Josh Zabar – Chief Samurai of the Summit Series

Superconnector, millennial vagabond, seeker of experiences — Josh epitomizes the maxim: work hard/play hard. He and his six friends and business partners at Summit Series (Elliott Bisnow, Justin Cohen, Jeremy Schwartz, Thayer Walker, Jeff Rosenthal and Brett Leve) strive to connect and inspire the leaders of the millennial generation by hosting an annual event that combines the best of business, innovation, arts, revelry and altruism.

Josh has a passion for travel and cultural immersion; he spearheads many of Summit’s purpose-driven aid projects around the world in order to give himself and his team a greater understanding of their place in the big scheme of things. The Summit Series lifestyle is unique: In order to stay on their toes and keep the creative juices flowing, he and his business partners live in a different city around the world every 4 to 6 weeks. Josh is an avid athlete, will try anything once and lives for yoga and dancing to anything electronic.

In his previous life B.S.S. (Before Summit Series) Josh raided the halls of corporate, NYC finance firms and even had a short stint at a tech startup in LA. A graduate of Yale University, and an All-Ivy League outfielder on the baseball team, Josh’s transition from the world of “tradition” to the entrepreneurial “non-traditional” has been incredibly welcome and eye-opening.

What are you working on right now?

Our next event! Summit at Sea. For three days in April, Summit Series and 1,000 leaders of the millennial generation will gather for a unique celebration designed to connect, inspire and empower. Ideas will be spawned, businesses will be created and lifelong friendships will be made. We’re taking a voyage and creating a temporary autonomous zone in the Bahamas … it’s going to be wilder than anything you can imagine!

3 trends that excite you?

Growing social consciousness among millennials, impact-driven travel and electronic music.

How do you bring ideas to life?

First, throw ideas out all the time, even if you think they are silly. Second, disassociate yourself with the idea. You’ll have a much easier time tossing ideas out in the future if you remove any personal anguish that might be caused by others cutting it down. Third, talk about your ideas a lot. Repetition can give it substance or just the opposite. You’ll see that it doesn’t make much sense, and that’s alright. If an idea catches on … give it time, give it TLC. Tell your idea to 5 to 10 appropriate people outside your inner circle, and ask them their thoughts and feedback.

What inspires you?

Young people departing from the “norm” and breaking with tradition to pursue their passions in an effort to change the world, regardless of what society, their family, or others might say.

What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?

Having too much tunnel vision and being too laser-focused when I was younger. I followed directions too much … and didn’t ask “why” enough. In the last few years, I’ve widened my lens, question everything and enjoy having my worldview disrupted.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Two words … Hyperlocal content.

What is one book that helps you bring ideas to life?

“Vagabonding” by Rolph Potts — Fantastic account of being a traveler vs. a tourist. Our team travels to different cities every 4 to 6 weeks. We’re constantly adapting to new surroundings; languages, cultures, currencies. Our non-routinized lifestyle forces us to handle far more inputs and stimuli than normal. Those inputs, and the necessities they create, are the mother of our creative direction and idea generation.

Who would you love to see interviewed on IdeaMensch?

Doug Akin of Mr. Youth

What are two ways to feel happy and satisfied in your job every day?

1) Do three worthwhile things every day to help your company/brand/image, etc. Write them down at the end of the day — keep a list on your computer. It’ll make you feel amazing at the end of a week/month/quarter.

2) Set written, tangible, realistic goals. It’s amazing how satisfied you can feel when you work toward a goal and reach it. Writing them down every day/week/month and year will help you understand how you’re doing, what’s going well and what isn’t. Talk about your goals with your manager or business partner to keep yourself in check.

Build a business or build a family? Is there a balance?

I don’t really know the answer … but it’s really important for men (and women) to pursue their passions … even if it means significant time away from their partner. But here’s the kicker, when you do spend time with your partner, make sure it’s incredibly intense, passionate, and full of love and devotion. Thirty minutes of that kind of time together is far better in the long run than five hours of unfulfilled “togetherness.” Find someone that challenges you, but that is absolutely enamored by the fact that you are pursuing your passion. Entrepreneurs need someone that understands their DNA. They’re out there … so don’t rush in.


Summit Series –
Josh Zabar on LinkedIn –
Josh Zabar on Tumblr –