My wife Rachel is back on the podcast to interview me because we have a very special announcement about an acquisition I've been supporting for the last year: Michael Hyatt has sold Platform University to Pete Vargas! We also dig into some of my current projects and why I am so passionate about helping entrepreneurs.

You can find more info about the sale itself at

Rachel Meese: 0:24
Hi there. I'm Rachel Meese. Today I have the privilege of coming back on the podcast to interview john, because something really big happened today. And we want to talk about it. So john, what was the big thing that happened to you today?

John Meese: 0:40
Thank you so much for coming back on the podcast and for interviewing me about this, Rachel, because you've been beside me the whole way. So today, as we're recording, this is November 4. And just a few hours ago, I got off of a live announcement with Michael Hyatt and Pete Vargas, where I acted as the host to announce the fact that Michael Hyatt and company has sold Platform University to Advance Your Reach, which is Pete Vargas, his company. And that has been a project I have been working on confidentially behind the scenes for a full year. So that is a huge deal to me that I couldn't talk about for a long time. But I have been the Dean of Platform University, which many of you may know, for a little over three years, I've been the brand director run platform university as a membership site as a business within Michael Hiatt's greater business empire. And this has been a big part of that transition has been getting preparing Platform University for sale and acquisition. And so I got a front row seat in what it looks like to sell a multi- million dollar online information product teaching company with a subscription membership site. So that is definitely one for the books.

Rachel Meese: 1:51
Yes. So today is momentous, personally, but also, professionally, it's been a long time coming with this project. And here's the day so how are you feeling about this? How's the transition going? Can you catch us up to speed on on just the snapshot of today?

John Meese: 2:07
Sure. I'm very excited and relieved, you know, the biggest reason I'm relieved is because confidentiality is a burden. I mean, and so I've known for, really, it's actually been two years since the first time I sat down with Michael and Megan, his daughter, who runs Michael Hyatt Company, Megan Miller, it's been two years since I first had a meeting with them where the subject came up. And we said, I think we want to consider selling platform diversity. Now, it wasn't actually happening yet. Like it was just a conversation, it took a little while for that to take off and actually to bring in a, you know, a broker, and then to create the list of who we thought were the potential suitors and then to reach out to them to vet those candidates narrow that down to 12 candidates who are a good fit to buy Platform University, and then to narrow that down to four. And then ultimately, the final one, which is Pete Vargas, from advanced reach. So I am relieved that that huge project is not only were at a key inflection point, and the fact that it's public, its final, the you know, paperwork has been signed, money has been paid, logins have been been transferred. But also, just because I can talk about it. And that's why I wanted to do this podcast is because it's been confidential. I mean, even just now talking about I can feel the weight coming off. But it's been confidential for so long that I can talk about it freely now, which is encouraging and, and good. So I'm excited about that. I'm also excited for anybody and everybody who follows Platform University, because Platform University is really where I got started, in terms of learning about how to build an online business launching my first blog. And so that's why I came on as the Dean of Platform University when Michael reached out to me over three years ago, three and a half years ago, and you know, many reason why I came on in that role was because Platform University was so instrumental in my success in my, in my journey.

Rachel Meese: 3:50
Well we started back in childhood. So whenever I think Wait, how long has it been? Oh, how old is Lucas? Right? almost four. It's been it's been all the childhood like,

John Meese: 4:02
Yeah, that's true. Yeah, Lucas was born right when I started with Michael's team, as a part of the team. But before that, I was a customer. Right? So I mean, I've been with Platfrom University really long time.

Rachel Meese: 4:13
So you're excited for the students. So how is there so I think what's new and exciting and what, what will be different for them then tell us about their snapshot of today?

John Meese: 4:24
Sure. Well, so what I'm really excited about for the students is just that the the full force of the Advance Your Reach team that is going to be in is already behind the success of Platinum university as a brand as a membership site and the collection of students who subscribe to platform university because the reality is Michael Hyatt's platform has taken off dramatically and his company is very successful, but it's gone a different direction. And so while Platfrom University was part of the origin of Michael's company about teaching people how to build an online platform. He had a massive best selling book called Platform, Get Noticed in a Noisy World really defined the industry. About In 2012, and then 2013, when online personality based businesses was a very new thing, since then, Michael has gone into executive coaching with business accelerator, he has sold 750,000 copies of the full focus planner. Yeah, which is insane. And amazing. Yeah, and amazing. And so his business is really focused on, you know, helping business professionals, executives, when to work and succeed at life. And Platform University really just didn't fit in that, which means that it was it was always a little bit of a distraction to the rest of the company, because it just didn't match the overall company vision. And so while I had a small team helped me run Platform University, and we loved I loved we all love working within the greater Michael Hyatt and company team, there was always this knowledge that like what we did was different, and it didn't really fit. And so when we found that now that we found the permanent home for platform University, it's clear that even though Advance Your Reach is still a significant company. I mean, they've got, I think, of roughly 40 employees, they're an eight figure company, and they've done some really cool things, they have other products going on. But everything is totally related. It's about their singular focus, which is to impact a billion people by 2027. And the way they're gonna do that is to help get people good messengers with a message featured on 1 million stages. Now, they do that the old fashioned way, by getting you on a physical stage, but also on digital stages. And so that's the term they use to refer to things like a blog, or a podcast, or a social media following or a YouTube channel, as stages. And so there's total synergy between what platform university students are looking for, what platform diversity is trying to accomplish, and the rest of the company. And so it really just acts like rocket fuel for the future of that brand.

Rachel Meese: 6:41
I didn't know about all of that. So what I'm hearing is that it's very exciting. As soon as the Platform University because you're going from Michael Hyatt and his brilliance and he, like utilizing the tools and the Michael Hyatt brand to Pete Vargas taking them totally to the next level, not only how to build a platform, but then how to just go next level in a way that I wasn't even aware of. That's very exciting for the students is keep talking, please. This is great.

John Meese: 7:06
Okay. Yeah, it is very exciting. And I think it's good. And I guess

Rachel Meese: 7:10
We all, we all care about you dearly John, so I'm still learning about you as well.

John Meese: 7:15
Thank you, Rachel. I know that you do. Anyway, we'll get into all that what our board feels about me is beside the point, I'm still staying on as the Dean of Platform University, at the very least do a transitional period, because I'm committed to the success of students, and committed to the success of Platfrom Universit as a business. And really just my relationship with the Hyatt has been instrumental in forming who I am. And I'm excited to learn a lot from Pete and his team and to work with them, whether that's a long term thing or a short term thing, honestly, that's still on the, that's to be determined, but I'm okay with that, you know, I've committed to, for the next several months to work with our team and help smooth out this transition make this good for the students, good for everybody involved. And I'm excited about that. So that's where we're at right now. But that also, you know, I've got other things going on, too. I mean, so maybe we should talk about that a little bit about anybody who's paying attention to this podcast, or the other things that I've been creating, may have noticed, but there's been some other stuff in the works on my side of the business. Rachel, do you want to talk about any of those that stick out to you in terms of what you see right now,

Rachel Meese: 8:18
Well right now I'm looking at our beautiful downtown square. So I've been home with the kids for much of the pandemic, but I'm coming back to work to work on our co working space and to grow that business together. And I know that you've had several clients, and last, what, six months, probably four months, something like that. It's been a hot minute. And then most excited, the most exciting to me is that you have finished your book, and it's about to be published, your're in the, what the final is it called Type Copy? Is that what it's called, where they format it? And anyway, details, sorry, your book is coming out. And I'm very excited about it. Am I missing any major projects?

John Meese: 8:56
Yes. Just one, we'll get to that in a second. But first about the book. I mean, that's the biggest thing that, you know, I knew that I wanted to write a book that I had for a long time. You know, and I've talked about this a lot on this podcast, so I don't have to go in too much detail. But the, you know, the fact that I needed this sale was coming that I was actually working on that sale was part of what lit the fire under me to actually write the book. And then the pandemic really poured gasoline on that fire. My first book, I wrote the bulk of that during the lockdown the stay at home order in our state where our co working space was closed. We could go anywhere,

Rachel Meese: 9:27
Well also personally, the way that that happened, like, we don't have internet at home and you need to work but we couldn't come into the coworking space. And so we drug like an old fashioned desk chair attachment, like the old type that's attached into our bedroom. And you sat on a typewriter and you wrote out Yes, because you had to work offline and you couldn't hotspot forever. It's true. We did. It's gone now might get

John Meese: 9:52
We did get internet. Yeah. But yes, we got internet during the lockdown. We got rid of it since then. But yes, that first week or two? Yeah, we were just like you No, I just figured it out. So I wrote this book survive and thrive how to build a profitable business in any economy, including this one. So, you know, of course, the coworking space has been the professional environment, our professional ecosystem has been hit the hardest, because it's a physical business that requires people to leave their home and work with other people. And so while there are a lot of remote workers now, and so we've had an influx of some of customers, we didn't expect like university professors teaching classes online at our co working space. A lot of other members have, you know, either cancelled or stayed members, but haven't come into space because they just wanted to work from home because they didn't feel safe or, you know, that business has definitely taken a hit. So what I doubled down on because I told you know, Rachel, you know, this, you know, we had a team meeting with the Cowork Columbia team and said, We need to downshift with the coworking space business in the middle of the pandemic, and not try to not really try to go knocking door to door saying, Hey, leave your house, don't work with other people. Right, they're doing that with downshifted. With that and up shifted with, you know, some other online business endeavors. So the book is one of them, you know, launching this podcast is one of those. I'm working with a few different businesses where I came in essentially as a strategic business advisor on retainer to help them with their marketing strategy, their branding strategy, that's been something new and exciting. Of course, Platform University was going on this whole time. And it's still going on as part of the things and then notable themes. Yeah, so Thomas and I co founded notable themes together, I guess it would have been four or five years aho, I should find out the exact date.

Rachel Meese: 12:15
I believe it was before our first child. And six years ago we as far as measuring children and timeline would be because you were I believe you were a student at Platform University and that's how you met Thomas. Yeah,

John Meese: 12:26
That's true. Actually. That's how my business partner and I met at each other is in Platform University. So Thomas McGee, and I started Notable Themes. But then when I took the role with Platform University, I left notable themes, and we actually still ended up working with Notable Themes as an affiliate partner, but I divested myself completely from that business as part of it. You know, there's a lot of details there. But it's part of the requirements for me taking the Platform University role. And mainly because of the time Michael Hyatt was selling his own WordPress theme called the Get Noticed Theme. And so it was a direct competitor. Now, since then, Michael Hyatt retired the Get Noticed Theme, Thomas and I started collaborating more and more, and we've reconnected as business partners. And so now we're in the process of rolling out a brand new WordPress theme. It's really a website builder for creators. That is like nothing. I know, people say this stuff all the time, and I normally roll my eyes, but I'm going to say it anyways. It's like nothing you've seen before. And so it's called Notable Press. And it's a new WordPress theme, technically. But what it does is it allows you to feature your content from all the different platforms on the internet, like YouTube, like a podcast, like your Instagram account, on a dynamic website, where the homepage acts more like the homepage on a social media platform. So you know when you go, but the reason why you open your YouTube app or your Facebook app several times a day, is that every time you go back to it, it's different. It's fresh, it's new, but most people their website, that doesn't change. And so that's one of the things that's built into editable press is that your homepage content changes dynamically based on someone's been to your website recently based on what content is trending. And it's also got a subscription platform built into it kind of like Patreon so you can have a subscription paid subscribers to your website, who get access to extra content. So that's pretty exciting. It's in beta right now. We just started sharing that with people if you're interested, you can go to to learn more. But yeah, so that's what's been up as I've shifted on the online business projects will downshifting in the coworking space and you know, now we're rounding the corner on potentially up shifting wiht the co working space again. So, I'm excited about that too

Rachel Meese: 14:34
The coworking space is where my attention is going to be next heading to but just to say about Notable Themes and Thomas yes is a wonderful human being and I hope he's listening. But his work Thomas his work is so beautiful, and meticulous and immaculate and I mean, I've only seen you know over your shoulder and your demos and things, but it is beautiful work and I can't wait to see it live. I didn't know he designed it like a social media platform. And then details to share that to me is just mind blowing. So, yeah, I totally want one. I think I know a guy. Yeah. Yeah, notable themes is up and coming. Your book is up and coming and the coworking spaces is, you know, we're hopefully will open back up to more members again soon. So you've been very busy. My love.

John Meese: 15:22

Rachel Meese: 15:23
Yeah in the sense of measuring children one time,

John Meese: 15:26
Yes, using children to measure our I mean, we have done a business and a baby. If anybody doesn't know this, this is part of our story is that every time we have a baby, we launch a business. It's not a strategy. It's just what we do is just

Rachel Meese: 15:37
It's almost funny at this point, but I'm here we are hired, you know, like? Yes. Yeah. Any other thoughts to note on the Platform University sale and the next few upcoming months for you? And what's kind of on your horizon?

John Meese: 15:54
Yeah. So if you want to learn more about what all that stuff that's going on, I would say go to Go to And as you release this, that homepage is going to have a lot more details about this announcement. There's a video, there was from the live announcement with Michael Hyatt, myself, Pete Vargas, and some of Pete's team that's on there. There's just some some frequently asked questions, there's a press release, like the good old days, all that stuff is there. I'm sure that depending on when you listen to this, that announcement, they have moved elsewhere. But I'm also excited because this is going to create so much just the weight of having this confidentiality off, is going to create so much freedom in terms of what I'm able to create to serve you who are listening to this podcast right now, you who are on my website,, which very soon will have a live version of Notable Press, which will make your experience as a user better, so you'll be able to enjoy the content. And that's not just so you can like, you know, it's not an I don't have an entertainment website, when I say enjoy the content, I mean, so that you're really getting value from articles from interviews, that are all designed to help you build a thriving business, because that's what I stand for. And the same thing goes with our co working space, Rachel, you know, our mission statement is to help entrepreneurs build thriving businesses. And so one of the things we've done when we had less coworking space members in the space was we went in licensed an entire new curriculum and got a couple people, Rachel, you included, and then another one of our our team members to get certified to teach classes in our space and remotely, about how to start a business from scratch. So for people who are interested in starting retail spaces, or coffee shops, or, you know, freelancing as a graphic designer, I mean, there's all so many ways you can start a business today. And that's what we stand for. And so that's the common theme between the notable themes between plot for university, John Meese calm, which includes my book, podcast, as well, and cowork, Columbia, which by the way, our website for that if you want to learn more about that as cowork dot space, so there's a lot of cool stuff going on. And you know, all this comes from this, this really passion for helping it really just helping you, the entrepreneur listening to this build a thriving business. So that's what's up, Rachel, anything you want to add to that, in terms of what that passion looks like how you see that play out in terms of that passion to help,

Rachel Meese: 18:15
the next Golden Circle, and you're passionate about helping entrepreneurs, but to what end? So great, you want to help everybody, that's cute. You have all these businesses. That's nice. But why are you actually doing this , John? And I know why. But would you share why this is kind of close to life or death for you?

John Meese: 18:34
Yeah, I will. You know, and I think a lot of people have seen this firsthand this year and 2020. But even before that, you know, I've felt that. So right now, actually, so on my desk, there's a little photoframe that automatically goes through a Google Home hub, and it automatically goes through photos of people in my family. And the photo that just popped up right now is one of myself, and my dad, and my dad is recording this. He passed away, unfortunately, just less than two weeks ago, and that was a very hard loss. You know, he's had cancer for several years. And we knew his time would come it's still sooner than we that I was hoping for the any of us were hoping for. And that's still a shock. Yeah, no, we weren't ready. But one of the things that my dad really, you know, one of the last conversations I had with him was I got a chance to tell them and say, Hey, Dad, because we knew is towards the end at this point. I said, Dad, I was hoping to give you a physical copy so you could see it. But I dedicated my first book to you. And when I told him is what's in that book, which is the where it says that my book is dedicated to, to my dad and to all the hard working entrepreneurs that built the world that we are privileged to live in. And I have seen firsthand my dad as an entrepreneur as a and by that he never called himself an entrepreneur who's a painting contractor for 40 years. He painted people's houses, but he was an entrepreneur and as an entrepreneur, He showed me what it really looks like to break out of generational poverty, I'm talking about broken families, every way the family tree goes every direction. He showed me how as an entrepreneur, you can break out of that generational poverty and carve a new path for your family. And so that's something that really that's why I'm so passionate entrepreneurship, it's not just that you can make a bunch of money as an entrepreneur, or that you can work whenever you want, wherever you want on whatever you want as an entrepreneur, although those are true, but it's that entrepreneurship is the most effective path to eradicating generational poverty. And I've seen that firsthand. I also by the way, went the traditional route, I got not one but two college degrees, they don't really do much for me, I don't even have them hanging on my wall. So this, I haven't missed that memento. But entrepreneurship, I've seen firsthand how it can change the lives of not only myself and Rachel, you and our kids, but everyone around us. And that's I just want, I want more of that in the world. And I want there to be more conversations about how we can encourage entrepreneurs, to start businesses to build businesses to solve problems. because really what an entrepreneur is, is someone who creates real solutions to real problems for real people. And that's what I'm passionate about. So yeah, in terms of the Simon Sinek language, I'm starting with why that's the why at the center of what I do, the why the center what I do is eradicating generational poverty, through inspiring entrepreneurs. The how of that is by building businesses to provide tools and frameworks and insight to make that as really clarify the step by step process of success. I want this to be paint by numbers for you to succeed. Yeah. The the what and working in from the inside out which is Simon Sinek's framework, the what is Cowork Columbia the what is notable themes the what is platform diversity, the what is And this this podcast, it's my book. But all of that really stems from that core mission and motivation. And that's a that's why we're here

at 7: 22:04
48pm after dinner on a date night to record a podcast because this is what it's all about.

Rachel Meese: 22:10
You act like your life depends on it because you believe that, that our family does depend on it for for a hope and a future. Can I say I love you on your podcast, is that okay? I love you and I am you could appreciate your heart for these things. And I see how much you inspire our family and friends and our local town group and your students at Platform University. And your co workers and and how much your dad loved you and was proud of you as well. So yeah. Cool, thanks.

John Meese: 22:42
I love you too

Rachel Meese: 22:45
yeah, let's go eat some of our children's Halloween candy and call it a night.

John Meese: 22:49
That sounds like a great plan. So thank you, all of you, who Thank you, you not all of you, there's just one of you listen to people don't get into right, that's a pet peeve of mine, people don't get in a room and listen to a podcast like as a group of 20 people. So I'm not talking to all of you, I'm talking to you, the one person listening to this, thank you so much for being you for caring enough about your own business about your own community about the problems that you are really feel called to solve to make the world a better place. Thank you for caring enough about that, to listen to this, because this is about my journey. But it's really about my journey, because I want you to see what's going on behind the scenes, so that you can see what it takes to be an entrepreneur, and that it's totally attainable. And that is totally possible. And that you can do this and I want to help you do this. I hope you hear my heart in that. And yeah, so The sale is official. It's out there. There's all kinds of cool stuff going on. And

Rachel Meese: 23:46
sounds good

John Meese: 23:46
Let's keep up. Let's just keep up the good work, shall we? Thank you, Rachel, for coming on the podcast again.

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John Meese is the author of the #1 bestseller Survive and Thrive: How to Build a Profitable Business in Any Economy (Including This One). An entrepreneur himself, John is on a mission to eradicate generational poverty by equipping entrepreneurs with the tools and training they need to build thriving businesses from scratch. He is the CEO of Cowork.Inc, co-founder of Notable, and host of the Thrive School podcast.

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