Decoding Digital

Hollywood, personal responsibility & the power of optimism with Adrian Grenier

By Ideas @ AppDirect / January 10, 2023

AD Blog Adrian Grenier

While he may be best known for his role in the Emmy-nominated HBO series, Entourage, Adrian Grenier has big plans for life outside Hollywood. He’s a long-time environmental and social activist who’s determined to combine his passions—creativity and technology— to drive innovation and positive change in the world.

As part of his journey, he co-founded DuContra Ventures, an impact fund that aims to create a return on investment beyond money. At DuContra, Adrian and his business partners focus on making holistic investments that will empower human beings and our planet to flourish.

In this Decoding Digital episode, Adrian talks with AppDirect's President and Co-founder, Dan Saks, about the power of personal responsibility. He also shares his view that we can each make a profound impact in the world by making minor adjustments. He also shares how leading a life of purpose is a worthy goal that can have a ripple effect and lead to lasting change.

Hit play to listen to the podcast episode, or read on to find out more.

A vision for connecting Silicon Valley and Hollywood

In his work at DuContra Ventures, Adrian is interested in exploring the connection between Hollywood and Silicon Valley. But beyond satisfying our appetite for entertainment and content, he sees an opportunity to use technology and creativity to help people experience life more meaningfully.

“In a content craze and technology just made it more accessible and in many ways to a negative degree being forced upon us with all the algorithms you know, getting inside of our heads. So I think now is an opportunity to try and solve for that. How do we give people more rich, meaningful experiences?

How do we serve up content that like actually empower people and give them the tools to not just like sit at home and watch Netflix? Not just consume more Hollywood content. That's what I'm looking at right now.”

Thoughts on ‘free thinking’ and living in the ‘real world’

Adrian admits that the journey to getting married and even considering the possibility of having kids was a long road. He respects that everyone has their path and believes that, for him, the key to living a more purposeful life is building long-term connections with people.

“...They have to discover how they wanna be and how they wanna live. Thank goodness we're in a free country with free thinking, free choice. But just from my personal take on it, and it's all connected to media, storytelling, playing pretend. I mean, I played pretend for a living and now everybody, it seems is doing the same thing, just creating content and telling stories, which is fine, but we also need to make things, we also need to actually live in the real world.

And if we don't have men and women who are committed to a higher order of being. It's not just want and indulgence and immature selfishness, then I think there are gonna be people out there in the world that are gonna take advantage of that.”

The power of personal responsibility + optimism

As we face some of our biggest collective challenges, Adrian believes it will take commitment, collaboration, and above all else, personal responsibility to drive change.

“I do think that I'm with you. I'm an optimist. I think we're in a renaissance. I think we have a lot of incredible opportunity. And I think it's gonna start with the transformation of the individual. We all need to start taking a little bit more responsibility for our own lives and recognizing that we do have a lot of potential, a lot of power, a lot of capacity to do incredible things.

In other words, I think that all is not lost. We just gotta start reinvesting in the individual and let people make the decisions they need to make, which is why at DuContra like human flourishing. How do you invest in people, mental health, wellbeing so that people can have the capacity to make the best businesses of the future?”

Self awareness and being present

While we can all agree that a certain amount of escape is good for our mental health, too much can have adverse effects. In their conversation, Dan and Adrian discuss the importance of staying self-aware and self-confident in a media culture that’s often addictive.

“It's a hall of mirrors that we are trapped in, you know, reflections of ourselves. It's gonna be a challenge because we really need people to get out into nature and be connected to this earth because if you can't connect, you can't care.”

Listen to the full conversation

To hear more from Adrian about sustainability, life, and staying engaged with things that matter, listen to his conversation with Dan on the Decoding Digital podcast.

Check out the Decoding Digital podcast series for more secret insights from inspirational leaders. You can listen to the podcast on all the major podcasting apps, including on Apple, Google, and Spotify.