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Jeremy Asgari of the Outsiders: “Things like depression, anxiety and ADHD can be combated by getting people out in nature or simply outdoors”

Politicians’ jobs are to help pass laws to improve society and the community. If they are made aware of the importance of getting people outside and active then we can make changes in the community to get people active, social and more present. In addition, politicians should realize that a healthy community is a close […]


Politicians’ jobs are to help pass laws to improve society and the community. If they are made aware of the importance of getting people outside and active then we can make changes in the community to get people active, social and more present. In addition, politicians should realize that a healthy community is a close knit community. What’s missing in many communities is a way to connect informally. An example of how they can make a change financially is by offering people write offs for participating in active lifestyles. They should allow gym memberships and other paid activities to be tax write offs. This is a way to incentivize people to live healthier lifestyles. Another example politicians can keep in mind is their local community events like street-fairs and so on. Let’s get budgets to allow people to get out of the urban environment with other members of their community to partake in community building outside of their comfort zone.


As part of my series about “companies and organizations making an important social impact,I had the pleasure of interviewing Jeremy Asgari. Through 15 years as an entrepreneur, Jeremy Asgari has built a subscriber base of over 50,000 people for his events in the NYC metro area. He has created a following through putting on entertainment events for brands seeking exposure among consumers and influencers. Along with his network of influencers in New York, Jeremy has established a notably large international network in cities such as Paris, London, Manila, Miami, L.A. and especially Stockholm. His ability to connect people naturally is what has allowed his network of influential creatives and young professionals to snowball globally. Jeremy not only dreams up creative ideas and events but has the business acumen to flawlessly execute his vision.


Thank you so much for doing this with us Jeremy! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I spent years working in nightlife, and after a while it felt unfulfilling. I also soon realized that I had a following of event goers that weren’t necessarily limited to going to nightclubs. Once I realized that I could move these people to other sorts of experiences, I started getting more creative with the types of experiences I was providing.

Because I’ve always been very active and enjoy a variety of hobbies, I was looking to partake in cool activities but couldn’t find anyone producing those kinds of events, at least not the way that I wanted them. I figured there was no way that I was the only person who wanted to do these sorts of things, so I decided to start producing them myself.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

Yes there are two that come to mind.

The first is how I came up with the idea of the Outsiders as a social club as opposed to just a series of events. After our first Annual Rockaway Ride, before we were the Outsiders, a participant approached us and asked how often we produce these kinds of events. She also said she’d be willing to pay a monthly membership fee to be part of a group that does these kinds of activities on a regular basis. We realized we were onto something when she said that; it’s not very often that people volunteer their money to be a part of something.

Another great story I have took place on a hike. Four girls who did not know each other showed up, two of whom came alone not knowing anyone. By the end of the event they seemed to have become best friends. I even saw them hanging out together a number of times outside of the Outsider events

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

This is definitely not a funny story but I can look back and laugh at it now, however when I was experiencing it, it was extremely stressful and anxiety ridden.

When I first started the Outsiders I had a partner named Felipe. Shortly after he slowly started to bow out and I found myself responsible for everything. Two weeks before a hike at Harriman State Park, I got the notice that I’d be hosting it on my own, making me responsible for guiding 44 people. Close to the end of the hike I ended up losing half the group for 2 hours. I was mortified.

The lesson I learned from that mistake was necessary. The first thing I did was make sure I had a handful of people helping me guide the hikes and equip them with walkie-talkies so that we could communicate even when there was no cell phone reception. Secondly, I also created waivers to protect myself in case anything should go wrong. There have been hikes where people just happened to walk off trail to take a photo and almost get lost but thankfully I have enough guides to make sure that they find their way back quickly before another situation like this arises.

Can you describe how your organization is making a significant social impact?

I think the Outsiders is making a huge social impact. One of the big reasons I started was also because I was tired of all of my social environments being solely based on consumption. Living in New York, anytime you want to hang out with someone you usually meet them at a bar or restaurant, and anything active is way too intense to allow for a social environment. So the fact that I created a social club where people can be active and social at the same time, and not only consuming, is significant.

In addition to this, I also feel like I’m presenting people with the opportunity to interact on a level playing field. People are meeting others with common interests and they’re meeting them in an environment where it’s OK to interact. It’s an encounter between people sharing in an amazing experience

We’re also taking people out of their normal routine and out of their usual world / social circle, and providing them with something new, something out of their norm, something out of their comfort zone. I believe that helps in their personal growth.

Wow! Can you tell me a story about a particular individual who was impacted this cause?

The first person that comes to mind is my close friend Babak. I value his opinion tremendously. When I first started the Outsiders I didn’t realize the uniqueness of the group and all of the benefits it provided members. Babak brought that all to my attention when he attended our Storm King Adventure in November 2017, and we still talk about it now.

He explained how he thought the Outsiders initiative had the ability to help combat the mental illnesses caused by city life and our modern, impersonal online culture. Things like depression, anxiety and ADHD can be combated by getting people out in nature or simply outdoors. The challenges presented to our participants during our adventures promote more brain power, creative problem solving, elevates senses and pushes away negative thoughts by making people more present.

When this was brought to my attention, I felt a greater responsibility to grow the Outsiders and make sure everyone knew about us.

Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?

This is such a big question to answer. Politicians’ jobs are to help pass laws to improve society and the community. If they are made aware of the importance of getting people outside and active then we can make changes in the community to get people active, social and more present.

In addition, politicians should realize that a healthy community is a close knit community. What’s missing in many communities is a way to connect informally.

An example of how they can make a change financially is by offering people write offs for participating in active lifestyles. They should allow gym memberships and other paid activities to be tax write offs. This is a way to incentivize people to live healthier lifestyles.

Another example politicians can keep in mind is their local community events like street-fairs and so on. Let’s get budgets to allow people to get out of the urban environment with other members of their community to partake in community building outside of their comfort zone.

How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?

Being a good leader is tough. It’s not about ordering people around but having a common goal and collectively working together to achieve that goal. In order to do so, a leader must be a great communicator, someone who can motivate people to step out of their comfort zone and someone who is empathetic. More importantly, none of this can be achieved if the leader doesn’t have a clear vision and a strong belief in his/her cause.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

I have 3 things…

I wish someone told me I could “move people” outside of nightlife sooner. I wish I would have started producing and promoting events outside of traditional venues sooner than I did. There are so many more partnership and growth opportunities outside of nightlife. Daytime has more opportunity. Combining the nightlife scene makes it that more interesting. I think the first successful event I’ve produced that was outside of the nightlife realm was an annual holiday ping pong tournament.

Next, I wish I would have had someone help me establish my business structure and formalities like waivers sooner, but at the same time I wish someone would have pushed me to launch some of my projects sooner instead of waiting till it’s perfect. I learned valuable lessons in launching an MVP to get feedback on that. That’s priceless information.

I wish someone showed me how to create a proper pitch deck sooner. I spent years creating sponsorship pitch decks that just weren’t good enough to land brand partners. I pitched brands event ideas for 7 years before I learned what most brands are looking for and how to create a pitch deck that a brand would buy into.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I think the Outsiders are that movement. I think everything that we are currently doing, and plan on doing, will bring change to people who partake, and if people are changing, the community as a whole will change. The goal is to get more people involved in what we’re doing as the Outsiders and eventually scale it globally. I think it’s very important for people in big cities to be part of initiatives like this.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“When we think about the things that alter our lives in a moment, nearly all of them are bad: phone calls in the night, accidents, loss of jobs or loved ones, conversations with doctors bearing awful news. In fact, apart from a last-second touchdown, unexpected inheritance, winning the lottery, or a visitation from God, it is hard to imagine sudden good news. Virtually all the happiness-producing processes in our lives take time, usually a long time: learning new things, changing old behaviors, building satisfying relationships, raising children. This is why patience and determination are among life’s primary virtues.”

– Gordon Livingston, M.D.

I am a very driven person, however with this comes impatience. Sometimes I’m discouraged by things not happening right away, projects not being successful as soon as I start working on them. So this quote is something that helps remind me that everything worthwhile takes time. Everything that plans on being around a long time need a solid base.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

There are two people in this world I would want to share a meal with. Gregg Popovich (known for being the coach of the San Antonio Spurs) and Bill Murray.

I would want to meet Popovich because he’s created leadership methods that are based on relationship building. I’ve been a huge basketball fan my entire life and I’ve followed a lot of Popovich’s media “antics” but he’s been able to create such a winning culture with his team and colleagues; it’s extremely admirable. I recently read an article on him that finished with this quote “The Spurs don’t succeed because they are good at basketball. They succeed because they are skilled at a far more important sport: building strong relationships.”

A lot of the relationship building strategy is based on one-on-one interactions and an honest love and interest in his players and coaches. Much of it is also developed through sharing meals together. The experience of eating and drinking is the best way to experience different cultures and when doing it together, creates a strong bond between each other. I would love to learn more about his thought process and strategy. I feel like it can be implemented in every facet of life, and it’s totally in line with the relationship building goals I have with the Outsiders.

I would also want to share a meal with Bill Murray because he seems to have figured out how to live life the way it should be lived; in the present.

With so many distractions and notifications in life we’re never present. I love how engaged Outsiders members are during our adventures. Life is happening to them in the moment and they are available to receive it.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Twitter

@jeremyasgari

Instagram

@jeremyasgari

@outsidersny

This was very meaningful, thank you so much!

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