Created Economy 12: James Hicks / Live Streamer / Creator

A conversation with James Hicks of HicksNewMedia, an avid live streamer, and content entrepreneur.

Created Economy 12: James Hicks / Live Streamer / Creator

Deep Dive
A conversation with James Hicks of HicksNewMedia, an avid live streamer and content entrepreneur.



Transcript (Unedited)

Gregarious Narain  1:58
All right, all right. We are back. We are back. Let's get back to business. Welcome back everybody to make a smoother transition. James for sec we're back. Let's get wait Am I hearing myself? Welcome back everybody to make a smoother transition. James. Wait a minute. Wait a minute I'm hearing myself Welcome back everybody. Okay, that's because I have a YouTube open to my first day on the job. Welcome back everyone to the creative economy weekly interview series where we talk to the founders, the voices, and the players of the Creator economy at large. Our goal here is to discuss key topics impacting the growth of the Creator, economy, and creator ecosystem. We do go live on Wednesdays at 2pm pacific time, you can find out more over a creative dot show. We also stream on Facebook, YouTube Twitch, I forgot to start all the audio but mostly because I don't want to start the audio. So we're not streaming on clubhouse. And Twitter spaces is quick. But you are here so either way you can enjoy us and high fidelity video. But we do also post our longer form content over at the creative economy

Ken Yeung  3:11
calm feel created economy

Gregarious Narain  3:13
calm created economy calm. In case you missed it or if there was an echo. But yes, we do. We do have the show notes over there usually are links to other content and stuff like that. Oh, you know what I forgot? I remember him Weird Science when they were like, what did we forget? Oh, you forgot to hook up the doll. Well, that's how I feel about the deck.

Ken Yeung  3:34
Is that is that also where you have like the underwear on your head?

Gregarious Narain  3:37
I believe you would be there.

Ken Yeung  3:39
No would not be there. Sorry. Not happening. You're on your own. For Episode 12.

Gregarious Narain  3:47
We've made it crossed into the dozen now. But by the way, if you don't follow us already. Feel free to follow the created economy. Everywhere you can go or on YouTube or on Twitter on Twitch. We're also on Flipboard. We're on clubhouse. We are in all the places as created economy. We look forward to seeing you there. We would love a follow by the way on our YouTube because we want to be James Hicks to 2000 followers. So I know you guys can make it happen.

Ken Yeung  4:17
We're almost there. We're almost there.

Gregarious Narain  4:19
We're like 2000 away or something like that.

All right, well,

this week. We are delighted and excited to have our friend James Hicks. He's a creator content entrepreneur. And of course he also is a pretty good business person as well when he's not on stream but we all know he's never not on stream right? So without further ado, let's bring James in and let's get into the conversation. How you doing my friend?

James Hicks  4:51
You know it I swear it's just like the odd couple with with you. One is Felix and

I agree with that. Then Why am I gotta be the odd one? what's what's what's good folks? How y'all doing? All right? You know,

Gregarious Narain  5:07
you know, it's a it's a busy it's been a busy day. Like, it's it's hard I don't know how you feel James like when you know you have a stream coming up, but yeah, kind of like the whole day, there's like still something on your mind because you know you got a gun. And I never used to be this way because previously when I used to stream I would never plan anything, just start but now we do like all this homework to get ready.

James Hicks  5:31
So see but but it's a good thing, right? Because you know, I still get that anxiety as well, right? I my wife seems to be pacing around around the room. And you know, get my stuff together, getting my thoughts together, getting getting psyched up, making sure I have my run of show, you know, my lights, my camera, everything dialed in the way it's supposed to be and that that anxious energy that we have before we actually turn the lights on and press record. I mean, that's that's what it's all about. Right? That's right. That means you care. That means you care about what you're doing.

Gregarious Narain  6:00
It does it does mean we care. We do care. I know that for a fact. So before we dive right in, why don't you give everyone like a quick overview like hey, like, who is James Hicks? What is his new media? You know, tell us a little bit so everyone can learn more.

James Hicks  6:15
Love it, man. First of all, a thank you guys for the opportunity to come on created economy. I am James Hicks. I am a engineering technologist. I've been in the enterprise technology field for a few decades. day job, I work still at Dell Technologies I love the organizations I work with, I love the fact that they allow me the flexibility to focus on my passion. That'd be in hicks new media, where I'm focusing on technology consulting and digital publishing. So within the last 15 months or so if there's any blessing of COVID is that I've been able to focus on my video content creation and really get my YouTube my Twitch, my LinkedIn live things of that nature really going and where we're telling stories, right where we're highlighting community telling stories. Sometimes they're awkward stories. Sometimes they're about social injustice, sometimes they're about police brutality, whatever the case may be. A lot of times we'll talk about consumer technology as well. Right? Should you go buy that new iPhone when it when it's probably adults next week? Right? We debate that and have those kinds of conversations. And then I have another screen called team no sleep, which it's not just about sports scores, and you know what color shoes is LeBron wearing this year, but it's getting it's more the social impact of sports. So again, I'm just enjoying this this season of my entrepreneur life where again, I'm allowed to connect with people like you and talk about issues of the day challenges of the day societal issues and just try to do like my old boss said, put a dent in the universe. Now you got you guys know who that guy is who said that right?

Gregarious Narain  7:58
Was Zynga grab a conference about it? Do you know who said put it? I heard it but I also Oh my gosh. Also like is I co opted it for a conference name?

James Hicks  8:13
Is that right? No no's from Mr. Steve Jobs.

Ken Yeung  8:16
Who never heard of it? Never heard of him.

James Hicks  8:19
Again, dating myself right? The guy the guy with the gray beard right here I'm dating myself no

Ken Yeung  8:24
small startup or something like that. How did that go? How's that going? Yeah, yeah, yeah,

Gregarious Narain  8:32
if it was still a ppl then he maybe would have been

James Hicks  8:36
that's what the this is new NFT and crypto and Bitcoin crowd knows about No.

Gregarious Narain  8:42
Yeah. Interesting. Interesting. So um, quick follow up, I guess in your work from at Dell, and certainly enterprise side is there? Are you leveraging sort of your creative creator skills in that domain as well? Or is it just it? Are they like two separate universes?

James Hicks  9:03
No. Good, good question actually. And I do get the opportunity to utilize my personality on screen on camera, not just regular zoom and team meetings, right but I frequently every quarter host a technical enablement session for the partners that I support within the West region that I support for Dell. So I'm on stage doing what I call utilizing the jazz hands you guys will see I was talking my hands right. So I will actually host facility facilitate or lead technical discussions around the technology and around the portfolio that we provide. So having the ability to have this this type of this high quality equipment you know really helps with with that because I get to level up the presentations quite quite a few times. I suppose. It's just nothing wrong with the old school Logitech C 920s. decent camera got started but you know, when you can, when you can bring in a Sony you could bring it in a 64 100 with a sigma 16 and put a little Vocal behind you while you're presenting that those those things help as well with the presentation, it's always about the content. Touch the wall and make sure that's

Ken Yeung  10:11
that that's some pretty technical snazzy zoom technology. You gotta go over there, man. I mean, right. That's not fake bokeh right there. Yes, sir. Yes. Your inner it's we it's basically because your internet is so spotty. That's why it's not so clear.

James Hicks  10:26
Yeah. Yeah, pretty pretty. Pretty much right. Yeah. Me and xfinity I've had some some tail conversations as well to make sure that there was never an issue with with with my stream coming going in or going out.

Gregarious Narain  10:38
Yeah. A quick way and just for context. So James, and I can I think you may have had you have you known James the same amount of time. I am Jays point is I've been on his stream a few times. I think I believe the first time we met was actually at the page page nomics. Great.

James Hicks  10:58
Oh, no. So at a Joshua adjusting trebles, press nomics event. No, I knew you. Before then I knew I came

Gregarious Narain  11:08
before then. But then we hung out for the first time

James Hicks  11:11
at this conference. And it was like in Arizona, I think I was 19. You gotta be highly intoxicated. Yeah. In Arizona. Yeah. Shocking.

Gregarious Narain  11:18
Oh, everyone knows to say that. So how do we know this is true?

James Hicks  11:23
You me Brian's No, no, this was the one where Brian Solis.

Gregarious Narain  11:28
You and me how we're outside of that bar. Yeah. But ej? So James is producing media way way back that that was ages ago now. Yeah. And, and that that was a conference, by the way, like a WordPress conference, it was all about sort of economics surrounding sort of WordPress, and things like that. You know, I had a question, I guess. Cuz, you know, as an old timer, like Ken, you know, you've had a lot of time to see sort of what your as your company is called New Media, right? Or evolve, right? And I guess I'm curious.

Ken Yeung  12:03

Gregarious Narain  12:04
what is the evolution? Like? What's the through line in the evolution of media? relatively speaking, right? And then I guess, like, what is the implication of that now, like, so like, you know, we went from like, very text based to video based visie video was by always a very hard, like, hump for us to overcome, right. But is it is, I mean, like, as a society, as a world, as I call it, like, there was a lot of force that move, but tell us more about sort of your transition from that text based universe into sort of this high fidelity video universe? And I guess, what are your lessons for new creators? Maybe, you know, as history is always a great teacher, what is the big lesson or takeaway that you have from that?

James Hicks  12:43
Yeah, great question. And listen, I started with automatic and WordPress back in the day, I'm old Matt Mullenweg guy, right. I've been to corporate headquarters, I've hung out and partied with them, too. It seems like we always talk about partying and drinking here in this ecosystem. But that's where it was when I started. Again, like I said, technology consulting and digital publishing, that was really the foundation of Hicks do media, a handful of blogs, digital presences, either writing about entertainment, news, technology, finance, business, whatever the case may be, and pushing that content out working towards getting more more more affiliate relationships, working towards maybe getting more sponsorship deals, things of that, working with manufacturers and OEMs to review their products, that was a huge thing again, early on. Once, once you got the aspect down of writing a story and telling a story, then you started reaching out. And after you had kind of a base of users, viewers and subscribers and things of that nature, then that's when you started reaching out and finding ways to monetize your activities. Because if you don't do it for the benefit of doing it for the passion in and of itself, when you start you're going to be disappointed because the the monetization and the revenue pieces come so much, typically come so much later than after you start right you got to be in it for a little while. And you've got to you've got to respect the process. You got to be in it for the long all those adjectives and all those adverbs, right. So again, that's where I started for a very long time. About eight years ago during the Olympics, believe was the Rio Olympics. That was when video really kicked in for for me and my my properties, right we then my team went out and said, Let's interview Olympic athletes that nobody knows about. Right, everyone is looking for this Simone Biles and the Michael Phelps and whomever it was right at that particular time who was on the cover of everyone's magazine, but we went out and found folks in archery folks and wrestling folks and swimming, different sports that and different athletes that no one was looking at We interviewed those folks showed and told their stories, ask questions that were relevant to them. That really caused a whole hockey stick really attrition of infotainment news at that time. And then I said, You know what, we're onto something here. Because, again, you can show emotions through video, you can, you can actually allow folks to be as verbose as they want to, as opposed to just writing text and it being very, very static. So that that was a huge thing, again, during the Rio Olympics, and that was really the turning point. After that, a lot of ventures out to CES and being on the floor, talking to manufacturers and vendors and putting a camera in front of their face and saying, Tell me about this new widget that you're trying to try to push to do society. That was a phenomenal experience. So fast forward to 15 months ago, right when the world stopped, right, not just California, not this United States, but the entire planet stopped instead of really crumbling under the weight of the of the pause, really found it an opportunity to not reinvent not really pivot, but really to refocus and realign on things that mattered. And that was telling stories. And the best way for me to tell that I figured to tell stories was to get in front of a camera, invite quality people on screen and say, Tell me what what it is that you're doing. Tell me your why. A lot of times folks would be hesitant before they came on and be like, you know, I don't have any I don't have a story to tell I'm not very interesting. But that's not true. Everyone's got something that they are either good at dated or passionate about. They love they are interested in things of that nature, right? So I just focus on providing that opportunity that platform that environment, that opportunity for for you, can you Greg to come on online and actually tell your story, I will shut up really, I will just open it up, do my little monologue and say, can tell me why you do what it is that you do. And folks would just eat that up. And it would turn into 3045 minutes, 60 minute segments. And the community is starting to grow. The community has started to tell me that they want more of X, Y and Z type of content. And I'm a servant to the community. So I'm listening to that, as opposed to just designing and producing what I want to do. It's not about me. So if the community is telling me you know what, James, you need to present more content around technology, or more content around science, medicine, and

findings within the you know, the medical field, which is what I'm doing right now, as well, that's where I'm going. So I'm riding the wave man. And I'm just saying that you know, so much. That was new before, it's now still relevant. And so much that seems to be out of date is no longer out of date. And reason. And I say that because it's very interesting that audio social networking is such a big thing. Because the the premise of having an audio conversation is so easy. And that's really where communication started. You got Twitter spaces, you got clubhouse, you got the Spotify offering, I don't know, I forgot what they call it. Green Room, right. But again, it's so simple. And and as you're saying that you do being able to integrate that into your video content creation and your and your video story. That really is the holy grail brother, right? Just allowing folks to communicate and meet them where they are. Because not everyone is going to be on Facebook, not everyone's going to be on YouTube. Not everyone's going to be on on the TIC tocs of the world. But you when you open up the avenues and the channels via audio and be at video to reach your community. That's where you really become an asset to

Gregarious Narain  18:55
listening to your audience. probably still common themes, right?

James Hicks  18:58
I guess. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Nothing's new. Right? Again, it's like it's like fashion and clothes. Right. bell bottoms. We'll come back one day, I'm never gonna wear them again. But buddy, audio communication is come back. I think

Gregarious Narain  19:13
he's still wearing them right now.

James Hicks  19:17
I declined to you know, Your Honor. I cannot confirm

Ken Yeung  19:21
that. I see what I

James Hicks  19:22
have in the closet right now. But you get what I'm saying. Right, you know, and but but stay, stay stay aware of what the trends are. You can't follow and you can't be in every single circle. But the ones that resonate with you your message and especially and I keep going back to this your community are the ones that you need to focus on. Right. So I tried to get out there on Tick Tock and share some content, some content, man, it's tough. It's it. It's just not me but doing a little something there and you know, the snapchats and I can't do it. I'm focused on you. YouTube as my primary source right now for content creation, and then branching that into audio as well with the pod but the syndicated podcast app Yeah. So.

Ken Yeung  20:09
So there's a there's quite a bit to unpack from your answers there. Your response to Greg's answers there, Greg, James, I guess the first question I would have for you is, how have you been able to balance your time between your your what you do full time at Dell? And now, right, I think this is a this is a common situation that many creators that are starting off right off the bat will encounter. For example, I'm doing this while I have my full time job at Flipboard. So what is your What is your experience been like? And how did you broach that with your, your employer and say, Hey, I'm going to I am doing this. And this is how I will add value with, but I also appreciate your support. And then there's a bunch of other questions I have to follow up. So good. Oh, good. Yeah. So

James Hicks  21:05
I actually, when I was with hp, so I gave HP 20 years, I was with them before all this gray hair, and before the hair up here started falling out. And my last team, my last group, I positioned them as well, that look, I really need to do this thing that that is for me, it's it's, it doesn't conflict with the role that I'm doing with you. And my leadership was fine with it again, as long as there was no conflict of interest. When I moved over to Dell, when when Dell made an offer that my wife couldn't refuse, and then I left hp. Part Part of my initial conversation with them once again, I am a very, I'm not a singular, Li, focused individual, right? I'm gonna work hard. I'm gonna do what I need to do for for you, all day, every day. But I'm a very complex person. And I have these ventures and endeavors as well. And again, it was the same conversation, as long as it's not a conflict of interest.

Gregarious Narain  22:11
And did you need a carve out or just for other people who are out there? Right, like and going into this? Did you have to? I'm just curious, just for Did you need like contractual sort of clearances? Or should this be something people think about, you know, if they're going to have this sort of effort going on?

James Hicks  22:27
For in my particular case? No, because again, I am not talking specifically about enterprise technology in any of the conversations that I have, right? So I'm not talking about HP, Dell, pure IBM, Cisco, any of those types of enterprise technology organizations in any of the content I talked about I I specifically talk about consumer technology. So I'll talk about should you use Flipboard? Should you use e cam? Should you use stream, things that are more from a consumer perspective, as opposed to again, the storage networking servers and, and the security pieces and data protection? So I don't I don't talk about any of that. So for that reason, I didn't have to necessarily get any contractual go into HR or go into any legal conversation about what I'm doing. I just had to clear it with my leadership. For a while my leadership was actually part of some of the discussions that I was having, as well. So again, so again, it just, it made sense. And it was completely Trent, I was completely transparent with all the activities that I was doing that that's the best thing. I would say, if you are working on a side hustle, and you still got the nine to five day job. Just be transparent with what you're doing with your organization. So it doesn't show up. I don't know. Are we streaming on LinkedIn right now? Yeah, yeah.

Ken Yeung  23:39
So Greg, yeah,

James Hicks  23:41
well, so think about it, right. So everyone that I'm that we're attached to automatically gets paying that, hey, Greg, and Ken and James are live on LinkedIn right now. It's 230. In the afternoon, you know, is there a meeting that I supposed to be on, there's not but again, so those are the kinds of things that you have to be aware of, but again, since I have that clarity, since I have that transparency, and I had that conversation upfront with my leadership in my organization, there's no conflicts of interest. So

Ken Yeung  24:08
write a question. And then how many people are helping you out now in terms of your in terms of hicks new media, right? I mean, you've you've talked about this progression of starting off, you know, as early as WordPress, right. And yeah, we all we all are all dear friends with Matt Mullenweg. Great guy, great platform. And now, you know, we've seen this progression from text to, to audio to video to ephemeral to mixed reality, so on and so forth. How many people had or is this a one person show for you right now, like in terms of as you as you venture into these types of things?

James Hicks  24:52
Yeah. No, I don't think that you really, you probably can but for me, I do need a team right I need I need like minded passionate, hungry folks around me who are driven by

Gregarious Narain  25:04
the same grace to you though Can you unpack team?

James Hicks  25:08
A little? Yeah, good. Yeah. So good question. I was gonna go into that. So no, I from a from an employee perspective, you know LLP sole proprietorship extreme media is just me. So there are organizations that I partner with, right. So primarily for the video streams that I collaborate with I have to co host and they have their own entities, they have their own enterprise organizations as well. So no one else is physically on my payroll, as opposed to except for just me. Gotcha, will that change maybe, but just the way that the relationships and the way that the content and the way that the the content, everything has evolved over time, it's actually working quite well, for us to be separate, get equal, and be focused on our own goals and our own missions, because a couple of folks that I partner with, for for some streams, they're going down one path, they're building Roku, and Amazon live TV channels. And that's phenomenal, right? They're doing big things with that. And they're partnering with other organizations that I probably won't ever get involved with. That's all good. But when we come together on Thursday night, and we do the lab consumer technology show, and we talk about what are the 11 apps that every college student should have? I think we're gonna talk about that tonight. That's Wednesday night. Yeah. So tonight on the lab at six o'clock pm, we're talking about a whole bunch of things. So So those kinds of things, right, we come together where it makes sense. But yeah, that's a great question. I guess from from an economics perspective. For me, it has worked quite well recently to be more focused on my personal professional gains and partner where appropriate, in terms of cross collaboration in terms of cross promotion, and things of that nature. So

Gregarious Narain  26:54
right, but Well, sorry, can I was just say, that, for folks to realize that, um, you know, for example, you and I are part of like several shared communities. And Ken and I are and all three of us are in some shared wounds. I feel like that is a part of the force, right? Yeah. And so I don't want to take away from that either, right. Like, there's a lot of people that have each other's backs, and that are helping and collaborating, as well. And I think that we shouldn't count that. Not we shouldn't discount that either. Right? Yeah.

James Hicks  27:27
Yeah, there's value in building those networks. And there's value in building those relationships, right. And they can look differently for different types of organization, there should be folks and think that there's a cookie cutter way of doing x, because you're in the same industry are the same focus as someone else do, you have to really understand what makes sense and what resonates with your particular focus? Now, down the road, will I probably bring in an assistant to a VA right to to help with especially some editing capabilities and some and cutting up micro content and, and doing things and things of that nature, I see that very much. So it within my near future, because look, me in Final Cut Pro are not as fast as I needed to be. So but again, those are some of the things again, that I can see me being more effective, more productive, and focusing on what matters from the media, from the, from the strategy perspective, by allowing me to do those other things and bring in some like a VA or an editor to do some of the those administrative tasks, then I'm all for that. And that's going to be money well spent. It's a price versus cost conversation. Right? It just, it just makes sense.

Ken Yeung  28:38
So one thing, you know, I I appreciate the fact that you are all about storytelling, right? And as somebody and kind of going back to my other question, in terms of as you've never journeyed on this path of technological innovation, right? How has the Have you seen storytelling evolve with all these different new apps that are coming out? Right, you talked about, oh, with social audio, with clubhouse with Twitter spaces with Spotify, you know, you have discord and this and that, and so on and so forth. Right? And what like, what is how have you seen that, that capability, that ability to to really help get to the bottom of what the hell is going on? You know, how is that emboldened you? And then also for those that are watching, that may not just be creators, but that are maybe building stuff for creators, right? You're constantly looking at everything, you know, whether it's consumer tech or whatever, like, You're, you're like many of us where that's always like, oh, shiny new object. Let's let's dive in and see how that goes. Right. Yeah, we were talking about in the greenroom, how you literally download everything right off the bat like you're you as soon as the new is iOS are the new Mac OS or whatever new software comes out, even if it's in beta boom, you will, you will have downloaded it, and I am your guinea pig. So, when you look at all these startups like that are rolling, launching new things, how do you evaluate, oh, this is great, or this is not so great. And also the potential of it in general, right, and like, Oh, my God, this is what would convince me to use this.

James Hicks  30:33
that's a that's a great question. And I'm old, so I don't remember what you said the first part of that question. So I'm gonna start with the second part, right? Listen, it's, it's, it really is my charge as a technologist to be out there on the edge of those streets, right to be that beta tester to be that one who will break my phone, if necessary to tell you what iOS 15 is going to bring or is not going to bring and how that's going to be relevant to your world. Right? Someone's got to do it. Right. And, and I and I take that that charge and I take that responsibility, and I don't take it lightly. Because again, I I want to bring unbiased conversations to, to the masses, so that so they're aware of what they're getting themselves into. But like like gear, software, hardware, services, whatever the case may be, there is this this term that a lot of us in the content creator ecosystem are using called gas. Right gear acquisition syndrome. You can't buy every single thing just because the guy next to you has has it. Right. Can you afford it? Can you go out and you know, that new Sony ZV 10 just because this other guy or pre order, there's as well? I shouldn't talk because yeah, I ordered mine, too. You know, long story short, I'm just saying, Don't try to follow. Be inspired by others, yes. But don't try to fall in following in someone else's shoes, because they're not at the same location in the journey as you are. Right? I can't be I can't be Greg, Greg's got gone down a number of different forks in the road and number of different paths. He's tripped and got up at two different places. And I have some of them, the same was with me as well. But I can only look at him as an inspiration perspective, I can really look at him as someone to, to follow and say, you know what I like what he's doing, but I can't do what he's doing as well. But I will take the lessons that I'm learning from having these types of conversations and say that that's, that's a, that's a good little nugget that I would put in my toolkit as well and say, I will, I will take this information and go down my own route,

Ken Yeung  32:45
you can easily die or cut your hair, that's not a problem, like anybody can do that it changes

James Hicks  32:50
salt color on its own. This happens on a weekly basis. But you know, so that that's the aspect in terms of staying in tune with what's out there in the marketplace. And I think we again, if we are going to be considering ourselves, journalists, if we're going to be considering ourselves technologists, subject matter experts, we have to know what's what's going on out there. From a content creation perspective, there's a handful of solutions that are out there. Yeah, a number of them are very good. Some of them aren't. Right, you know, the good ones out there, look, I got to start with you can I got to start with stream yard, I got to start with restream I got to start with vbucks there's those are the ones that are really good for the masses, right. But then when you want to start talking about, I'm not going to and I'm not going to name off anyone who I think is bad. But again, there are some that are very niche, there are some that are very focused, specialize on certain things, Sen only screamed Facebook, but if your audience is on LinkedIn, you might not want to use that platform you might want to use something that allows you to go to these to multiple platforms. So so that's one key thing and you have to be aware of what that matrix looks like what the stream yard provide this this this What does he can provide this, this and this and then if you're going to be a consultant and make that recommendation to someone, you have to you have to speak with confidence and you have to know what you're talking about. Right? You just have to do that so and the only way to do it brother is just it's just to stay on top of it. Man there's 24 hours in a day yeah guy is just is weird. I'm sorry, folks. You just got to put in the work right you if you if you want to be considered as a subject matter expert, as someone who is knowledgeable in whatever industry that you're in, you got to put in the work and put in the time and

Gregarious Narain  34:45
Tom Thomas expressed this thing, James I'm curious if you feel it though, because um, you know, he said he sometimes he feels bad that people get things that he recommends or talks about right And to your point. You know, all of us are advocates for ideas, right? In one way or another, right. And so sometimes it's a process. So maybe it's a piece of hardware, maybe it's a, you know, a tool or technology. Maybe it's just a point of view or a way to think about the world, right? What do you feel about your responsibility, I guess, in that regard, and how do you sort of, you know, sort of adjust? Have you had any qualms about, or pushback or feedback or second guess yourself, I guess, in the process of creating things, because putting yourself out there, there's a certain amount of vulnerability to it. Right? And even worse, is that vulnerability is often used to attack us. Right? Correct. And right. So yeah, I'm a little curious, I guess, like in, in the realm of that we all dispense, you know, advice or thoughts to the universe? How have you dealt with some of that stuff? I guess, right. Just, you know, the pushback, the feedback? You know, I know, and I've been in many industries, and I've seen, it's a very supportive community. But there's also always just some knucklehead,

James Hicks  36:06
always right. You're not winning. If you don't have a troll. You don't have haters. Yeah. And I'm, I go live a lot. I do. I'm on camera in front of a camera on a mic a lot. But it is very focus, very conscious and very concerted. When it comes to recommending a product. I won't recommend anything that I don't use. I Well, alright, there's, I'm in the middle of a conversation, very, very warm conversation with a particular vendor right now. Because I thought they were going to be amazing. The promise was amazing. I tried to utilize the tool, and it's not amazing. And they keep hitting me up asking me for affiliate relationships, right, you know, going going out there and telling my community I'm not talking about no jealousy is on the good list. But right, there's, there's just this product again, I can't get it to work. They're having issues with their back end. And it's taking too long and starting to affect my workflow. So the fact that they're asking me to still promote the product, I can't do it, and you won't be promoted.

Gregarious Narain  37:18
I'll be now from our, from our Slack, by the way, we have a slack. Did you guys know that? I did.

James Hicks  37:24
So you guys talk a lot of crap about me on slack too. You know?

Gregarious Narain  37:28
We're just, you know, preparing questions poking. Fun.

Ken Yeung  37:31
See, see if Greg Greg, here's the thing. If you can't say anything nice to James and on camera. Talking talk some shit on slack. You know what doesn't make sense? Oh,

Gregarious Narain  37:44
okay. You know, I always say I always I've said this since I was young, that if I don't make fun of you, a stranger will. Right. What if What if you are the stranger?

Ken Yeung  37:55
You are that stranger? No. But I mean, either way.

Gregarious Narain  37:58
I mean, I've did have a, he had a question, actually, he said was like, you know, a lot of in our slack because a lot of founders building products for creators related to kind of what you just mentioned, he was asking, like, what's your advice to startups trying to outreach to creators? Like what are the do's and don'ts? Right, because he knows so much like you're in this situation now. Like, where maybe there's a promise made or something like that. Any other tips for other founders out there who are like, hey, I'd like to work with James or hicks new media. How did he go about connecting with folks like us? Right? You know, and and what are the mistakes? Maybe you've seen the make or things that you wish they didn't? Do?

James Hicks  38:34
You know, this this goes to the statement that I make every single time honestly, did I have a conversation with with a startup with an organization and I so I met an individual within the Slack channel yesterday, and we had a phenomenal conversation. So shout out to Arnold, Carnell, and Hank black. And during our conversation, I asked him about this. How are you monetizing, right? If you're creating submenus fantastic if you're creating something that's going to put that dent in the universe, and something that's going to change the world? And if it's going to be on the front page of my iPhone, or it's good to be on installed on my desktop, and if it's valuable enough, from that perspective, I need to know that you're also making money because I'm willing to pay for quality. Right? So don't get don't give me something that that's free. And then chocolate fula ads are chock full of what was coins and stuff like some of these apps do not don't do that. I'm willing and I think the majority of society is willing to pay for quality products, servers, hardware, whatever the case may be. So come at me kind of with that type of mentality knowing come at me with that that conversation already in place, right. You've already had that conversation with your internal teams about your your move forward strategy in terms of revenue, monetization, longevity, right? You can't You can't just come in Drop. So you're going to drop something on the world and expect it to mushroom into the next. Even push Zuckerberg out of the way, because you've made the next social network. Yeah, well, probably, but it's gonna be tough. But you're going to need to do do something really compelling and something very different to take a billion plus people off of one platform or bring them on to yours. So that's my, one of my go to lead with questions after I see the pitch after I hear the conversation. I'm like, great, this is good. All right, I'm happy for you. I'm glad that you're doing something. I love engineers, I love entrepreneur, I love the entire spirit. Right? I'm getting excited about it right now. Just think about folks that are building something, because they're always trying to solve a critical need within society. I'm willing to pay for that. If it's if it's fine, I'm willing to pay for Twitter premium printer Pro, when it comes out. When they find out. Look, I'll give my low 299 for that, right, because again, if it's a level up from the quality from the service that's being provided now. And if I see some value in it up to 299, I just stopped drinking Starbucks for a couple of days, whatever, I'll find a way to justify it and make it happen, right, but so that's the thing right there, right? Just just have some of that short, mid long term type of longevity conversation already laid out. It doesn't have to necessarily be in a deck, we can talk about it off the back of it of a paper napkin, or whatever the case may be. But already have that kind of frame, in your mind that you're not just going to be somebody that's here today gone eight months down the road? No, no, I know, no one thinks that they're going to be gone in like eight months down the road. But you know, just just make sure you can articulate that pretty succinctly.

Gregarious Narain  41:39
It does feel like a mistake, you know, you see this with founders talking to investors often is that they feel like they always have to have an answer. I honestly I think just being honest, like, oh, we're not really working on that right now. Oh, that's a cool idea. But I don't we're not sure if that can be good for us. Like just being honest. You know, or, hey, we can't get to that yet.

James Hicks  41:57
You know, look back in the day, it probably would have worked. But now we as folks in the industry, and I count the three of us and anyone listening and hearing as well. We're pretty savvy now, right? I mean, we don't fall for the Okey doke as much as as easy as we used to. Right? So so so come at us with some quality come at us with something that resonates something that that meets a need something that taps into emotion. That's what I always go back to the Apple story, right? Steve always tapped into emotion, all of his slot, all of his presentations, very few words, or pictures of crying kids, and you know, people dancing and whatever, right? Yeah, he always tapped into emotion and feeling. And that helped drive your desire to say, Oh, I gotta get this, right. I mean, look at how happy they are, you know, dancing at the beach and playing around and doing that I gotta have that new phone, because it stirs up that dopamine hit or whatever. So find that way to get into us, as opposed to just a technical specs, and just a technical jargon, that tap into

Gregarious Narain  43:06
any advice, you know, for like, Ken and I, we have a new show, right?

Ken Yeung  43:10
New ish.

Gregarious Narain  43:11
What's the advice, you know, for for folks trying to enter this, you know, very, very big industry today now trying to get into the content game? And Any thoughts? Or how, you know, how would you guide someone into this process? Now, if they were if you're trying to mentor them through?

James Hicks  43:30
Know what you want to talk about? First and foremost, right? So so you start out because you don't have a community yet. Right? So start out and say, What is it I want to talk about, and you guys have a phenomenal niche attorney talking to creators, entrepreneurs, makers, and things of that nature. So have that niche, as you grow the content as you grow the material as you have further reach? Talk to the folks that that are engaging with you, right, talk to the folks that are coming on the show and say, how's the show? Look? How's the stream? Look? I mean, is there anything that we can level up? Can we change this? Can we change that is the message right? Is the length of time? Correct? Right? You know, people's our attention spans are three minutes, half of the times, you know, can we do a 45 minutes show, probably, but how many people are still going to be on it? 45 minutes, when we probably could have could have could have sunk that down to 1520 minutes. And here it is. We've been live for 44 minutes, because I keep talking all the time. But you know, right. So those are the kinds of so listen to the community and be flexible enough to evolve with the needs of your community. take yourself out of it. Right, you may have adjusted the great idea of this is what I'm going to do. This is what I'm passionate about. But man, you're just not going to get the nutrition the subscribers the community around you if you decide to go one route, when everyone is telling you look, we love you and we like what you're doing but we want to hear you talk about them. So until you start talking about this, we're gonna go somewhere else.

Ken Yeung  45:04
Is that is that kind of how you got started yourself? Because I mean, you're talking about earlier on the show where you talk about consumer tech. Yeah. And I've, I've, I've watched some of your shows, and you cover a lot of the news that we cover as well, not specifically, we're on creators, but you cover technology news, you cover a sports, you have your you have a sports show, you have another show around perspectives. You know, it's all wide ranging right? And it kind of it's, it's not a, I don't think it's like a common thing. It's not. And I'm not saying that it's wrong, because honestly, I don't know. But if it you know, if it works for you that that's great. But I'm curious in based on what you just said, right? Yeah. Is that how you your path has progressed. Right? You talk about? Like, how did you what your first show was about? What? consumer tech? Holy smokes, my very first show was probably me. Probably doing an unboxing or something. Right. Right. So So let's say technology based, right? Yeah. And so you did that. And you you found there's an audience for that. And then did you find? Or did you all of a sudden, just based on what your passion is? Because clearly, you're passionate about you want it you love talking to people, you love hearing their stories? Going back to that other questions that I had way back about, like, how's your storytelling evolved? Or how storytelling evolved? But do you? Did you kind of just say, let me do I want to talk to, I would certainly love sports. So let's talk about includes sports, I want to do a show about technology, because that's where I'm passionate about as well. And I just want to also be talking to people about whatever they're doing. And whatever else. Did you just kind of throw those things out there? And gradually, have them evolve simultaneously? Or did you just based on what you're saying, start with technology? See how the community responds? Yeah. And then if you're like, hey, James, why aren't you talking about sports as well? Okay, then you'll do that. And then you do this. And this and this.

Gregarious Narain  47:14
Yeah. And I guess, how did you decide to separate those into unique shows, say versus something more, like inclusive or under one umbrella?

James Hicks  47:25
Right, right. Just one? Great, great, great question. So my goal, my mission, my mantra for extra media has been for, for the content creation perspective, has been to entertain, enlighten and educate. If it fits into those three broad categories, I'm gonna do it. And quite frankly, you're right when I'm doing it, I'm doing it slightly different than like the Derral Eve's of the world, you know, what I would recommend, he would probably tell me, James, you're crazy, you should have separate channels for each of those focus areas. And you could just blow up right, you could just you could just you could already have a play button. But if you if you've segmented out those conversations, I'm marketing and I'm marching in my own drum. I really, as long as I'm staying focused to those three aspects of reaching out to the community, and and they're provided me information on what they want underneath that umbrella of entertaining, enlightening and educating, then I can continue down that particular path. So again, in each stream has a different flavor. But they all come back to that same aspect. And they all focus on telling the picture story of whoever's the interview, he is making sure that there's a social impact aspect to the story, because again, like you mentioned, my sports string, very rarely do again, talk about who is in first place, what kind of shoes somebody is wearing, or whatever the case would be, we're talking about, like sewing a particular stream, we're talking about NFL right now, right, the name image and likeness to aspects, right, and how that affects these 18 and 19 year olds going off to college from nothing, and now having $500,000 in their pockets, because Burger King has asked him to come flip whoppers for an hour. That's a whole different type of conversation that we're having. And it gets awkward sometimes. But again, it resonates because it actually it raises the level of the conversation. And it makes people think it gets a little warm sometimes in between me and my co hosts and you know, a lot of times I'm picking at the scab trying to actually stir up some conversation. So, again, long story short, I may be going about it a whole different route than would be considered textbook of how to grow your channel on YouTube as fast as possible and get to 100 million subscribers in two weeks. So okay, still, I'm doing me. I'm staying focused on my goal entertaining, enlightening and educating and still providing the community what they're asking for.

Ken Yeung  49:58
But did you launch that I you may have other different shows, but you know, just the technology, the sports and your your perspectives, when did you launch them all simultaneously? Or no? Did one one kind of came out after overtime? Like, Oh, your community responded, say let's do this. Okay,

James Hicks  50:19
exactly. Yeah, the start again, since I, I'm a technology person by by by trade and education started with that, right, we really started about talking about consumer technology use cases, best practices, wise, unboxing, and things like that. And then meeting new people having different types of conversations, wanting to talk about different aspects of life and reality. And then, look, when there was so much turmoil in the world about politics, social injustice, and social correction, had to talk about that. So I mean, look, I got the platform, I own the platform, I got to talk about this, or I'd be remiss if I didn't have a handful of shows talking about the social impact of police brutality, police over oversight and things of that nature. So we had a number of roundtables about that as well. And that that really sad or bad golf, but you know, again, had to have those conversations as well. So

Ken Yeung  51:16
you're so you're the difference here. I think it and I think for the maybe the common template here, the template here is that creators may be setting up themselves like, okay, here's my brand, like creative economy. That's our that's, that's what I'm going to be talking about the creative economy. Yeah. But then you're but on the other hand, you're like, No, no, I'm, instead of me. saying I'm with the brand. I'm going to whatever my topic I want to talk about will follow not the title. But my North Star, as long as you remain true to this North Star like that. Yes. Yeah, that, then I can talk about whatever. So there's nothing that's going to typecast me to that. Because I think, to your point, if you had this thing called, you know, you're talking about created economy, right. And then all of a sudden, you talked about Black Lives Matter. You talked about I mean, sports, not specifically NFL because technically I'll also falls in that crater economy space, but like, you know, the new the reshuffling of the college football playoffs, for example. Right. Right, that that people will be like, why are you talking about this on this channel? And then that leaves you know, real Avenue because then Where else? Could you talk about that? So maybe this maybe the for creators, the goal as a setup, they set themselves up? And Greg, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this is instead of saying setting true to a brand, you follow that Northstar? And that's and that's should be your your goal.

James Hicks  52:51
Yeah. And you know, before I know Greg wants to chime in, but again, I, I'm a stick with that. Because if I'm not true to myself, then I'm just doing this for likes, retweets, you know, thumbs ups and or whatever short term gain short vanity metrics. Yeah, I look, I look at analytics all day, every single day, but I'm not into vanity metrics. I don't need a blue checkmark. Even though kins got when I wouldn't mind getting one of those blue checkmarks here, but right, but that I guess, yeah. But you know, I'm focused on what drives me and and that's the only way that I can be on my channel, right. I own this platform, all of this content. So if I if it doesn't resonate with me, I would just not feel right, putting it out there. And yeah, again, it's probably completely 190 degrees of what the video coaches and the content creator coaches, and I keep mentioning, you know, the Derral Eve's of the world would tell me to do to grow my channel quickly, but I don't care about growing my channel quickly. I care about being focused and and deliberate about the messages that I'm sending out to my community. And as long as they resonate with me in terms of the delivery, entertaining, enlightening and educating. It's a it's an open open door, right? I can I could, I could put anything in an end of that conversation into those those three line items. So, Greg,

Gregarious Narain  54:19
look, I, you know, I think Ken, we've talked about this in the past, um, not everyone has to get to money. And certainly not everyone has to try to get to a huge, big audience as possible. These are, these are false sort of straw. There's a strawman that are put out there, right like that. We don't need those things per se. Right. And I do think what we're seeing is an evolution in in the way that we frame why we make things because I believe you know, we've all grown through a generation now of 10 years or so, where we've, you know, sort of put big follower counts and subscriber counts, monetization sort of on a pedestal. Right, brand deals and these other things and so I don't I absolutely don't think you need to worry about it. I do think, um, you know, as we I was on Heather with Heather yesterday and she base was and you know, my advice was simple. I was like, find something you're passionate about that you could talk about all the time. Right without being forced to talk about it. Right? Or that you're going to talk about it regardless, or somehow everything has to be about that. Yeah, whether or not you should cleave it into separate entities or shows, and whatnot, I think. If you're doing it for the people who are watching it, then sometimes it makes sense, right? Because the they may be divergent, sort of in their, in their topics or their focus area, right? It's maybe like, I just don't care about this. And what you don't want to do is alienate one set of people by hat by putting a bunch of things out that that just aren't into them. Right. And so I asked them to just say, I can't tell if that's going to be about the thing I care about. So I'm just not going to care anymore. Right? At the same time, don't um, you know, as we say, in the startup world, right? Like, how much is enough process? Just enough, right, right. And so, as we all know, like every, every entity, banner fly that you fly under is just a crap ton more work for you to push out. And, you know, I, Lord knows, I don't want to have to come up with a new format or layout for thumbnails. And I don't want to have to schedule in more places than I have to write, you know, so. So there's, there's a significant amount of administrative load associated with the choices we make here. So I think it's also important to err for what you can do well, as they say, it is better to be consistent right then to be than anything else, right? So just if you can go live every Tuesday, and that that's what you're going to do, that's going to still do better for you than doing it three times a week. Right? Exactly. On two out of three,

James Hicks  56:58
we'll do it at the right time. Right again, look at those analytics, when is your audience on and available and didn't go out and go live and, and bring that firebrick bring that heat, right, make sure that you bring a quality piece of content that that folks will want to talk about and share. Yeah, I agree with that.

Gregarious Narain  57:12
Well, James, it has been phenomenal chatting here, by the way, and I know we are at time, we do have afterdark I think James may be able to stick around for a minute or two, but I think he had a commitment. So if not, we'll be there. And you can ask us questions. We'll pretend to give you James's answers.

James Hicks  57:27
But go and come hang out and backstage after party.

Gregarious Narain  57:31
Oh, good. But absolutely, feel free. As you know. We are here on Wednesdays next week. We'll be here back with Martin walborn. He is over a garden James. I'm not sure if you met him but you will love him. Martin is helping to set up the first like dedicated live streaming venue in Rotterdam. So it's organized and designed around like conceptually around artists coming that will live stream their events. So you know, it's it's it's a sick layout, dude, if you want gas, that's your place to go. Everything that you can imagine. But we're back here with Martin next week. If you don't know already, we do have two shows. Speaking of which, you know, what is the word? mitosis? Where are you one?

Ken Yeung  58:17
Well, we went off straight nerdy with that, right.

Gregarious Narain  58:20
But we did, we did separate our show, because we really enjoyed these interviews. And ultimately, I think getting the chance to dive in a bit deeper. And so the our show on Wednesdays is the creative economy. Obviously, it's really a chance to meet the people who are making this content who are making the tools, etc. But on Fridays, we do our new show. So creative briefs. We'll be back Friday morning at 8am. Pacific time. We've already written all the news, so don't make any new stuff because I'm not updating it. But we will be heading over there as well. So we hope that you will join us soon. Coming up though, some great stuff. Martin and creativities are coming up but we do have Antonio and Steven coming back to talk about the black creator crew, which we were hoping to do earlier but we're very excited to have them. September 8. Jim louderback will be with us as well. September 15. We have a Louis had Scott from the lily pad network. We've also now confirmed Josh constine for later I did we have Justin Moore. Justin Justin's in there soon. Yeah, Justin's coming, as well

Ken Yeung  59:23
as Peter Shankman,

Gregarious Narain  59:24
Peter Shankman, Goldie Hawn, all scheduled we are booked by the way for creating all and we know we didn't get Virginia.

Ken Yeung  59:32
No, no, no goalie Chen. Oh, go to China. I was like what we didn't get if we can get Goldie Hawn in here to that.

Gregarious Narain  59:41
Okay, but no, we are booked through October already for our guests. So we're working on November now for placements for for interviews. But we'd love to hear from you. If you'd like to be on the show head over to create economy comm it is the best place to find out about all the stuff that we have coming up and you can also put your name in the hat. Be with us. By the way, you know this is interactive shows, you're always welcome to participate either through the comments or by joining us on stage. We encourage it and we welcome it as well. And so we're about to head over to created after dark. So feel free to just head over created dot shows slash live. That is where you will find us. And with that, we're going to time it out. I'm going to start the countdown or say goodbye. I forgot. I forgot I use all my stuff already. But we'll see you over at afterdark Alright everyone, see ya. Thanks, brother.

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