Entrepreneur, businessman and podcast host Brad Lea sits down with one of the internet's free speech architects, Nik Richie.
Lea chats with Richie about how he created an empire from nothing, what he believes the keys to success are - and where Richie Media Corp is going from here.
From OC with Love to Richie Media Corp.
When talking about how Nik Richie became the media titan he is today, you have to look back at where it started. Lea asked Richie who he was before launching the juggernaut that became The Dirty, and Richie explains that it all came down to love - as do most things.
Richie was living in Orange County and dating a woman from farther East, but neither of them were willing to live in the other's home town. So they settled on a compromise - Scottsdale, Arizona. In Scottsdale, Richie launched a gossip site that people latched onto with shocking enthusiasm.
Users would send salacious rumors about locals and rate hot co-eds, and Richie would screen the material, slap a witty one-liner on it, and let it fly on the internet. Soon, the business was expanding rapidly because people love nothing more than seeing other people's dirty secrets. Then The Dirty was born. For a long time, Richie operated anonymously under his pen name - but that secretive nature wouldn't last.
The Dirty brought international acclaim and critical attention. Eventually, the man behind the curtain was revealed and Richie hit the ground full steam, appearing on Dr. Phil, Anderson, and many other popular talk shows of the day, making nearly 200 appearances across the country in a variety of venues as people picked his brain and often painted him as a bad guy, a role which he relished for the power it brought.
Richie eventually was caught up in a lawsuit of mammoth proportions over a Bengal's cheerleader whose sex life was being blasted online. The nature of the lawsuit was setting up a battle for internet free speech against legal consequences, and website titans like Facebook and others assembled a legal defense team to make sure their right as publishers would be preserved. Richie joked that they probably weren't thrilled that he was the face of their battle for free speech - but nonetheless they showed up to defend him.
Creating a New Path Forward
Richie explains, "There was probably a 5-year period where I liked being the bad guy." But once the big lawsuit was won, people stopped suing him. Richie adds, "When I stopped getting sued, I was like okay well the train is over. It's not fun anymore."
In his mid-30's, Richie was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and decided it was time to focus on himself and his family.
Success, Richie explains, comes from helping others and focusing attention where it belongs - but success also requires a formula.
That formula: H.E.R.
Curious, Lea inquired about H.E.R. and Richie was happy to explain - although later he joked that he was giving away his secrets.
- H means "humble." Richie encourages people to do things that would make your children proud. Donate to homeless shelters, fly Southwest - the things that bring a person back down to earth.
- E means "enemy." Richie shares, "I've learned through life... ... You always need to have an enemy, no matter what. Even if it's not that person's fault, you target one person." He says putting all of your anger into one person helps focus your energy, putting you on top. "Find that person that bothers you, that person that's bugging you, and destroy them." Once you eliminate one enemy, find another person to focus on. To create goodness, according to Richie, you have to have war.
- R means "rolodex." The key to getting where you want in life is having connections. Richie explains, "Creating relationships, building your rolodex is the key to everything." He adds, "You'll always be one phone call away from success. Having the rolodex gives you power. ...To build your empire, you need to acquire a 10-year rolodex."
Richie explains that having connections with the right friends, many of whom he describes fondly as "fake friends," gets you a key that unlocks a path to wherever you want to go.
Becoming a Billionaire
Becoming a millionaire isn't enough these days, Richie and Lea agree. You have to focus on growth, because even if you become a billionaire, someone will become a trillionaire. You have to focus on moving forward and growing the connections around you, and success will open up in your path.
Lea explains and Richie agrees that by helping others, you guarantee that money will never be an issue - it solves itself.
The podcast host shares that in order to build net worth, you have to build self-worth first and explains, "If you don't sacrifice for what you want, what you want becomes the sacrifice."
Richie suggests they partner together on a joint venture, and they toss around a domain owned by Lea, "VerifiedGurus.com" Together they share ideas of how to level up in life - and chat back and forth about what money does to people.
Richie Media Corp
Right now, Richie is focusing on growing Richie Media Corp (RMC). Started in January, RMC recently partnered with Kargo, one of the largest ad agencies in New York, aiming to take distressed properties with namesakes and give them a clean-up. Richie explains that he wants to buy sites like TMZ, teach them how to monetize, and move them forward into the modern era of publishing.
Richie explains that, "Keywords right now are the number one driver. But Facebook and Instagram - which are the same company, Meta - they're starting to really work with the algorithms, because they're trying to force people to spend money with them." The reality, Richie explains, is that very little traffic comes from social media, and it's a form of extortion.
Now, focused on joint ventures with top-tier partners, CelebMagazine and other business pursuits, Richie Media Corp is helping to revolutionize the way the internet reads news and interacts with information. As one of the people who helped create the free speech engine that the internet is today, Richie is ready to now take news and information and meet consumers where they're at, which is seeking the truth.
Between Celeb and other pursuits where Richie is working from his rolodex of world-shakers, Richie is helping to shape tomorrow. Right now, Richie Media Corp is raising money with the goal of having 300 employees to create a newsroom and starting to do real news again. "The good part about fake news is it's starting to show that people are just ready for real news. People are ready for authentic."
Check out Richie's chat with Brad Lea by visiting the website to see all the witty exchanges and tips for how to make it big.