Today’s post will not be like most of my other articles. Today, I wanted to write about my roommates.
Ben and I had to ask each of these guys to leave their lives behind and come with us to Rio. We did it because they are some of the most amazing people I know. And I love them to death. So I wanted to take a moment to give them the introduction they each deserve. And it’s my blog, so every once in a while I get to write about what I want ;-P
When Scott tore his ACL in the 4th game of his senior season, he didn’t cry cause it hurt (it did). He cried because he knew his football career was over.
Football had defined him. He was the star athlete in high school and starting linebacker and Captain of the team at Princeton. No one out worked him. He was a jock hustler. He was Rudy.
And it was over.
Sucks, right? Time to pack it in and talk about the glory days for the next 25 years.
Except, Scott didn’t become Uncle Rico. He redefined himself. He channelled his competitive streak into his career and made a big impact at a few startups in NYC. He became fairly well known as Scott the Biz Dev guy. Now, when I meet any NYC entrepreneur, the first thing I hear is “Oh You’re Scott Britton’s Roommate.”
Pretty flattering for me. And a pretty nice maturation tale for the guy everyone thought was just a dumb jock.
Except it doesn’t end with Scott The Biz Dev Guy.
Because not only did Scott move to Rio with us to live like a king: surfing, sunning, running his online businesses, and writing about whatever the hell he pleases.
Scott also plays Pro Football in Brazil.
That’s right, the guy who thought his career was done in college is being paid to fly around Brazil and play football with Flamengo, the most popular team in Rio. It’s not nearly as intense as pros in the States. So he still has time for trips to Machu Pichu, NYC, and of course, Ipanema beach.
But that’s all back story. What’s really impressive about Scott, and the reason he is going to kill it in whatever he does, is because he is the most aggressive learner I’ve ever met.
He carries a moleskin notebook around everywhere he goes. And when he writes in it, the angels sing. Because you know whatever prompted him to write has changed his life in some small way. Whatever makes it in the moleskin gets acted on. He just fucking does it.
In the last few months, Scott has worked on a lot: his business, his relationships, his fitness. But most importantly, he has become one of the most courageous, honest people I have ever known.
Dilan is an alien.
First the obvious: he is literally an Alien of Extraordinary Ability. That’s what the U.S. government calls the people they let into the country simply because they are going to make it awesome.
Exhibit A: MIT takes in ONE Sri Lankan on any given year – that’s Dilan. And he did it without having ever communicated in English before.
Of course, that made adjusting to college a little bit tougher than it was for me (I had to learn to do my own laundry, wah!) But Dilan still killed it. He graduated with a degree in Artificial Intelligence or Robotics or some crazy thing that exists only in MIT and Hollywood.
After graduating Dilan slaved away for 2 years. He lived off microwave dinners so he could spend all of his resources building the first ever real-time search engine. Then he sold his company to Google and went to work on top secret Google X projects for a year and a half.
Google was awesome, but Dilan dreams BIG. His life goal is “to be CEO of a billion dollar world-changing company.” It’s a permanent resident of the white board To-Do list in his bedroom. Being an employee anywhere, even at Google, wasn’t going to cut it for him.
So he left it all behind, the job, the money, his entire life, and moved to NYC to work on developing himself into the person that could build and lead that company. He took classes on everything that would make him a more dynamic leader. Improv comedy, dancing, and our seminar on developing courage and confidence. That’s how we met.
What’s the secret to his immense success in life so far?
Part hard work. Part alien technology.
Seriously. I meant it when I said he is an alien.
He’s got a laser that zaps pimples before they appear. No shit. It’s infrared and sounds like a smoke alarm. Does it cause cancer? Jury is still out.
He’s got a helmet that makes him retain more information when he reads. Litmus papers you pee on that determine if his body is in ketosis. And a head flashlight that lights the way in case you and your roommates don’t pay your electricity bill for 2 months.
Dilan grew up in the most insanely difficult circumstances of anyone I’ve ever known. Bar none. Today he is simultaneously one of the most successful and most compassionate people I’ve ever met. The odds against him being alive, let alone the rockstar he is, are astronomical. He is an actual miracle.
Benji is an Australian wunderkind. He’s been hustling since he was in middle school arbitraging X-boxes on Ebay. He’d buy broken ones for cheap, send them to Microsoft to be fixed, and resell at a profit.
The year Benji was leaving for college, he got mono reaaaally bad. So bad he couldn’t move. For 9 months. That’s a pretty shit hand to get dealt. And instead of watching reruns of Friends, he created an eCommerce business which funds his lifestyle to this day.
Since then he’s started legitimately dozens of other projects.
Ben and I met Benji when he showed up to our first class in NYC. He only came because there was just one seat left and he thought that meant we must be important (ha!).
In Benji’s classic wunderkind way, at the end of the class he came up to us and offered to help with our Twitter. We were flattered and gave him the password to our account. We had approximately 8 followers.
Within a week we had 8 THOUSAND followers.
Then a week later, Benji showed up with a full documentation of how he planned to set up viral videos for us. It was multicolored, had individual responsibilities assigned, projected impact. It was professional caliber work and it was totally unsolicited.
We invited him to Brazil on the spot. We would’ve been crazy not to! A day later he sat down with us and showed us 2 lists. Pros and cons of coming to Brazil.
First he showed us his cons list:
The big one was basketball. He loves his family but they were already on the other side of the world in Australia (he’s currently home visiting for the month – miss you Benji!). The visa he could work out if he had to. But he had a scholarship to play on Brooklyn College’s team and basketball was his life. He didn’t want to leave it behind.
Then he showed us the “Pros list”
- Personal development and advancement
- Positive environment
- Financially successful
- Amazing friends
- Amazing experiences and memories
- Girls GIrls and Girls
- Life isnt going anywhere
- Business focus
Needless to say, the pros outweighed the cons and he came to Brazil 🙂
Benji brings value everywhere he goes. He gives before he tries to take and is a genuinely happy presence all the time. As a student, Benji is 100% committed to being his best self in the most holistic sense. Most people set goals to get more money, more prestige, or more fame. Benji sets goals to be more humble and to give back. He’s 21 years old and he makes time to feed the homeless every day. Who the hell does that!?
Other fun facts: Benji subsists solely on a diet of chicken, eggs, avocados, peanut butter, and protein powder.
And he is the only member of our house that can dunk. So that’s cool.
Henry (aka Hank the Tank) is my brother.
Henry was the hardest to sell on our Brazilian adventure. Mostly cause Mom and Pop weren’t hot on the idea of him dropping out of college in his senior year for a “Brazilian vacation.”
But it has proven to be hands-down the right decision.
Back home, Hen was floating through his third major, disengaged from his own education. He was doing fine, but nothing was exciting. Like everyone around him, he was getting by.
Down here, he pushes himself every single day. He came here without a lick of Portuguese but chats up folks who speak zero English whenever he can. He lifts hard and is in the best shape of his life. He has learned how to manage the back end of our website.
No one tells him to do these things. Even I don’t give him any deadlines. He just does. Because for the first time, he cares about his education. Not his schooling – his education. Self-motivated, he has learned more about entrepreneurship, fitness, and charisma than any college kid in the same 3 month period. More importantly, he found a reason for it other than some authority figure telling him “because I said so.” If that were all he took from Brazil, it’d be worth it.
Another thing about Henry is that (unlike his big brother at age 21), Hank is instantly, universally likable. He speaks Portuguese like a toddler, yet girls love listening to him talk. The dudes at the lunch spot on our corner high-five him whenever they see him even though they can hardly understand one another. Our cook talks to him nonstop even though its obvious he has never understood a word she’s said. He just smiles and responds in baby Portuguese super confidently. He’s got a cool, quiet charisma that’s impossible not to love.
Plus it doesn’t hurt that his dance moves are sick. I thought I could take over a dance floor – not next to Hank. He steps out alone onto the pista and busts out these semi-choreographed steps. Within seconds all eyes are on him. Girls start coming out of the woodwork, trying to copy his moves. It’s like a superpower.
But the most special thing about Henry is that he may be the most thoughtful person I know. He does things for other people not because he expects anything in return, but because he wants to be good to the people he loves. He’s the kind of guy that’s helpful without calling attention to himself. He’ll clean shit up around the house and not say a word about it. He’ll pick up an açaí for you because he heard you say you wanted one. The world could use more Hanks.
Um abração boys. Thanks for making our lives even more stellar than we hoped.
Ben & Charlie
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