Billion Dollar Ad Arbitrage: Opportunities Hidden in Plain Sight

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This is a podcast episode titled, Billion Dollar Ad Arbitrage: Opportunities Hidden in Plain Sight. The summary for this episode is: Sam Parr (@TheSamParr) and Shaan Puri (@ShaanVP) talk about surprising ad arbitrage opportunities, getting vaccinated against cancellation, new media properties, and more. ----- Links: * Outcome Health (acquired by Patient Point) * Cheddar News * @jonsteinberg * Tabs Chocolate * Tabs Chocolate TikTok ad * @Oliver_b1 * @SteveBartlettSC * Do you love MFM and want to see Sam and Shaan's smiling faces? Subscribe to our Youtube channel. * Want more insights like MFM? Check out Shaan's newsletter. ----- Show Notes: (01:26) - Current state of the economy (06:25) - Outcome Health (12:10) - Cheddar (25:20) - Tabs Chocolate (35:30) - Steve Bartlett ----- Past guests on My First Million include Rob Dyrdek, Hasan Minhaj, Balaji Srinivasan, Jake Paul, Dr. Andrew Huberman, Gary Vee, Lance Armstrong, Sophia Amoruso, Ariel Helwani, Ramit Sethi, Stanley Druckenmiller, Peter Diamandis, Dharmesh Shah, Brian Halligan, Marc Lore, Jason Calacanis, Andrew Wilkinson, Julian Shapiro, Kat Cole, Codie Sanchez, Nader Al-Naji, Steph Smith, Trung Phan, Nick Huber, Anthony Pompliano, Ben Askren, Ramon Van Meer, Brianne Kimmel, Andrew Gazdecki, Scott Belsky, Moiz Ali, Dan Held, Elaine Zelby, Michael Saylor, Ryan Begelman, Jack Butcher, Reed Duchscher, Tai Lopez, Harley Finkelstein, Alexa von Tobel, Noah Kagan, Nick Bare, Greg Isenberg, James Altucher, Randy Hetrick and more. ----- Additional episodes you might enjoy: • #224 Rob Dyrdek - How Tracking Every Second of His Life Took Rob Drydek from 0 to $405M in Exits • #209 Gary Vaynerchuk - Why NFTS Are the Future • #178 Balaji Srinivasan - Balaji on How to Fix the Media, Cloud Cities & Crypto #169 - How One Man Started 5, Billion Dollar Companies, Dan Gilbert's Empire, & Talking With Warren Buffett • ​​​​#218 - Why You Should Take a Think Week Like Bill Gates • Dave Portnoy vs The World, Extreme Body Monitoring, The Future of Apparel Retail, "How Much is Anthony Pompliano Worth?", and More • How Mr Beast Got 100M Views in Less Than 4 Days, The $25M Chrome Extension, and More
Current state of the economy
02:09 MIN
Outcome Health
03:17 MIN
03:20 MIN
Tabs Chocolate
04:45 MIN
Steve Bartlett
07:13 MIN

Shaan: All right. Let's take a quick break to talk about Success Story, a new podcast by the HubSpot Podcast Network. Success Story features Q& A sessions with successful business leaders, keynote presentations, and stuff about sales, marketing, and business. They have episodes, for example, The Dark Side of Venture Capital. Ooh, sounds interesting. Discord was built for gamers, and took the world by storm. It sure did. Listen to Success Story wherever you get your podcasts. Basically, I think he said they sold half a million dollars worth of chocolate off this ad, and within a couple weeks, or something like that. It really jumps.

Sam: Are you changing anything you're doing right now, because the economy just sucks right now?

Shaan: No. What do you mean the economy suck? You mean the stock market sucks?

Sam: The normal people economy, yeah. The economy for muggles.

Shaan: Well, I don't even think that's that. Because there's still the normal people economy is restaurants, bars, grocery stores, taxi drivers, stuff like that. Then, there's the stock market. There's Main Street, there's Wall Street, and then there's crypto LSD land. I've spent all my time in crypto LSD land, so I don't pay attention to either Main Street or Wall Street personally.

Sam: Well, my three worlds are going through craziness. Real estate, increase rates. I wonder what's going to happen in the next six to 12 months. Startups, so these startups that you and I all invested in six months ago, huge valuations. They had a lot of work to do to live up to it. And funding's now way harder to get. Just in three months. The macro environment changes in two months. And then finally, public equities are just in the shitter. This sucks, man. I feel bummed.

Shaan: Yeah. I think we both have the same guy at, whatever, Morgan Stanley or whatever, and he'll just text me and be like," Hey, tough market bubble." I'm like," Bro, I'm not even looking at this. Why are you texting me about this?" I appreciate him checking in, and making sure that everything's okay, but I don't need to be reminded. Because I don't pay attention to that anyways. I'm too knee deep in my own world.

Sam: That sucks.

Shaan: My trainer has a phrase for this. He calls it Caesar's World. You've ever heard that phrase," Leave unto Caesar what is Caesar's?" I don't know if you ever heard that, but it's basically-

Sam: No, but that's a good one.

Shaan: There's the external. It's the stuff that's, A, out of our control, and B, the world can be going crazy, that doesn't mean I need to go crazy. People are outraged about this. That doesn't mean I need to be outraged about that. And so, sometimes I'll be telling him something, and he's like," Caesar's world, bro." And I have to remember, oh yeah, I'm putting my attention and energy into something that's, A, outside of my control, and B, doesn't really matter. It doesn't actually affect me. It shouldn't be affecting my current mood, and I got to remember how to keep what's what.

Sam: No, I've gotten better, but it still sucks. I just got done speaking at a conference. You know who Neil Patel is?

Shaan: Yeah, the marketer guy.

Sam: Yeah. He was hosting a conference. Dude, I bet you that guy's just wildly wealthy, like cash wealthy, and he's been in the game forever. And do you know this Naval book? What's it called? crosstalk The Almanac.

Shaan: Yeah.

Sam: It's on Naval, but it was written by this guy named Eric. What's his last name?

Shaan: crosstalk Jorgenson. Yeah.

Sam: Dude, I saw him at the conference, and he came up to me and he goes," Hey man, what's up?" And I go," Oh, hey Eric, I read your book. You're awesome." He goes," Yeah. Nice to meet you. You're way smaller than I thought you were going to be in real life. And I was like shooked. I was like," Did you just neg me? Can I have your number?" I was immediately attracted to him.

Shaan: Yeah. How do I win your approval right now?

Sam: Yeah. I need to win your approval, Dad.

Shaan: That is my whole mission in life right now-

Sam: Dude, he just-

Shaan: to win your approval.

Sam: ...negged me so hard. And he's 6'6". Did you know that?

Shaan: Oh, that's why. Okay, gotcha. He big dogged you.

Sam: Yeah. He big dogged me hard, dude. He negged me so hard. I was like," Oh, I like that. Feisty."

Shaan: Yeah. That does happen. And when it does, it really rocks you. Because you're probably so used to hearing the opposite." Oh, you're way bigger than I thought. Oh dude, you're jacked. You're tall. You're whatever. You're amazing." And for someone to be like," Oh, are you Sam's son?"

Sam: Yeah. Just negged me just so hard. He got me. Dude, I've got one interesting topic today. What do you got?

Shaan: Let's start there.

Sam: You want to start with my thing?

Shaan: Yeah. Start with yours.

Sam: You're a 33, 34 year old guy, so you probably haven't been to the doctor in like 15 years, but...

Shaan: Accurate.

Sam: Yeah. Yeah. Men don't go to the doctors. My wife's gone, and I'm sitting here doing this podcast. I'm wearing flip flops with one foot has a sock on, and underwear that's inside out because I didn't want to do laundry. Yeah. I'm a grown child, too. But so listen, have you been to the doctor with your wife or kid, and noticed that there's these TV screens in there?

Shaan: I have. Like in the waiting room, you mean?

Sam: In the waiting room, but also in the doctor's office. In the actual medical, in the room. There's a-

Shaan: I've seen them in the waiting room, but I'm Kaiser, and those guys are cheap as hell, so they don't put them in the actual doctor's office.

Sam: Yeah. Kaiser's it's own network and hospital, so they wouldn't apply to this. But basically, if you go to most, like an independent, or a normal, non- Kaiser doctor, there's TV screens in the waiting room, there's TV screens in the hallway, and then oftentimes now, they've got TV screens in the doctor's office. And so, have you heard of this company called Outcome Health?

Shaan: I've heard of this once before. Maybe from you. No, I think actually from our buddy Ciava. And I'm just going to tell you three words I remember.$ 100 million, basically waiting room TVs, and there's an Indian dude who's the founder. Those are the three things I know about crosstalk-

Sam: Yeah. Well, you're missing the fourth word, which is fraud.

Shaan: Okay, gotcha. This was four years ago, so maybe something has come out since then.

Sam: I'm going to tell you about this business, and I actually think that it's pretty morally corrupt, but it's interesting nonetheless. And the business model's actually good and interesting, but the guy who ran this particular business sucked. Basically, it was called Outcome Health. It was started by this guy named Rishi, and he was out of Chicago, and he was this wunderkin prodigy, whatever. Raised money at a five or$ 10 billion valuation. Promised that he had, or said he had 160 million in revenue. Turns out that was nonsense. It wasn't true. And so, he got sued, and it didn't turn out well at all. But listen to what their business was. It's actually pretty, again, unethical I think, but fascinating. Basically, do you ever watch cable TV?

Shaan: Yeah, of course.

Sam: It's like all Toyota commercials and pharmaceuticals.

Shaan: Right. Back to the earlier point, Dodge Ram.

Sam: Yeah. It's like Dodge Ramed and Cialis, and that's one of the reasons is on Google, and on Facebook, and stuff like that, you can't really advertise pharmaceuticals, or at least the rules are a little bit different. And so, pharmaceutical companies are advertising like crazy on TV. Something like$ 8 billion last year spent. It's the third largest category. But they spend way more. Of the 20 million spent on pharmaceutical ads, 15 million of that is spent-

Shaan: Billion.

Sam: ...billion is spent in the doctor's office. And so, they do that by giving them free samples, by giving them those mugs, and pens, and just shit like that. Just swag. And so, this guy came up with this idea where basically he puts a TV in the doctor's office, and the TV is touch screen, and it's free for the doctor. And it does some things. They could put the person's chart on the TV, or it's interactive, and be like," All right, so your foot's broken. And if we zoom in here, it's this bone." But when you're not using it for that reason, it's an advertising thing. It shows ads. And they're not selling the ad to the consumer, because the consumer is not the one whose choice it is of what drugs are going to get prescribed, it's the doctor. And so, the pharmaceuticals go to Outcome Health, and they say," Here's the 50,000 doctors who we're trying to reach. Show me which of those you have your TV in their office, and help us reach them. And we'll pay you a lot of money for that." And theoretically, this guy was full of it. In the fourth year business, he was like," Yeah, we're making$ 160 million in ads, in pharmaceutical ads." And now, Outcome Health was eventually acquired by another company, and they're actually doing it legitly, and they're properly making over$ 100 million, and it's all from pharmaceutical ads on these freaking screens.

Shaan: What was he lying about? He lied about which doctors he had, or he lied about the revenue? They just didn't have 160 million?

Sam: J& J, Johnson and Johnson, their executives and their ad salespeople would go to these doctors, and they're like," Wait a minute, this fucking company told us that there's TVs here. I don't see a TV anywhere." And it happened dozens of times. They're like," Dude, you said that there was TVs, and our ad was being seen by this many people. It ain't happening." And so, they basically just lied. They just said that their TVs were in all of these rooms, and they just thought that no one was going to check. And so, their TVs weren't actually there. And so, but they were building Johnson and Johnson on showing their Cialis ad or whatever to, but it wasn't actually happening.

Shaan: Wow.

Sam: So, he lied. But it's-

Shaan: Also, dude-

Sam: ...pretty crazy.

Shaan: ...just put the TV there. A stupid reason to lie. Go get the TV at the doctor's office. It's not that expensive or hard to do to get a TV in a doctor's office.

Sam: I just think it's crazy though that this business model is crazy fascinating though. It is a good business model, but I think it's the whole pharmaceutical industry advertising is bullshit. You know what I mean? It's-

Shaan: Dude, someone's going to do this for... We talked to that company that was doing this on top, putting screens on top of Uber cars, so-

Sam: Which I was totally against. I thought that business wasn't going to work. Was I right or wrong? Did it work?

Shaan: I think it looked like we were wrong, because they raised a bunch of money. But again, who knows? Maybe we got a Rishi in Chicago situation again here. I don't know. But that company did pretty well. Neither of us invested in it. There's other versions of this. The question is what are these captive audiences where you can go create an ad network, right? It's like there's physical places. I don't know, high schools, colleges. Can you just go put this in every dorm in the country, and then be like," Hey, you want to reach college kids?" There's no more effective place than this. Because every three minutes, we give out a free code for a Snapple from the vending machine, and then the other two minutes are just straight ads. And so, it's like can you find captive audiences in other ways, and create a network of some highly desired person? The key would be could you somehow do this around, I don't know, stay at home moms? Probably not, because they're spread out. That's the thing with doctor's offices, there's a smaller number of them that you need to get the screens at their high value.

Sam: Well, there's this company called Cheddar. Do you remember Cheddar?

Shaan: Cheddar was basically the hustle if it focused on all the weird shit instead of just the substance, and then somehow sold for$ 200 million. That's my take on Cheddar.

Sam: You're forgetting the worst component is that it was entirely built at first on Facebook Live. Right when Facebook came out with Facebook Live, this guy named John Steinberg, who's a nice guy-

Shaan: Important guy.

Sam: ...and he's a bulldog. This guy is like Ari Gold. He sees what he wants, and he just is a missile. He just... He just captures inaudible, and he just goes straight towards it. So anyway, this guy launched this company called Cheddar, and the content was shit. And somehow, they got crosstalk-

Shaan: Well, let's explain the pitch, right? Here was this pitch, and how he raised a bunch of money from investors. He said very similar to what you said," Hey, millennials, gen Z, these guys are not trying to watch CNBC, or MSNBC," or I don't know. Whatever the finance channel is. I don't even know it. That's crosstalk-

Sam: CNBC. The pitch was CNBC only has 20, 000 concurrent viewers at any given point, but it makes a billion dollars a year.

Shaan: Right. And they're all on Medicare. It's like, okay, so how do you get gen Z, millennials? They're not going to watch that. What are they going to watch? And he's like," Social media. Social media, right?" And all the VCs nod their head. He's like," You have a teenager. Do they watch CNBC, or do they watch social media?" And everyone's like," Social media." He's like," And guess what? They now have live video. Facebook is live video. Twitter has live video. YouTube has live video. We're going to create CNBC on social media." And they basically created a 24/7 TV show that was business news that would just be streaming all day onto Facebook Live, onto Twitter Live, onto YouTube Live, onto all these different platforms. It was John and his cohost-

Sam: Which that in itself is amazing. Building 24 hour-

Shaan: Dude, 24/7 is crazy. 24/7's crazy.

Sam: That is amazing that he could even pull it off. But there was one factor that he screwed up on, which is no one wanted to watch-

Shaan: No one watched it. Yeah. Everyone just rolled right past it.

Sam: Yeah. And so, he executed a bad premise wonderfully.

Shaan: Yeah. 10 out of 10 hustle, two out of 10 idea. Because guess what happens on social media? You don't stop and watch live video for 40 minutes. That's just not what happens on most social media, and so it just didn't really work. And you're right, and 24/ 7, it was kind of boring, because this is just not 24/7 worth of interestingness when it comes to that stuff.

Sam: And he raised money, I think he raised 40 million, and somehow a cable company bought it for$ 200 million. And he told me, I met with him, and he told me one time, he was like," Yeah. So, I'm going to start this company, and in two years, I'm probably going to sell it for two or$ 300 million." He just told me. And he just called his shot, and he's a bulldog, and he nailed it. He's an unstoppable force, and he pulled it off. But now, what they do is if you go to a gas station... You don't even go to gas stations anymore, do you?

Shaan: No, dude. Dude, I pump my own gas. Yes, I do.

Sam: You'll see Cheddar all on their little screens.

Shaan: That's right.

Sam: And so, they're owning this weird market of people who want to play Jeopardy while they're pumping their gas. It's like Snapple facts while you're doing your gas. They've got the gas market.

Shaan: Well, who was it that we... Didn't we meet somebody? I think maybe it was just me. I met somebody recently who was like," Yeah. You know at a gas station, those screens? I own the ad inventory in these three cities. I'm the main guy. How do you think I should sell these ads?" He's like," That's what I own. I own this inventory." And I was like-

Sam: Was it making money?

Shaan: I'm sure he was doing okay, but he was like," What would you do?" And I was like," Well, the people who want this ad is the local businesses." Right? Because you can actually send them local foot traffic better than a Facebook, or a Google, or these scaled, easy to use ad platforms can.

Sam: Dude, selling local ads is the worst though. There's-

Shaan: It's so hard.

Sam: ...these San Francisco based... I remember I had a couple San Francisco based Yelp friends, and they were like... Have you seen that scene in the Get Rich or Die Trying with 50 Cent where he's selling drugs, and one guy goes up to one of the drug dealers, and tries to buy some crack, but with quarters of nickels. And the drug dealer smacks it out of his hand, and 50 goes," Hey man, come here. I'll take it." And it was like," See how hard I hustle. I was willing to take the change." And Yelp is that version of ad salespeople. They would find a pie shop, and sell a$ 400 ad. You know what I mean? And they were just grinding to get that done.

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Sam: Yeah, dude, and it's a racket. And that's what-

Shaan: Put grandma on the phone. Put her on the phone." Grandma, stop making pie. We got a problem on Yelp. You got to pay."

Sam: They're basically like the mob. Do you want protection? And then, when they do something bad, if they-

Shaan: Like from what? From us. Jesus Christ, Yelp.

Sam: They are like a mob, yeah.

Shaan: Totally, totally.

Sam: It is crazy. And so, those local ads suck, man. I've got friends who want to start local ads or local newsletters, and I'm like," Yeah, you're going to get tons of eyeballs." The problem is monetizing that sucks, man. You got to deal with Bob's Stakes and Chops down the street. And he's like," Well, I'll give you 30 pounds of filet mignon..." It's just hard.

Shaan: Dude, by the way, I cut this great deal for Milk Road. I was like, okay, what's our fill rate? I think our ad fill rate was 75%, or something last month. And I was like-

Sam: What was it? It was 75%?

Shaan: Yeah, and I was like," Ben, what-"

Sam: Damn, that's pretty good.

Shaan: I was like,"What do we do with this other 25%?" And he's like," Dude," he's like," we actually got hit up by a couple brands that you have said you liked on the podcast," and he's like," They were just like,'Yo, we'll take any ad that you don't have that day, but we'll take it at 40% of the list price, and I'm going to give it to you in store credit.'" It was the worst deal. It's like I'm getting shook down by Yelp here, but I was also like," I love that product, so yeah, let's do it." And so, I have, right in front of my front door right now, I have pallets of FITAID, because I just ran a FITAID ad for them. And it's like," Oh, here's$ 2, 000 of FITAID in exchange for that ad. Thank you so much." And so, I'm like all right, great. My gym has energy drinks for the year, and it's done.

Sam: That's actually pretty smart. And it's really smart on their part. It's very-

Shaan: It's smart on their part. And Ben was like," Yo, tell me the five or six products you love the most." He's like," I'm doing mine, too." And we'll give sweetheart deals to all these companies. If we actually want their free product, if we really want their free product, this is a great way to do it. And he's like," It's a great deal for them, too. They just get this ad hoc remnant inventory."

Sam: I told you this off air, but when the hustle started, in order to get advertisers, did you notice that when you started Milk Road, when you started having ads, you would get more people emailing you asking to advertise?

Shaan: Oh yeah. Exactly, yes.

Sam: And so, I noticed that early on, I was like, or I didn't notice it, I guessed, I was like if we put ads in there, we're going to get more ads. And so, I was like, well, what's the most famous brands of people who everyone knows of, but hopefully their employees don't read the hustle. And so, in the early stages, it'd be the hustle brought to you by Ford. And I had never talked to anyone in my life. I just put their logo in there, and said I was sponsored by them. And I remember... Hopefully, Ford, you guys, I'm sorry, but basically-

Shaan: Hopefully they still don't listen.

Sam: Yeah. Hopefully, I love Ford. I had an F- 150. I love Ford, but basically that's illegal. You can't do that. And I didn't know that it was illegal. I was like," Oh, just put Microsoft in here. Put Ford." Whatever, who cares.

Shaan: It seems right. It's like, hey, a free ad for them, right? I'm giving them something.

Sam: Yeah. And I would put that in there, and then immediately there, someone would email me. And then eventually, I noticed that if I put a brand's ad in there, their competitors would call me to advertise. And this one, I'm not going to say, but I would put in certain tech brands. I'm like," Dude, this company X has a really big ad budget, but they're not emailing me. Let's go and advertise Y," which is their direct competitor, and put them in there, and then immediately after. And then sometimes, what I would do is I would only put that particular ad in the email that was going to that company. Because with email newsletters, you can be like," Oh wow, there's eight people that have an @ uber. com email. Let's send an email with a message just to them.

Shaan: Lyft. Yeah, here's a Lyft takeover email for them. inaudible.

Sam: I'm like a mini Rishi, a little mini outcome health here, but yeah. I-

Shaan: But by the way, that's counterintuitive that, oh, if I put ads, that's actually the easiest way to sell more ads. And then, being fake it until you make it, I think that's the startup way. There is a line. I personally don't think you crossed it. I did-

Sam: No, I don't think either.

Shaan: With the podcast, by the way, it was the same thing. Somebody was like,"Yo..." It's like I had this conversation on the way, somebody was like," Oh, dude, love the podcast," and they were like," How much you make it on that?" And I was like,"Not really making much here. I do this for fun." But then it ate at me, and during my Uber ride to the thing, and I was like," Okay, I'm going to get an ad. It was the first or second podcast. Maybe third podcast. I was like," I'm going to get a sponsor." I was like," Okay. Do I really want to go do outreach to sponsors? No way." I was like, I just in the middle of the podcast episode, I go," And by the way, today's episode is brought to you by no one. No one sponsored today's episode." I made it a joke, and I was like," But think about it, you could have me right here explaining your product. I could be like,'Wow, it does this.'" And I just did this fake ad read for nothing, and I just, whatever, I just did that. Dude, the next day, I got so many... As soon as that episode released, we got our first three sponsors just from that brought to you by nobody ad. And so, I was like," Oh, that was the hack for ad sales was just to embarrass myself a little bit on the pod."

Sam: Well, and the reason it works, and this is something that I learned along the way, was a good marketer is a shark. And what they do is they spend most of their time seeking out underpriced, new platforms, and new places to advertise. The way that marketing typically works is you find one thing that works, you spend all the money, and you crush and destroy it, and you strangle it, and then you go," All right. That's exhausted. Move on. Next." And so, you are constantly seeking out-

Shaan: Or you forgot the middle step. Then, you go tell everybody about how this ad channel is crushing for you. You get well known. You sell a course on that. Meanwhile, you've moved on to the next channel that is not saturated, and you go do that, and then you're silent until that one stops being fruitful.

Sam: Exactly.

Shaan: Or you do the same thing. You sell the course, you talk about it, and then you move on again.

Sam: Then, you do the same thing. And so, whenever you see a new podcast that you think has potential, or you see a newsletter, or TikTok ads were a good example. They're probably going to crush once they open it up, which they are. And that's how marketers work. And the smart marketers early on would approach me, and they go," Hey, can we just buy it out for the year?" And at the time, I was like," Yeah, definitely. I'm poor. I need everything." And then, I realize, oh no, that's stupid because we're going to grow a lot, and I know what they're doing, and they're smart.

Shaan: Right. Did I send you this TikTok ad for Tabs Chocolate?

Sam: I don't know. You've been sending me all these messages. I didn't realize it until two nights ago that I even had an inbox on TikTok.

Shaan: All right. I'm going to show you what I think is the best ad I've seen in, I don't want to say my whole life, but I can't really think of a better ad. I'm just going to give this guy mad props about this ad. Okay.

Sam: This company, Riverside, just raised 40... Right now, Sean and I are using this podcast thing called Riverside. They just raised$ 40 million, so it better work.

Shaan: Wow. Go watch that TikTok. Let's watch this TikTok. Tell me this is not the best ad you've ever seen, and I'll break down why.

Sam: Get it. That was a good ad.

Shaan: Okay. First, explain what it is. For somebody who's not watching the YouTube channel, they're not crosstalk-

Sam: There's this attractive 19 year old, right? Or 21 year old woman, and-

Shaan: Right? I don't know, dude. I'm not that precise with it. inaudible.

Sam: I don't know. A college age to young adult person.

Shaan: And by the way, attractive, but doesn't look like crosstalk-

Sam: Next girl attractive.

Shaan: ...inaudible photo shoot. It's girl next door attractive.

Sam: Yeah. And she says," Y'all, let me put you on, and this is a special chocolate that will change your love life. Seriously." It shows her and her boyfriend each taking a tab of the chocolate, and then it shows her, again, with her hair, having sex hair, like it's implying that she just had sex.

Shaan: Right. And then, it just says," It works," at the end of it. And okay, so this ad has 650, 000 likes, went viral. It got featured in Vice, and a bunch of other places because the brilliance of this. Why is this ad brilliant? First, the hook. The first hook is her, she's got her hand covering her face partially, which is with the," Oh my God," and then it says," Y'all-"

Sam: But it's real. This is a real thing.

Shaan: I think he created this ad. This wasn't-

Sam: No. What I mean is it doesn't look like a highly produced thing. It literally just looks like a woman crosstalk doing a selfie.

Shaan: Her holding her phone. Yeah.

Sam: Yep.

Shaan: She's holding her phone. Okay. And then, there's, whatever, a viral song right after that, and it looks like she's saying," Oh my God, let me tell you something." And then, it zooms in on her eyes, and she's just moving her eyes in that way of that mischievous thing. And then, the next scene is it shows the packaging, but there's also a little, there's another thing on the table, so it doesn't, again, it doesn't scream ad at you, right? It's not this beautifully... A normal marketer would say," Well, get this candle that you have out of here. That's confusing." And she's like," No. Make it look like a desk, and then put the packaging of the product." And it says," This'special' chocolate will change your love life... Seriously." Okay. No, I'm intrigued. It zooms in on it, and then it goes, it shows the guy and the girl each breaking off a piece, half and half of the thing. So A, that looks fun to do. And then, it doesn't tell you anything about it, except for it goes to her with the disheveled hair, the JBF hair, as they used to say in college, if you know what that stands for. And then, it just says," It works," with the shocked face." And then, it's, again, her looking around like," Oh my God."

Sam: Dude, what is-

Shaan: Okay. So...

Sam: I actually don't know. What does JBF mean? I didn't go to a cool...

Shaan: Just been effed.

Sam: Ah.

Shaan: Basically, why is this amazing? This is amazing because to me, the best ads have three components. They have the hook, which is just a thing to draw you in to even get you to pay attention, which is in her case the her with the hand over face. The second thing it has is the promise. It has the promise that gets me curious. And in this case, it's," This'special' chocolate will change your love life... Seriously." And then, it skips to the end, right? I move straight to the end. It has the implication of it working. It doesn't tell you how it works, why it works, what it does exactly, it's just the end state. Takes you straight to the happy ending of," This is life if you use our product." And most people don't know how to do a hook. Usually, they get how to do a promise, and then very rarely do people know how to use the implication, which is this is if this works, here's what happens to your life. You just show the ending, and people just want to get into that crosstalk-

Sam: What's inaudible?

Shaan: And so, they put two and two together about how this might work, and they want to click to learn more. That's why to me, this is an amazing ad.

Sam: And this is called Tab Chocolate. If you look at the rest of their TikToks, they're all doing the same thing. It's all you and your husband when you first get married, and it's them wanting to have sex. And then, it's like 10 years after marriage, and it's the wife trying to be sexy, and the husband ignores her. And then, they show," Now, here's you with Tab," and it shows them wanting to have sex. An easy thing to advertise for, well, kind of easy, but what's this company about? Are they killing it?

Shaan: Yeah. They basically are a B2C company. I want to give the founder a shout out. I think his name is Oliver. I want to say Oliver. Let me see.

Sam: And what's in this chocolate? What makes you horny? I don't even know.

Shaan: Dude, I don't know. Probably nothing. Doesn't matter. Yeah, this guy, Oliver... I see this guy Oliver on Twitter. He's young. I think this guy's 21. I think they said they sold half a million dollars-

Sam: What does he know about this then?

Shaan: Broke out his first wood, and just decided to create a product.

Sam: He's still on his first one. Well, you're 21. Things work great.

Shaan: Yeah. Why do you need this? But basically, I think he said they sold half a million dollars worth of chocolate off this ad, and within a couple weeks, or something like that. It really jumps inaudible.

Sam: Is it a bootstrap company? Just tab. com would cost half a million dollars. He has tab. com, right?

Shaan: One of the guys, Jake, his thing says freshman at University of Michigan, which is just insane. And then-

Sam: Is that true?

Shaan: Let me find this other guy. Oliver.

Sam: There's no way. Do you think it's founded by-

Shaan: By the way, this guy, I'm going to send you this guy's Twitter, which is just hilarious, first of all. This guy's handle is Oliver_B1, or something like that. Maybe two underscores. But his name is Oliver B. There's a slash," I sell sex chocolate." That's his name on Twitter. Then, he's got his photo, which is him with his bros, and yeah, he's been tweeting out how it's been doing. They did$73, 000 this week. He's like," I have this army of user generated content creators." He's like," I basically have..." I think he's got an army of 20 creators, and he'll pay them between$ 500 and$3,000. And then, they make 30 videos. They make 30 videos a month, or something like that.

Sam: He's being a little loose with that word army. Maybe a gaggle. He's got a gaggle of...

Shaan: He got a supper party.

Sam: Yeah. He's got a full NHL team of...

Shaan: He's got half a classroom.

Sam: He'll have a good touch football game worth of creators. I don't know about army. inaudible 20.

Shaan: But honestly, this guy knows more about marketing than half of the marketing gurus that you see on social media. Just go look at this guy's content. No, I think they're boot strapped. I don't know. I don't know much about that. I'm making up half of this stuff as I'm going along here, but I know enough that that's an amazing ad. These guys are young. These guys understand marketing at a pretty deep level, especially on new channels like TikTok, and that they've done a pretty decent amount of sales. But I was looking at his, he had said something, he was bragging about his row ads, or something like that, and it actually that part wasn't super impressive. I didn't understand why he was bragging about that.

Sam: This is an interesting topic of basically inaudible trying to reach a young audience, or you're trying to look cool, then you go and you hire a young, cool person, and you're like," Make us look cool." Which is one of two things might happen. One, they think that they're trying to make something that just can't be cool, cool, and they inaudible like," Dude, it's really hard to make this particular software thing. inaudible Who cares if you're not cool?"

Shaan: What is it? Hey fellow kids.

Sam: Yeah. Yeah. Hey fellow kids. That's what it's like. And so, it's like, dude, it's just not that neat. Or the second thing they do is they end up being just totally douchy, and it's like they make jokes like Elon Musk, where he makes a 420 joke. It's like inaudible. Have you hired any kids for that reason, and what was the outcome?

Shaan: Yeah. The best example was when I hired Steve Bartlet, and he's gone on to do some amazing things. We've talked about him before. If you don't know, he basically ended up creating a marketing, whatever, a marketing company, marketing agency that did over$ 100 million in revenue. It ended up merging with a company, went public. He's a dragon on Dragons Den. He's got a real popular podcast, and a bunch of stuff. To me, he's the young black Gary V. That's the best description I can have of him.

Sam: And you think he's totally the real deal?

Shaan: Yeah, he's the real deal. He's the real deal in the sense that... I don't know. In the same way that we were," Dude, Gary V's awesome." Does he put on for the camera? Of course. That's the game. Is VaynerMedia the best business I've ever seen? No, it's not the best, but it's still a business that works, and is at scale. Real deal can mean a bunch of things, but I think Steve's the real deal in all of those terms. Meaning I've seen his talent firsthand. He's really super talented. I recruited him from the UK. He flew over, he lived with us, and worked with us in San Francisco. And then after that, he basically went and spun out his marketing agency, and that's how he got his start. And my whole thinking was like this guy gets social media. He's a hustler. And if we're going to build these social apps, we need somebody who, A, they're not an engineer neck beard who's like," Oh yeah people want to share photo galleries. Because why would I not want to share 128 photos instead of one? That's more." And it's like," No, dude. People don't want to share 128. They want one disappearing photo actually, because I'm trying to send something inappropriate to my friend. I don't want this permanent record," right? There's a big difference of how an engineer will build a social product versus how somebody who's social will build the social product. And so, I wanted to have basically somebody who was young, who was a user of every social platform to be like," Hey. Dude, just shit test some of these ideas, and be like is this good or is this not good?" And then secondly, when we have something good, be able to like, blast it, promote it on social in a way that's not cringe. And he did that. And so, we were like, all right, let me give you an example. At the time, he had this network of pages. He was like," Look, I either own or know the owners of these Twitter accounts that have together, whatever, 50 million followers. When we're ready to launch, we'll post it there." And I was like,"Great." And so again, the engineers were like," All right, we're ready." And so, my brain went to like," Cool. On all these accounts, post,'Hey, love this new app. It lets you do X, Y, Z. And I love this new app, Bebo. It lets you do blank, blank, and blank.'" And then, the engineer's like," Oh, and make sure we can track the attribution." We're going to use this URL with this UTM parameter, and they give me this URL that's 9, 000 characters long. It looks ugly as hell, but it's super trackable. They're like," Look at this in the dashboard. We know exactly who clicked, and which tweet," and all this stuff. And then, Steve was like," All right. Thanks for the suggestions, but not using that link. In fact, not using any link, because nobody's posting a link, and nobody posts links on Twitter." And we're like," What? Then, how will they go download the app?" He's like," They'll go download it if they hear about it a bunch, and they feel like they're missing out." And I was like," Yeah, but that's more work." He's like," Yeah. But again, they're going to feel like they're missing out. Not that they're being sold to." And then, he's like,"And we're also not going to tweet,'Hey, check out the new Bebo app. It has these features.'" He's like," We're going to tweet out memes like,'My teacher, when she hears about Bebo for the 50th time today,'" and it's a GIF of a teacher throwing a phone out this class window, and shattering the window. Or MFW, my face when, or my feeling when I see Bebo trending on Twitter after 10 years. And I was like," But that sounds bad for us, right? They're annoyed at us?" He's like," Yeah. Get it? It's like they're annoyed because they've been hearing about it so much." And so, somebody who's not hearing about it is going to be like," Oh, shit. I'm out of the loop. What is this?" And they're going to go Google it and find it. And I was like," Nah. This is stupid." Guess what? We did it his way, we launched, we hit number one on the app store charts. Hit I don't know how many... I think we hit 250,000 downloads in the first month or something like that. Something crazy, and yeah, it was insane. And we spent$ 0. It was awesome.

Sam: How did you get those influencers?

Shaan: Steve owned a bunch of them. Me hiring Steve was like me getting to use Steve's assets. And then, because he had clout in the social meme world of the people who own these pages, he pulled a favor and was like,"Yo, post this on this day. We're going to get this to trend. I need this." He was a 21 year old trying to prove himself, he's like,"Yo, I need you to do me a favor here. Put this thing up here." Maybe we paid, I don't know, a few thousand dollars total, but nothing. To get hundreds of thousands of downloads, and number one rank of the overall app store charts. And we did that-

Sam: Was he a pain in the ass to employee though?

Shaan: No, no. He wasn't a pain in the ass, but let me tell you first why I knew we needed to hire Steve. We were building this app, and we were like, all right, this social app definitely leans towards this younger audience. And we're like," All right. We got to be in touch with high schoolers basically." I told Jason and Tyler, I was like," Guys, we need to be able to pitch our app to high schoolers, and see what they think about it." And I was like," All right. Well, how the hell are we going to do that?" First, they were coming up with all these schemes, and I was like," Guys," I came to visit him an hour later, and I was like,"All right. What's the plan? How many high schoolers you got?" They're like," None." We're coming up with a PowerPoint deck on how we're going to do this, or something like that. They're coming up with a plan. And I was like," All right. Let me put it differently to you guys. Here's a better question. In the next hour, how can I show our app to two high schoolers? Let's go make that happen." And they're like," Okay. All right." And they got it. They got what I was looking for. They first were like,"All right. My nephew's on the line." We got the two, and I was like,"Great. How do we get 20 high schoolers now in the next hour?" And they're like," Okay. There's a bunch of high schoolers over here at the mall near our office." They went over there with a sign that said," Test our app. Get a free burrito," and they got immediately 20 people. And they're like,"Okay, that was cool," but there was only 20 people there. It's like how are we going to do this regularly? And so, we found a high school nearby, and so we went over there. First, they started the same thing. They had a sign outside," Free burrito if you try our app," and people were signing up like crazy." We didn't have burritos, by the way. It was just a promise. We're like,"I don't know. We'll figure out how to get you a burrito later." And then, so we got a bunch of people to try it out, and then a teacher came out and was like," Hey guys, what's going on here?" They were like," Oh, sorry, sorry, sorry. We're not creeps. We're trying to get beta testers for our app. Do you know what that word means?" And they were like," Oh, cool. You're a startup?" And they were like," Come on in." And they invited us to come speak. They're like," Hey, you can just take over my class for the day. I'll just sit down, and play Sudoku, and you just teach my kids about startups." And we're like-

Sam: This sounds like the most naive, trusting teacher, to a fault.

Shaan: It was. It definitely was.

Sam: "Oh, are you a little kid lover? Great. Come on in. You must love kids so much, you build apps for them. You're a little kid lover."

Shaan: It was definitely worrisome why it was so easy. But literally, that's what happened. For seven hours straight that day, a class would come in, 50 kids. We would teach them about startups for 15 minutes, and then we would pitch them our app for 15 minutes, and then we'd be like," Next." But just by doing that, take basically 30 kids per class, times seven, we're getting 210 kids a day in the same school to download our app so that all their friends were on the app. It was this great way to take over a high school in a day, and see if it goes viral once we get that seed community. But in one of them, so the first day, we go and it's me and Jason. I'm like," Dude, it's cool. I'm cool." Then, I was like, I start talking, I am like," Yeah, that's tight," and they start giggling, and I'm like," Oh, shit. Tight was a cool word when I was in high school." I was like," It's lit. It's super lit," and I was already outed as not cool by saying tight. And so, I got humbled big time. I'm realizing. And by the way, if you go talk to a high school class, they just don't give a shit. They don't pay attention. They'll just be straight talking to somebody else while you're talking, and you can't control them at all. And so, I was like,"Oh, man. This teaching is so hard." And so, I'm like," Okay, whatever. Let's skip to the end. Let's skip to the part where we test our app." So, I was like,"All right. You guys want to see our app?" And they were like nobody says anything. I'm like," Okay. The first person who downloads our app, you get candy from this bull." And they're like," All right. What's the app?" And they're like," What's the name of it?" I was like," Oh, it's not in the app store yet. It's on TestFlight." And I could just feel the blood draining from my body as I said that. I was like," What the fuck were we thinking?" And then, I was like-

Sam: You weren't.

Shaan: I was like,"I'm going to put the link up here on the projector. Just type that in, and it'll take you to the thing." And this kid in the back, no joke, he goes," Links are gay." Dude, I was so embarrassed, and I just wrecked, and I started laughing so hard. I couldn't stop laughing. And literally at the office from there on out, we were like," Hey, HR, we don't mean this in a bad way, but it's the funniest thing that just happened. The whole company is in on this joke." And so, anytime somebody was like," Yo, send me the link in Slack," and somebody else would be like," Links are gay," because it was the most, like you thought you got negged, I got straight bitch slapped by this 13 year old, and it was unbelievable. It was unbelievable. By the way, the other thing, every high school kid has just a cracked screen. None of them have a phone that has the screen intact. They all got cracked screens.

Sam: You know what I think about every once in a while? Do you remember this company called Chubbies?

Shaan: Yeah.

Sam: Basically, they made short shorts. And they were great guys, but their customers were just bros. Like hard chadbrochill. The hardest bros you can think of. And which is that's fine, but I don't want to bee 40 years old, and having to make ads about summer and spring break. You know what I mean? I don't relate to that at all. At least I don't if I'm 40. And it's like the bar stool guys, it's like, man, you're losing your hair. You still you want to be doing these beer bongs? And I think about to build a social app, or even other products like Chubbies in that space, and to be a grown adult doing it, if that doesn't work, it's super embarrassing.

Shaan: I thought you were going with some highly intellectual-

Sam: No.

Shaan: ...conclusion here, and it was just you basically were like," Yeah, you're a loser," when it crosstalk-

Sam: It's just embarrassing, man.

Shaan: It is. It totally is.

Sam: It's cool because TikTok worked, but imagine a bunch of... I think the guy who started TikTok or whatever, what's it called, Bit? The owner of TikTok. I forget what it's called. Bitnami, or what's this crosstalk-

Shaan: ByteDance.

Sam: ByteDance. This 43 year old Chinese guy trying to make products for-

Shaan: But it worked, dude. It did.

Sam: ...American girls, young 14 year old American girls. It's like, yeah, it's cool because it worked, but man, this could've gone either way. And that's scary to me. Not scary, but that's-

Shaan: inaudible another one. After that app, so we go through that process. I get humiliated. I'm like," Oh my God." I go back to the team, I'm like," We are so far disconnected from our customer. We thought we could go in there, teach them about startups as if they give a shit, and then tell them to download our TestFlight app from a link?" And we all heard how that went down. Okay. I got basically like, I was like a character in South Park that day. I got owned, and then I was like,"All right. Well, let's..." We pivot, and we try this other app that the idea was, it ended up being what House Party was. Us and House Party at the same time, it was an app where it's like," Ah, I don't want to call somebody, but I'm down to hang out if somebody else happened to be free at the same time." And so, it was this app where you could just say if you're available. And if other people are, too, you can just get into more of a spontaneous conversation, versus the phone call where it's like," Dude, what do you need from me?" But I was like, well, so they made the app, they made the prototype real quick. Engineers are great, again. And then, the front screen, they're like," Hey, we need some text for this. Because right now, it just says," Push to begin," or," Initiate." And I was like," Oh no." We don't want to write," Initiate." That's not going to work. Again, teenagers, they don't like links. What do they like to do? Netflix and chill? And so, I was like," Oh, just make it like a swipe, like Tinder." It just said," Swipe to chill," and literally, the first version said," Swipe to chill," and we had one guy, Johnny Dows, working for us, and he was a teenager, so he was a 16 year old programmer, and he saw," Swipe to chill," and you could just see him being like," Do I have to share this with my friends? Can you guys inaudible with other people before I send this to my friends? Because it says swipe to chill on the front, and that's not a thing people say or do." It was all bad, dude.

Sam: That's inaudible.

Shaan: Okay. Then, let me tell you Steve Bartlet story. All right. I'm like," We need some young blood in this office." Steve Bartlet cold emails me. Great cold email. I'm like," This guy's awesome." Fly him and his buddy out, and we're like," You guys work for us now. You're our youth department." And-

Sam: How did they stay in America?

Shaan: There was no visa. Now, theirs is not a tourist thing. They came, they could stay for three months at a time, and then they would go back, and they would come again.

Sam: And did they live at the office?

Shaan: We got them a hotel, but it was like they were staying for a while, so we were like,"All right. Just stay at the office," because there's an apartment built in. And just, I don't know, make it work.

Sam: Dude-

Shaan: But... Yeah, go ahead.

Sam: ...did you ever think, what did Steve tell his parents? Can you imagine 20 year old or 19 year old you, and explaining what's going to happen?

Shaan: Yeah. I would've been like," This is awesome." And I knew Steve was wired like that, so he was also like,"This is awesome." He didn't bother telling his parents. He was living his life. He thought this was great. Steve's there, and if you remember, our office in San Francisco is a baller pad. Steve basically went from living in a dump, in a tiny... He was a college dropout in the UK, and making no money, to he comes to the US, and now he's living in this baller pad that has a bar built into it, a private chef, all these perks. It just looks like it's designed straight out of some British magazine, and Steve would take advantage of that. He was living there, and so people would leave the office 6:00, 7: 00 PM, and then what he would do is he would go, and he didn't invite friends over. He was on Tinder. Tinder was active. And so, we would come into the office in the morning, and I remember one day I came in, and some girl was leaving, doing the walk of shame, holding her heels in her hand, walking out. And we had women working in the office who were like," Who's this girl? And why is she hungover, leaving the bedroom in the office? What's going on here?" And then, Steve would come down, he'd be like, and he was proud of himself in a way, he's like," Dude, I'm winning at life." And so, that was a little bit of a problem. And then, I remember the crosstalk-

Sam: What did you say to him? Like," Hey, yes, you are living here, but you can't live here."

Shaan: Yeah. I think I told him once, but I remember just even in the conversation, it was like," Ah, man. He feels like he's in the principal's office, and I feel like the principal." And I could tell this is lame, because he wasn't doing anything out of any malice, right? It would just be like they'd be hanging out, drinking at the bar we have in our office, but they would leave the bars sticky, and with beers, and everything. They didn't know to just some professionalism stuff. It's a Tuesday night. Let me just at least make this look like we weren't here drinking and hanging out all night, and playing the music, and the neighbors get a noise complaint, and stuff like that, right? Nothing harmful, nothing bad, just slightly annoying to people who felt like they were parenting them in the morning when they came in. And I remember one time, the funniest one, and the one where I was like,"This is just not working out," or I was talking to our office manager, and I was like," I promised I'd talk to Steve. They're not going to play the music too loud, and they'll clean up the beers," or whatever. And that happened one day, and then the next day, no beers, no loud music. It was all good. And then, she opened up the supply closet to get some new pencils and sticky notes for the meeting we had, the board meeting we had, and just a giant pizza box fell out, and she was like," Why would you put a pizza in this closet? Just throw the pizza in the trash." And she was like," These kids. I can't do this, Sean. I can't do this." And I was like,"All right."

Sam: Did you fire him?

Shaan: No, no, no. I didn't fire him, but I knew in my head, I was like, you know what? Birds got to fly. I was like these guys, they're talented. They need to do their own thing. Them conforming into our office set up, and it's just not a fit. They don't need to run these meetings, these daily standup meetings with the engineers. It's like that's not their skill set. That's not what they need to do. They're good at taking something that's dope, and making it pop in the market, and they just need to do that. And then basically, that's what their marketing agent did. They would just find cool brands to work with, and they would figure out how to tell that story, and make it big, and trend in social media. And it turns out they were great at that, and they went and made hundreds of millions of dollars doing that. And so, that was a successful outcome, but I knew in my head, I was like, all right, there's these advantages when you bring in these non- domesticated cats, and they're going to be real with you about the market, they're going to have fresh ideas, they're going to be good at playing the social media game, but they're not going to be the best at running this agile software meeting. They don't need to be product managers, they need to be out and about.

Sam: I remember I read a profile about him when he was still pretty young, and it was working, and it was Buzzfeed or something. I think it was Buzzfeed. And he must've been only 23 or 24. And they were like basically the office has a slide in there, and it was everything young.

Shaan: Yep. Had a ball pit, like a McDonald's play place.

Sam: And he was like they've got 40 employees here. And I asked him how much each person's getting paid, and it was$25, 000 a year. It was nothing. But they love it because it's the first time a 21 year old is able to be the head of HR, and just figure out stuff as she went. And I was like,"Oh my God."

Shaan: Well, I don't know about those numbers, but I do remember at one point, it was like they had 23 employees, and I think 22 of them were under the age of 22. It was all 21 year olds, and that was the Vice article, or the, whatever, Vox article, or whatever it was. It was just like," Meet the 21 year olds who are running the internet right now." And it was true. They owned all of the popular Instagram and Twitter accounts in Europe, and so they just had crazy ability to influence the market, and they had the right people to do it, right? That's who knew how to build those pages.

Sam: And that was the business? The business was brands who would pay to advertise on those Twitter and Instagram panels?

Shaan: Initially, that's how we used it. And that was a part of it. We created this idea the thunder clap, which was getting all those pages on the same day to be talking about your brand, and crosstalk-

Sam: You came up with that name?

Shaan: I remember saying it, but I think other people use that term. I don't think-

Sam: That's a good term.

Shaan: In my head, I invented it, but I'm sure I heard it somewhere. I'm sure. But the thing what they were doing was then a brand would be like," Hey, what's our social strategy?" Then, they quickly got away from just like," Hey, pay to post on our pages," because that's transactional to like," Hey Netflix, do you want to know how to do your social? Why don't we just be your agency of record for social media? For your social media marketing." And that became with a fat retainer, and ongoing campaigns. And then, they would do proper videos, and viral video stunts, things like that. Whole strategies for these brands. That's what it became. And then, they launched their own brands, too.

Sam: We've been getting, the past few episodes, we've been getting more into just trying to just tell them funny stories. I'm very eager to see if this is the route that we should go. It's way more fun, that's for sure.

Shaan: Yeah. It's fun, but after every episode, I have to do a cancellation check- in, and be like," Was I sexist, racist, homophobic? Is there anything that I said that could've been construed as hateful in any way to any group of people that is going to be offensive?" I tweeted out this thing the other day that's like... And by the way, they're never hateful. They're always a compliment. But I tweeted out this thing, which was like," My investment criteria, big market, good traction, founder is Mormon, Russian, Jewish," or whatever. I said something, but it was positive. It was like,"Because I think those founders on Balance are awesome. I've had crosstalk-"

Sam: And it was a joke.

Shaan: And it was a joke, right? And people were like," What does race have anything to do with who you'll fund? This is what's wrong with..." And I was like," Well, first of all, it's a joke. To be clear. Did you think this was serious? And secondly, it wasn't a joke saying I don't fund these random niche, minority groups. It's like, no, I think Mormons are awesome at sales. And just as a general positive prejudice, I'm inclined to believe that these people are really smart, or really talented, or really gritty, or really whatever." But of course there's no winning, right? The audience that gets that, and thinks it's awesome is so small compared to the other audience that's like," I will make it my life's mission to get you canceled now for this joke you said."

Sam: The Nelk Boys, which is those YouTube guys now, they've got a new podcast. It's only good because they're not good at asking questions, but they're good because they're so famous that they get the best guests. The Nelk Boys had Donald Trump on, one of the most famous people in the world. They had Habib on. They had Dana White on. They have all these hugely famous people. And they were talking to Dave Portnoy, and they were like," Yeah. We're uncancelable because everyone's expectations of are so low." And we're just degenerate, so everyone's like," Yeah, of course they did that thing. There's no surprise there. These guys are idiots." And I'm not sure if we're there yet. I don't know if we're... Maybe.

Shaan: Well, I think we can be, but it's like, for example-

Sam: Do you want to be?

Shaan: Yeah, do you want to be? Right? I call it the cancellation vaccination. It's like do you want to be vaccinated against cancellation? Here's what it entails. You need to consistently be provocative, never apologize, cater to your base, and ignore the rest. And that's the cancellation vaccination. It's what Joe Rogan does. It's what Donald Trump does. It's what the Nelk Boys do. It's what any group of people... Dave Chappelle. It's any group of people who they're like," Look, I'm going to say what's on my mind. There's going to be some people who are offended by this. That's not my audience. There's some people who understand the point of view of where I'm coming from. They're going to understand what's a joke. They're going to understand when I'm saying something positive about somebody. That doesn't mean it's negative about somebody else." And they're like," I'm willing to do this. I'm willing to take heat. I'm not going to apologize, et cetera, et cetera." And so, that's the cancellation vaccination. Now, I think you can do that. I think you also need to be financially independent, or directly fan supported. And for example, this is a HubSpot podcast, network podcast. You work at HubSpot. I don't think they're going to love some of the jokes that you tell. Even if that person individually thinks it's funny, they'd rather us just take no risk, right? Why? For them, the risk/ reward calculator is like," Oh, just take no risks, and it's fine. Just do your other stuff. It's great." Whereas for us, it's like, dude, no. I'm here to have a conversation with Sam. I want this to be like a conversation we would actually have. I think that's how you get super fans, because they feel like you're being authentic. You're not separating the real you from this public podcast version of you. And I know my intentions are pure. I know I'm not actually a bad guy. I'm not sexist, racist, or homophobic, or any of those things. And if I say that I think Mormons are awesome founders, I think that should be a totally fine thing to say, right? I don't think that's a controversial thing in my books. And so, I'm part of the common sense party, and I want other people who can use their common sense, and are not easily offended around me. But that's a risky path to take.

Sam: That was a good speech. I'm on board. Very good speech. All right. I guess that's the episode.


Sam Parr (@TheSamParr) and Shaan Puri (@ShaanVP) talk about how marketing and advertising can be simple and profitable, and much more.