That started things for me. I got into business as a way to control my own destiny, and ended up making the classic mistake that so many people make which was to chase money, and ended up making a lot of money and being totally unfulfilled. It was somewhat ironic that I was living the cliché of money can’t buy happiness, because I had spent so much time really thinking about the brain and how not to fall into traps like that and yet still found myself there. My partners and I eventually decided that we wanted … That was a technology company that we were doing at the time. We decided to sell the technology company and start something that we could really believe in that would be built around passion, that would be built around the desire to bring value.
While we founded it for three very different reasons, for me, I had grown up in a morbidly obese family so it was all about wanting to help my mom and my sister really be happy.
That was the driving engine for me to work so hard at Quest, and like you said, we took it from nothing to being valued at over a billion dollars in less than five years. It was a pretty miraculous ascent.
We were the second fastest-growing company at one point according to Inc. Magazine. I mean, just an absolute thrill ride, but for me wellness was always a 360 degree thing that had to encompass the body and the mind. I’ve stepped into a founder role at Quest and now have founded a new company, Impact Theory, which is designed to incubate mission-based companies and content that is built around empowering mythology and ideology and bring that to the world, so that’s what we’re doing now.
Ryan Foland: Wow, what a story. It’s inspiring to hear somebody who’s successful financially come out there and say, “Well, financial success doesn’t always lead to happiness.” I think that’s a really great takeaway.
Tom Bilyeu: Thank you.
Ryan Foland: Now, Impact Theory, is it structured as an incubation?
Tom Bilyeu: It’s really two things. We have the show, and that very much is a podcast and people can subscribe on iTunes. It’s also we film it, so it’s filmed like a TV show and you can watch it on YouTube. Like you said, we have just some of the highest-level successful people on the show. We’ve had guests like Tim Ferriss, Michael Strahan and Wyclef Jean for example. We keep getting really incredible people. It picks up where Inside Quest left off. Inside Quest was viewed over 150 million times and was just really a smash success and we’re super excited to have been a part of that, and wanted to turn it into its own company. The reason that we wanted to do that it to solve a real problem.
What we were doing at Quest Nutrition was addressing one of what I consider to be two pandemics that we face as a society right now. The first is the body, and that’s very easy for people to understand because it’s so visual. When somebody is suffering from a diet-related disease like diabetes it’s very visual, right? Usually they’re very heavy, and then if they get necrosis beginning to set in from the diabetes they’re literally getting parts of their body amputated. It’s such a visible and emotionally destructive disease. Everybody knows what’s going on there and they understand that we need to mobilize. The second pandemic is the pandemic of the mind, and we have a ubiquity of depression and anxiety here in the U.S. The second-leading cause of death among young men is suicide.