The #CookieLife – How To Network Like This Millionaire Entrepreneur Who Got People All Over The World To Send Him Cookies

If you spend any amount of time on the Internet you’re bound to run into people who make their living online. Specifically, people who make their living by telling you how awesome their life is as they live on the beach and drink margaritas all day and stare at their laptop.

The unfortunate truth is that most of the people on the Internet who sell this lifestyle are selling snake oil. However, if you spend enough time online, you’ll begin to run into some very cool, and very successful people who don’t sell snake oil, and still make a metric fuck ton of money.

I happen to know one of those people, and I’m able to call him a friend. His name is Sol Orwell.

But Sol’s story isn’t unique in that he’s built multiple companies online that are worth seven figures. His story is unique because he knows that one of the reasons his life has turned out this way is because people from all over the world send him cookies, solely because they like him.

To bring some perspective to this, let’s backtrack a bit.

Sol immigrated to the United States after being born in Pakistan and then living in Saudi Arabia and Japan. At 14 years old he and his family moved to Houston, Texas.

Two years later, in 1999, Sol’s life took a major turn when he started a website geared towards online gaming, specifically selling virtual currency that players could use in online gaming.

This website, to put it lightly, blew the fuck up. Gaining 250 – 350k visitors a day, which meant millions in revenue. Just to put into perspective how groundbreaking this was, this was all before World Of Warcraft took off.

From 1999 – 2004 Sol worked on this website, which held a special place in his heart, because when he had immigrated to the United States online gaming was a form of escape.

But he wasn’t done there.

A couple of years later he found himself in Toronto, specifically Yorkville. A neighborhood that has blown up now, but at the time the very first condo had just gone up. He and his wife at the time kept wanting to find things to do, but unfortunately, things like Yelp and Google Maps didn’t exist then.

So what did he do? Built his own local search company. He went around the neighborhood taking pictures of businesses and listing them online. Eventually, this business ballooned, growing out of the Yorkville neighborhood into Greater Toronto, then Canada, and then expanding into the United States.

Then came

I’ve talked about on here before. If you’ve ever found yourself on the site looking for high-quality supplement and nutrition information, Sol is the guy who started it all.

Examine initially started because Sol needed to lose weight, and was following the program out of Tim Ferriss’ 4 Hour Body and chronicling his journey on Reddit. At the time he and a quite a few other Redditors started complaining about the lack of a singular resource for information on supplements.

So Sol did what Sol does, and built one.

Originally started as a repository for research specifically on bodybuilding supplements and has grown from that point into a place to find the highest quality research imaginable on supplementation and nutrition.

Since that time Sol has stepped back from Examine to let Kamal Patel run the company (they had slowly been phasing Sol out for awhile) so that he could focus on his next venture: a company within the world of pets.

Clearly, the dude has a knack for building businesses, but how does all of this lead to cookies?

Let’s be real, a life that involves multiple 7 figure companies and people all over the world sending you cookies because they like you sounds like a damn good way to live life.

It all began when he was still living in Toronto. Sol was in the process of growing a company at the time, and growing a company requires networking prowess. Unfortunately, most people suck at this. Sol is not one of those people. He counts people like Tim Ferriss, Ramit Sethi, Mark Manson, John Romaniello and others in his network.

And this is where cookies come into play.

Before Sol would head out to meet people he would tell them, “Hey, I’m going to bring you a freshly baked cookie.” Which was something completely unique, making him both more memorable and far more likable. Plus, who doesn’t love a cookie? It created an immediate bond and was probably going to endear him to whomever he was meeting.

Part of the magic behind this was the fact that cookies are something that everyone loves, but nobody seems to talk about. Only a soulless monster who hates all that is good and holy in life is going to turn down a cookie.

Thanks to social media, the popularity of the cookies grew. Sol was starting to become known for his cookie gifting, which eventually became known as the #cookielife. As business grew, his network grew, and so did his cookie gifting.

Eventually, things changed so that business meetings started taking place at cookie places, placing cookies at the very center of business dealings. And that was all well and good. It was unique, and it helped forge a number of relationships that could potentially be huge in the future.

All of this cookie association eventually ballooned into its own event in early 2016, dubbed the Cookie Throwdown of 2016; 17 different kinds of cookies, alcohol, and a number of participants, all in varying businesses; all in the name of “networking” but really just to build upon a relationship.

The #cookielife has only picked up since the Cookie Throwdown. The cookies have continued to become a central piece of Sol’s persona. So much so that over 50+ people have sent him cookies in the mail this year, or greeted with him freshly baked cookies at conferences all events.

All just as a way to say “Hey” and get to build a relationship.

And herein lies the networking lesson for you, bros.

Most of us are at points in our lives where we’re trying to build careers. We’re looking to do so, in part, by expanding our network. Growing up hearing phrases like, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Reinforce this idea.

But the sad truth is that most people suck at networking. Actually, suck wouldn’t even begin to describe it. We meet a fellow human, someone who has a story completely unique to them, and that human could represent a potential relationship that does wonders in advancing our career.

Except we distil our desire to get to know that person down to questions like “What do you do?” And this does zero fucking good in getting to know someone.

This is something Sol and I spoke about on the phone:

“The worst question in the world is ‘what do you do?’ It does zero good in getting to know someone, and if I’m going to do business with you, I probably want to like you. And how can I like you if I don’t know anything about you?”

The biggest key to making an impression on someone is being memorable, unique, and likable. At every conference you go to, there are thousands of suits all asking the same question. Following along and doing the same damn thing does nothing in setting you apart, helping you forge relationships, and grow your business.

Sol recognizes that, and the #cookielife has become a revolution because of it. All over the world people know Sol for his love of cookies and go out of their way to send him or bring him cookies.

The cookies have become an extension of him and his personality. They represent a deeper and more meaningful way to connect with someone. They are a symbol that no matter the fact we’re about to do business together, there’s no reason to take life too seriously.

Cookies are unique and help forge a bond between two people. Because if you’ve ever shared a cookie with a person, you’ve basically shared your soul. And even if there is no business to be had thanks to that relationship, you’ve always got the relationship.

But before you go thinking he’s the real life incarnation of the Cookie Monster, know that he shares them. He gets to know the people he’s sharing them with. And as such, meets and builds relationships with people on a much deeper level than most, which could mean more potential business later on.

Something else we spoke about that is especially relevant to most entrepreneurs is the current push for things like grinding, optimization, and efficiency in all things. But as Sol told me on the phone, “Don’t neglect the human element of business. That is building a massive network of close relationships with people that you like.”

Because the cold hard truth of it is that you’re far more likely to do business with someone that you like. And you’ll be able to discern if you like someone much more easily if you’ve shared cookies, talked about life, and your love of NBA teams together instead of TPS reports and Swingline staplers.

Tanner is a fitness professional and writer based in the metro Atlanta area. His training focus is helping normal people drop absurd amounts of fat, become strong like bull, and get in the best shape of their life.