Forefront Conference 2017 Recap + Notes.

A couple of weeks ago I attended Ramit Sethi’s Forefront Conference in Chicago.

Who is Ramit Sethi? He’s personal finance blogger/online business guru I’ve been following for quite some time:  since 2010 as a matter of fact. Check out

He’s my savvy older Indian American brother berating me to be a top performer.  And I love it.

This is a quick re-cap of Forefront 2017 + all my notes: It was fun!

Ramit opened up the conference with these 3 huge bullets:

  1. Stories we’re told
  2. Stories we believe
  3. Stories we Change.

Main message: You can rewrite your story and you should rewrite your story. Being Weird is Cool.

3 take aways to Re-write your story:

  1. What if you decide to challenge that notion you’re bad with girls, or a people pleaser or can’t say no. What if you made 5 new friends? or think of 5 new ideas? Or be business consultant/coach to others (need to work on this story for myself)  Is that permanent?
  2. Make yourself the hero of the story and have fun doing it.
  3. Focus on the present + future.

He talked about four ways to experience a football game:

  1. Read about it afterward in the paper
  2. Watch it on TV
  3. Watch it in person at the game.
  4. Be an actual player in the game.What’s keeping you on the couch and preventing you from joining the game (creating an online business)?

I love this growth mindset as it’s 100 percent in tune with my beliefs. You can be a top performer. It all depends on the stories you believe and change. He also went into problems he had growing his business – I was shocked to hear this – but loved his candour. He mentioned having more FUN vibe was what made his business great – wants to get that back.

He gave us some personal anecdotes that will stay in Forefront.

Gretchen Rubin Keynote:

Main message: there are 4 types of people in life (based on her new book Four Tendencies) 

  • Upholder -someone who likes things done in a certain way. Always has a organized google calendar etc. Doesn’t like spontaneous.
  • Questioner – they want customization to their needs.
  • Obliger – the rock of the world – get along with everyone. However, they’e people who meet outer expectations but fail to meet inner expectations.
  • Rebel – want to promote their authentic self, identity focused, love to perform.  Need to be given the information, but not told an agenda – cos they won’t follow the rules.

I found this all simplistic since I am all four.  BUT as she continued speaking and answering questions from the audience I started to think I was a rebel.

My friends (who’ve known me for a few years) at the conference mentioned I am an Obliger. Interesting. Will have to take the online quiz. However I hate quizzes – all these IQ tests, Myers Briggs all seem bullshit to me.

I do find this interesting in determining hidden patterns in people, not necessarily labelling people in 4 categories.  Understand how your clients respond to internal and external expectations, and how you can better serve them. 

I remember her mentioning off hand to audience member the book ” The Nature of Fame”.

Shawn Achor keynote:

His speech was the best. Think the hilarious personality of Ryan Reynolds mixed in with happy science facts/data. Yes, that subject actually exists : the science of happiness.

He knows how convey information that makes you want to listen and learn – perfect anecdote after drinking at the Museum of Science the night before.

Key message: You are most successful when you are happy.

We also think happiness is individual focused when in reality, everything is interconnected.

The same way people are extroverted with an extroverted crowd.

Personality changes in a room. Introverts become more introverts in a introvert room. 

Happiness is the joy you feel when you’re moving towards your potential.

Rational Optimism – shields from future problems. Starts w. realism, then your behaviour matters.

You can see problems and say it’s bad and can change it = rational optimist.

Escaping the cult of average:  Doesn’t address individual needs or how to cater above avg/below average reading for example.

Positive individual changes ripples to culture change.   Individual traits vs interconnected ones – people 2-3 degrees away can benefit from you.

Ritz Hotel agents greet you within 5 meters away from you. We’re socialized to reciprocate: even the stubborn ones.

He made us do this eye gazing experiment for 10 seconds. I smiled after 5 seconds.

To be successful, focus on these 3 things:

1) optimism
2) strong social connections
3) perceive stress as a challenge –

To be more happier, do these 5 things:

1) 3 Gratitudes (write 3 things you’re grateful in past 24hrs. Could be small like avocado is ripe)

2) The Doubler (write 1 positive change and describe 3 reasons why it’s positive – also – your brain can’t tell difference b/w visualization vs actual experience)

3) The Fun Fifteen (15 minutes of fun cardio)

4) Meditation  – energy increases (whatever not for me!)

5) Conscious Act of Kindness (take 1 minute to text/email someone you care about to praise them)

If you are happy:

  • your behaviour is contagious. People model after you, even if you don’t realize it.
  • more productive
  • better at your craft

31% people claim to be optimists, but don’t show it. Often Leaders model it, show it, but don’t ask others to do it. So Tell everyone.

Tear-Downs with Ramit: one-on-one with students (he calls us his students for you newbies)

  • Anyone can have a website, but Do you have a point of view?
  • Customer Service is never beneath you.
  • Ask the right people in your industry. Start from success. Reverse- Engineer.
  • Why would they want to partner with you?
  • Demonstrate value by showing you’ve taken action.
  • If you’re going to ask, ASK.
  • 1500 list, 500 active – 200 buy. Focus on present.
  • Book: 5 Love Languages
  • Blog post to google: PMARCA “Product Market Fit – Market always wins.

Conference Cons:

The Friday evening mixer was good minus the 3 loud hosts trying to make us social and friendly. They could’ve shut up after 20 mins. I was trying to give someone a business idea, only to be interrupted every 2 mins.

1st day of the First 50K workshop was just OKAY with Shawn Woods. He was high energy, which I appreciated. However, I didn’t care about motivation. He did mention to check out a youtube – David Kelly from IDEO.  The 2nd Day of the workshop was more meaty. Hosted by Sarah Jones on coaching/consulting. “Sell the skill, not the outcome.” “Don’t give x of calls for willy nilly”. Slide deck link :

Overall Conference Pros:

The Saturday night gala at Museum of Science was just amazing – one of the best evenings I’ve had in 2017. It created momentum in me. I was so motivated the next morning and still buzzing from it. I wrote 10 ideas down next morning.

Maze of Mirrors

Loved being around ambitious people from various industries all over the world.  Made me more energetic. A lot of us are working solo – so it was nice to connect with like-minded people. Like a cult 😉

The keynotes and workshops added gave me more substance and meat that last year’s Forefront in NYC. Last year was exciting don’t get me wrong, but this year it was like meeting old friends and digging deeper.

After Conference Activities – Socializing with these people was fun at hotel lobby, etc.  Karaoke, Starting the Dance party Friday night (me).


Some fellow Canadians

Hope you enjoyed these notes! Email me if you want to connect (nishant dot )



Cloud Gate + Bike = Cool Guy.

shawarma app promo video

Back in September I published a blog post on my first iphone app – Nearest Shawarma.

Recently, my friends and I decided to  film a short promo video to get more users interested in the app.

It was a lot of fun to make and is definitely fun to watch.

So without further ado, check it out my babies:

I might be posting this video on a site I’m working on – you guessed it – So check that site out in the coming days.

Thank ya,


P.S.  Repeat after me:

Thou shall not go to bed without a shawarma in ze tummy!


get more play in your life

It’s a New Year.

New Way, New Life.

Now to back track a bit, in mid-December I threw an Ugly Xmas sweater party.

You must have heard of these before?

It’s where people wear ugly christmas sweaters and drink egg nog from a ski (shot ski). It’s a great way to meet up with old friends and make new ones as well.

This time I decided to create some hype for the party by making a series of promo videos. I posted these on a weekly basis on the FB event wall to build anticipation.

The result?

A quick survey at the party indicated that only half in attendance actually watched the videos! But those who did – loved it and more  importantly than anything else –  it was A LOT of FUN for ME to make.

Below is a 3 part series from the Making of the Shot Ski to  to the introduction of this fictional character called ” Shot Guy”.  I make an appearance in part two and three.

Yes it’s incredibly cheesy, but good fun. My film editing skillz need some upgrading in 2014.

We need more PLAY in our lives.

Some might say sarcastically, “great you made a bunch of silly videos.”

Yes I did.  It was a incredibly fun evening project.  Instead of  sitting at home watching movies off Netflix, why not make some of your own? Creating makes you feel better.

As we grow older we forget about doing things for fun sakes. There is an incredible article in Aeon magazine that talks about children today are suffering a severe deficit of play. Click here to read it.

It’s a quite thought provoking article as it states even children have LESS PLAY in there lives than 50 years ago. This is reducing our creativity, making us less healthier, and more anxious and stressed.

I think if you dig deeper, what other parts of your life are you doing that are boring or just for money?  Can you make it more fun for yourself?


P.S. Check out this new book by Charlie Hoehn called Play It Away.  I read his previous ebook to this “Recession Proof Graduate” which I also recommend (in fact I wrote a blog post about it you can read here by clicking here). In Play It Away he talks about he switched from being over-stressed workaholic to someone who treats his work like play! It’s really fascinating read and fast too, so check out at your nearest

play it away