As Host of the Meaning Movement podcast, Dan Cumberland and his guests explore the deep purpose of life, helping listeners to take control of their own destiny and find joy in their lives. Through meaningful conversations with entrepreneurs, neurodivergent people, and other specialists, they share stories and strategies to help unlock inner potential and create meaningful lives. Join them and be inspired by the stories and strategies of real people who have taken their lives into their own hands.
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“I love mentoring and helping people become who they're made to be, but also just a square peg in a round hole. Then coming out of that, basically it felt like my whole life kind of unraveled on me because I thought that was what I was supposed to do.”
“I’ve heard you talk about this with some of your guests, just how important it is to listen for the questions that you might miss otherwise and how you never do it perfectly. But you know, when something emerges and it's like, yeah, that's the direction we need to go next. I think just listening to the guests and then listening to myself in the conversation, I think I've gotten a lot better at that, which is just a long, fancy way of saying I think I've gotten better at interviewing.”
“It’s just been just really helpful to have more language, to have more stories, to hear other people's experiences, and to feel like the parts of me that don't make sense, have a way of making sense”
“It's just been just really helpful to have more language, to have more stories, to hear other people's experiences, and to feel the parts of me that don't make sense, have a way of making sense, I think is the best way that I can say it.”
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[0:00:02] Harry Duran: The Dan Cumberland host of the meeting movement. Thank you for joining me on Podcast Chunkies.
[0:00:07] Dan Cumberland: Thank you so much for having me. I'm just so excited to be here with you.
[0:00:11] Harry Duran: You've got some really great mood lighting going on. I'm trying to do some theater of the mind stuff for our listeners. At some point we do record video and I have a long to do list of getting the video on to YouTube this year. So I've got to paint the picture for listeners for now.
[0:00:29] Dan Cumberland: That is exactly why I was like, well, we decided to take the podcast to YouTube and I was like, well, we're going to do it. We need to do it all the way. I still haven't fully embraced my identity as a YouTuber. It feels clunky. We're still, I think, very much like audio first, but I wanted to at least look better.
[0:00:50] Harry Duran: So how's that experience been moving to YouTube and look at some of the bumps along the way.
[0:00:56] Dan Cumberland: Yeah, I mean, it's just an added layer of complication. The major change just in how you edit moving from just using audio processor workstation to something that does both. We moved it to DScript as our primary editor for that, which works well. I think there's so many things that I feel like I want to change to really be able to say that I'm a YouTuber. I will record my intros usually kind of batch my intros separate from the interview. And then the lighting is different because I have windows in my office and I'm usually wearing a different shirt or whatever. I've been fine with that. Clearly I've got a haircut between the two times I record. I'm fine with that. But I'm also like, yeah, I probably would be smoother to have a different so I feel like you can just have to take it one step at a time. You just kind of keep iterating and keep improving.
[0:02:01] Harry Duran: I think what's interesting and this is what I find fascinating about this show because it's as mad as it can get. It's a podcast where I interview other podcasters. But I think it's been helpful for a peek behind the curtain because I launched in 2014 and I just wanted to hear about in the beginning maybe like their set up and what they talked about and how they put their experience with guests. But over time, I'm always looking forward to something like going wrong within the conversation because I'm going to leave it in just as a talking point.
[0:02:28] Dan Cumberland: Just as a point of like, this is how things break.
[0:02:31] Harry Duran: It's true. No, this is the real world of podcasters. When a dog jumps into the guests lap, I'm like, wait, got to know what's the dog's name? Because they're trying to keep the dog at bay during the conversation. And I'm like, no, we've seen the videos of folks throwing a blanket over their head or recording an audio in a closet, and I think it's helpful. And especially during the pandemic, we're not all NPR. We couldn't get to a studio, so everyone was kind of make do with what they could do at home. And I think it's 100% it's just a wake up call and also encouraging for other folks getting started. So I'm just that to say that showing all the work sometimes is fun.
[0:03:12] Dan Cumberland: I agree. And I think the longer I've been in business, the more comfortable I've been and just saying, like, yeah, I don't have it all together. I'm kind of a hot mess. And I feel like maybe it feels like hopefully entrepreneurship culture is kind of moving that way towards building public and just share your lessons along the way, for better and worse. I'm a big fan.
[0:03:35] Harry Duran: I think this idea of building public is really picking up steam, which I love a lot. There's some projects that I've been working on in the no code side and those doing building public stuff, even the setup. Like, if you do the comparison of your beautifully lit background and my no of having light behind you, like lightbox effect with like a half a curtain drawn I'm just like, whatever.
[0:03:58] Dan Cumberland: It works, though. It works. At the end of the day, if it's an engaging conversation, that's what matters the most. And the rest is just icing on the cake.
[0:04:12] Harry Duran: I always like to roll out the welcome mat to the listener because I always feel like I want to make them feel comfortable and not feel like we're talking to them or down to them or like we're better than it's just like a cat. It's like we're in a bar and they just pull up a stool and just listen to us to have this conversation.
[0:04:28] Dan Cumberland: I love that. Well, something has stood out to me as I was listening, just kind of getting into the mindset to jump on with you. I love how you talk to the listeners and how you kind of connect the dots between shows and past shows. I feel like very much ushered into that episode.
[0:04:45] Harry Duran: Yeah. I got a chance to listen to a little bit of a conversation with Alex Sampalipo, who's a friend of mine as well. And he's always engaging. He's nonstop. I don't know if you've ever seen him in person, but he's at the conferences and he's just like, I got to go meet this guy, and I got to have a meeting with this guy.
[0:04:59] Dan Cumberland: I believe it's this guy. I'm not minimum person, but I could totally see that in him.
[0:05:03] Harry Duran: But coming from that background of where he worked and stuff like that, it's fun to see that energy. And then you've had Ronsley on Dr. Melbourne Barcaisy, who I just yeah, I've.
[0:05:16] Dan Cumberland: Gotten pretty close with. He and I chat a lot about LinkedIn. We're both doing a lot on LinkedIn together, and so we're messaging a couple of times a week back and forth. So it's been really fun to listen to that conversation with you.
[0:05:27] Harry Duran: I'm a huge fan of origin stories. I'm curious when podcasting came on your radar.
[0:05:33] Dan Cumberland: Oh, man. Yeah, this is great. It was kind of a two pronged approach to podcasting. First, and this is very much a part of my whole journey, I started the Meaning movement as a way to help people broadly figure out what to do with their lives. More recently, that's really been nuanced further into helping entrepreneurs build businesses that we can love, find fulfillment and purpose in the journey. I had no idea how to start a business, though. Like, I knew I wanted to reach everyone. I wanted to reach the world. So it started a blog. I was like, I have no idea about blogging.
[0:06:09] Harry Duran: What year is this?
[0:06:14] Dan Cumberland: Well, I started kind of that fall between those two years when I first bought the Domain, figured out how to do WordPress, which was so confusing when you've never been in there before. And then did an internship with a team that was doing SEO. And it was just a way to just learn from what they were doing. They had this way to bring interns in. You would build a site with them. And they were trying to build these niche sites, which was like big things at the time. But then this might be getting into the weeds. It was like right when Google had introduced like a sandbox period, like right after I started so that the new sites couldn't rank within the first six months or something like that. And so they were like, well, for what we're going to do, we're going to look at other ways to get traffic, why don't you start a podcast? And I was like, great, I'll start a podcast. I had no idea how to do that. So I was doing that for that project. It was called Start Up with Kids. It's now long defunct. And shortly thereafter, I did that for a few episodes.
[0:07:27] Dan Cumberland: And then we kind of wrapped up that internship. And then I was trying to figure out what to do next with the Meeting movement and put in a question to Pat Flynn on his one day business breakthrough, as Pat Gas was also now long. It was like one of the first episodes and he played the audio and then basically people ask the question, then he responds to it. And he was like, man, this guy has just such great energy. You've got to start a podcast. And he gave me like a bunch of other stuff. But I'm like, well, Pat Flint tells you what to do.
[0:08:03] Harry Duran: You can't pat made me do it. Yeah.
[0:08:06] Dan Cumberland: So I can kind of see that. I've been dying to have a chance to tell him that someday that'll be.
[0:08:15] Harry Duran: Posted on Twitter or something like that.
[0:08:20] Dan Cumberland: I started probably by the time I actually started 2015 sometime or so, sometime from there. Yeah, because my oldest son is seven, and I think we just started to expect him. I think when I first started, that's how I date the podcast.
[0:08:42] Harry Duran: Why the topic of meaning? Why is that important to you?
[0:08:45] Dan Cumberland: Yeah. Oh, man. I mean, the simple version is like, I've struggled with that my whole life. And I could say, yeah, literally my whole life. I could tell you the story. Although going back to my family of origin and feeling like I didn't really fit the mold in some ways with my family. My mom's an accountant and my dad's an engineer. My brother now is a computer programmer, and I'm a creative, I'm an artist. Right. Very analytical minds. And then there's me, who is kind of all over the place. But then moving forward with that is like through college and post college, I really struggle. Had a really hard experience right after college. Was in ministry, was a youth pastor for a few years. I saw that both really great in some ways, great student community.
[0:09:36] Dan Cumberland: I love mentoring and helping people become who they're made to be, but also just a square peg in a round hole. Then coming out of that, basically it felt like my whole life kind of unraveled on me because I thought that was what I was supposed to do. It was my calling with a capital C. And so then to question that is kind of to question everything. And that led me to grad school. Following the one thread that I felt like I could follow, which was meaning and purpose. I don't know what to do with my life, but I know that this piece matters to me, so I'm going to follow that and see where it takes me. So I did an interdisciplinary degree around theology, psychology, culture, information. And through that program, again, I just kind of felt this confirmation, like, yeah, I just get juiced up about these conversations and want to have more of them, want to figure out some way to do something with them through that. Also, it was kind of a process of me owning the fact that I think I just like starting things and that's okay. And I like to have lots of irons in the fire and like to have projects going on. That's just how I am in the world. And that's okay. It's not just okay, but also like, good. And so then coming out of grad school thinking about where do I put this thing, this energy around these ideas.
[0:11:09] Dan Cumberland: So then it was like, well, let's build a blog. Let's try to reach more people. A lot of the people that I knew going through that program, a lot of people were going into therapy and things like that. Doing a lot of one on one work. And I want to go bigger, I want to reach more people. And so the blog then podcasting like a one to many kind of avenue just felt right in those ways.
[0:11:32] Harry Duran: Do you feel that looking back at those experiences and seeing where you are now and where you're headed, has it changed this idea of having a calling into a new perspective where it's almost like you still have the calling, but it's different than what you thought it was back then?
[0:11:50] Dan Cumberland: Yeah, that is such a good question. In a lot of ways, how I think about this, especially that we're calling has changed a lot. A lot less emphasis on the capital C calling and more on how I would define it today is people are made to do something, right? We're made to be ourselves. And when words like vocation, words like calling are ways to talk about the actualization of that or putting that into the realm of work or using our agency, our ability to create change in a meaningful way that's in alignment with who we are, that's some of really thought about it, how I think about it now. When I kind of first started down this path, it was a lot of kind of stripping back. And I honestly don't even use the word calling that often in my work because it has so much baggage. And I think especially for people that have a religious background, faith background, it can take on a lot of weight that God told you to do this thing and you must do it regardless. It doesn't matter that it doesn't feel good, you have to go do it right. I think that's really the opposite of what I believe at this moment of time, what it really means to live into a calling. It's to live into yourself and live into the space that feels good and feels at home in the world.
[0:13:23] Harry Duran: Yeah, it's just idea of being comfortable in your own skin and also being comfortable sharing your journey and also your relationship to things that fall in a wide spectrum when it comes to religion and spirituality and however you want to address those. I mean, I grew up Catholic and so even was confirmed and baptized and all that sort of stuff and then that went away from that and now came back at it from a spiritual perspective. So that's been almost like a 25 journey, 20 year journey for me since I discovered Buddhism and then just went new Age gets into far down the rabbit hole, which most of my friends are people that have seen me online now talk about. But I'm curious for you, how your relationship with your faith or just trust in the universe or whatever you want to call it, how that shifted over time and where it stands now?
[0:14:20] Dan Cumberland: That's a great question. I love that. I'm kind of moved by that question. I cry a lot. So just if this goes that way, then just know that I'm comfortable with that. Yeah, I think I'm really moved by that question because it feels really good in this context and really surprising in this context. Like, I didn't expect this conversation to go that way, and that's really fun. I think that it's gone from questioning everything and saying, like, a lot of anger at God and the idea of God, but still, like, a lot of grasping to want to hold on to something. I grew up Christian and very evangelical, very often very conservative. Not like ultra conservative, but conservative Christian. And so then there was a lot of, like, okay, there's a lot of things that I don't want to return to. Right. But I want to hold on to something. For a long time, I kind of just set those questions aside and didn't really want to engage with them at all. And then it feels like over the last really last few years, I think really kind of coinciding with having kids, my oldest three kids, seven, four and two.
[0:15:53] Dan Cumberland: It also just makes you having kids makes you think about the world differently. And it's like, what is the story that I want them to hear about reality? And so then those questions need to matter more. At least that's how I felt with it. It kind of brought me back full circle in some ways. And I've taken a lot of cues, made a lot of peace with, I think, this part of the journey from Krista Tippett, from on being and how she talks about herself as being Baptist, even though even though maybe not in the very classical sense. And that's, I think, really following her examples kind of, like, led me to be like, okay, I still call myself Christian, but I hold that very loosely and I hold everything I hold all of it in a much looser hand. So maybe even just to use that metaphor, I felt like I kind of set everything down and then maybe picked something back up. But I'm not holding on to anything that tightly. As much as if my parents listen to this, they might be freaking out a little bit right now, but yeah, that's how I think about it at this moment.
[0:17:10] Harry Duran: Yeah, it's helpful to have that context. And thank you for sharing that and thank you for being open and vulnerable. I think we need more of that because we sort of alluded to it earlier. This facade that we put forward of, like, this is like, my life is perfect, and, like, I have everything figured out, and I've a clear relationship with whatever's out there, whatever you want to call it, and I have all the answers figured out. And I think it seems to tie in closely with this idea of finding meaning, which leads to the podcast, but also, like, the meaning in life. And then as a parent, like, how you let your kids almost come to those conclusions on their own because our generations, like, we were boon fed. Like, this is what it is it. This is all there is. Until you that one day when you see outside or beyond the curtain, you're like, oh, no, that's not all there is. My perspective of what I thought life was gets a little shaken up. And I think this idea of giving your kids agency over their own choices and their ability to make their own decisions and teaching them those skills sooner rather than later, I think is very important.
[0:18:23] Dan Cumberland: Yeah, thank you. And it is challenging too, because the way I just answered that question is it's muddy, right? It's not black and white. And yet kids minds aren't necessarily able to hold the complexity, and they're not able to hold dualities and things like things like that. And so even to give answers when they ask a question and also acknowledge that there's more to it than that, it felt like that's some of what the work has been so far. And I feel like but I feel like what I have to do is invite them on a journey, like, to say that this is going to be your own journey. Like, here's what we believe, here's how we think about it. And also you're going to have to find your way, and hopefully I'll be there to help.
[0:19:10] Harry Duran: Yeah, let me know if you have any questions.
[0:19:15] Dan Cumberland: Go back to scroll on my phone.
[0:19:18] Harry Duran: I think it's interesting, especially coming from a religious background, when you go through those moments of what some people call dark night of the soul or whatever, it's like the valleys not having something to grasp on to, or even someone to curse out when you're like, why am I here? It's interesting to have that relationship and come to my perspective. What I believe is I'm like a soul who decided made a decision, conscious decision to incarnate here, to create and experience what it's like to be a human being. So rather than the idea of human beings have a spiritual experience, I consider myself a spiritual being.
[0:20:00] Dan Cumberland: Having a human experience, that's fascinating. I love that. I love that. That takes me all kinds of places.
[0:20:14] Harry Duran: I love painting that perspective and where you were in your life. And then this idea of starting the show. How did you think about who you wanted to bring on the show and what types of conversations you wanted to have? And how deep are you prepared to go in the beginning with these gifts?
[0:20:31] Dan Cumberland: Oh, man. And this is like an ever evolving question. We're about to wrap up this current season of the show, which has gone through the show has been through a transition over the last six months, and we'll continue to transition. And that's a big question, is like, okay, when we approach our next season, I'm taking a little bit of a break, but again, it feels like we're always kind of just tearing it down and then rebuilding. But broadly, this show started with just wanting to hear just the twists and turns of career stories broadly, the question, like, how did you get into that? And what are all the journeys, the twists and turns, the choices that you made, the surprises along the way? And to hear especially the transitions. And I think I've always been just really curious about transitions because there's so much, I don't know, fear, so much possibility, so much just latent potential. I think when we're in those transition moments of letting go of something somewhat like we've been talking about here in spiritual sense, but in any area of life, letting go of an identity, letting go of a career path in order to move towards something new, it's a crazy, wild thing. And wanting to highlight those kind of transitional moments and hear how people thought about those, navigated those and lessons along the way. So that's kind of been some of the guiding question that I've tried to have, the conversation I've tried to have with folks over the years.
[0:22:00] Harry Duran: How do you decide who to invite onto the show?
[0:22:05] Dan Cumberland: There's so many ways. Ideally, it's like, this person is interesting and I'd like to hear more from them sometimes. It's also just been like getting recommendations from listeners, from guests. We did an experiment which I don't know, I feel like it was kind of a failed experiment. You can't call it a failed experiment. It was an experiment. The thesis proved to be invalid. How about that? The hypothesis proved to be invalid. So if that's a failed experiment, that's a failed experiment. But in the fall, going with the show of like, let's just say yes to a lot of guests, but then have different criteria for them. I just launched Video Snap and so I was like, well, what if we do in order for someone to come on the show, we asked them to jump through some hoops to be on the show. So then we broaden our definition of who we're bringing on the show. Knowing that, I think I can have a pretty productive conversation with a lot of different people. But in order to do that, they need to do a promotion of video Snap or something else related to the meaning movement.
[0:23:16] Dan Cumberland: Didn't work at all, because people who weren't at all bought into what I was doing. And so the people that did do something were like, it was so half hearted that it was like, I got a click. We got one click from all of that. But then moving forward. What we're really thinking about. And some of the transition over the last year has been going from, okay, this is a show about fulfillment and meaning and how people have navigated those questions and career to really thinking about applying the same questions but to entrepreneurs and how we're building businesses and how are we thinking about fulfillment and success in our businesses, which has been very purposeful in helping us find a more clear demographic that we're trying to reach, a listener that we're trying to speak to. And I know this is like Business 101, but it's just taking me seven years to get here. That's just been my journey. Now that we have more of a clear demographic and I say we because I've also brought on a co host, Roger Lula, who's he's been done a few co hosting co hosted episodes with me. But moving forward, he'll be a much, much more frequent co host. And he and I have been strategizing around all of this a lot. But thinking through is not about just having interviews and making those interviews productive, but what's the journey that we want to take our listeners on and what is the best way to accomplish that journey. So what's the best way to meet the needs of the listener and then working back way backwards from that two format? And then also how do guests fit in? Do guests even fit into that format, which will be ultimately more of like, topical conversations and less of broad, far reaching interviews.
[0:25:06] Dan Cumberland: So that's kind of some of the many iterations over the years.
[0:25:12] Harry Duran: Yeah, and I think it's a reminder to listen to that there's no one path. And I like the fact that you brought up the hypothesis that didn't work. I'm a big fan of failing forward, getting up quick and figuring out what didn't didn't work. And it's that entrepreneurial mindset that you have that didn't realize it's a skill set you need to learn when you get started because the first failure is like, oh, I suck at entrepreneurship. I got to go back to getting a real job. And you realize, oh no, this is part of the journey to keep going through that. How have you grown as a host and starting the show?
[0:25:46] Dan Cumberland: Oh, man, a lot of it, I remember by the very first interview, the very first episode, it was like, this is what the show is going to be about for that start up with Kids podcast, that one that predated the meaning movement. I was so amped up, I should try to see if I can find the file anywhere because I was like just totally just adrenaline pumping through my veins. I was like, just recording and I'm going to publish and people are going to like and I'm already kind of a fast talker and a little bit like anxious, I think, in a positive way. But I know I bring a lot of energy to conversations. I've gotten a lot more grounded in how I show up, a lot more confidence in, less anxiety in where is the show going to go, much less attached to specific questions or having a roadmap and I think just better at asking the good questions and listening. And I know I've heard you talk about this with some of your guests, just how important it is to listen for the questions that you might miss otherwise and how you never do it perfectly. But you know, when just something emerges and it's like, yeah, that's the direction we need to go next. I think just listening to the guests and then listening to myself in the conversation, I think I've gotten a lot better at that, which is just a long, fancy way of saying I think I've gotten better at interviewing.
[0:27:30] Harry Duran: How much prep are you doing now for guests?
[0:27:33] Dan Cumberland: Not as much, though. In our next iteration, probably a lot more. And what that will probably look like is like a planning call with each guest, some sort. Even if it's just like, we're going to talk for ten or 15 minutes to kind of structure things before. But I think because the conversations we're going to want to dig into, people's burnout stories or specific things that are intimate, and I think that those will take a little bit more of a lift. But beyond that, if it's someone who has a body of work, a book or podcast or other things, YouTube channel, whatever, usually we'll try to take in as much as I have time for so that I can have a more educated interview. But beyond that, not a ton. I'm not like, digging into the archives.
[0:28:32] Harry Duran: Of people trying to come obscure reference to a child friend that's I wish.
[0:28:41] Dan Cumberland: I mean, that would be really fun.
[0:28:43] Harry Duran: Yeah. Susie from third grade, she's still tragically sad over that breakup.
[0:28:52] Dan Cumberland: Your mom's hairdresser told me that when you were a kid. I've heard that.
[0:28:57] Harry Duran: I think Tim Ferris used to do something like that.
[0:28:59] Dan Cumberland: Oh, man, that's good.
[0:29:01] Harry Duran: Talk a little bit about the decision to bring on a co host, because it's interesting when you get started, you feel like this is going to be your show and it's your baby and it's something you're going to live with forever. And I'm curious about the decision making process or the thought process for how you think about something like that.
[0:29:17] Dan Cumberland: Yeah. Oh, man. It has been a journey. So I first started talking with Raj about the meaning movement. He had been on the show years ago. He's a story brand guide partner at a marketing and strategy branding agency. And so he thinks in these terms a lot. We kept up and kind of rekindled a friendship this past year and kind of out of some of that was just asking having a lot of conversations about what the project is about, what the meeting was about, really trying to figure out how to grow in a lot of ways. And my work with the meeting with is just one piece of the things that I do. And this is even coming back to the conversation around fulfillment and meaning, but it's like something I'm so passionate about. And also it has never been my primary income stream. It's been a piece of the business portfolio, and I really always wanted it more. From it in that way and wanted to be able to justify giving it more time and attention. Just haven't been able to get it there. So we're talking a lot about that and helping you kind of identify some of the problems.
[0:30:38] Dan Cumberland: I don't have a really clear avatar or target listener demographics. So clarifying some of that, then thinking through what does it look like to approach that question differently and create content differently, and also even just some of his feedback. Sometimes the show just sounds kind of lonely. It's just kind of you a lot. And it is. And it really does feel lonely.
[0:31:06] Harry Duran: That's an interesting description of it.
[0:31:09] Dan Cumberland: Yeah, I was surprised to hear that, even though that is my felt experience. But I just figured that's just the life, the life of the podcaster. You're behind the mic, and you don't know what else is happening. But I think through that, just began to imagine, like, okay, maybe it doesn't have to be like that. And how else could this look? Which started as co host, Raj and I having a series of build in public, kind of style episodes about the project and about how I'm thinking about meaning and fulfillment and next transitions with the podcast itself, which then has led to like, let's just keep doing this and kind of see where it goes. It's just a work in progress, but it's been a very slow progression. It hasn't been like, oh, yeah, let's do a co host now.
[0:32:03] Harry Duran: Yeah. Once you start working with someone else, it's their whole experience, different personalities. The connection that you had with your guest, you're probably worried, do you lose some of that magic? Do you gain magic? Is it some alchemy that the sum is greater than the individual parts and it's a lot of unknowns, but I guess to your point, you don't know until you actually try.
[0:32:25] Dan Cumberland: Yeah. And even more recently, I've been coming into this year kind of reach this point of like, I'm just spread really thin and kind of need to make some adjustments. I'm not sure what's next with the podcast. Roger saying, what if in the next iteration of the podcast, you're not on all the episodes? And I was like, Whoa, just kind of like, reframing. Like what you said about being a soul in a bot is like, whoa, upside down right now. But also, yeah, that kind of is healthy. I hope that the meaning of what I'm building here is bigger than just me. It's not just Dan's personal brand. And I think that could be really healthy. So I expect that we'll have some of that in the future. But, yeah, that's kind of a surprising reframe of content.
[0:33:24] Harry Duran: I noticed in your LinkedIn that you had a couple of posts recently about this idea of having ADHD and how that's not necessarily a bad thing. And I resonate with that because shout out to my therapist who's been helpful for me in my personal journey and my journey with my partner as well, and just this awareness of things you don't see about yourself and things that you think sometimes are a detriment. But actually, it's just the way you're wired. neurodivergence is like, fasting. You're like, oh, yeah, I get it. Okay, now so that explains a lot of my previous behaviors. Can you talk about what your experience has been, going down that path and pouring that?
[0:34:06] Dan Cumberland: Yes, it has been really liberating to have language to talk about all my problems. It's how I am in the world. We need to reframe this. It's not necessarily not necessarily problems. And again, Raj has been a great inspiration in this direction as well. Also, when it comes to my kids, like, thinking through, some of them have some they're young, but also, whether or not they end up on that spectrum, I'm not that concerned. But just to think I see some of the struggles that they have with things like time. I've always struggled with time. And a lot of neurodivergent people you have now, and then you have then. There's nothing in between. And so then pacing is really hard, and that just resonates so much with me. And also, you see it's reflected back to you so much in your kids because it's just so much more raw, and they haven't developed, like, the executive function that I've developed, even though I feel like I still have so many gaps. And it's just been just really helpful to have more language, to have more stories, to hear other people's experiences, and to, like, feel like the parts of me that don't make sense, have a way of making sense, I think is the best way that I can say. When you look at it with that lens, it's like all these things that I've struggled with. You tell yourself make up all kinds of other stories about, like, now there's a story that I can tell, at least in myself.
[0:35:49] Dan Cumberland: And I try not to use it as I screwed up there because blah, blah, blah, I take responsibility for my action. But at the same time, I can see, like, okay. And I see how that is a result of that. I struggle in these ways, and therefore, I need to bring some more support around myself to help do better in the future.
[0:36:14] Harry Duran: Yeah, it's helpful. And I think the more we have these discussions out in the open, I think it's going to be helpful for people to feel comfortable, especially with an older generation, I think, where there was like a stigma attached to it or an embarrassment or just not understanding what was happening and just acting in certain ways that you couldn't really explain. And so having language around that and being able to talk through that has been extremely helpful for me. And the more I see people talking about it, it was the post of one of my weekly newsletters that goes out every Saturday. I was like, hey, talking about ADHD, it's not a bad thing. And it's just something that's more and more common absolutely. For talking about it as well.
[0:36:53] Dan Cumberland: Yeah, I think at its best, it's a superpower. Like, we can get stuff done. When you're obsessed about whatever it is, it's like crazy what can happen. There's so many other ways I feel like that's some of the way I don't know, I'm a bit of a connector and I always love bringing people together. And I'm all so good at building communities and all these things even coming full circle here. The youth ministry that I led was like an incredible space where all those kids that were a part of it each will tell you how special that was. And I think a part of it is just because of the way my brain works, as weird as that is. And so all that is to say, there's so many other ways that having a neuro divergent way of being in the world makes things special, it makes things challenging, but also brings a lot of magic.
[0:37:53] Harry Duran: Yeah, I agree. I want to talk a little bit about videos and that, but prior to that, I want to talk about your, I guess your visual arts journey, because you were a photographer for quite a bit as well. So can you talk about that? Let's talk about that path of your that piece.
[0:38:11] Dan Cumberland: Yes, I started I mean, photography has been with me for a long time, since I was a kid and in college very much date myself, but like DSLRs digital cameras or just like, had just come out. It was like very cool technology. So I bought one and then all of a sudden film is free and just accelerated. People today who are grown up in the world of digital cameras, you just take for granted how fast, one, how fast feedback is. You take a picture and you can immediately see the result. And two, it's just how much cheaper it is because you can click that shutter as many times as you want and you're not having to pay twenty five cents a click or whatever it is. Started in college doing some photography and then kind of did on the side through when I was in youth ministry and then in grad school and after as I was starting the meaning movement and really kind of trying to, I don't know, actualize my desires to be an entrepreneur. Started a photography company with my wife. So we were doing lots of portraits, weddings that iterated into Fill. A lot of portraits, but a lot of corporate business stuff, a lot of headshots and lifestyle, business lifestyle. And it was so funny. Like, you asked me this question even today because this probably is the first time I've actually talked about it on a podcast interview because it's like I've tried not to be a photographer professionally for a long time, but it's like one of those things that the business comes, we'll still take it. And literally, even just yesterday, to shoot with this client, we've had for like six years, it's so easy. The money is good, but it's also like, my life is no longer optimized for this. And so my wife and I are always like, okay, we're only doing ten or 20 shoots a year or whatever.
[0:40:21] Dan Cumberland: It's not that much. And we probably just need to just say, that's money. But that's not the good money. That's kind of where we are right now with it. But for a long time, it was the staple, the foundation, financial foundation of our household while we were building other things as building the meaning movement, my wife was building, she was an educator. She was building a piano studio at the time of students. And then we're doing photography. So that's some of my story.
[0:40:53] Harry Duran: Yeah, that's great. My partner is a photographer as well. She's been doing it for over ten years, and she recently gave up stop doing weddings. She had done over 300. But now she focuses more on like, branding and storytelling, which really lights her up a bit more. I definitely understand. Yeah. So talk about the origin story for Video Snap.
[0:41:14] Dan Cumberland: Yeah. So Video Snap, it's a bit of a scratch your own itch problem. And I'd love to get your thoughts on how you've thought about solving this problem, but trying to solve the problem of Discoverability for a podcast at least an additional way to solve that problem? Maybe you're recording these long form interviews and podcasts and knowing that growth is slow and hard. And like we've already talked about, there's other factors to that. Like, I probably have not defined my target audience as well as I could have and all these other things, but wanting to just get that good content out in front of more people and the format just makes it really hard for that. Audio doesn't necessarily do well on social everyone's on social, on social channels. And so the first thing that we did was start recording video, then cutting out segments and making shorts and saw that the platforms are all moving towards shorts. With the rise of TikTok, YouTube shorts, more recently, real Stories, et cetera, et cetera, everything is moving towards video shorts. And so I had on my team a woman who was doing content for me. She would go through transcripts, pull out sections, go back to my editor. The editor would give her those cuts, she would approve them, he would put captions on them. She would have to correct the captions because the grammar was all the things and back and forth and back and forth. And so after we're doing that for a while and seeing like, lots of impressions, and I think that it's hard to draw a straight line from any piece of social content back to a new listener. But what I can look at is how many people are watching those videos on social.
[0:42:57] Dan Cumberland: And by just consistently showing up on social, consistently putting content out there, not all of it gets engaged with, but it gets watched and you see those play counts. You know that people are on the other side of that. And so seeing those results and wanting to figure out how can we streamline this both for myself and for other people. I haven't talked that much, I guess, about my software journey that has been in parallel with the meaning movement. But I've been in the software world for about the last seven years or so, okay? And both running a video platform that was held by a private equity firm and then launching a couple of softwares. So I knew a lot about building product. Partnered with a development team, 93 Co, to build Video Snap as a way to take what my team was doing, simplify it and even improve it and make it better. And so that's kind of the origin story of it. The way the platform works is you upload a long form piece that can be either audio or video. So your long form piece of content, the software then transcribes it for you. You go in, you just select the section that you want to select, the text of the section that you want to make into a short. Click one button and the software breaks it into moments. Puts text over video. If it's a video source, it'll start with that video, but then it'll cut to other broll footage that's sourced based on the conversation that's happening.
[0:44:29] Dan Cumberland: So it's looking for keywords, looking for ideas, and then finding stock footage to match to make a very cool and engaging text over video style video that's more engaging than just a person talking. It's person talking than you're seeing other things that kind of fill out the story. And it does it all in just a few clicks. In just a few minutes you can go from your source file to something ready to go on social.
[0:44:54] Harry Duran: And I've seen some of these similar type services. Is it important that the host select the piece or is there an option also for your team to find out?
[0:45:06] Dan Cumberland: Yeah, that's a great question. So right now, the person using the software does select the section. And the reason being is we've played with other ways of doing it and played with those other tools and have always had disappointing results. We are playing with a done for you service, but that would kind of be its own kind of separate thing. So we have our team that would just if you're interested in the software, interested in what we're doing, but you don't want to spend the time doing anything with it, send us your footage and we'll do your shorts for you.
[0:45:41] Harry Duran: What's the journey been like as an entrepreneur software developer, on top of all the different types of hats you're wearing, I think people listening or watching might have questions about how much time in the day and maybe this ties back into the ADHD conversation.
[0:45:57] Dan Cumberland: Oh, that is totally ties back into the ADHD conversation. And I think that's I mean, that's one part of it is like, I have a little bit of entrepreneurial HD, and I mentioned kind of going into this year that I felt like I was spread really thin. And that's been another kind of circling back to this idea of like, okay, what am I saying yes to? What am I saying no to? And how am I defining success for myself that don't end up burned out because I had that tendency, because I love all these things, they're so cool, I want them all to exist. And so that's a discipline that I've had to develop, is saying no. But yeah, just to speak to some of that. Some of it is like, I have this trifecta of work, the Meaning movement, building Video Snap and then doing product work with nine two Three. And of those, like, right now, nine Two Three is the primary income and the other two are well, Video Snap is right now, we're reinvesting everything back into the platform, back into building it. We're early. We only have 50 something users. Slowly growing that, but it takes time. And the meeting movement, I'm reinvesting a lot of what I make there, and the only Monetization method, the only thing that I'm doing there as far as making I guess there's some affiliate links from my site. I'm not even going to count those, though. But I have an accelerator all around helping entrepreneurs align their personal goals and their business goals.
[0:47:29] Dan Cumberland: And so some of the struggle of having a lot of passion, a lot of dreams, and a lot of ideas is that you can't build them all. And even especially when you have something that you're super passionate about, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's going to make enough money or make enough money as quickly as you want it to in order for it to be your main thing. That's been some of the journey with the Meaning Movement of, like, I've been at this for like, ten years, and there's been moments when it's been like, yeah, I'm going to focus on this right now. And then it's always come back like, okay, I'm not there or it's not there or we're not there together. But I think it's a matter of, like, I need the synergy between them. And that's how I'm thinking about it a lot these days, is that I'm the same person in all of these things. I think they do play together well. The way that I think about entrepreneurship and fulfillment and purpose and all these things with the Meaning Movement plays into how I think about product and how I come along. Founders that are building software and helping them think about how they're building their businesses. So they really do at their best. They play together. They're like kids. They either play together their best friend, or they're kind of worst enemies.
[0:48:45] Harry Duran: Yeah. So if we're having this conversation twelve months from now, what does success look like?
[0:48:51] Dan Cumberland: Oh, man, that is so good. Success looks like balance. There's some literal, very tangible. For me, one of my goals is to get my, get my family to a bigger house. We have three kids in a small house. So like, that's one way that I'm thinking, like, success in the next twelve months. That's one way I'm thinking about it. But even bigger than that is quality of life. Like having some more time with my kids, having enough time with my kids. I've been setting an intention every morning, like, thinking through each of my kids and how can I love them better? I know that that might sound very simple, especially to, maybe especially to non parents out there, but it's really challenging, especially when you're going one way, your kids are going another way. Unless you're intentional about it. You only have these quick moments. And how are you going to use those moments to help your kids know that they're loved and that you're in their corner? That's the primary way that I'm thinking about success is twelve months from now, if I can say that I'm loving my kids.
[0:50:10] Dan Cumberland: Well, all of it comes back to that, right? Because I was going to say not stressed out about business, but I don't think I can be stressed out about business and love my kids well because when I'm stressed, it bleeds over and I'm not patient. The anxiety that I have in one area of life bleeds over to how I interact with them. I think that's a primary category for me. Other ways that I think about I.
[0:50:44] Harry Duran: Just like the fact that you mentioned the intentions affirmations as a guidepost for figuring out where you want to go and where you want to be. It's something that's an incredibly helpful and a critical part of my days when I have the time to do them or I remember to do them. But I noticed that I try to follow my meditation with intentions and affirmations. And I know, I sense that those days feel like I get more done or I'm just charged up more.
[0:51:10] Dan Cumberland: Yeah. But I think just to have that your thoughts, I really believe your thoughts create your reality. And so if I'm creating a reality in which a primary objective is to love my kids better, there's no way that that could be bad. I'm a big believer in it.
[0:51:34] Harry Duran: Yes. A couple of questions as we get close to wrapping up here. What's something you've changed your mind about recently?
[0:51:44] Dan Cumberland: That's such a good question. Yeah. Something I've been rethinking. I can't necessarily even say I've changed my mind, but yeah, maybe, I don't know. In college, I made the decision to be a vegetarian. And at this point in my life, that was a long time ago. I just turned 40 last year, so it's been a long time. And I'm not changing. And that's partly ethical, partly environmental, partly health oriented, but as I've learned more about factory farming or industrial industrial. Industrialization of farming. And part of it also is with the kids, it's easy to have a black and white. Yeah. We don't eat meat. And thinking about, like, is that always the best choice for all the people involved in the food supply chain? This is probably getting deep into these things, but I could say, honestly, if the choice is between industrial grown vegetables and humanely, regeneratively, organic raised meat, that's actually the better choice.
[0:53:16] Dan Cumberland: I guess it's kind of, again, bring up this idea of the gray areas and not the black and whites. But that's something that's kind of I'm changing my thought process about it, changing how I talk about it with my kids. To say that we eat plant based instead of saying we're vegetarians, we eat plant based. And it's a change. Yeah, that's what comes to mind.
[0:53:41] Harry Duran: It's interesting because my partner and I, for the most part are pescetarian, but we've recently incorporated some meat that's actually from a company called Maui NUI based out of Hawaii. Okay. And so it's interesting because there's an overpopulation of deer there on that island.
[0:53:58] Dan Cumberland: I've finished it. Yeah.
[0:53:59] Harry Duran: I created a system and we're talking 40, 50,000 deer. And so they've got a plan to cull down the population, but they use sharpshooters, there's one shot kill. So there's throughout the life of the deer, they're never stressed yes. And not even at the point. They're not aware that they've just been like they lived lived with a good life. And they dress the animals on site. So from a freshness perspective, you get a subscription box and there's different cuts. And we've been having that for a couple of months now. And I'm telling you, like, I grew up eating meat, and you just have a piece of that and you're like, Whoa. It's just, like, amazing. And you feel good about what the company is doing. So it's an alignment with what you were talking about.
[0:54:38] Dan Cumberland: I love it. I love it. It's a great example of the kind of thing that I'm talking I feel like I need to think instead of just saying, yeah, let's just throw all that out. And it's as simple as it's a convenient choice. But convenient just does not necessarily mean it's the right choice.
[0:54:52] Harry Duran: That's kind of where rethinking and meat should be expensive. I think we've grown up in a world of 99 cent hamburgers, and we think that's normal.
[0:55:00] Dan Cumberland: Absolutely.
[0:55:01] Harry Duran: Probably should not be that way.
[0:55:03] Dan Cumberland: Absolutely. I've just been reading the two resources related to this. One is the Carbon Almanac which is a book that Seth Godan organized. And I'm a volunteer with the Carbon Almond Act Network, which is all about having more conversation and helping people see the actions that we can take around sustainability. That's been just seeing the subsidies around industrial agriculture, particularly around meat, is astounding. And then I've also been just listening to Yvonne what's his name schweinerd from Patagonia, the founder of Patagonia. His book let My People Go Surfing from 2015 or so. It's just incredible book about all about the values that he's built his company around. But he's talking about talking about farming in one section in that and saying that without subsidies, if there were no subsidies at all to any farming, an organic farm would be like organic food would be cheaper than the food that we eat currently. That's GMO and industrialized, which is just crazy to me. And I've never put it in those terms, like how responsible the government is for the problems in the food supply chain.
[0:56:21] Harry Duran: Yeah, I agreed. Last question. What is the most misunderstood thing about you?
[0:56:29] Dan Cumberland: And these are such good questions. I knew you'd have some good ones for me today. Misunderstood thing about me, so many different directions. I go with this, but honestly, I feel the place I go with it is I have a very hard time feeling like the people in my life that I know in real life, not online, understand who I am. Because I feel like I could have a conversation with someone like you, who are like I feel like you get it. You get the journey, you get the struggle, you get all those pieces. And it's really hard to feel like my friends, the people that I spend time with outside of my office, get this. I'm curious if you have a similar experience. And I'm curious how other people maybe similarly, it's interesting. Find more people like you to hang out with in real life.
[0:58:06] Harry Duran: Yeah, I think that's it. I'm new to the Minneapolis area where I live. I didn't grow up here. My my partner's from here, so none of my friends are here, so had to and I moved here in late 2019. So I went through two years of, you know, the George Floyd riots and COVID and so just now discovering this city and so getting out of my comfort zone, my comfort zone. I think I'm a situational extrovert. I'd like to go to podcast conferences, and I'll be the life of the party, but once that's over, I'm, like, back in my show, and I think I've come in the grips with that as I get older. And I thought I was more extroverted, but it's just really situational. But yeah, just finding the people who understand the entrepreneurial journey, who can relate to it. And so I attended, like, a nice in person Mastermind, like, a week ago or two weeks ago, and I was just like, oh, cool, there's people like people I can actually shake hands with, not just on the other side of a screen that are going through this as well. So I think to your point, it's helpful to get out of our own bubbles sometimes and push ourselves out of that comfort zone to make those connections.
[0:59:15] Dan Cumberland: Yeah. I love it. I love it. It's great hearing your journey with it. And man, what a crazy time to arrive in Minneapolis. What a journey you've been on.
[0:59:25] Harry Duran: Yeah, it's been interesting. Yeah. Hopefully we can swap places and then I'll give you the whole story.
[0:59:33] Dan Cumberland: I'd love it. Sounds great. Some good fodder for the podcast.
[0:59:37] Harry Duran: Yeah. So, Dan, thanks for reaching out and I know sometimes I don't do as good of a job of seeing what's out there in the world. There's so many podcasts and so many podcasters, you can't really tell sometimes just by being a face. So I appreciate and thank you for making that connection. I'm really honored to have you share your story. I think we've covered all the bases. I think, oh, man, this is photography, entrepreneurship.
[1:00:03] Dan Cumberland: We've done it all.
[1:00:05] Harry Duran: We've done it all. And I appreciate you again, being vulnerable and sharing your story. I think it's going to help a lot of folks. So thanks again and I'm looking forward to having folks connect with you. So what's the best place for them to do that?
[1:00:17] Dan Cumberland: I love it. Well, first, I just want to say thank you so much for just asking such good questions. It's been such a fun conversation. For folks that are interested in video staff, what I'm doing there, just go to VideoTap IO. Wherever you're listening to this, you can check out my podcast, The Meaning Movement. I've been writing a lot on LinkedIn, as you mentioned, about Burnout, Neuro Divergence ADHD, a lot about pacing, balance and entrepreneurial journey. So I'd be happy to connect with people there. And if there's anyone thinking about software building stuff, I'd love to build some stuff with you. So that's at nine two, three, co.
[1:00:54] Harry Duran: We'Ll make sure all those links are in the show notes as well, so folks don't have to go track them down. Thanks again for your time, Dan. I really appreciate it.
[1:01:01] Dan Cumberland: I love it. Thank you so much for having me.
Here are some great episodes to start with.