Episode 024 – Sue Fennessey
Welcome to another episode of The HERO Show. I am your host Richard Matthews, (@AKATheAlchemist) and you are listening to episode #024 with Sue Fennessey – Disrupting the Marketplace–Bringing People to the Heart of the Economic Equation
Sue is a self-confessed data nerd, who previously founded Standard Media Index (SMI) in 2008, bringing transparency into the Global ad market. Today, Sue is the founder and CEO of WeAre8–a social media marketplace that enables brands to sponsor people directly, transforming their relationships with customers at scale.
Here’s just a taste of what we talked about today:
- Value Equation as the reason behind WeAre8.
- Running alongside the major platforms to give people a voice and a stake at the economics.
- Microtargeting sponsorships.
- The people is your largest and most powerful channel.
- The impact of social media on our democracy.
- Putting people around you that challenge what you are doing.
- Constantly ask questions instead of constantly talking.
- Realizing that the market is constantly changing so fast and that you don’t really know anything.
- Using old technology to enhance human connection.
- Human Connections
How To Stay Connected With Sue
Want to stay connected with Sue? Please check out their social profiles below.
- Website: WeAre8.com
- Twitter: Twitter.com/WeAre8Official
- Instagram: Instagram.com/WeAre8Official
- Facebook: Facebook.com/WeAre8Official
Call To Adventure
Don’t forget you can stay connected to me and the show by subscribing now. Just text ALCHEMY to 444999. Or you put your email address in the box at the bottom of this page. You’ll get all sorts of cool gifts, be updated about our contests and polls, and get notified when we publish new episodes. With that… let’s get to listen to the episode…
The Webinar Alchemy Workshop: https://richardmatthews.me/fs/waw-slf/
Hello and welcome back to The HERO Show.
My name is Richard Matthews, and I am here on the line with Sue Fennesey,
Founder of Weare8. Sue are you there?
Great to be here, Richard. Thank you.
Awesome. I’m glad to have you here.
So, WeAre8 is a social media marketplace that enables brands
To sponsor people directly. Transforming their relationships with customers at scale.
It seems like a really cool system.
One of the things I want to get started with…
We start with this on every one of our shows.
It’s basically, what are you known for, now?
So talk a little bit about what you, Sue, are known for
And what WeAre8 is known for.
And, you know, why is it that people come to you guys?
So what I’m known personally, I”m probably not the best person to answer that.
I think, … driving things forward.
And I do think I’m known as a disruptor in the marketplace.
But not for pure disruption’s sake.
Traditionally, we see a nice big gap in the market.
And the thing that we’re seeing, and the reason that we created a is that,
Essentially, people have built Facebook and all the social media platforms.
But last year, Facebook made $55 billion. From the work and the creativity of the people.
And yet, the largest voice on the platform, and those that actually are the product,
Aren’t in that economic equation. So we saw in my previous company,
Which is a data company, that I’ve built, that tracked all the ad spend across the ecosystem,
We were looking at all of this money shift to social media.
And yet the people who were actually creating the value weren’t in the economic equation,
And it’s that imbalance of value equation is the reason that we started 8
We saw the power of the people, and the individuals who were creating all the value
And we wanted to put with them at the center of the economic equation. And it really made sense
It seems like it’s almost worse than that, too. Because the creators on a platform,
If you want to get continue to get attention for the value you’re creating,
You have to pay Facebook for that privilege.
Absolutely. So it’s not just the value your creating.
You’re absolutely right. It horrified me even to see the social impact and causes and charity,
Even having to pay to speak to their own audience. That they gently nurtured and built
Over the last ten – thirteen years.
Absolutely. So that’s a, that’s really fascinating. So how has that been going?
So it seems like, that’s a big goal, to disrupt something like social media.
And I never really wanting to disrupt it. We’re wanting to create a framework
That can run alongside existing platforms. Clearly be this day for a while
To run alongside that, to give people a voice and a stake in the economics.
Because, you know, there are more people on Facebook than
Actually vote in any of our elections, globally.
And there’s no kind of union structure to keep Facebook in check.
The social networks are largely unregulated, and yet they control a democracy.
And so what we’re fueling the framework, we see the economic benefits,
And then, the collective voice of the people really give,
Essentially, a united voice structure to social media. So that these platforms
Who are unregulated can really act in the best interest of their stakeholders, which is the people.
So how does it actually work from a technical level? Like so?
We could use this show as a as an example. If I’m a new show,
Working on building an audience and stuff like that,
How does something like Weare8 affect what I’m doing?
Yeah. So depending to the brand, in this case, would be your show would be the brand
Is that you can activate people and essentially sponsor them to advocate for you.
So the way it works inside a data engine enables us
To micro target the right people, specific people, send them a sponsorship,
And on it you can get … just to watch something by brands.
And brands test a lot of their ad campaigns on it. But you can get sponsor
To create something for brands, so you could create something for Calvin Klein,
Or any number of brands. Create a piece of content that
The brand could use across this social channel. Or you can sponsor someone
To share a piece of content that you could essentially give a thousand people
In your target audience. A piece of content about your show
And sponsor them, to share that across their social network.
I’ll share it across my social network, Richard.
That’s really interesting. So as a brand, you’re actually,
You can attach economic value to the social actions that you want your audience to take.
That’s right, and people essentially become your largest and most powerful media channel.
That’s right. So traditionally, I would just the only way I can reach people at scale,
I would put an ad on Facebook, I can actually have a direct.
And when I do that, by the way, I don’t have the direct relationship with the person.
So now, I can actually reach out to them through Weare8.
We enable that direct connection, which is actually what the eight is.
And then they get sponsored by the brand, the person’s feeling really good.
And they can then share that out through 8 onto their social networks.
And now the system tracks and reports the performance
That is super cool.
Thank you. So, what traditionally has been,
We’ve seen celebrities get sponsored with saying, YouTubers, then we saw influences.
Now we’re seeing micro influencers, as technology is just bringing that to the masses.
Because anyone can can get sponsored.
Everyone could get sponsored, everyone has, the idea that I can pay off my debit card,
I can pay off my mobile phone bill. It’s like a side hustle.
The most people watching, creating and sharing for a couple of hours or five for a month.
It’s not a full time job. But it might be thirty, fourty, a hundred dollars over the course of the month,
That I can use to boost income.
So it’s a, it’s a win-win kind of thing, which is the best economic situation.
When everyone is valuing equally from the stuff they’re putting in, right?
So I can see the value for the people who are doing the sharing,
You can see the value for the brands that are actually asking for the sponsorships.
And I assume you can look for specific types of people as a brand that I’m like,
I’m looking for this type of audience to get these types of people
To sponsor for me and that kind of stuff?
So at the end of the day, we’re working people.
… giving us the basic … about themselves, so we can then help them connect to the brand.
Brand wants to target women in New York City in these particular demo.
And with these particular attributes, we can target them.
So, it’s line targetting them on Facebook.
I have a supplement company too. And I’m just like,
“Man, that is just, seems like money in the bank.” (laughter)
What it’s saying is, we’ve always been overlooked a people.
We have always been seen as the viewer, the recipient,
The one who has to pay for a subscription, pay for a mobile phone bill,
And what Silicon Valley and all the tech companies use us to get rich at the 99%,
Again, fueling the 1%. So it’s very … 99%
It’s the economic equation on the internet for
Since basically the advent of Yahoo and Google has been ad supported internet,
Where it’s basically saying; we will give you content, we will give you search,
We will give you access to these things in exchange for using you
As the product to advertisers.
That’s been the economic equation on the internet for, since the almost since the inception.
And we as the people accepted that, because it’s, we get free access to all these things.
And, free, in the sense that we’re not spending our money for it,
We’re instead giving our ourselves. Our data and our activity and that kind of stuff.
And you see, it’s a big talking point nowadays and in tech is, who’s the product?
Is it the person who’s watching it? And who’s the customer?
So on Facebook and on Google, and on Twitter, the user of the platform
Is the product and the customer is the advertiser.
That’s right. That injustice is there. Look, there was a time very early on.
And, we forget that Facebook had that line with … and always moving with their tagline.
And there was a time when you and Greg that I could connect
With my family and friends on this platform. And that felt like a very fit venue you exchange.
But as they put more and more advertisers and then making more and more money,
And we’re the product for the last five, six, seven years, the value exchange is felt very unjust,
And it’s that injustice that we recognize, combined with 40% of all Americans,
This is a Federal Reserve statistic. Forty percent of all Americans
Cannot find $400 in an emergency.
I was just reading that the other today.
I mean, we’re in a very difficult economic position. And whether it’s someone in America,
Whether it’s someone in Africa, whether it’s someone into Europe,
South America or wherever, we need to start building infrastructures
With the changing workforce, that put more value on the just
The raw humaneness of an individual. So, what we’re recognizing,
Their innate power just for doing what they’re doing anyway.
So do you run into any terms of service issues with Facebook,
Or Twitter or anything like that, where you’re actually paying for these kind of sponsorships?
Not so …
As always, to be collaborative with them, because we want people
To be recognized more on these platforms, I think Google with YouTube, set a good model,
When they do share the revenue with the people that YouTube.
It’s just most normal people, the masses really watch YouTube, so they’re not recipients.
And so we’re taking that a step further and saying that, “Well as people, we have a right venue,
We should be recognized and empowered, and type thing. And there …
There is value in that, when I asked one of my subscribers to share this show.
Or to introduce me to someone new, like there’s a value to that.
And you’re just, you’re just recognizing that with dollar signs.
That’s right. That’s exactly right. And we’re socially packed so enough on our platform,
Every time a grand sponsor someone, the individual gets the bulk of that money,
But 5% of the transaction also goes through to a charity of choice.
So for example, if ConAgra Healthy Choice wanted an individual,
Five percent also goes to the Feeding America. So …
… making money, I’m …
Say one of my, I actually have a supplement brand as well.
And one of the things that we do is every bottle we sell of our supplements,
We donate enough money to Vitamin Angels, to basically save the life of a child
Because vitamin A is like the leading cause of death in children around the world. And –
It’s the leading cause of preventable death in children under, I think,
Under six years old around the world, about 115,000 kids a year die from it.
And there’s, it’s not a, basically, we donate enough to pay for vitamin A for one child
With every bottle that we sell. So you could actually, in social impact
So does the brand get to choose the charity that it goes to?
Yes, so the brand gets to choose. So if you wanted to choose Vitamin Angels,
And have sponsor a thousand people to share a supplement message, doing a video,
And then ask them to automatically add a unique code, as well.
Or you might just want to sponsor a thousand people to create content for you.
… Whatever you ask them to do, that you make, that you choose the charity and that goes through.
Once the person makes money, I can also we can make the app,
Then choose to pay it forward to a charity. So then, it’s my choice …
I feel like I need to download this app. We need this. so anyone who’s watching
That’s where you should be doing. It’s called Weareeight. There we go.
Pops right up. Weareeight, get creative, get paid.
We we really imagine a world where people really don’t like ad.
And, we need these sponsorship as a way … live, whilst we can while tearing, the locking all the ad.
So I mean, we imagine a world where students Millennium month,
People are actually just funding their lives. And we imagine everyone
Getting sponsored by the brand they love.
Actually, you’re seeing a drive towards that with people not liking the ads..
So Netflix, you pay for the subscription and have no ads.
Apple TV just announced their platform lets you purchase the content without the ads,
Apple Music and Spotify and Pandora, they all have paid for
To listen to music without the ads. And what is it, like every every major platform
Outside of your social media ones, which rely on the ads are building platforms
That allow people to pay in exchange for not having ads and they’re growing,
Which means there’s a demand for it.
Absolutely. And I was reading this morning that Netflix, Hulu and Hulu growing.
But I think people are at a threshold of with paying for Pay TV and
You’re starting to see the effects of this. That was just announced actually,
That was really … quarter than I expect in the second half to its just
Under 1% decline on pay TV Cable cutting. So we think as people
have stretched to pay for cable TV, you know, and Netflix, Hulu …
There’s a unlimited amount of subscriptions you can have.
That’s exactly right, Spotify, everything else. So what we think is going to happen.
And what we’re fueling is it is a framework whereby, you know, I could have Gatorade and then,
Fund my Netflix subscription. Or if when Disney launches their new subscriptions platform,
Or when any of these Warner media launch theirs, we think the most powerful model
Is have my specific brands that want to sponsor me
Fund and fuel my subscription platform. So essentially, the goal is for enough money
To be shifted back to the individual person so that it can fund my mobile phone bill,
Whatever it is, 40 bucks a month or whatever. My subscriptions,
Maybe one or two of my subscriptions, maybe a Netflix, a Spotify or whatever.
And maybe I have it to make a … as well through that. So if I might order
Fund a couple of those things, just by doing what I’m doing anyway,
Maybe I can fund some of my college books, or I have off a little bit of my debit card.
And those kind of things really can boost my life.
It’s like you’ve turned social interaction into a sharing economy type deal.
Like the Airbnb. So you’ve turned the social interactions,
Sort of like, the fabric of what we’re doing online into the same type of
RV share, Airbnb, where that has value?
Absolutely. That’s a great way of putting it. And what’s interesting is,
People don’t accept sponsorship because everyone unitely understands their personal brand.
If our ads data engine targets the right people with the right friends,
That’s what the whole matching algorithms are about.
But people also don’t accept sponsorships from brands that they don’t love,
And that don’t fit with their personal brand. So that’s a wonderful automated
Regulation system inside the framework. Because people,
If they share something with their followers, and it’s inauthentic. It doesn’t work.
So they only pick what they love.
It was like just thinking about it like that, if just brands that I personally
Don’t like or don’t approve of, I wouldn’t sponsor it. I wouldn’t accept
A sponsorship from them, because it just doesn’t line up. So that’s awesome.
So what I want to do is talk a little bit more about you and what brought you to this place.
So we talked a lot about, sort of, the superhero idea for entrepreneurs.
And obviously, Weare8 is a fantastic company that you’ve built,
And I will probably be a customer before the day is out. So tell me about you personally,
What do you think your super power is? What is it that you bring to the table
That’s allowed you to create this kind of a system?
I see big … and get obsessed with them. And obsessed with the solution
On how we can solve it, particularly where there’s an injustice.
And this in particular, we see the workforce dramatically changing
Over the next ten years or thirty, the workforce is going to … dramatic changes in the world.
And then I look at some of the biggest problems with poverty, environmental issues,
And I’m genuinely concerned about those things. So we make … and I can’t see anywhere else –
Whoa, where we can access $300 billion potentially.
Because that’s how much is spent on advertising. All around the world, $300 billion dollars.
And $55 million of that went to Facebook last year. So I looked at these,
Many of these big global challenges can be so, when we’re not working as a united force.
And so I see how broken that model is, that the people doing the work aren’t awarded
All of this money in ecosystems, the massive problems that need to be solved,
And become obsessed with fixing them. And so, I think it’s outside of myself,
In some ways, I feel like everything I’ve done over the last 30 years has kind of led to this.
Because I often don’t you choose things, they choose you.
So it sounds like, one of my my core beliefs for a long time has been that
The biggest problems that we face, as humanity are going to be solved by entrepreneurs.
Who come in and see ways to turn that to create those Win-Win situations
That solve the problems. And it sounds like you’re on the forefront
Of some of those big problems.
Well, I hope so because we really need them.
I think that there’s some incredible people out there doing incredible work
That truly inspire me, but it’s actually even entertain, every one of these people
that are on a platform, really doing amazing work, I think we’re going to,
Go to changing generational mindset and people that really care about the planet,
That care about sustainability, that wanted to do things that make impact.
And so my job is really to just harness all those brilliant people,
And bring them together in a way that can create a framework
To solve some of those problems. It’s not, I worry sometimes
About some of the technologies, they’re not thinking about the largest social impact,
We think about the impact that Facebook could make on our democracy,
Globally, if they wanted. And yet, they have had a huge impact on that.
So, we need to set up infrastructures that create some sort of
Regulatory environment, as well as, a component …
Awesome. So one of the things I wanted to talk a little bit about is
What brought you, like what started your entrepreneurial journey? So we talked about it
As the your origin stor. So every hero has one. It’s like, where you started to realize
That maybe you were different. Maybe you could change things?
Where did that start for you? Is that something that started early?
Or is it something that you know, you’ve been, you’ve just got into it
When you started this company? Like, how did how did that go for you?
So entrepreneurial, right? It’s a pretty … one. I mean, I don’t –
I think it has to be in a innately in you. So I had a company, I went on 21,
Which now I look back and think, “Oh my god!” I don’t think I knew anything.
But once again I was hoping it would grow. And I really wanted to help companies.
But I think even from a very young age, I mean, with this in particular,
I grew up in a very small part of Melbourne, Australia. I used to get home from school,
Mom and Dad were working and I’d cook dinner on Friday night.
And I would set up a pretend camera and create a cooking show and host that cooking show.
But I honestly was completely isolated. There was no camera, it was all just imagination.
And would I imagine this chute, that I could put any excess food down
And it would … off into Africa and feed people and … in my imagination.
I felt extremely isolated the area that I lived in, I thought,
“How am I ever going to escape?” “How am I ever going to escape this world?”
And bring some of the things, that are in my imagination, to life.
And I used to talk to the TV imagining that they could talk back,
But I think about now what with built with 8, if I was that little girl,
I could have my mobile phone, I could do some cooking videos,
I could get sponsored by … or whoever. And I could make social impact.
And then as I grew, I could start to have my own voice. And imagine what was beyond that.
So I think, it’s honestly, even though we’re seeing the injustice
And the desperate need for people to be economically empowered.
I think that need to the people to be able to share their voices,
and be recognized for the power that they have is always been, honestly –
So it’s something that started when you were a kid with your imagination,
And it’s taken these number of years, to get to the point where
You’ve actually built something that’s doing exactly that.
Yeah, there were famous, great companies before this.
Time, I built a company in Australia that essentially was the designed mission
Was to connect grants with consumers at scale. But we did that in a marketing framework.
And I had mostly, recently, a data company, which is what brought me to the US
Where we track ad spend, built data infrastructures inside of the major agencies
So that taught me about data, taught me about marketing, taught me about –
I build a company in China, Musical to China with Lloyd Webber
Again, seeing the gaps and trying to connect brands and people.
So all of that 30 years, really let get gave me the framework to build
What I think is desperately needed, which is a direct marketplace
For brands and consumers to get the money flowing back to people and the causes
That they care about.
That’s really fascinating. And it’s fascinating that you’ve gone.
So a lot of us take small stepping stones in entrepreneurial journey,
You built three big companies on your journey to build what you’re doing now,
Which is crazy. And, I say crazy in a good way. It’s the kind of thing that you have to have,
Where they call it the chutzpah, the the guts to do and you’ve obviously done that and used
I’ve built a couple of companies, as well, they’ve all been small,
But they, they’re each one of them is like you learn something and you move forward
Until you get to doing the thing that you really love doing that you have a passion for.
So it’s cool to see that on a large scale with a company like what you’re doing.
Thank you, the status quo, no matter how big we think these companies no matter how great,
Government, tends to move quickly enough to regulate. The brands, honestly, aren’t happy
With the status quo, they want a more transparent supply chain.
And people as people wake up to their in innate power, and actually how we’re being used
And bought and sold. The status quo can’t keep existing. So we’re here just to accelerate that
And channel it into a framework that brings value to people –
So do you think this is this is interesting, because one of the things that Apple
Has been doing is they’ve been very loudly talking about the same issue, right?
That when you buy an Apple product, you’re the customer, you’re not something we advertise to,
And they have a huge, obviously a huge multi billion person platform. Do you think that’s
Helping their message is helping you guys grow as well? Because they’re just
Because they’re shining light on that issue?
It’s really interesting. I haven’t thought about it like that, actually. But it could,
And we should probably talk about that. Well, I think let’s face it, the issues that we’re
Addressing are really global issue. … In effect, just by talking about it, does really help.
I think that a lot of the big tech companies started out with good intention.
And now they’re scrambling to work out how they keep their shareholders happy,
Who are driving for profitability, and how to keep their duties …
When I’ve been struggling with the online users to be honest.
It’s so dehumanizing. And, I think that’s a big challenge for … the company.
Because now they are pressured by shareholders.
It’s interesting because,I like the hit on that, that language piece too,
Because you see a difference. And companies that refer to the people on the platform
As users versus customers. And because it’s hitting on that same issue. That on Facebook,
You’re not their customer. You’re a user of the platform. And the, me as an advertiser,
I’m the customer, because I’m the one who pays the bills over there.
So all their decisions are made, for me for my benefit.
Exactly. And it … me to keep people like that. It’s there to use up, we bring the service,
It keeps everyone located. … then goodness, they might start demanding this.
Or they might start to want reward. And so, some of the biggest challenges are
How we keep people happy and rewarded and valued on social platforms that have made money
Off people for such a long time, and how these public companies can change
And then their business model. And that’s really why we say, We’re not going up
Against the social platform, we see ourselves as a framework that can run alongside
The social platforms, let’s put value to people as it is …
But give people back united voice and economic power in this parallel framework.
That’s awesome. So we talked a little bit about your superpowers a minute ago,
If we talked about the other side, the superpowers it’s the fatal flaw and the fatal flaws,
Superman has his kryptonite, Batman, it’s not actually a superhero. If you could look back
At what you’ve done over the years and say, “Hey, this is one of the things that’s helped me back”
What would you say it is? And how have you sort of overcome that to achieve
What you’ve achieved so far?
God, there’s so many things.
Isn’t it like that always
I think part of this is constantly putting people around you that challenge what you’re doing.
And I think any entrepreneur, it’s really see that that there is a massive problem that you’re solving.
And you know, the market is going to shift. And that the market is … and big
It’s staying true to that it’s being resilient. And that’s really tough.
It’s putting the right people around you, it’s making sure you have the right people around you.
Again, with the flaws, you probably should ask my team, I can get too obsessive.
I can talk too much sometimes when I’m just with … My husband would also say that
He always says to me every night, “How many questions did you ask in the meeting?
So, he’s really taught me, you know, constantly be asking questions, because I can get
Too obsessive about how things could be, or potential that people have within,
Either they’re not ready to step into it, or whether the world’s not ready for it.
So timing is a really big part of it. And then, I’ve always really failed at the seed fund.
In all my companies. So my first company I bootstrapped. Second company,
I had a strategic investor, third company, I bootstrapped and then got private equity.
So, in this company is we have an incredible group of impeccable people, incredible shareholders,
And investors who are world class, but I’ve never done well at the VC landscape.
And that’s the way that’s always challenged me. So I’ve often thought about how
I could have done that better. How I could have been better at telling the story
In a way that they understood. And sharing the market – people are starting to really wake up now.
But it takes, you know, we’ve invested a huge amount of money infrastructure.
And so, I think many things that I don’t think it’s one fatal flaw, I think it’s multiple flaws.
That I constantly keep in check.
So like I really liked the, you said about talking too much and not listening,
And asking enough questions. Because I know how, as entrepreneurs, this tends to be
A pretty common problem where, especially when you have a team,
Or if you’re making that transition from being a solopreneur into having a team.
You’re used to just having just the one voice and you don’t have to ask a lot of questions.
You just sort of barrel forward. So can you talk for a minute about how you’ve been
Making that change? How do you keep that forefront and realize that you have to,
Especially when you start building a team, use the team to the best of their ability,
And a lot of that is going to be, asking those questions, getting their opinion and moving,
Letting them move the business forward and not being the bottleneck, right?
Because the real issue there, is that, if you’re the one who’s doing all the talking,
You’re the bottleneck in the company.
Absolutely, and so many … is asking questions every day and powering those people
To make decisions moving forward. And then my job really is just setting the vision
and helping get stuff done, and then driving everything forward. But if you’re … really strong people,
The key roles, which takes time to get, right? So you ended up being, part head of sales,
Part head of product, part head of tech. Worked on the infrastructure until you get
The best person possible into that role, or, operation to get the best person into that role
And you can pull back more from that. That’s part of the joy of bringing a great team to life.
So, I just get really super disciplined about it. And where I say calls, I jumped in,
And then pull back. I think with any entrepreneur, you’ve got to hold that vision, constantly big,
Should I be doing prioritizing, because every second counts more with a small business,
Than anywhere. And unlike, we’ve got really massive, massive goals. We believe,
In the next four years, 30% to 40% of people under 40 will be getting sponsored in some form.
So these are massive, the market for this is absolutely –
That is humongou
-Huge. So we’re saying pepare. I’ve feel like I’ve been preparing a lot for this role.
And to create a framework to represent people at scale. So, it’s constantly working on yourself.
It’s realizing that you don’t truly know anything. And you have to be – because the market
Is changing so fast. Technology is changing so fast. But the things that stay consistent,
Are people’s behavior, people’s desire to be recognized, to be valued. Cuz I often say,
Actually, people don’t want data, I’m prepared to give up my data, because I actually
Don’t know how to sell it anyway, who would buy Sue’s data? But what I do want is,
I want anyone that wants to buy it, I want to know who they are, I want to know how it’s used.
I want to be recognized, I want to feel valued. And I want to make money and impact.
We deliver on so we kind of translate people’s data into a framework that they value.
And if we stay true to that human commitment, so that the people are getting rewarded,
Then that could only scale.
You guys are going to be a multi-billion dollar company before too long.
Well, I hope so. I mean, the goal is to, what that means, is that the people are getting the money.
Every dollar that brands shift, it means money is going into the pockets of the people.
And that really excites me, because we need frameworks that funnel that money back.
And that give people a really good side hustle that makes him feel great and valued.
And you’re going to change that economic equation where 40% of Americans
Don’t have an extra $400, you’ll create that $400 for them.
Absolutely. So that’s what we want to smash. I love the way you articulated that, actually.
Because that $400 if you spend an hour a day, once things really get rolling.
Listening an hour … with twenty minutess … You should be able to make up
By watching creating, sharing. So you’re not living paycheck to paycheck,
You’ve got a bit of a buffer, and having the fun in the process. There’s something right
About by existing and making social impact.
I like it. I like that. Thanks. So normally, we talk, one of the next questions, is your common enemy.
As an entrepreneur, what your common enemy is? And we’ve talked a little bit about that,
A lot about that on the show, so far. But it’s, removing something from someone’s life,
If you could just go in with your magic wand and remove that. It sounds to me, like,
What you’re removing, or what you wish you could remove is that idea, that people’s data
Is not valuable, or they don’t understand the value of it. And if you could go in
And just help them see that value, we’ve already covered it, basically.
But is that is that essentially what you’re looking to do?
I love the way you’re articulating things, actually. I can tell that you’re an entrepreneur.
It’s the idea that someone could just as part of their daily life, wake up and be checking
Their Instagram feed, and then check their 8 feed and see what brands want to sponsor them.
Spend a couple of minutes watching a few videos, or on their way to work, share something –
And then make money while they’re doing that. They’re making … their Spotify,
Their Netflix subscription or their or their mobile phone bill. It’s actually creating a contract to
We’re not wanting to eliminate, we’re wanting to take away a little bit of the stress,
And create that daily habit that destresses me as I wake up to my inherent value,
Because I think something but, I’m going to give protect codes, and I’m going to use an untapped term,
I think something quite magical happens. When we – someone else believes enough.
And when we know that 8 is out there fighting every day to get brands to shift dollars
To get them back into your pocket. That’s what we do. Every day now, at 8 every day.
This is something –
You’re when you’re working on transferring the ads. Bam.
That’s right. So we wake up to our power because we suddenly feel valued, by just being ourselves.
In a world where, honestly, Instagram does create that. How many likes to we have
How many, whatever stuff we have. The idea that we can be valuable just for being up.
And make impact just for being us – It is fantastic. Because it’s not forcing me into something,
That I think I should be. There’s something innately beautiful about the value
Of the human thing that we need now more than ever.
And what I think is so fascinating about what you’re doing is that you hear talk about it.
Especially in the tech spaces of the networks is the network, the power of the network grows
As more people join the network, right. And so the reason why Instagram got bought
For a billion dollars by Facebook is because of the numbers they had.
And one of the things I talked about all the time on this show, and anytime that I do teaching,
Is this idea that groups of people don’t exist, right. So if you if you look at a group,
This group of people, who use Instagram. A group, and any audience, any words that we use,
Like that, are not, a they’re not a thing. It’s the same type of word as cold, right?
So hot – cold is just a descriptor we use to describe a certain level of heat,
And groups or networks or audiences are words we use to describe sets of individuals.
And what you’re doing is you’re saying we need to stop looking at them as groups
And start looking at these networks as a set of individual human beings who have value.
And the network needs to recognize that value, and that’s what you guys are doing.
I love your articulation of that, and it is one and then the power of the united because
I think groups also don’t ever total upon these social platforms. So Facebook,
In their desire to stay neutral, some pretty heavy political and, I mean, terrorist groups
Have thrived on these platforms. So we have a point of view. And we are, are all about unite
You as an individual having your innate power and helping you feel that, but then as
The united group, because we never see Facebook pulling out to 2 billion people
To join us in doing 8. Because this thing is a very powerful in that I mean, even if we were
To look at this 800 million people on the planet today that don’t have fresh water,
Which is a terrible thing. And it would take about, cost about $30 billion to stop.
Really keep that in good … which $30 billion is about 10%
Of the total advertising ecosystem. But imagined for a minute, if there was a brand,
Coca Cola, who wanted to commit to getting everyone on the planet fresh water.
What’s exciting about that on 8, is they could sponsor people to share a video about
Coca Cola’s commitment to getting everyone fresh water, and then unite
And galvanize everyone, around that commitment which Facebook, never do.
If everyone that co sponsor, they could also make a donation to do this. So the idea
That I can be part of something not just where I’m personally making economic impact,
But I’m part of a framework that can drive real change in the world. Because Facebook,
Purposefully doesn’t ever bring us together as a humanity on the planet, and in fact have thrived
Off the of the friction and the filter bubbles and everything that exists. –
What do you call it the the echo chambers that they create for us.
Absolutely, it actually, it’s creating more barriers between us all, rather than uniting us.
So even though the economic empowerment is kind of the starting point
And fundamental right, that we-
It changes the equation too, because, as a brand,
The value is in getting the click or and getting the share.
And since the share is not inherently valuable to the person doing the sharing,
We have to do it as a marketer, you have to incentivize it with a headline,
Or with an emotion, and you have to, you have to get emotions that will get the click
That will get the share. And the ones that work are fear, and curiosity.
And there’s a specific culture that it’s creating, because the value is not in the action;
The value is in the response of the user. And that’s the way it’s being compensated.
So what you guys can do, and where I thought man, it’s super cool, is now
The value is in the actual is in the I as a brand, I can incentivize the action itself.
I don’t have to incentivize the emotion in order to get the click.
So I can actually say, I’m really interested in you sharing our Tiger bites multivitamin.
Because we actually save the life of a child with every bottle that we save.
And I don’t have to have a quick baby headline, I don’t have to have a fear tactic headline,
I can just, we have a cool product. And I’ll pay you to share it.
Because there’s the value of that action.
That’s exactly right, and when you add the social impact piece to that,
That follow it engagement, it gets very personalized, positive, impactful,
Because I know I’m happy for you that you’re getting sponsored.
And I love that product. Oh, and it’s amazing social impact. I love them even more.
It really renders the the feelings that the brand wants about their brand.
So what’s interesting to me too, is I have personal data on that from this company.
When we started doing that we were making, we went from five or six sales a day,
To 20 or 30 sales a day, when we added our branding that we were donating
To a good cause with our sales. Because it makes people feel good,
We actually started a whole campaign around it that where you shop matters.
Because it does. And depending on on who you buy from,
So for us, as a brand, it makes economic sense
To have social impact as part of the fabric of your company.
And I think during labor, really thank you for saying that there.
And big hot brands, like seventh generation Ben ‘n’Jerry are growing at double digit,
And so they’ve made it a mandatory part of their business agenda.
Because it’s not just good business, it’s really good food, bottom line results,
When really saying that just consumer response, people really demand.
I think unless it’s done for something as a brand;
Unless you’re going to sponsor the people that support you;
And have a point of view for the charity or support or cause that stand for something;
You’re going to be in a real problem,
you’re going to have real problems, having a connection with consumers.
That’s awesome. So, I think we’ve gotten through a lot of my questions on those things.
Talk a little bit about one of the things that we talked about all the time is your heroes tool belt.
And every entrepreneur has their tools they use on a regular basis.
Thor has his magical hammer. Your neighborhood police officer has his bulletproof vest
Maybe it’s just Evernote, or Trello. What is it that you use on a regular basis
That sort of allows you guys to do
And build what you’re doing building over here, we are 8.
So there’s lots of components to the tech engine, obviously the algorithm, we use,
Data storage, so all of these infrastructures allow us to provide scale infrastructure
In a brand safe, moderated way. So they’ve, data storage, video serving,
All of the technology components were architected into one framework
That become a big part of this, the authentication, the moderation of everyone, all of that,
Which enables us to scale. As well as the ability to share content out.
So there’s everything in the infrastructure. But I actually think nothing’s safe.
And even though we’re constantly looking at new technology all the time,
Nothing beats human connection. So for us, it’s actually having,
Physical things that invites the voice of the people. If you’re not utilizing the phone,
And actually calling people and talking to people, then all the technology that I really love
And then it getting locked. With all the new stuff that enable us to set sponsorships quickly.
So the videos, data storage, all of that, all the algorithm, doing the matching,
All of that we couldn’t have built 8 a without all that technology.
But it’s the older technology that are getting lost,
And yet with them, it’s using a phone to speak to someone.
You could just play a game, or go on Facebook.
I was actually talking to someone yesterday, and they said, I’ll email you that.
And I said, Can you just tell me? Cause I’m standing right here.
And let’s talk about it, because I think that all these movements towards total technology,
Solutions, we’re losing our humanity and maybe ourselves. So whilst I’m pushing the technology,
and you pushing the technology that restores our humanity,
Because we are very close to losing it.
What they make acceptable, and think is acceptable, now. I don’t-
We have we have a choice as people, right?
Are we going to continue going down this path losing our humanity?
Or are we going to make some changes on things?
That’s one of the things I love about some of the changes in technology.
Things like, we’re here on Google Hangout so we use zoom all the time at our company.
Where, how much technology has enabled the phone call
That used to be an old analog signal that got sent over wires
That was limited, and didn’t have great quality, and that kind of stuff.
Where the phone call nowadays, I don’t actually know where you are.
You sound like you’re in Australia, but you’re in New York.
Okay, so you’re in New York; I’m in California. But you know, phone calls
Can happen like this all over the world. And it’s just changed the game a little bit,
And allows us to bring some of that, face to face in humanity back at scale,
Which I think is a great way to look at technology is how can you use technology
To enhance the human connection? Instead of replace it?
That’s right. And, how can we use old technology to enhance a new connection
Which I’ve got say, as a female technology person,
I think this is where men and women working together is so powerful,
Because women do bring unique perspectives to things,
And the importance of pulling back and think, if we do that,
What is the broader outcome of that gonna be,
And how can we use it in a way that makes it for good?
That’s one of the reasons I love being married to my wife.
Because every decision I make I bring it to her first.
I’m like, hey, what am I not seeing here? Before I blow something up?
True, even with my husbad. I mean, that’s what great partnership is, right?
Absolutely, and that goes all the way down to the team you have in a marriage
To the team that you build as a company, when you actually
Get the roles filled with people that are going to help you see
From all the different angles. It’s such an important aspect of building a company,
Or building a family.
Absolutely, and that’s why we’ve been lucky enough to have a really great advisory board,
Who come at things from all different angles, and have really unique perspectives.
I think getting out of your own way, and having a very clear vision
But then constantly challenging every element of it.
So I have a question for you on that. Because I know one of the things
That I do with my business partner all the time, which frustrates my wife,
Because she doesn’t see it the same way, is we will take a take an idea,
And we’ll beat the hell out of it and argue about it, and go back and forth over something.
And we find that endlessly fascinating. But my wife is like,
I don’t know how you guys don’t hate each other. But as an entrepreneur,
It’s one of the things that you have to do. Your ideas have to stand up to scrutiny.
And especially when you have a big company or a large team
When you when you attack an idea, that’s part of the process of growing something is
With a lot of perspectives on that. How do you sort of deal with,
To make sure that the ideas can stand up to scrutiny from multiple people
And multiple angles, that has some of that built in…
The contention can feel negative to an outsider.
But it’s a positive part of that. How do you guys deal with that on the team?
To outsiders that looks like, our team, I’ve got to say, I feel very, very lucky,
Because everyone is committed to a high goal. So we really don’t have the politics
Because everyone’s committed to just delivering a great product there can be.
And everyone respects each other because they know that they’re good at this stuff.
So the arguments can really happen, automatically.
That’s the only way something can grow, if you’re constantly challenging it,
Constantly challenging the product. And then we get it to market as quickly as we can
To get the feedback from as many people
Which is one of the reasons they’re watching respond offers.
Sponsorship offer came out because we wanted to even digital content;
We wanted to get it to people really quickly to see how they reacted.
The arguments are good, Richard, as you know.
So it’s interesting, how do you create that culture where the arguments are good,
And they don’t stop progress; they enhance progress.
So that’s part of my job, and leaders’ job. So you’ve got to land a flag.
Guys, we’re going to reach a decision on this; we’re going to land a flag.
And then test it, and if we get it wrong, we will tweak because
That’s the thing, actually. Often, it’s not even the people in this government
That will have the perfect solution, will only get that feedback from
Either brand, or consumer, or people when we market.
So we’ve got to land it as best we can. And then we really-
So what’s interesting, one of one of my favorite authors,
Orson Scott Card, he wrote the Ender’s Game series. If you read his books,
At the end of every book, he has a chapter he puts together,
That is just him talking about the process of writing. And in one of his books,
I can’t remember which one it is, but he talked about how, as an author,
He never writes a complete story, he writes a portion of his story that’s completed,
When someone reads it, and intereacts with it, and it comes alive in their mind.
And I’ve always taken that back to entrepreneurship that we only ever build half a product,
And the other half of the product is put together when our customer
Or our consumer makes use of it. And so you only as an entrepreneur,
As someone who’s building and developing something new, you only can ever get halfway there,
Until you ship. And then once you ship, then you can actually develop the rest of the product
And see how it comes alive in the marketplace.
I love that, and I’m going to read that book. I love that because
I went with and then did our onboarding, we’re just in the process of doing it again,
And we’ve got a lot of really good UX people,
But it’s constant you’re evolving, refining, evolving, refining, and sharpening the message.
Particularly with something that could be, a big platform like this,
Where the people have inherent venue, we help you, monetize yourself.
That’s just sort of a big balled message that also has to be fun and engaging.
So, absolutely, constantly being refined and our audience of people.
The people that we represent, are constantly helping us refine that.
I just love how you guys are putting the value on both sides of that equation,
The advertisers and the brands have the value,
And the customers have the value and you’re looking to connect those together.
It’s super cool.
Don’t move move forward just a little bit. I’ve only got a couple more questions here
On the interview outline. And one of them is your own personal heroes.
So, you know Frodo had Gandalf. Luke had Obi Wan. Robert Kiyosaki has the rich dad.
Who were some of your heroes? Were they real life mentors? Were they speakers or authors?
Were they peers that were just a few years ahead of you? And how important were they
To you building what you’ve built?
I’m gonna sound like such a nerd. So, growing up in Australia,
On the hanging off the end of the planet. Day watching television evolve and create,
And get created. I was there, I went from a black and white television to a color television.
And I imagined speaking to the characters inside the show,
Which we can now do, effectively. So all of the technologists, the oldest school technologists
That brought things to life: Disney, Walt Disney, even the Roy Disney from a business side,
I think that’s an early stage technologist, you know, the Bill Gates story.
Bill Gates is a huge growth, not just the technology that brought to life in the company
That he built from a business perspective that his mission is commitment to impact.
Which I think is really incredible. This is gonna sound really-
So a lot of those older technology heroes, I think we’ve got the youngest Silicon Valley.
Even the original creators of PayPal. And all of those technology I really love.
This is gonna sound really daggy, but I still get very, very touched by the power of people
To make small and really large change. All the classic people
That have changed people’s lives. All the Mother Teresas, and all of these people that
Aren’t the sexy, tech-Elon Musk?
Although, Elon Musk is pretty sexy now, with all his big companies and the things that he does.
Maybe to you. I think, half the world can go to mass; I’ll stay here and work with everyone else
To make earth really healthy. Because the planet is perfectly great for us.
I admire him, but he’s not my hero. My hero are people that use technology to make a great social impact.
Didn’t he start PayPal too? I thought he started PayPal, but I could be wrong on that.
I only think of the other guys. Yeah, he probably did. So that gets credit.
Maybe that was pretty amazing. He’s just not personally one of my heroes.
So how important were some of these to what you’ve done?
Do you think their inspiration has made you do what you do?
I read a lot. So I get inspired by great economists. But we couldn’t exist if
The data storage infrastructure didn’t exist. That even helps Facebook.
It all helps each other. The social media infrastructures help people wake up.
So all the guys that started the social media framework, I actually love and I’m grateful
For that, because it’s helped people find their voices. What we’re doing is bringing that
Together in a new framework. So I have huge respect. And honestly,
Anyone that’s built anything, done anything, I have huge respect,
Because as we all know, it’s a tough path. And it’s easy to look from the outside and criticize.
But all of these things are pretty incredible, honestly.
Awesome. So, last question is the guiding principles. So I say let’s bring it home for our listeners.
What are the top one or two principles or actions you use every day in your business?
That sort of contribute to your success, that maybe you wish you had known
When you started your journey 30 years ago?
From the back, a new perspective is integrity; constantly asking questions: Are we doing
Something that has a higher purpose? And then, honestly, it’s all the basic things.
Am I getting through the basic things that are going to create a good business?
Am I reaching out to the amount of people that I should be? Am I being
The kind of leader that I want? Being thankful; being grateful; following up;
Pushing the boundaries where I can; asking the right question. I very consciously
Go through those things each day. What could I have done better?
If I ask those questions: who could I’ve been better to? What could I have done better?
Every single day I ask those questions. And there’s always answers
That always think I should have done better. But then, what am I really grateful for?
That those three gratitude things I do every morning and every night really makes me reflect
In a super positive way.
And I would imagine that as you get better and better at asking those questions,
You start to get better answers. And that really helps push yourself forward.
Absolutely. And for those that I can’t answer, I get other people who give me
That feedback, and help them.
Awesome. So that’s basically it for the interview. We do one more thing
That I do on every show, I call it the hero challenge. Hero challenge is pretty simple.
Do you have someone in your network who you think has a really great entrepreneurial story
That could come on and share their story? Who is it?
And why do you think they should come share their story?
I got so many people. Can I get back to you on that?
I’ve got so many people that I think could be good. I don’t want to name just one
Without thinking about the others.
Well, I’m open to have more than one person come on the show,
If you have more people that you think would have a good story to tell
On what it is that they’re doing or building. Because that’s really what we do, why we exist,
Is to come in and just tell the stories that don’t always get told.
Because people see the end product; they don’t see what goes into making it.
And it’s been really fascinating talking to you, and seeing, sort of behind the scenes
Of what you guys are building because it’s really cool.
Yeah, thank you from, from people that are building amazing coffee chains in New York,
To a lot of people that are making social impact. I’ve got a lot of people that could be
Really good on your show. There are some amazing people doing amazing stuff.
And I love what you’re doing by the way, Richard. Congrats. It’s really fantastic.
Thank you. I appreciate that. So thank you so much for being on the show.
We’ve been talking about this the whole time. But I want to make sure people know,
Who is you’re… Let me just two ways because you have two audiences,
Who are the ideal brands to come in working with We Are 8? And then
If we got listeners who are looking to be sponsored, what kind of people should be interested
And where can they go to get connected with We Are 8?
Thank you. So, we are on the brand side with anyone struggling with brands.
Anyone having mistreatment. There isn’t a brand. Maybe some of the fate of faith brands don’t fit.
But really every other brand can fit. And just go to the website, tap that brand, or email me through
At weareeight.com. And the consumers, just join. If you’ll put a Facebook page,
And you want to make a little bit of extra hustle money, to pay you.
Just come and join. Download the app and start accepting office.
That’s so cool. And so that’s on on the App Store. I assume it’s just we are eight for App Store, Google Play Store anywhere else.
Absolutely. Android and Apple, We Are Eight.
Awesome. That is super cool. So thank you so much for coming on and talking with us today.
This has been a really fascinating interview, especially getting to see someone
Who’s building a company with the kind of social impact that you guys are going to have.
Very fascinating. So thank you for coming on.
Thank you really a pleasure. I really appreciate you having me on, Richard.
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The HERO Show
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