Ep. 37 Hero S2 Ep37 Adrian Grenier

Decoding Impact Investing: Adrian Grenier on Investing and Living Purposefully

Personal responsibility and the power of optimism

33 min

Ep. 37 Hero S2 Ep37 Adrian Grenier

33 min

Adrian Grenier wears several hats: conscious celebrity, actor, musician, director, and producer. But he’s also the Co-Founder and General Partner at DuContra Ventures. At DuContra, Adrian is focused on making meaningful investments that will help the Earth and the people living here. In today’s episode, Adrian talks about why the content craze we’re in right now is pulling us away from making authentic human connections. He shares how we can move away from the hopeless view that the world is ending. He also discusses how taking personal responsibility can lead to a life full of purpose.

Read transcript

"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."

Quick takes on...

Empowering Humans to Build More Impactful Businesses

“The concept is that if we can empower human beings, individuals, and give them the tools and the ability, the health of wellness, so that they can make the best possible decisions. And then bring them together with other humans, communitas in collaboration, empower them with the tools of finance so that they can go out and build the world. They're going to make not only better choices, better businesses, better consumer products for us as consumers, but also for the world in the future.”

Why We Need Meaningful Connections Now More Than Ever

“I think certainly we're 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, 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 actually empowers people and give them the tools to not just sit at home and watch Netflix?”

Finding Purpose Outside of Hollywood

“When you start to lose that influence, you start to wonder whether or not you're relevant anymore…whether you're important, whether or not you're contributing meaningfully to society…I have to keep reminding myself that my purpose now is to not just indulge my ego or my narcissism, but really to serve and to give of myself to my family, to steward this land here, to make the most of it, and to learn.”

Meet your guest, Adrian Grenier

Co-Founder & General Partner DuContra Ventures/Actor

Spotlight S2 Ep37 Adrian Grenier

In addition to making his mark in Hollywood, Adrian Grenier has long established himself as an impact investor and social activist. He’s the co-founder and general partner at DuContra Ventures, a fund that aims to create a yield beyond money. At DuContra, Adrian is focused on making meaningful, holistic investments in important projects. After years in Hollywood and Silicon Valley, he’s left for a life on a farm in Texas where he’s a steward of the land and focused on leaving our planet better than he found it.

Listen to the next episode

Ep. 38 Home S2 Ep38 Anarghya Vardhana

Decoding Consumer Healthcare Investing: Anarghya Vardhana on Diversifying the STEM Space


33 min

“Do one thing everyday that scares you.” This quote drives everything our next guest does. Anarghya Vardhana is a Partner at Maveron focusing on finding the next big direct to consumer business. In today’s episode, Anarghya talks about her lifelong love for STEM and her passion for diversifying this space. She shares why she loves healthcare startups and how doing challenging things positively impacts her self-confidence.

Episode transcript

[00:00:00] Adrian Grenier: I mean, I played…

[00:00:00] Adrian Grenier: 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. 

[00:00:24] Dan Saks: That was Adrian Grenier. Adrian Rose to fame as the lead actor in the hit TV show Entourage, where he played Vincent Chase.

[00:00:33] He start alongside Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway in the Blockbuster, The Devil Wears Prada, and in the recent Netflix show, clickbait. And know Adrian as a compassionate VC and an advocate for positive change. I first met Adrian at a tech event in New York in 2014, and I've observed his continued commitment to sustainable innovation.

[00:00:57] Today, Adrian is the co-founder and general partner at DuContra Ventures, an impact fund that aims to create a high yield beyond money. In today's episode, Adrian talks about leaving Hollywood and Silicon Valley for a farm life in Texas where he is focused on stewarding the land and leaving it better than he found it.

[00:01:16] He talks about his investment philosophy and why we need to take responsibility for our actions and lead a life full of purpose. This is Daniel Saks, President and co-founder of AppDirect and it's time to decode impact investing and supporting meaningful projects outside of Hollywood.

[00:01:40] Welcome to Decoding Digital. A podcast for innovators looking to thrive in the digital economy. I'm your host, Daniel Saks, and I'll sit down with other founders, CEOs and changemakers to decode the trends that are transforming the way we work. Let's decode.

[00:02:03] Adrian, welcome to Decoding Digital.

[00:02:04] Adrian Grenier: Thank you. Appreciate it. 

[00:02:08] Dan Saks: Excellent. So I wanna set the. I first met you in person in 2014 and it was the Founders Conference in New York City and I was sitting with maybe 200 other people in the audience. It was mainly tech CEOs and it was actually the CEO of Oculus I think announced the Facebook acquisition.

[00:02:26] And I'm looking around to the left and I'm like, shit, that's Adrian Grier beside me. Like Vinny Chase this like kind of hero legend. And now from kind of doing some of the research that you've done on like teenage Paparazzo, like I probably had parasocial relationship where I'm like, here's this guy that I know can't believe he's sitting next to me.

[00:02:44] But I was inspired by your commitment to innovation and to learning, and your humility of being in the room, listening to the different sessions. And then I've constantly seen you at tech events most recently and I think at Brooklyn, at the Founders Forum with Lee, and it's just great to see that consistent humility and commitment to technology.

[00:03:04] So wanted to kinda start by just asking you what got you passionate beyond your acting career to kind of seek out things in the technology world? 

[00:03:15] Adrian Grenier: Well, you know, I just have to say I appreciate the props, but ultimately I really mostly appreciate the consumer facing aspect of technology. When it gets into the weeds, you kind of lose me.

[00:03:27] In fact, the other day I went to a microchip conference. and it was way over my head. I thought I'd be all geeked out and excited about it. But , basically it's just booth after booth after booth of like, they're selling microchips, and sensors. And that was a little bit too much for me. It was a little too much.

[00:03:48] That would be too much for me too. Too geeky for me. But yeah, I mean, who doesn't love the idea that we can through technology extend our limitations beyond what is possible today and start to invent a world that is better than the one we currently are living in. I mean, that's an exciting, creative process.

[00:04:12] It like stokes the imagination. It also invites you to learn new skills and to lean into the future and what's possible. So yeah, I'm very much into it. 

[00:04:25] Dan Saks: and what took you from kind of interested in it to launching a venture firm?

[00:04:31] Adrian Grenier: Well, I had been dabbling, I guess, in investments for many, many years. One of the things I was looking to solve for is how do you bridge the gap between San Francisco or Silicon Valley and Hollywood?

[00:04:47] And I was going up there a lot, San Francisco that is and Silicon Valley, from LA and just meeting a lot of entrepreneurs, a lot of tech dudes and the whole community up there and just, you know, geeking out on all of this stuff. Really enjoyed it and I got incredible opportunities to come in along some of these businesses.

[00:05:11] So, yeah, of course I was into it, but it was really more an informal opportunity that would come my way, fall in my lap. And then it wasn't until I met Ba Minuzzi that I decided that I wanted to formalize my investments and start a fund so that we could not only field opportunities, but then go out and solicit for some good ones as well.

[00:05:34] Dan Saks:And do you wanna share the theme of DuContra and some of your investment thesis? 

[00:05:40] Adrian Grenier: So DuContra is an impact fund and we have four verticals, one being human flourishing, due consumer, future of finance and communitas. So the theory is, the concept is that if we can empower human beings, individuals, so that's the human flourishing part, and give them the tools and the ability, the health of wellness so that they can make the best possible decisions.  

[00:06:09] And then bring them together with other humans. Communitas in collaboration, empower them with the tools of finance so that they can go out and build the world. They're gonna make not only better choices, better businesses, better consumer products for us as consumers, but also for the world in the future.

[00:06:30] So really it's an agnostic approach, a hands-off approach to impact in that we're not making this single bet on a certain idea, like we're not a climate change fund or you know, an ocean's fund. We're really empowering human beings and human potential as a tool of impact. 

[00:06:49] Dan Saks: It's a powerful thesis and really inspirational.

[00:06:51] I think the theme that I'm getting already in your approach is around people and like interest and taking interest in other people and seeing their potential. How do you find the deal flow and between you and Ba, how do you split your efforts? Well, 

[00:07:05] Adrian Grenier: between Ba and I, she's the brains of the operation.

[00:07:08] I'm more the romantic, I guess, and the visionary. I am always looking to Ba with bated breaths, I'm like on the edge of my feet being like, is she gonna like this particular business that I bring to her? Because even though I love it, even though I'm excited about a particular business or a founder, doesn't mean that it checks out in the numbers.

[00:07:31] So you know, it's a good team in that she's really grounded and down to earth and you know, does all the analytics and the numbers and make sure that we're actually gonna make money, which of course I appreciate. But yeah, I think it's really even split. You know, we both come to each other with different opportunities and ideas and it's been a great relationship.

[00:07:53] Dan Saks: It's powerful. You alluded to this earlier, but the vision for connecting Silicon Valley with Hollywood. and I lived in the Bay Area for 10 years and moved down to LA recently, and I've seen this kind of magic synergy of tech and creative fields colliding and it's so impactful. It's interesting that like there's been this kind of celebrity that's been made outta Silicon Valley that didn't exist before, and now that people kind of across the world see the opportunity, they get more excited and it sounds like more people wanna be a part of what is tech startups, but at the same time, Celebrities.

[00:08:29] It's a great way to monetize and invest and build a portfolio and be a part of it. Do you kind of like see that happening? 

[00:08:37] Adrian Grenier: Well, I mean, yeah, , now that CEOs and entrepreneurs are celebrities and investors are celebrities, do we even really need Hollywood anymore? I mean, that's the question. No, I'm teasing.

[00:08:54] Yeah. I don't know. I think certainly. 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?

[00:09:17] 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.

[00:09:31] Dan Saks: I think it's interesting, but like to your joke about Yeah. Of Hollywood, I think similarly about Silicon Valley, I think that Silicon Valley as a construct was something that was created and as I'd traveled the world there, as I'd host CEOs in San Francisco, there'd be this perception.

[00:09:46] Of what it is that was really kind of rooted in a place, a physical place. But in the last few years we've proven that anyone around the world can be an entrepreneur, can start a company and can scale it effectively. And I think that's very liberating and it enables the accessibility and education enablement for anyone to do this.

[00:10:05] And I think you're kind of joke about Hollywood is very similar, where you're also finding creators from around the world being able to use platforms to build their own brands. But to your point, kind of around doing it for good or for challenge, A topic on the podcast a lot is the mental health impacts of technology and what are some of the ethical sides of the products that we're creating.

[00:10:26] Do you have any current thoughts on how we can address that problem as a society? 

[00:10:33] Adrian Grenier: Yeah. I think certainly the conclusion that we came to in the film is you gotta turn it off. I mean, at a certain point, you're an adult. The adults in the room have to learn to temper their consumption, and if you're a parent of young kids, you have to put some boundaries, some guardrails, and recognize and empower yourself to understand how these algorithms are capturing your attention, how they're feeding you content, how they're guiding you towards dopamine, and that's really first and foremost. The first line of defense is can you choose to turn it off? And I would suggest turn it off and get into nature. You know, nature. I think it sequesters a lot of the negative effects of media.

[00:11:25] So digital content is so directed at you. It's sort of narcissistic and that it's always addressing you and nature. Don't give a, can we curse here? It doesn't give a fuck. It's just there. It's just present. It's beyond you. It's bigger than you. So I say go out and be part of something bigger, grander than you, so that you have a sense of awe that you're humbled, so you're brought down to earth.

[00:11:48] So to speak. I would say check out my show Earth Speed, which is exactly what we're looking to do, is bring people closer to nature and to live at the pace of nature. Live a different, like a nature-based lifestyle. 

[00:12:04] Dan Saks: Yeah, it's powerful. Like as I've been doing research on neuroscience and mental health, it's just like going back to nature and really checking in with your senses and taking the time to observe is so important and having that self-reflective time.

[00:12:17] but people don't seem to do it. To your point. There's just kind of endless content and it's an easy trap and your mind kinda hits the dopamine. But you did pull the rip cord and you're in Austin and you have your farm. So how hard was it and do you have any regrets? Do you have any kind of times you're like, well, I wanna move back, or?

[00:12:35] Adrian Grenier: yeah, it's still hard.

[00:12:35] There's a lot of pressure to be creating more content, especially from a guy who was sort of at the top of his game in Hollywood, celebrities, well known. And by the way, you can trade attention and fame for money. I mean, that's really what the business is. You're not acting, I mean, let's just get that straight.

[00:13:00] You're not acting. You're selling tickets, you're selling eyeballs, and some celebrities, some actors, I should say. Have more influence, more power, because they get people in the seats. Doesn't matter how good of an actor they're, you've seen some bad actors who are still getting roles, right? So, you know, there's a lot of pressure and this is the celebrity game.

[00:13:23] It's like the insecurity that you have when you start to lose that influence, you know, you start to wonder whether or not you're relevant anymore. And I think that's very natural because as humans we crave a sense of inclusion and place. Attention is what we feel gives us a sense of community. And when you start to lose that attention, you start to wonder whether or not you're relevant, whether you're important, whether or not you're contributing meaningfully to society.

[00:13:55] And I feel that like I'm out here and sometimes I feel isolated and I'm like, maybe I should be creating more content. But you know, I have to keep reminding myself that my purpose now is not to just indulge my ego or my narcissism, but really to serve and to give of myself to my family, to steward this land here, to make the most of it, and to learn.

[00:14:18] I'm in a learning state of life.

[00:14:19] Dan Saks: And congratulations on your wedding. How's that changed you? 

[00:14:25] Adrian Grenier: Man. Well, I had to first change in order to get to a place where I could get married. I was the anti-marriage guy. You know, I didn't understand why anybody would get married, have kids in this, the way the environment is being destroyed.

[00:14:39] Why would anybody have kids? And I really had to completely change 180 degrees in order to open myself to the fact that first of. I dunno what the fuck I'm talking about. And the world is still amazing and children are a gift. And that if I can just get over myself and my ability to go to parties and hit on chicks, that I might actually be able to live for something worthwhile.

[00:15:10] And marriage has just been such a joy. I'm just so happy that I've made it out of that pit. You know that really, I think, soulless pit of selfish indulgence. 

[00:15:22] Dan Saks: But does it have to be that? I mean, like I go back to are you married? I am married. I have two kids. You know, come on. You know, I love it. It's magical. But I'm going back to like my college self watching entre bro.

[00:15:36] Seeing Vinny Chase. Yeah. Being like, this is the shit. Mm-hmm. living the dream. Oh yeah. So you're saying that it's a pit, but I think going back to like the concept of parasocial relationships. There are a lot of people who are watching you or watching your character and kind of think that that's the shit, and maybe it takes like the very rare experience of like living through it, realizing the dark side and then being one of the few to pull the rip chord to live for higher purpose or higher meaning.

[00:16:03] But I think that the average person listening to the comment there won't even understand, like it takes a lot to unpack why you said it was a pit. Like can you break that down? 

[00:16:12] Adrian Grenier: Yeah, I am not trying to change anybody's mind, nor do I think anybody would listen to me. People you know, have to go through their own hero's journey, so to speak.

[00:16:22] 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.

[00:16:55] 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. So I say like, yeah, I've become much more conservative in my older years.

[00:17:18]  I think people have to make their own decisions and they can make good mistakes, but I just found that I was on a path that was gonna be really hard to come out of in the long run, especially when I get older. It's a very lonely, lonely path. If you're just out for superficial, flippant exchanges with people, you know, there's no depth, there's no family, there's no long-term connection.

[00:17:44] Dan Saks: Like it takes courage and vulnerability to be able to have that and definitely like a sense of self-reflection. So I really admire that. I got in a rut maybe a year ago thinking a very similar narrative, which is like the inevitability that we've already gone past time to sustain our planet and our species and our mental health.

[00:18:01] But then I also see like what you're doing or the entrepreneurs you're working around, or the progress we are making in so many ways. And I think that there's just such a strong optimism that we can work our way out of some of these challenges, but I think that your point is really valid around how do we inspire the individual to take that action versus depending on government or others?

[00:18:25] How do we put all these collective minds that are now together, like you said, like, a CEO is a creator, is a producer, vice versa? We have people all over the world that are now sharing, collaborating. How do you inspire those individuals to do the right things? 

[00:18:41] Adrian Grenier: Well, the quote that I've been throwing around as of late, because it just is so fitting for me, is when I was young and clever, I tried to change the world.

[00:18:51] Now I'm wise and I'm trying to change myself. 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.

[00:19:21] 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?

[00:19:42] Dan Saks: And that's impact. And I think that's living by your values. And you've used the word value a few times here. And I think what I've found is having values in my business and like our vision to make technology universally accessible. Really to enable equal opportunity and equal access to technology so people can thrive around the world.

[00:19:59] Like that's driven me and that's been kind of part of my purpose and it's been that way for over a decade. What I found though is like values in my personal life is really important too. So I vowed to my wife when we got married to be positive, present, and grateful. And fast forward a few years, and two kids I'm living every day with amazing respect, joy, and admiration, and we're so in love.

[00:20:21] But those values mean something. So like I said, presence. And you realize to your point, like. If you're on Instagram just consuming content or you're binging Netflix, how is that being present in front of your kid? So what I did recently was I did the full delete on Instagram, like severed it, even though, you know, I had friends, contacts, et cetera.

[00:20:41] Probably like one of the harder things to do. And now I just see like the pure interaction with my kids because I don't have a phone in front of me. And even though we're working in a remote world, I lock my phone and my computer away when I'm with my kids. I don't want them to see me with it. So I.

[00:20:56] there's that level of like, good for you, man. Self-control and values alignment. But I think people need to make that choice. And that's what you said, which is for you pulling the rip cord, going to Austin, enabled you to see things from a more meaningful way. And maybe there's less temptation and maybe like for me it was deleting Instagram, but for someone else it might be something different.

[00:21:16] Adrian Grenier: Well, I don't know how it came off, but I don't intend to wag my finger and tell people how to be, I'm not holier than thou. This is my humble opinion. This is just from my experience and people have to make their own choices. You know, I've been doing environmental work for a long time and I see this arrogance creep into environmentalism where people in that space, they think they have the answers and they want to tell you what they are and how you need to be to try and control you and your behaviors and the way you consume or if you recycle.

[00:21:52] And I just think. Really short-sighted and wrong-headed. So I hope I don't come off arrogant or holier than now, just from my humble opinion. That's been my journey. 

[00:22:04] Dan Saks: Not at all. I actually think you exude humility in this conversation because you're kind of sharing your perspective and experience on an individual level, and I think that the more people can do that, like share humbly, be non-judgmental of others, but enable people to come to their own decisions.

[00:22:21] That really empowers that individualism that collectively could have a really strong outcome. So I feel like yeah, definitely what you're standing for and what you're meaning for and the way you're presenting yourself and your position is very humble and inspiring, frankly. Thank you. I still think it's kind of personally.

[00:22:40] I like to party and I think I like to have fun, so I, 

[00:22:44] Adrian Grenier: yeah, I do too like trust me. You don't wanna let it go. It's fine. Look, I enjoy to partying too, and I enjoy all the things. It's just a lot of people don't recognize that Entourage is a fantasy, right? That's fine. Fantasies are good, but eventually you gotta turn it off and come down to earth and be in the real world.

[00:23:04] Dan Saks: And I think that's a statement on so much in life. I always had this kind of concept, like I have different goals in life, but one of them was meet my heroes and every time I met someone in person, like met most of the Canadian prime ministers, I'm Canadian, and met a lot of actors and CEOs that I admire. There's like a humbling of doing it because A, you're inspired by them at the same time.

[00:23:25] They're all real people. They have real problems, they have challenges, and I think the problem with someone, Consuming so much content of a celebrity, whether it's an influencer or someone else, is that you don't realize that it's fantasy. You think it's a reality. And I feel like the Gen Zs right now that are consuming content on TikTok and Instagram, it's not like it was a HBO produced show.

[00:23:47] It's these people's real lives, but it's actually not, and they think it is. So I think that's the hard challenge. 

[00:23:54] Adrian Grenier: Yeah, I mean, it is, it's tough as well because a lot of times people aren't even making their own content. There's not even a creative ideation coming from the person. It's just the tool or the overlay or whatever the app will give you.

[00:24:12] It'll just basically make it for you, so you're just creating more zeros and ones on a screen, but you're not actually creatively. Putting yourself into it. So it's like a monocropping of content, you know? It's, it's the same, same, same, same, same. Yeah. I think it's not that vital, it's not that interesting.

[00:24:32] I think we could do better on the content front, even the Netflix of it all. I mean, personally, and maybe it's just cuz I'm getting old and I’m, you know, much more conservative as I said. But I see the race to the bottom of the brainstem where every piece of content has to be more and more dark and jolting and violent and aggressive.

[00:24:56] I mean, I grew up at the film school. I dropped out, but like I really loved films. I loved slow pace movies. I loved foreign films that you intellectually engage with and participate, and it took a certain amount of effort for you to be a part of that experience. This stuff is effortless and. always on edge and your nervous system is doped up and I just don't know if it's that interesting.

[00:25:23] I think it's just more and more violence and dark and it just seems dark to me.

[00:25:27] Dan Saks: I do agree with you on that and like deleted Instagram. One of the other things I did to gut check myself is also delete Netflix because I felt that like the content on it was just so much more addictive and dark than.

[00:25:39] Probably the last show I watched and it was Clickbait, which was also pretty dark, but . 

[00:25:42] Adrian Grenier: But at least it was a commentary on all that, you know? It was, 

[00:25:45] Dan Saks: yeah. So it's a plug for your show. Go check it out on Netflix. But I think people today are talking a lot about the mental health impacts of Facebook, but I feel like Netflix is pretty similar or obviously like a lot of the mainstream media is pretty similar too, so it's really hard to tune all of it out unless you have the kind of self-awareness and the kind of confidence and perspective to say like, look, I'm gonna choose to really live in the present, or I'm gonna live in a different way.

[00:26:15] Adrian Grenier: 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.

[00:26:33] And I feel like people are getting numb. They're getting violent, they're feeling unseen. They're feeling like they have nothing of value to give to the world. And I'm so glad that you turned off your Netflix and deleted it so that you could be there for your kids. Cuz your kids are not gonna have that experience.

[00:26:50] They're gonna feel relevant and seen by you and that's so important. So parents gotta step it up and you know, it's hard to tell kids not to do what all their friends are doing too. But you have to put your foot down, I think, and create boundaries for children. For sure. And they're seeing so much stuff so young.

[00:27:09] It's like, woo, man, 

[00:27:11] Dan Saks: wild. So what's your perfect day like today? What do you love? 

[00:27:17] Adrian Grenier: Well, I wake up early. I take the dogs for a walk. We have a beautiful piece of land and it's been cooling down a bit so we don't have to worry about snakes, . So that's nice. You just walk the land and then have a little cup of coffee.

[00:27:31] And then I get out and I start working on one of the projects that we have here. We're building a six family community and a tea house, and we're growing food and we have a little vineyard that we're starting and a number of projects. So I have my work cut out for me and I'm really happy to be here.

[00:27:50] And then of course, we're creating content. We're doing Earth Speed content. But you know, we have really approached creating content from the perspective of nature. Like do we have to scale and be the biggest channel? Do we have to keep creating content and it all be conflict driven content? Can we really be at the pace of nature and be present on the land and continue to do the work.

[00:28:18] and not make it all about the show, but also actually be authentic in it. Cuz we could easily stage everything and just pretend like we're doing all this stuff. But I made a commitment that I wasn't just gonna pretend to be the guy and act it, but I was gonna actually be it. So that provides some challenges cuz sometimes.

[00:28:38] I'll be like totally engaged in a project and I'll forget to film it. , you know, you're just like, I didn't get it. I didn't get the shot because I'm just too busy doing it, and that's okay.

[00:28:49] Dan Saks: That's really kind of inspiring just to know that you've kind of set the pace of what you want and you know what you love and you're experiencing that.

[00:28:58] And then when it comes to your outlook on LA, Hollywood, you still a fan and like coming back here?

[00:29:07] Adrian Grenier: Well, you know, not only did I sort of move away from acting for money, cuz that's really what it is, is like I decided I wasn't just gonna take jobs to make money, but I was gonna take jobs that really excited me or sort of reflected my values, I should say.

[00:29:23] But then, you know, being in LA recently, it seems very constrained and I feel very unhinged. Just since the pandemic, it just doesn't have the same luster that it once did. I used to find it to be very enjoyable and I had my lot of friends there, but now it just seems very different, so I just haven't been back much.

[00:29:45] Dan Saks: You've used the concept of freedom a couple times and every year I come up with a word to kinda give a theme for what I want, but this year my word was freedom because I literally didn't feel that at all. Like I didn't feel it in California last year. I also didn't feel Canada was that way, but I think you must feel that freedom in Texas.

[00:30:03] Oh yeah, 

[00:30:03] Adrian Grenier: yeah, certainly. And I need that. I need the freedom to be able to take responsibility for my life. If everybody's telling me how to be and micromanaging me and coddling me, then who's responsible? My life doesn't unfold the way I want it to, then I have no one to blame except other people.

[00:30:23] Dan Saks: Yeah, it kind of puts a trigger to the fact that we're living in this global world and kind of putting your own control on your agenda, on what you commit to, on who you're engaging with.

[00:30:36] There's like a power to that. And one of the things that I think to conclude is just I get the sense that you have taken control of your life and you've committed to what you want, and you are living by those values. And I think that if more people can do that on an individual level and whether their outlet is creating content or businesses, or whether it's just living their day-to-day lives, enjoying nature and family, that would make the world a much better place. 

[00:31:06] Adrian Grenier: a hundred percent. I think with all the uncertainty and the unrest, you know now more than ever personal responsibility, leaning in to build the capacity to take care of yourself. and then be able to extend that care to your family and others to steward the earth. Learn how to grow your own food. Look right now like you're seeing the economic crisis and the global food crisis, and it all stems from a lot of times these centralized systems that are showing that they're not able to actually withstand some of the challenges that we have.

[00:31:43] So the answer is localize personal responsibility and try and actually do something for yourself and your neighbors and not always look the government or the world to bail you out of it.

[00:31:55] Dan Saks: I agree with that. Well, on that point, Adrian, thank you so much for joining. This was a really impactful and inspirational and I look forward to chatting again soon.

[00:32:06] Adrian Grenier: Thanks, brother. Appreciate it.

[00:32:11] Dan Saks: Thanks for listening to Decoding Digital. Make sure you never miss an episode by subscribing to the show in your favorite podcast player. To learn more, visit decoding digital.com. Until next time.