G64. Ilya Bodner

Creating the American Dream: Learning Through Action with Ilya Bodner

Ilya Bodner is the founder of numerous start-ups, ranging from the humble food cart he launched to pay his way through college, to modern success stories, currently leading the way at Bold Penguin.

A first-generation Uzbek immigrant, Ilya continues a family line of entrepreneurs who instilled him with the values of hard work and creativity. His time at Ohio State University inspired him to set his sights on achieving the American dream.

To this day, his entrepreneurial spirit is yet to slow down, as CEO of Bold Penguin, an exchange company designed to help small operations handle their insurance needs.

This week, he takes the time to discuss his business philosophies on the Gravity Podcast. Is there worth in having humble origins? What fuels his passions? And what are his three rules for launching a new company?

What Brett asks:

  • [03:25] Tell me a little bit about your childhood and what shaped you in early life.
  • [06:15] What memories do you have of moving to the United States?
  • [09:55] What was this period in your life like for your parents?
  • [13:10] Was America what you expected at age 10?
  • [22:20] Where does your entrepreneurial spirit come from?
  • [26:45] Tell me a bit about your first entrepreneurial outings.
  • [30:40] How was your college experience?
  • [39:00] Do you prefer launching new business ventures or running operations once they’re established?
  • [48:10] What would you say are the biggest learning experiences that led to you founding Bold Penguin?
  • [52:40] You’ve achieved the American dream. Does it live up to expectations and what’s your next goal?

Lessons for intentional living:

  • Anger and resentment are negative emotions, but it’s ultimately up to us what we do with them. Ilya turned his into fuel that drove him to make the world a better place.
  • Everything is an opportunity to exercise your entrepreneurial spirit and learn along the way. Even something as simple as selling items on eBay can provide you with hugely valuable experience.
  • It’s a great idea to identify your superpower, the one thing you can do better than anyone else. Knowing what it is will allow you to live your life in a way that plays to your strengths.
  • In any business venture, the team you assemble is one of your most important assets. Running a company is a team sport. Putting everything you have into it won’t be enough without support. Seek out the most exceptional people that you can find and never forget to value them.