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Xero Gravity: Big Wins & Massive Fails

Head in the Clouds, Feet on the Ground - it’s one thing to have a game-changing idea, but pulling it off can feel like trying to defy gravity. Xero Gravity shares the business+life stories from those who spin the world on their own axis: the highs, the lows, the big wins, and the massive fails from those who have lived to tell the tale. Check us out at xero.com/podcasts.
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Xero Gravity: Big Wins & Massive Fails
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May 3, 2017

It was a lifelong drive to push others that led Chklovski to founding Iridescent, a non-profit that delivers powerful science, engineering, and technology education to empower underrepresented young people.

Focusing primarily on young women and their parents, Chklovski works to empower the parents who will have lifelong influence on their children’s lives as well as working with the young women in a capacity that allows them to create their own app and launch a startup that will benefit their communities.

Through its flagship programs Technovation and Curiosity Machine, Iridescent has grown a network of 3,500 mentors and more than 63,000 participants throughout the world and looks to to only get bigger.

Apr 26, 2017

Hans Frauenlob’s story doesn’t start at the beginning. Instead, it starts somewhere in the middle, at a point so bizarre it sets the tone for what came before and what comes after.

He developed some of the world’s first sports analysis software, worked on the road as a professional musician, represented his country in the Winter Olympics, and helped get businesses off their feet after a natural disaster, and that’s not even all of it.

His portfolio may be varied, but there’s one common denominator across all of them: a desire to make other people’s lives easier, happier, or more comfortable. Frauenlob’s is a humble one, but one that has had impact across the globe, and will continue to in years to come.

Apr 19, 2017

Andrew Sharp is the CEO of global brand Bobux shoes and the co-founder of car tracking software, Blackhawk, but don’t call him an entrepreneur as he believes he isn’t one.


Bobux shoes is a company constantly striving to learn more about healthy foot development, while producing quality children’s shoes. However, while children's’ shoes is the business that Sharp is currently in, he wouldn’t say that children's footwear was his natural calling. Instead, Sharp believes that it’s not the field you are working in that matters. It’s the attitude towards problem solving that makes all the difference when it comes to success.

Apr 12, 2017

John McAvoy spent the first 20 something years of his life as a high-profile career criminal. With an insatiable hunger for success and Britain’s most prolific robbers as his role models, McAvoy quickly became one of Britain’s most wanted criminals.

In part two of this special double episode of Xero Gravity, Alice Brine finds out about the moment in time that changed John’s life forever. The moment that led to him becoming not only a career athlete, but an inspiration to children across the UK.

Last week’s episode ended with John agreeing to one last favor for a friend in the UK. Hit play or read on to find out about the life-altering path that final favor led John down.

Apr 5, 2017

John McAvoy survived years spent as a high-profile career criminal. With an insatiable hunger for success and Britain’s most prolific robbers as his role models, McAvoy quickly became one of Britain’s most wanted criminals.

Today, he couldn’t be further away from the person he once was. His incessant drive, determination and desire to succeed is still there, only he’s discovered an outlet to channel it into that sees him not only helping himself, but helping others on a daily basis.

In part one of this special two part episode of Xero Gravity, Alice Brine finds out about the years cycling in and out of prison that led McAvoy to the crossroads that would ultimately change his life forever.

Mar 29, 2017

The Mind Lab and the Tech Futures Lab are redefining professional development and education on tech. They’re giving younger generations practical careers to shoot for. As well as helping those already deep in their careers to upskill. All with a focus on staying  relevant well past retirement age. It’s a massive mission, one that has The Mind Lab about to launch an online learning platform that will bring free tech education to the world.

Valintine knows that education around tech is so much more than just coding. It’s about innovation, risk, and how businesses can not only adapt, but thrive in a tech-centric global marketplace. It’s pushing through people’s reluctance and denial, to develop the leaders and innovators of the future.

Mar 22, 2017

It took 18 years of corporate life for Scott Haughton to make the leap to entrepreneurship. Like most successes stories, the road to where he is today was unconventional. Inspired by an entrepreneur at a conference, Haughton realized it was time to pursue his own venture. Not knowing what that venture would be, he eventually set his sights on luxury indoor play facilities.

Mar 15, 2017

The founder of the League of Extraordinary Women, Sheryl Thai, spends her days bringing female entrepreneurs together. Her mission is, and always has been, to create a space where women can authentically connect, share their success, share their failures, feel inspired, and above all, feel solidarity that there are women out there going through similar shared experiences. The League is also a place where the word ‘networking’ is prohibited, and any kind of card-swapping is a definite no-no. It’s about women supporting women, and everything that comes along with that. With almost 80,000 followers on Instagram and a keen following online, The League has now reached a point where Thai can let her first business - Cupcake Central - self-run and financially support her while she works full-time figuring out ways to make female entrepreneurs lives that little bit richer.

Mar 8, 2017

A chef, TV presenter, author, and consultant, Robert Oliver’s weapon is food. But his journey has been far from linear, and has seen him experience the highest of highs, and the lowest of lows. He’s hit rock bottom and taken out the prize for Best Cookbook in the World. Throughout it all, he's stayed true to his passion, to re-educate people on the importance of food cultures and their role in indigenous history.

Mar 1, 2017

When it comes to audio technology, which do you prefer: old-school analog, or modern digital? Rob Roy Campbell is proving that it pays to deliver the best of both worlds.

His business, Electronaut, has been ‘long-game’ since day one. It all started with a passion for the product, and a desire to give people the means to record sound using high quality equipment that lasts.


He speaks technically, but in a way that is incredibly informative and not at all that hard to understand. In this episode of Xero Gravity, Campbell breaks down the differences between digital and analog. And he shares his journey: from working at a printing company, to manufacturing equipment that's used by studios and musicians around the world.

Feb 22, 2017

Like most people, Adil Dhalla is a busy man. He has a full-time job, a number of side projects, and people to make time for, but what separates Dhalla from the majority is his ‘why?’ And my oh my is it a good one.

After realizing traditional corporate environments gave him the sinking feeling that things weren’t going well in the world, he made a promise to himself, a promise “to be on the side of people who are trying to make it better.” And that’s exactly what he’s done.

Executive Director at one of the first co-working spaces - Toronto’s Centre For Social Innovation (CSI) - Dhalla now spends his days connecting innovators, bringing play back into the adult world, and creating corporate spaces where humans can truly connect.

Feb 15, 2017

When you think of reusable water bottles, beautiful probably isn’t the first words to spring to mind. The practical, dull colored cylindrical bottles your grandad takes hiking, yes. A bottle the cool kids are lusting after, not so much. But the practical and the beautiful can coexist, because (former) financial consultant Jonathan Byrt and product design engineer Jesse Leeworthy made it happen.

A business born out of a frustration with single-use bottles, Memobottle has grown to become so much more than just an environmentally-friendly vessel. Working around the clock and around the globe for a business they love, Leeworthy and Byrt want to start  a movement. Big heart and big ambition has them seeking to inspire the masses, and shift the world towards a more environmentally friendly, conscious society

Feb 8, 2017

After one trip to the doctor’s office, your whole life can totally change. You hear about it happening to other people but when it happened to Loren Brill, it unleashed her inner entrepreneurial dragon. When she couldn’t find the healthy comfort foods she craved, she realized she had to make them herself -- ultimately becoming the founder of Sweet Loren’s, a healthy cookie dough company that’s changing the game. And you’re not going to believe who her first buyer was!

Loren’s shares her vanilla-scented journey with us and it’s perfect for Valentine's Day - it’s all about falling in love with your passion, and making room for romance. But even though Loren’s story is sweet as, there’s actually no refined sugar and plenty of spice.

Feb 1, 2017

RONE is based in Melbourne, Australia, but his paintings can be found around the world. He’s a street artist who resists categorization, and RONE explores the challenge of defining - much less selling - an art form that’s outside traditional boundaries: what’s the difference between a graffiti artist and a street artist? A street artist and a contemporary or fine artist? He also digs deep into question such as: why is the forbidden so enticing? What changes when you move from painting for yourself to painting to pay the bills? When is it OK to make art for free? RONE describes how being a member of an underground art community opens doors worldwide. And his secret for promoting your work, even as social media platforms wax and wane in popularity, will work for anyone looking to stay connected to their audience. This is episode #85.

Jan 25, 2017

Brittany Cole Bush is a woman on a mission, revolutionizing the US farming industry, one sheep at a time. When it comes to being sustainable and accessible, the farming industry in the US faces a lot of challenges. But Brittany knows that bringing the next generation of farmers and land stewards together for food and fun is a big part of the solution.

“What does it mean to be organic, what does it mean to be sustainable, what does it mean to be local?” she asks. Brittany wants us to ask those questions. She also rolls up her sleeves to explain how current land management practices are like trying to fight fire with fire - literally.

Listen to Brittany’s stories about why goats love poison oak so much, all the way through to working with organic cow hides in the fashion industry. This is episode #84.

Jan 18, 2017

Geoff Ross is one of New Zealand’s most successful serial entrepreneurs -- Liz sat down and talked with him about things that maybe you wouldn't expect. Geoff shares some gritty details and hard-earned lessons:

“When you’re in your business - and I was there myself!- you feel quite lost and alone and you don’t know those options until you’ve been through it a few times.” And for someone who doesn’t want anything to do with politics, Geoff’s also got some ambitious ideas about how New Zealand, as a country, could do better at being an environmental leader.

Taking your company public is hard and Geoff really opened up about what that means. Have a listen, it's so refreshing to hear someone as successful as Geoff just cut the bull and honestly share his story with us. This is episode #83.

Jan 11, 2017

Imagine landing not one but two dream jobs - what would that feel like? Adam Ü is making it happen, so we asked him.

From the ski slopes of Myoko, Japan, to tropical waters of the Caribbean and beyond, Adam’s double life as a semi-professional skier and marine biologist is an enviable one. Inspired early in life to follow his love of outdoors and the ocean, Adam has put in the time and effort required to make his dream a reality.  

“There's been a lot of luck, but it's also hell of a lot of work,” Adam told (his sister!) Elizabeth. “This is my dream and I'll do whatever I can do to make it happen.”

Tune in to learn about the sacrifices that no one ever talks about. That plus how to juggle two jobs at once, and why work isn’t always about the money. Be inspired by Xero Gravity #82.  

Jan 4, 2017

Female pleasure is still largely a taboo topic in most societies, which is exactly why Lydia Daniller knew she needed to use her voice as an activist and storyteller to speak up. Driven to educate, inform and destigmatize, Lydia launched into a truly ambitious project: a sexual pleasure research website called OMGYES.

This kind of honest radicalism isn’t new to Lydia - from early on in life she’s been crafting the unexpected through her love of poetry, photography and videography.

“It takes a lot of bravery in general to do anything big and bold and new,” Lydia tells Elizabeth. “Trust in that thing that you want to do… Of course, you're going to doubt it, and of course you're going to be insecure at times.”

Listen in as Lydia talks about making time for the things that are really important to you, and why sometimes the best move might just be to step back from something you started. Xero Gravity #81 – Get ready for a feel-good episode!

Dec 28, 2016

A laid-back carpenter by day, after hours you’ll find Jack Candlish crafting the perfect ride, one surfboard at a time… and he might just change the world while he’s at it.

A nature lover with a passion for waves, Jack observed firsthand the contradiction between the tranquility of the ocean and the toxicity of polyurethane used to produce surfboards.

The issue piqued Jack’s interest in building his own boards. Today, his eco-philosophy is the driving force behind Jack’s surfboard business, Organic Dynamic.

“Sustainability for me means being able to do the things I love in ten, twenty, thirty years’ time,” Jack told Elizabeth. “It's important to try and make decisions now that will allow us to do that.”

Tune in as Jack shares stories of entrepreneurial failure. That plus insight into the world of sustainable business, how to turn what you love into what you do, and enough surfing metaphors to keep you afloat for days. Xero Gravity #80 – it’s swell.

Dec 21, 2016

Kishshana Palmer is not your average not-for-profit consultant. A vivacious and lively entrepreneur, she’s a consultant who will both give you a hug and a kick in the pants.

Kishshana’s built a business on being unique - which she says is both a blessing and a curse. “There have to be different shades to how you show up in the world,” she told Elizabeth.

“The balance that I needed to strike was to be my most authentic self, while still helping folks to feel comfortable.”

Kishshana’s bubbly attitude has led her down a successful career path as brand builder, coach, fundraiser, and self-confessed “solver” of things. It’s a career that she says has been plagued with both joy and failure - a crucial life lesson she’s hoping to impart to her daughter.

Listen along as Kishshana shares insights on powering through the tough times and knowing when to take risks. Xero Gravity #79 - it’s a kick in the pants!

Dec 14, 2016

Hamish decided to throw a New Year’s party with a few university mates back in 2003. At the time he had no idea that it would go on to become one of New Zealand’s biggest and most successful music festivals.

Rhythm and Vines is a three-day music festival, famously located at a vineyard in Hawke’s Bay. It’s also geographically the first place in the world to see the new year. What started out as a small party now attracts crowds in the tens of thousands and artists from across the globe. But it took an amazing amount of resilience, patience and courage to pull it off.

“When you’ve got to hustle to sell a dream, you’ve got to talk about where things are really going,” Hamish told Elizabeth. “The ship’s not always going to sail straight.”

Hamish has a humble and cheeky way of sharing his journey with us. Hear him talk passionately about the hustle that goes on behind the scenes, and the entrepreneurial pockets of wisdom he’s learned throughout it all. XG #78 - We’ll drink to that.

Dec 7, 2016

You’re climbing a gigantic cliff face, it’s 2,300 metres to the summit, and there’s no guarantee you’ll even get to the top… this sounds hard enough as it is, but imagine doing that without the use of your legs…

Timmy O’Neill’s outlook in life is shaped by conquering what others would call the impossible. No matter how many times he’s failed, the decision to succeed has always been Timmy’s driving force.

“Failure is a way forward,” says the professional rock climber, comedian, and founder of Paradox Sports, a nonprofit that runs adaptive climbing trips for people of all abilities and skill levels.

Tune in to learn what it truly means to live life on the edge. Listen along to Timmy’s stories of trial and error, as he opens up about the people in his life who have inspired him to move mountains. He also makes amazing sound effects. Be uplifted with Xero Gravity #77!

Nov 30, 2016

From the streets of Melbourne, Australia, to the slopes of Boulder, Colorado, Sarah Riegelhuth is leading the way in an entrepreneurial streak.

Sarah’s a firm believer that the old school dreams of owning a house or investing in stock won’t financially make or break us – but starting early and taking control is what makes all the difference.  

“Money is just a tool. The only relationship you need to have with it is that you’re roughly in control of it,” she told Elizabeth.  

Sarah’s ‘no bull’ attitude has seen her win awards, not just as a financial advisor but also as a best selling author. Sarah’s book - Get Rich Slow – paints financial education as something Gen Y desperately needs to talk more about, striking a chord with readers from the very first page.

Tune in to discover what it takes to get rich slow. Hear Sarah share her blunt wisdom around how honesty will help you to build stronger relationships with employees and clients, and why acquiring personal wealth is actually pretty simple.

The new and improved Xero Gravity – check it out!

Nov 23, 2016

Technology keeps many of us in a job, but is it soon to make us redundant? And, If technology is really helping us focus on what is most important to us, what does the future of the world look like?

In this episode of Xero Gravity, Elizabeth Ü is joined by not one, but two, guests to discuss the future of work, how we spend our time and the role of technology in taking us there.

Listen along as Abhijeet Dwivedi, COO at Zenefits and Jason Mills, director of sales and success at Expensify, join Elizabeth to talk about everything from robots to Kool-Aid.

“This is a core commonality [among entrepreneurs], is the refusal to believe that this is just how things are done, the status quo. It's not,” Mills says. “Maybe 90% of just new start-ups fail, so not everyone achieves that, but that is fundamentally the belief that's driving someone to take this step, this leap of faith. It's that, ‘No. What we're doing right now is not the best, and I'm somebody who can effect that change.’ ”

Tune in for plenty of fresh insights and lots of futuristic predictions - with a healthy side of skepticism, of course.

Nov 16, 2016

Needs something done? There’s always an app for that - or so the joke goes. But not all apps are created equal. The key to success? Get personal.

App and mobile marketing expert Kelly Slessor dug through 40,000 app reviews last year. There was a strong common message: people like apps that are easy to use, and save them time, and can be personalized.  

[It’s] all about personalization,” she told Xero Gravity host Elizabeth U. “A space on my phone that is about me, there’s content for me personally. It's one of the biggest keys to the success of applications going forward.”

Listen in to this episode of Xero Gravity to find out what people want in an app, whether you need one, and what’s coming in the future.

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