As the Founder and CEO of Count Me In, throughout his career today’s guest has been featured on Larry King, Dr. Oz, Forbes, People Magazine and on a documentary TV series from A&E. Ladies and gentlemen it’s my pleasure to introduce you to Shane Feldman
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As the founder and CEO of count me in throughout his career. Today’s guest has been featured on Larry King, Dr Oz, Forbes, people magazine and only documentary TV series from a and. E. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s my pleasure to introduce to you Mr Shane Feldman.
yes, yes, yes and yes. Right based on taste show, we have the honor of interviewing
TV personality, keynote speaker and entrepreneur by the name of Shane Feldman. Shane, welcome onto the thrive time show. How are you sir? Calais. I am fantastic. How are you? Will shade. We’re excited to have you. Have you on the show here. And, uh, for the listeners out there that are not as familiar with you and, uh, your background, could you share with our listeners about some of the projects that you’ve worked on over the years? Um, maybe that, maybe it’s Uberflip you’re up, optimum of our listeners might be familiar with.
Sure. Uh, well I’m the founder of count me in, which is now the largest millennial driven brand in the world. So we have a community of about 10 million people spread across 104 countries. Uh, I speak to companies around the world, so perhaps you’ve been in an audience. I help empower companies and organizations to empower human connection and to, to optimize for planet people and profit. And I’ve researched community and leadership on the ground in 20 plus countries around the world and also had a TV show on a and e that followed my community building work in schools.
Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, whoa. Calf Ross thing. Right now I’m on your website. Yep. You look like you’re 12 years old. Well thank you. The anti aging cream is working then how old are you? That’s it. That’s got a lot done. And a little bit of time. I’m, I’m 24 years old, right. I was close. I was the problem is the price of buddy go Shane Feldman time that you get over 35. Anybody looks like they were born yesterday because we look so old. Yeah. Self justification saying we’re like, we’re going to people’s weddings and these brides are 25 and 30 and we’re going, are you 13? Your honor, I object here and he would drive to this beach. I mean it’s got like I got hired, I got it, I got an Uber over it. Shane Feldman, how did you start? Count me in at the, at, at, uh, how did you make this organization go?
It’s a great question because I’m certainly not a typical overachiever. I was not that kid looking for, you know, creative ways to get an a, um, you know, it, it really started back my sophomore year, our final class project was to pitch an idea that would solve a social problem. And, uh, and I was kind of this, this all star student leader, not because, again, I was this overachiever, but because I was so lonely back in high school that I just got involved in anything that I could to kind of distract myself from how lonely I was. So suddenly, you know, I was on student council and I was, you know, attending these clubs and I was on these teams. So I had this idea as a sophomore class project to have this event to encourage students to get involved in in the school. I noticed there were so many students and not involved and of course I knew what it was like to be the lonely one.
So I figured, Hey, I’m going to solve the problem, the social problem of students loneliness. So this project, ironically that the topic I chose was going to solve student loan loneliness except it wasn’t going to be my loneliness. Of course it was going to be everyone else’s because I just kept telling myself that I was fine, I was fine. And so that project really took off and it resonated deeply with a lot of students in my school at the time. That first event, the goal is 50 students attending and we actually ended up having 386 students show up from seven different schools from the region and that was really the start of what took shape. Then as as count me in, which is now of course this, this global movement, this kind of social entrepreneurship incubator for young millennials,
for listeners out there. They just want to kind of geographically place where you started. Uh, what school were you going to? Where did you go to high school? Where’d you grow up? It was Westmount collegiate institute, just north of Toronto in Canada. Okay. Okay. And can you explain the feeling of loneliness that you are going through for the listeners out there that just want to be able to fully understand? I, but what were you, what were you feeling at the time? Did, did, did, did you not have a lot of friends in high school or tell us about your high school experience.
Sure. Yeah. I had just moved to a new community before I started high school, actually moved around a lot with my mom as I was growing up. Um, and uh, and one of those moves was right before my freshman year. So I started at this big school, you know, 1500 students. Wow. And I felt totally isolated, totally alone. Uh, and the, the feeling that I recall most vividly is waking up in the morning and it was as if I had this, this thousand pound of weight in my gut. That was just telling me, you know, do anything and it’s wrong right now. All you’re meant to do is stay in bed. All you’re meant to do as you know, pull the covers over your head and going to school isn’t worth it. Getting up isn’t worth it. Uh, and it was just because I was lacking this, this connection, this human connection that we all have this human need for, which is now, you know, of course what I help students and companies and schools adopt everyday is how can we really optimize this human connection that’s so many of us are missing because this isn’t a unique story and it’s certainly not unique to teenagers are millennials.
We all know what it’s like to feel lonely. Some of us more than others, but no more than 50% of adults in America right now are experiencing some degree of deep loneliness at work in our workplace because we’re feeling so disconnected and it’s only getting worse in this digital age. Right? But that’s, that’s what it felt like when I was starting high school. That’s what my, you know, start was, and that’s what inevitably led to the birth of count me in Shane. What was the most challenging aspect of starting and growing? Count me in
the greatest challenge I faced starting count me in was actually a major wake up call that came in 2015 and this is going to sound interesting given what we just discussed. So I knew that I was lonely. I knew that I was disconnected, but when this project started my sophomore year, it was this perfect distraction. It became almost like this coping mechanism that distracted me from how lonely I was. Suddenly I was surrounded by people, but I really didn’t have many close friends at the time. They were just people that were working on this project with me. So fast forward, 2015 my company hosted our largest event. We had a set up that rivaled the Oscars and the grammys, hundreds of lights, cameras, a 30 foot crane. We had this live TV editing truck parked outside in that truck was the same person who just directed the opening ceremonies of the Olympics.
So it was, it was a big show. We had a team of 139 people and a live audience tuning in of 8 million with viewers from all over the world. I was 19 years old and I was the guy in charge and it was awesome, right? I was the so called success story, you know, people were saying, oh, look at this teenager starting this company. It’s becoming this global phenomenon. It was nuts and the thing is what people couldn’t see. Your possibly, no, was that inside I was actually struggling. Nobody knew it. There was another side to all this kind of fame and success and where people couldn’t see or possibly know is that I was still deeply, desperately lonely, so lonely that by the time I was 19 I actually started to feel physically sick. I was waking up every day just like I was my freshman year feeling sick and unmotivated with this pit in my gut and to add to this was this major wake up call.
So somewhere in the middle of all my productivity and all of this emotion, I was sucker punched by a breakup and a betrayal. So the two people in my personal life who I trusted the most turned out to be unhealthy, dishonest, and insincere. So I had to pull myself away from toxic relationship from codependence, while at the same time I was being targeted and slandered and suddenly I realized at this, what was the height of my career at the time, I realized I had nobody, nobody to turn to, no community, hundreds of Facebook friends, sure. Thousands of fans and followers online and amazing team at work. But I felt desperately isolated and scrolling on Facebook or Instagram just made me feel even worse. So the reality sunk in that I had started this movement connecting millions of people and somehow I had betrayed myself. I felt lonelier than ever and I felt abandoned by the people that I thought had my back. So that, that, that definitely took my whole world first pen
z. We typically keep this show kind of light, but can we go into it kind of like a, almost like a a view moment here. The view, can we just say, can we do it? So you, have you ever felt lonely as a, as a business owner? Have you ever, do we ever recall that feeling lonely? Are you lonely? Yes, of course I have freshman year at college and you move away from home and all your kind of, your core buddies that you have back back in the back at the ranch so to speak. And I can remember, yeah, I remember, uh, listening to, uh, some depressing music can be depressed to be lonely. John Denver was my choice for a depressing music at the time. If I, if I remember correctly, really go high in a tree for America that cleans the air. Okay, so you, you have felt lonely.
What about as an entrepreneur if you’re a felt lonely as a business owner? Oh, you do? You know, it’s, it’s hard to find sometimes birds of a feather that really speak your language. When you do, you’re drawn to them. And I think that’s what’s so fun about this show and why we have so many listeners around the world is that people get entreprenuership and they’re, they’re desperate to have other people that speak that language and get that advice and go through with it. Four year old man bear pig. Right. When you, when you, do you ever feel lonely now? Every mean has ever happened? Have you ever had these moments like every, you know, maybe 90 days, 120 days, six, uh, six months. Do you ever have like a moment where you go, ah, I used to never happen sometimes alone, but I’m not lonely. Okay. There’s a difference. And so I think, you know, right now in my life it’s uh, um, no, I don’t feel those feelings like, hey, like I did back back when I was a kid. It’s just curious. Paul Viera felt lonely as an owner of a business. You were felt like, man. Gosh, yeah. I mean,
because you know, I grew up in a family that nobody even graduated high school and neither side of my family besides my cell phone, my mom. So you felt alone at graduation? Yeah, I fell in a bit. What is that? But you know, yeah. You know, uh, you know, pushing through and being successful and you look around, well the average person doesn’t do it when I’m doing so you kind of fill in where all my running buddies because you know they’re off drinking or they’re doing whatever for, so yeah, nobody was doing what I was doing.
Now, Shane, what has kept you motivated to keep on going when most people would have quit?
So what stopped me from quitting is actually that I kind of quit in a sense. I, I ran away. So after that, that a wakeup call, uh, I, I’m not sure if you’ve ever experienced that feeling where you just want to run away from everything. But I actually did that. I literally bought a ticket as far as I could travel, uh, to the other side of the world and, and was just looking to escape. I wanted to draw myself in the middle of a country where nobody knew me, where I could kind of reset, recharge, have a change of scenery and reassess myself. And my life. So where did you go? Hawaii. No, my, my journey actually started in, in Vietnam. Got It. And uh, and what’s interesting about Vietnam is that they, what I learned after the fact was that they actually have this core value of collectivism.
So this country that I chose kind of serendipitously actually values community above all else. They value collective is a more than an individual. So that that trip actually opened my eyes to community, ended up meeting locals. And it was, it was new year’s Eve. The day I arrived in Vietnam and this incredible group of locals actually spotted that I was alone and invited me to join them for the celebration that night. And it turn into this ain’t this incredible experience of not even speaking the same language, but having this incredible shared experience, you know, celebrating, experiencing, I contact music, dancing together, and having all these universal experiences that really connected us and built this, this sense of camaraderie and community. So that trip to Vietnam actually turned into this journey through 20 countries where I researched community on the ground and kind of found what I had been longing and looking for.
So that, that kind of one trip to escape turned into this incredible reset where I then returned to count me and return to my company and returned to speaking with his whole renewed sense of, okay, what is missing? Particularly in North America where we are innovating so fast and we’re so focused on all these digital advancements, but somehow we are becoming lower and lower on, on the chain of, of loneliness and disconnection and in terms of relationships, which obviously formed the foundation of just about every business out there. So yeah, that, that’s really what stopped me from quitting. It was, it was being dropped in this, this foreign country where I didn’t speak the language, know anyone. And, and that ultimately turned into this, this incredible global journey from, from Asia to Africa to Europe. Uh, really diving deep into what makes people thrive. Of the 22 countries you kind of went through on your journey, what was your favorite?
And by the way, when you land in Vietnam, did you say good morning?
I did. I did. Oh No. How could you not? The second I landed, everyone on the plane was very heavy. It was wonderful. Uh, you know what I think, I think my favorite, it’s so hard. It’s so hard. Uh, I really loved China. Uh, particularly in the, because of an experience I had in Shanghai, I visited Shanghai and I was, I was leaving shooting market, which has this really busy street filled with small hole in the wall, seafood shops and bright neon signs everywhere. I’m sure you can picture it in a small suburb of Shanghai. And I heard this really loud music up ahead. So I kept walking and turned the corner and saw the source of music was this brick sized speaker blasting Mandel pop, which to me sounds like Edm kind of infused with traditional Chinese music. It’s awesome, man. I love it.
And a hundred people were gathered around this, this speaker at the entrance to this public park dancing. There were all different ages and genders and backgrounds and they were all dancing together. Like there were men and women doing the tango. The two gentlemen, we’re waltzing, there were conga lines. It was nuts. And it was, it was this crazy scene to me. But then I found out actually 100 million people across China show up in these public parks every single day and dance together. They’re actually referred to as going Chang Wu, which translates to, to square dancers. Uh, it has nothing to do with American Western square dancing. It literally refers to people dancing in public parks. And what I learned was that this is where they actually build community. Typically when you retire, you join these dance sessions so you can make friends and, and have a sense of belonging in your, in your neighborhood.
And it was incredible just, just watching this take place and talking. You know, there’s this 72 year old, a woman I’ve had, I met there, it was one of the going Chang Woo. And she was, she was double my spunk and half my height and she was wonderful. So Madam, who was telling me that she, when she retired a few years ago, her life suddenly became boring. She felt totally isolated, spending most of our time cleaning up around her house or, or cooking. So she joined this local dancing group. Yeah. And it immediately started making friends. And to me it’s like this is, this is so simple, but where do we see anything like this in North America? It was such a kind of foreign experience. And to me how I applied that to my business was actually in, in making walking meetings mandatory, which I know sounds like a stretch, but it’s amazing the, the benefits of movement when it comes to building community and increasing things like focus and creativity and a camaraderie and rapport among a team that was Shanghai. It was just phenomenal.
Whoa, Whoa, whoa, whoa, Shane. That’s not how we do it here in the United States. That’s not we do it. What we’re gonna do is build an APP. We built an APP. You’ll have a meme. Yup. I mean the medium will visit a virtual park, a virtual park and dance, dance, dance. But it’ll be your likeness, right, and you might be able to wave to somebody if you get the advanced nine 99 application in a virtual reality virtual, we’re going to get until we do it here. It like an APP. I mean, why get out of your house all the way down there? You can have like a Sim city app. Why don’t people should, I mean that’s just crazy. I hear you. I died. That was my mindset. I was looking for the APP. I, I’m not saying I was one day. Hey, right now in Austin Saturday though, Shane, when you were traveling around the world, have you ever been out to San Diego and did the San Diego, the San Diego area? Have you ever been to mission beach?
Great. I have.
I’ve been to San Diego. I have not made it to mission beach. I’m going to cue up this audio and I know you can’t see it right now. Kind of a computer real quick, Shane Feldman, if you can go to youtube and type in real quick. Mission Beach Roller Skaters. Now. See, this is the only thing that I can, I’ve ever seen that can relate to what he’s talking about in Vietnam. Here we go. Flung Chang, roof ages. It’s a digital get down there. You see it, this true me. This guy right here closest to the camera. I’ve shaken this man’s hand. This lady here. I’d never met this lady before, but this guy right here. But see there’s people out there in mission beach that break it down every weekend in mission beach on Doris grits, quad skates, California. They do have a higher Asian population. So that’s why I’m going to go there. Okay, so there you go. Shane, can you clap skate?
I, I, I’m baby. I’ve never tried. Oh my gosh. It is a lot. It is a lot of fun to watch these people
break that. This is going to do is go to Shanghai, but in Canada, Vietnam, at least
Shanghai, my next speech, I’m going to try and do that on stage.
Oh, nice. You’ve had some huge celebrities who’ve endorsed, uh, what you’re doing here. You’ve had Kristen Chenowith, Cody Simpson, other people who have endorsed the count me in movement. Um, how did you first develop,
built these relationships? Nope. Every influencer we’ve worked with is an entirely different story. One commonality is that we definitely take it slow. Uh, you know, you, you’d probably be a little thrown if you were out on a first date that ended with a marriage proposal. So we think of influencer relationship building in the same way. We don’t really start by discussing a partnership or a hosting opportunities. We really dive deep into research and find synergy between us and any kind of talent before we re reach out. Um, so we kind of talk about a particular project or a program that we feel resonates with them. So, you know, Kristen Chenowith, perfect example, she started a small NGO called Maddie’s corner. So it was about helping dogs and helping people because of her love of her dog, Mattie. Um, so we talked to her about that and what we doing in terms of, you know, starting or are encouraging young people to create social entrepreneurial projects that value the welfare.
And kind of the people planet profit and, and uh, she loved that. She loved that. And then that kind of morphed into talking about ambassador relationships and partnerships. So we kind of like to leave it in their court as much as we can. We kind of spark the conversation if we do our job really well there. The typically they’re typically the ones who end up suggesting a bigger collaboration or partnership. I just shyness Paul Hood again, I got a question point. I’m actually asking her. We can see, cause he’s a little bashful shot. Him and I are both over 50, but I promise he looks like a millennial and so he’s wanting to know Jack like one so that I do.
So we set each other so very mature. He, so this, do we have to be millennials to be a part of your movement or it says older? Do I have to set up a fake profile? You guys can’t be a, you guys are in the group called count me out. Count me. Almost the hell is that this is not the group. We can help me almost.
Uh, yeah. So the, the core focus of count me in is really on a younger millennials. That’s, that’s how the organization, uh, focusing on. Uh, but that’s, that’s just kind of are the way that the organization is built. We’re a big fans of making sure we focused on a target markets so that they know that we are delivering the very best we can to them. That being said, uh, most of my time right now is spent on the road working, uh, with, with the, um, hmm. Gen X and, and not millennials. So, uh, you know, a politely saying old people. So, hey, for more traditional, smarter, more experienced human beings, how’s that? That’s better rapper now Asheville. But, but I do, I love, I get to work with an incredible companies around, around the world who, you know, may, may service millennials, but are Moreso looking for that sense of, of community and, and deeper leadership within their own organization.
Shane Feldman, I have two final questions for you. Two final hot seat questions. I know Z as another question for you. My final two questions. Question number one, how do you typically organize your average day? Like what time do you wake up on a typical day and how do you spend those first four hours of every day?
Well, actually spend most of my time traveling on planes. I actually have 16 flights this month alone. Um, cause I’m on tour right now speaking. So my wake up time definitely is not the same every day. I care more about getting six or eight hours of sleep whenever possible. So my wake up time is dependent on what time I finally get the bed. Uh, my morning routine though is very focused on being as present in real life as possible. So I don’t check social media in the morning. I stay as unplugged as possible and I’ll often spend my mornings rehearsing keno material or writing new content. I’d feel that I, my brain is, is at its clearest, uh, right when I wake up, which is typically around dawn whenever possible.
Got It. Now my final question that I have for, you know, and, and I know the doctors, he has one more question for you. Um, you come across as a very a well read person. What are one or two books that you’d recommend for all of our listeners out there that have made a big impact
in your life? Two books that I recently devoured that I believe honestly should be required reading for everyone are actually written by two good friends of mine. Uh, this is day one just now a Wall Street Journal Bestseller, uh, written by my dear friend drew Dudley. Uh, and the third door, which is a [inaudible] really
energizing read from my man Alex Benign. The third door we’ve had Alex benign on this show that a great book. The other book you recommended it is, is what now this is day one. This I drew Dudley Day one by drew a Dudley and I. Andrew, can you buy this book real quick on Amazon? Get on their bikes. Amazon’s logging on right now. He’s using Amazon technology. Andrew, are you, are you, are you clicking on the home row? Clicking on it? Are you logging on? Yeah, he you’re buying the book right now. Again, the book is, that’s been good spot. But it was day one by who? And Drew Dudley. We just bought the book. Doctor z this Justin, what’s your final question for our main man here? Well we covered so many fun stuff and I know we’re going to go over how we really can get ahold of you here in a minute cause I know it’d be bought there. You’ve perked her Curie stating and they’re looking forward to the next speech or giving. They’re excited. Whoever is listening to this right now going, hey, I know it’s the closet getting millennials. I want to get back to your travels to these 22 countries cause I think that’s just kind of cool. Yeah, a little on the personal side here, but here we go. What was the best meal you had? The 22 and what was the weirdest thing you ate over the last 22 countries? Oh, curious that way.
The weirdest, well, when I was in, in Vietnam, stop number one, uh, I was hanging out with my, my new local friends and this incredible party. I’ll fire dancers music and there are tons of vendors selling things in the square and older woman comes over to us and, and she’s selling what, what closely resembles a pogo stick, except it’s a concerning shade of green and it’s Harry.
Uh, and I to this day, I don’t know what I ate. Oh, I tell you, it was a, it was memorable, that’s for sure. I’ve never tasted anything like that in my entire life. I, what was your favorite meal? Them all 22 countries. What was your favorite? You had to have one. You Go, this is so good. Absolute favorite meal across countries. Yep. Come on. A trip to Oklahoma. He had, we went to, to discover real truth. Truth hurts sometimes. Come on.
Yeah. You know, it was, uh, it was actually, uh, I was, I was spending some time living in a remote village, three hours from Accra in Ghana, in West Africa. And I had, I don’t even know the name of it. And it wasn’t even the main dish. It was a sauce. It was a way that they mixed spices. And it’s something that I’ve tried to replicate a hundred times and there’s no way I have to go back to this remote village in Ghana to have it. And again, but it’s, they just do something with, with spices and I dunno, Voodoo magic. It was absolutely phenomenal and it’s a kind of thing that I would put on everything. Like you put that everything that’s, that’s what I was,
yeah, there you go. We’ll go and get a bottle of that next time. There you go. Honestly, I wish, Shane, have you been to Oklahoma yet as you’ve traveled around the world?
Uh, I believe I have.
You kind of fly through. Was it kind of like you’re going from Dallas to somewhere else or cause really typically touchdown. Let’s just, you’re going here. People typically I want me just saying, I mean people typicallyZ , they say I have three or four places I want to go before I, before I die on my bucket list. Sure. Vietnam shirt, uh, China, Shanghai, Oklahoma. I know Coleman. Shane, have you been here seeing the salt farm tours this time of year? They’re pretty amazing. Pretty amazing. I’ll have to add it to my list. Yeah, no. In all seriousness in Tulsa, Oklahoma, we are on record them on it so you can Google this and we have the largest, largest single gift for a public park in the history of the United States of America is true. $500 million. Yup. It’s called the gathering place. It’s for me to go to and it’s unbelievable.
It’s like central park on steroids. Yes, it is. It’s a great place. It is a great place. Also, we have a lot of casinos. Ah, yes. Of course. The sod. A lot of sod for him. A venue, Shane, that is like a big arena, but it looks like a big roll of duct tape. Yeah. These are all reasons to come to Tulsa, Oklahoma. That’s my sales pitch right there. There you go. Broad and duck tape. Nice. Now, now Shane, if our listeners out there go to Shane Feldman, [inaudible] dot com it’s Shane Feldman Dotcom. Final question for you. What are they all going to find on that website? You’ll find me in digital form and beautiful virtual reality format. Uh, that’s the best way to get in touch with me. Social media is great email. You can connect with my team or me directly on that side. If there’s any way that I can support you, what you’re doing, your organization, uh, we, we’d love to work together so we pride ourselves on being lightening fast at responses.
So if you have questions, that site is kind of the starting launchpad. Shane, we appreciate you so much for taking time out of your schedule to be on today’s show and we appreciate you for putting up with us and thank you for starting the new organization called count me out. So the doctor Zoellner has an organization, it can be a part of it. I’m, we’re good with coming almost in call. Almost a thank you for a story ourselves just filed for the trademark. So there you go. Sure. We’ll take care of my friend. Thank you all. All right, take care buddy. You too. Bye. Bye. After every show. I think it is so important for us to take the moment, a tick, the time needed to reflect upon what we just heard and to ask ourselves what excuse are we making for not getting things done? Are we saying that we’re, we’re too old, we’re too young and maybe there’s not enough time? Whatever it is that you find to be important to you, I have found time and time again. You will make time for it. This is the day that we stop making excuses and we commit to get stuff done and know if any further ado, free.