Bennet Bayer (How to be an effective CEO/CMO anywhere on the planet)
In this episode Bennet Bayer and I talk about:
- What are some of the most remarkable experiences Bennet had while working in a new country?
- Why asking the ‘right Why questions’ is a golden rule.
- What’s advantage of being an intraprenuer instead of an entrepreneur?
- How to build the connection between technology and human emotion?
- Will ‘virtual companies’ with minimal operations become the norm?
- Will ‘Big Tech’ keep accumulating in size?
- Will we continue to move our lives into the cloud and keep retreating from the physical world?
- What are examples of technology companies with a great product but terrible marketing?
- What are examples of technology companies with great marketing but a terrible product?
- How to hire a great salesperson?
- What is the role of educational institutions in the age of the Internet?
- What are great opportunities for entrepreneurs right now?
- and much more.
Bennet has been CMO or CEO (incl. Huawei Global CMO) in a long list of companies. He has been holding management positions in a dozen different countries including Afghanistan, Indonesia and Bangladesh.
You can reach Bennet via LinkedIn.
Welcome to the Judgment Call Podcast, a podcast where I bring together some of the most curious minds on the planet, risk takers, travelers, adventurers, investors, entrepreneurs, or simply mindbogglers. To find all the episodes of this show, please go to iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, or go to JudgmentCallPodcast.com for more resources, including how to become a guest, how to advertise, and to see all the lectures, podcasts, and books I would like to you, would like you to listen to or read. Please also go to our website at JudgmentCallPodcast.com. Like this show? Please consider leaving a review on iTunes or like us and subscribe to us on YouTube that will make it easier for other users like you to find us later on. This episode of the Judgment Call Podcast is sponsored by Mighty Troubles Premium. Full disclosure, this is also my business. What we do at Mighty Troubles Premium is to find the best travel deals for you as they happen. We do that in economy, premium economy, business, and first class, and we screen 450,000 new airfare deals every day just for you and present the best based on your preferences. Thousands of subscribers have saved up to 95% of their airfare deals. In case you didn’t know, Americans and Europeans can already travel to more than 80 different countries again, South America, in Africa, and in Eastern Europe. To try out Mighty Troubles Premium for free, go to mightytroubles.com slash mtp. That’s too much for you to type, just type in mtp4u.com, mtp4u.com to start your 30 day free trial. Hello, everyone. Today, I’m here with Bennett, and Bennett has been the chief marketing officer with a ton of different companies, a lot of really big name companies like Oahuay. And he’s been holding management positions in different countries even on places like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia. And Bennett has described himself as an entrepreneur and someone who’s becoming an expert and became an expert at managing innovation from inside the company using management techniques. And I’m really curious about his views on entrepreneurship, innovation, and it’s really great to have you here today, Bennett. Power you. I am great. Thank you. It’s a pleasure and an honor to be here. Hey, thanks for doing this. I really appreciate that. I know you have a ton of knowledge to share, and I’m really curious about that. What I wanted to start with is I just introduced a couple of things about you, and I know you held these positions in almost two or three year rhythm from what I could gather. And you went to within these roles when you lived and you worked in a lot of different countries. It gives us an idea of what are your favorites, just in terms of what you did there as a job position. But what are your favorite countries? What are your memories you really think back to? And you feel like, well, this is really something that was work, but actually you felt like an inspiration to my life. That is a really good question. Afghanistan really comes, that really pops up, because it was right after the Taliban, literally a month and a half, I went in to run the CEO of the National Mobile Operator, Afghan Wireless. So a group of American Afghan expats owned the business. They could not operate whilst the Taliban was there. So they hired a group of English, mostly English expats to run the network and the business. And that group gave 20% of the business to the Taliban. Well, and if you or I were literally in the country during that time, yeah, I could see that would be a nice way to ingratiate yourself. So one of the to do’s the board gave me going in was get that 20% back because Karzai doesn’t own it. You know, they don’t own any part of the business, which then Karzai assumed he owned it. So that was one of the more interesting ones. But it was the, you know, being in country the very first night landing, having 100 people and TV cameras to greet me on the tarmac, nothing to do with security. Oh, no, Mr. Bear, we don’t need to go for security. You know, waking up the very first morning, oh, I should say in my first night in country, there was a party and there was a group of Afghan men that came to meet me. And there was, you know, scotch in a paper bag at the end of the sofa very screely is yes, we are in Afghanistan. Yes, we are Muslim country alcohol is a bad thing. Ask me that paper bag with the place. But a fellow got up and he started talking. And I don’t speak enough Farsi or Dari to understand, but at the end of it, I know what blood oath when I hear one and later was explained to me that this was the brother of a fellow named Masoud was a famous freedom fighter. And he explained that he would give his eyes for his new friend Bennett. And Bennett would obviously do the same for him. And he had he was the, had the scariest eyes of any person I’ve ever met. And, you know, that was, that was the night one, and then the wake up at four in the morning, as the sun come over the Hindu Kush. And there was an unbeknownst to me, there was a mosque just behind the guest house we were sleeping in. And the call of the first call to prayer, which is when the I’m in concede the difference between a red, a black thread and a white thread. That’s kind of a quite the wake up call. Yeah, it is early. It was never ending things like that, you that you never encounter any place else in your career that really, you know, put everything in perspective. Yeah, I feel like you got really lucky that you had an opportunity paid by your employer hopefully, to experience different cultures and not just I think this is, this is a problem I definitely face and a lot of people I’ve been talking to. I’m on this quest to go not just to every country in the world, but really get a sense of most regions in the world. So if you think about Russia, there’s Moscow, then there’s St. Petersburg, very different cultures, and then there’s Siberia, and then there’s the south of the country. So this is still my question. The problem I’m facing is often you are there and you’re like, how do you did the way you can can learn about people is not I can obviously observe them. But there isn’t a relevant discussion I can have with most people, you know, I can go to a restaurant, I can go to a coffee shop with most people. I have the opportunity to talk to and I use LinkedIn for this, I actually reach out to people that are in my network and say, do you want to have coffee with me or lunch? But I always felt that the problem with that approaches is a very light superficial conversation. And I think the great gift that you had over the years, and I call it that way, and it’s probably been much tougher sailing, is to look into these cultures deeper because you have a daily encounter and there’s money at stake. So usually when money is at stake, people put more investment into their communication and the way they show certain values that come out in their daily work. And I think I’m really jealous of it’s something that I always felt like is missing from from a lot of tourism that we think about today. People don’t have this relationship and you might say they don’t want to, but there’s a lot of digital nomads out there who would love to have this deeper relationship. But simply it’s very difficult to get there because you’re in your own world in your own company and you can’t really interact with people for better or worse, right? That makes a lot of it’s probably very stressful. How in retrospective, how much do you think you benefited personally from from these interactions, relatively deep interactions with people over the years? This helps me kind of set the stage for my background upbringing and why I think marketing is the best job there is. At the end of the day, I am an emerging technology product marketing guy. I come up with the idea or I see something, I figure out how to make a business of it, as others that fund it, support it, sell it, go build it. And then typically when it’s successful, they pat you on the back and they say, oh, great. Thank you. Good job, Bennett. Now we’re going to let Torsten go run this and you go do something else. So the big influencer for me, first off, my first job was and it was not two or three years, it was like 10 years working at Casio. And the Japanese teach you basically two things in marketing. Go and see, don’t sit there and read a report, go talk to people, ask why five times. Still works. The other one which really reinforced that, one of my great mentors was a guy named Bill Herron, who’s also my father in law, and he ran new business at Kimberley Clark. Now he is one of the greatest entrepreneurs and consumer product marketers I’ve ever met. And he had the ability, I’ll give you an example, when my wife was at university and she was one of her assignments, she was a nursing student. She worked late at night in a nursing zone with seniors. She came home and her dad was up there at late at night, which was unusual. So tell me about your day and she proceeded to explain to them how sad it was that these seniors were soiling themselves in continents. Like all the pens, basically diapers for senior citizens. That’s where that entire, that product and that entire category comes from. He had that gift. Another example, he was at my home years later for a fourth of July gathering and my boss at the time had a six year old son. Mommy and mommy changed me, well he thought that was a bit strange, so he followed the mother and child to my bathroom, how unfair as the kid was, he wasn’t potting trained at six, pull out, so I’m a big boy now, that’s where that comes from. So you know, that was one of my influences and he taught basically go and talk to everybody in the place, that is the job of marketing. You got to figure out what to do, what to make, why, you have to build bridges between everybody else in the organization to make things work and that’s basically product marketing. A lot of people would say this is the job of an entrepreneur, right, it is coming up with an idea of the future, a caricature so to speak, putting that into, it used to be PowerPoint, now it’s probably YouTube video and describing that future and then finding stakeholders, investors, people who join, for whatever reason feel this is how the future actually could look like and then build a company around it, fundraising, actually executing on technology. And that’s why I call myself an entrepreneur, most of my career has been doing that within UNISIS or British Telecom or Huawei, you know, within large organizations. And I understand, did you ever had the urge to become an entrepreneur yourself? Yeah, I’ve done my own startup, it’s nice to work with other people’s money, it’s nice to work with resources because once you convince, you know, for example, I was at UNISIS and there’s seven different vertical lines of business and I came up with the idea, I did most of the world’s first mobile app store. And it’s a great concept, you know, in 2000, ahead of its time, but you could see mobility coming on like a freight train, but the difference was you had to convince the president of the transportation division that, hey, I can put a RFID stamp on every piece of luggage and now every airline in the world can track their baggage, would you think that’s cool? Could you sell that? Yeah. Will you do that? No. Why? Well, I don’t get the revenue credit. Huh. All right, tell you what, how about you get all the revenue credit, will you do it? No. Why? Well, it’ll cost me. Okay, how about I do all the cost? You get all the revenue credit, but at the end of the day, we’ll keep a set of shadow books because we both work for the UNISIS mother ship and we’ll need to show each how much I help you contribute to the mother ship and we do that. Okay, that’s the difference between entrepreneur and entrepreneur. But once you’ve convinced that, now I’ve got 100,000 guys selling into every airline on the planet. Well, I can turn a burn to make revenue, like I said, I’ve done this a couple of thousand times and sifted through probably 100,000 different concepts and ideas to get the ones that we actually executed on. So your role as an entrepreneur, how did you decide you want to put your weight behind a certain idea? Is that something that came down the chain? Is that something that you realized yourself or as a co workers and then it became a movement? How did you decide what is in a business idea you want to push against the mainstream? I assume in most companies and at what point do you feel there is something to it? It kind of depends what you’re talking about. In many of the instances, I was hired to come up with that idea unices and other places I was hired to execute and do that. For example, Casio originally hired me to launch the LT70P video file, which was a god awful product. In the early 90s video conferencing, it was a new picture every two and a half seconds. So it was a slide show. It’s kind of like Google Meet these days. Yeah. And so I pulled the global launch my first week on the job because I knew it was an absolute dog of a product. And Graham and Grandpa were not going to buy it and they built 60,000 units for the initial test. However, what I did is I relaunched it with new distribution. It was very good for show and tell, engineers, product guys, marketers, anybody wants to see something, distance learning. So I opened up new distribution, a dealer network to go sell it, double the price so they’re enough fat on the bone that everybody could make money doing it. And suddenly we sold 6,000 units in the first, I think, in the first half year. My original estimate, they said, what’s your forecast? I said 3,000. And they had a board member with my shadow and he quietly whispered, Ben and son, how do you sell 3,000? I said, well, they’re 3,000 stupid rich people in North America. And we ended up selling 6,000 and we ended up selling another 13,000 a second. And by then, I was like a god within Casio. Now it was, they gave me my own R&D team and feed them ideas. So it was KSULA, so wireless KSULA, variations and all the other stuff they made. So and then that’s kind of the way it went everywhere I’ve been. Does that answer your question? It does. That was already predefined. So it isn’t something you had to like harvest and find in the wild there. It makes things a little easier, it seems. The most interesting and the biggest transformation for me was when I got to Unisys. And you know, Unisys, I took over the communications division, which was pretty much they did all mobile messaging, but the cap was this agent A series mainframe. And they knew they were even Unisys knew they were going to lose everything within two years. So I’ll keep in it. You need to lifecycle away that 380 million in revenue. You got to replace it. We don’t know what to do. We’ll give you two people and you don’t have a budget. So what are you going to do? So it sounds like my combinator. Well, yeah, so I can see mobility coming on like this is in 2000. You could see, you know, it was WAP technology, but you could see mobility was really going to come on. And so in SMS, and I built an SMSC and so we, you know, hit that tsunami of short message service and wrote it very from the beginning started. But the and creating mozo. And so what I did then is with success, you can build and very quickly I was able to bring in people and all from my previous British Telecom infinite relationships. I brought in a whole bunch of guys were a lot smarter than me, but I’ve got the job. And let’s say I hire you and put you in charge of mobile payments and put another guy in charge of lifestyle, you know, mobile games and apps and what have you, another one in charge of infrastructure, no one charge of enterprise. And so now I’ve got four products, which is how I made my money. And I let them, I mean, I’m the referee, I control the factory. I had 3000 engineers by that time. So what are we going to make? What are we going to do? What are we going to productize? And so my, these four groups each had their own technology officer or technologists and they would do a basic business plan and every week we’d sit down and say, all right, here’s our to do list. This is what we’re building. What do you want to do towards that? What do you want to make? Why? And everybody gets a vote on it and it became competitive within the team. But no, you know, granted, I always shifted things, but my job became more get you what you need to be successful. Again, these were all really smart people and they all have gone on to be vice presidents, presidents, you know, research and motion or Sony, mobile or other, you know, they’re all really go to these guys, you know, all work for me. And so my job, get them, get them cooperation, get them funding, get them, you know, sales, get them relationships. What do they need to be successful? Yeah, I fully understand and I see that CEO mindset in you, I think that isn’t explored enough. I think most people don’t know enough about it, how difficult it can be kind of like a VC to oversee what’s going on, but not be on an operational day to day level or only be partially on a day to day level. And one theme that you did, you also mentioned in a prior podcast, I found really interesting is this, and I think this is the role of marketing and I want to really see your view and this is, how do you manage not just all these people, but how do you manage the specific problem of technology and the human connection? Humans buy stuff and technology is then what has scaled up and creates value many times. But how do you feel you can put these things together, where do you get your inspiration between the human connection and the technology on the other side? I think it’s a gut reaction, you know, do you see something, does it make sense? What did I use this? The other, then you have to answer the big question, who wants it, why? Who wants to sell it, why? If you can’t answer those two questions, you’re a big trouble, and you could have the best mouse trap in the world, but if nobody’s going to sell it, you’re going to fail. And then after you go, you know, part of my, you know, you go through decision gates to get anything done, and in large organizations, there’s a lot more steps to getting, you know, how do you want to get it approved, what we’re going to build. And this is also the, for the marketing guy, this is the most important step in how you deal with the entrepreneurial owner, because that is the most difficult person to manage upward, because most of these guys are flakes, you know, they can be very gifted, but Elton Musk is an absolute flake, and you know, Steve Jobs, Steve Jobs, I’ve been in the room with the guy, but he’s very entrepreneurial in spirit, and he will sit on the plane next to somebody and said, oh, oh, I saw this great thing, we need to go do this. And you’re, if you’re running a marketing group, and a product group, you’ve got to manage that process. And so the only way to do that is, this is my to do list, we only have so much bandwidth and money to do something, and say, oh, okay, Mr. CEO, man, that is a great idea, that is the best thing I’ve heard, I agree. Which one of my 10 things that we want to kill? No, no, no, no, no, no, no, this is the best thing I’ve ever heard. So which one of the ones you want to kill most? You need to take the personality out of managing that process, and so your to do list becomes, this is the defense for everybody. It also is, when you get into large companies like Huawei, where you’ve got a couple hundred thousand people, and everybody’s got ideas, what are we going to make and do and execute on, you need to develop through every department, so that every person has a say, and can come up with an idea, and how do we track it, but at some point we’re going to say yes, no. And you want to make that to be grouped and peering decisions, ideally, and then it keeps funneling down to what you actually want to execute on, but to be quite frank, whenever I’d get something and it would be questionable, like I had mobile phones, I would show it to my mother in law. Could she use it? If yes, it probably would work. If not, if she couldn’t see it made any sense, it’s probably going to die. And everybody has, you know, you’re trusted advisors, those are the, you know, it’s that gut check, I think that really people don’t take the step to use to see whether or not something is going to be worth it, except. Yeah, I think the grandma test is very popular, a lot of people have been employing that, and the problem, I mean, I feel like my grandma liked one of my startups, and they didn’t go anywhere, and then the next one she didn’t understand, and that took off. So it didn’t really help me from the small sample size, but I’m fully with you, it’s a great way to explore how the rest of the world would look at it. There is, and you said that earlier, there is a bunch of companies that literally never did any marketing or sales to speak of, marketing maybe is the wrong word, but they never did any sales to speak of in the technology, Silicon Valley sphere, and they’ve been doing very well. My example would be Google in the early days, not anymore, I would say Instagram in the early days, obviously now very different animal, WhatsApp, Signal, there’s all these companies that seem to come out of nowhere, they’re properly funded, they buy, I’d say influencers, and they do have a certain way to create that network effect, or LinkedIn would be one of those. Is that something you feel, how can you predict the success of those, because there’s so many of them out there, and you never know, because they don’t have sales, you can’t look at any numbers, there’s no intermediate metrics, it seems, they go from zero to a thousand in a matter of months, and they don’t want to make any money, they want to give it away for free, and then they want to be bought by someone else, monetize it in a very different unique way. Do you have a way to predict those, and how do you look at those, do you think they’re all crazy people, or what’s your view on that people? Yeah, for everyone though, you’ve got probably a thousand that are not a very good idea, and it’s actually, if you’ve spent any time working in a Kickstarter organization, which I did in China, as I said, I’ve gone through easily 100,000 concepts and ideas, and gone through, started the vetting process, and probably five times that in just outrageous ideas that we didn’t even bother to give the time of day to. Money does strike, and you can’t see everything, but I think there’s a, you know, again, who wants it, why, and who wants to sell it, why? Now Google was one I missed, and my wife said, oh, we should buy shares. I said, this is silly, no, called that one completely wrong, but then again I took futures on Palladium, which many people didn’t, and you know, it became a standard for mobile handsets and computers. So it’s kind of like, for me, for personally investing, the first time I went into a Walmart, you can look around and say, man, this is a really good concept. There is something here, and so when I do that, I buy 200 shares. That’s my own personal investment strategy, one of them. And I think most online or mobile apps, you know, it’s, there’s the silly, and there’s the practical. You know, a navigation app, very practical, yep, people do that, you know, and I’m surprised there’s no digital assistance, really, for a mobile device, and that’s a huge opportunity. Another one is one of my mobile apps that I invented, Death Clock. Torsten, if you go to insurance guy, how old are you? Mary, smoke, drink, children, he’ll tell you that basically when you’re going to die, all right, let’s load it up into a database, and now you can literally pull that, I think it’s still running someplace in the world, you can see, you can sign up and it’ll give you your life clock when you’re going to count down, Death Clock. I better not look at this, I better not look at this. Well, yeah, and it’s pretty, it was one of the most stupid things, you know, but hey, I invented it, whoop dee doo, and I can’t think that there was never any money in it, but it was, you know, had somebody come to me with that idea, I was like, well, okay, that’s nice, but I don’t think the life on that’s very long. And a lot of these things, and you remember at Casio, when we had questionable products, we would get every employee 100 bucks and tell them that weekend to go out and buy it, and they buy it and bring it in, and we put it back in the box in the warehouse and we’d ship it out again, but that would, you get the pull through, through big box retail, who was like, oh my gosh, you know, this answering machine is a huge success, we need more. So you seed the market, and I think, you know, the digital marketing on a lot of these online applications and services is self fed, you know, influencers. It’s not necessarily real, it’s not necessarily sustainable, and I think a lot of that comes from, you know, common sense and gut feel, more than anything. I’m with you, I mean, I find that, I think everybody finds this vet saying, because you have no intermediate metrics, these things go from nowhere to huge in the matter of days, and literally there’s nothing in between, there’s one theme out there, and I’m curious how you think about that, is the world, how it’s going to be like the next 50 years, so to speak, we all going to have the opportunity to spend a bit of our time as an entrepreneur. We probably have other jobs going on, but we have a certain part of our lives, we invent something that’s completely unique, that could be a bit of code on GitHub, that could be something on Kickstarter, it doesn’t have to be any of those platforms, it’s one creative, but scalable in that sense, creation. And what’s so fascinating about that, and the question is, if that’s true, we kind of build these virtual companies, so to speak, it goes off of one inspiration of a person, and this piece of code, this piece of an app, or that’s just, will probably look different, but it makes everyone in this world more productive, and they can use it for a small fee, or it’s actually free, and then they donate to it. This is a wonderful picture to be drawn, and it kind of goes, it works very well on these platforms, and I agree with you, this is very self serving, YouTube obviously wants a lot of people who make videos for free, so they can monetize them, right, but do you think this is a vision for the future, or we will go back to something that actually makes sense that you own, that you build an enterprise around it, where it’s sales is a team that owns a unique IP, is going to make the difference in the future? I think the technology is going to shift dramatically in about 10 years, and we’re going to moving forward in my nights, and night tech is another paradigm shift, for those that don’t understand, it’s small distributed processors, the size of a grain of sand, and they’ll be mixed in the paint, the wall will be the computer, the screen, the device, everything, it’ll be woven into the fabric of your clothing, so if you’ve seen Tom Cruise, a minority reporter who walks into the gap, and it says, hi Torsten, last time you were here, you bought some slacks, did you like to see some shirts, and you look at yourself in different shirts, that kind of technology is going to be with us in 10, 12 years, the foundations are here already. I think there’ll be one aspect, you mentioned the YouTube, I think it’ll be the experiences, because avatars and the virtual reality will be part of that enhanced experience, and let’s say I’ve always wanted to be a surfer, I’ve always wanted to know what it’s like to get on a surfboard, and go through a tube on a wave, well you’re going to have some world class surfer who’s going to be able to make that experience, and you’re going to be able to virtually live that. So I think travel, as you mentioned, both you and I like travel, we like learning things, we like finding the culture, I think those experiences are going to become the new YouTube in the not too distant future, and I think it’ll be service based. But the people who build those platforms will still exist, and the way information is used will still be exist. And I think that’s another paradigm shift that’s waiting to come is the way and privacy and marketing. You already see a huge split in the way Ocratic governments such as China handle personalization and privacy, the way the EU is is very different than the United States. So I think you’re going to see some changes in that, and it will be painful, and that will also dictate a lot of how things will go in the future. It’s one thing to have the technology, it’s another to see it enacted and executed on. A lot of the technology gets bought up and thrown in the closet because it impacts somebody’s revenue stream. Google, Apple, Cisco, they buy a lot of technology and they throw it away because they don’t want to disrupt their own, it’s disruptive to their revenue streams. And you see my favorite shopping, my favorite search engine is like.com, it was a visual search engine. You’re looking for brown shoes, you’re looking for brown shoes with low heels. Brown shoes, low heels, laces. Brown shoes, laces with tooling on, you can get as down as specific as you want. Fantastic technology. Google bought it 10 years ago, haven’t seen the lighter day of it. You watched the TV show Silicon Valley, which I didn’t watch for the longest time, and then I got into it a couple of months ago, and it’s very well outlined. This game of buying competitors or potential competitors, just as a defensive move. And just the sheer scale effects when most of the tech giants, they are so enormous, they can literally buy a whole country, the market cap of Apple buys you all of Eastern Europe and you still have money left. And everything that’s there in these countries, which is ginormous, they probably keep on growing for quite some time, so they literally at one point can shop all of the US or all of China, which is really strange to see that. So there’s a huge incentive for these companies to protect their revenue streams at all costs, and I feel they will grow to great lengths to do that, not just by destroying companies around them, but I feel we’ve seen that they will take a lot of political influence in a way that they can make sure they still make as much money in the next few years as they did in the last few years. That’s really scary. Do you feel there is something we can do about this, which is a lot of people call for regulation for Section 230 to change, and it all seems to be very politically motivated. Do you feel there is something, and I’m in that camp where I say other technology will probably help that problem. Do you see there’s a big revolution coming on and kind of breaking up that power of big tech, or do you think they’re just going to keep accumulating? No, it definitely will be, you’re going to see a lot of antitrust, that definitely will be a backlash against that. One, two, more than at any other time in the last thousand years, how sustainable somebody is is very short. I don’t think, Google is not an IBM, Google will not exist in a hundred years. Facebook is not going to exist in 50, I don’t think Facebook is going to make 10 years. Because somebody will come up with something new, and for example, the next generation of mobile devices, which all have tech technology, Apple doesn’t own any of the patents. They’re going to be literally either paying somebody else or they’re going to be left out, and they’re going to go into a serious decline. And so you’re going to, again, in about 10, 12 years, you’re going to see, with nonites, you’re going to see a whole range of other technologies that are absolute paradigm shifts. It’s not going to be based on Intel or Microsoft. And so it will be somebody else, and those guys will rot. One, I think, as a marketer, brands are learning that they have a voice. They have power. They need to wield that very carefully. But things like, hey, we need to wake up and term limits. Somebody shouldn’t be sitting there in government for 50 years. That’s kind of silly. Nobody should be there that long. So that’s not very popular, and certainly none of the current politicians, but at some point, hopefully, the populations will wake up and say, you know, we need to do something about this. Why don’t we make government service part of Switzerland, where you’re required to serve in the military for a couple of years? Why don’t we, at some point in your life, you need to serve the public in some way? You can be a teacher, you can be a fireman, you can be a senator. You need to serve four years or eight years of service to the public. So there was a lot of ways, but I think politically, we’re a ways away from doing something that and the current politicians aren’t going to want to support that because they’d have to go work for a living. Not going on, and it’s really coming on in lots of different facades, and it’s something that I’ve been realizing going to China myself is that I think the last 20 years, we’ve given up largely to innovate in a physical world. And China is still in that world where they use technology to improve the physical world. I mean, most of the cities like Wuhan looks like a city from 20 years into the future. There’s skyscrapers, and there’s cars going through the skyscrapers, and there is tunnels, but they look more hectic than anything I’ve ever seen when I went to Wuhan last year before the COVID hit. And I thought that it’s a real adventure and desire in China, strangely enough, because we think of it as a state and enterprise, the whole country. But what they have done is still create this physical and we can discuss all the way to manufacturing, they’re building that skill. And I feel like the US has, and that’s related to what you just said, the US has this desire to just move themselves into the cloud. Literally the most, this is like the COVID response, right, we are basically being told to stay at home, to watch Netflix, to read books, to transform our life and our whole identity into something that looks like record swallow, right, we upload ourselves into some computer cloud consciousness, and then that’s how we should live. That’s primarily in the US trend, so we use cloud technology everywhere and we are leaders and there’s tons of engineers and there’s PhDs that do this, but in the physical infrastructure barely sees any of that innovation, at least in the US. Do you think that’s true, A, and B, do you think that’s going to keep continuing, most technology brands are basically cloud only and they ignore everything else? I don’t think the US is the leading cloud country by a long shot. Well cloud is a broad definition, not as cloud, cloud service, but as a way that we define our future. No, and again, it goes in cycles, cloud, tell me the difference between cloud and mainframe computing. I know we talked about that, but I think of cloud as more of a digital experience, not just cloud, cloud, but as an experience where we feel like we’re kind of retreating from the physical world and go into the digital world, and whenever you look at something that took off is obviously digital, but that’s not true in China, they built train networks, they built ginormous airports that are actually still having a ton of flights, so they haven’t really cut back on domestic flights, so they have a ton of physical infrastructure that can come out of digital innovation planning and the way they built it, they built certain buildings just with drones and they built them in a day, and you’re like, whoa, we can’t even build things in five years, like in San Francisco to build a row, it takes like ten years now and costs a hundred billion dollars, which the same road is being done in China for five million and it looks way nicer. So that I feel is… Well China has, it’s a different culture, one, now at Huawei, I spent three years in Shenzhen, small city of 20 million, Shenzhen did not exist in 1990, it was a fishing village with less than 5,000 people, not 20 million, and they brought in several hundred thousand people, you’re not going to get paid, we’ll feed you, you are going to build a city, we’re not going to pay you, your children will thank you. And they built it, and as you said, it is as modern as you can get, copying a lot of American cities right down to their no bicycle lanes. So some of that planning can go a little awry, China Business School teaches you to copy somebody else, making it more efficiently than somebody else, gaining market share, gaining a commanding position in the market, and then innovate and do something unique. Lot to be said for the success of that strategy. So they’re doing very, very well, they also have a lot of problems in China, and that’s going to come back to haunt them, but it’s a different culture, and I enjoyed Huawei, there was no male, female, there was no political, I had a cube in the farm, I’m the global cube market officer, what do you do? I have a cube of desk in the cube, the cube farm like everybody else, everybody’s equal, pretty much, what did exist was clicks of where you went to school. And there are three premier engineering universities, and Huawei has three clicks within it, and that’s why Mr. Ren rotates and they have three different CEOs every 18 months, so that no one click. Because if you’re my boss and you get promoted, I go along with you, but that’s why he rotates everything every 18 months, they keep balance between those different clicks and no one click will they have to do it. So it’s a different culture way of doing things, can we make anything and make maglev trains? Yeah. Do we want to? No. And again, our infrastructure is such that we’re getting as much out of weekend the wires in the ground where they don’t have that wire in the ground in China or in Africa. And so they’d go on completely wireless, yeah, okay. But again, you’re going to see paradigm shifts in technology and it’ll be a leap frog and then we’ll get leap frog, and that’s the way, that’s technology. That’s the way it goes. I’m with you, that would be my next question. I’m with you with this. When we talk about, you talked about NANIs earlier, are you familiar with records files of you and what do you think of it? Do you think it’s going to happen at that time frame, 2045, now it has been revised, I was told a couple of episodes ago, the 2038, like a new time frame where we feel technology and rule will change our lives so strongly that it’s hard to predict what actually happens. That’s why he calls it singularity. Do you think that’s in the cards in the next 15, 20 years or it’s much further out or it’s not going to happen at all? I think it’s further out. I think the human experience is slow to take up radical change and it’ll take, you know, anytime you introduce it, you’ve got at least 20 years, you’ve got a generation to change it out. My generation, computers did not exist, I still know how to use a slide rule, calculators were brand new when I was going to university and now kids have computers. It runs in cycles and you need to learn to navigate those and deal with them. That human experience and you hope, I guess part of me is hopeful that future generations will be a bit smarter and learn from mistakes and be more careful about how you implement new technology. People are concerned about AGI and quantum computers and that’s what we hear from China. The problem is once you have one of those things, there’s probably going to be more of those, it seems like you’re going to be, you have it one day and just a year later you’re almost in a different plane of existence on this planet. It changes everything. A quantum computer can potentially decrypt any encryption that’s out there in a heartbeat. It can compute things in so parallel that it, potentially, you’re the only computer that matters in the world anymore, right, and that’s what happens, we enter the singularity. So you go back to, so you go back to something like programming in COBOL or Fortran, which is impossible and has never been broken. It’s not possible. Yeah. Oh, okay. So there are solutions for every problem and I think they’re, yeah, but it’s not a problem, so to speak. So it’s just a side effect of something that’s so massively parallel that you don’t need any other computer anymore because this one thing can do it in the same time, right? It’s a fear, right? I’m not saying it’s real. Yeah, yeah, yeah, there’s a side picture. One of the better books I’ve read is Guns, Germs, and Steel, which looks at human history, 60,000 years of evolution, literally from the caveman, emigrating out agriculture, germs, warfare, and with examples from all over the world, you either adopt and integrate, which is the human condition, or you expire. You become extinct and that happens if you don’t adopt a something. So if China came out and they invented quantum computers and we didn’t, or they used artificial intelligence and we didn’t, and that is the game changer, well then they are going to win and the rest of the world will adopt or get run over and that’s part of the human condition. Yeah. No, I mean, this is certainly the conservative case and there is this case of things will move so quickly, but probably people have said that 100 years ago about the automobile and we figured out how to live with this properly. The same is true about the nuclear bomb, right? But it did change the whole dynamic about the Second World War. In a positive way, a lot of people would argue very, very quickly, but at the time, the conventional attacks and the nuclear bombs, they were almost at the same level. So it was predicted to be a big game changer and it kind of was, but it kind of also wasn’t because you could have done the same thing with just conventional bombs at the same time. So I haven’t really made up my mind. I’m personally a big believer in what records while has been predicting and this track record is just so enormous. Maybe because I want to believe in it, right? It’s almost like it’s a bit of a religious faith in this, but it creates a lot of other issues the way we define humanity and what humans do when all the machines take over. And it’s purely speculative right now, right? These things could turn out very, very differently. We’ve been reading for the last 80 years, Isaac Asimov and science fiction writers have been doing, you know, been thinking about this and reading about it for quite a long time. And I think that’s one of the ways that we can, you know, examples that we can deal with robots and artificial intelligence and a government that has all the answers and watches everything that we do. Yeah, it definitely sounds scary and people definitely buy into this. What I have just to get it on a different track, I have a couple of quick questions for you and I would be grateful if you can answer them with just like a short sentence or a couple of sentences. Sure. Okay, so where did I put my quick questions? In terms of technology companies, what’s a technology company from your point of view that has a great product but really terrible marketing? Great product in real, but Huawei obviously comes to mind right now and it’s because of the 5G fears or why? When I was there, the US government, and you have to appreciate I’ve had quite a bit to do with the, as they say, call it red, black environments, Department of Defense projects. And when I went to Huawei, a friend in the Department of State said, don’t take the job. They’re offering me an awful lot of money, I need to feed my family, so I went. And about halfway through my tenure, there started to be these rumblings that, oh, Huawei’s a bad guy. And it’s kind of funny, I had lunch, the next door to me was the Global Chief Technology Officer, Tony Johnson, who was a former US Navy SEAL. The CIO is a 35 year IVM, a former Canadian military, and we’re like, where are the bad guys? I see people playing solitaire. So I would have handled this, and my advice to Mr. Ren was to handle things very differently and make light of it, make humor, to confront things head on. They chose not to do that, and when I left, there was three Chinese people doing my job and they let it fester too long, and that put them in a very disambentageous situation. And if you look at 5G, it is beyond silly that basically Huawei went from the leading mobile infrastructure provider to basically being out of the market. That is politics and business. I don’t understand the whole discussion because obviously the network layer and the security layer, they have nothing to do with each other. We could have Huawei back doors into whatever encryption is there, but we can put our own encryption layer on top of this, and it would be perfect, right? Everyone would be better off. So I don’t understand the real discussion. Every piece of Western kit has what’s called the law enforcement access protocol, LEAP. It has a back door. I was approached by the same friend of the Department of State and said the NSA would like to have Huawei put the LEAP into our kit, and respectfully, we can’t do that because we sell to Busafasa and Iraq and Iran and Libya, and they don’t want that, and Huawei is kind of funny. Huawei actually has an adversarial relationship with the Chinese government, and I know this from having been a customer of Huawei and ZTE. When I was in Bangladesh, I was the CEO of the mobile operator, and I was a customer of both ZTE and Huawei, and ZTE is the government, and if you bring a ZTE, you want a good price from Huawei, you make sure the ZTE rep is sitting in your lobby because they will do anything that kills ZTE. It’s kind of funny. So after that refusal, we started hearing some political rumblings, and we started looking at Huawei as a security restaurant, like, what the heck? Again, my CTO is a former Navy SEAL, and we started looking at our infrastructure, which is all Dell and IBM servers. And we found that the NSA had actually hacked Huawei in 2009, so they knew and saw everything that was going on, and it’s pure political theater. I get the same impression. I can’t really follow that. The Japanese government would be another one, Hitachi, Toshiba, they’ve done a terrible job marketing, NEC, they do an atrocious job marketing, but they’ve got some of the best kits, and if you want to do cloud service brokerage, or if you want to do any number of things, some of the technology from those companies is the best in the world, but their marketing has got off. But where do you see the opposite, and I think I can already guess that, but you have a really crappy product, but fantastic marketing in the technology space? My best example is Mercedes Benz. I thought you were going to say Tesla. That’d be another example, yeah, and if you ever talked to somebody about Tesla, an electrical problem, but Mercedes Benz, for a premier top dollar brand, fantastic best marketing you can buy, their brand is solid gold, but the car is, if you look at the last 10 years of consumer brand, they’re middle of the road to the lower half of the top 50 automakers in the world. They make a crummy automobile, but the Cache, and you’re in the club, and they’re in their able to maintain top dollar for an inferior product, which is a poor example of marketing. I don’t want to be a marketer of that kind of company where you’re kind of a, as they call it, a storyteller, and you’re a slick use car salesman, rather. We all have to do that on occasion, but if that’s your stock and trade, that’s not the way I want to be. Which is surprising because I feel, and maybe there’s more to this history, but a lot of German companies, kind of like Chinese and Japanese companies, they excel at good manufacturing skills and usually to CEOs coming out of those internal ranks, they rise up to become CEO. So they really have no insight into marketing. They actually have no clue why anyone is buying their product. They know there’s demand out there, but they think it’s because they have great technology. And Mercedes Benz is interesting to bring up that example. They must have taken a different road, especially the U.S., I think, because their luxury image, but also their technological prowess, it’s something that’s more strong in the U.S. I don’t feel they’re known in Europe for that, for being, well, maybe there is a little bit of this, but it’s more like because they’ve been around so long, they’re so established, but they don’t have the strong advantage in marketing, and so to speak, that they have here. So BMW is there, and Audi, they’re almost at the same level. Yeah, it does change on where the world you look at these things, and that creates opportunity. Campbell Soup is another great example, again, engineering run company that doesn’t put value on marketing, and they’ve lost market share, they’ve done very poorly, they did very poorly through the pandemic, but they’re basically, and they always have been run by engineers, not marketers, and it’s kind of the difference, I think, the difference between how you define marketing and product marketing. I look at marketing as an iceberg, the 10% of the iceberg above the waterline, that’s the fun, fluffy stuff, the PR, and the marcom, and the influencer, and the social, and all that wonderful stuff that everybody sees, but 90% of the work is under the water. What do we make? How do we make it? How do we make it efficiently? How do we make it profitably? How do we sell it? How do we take care of it? It’s all that mundane work that the product marketer does, and product marketers have to do the PR side as well, but more and more and more, you see marketing being defined by the people who just do the fun, fluffy advertising stuff, and it gives it a bad name. I think you’re absolutely correct, the product development part of innovation is something that doesn’t get enough credit, and there’s a marketing part to it, and there’s a technological part to it, and both sides need to come together, and you mentioned that earlier, that’s really tricky for most people to pull off because they come from one side, they either come as sales guys, they come in as marketing guys, they come in as developers, and they hate each other, and if they can’t avoid that meeting, then they would try to, and I used to work in a company that started, and what happened is we literally had these two, this hallway, but we had different wings, and one wing was sales, one wing was HR marketing, and another one was included product development at the time, and the other side was development, hardcore software development, and literally if they would see each other in a hallway, they would just go back into their wing, they would literally not cross the hallway, and I felt it was so difficult to find someone who would even venture to the other side of the building, most people just wouldn’t do it, they would do it once, and then they would get so humiliated by that experience of never doing it again, and you could see this in any meeting, you could bring people together, and they still hate each other, and they would talk to each other, but they wouldn’t really talk to each other. And this is something I have very rarely observed in telecom and large technology companies, I’ve never seen it, and I think in part because every CMO of large technology companies or telcos, mobile operators, have spent time in sales, everybody on my teams, if you were young and you look like you’re a promising marketer, I immediately send you to sales for six months to a year or two, because you cannot market something, marketing is how do you do profitable business, repetitive, and so you need to sell better than the sales people, you can’t tell sales how to work smart if you can’t sell, and so the first written test is does sales help use marketing to close business, and every tech company I’ve ever been at, I probably, half of my job, it seemed I was being used to help close business somewhere, because my guys were, you know, the other way is they treat marketers only as the PR advertising storyteller, and then they’ve got engineers who do the product development, well that is a disaster because they need product marketing, which is that what do we make, why do we make it, and how do we make it profitably, you become a mini GM, and that’s the way the most telcos and large tech companies operate, so but smaller ones, you know, try to get, they bypass that, and so they split it up, and I think that becomes part of it, that it becomes a cultural problem with the company, yeah absolutely, I have a question for you there, so imagine you’re in a new role, you go into a company as CEO or CMO, and do you only have, we have one person that would be your first meeting, would it be the head of sales, the head of the prior marketing, the head of engineering, who would be the first person you want to have lunch with? Your biggest customer, oh okay, that person went on the list too, who wants it, why, who sells it, why, you know, you’ve got to answer, you know, the first 90 days, I would say the first people I want to talk to are your top 10 customers, then I want to talk to the head of every business unit, you know, the head of customer care, the head of sales, the head of marketing, the head of, you know, operations or engineering, yeah, I want to meet with all of those and look at their interactions between them, and the processes between them, that’s number, you know, in either CMO or CEO or CEO roles, that’s the first thing I look at, what are those relationships like, what are the dynamics and the methodologies between them, and then you look at, are they doing things like continuous improvement methodology, which I’m a huge believer in, it has to, when you’re on top and you’ve got, you know, 99 market share, that’s when you want to innovate, or kick off a new, you know, a new brand to start cannibalizing your business, you know, you need to constantly, every quarter, sit down and say, hey, how can we do this better, and that, you need to make that part of your culture. Yeah, if you’re not innovating, you’re dying, just on a slow rate. One thing that always troubled me in my career is, how do I find honest sales guys? So those sales guys come in, they have a great pitch, they obviously know how to personally sell, they have a lot of experience on paper. It’s hard for you to validate, because you can ask for references, but nobody will give you the actual sales numbers of the sales guy. And then, it’s just different compensation structures, but how do you find good experience and honest sales guys, well, I never figured out the process of what I basically ended up doing is trial and error, right, I had hired a bunch, and after like two or three months, I let half of them go, because they didn’t produce anything, but maybe they were just in for the long term, and it would make their deals, I had a hard time figuring out and predicting who would be a good sales guy. Two things, first, for me, it’s a gut level reaction. Is this someone that I would never invite to my home? I hire that person. Oh, okay, that’s the contrary of you. Yeah. I’m a very good sales person. I don’t like to sell, which is why I went into marketing. I can carry a bag and I’ll get you the deal, but I don’t want to have to do that every single day. And that’s where marketing needs to come in and say, and the object of sales management is what are our numbers? We need to make how many calls, to make so many appointments, and if I need to make a hundred calls to get three appointments, and I know out of every three appointments, I’m likely to close one. Okay, those are my numbers. I can manage to that. You need to find out what that is. The other one is, you simply, you manage sales by numbers, by results, plain and simple. And if somebody’s not pulling their weight, you get rid of them. And the best sales is a brutal profession, and it literally, your replacement is outside the door. So you need to come in with some numbers this order, and I don’t think it’s very difficult to have a honest salesperson that enjoys being on the street, on the road, year after year. It’s very difficult to maintain that. And if they do, this is a problem of a lot of, like, in the channel business, in technology, the value added reseller, I’ve met dozens of salespeople that literally make a million dollars a year selling tape, backup, storage to the government. Why do I want to sell your mobility crap, Bennett? I’m making a million dollars a year. Do you make a million? I’ve never made a million dollars a year. Well, okay, but they own the company because they own that relationship. That’s equally dangerous. So I think you want to make sales agnostic. You want to move people around. You want to change them up. It’s kind of like your manager of a baseball team or a hockey, and you change the lineup. That’s what I’m doing is move part of the engineering forcibly into sales. They basically threaten with immediate cancellation of their contract, but that’s what I tried to do. And some people actually were enlightened by this, and I think the ones who were willing to do this, they were much better engineers of the year or two. I mean, there was a huge conversion. Yeah, and it’s an inspiration. We’ve gotten away from the sales engineer, which I think is a shame, because having the technology, having the technical expertise with the salesperson, they’re much more believable. It’s changed. Men are not believable. Women are statistically, and it changes where you are in the world, too. So it does vary a lot, but sales is a revolving door, and I think it’s best to manage it that way and manage by the numbers, but to mix things up. My favorite is going into a new company, and when you run into resistance in the engineer, oh, I can’t sell. Wait a minute. Everybody sells. Most people say, are you married? If they say yes, well, okay, you closed the biggest deal of your life. You sold. Did you ever ask someone to dance? You sold. It’s the same thing. Some people here, I mean, a lot of people are attracted to engineering because it allows you to kind of have this autism, this Asperger’s syndrome, and to not be bothered by anyone. You’re in that logical sphere of the world where everything makes sense, and if it doesn’t make sense, then you ignore it. And sales is very different. It’s back to humans. It’s back to the cavemen. It’s back to being involved in things that are more social, that are for a lot of people who have this artistic flair, who are often extremely good engineers. It’s just something they want to avoid. I feel it’s not to their benefit because if they would master this social aspect, they would be a better person, more successful in everything in their life, but there’s a strong resistance into this. I always run into this, and then you actually lose half of the engineering team if you really push this, and then you’re really in trouble because suddenly you only have half the people left. I mean, hopefully those are the good ones, but sometimes you get rid of a lot of good people. So it’s very difficult to balance this from my point of view. Yeah, it’s an individual call, and when you promote people and you expand, that’s a part of that. Where do they go? A lot of them go into product marketing. Some of my best product marketers I’ve found come out of engineering. The latest group that have that problem are the data engineers. They’re very good at databases. They don’t understand what questions to ask. Yeah. Big data is great, but it’s useless without analytics. And what kind of analytics, again, you’ve got to know what questions to ask and why. And should we give an example of data visualization and how that can help, because it helps you to see the data in different ways. Yeah, it’s human ingenuity will always be the deciding factor, right? Some people call it talent. It’s a human ingenuity to come up with on a different changing battlefield, come up with the right questions, but also with the right answers. And I think this is where we’re still needed when the machines take over. But I wanted to ask you a different question. The values we just talked about, the difficulties they’re bringing together, technology and salespeople. How is it different in other countries, Afghanistan and the role of religion, for me, very interesting there. Do you feel like a religion, say Judaism, who now really spawns an unlimited amount of engineers, it seems, every day at the investment, is it really a factor when you go to Islamic countries or is it so much concealed from the individual that these values, these big values, right, that day to day work, they shouldn’t matter so much. Do you feel they shine through or that’s something where you feel like, well, it’s really down to the individual? That’s a very interesting question. I find, from my observation, it’s, do you ask questions of things? And are you encouraged to ask questions about everything? And I’ll give you a different twist on that. One of my favorite organizations to observe, or use an example, is a company called Dimension Data. Now, they’re a software and technology company that originated in South Africa. They’re very unique because during apartheid, when they got their start, no one would play, they were cast, and no one would play in the sandbox with them. Therefore, they had to invent everything themselves for themselves. And so they developed a very different way of doing things than everybody else. Their software is different, their coding is different, their way of doing quality checks, and everything is very different. And that’s a very, you know, it’s very interesting to look at the cultural impact and where you are on the world. Islam has a wonderful, rich history, but it’s been stifled since the 8th century. Don’t ask questions, don’t push, and that is changing. And some of the most entrepreneurial software places, certainly for mobile developers, has been in Islamic countries. Some of the more socially relevant things I’ve seen in Islamic country. There’s no one else helping them, so they’re helping themselves. And so you look at things like seven villages and some of the, you know, there’s a whole world out there as they call it for the other five billion that are off the radar for most, you know, for the Google’s and Facebook’s. That is a different way of doing things. And so you see technology, most notably in mobile, very different than, say, Indonesia or Bangladesh, or in Central Africa, than it is in China or the US or Europe. Yeah, there’s this idea, and I’ve been putting my hand around this, of charter cities, right? So you take the best of cities, say Dubai, or the best values of technology development, say agriculture from Israel. And you take a piece of technology and you put it into a new framework and a framework that has chosen to be very effective, say Dubai, say Singapore. And you put the city, for whatever reason, you get this grant, you can develop the city, say in the middle of the jungle in Brazil or in Colombia. And I still feel this would be wonderful. There’s tons of political issues with this, but let’s assume you get the ability to pull this off politically, to just take the best of what, say, the free markets organization, the courts and trust in the law system. And then you take a bunch of technology and you just bring these two together, a bunch of people. Do you think it would take off? It’s that easy? Or do you think there is something to it that’s, say, you work with in a random city in the Colombian jungle, which has, say, 10,000 people, you bring a bunch of people in, do you think you would be able to pull this off, say this is like a CEO project, so to speak, or there is more to it? Like, you can’t just go into a random place and just kind of fly into this U of O and make this particular city take off. No, I think you can. Intellectual capacity is equal everywhere in the world. Absolutely unequivocally equal. What is different is opportunity. Now you could go and take that technology to someplace in Borneo. They will take it. They will see it. But the reaction will be different to it than Malaysia or Central Africa. And they will probably see things that you and I did not. They will adapt to it differently. And that is not a bad thing. I think that’s a very good thing. Because they’re going to innovate and come up with different things, and they’re going to find different relevant values than you or I know. Once you, if you can make opportunity equal, I think you’re going to see very different things. I think that’s part of, I feel part of the responsibility of big tech is to try and create more opportunity. It’s good business to create more opportunity. Well, they’re monopolists. In their core business, they’re obviously not interested in creating opportunity. They want it on other layers, on top of them, or below them. But that’s a real problem that they are so ingrained in the infrastructure and they make so much money. It’s very little for them to really go out there and create a new business. As you said earlier, if you don’t innovate, then you’re dying. Maybe I said that, but you gave me the inspiration. Right. And I’ve made a career by going after that and attacking that. The Silicon Valley is a bunch of idiots. They are the most arrogant group, that’s a huge stereotype. But as a group, I think it’s the most arrogant culture I’ve ever encountered, unjustifiably arrogant. Oh, the airline industry is equally worse. Yeah. I mean, telecom are the biggest bunch of idiots. I wouldn’t have a job if they were smart. They’re running, the train is 20 years behind the times on the tracks. Yeah. How do you feel the role of institutions really play in this? There’s this theory that people say, well, there’s these undergirding layers, maybe it might be religion, might be ethics, work ethic, whatever that is. And then you have these, but if you actually want to produce a healthy, competitive, curious person in your company with a lot of talent that creates, that actually looks for the opportunity, what do you feel the role of institutions is? So institutions, we talk about schools, we talk about universities, and we feel like right now in the US, we’ve lost a lot of those. There’s a lot of change going on, people use the word compromise, people act very ideological instead of, you know, use some common sense. And that’s absolutely true if you go like to Nigeria, a lot of universities are very different agenda. They don’t care about the students, right? They’re driven by an agenda that is not really open. It’s not displayed to the students or the teachers who send their kids. Do you think these institutions really matter, or none of you have the internet, we become all very libertarian and say, well, we don’t have to worry about this, so the market is going to fix this? I think they are hugely impactful, however, it has become distorted. And by distortion, I mean, it’s beyond ridiculous that it’s $100,000 a year to go to university. universities are a big business. It’s shameful. They’re not there to educate. One of the nice things I enjoyed about Huawei is I had a budget, you know, not a huge $20 million a year in corporate responsibility, you know, around the world. And a lot of it I did in education programs, helping kids in Namibia, you know, learn to code. Now, it’s not going to impact my bottom line, but 10 years from now, hopefully, it’s going to create a marketplace where they might buy more of my stuff. And so I think that, you know, and that’s the way these institutions need to be, I think, reformed. And again, I’ve got some kind of radical ideas. I think teachers should be fired, and you and I should be a teacher, you know, again, that we are required to, you know, provide and give back, you know, four or eight years of our life by doing something. Now, if you could be a teacher for four years, how cool would that be? Well, that’s my YouTube channel, right? So no, I’m going to need teachers. If we need teachers, we only need one. The same reason we don’t need journalists anymore. We can just go to YouTube. The intermediary role is nonexistent anymore, and that’s true for professors. Maybe we need one professor of psychology and one for engineering, but literally we need only one in the whole planet, or maybe 10 of them, but it’s a relatively small number to produce exceptional good value. And then we just, we need to solve how we motivate people to actually learn, because right now you’re kind of in this, in this gulak, we call it a kindergarten, and we call it a middle school. We call it elementary school, middle school, and high school. It’s kind of a gulak. We’re forced to go there unless there’s huge social pressure coming down the road, and the same is kind of true for universities. I think the content is solved already. It’s all on YouTube. That’s, that’s, you know, I’m really thankful for Google for doing this, but the, the other problem is we don’t, nobody needs teachers anymore for that respect, but how do we get people, kids, or like younger people to actually learn, or is it again, libertarian, and they, they will get interested sooner or later and stuff. And I, yeah, I think this is where institutions are, can be beneficial in that it’s certainly in the United States. I think we need to think of political ethics as a religion. If you, if you took the constitution and what it is supposed to be, what the Declaration of Independence says, and treated it like you do a religious document, that you’re not going to have people protesting, or you’re not going to have people taking shots at each other for disagree. And I think that is, it is something, and certainly in the United States, you’re getting an individual rather than people, you know, they talk about the greatest generation, you know, World War II post oppression, but everybody working together, not agreeing, but pulling together in a common way toward common goals. That’s the role of institutions to reinforce, and I think that has become lacking. Yeah, I mean, the incentives have gone away, and it’s put at this point, there’s so many more alternatives, right, you can learn from YouTube, you can build your social network on YouTube, there’s so many avenues that the internet provides. So the real need to do something in the real world, like we talked about that earlier, not just infrastructure for the social beings, it’s been diminished so much, and I think this is on, I mean, maybe it’s going to, it’s going to come back, but I feel like there’s going to be a whole new host of incentives that people have to, to, to rediscover this learning. And I see this with my own children, with, they have incredible skills that I wasn’t even aware of, but a lot of things where I feel they should know what to do, like they still have trouble with spelling at a really advanced stage. In teenage hood, I’m like, this is crazy, this is ridiculous, but on the other hand, they can do crazy things and graphics, graphic design that I’m like, I can, I don’t even know anyone who can do this by the age of 30, right? So the skill set is going to be very, very small in that sense, but very deep. And for that, these schools are useless, right? Because they wanted to make pretty broad days, industrial worker, don’t think too much, just know the facts or some of the facts that we think is the consensus. But now we realize the consensus isn’t so stable as we all thought, I mean, consensus, but anything, you know, you can question, matter. And maybe it’s good for our kids to really just not have a consensus, but just have a very, very deep skill. Obviously, what we see the problem right now is that it can be easily influenced. And then they go into a direction politically, emotionally, they’re like, whoa, there’s no common sense left, but maybe that’s how the world works these days. Common sense is really not a monetizable skill anymore. Yeah, I tend to go the other way. And looking at my career, I’m a generalist. I’ve learned a great deal about an incredible amount of, I know a little bit about a lot of things. And I’m not, yeah, I can go fairly deep on some things, but it’s always relative. I don’t think being a specialist or generalist is a good thing because, again, you don’t know what questions to ask. That leads to ignorance in too many areas. And this gets into a rigorous education in a specific discipline versus a liberal art education. Yeah, I feel like I’m switching my own perspective. I’m obviously a very strong common sense guy, but I also see that this is for this generation. It’s definitely hard because there’s so much information out there. We grew up and we had a certain body of knowledge that was to be taken, there were like, say, a thousand books in the library. And that was all you needed to know, right? And that was kind of the consensus that all you needed to know and needed to look into everything a little bit, and that was fine. But now it’s totally different. I mean, there’s like a billion books, and nobody knows if these books are completely nonsensical, that like the whole relationship with facts has gone out of the window. But it doesn’t mean they’re all fake news, right? But there’s just so much more information. So for the kids to get this understanding of this is the final or somewhat final defined corpus of knowledge, it’s completely gone. It cannot be managed like this anymore. So I think we need to, so I swap my perspective from one day where I say, oh my gosh, we can’t have all dance degree and Russian literature and expect to make money with this. But on the next day, then I see, oh, if you do the best podcast about Dostoevsky, I mean, this thing is going to make you rich, or at least it’s going to be so much fun that you’re going to be, at least you’re going to be happy if you’re really going to make a lot of money, maybe not immediately. But think about Dostoevsky and all these writers, they never really made any money doing their lifetimes. And then a hundred years later, they became famous. Going back, are they, is that for them, the best decision to write and then put this to paper like Nietzsche and Dostoevsky, I mean, for them, it must have felt very good to just articulate this, right? Even if they never made money from this, and if they would have gone into sales, they would have been able to provide much better for their family. If I’m understanding your question, I think there’s great benefit. Everything has a lifetime process, we never stop learning, and I think that’s part of being human. And if you stop that or stagnate, I think that process, I think you get into trouble. Part of, I think there’s too much, the influencer is too, sorry, the influencer is much too important. Kim Kardashian is Kim Kardashian. She didn’t mean anything to me, and okay, she’ll actually have an opinion on something great. I’ll take that in. I’ll take in a hundred other opinions. That’s a good old boomer. Yeah. Yeah, but you take in all the information and you need to sit through it. Any historian is going to look at what other people have written about something, but they’re going to come to their own conclusion. They’re going to look for other examples to say, oh, I think these guys may have missed something or they got something wrong, and that’s the art and joy that a historian does of constantly looking at an event that thousands of other people have looked at previously. But that’s part of being human, is to learn and improve and change, and you can’t do that if you stop learning and stop asking questions. Well, that’s the perfect segue to my next question. I feel like you’re in a point of your life where you definitely have this motivation to give back. What’s kind of your plan? Where do you see yourself personally, and how do you pull off this giving back? What’s kind of your personal contribution to society after a career where you already met that they contributed, but what’s your personal plan for that? I don’t have a specific plan. I try and help. I’m helping about half a dozen different businesses right now, just as an unpaid advisor. I love LinkedIn for that aspect, and I probably have conversations like this a hundred times a year, and it’s enjoyable, and I’ll give anybody my two cents, I’ll try and help them, I want them to be a better marketer than I ever was. And to learn from my mistakes, and I can tell you where I fell down and skinned my knees, and please don’t do that, and that’s the best we did, that’s the best we could do. I was just saying that’s really difficult sometimes to get this message across, because younger folks, and I think we were the same, learning from abstract experience, meaning other people’s experience and other people’s knowledge, it’s much harder than learning from concrete experience, it’s just how a brain works, so getting this across and getting that into the minds of young people is tough, especially now with so much distraction out there. Yeah, and it goes back to, again, marketing Casio, go and see. The best example of a mobile device was in about 2003, I was in Sweden with another couple, we were having dinner, and there was nobody else in the restaurant. We could not get a waiter, and I mean 20 minutes, we’re looking for the bill. My friend finally pulled out his mobile, called the restaurant, somebody answered, said, could you please give us our bill? That suddenly opened up for me, oh my gosh, look at what we could do with this mobile device. It could be tied into billing and service and ordering, and now we have a tablet, the waiter brings a tablet for you to check out and take your credit card, but that was, it’s that observation, and again, going back to Casio, going and seeing. Every time I went to a new place, the first thing I would do was get off the plane, go to my hotel, but now I go to the mall, and I look at what people are buying, why are you buying that, why are you buying that one? What are you doing, you start, you talk to people, that’s the only way to, that’s marketing, that’s marketing, you can’t read a report. If you had, and that’s very relevant to this, if you had the chance to go any company you want, or you are an entrepreneur, really young yourself right now, you’re 25 years old, what would you take a second look at, what do you feel is like, if you can ask specifics, you can be, what do you think are great opportunities right now that you say, well, this hasn’t really been done, and it’s like, it’s asking to be solved, and there’s money there, just nobody has done it yet. There’s all kinds of opportunities around, it kind of depends also what you’re interested in, where you are. I think there’s advantage, you can make arguments for saying going to a big place, where you have the resources, it’s hard to get something done in a smaller organization, there’s huge opportunities with biometrics, that’s going to be absolutely monstrous, medicine, robotics, how you use data, and data in a permission based marketing way. I think that’s going to be one of the big changes we’re going to see. There’s a lot of opportunities around, just the digital assistant is going to be absolutely monstrous, and I think there’s going to be somebody new, it’s not going to be Cortina or Alexa, somebody’s going to come up on a mobile device, and that’ll be an absolute shift for all those players. One of those guys, Microsoft or Google or Apple will try and buy whoever comes up with that. I think mobility is going to have mobile developers, software eats the world, so learning the code and what you can do in code is going to be huge in the next 15 years. If someone puts on your Twitter feed, learn to code, you think it’s not an insult? No, you need to learn to code, and then the next jump will be, you know, codeless things, and that will create, that will start to empower you and me, and I can code very clumsily. What’s your favorite language, what are you coding in? I can code in a dozen different languages, from mainframe to writing H, PHP, any number of different languages, but I’m very slow and clutching, an engineer will quickly slap my wrist and say, gee, Mr. Bear, why don’t you let me do that for you, which makes me the perfect vice president or whatever, because I can spot spaghetti code or when somebody is trying to BS me or tell me it’s going to take 1,000 man hours to do something, I’m like, well, wait a minute, come on. That’s kind of the, like I said, I know a little about a number of things. But I think, you know, when we get to codeless, then everybody will be able to come up with their own application and then you’re going to see innovation in coming from all over the world. But like I said, the intellectual capacity is equally distributed around the world. Once they get that kind of opportunity, you’re going to see an explosion. Yeah, I spoke to Daniel Gross a couple of days ago and he’s running a remote accelerator and he’s been putting a lot of emphasis on the idea of getting that same potential that’s out there, that’s in Africa, that doesn’t have a lot of access to the same Silicon Valley meetings and getting them into an accelerator and then helping them develop that piece of technology and monetizing it, making it a business potentially. And I thought the idea is really fascinating. I sometimes wonder if it’s too much science fiction and that’s actually a long time away. I’ve been to many places in Africa, for instance, and the participation in technology and the technology is there, right? There’s internet everywhere. It’s not difficult to access. But the actual participation in technology is extremely low. Like in a way, I mean, there’s obviously, there’s obviously examples where it’s different, say, payment systems and it’s not universally low. But if you think, now we have access to the same library of Alexandria, everyone can access the same internet. Let’s assume it’s very fast and even in Africa, there’s a lot of places with really fast internet. You would expect that people will just migrate to knowledge based jobs immediately and this is happening every day. And the speed is much slower than I would expect. It’s not say 10 years and then everyone works in an internet based knowledge based economy. It’s maybe 50 years. I mean, it’s maybe it’s 100 years. It’s surprisingly slow. I find this strange whenever I go, I mean, Kenya is under leading edge in Africa. But even in Ghana, which is super, super fast internet, the fiber in many places, there is a lot of uptake. Well, yeah, but you have other problems, you’re again, who wants whatever you’re doing, why, who wants to sell it, why one of the biggest problems in Africa is distribution. How do you distribute something? How do you service somebody? Those are huge challenges. Now you could be a musician and distribute your music. And that’s very, that’s a, that’s something you can do, but there’s only so many, not everybody can become a musician and generate music and make a living from only so many, so many people are talented in music. But yeah, but you could, you could write an AI that gets, I don’t know, gets all the legal documents that are available, just part system comes up with the proper document and sells it for a couple of cents. So, I mean, obviously, distribution must be in the cloud, right? I mean, that’s the whole physical infrastructure is, is not useful and in Africa and probably never will. But you can leapfrogging and just do all of these layers online. I mean, the same way you learn, you can distribute stuff, right? And it, well, maybe not everyone can be a musician, but everyone can build an AI and do something. But the world is, does not exist online, the world is still a physical world. You’re right. But obviously you’ve got to, you’ve got to focus on that cloud aspect, right? If you don’t focus on the cloud and you just can’t do it, I mean, then, then, I mean, I don’t even know how you want to, want to pull this off. But the cloud has nothing to do with someone who likes to paint pictures, the cloud has nothing to do with somebody who likes to build a house or build a boat. You can sell pictures online or, I mean, there’s Etsy, obviously you need a platform for that. Yeah, fine. But maybe you just have to build the platform. But yeah, right. And that’s, that is the problem. And so Western Facebook wants to come into Africa. I don’t think that’s the solution, I think there needs to be a, someone in Africa needs to come up with something that’s relevant for Ghana and Africa, and then the African diaspora. And, you know, you’ve got different physical boundaries, you’ve got Northern Africa, you’ve got Sub Sahara, and you’ve got Southern Africa, you’ve got French speaking and English speaking, you’ve got a lot of cultural barriers across that continent. So you know, you’re not, you’re very hard to do one thing that’s going to be universally accepted and translate across the entire continent. Yeah. No, that’s for sure. That’s really difficult and very, very hard to pull that off. And but what I was trying to say is, if given the amount of opportunity people have already, and that’s with them for the last 20 years, right, I mean, the internet itself is still a little narratively new, but it has been around for at least two decades, and internet availability has also been around in many countries for at least 15 years. I was expecting, and this is my two optimistic world view, I was expecting everyone is suddenly migrating, like, I mean, that’s the second it’s available, you just listen to the MIT courses, and you become an MBA just remotely. But it doesn’t happen that way, obviously, and you’re probably much wiser there. It goes a much slower cycle, and it, you know, people grow up with this, and then they might choose to follow that path and others go become a lawyer and have nothing to do with technology. So it takes it takes a lifetime to really get this into your head. Let’s put it this way. It takes a generation, at least for adoption. So you have 20 years, and you’re going to have some that accept and some that see it in a different way, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, you know, but they’re going to do, they’re going to proceed, look at something and see it differently than you and I might. They’re going to see a different value in it, and they’re going to see a different tangent that it could be used for. And that takes that takes time to sort out. Yeah. What’s your personal gut feeling. And now with COVID, we see this much quicker adoption of technology. And a lot of people say, oh, we had these last 20 years that the new generation that had to grow and we didn’t see the uptake of technology that we’ve seen before at least would be compared to certain graphs in in GDP growth and productivity growth. Do you feel COVID was going to fix all this for all the negativity that people have about COVID that we have right now because it killed so much of the real economy? Do you think we’ll be out of this and everyone is now going to end up this technology or going to be more productive and it’s going to be a roaring 20s or are you on the other side of this? No, no, other other side, way on the other side, it is a it’s a wake up call. I think COVID is very unpleasant, but it’s it’s here to stay, it’s, you know, it’s the new cold, it’s a new, you know, flu. And it as a as a herd, we will adapt, it’ll kill off people. But then as a group, human beings will deal with it much better and it’ll become, you know, another flu or another common cold. Some things will go back, some technologies will have greater adoption. Others need a lot more refinement. And that’s what I’m more disappointed in is that there has been very little in terms of, you know, remote work, I call it interaction mapping. If you think about the customer journey map, a business can look at, especially in the digital world, how do you find me and what I’m doing? And we look at every decision gate you have in that process, those are known as actionable moments of truth. Well, all that technology exists, but we don’t look the other way. We don’t look internally in the company, we don’t look through the from you to you’re buying something through the distribution, then through the the business itself and all the departments and organizations, and that this really helps you who talks to who, why, how much, how often and in what way, and then even out to supply chain. Well, you can look at that entire ecosystem and quantify it. Where are we more efficient? Where could we be more efficient? That vice president of whatever says no, 67.2% of the time. Everything we know about the marketing to the end user, we could use internally to make ourselves more efficient and therefore a lot more profitable. So you’re saying, am I understanding you’re right, did you want a way that consumers can talk to us and tell us what they want as an innovation? Yeah, well that’s part of it, that’s part of it, and that improves that, but it’s the same, all the stuff that we know about talking to the consumer, we could use all that internal. And when you’re talking about distributed workforces, people working at home, we’re not, nobody, you know, we’ve got the technology, but nobody’s putting the pieces together to connect the thoughts and make that happen. And I think. Well, I don’t know, one idea that comes to mind immediately is that there’s a lot of these internal Slack channels, or just chat channels, but Slack doesn’t have analytics to it. Slack does not connect to the configuration management database to who accesses the ERP application and how much databases that they’re looking at. And the technology is there, we’re not doing that. Yeah, well, so what I think, what you’re getting at would be really interesting, it’s kind of a back channel where we take consumer interaction, like literally reviews, right, that you like to get reviews or tell reviews or technology reviews, or what’s going on on Slack or anything else in social media. And running this through an AI that kind of tells us, okay, those are just the disgruntled consumers there. And then those are the ones who, I don’t know, we gave us too good a deal, but here’s the top 15 innovations, how we could make this thing better. Why don’t you make up your mind if we should introduce those? I mean, that would be a great AI, right? If you just run it on any kind of information, and it tells you, okay, think about these 15 things. Can you deliver? Well, all right, I take offense to the expression AI, because AI does not exist, period. Over in the world, does not exist, and before you can do AI, now you can do that, you can, you start with machine learning, and then you advance to adaptive learning, and eventually you get to the first of three stages of artificial intelligence, we’re not even, we’re taking baby steps. AI is a great marketing term, looks nice, but it does not exist. Chatbots are a great example. People have got AI power chat, I built Chatbots, I started, I launched them in 2012, they don’t exist. It’s manual, it’s machine learning, and then it’s manually filling in the code for the holes. That’s not artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence teaches itself when it gets a mistake. We’ve got some lavatory things that are starting to get into the first stages, but it really isn’t there. So, I take a bit of umbrage at using, just because I hate marketers running out there using it as an answer to stuff. But yeah, you need to learn how to do, after those, in analytics and do machine learning on it, and it can start to give you some predictive analytics, and that can start to tell you what directions they had. Yeah, I certainly am a sport, and it’s difficult to nail down what it can do, and there’s a lot of things that have come out of science fiction that people associate with that, but in essence, it’s a statistical tool right now. But nevertheless, there’s huge advances in it in the last 10 years that nobody would have predicted 10 years ago, because it’s been a technology that never delivered for 30 years, or 40 years, and it suddenly took off, and maybe that’s because, I always think it’s because Google makes so much money from it, they’ve been putting hundreds of people on it, the smartest people on the planet, and Eric Weinstein was making this argument. He said there’s all these theoretical physicists, all these people who do basic research, but they haven’t really gotten any ready in the last 40 years, right, there’s an immense amount of incredibly wonderful, highly intelligent people that are stuck in this physics game that kind of didn’t deliver, maybe it will deliver tomorrow, but let’s assume the last 40 years. But what if they deployed the same kind of technology into something else, kind of what Google did with AI, or what if we deploy these brains funded by public grants into other areas where we feel we could really self driving cars is a big topic right now. Do you think the government at all can make these decisions, and then things will just like that, see the argument that Maria Mazzucato makes all the time, is that the government in the end invents the real things, and then there’s just marketers coming in and monetizing it, and companies, and so they can value, if you believe in socialism, if you believe in socialism, yes, if you believe in capitalism, no, government should say, well, do you think this is, this is something we can, we can do to improve the world is kind of direct basic research kind of be this big central planner, be be the Singapore, or do you think it has to come from the market, like all the real innovations are in the end market driven? No, and quite a few innovations come out of government, like DARPA, and I’ve met a number of those guys, they’re really interesting, really smart guys, and there’s a lot of universities that are doing government funded, doing pure research, but at the point where it becomes a marketable idea, then it needs to go over to the private sector, and you see a lot of universities that take it, they make the patents, and then they license out, and they’re making revenue off of the patents, and that’s fine, the other, the biggest thing I learned at the tech, starting at Casio was, how do you work around the patents? There’s an antenna in a mobile phone, Nortel at the time had a patent on the antenna in the mobile phone, well, we had to find a way to do the same thing, but that did not violate the patent, or else we’d have to pay a fee to Nortel, and so much of tech is spent in how do we work around stuff, so I think government can set out, we’re going to send someone to the moon, great idea, and that fostered, ooh, we’re going to have a pen that can write upside down in space, but equally innovative was the Russians who said, oh, I’m going to use a pencil, yeah, the market helps determine what value something has. Yeah, one idea that has been floated, and I kind of like it, though I don’t have enough insight to actually understand it fully, is why don’t we just print a trillion dollars, like we’re printing so much money anyways right now, let’s just add another trillion, but use this one trillion and take a selection of the, I don’t know who would select that, but let’s assume we find someone who is smart enough to do that, let’s select all the patents that we want to buy, buy a trillion dollars worth of patents, and make them freely available to any entrepreneur out there, they can develop based on this patent, on that knowledge that’s in these patents, this kind of becomes a generic, right, so anything that was on the patent protection because the government buys it out, we suddenly have this, we democratize this innovation, but also we democratize the way this protection, so we could restart this Cambrian explosion of technology, kind of what the internet did, right, because most of it was freely available, there were a lot of patents protecting a lot of stuff in the beginning, because it was government property back in the 60s, do you think that’s worth thinking about it, or that’s like the wrong way to go at this? I think that’s the wrong way to go, you’re not going to get much out of that, and then you run into the whole, okay, who’s going to determine that, what is their criteria, and you know, I’m putting money into the system, I don’t want to use my money for that, it’s taxpayer money, right, or it’s basically what we do with the Fed, we basically, we inflate our currency, and a lot of, I mean, we pay for it, but Chinese pay for that too, that’s how we can make them pay for COVID, so to speak, because we just inflate the value of the dollars. The money has to be repaid at some point, and I think that that is a very, very slippery slope. It is, but I think we’re already, we’re 90% there, right, that’s kind of, every president comes up with more trillions to print, I think, I don’t know who the next president will be, but it’s going to be more money printing than now, I feel. There will come a day to pay the piper, and you know, the opposite is, you know, the government is, for example, licensing wireless spectrum, it just made another, was it 50 billion off of licensing some of the spectrum, which would be for, you know, later use of 5G and more likely 6G, and it constantly does this, because the public, the error is a public right of way, and therefore, that’s why the federal communication, you know, radio stations can operate for free, however, to have a license in a given specific frequency, you have to pay a license for it. And you know, so the government’s trying to take money in, I don’t see how that’s going to be a money winner, and I don’t see how you can manage that, it just seems like that would be fraught with all kinds of, it’s kind of like the COVID giveaway, you know, going like TPP loans. Yeah, you know, as invested gate of journalists get into that, that’s going to stink to high end. Oh yeah, I mean, what we are talking about 20, 30 years out, I mean, that’s already true for PPP loans and airline loans and all these things in my mind, I don’t know if we should do them, but now that we are into this idea of just accumulating debt like crazy, maybe this is a good way, the most useful way if you have to go down this route, let’s put it this way. Yeah, I think there are much better ways that you could use the money, and rather than, you know, most patents, first off, you got to get somebody who’s going to sell it, and then, you know, it’s kind of like when I wanted to put up a tower in Afghanistan, and I come to you and say, hey, can I put a tower on your building? I’ll give you $100, and you go to your neighbor and say, hey, there’s been a guy who’s given out money to put a tower up there, and I come to you, you know, the next guy and say, hey, like, can I put a tower? I say, okay, I want $500, and then it’s $1,000, and by the end of the time, it was getting to be a million dollars to put up a stupid antenna on somebody’s building, you know, it doesn’t work very well. Yeah, if the capitalism is broken, that’s what you’re saying. Well, yeah, and it’s a system that is too unable to control, and I think those controls make that fraught with, you’ve just wasted a trillion dollars, and what’s the expertise of the people who want to take this and do something with it? And what basis and criteria, yeah, and why not you and not him? Yeah, I mean, you can make that argument very well to say, why, if that patent is so valuable that the public needs access, why didn’t someone come around and, you know, create value out of this? Because the public is able to give anyone they want money. It’s kind of like climate change, and lots of those big public ideas, if they’re so important to people, and you could say, well, people are small minded, they don’t realize that, but eventually they will get very, very important. Why don’t they create and donate to it? I mean, they do, but why isn’t that the money that we primarily use for it? So it’s kind of a similar discussion. It’s kind of, the question is, how many of those, how do we want this knowledge to be out there? And you can go into copyrights, I was listening to that yesterday, it’s a very similar problem. This is where the market, the dynamics of the market determines success. And this is the advantage of capitalism. Great example, Edison invented the phonograph. He thought its value was recording an end of life statement for posterity and your family. It was 20 years later, when he finally admitted the best use of it was the playback of recorded music. The other application he thought was for business use, recording ideas and thoughts. He never saw using it as a record to record music and playback music, and it took 20 years for that to happen. Now that’s the problem with a lot of ideas and patents, they take too long to see a return. Yeah, maybe they were a good idea, but most patents are not. The vast majority of them, like entrepreneurs, the vast majority of them go out of business in the first five years. Either they didn’t know what they were doing, it was a bad idea, the market window passed and somebody usurped their idea, most businesses fail. For every Google, there’s easily a hundred failures. I can list you 50 search engines that failed that were a better search engine than Google. We don’t want to talk about the Stone engine in this podcast. I’m just joking. Let’s get into semantic search, that’s way beyond anything, that’s not here yet. I used to get caught to why Google doesn’t know anything about search, but I worked for one of the search engine companies because Google is Boolean word terms. Most people don’t even understand what that is, much less folksonomies, taxonomies, building taxonomies on the fly and semantic search engines. There’s a lot of, it’s very hard to predict what is the next value of innovation. Even if you can make it happen, it’s very difficult how the uptake will look like. I made this example in the last podcast. A lot of people now think of ByteDens and Tiktok, the company behind Tiktok, as if there’s a revolutionary way to present content and match new content, not content from your followers, but new content. It’s something that Facebook has been doing since day one, or tried doing. It’s something that Amazon did back in 2000, they did collaborative filtering. The basic technology, collaborative filtering algorithms have been around for 20 years, Netflix has been doing this since day one, to make recommendations. People think and feel Tiktok is this big deal, and it is a big deal because it’s taken off, and that’s really interesting, but the core technology has been around forever. It kind of works. It kind of doesn’t, depending on how much data you have access to, and how good you have to be. If you recommend a video that’s not that great, people just scroll through, but if you talk about cancer patients, and you talk about surgery, then you can’t be wrong. You can be a little bit wrong, but you generally have to be right, but videos, it doesn’t matter. The technology has been around for a long time, but it takes many iterations until it takes off. That’s the hard part for me as an entrepreneur to predict. You can take a good piece of technology, you can build something on top of this, but it doesn’t mean it goes anywhere. Then the next thing, as you said, you don’t even have this usage in mind. People just come up and there’s like PayPal, right? People never thought the founders of PayPal that would be used by eBay buyers and sellers. It was never something they intended. It was something that came out of the community, and then it would be rentalistic to this, so they used this as a way then to leverage their own piece of technology. I’m not sure if there’s a good way to predict this or a better way. It seems very happenstance, that’s what I said to Daniel. He said, literally, entrepreneurship is an algorithm. I’ve got to build an algorithm and then tell everyone how entrepreneurship works. That’s cool. There’s a lot of learnings in this, but on the other hand, there’s a lot of luck, there’s a lot of ingenuity, there’s a lot of gut feeling, and unfortunately, neither AI or any other algorithm can actually represent this right now. Maybe it will in 50 years, but that’s difficult right now. I don’t think so because, again, I’ve made my entire career on, it’s kind of like the Peter Drucker business school, which is, you want to shoot for where the puck is going. You follow the trends. Well, if any schmuck who understands that can do that, then everybody understands where it’s going. The trick is to think two or three or four steps ahead of that or was adjacent to that. That’s where the magic lies. That is something that a computer cannot figure out at this junction. That’s very human. Again, if you’ve got somebody in Madagascar looking at something, they’re going to see it differently than you or I would. That’s where those tangents come from. So empowering those and then being able to monetize the results of that, that would be a very good business. All right, we should pull down on YouTube. That’s the YouTube model to me. Anyways, Bennett, that was a fantastic discussion. Thanks for doing this. Thanks for all these good arguments. I really enjoyed it. Likewise. Thank you. You have to do it again sometime. That will be fantastic. Thanks for your time. All right. Cheers.