When it comes to spotting trends and making deals, Lucas Asher is what you could call a prodigy.
A self-made millionaire, Lucas made his first M, just shy of his 20th birthday coding for other people. Since then, he’s become a real-life skydiver, an indie-rock artist, verified Instagram influencer, and—of course—big-time venture capital investor.
As CEO of Tower Equity, Lucas has invested in a who’s who of tech unicorns, including Slack, Space X, Pinterest, Spotify and Ripple.
“I worked on building games, software, and ultimately I was able to provide a lot of value to other people that gave me a platform to form my own technology venture capital firm,” Lucas told Forbes in a recent feature.
We thought that was pretty interesting. So we decided to have a chat with Lucas about his deals, returning to a post-COVID “new normal,” what industries he’s bullish on and what’s next.
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Youth is an asset. When you are young you can take zero sum risks. . . In game theory, a zero sum risk is something that could wipe you out. . . As people get older they can’t play zero sum games. . The problem is that all of the best positions in life are occupied by people who: . ✅1: Were willing to play zero sum games . ✅2: Did play zero sum games for a long time . Leverage your youth to go zero sum on your crazy dreams. . If you get completely wiped out, it’s not the end. . You will have time to bounce back stronger than ever, (and you don’t have any dependents who rely on you) . When was the last time you really acted “zero sum” on your dreams? . Have you risked your entire life on what you really want? . Your professors, parents, preachers and friends will tell you it’s a bad idea. . . I think it’s the only way to live 💯
wealthlab: Hey, Lucas!
Lucas Asher: What’s up.
Let’s jump right into it. We’re in 2020, in the middle of the pandemic. What trends are you bullish on?
After investing in over 39 notable technology companies like SpaceX, Pinterest, Spotify, Adaptive Biotechnology and many others, I tend to be bullish based on either a short term or long-term thesis.
In the short term, you will see SaaS software companies in the cloud dominate because of the “work remote” pandemic cycle our economy is in.
Most notably, Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey recently announced that Facebook and Twitter employees can work remote forever. This is quite the reversal of the “open office” trend we witnessed during the last 10 years—and likely to continue, given the move toward the cloud and globalization.
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This generation 🦋💕 has literally nothing in common with the previous generation… ❌ . Not their rules . Not their vibes . Not their schools . Not their music Not their jobs . Not their clothes Not their wars . Not their lives . Them telling our generation how to live, is like an old operating system telling a new operating system how to work. . . Your mind is like a computer operating system … . Don’t let someone with a previous old version of software tell you your new software is wrong ( because they don’t understand it …) . . #omertacortex 🍄
What about on a more long-term basis?
In the long term, you will see general Artificial Intelligence and the advent of private space commercialization that eclipse the GDP of sovereign nation states. If you look at the potential for SpaceX’s Starlink,” specifically, it could spawn the next trillion-dollar communications conglomerate.
Also, you will see enormous companies come from things like asteroid mining that could easily pass the entire GDP of the USA, given the abundance of valuable resources in the new space economy.
Speaking of AI. Where do you see the major first disruption happening?
Although general artificial intelligence is still mainly relegated to academia, it’s likely to enter the medical field first, and rapidly take over financial services next.
What makes you say that?
There’s no way human computational ability has any chance of competing. And that will usher in the most significant era of efficiency for capital allocation and medical advancement in history. I feel strongly both my short and long-term thesis will materialize in our generation.
What are your thoughts on COVID? How do you feel about how it’s impacting business?
Pandemics will certainly become much more prevalent in our society. We must collectively, as a civilization, invest preemptively to combat viruses, instead of being reactionary, as we’ve seen.
From a business standpoint, pharmaceutical companies, in general, have occupied enormous margins with near monopoly power. Yet, they haven’t made commensurate investments into pandemic-related research.
Perhaps there will be some form of regulatory mandate that asks big pharma to put a certain amount of profits in a public trust to invest in R&D to better understand these novel virus’. And harnessing the private sector’s investment capability to do so.
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As kids, we were told many things, by well intentioned people, that turned out to be wrong… . . These well intentioned people, are parents, teachers, spiritual leaders, and various authority figures. . . . . It’s completely possible to be well intentioned, and wrong at the same time . . That is exactly what happened…. . . Your parents, teachers, and everyone who gave you advice, ( about how to live a great life) were wrong, but they meant well. . . . . The simulation has changed since your parents generation… . . Their ideas and ways are outdated software being inserted into our modern operating system . . . Software gets updated all the time, it’s not their fault that they adhere to their older version… . . For example: . . . The software version of having a “secure job” was outdated a long time ago. (It doesn’t even exist anymore) . . The software version of having one condensed religious doctrine, (curated by old men) and irreproachable by science is outdated. . . The software version of not extending equal human rights to the LGBT 🏳️🌈 community for all regions international is LONG GONE! ✊🏾 . . The software version of scarcity and lack of resources for our species is outdated. . . The software version of ‘knowledge gods,’ holding the keys to wisdom, through institutional debt education is outdated… . . The main problem with society, is, well intentioned people, who mean well, but are advocating wrong information . . Sometimes a bridge is good to cross… . . Sometimes a bridge is good to burn… . Sometimes a bridge is good to build… . . #omertacortex 🍄👽💨🎮
What industries and/or technologies are you bullish on now and what do you see emerging on the other side of this pandemic?
Fintech appears to be the most disruptive. There is an API revolution happening right now that will far surpass the application revolution that happened in the early era of the Internet.
I believe the trillions in wealth that we have seen go toward the application sector of the internet will gradually go to APIs and protocols. One of my favorite thinkers I have been reading a lot from is Venture Capitalist Fred Wilson at Union Square Ventures.
Switching gears a bit. You’ve done a ton of deals. What’s your best and worst investment?
My best investment up to this point has been SpaceX. My worst investment remains to be seen since I primarily fund private companies as an accredited VC, which takes years to realize.
That said, I’m not incredibly happy with SoFi right now and would like to see them pivot.
Investment you never made that you wish you did?
UiPath and Boston Dynamics [UiPath is valued at $7B while Boston Dynamics was acquired by SoftBank]. I am very interested in robotic process automation and the potential it has to alleviate a lot of suffering in the manufacturing economies.
EXCLUSIVE Q&A: This 26-Year Old Made $100K From Her IG In 90 Days. Here’s How She Did It 👀
Yes, it’s a pandemic. Yes, the economy is down. Yet, some entrepreneurs have found opportunity in the “new normal” (whatever that means).
In the public markets, FAANGs are booming: Amazon and Netflix are up dramatically, fueled by the need for home entertainment…and shopping.
One of them is Ariel Adams, a 26-year-old South Virginia-based realtor. In April, at the height of the lockdown, she had exactly 1000 followers on Instagram.
Fast forward to today, she’s attracted over 100K followers, has made $100K in online sales (again, during the pandemic), and is now showing others how to do the same.
We sat down with Ariel to discuss how she made $100K in 90 days, what she sold, how she got her first customer, and how you can, too.
Let’s get right to it. You work in real estate but were able to make $100,000 from your IG in three months. Let’s start with the product. What did you sell?
Yes, that’s correct. I was shocked myself! My sales came from my digital products, mainly my e-book From Instagram to Instant Money. My e-book dives into how you can optimize your Instagram profile to grow a following and sell your own product. I talk to the Instagram algorithm and how to beat it to ultimately monetize the platform. My other digital product is my course How to $ave Like the Wealthy. As a realtor, I would receive a lot of questions in regards to saving up for a down payment on a home. I decided to create a video outlining the best way to save money and accumulate wealth. Both of those products got me to six figures!
How did you secure your first orders? Who were your buyers?
My sales came from my following. I would collaborate with other brands with significant followings and post my product on their page. This drew in a lot of traffic to my products and also pushed me to 100k followers on Instagram. My buyers were typically people looking to earn passive income by selling a product or service through Instagram.
Was the objective of your advertising to gain followers and sell later? Or did that just happen as a byproduct of people buying your courses?
I never was trying to gain followers, I was always trying to sell. I think people would see my ad, go to my page, and then turn into a follower because I always provide valuable content on my page. My Instagram consists of personal finance infographics, real estate tips, and inspirational quotes. I think people naturally gravitated toward that and I was able to retain and gain followers.
How do you consistently market it? Is this a model anyone can use?
I try to set up placements on these bigger Instagram pages 2-3 times a week. I aim for business pages, women-owned business pages, and black business pages. My product resonates well with entrepreneurs looking to scale their business through IG. It is absolutely a model anyone can use. I recommend following the other steps I speak to in my e-book. This will ensure the most success.
Most aren’t aware that partnerships can literally boost your business. How did you come up with the idea of collaboration and what made you target those pages exactly?
Being savvy to Instagram, I was always aware of Influencer Marketing. A lot of people think that’s just girls posting brands to their million or so followers, but it includes placements with ANY brand that has a substantial following. I knew this was a key to success. Collaboration on bigger platforms would be the most helpful for my brand. I targeted people I thought would be interested in my product; women CEOs, entrepreneurs, e-commerce enthusiasts, etc. I made sure to stay within that niche.
How did you come up with this idea?
I was inspired by other online entrepreneurs. I saw them making thousands online and I thought to myself, “Hey, I can do that.” So I decided to do it. I asked myself, “What am I skilled in? What can I teach people?” From my previous life managing artists in the music industry, I became an expert in Instagram. Combining what I studied at the University of Miami (Business) and my knowledge of Instagram, that’s what sparked my e-book on the subject.
What’s the number one advice you’d give someone who’s looking to make money for themselves but isn’t sure where to start?
My advice would be to write down what it is you’re good at. Brainstorm what skills you have. Maybe you have a passion for food? Good, create and sell a cookbook. Maybe you’re good at writing? You can become a freelance resume writer. We all have skills we can capitalize on. And if you need to learn how to market yourself, then Google is your best friend. Read, read, read. Self-educate and you will be on your way, and of course download my e-book to learn how to sell through Instagram!
EXCLUSIVE Q&A: This 26-Year-Old Got 1M Instagram Followers In 1 Year. Here’s How He Did It (And How You Can, Too)
The rise of social media—the internet, really—has created more young entrepreneurs, business rockstars and self-made millionaire than ever before.
Still, one of the most coveted goals for business people is to learn how to crush it on Instagram. David Dang, a young internet entrepreneur, figured out how to do just that.
As owner and founder of @entrepreneurshipfacts, David has managed to create one of the best, fastest-growing channels on IG, pumping out daily motivational content to 1.3M followers. (At the time of this interview, he had recently cleared 1M.)
In just one year, he grew it from 100K to 1M, drawing attention from mega influencers Tony Robbins and Dean Dean Graziosi in the process. Yes, really.
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The Knowledge Broker Blueprint course that Tony Robbins and Dean Graziosi created is closing on Monday and I don’t want you to miss out and regret it… ⠀ Click the link in my bio @iamdaviddang 👈to learn what KBB is all about! ⠀ They won’t be making this offer again for at least another year… ⠀ And most people (this is the sad truth) will hesitate today and many will regret that more and more over the next year as they see others succeed in the digital economy.⠀ ⠀ Don’t get caught on the outside looking in. Join the KBB course and community and create the impact and success you desire while your access is still available!⠀ ⠀ Go to the link in my bio @iamdaviddang 👈to learn all about the Knowledge Broker Blueprint
Because we love to bring you the best of the best, we decided to ask David exactly how he managed to grow it like that, what tactics he used and how you (yes, you) can do it, too.
What’s up, Dave!
Let’s get right to it. You’ve managed to build a channel with tremendous growth and engagement. What made you start your @entrepreneurshipfacts and how did you grow it?
What started out as an Instagram page for my own personal growth, where I share my favorite inspirational quotes on business and entrepreneurship, and life, in general, really.
I’ve always knew that a corporate 9-to-5 is not my thing. Started my first little business when I was nine, I was quite an entrepreneurial kid.
Besides unlimited income potential, I love the freedom of being my own boss… I get to work where I want, whenever I want, without anyone telling me what to do or when I can take days off.
There’s nothing like it.
To me, this kind of freedom is priceless.
What triggered it for you?
I fell in love with personal development in my teenage years, and happened to read a couple self-help books from Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, Tony Robbins, Robert Kiyosaki, etc. They completely changed my life.
I think that’s a common thing in hustlers. You just broke down the holy grail right there.
Yes. If you read any book from the authors I’ve just mentioned, you will realize a common theme that MINDSET is everything. It is literally the foundation to success, not how much resources you have or who you know.
I truly believe the life you’ve always wanted begins with your mindset. Despite having a university degree in Entrepreneurship & Marketing, I am now making a living with my online businesses, and also dabbling in investing.
What’s your goal with your page?
Although I don’t consider myself as being successful or an expert yet to tell people how or what to think, but my goal with this page is to hopefully inspire and influence people’s mindset in a positive way. In turn, helping them achieve whatever goals they have in life.
You have over 1M followers. People are loving your content. And everyone wants to know: How?! How do you grow an account like this?
I am proud to say that I’ve never used any shady tactics or bots to grow my IG account. Everything is 100% organic growth. Besides that, you also need high quality content that people want to see.
Like any social platform, you must understand the platform algorithm and work with it. That’s my biggest secret…
In part II of this article, Dave breaks down exactly HOW he selects his content and the secret sauce behind the engagement.
This Guy Co-Built A $4B Company In Four Years - And He Only Works 7 Hours A Day
Cal Henderson is pretty badass.
As co-founder and Chief Technical Officer of Slack — arguably the single most crucial role in any startup — Henderson has helped build a product from zero users to four million daily in just over three years.
About a year ago (cue Shmoney Dance!), Slack announced they’d raised $200 million in its fourth round of venture capital, putting the software at a WHOPPING $3.8B valuation.
And unlike many all-time greats on #TeamNoSleep (think Leo DaVinci, Thomas Edison and Vince McMahon) — and the modern ones who call for 95-hour work weeks — this dude actually puts his Z’s atop his to-do list.