We took a deep dive into Koji and its unique App Store ecosystem of creator tools and services.
- Gregarious Narain (@gregarious)
- Ken Yeung (@thekenyeung)
Gregarious Narain 0:22
Ken Yeung 0:25
Blame that new moon for the tech problems.
Gregarious Narain 0:29
Welcome back, everybody. Yes, welcome to The Created Economy, our weekly news show on everything happening in the creative economy. And we'll be bringing you a round up of the latest news, some commentary and an interview today with our friend Dimitri Shapiro, from Koji, and also be doing deep dives. This is episode number two, Ken, welcome back. How are you?
Ken Yeung 0:51
I'm good. How about yourself?
Gregarious Narain 0:54
You know, it feels a little hot in here. I feel. You know, I feel like we put all this time and work into preparing and yet I feel not prepared.
Ken Yeung 1:06
Well, it's, we're talking about creator. So you know, we got a we got to come up with stuff. So we got to be all creative with with what we're talking about.
Gregarious Narain 1:13
So, absolutely, absolutely. So just real quick information, format change updates since last week. So Ken and I, you know, took some notes, saw what worked and what didn't work. And what we're gonna be doing today, the format structure is going to be, we'll be doing about 10 minutes of news, then we're gonna have a 10 minute q&a part. So if you're out there in the audience, and you want to raise your hand, or leave a comment to have us react in some way, by all means, feel free to do so at about the 10 minute mark. Once we get to that, we will then be going into our interview. And then we're gonna be doing something at the end, which we call it, what do we we call it?
Ken Yeung 1:48
Created after dark?
Gregarious Narain 1:50
Created after dark. Sort of like the post show that's about a third, we've spent about 30 minutes after. So feel free to stick around to be able to come and ask questions and interact and raise your hand and all the fun stuff as well. I see you, Matt. I see. So just for a catch up. We do go live on Wednesdays at 3pm. Mountain Time. 2pm. Pacific. You can find out more over at creative dot show. Ken are you doing the banners today?
Ken Yeung 2:15
I can do the banners.
Gregarious Narain 2:18
Yes. So we are currently live streaming on Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, clubhouse and Twitter spaces. So pick your poison, whatever is your best form of consumption. We welcome it. I see all that nice hands over there and clubhouse. Thank you so much for being here. We will get to you in 10 minutes after Ken and I go through the news. I also see some hands on the Twitter spaces. And by all means leave. Tell us in the comments. Where are you from? Right like we'd love to know, tell us where you're joining from. And of course, if you have questions, feel free to post them there as well. Also, long form content shownotes. And everything else is available for you over at the creative economy.com website. So that's where you can find all the details. And while I have Ken do a quick introduction of himself, I will go screen share our deck.
Ken Yeung 3:08
Alright, I'll give you 30 seconds. No, so hi, everybody. Welcome back for Episode Two. I am Ken, I am the technology editor at Flipboard. Which that all that entails is me looking at everything that's going on in the world of tech online culture. Internet means all that fun stuff, and kind of really putting it together in a nice package for for you to really tell a story, right. And I've been doing that for several years. Prior to that I was a reporter for VentureBeat and The Next Web where I again covered startups, Silicon Valley developments, innovations and tech culture. And I'm also a creator myself, I am a blogger, I'm a photographer. I am a prolific Tweeter, as well. So feel free to follow me on the big social platforms @thekenyeung and we can go from there and also nice little plug for Flipboard we are curating all of our articles. Everything that we're talking about today is in a dedicated Flipboard account. So you can go to Flipboard.com/@CreatedEconomy. And you can follow all the news over there. Back to you, Greg.
Gregarious Narain 4:17
Awesome. And what I'm trying to figure out how to make this play in here. Okay, cool. That works. That works.
Ken Yeung 4:25
We know tech.
Gregarious Narain 4:26
Yeah, we we are technologists here. Yeah. Hi, everybody. I am Greg. I'm a repeat entrepreneur. I've been working in the creative space for a long time. I started way back at Klout, where we're in product. Then I ran my YC company Chute, which was a user generated content platform. I'm also now the co founder and CEO of Zealous, which is a live streaming platform trying to help creators make money by going live. And so thank you so much for joining us. And with that, let's jump into the news, Ken. So how do I do that? Alright, so yes, wait, I need to share the screen again. There. That doesn't work. There we go. Alright, so here's that. And I can see the contrast challenge that we need here. So we have, like six stories that we're going to go through. But there's too much honestly like, this is like the worst experience in the world trying to curate just a few stories to cover in this environment.
Gregarious Narain 5:22
So Ken, this was an interesting thing that we found, right? This just came out yesterday, The Information out an interesting article, sort of reporting on some surveys, but how creators actually make their money. And the number one source by far it was like 77.3% was actually coming from brand deals still. Now, I will put a caveat on this right that this was an interview with 2,000 creators, they were predominantly instagrammers. So inherently, most instagrammers tend to make the money from brand deals, because guess what, up until very, very recently, you couldn't make any dollars going or producing content for Instagram, so any thoughts on this? Or what's going on.
Ken Yeung 6:02
So I think this is a pretty, pretty standard, I'm not actually surprised by the brand deals being so high. But it does tell me that there's a lot of opportunity for other ways to, to make money for creators. But if you look at traditional tech, right, I mean, a lot of the money isn't really made with from the consumer side, you get a lot of money within the enterprise, right? You're selling to bigger, bigger companies, and therefore that's where you make a lot of your revenue. And similar for creators right there, you want to make the most money for for, for putting out posts, for putting out doing videos or whatever, like you're going to have to sell to customers, or you're gonna have to have those advertising deals or marketing deals. And you see that right here. 77%. that's a that's a big amount. But that's also telling like you were talking last week, we're talking about social tipping, you're talking about other ways to do it. And as we talked about the rest of this at the rest of this episode, there's a lot of opportunity for creators and for startups to help to create new avenues for this. So I'm very interested to hear what Dimitri has to say later on.
Gregarious Narain 7:08
Oh, did I in sorry. Now, I do think what this interest represents those an interesting inflection point, because we are moving sort of from this awareness advertising sort of based economy, right, like, I think that's where the brand side sort of really flourished. And by the way brands isn't going away, there's not that there's going to be not going to be lasting value here over time. But I do think as we're starting to transition a little bit, what we are going to see is an rapid rise in some of these other platforms coming up, right, like we're tipping memberships, subscriptions, affiliates, all these other things are going to actually probably increase because the customer base, right sort of the access economy, you know, as I like to think about it, where creators are negotiating access is really the powerful part. And we're seeing so much happen in this arena. So watch this space, because I think there's gonna be a lot happening over time. So let's go to our next. We've got some Instagram news, Ken, I think you're up first.
Ken Yeung 8:03
Yes. So we're talking about Instagram, Instagram, in a couple of weeks, they're going to host their first what they're calling a creator week, right. And basically what that entails is there, this is an invite only event, week long event, where you're going to have 1000s of fellow creators and it's all dedicated to Instagram. This is nothing new for Facebook, right? Facebook's been known to have these type of gatherings and usually in they've been in person, but of course with the pandemic that you can't have that so. But they might be bringing some folks in house into us to a specific venue. Anyway, so the point is that they want to encourage creators to build up on Instagram, whether it's through Reels whether it's to better to create their own businesses over just Instagram in general, this is what they want to do. And as you look at what everyone's been all these other platforms, they're they're in a real tough bind, right? And Instagram is fighting off TikTok, they're fighting off Snap, Snapchat, they're defending themselves off the YouTube, whatever, Patreon, Clubhouse, all these other things, there's a lot of these guys are coming out this years ago, it would have been a lot easier for Instagram to be like, okay, we don't necessarily need to do this. But they need to be out there. They need to show off all all their stuff, all their wares, and we're going to probably see some new announcements that are kind of come from there. But I mean, in terms of what's actually there, again, it's going to be invite only so a lot of the sessions will be private, private, so who knows what's going to what they're gonna announce.
Gregarious Narain 9:31
Now, by the way, in case you don't follow us already on twitter at at creative economy. Ken is live tweeting out the links to these articles as we cover them. So by all means, check, check in over there if you want to see those. We've got what's our next story, Ken?
Ken Yeung 9:46
So our next story is also very similar to Instagram and I would imagine it would probably be...
Gregarious Narain 9:50
did I label this one wrong?
Ken Yeung 9:51
No, no, you did no. It's actually it's actually buried in the into this story from The Information so The Information had an interview with Instagram
Ken Yeung 9:59
So, Adam Mosseri. And so the point of this, of the of the headline of this story is basically about Instagram kids, right? And the thing is, everybody knows that Instagram has been running into some problems with, you know, a kid's version of their app, right? It's like, Oh, do you really want to put kids up to this type of pressure? You know, social media pressure, there's a lot of things that like, you know, how they look, they don't need all this stuff. They need to just be be kids, right? And so it's groups like this articles like Instagrams, like, Look, we're gonna keep doing it, we're moving forward, no matter what Congress or, or lawmakers regulators say, right? Well, they're gonna keep doing this. But at the but what you what you don't see here in this article, is that the information asks, Adam, Adam Mosseri is like, are you going to be doing a creator fund? Now we talked about last week that there's this whole notion of creator funds, right? And there's all Snapchat has one, Facebook stride, one has done one for for black creators, now with Instagram, do the one in general, you know, again, they're facing a lot of challenges these days. And they didn't, they're not, that's not off the table for Instagram, whether or not they will actually do it remains to be seen. However, what Adam did say is that they will be toying around with some new ways for creators to monetize their product, their creations, their content. And that could very well include tipping, which everyone else has been doing. And what's very startling about this, where is this admission is admission from from Adam saying like, Look, Instagram is behind behind all these other platforms, in terms of coming up with ways for for creators to monetize themselves. And so with this creator week, that's coming up in two weeks, in the beginning of June, will be very telling to see how well are they actually putting forth that effort to cater towards creators and to rebuild and to strengthen whatever strengthen their offerings against tik tok and Snapchat, and YouTube? Yeah, yeah, there's a lot of catch up to be done here for sure.
Gregarious Narain 12:07
So just a third article for you can I think you were you pick this one out?
Ken Yeung 12:13
Yeah, I did. It's look that the topic is that the headline of this article is the influence the influencers are burned out. And this is like, not no surprise, as you get all these different types of platforms that you got to that you got to work on. And there's a lot of these new creators sprouting up, it's like, it's hard to get to garner attention, right? So how do you do that? Is that Is there a way to do that? And, and a lot of these influencers are probably finding themselves really burnt out, because they're like, Look, I got there's, you got to top whatever you did before, you can't just do the same thing over and over again. Otherwise, you know, why? Why would they? Why would people pay attention to you. So in order to get more attention, get more views, get more traffic and deals like you got to you got to one up, whatever you just did. And then people are finding, like, I'm just, I just can't do it anymore. And so there's, like, you know, there's like, we need to take breaks. And I think if the message to take take from this to our to our listeners and our viewers, is if you're if you're a creator, if you're an influencer, like learn to take care of your mental health, and take breaks when you need to, because yeah, it there's no, there's no point and burning yourself out to do this. I mean, there's you can always come back to it. But your mental health is it should be your first priority.
Gregarious Narain 13:27
The analogs between being a creator and being a founder are cannot be denied. So I think if you have any founder friends out there, I highly encourage you talk to them, because you might learn something in the process as well.
Gregarious Narain 13:39
So we got some more news. Let's move on. Up next, we got some news on Twitter. So what do we have going on today? Oh, guess what? You're about to be able to get paid to do spaces.
Ken Yeung 13:51
Gregarious Narain 13:51
So they're beta testing this feature. Now, I don't know, I haven't personally met anyone who's actually, you know, got access to this capability. But it was announced that they will be taking a 20% cut for ticketed spaces, which will be coming soon. Now, I did do a poll on my, my Twitter, not very official, but I asked if people would pay to actually access the space. The overwhelming It was about sort of 60% said no. But I did ask an inquire about why you might pay for a space. And it turns out that knowing who the speakers are ahead of time, maybe a certain very vertical niche, you know, was another opportunity or thing that people may be interested in. And one interesting feature that I found really compelling was potentially the idea of being able to preview a space before because since so much of this content is real time or ad hoc. You know, being able to know or hear what you might be getting, you know, sort of seems like a valuable asset or resource in the conversation. So I think, you know, interesting ideas there. Let's see how it goes. I'm not sure if I would pay for that many spaces, but you know, I think there are definitely things that could be worth it.
Gregarious Narain 14:58
Now. onto our next bucket of news, we have some news about Snapchat or actually a couple of articles about Snapchat, if I remember correctly. Number one, guess what social tipping is back. Now Snapchat is announced that they will be joining the fray. So coming later this year, as they say, Snapchat will have social tipping as well. So you can tip people in the process. I've updated the graphic, by the way, so we'll have that up on our website. So if you if you're looking for our social tipping infographic, feel free to head over there, or I guess is a chart, technically, we don't know what percentage is going to be taken yet. They didn't announce that in the article. And we also don't know when it will be live or what eligibility requirements will be there. But we look forward to hearing more about it. Snapchat is massive, you know, I'm not personally user, but they had I think they believe it just crossed like 500 million users or something like that, as long article about as well.
Ken Yeung 15:52
500 million monthly active users, that's the first time they've ever released monthly versus daily.
Gregarious Narain 15:56
Wow, that's insane. So yeah, Snapchat has not gone. But you know, it, there's a lot going on in that ecosystem, for sure. And on the other side, just kind of closing the loop here on our Creator fund, sort of concepts. Snapchat is actually changing its fund model. Now, previously, in case you didn't know, they were giving away a million dollars a day to get people to use their new sort of tic toc competitor feature. And they've sort of rolled back some of that capability now, so they're not actually offering up direct access to that same amount. Now, they promised that they're going to allow, they're still gonna be giving out some money, but it's not going to be like the same amount with that same sort of sort of cadence, right, that they've talked about. So we'll see if that what the impact of this is, I think in the long term on sort of how much content people continue to push through that format. But you know, I think, as we talked about last week, you know, the reason for these funds, ultimately, is to incentivize usage of new behavior, and also to retain creators. And so everyone should always remember that as part of the process. Now, what else do we got? Oh, by the way, yeah, we're about to end this, this part of the show. But if you have reactions or questions or comments, now's the time, raise your hands. But if you wanted the links, just in case, right, highly recommend that you head over to the created economy. Flipboard, which is right there, Ken may share a link again to it. But it's Flipboard.com/@CreatedEconomy, you can find the link to that on our website, as well, all of the links that we look at actually, throughout the week automatically are going to end up over there. So you have an opportunity to of course, you know, find the links that we're looking at. And then of course, find the links from each individual show, as well. So any comments, reactions? thoughts out there? Who's got a hand up that we should? Oh, wait, what happened to my space?
Ken Yeung 17:46
Wait, did you say my space?
Gregarious Narain 17:48
Not my space, but my actual space? Any hands? Questions? Wait, I'm in my own Twitter space twice. Now. I don't know how that works. clubhouse. Any thoughts? And if not, we will continue along with the show. Which may work out because we're running a little behind schedule.
Gregarious Narain 18:08
Dmitry, if you're almost ready. We're gonna have you up in a sec. I don't know. All right. So my Twitter space keeps crashing on me. So I can't tell if that's there. But anyone in clubhouse any questions or thoughts that you'd like to ask, feel free to raise your hand, I'll bring you up. And you can be involved. Why don't we bring to meet Dimitry into the stream? Do you have any comments or questions about our news that we've just recently gone through very quickly?
Dmitry Shapiro 18:31
First of all, I love the show. I'm honored to be on you know, the second episode of it. The first one was great. Let's see if we can make this one as good. Um, yeah, I have lots of thoughts on. First, sounds like a big mess.
Gregarious Narain 18:47
Gregarious Narain 18:47
Mess would be a decent word for describing.
Dmitry Shapiro 18:52
In my old age, I'm trying to be more and more decent.
Dmitry Shapiro 18:59
Yeah, look, I think, as these very powerful companies, and then, you know, hundreds of tiny companies in the creator economy, each tribe to sort of carve out their own little niche in each sort of compete for the attention of creators and for the attention of creators, you know, followers.
Dmitry Shapiro 19:21
And everyone's trying to get people to stay within their network. And because there's only limited ability for human attention and hours in the day, I think this is what's creating all of this sort of thrashing that we, we see now. So it's an amazing time to be alive because anybody can be a creator.
Dmitry Shapiro 19:40
If you're trying to be a creator, it's so much work to try to put this stuff together. Forget making money and all of it just yeah. Use all these platforms.
Gregarious Narain 19:49
Absolutely. So by the way, Andre is up on stage in clubhouse. Andre, did you have a question or comment?
Andre Julius 19:57
Um, yeah, I actually listened to a number of interviews from the Snapchat CEO, you know about their about this process that they were going through now it was just kind of curious to see, you know, you think that LinkedIn will join in on, you know, allowing people to charge for, you know, their their live streaming as well. You know, and is this just kind of be a part of every social platform going forward, that tipping will be a part of the process?
Gregarious Narain 20:33
Well, tipping definitely is already a feature of basically every major platform. The social platforms are not that original, I guess, is probably the main takeaway. It's. So if you look at it horizontally, tipping is basically everywhere. Look at even the history right stories, right? Like, think about that stories as a horizontal technology now, right? every platform has stories. live streams is essentially a horizontal technology, right? every platform has live streams. Every platform will soon have social audio of some sort, right? Like, it'll be a horizontal technology. eventing, I believe is almost fairly horizontal, not all the all the social ones have it, but like Facebook has it, LinkedIn has it, etc. So I imagine that we will see more monetization tools continuously being added to the ecosystem and you to Dimitris point. This is creating, you know, a lot of thrashing in the system. And we'll get to this topic when we when we actually talk a little bit about Koji. But, you know, I think there's interesting challenges and opportunities in sort of the diversity of tools and and the ecosystems rapid growth. Right. And, you know, it'll be interesting to talk to Dmitry in a moment about where it goes. But if I was to guess, Andre, my guess is that yes, absolutely. LinkedIn will certainly turn on its own Eventbrite like capabilities, the events that we can currently list will eventually become paid events. The live streams will potentially probably get tied up just like Twitter is doing. What are they calling the thing? Can the paid
Ken Yeung 22:04
Twitter Oh, Twitter, blue or something? Like? Yeah,
Gregarious Narain 22:08
yeah. So blue, YouTube, red, Snapchat, yellow. So
Ken Yeung 22:13
it's like the Power Rangers or something?
Gregarious Narain 22:15
Yeah, LinkedIn, light blue. You know, I don't know. But he but I imagine there will be sort of a paid. And I By the way, LinkedIn recently turned on what they called what creator mode, which I'm still trying to get, but it's sort of like a different way to express and render your LinkedIn profile with that oriented orients. What you put out there more from a creator mindset, I guess, or sort of provides more opportunities for linking in content, so
Ken Yeung 22:42
Well, no, I mean, Greg, I think the the thing with the with LinkedIn, though, is like and I agree, like, yes, it I think they will follow suit with everyone and roll out some sort of a social tipping, right like that. I mean, think of it, that's where you have that it's all about professional social network, right? I mean, it's all professionals, right. And this is where you're going to need to where people can actually make revenue for specifically like whether you're a consultant, or freelancer, or creator for the enterprise, or business space, or marketing, whatever, this is an opportunity for you to do that. This is where you're going to get your customer base, you versus something doing it on on Instagram, or Snapchat or tik tok, or Twitter or anything like that. The problem though, like I think, with with LinkedIn, there have been typically slow in terms of implementing these type of things like they announced live streaming more than a year ago, and like this, they still haven't really done anything from live video.
Gregarious Narain 23:32
have also been sort of bad.
Ken Yeung 23:34
Well, this is also true. But But I mean, maybe that's deliberate, but also the capabilities. But between behind me,
Gregarious Narain 23:39
what are you suggesting there's a there's an intentionality into making back things?
Ken Yeung 23:45
Maybe, I mean, it's Microsoft, come on, and go figure, right, no, but but but the thing with the if, if LinkedIn does it well, right. And the depending on who they have the power set be I don't know what their roadmap is. But if they do it, well, they have a lot of that backbone there, right? I mean, you could do eventing with it, whether in person, it's fine, you can do some sort of event prep, but if you want to do a virtual, I mean, come on, they're going to power it through teams, they're going to leverage all the presentations through through office 365. And I really liked it I think I wrote a post about the integration between LinkedIn and Microsoft A while back when you first when they got acquired, added consider that but I guess, but there's a lot of this. There's a lot of the
Gregarious Narain 24:26
SharePoint a crappy way. Like I imagined this
Ken Yeung 24:28
really, really you're, you're saying SharePoint, I think we need to end this and the show right now. Like how dare you mentioned that? Like, I don't feel bad of mentioning the word synergy now. Okay, cuz you mentioned the word SharePoint. Come on. At least mentioned Yammer, right.
Gregarious Narain 24:43
Hey, all right, Yammer also worked there. Full disclosure.
Gregarious Narain 24:47
All right. Well, thanks, Andre. Thank you for your question, though. I so my guess Yes. I do meet your your guests. Yes. Yeah. You got thumbs up, Ken. Yes. So I think it's going to happen. My friend. Thank you for asking your question. We appreciate you being here. I'm going to tuck you back into the audience, though, while you're here, but we will have more time at the end. So please don't worry and don't mind. We're going to have a nice window at the end for everyone to chat and ask questions of Dimitri as well, while what always comes. Okay, so Dimitri, welcome to the interview. I need to make a slide to do the transition. Are you actually at a WeWork?
Dmitry Shapiro 25:22
No, but I just realized I just realized on camera that I've been busted. I was gonna ask you
Gregarious Narain 25:31
yuling stealing this we work cop. I mean, how do you actually walk out with a coffee cup?
Ken Yeung 25:38
I don't think they track that stuff. I think it's okay, they've raised like a bajillion dollars. I think it's fine. Oh, we know although Demeter, you're probably you're probably you're stealing that coffee mug is probably reason why they're so in such financial difficulty right now.
Dmitry Shapiro 25:52
I mean, otherwise, so I didn't actually steal it. But I did walk out with a drinking coffee and was too lazy to bring it back. And then pandemic kit, kinds of excuses.
Ken Yeung 26:04
You're gonna return it. You're gonna return it later, when after the pandemic is over. We come down
Dmitry Shapiro 26:08
Ken Yeung 26:09
Gregarious Narain 26:11
For our friends who can't see us, by the way, let's do a quick introduction here. So this is our friend Dmitry, Ken and I have been both friends with you like, from before, and just random. We discovered that like you were building this amazing company called Koji. Do you want to tell us a little bit about you and what Koji is? Sure.
Dmitry Shapiro 26:29
I'm an old nerd is the way that I've kind of been describing myself lately. Koji is now the company called go meta that owns co G is four and a half years old. Before co G, I spent four years at Google, on the main campus, working primarily on social products. Prior to that, I was the Chief Technology Officer of MySpace music. Before that, I built two venture backed companies one was a competitor to YouTube, called vo networks raised $70 million for that got sued out of existence by Universal Music Group. Interesting story, you guys can Google it. We won the lawsuit won two appeals, but ended up getting killed. Um, prior to that I built a cybersecurity company called a conic systems raise $34 million for that. And then from 95 to 99. I built the web team at Fujitsu, and kind of built all Fujitsu's infrastructure then got into software development when I was 14 years old in 1984, after watching the movie wargames, and that's what got me hooked. And my first love was actually cybersecurity. And got I got a chance to do that for five years with a conics. But since then, I've been doing consumer stuff. And whatever now working on Koji, which I'm sure will, we'll touch upon that. Yeah. Yes. Tell us what Koji is. So it's sort of riff off of this discussion you guys were having during the new segment, right there. Everybody now wants to be a creator. For years, the number one answer of graduating kids, what do you want to do professionally, is I want to be a YouTuber, when you add other types of creators. This year, it's over 50%. In the West, you know, and in, in Asia, people still want to be scientists and astronauts and all that we in the US all want to be creators, so you can judge us for it. But I say let's not judge us. Let's lean into it. Okay, it's a noble cause it's valuable to be a content creator really is Yeah, we shouldn't compare it and say this is more valuable than that.
Gregarious Narain 28:32
When AI wipes out all the those other jobs, what's going to be left is creativity, entertainment and education.
Dmitry Shapiro 28:37
Right. Mic drop. There you go. Okay. So So everybody wants to be a creator. We love social media, we spend more than half of our time on mobile, inside of social media and messaging, right? People say gaming is huge. It is it's 9%. But social media and messaging that's over 50%. That's the majority of our time, okay. So it's important, everybody wants to do it. And we've got all these tools, hundreds of companies and as creator, economy, all these big networks and all their programs, new stuff going on, every week, their reporters just dedicated right, to just tracking all of the new advancements in this thing. But if you're a creator, your head is spinning, you are already extremely overloaded with what you can push out. And so all these new tools, you can't do anything with them. Something's got to change. And so we believe that kind of what we see now all of this activity is happening in what we're sort of calling creator economy 1.0, lots of innovation, lots of interesting ideas, primarily built as individual companies. So there's a company called Cameo, right? That's a unicorn.
Dmitry Shapiro 29:46
You can think of if you sort of try to digest Cameo on say, well, is this a company? Is it a product, is it a feature, you could go down that path and say well, you could describe it as a feature and the feature is allow you know Your fans, supporters, audience, whatever you want to call them, allow people to make video requests of, you know, requests for custom videos and, and be able to fulfill them. That's cameo fulfill custom video requests. Only fans can be described as a feature, sell premium images and videos, right. And you could actually go through the entire creator economy. And if you look at it from that lens, all of those things actually just look like features in some very small features. But because they have to support an entire company, the company has to add all of these other things to it. Like if cameo was just to fill custom video requests, that would be easy. But now they've got like all these other features, because that by itself is hard to just do as a business.
Dmitry Shapiro 30:45
And so anyway, so we're sort of seeing this. And over the last four and a half years, we've built this platform, we came out from like this really windy path, we have no intention of being where we are now. Until we found ourselves there in marketing people saying oh my god, you guys have built this platform for creator economy 2.0, a refactoring of creator economy, it all centers around the link in bio, think of the link is in bio as being a launcher that you face outward, right? Like Steve Jobs in 2007 gave us a launcher in a homescreen and an app store. So each of us can choose what apps we customize our launcher list you can think of the link is in bio is being a launcher that's facing outward that I offered to the world is a menu of how you engage with me.
Dmitry Shapiro 31:34
And then app store where I choose what modules I add to that launcher to allow people to engage with me. One of those modules is a module that allows people to buy custom video request fulfillment from check. It's a feature. Another module allows you to buy custom, sorry, premium images or videos, only fans, that's a feature, a module that allows you to buy ebooks and fonts and whatever gumroad. That's a feature. And now there's a bunch of these. And in anyway, so this is Koji sort of looking at it and saying, the future is a launcher with an app store of apps that are created by third party developers. Today we are developers are the primary developers in our app store. But the next phase is to really scale our tiny little developer community into hopefully as large as those developers that are developing for Android, and iOS. Right, each one of these launchers iOS, and Android has over 4 million apps for us to choose from, to fe sauce. This one right now has just over 100 Mb, and we feature just a few dozen. Soon, there'll be many more. I hope that makes some sense.
Ken Yeung 32:55
It does. Yeah, please. I mean, it's absolutely fascinating. Dmitry is like I remember years ago, it was we were in Austin, and I was walking down the street, and I get this ping from you like, Hey, where are you at? I'm like, Oh, I'm just walking down the street going wherever, say, hey, join us, I think was at the at the Hyatt right at the hotel. And you and I and your co workers. We had this engaging conversation about your what you were doing previously. And it was all around this note, this caught the concept of the metaverse, right. And it's just like creating the word. And you've kind of like you said earlier, you've been in the social space, you've been in this crater space for for some time.
Ken Yeung 33:37
How have you identified these trends to eventually come up with Koji? Right and I want to dive then I want to dive a little bit deeper in terms of like the concept of the Lincoln bio as a principle, but how did you come up with like, what was what what have you identified to say like this is kind of where I think is a solution needs to be present.
Dmitry Shapiro 34:02
Yeah, look, it's it's been a really interesting path. Again, I we couldn't have charted it, but I can describe it to you. So I left Google in August of 2016. And Shawn Thielen, and I, my co founder, started building this platform called metaverse studio, which was you know, that time Pokemon GO was huge. And we said we can make it easy for anyone to build these augmented reality experiences, meaning without writing any code to arrange, we call them scenes and blocks, scenes are visual elements. blocks are logical elements. And you can arrange scenes in blocks on a storyboard, configure them and voila, using your phone or tablet you can project in a sense you can see using AR core, an AR kit, augmented reality experiences they can interact with you and you could program them. Anyway. We launched it raised $6 million for it. Got a bunch of teachers primarily using it. It's still in market on we did that
Dmitry Shapiro 35:00
For the first two years, and then I learned a lot about kind of the power of what we built. And then some things that we would do differently in the future and decided to leave that running, literally start a whole new code base and build a completely new platform. And that platform is code. So we started doing that almost three years ago now. Ah, the the sort of fundamental idea of Koji, when we started, was that when people tell you that they want to build something, how do they say it? They say it, it's like this for that. It's like Uber for dog walking. It's like Airbnb for people who have musical recording equipment sitting around doing nothing, right? If we call it subtractive development, people describe it. It's like this, but I would change it in this way. And that's what we found in metaverse is, even though we gave people this amazing no code environment that they could make things and even grade school children could do it. The time required to do it. What's the problem? Like wasn't the difficulty it was the time and the number one teacher people asked for was, can you just let me take that thing that other person built and change that around? Can I clone that and change it around. And instead of doing that, we decided to build a whole new platform, okay, and not pay any attention to AR or the need to have any apps in the app store. It was clear to us three years ago, that the web had come a huge way in what you can do on the web. And this belief that you need to build native apps for anything is is not logical anymore. And so we decided to lean completely into the web.
Dmitry Shapiro 36:40
There is nothing Koji in App Store. And as far as I'm concerned, and Shawn is concerned right now, there will never be anything Koji in the App Store. The web is powerful enough to bypass the app stores. We do need things to render the web here. But every app now does that Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, tip dot all have web views built in. Certainly we all have browsers, we don't need to install anything else anyway. And then as we sort of continue to go down the path we found ourselves into, we built this platform that allows anyone to very rapidly create these web applications, allows people to clone them and modify them and relaunch them on built an app store that allows people to monetize that developers to charge for people using it in app purchases, identity receipts, notifications, and then we realize, look, we've actually just built sort of a virtual operating system, it doesn't care about is it on iOS, or Android or desktop or whatever. As long as there's a browser to render it. It has similar features to like, iOS core services. But when we went to market and said, Look, what we've built this thing is amazing. You can create these interactive posts to share on social media anywhere because everyone supports links. People kind of struggled with it, they experimented with, they struggled with, they couldn't, we couldn't understand what they weren't understanding. Until for a couple of months, we saw Pete, the really successful people not use this as interactive posts. But add this to link tree beacons. You know, over what over four dozen more of these Lincoln bio things, we have no interest in Lincoln bio whatsoever, we're paying no attention to it. Until we were looking at saying well, the people were actually seeing these as like modules to add to these links and bile. And we decided to spend a week and build our own. And so that's what we did. So we built our link in bio offering that, you know, we propose as the most powerful link in bio offering and market. I'm happy to debate with anyone that wants to show me otherwise. We built that in a week, using the power of Koji. The rest of it took almost three years, two and three quarters.
Dmitry Shapiro 38:49
And so now we're in the link in bio game and people like How are you different link tree? And we're like, wow, this took a week. This took almost three years. Yeah, this is an operating system. This is a launcher. We have a launcher, we give ours away for free forever. We will never make money on the launcher. I think we just killed the business model.
Unknown Speaker 39:11
For the link in bio space, which today is a freemium model, you pay for small customizations. There'll be interesting to watch how that space develops. Yeah, we don't think you should charge for the launcher. launcher is free.
Gregarious Narain 39:24
There is a so linktree just raised there, they're raised a ton of money. Tom actually the category right, just yesterday, beacons announced they'd raise some more money, etc. And I hear you on the customization part, um, what is the promise that those folks are making? to their investors? Right, like or to the space I guess as a whole right and and how does that interact or sort of comply with sort of like where Koji is going, I guess is what makes sense. Yeah.
Dmitry Shapiro 39:50
Well, so what what's the promise that they're making, I assume would be the one that we believe in also
Dmitry Shapiro 40:00
There is a need for a canonical you for the hub. Dimitri shapiro.com points to Koji dot two slash, Dimitri. The link in bio is the modern, social mobile version of about me. Or geo cities are my space was that for people something you might put on your little business card? If we still carry that? What is that one place? If I find you on TikTok, how can I find the rest of you? It's really interesting now that we're again, we're in market, we see people sort of daisy chaining their their accounts with Tick tock, tick tock links to my Instagram, Instagram links to snapchats. Yeah, this is silly. This isn't the right way. You need some hubs. So in this space, by definition, there's only one meaning for each individual. It's really valuable real estate. Now,
Gregarious Narain 40:57
I was gonna say, I agree with that. Absolutely. But I actually think the part that you're ahead of potentially, my guess is that they've raised largely are fundamentally around the notion of commerce of some kind, right? So the page was table stakes, but I think the store is actually where it's at. Right? And can you like, tell us a little bit more about sort of the economics crater economics, like, not just like, I get it sort of at large, but also, of course, inside of the Koji ecosystem?
Dmitry Shapiro 41:24
Dmitry Shapiro 42:10
some of that metadata is, is this app available for use for free? Or do people have to pay to use it? And two, what are the fees that are taken off the top that are then split between the developer and Koji? The developer keeps two thirds of the fees, we get 1/3 of the fee. But the developer specifies what the entire pool is.
Gregarious Narain 42:36
And then a quick example, like, let's say you're, like $2, or maybe one of the ones you've made sure, you actually offer, you don't take any fees, right?
Dmitry Shapiro 42:45
Well, let's talk about that. So on apps that we publish are actually vary in fees. Our tip jar is zero fees. Why? Because first of all, people should keep their tips. And to that's the competitive nature of it, you can get zero fee tip jars in places. And so our approaches we should always be lower or equal to whatever is out there. Cameo charges 25%, for fulfillment of custom video requests, unless you're doing it on iOS, then they take another 30%.
Dmitry Shapiro 43:21
That but whatever 25% our version of Cameo in a sense, it's not called cameo, it's called shout out. We think it's even better than Cameo because it records your reaction when when you're watching. If you allow it to do it, you don't have to install anything, whatever we take 5% 25% 5% off our standard fee that we take if we don't sort of like we just throw one out is 15%.
Dmitry Shapiro 43:46
Because only fans is 20%. cameos. 25% 15%. Is that was the general lower credit card fee? Or is that all bundled in? Yes, exactly. Today, today, we don't charge additional for credit card fees.
Gregarious Narain 44:00
Now, there's another fascinating aspect to your, to your economics inside the system. I remember, I'd love for you to explain this to folks as well, because there was sort of a downstream payment due right. So so you have Koji has a creators in the software sense as well on its platform, right? So it to some degree, like you know, normally like we see crew, large creators going out and building software and then launching these standalone apps. And then the theory here, I think is that well, one, you could potentially find a creator of some software developer to develop an app that has horizontal appeal, because they say I'll invest my time, because I believe a lot of people could benefit from the software. And I will charge a small fee, like utilization fee almost right for leveraging my software, right. As opposed to sort of necessarily a value based thing, right? Like you sort of like every time I help you. But also if people start to clone and copy and reproduce, it yields more downstream revenue even to that person, right. Can you explain a little bit about that?
Dmitry Shapiro 44:58
Yes, except for
Gregarious Narain 44:59
Or is it gone?
Dmitry Shapiro 45:01
Gregarious Narain 45:03
Forget it. Forget it. Don't don't get old. You remember too many things?
Dmitry Shapiro 45:06
This is great. It was fascinating. I'm glad you remember it, we might bring it back. For now it was just blowing people's minds. So we've been like chopping things down, right to say, let's pause all of these new amazing ideas. Let's just win on refactoring creator economy. Let's start there, then we'll get into the other thing.
Gregarious Narain 45:28
The app store I think is very succinct. It's very clear, like the website, I think, does a great job of communicating it. Before I'll let Ken get one more question. And I'd love to be able to go to Twitter spaces a clubhouse or anyone out there watching in the video to also ask a question before we jump into sort of our free talk at the end of the show. But Ken, do you have one more question?
Ken Yeung 45:48
Yeah, I did. I have a bunch more questions. Just talking to Dimitri. Like this is I guess, this is the beauty of our show that like just there's never enough time to ask all the questions. Dmitry, you raise up an interesting point earlier on in terms of like, creating this hub for creators, right? And you look at what what Twilio and Burner did back years ago where their whole thing was centered around the phone number, your phone number was that core element, right? You look at whether it's Yahoo, or Gmail, that the email has become that unique identifier across the web for for a lot of people, right. And obviously, way back in the day was a lot of different variations of usernames, everything that you have done something different. And I'm not I'm not saying you're similar to Linktree or anything like that. But what you've what the core of what you've done with with Koji and your app store is very much that bio, is that social media profile is that that front page you met you're talking about? It's a modern day about me. And we all a lot of many of us had that that page, I still actually have it. I don't I don't use it for anything. It's just real estate. Yeah.
Ken Yeung 47:05
Well, I mean, it's just there, right? If you don't, there's nothing you can do with it. It's like, it's that it's that Yellow Page thing is like, Hey, this is this is my advertisement on the web. It's good for SEO. Can you elaborate more in terms of using that profile as that hub? Right. But that without bio, specifically as a hub, whether you're on Instagram, snap, Twitter, TikTok, whatever? And also, what are you seeing in terms of the trends for this app store? Because that's going to be a huge part moving forward, especially when you when you're not when you're platform agnostic, right? You're not dependent like, oh, okay, so I can't use Clubhouse because I don't have iOS device. So but then I can't use Twitter spaces. Because I have, I don't have this. And this is like, you're so dependent on these platforms, everything. You look at what Apple's fight with Epic Games and fortnight, you're like, Look, just cut through all the BS, and we're just giving you the tools regardless of whatever you want to do. It's very similar to what Greg's doing was Zealous, right. It's like, you're just, you're available anywhere, you're multi-platform. You're not, you're not dependent, you play well with everyone, but you're just not dependent on them. Can you walk us through like? And also, last part, it's like a three part thesis question here. Like, how do you?
Ken Yeung 48:31
What are you looking for, for apps like to have developers? And also creators get involved in this? Like, how do they participate?
Unknown Speaker 48:39
Dmitry Shapiro 48:41
Okay, um, as you said, we all still have our About.Me pages, perhaps our WordPress blogs, or our tumblers or their you know, like, all these things we've done, but they're abandoned. Why did we abandon them, because we did our best to add some content and change them, you know, UX, but at the end, the day, there was nothing else to do.
Dmitry Shapiro 52:12
You know, let's do it.
Gregarious Narain 52:14
But there's certainly a lot of lightweight value to be created. Right? And offered without having to start saying necessarily like a full company.
Dmitry Shapiro 52:22
totally.radically simpler. Our cameo alternative. Let's call it that. Shout outs, and it was built by one developer in one week.
Dmitry Shapiro 52:35
Okay, so when you can go compete with unicorns with one developer in one week? What if you had a 20 developers? What if you had 1000 developers, a million developers
Gregarious Narain 52:47
Dmitry Shapiro 52:48
When you don't have to build these things as companies when you never have to write authentication again, or push notifications or payments or receipts? When you have to worry about any of that stuff? You're just writing new, you know, interactions UX and, and stuff. It's radically simpler. The cost to sort of value equation is super fascinating in this new environment hasn't existed before.
Gregarious Narain 53:14
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.
Ken Yeung 53:15
And can you give us some details in terms of like, how many apps you have? And like the traction you're seeing?
Dmitry Shapiro 53:22
Sure, yeah. So in in beta, we had just over 70,000 creators, unique creators that created just over 400,000 of these mini apps, and shared them on social media and experimented with them. Since we launched our Link in bio six weeks ago. Now, we have just over 10,000, unique creators there.
Dmitry Shapiro 54:11
You guys saw it that took a long time to get here. Yeah, by the way, and, you know, investors that took big risks.
Gregarious Narain 54:21
Gregarious Narain 54:22
Let's talk about that in the after show, actually, because yeah, I think it's a very interesting topic here. But before we close up the sort of formal part of the show anyone out in the Twitter universe or in the Clubhouse universe that has a question, by all means, raise your hand, we'd love to bring you on stage. And have you ask it or speak to Dmitry. And by the way, if you are watching right now
Gregarious Narain 54:51
here we go. Wait, Ken, why is your cousin giving us an angry emoji?
Ken Yeung 54:56
Oh, no, those are those are my parents.
Gregarious Narain 55:06
Gregarious Narain 55:11
yeah, being a creator is a thankless job.
Gregarious Narain 55:16
Andre, please from clubhouse you are up? Do you have a question? Or comment? Yeah, absolutely.
Andre Julius 55:22
Um, thanks so much for having me up again. I guess my one question would be, you know, can it be used to, like build or interact with a larger community? I recently came across I believe it's Luma, Lu.ma. And just wondering how it would compare to something like that. So you know, to where using it as a way to to interact with your larger community.
Dmitry Shapiro 55:58
I'm sorry, is that a question about Koji versus Luma? I unfortunately, don't know what that is.
Gregarious Narain 56:06
Lu.ma. Luma. Those guys did. They were the zoom guys. Originally, I forgot they allow you to create like paid zoom events.
Ken Yeung 56:16
Yeah, you don't do like events, newsletters and community and, like, analytics type of type of stuff.
Unknown Speaker 56:24
Dmitry Shapiro 56:25
yeah. So so so in our world, these types of things are, again, these mini apps that you can add to any link and buy, meaning people add Koji mini apps to link trees and beacons and every other link and buy. That's how we even learned about the spaces just by watching our analytics and saying, What is this thing referring traffic? Oh, it's another link and buy? What's another launcher? So we've got these mini apps that people create? We I don't, I don't know exactly what that is, I need to spend a bit more time looking at it. But there are people that are creating mini apps that that allow you to you know, gate, either content or access. So there's a coaching called lock photo video, which is like only fans, you can sell premium images or videos on demand, right? There's one called link locker. Horrible name, I think. Another derivative, I think launching next week, that is called
Gregarious Narain 57:23
Dmitry Shapiro 57:24
generally called access my, what is it called? Join my video chat, that's a paid join my video chat. And so you can lock up any zoom conference or hangout or video chat, basically a velvet rope, and people pay to get access to it. So there's a bunch of these codes. And by the way, there's new coaches that are showing up every week, we've got over two dozen that are just waiting for sort of Product Marketing packaging that are queued up. For us to review, we need to get better at being able to process them through. So we've got to
Gregarious Narain 57:56
explain what that process like what happens if someone wants to make an app oncogene what happens?
Dmitry Shapiro 58:02
Dmitry Shapiro 59:17
Creator economy companies that we already know, are minifying their offerings and making them as s Koji mini apps.
Gregarious Narain 59:27
Dmitry Shapiro 59:28
to give them access to their services directly on people's Links in bio
Gregarious Narain 59:33
Have you seen any jobs offered on Upwork or anything yet. Developer jobs?
Dmitry Shapiro 59:40
I haven't I have not but but though we've probably look around with that
Gregarious Narain 59:43
You have to put that job description template up as well. I think then,
Ken Yeung 59:46
Check it out on like, Fiverr or something, yeah, specialize in it, but love it. Um, are there are there things that you, it's this is something that every app store has to contend with, right, and are there things that are specific apps or types of apps that you would not allow in your marketplace?
Dmitry Shapiro 1:00:08
Dmitry Shapiro 1:00:30
So those kinds of things. But look, at the end of the day, this is a UGC platform, by the way, people can publish these things, we control our app store, what gets featured what you can find, versus what exists as a permalink, that can be used, these to us are two separate things, right. And again, as we mature, better, and we understand better, like how we need to sort of deal with these things. There'll be sort of more, you know, rigorous in place. But today, we look for, you know, malicious things, and filter those. But again, we really haven't had that problem yet. Knock on wood, because we're skeleton crew. So by the way, we're hiring. We need to hire across the board to be able to start to do these things.
Gregarious Narain 1:01:16
That's excellent. Well, Andre, I hope that was helpful. One last chance for anyone on Twitter spaces. If you have a question or a comment that you'd like to ask of Dimitri, or any of us, before we just wrap up this part, but we are going to stick around to have a, you know, a more informal chat, and what's in your hands up. So here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to bring this back in.
Gregarious Narain 1:01:38
Right. So thank you, Dmitry. We're going to wrap up this portion, but doesn't mean you have to go. But just in case you're out there listening next week. Well, actually, our calendars already booked through June 30. So the next one, what is that 1, 2, 3, 5 episodes are already booked. We got Neil Robertson from influence dot co coming up next week. Matt Zuvella from FamePick on the ninth. Alex, Riesenkampff from getvokl.
Gregarious Narain 1:02:03
And then we've got Fernando Parnaz, from Super Fans. And we have Mike Donoghue, from Subtexts. And if you'd like to be a guest, head over to createdeconomy.com. We have a forum there for you to put your name in the hat, we'd love to have you. We are looking for more creators, more diversity, we love all the amazing people who volunteered to speak but we know that the space looks so there's so many different kinds of people and voices out there, we want to hear from more of them. So by all means, please don't be shy. Reach out to us, and come on through. And with that, we're going to end just this formal piece of the show. But then check out this...
Gregarious Narain 1:02:44
So I'm going to what I'm going to do is I'm going to stop recording in just one sec. But thank you for being here with us this week in case you do have to go. This has been The Created Economy where we take a deep dive and look at what's happening in the creator space and the economics of it with myself, Greg Narain, and my co host and friend Ken Yeung, and thank you so much Dmitry for being here with us.
Gregarious Narain 1:03:09
This part is a little more open to conversation and discussion. So what what else? Um, you know, do you think we didn't cover Dmitry that you really excited about you you hope we we did get a chance to talk about?
Dmitry Shapiro 1:03:24
Um, look, I think we are, we're entering the sort of inflection point I think of innovation. We're all connected to each other. Now, you know, back in the day, we had an issue with social graphs. And so we needed to build social graphs, there was a bunch of noise and social graphs, you know, we were still trying to get our algorithms right, on on what's important, what's not important, like how to route things to people, right? Some people didn't know how to use social media yet. So culturally, and sort of etiquette was question mark, now everyone is getting really good at social media. And again, now, it's clear that this can be a really valuable thing, like meaning you can make money with it, if that's what you want to do, or you can change the world with, right, this is a massively powerful thing we're sitting in, you know, sort of controlling. But again, we sort of got here and now we look around and we say, there are some really good ideas here. We should be able to have subscription layers, we should be able to have, you know, gating of content or real time events or we should be able to have crowdsourcing of content from our fans. You know, there's like countless things that we now have seen glimpses of, but they are all because they're generation one things aren't all that usable.
Ken Yeung 1:04:54
But it's still very much like it's the
Ken Yeung 1:04:57
At which point in time do we start to see things kind of just start stop becoming like the Wild West? And I mean, it's like, and where do we start to see a little bit of an order in terms of like, what do what do people really want from, you know, to promote themselves? Right?
Dmitry Shapiro 1:05:18
Yeah, look, I think that it's becoming certainly becoming clear to what's called the early adopters of social media, people are mature to some point where they've sort of gotten to a level and say, Okay, this is no longer sustainable, I need to move up the stack, they have realized that they need to be the network, that the biggest value is in their own network, having the phone numbers and email addresses and push notifications to their fans where no ad pocalypse no change of algorithm, all of a sudden, can disrupt their business, you can't lean in and quit your day job and lean into becoming a creator. When randomly meaning seemingly randomly, not in your control. Some algorithm change can radically impact your business, you can't build on grounded that's unstable, the only way to have stability there is to own your own network. What does that mean? Well, the simplest version of that we think, is this single page, website, Link in bio thing.
Dmitry Shapiro 1:07:03
You know, but maybe I can answer one other thing. But by going back in time, for a moment, I started pitching VCs in a middle of January 2005. YouTube launched in April of 2005, four months before, on the idea of Vimeo, I was gonna make it easy for anyone to broadcast video on the internet, I had already raised $34 million for a private, terrible idea. Horrible. I pitched less than less than two dozen more than a dozen. So let's say it dozen and a half VCs, mostly, you know, your professional big funds, you know, and, and they looked at me like I was crazy. And they're like, I don't get it. Like who? Who would want to make videos and publish them to the internet? Why would they do it?
Dmitry Shapiro 1:07:50
And if they did it, who would ever watch that? Like who would watch an amateur, like it costs millions of dollars to make something good. You can't just point the camcorder at something and make it good. And then finally, they said, even if you can do all of that, like, there's no money brands can't just go advertise on user generated content. They're concerned about their brand. They can't talk. They call the garbage content at the time not even user check on this garbage content. Okay, today, we live in a radically different world. Yeah. And because of that, again, they're the modern day creators who are smart, have realized that they need them network, the you network, that's the most important network. And then everything else is just feeders to it.
Gregarious Narain 1:08:38
So question, we previously looked at. And by the way, if you want to come up and join the conversation, you're welcome. Just raise your hand. We're happy to have you join us in the chat.
Gregarious Narain 1:08:47
We showed this chart before that The Information posted, I'm curious where the, two questions actually here, I guess, one, in this new world that you're describing? What do you think the re, sort of shuffling of this sort of chart looks like? You know, like, as we normalize across the space, and this was a question, actually, I got asked by an investor, which I was curious, I'm curious what your thoughts are, how you might respond to it were, you know, do is this sort of like destined for a massive roll up sort of situation, right, like so. So is there just gonna be one company that does all of this right. And I gave a very lengthy answer, but I'm curious, you know, what your thoughts are and happy to share mine.
Dmitry Shapiro 1:09:31
Um, I believe this, one gets expanded in different types of, you know, bars that you will have here, new ways that people are generating income from these things, too. I believe this thing gets a lot sort of, fatter in the mid tail of sort of the long tail of creators. Today, brand deals come to the cream of the crop of creators. Why?
Dmitry Shapiro 1:10:00
Because it takes time to structure a brand deal. And if you're a brand, you need to go talk to people that have the influence and give you the reach you need. You can't talk to all these micro influencers well, and be able to get their time. There isn't that a good way of sort of buying even real estate on these things? You know, back before there was, you know, Google AdWords, right. And before AdSense, if you wanted to place banner ads on somebody's website, your biz dev guy contacted their biz dev person, right? And then you, you structure a deal, and you sent them a check, or wire them some money, and they slotted you in and Google said, "No, this is stupid, let's make it a self serve model. So anyone can just buy, you know, in a sense real estate on people's websites." We need that for the creator economy. How can all these nano influencers get their tiny share of brand dollars? We're working on that. We just launched the thing called Billboards, which is the beginning of that, where you can buy, you know, allow people to buy real estate on your, on your link in bio. So brand, I think advertising changes in that way. Um, and then again, for most, for most creators, the money doesn't all have to come from brands? I think Kevin Kelley is completely right, in the sort of 1,000 true fans, right? And we're seeing that now, there are people there may not yet millions, or even hundreds of 1,000s of dollars, but there are people who are making 1,000s of dollars a week from on Koji, from their fans supporting them completely voluntarily. There are people getting $500 tips.
Dmitry Shapiro 1:11:43
Ken Yeung 1:11:46
Way, oh, they're getting $500 tips.
Dmitry Shapiro 1:11:49
Yep. I don't want to disclose, you know, obviously, it's a bunch of privacy stuff. So I'm not gonna tell you who they are. But I can give you generic stuff, podcasters, coaches, celebrities, when...maybe I can put it to you in this way.
Dmitry Shapiro 1:12:08
If you're a creator, and you are obviously passionate about something, you're creating content about something, ah, let's presume that there are some people out in the world that your content connects with. And some people that it really impacts in some people that it impacts so deeply, where it sort of meaningfully changes the trajectory of their life, where all of a sudden, they get an idea from listening to you or they get inspired, or whatever it is. And now all of a sudden, it's because of that pivotal moment that happened when they were watching your content, that their life changed. And when they have an inability, because they've never met you to be able to express that to you. They feel frustrated, when you put a little thing on your profile that says, hey, if you want to say something, you can say it. And if you want to leave me some money, you can do that. You'd be surprised. I mean, people obviously are up, there are people you've touched that want to say thank you.
Dmitry Shapiro 1:13:49
Nothing says it, like writing you a little note and giving you 500 bucks that you feel more deeply than somebody just commenting and putting 100 exclamation points afterwards.
Gregarious Narain 1:14:06
Well, I thought we had someone. Sorry, what are the interesting parts of the audio and video based streaming is that sometimes people just start talking randomly. And I'm with you. By the way, if you do want to join the conversation, feel free. Just raise your hand happy to have you. Whoa, Joselin, I see you there my friend, feel free to unmute join in and chime in wherever you feel comfortable or open to it. So Dmitry, I like this point that you're making, that it can change sort of life, but I guess like, we all know that we can have impact on individuals. How do you see sort of the career of being a creator sort of like standing up right, like there's obviously a lot of aspiration to become a creator, but I think a lot of those people maybe have the false vision, a false dream of those, those those seven figure deals that we sort of get glorified, much like in the startup world.
Gregarious Narain 1:15:00
Like, everyone wants to be a frickin founder, right? Like, here's the reality, most founders, like they have a horrible life and they wouldn't recommend it to most people. Right? I imagine that's how a lot of top creators also probably feel, right? They feel like constantly, like they're at work, they can ever turn off, they can ever hide from anybody, etc. Right? It takes a long time to get to those kinds of deals, and to that kind of revenue, so most people are going to have a much more, you know, I think what was that I seen one stat, that, you know, what, the average creator most of them can't even make minimum wage still today, right now, I believe that's changing fundamental right, like, and a lot of things like Koji and, and other forces and factors out there are helping move it along. But what's your thought, you know, sort of in the evolution, how long is this, like, actually a career that people, you know, sort of can really can really look to it for?
Dmitry Shapiro 1:15:48
I think this is arguably, I feel like this is sort of like the the most long-term career you can have. Right? Meaning, if you have something to say, if you have something to add creatively, to the world, and you're creating content, then there are some people, sometimes it's giant numbers of people that love it, and a bunch of big sponsors show up and give you seven figure checks, that can happen. And if that's what you love to do make that kind of content, that's amazing. If you're making that content, just to make money, you're gonna burn out, and you're not going to be able to do that long term. But if you're making content that you love, that you care about talking to people that you connect with that love you, we will never run out of a need for human interaction and creativity. And you know, content storytelling, here arguably is the most ancient thing of, you know, that we do that's valuable, right.
Dmitry Shapiro 1:16:56
And so I think, today, again, we have this, like, tiny percentage makes a lot of money, and everybody else makes almost no money. And so I'm really excited about creating the middle class, you know, of creators that is coming. Now. It's happening already, like I said, they're there. These people do not have sponsors. Right. Nobody's sponsoring them, but they're making 1,000s of dollars a week from fans. But it was, this was unimaginable, right?
Gregarious Narain 1:17:32
We were old enough to remember like, it was like, get enough hours. So you can get a brand deal. Like that was always it. Right?
Dmitry Shapiro 1:17:38
Gregarious Narain 1:17:39
And and now, certainly, I think there are creators being you know, formed right now that are entering space, that have no aspiration of working with brands.
Dmitry Shapiro 1:17:49
And I say they shouldn't.
Gregarious Narain 1:17:51
Dmitry Shapiro 1:17:52
Because you see when you when you have to fulfill somebody else's desire. Now, if it's completely aligned with yours, and you know, periodically, I'm like, on some cloud, right...
Gregarious Narain 1:18:04
It gives you the power to choose.
Dmitry Shapiro 1:18:05
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Periodically, I'm like on a Clubhouse or wherever somebody asks, like, what, how do I get a brand deal? And my answer is always, you get a brand deal by figuring out what brand you really love. And by starting to create content about them, when you do that, that will come off as authentic, that brand is going to notice, you will email them and say, "Hey, watch me, I'm a big fan." And if you're creating great, great content, they're gonna say, "Yes, we want more of it, here's a bunch of money." That's how you get a brand deal. Now, is it gonna be seven figures? Not if you have 50,000, you know, subscribers, but that's okay. That's not the point. Right? Not everybody can make seven figures, not everybody needs to. Okay, so I think that this middle class thing that is happening right now we're seeing it, we're in this inflection point Renaissance, that is going to change things massively, because it will really give people the ability to lean in, invest, hone their skills. with with with the ability to invest time, and financial resources into content. That's what makes the content even better. Now's the time.
Ken Yeung 1:19:15
So Dmitry, I want to talk about this, Like for for creators that are just getting started. Like for example like I'm like, "Alright, you know what, I'm going to go full on and I'm going to quit my job and do this." And if anyone's listening I'm not quitting my job. So relax, let's let's cause it you know, whatever. But like I want to go and create via be a vlogger full time writer I want to do all this I want to get myself started on Koji, I want to update my you know, take advantage of my my bio and monetize that thing. What advice would you give to creators on things to choose...you know, because we look at back in the day when, when you had my space, and everyone went all super crazy with their styling and adding all these little widgets and everything like that, same thing on Facebook, hey, I'm added this widget here. And WordPress, you know, I have all these other things and he realized at the end of day like, okay, maybe I didn't need this particular SEO thing or this because it but it sounded like it'd be cool to feature on there, like how do you pick the right apps, or the right features that you need to do in order to monetize or to optimize? Not really monetize, but optimize your game? And then also this the the last question I want to ask is, you talked about this creator economy 1.0. And we've, we've been around long enough that we know web 1.0. At which point do we get to 2.0? And what would that look like?
Gregarious Narain 1:20:39
And by the way, you do have one more question from the audience from Clubhouse. So after that, then we'll we'll get to that. And then that'll be our last question.
Unknown Speaker 1:20:46
Dmitry Shapiro 1:20:48
So how do you get to 2.0? Well, obviously, these are all sort of arbitrary lines that we've drawn as creating these constructs. What we're calling 2.0, and creator economies, instead of sort of having all of these companies provide tiny subsets of features, and then try to sort of build entire companies around them and sort of like pulling each other and creating all this fragmentation. Once you start consolidating that and saying, No, there's just things that I add to whatever my launch or to my link in bio. And, and, and that's that, that feels like this sort of refactor the next phase consolidation, refactor of creator economy. So that's what we're calling creator economy 2.0.
Dmitry Shapiro 1:21:31
The advice I would give people that are starting to create content or or, you know, become creators is do it, don't wait, do it. And experiment, we have this really interesting thing, we just implemented mixpanel a month ago. In fact, I think today is a month. And it's been fascinating watching all of your behaviors of people now that we can track them individually going through and doing it. And we're seeing these really interesting patterns, where there's some such subset of people that, you know, create a nice link and bio, publish it, and sort of leave it there. And then sort of don't touch it. There's another subset of people that do it, you know, that experiment, and do it. And then there's another subset of people meaningful, okay, but 20% in our case, they do it often. They do it sometimes many times a day, go back and experiment, tune, sometimes they just change what the string says, in their tip jar, it's not called the tip jar says, if you'd like to say something, and then two hours later, they'll change it, and say, if I've done something that you like, please express yourself. And they're measuring some because each one of these things has its own built-in analytics. And then if you want, you can actually add any third party analytics to each of these, you start to get into this amazing ability as a creator, to do the things that like big networks used to only be able to do was to basically do A/B testing, multivariate testing, and and really tune this up. And so it depends on if you like doing that kind of stuff, or how much you care about whether you do it, and you periodically see tweets were like, Oh, this is reminding me of what I used to do with MySpace, spending hours, tweaking my profile, sort of obsessing about what I do with it. It's a form of self expression. I recently said to a friend, you know, the link in bio is a new art form. It is, it's a new art form. It's amazing. Can we have internal tools to give us dashboards, to see all of these profiles at scale, kind of like Pinterest. And it's amazing to go through and watch what people do with the same module and how it looks radically different than behaves radically different, just depending on what you named it? Or where you put it, what your profile is, like.
Dmitry Shapiro 1:23:59
Greg, I think I can't hear you.
Gregarious Narain 1:24:03
I was gonna say, I was actually curious. Are you already testing sort of, like, dip variants on the link in bio, kind of like, if it's a like, if I'm coming from Instagram, like render it this way? Is that Is that a thing you think you might do?
Dmitry Shapiro 1:24:17
Gregarious Narain 1:24:19
Interesting. Yeah. I mean, it makes perfect sense, right? There's a unique optimizations that you can do, like platform by platform has their own sort of psychology as well. Right? It's a three dimensional cube for testing.
Dmitry Shapiro 1:24:34
By the way, I always find it so frustrating talking to you. Here's what I mean by that. Because every time you're asking me the right questions of like, "Hey, we should do it." I'm like, "Yes, we should do it. I need more people like you saying, we should go do it." But you're an entrepreneur. I'm an entrepreneur, and this is why our ships are always sailing.
Gregarious Narain 1:24:57
And this is why we stay in touch and keep chatting. Yeah.
Gregarious Narain 1:25:00
Yeah, but yeah, look, there's so much stuff you can do with that. Yeah, I'm very amazing. Well, I, we are at our, our 30 minute mark, thank you all for joining us today for our inaugural ish episode of Created after dark. Oh, look at that it works in this way we do it that way.
Gregarious Narain 1:25:21
But this has been a lot of fun, Dmitry. And we really truly appreciate your time with you being here. I would I you know, what I really liked about Koji, ultimately, is your point of view on the space is, is completely different than anyone else's, like I have all the players I know in space, I do not know anyone who sort of has this quite this innate understanding, sort of, of the ecosystem. And so I truly value it, and appreciate it, because I think it is, it is a very nerdy version of the universe. But it makes sense, right? Like, like it nerdy in a good way, right? Because people don't necessarily appreciate how nerdy creators are also, right. Like, it's one of the natural and awesome things about being creators actually getting to geek out and go very deep into things and, what Koji is doing, as I think is showing them new ways and opportunities to apply their craft. And, and, and not just to monetize, I think like, you know, we spent a lot of time in there. Now, obviously, the nature of the show is about that. But not all Kojis are for money. So I just want to make that clear. They are also for about interactivity, and for engagement and for driving insight, and for deepening the relationships that you have with your fans. So there's all of these other purposes to Kojis. And I think I wanted to make sure that before we left, we had a chance to make sure that was clear. Monetization is certainly very important to creators, especially as we forge forward towards a creator middle class. But that is not the only reason and and I think ultimately, what creators know better than anyone else, is that building strong relationships and communities is actually what leads to, you know, revenue and commerce. Right. You know, so not the other way around. Right. And so that, that's what Koji was doing first.
Gregarious Narain 1:27:15
And that's what it will continue to do. I'm sure.
Dmitry Shapiro 1:27:18
yeah, thanks so much for having me. Thank you. Thank you.
Gregarious Narain 1:27:20
Yeah, really appreciate it. It's been a it's been a wonderful opportunity. And we hope you'll tune back in and at least join in and throw tomatoes at Ken and I.
Dmitry Shapiro 1:27:31
Absolutely, guys, I I love the show. I'm thrilled that I got to be part of it.
Gregarious Narain 1:27:37
You know, yeah, you know, we our first guest was awesome. And it was completely accidental. And so like, I just made a few quick pings afterwards. And you were the first person that I think because I thought it would be such an interesting way for people to think about this space.
Gregarious Narain 1:27:52
So with that, thank you so much Dmitry. We'll see you soon.
Ken Yeung 1:27:55
Dmitry Shapiro 1:27:56
Take care. See you guys.
Gregarious Narain 1:27:58
All right, Ken. So let's just wrap this up real quick. Thank you, everybody. This has been amazing. What a wonderful conversation. Dmitry is truly, extremely smart. And the whole team at Koji, as well.
Gregarious Narain 1:28:11
Ken, any closing thoughts before we wrap up?
Ken Yeung 1:28:13
I think episode two in the bag. I think it's it's been really great. I tweeted this out at the after we got done talking to Bart last episode is like my mind was just racing, talking about what's going on in the creator space and social tipping and everything like that. And just talking to Dmitry, it's like, okay, he's not looking at it as just like a Lincoln bio type of thing as a as like, Oh, this is the low hanging fruit, well, we'll monetize it. And, you know, we'll get acquired, and we'll walk off and start something else. It's not one of those, oh, launch a startup sell, move on to next thing, right. It's not a flipping flip technology type of thing. He's actually building something that's really fascinating in terms of this app store, the data behind it to really empower to creators to optimize their experience, right. It's like we're not talking about monetization, as you mentioned, it's more about optimization, right? And in various ways of optimization, you know, from from social, to financial, to whatever. And I think his background from my space to Google to talking about the metaverse, it will play a real big part in in shaping the future of this and his his philosophy behind the creator economy 1.0 is worth digging into and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens to get us to 2.0 so you know, it only goes goes upward from here and with next week. I'm you know, I can't wait.
Gregarious Narain 1:29:56
Yeah, so next week, just in case you missed it. We will have Neil Robertson, he's a CEO of Influence.Co. It's an amazing company has been around for quite some time. One of the early pioneers in sort of managing and tracking sort of the influencers themselves and sort of interesting to get Neil's take on the same chart of sort of revenue, and how this plays out. So just to wrap up, by the way, thank you so much for joining us. And thank you for playing along in our experiment of trying to be on Twitter Spaces, Clubhouse, and of course, you know, Twitch, Facebook, and YouTube and LinkedIn all at the same time. In case you want to find out about future episodes, head over to created.show. That is our official Show page. It has a list of all the upcoming episodes.
Gregarious Narain 1:30:39
You can also learn more about all of our long form content, we'll have the show notes up hopefully in an hour or two once we get this all processed up. But over at createdeconomy.com we do some long form content there as well. So we encourage you to check that out. And if you don't follow us already on Twitter, certainly. Oh, yeah. Don't forget the Flipboard, which has all of our all of our links. Yeah. So Ken and I, I will tell you, honestly, like I said, the hardest part is that there's so much news in this space every week, that cutting it down to just a few to fit into sort of the first 10 minutes of the show is actually proving to be quite challenging.
Ken Yeung 1:31:16
Well, Greg, I want to tell you something like as we're talking, and to your point, literally two big pieces of news just hit.
Gregarious Narain 1:31:25
I saw at least for like an hour before we got here that "oh, I want to put that in."
Ken Yeung 1:31:29
But no, I mean, you're talking about that like Twitter just pretty..
Gregarious Narain 1:31:33
Don't say it, don't say it.
Ken Yeung 1:31:34
Well, you can find the articles on on our Flipboard magazine that about that, that you can go from there.
Gregarious Narain 1:31:41
That's a good idea. Good idea. So thank you, everybody. Thank you for me. Ken?
Ken Yeung 1:31:47
now. Oh, that'd
Ken Yeung 1:31:47
God. I mean, this is this has been great. Thanks, everyone for for tuning in for submitting questions. And you know, thank you, Dmitry, for an amazing, amazing conversation.
Gregarious Narain 1:31:59
Yeah, so definitely check out Koji and we will see you all next week. Bye. Bye.
Gregarious Narain 1:32:03
All right, right.