How To Build Your Tribe

For many men, the old ways were:

  • God
  • Country
  • Family

A lot of that has been lost, in our anonymous, atomized, modern society.

Men are unsure about their belief system.

Our countries are divided and many men feel isolated and without a sense of community.

Families have been shattered through a 50% divorce rate.

At one point a man could count on:

  • Having a belief system
  • A family
  • A marriage that stood the test of time
  • A house that he could afford
  • A stable community of like-minded friends
  • A job for life
  • A unified country

In other words he had stability.

He a path to follow.

And he could rely on his parents and the elders in his community for advice

I’m not idealizing that lifestyle like some guys do, I like this world better.

I would have felt stifled and rebelled against being boxed in like that, at least in my youth.

I wanted to chart my own course and create my own beliefs.

But as I get older, I recognize the value in those traditions.

Having something you believe in, and a good woman in your life, and good friends are all valuable.

But when you go out on your own, you often find yourself alone.

This is fun at first, but gets old quickly.

I see a lot of young guys come out to Chiang Mai only to end up feeling isolated and atomized.

Fortunately I was over 30 by the time I got free.

And I knew in advance that recreating a community was important and so I made it a priority.

I knew that I was leaving my childhood friends behind, friendships that we’re 10, 20 and 30 years long.

And that I had to recreate those friendships with like-minded guys I met out here.

In truth I think men are more fraternal then familial.

In most cases women come and go, but good friendships stand the test of time.

I like the idea of taking the best of what’s new and merging it with the wisdom of the past.

The new brings tremendous opportunities:

  • Education through the great equalizer known as the internet
  • Freedom from the 9 to 5
  • Investigating and creating your own belief system
  • Cheap travel
  • Geoarbitraging your income to somewhere cheaper, warmer and more exciting

But the old wisdom still applies, stability still applies. And all things in moderation, even freedom:

  • Discipline
  • Consistency (freedom like all things needs to be in moderation, you can’t build a business from the beach)
  • Faith
  • Hard work
  • Ethics
  • Community
  • Good women
  • A solid, loyal, circle of friends

When you merge the old and the new we’re able to create a lifestyle with the best of both worlds.

They say you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

I say make enough money to buy two cakes.

Because money is the lynchpin to building the life you want.

The middle class is dying, if you want the best of both worlds you need to get paid.

Money buys your freedom.

But freedom in itself shouldn’t be the end.

Freedom should be seen as a tool to get what you out of life.

Freedom should be used as a bridge from mediocrity to fulfillment.

But you need priorities, my priorities are:

  1. God: who created all of this including myself
  2. Myself: my mission, my wealth, my health, my relationships, my lifestyle
  3. My tribe: my family and friends
  4. My extended tribe or community: you guys

And I’ve taken responsibility for the success of all those things.

Because you can’t shirk responsibility.

I spent a large part of my life trying to run from my responsibilities and it didn’t do me any good.

Taking responsibility for your own success and for your people is part of what makes you a man.

And being a man feels better than being a boy.

It feels good to take responsibility.

It feels good to help others.

It feels good to be stable, consistent and accountable.

And it feels good to surround yourself with good people.

And just as important, when you have the right guys in your life, you do better.

I’m trying to be the best in my industry and having I tribe full of winners only makes me more competitive.

But you can’t let everybody in because most people aren’t going to cut it.

You need to build the right tribe.

And not just a fun group of guys to hang out with.

You want teammates in the game of life.

Because it’s a lot easier to beat the game on split screen then as a single player.

How To Build Your Tribe

1) How To Define Your Tribe

To build your tribe you need to able to define your tribe, and that means knowing what kind of people you want to spend your time with.

Here’s what you need from your guys:

  • They know your name: (rules out all politicians, movement leaders and identity politics)
  • They like you: rules out people who don’t want to be in a tribe with you
  • You like them: rules out all people you don’t like
  • They’re winners: you are the 5 people you surround yourself with
  • They’re honest, loyal and dependable: this rules out 90% of people you know
  • They’re positive: negative people will only bring you down
  • They’re accountable: they do what they say, show up on time
  • They’d help you move at the last minute: rules out all of your Facebook “friends”
  • They’re committed: A lot of guys like the idea, but aren’t serious
  • (I consider my readers part of my extended tribe but obviously without the same expectations)

2) How To Build Your Tribe

Building a tribe takes time and effort. You have to meet lots of people. But when you know what you want it becomes a lot easier to spot potential teammates in the game of life.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Become valuable: build yourself into a winner that people want to be around
  • Add value: be fun, charming, kind, supportive and positive
  • Put yourself around like-minded winners: was easier for me to find in Asia then in Toronto
  • Make sure they’re a fit: make sure they fit your criteria, and watch closely
  • Get rid of guys who don’t fit: you have to be ruthless here
  • Don’t do things your friends will resent: things like criticism, negativity, dream killing, bragging
  • Don’t flirt with or f@#% any of their women, past, present or future: disloyal
  • Get them paid if possible: Either become a client or put them in touch with money if you can

3) Have Group Goals

Having a tribe of like-minded winners, who aren’t tied to the 9 to 5 grind allows you to set some really cool goals. With that said, getting a bunch of independent guys on the same page is not always easy, especially with guys who like to travel.

Also for those of you who are tied to a location and a job, not all of these things might be possible right now, but they’re something for you to keep in mind for the future.

Here are some cool things you can do with your tribe, all these options are something I’m either working on or am thinking about doing in the future.

  • Build a group office: Group work amplifies your state, working from home kills it
  • Stay in touch: I keep in touch with my guys every day on our whatsapp group
  • Cooperation: You will make more money with more minds together
  • Services: Become a client of your friends when possible and vice versa
  • Partnerships: I put two of my guys together on AirBnB mgmt and they’re scaling up as we speak
  • Living: Live within walking distance of your friends, or even better in the same building
  • Community: Start a family and move into a gated community with your friends
  • Co-Create a group mission: think what you can accomplish in 30 years with like-minded winners

4) Managing Your Tribe

To keep things running smoothly you need to stay on top of how everyone is doing. Ideally you want everything to be fun and running smoothly. The best way to do that is staying in touch and staying in rapport, with good friends arguments are rare if never.

With that said conflict does come up, especially if guys are doing business together. Business is a double-edged sword, it’s much better to be in business with a close friend then a stranger (who you haven’t screened properly) but can cost the friendship if things go sour.

With that said, when you’ve partnered with a solid guy, you can almost always sit down man to man, and handle your problems constructively. And even if you both decide that your business model isn’t working out, you can leave on a handshake. (business partnership is not something you have to do, it’s just an option, I still recommend being a sales based service provider for your first business).

As far as conflicts go, in some cases, you might find yourself involved with a:

  • Guy who tries to cheat you out of money or in business
  • Guys who to f$#@ wives and girlfriends
  • Guy who is unaccountable and unreliable
  • Guys is negative and confrontational

Luckily I haven’t had to deal with any of those things with my close friends, the only problems I’ve ever had in business we’re when I partnered with strangers.

But in cases where you unwittingly let a snake into your inner circle you need to get rid of that guy ASAP. And then you need to think about how you let that happen and how to screen better in the future.

Lastly, it’s very possible that over time you’ll have guys who either drift away or want to leave and do their own thing. The best move in that situation is to wish them the best and leave things on a handshake. Never sell any thing on shame, guilt and obligation. Times change and people change, that’s a reality. Being emotional about it is weak.

And even more than that, you want to devote your time to guys who want to be in your crew. I don’t have time for acquaintances, my hands are more than full with all the things I want to accomplish. My commitment is to whoever is in my crew at that time. Whether it’s the guys I’m with now, guys who come on board in the future, or guys who end up working for me.


Building your tribe is an excellent investment of your time. It’s not going to happen overnight but it’s worth the effort. Not just because it’s fun to have a good group of guys in your life. But because you need to play to win in the game of life, and that’s a lot easier with a like-minded crew.

Times have never been more uncertain, currencies are changing, the middle class is dying, countries are rising and falling and the internet revolution is as fast and disruptive as anything we’ve ever seen in our history as humans. To survive and thrive in the future you need every advantage possible. Having money isn’t enough, you need social currency as well.

You need to be in it to win it on all levels. 

Shout out to Phil, Josh, Matt, Ryan and Vince!

And to my Toronto boys, Angus, JP and Zach.