth is, saying, “I believe in you, and this is how much I believe in you. Now go make it happen.” I think that as a young entrepreneur or as a young person in general, that's super powerful if someone is putting their resources or their skills to back you, and not just saying, “I support you. It's going to be okay.” They are saying, “No, I support you, and by the way–” – By their actions. “My money, my resources, my network.” – Right. That was cool. It's like, “What else can I give you to help you along this path?” I don't think there are a ton of instances like that, and that was something to me that was just like, “Wow, this is awesome.” – It is. – It's like a shift of, you have to have graduated college to be able to go out and do something, to know you have an awesome idea. You can go out and do it today, which is cool. – Yes, it's cool. So it's amazing because one decision changed a lot of things for you. Just one decision, one action. I love that because I repeat all day to my audience, “You have to take action, small action, baby steps. Just do something today, new, and everything can happen.” You are my proof. – Exactly. I think it's interesting because I think back and I always boil it down to like, if I hadn't logged into Twitter that today, my life would be completely different. There were a lot of things that happened to get us to the point where we were to get that investment in our business. But it really boils down to, if I hadn't logged into Twitter that day, my life would have been completely different. – So do you think it is luck? – Do I think it's luck? I think it's an intersection between luck and being prepared to take those opportunities. – So let's imagine that you don't see this tweet. Do you believe that maybe just after you will find… how do you say that in English? Do you think you find a way to build the same thing? – Yeah. I think that if you really believe in something and you're passionate about it, you get scrappy. So you find ways to make it happen. I think that that was just one way of an infinite possibility of things. – A kind of, shortcut? – Right. I think that you find ways to do things that you're passionate about and that you want to do, and I think that we would have found a different way. I just feel extremely grateful that it was that way. – Yes, an amazing way. Did you have, sometimes, a feeling, can I do the same thing as the first time? – Yeah, people always ask me that. They are like, “Aren't you afraid that you'll never live up to what you have done before?” For me, I don't really think about it that way, because I guess I've had a hint of that fear right after the acquisition happened. I was like, “What if this is like my peak?” They talk about the highest thing or the best thing they'll ever do in their life. I had a hint of that, but then I was like, “It doesn't really matter regardless because I need to do me and not worry about these other people and them thinking, “Oh, she's done the one thing that she's going to do in her life.” That's not really a fear of mine. I think as long as I keep doing the things that I want to do and hopefully the things that I want to do is build awesome things, then it doesn't matter to me. – Wow, I love that. How could be a way to succeed as a young person? – The biggest thing is just use your youth to your advantage. – What are the youth advantages? – If you ever want to get a meeting with anyone ever, you just say, “Hey, I'm a student who's looking to learn about X, Y, Z, ” and most people will give you that meeting. Maybe I've had one person ever turn me down and say, “No, I don't want to talk to you.” – Wow. I would like to find the ledger. – Yeah, I know. No. It's like most people are willing to help and they want to help especially if you're a young person, because they want to be able to mentor someone and help people along the process. – Did you understand that, after? Or at the beginning? You weren't saying, “Oh, I'm young, so it will be easier.” – I think it's something I knew in the back of my brain, and as I've been thinking about it more, it's something that now I'm okay with verbally saying because I've thought about it a lot. – You use it now. – Yeah. Now I use it all the time. I'm like, “I want to learn about this. Can you please get on a call with me or can you please meet me?” People are willing to do it. The thing that's great about that is because you are young and this might sound weird and bad, but people don't expect you to know a lot of things about…If you're 18 years old and you're saying, “Hey, I want to meet with you and I want to learn about the Fortune 500 business that you're running.” They don't expect you to know anything about their world. So you can go in there and just absorb everything, or you can go in there and you can absorb everything and say, “By the way, I know a lot about what you're doing because I've read a lot about it or I've talked to other people, ” And that's a way that you can really go in and you can prove yourself in these situations and be like, “Yes I'm young, but I know a lot about this, and I know a lot about this because I'm interested in it and I've been talking to these people about it.” That's really impressive to people too. – Do you keep in touch with these people after? – Definitely. – How do you do that? – Email. So I have this app in my email that's called Streak. It's like the best thing that has ever happened to my life, and basically it keeps track of every person that I email. This is creepy, but it lets me know when they've read my email, so I can see it come through in real time when they open my email. Then it lets me know if– – It could be the next thing I will do with my iPhone. – Yes. Go get it. I highly recommend. Then it keeps track of, “Oh, you haven't talked to this person in X number of days.” So then you can email them. – Wow, I love that. Amazing application. – It's awesome. – Okay. What could be your message directly to youths? – So my message is to be fearless. Find what you're passionate about, find what you love and what makes you happy and go after it with everything that you have. Ask yourself, what's the worst that can happen? And dream for what's the best that can happen. – Wow. Short and accurate. Thank you very much. – Definitely. – I would love to ask you a lot of questions, so I will choose my last question. Let's imagine that I will do a training, a long training to help people to become a loser. What could be the keys I have to give them? – If you were to teach them to be a loser, you would be teaching them to not absorb everything that's taken in, and to like– – Close your eyes, close your ears? – Yeah, exactly. I think one of the most important things about not being a loser is being able to just take in everything and then filter on your own, but listen to people and give… Yeah, be curious. – You don't have to be curious to be a loser. – You don't have to be curious to be a loser. I think what you're saying is correct. I'm trying to process it in my brain. – Because I don't want to be just a normal loser. I would like to become the best loser ever. How can I do that? Don't be curious, the first thing. What could be the second thing? – Don't be curious. Don't be open to new opportunities. – Okay. So don't take opportunities. – Right. Don't take opportunities. Just sit in your house and do nothing. – What can I say to myself? If I have one word or one sentence to repeat every day, what could be the sentence? – I can't do it. – I can't do it. Great. What could be the fourth thing I can do? – Doing the same routine every day. – Okay. Don't try new things. – Don't try new things. Just do the same thing every day. – Great. I would like to thank you because it will be a powerful training. – It sounds good. Let me know how that goes for you. – How can people follow you? – They can follow me by following me on Twitter. My handle is @StaceyFerreira, which is my name, and StaceyFerreira is my username for everything. So Instagram and Facebook, and people can find me on all of that. – And Google. – On Google too, yes. – Okay. Thank you very much. – Definitely. Thank you. – It was awesome. ♪ [music] ♪

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