Economic Rockstar

Economic Rockstar is created for you, the economist, financial analyst, teacher or student. If you are looking to expand your knowledge or awareness, Frank Conway delivers the information you just don't want to miss. Economic Rockstar brings to you each week an economist, financial analyst or business leader who shares their experiences, research interests or ideas. Hear their views on different schools of economic thinking - Chicago, Austrian, Keynesian and Classical, behavioral economics, stock markets, and how economics and finance can be used in our lives. Economic Rockstar interviews top-level lecturers and academics from highly renowned universities, best-selling authors and bloggers, inspirational CEOs and business leaders, as well as amazing and thought-provoking people who have recently discovered economics and finance and are carving out a career in their new-found passion. Guests in each episode gives us wonderful advice, takeaways and insights that will help you become part of the Economic Rockstar community that will be 'Connecting Brilliant Minds in Economics and Finance'.


007: Ryan Blair- Gangster turned Millionaire on Decision-Making, Game Theory and Incentives

Ryan Blair is a serial entrepreneur but his path to becoming a millionaire is both unique and fascinating. From a middle-class family who lost it all, Ryan became a gang member and, at times, carried an AK-47. life changed for Ryan due to a strong work ethic and a will to succeed. He overcame great obstacles to achieve extraordinary success. With six multi-million dollar companies by age 30, Ryan vowed to make his current company, ViSalus Sciences, be the first billion dollar company to come out of the Great Recession and to help many people along the way. He is a philanthropist and New York Times best selling author.


In this interview, Ryan mentions and discusses: decision-making, incentives, rewards, compensation, leveraging, poverty, entrepreneurialism, economic systems, philanthropy, venture capitalists, investors, Game Theory, complementary goods and capital markets.


How being a gang member is similar to being a business person:

  • "A gang is an economic system. Similarities  exist between being an entrepreneur and a legitimate businessman and doing business as a gang member on the street".
  • "A gang is simply illegal entrepreneurship. It has a management hierarchy. Generally a gang will have various revenue streams. It has a compensation system. There are incentives and rewards as a recruiting system to recruit new members. There's replication that occurs as a business model. The gang will have different hubs and different cities and countries it operates in. There are so many similarities".


  • "Game theory is simply the idea of a game of chicken. Sometimes you have to be willing to risk it all and a lot of the time you have to be willing to walk away from a deal".
Find out:
  • what life was like for Ryan growing up with a violent, drug-addicted father and how his family lost everything.
  • how Ryan overcame this to teach people how to overcome their poor decisions or the decisions of their family or the environment they were born into.
  • what skeletons Ryan takes out of the closet (revealed in his book) giving us some insight in this podcast.
  • why people are shocked that he was in a gang but how people that he knew in the past are even more shocked by his appearance, level of education and his ability to articulate on subjects that he is passionate about.
  • how over-leveraging and keeping-up with the Jones' fuelled by credit in the economic 'good times' can be destructive for some families.
  • how Ryan went from middle-class to poverty to multi-millionaire.
  • how Ryan went from earning minimum wage at 18 to earning 6 figures within 2 years.
  • how staring at a 60-year old prisoner became the defining moment that changed Ryan's life-path.
  • how Ryan overcame dyslexia and ADD to create his own auditory learning system, something which the current educational system failed to do.
  • why Ryan believes that 'vision' is so important in your life.
  • how Ryan helps people facing life in adversity: Clue? - The creation of foundations and philanthropic work.
  • about Ryan's work with autism.
  • about the importance of having mentors and having a life purpose.
  • and much, much more.

You can find the shownotes to this episode'along with all the links mentioned, at


 2014-11-21  45m