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147. Noah Kagan Throws Down A $1000 Challenge (Plus How To Push Past Your Comfort Zone)
Ash RoyNov 10, 2017 2:08:50 AM5 min read

147. Noah Kagan Throws Down A $1000 Challenge

Noah Kagan Throws Down A $1000 Challenge (Plus How To Push Past Your Comfort Zone)

When you host a guest on your podcast, it's important to set the tone from the get-go. I usually send the guest a run sheet prior to our conversation, so they know what questions to expect.


It lays out a framework and sets their mind at ease. Once the interview has begun, I strive to bring positive energy to the conversation (this is usually easy, because I'm often star-struck by the guest I'm interviewing).


If I can do a good job of setting the tone from the get-go, the interview usually "flies", and the guest and the audience enjoy the conversation. Achieving that initial momentum is critical — it helps to build a good rapport with the guest.


I'd been able to achieve this initial momentum with every guest ...


..... until I met Noah Kagan in episode 147.


It was doomed from the beginning ...


... I was feeling wobbly — probably because I was a bit too star-struck. Interviewing the founder of AppSumo was kind of a big deal.


I didn't do my job of setting the tone from the get-go. Noah being Noah ... sensed a "weakness in the force" ... and grabbed the reins!


He took responsibility for driving the conversation, which actually turned out to be a good thing (I'll explain why in a moment). I found myself answering questions (rather than asking them), and the interview went in directions I hadn't planned.


While I was grateful that Noah took over, I don't think I fulfilled my responsibility as a good podcast host that day. 


Here's why Noah taking over the conversation (and my failure to fulfill my responsibility as podcast host) ended up being a good thing — something I don't plan to repeat. 


Around the time I spoke to Noah, I'd been struggling with creating and launching my online course. I'd been procrastinating and finding every excuse under the sun not to do the work. 


I'd talk about creating this course to anyone who'd care to listen. but I wouldn't take enough action. Heck, even I was sick of hearing about this course (mental chatter can be exhausting), but the course stubbornly remained confined to the recesses of my confused and indecisive mind.


As the interview progressed (and I regressed!), I made the mistake of mentioning my hesitation about launching the course to Noah ....


... and ...


⭐ BAM! ⭐


Noah picked up on what was happening right away ... and called me on my sh!t ... very publicly! He then challenged me .... literally.


I mean he literally threw down a 1K challenge.


He said if I didn't launch the course within our agreed timeframe, I'd have to pay him a thousand bucks! I believe Noah's intentions were noble, and he did what needed to be done at that time.


You can see how the whole conversation played out below:




Not my finest moment!


I felt like I'd failed as an interviewer — being called out on my sh!t was embarrassing. But that's exactly what I needed because ....


.... It worked!


I launched my course before the agreed date. Heck, I didn't want to pay Noah the 1K!


Here's the point of that story:


Creating and launching a course is simple (if you have the steps laid out for you) but it ain't easy!


Here's why it's simple:


All you have to do is make a decision to do it, and then you follow the right steps, in the right sequence.


You decide to do what it takes to get the course completed and launched.


Here's why it's not easy:


There's a lot that goes into creating and launching a course. You need to know what transformation you seek to deliver, who you want to deliver it to, what technology to use .... the list goes on.


If you're thinking of creating and launching your own course profitably, I recommend checking out this conversation with Amy Porterfield. I've done the course and I think it's good.


About Noah Kagan

Noah Kagan is the founder and Chief Sumo of and AppSumo helps entrepreneurs grow their businesses.


Before starting at AppSumo, he was employee number 30 at Facebook. His site, has excellent growth hacks and useful strategies which help entrepreneurs grow their businesses using content marketing and growth hacking strategies. Noah talks about his successes and failures with a lot of honesty, which I have found to be a refreshing change. This is why I reached out to him to be a guest on the Productive Insights Podcast. If you haven’t already checked it out, I highly recommend heading over to


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Key Points and Insights

  • 2:06 – How to overcome discomfort around being on video
  • 4:52 – Attitude is key: Control what you can and proactively accept what you can’t control.
  • 5:39 – “What was once hard is now easy” – Noah Kagan
  • 6:27 –  The importance of learning to be comfortable with discomfort (and actually doing it – not just saying it)
  • 7:40 – On focus : If you’re not saying “No” to at least one thing each day, you’re not focused
  • 10:00 – Noah throws down a $1,000 challenge … Which Ash accepts (and has now completed as at the publishing date of this podcast episode)
  • 10:27 – There’s a LOT of advice online (you need to be selective about who you listen to)
  • 11:19 – The importance of bringing accountability into your life to launch as soon as feasible and let the market give you feedback (rather than get into analysis paralysis)
  • 14:03 – Can launching early (and letting the market provide feedback) hurt your brand?
  • 15:25 – Vulnerability is sometimes appealing
  • 15:52 – Noah Kagan Presents Podcast vs Noah’s YouTube challenge – a discussion around which one’s working better
  • 17:28 – The importance of getting onto a new medium early (being ‘first to market’ on a new medium is important)
  • 24:56 – Action Steps and Key Insights

Action Steps

  • Don’t wait for ‘perfect’ before you launch – launch when you have something of value and then iterate based on market feedback
  • Focus on fewer things (learn to say no more often)
  • Understand the audience intent when using different mediums / media

Ash Roy

Ash Roy has spent over 15 years working in the corporate world as a financial and strategic analyst and advisor to large multinational banks and telecommunications companies. He suffered through a CPA in 1997 and completed it despite not liking it at all because he believed it was a valuable skill to have. He sacrificed his personality in the process. In 2004 he finished his MBA (Masters In Business Administration) from the Australian Graduate School of Management and loved it! He scored a distinction (average) and got his personality back too!