Jake Millar, a 21-year-old entrepreneur from Auckland, NZ, is new to NYC, but he’s already meeting with the most powerful men and women in business. And he wants you to meet them too.
Millar arrived in NYC in November to launch his media platform “Unfiltered” stateside. Unfiltered is a paid-subscription platform containing interviews with the biggest names in business – as well as hugely successful figures you’ve probably never heard of. The goal is for subscribed businesses and entrepreneurs to receive a sort of online master class from industry’s best and brightest.
The site currently boasts more than 200 interviews with global business leaders including Sir Richard Branson, Sam Altman, Tesla co-founder Ian Wright, WeWork co-founder Miguel McKelvey, Sarah Robb O’Hagan of EQUINOX and Gatorade, Chris Liddell, the Prime Minister of New Zealand and Andy Hilfiger.
Paying subscribers include PwC, McKinsey & Company, Beca, Bank of New Zealand, Coca-Cola Amatil, Spark and Fonterra among others.
LLNYC sat down with Millar in our Manhattan offices to find out what makes his media platform unique (both questions and answers have been edited).
How long have you been in New York?
I haven’t officially moved. I’m doing a sort of market validation study, trying to launch the business. I’ve got an apartment in the West Village and I’ve been coming back and forth for the last couple of months.
When did you launch Unfiltered?
How does it work?
We interview the world’s top business leaders and then all of that knowledge is broken into categories like strategy, raising capital, technology, etc. That way people can choose what they want to learn about and from whom they want to learn from.
A lot of our media is focused on the here and now, what’s happening today. Our media is also very educational in the way we ask the questions and in the way it is presented.
Also the way our interviews are broken down and brought into one place allows you to learn about a topic in a lot of detail from the people who have been successful at that.
I find that a lot of very successful business moguls are unique characters. You could almost argue that their success in business comes down to specific personality quirks. Can people really learn to be like Elon Musk or Richard Branson?
I think there are a lot of common themes: they all work really hard, they all go after opportunity, they all take risks. But what’s probably more interesting are the specific bits of knowledge that come from people in the cannabis industry or urban development. We have a lot of specialized knowledge and there’s a lot of value in that for people.
How do you pick who you interview?
It’s a combination of things. Some people come to us. But we keep an eye out for what is hot in the media and approach people based on that.
Have you ever interviewed someone who gave obviously bad advice?
Yeah, you do get some like that. But I’m not going to name names. I always ask people, “what’s the secret to happiness,” and someone recently said that happiness was all about money.
We did release that interview though, because everyone has a different perspective.
Would you interview a successful person, regardless of their reputation? Would you interview Donald Trump for your site?
We interview three types of people: executives, entrepreneurs and investors. And we want a diverse mix of industries. Would we interview someone like Donald Trump? Yes, probably. But we would talk about his successes instead of his failures. We would talk about his hotel business and the casino and what he has learned and how people can get started.
We only release positive interviews and that helps us get access to people who don’t normally talk to the media.
Have you heard any success stories from users? Has anyone become a multi-millionaire?
Yes! We get probably 20 emails a week from people saying that they are getting so much value out of it.
Who were your favorite interviews?
Oh there have been a lot of good ones, but probably, Stephen Jennings. He is a New Zealander who is building eight cities in Africa. It’s a phenomenal story. He is a master in emerging markets.
What’s up with the spelling of your name?
When our business was starting to get success in New Zealand, we were getting a lot of coverage. But you just couldn’t find it on Google, because there is a rapper in the U.S. named Jake Miller. And I was just like, ‘Man! All of our stuff is getting lost.” So I changed my surname. It also allowed me to purchase my name .com, which I think is really important.
That’s a lot of commitment! Thanks for chatting.