(* I don’t believe in “accidents” or “coincidence”. Everything I’m about to describe happened for a reason.)
Back in 2009, I started a company called Speakeasy Authority Marketing, Inc., and proceeded to spend the next ten years building it from nothing into a $3.7-million marketing agency. At the time of my writing this, it has helped more than 1,100+ attorneys from 17 different practices areas grow their law firms and achieve true financial freedom. Speakeasy Authority Marketing’s day-to-day running is now taken care of by a team of managers.
My journey into philanthropy, however, started almost ten years later, on one of the darkest days of my life.
About a month before that fateful day, I had launched the Future Tech Podcast.
This podcast started out as a platform for discovering “round-the-corner” technologies, like artificial intelligence, 3D printing,
stem cells, and regenerative medicine. As my marketing business grew and more full-time managers started joining my
team, I found myself with some free time. So I spent it seeking out, interviewing, and learning from the scientists,
researchers, innovators, and inventors who were working on the cutting edge of technology.
Right from the very beginning, my goal was always to find geniuses. The people who were the absolute best in their field.
The top 1% who are almost impossible to reach from the outside. That is what this podcast was about.
Things changed when I was involved in auto accident, late at night.
A kid driving a truck rear-ended me on the freeway. My car rolled, and a piece of plastic form the dashboard struck me in
the back of the neck. Thankfully, I was pulled out the car with only minor injuries. However, when doctors scanned my neck,
they discovered abnormal nodules on my thyroid. A biopsy quickly determined that it was cancer.
I can remember the moment that physician read the results to me. It felt like the floor gave way beneath my legs, and the
color drained from the room. What I’ll never forget, though, was the look in his eyes. He tried to be sympathetic. But I knew
right away that my nightmare was just another day in the office for him.
I knew, right there and then, that I was on my own. If I wanted to do everything in my power to beat this thing, and survive
this for my wife and kids, I had to learn everything there was to know about thyroid cancer.
Naturally, I turned to the Future Tech Podcast.
Over the last year or so, I had cultivated hundreds of connections in the medical research field and had even developed a
reputation among scientists and clinicians as a thoughtful and stimulating interviewer. In a matter of days, I had dozens of
interviews scheduled with some of the world’s foremost authorities on thyroid health and cancer.
These interviews yielded several breakthrough insights that, I believe, could have saved my life.
For example, I discovered that some tumors, including the ones that I had, could literally be starved of the nutrients they
depend on for growth, simply by making a few harmless changes to my diet.
When I showed these insights to my physician, he more or less shrugged his shoulders. He had never heard a whisper of
them. Yet, these insights empowered me to not only treat my condition and make a full recovery, but to enjoy a level of
holistic health had eluded me for almost all my adult life. It was like being born again.
My mind started racing.
If the physician who was coordinating and overseeing my treatment for thyroid cancer had been oblivious to scientific
research that showed me how to starve out the cancer cells in my thyroid, what other insights might be out there?
I thought of all the millions of people around the world, suffering through illness, being debilitated, in some cases, even
dying needlessly, when there are insights that could radically improve their situation. Insights like the ones I discovered.
Insights their doctor will never tell them about, simply because he or she doesn’t know.
The Future Tech Podcast evolved. It became the Finding Genius Podcast, with a new focus of seeking out and learning
from the most gifted medical researchers, innovators, and practitioners in the world. The men and women who are working
on the cutting edge of medicine, who are advancing our scientific understanding of cancer, diabetes, and other deadly
medical conditions, like anxiety and depression. Scientists whose work often remains undiscovered.
The goal of the Finding Genius Podcast? To find the most powerful insights and get them into the hands of the people who
need them most, and in way that is easy to understand and apply. I have interviewed more than 3,000 such geniuses.
In 2020, I co-authored Finding Genius: Understanding Viruses, alongside thirty pre-eminent virologists and researchers.
What emerges is nothing short of a completely novel way of looking at viruses that forces us to reexamine many of the key
assumptions that scientists have taken for granted over the last century.
In May 2020, I began spearheading a COVID-19 study with Dr. Richard Allen White III, assistant professor of bioinformatics
at UNC Charlotte. The aim of this research project, which has been approved by the Institutional Review Board, is to better
understand the role of the microbiome in predisposing people infected with COVID-19 to severe illness. Samples have been
collected from 60 COVID-19 patients and processed, and are currently being analyzed. I financed this research privately.
These thousands of conversations with gifted scientists, and collaborations like our book and the research project, they
really opened my eyes to just how much promising work there is going on right now that risks being starved of the funding,
visibility, and other support it needs to thrive, often due to politics and conflicts of interest. I wanted to do something about
that. However, there is only so much one person can achieve on this own. That is why I set up the Finding Genius
Foundation as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit – to support this breakthrough work in a way that is sustainable.
Over the last few years, friends, colleagues, collaborators have asked how they too can support the projects and initiatives
that I am involved with, and get behind them on a bigger scale. The Finding Genius Foundation is the answer.