Episode 183 – Ferdinand Mehlinger – A Steadfast Commitment to Excellence

“I can’t say how I did it, all I remember is I hated where I was, I hated what I did, and I knew the only way to get back to where I was, was to put one foot in front of the other. That’s all I had because I didn’t have anything to fall back on. I literally had to put one foot in front of the other. If I was standing, let’s move on. If I fell, someone help me, get me up.” – Ferdinand Mehlinger

  • Ferdinand Mehlinger is a foundational member of the original Backrub team that later evolved into Google, is notable for his expertise in data structuring and algorithm development. His significant role in decoding complex data into code paved the way for creating Google’s influential search algorithm.
  • Under the mentorship of a seasoned billionaire, Ferdinand honed his entrepreneurial skills, transforming into a visionary business leader. His ability to establish strategic partnerships across various industries, including biotechnology, nutrition and fitness, real estate, artificial intelligence, and financial markets, has been noteworthy.
  • Ferdinand’s journey underscores the importance of innovation and steadfast commitment to excellence. His enduring contributions continue to shape both the technology and business landscapes, offering inspiration to aspiring entrepreneurs. With his pragmatic approach and deep understanding of data, he has made a lasting impact on the world of technology and business.
  • Listen in as Ferdinand talks about those humble beginnings at an internet search company, how the company morphed into the behemoth it is, and the trajectory it put him on once he and his associates were cast out. Ferdinand shares stories of growing up and the influencers that fueled his entrepreneurial spirit, how he and his mentor met, the long and arduous road of growth and massive expansion, and a little dip into AI. Every entrepreneur has a story of adversity, and he was certainly no exception. Ferdinand explains how it happened, the fall out of the loss he took, how it affected his personal relationships and the unshakeable bond he and wife now share.
  • Show Notes
  • [00:42] Patrick introduces his next TEDM guest, digital pioneer, Ferdinand Mehlinger.
  • [02:25] Ferdinand and Patrick get rolling with their conversation with a bit about where Ferdinand started his entrepreneurial career and how it morphed from a humble internet search company, into the behemoth it is today.
  • [06:09] Feeling betrayed by the company that gave him the boot, Ferdinand set about trying a variety of things including acting (anything other than computers!) That path led him to start his own successful agency as an SEO pioneer, from which he became a speaker, where he met his billionaire mentor who steered Ferdinand’s trajectory into massive growth and expanse. He explains how that manifested and changed the way he worked.
  • [10:28] Ferdinand shares some of the learnings and ways of being (or not) that he absorbed by working with his mentor. While he didn’t match the level of intensity his mentor brought to the table as an ex-Navy Seal, Ferdinand did take the intrinsic value of the lessons he learned and applied them with clarity and fervor.
  • [14:20] On his own journey of speaking and seeking to expand his knowledge, Ferdinand shares the story of how he met his mentor, how they came to work together, and the process Ferdinand undertook after that historic dinner meeting.
  • [19:32] No pain, no gain! Ferdinand explains how his role unfolded and the rough lessons that came with the level of growth he signed up for. As his first handler cautioned at the dinner meeting: be careful what you wish for. But he wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
  • [20:57] After eighteen months of mentorship, expansion, and emotional pain – without a role, and without clarity – it finally culminated into Ferdinand being accepted into the organization.
  • [23:17] Ecstatic though he was with his new role, Ferdinand still didn’t quite understand how it all fit together and it took another four years for things to click. Ferdinand walks us through the experience to that lightning bolt moment that changed everything for him financially.
  • [28:38] Taking things back a bit, Ferdinand shares his experiences growing up, the influencers, and the mindset that he developed, to help drive his life path and entrepreneurial spirit. While Ferdinand could have used his circumstances to create limiting beliefs, he chose to use them as fuel to flourish.
  • [35:20] So where is Ferdinand at with tech now? Curiosity and development are still at the forefront.
  • [36:57] Inevitably that conversation leads to AI. While Ferdinand has been in the AI space since 2016 he talks about who he’s working with now and where he sees it going.
  • [39:35] Ferdinand gives his perspective of Digital ID and Web 3.0.
  • [41:36] Overcoming adversity. As all entrepreneurs do, along with the many wins, Ferdinand also experienced a significant loss from which he learned a LOT. He describes why it happened, how he felt, and what he took away from it. Ferdinand also opens up to talk about how it affected his relationship with his wife, and the indestructible bond they now share.
  • [48:15] Patrick shares a lesson he learned from a wealthy mentor which aligns well with Ferdinand. There are no mistakes only results.
  • [51:45] An easy roll into the slow-and-easy-fire questions: Android or Apple; all music is a great escape from a data mind; health & wellness routine; favourite movie and why; room-desk-car; a side bar about a previous guest to connect a couple of dots; Ferdinand shares a story about his first handler; favourite swear word; message at the pearly gates.
  • [61:51] Ferdinand’s gratitude.

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