Julien Smith, Breather, Founder & CEO // Detecting patterns

Julien Smith is the co-founder & CEO of Breather. His company provides an on-demand network of private, professional meeting rooms designed for work and meetings.
They’ve raised over $80m to date and are on a strong trajectory of growth. Before that, Julien was a best selling author, speaker & podcaster. In this podcast interview with entrepreneur and founder, Julien Smith discusses how he thinks about startup pattern recognition, how he used frameworks to develop the idea for Breather & how you can apply this to your own work.
If you’re an entrepreneur or founder in the making – this conversation will help provide a framework for you to think about trends, counter-trends, and patterns that you can leverage for your business idea.

Five Things To Listen Out For

(1) Detecting patterns & trends – how Julien thought about resistance from the “noise” of social media to develop the idea for Breather.
(2) Learning what you’re good at – auditing yourself to work out what you’re good at
(3) Learned behavior – what he looks out for when looking for patterns in consumer behavior and how you can apply this to your own work
(4) Cities + Network Effects – network effects in the context of physical space
(5) Developing healthy habits – what tools he uses to develop habits

Time Stamps

  •  1:52 – Who are you/what do you do
  • 2:30 – Detecting patterns. Is that that what you’re good at?
  • 4:10 – Scale & growth of Breather, how did Julien get there
  • 6:43 – When Julien started Breather, how many units did he start with & how do they keep them secure?
  • 8:09 – What does Breather’s customer base look like? What are their customer segments?
  • 8:58 – How big is this market? How do you estimate market size?
  • 9:50 – Thinking about security for a physical space – digital vs analog locks.
  • 11:30 – Growing up in Canada & what did Julien want to be when he grew up?
  • 13:20 – Learning what you’re good at and 360 reviews
  • 17:10 – How Julien thinks about detecting patterns? Is this something we can learn to become better at?
  • 20:25 – Is detecting patterns a skill or luck?
  • 24:10 – Detecting patterns: is it a learned behavior? Discussing Charlie Munger and Warren Buffet.
  • 28:30 – the value of the expert generalist
  • 30:00 – What sources of information do you follow? Books, podcasts, people, etc?
  • 33:30 – What can people do to accelerate the process of growing and connecting with people they can learn from?
  • 36:00 – Jeff Bezos story of the regret minimization framework
  • 39:30 – What were some of the macro trends he identified to help start Breather? Are there certain macro trends that he sees right now?
  • 42:20 – Cities + network effects + timing
  • 46:02 – Bilal discusses idea for supper clubs platform
  • 47:50 – Omnifocus app he uses for tasks
  • 48:10 – Developing healthy habits? Streaks app
  • 51:40 – What is Julien’s routine and a typical day? Morning pages. The creative habit.
  • 55:05 – What is motivating Julien right now?
  • 56:30 – What does success mean to you?

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