24 Questions with Dan Shaikh

Dan Shaikh is the Co-founder of Speaker Slam. He is an event producer and a video marketer. Dan is committed to helping speakers build their brand and achieve success with powerful videos. Recent clients have gone on to get TEDx talks, paid speaking engagements, and viral videos which are seen by millions.


1. What does thriving mean to you?

The ability to flourish and push through when things get hard or adversity strikes.

2. What’s the one domino that moves you toward thriving?

Reframing things to find learnings and opportunities or else i’d get down on myself.

3. What was or is your favourite way to sabotage yourself?

My favorite way to self sabotage myself is staying up late to get work done but throwing off my schedule/sleep cycle for the week. Low energy me is not the best me!

4. How do you deal with challenging times? Or what do you think would be optimal.

A good nights rest, a shower and putting on a pair of fresh new clothes. It’s like hitting the reset button.

5. What was an embarrassing/painful moment you can share?

For our biggest competition, with 500 people, we ordered program guides. They came in a very heavy box. While carrying them down to the parking lot. I set them down in front of the car cause I couldn’t lift them any more. My back hurt okay… lol I filled the car with all my other gear and equipment and drove out. When we got to the venue. We couldn’t find the box. We looked everywhere. Well, turns out, I left them in the parking lot. They were out of sight when I was loading up the car. The feeling of shame came over me. I was about to let down the sponsors, speakers, judges and audience on the biggest day of my life. It was quite stressful and I was prepared to drive back in rush hour to get it back with 1 hour remaining before the event. Luckily, my very smart business partner had her condo security guard pick up the box from the parking lot. She ordered an Uber to the building and instructed the security guard to put it in the Uber. Disaster averted! The show went on to be very successful.

6. What did you learn recently?

I read this book called Hooked: Building Habit Forming Products. I learned about internal and external triggers that companies use to get us to use their products. You can learn a lot about addiction and how it all ties into our emotions. Smart products know how to use emotion.

7. Divide your age by half , who were you then?

I was still discovering my own ability to think for myself. I was an ESL student trying to maneuver my way through middle school.

8. Think back 5-10 years, what moved the needle in your success?

What changed my path was reading the book “Awaken the Giant within” by Anthony Robbins. It was the first time ever I read a self help book. It was then I realized that their was knowledge to become better. You didn’t have to stay the same person forever. Prior to this, I had a very fixed mindset. The growth mindset was what I picked up. I went from a guy who never read books and scuffed at the idea. To a guy who read a 100 books in a year. I started changing my Friday and Saturday habits from drinking and partying to volunteering. I hung around people who were creating events and said yes to opportunity. It was during one of these volunteer sessions, I was invited to a Toastmasters club. That club led me to meeting my business partner and starting Speaker Slam.

9. Whats the one resource you would recommend?

Read the book “The One Thing.” The basic idea is… Focus on the one thing that brings you joy and attention. Cut out everything else. This book led me to make massive changes. Leaving Improv/Standup Comedy, Dropping out of a BIG DATA Program at Ryerson and eventually quitting my job/ending a career as a Business Analyst. Being half ass good at anything isn’t good enough. It’s better to the top dog in one field vs trying to do everything and just being meh.

10. What is your favourite quote?

This is from a rap song, “If you don’t become an acter, you’ll never be a factor” I took it as… If you don’t take action, you won’t make a difference in life.

11. What are your top VALUES?

Proactivity/Efficiency, Loyalty/Commitment, Respect

12. What is your focus over the next 12 months?

Building a company, creating products that can be scalable and hiring people.

13. You write a book for your grandkids / next generation, what principles do you want to pass on?

The principles I would pass on… – Adopt a growth mindset and continue to improve – Find opportunities in problems – Build a platform that impacts the masses

14. Who is one of the people that made an impact on your life?

Rina Rovinelli, she is my business partner and best friend. She has helped me transition from a personal surgery to building a business together.

15. What are you thankful for?

I am thankful for having a functioning body, its the one thing i’ve taken granted for but its the on

16. If someone grew up in a dysfunctional home what advice would you give them going forward?

It gets better and if it doesn’t change your circle you associate with.

17. What is your favourite memory of the last 12 months?

Hosting an event called the Grand Slam where we had 500 people come out. Even the founders of Goalcast joined us to give away a viral video. We handed off the award of “Inspirational Speaker of the Year.” But best of all, I had 500 people yell the “Speaker Slam” chant.

18. Do you have a favourite joke or a funny moment?

19. What do you need to have LESS of in your life?

Less food… Too many choices and temptations.

20. What rule should we be breaking?

Even if you’re not the expert in something or people consider you inexperienced. Still try to create something. After 3-4 years, you become the expert.

21 . What’s the one thing you want to do before you die?

Skydive over Dubai.

22. What is one small step you would recommend one take to improve their life?

Travel alone and be the person you want to be. When no one knows you, you have the freedom to become a new you.

23. Who is the PERSON(S) you would like to acknowledge by nominating them to be showcased @ THRIVEMASTERS?

Rina Rovinelli

24. How can people connect with you?