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Author: Boye Fajinmi

Highlites TheFutureParty

Hi Lites, Hi Life

Not everyone can create a business, so it’s even more impressive when you’re successful at it even if it’s just for fun. We had a chance to sit down with Noah Lichtenstein the investor of Hi-Lites. Really funky glasses that project shapes when looking at lights. Hi-Lites has been gaining steam lately, so it was nice to see how Noah, a venture capitalist decided to create something fun, exciting and revenue driving. In true fashion he’s working out of his garage (and home) and we sat with him to learn how he turned his side hustle into a real hustle.

Stay Curious: This is an audio interview, but we transcribed it below. When turning sound to words, we do what we can to make it readable and authentic. Sometimes the two mediums may not always line up, but we figured you’d rather it make sense without all the “ums” and “likes” – Enjoy.

Boye Fajinmi: We’re recording. Hey guys, I have Noah here from Hi-Lites, really innovative company and uh, let’s begin.

Noah Lichtenstein: All right.

Boye: So, so Noah I’m, I’m really curious, how do we pronounce your last name?

Noah: Alright, it’s Lichtenstein.

Boye: Lichtenstein. Okay. And where’s that from?

Noah: I think it’s German, but an eastern European mutt.

Boye: And where are you from?

Noah: Originally from Oregon.

Boye: Oregon. Nice. What, what brought you down here to, to LA?

Noah: Well, I started up on a farm in Oregon, made my way down to college in the Bay area. Spent about 15 years there in the tech scene and was looking for a change of pace, so made my way further down south to LA and I don’t know, who knows, maybe it’ll be San Diego then Mexico next. Keep moving down south.

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Boye: Nice. Uh, so made your way down south and now you’ve got this really cool thing that you’re doing called Hi-Lites, but it’s not your original thing, right?

Noah: I’ve been in the tech world for a long time, so I’ve been really passionate about building and investing in tech startups. So that’s really my background and what I do on a day to day basis, but Hi-Lites was a fun idea and a fun project that we came up with and launched about a year ago.

Boye: So this is literally your side hustle.

Noah: It is my side hustle. Yes. It’s my creative outlet.

Boye: I guess first of all, what is Hi-Lites?

Noah: So Hi-Lites are glasses, special effects glasses that can turn any light, whether it’s a stage light or city light into a custom shape. So you can think of it really as very lightweight augmented reality, but without any of the wires, circuits or the cost.

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Boye: I think I’ve seen some screenshots and I’ve tried them on. It kind of feels like you’re doing drugs.

Noah: Well, you know, some people, uh, no, no comment on that. Some people seem to enjoy it.

Boye: Not that I know what drugs feel like or anything like that.

Noah: Some people certainly seem to enhance the experience, I would say at a Burning Man or, or others. But, no really from young kids all the way through to adults, It’s just one of those things that, really brings joy and happiness to people and it’s so simple that, I kind of scratch my head sometimes about, you know, sometimes you think about how much goes into building deeply technical products. This is just incredibly simple and it’s really fun seeing people happy and sharing that enjoyment together.

Boye: What gave you the idea to do this?

Noah: So I was at a Christmas party about a year and a half ago and I saw this little kaleidoscope toy and I started thinking, wouldn’t that be really cool if you could turn that into glasses? You know, with all of the new lights and led displays at concerts and with the emergence of AR and VR, I started looking into it and it turns out, you know, we actually didn’t invent this technology. We found that there was a patent for this technology that had been patented by some researchers back east almost 20 years ago. And what we decided to do was say, hey, look, the time is now to create something, a brand around this cool technology in this new reemergence of AR, VR, “Retro is cool again”, lights and visual effects at shows. So why don’t we build a really cool brand around this old technology. And so we went out and secured the patent and went into production.

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Boye: That’s awesome. And how’s business?

Noah: Business is good. You know, we’re a young company and this is a new experience for me. I mean, my background’s always been software, so you go out and raise some venture capital money, you build, build, build, build, build, and eventually you launch this product to the world and you can iterate quickly because it’s software. For me that’s been a fun challenge because we’re building a physical product, so everything from supply chain to dealing with import, export, customs, direct to consumer, mixed with B2B. So, for me it’s really been a fun challenge to take my learnings from the tech world and apply it to building a consumer brand. But I guess more directly to your, to your question, how we’re doing. I’m really excited because we finally, after a year of development, we’re able to launch this year at Coachella and really had a big bang there and now it’s just kind of off to the races.

Boye: That’s sick. I saw some photos. Some cool people were wearing those glasses.

Noah: Yeah. We, you know, no endorsement officially from them. But we were very lucky that one of our activations was at Neon Carnival out at Coachella and we did that activation with both Bolthouse Productions, Neon Carnival and with Wynn Nightlife. So it turns out one of the Paparazzi pictures that got released to the public, totally unbeknownst to us was of Leo DiCaprio wearing them for about four hours. So, next day we wake up with a little bit of a hangover from Neon Carnival andour inboxes are just flooded because all of a sudden everyone’s like, what are these glasses Leo’s wearing? And it’s in Esquire, Cosmo, Time…

Boye: That is so funny, especially since he’s always so incognito at like, all those festivals.

Noah: Well, yeah, the photo that was released was basically him wearing a hoodie and you know, super incognito with these glasses. Everyone’s like, why is he wearing 3D glasses? No, they’re not 3D glasses.

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Boye: That’s great. So it sounds like business is going well. I recently read an article, I think it was in Recode or something and it was talking about all these new companies who aren’t raising venture capital and are doing really well and selling for a lot of money, which is like blowing everyone’s minds away. But in essence that’s true business, you know, and I guess coming from someone like you whose main job is venture and now you’re doing this fun, cool project that’s making money. What are your thoughts? Are you going to raise a round of financing? Like where do you see this all going?

Noah: I think that’s a great point you bring up and I saw that same article in Recode actually through your newsletter. So shout out to you guys on that one, but you know, in the venture world, it’s amazing to me how many people go out and think this is the only way to build a business. I’ve always been a big fan of people who go out and actually build a business without having to raise venture capital. You don’t raise venture capital because you have an idea, you raise it to accelerate the growth of a company and not all companies should be venture. I mean, it’s very simple. If you own 100 percent of your company and you giveaway 20, 25% in exchange for money at least. All of a sudden you own 75 percent of that. So your company has to be that much bigger now in order for it to have the same amount of value to you as if you just own the whole thing. So for me this was a really fun experience because, you know, I was fortunate to self fund it, but it wasn’t something that was very capital intensive. We were able to test the market, get some initial orders without having to go really deep out of pocket and as a result, myself and my partner Mike own the entire company

“You don’t raise venture capital because you have an idea, you raise to accelerate growth of a company.”

– Noah Lichtenstein comments on raising to grow a business.

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Boye: Amazing.

Noah: So, you know, if we get to the point where we just can’t keep up with demand and we have big plans to go into retail and into more direct to consumer, certainly we’d evaluate taking on money. But really there’s something special about somebody who goes out and does business that’s profitable and you know, one of those companies that was highlighted, it’s called Tuft & Needle, it’s a mattress company. And I remember actually meeting them early on when they were considering venture capital. They actually sent me a mattress.,

Boye: Wait, so how’s the mattress?

Noah: It was good. It was good. I didn’t have room for it, so I gave it to my business partner and I think she still uses it in their guest bedroom. The quality was great, but more props to them because they went out and built a real business and show that you don’t have to raise venture, you have to measure your success by how much money you raised.

Boye: Yeah, one of my favorite companies to use and just to learn about their stories is Mailchimp because they’ve created a $500 million dollar plus business in ARR and are completely bootstrapped.

Noah: It’s a fantastic product too. I mean, I use it as well and I think there’s no better story than when somebody builds a product that is funded by its sales.

Boye: Yeah, it’s perfect. But this isn’t about Mailchimp, it’s about you guys and so you know, what’s next for you, what’s year one, year two, three as you go along?

Noah: One of my biggest learnings is that with hardware, the development takes so long.You have to design the product, then you have to go to the different suppliers that we use, and then there’s the shipping import, export. There’s a lot of pieces that go into dealing with physical products. And so the first year I feel like was our year of learnings and development and now we have a product line that we’re really happy with and now it’s all about how do we get it in front of people and out into the market. So V1 was really going out and doing deals with big brands and marketing and experiential agencies. So that’s been a really good experience where we’ve been fortunate to partner with some really great brands so far. A couple of examples, we did an activation at South by Southwest with Warner Brothers for Ready Player One.

Boye: Oh I was there!

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Noah: Yeah and iHeart radio. We did a bunch of activations at Coachella and then we did EDC with Smirnoff. So those are some really great activations we’ve done. Our initial bread and butter is large volume orders. This is something that a brand can do to help activate their brand and create these sort of joyous, fun experiences because when somebody puts these on, it’s this magical moment of joy and then you immediately see them tap their friend on the shoulder and say, “hey, did you see this?”, and the next thing you know, you’re holding up your phone. You’re taking videos and photos on Instagram or Snapchat through the lenses and then your friends see it and your stories and say  how’d you do that? And you can associate all this joy with your brand. And so for us, we think the promotional market is a really great opportunity and we’ll continue to push that and a lot of exciting stuff coming up there. But for me, what I’m most excited about is some of the launches we’re going to be doing soon into direct to consumer.

Noah: And for me this is another set of new learnings where we’ve seen how powerful brands can be built, entirely online and especially on Instagram. And so we’re in the process right now of launching that direct to consumer brand and getting all this sort of fulfillment and supply chain line for that. We’re launching new kinds of fun colors, new shapes and effects. We didn’t cover this, but not only are we turning the lights into special effects, some of those examples are things like hearts or smiley faces or snowman, or you can do a Star of David for a Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah. But you can also create custom shapes so you can literally turn every light you see, whether it’s a street light or a stage light into a custom shape or logo or brand or anything. That’s pretty fun.

Boye: Can you, can you boil down a little bit more about the science and technology behind that? Without ruining your trade secrets.

Noah: There’s really no trade secrets. I mean, it’s patented and I feel pretty good about that being locked in. But the best way it was described to me by the mad scientist that we partner with, is that if you imagine a stream of water in front of you and you put your hand in it, the water bends around your hand. And so light travels in a straight line from its source. And so when you’re looking at a stage light, that light beam is traveling in a straight line from the source to your eyeball. And so imagine putting your hand in the water in that light and you’re bending the light. It’s essentially the same thing but we are bending the light into a shape.

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Noah: By the way, that could be totally wrong. But we’re going to go with that one.

Boye: I was recently watching something, I don’t remember the exact show, but it had talked about how science is indistinguishable from magic. In the sense of, if we were to show someone a hundred years ago some of the things that are here now, they would think everyone’s a witch, but to see kind of your description of that and then to see it basically feel like a toy. Like I said, I’ve tried them on and they’re really fun and cool. It’s just, it boggles my mind at just how people create really innovative things.

Noah: Yeah, and a lot of these things are done by accident. I was reading a story recently about some researchers at Berkeley who had accidentally created glasses that help people who are colorblind see colors they never knew existed before. It was entirely by accident. This wasn’t done by accident, but I do think that it’s pretty amazing. A lot of times, great innovation just feels like magic. For us it’s always enjoyable for me when we’re putting our heads down, we’re grinding, we’re doing all this unglamorous work, packing bags and printing out collateral, but when you go to a show or you just see somebody put these on for the first time and seeing their face in that moment of joy, I think there’s no better thing then when a product can deliver joy.

“I think there’s no better thing then when a product can deliver joy.”

– Noah Lichtenstein commenting on mundane tasks of his business are worth the final reaction.

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Boye: For sure. And with this sort of e-commerce play that you’re about to do and kind of bringing it to the masses, what platforms are you going to use? Are you going to like leaning on Instagram and sell through there? Or Amazon? What’s the strategy beyond brand partnerships to get into everyone’s hands?

Noah: Yeah, I see a couple of different channel strategies. And actually I’d love to turn the question around to you and ask, you know, being that this is something you’re an expert in. Really, I’m just trying to meet with people who are smarter than me and who’ve done this before with so many great brands out there and learn what the best practices are. But certainly, Instagram we will use as a channel and we have fortunately a number of great, I hate the word influencer, but people with followings and trusted brands that really like what we’re doing and have offered to be posting about this and maybe do some collaborations because we can custom brand, we can use really any frame we want. So we’re going to explore a couple partnerships with existing glass manufacturers, some collabs with different artists, musicians and things like that. And then, in terms of direct to consumer, certainly Instagram, and we’ll have a traditional e-commerce on our website, do some SEO, SEM, and then lastly, we are exploring going into traditional retail.

Boye: Oh, that’s awesome.

Noah: Yeah. So, I think these would be great at, at places like an Urban Outfitters or a Spencer’s gifts or things like that. And so, again, it’s really been a learning experience for me, but, let me pause and ask, what do you think, what should we be doing?

Boye: Yeah. I, agree with a lot of what you said. I believe it’s important to be everywhere at once when it comes to consumer products and I believe the most powerful tool in the future for manufacturers and people with fun products is going to be Instagram. It’s going to double as a magazine, as a TV channel and as your store front, you know, and you can imagine the lifestyle that you can create around your product, the events that people go to just as a means for people to show how to use it. And then being able to just buy it directly from, from Instagram I think is so important. And then I think Amazon, I believe they are about to be the next trillion dollar company.

Noah: It’s amazing what they do.

Boye: It’s amazing.

“A lot of times, great innovation just feels like magic.”

– Noah Lichtenstein sharing that innovative products can be created, even at times, by accident.

Noah: So we actually just got the approvals to go live on Amazon so, we’re going to go ahead. You can buy them on Amazon now, but we’re exploring the options of us doing fulfillment versus the fulfilled by Amazon. So I know probably folks listening to this, a lot of them are saying, oh, this is just the basics, but for me this has been great because it’s new for me. I just love learning new skills and it helps me make better investments in the future when I understand the inner workings.

Boye: Totally. And I think on the store partnerships front, totally 100 percent, it’s just sales, you know, or you just find a guy who’s done it before and have them go and talk to all those guys.

Noah: Well look, one of the things I love about this is because we own the entire company, we can go out and find people who can help add a lot of value and we can make them owners in the company and share in the profits. And so, we’re really out there looking for folks who have a lot of great relationships, whether it’s with the “influencers” who want to promote the product on Instagram or whether it’s event producers or brands. We’re always excited to say, hey, look, let’s share in the wealth and make those intros and I know you made some great intros for us at around Coachella and I appreciate that.

Boye: Hey happy to, anytime. You know, one thing, the people reading this, they’re all creative, they’re all driven and when they listen, I like to make sure that they’re really gaining tangible value. And so I’m curious from your perspective, what’s some advice that you have for entrepreneurs, especially those who are trying to create side hustles to turn into businesses?

Noah: Wow, that’s a great question. Well, first and foremost, it takes a lot more work than you will imagine. It’s funny, when I thought of this initially, I thought, oh, it’d be easy. We’ll just get this out there. People already make sunglasses and we’ll just use the same frames and oh well, all this stuff will be easy. There’s a million things that I just wasn’t even aware of and I was definitely naive. So, I would say one bit of advice is, really map out the, sort of the business plan, not necessarily write out a business plan, but map out how you get from the start to fully into market and think through all those steps and then go talk to people who’ve done it before. I mean the best resources, are the people who have walked that path and made the mistakes. And I think that’s one of the reasons why when I invest in early stage tech startups, often times I hopefully have some street credit because I’ve spent 10 years building companies from the ground up and made pretty much every mistake in the book that you can make. And I’ll make hundreds more, but hopefully I can not make the same mistake twice. So to boil it all down, I think one practical bit of advice is to really force yourself to do the exercise of how you get from the start to launch and then stress test that, asking people, what am I not thinking of? Because if I had done that initially, I would definitely have saved months, and probably thousands of dollars.

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Boye: Great advice from, from Noah Lichtenstein, who is both an investor and company owner with a side hustle. I love it. Do you have anything else to say?

Noah: Um, no. I just would love to get more feedback from people who are listening and reading this. And if folks are interested in earning more, we’re happy to send you some samples and show you some love there, and if there’s folks who want to be doing this, we’ll hook anybody up who is with Boye and The Future Party to get some good discounts on that.

Boye: Love it. Where can we find you?

Noah: We are at gethilites.com. So H-I-L-I-T-E-S and also on Instagram at @hi.lites. So, highlights, but with our funky spelling.

Boye: Love. Hi-Lites everyone. Thank you.

Link: https://www.gethilites.com/

Instagram: @hi.lites

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You’re The Star, It’s Your Digital Identity

As we dive into the week after celebrating our nation’s independence, I can’t help but think about the conversation we had with our community just a couple weeks ago about our digital identity. If you scrolled across Snapchat, Instagram or Facebook, you’re sure to have seen a myriad of photos about the 4th of July, from your time with family on the lake to the exclusive day party you attended with your friends. Maybe even that cool new outfit you wore that totally sported the “Red, White, And Blue”. How fitting, after all, we’re all glued to our phones, and it’s our second self, our primary form of expression. Everyone in that room that evening felt the need to really understand this impact.

We had some world class speakers speak on digital identity. Our friends Brett Hyman, Tiffany Zhong & Billy Hawkins boiled down some truths on where our need to express ourselves is going. These guys are powerhouses to say the least. Brett runs an experiential agency called NVE Experience Agency. They are the definition of the experience generation as they’re pinnacle in ushering a future where experiential marketing is the most important kind of marketing. Through Brett’s leadership, they’ve nailed down the marriage of physical experiences and online expression. Billy runs Arsenic TV. They are a new women-first, upstart multi-media company that have exploded in the last couple years. Tiffany, at only 21 years of age has her own research agency called Zebra Intelligence focused on Gen Z, and before that was a venture capitalist in Silicon Valley!

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Combined these guys lead us on a winding journey. We talked about how everything online will become HQ via interactive live streaming as well as the future of digital characters like Lil Miquela. BTW, not everything is positive and even though it’s all “new”, we came to the conclusion that we’re all just the same people given new tools to tell different stories. We also covered our need to detach and step away from digital expression and the companies like Yonder and Brick who pioneer this school of thought.

My favorite learning came from a conversation a couple days later when discussing our event with a friend. It’s obvious, but what these tools and platforms have done is made us the star of our own movie. We now have our own platform to share and express ourselves in ways that people could only have dreamt just 10 years earlier. It used to be that only celebrities or accomplished people had the platform to take photos and images of themselves and distribute them to the masses, now anyone has the platform to unlock their own celebrity. Only time will tell if that’s a good thing or not. What we do know though, as far as business and creative art go, we’re in a watershed moment with lots of opportunity.

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This event was hosted at Kid In A Korner. It’s a 1 acre estate owned by mega-producer Alex Da Kid. It’s a creative wonderland of studios and awesome artists and the house is full of spectacle, so naturally it made for a great location. We’re thankful for our partnership with them. Shout out to our amazing sponsors especially Jacob Perler at Cryo Cafe. Ya’ll are up to something and we’re completely down. Stay tuned for the next one!

CryoCafe TheFutureParty

CryoCafe Is Building The SoulCycle of Cryotherapy

Jacob Perler is a seasoned entrepreneur and currently CEO & Founder of CryoCafe, a new-age health & wellness centered cryotherapy lounge. It’s an unassuming escape right off of “Melrose Alley” in Los Angeles. We had a chance to sit down with him and his [partner and Cryo’s] Creative Director, Rachel Schoenbaum, to discuss what they’re building. We also had a chance to try out the treatment and can say they’re creating something special. In just a couple weeks of opening, CryoCafe has had thousands of people from executives to celebrities come and enjoy various types of cryotherapy sessions backed by their favorite musical tracks. Clients can grab a juice from the Juicebot machine, box at CruBox next door or simply hang out on the cafe-style patio. Armed with their new “#CryoCult” they’re taking Hollywood’s elite by storm, creating a community of wellness that is bound to supersede the wellness behemoths before them.

Boye Fajinmi:  So we’re recording. You guys want to introduce yourselves?

Jacob Perler:  I’m originally from New York and have been out in LA for almost four years. I’ve had my hands in a number of things. I have a history in strategy consulting for two of the top firms in the world, doing that for about seven years. I came out here and was involved in some tech startups, creative sports marketing, and have a number of other companies that I advise mostly for, but I’m excited to kick off CryoCafe.

Boye:  Awesome. What about you?

Rachel Schoenbaum:  I grew up in Virginia Beach, Virginia. I moved to California for college and got my start in fashion and music. Eventually, I kind of fell into applying the creative process I had learned from my experience in those two industries more towards brand strategy. Part of the passion-of-the-process for me is working with brands that are just getting started. Really helping them get off the ground by uncovering their vision and story, ensuring the authenticity of that story is maintained in what they present to their audience. Basically, making sure their message and what they have ideated from the get-go is digestible to their consumer. That’s how Jacob & I met and we’ve been at it ever since.

Boye:  I’m curious, what was your path to get here? It’s great to learn a little bit about you, but can you tell us more about the story from idea to this cafe?

Jacob: Yeah, absolutely. So about two years ago I met my current partner, Dr. Patrick Khaziran who is a physical therapist for hundreds of professional athletes, celebrities, and other great individuals. I have a passion for building brands, starting with business and financial modeling and actually bringing an idea into execution. Dr. Pat and I met and started talking about what he was doing with cryotherapy by bringing it into the mass market. An initial few conversations and several months of market research turned into a big passion. We knew that we could partner and build a major global force around cryo. As we started building the business, I brought on Rachel and several other strategic partners to help build the brand.

It’s been an amazing two years to get there, but it’s really step by step, right? You have the planning, the ideating of getting the branding, signing a lease, you make a commitment, you bring on partners, and all in the lean startup kind of way, which is usually applied more to tech and less brick and mortar. We just put ourselves out there and you learn as you go in, you have to be fast on your feet.

What’s been amazing and very humbling is how many people have walked through the door even in just about 10 weeks that we’ve been open. These people have an amazing experience and have a personal aspect to their body, health or lifestyle that they’re looking to improve. It’s been amazing to see that improvement from it. Some of that can be anecdotal but were seeing a lot of amazing impacts on people.

Boye: That’s awesome. And so what’s your role? Can you give us some more?

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Rachel: As I mentioned, Jake and I had worked together previously and had a great report. I was back home visiting family when he called me to talk about this amazing concept. Ironically, I used to be a patient of Dr. Pat’s and have always been extremely fond of his approach to his patients and athletes. I was excited to jump on board. Health and wellness is a really big part of my personal life. Having something that makes you feel good, something that gives you routine and stability – especially as a consultant without a normal day-to-day schedule – is vital for success. Jake brought me in as Partner and Creative Director, and we just dove right in.

We’re fast movers, we’re traveling, we’re working around the clock for ourselves. No one’s doing this for us. The mentality we had creating this brand derived from being our own target market. 

Boye:  So can you tell me more about the brand and the inspiration behind it?

Rachel:  Last year Jacob went to Tulum and I took a trip to Mykonos. We were very pulled in by the tribal vibes and multi-cultural, worldly feelings of them. We were very much inspired by our separate experiences in both of these places, both very rooted in the feeling of people coming together. Jacob and I both love symbolism, so that tribal inspiration from our travels, mixed with the message of what we want to offer our clients, was compiled into a vision that resulted in our logo.

You need to add something healthy to your lifestyle. So the circle is essentially everything, life, in perpetuity. The three lines are the three pillars of life – mind, body, and soul. The triangle symbolizes whatever mountain it is you’re trying to climb. It’s also androgynous and obviously the Yin and Yang element is the dark and the light parts within the triangle signifying our continuous journey to acquire balance. Pretty much the overall meaning is – in mind, body, and soul, whatever mountain you’re trying to climb, the path to achieve balance in life is on-going. And we (CryoCafe) are the empty space underneath, the foundation to support you in reaching whatever that acme point is at the top of your mountain. 

Boye:  That’s beautiful.

Rachel:  Thank you! I feel like the logo really blends everything together. It doesn’t matter if it’s mental, physical, emotional, sleep, pain…any kind of balance, really. That’s what life is about. The journey of acquiring balance and figuring out what that is for you. I think that our vision of the company really supports whatever that path may be for people. 

Boye: Can you tell me about this cool hashtag that you have going on?

Rachel:  The CryoCult is the membership base and community we wanted to create around this. Kind of going back to that tribal mentality Jake and I like. A lot of us are running around, hustling 24/7. We’re young! We like to have fun, but we work equally as hard, if not harder. It was important to create an experience that was cool and inviting and obviously provide a service that was beneficial, while also creating a community of people with the same “work hard play hard” lifestyle. We want to create something really personalized, something that people can get behind, become involved in, and feel incredible from.

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Boye:  Can you tell us more about the process of the actual therapy? If I’m someone who wants to be treated, how does that work?

Jacob: Yeah. Basically we have two machines in there to start and four main services. We have whole body cryo which we call the WholeFix; quick localized spot treatments that typically focus on an injured area, which is the QuickFix; extended localized spot treatments, which is the BodFix; and our very popular CryoBeauty facial, which is called the BeautyFix. Our entire experience is built to be as long or quick as you’d like. We have many clients who love the vibe and experience and are happy to hang out, which we’re totally okay with. That’s why we named it Cryo Cafe. Like a cafe, you come in and you decide what you’re in the mood for.

We’re right next to Crubox and close to a handful of other fitness studios so we cater to the active fitness community right here. If you live an active lifestyle and have unusual muscle soreness, tweak a wrist or ankle, or just need a body reboot, cryo is great for that. One thing we’re really seeing a lot of is how different everybody is and how different everyone reacts to whole body, versus localized on specific areas. Even beyond fitness, we love having all kinds of people come in who want to try it out. 

The popular CryoBeauty facial is an amazing 10-15 minute escape. It’s great in the morning to help kickstart your day, in the middle of the day to give you that much needed pick me up, and in the evening it helps close you out. 

Boye:  Most people are familiar with the chamber treatment that you were talking about, but the idea of cryo facials and the mobile machine used seems really new. Is that a competitive advantage or what’s your vision with that sort of system?

Jacob:  Great question. So it’s not new on the facial angle. The beauty element of cryotherapy is a big thing that we are looking at spearheading, but it’s been around. I think there’s a huge gap in the market for it, so the facials and beauty elements will be a big part of the business, and we’re already hearing great feedback and case studies from people. 

Rachel: A lot of people, especially women, are paying insane amounts for certain beauty or body maintenance and treatments. Taking care of your skin is one of the most important things. This is a really great additive to skin care or even to support the other treatments people may be doing. It’s a pretty holistic way to essentially preserve your skin and your body in the long term. You’re working on anti aging, you’re working on the tone and health of your skin, you’re improving your musculature. A lot of people are hunting for the best “fast fix” to spend a quick buck on. While cryo is definitely more of a progression process, its a completely natural and non-invasive full mind-body experience. I think that’s really awesome to be able to offer people this different option.

Boye:  It sounds like you guys are doing something very unique and special and almost obvious in a sense. When you look at the health and wellness space, it seems like it’s doing pretty well in different sectors from yoga to even what’s happening with Soul Cycle and Peloton. What do you feel is the future? What’s the five year plan of CryoCafe and where does it fit into this health and wellness marketplace?

Jacob:  Health and wellness is exploding. It’s one of the fastest growing industries. Through technology, media and the world of digital influence in social media, more people are getting access to information about their bodies and living healthy lifestyles. People want to live healthy and recognize that they might live long or they’re going to feel better on a daily basis. Why wouldn’t you be focused on that more in your lifestyle? I think it’s really interesting too and one of the things we see a lot in Los Angeles, rather than just going out and meeting your friends at a bar and grabbing a drink, you can also come hang out and do cryotherapy along with other things that are health and wellness related.

People are boxing together, they’re going to work out together. They’re going to Runyon Canyon together and so that’s a really exciting thing and for us with CryoCafe, we want to be right there with that. You can live your healthy lifestyle, you can meet a friend, you can even have a business meeting and you don’t necessarily need to go get a coffee or grab a drink at the bar.

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“Rather than just going out and meeting your friends at a bar and grabbing a drink, you can also come hang out and do cryotherapy along with other things that are health and wellness related”

– Jacob Perler speaking about Cryo Cafe as a center for community and wellness.

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Rachel: Or if you do, you can come here for a hangover cure in the morning! Honestly, it’s a lifesaver for us. 

Jacob: Exactly. Whatever you’re doing with your life, you can build this into it. We have people who come early in the morning, they love kick starting their day with this. It gives you a huge endorphin release and a boost of energy. We have people who come before the gym to loosen up. We have our boxing trainers over here who come in right afterwards when their wrists are all really sore. We have people who come at the end of the day just to relax and get away and then have a great night sleep afterwards because it does really help with your sleep. We have people who squeeze cryo into their workday Monday through Friday and people who come on the weekends. When we bring cryo out into the market, whether it be private events or corporate offices, we see how much people love it. We have big ambitions to grow the business outside of our stores and Los Angeles, but at the same time you have to always first focus on the task at hand. Day by day, person by person. 

Boye Fajinmi: So you guys want to really create like a lifestyle.

Rachel: Exactly.

Jacob: Absolutely. We’re set on that growing in Los Angeles and then using that to expand.

Boye Fajinmi: Jacob you’re a businessman and the lifestyle and everything sounds awesome, but I’m curious on a financial level, how big do you think this business can become?

Jacob: I think it can be massive. You know, if you look at the pure financials of it, I think many cities around the world can sustain multiple locations plus the mobile angle we’re driving. There’s no reason this can’t be at the same level of your Soul Cycles, your Equinoxes, you know, health and wellness companies that have huge footprints. We can build this into 50, 100, multiple hundreds of locations with events, popups and a lifestyle around all. I do think we can build this into something special.

Boye Fajinmi: What are the market caps of those companies? Like 100 Mil? 200 Mil?

Jacob: Yea in the 100’s of millions.

Rachel: Even just partnering with those types of companies – popping up in their waiting areas and offering treatment to their clients before or after their workouts. To be able to insert ourselves into some of these successful environments that have the same kind of mental physical bottom line is a cool thing, for both parties. 

Boye: Jacob, I know this is probably your third start up and it sounds like you’ve done a lot of different kinds of things. What are you bringing from your learnings and the wins and fails in the past?

Jacob: I think you always learn from your failures and your successes. A lot of people say you learn a lot more from the failures, but I think a lot of it is bringing the knowledge of how important brand, lifestyle and really connecting with people is, especially today with all the noise out in the market overall. We’re making sure that we’re building something that is very in tune with people. The cryo and the benefits speak for themselves and the product is amazing, but at the same time you have to get to people on that personal level and that’s one of the big things I’ve learned a lot in the last four or five years, is how to actually do that. What brands work very well and how do you replicate and design your own.

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Rachel: Yeah, I totally agree. I’d say pulling lessons from failures and celebrating successes is definitely one of our biggest collaborative strengths. Something a mentor of mine taught me that has always stuck in my mind is, you have 15 seconds to make a first impression, that’s on a personal level as well as on a professional level when creating a brand. If I see an ad for something that has beautiful typography or font on Instagram, I am clicking it. I’m not looking at the product – yet. But if the design looks cool enough to me and I am intrigued by the vibe of the brand, they’re going to get that click. So making a strong first impression is about luring people in and starting a conversation. Whether it’s just someone walking in here and asking what we are or what we’re about, that’s an impression that we as a brand have made on someone. And that impression will stick. I want to make people smile every day and I think that’s part of the brand.

Boye: So what’s been the response so far from everyone coming in?

Jacob: It’s been great. What’s crazy is the number of people that you can personally impact on such a high level. We have a lot of people that love it. We’ve probably seen 1500 people in 10 weeks who’ve walked right through this front door including celebrities, athletes, trainers, and your everyday person who wants to experience it. 

Boye: I hear a rumor about Kim Kardashian maybe.

“You have 15 seconds to make a first impression, that’s with your personal self as well as a brand.”

– Rachel Schoenbaum advocating for Cryo Cafe’s design ethos.

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Jacob: Kim & Kourtney Kardashian walked right by here. Although they haven’t come into CryoCafe yet. They did both go boxing next door and rumor has it they liked it so…one of their close friends has come in here, along with many other great people. While that’s all exciting, even more than that, you know it’s the people that no one knows about who have lupus or arthritis, back pain, whatever it is. They come in here and see a huge impact from cryo, sometimes in a session or two.

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Boye: So you guys got this off the ground and you’re inspiring other people. You’re touching people’s lives. Who in this process is someone who believed in you guys to help get this off the ground? Who really supported this and helped make it a reality?

Jacob: There’s a lot of amazing people that have been vital to everything, and obviously family is a big part of it too. But I would say a close friend and advisor, Antonio Tambunan was really the first person to put a lot of capital and a lot of time behind this. He really helped us get the idea and all the planning to market. He is a very successful entrepreneur and investor globally. He’s got businesses all over the world and he was the first person to really buy into it and believe that I could build a brand that I said I could. He’s been there every step of the way. He continues to be an integral part of this, but he’s the first one that really allowed this to take shape.

Boye: I always wonder who helps make things happen.

Jacob: It’s the people behind it and it’s actually a great point for this company. I made an early decision of having a bigger cap table, bringing on various partners who fill different roles. Some people advise, even if they aren’t involved in the day to day at all. They pick up the phone when you call and give you guidance, sometimes in much needed circumstances. To me this was really important because although I’ve been involved in other businesses, there’s a lot to this that’s very new and when you think you can build what might become a billion-dollar company, there’s a lot you don’t know and you want great people around you…

Rachel: From different industries and backgrounds.

Jacob: Having an amazing investor, advisory, and partner group around me gives me access to a lot of different intellectual capital points as needed. 

Boye: That’s great, so what’s next for you guys? Like immediately next.

“It’s the people that no one knows about who have lupus or arthritis, back pain, whatever it is. They come in here and have a huge impact from the cryotherapy treatments.”

– Jacob Perler on his customers who have seen the most major health benefits from Cryo Cafe

Jacob: Immediately next is really getting this location blowing up, having a lot of people come in here, getting our second location which opened a few days ago in Encino moving, taking the city by storm, events, partnering with different companies, having the mobile angle of the business and the pop ups really flourish and kind of doing all that simultaneously. A lot of people might say opening the second location 10 weeks after the first location is a little risky but we want to move fast. We built an amazing team. We’ve been working on this a long time, so we just really want to attack the market, at least Los Angeles right away and have everyone around digitally and personally see what we’re doing, which only will drive up the demand to expand further.

Boye: What’s the best way for your average person to find you guys to use your product. Just come in? Go to your website?

Jacob: Come into the cafe from Melrose Alley, off La Cienega and Melrose Ave. We definitely want people to come in and find us through the back alley. That’s the exclusive fun element of it. But email, call us, hit us on Instagram, which is increasingly the popular method of communication. 

Rachel: Follow us on Instagram, join the #CryoCult or slide on into our DM’s. 

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Boye: I love it. One last question, what’s the one piece of advice both of you guys have for an entrepreneur looking to build something that touches people?

Jacob: I would say build a great team around you. That’s investors, your employees, your partners, whoever it might be. You’re really only as good as the people that you’re surrounding yourself with and it’s really important to surround yourself with people that level you up, that you can help level up and who add value where you are missing or may be weaker. On top of that, I guess you would say really know your strengths and know your weaknesses and the holes that you have, you fill with other people. 

Rachel: I would tend to agree. I feel really lucky to have found that balance and respect in a business partner as well as having some amazing mentors that play a huge role in setting me straight along the way. I would also say, just find something that’s authentic to you. If you’re not working on something that you’re passionate about, that you can really dig your teeth into, then I don’t think that you can do your best work. When you’re creating a brand or business, it’s almost like you need to become it, really live and breathe it to make it thrive. That’s something I truly live by. I think Jacob and I both really live by that. Immersing yourself in all aspects of an idea and making it tick. 

Boye: Just kidding. I do have one more question. I’m curious, in a world of everyone trying to build apps, we’re seeing this renaissance in physical experiences and this seems to embody exactly that. Do you have anything to say about the experience market that you’re seeing that others may not?

Jacob: As far as the brick and mortar?

Boye: Yeah, the brick and mortar approach to the digital world.

“Find something that’s authentic to you. If you’re not working on something that feels authentic, that you can really dig your teeth into, then I don’t think that you can do your best work”

– Rachel Schoenbaum talks about only working on what you love.

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Jacob: Yeah, people will always want to go places and hang out and gravitate towards environments that they enjoy. Even in a digital world that does suck you in, whatever it might be, people will always still like to go out places. I think, it’s all about creating a great experience and vibe for people. I mean you look at Apple. They are one the best companies of all time, focused on products, and their store is welcoming and inviting, fun to hang out in for 30 minutes if you have nothing to do and you’re nearby. So I think it’s very important to build that experience. We’re living in the digital age where everyone is hooked into their technology, but we need to get out and about to experience things and enjoy life. 

Rachel: Definitely. What people are so enthralled with on their phones and on Instagram can either be consuming in a way paralyzing as they are just sitting on their phones, ir it can be inspiring and drive them to travel and go try something new. Via digital, a picture or video of an intriguing experience or something new and cool is what gets people to “go and do”. It get’s them to connect.

That’s essentially the basis of this “cafe culture”. This is not just a cafe, but it’s the culture of taking time out of your day to spend alone with yourself or with other people in a relaxing, fun, and inviting social environment.

Boye: Love it. Thanks for your time.

Jacob: Time to jump in the chamber and get your freeze on.

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Apple Will Make You Pay For Selfies

If you were born in any time other than the last 10 years, you likely remember an age when you had to actually buy a camera. In those days you could purchase a disposable camera you would turn in to Walmart to develop your photos or bulky digital cameras needing a USB cord to upload your pictures. With the dawn of the Smartphone, camera use changed and now our cameras are one of the most defining pieces of technology for the modern age. That’s why it turns heads when Apple files a patent that can disable your camera, opening the door for censorship, extra fees and abuse of power.

When you go a little deeper, Apple providing a way to curb camera use makes a lot of sense for the technology giant. Imagine a world where artists worried about a ruined live experience, like Alicia Keys and comedians like Dave Chapelle who say “no cameras allowed” are suddenly incentivized to allow camera use if their customer pays an additional 25 – 50% of their ticket price? Or what about museums? You just paid $10 to go to the Smithsonian and now, to use your camera, you have to pay another $5?!

This would be a win for special screenings in Hollywood, which currently employ companies like Yondr to keep cell phone footage from leaking at test screenings or premieres by locking your phone into their branded pouch. This Apple patent however, would allow for entities to simply leverage infrared technology to disable your phone directly.

In theory, this sounds intriguing and may actually make perfect business sense, but when you get into situations like protests, rallies, legislative meetings, and corrupt public workers, the idea of “recording disabled” sounds more violating than anything. As the camera increasingly becomes an actual tool for expression and communication, the idea of censorship treads right up against The First Amendment. The thought of “Big Brother” monitoring our data is crazy enough, and now the possibility of them deciding when and where we can use our technology is even scarier. Apple is soon to be a trillion dollar company representing a higher GDP than most countries. Do you really want to entrust your freedom of speech to any company or organization?

This is the problem inherent with the proliferation of technology. We give up more and more control in our quest for convenience and comfort until we are ultimately inconvenienced, and without freedom. We become addicted to the use of the thing we hoped to give us joy.

Phone camera censorship could actually be a big opportunity for companies like Instax or Polaroid, the latter having somewhat survived the digital photography revolution after being a film company for almost 100 years. There may be a future where the best way to capture a special moment or an injustice without censorship, payment, or hurdle is to use a Polaroid.

Apple submitted this patent in 2009 and it was granted in 2016. It’s caused a lot of private debate and conversation. Any person who leverages the phone camera, for communication or business should be paying very close attention as its implications are far reaching. This issue will likely grow as our cameras become more and more ubiquitous, and organizations want more and more control, but for now, you can enjoy your selfies.

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Roy Choi Cares About Community

Wednesday night was a compelling evening. Hundreds of Future Party veterans came through to enjoy a night of music, food and conversation. For a while we’ve toyed around with the idea of Future Sounds. We really like trying new things and we figured why not merge great speakers across various topics with compelling musical acts. When we got connected with Airbnb Concerts, it was a lot easier of a reality to kick things off and we’re glad we did. It was awesome to see everyone come together. There were people from all walks of life including artists, agency executives, musicians and investors.

The special guest of the night was Roy Choi. For those who don’t know, Roy is one of the Godfathers of modern LA food. His big break came with the Kogi Truck at the rise of the food truck movement and from there he went on to found several different restaurants and food projects from A-Frame to Chego! and Alibi Room. He actually flew in from Vegas where he’s working on a major restaurant.

MIKNNA, the musical act of the evening and Roy have been friends for some time now. Before their performance, Roy spoke about LocoL in Watts, CA and the process behind the building of that restaurant. Behind all the restaurants is a sense of love and inclusion in everything he does and cooks. One person from the audience asked, “If you were to have a billboard that would be seen by 1 million people, what would you put on it?” MIKNNA answered “a mirror.” Roy was in the moment and said “Future.” It’s a fun exercise to try on your own.

The theme of the evening was community. Community brought us together that night, community has propelled MIKNNA’s music and community has been the secret ingredient behind the launch of Roy’s career and new restaurants like LocoL. “Trust your passion project.” Roy says. So many of us have passions and it’s easy to have imposter syndrome, but you’re heart needs to be in the equation.

We hosted the event at at The Great Company. For those who have never been, The Great Company is a great location downtown in the warehouse district, it’s incredibly spacious and beautiful with wood floors, brick walls and an artistic vibe. They host great experiences like the one we did that night. Cheers to community and cheers to pursuing your passions. Whether you’re a chef, musician or creating the next Facebook. Lean into community. More to come.

Thank you to our sponsors!

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The Philosophy Of Kanye West

Whatever you think about his music, no one can argue the cultural power of Kanye West. The Atlanta born producer, songwriter and rapper turned fashion mogul is an anomaly; he manifests his own success and has been all of his professional career. Kanye’s supposed net worth is around $145M and his music and fashion resound around the world. He is at the top of the A-list.

Kanye is of a rare breed similar to Elon Musk or dare we say, Donald Trump who create their own hype and media, leveraging publishers and social media daily with the words of their own mouths. People want to hear what he has to say, that’s why when Kanye recently came back to life onto twitter after a two year hiatus, all eyes are on him.

The last we heard of Kanye, he had prematurely cancelled the St. Pablo Tour and had a mental breakdown leading him to jump off of social media all together. Now, he’s back with a vengeance and in just the last week, to the tune of about 10 tweets a day, Kanye has announced two new albums, teased a collaboration with artist Murakami, released new designs on his Yeezys and debuted the beginning of his new philosophy book, to be distributed live on twitter.

Whatever you think about his music, no one can argue the cultural power of Kanye West. Kanye’s dive into “philosophy” is fitting. According to author Julius Bailey, “West’s philosophy draws off the backs of a long line of existentialists, such as Friedrich Nietzsche and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, whose ideology focuses on creating meaning for oneself and identifying their purpose as an individual, a staple of Kanye’s music.”

His tweets sound like a self proclaimed guru, and while we may never see his quotes of wisdom come to life on the level of a Confucius or Aristotle, don’t be surprised if his sayings become memes, t-shirts and cultural revolutions. The self proclaimed “Genius” has already shared lots of wisdom.

Kanye’s behavior is quite polarizing and often inspiring. Kanye, at his core, has tapped into his work and art so much that he knows what he gives people is absolute talent. It resonates beyond his music as everything he does is a work of art. His albums and tours are cultural movements full of unique marketing activations and other forms of creativity that celebrate the music. Standard for Kanye, get ready for a marathon of art and innovation as over the next 6 months we’ll see interesting news on live shows, performances, music videos and new unique activations.

Kanye hates conformity, he respects authenticity, and when he sees something he likes he goes after it. He’s incredibly emotional and has a reality distortion field that would make even Steve Jobs jealous. Many are inspired by Kanye even Elon Musk himself. Virgil Abloh is a collaborator, Kid Cudi is like his little brother, and thousands of creatives look to Kanye as an example.

We all have an inner Kanye, the creative entrepreneurial self that feels that what they are doing is truly important and isn’t afraid to say it. Any entrepreneur, artist or executive who’s driven and wants to do “something great” could take a page out of this book, and now, literally you can. All you have to do is follow Kanye on Twitter. Here are some simple steps to becoming more like Kanye.

INSTRUCTIONS TO BE MORE LIKE KANYE:

  1. Login to your personal Twitter account.
  2. Go to Kanye’s account (@kanyewest) and make sure you are following.
  3. On the right side of the Following button on Kanye’s page, there is a vertical circle button (More user actions). Press that button and hit the submenu item titled “Turn on mobile notifications”.
  4. Soak it all in and be inspired by Kanye, every day.

The Future Of TV

Digital media is evolving so constantly it’s hard to keep up. Just recently Hollywood dodged a writer’s strike giving way to more support for the hardworking writers who create compelling stories for the TV & Film industry. It’s a big win for creativity, and while one might think that the future of TV is bright, it is one that will be crowded, netting out some big winners and even bigger losers.

This week, traditional broadcasters like Fox, CBS & ABC take to the annual New York Upfronts where they will pitch advertisers on why they should be awarded billions of their advertising dollars. The problem, cord-cutting is accelerating as broadcast viewing has been down year over year and is rifled with troubled media stocks. Cable providers are bemoaning the cooling ad-market and are overall suffering from a decline in Pay TV subscribers (1.4M in subscribers last year combined), while digital advertising has already surpassed television advertising in the United States.

Fewer people are watching “Live TV”, and it’s affecting everything, even sports, which was once thought of as untouchable. Now, staples like ESPN are issuing layoffs amidst declining viewership and competitive new platforms challenging the traditional model.

While the old guard is marred with issues as they adapt to the new landscape, the internet is disrupting how we view content on every other screen. This shift and opportunity is giving way to major tech companies with large amounts of distribution, like Twitter, Amazon, Facebook, Snapchat, Youtube, Apple and Spotify. All these companies are creating original content with large amounts of money to spend, huge celebrity castings, challenging new ad & subscription models and massive user bases.

Meanwhile, shops like Hulu, AT&T, Dish & Sony are convinced they can lure people back to live TV packages by offering a slimmer selection of channels at lower cost to your traditional cable package termed as “skinny bundles”. We’re also seeing a lot of investments, acquisitions, mergers, & integrations as the incumbents strive to stay alive.

None of this should be surprising though, what’s truer than ever is that there will always be content, viewers will always watch, and businesses will forever try to figure out a way to capitalize on that. Companies who can grab user attention and adapt to technological shifts are poised to make money. In the future of TV, businesses who can adapt to all the platforms are the victors, but consumers carry all the leverage and are the ultimate winners. They are unbundling and watching various amounts of content wherever they want on whatever platform they choose.

Being the winners you are, we’re curious to know your current favorite TV shows. It could be Master of None, Game of Thrones, The Handmaid’s Tale,whatever. Let us know and we’ll include the top ones in our newsletter next week.

Subscription Economy

Oh boy, are things about to change. As the world becomes more automated and technologies and services mature into “on demand”, the way we pay for things will transform. These days, you can subscribe to everything from movies (Netflix) to various products (Amazon), food (Blue Apron) and even underwear (MeUndies). All are part of a massively growing “Subscription Economy”. In this burgeoning market, customers will eventually subscribe to anything and everything…and we think that’s a good thing.

Subscriptions are no foreign concept to the western world. Anyone with a cell phone plan or pay-TV service is a “subscriber,” but the concept is permeating through other industries as well. Music was one of the first to be disrupted by subscriptions (Spotify, Apple Music), we see it in the cloud service industry (AWS), and recently rideshare via services like Uber. Subscription box serviceshave been growing like crazy and even established companies like Apple have a subscription plan.

Just last week, Live Nation created the “Festival Passport” that allows avid fest-goers access to up to 90 festivals for $799 annually. They did the math and figured giving people a wide array of choices would overall be better for their bottom line. A win for the experience generation.

Other companies are tapping the market as well. Zuora for example, created a subscription management platform for businesses. They process about $35 billion dollars worth of transactions for more than 800 customers around the world, including Ford, Dell, DocuSign and The Wall Street Journal. They are huge proponents of the subscription economy and through their leadership, they’ve found that subscription businesses are growing at nine times the rate of the S&P 500. Also, according to the Economist, “80% of companies are seeing a change in how their customers want to access and pay for goods and services and 50% of these same companies are changing their pricing models as a result.”

The subscription economy is driven by the customers themselves. Subscriptions are about relationships, and relationships propel businesses. In fact we’ve graduated from a product centric economy to a relationship one where customers want more than just great products. Customers prefer access, over owning things. Subscription economy companies live and die by their ability to focus on the customer. There’s a whole “experience” behind a subscription, and like Tien Tzuo, Zuora CEO mentions, “People just want an outcome. People want a service. People want to know the vendor, the brand, the person on the other end that’s providing that service in a trusted relationship.”

Like anything, the subscription economy will be met with some challenges, but it provides flexibility, scalability, lower upfront costs, predictable budgeting, the ability to launch new features & bundles, and ultimately a more valuable experience for the customer. Done right, people won’t need to worry about owning anything in the future and they get the freedom to try, by, upgrade, downgrade, pause or do whatever they need to be satisfied.

Long Live Pepsi

Last week Pepsi entered the limelight for the first time in 10 years because of the biggest mistake they’ve ever made. They released a video commercial starring Kendall Jenner, wanting to support global peace, and even though there was a lot of backlash and clamor over being “tone deaf”, what’s interesting, is that their goal to unite the world and create positive brand affinity may have actually worked.

A report from Brand Watch shows there was an overall 20,000%+ increase in mentions last week for Pepsi, granted much sentiment was negative, overall the resulting conversation is a HUGE positive. April 4th saw more than 427,000 mentions of Pepsi on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram with April 5th accumulating another 1.25 million mentions. Their stock even surged for a moment, until they took down the ad and issued an apology.

What Pepsi traded in was negative sentiment for more conversation. When you look at the content being made on the internet, everyone is talking about Pepsi, and it’s become so far the joke of the year, but an endearing one. The greatest memes depict Pepsi being used and represented in tense situations, as the savior to their problems and while super comical, no one’s doing that for Coke are they? And speaking of, sure, many people may be drinking Coke the rest of the lives now in actual protest, but on the flipside more people are likely to grab a Pepsi to be funny, and because of what it jokingly symbolizes.

Throughout the week most major publications and late night hosts from Stephen Colbert to SNL took to joking about the commercial. Also, this week, people were actually using Pepsi in real life protest. Supposedly Pepsi has garnered $300 million and $400 million in free media coverage out of the controversy.

These days, brands have to do something to get people’s attention. As long as you’re making someone feel an emotion, even if its frustration you’re doing something to get that attention, and we are an attention based economy. This stunt almost feels something out of the playbook of best selling author Ryan Holiday, who could only dream of creating something like this for a major brand. Ryan is known for his book “Trust me I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator” where he outlines how he intentionally uses negative campaigns and subversive press to bad mouth a product he’s representing in order for people to start talking about it and ultimately engage with it.

This short of shock value marketing is used today by even our president.

Now, in no way are we saying that the video content was “good” but what we are saying is that Pepsi should own the bad and not run away from it. This conversation is good for their business. Imagine if Pepsi & Kendall instead of saying sorry, just owned it. It would have likely amplified the conversation even more. This is all something to consider for your own brand when wondering how to market your products if “nothing seems to work”. Stay woke and do something that makes people feel something.

The Truth Will Set You Free

Everyone searches for the truth. The idea of truth and honesty can oftentimes be sabotaged in business and entertainment, yet truth is something a brand, business, and artist should always care about within their organization or craft. If customers don’t feel like they’ve gotten the truth, their reviews can tank businesses both big and small.

Last week, Silicon Valley startup Juicero made headlines after offering all their customers who bought their more than expensive $400 wi-fi juicer a refund. The reason? You don’t actually need the juicer to squeeze the pre-made bags they come in. Customers realized they could juice their drinks just by squeezing the pack by hand, making the actual juicer completely unnecessary. Juicero raised $120 million dollars for this endeavor and now, no one is happy.

The lack of honesty and full disclosure of business has plagued and even destroyed companies like Theranos, Zenefits, Lilly, Magic Leap and Clinkle. Some of these companies secured multi-millions of dollars with little more than a product video, and while some have created actual prototypes, these technologies feel so infant and so far from the intended final product we might ask if these founders may have been lying to themselves.

We’re in an environment where investment in startups are a lot more harderthan they used to be and there are so many variables that could equal a successful company. One thing for sure, is that customers have all the power, especially with today’s internet landscape. The idea of “fake it, till you make it” ends with your customers who really expose the truth. Juicero biffed, but the real learning should be reflective of everyone else’s projects and endeavors. You have to be honest with your customers and the things you’re creating. No one said it was easy, but just ask yourself at every path you take, if you’re being honest.

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