The Aladdin Effect — How An Entrepreneur Raised Startup Capital on a Train

Dunstan Ayodele Stober
5 min readOct 26, 2022


“Mastering this powerful skill can launch your business and career.”

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” — Matt 7:7

Photo by Tatiana Syrikova

How would you use your three wishes if you faced the genie out of the lamp? Ok, I hear you; that is a fairy tale. But, while the genie is a fantastical character, we encounter the symbolic situation daily. We miss those opportunities because we are unaware or untrained to spot them.

Listening to Jack Canfield explain the “Aladdin Factor”, I realised asking is a skill.

Although I was fortunate to learn this skill early from my mum, I did not realise that becoming dexterous would be essential to my career toolbox. In my book, Joy Has Come Home, I talked about my experience preparing for college. At that time, Dad was out of work, and mum’s teacher’s pay was not forthcoming. We had no money, but dad was reluctant to ask for help from a distant relative because he was almost sure of getting a negative answer. And here was a teaching moment from Mum engraved on my mind, she said.

“Go find out. If you don’t ask, you will not know. And prepare for a “no” answer. Then, if that happens, there will be less pain. But, if he says yes, then it is a win.”

After agreeing to meet our relative, mum and dad brainstormed what day of the week, what time of the day and where would be the best place for dad to pitch his request.

That situation replayed in my head while listening to a story about a New York City entrepreneur raising funding for his startup on a train.

According to Jack Canfield, after being turned down by banks, the budding entrepreneur had to look elsewhere for the funds to finance his idea. He screened his options with the following questions:

- Where do rich people in the New York City area go every day? He found that most do not live in the area and commute into the city.

- Then, how do they get into the city? They ride the train.

- Are people in a more giving mode in the mornings or evenings? Experience shows it’s mainly in the mornings.

So, the young man started taking the train in the morning into the NYC area in search of qualified investors. He pitched to everyone who answered yes to his question — “are you a qualified investor?”

In three days, he was able to raise the money he needed for what became a multi-million US Dollar company.

Mastering the skill of asking is the one skill you need to help you turn adversity into opportunity. It can give us access to the instructions, support and guidance we need to progress at work or grow our business; we can go out on more dates and get help promoting a social cause of interest.

Not knowing how to ask for help can be from selfish motives, thinking about ourselves and not the other person. We do not ask because we don’t want to look stupid, we fear rejection or we are simply trying to figure things out. But asking is not only for us. Asking also gives people the opportunity to say yes. And saying yes can be a rewarding and fulfilling feeling.

In my case, my dad asked for the help we needed with my first-year tuition fees. His exciting news was greeted with the familiar “I told you so” speech from mum. Dad found that his “cousin” was pleased that we “gave him the opportunity to contribute to my education. All my dad needed was to know how to ask.

Master the powerful skill of asking for your proverbial “three wishes” by practising:

1) Be clear about the help you need. No fluff, no fiction — go straight to the point.

2) Know your audience. If this sounds familiar, it is. Asking for help is like presenting.

3) Don’t spray and pray. Don’t ask sporadically and randomly, hoping to get lucky. Know the people who can provide the help you need.

4) Provide value

5) Be grateful when you get the help you need. Gratitude will create a virtuous cycle.

6) Don’t be selfish. Understand that asking gives the other person the opportunity to have a fulfilling and rewarding experience.

Are you looking for help to grow your business or advance your career? Do you need to build productive relationships? Would you like to go on more dates?

Develop the ability and confidence to ask. Know when, where and how to ask. This skill will give you access to the resources you need to do what you want.

Your magic genie may be in front of you.

Two (2) Book recommendations

Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

Check out these books to learn how to master the skill of asking.

a) The Aladdin Factor: How to Ask for What You Want — and Get It — by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen

Jack and Mark started an initiative called Trees Around the World to counter deforestation worldwide. According to Jack, they planted 250,000 trees a few years ago in Yellowstone National Park — the world’s first national park with 2.2 million acres. Their system is simple — they asked for US$ 1 per tree from people who bought their books or attended their seminars.

That story made me grab a copy of “The Aladdin Factor.” This book “helps us by pinpointing the major stumbling blocks to asking―and teaching simple techniques to overcome them.” (Amazon summary).

b) Dream Job: 48 Days to a Six-Figure Income — by Dan Miller

I would have been sceptical of the title if I did not first hear Dan Miller’s “three reasons why we should not just sit around waiting for good luck to show up.”

Dan promises that:

“No matter what age you are, what work you’re doing right now, or how long you’ve been doing it, you CAN find or create the ideal work for you. Best of all, you can do it a LOT faster and a whole lot more EASILY than you probably think.”

Three (3) Citations

Photo by eleni koureas on Unsplash

Help is on the way, but don’t wait for it. These quotes will help you take action and not expect luck.

“Don’t wait on perfect conditions for success to happen, just go ahead and do something. And don’t settle for failure; look for how you can turn a setback into an opportunity.” — Dan Miller

“People don’t give because nobody asks.” — Jack Canfield

“I’ve found that luck is quite predictable. If you want more luck, take more chances, be more active, show up more often.” — Brian Tracy



Dunstan Ayodele Stober

CFO | Author | Coach | Entrepreneur — inspirational stories with tips, tools and techniques to strengthen your body, transform your mind and uplift your spirit.