We welcomed Roei Samuel who founded two companies, RealSport which got acquired and then Connectd. RealSport grew to a community of over 8 million monthly unique users across UK, USA & Australia and was acquired in 2018.
After spending time as an investor, he realised that many of the frustrations he felt as a founder were also true as an investor and start-up advisor. There was a distinct lack of diversity and accessibility in investment opportunities for start-ups. All the same types of deals were going to the same group of investors – stifling innovation for both the founders and potential investors.
So he founded Connectd.
What we wanted to talk about today was his journey to becoming a 2x founder whilst having dyslexia and ADHD.
The power behind neurodivergent founders is that they build workplaces that understand that people’s brains work differently, and the power behind neurodivergent team members is the diversity of thought.
He suggested that ADHD can give you a competitive edge when being a founder, as long as you can use the part that is hyper focused to your advantage. People just think people with ADHD can’t sit still but that isn’t true.
Reoi was diagnosed with dyslexia at the age of 6. After the ADHD diagnosis he went on medication, just to get through the education system. However, Roei really enjoys studying, and wanted to become a diplomat, until he realised he wasn’t very diplomatic 🙂
He never thought that he would get a job in a traditional structure, and his dad was very similar, not fitting into those structures and looked for new things to do all the time. Often ADHD isn’t diagnosed and David has been waiting for 5 and a half years (at the time of recording) to get an official diagnosis via the NHS.
Reoi started running bus trips for international students at uni, and he started podcasting and had a ton of energy to get things off the ground. Roei then started RealSport to share content on social media.
To stay on top of things, Roei needed a really good COO, someone who is organised and structured to fill in the blindspots his condition creates. The key is to create optimal situations based on the things he can control. Building routines, habits and having tools that work and help him. Mindfulness is a key thing as it helps to focus on one thing at a time. For him it’s all about getting up at 5 am, coffee, not drinking alcohol, avoiding sugar and high processed foods. But also having a good night’s sleep is a building block for good mental health.
Again we talked about not drinking alcohol, and the improvement on sleep as well as a higher tolerance to stress. It actually helps Roei to be more focused. When it comes to networking, he finds it difficult to not drink in social environments, relationships that revolve around a drink. Yet it is for a selfish reason to not drink, and it’s important to be true to one’s own values and convictions.
Roei’s morning routine is all about getting up early, exercising, commuting to work and being at his desk for 8:30 in order to get on top of his todo list. Nothing like ticking a few boxes early in the morning and being ready for the day. When it comes to 9 am, then there are whats app messages coming in, slack etc.
Discipline is key for Roei, whether you take cold showers, or abstaining from alcohol or working through your emails.
A fascinating insight on how to be successful as a neurodivergent founder. Thanks again for being our guest.