The Fierce Focus Show: Billy McFarland – Founder & CEO Of Magnises

Billy McFarland has been in a constant state of “leveling-up” life since he first started a company in 6th grade. 

“It was called Web Hosting Masters. I was 12… late 6th grade/early 7th grade.”

That was just the beginning. 

“In 7th grade, I created a private social networking website for my middle school. This was just around the time when people were scared of myspace,and the idea of talking to people online – who you could potentially meet in real life wasn’t a thing. when your’e 12 or 13 years old and your parents are saying “you can’t form these real-world connections from online connections – don’t do that!”

“I said ‘what if we made it private and it is all about who we know in real life and take that relationship online?’ So, I did that – it worked really well in my school district.

“My principal called me into his office one day and said  “someone is gonna get killed – we’re not sure what social networks are – you have to stop”. He called my parents, but they didn’t know about it. So, I put it up online as an auction and sold it 3 days later. That was an excellent exit for me. I got all the candy I wanted when I was 13.”

While at Bucknell, to level up again, he realized that programming would help him when he reached a crossroads.  

“I’ve always had these ideas and concepts that I would execute and then build throughout middle and high school. but I always had a constraint holding me back. So I woke up halfway through my first year of college, and I said “I’m finally living on my own, i’m finally have access to do whatever I wanted to do – there are no restraints. now is the time to focus and execute one of my better ideas and put everything else I had into it, to make it work.”

Spling brought him to New York City. It gave a great network – which would later help him – but it left him not living the dream he envisioned. 

“I’ve had this dream of New York – you come here and you’re working at a Tech startup and you’re probably not living that “New York Dream”. So I wanted to create a product that would let you live that New York dream and experience everything the city has to offer.”

“Magnesis was created out of this interest in creating an environment where he could meet people from all types of industries, hungry to see what the city had to offer, and interested in leveling up.

These types of people are diverse in their backgrounds, but similar in their aspirations. That is the magic that Magnises creates.

To create Magnises, Billy had to focus intensely, recover & repeat. 

“The two most important things that work in tandem for me are direction and motivation. Direction comes at a couple angles. It comes in the 5 year goal, and it comes in the 1 day goal – what are you gonna do when you wake up? Next is motivation. Once your direction is set, the thing that works best for me is that I just tune everything in the world out when i’m focused, and I go for as long as I can. Whether that is 6 hours on a bad day, to 5 days straight on a good week. Then you come up for air after that and dive back in. It is all about making sure you stick towards those goals that you set. At the same, nothing else matters except for those goals and building the company. Then, when your brain is mush and you need to take that step back – you take that step back. Then, you dive back in as quickly as you can.

This is what the next 5 years will look like for Billy as he moves Magnises towards a specific goal:

1 million members in 5 years –  20,000 people in 50 markets.

Why do this? Transcendence. 

“I love when I see someone who has worked in the city for 10 years, and they come to Magnises, and the next day they start a company in a world they knew nothing about 2 days ago and they have a brand new co-founder who they didn’t know existed. Seeing these world come together – when you connect tech with finance with fashion with sports – thats when the magic happens. The people who understand and discuss different industries are the ones who can put together the best ideas and really make a difference.”

Magnises is enabling like-minded leveled-up experience seekers to do things they might never have done – such as drive a Tesla on an airport runway. It lets diverse perspectives appreciate other points of view and consider new business ideas, all in the best venues their cities have to offer.

These kind of interactions represent the kind of chaos of of which Billy thrives. Put him in a room with 10 differing viewpoints, and he will emerge with a simple idea that benefits all sides of the equation.

In 5 years, with 1 million Magnises members around the world, the progress that will have been created will be in no small way due to those who seek to level-up just like Billy McFarland.

Listen to the entire interview with Billy on Soundcloud or iTunes.


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