EFP 129: Dan Pena On Creating $50 Billion In Value

Justin Cooke

March 13, 2015

Dan Pena isn’t your typical entrepreneur or self-made millionaire.

For starters, he owns a goddamn castle. (Image above relevant)

How to Become a High Impact Entrepreneur

He made his fortune as a sophisticated deal maker and I wanted to ask him how his old-school business tactics are relevant in today’s tech-driven business world. He did not disappoint.

In this episode, we’ll dig into how he turned $820 into $450M, the difference between being a mediocre entrepreneur and a high-performance entrepreneur, and why entrepreneurs today are setting their sights too low.

If you like a No-BS approach to business strategy, this episode’s for you!

Warning: This episode uses some adult language. If that bothers you, you’ll want to skip this show.

Check Out This Week’s Episode Here:

Direct Download – Right Click, Save As

Topics Discussed This Week:

  • From OCS to the Real Estate Company to Bear Sterns to building a $450M publicy traded company
  • Difference Between Mediocre Entrepreneurs & High-Performance Entrepreneurs
  • Building High-Performance Teams
  • Other People’s Money Vs. Bootstrapping
  • Applying Old-School Business Principles To New Internet Businesses
  • Entrepreneurs Today – Are We Setting Our Goals Too Low?
  • Advice For A 30 Year Old Entrepreneur With $820 In His Pocket


Spread the Love:

“Build wealth in low hanging fruit – why make it more difficult then you have to?” – Dan – Tweet This!

“You gotta KNOW when to say NO!” – Dan – Tweet This!

“Success is focusing on the few, not the many” – Dan – Tweet This!

“Drop cash flows and focus on your big win” – Justin – Tweet This!

“When value is clear decisions are easy” – Dan – Tweet This!

So – what struck a chord for you in this episode? What can you apply from this conversation to your own business. Let us know in the comments!

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  1. This was a really great interview. No BS, theory which one can easily put into practice. Must listen again and take notes to apply to my business.

    I wanted for this interview to go on for another hour or two. Hopefully in the future.

    Thanks for this to both Dan and Justin.

  2. This is Epic!

    Fcuking Epic!!

    This is awesome. I love it.

    Let’s shoot for the moon and at worse we make a shot at the stars! (or whatever they say it)

    Most importantly, let’s take some stronger drug :)

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Thanks, Sheyi!

      Really glad to have Dan on the show. He’s great for the No-BS answers and his story is really motivating. (To me and our listeners, I suspect)

  3. Josh Shogren says:

    I have to say, this was my first ever shoutout or mention and it feels pretty good! Thanks for giving me and my site a shoutout I really appreciate it! I am planning on doing a full review of the selling process once my site is sold as well.

    Great podcast too, as always!


  4. GDB says:

    Hated on Chris’ aspirations to buy castle Guthrie a bit too much, but other than that I like this guy’s approach to things.

    Specifically I liked what he said about setting a goal or having an ambitious dream, but not tying a deadline to it. This is something I’ve been struggling with too much recently, seeing other people pass me by or achieve similar goals a lot faster or seemingly easier than I’m managing to do.

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Yeah, the Guthrie Castle bit kinda threw me off – I wasn’t expecting that!

      Yeah, was interesting to hear about goal setting from him. It’s true that setting dates/deadlines can “slow” you down if you’re ahead of schedule – that’s something we’ve experienced directly.

  5. Edward S. says:

    This episode was AWESOME. What a refreshing hit of old school no bullshit energy from a voice outside of online business. Using “old school” principles is such a powerful way to differentiate in the new school. They truly ARE evergreen! Sometimes I feel we congratulate ourselves too much and overvalue the income because it’s semi-passive. Such an awesome reminder to set bigger goals and not be “OK” with simply achieving growth and profitability.

    As for the path: spend other peoples money. I would have liked to heard that principle with regard to newbies who can’t as easily apply “skills for money” since we don’t have the skills yet. He seemed opposed to bootstrapping/putting your own money up, but it seems unavoidable while we cut our teeth to provide value down the line.

    Either way, this episode is no doubt an INSTANT CLASSIC. Thanks Justin and Dan!

    Ed S.

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Hey Ed,

      Dan argues an aggressive, leveraged position to building companies and wealth. This leads to a high risk/reward scenario which requires you to be quite bold and “drag” yourself across the goal line. (Kicking and screaming, if necessary)

      It’s not the only way, but it’s definitely something he’s used to success as have his mentees. I particularly liked talking to him about it as it’s so outside of our framework and nice to hear alternative strategies that have been proven successful.

  6. Brent says:

    What an amazing guest! This was fantastic. It’s the shot in the arm I needed! Good stuff guys.

  7. Jim says:

    Woke up this morning and listened to this podcast… was like attending the “Church of No Shit”.

    High energy and outright straight up!

    I have listed to 90+ of the EF/AF podcasts… and this is the 1st one where the Guest drove… I don’t mean road shotgun and tossed a few beers… I mean GRABBED the wheel, slapped Justin side the head, and said “whoa man, TURN RIGHT, there’s a stupid shit in the road!”

    This is one of THE MOST ENGAGING podcasts and a terrific example of two bright guys having outright candid conversation about success and drive. Very insightful and motivational.

    Truly enjoyed it. Thanks Justin / Dan!


    • Justin Cooke says:

      Glad you dug it, Jim!

      Dan clearly has real business chops and has been through plenty of interesting business situations, closed lots of deals, etc.

      Looking forward to having more guests like Dan on in the future!

  8. Anon says:

    Dude is sharp as hell at 70 years old.

    • Justin Cooke says:

      I know, right?

      Dan clearly loves what he does. I don’t think he’d admit it, but I think there’s a bit of a softy in him to be doing this work at his age. It’s not just self-accomplishment – he truly enjoys helping others reach their potential, IMO.

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