Matt Holmes knows how to network. Through his video series, Handshakin, he’s interviewed celebrities, politicians, even billionaires, sharing networking tips and advice for startups. On January 31st, Holmes took handshaking to another level when he and business partner Juan Diaz de Leon broke the Guinness World Record for the longest handshake at 43 hours and 35 minutes—the duo were featured on Denver NBC affiliate 9News. In this Q&A, we chat with Holmes about the power of a handshake.
How did you come up with the idea for the world’s longest handshake?
Breaking a Guinness World Record has always been on my bucket list and I didn’t think this one could get me killed. My business, the Handshakin Video Series, is all about shedding light on networking and relationship building and how vital they are for first-time entrepreneurs. So, I thought breaking a world record would be a fun way to inspire other entrepreneurs.
— NameTalent.com (@NameTalent) January 31, 2016
48 hours. That’s some serious handshaking. What kept you going?
Volunteers and witnesses. Even though my partner Juan Diaz de Leon and I are the only official world record holders, this was a big win for the community, not just us. The timer stopped at 46 hours, and after we deducted breaks we broke the record by one hour at 43 hours and 35 minutes.
When you think about 46 hours of shaking hands you have to realize that we started Friday morning and saw some of our volunteers. Then they went to work, had dinner, and came to visit us again. Then they went to bed. After they woke up and ran some errands, they came to visit us, and we hadn’t slept, we were still shaking hands, about halfway to beating the current record. The second half was going to be harder as we started to suffer from fatigue. We absolutely couldn’t have done it without so many awesome friends that helped us with meals, music, and simple entertainment and encouragement to stay awake and shaking.
You talk about the thriving startup culture in Denver. Why is it special?
Denver is the best place to launch a startup. Forbes rated Denver #2 in the nation in 2014 and the startup scene has only grown since then. From my personal experience, having so many communities for entrepreneurs has helped me navigate very easily the exact help and mentorship I needed to get started.
Juan and I wore t-shirts of our favorite Colorado startups to give them free press. It’s thanks to the startup culture here that has helped us with each of our startups. A rising tide lifts all boats, and there’s no place you can feel that stronger than being a startup founder in Colorado.
And for anyone reading this in Colorado, it’s also worth knowing that Business Insider predicts that by 2020 40% of the American workforce is going to be freelancers, contractors, and temporary workers. That means now is the time to launch your business, especially if you’re already living in Colorado 🙂
You produce a video series built on handshakes. What have you learned in producing the series?
The one thing all successful people have in common is that they give first, or pay it forward. For an aspiring entrepreneur, one of the most valuable assets is a personal networking of entrepreneurs more successful than you that you have given a favor to, or helped them in a meaningful way. When you are stumped in entrepreneurship (which happened a lot for me), it’s can be difficult to find the information or person that can help you answer all the hard questions entrepreneurs ask. That’s why it’s important to build you network starting today. And grow it in a huge way. We’re rolling out a new product to solve this very problem in the next few months so please subscribe at handshakin.com to hear when we launch it.
Who was your favorite interview to date and why?
I try not to pick favorites. However, some of the more well-known guests include Venture Capitalist Brad Feld, Billionaire John Paul DeJoria, and US Congressman Steve Pearce. We just published our interview with Lt. Governor Joe Garcia. One quote I really liked, in particular, was from past guest Erik Mitisek, CEO of Colorado Technology Association: “Do something today, without worrying if it’s the wrong thing.”
Who has contributed to your success?
All of my past guest on my videos who have offered their expertise. In particular, Brad Feld taught me a super valuable lesson I’ll share: “You can’t motivate people to do something, you can only create an environment where they’re motivated.” Great lesson for first-time entrepreneurs making their first hires.
What’s your best piece of advice for budding entrepreneurs?
Get started now by networking and connecting with like-minded, full-time entrepreneurs. In Denver, join the Startup Denver meetup group.
What’s next for Handshakin’ Matt?
I’m working on a piece of software to help our clients leverage their personal brand to drive more leads to their startup. Subscribe at handshakin.com for more updates for when we launch.
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