Business

#42: Get Paid to Surf the Web with Swish Goswami

Hosted by Josh Gonsalves
11.8.2021
1 HR 23 MIN
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Episode Description

Swish has built a multi-hyphenate career at just the age of 24. He's built multiple successful ventures including Trufan and Surf, advises and invests in startups, and is a professional speaker and podcaster.

Swish talks in-depth about his new product, Surf and how it will change the way we surf the web.

He's done so much in such a short amount of time, so Josh asked him to share his philosophies on entrepreneurship, personal branding, building a network, and and how to help people get noticed and engage in our fast-moving economy.

About Swish Goswami

Swish is the CEO of Trufan, a social intelligence platform that helps brands of all sizes make smarter marketing decisions, which is used by big organizations like Sony Music, Netflix, the NBA, the NFL and a ton more.

He also recently launched Surf, a browser extension that allows you to passively earn rewards for simply browsing the web.

Swish hosted a podcast called The Tech Haus, he's a professional public speaker, giving talks all around the world, and has given three TEDx talks.

Swish secured a publishing deal with Kogan Page and a sneaker deal with K-Swiss, and is an advisor/investor in popular social companies like Dunk Media, FaZe Clan and 6ixBuzzTV.

In total, Goswami has started six high-impact ventures in four industries, and has been recognized for curating the world’s first youth social capital fund; an online incubator for entrepreneurs in rural areas; and, a mobile app that connects households, stores, and restaurants with leftover and excess food, with people in need of affordable and accessible food options.

Connect with Swish & Trufan

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Stalk Josh on the Internet:

  • 03:22 — Conversation begins
  • 03:47 —  Link to Tech Haus podcast episode with Josh and Swish
  • 04:39 — Remote work culture at Trufan
  • 04:22 — Trufan started three years ago out of the office in Vancouver. So we were working out at the hoot suite office because Ryan Holmes, uh, the CEO of Hootsuite at the time now the chairman was a visor and in truth and an early advisor
  • 05:56 — ****Josh used to work at the DMZ, and his company Contraverse used to work out of the DMZ office in Toronto.
  • 06:06 — Having a VC as a partner rather than just a funder
  • 08:40 — Swish: "the biggest thing about building a company as a luxury, in my opinion, is you get to determine the people you surround yourself with."
  • 10:01 — Swish: "you shouldn't be in a startup in my opinion, I don't think you should be in it for thinking about like a monetary benefit in two to three years."
  • 10:24 — Swish: " if you're truly building a company, you need to be there because you're excited about the problem you're solving. You're excited about the solution you built and you're excited about the team you built. I mean, if you're not excited about any one of those three things, you're probably not doing it right. In my opinion. "
  • 10:50 — What is Trufan?
  • 12:01 Surf browser extension
  • 13:15 — Josh: "giveaways is actually brilliant. Cause I've done that with my apparel company along boy. And it was like the best way to generate leads."
  • 13:59 — Swish: "we've had over a million people share their data for the chance to win a prize through our platform. Out of those about 250,000 have opted into our email newsletter as well."
  • 15:00 — which industries and giveaways, have you seen work best with giveaways?
  • 17:22 — Why Trufan acquired Playrr
  • 18:06 — Swish: "The issue of GDPR and CCPA, the regulation changing the way advertisers advertise. You have apple with their recent iOS update, taking out mobile ad tracking pretty much entirely like, you know, there's only been about 5% of users that have accepted tracking altogether on their mobile phones. So the question in my head became, how do you get that data effectively?"
  • 19:46 — Swish: "We are really excited about this idea that people are willing to share their data for the chance to win a prize. And now, obviously my thought is what if it was a guaranteed price? What if you didn't even have a chance just like you get points for sharing your data."
  • 20:42Surf will be the world's first rewards app that actually just rewards you for passive browsing.
  • 20:48 — There are browsers like Brave that get you compensated for watching ads and you get compensated through crypto.
  • 21:48 — How Surf works
  • 23:45 — Trackers and Cookies from Facebook and Google
  • 25:46 — Taking an ethical approach to data tracking online
  • 25:54 — Swish spent two years at the university of Toronto before dropping out and that's when I moved to New York for a year, I worked at a company called Dunk where he built this media network of 21 accounts on Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter with 11 million followers.
  • 27:52 — Swish's Entrepreneurial awakening
  • 30:09 — Swish's advice for young entrepreneurs
  • 32:21 — Swish: "the number one way I grew my network with, by interviewing people, whether it's through a podcast or an interview series, I realized that like 99% of people love talking about themselves."
  • 32:38 — Why hosting a podcast is the best networking tool.
  • 34:19 — What else can people do to grow their network, without creating a podcast?
  • 36:12 — Tools that Swish uses to manage his network
  • 38:36 — Swish's productivity system
  • 40:32 — Swish became a Superhuman user a few months ago and it's saved him so much time when getting back to email
  • 41:17 what does Swish's like ideal Workday look like? How do you schedule your days?
  • 42:35 Swish travels for Trufan, and also for speaking gigs. He speaks under a bureau called Speakers Spotlight
  • 43:15 — Swish's second career in public speaking
  • 43:27 — How Swish's speaking career come about and how he balances that with what he's doing at trufan
  • 44:48 — Swish first signed with the National Speakers Bureau. He was with them for about a year and then switched over to Speaker Spotlight and been with them ever since.
  • 46:26 — How do you become part of a bureau, like the Speaker Spotlight? What does that process look like?
  • 48:29 — Swish on speaking: "you should really treat it as an art. You should really treat it as like a something you have to work at. I find that a lot of entrepreneurs just assume because they're an entrepreneur, they can be a speaker and that's not the case."
  • 49:29 — How to practice the art of public speaking
  • 52:12 — How does Swish figure out what he's going to talk about
  • 53:23 — How to grow and network and your personal brand on LinkedIn while staying authentic to yourself.
  • 56:12 — why did Swish choose LinkedIn to go call in
  • 57:52 — How Swish built his initial network on LinkedIn
  • 59:34Episode 40 with Mitch Gonsalves (Josh's brother) who also talks about LinkedIn
  • 01:03:19 — Swish gets his best ideas in the shower / how he captures his shower thoughts.
  • 01:03:53 — Gaming for mental health / what games are Swish playing?
  • 01:04:13 — Swish just switched over to Splitgate, "Halo Meets Portal", a free to play first-person shooter
  • 01:05:31 — Gaming as it relates to business and life
  • 01:06:25 — Swish: "I see it exactly like you do. It's like you're playing a video game, candidly. Where there's, you know, objectives to do. There is benefits for those objectives. There is obstacles in front of you. There is obviously the benefit of being able to ally with other people. So it's yeah, you nailed it. It's essentially, an MMO RPG obviously without the violence, hopefully, but yeah."
  • 01:07:40 — How would Swish teach people that entrepreneurial awakening moment of, you can go on your own path, you can do your own thing and you can start playing a game the way you want to play it, start building your own rules.
  • 01:08:18 — Swish: "everything has become incredibly democratized. Like whether it's information like YouTube, Udemy, Masterclass, Maven, all these platforms that are coming up are just disseminating information at a faster level for anyone to learn about anything."
  • 01:09:11 — Swish encourages people when they're creating their first business to just think about what their fallback is.
  • 01:09:44 — Josh always tell people, don't quit your job until at least like your side hustle, whatever that business is, is like making more than what you're currently making.
  • 01:10:00 — Swish: for me, you with raising round, right? Like the minute I raised my round, my mom was fine with me dropping out of school.
  • 01:10:07— The pros and cons of bootstrapping vs. getting VC funding
  • 01:12:57 — What advice would Swish give his16 year old self right now
  • 01:14:53 — if Swish had a $1 billion advertising budget to spread a message to the world, what would that be?
  • 01:15:35 — Swish's article on Nature 2.0
  • 01:16:19 Mind Meld #41 with Doug McNish - Josh just recorded an episode last week with world famous vegan chef, Doug McNish and they talk about a lot of different protein alternatives.
  • 01:16:50 — Meat alternative companies like Nuggs. their plant-based nuggets legitimately tastes like chicken.
  • 01:17:06Good Rebel Vegan is a small vegan shop here on Queen St. in Toronto that has all kinds of specialty vegan food.
  • 01:17:56 Final question: what's something that Swish is really excited about coming up?

[00:00:00] Swish: Data has exponentially increased in value, it's the most valuable commodity on planet Earth now, I think we need to change the model of how we get data from people.

[00:00:07] And again, I do believe that a majority of people would be fine sharing their data if two things happen, they are aware of what they're sharing, they have control over it. And they're also being rewarded directly for that data.

[00:00:18] If you give them that control and management and awareness, along with the ability to be compensated, I don't think that most people are against sharing their data.

[00:00:27] Josh: Hello friend, I'm Josh Gonsalves, and welcome to Mind Meld, a podcast where I have in-depth conversations with some of the brightest people in the known universe.

[00:00:50] My aim is to spark deep conversations around interesting topics to find the tools, tactics, and philosophies that we can all use in our daily and creative lives.

[00:01:01] In this episode, I'm joined by swish Goswami.

[00:01:04] Switch has built a multihyphenate career at just the age of 24.

[00:01:08] He's the CEO of true fan, a social intelligence platform that helps brands of all sizes make smarter marketing decisions, which is used by big organizations like Sony Music, Netflix, the NBA, the NFL, and a ton more.

[00:01:21] He also recently launched surf a browser extension that allows you to passively earn rewards while you simply browse the web.

[00:01:28] Swish hosted a podcast called The Tech Haus, where him and I first met. And he's also a public speaker giving talks all around the world and has also given three TEDx talks.

[00:01:38] Swish secured a publishing deal with Kogan Page, a sneaker deal with K-Swiss, and he's an advisor and investor in popular social companies like Dunk Media, Faze Clan, and Six Buzz TV.

[00:01:50] In total swish has started six high impact ventures in four different industries, and has been recognized for curating the world's first youth social capital fund, an online incubator for entrepreneurs in rural areas, and a mobile app that connects households, stores, and restaurants with leftovers and excess food with the people in need of affordable and accessible food options.

[00:02:13] Clearly swish has done a lot in such a short amount of time so far, so I really wanted to sit down with him and talk about what he's working on and how he thinks as a leader in his community and companies.

[00:02:23] I asked him to share his philosophies on entrepreneurship, personal branding, building a network, and how to help people get noticed and engage in our fast moving economy.

[00:02:32] There's a ton packed into this one, so I hope you enjoy it.

[00:02:36] And if you found this podcast helpful or interesting, please share it with your friends or anyone that you think needs to hear this, because I want this to reach the people who need to hear it the most.

[00:02:44] And if you haven't already please subscribe to the podcast. you can subscribe on your favorite podcast app. So you get notified when I publish new episodes. And if you want to get direct links to the resources, people, or tools or anything that we mentioned in this podcast, you can find everything in the show notes for this episode.

[00:03:01] You can find the links to the show notes in the description of this podcast, or you can go directly to Mind Meld dot FM. That's M I N D M E L D dot FM.

[00:03:11] All right, let's get into it. I'm Josh Gonsalves. And this is Mind Meld with swish Goswami. All right, swish. Welcome to Mind Meld, man. I'm excited to have you here.

[00:03:25] Swish: Thank you for having me. Very excited.

[00:03:27] Josh: Yeah, man, last time we did a podcast together. We're on the opposite sides of the mic, so it's going to be cool.

[00:03:32] Swish: Yup. A hundred percent. I was actually one of my favorite episodes. I do remember that because there was also season one and feel like the energy was great. It wasn't COVID, you know, we were able to record it in person in a studio style. That was really.

[00:03:45] Josh: That's awesome. For those listening, I'll post that link to the tech house in the description of this podcast, you guys can listen to that. Where swish, as an amazing host, we spoke about, uh, virtual reality and what that means for the film industry. So that was really fun. And again, pre COVID.

[00:04:00] That was amazing, right? Like

[00:04:01] Swish: Yeah, yeah, totally different world. I honestly feel Like when I've looked back now and I've categorized like moments in my life, it's really starting to fall into pre COVID and post COVID if you still actually be like before high schools ended and after high school ended like college. Um, but I feel like my kind of moments in the way that I'm judging them now have changed pretty, pretty dramatically.

[00:04:25] Josh: Yeah, so true. Right? It's the world has changed so much. We thinking pre and post COVID like you see that with everything. I think it's like, people are pitching stuff with that now with new companies. So it's interesting. What have you guys seen, like with trufan, over the last year, have you guys changed where you guys remote before? Have you guys switched remote? What was that like?

[00:04:42] Swish: Yeah. I mean, we started two, three years ago out of the office in Vancouver. So we were working out at the hoot suite office because Ryan Holmes, uh, the CEO of Hootsuite at the time now the chairman was a visor and in truth and an early advisor, very, very kind supporter of our business.

[00:04:56] And so we had about eight, nine people at our peak in Vancouver before we moved out to Toronto, we worked at around 13 capital's office because they came on as the lead investor for pre-seed. Um, and then I think it was around, I want to say, early 2020, we were working out of the DMZ.

[00:05:15] We got into the DMZ accelerator. Um, and we did that for four or five weeks. And COVID came in, obviously around March of 2020, which meant we weren't able to finish our entire program with the DMC.

[00:05:26] like, we finished virtually, but not in person. but ever since then, we've been an entirely remote team. You know, we have a development team that's based mainly in Colona, British Columbia. Um, a lot of our sales and marketing team is here in Toronto, but we also had certain people that like our CFO and our CMO went back to the United States to be back with family.

[00:05:43] So we are kind of a spread out team across north America, but candidly, we all really enjoy working virtually. It's been actually quite a blessing in disguise.

[00:05:52] Josh: Yeah, I bet. I mean, of course there's something to be said about like the culture, especially being at the DMZ. Like I used to work there and I worked out of there with my company for awhile too. And it's such a great vibe where you're learning so much. You get to see people over there. You're seeing what other startups are doing, and it's just the energy. There is just electric.

[00:06:08] Swish: Yeah. In the energy is great, but candidate, I think our company culture has actually been a lot better virtually than it has even in a physical environment. Um, I don't know what it is, but yeah, people just are a lot more comfortable now that they can wear pajamas and take a call and be in their environment, have their pets near them eat whatever food they want if they're at home.

[00:06:26] so I, I feel like for us, we've done a very good job off, not trying to book too many calls for people during the week, but still setting up, you know, on Monday morning huddle, wednesday executive call, Friday team call every two weeks we'll play a game and that Friday team call.

[00:06:40] Every three weeks, we do a hopes and fears session where you come on and you just share your doubts, your insecurities, your anxieties, but also your hopes, your wishes, what you really are excited about going forward.

[00:06:51] So these sort of virtual sessions, whether they're 30 minutes to an hour, I mean just a great way to make sure people don't feel alone either. You know, they feel like they, the community around them, a family around them, that's willing to hear them support them and, and a super excited for what the.

[00:07:05] Josh: Oh, man. I'm so glad to hear that because what I've been seeing and what I've been experiencing and hearing from people. It's just like that community aspect from people's lives have been totally shattered. Right. We talked about pre post COVID during COVID, it just seems like everyone's community is shattered and like, most people are not very religious these days anymore, so they don't even have like the religious, religious, I don't know what you'd call it community.

[00:07:28] Um, you know, family for a lot of people they're either overseas or on the other side of the country, they're not really seeing them. And they couldn't really see friends. Right. So the, the company really is the community that you have. So that's awesome to hear that you guys have been doing that and getting a little bit deeper into people's wellbeing.

[00:07:43] So is there other stuff that you guys have done when it comes to, um, remote culture and obviously growing the team and, you know, having everyone still working together, like is, are there other things that you guys have done to keep that remote culture alive?

[00:07:57] Swish: Definitely. I mean, number one is I think investing the right tools like we immediately started looking at right. Do we have to be on notion? You know, we started using Cohen for our OKR, our goals that we were setting.

[00:08:09] We also have check-ins that we do on that platform go into every single week, every single member of our team write a reflection, you know, things they enjoyed this week, things they didn't enjoy doing this week, what they're really excited about next week. And that sort of reflection has been very helpful for us to also understand what other people at the company are doing. Um, but also, you know, like, especially my partner in crime, on a who's our COO, if he does see that, you know, an executive is feeling pretty stressed out about something, he can then preemptively go and obviously reach out book a call with them and make sure they're feeling good.

[00:08:37] he's also great at doing weekly check-ins with every single one of our execs. So he does those check-ins every Thursday. Um, and it's also been great that we, you know, in our last round, our seed round, we brought on Monetta ventures out of Sacramento, their partner, Sabia DAS as being incredibly helpful in terms of doing like weekly calls with our COO weekly calls with our director of sales and weekly calls with me and my co-founder.

[00:08:59] So they've just been a very kind of operational VC, which I loved because it was exactly what we were looking for. Um, and they've been very supportive with intros with giving their kind of 2 cents, even sometimes doing work for us, like research market research. It's been incredible to be able to work with them as well.

[00:09:15] Josh: Oh, that's so cool, man. Is it, you know, a lot of people think of when they go and get VC funding, it's just, they're getting a check. It's just cash, but it's so much better to actually have a partner in there. Right. I'm seeing a lot of that these days.

[00:09:26] Swish: Yeah, yeah. A hundred percent. And I think more and more now VCs are trying to fight for deals. Right. And I think the only way to really fight for a deal past money, or if you were maybe Andreessen Horowitz and you had a great network, then that's great, obviously, but for like a majority of the VC, especially in Canada, the biggest thing they can do to really differentiate themselves is show operational expertise, you know, Seven partners.

[00:09:50] I've actually built something in your space. You know, that's a great way. I think, to stand out from a number of other VCs that might not really understand your space. They like you, they want to get involved, but they don't have a lot of operational expertise. So that was one big thing we look for, honestly, in our seed round it actually, even in the current fundraise we're doing right now, um, we're very much looking for that as well.

[00:10:09] Josh: Yeah, man. That's a really good point. I think like right now it's like a sellers market, right? Like more people are trying to throw money. At businesses. So like, what are the other things that you guys are looking for? Like when you're looking for an investor, obviously you could probably have a short list of a bunch of people.

[00:10:22] Like, Hey, you want to work with them. But at this point it seems like you can get the money from other places. So what else are you guys thinking?

[00:10:29] Swish: Yeah. I mean, definitely operational expertise is one. The second is vision. Like, do they actually align with our vision? And it's, it's pretty clear, like when someone doesn't align with your vision or they don't understand fully where you're trying to go as a company. Um, and I think the third is honestly, just like when we interview other portfolio companies and we obviously do our due diligence to make sure that they tell us.

[00:10:48] You know, how was it working with the BC? You know, do they stay incredibly involved? Do they kind of give you the freedom to be able to decide where you want to go? Are they really helpful with setting up intros? Do they love promoting you? Like, these are the types of things that are kind of intangibles that you really only understand them when you talk to portfolio companies within that VC, it's very hard to do it in a Zoom call for 30 minutes because you don't really know how to measure things that saying.

[00:11:12] So those are kind of three things we mainly look for.

[00:11:15] you know, I think past that again, you probably want to be able to vibe with the person, obviously you're breeding on it all. Like in our seed round, we brought on Monetta ventures onto our board and we brought on specifically Sabia, who was their partner there onto our board that just making sure that like we could work with Sabia, he was a good person. We'd liked him. That's also pretty crucial as well, especially if you're going to work with someone for 3, 4, 5, 10 years, even.

[00:11:36] Josh: True. Cause like you're bringing them on as a partner. Right. They're coming on with you. It's not just like, okay, we're taking your money and that's it. Like they have say in like where the ship is going.

[00:11:44] Swish: Exactly. Yeah. They have a saying, I mean, you do have to talk to them. So I think the biggest thing about building a company as a luxury, in my opinion, is you get to determine the people you surround yourself with. So I've always told founders, you know, if you like, if there's someone at the company and you think about them and you start to feel your heart, like, you know, getting pressured and your chest tightens, and you're feeling anxious, you probably should not hire, hire them, you know? Or you should probably let go of them.

[00:12:07] We should probably look at figuring out a way to maybe change your relationship with them because there's no excuse for having toxic people or bad people. And especially in a, in an early stage startup, you have the control to be able to pick who you want to work with.

[00:12:20] So you can, you can determine that and pick good people. Ideally people that you respect, people that you are super happy to even hear their name. It brings you happiness to even think of them. That's essentially what I think you should be focusing on, especially when you're hiring.

[00:12:32] Josh: That makes total sense. Cause a lot of people just hire, okay, clear, cut. Like we need developer or they like the best designer. Can they like create this thing? But man, that's such a good point. And the way that you speak about your company and like the people like it literally is the company, not just a business, but the other side of that.

[00:12:46] You know, you're going to be talking with the people. You want to be able to share your hopes and fears and desires with people. And you want to build a small family almost and have that kind of grow. That's amazing. I love that.

[00:12:56] Swish: Absolutely. Cause you you're in it for the long haul, right? Like I, I think I was pretty naive when I was like 18 or 19 in college thinking like, oh, if I built a startup, I probably could exit in like two or three years. And it's like, you can, but like really you shouldn't be in a startup in my opinion, I don't think you should be in it for thinking about like a monetary benefit in two to three years.

[00:13:16] You know, I think honestly, if you were looking for a monetary benefit in the short term, you might as well just kill your back and go and work at like a consulting firm or a law firm. And do that for two or three years.

[00:13:25] You'll make great money. You wouldn't have any life outside of work, but if that's what you're motivated by, they are other ways to get short-term. Well, but if you're truly building a company, you need to be there because you're excited about the problem you're solving. You're excited about the solution you built and you're excited about the team you built.

[00:13:42] I mean, if you're not excited about any one of those three things, you're probably not doing it right. In my opinion.

[00:13:47] Josh: Oh, man, that is so true. And you know what, let's back it up for people who are like, Hey, what the hell is trufan. this is going to be in. Right. So what is it? So you just talked about these things, your vision, your mission, all these things.

[00:13:58] So what exactly does trufan do? And what is your vision mission? What are you trying to accomplish here other than making a lot of money?

[00:14:04] Swish: Yeah, no, a hundred percent. So we provide high fidelity data to brands. and the data specifically we offer to brands right now is first party data and social data. So we give a brand like Nike or Netflix or the NBA, we give them an idea of who follows them on Instagram and Twitter and allow them to segment that audience, to find people, for example, in Miami, between zero to a hundred thousand followers that are verified and have the keyword beacon in their bio, that's how granular you can go using our system.

[00:14:32] We also operate with first party data, so emails and phone numbers and mailing addresses. We help a brand, not only segment and analyze that we can actually help them generate it. And we generate that primarily to give them.

[00:14:43] So the brand will give away something of value to their community. people will be excited about it. They'll enter their data for the chance to win a prize. Uh, and it's a, win-win, you know, you're getting something potentially for your data. You're sharing data on your own terms, on your own volition as a consumer and the brand is getting high fidelity data they can use for remarketing later on.

[00:15:01] So we're really excited about what we're doing, but equally also as excited about where we're going, where we're really trying to take this idea of compensating people for their data to the next level.

[00:15:10] So we're launching a browser extension, we call it Surf. Surf will give you points for just browsing the internet like normal. So in exchange for those points that you can use for items and gift cards and giveaways and discount codes, you'll be giving us your pricing data, which by the way, you already do to Google, but you'll be giving us surprising data.

[00:15:28] and obviously a little bit more information that we can then anonymize and cohort and share with the same brands that we're providing social and first party data to. Because a big hypothesis we have for where the future's going is in the future. There will be a world where people want to not be tracked whatsoever and that's totally legitimate, but we also think there'll be a group of people that are totally fine with sharing their data, if there's something in it for them.

[00:15:52] And so that's what we're trying to provide is if you want the option for a fairer and more rewarding internet experience, you can get that using us at the consumer. And on the flip side, if you're a brand looking for the highest fidelity data that isn't linked to third-party cookies, or isn't linked to paid ads, or isn't linked to anything that GDPR and CCPA might take away in three or four or five years, you can get that sort of data directly from us because everything is opt-in.

[00:16:16] Josh: Oh man. That's awesome. Okay. So we're going to dig deep on this man, cause this is really fucking fascinating.

[00:16:21] So the first thing I want to bring up is what you're even doing right now with the giveaways is actually brilliant. Cause I've done that with my apparel company along boy. And it was like the best way to generate leads.

[00:16:31] Like it was amazing, especially if you're giving away something that you're already selling, like it's great for a D to C brand like ourselves. We're like here, we're giving away a really expensive jacket that most people won't buy, but everyone wants it. So we know they're actually interested in the product and it's been amazing.

[00:16:45] And do you guys have like the viral loop, uh, component within it so they can like, share that campaign and then get more entries. Can remember what it's called, but I'm sure there's a term for that.

[00:16:55] Swish: Yeah. I don't exactly know the term that you might be thinking, but Yeah, we do have quite a viral loop in the sense of people come on and they create an

[00:17:02] Josh: Sweepstake, I think.

[00:17:03] Swish: We just need to take a hundred percent. yeah.

[00:17:05] But they be creating an account with us. so it's also worth noting. Like now we've had over a million people share their data for the chance to win a prize through our platform.

[00:17:12] Out of those about 250,000 have opted into our email newsletter as well. So, you know, we're also building up our own database of people that just love doing giveaways, uh, in exchange for the chance to win a prize. And so normally what a brand is able to do is they can drive traffic to a number of different things.

[00:17:28] And especially for creating the giveaway, we built like a sandbox of different integrations. So if you're a brand, you can drive traffic for app downloads, you can drive traffic for newsletter sign up, you can get social followers on Twitch and take talking to Instagram. And Twitter is a big myriad of different choices that you can drive traffic to.

[00:17:45] And every single individual can come on. They don't necessarily always need to do all of the items in the giveaway, like all the rules, but they can do the ones they want. And for each one of those they'll get tickets. So if you want more tickets, you want to do more rules. If you don't want as many tickets, you can do a few, get a couple of tickets.

[00:18:02] And then obviously there's a random lottery with equal dignity. That'll pick the winner at the end of the campaign.

[00:18:07] Josh: Yeah, that's awesome. And like which industries and giveaways, have you seen work best with this? Like what kind of industries have been just nailing it with this?

[00:18:15] Swish: I think direct to consumer and e-commerce like you mentioned is definitely pretty easy because again, like you said, a lot of these companies already do provide product a and obviously you have certain products that sell, well, you also have other ones that, like you said, people desire. They wish they could afford, but they can't. So giving away those sort of items is great.

[00:18:31] the second is candidly, gaming. You know, we'd seen a lot of like really great brands. Like bud light came on to do a campaign with us. They wanted to drive traffic to their Twitch account, cause they were setting up a gaming audience. They were able to get over 10,000 Twitch followers and a month and a half of using our platform.

[00:18:47] We had G fuel, which is like the Gatorade for the gaming industry. Come on and run a few campaigns, and they were able to see about 150% increase in click-through rate. And a 200% increase in conversion on the email campaigns that they sent out using our data, like the email they generated through our platform.

[00:19:04] And you also had, you know, a company like Electronic Arts, do you like their annual EA play live stream, where they announced new games and for an hour, people watch that live stream and they watch it all the way through because throughout that live stream, there's a bunch of secret codes. So like, imagine the host is picking up and drinking water at the bottom.

[00:19:23] There's a secret code. If you get all the letters in that code and put it onto our platform, you'll be entered for a prize, like an instant win prize, whether it's a bunch of new games, whether it's an EA membership on for a year, there's a bunch of really cool rewards built in through secret codes. So again, the coolest thing about our platform is that we just allow for you to kind of engage your audience in whatever way you want.

[00:19:45] But at the end of the day, like you said, it is a sweepstakes platform, right? You are giving data up for the chance to win a prize. Um, and you were obviously doing certain rules through the process of sharing that data.

[00:19:56] Josh: That's actually really cool. I love how people kind of like hack systems like that to do really cool stuff like that. That's really awesome.

[00:20:02] And you're really mentioning gaming here and I know that you're a big gamer, so am I and like, is that kind of where you see things going?

[00:20:08] Like, I mean, you're talking about this data ownership compensation for their day. Um, I'm sure we'll get into like NFTs and like crypto, at some point in here, we want to go get your thoughts on that, but you also acquired a company called player. So you're really thinking about like gaming and with everything here, you know, everything's being gamified.

[00:20:26] The world is being gamified, businesses being gamified. How are you thinking about that now? And I do want to ask you about Player and what that acquisition was like and sort of why you decided to acquire them.

[00:20:37] Swish: Initially before we, our player, we were just a platform that worked on social data, Instagram and Twitter. And we felt like it was a little bit risky to scale a company that was very contingent on the kind of privacy concerns that might be affecting Facebook or Twitter in the future.

[00:20:53] It would be a little bit scary to kind of better business on making sure that these platforms continue to stay alive and are being looked at in a good way. So we wanted to maybe diversify what sort of data we provided our, our brands. And so we looked at first party data. We thought it was smart because of the fact that cookies are going away, obviously on Google the next two years, they're already gone and safari and Firefox.

[00:21:14] Um, you have obviously the issue of GDPR and CCPA, the regulation changing the way advertisers advertise. You have apple with their recent iOS update, taking out mobile ad tracking pretty much entirely like, you know, there's only been about 5% of users that have accepted tracking altogether on their mobile phones.

[00:21:31] The vast majority of people do not want to be tracked because there's really nothing for them. Um, and you also have the issue of ad blockers rising with paid ads, also losing effectiveness because of that. So with all of these changes, we felt like first party data, data that you get directly from consumers would likely do well.

[00:21:48] So the question in my head became, how do you get that data effectively? so initially we thought, why don't we just reward people off the bat, but it became a little bit expensive to think about that right away. So we thought, why don't we test it? Are people even fine sharing their data. If they get some sort of value back?

[00:22:02] And we were looking at a bunch of sweepstakes platform and we came across Playr, and we felt like the player was great for two reasons. One, they built this incredibly amazing organic community. Yes. A lot of those people are gamers, which I also love because every major brand seems to want to get into gaming because that's where the 18 to 30 year old male tends to spend a lot of time in, in America and Canada, et cetera.

[00:22:24] but it was also cool to see their technology. You know, their technology was very well built out. Like I mentioned, a sandbox at different integrations that allow people to drive traffic to various places. So we did an Aqua hire. We brought on their entire development team along with their platform, their brand and their customer.

[00:22:39] and that was our second acquisition. So we were pretty experienced with how to go about integrating the products together. We rolled out a unified product about a month and a half ago. basically everything we're working on with social data is now tied to first party data as well in one dashboard. It's not two different dashboards.

[00:22:55] We are really excited about this idea that people are willing to share their data for the chance to win a prize. And now, obviously my thought is what if it was a guaranteed price? What if you didn't even have a chance just like you get points for sharing your data. And with those points, you can do some really cool stuff.

[00:23:09] And I think people have bought into that premise already, when you take a look at like air miles or you take a look at lolly, you take a look at drops, people are willing to share their purchasing data. For example, for the chance to get a bunch of really cool points that could add up to a vacation or AirPods or whatever.

[00:23:24] So I just don't see why we can't take that principle and apply it to browsing as well.

[00:23:28] Josh: That's awesome, so is that the idea of surf now? So they're going to be accumulating points and then they'll be able to use those points on buying things or trading it

[00:23:36] Swish: Yeah, exactly like redeeming it. So we have about 65, uh, reward providers, uh, ranging from Apple to Nike, to, uh, Amazon to support a bunch of really cool brands that are integrated into the platform. and it's going to be cool because in my opinion, it'll be like the world's first rewards app that actually just rewards you for passive browsing.

[00:23:57] There are browsers obviously like brave. And Brave is amazing. 26 months a million monthly active users. But at the end of the day, Brave is still an ads network. You only really get compensated for watching ads and you obviously get compensated through crypto.

[00:24:10] So for us, we just try to keep things very simple. There's no crypto involved. It's tangible rewards that anyone, including my mom could understand what they are and why I would want them. And it's a browser extension, which means you don't have to download a separate browser and you don't need to take surveys or watch ads.

[00:24:25] Everything we would reward you for is all passive things you already do on a daily basis.

[00:24:29] Josh: this would work now in safari. Now safari does a extension, so that's awesome. That's perfect. And then I think what's really, really cool about it too, it's just the passivity of it. It's stuff that you're already doing. So is it the idea that they're going to be on this website, that blog TO, for example, they're on there and you're going to just take the data of like their browsing history, their cookies that you would normally get I guess are going to be going away, as you said in the next two years. So you're able to capture that Stuart with them in their own account.

[00:24:56] And then where do the brands come in there? W what kind of data are they getting? Um, is it only when they choose the rewards? Are all those brands getting that data? How does that look?

[00:25:06] Swish: Yeah. So essentially what a user is going to come on and do is they're going to enter a little bit of information, right? They'll enter in their location, they'll enter in their birthday, they'll enter in their gender as well. Um, and so we'll have some, you know, high level data who these people are in terms of what group we can associate them to.

[00:25:24] Again, however, all the data that we collect from a browsing perspective is entirely anonymous. So someone is never going to know that like Josh went to these sites. They wouldn't even know your name, frankly. Right. They'll know that Josh is twenty fourto thirty five in Toronto, uh, and really interested in entrepreneurship, you know, that's the type of way that we would be able to classify you.

[00:25:47] And so what's cool is when we do monetize and we bring brands in, they'll be able to understand the demographic they care about by location, gender, and age. They'll be able to understand what are some of the most popular sites they go to as a collect.

[00:26:01] Where, what are some of the biggest streamers they follow? What publications do they read? What stocks do they look at? Where do they mainly shop? This is the sort of information That can't get any more with third-party cookie filling away websites can really only understand their own traffic on their own site, but after someone leaves your site, you don't really have an idea of what they do on the internet.

[00:26:19] And that's what we're hoping to be able to provide brands, again, through an anonymized and cohorted fashion, but still in my opinion, data that's valuable when it comes to determining partnerships, where to spend your money on who to advertise to et cetera. And then obviously the second layer is that if a brand does want to not just get intelligence, they can also obviously put up a reward in our marketplace or share more discount codes if they want to drive attribution and conversion.

[00:26:43] Josh: That is awesome. This is really starting to feel like we're getting over the hump here from like web 2.0 to web 3.0,, even you said it's not really crypto related, it

[00:26:51] Swish: No, not yet. Not

[00:26:53] yet.

[00:26:53] Josh: not yet. I'm sure. I'm sure there's plans. I'm sure there's plans. Um, you know, it's not just Facebook taking all this data here and then just, you know, taking the pixels, tracking you everywhere.

[00:27:03] It's and I think that's really key, right? For people, like you said, people are right now, they're getting their data just kind of taken from them without any say, they're not really getting anything in return other than the platform, you know, other than being able to use Facebook and Google and getting those ads exactly for free.

[00:27:17] And most people have the ad blockers on anyway, so they're not seeing those ads. So it's kind of weird.

[00:27:22] Swish: Yeah. The way we viewed the trade-off, it's just like 10, 12 years ago, that was totally fine. Like right. People didn't really care when trackers and cookies and the social company for tracking them because in 2006, 2007, we had Facebook for free. We had Google maps for free. We were getting the app store for free and we didn't really care where we shared our.

[00:27:40] But obviously now in the last 10 years where, you know, Hey, you realize that these tracking methods are really invasive. You know, Cambridge analytic approve it. The Facebook data leads continue to prove it.

[00:27:50] But also that data has exponentially increased in value, it's the most valuable commodity on planet Earth now, I think we need to change the model of how we get data from people. And again, I do believe that a majority of people would be fine sharing their data if two things happen, they are aware of what they're sharing, they have control over it. And they're also being rewarded directly for that data. If you give them that control and management and awareness, along with the ability to be compensated, I don't think that most people are against sharing their data.

[00:28:18] they just want to be again in control of it to be able to manage what they share. And also obviously being compensated is like the cherry on the cake, if you will.

[00:28:26] Josh: It is, yeah. It keeps them coming back, right. Cause then they're getting something and there we go again, that viral loop, you know, getting them coming back and gamifying it. So yeah, it's going to be really interesting to see how this goes and I think you guys are really tackling it from like, a really ethical way.

[00:28:41] and I actually kinda wanna bring this back. So you studied actually, you have a degree right? In, uh, peace, conflict and justice studies with ethics society in law.

[00:28:48] So how much has your, um, studies from that played a role in what you're doing now? Like, it seems like you're taking a, more of an ethical approach to what you're doing and how are you making sure that this is all ethical?

[00:29:00] Swish: Yes. I actually did not graduate. I spent two years at the university of Toronto before dropping out and that's when I moved to New York for a year, I worked at a company called Dunk. It became co-founders with the guy named Elliot Elliot to build this massive Instagram account for basketball fans at Dunk on Instagram.

[00:29:17] And I had come on and in a year and a half, we built this media network of 21 accounts on Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter with 11 million followers. Overall, Tommy, obviously a lot about influencer marketing, working with brands that we were working with, Warner music, Gatorade, two K, et cetera, for influencer partnerships, and also just on building a community from scratch.

[00:29:34] Sending a lot of those lessons honestly did teach me a lot about trufan specifically around surf as well. Um, not honestly too much of my degree factored into, you know, like I've just also like, even before I studied ethics society, I was like a very principally sound person. I would like to believe, you know, I come from a household that is, you know, all about like fairness and justice and making sure that, it qualities upheld at the highest level.

[00:30:01] Um, and it's an incredibly tolerant family as well. So I just think for me, like, I want to take those same principles that I grew up with and apply it to the way we treat consumers. And you know, whether it's treating consumers, uh, in politics, whether it's treating them in the choices they can make over their body or their food choices, or whether it's even the choices they can make within the data economy.

[00:30:22] I think a quality is a standard that should be upheld at every level. So we're just trying to take that principle and apply it to this new sector.

[00:30:29] Josh: Oh, that's good, man. Yeah. I'm glad. I'm glad there's people like you that are like, you know, the people who are now at the forefront of the companies that are going to be coming up now that maybe aren't at the top, like the Facebooks and Googles of the world. Unfortunately, Google, now doesn't have the, don't be evil slogan.

[00:30:43] I I've kind of scared a little bit scared,

[00:30:46] but you kind of hope. Yeah.

[00:30:48] You kind of hope that the people behind it are ethical and they have some moral. So that's cool that you know, that you have that. And what was it about, you know, going to New York, working on. That kind of made you want to start trufan?

[00:31:01] Like what for you? Was that entrepreneurial awakening? Do you always want to be an entrepreneur? Like, was that a thing.

[00:31:06] Swish: I didn't really even know the word entrepreneur candidly until I was like 18 years old. And I remember learning it actually through people like Gary Vaynerchuk for the first time when they were like, entrepreneurship is something anyone can do. And I was like, what? I thought you always had to be like rich to start a business.

[00:31:18] I didn't really know that, like, you know, there, wasn't an ability to start a business from scratch and, and grow it and scale it and raise money. And this, this whole world called VC, like, I didn't really know about it because again, in high school I was debating at a fairly high level. I was on the national team in Canada for about two years.

[00:31:34] And normally if you debate at a fairly high level, your world is really around like academia, law and politics. So like, those were kind of the three paths I put in front of myself. Um, and so I did decide that I wanted to be a lawyer coming out of high school, obviously that didn't happen, but I chose programs in university specifically to be on the path towards law school.

[00:31:53] Um, so yeah, I mean, like again, I just, I think I was always very entrepreneurial in a sense. You know, when I was 14, I joined a program called junior achievement in Calgary. And for six months you work with other people and create a business. And, you know, we built this custom lapels pins company and sold about $26,000 worth of it over the summer.

[00:32:12] Um, I, I remember like when I was 18, I created a charity called Canda things. It was a bunch of conferences across Canada. All the money was pooled into a youth fund for young entrepreneurs to be able to hopefully start their business with 500, 1000 bucks. Nothing too great, but definitely some money for a high schooler to be able to get off the ground in some way, whether it's a subscription for Shopify or it's being able to buy a course, like your Demi, your masterclass.

[00:32:37] So. We were pretty like entrepreneurial in that way, but I always viewed all of that stuff. More like hobbies and like side projects. And I did like, as my career, and I think it was only my experience in New York where I started to like really surround myself with creatives and entrepreneurs, where I understood that this could be a viable full-time career if done properly.

[00:32:57] So that was a kind of a big awakening kind of being in New York and being surrounded by those types of people. Um, taught me quite a bit.

[00:33:04] Josh: Yeah, I bet, man. And so like for you, what would you tell other people now? Like the younger people? Cause like there's a lot of people that you said they don't even know entrepreneur is like a word, like they don't even know what that really means that you could even do this kind of stuff. You don't have to just work a job.

[00:33:17] You can start something for you. Like what would you do? I mean, you've kind of already started by investing in, in these young entrepreneurs. What kind of things would you tell maybe even your younger self when you were like 17 or 18? Like, how would you go about starting your entrepreneurial path?

[00:33:33] Swish: two things. One is be curious. Like I just curiosity is such an underrated trait among people, especially because I feel like I, you grow up the school system, you know, for lack of a better word, just badgers kind of curiosity and creativity, a little bit out of you. I am, by the way, I'm not an anti college person in any way.

[00:33:49] I actually do wish that I one day go back to school and finish my degree, cause I think a degree is obviously very important and definitely for certain people like that might, you know, live in a household where you want to pay off debt for your family, or you want to get a high paying job right away and have that security.

[00:34:03] I do obviously think it's important, but I think curiosity is humongous trait, you know, like just the fact that, you know, having things that I was curious about, I was so curious about Bollywood, as curious about basketball. I was curious about data growing up. I was curious a lot about rewards and like, literally, like I was the biggest user of air miles.

[00:34:22] I was the biggest user of drop when I moved to Toronto, because I was like, this is a no brainer. Why wouldn't I get cashback or points for things that I already do on a daily basis? I think back to all of that, and I feel like the more curious, I thought I was about other things, it allowed me to kind of take a lot of my interests and kind of connect them to each other.

[00:34:39] If you will, you know, like trufan as a company, now that we have a Bollywood talent agency, if an advisor, we have basketball fairs as an investor, you know, we're obviously providing data to brands, but we're also not watching this rewards app. It feels like everything has come full circle, but it's also because there were a lot of curiosities throughout my years that just led me to think deeper about certain issues and connect the dots.

[00:35:00] Um, the second thing I think is focused on your. You know, for me, I, I do believe that I am quite lucky because in my first and second year I interviewed a lot of people and a lot of those people turned out to be high net worth individuals like the Michael Hyatt's of the world that were incredibly supportive of me when I was launching Trufan.

[00:35:18] Then whether it was from an investment perspective, introing me to people, sitting down with me and telling me what not to do early on. Those are the people that guided me. So I do think focusing on your network is a, is a big tip.

[00:35:29] And the number one way I grew my network with, by interviewing people, whether it's through a podcast or an interview series, I realized that like 99% of people love talking about themselves.

[00:35:38] I am exhibit a, so play to that aspect of human nature interview people. It's far better to ask them for an interview than ask them for coffee.

[00:35:47] Josh: Oh, man. That is key. That's exactly why I started this podcast. Um, for those two things, curiosity, what are the things I'm interested in? How can I learn about it? And then while I'm learning about it directly from people you're building your network and it becomes like this exponential growth curve, that's just like, it just compounds.

[00:36:02] Right. And I call it like, compounding your knowledge. compounding your knowledge at the same time as putting more nodes out in the network. And you kind of like, I was just watching you the way that you kind of made those connections, like physically, anyone listening. There's, he's kind of like putting nodes out in a network almost.

[00:36:15] So you watch on YouTube with what you're doing, um, is really, really interesting that you were doing that because exactly, I think about it. It's like you're a node in this network of people, especially now in the internet, you're literally connected to people you're much more likely to be able to have a conversation for an hour, like you and I are going to have, this can be about an hour conversation.

[00:36:32] It probably wouldn't have been an hour if I was like, Hey man, Do you want to hop on zoom? And can I pick your brain? It's like, no, there's no purpose here. Like,

[00:36:39] We're learning something. Hopefully you come out of this too, with something I like to unlock certain nodes in people's minds too. And you can talk about yourself and what you're working on and put that out there as well.

[00:36:49] Swish: Definitely. And I think, again, it's also a great way because you're providing value to someone upfront, right? Like I do find that when people ask me for coffee, especially when they don't give an agenda, it's like at the end of the day, you're really just taking time away from that person, you know? And you're not really giving them anything in return.

[00:37:04] So I just love the idea of interviewing people. Because again, like people love talking about themselves. You might be able to do a great job producing this podcast or writing an awesome article that I'm super proud about. And I will want to share to my network. It's just like a win-win win-win across so many different levels.

[00:37:21] Josh: It totally is. Right. It's like creating content for yourself. You don't have to put any real effort other than the conversation and just put out your ID. It's so true, man. So like for the people who maybe don't want to start a podcast, I always tell people to start a podcast is the best thing for the network.

[00:37:34] Like, just like this is exhibit a, right. So for the people who aren't, they just want coffee. What other things could they do to bring value to people to have that conversation?

[00:37:43] Swish: two things. One is also setting up introductions for people, you know, I've preemptively gone out of my way, even if I don't know someone to just connect them to people And I love doing that. It's really neat to be able to like build an initial network and then connect dots within the network, so the network grows and then you benefit from it as well because you've built up Goodwill.

[00:38:00] And you've also tapped now into a broader network where you might be one degree connection away from someone you really want to meet down the road. So connecting people to one another is something I try to do on a daily basis, candidly.

[00:38:11] Like if someone asks me for an intro, unless they've done something bad to me already, I'm just like, yeah, sure. Let's do it. You know? Cause I really just have a little bit of a low ego there, but I also like feel like if the intro is pretty valuable to both sides, why shouldn't I do it? It would just be a no-brainer for me to do that.

[00:38:27] And the second thing I think is, is spotlighting people and checking in with them. Um, so whether it's, you know, someone launched a book, someone launched it. You know, taking time out to make a LinkedIn post congratulating them or to put it up on your Instagram story and say, great job, super excited, like that sort of supportive nature is always something people love and equally. So checking in, right.

[00:38:48] I think now more than ever now that we're coming out of COVID knock on wood, hopefully. Um, I do think that, that question like, Hey, how are you doing? I'm just checking in. It's so underrated. And it's something you should absolutely send to people close to you or people that you want to build a relationship with, just so that they know that like, after your first conversation, didn't just ghost them and like continue to try to climb the social ladder that you actually do care about the relationships that you've built around you.

[00:39:12] Josh: Man that is so key because otherwise you're just using people it's like that transactional versus transformational relationships, right? Yeah. That's so key.

[00:39:20] Do you have like any kind of tools that you use to, um, to, manage these, like your network, like some kind of personal CRM, cause a lot of people for business they'll use some kind of CRM and I'm sure you can just use your contact book, but it gets crazy. Right.

[00:39:33] So I like asking people if there's little tools or hacks that you've used to kind of manage this networks. I've imagined that over the years, your network has grown pretty large. So there's anything that you use or anything you think about when you're managing all this?

[00:39:45] Swish: Yeah. I mean, I don't have any tools that I do do three things.

[00:39:48] One is I have a list of my notes about like, you know, core people that I should always reach back out to and check in with if they haven't, if I haven't heard from them. And by the way, that isn't just like professional relationship is also like personal, you know, obviously like given the fact that I moved around a bunch from Calgary to Toronto, to New York, to Vancouver, back to Toronto, there were people I met throughout that I really liked, and I just lost touch with them because of the fact that I'm not in the same city as them, but I want to make sure I check in with them so that hopefully one day our paths align again. So that's one, it just have a note where you maybe check in on that note every month and put a reminder in your calendar to do so.

[00:40:23] The second thing is, is commenting back. You know, I, I take every comment that I get on LinkedIn and I physically comment back to it, whether it's Instagram as well, like on my stories, I will try to take time out to reply to every single person I replied to my story. and just taking time out to do that as a great way again, to just make sure that like people know that you are there for them, people know that you are actually interested in your community and you're not just looking to build a community for the sake of making money.

[00:40:49] Um, I think the third and final thing for me, which I think is really helped me is following up with people. So when people do set up introductions for me, I just make sure to always go back to the original person and follow up with them. And I actually do make a note sometimes in my calendar about this. Is like, after that call, I will just put a quick calendar invite to say, follow up with Josh and let him know how great a connection any was, or like what we chatted about and give a bit of a summary. Because again, it makes people feel not out of the loop. It makes them feel like they're a part of that process.

[00:41:19] Josh: Totally. I love that. I'm going to, I'm going to make notes of this. So any, any podcasts I do, I do pretty extensive like show notes. So I love having these kinds of things. That's why I do the podcast, right. To learn about these things that people do to kind of follow up, I think is key. Like you said, using your calendar, using these external tools because our minds will totally fuck us over.

[00:41:37] You know, it's not that you want to be a Dick. You're just like, okay. I just totally forgot. I had like a million other things to do. So do you have like an extensive pro or maybe not extensive? Do you have like an, a productivity sort of system, like where you offload stuff, some of the stuff from your brain?

[00:41:51] Swish: Yeah. I mean, I do the reflections, obviously I'm Cohen, the platform I was talking about earlier every week, and that really helps you get things off my head and kind of resolve certain things that I wanted to resolve in my head. Um, I have a, to do list on notes that I obsessive early check and update, and I also tend to text myself a lot and put calendar invite reminders.

[00:42:10] So, you know, I might be a little bit OCD, but like, I'm just incredibly scared of forgetting things. So I just go a little bit out of my way to make sure that I don't forget things. And that sometimes does cause a lot of like madness in my head, which is why, you know, whether it's texting myself or adding a calendar reminder or putting things in notes or reflections, like those are just so important for me because it allows me to offload knowledge to another platform. I know where it is and I can continue with my day with an open mind.

[00:42:41] Josh: Yeah, that's key. Did you ever do any kind of like courses or learn about like these kinds of productivity tools? The way that you actually, you know, do business in today's day and age with everything being digital, using notes, you mentioned Notion before.

[00:42:55] Do you use Notion personally? Do you use it just for business? Are there other tools that you use in the stack to kind of, like you said, compound your knowledge and take notes and save things and share with your team members and clients and partners. Like there's just so much that goes into business nowadays.

[00:43:10] Swish: Yeah. I mean, as a team we use slack is our communication platform JIRA, obviously for the devs and especially, but we even added in our marketing team and our customer success team, just so they have visibility into what's going on on the product side. Um, we use Cohen for reflections and our OKR is like our, our objectives and key results or goals.

[00:43:29] Um, and we use what else, Notion to save any key documents. Um, and yeah, and then, yeah, like Gmail obviously, right? I actually superhuman, um, I became a Superhuman user a few months ago and it's candidly saved me so much time when getting back to email, because if I don't want to get back to an email today, I'll just quickly, you know, command H set a reminder to get back to it on Monday and it'll come up at the top of my inbox.

[00:43:54] Then I find that to be amazing, especially for people like me. You know, I just don't want to look at at 132 unread inbox and like freak out. It's amazing to be able to get to inbox zero. No, that I'm done with the day. I can close my laptop and just chill.

[00:44:08] Josh: I like that because there's a lot of people who are like these, like, you know, the whole hustle porn going on. Now you mentioned Gary Vee before, I think he's calmed down a bit, but like, I'm just the go, go, go, go, go. And do you give yourself like a schedule? Like you mentioned, like putting everything in calendar, do you have like a set start and day?

[00:44:24] Like how do you work? Like, what is your like ideal Workday look like?

[00:44:28] Swish: Yeah. I mean, they don't have a soul, like a start or end date. I tend to actually like working a bit later, so I normally start my day around 10:00 AM. Um, cause I normally like just the first few hours, then not like morning to be spent, like having a good breakfast, showering, playing music in the shower. I love listening to music in the shower to put on a new playlist, learn a couple of new songs and then start my day in a little bit more relaxed way.

[00:44:52] Because normally then the minute I start my day, you know, calendar invites will shift around, meetings will be overbooked and conflicts will happen. People will cancel my calendar kind of just goes crazy during the middle of the day. Um, but I do try to end my day around five or six. Again, given the fact that normally from 10 to six, normally I'm like backed up with calls. It doesn't mean that there are some days where I, you know, I'll go for dinner with some friends and I'll have to come back and do email late at night.

[00:45:19] So I'll have to start my email and get back to it around eight 30 to about 11 watch TV show, play video games, one of the two, and then go to bed. So that's a little bit of like a standard day for me, if you will. But again, it does change so much, especially now that things are opening up, we're going to be traveling again.

[00:45:34] So I just feel like my entire schedule is starting to go a little bit backwards.

[00:45:39] Josh: Totally. Do you do a lot of travel for work?

[00:45:41] Swish: Uh, quite a bit. I mean, I also enjoy it. Um, but obviously, you know, for trufan or also for speaking, right. I do speak under a bureau called spotlight and, um, you know, whether it's sending me to yellow knife or chili or to Europe in Germany or whatever.

[00:45:53] Like I just like traveling by speaking. Um, it's just a great way to kind of go in, two days, like eat a decent amount of cultural foods, learn a little bit about the place you're at meet some really cool people at the conferences speaking at and then jet back. Um, but yeah, I like, especially for business now with work, like with surf launching, I mean, I definitely want to make a trip out to LA and New York, obviously, because we would love to be able to get to the U S audiences as well, sooner rather than later.

[00:46:23] Josh: Totally dude, let's get into the speaking because that's really fascinating for me. I mean, I first heard about your speaking career through the tech house podcast, and I saw that you were hosting a lot of events and then I looked more into it like, oh shit, I didn't really see did like all this, these speaking gigs. That's awesome.

[00:46:36] How did that come about and how do you like, balance that with what you're doing with trufan? Because it seems like it's almost like two careers, but they're not mutually exclusive.

[00:46:43] Swish: definitely. So, I mean, I don't view speaking as a career just because I've been doing it so long. Like grade seven to 12, I was debating, like I mentioned, and that was a lot of public speaking. And then even in university for my first two years, I was debating at the university of Toronto. So I think it was only when I stopped debating where I kind of missed speaking to an audience and sharing my thoughts and opinions.

[00:47:02] So I decided to go and actually, actually, when I was, what would this be like three, four years ago when I was like 20, I, uh, went to a bunch of schools and I just spoke for free. I spoke for free to a bunch of high schools, a bunch of junior high schools, um, mainly reached out to principals and teachers directly.

[00:47:18] Sometimes that, you know, I'd be coaching debate in my third year of college or what was supposed to be my third year of college. And I'd be coaching debate, and the student turned out to, you know, want to have me come to their school and speak at a class. Um, so I did that for about a year. And then after doing that for a year, I started getting invited to a few events because of Dunk.

[00:47:37] You know, I was working on Dunk, obviously we were working in a really cool space at a really small team, but at a really awesome influence within the basketball world. So speaking at a few events started to allow me to even charge, you know, and I started charging like 500, a thousand, $5,000 per event to the point where then a bureau was really interested in signing me.

[00:47:56] So I first signed with the National Speakers Bureau. Um, was with them for about a year and then switched over to Speaker Spotlight being with them ever since. But the good thing about being with beer now is that they will manage everything. So they'll find the gigs, they'll book, my flights they'll book my accommodation I'll I really got to just do a show up and speak, do my job and leave.

[00:48:15] Um, and so it makes it so that I can balance, you know, a quote unquote career and speaking with Trufans because I'm not managing anything, but my talk and my energy and my personality, which I already do on a daily basis at Trufan.

[00:48:28] The second cool thing also is that I can speak about trufan for speaking, that does allow us to, you know, for lead gen, if it's a marketing event and there's a bunch of marketeers in the audience, talking about truth and can be great if it's also just generally speaking a university or high school I'm speaking at, it's amazing to be able to get interns or to get even hires from the place that I'm speaking at when I talk about entrepreneurship and kind of my startup journey.

[00:48:51] So I've seen a lot of, you know, from speaking, from posting on social media, like Instagram and LinkedIn has been a lot of benefits back to Trufan because of that.

[00:49:00] Um, so I, again, you know, 99% of my day still spent on Trufan, but there is obviously still time that I reserved two words speaking, you know, once or twice a month coming on to podcasts and interviews and mainly talking about Trufan. And also obviously being able to share content on social, because it just makes me happy to connect with other people in my community.

[00:49:21] Josh: Man. That is so awesome. And I love that. It really is that whole Gary V approach too, right? Like he does all these speaking gigs, but it always comes back to VaynerMedia. And what he's doing is all connected in the talk. It's not just something completely random. It's connected to what you're already doing.

[00:49:34] So, how do you go about like actually getting part in part of a bureau, like the Speaker Spotlight? Like what does that process look like?

[00:49:41] Swish: Yeah. I mean, with national speakers bureau, I reached out to them and then their managing director came actually to one of my talks and just saw me speak, you know, and she liked it and she said, let's do something, uh, with speaker spotlight, you know, item number of investors and friends actually, who were signed to spotlight.

[00:49:57] Um, so I got an introduction from Michelle romanov at Clearco, um, she introduced me to spotlight. I met with Martin who rung spotlight. Um, and it was definitely an interesting fit because they had never had a speaker that was born before the, I asked her after the year of 1995 and I was born in 97. So immediately, like there was a massive differentiation between me and like all of their other speakers just based on age.

[00:50:22] Um, that was kind of neat just to be able to kind of come into the bureau, kind of immediately get a few, few, a few good gigs because of my age, because people were just like, who is this 22 year old, and like, what are they talking about? Um, so they were a little bit curious about that. So that's a process really like reaching out, you know, going through and seeing who potentially is mutually connected or who might already be a speaker at the bureau that might be able to introduce, introduce you.

[00:50:47] It's it's not too hard to be able to get on their radar, but again, timing is everything, right? Like I know a number of people have applied to bureaus and they're just understaffed, or they don't have the ability to bring on new clients at that time. And that's again, where persistence comes into play, you know, maybe it didn't work out this year, but you reached back out next year and maybe that works. So staying a little bit persistent is pretty important with this type of stuff.

[00:51:09] Josh: And do you think now, because with COVID ending events are going to start ramping up. I think now's a good time for people to start doing that?

[00:51:16] Swish: A hundred percent. I mean, it was still going on even you'd be like all virtually, Right.

[00:51:19] We were still speaking. It was not as fun. In my opinion. I like generally speaking personal on work. It's great to be able to connect with the audience in a better way. But, um, yeah, I think obviously now that things are opening up, you should definitely look into it.

[00:51:31] My only kind of, I guess, uh, you know, point that I might make with an asterix is you should really treat it as an art. You should really treat it as like a something you have to work at. I find that a lot of entrepreneurs just assume because they're an entrepreneur, they can be a speaker and that's not the case.

[00:51:48] You know, speaking is an art form in and off itself. So for me, again, from grade seven to 12 was a lot of my education and public speaking around tone around how fast you talk around enunciation around your ability to be present. Those were things I learned through debate primarily. Um, so if you want to be a great speaker, you need to really treat it with respect, you know, go to other events, watch speakers on YouTube, study, you know, how you can get better at your own talks, practice as much as you can, even if you're practicing for free, that is practice.

[00:52:20] Um, because again, I just, I want to make sure people know that like, just if you're an entrepreneur or an author, it does not mean you can be a good speaker.

[00:52:27] Josh: It's so true. It's like people who just think they can get on stage to start doing standup. Right. It's kind of like the same thing,

[00:52:32] Swish: Yeah,

[00:52:32] Josh: right? It is an art form. It's so right.

[00:52:35] Swish: Yup.

[00:52:37] Josh: Yeah. So for people who might want to look into this, are there things that you've done, like any YouTube videos? Are there things that you've done, to learn about the art form, to practice. Do you have a warm up routine? What does that all look like?

[00:52:49] Swish: I am a little bit unorthodox. I don't have a warmup routine. Um, other than I like to just quickly drink a glass of water before I go. Um, and I also don't talk with the scripts. Like I'm everything I do. All the TEDx talks I did were entirely unscripted. Um, I just find that when I have a script, I, I focus a lot more on memorization than engaging with the audience and reacting to them, you know?

[00:53:12] So if I made a joke, I like to laugh with the audience, you know, and I know it might be weird to laugh at your own joke, but it's nice to laugh with the audience to make people feel like it's a chill vibe. Uh, and not just another, like, you know, joke that the right, like reading out to you basically in the script, in their mind.

[00:53:28] Um, so yeah, that's maybe a little bit of foamy, just like a little bit unorthodox that way, but if you do obviously want to practice, I mean, YouTube is your best friend. Like there are a bunch of just public speaking. You know, best practices, tips that people have posted on YouTube. You can also equally just search up like speaker spotlight, and they have a bunch of videos from speakers at their bureau, and you can watch some of them and see, you know, which style do you like, which style do you not like because every person is different.

[00:53:54] Like my style might not resonate with you, but maybe Michelle Romanov style or Simon Sineck style will resonate with you a lot more. Or Gary V style resonated a lot more with you. So kind of pick, I think, who you want to follow, audit the people you follow, obviously, and then don't try to copy them, but try to take tips.

[00:54:11] You know, like one of the things I learned from Gary, you know, I spoke, I spoke with him at two conferences. You know, one of the conferences I spoke with him at, I just noticed how brilliant he was in Q and A, um, that's, in my opinion, the best part of his talk is when people can ask him questions and he can like make fun of them or he can make a really awesome joke at the right time and get people's attention and then give like, a, a kind of home run, answer to the question.

[00:54:37] So that's one amazing thing you can learn from Gary. You know, something you could probably learn from Michelle Romanov is to see emotion that she speaks with. You know, when she talks about her journey as an entrepreneur, you can kind of feel the pain she endured during some of those early moments of her building her Caviar business, or her building out Bytopia.

[00:54:55] So maybe there are things like that that you can pick up on as opposed to just, you know, trying to copy Gary, because there are a lot of people, candidly, who do that. And I just don't think it'll take you very far to be a carbon copy of a speaker that's already so famous.

[00:55:08] Josh: Oh, totally. Like they're already taken, like, people are going to book them. They want to hear from them and their style. But I love that point that you make about. Not memorizing a script. I think a lot of people would think, but they're going to script it out or maybe they'll have slides for something and they want to memorize it.

[00:55:21] So for you, like, do you just have like a certain, I mean, it's just, you're talking candidly, right? It's just your story. You're talking about what you've done. Like what do you kind of think about when you're kind of like quote unquote scripting or at least plotting out what you're going to speak to.

[00:55:33] Swish: Yeah. I mean, I think clarity is very important. So I try to only talk about things that I know about, even in Q and A, like if someone asked me a question about something I didn't know a lot about, I would preface my answer by saying by the way, I don't know a lot about this, but here's what I generally think by maybe one or two articles I read.

[00:55:48] So that's number one is whenever I speak, I, I think that comes down to authenticity as well. It's like, you need to be the real person that you are, which means going back to what you know, and staying away from what you don't know. Um, and so for me, when it comes to what I know, it's like mental health, it's entrepreneurship, it's personal branding on LinkedIn.

[00:56:06] These are things I can talk about forever because I've done it. So all I do is speak on my experiences and I don't feel like I need to script to tell people about my story and what I've done.

[00:56:15] Josh: Yeah, no, a hundred percent man. And that's the way to do it. I'm sure that comes through in your writing too, on LinkedIn and elsewhere.

[00:56:21] So I do want to get into that because I know that you had a pretty extensive LinkedIn journey and that's kind of where it seems like you're getting a lot of growth. I mean, Instagram to your verified on there.

[00:56:31] Maybe for when it comes to LinkedIn, how would you think about growing network and building a brand, a personal brand on LinkedIn? And you know, there's a lot of people that just put so much bullshit, to be candid, on LinkedIn. How do you stay away from that? How have you actually been able to build a following on there and still be yourself?

[00:56:49] Swish: I think two things. One is I think, gauged with a lot of people just on a very deeper level. Like for me, when I was starting up on LinkedIn four or five years ago, I used to comment back to every single person that I still try to do that. Um, so whenever I can I go into the comments, I reply to people. I asked her the question back, I thank them for their, for their comments.

[00:57:06] Um, so that's something I still do. And I think it helps to be able to like know that this person is not just posting content every four hours, but they actually are trying to care about their community and they are responding. And this kind of dialogue is a two way.

[00:57:21] The second thing is I also engage with my community across events, right. I hosted a bunch of LinkedIn local events, whether it was in Toronto, whether it was in Mumbai, whether it was in London, whether it was in Singapore, wherever I went for a speaking engagement, I just host a LinkedIn meetup. You know, whether it was 20 people that came out or a hundred people, I came out, we always had a good time. And again, it was a great way for someone to just get to know me as a person and know that this isn't just an avatar posting content every single hour.

[00:57:45] And then the third and final thing I think I did is also get on five minute calls with people, right? So if you can't go to a physical meetup, you know, comment back to certain people that you regularly see in your comments.

[00:57:55] Say, Hey, I'd love to get to know you. Thanks so much for dropping a few comments on I post. Are you free for five or 10 minutes next week? And just get to know them quickly, right? Like here's a little bit about me. What's going on in your world. What can I potentially help you with? All right. Thank you. Because the next time they see your profile, they're more likely to respond again and comment because they feel like they know you.

[00:58:15] So, those are just three things that come down to engagement, which is why I think I did fairly well on LinkedIn is because I actually cared about the community I was building.

[00:58:22] And then the second thing is collaboration, right? Once it started to post content and you're starting to build a community, mix your community with other people's community, right?

[00:58:31] For me, that was collaborating via video or articles or a hashtag campaign doing that with Aaron Orndorff, doing that with Mikayla Alexis, doing that with Allen Ganette, doing that with Buster, share a bunch of people who had their own community in various places in the world. But those people started to see me because we were posting content together. We were engaging with one another and it was a great kind of cross pollination of audience there.

[00:58:54] Josh: That's awesome, man. And it's, I think what you're really talking about here is like principles that are not just for LinkedIn, but just to be a social, human being. Right. It's like right now, we're kind of like texting and most of the time on this little like rectangle thingy. You know, it's just kind of like, I think we'll look back on it kind of like writing people letters and stuff, and this platform, even now, like with, um, with Tik Tok where it's a little bit more personal where like you're stitching and you're doing like responding on video.

[00:59:19] So I guess like maybe at the beginning, why did you choose LinkedIn to kind of really go all in and then what kind of platforms would you think about now, if you were to start again?

[00:59:27] Swish: I definitely pick LinkedIn still because I find that like there's 80 million monthly active users on LinkedIn and yet only 5% of them post on a weekly basis. So there's a massive white space and LinkedIn by no means is saturated. When it comes to content, let alone high quality content.

[00:59:42] Um, you know, if I was born maybe four or five years after I was born, I might've been on Tik Tok candidly. Like I just think it's obviously pretty straightforward. It's basically just an app where you come on, put out some positivity, you dance. You post something insightful or creative and they have some engine in the backend. I think it's artificial, but it's some artificial engine, that'll put you in front of a bunch of people and kind of allow you to grow that way.

[01:00:08] Um, and then I think the ones I would stay away from like Snapchat, I would stay away from Facebook. Um, I would like, you know, use Twitter, but like, maybe not as much because it's kind of only relevant if you're like in the PR world or the gaming world, in my opinion. Um, not as relevant for all types of other people.

[01:00:29] I feel like Instagram again, it's just the go-to option. Like Instagram, LinkedIn, andTikTok, I don't think you can go wrong with those three platforms right now.

[01:00:36] Josh: Yeah, totally. And it's funny, cause I thought the exact same thing about Twitter and I totally slept on Twitter up until about last year. And now I finally just somehow I don't know how, but through COVID I was like, I'm just going to try this Twitter thing. I've been finding so many great people for this podcast, connecting with so many great people.

[01:00:51] And I finally just created this community where I knew anytime I opened up that app, I'm going to learn something that's like relevant to me. And I guess it's just how you use it. Right. Just how you've built up that initial network. Um, how did you think about that for LinkedIn, for you? Like when you were first starting that network, when you first got on there, how did you first get that small little snowball rolling to start building that up quicker and quicker?

[01:01:12] Swish: I think it was a, like, just consistency of content with something I was thinking a lot about. Right. Like I want to make sure that I'm not just posting once a week, but I wanted to make sure that people were seeing me and just were also like, who is this kid? That was the question I was trying to evoke with people.

[01:01:26] So I was posting almost every day. I wasn't trying to be annoying though. Right. Like I was actually sharing like valuable content, whether it was a video, a photo, or just like, uh, uh, an interview that I had written up with a high net worth individual or whether it was just a post that I made on my own asking people a question because I was a college student and didn't know too much. Um, so those were things I did in past consistency, collaboration community.

[01:01:48] I think candidly, the last thing I really cared a lot about with just connecting with people. So for me, like I know a lot of people are a little scared of getting random connection requests, but I didn't mind, you know.

[01:01:59] Like if someone connected to me, I just accepted because it's not Facebook. I don't have my birthday photos on it. I don't have personal information on LinkedIn. If someone wants to professionally connect with me, I will accept them up until the point they're weird. If they're weird, I'll just block them and then we'll move on. But for me, I just accepted every connection request I got on LinkedIn as well.

[01:02:16] And I was also quite shameless about sending connection requests to people. I didn't know. So if I found someone really cool who I was like, I want to kind of connect with them and talk to them. I sent them a connection request right away. Um, and I'd always try to personalize it as well. Like add a message because that people wouldn't just scroll through and skip by my name. They would actually see the message I sent.

[01:02:35] Josh: Totally. Okay. That's awesome. Thanks for those tips, man. That's amazing. And so what are you thinking about now, like in terms of your. At work, building out. Cause you're still young man. Like you're three years younger than me. I only know that because you said 97, that same year as my brother who is also a episode 40, he talks about LinkedIn.

[01:02:51] So he has like a whole course and he teaches people how to use LinkedIn effectively for sales and doing really well. So, so funny. Somehow the 97's, you guys all love, LinkedIn, everyone thinks is for older people. Nope. 97's, man. Um, that's so funny.

[01:03:05] So it's so funny that you guys are like, thinking about that, but for you now, like how are you building out your, your network now? What are you thinking about now? Um, are you still just going back to LinkedIn? How are you building up your network now and how are you? Because you're still a young man. Like if you're going to look back on this, there's still yet another little note in the network.

[01:03:21] Like as I'm seeing what's happening with Trufan, I'm sure something will happen. There'll be a turning point for you there. Maybe you exit it, maybe like you sell it, maybe there's an acqui-hire of you guys. I'm sure something will happen and you'll go on to the next stage.

[01:03:33] So how are you thinking about that right now? Like what are you doing for that next step?

[01:03:38] Swish: Yeah. I mean, honestly, I'm enjoying my time when a lot, like, I, I feel like in when I was 20, 21, 22, I was in like a very, you know, Overly exhausting building mode, like across the board, like building the business, building my network, building my lifestyle building, where I was going to live, building my friend group, all of that.

[01:03:55] And now I just feel like there's a lot of things that are calm. Like, you know, I have a really awesome core group of friends in Toronto. I know that Toronto is going to be my home base for the foreseeable future. Um, I know the vision of where trufan is going. I have built a network that I'm really happy about, whether it's in the world of VC or entertainment or influencers, celebrities, sports space.

[01:04:15] I know that I have people I can reach out to where I'm kind of one degree connection away from a lot of people that I might want to meet down the road. I really have no reason though to meet them now. Like I have nothing I can provide them.

[01:04:24] Um, so I'm a little bit comfortable, honestly. Like I'm, I'm just feeling like I'm in a position where I can now just fully absorb my time with trufan, you know, launch cool new products like surf, hopefully that'll hopefully do well. Um, and, and just go from there.

[01:04:38] So that's pretty much the only thing on my radar right now is Surf, and then probably traveling, you know, I haven't taken a vacation in like three years, so I want to take a vacation ideally, and in October, hopefully go to Costa Rica with a few friends and then go from there.

[01:04:50] Josh: That's awesome, man. Well, I'm glad to hear that super inspiring. Like you get to focus on your vision and I can just live. But yeah, you're still building things, but now you have a team to help carry the weight. You're doing some awesome stuff. And then of course, vacations are much needed. I just got back from one last week. That's why I'm so fucking dark right now. And if it looks like it through here, I'm like 10 degrees fucking darker than I normally am.

[01:05:11] And it's nice to be able to do it. Right. And you talked about mental health before. It's so fucking important to like, you know, think about that part.

[01:05:17] I think over COVID although yeah, you were working from home. I feel like most people were working way more than they were before. They were like killing themselves. Like, cause no one really knows how to work remotely. I'm glad that over the last couple of years, my, my company was remote, years ago. I was doing a lot of freelance work and I was used to working from home, but people don't have that distinction.

[01:05:36] So it's good that you have that on off switch.

[01:05:38] Swish: it's so important to me. Right. Like for me, I definitely was working way more hours during COVID than I was not. And then even when I wasn't working, like it wasn't like I was living a stress free life because I was gaming. And for me, like gaming is similar to basketball. I'm extremely competitive. Um, and so is my co-founder and he's quite a big gamer as well. So we were both playing Call of Duty and just trying to do well in the competitive rankings.

[01:06:01] Um, so yeah, I mean, like now that things are opening up and I can actually go outside and play golf and play tennis and travel, those are the things I want to do because I genuinely find those to be the most relaxing moments of my life, where my mind is free to think. And also to just like indulge in new experiences and not feel like I'm just growing older every single day.

[01:06:22] Josh: So true. And that's where your best work comes out. Right? You get the best ideas in the shower. And when you're playing

[01:06:27] Swish: Honestly, the shower, the shower is like the worst for me, because I literally keep my phone right beside now, because if I have a good thought, I need to text myself. There'll be moments. I remember in Calgary, when I go back home to where, like my mom just doesn't want me to ever bring electronics into my bedroom or into the shower.

[01:06:42] She was like, adamant that I put it in the kitchen so that it doesn't like mess with my head. Um, but literally they've been moments in Calgary where like, she's gone to go and teach. I'm like showering in the in the bathroom. I think of an idea. And I run out with like my towel and just have to text myself quickly with shampoo in my hair.

[01:06:59] So yeah.

[01:07:02] Josh: I love that. That's hilarious. But we do back on the gaming though, because I've had about a seven month dry spell of not playing any games. Yeah, man. That's bad for your mental health. People think that playing too many video games bad for your mental health. No, I'm telling you right now, guys, it's the other way around.

[01:07:18] So what are you playing now? You've mentioned. Call of duty. What do you mainly play?

[01:07:21] Swish: I just switched over to Split Gate. Um, so it's a free to play, first person shooter. It basically Halo mixed with Portal. Um, it came out about, uh, two years ago and it came out mainly on PC, initially. It didn't do as well on PC. And then they launched their console version about three months ago in may, they had about 600 concurrent users.

[01:07:42] They now have about 115,000 concurrent users, and it's literally like four people out of San Francisco who dropped out of Stanford and created this company 10 47 games. Every single Friday, their founder will come on and just answer questions from the community. Like, are these bugs going to be fixed? What's going to be built on next. When is the next update coming out? When is the next season starting?

[01:08:01] So it's really cool that like they're very interactive with their community and their game is amazing. It's so much fun. It's nice to find. I was getting a little bit bored about war zone. I was getting really bored about Fornite. I was getting really bored about two K. Um, so I was kind of looking for another game that might challenge me in a different way, and halo meets portal is actually quite a challenging too, when it comes to like not only having to be kind of good at gun still, but also having to be pretty good at like where to portal, when to portal, how you go about portaling, all of that,

[01:08:29] Josh: Wow. Okay. I'm gonna check that out. What's the name of the game again?

[01:08:32] Swish: uh, Split Gate. It's a freedom. It's a free to play game. It's a free to play game too. That's really cool.

[01:08:37] Josh: It's on PC and consoles?

[01:08:39] Swish: PC and console now, yeah.

[01:08:40] Josh: Oh, man, I'm going to check that out, but you bring up a good point, man. It's like, almost like I'm playing 4D chess, right? Like it's not just about shooting, running gunning. Fornite kind of started that with the building, but now it's like, you really have to think a couple moves ahead.

[01:08:53] And I, I always talk about, um, gaming in terms of life and also with business and how you think about strategy. Um, I personally have this like mental model in my mind that like our life and like reality that we kind of built as a society is like an MMO RPG. Right, it makes total sense. And using that mental model, you can talk about leveling up and connecting and building clans and stuff.

[01:09:15] Do you feel the same way? Do you have the same sort of like mental model when it comes to like our real life, when it comes to gaming?

[01:09:20] Swish: I mean like the worlds of simulation,

[01:09:23] Josh: Hm.

[01:09:24] Swish: I mean, I do believe that in a, in a, not like an Elon Musk way, but just in the way it's like, you know, life is a pretty predictable and cyclical, concept. Um, so I see it exactly like you do. It's like you're playing a video game, candidly.

[01:09:38] Where there's, you know, objectives to do. There is benefits for those objectives. There is obstacles in front of you. There is obviously the benefit of being able to ally with other people. So it's yeah, you nailed it. It's essentially, an MMO RPG obviously without the violence, hopefully, but yeah.

[01:09:56] Josh: This is violence and other ways. So, yeah. And you know, and you're building your clans by building companies, right? So I think there's something to be said about this, like the connection here. I think it's a really interesting.

[01:10:07] Swish: Of the, one of the board games, I played a lot growing up as a game of life and I love that game. It's a, it's one of the games I actually think most kids should play growing up. It's so fun to just think about like, like I literally was learning about like mortgages and saving money and, like picking my career properly. Like, those were things that we're thinking about playing the game of life. Pretty, pretty neat game.

[01:10:25] Josh: It is, but I'm also thinking about it the other way, where that might put people to sleep in a certain sense where they're like, kind of like programmed to do life in a certain way. Whereas like, you know, you're, you're, um, a pretty good example of like, you can go off the beaten path. You don't have to go on that, that roller coaster of life and you can start building your own paths.

[01:10:42] And that's kind of where I'm starting to think about how can I teach people that? I think you just did it kind of naturally it seems, but how would you teach people that almost like that awakening moment of like, hey, you can go on your own path, you can do your own thing and you can start playing a game the way you want to play it, start building your own rules.

[01:10:58] Swish: I mean, I think it's just the way the world is working. It seems like technology has made everything easier and faster and cheaper, right? So like creating a startup now is so much more affordable. Literally setting up Shopify store is like the extent to which you need to really set up an e-commerce store now. Right. And that is insanely cheaper than it was 30 or 40 years ago, where if you were building software companies, you need to have servers that cost it literally a fortune to be able to set up and run and process and manage.

[01:11:27] I think it's just worth noting that everything has become incredibly democratized. Like whether it's information like YouTube, Udemy, Masterclass, Maven, all these platforms that are coming up are just disseminating information at a faster level for anyone to learn about anything.

[01:11:43] And it means that yes, college is important for certain tracks. If you want to be a lawyer, you should definitely go to college. If you want to be a doctor, you should definitely go to college. You know, if you want to be an engineer and you want to work at Intel, you probably should go to college. But it doesn't mean that these other career paths that are actually becoming very viable career paths, like being a Twitch streamer, or being a gamer, being an entrepreneur, like you don't need to follow the standard route for those careers.

[01:12:07] Again, as. You test out whether you're actually good at these certain things by starting something from scratch and seeing if it works and also being able to hopefully have a good network around you where you can support yourself.

[01:12:19] Um, so I do encourage people when they're creating their first business to just think about what their fallback is, right.

[01:12:24] For me, my fallback would go back to college, but for some people it's not go back to college and it's also not get a job. You know, you're putting yourself in a really risky position, but just think about what your fall back is. And if you had a job before, see if you can even build a company from scratch while you're working at the job and then leave the job only when you feel like you really cannot manage both.

[01:12:45] Um, that would be my kind of biggest advice when it comes to maybe going off the path off of the normal path to success, if you will.

[01:12:52] Josh: Yeah, totally. I always tell people that too, like, don't quit your job until at least like your side hustle, whatever that business is, is like making more than what you're currently making. And that

[01:13:00] Swish: Making more exactly. Or you like, you know, for me, you with raising round, right? Like the minute I raised my round, my mom was fine with me dropping out. Like We were able to work on Dunk for about a year and a half, and then obviously from Dunk was great to be able to go from there and build out, build out Trufan.

[01:13:15] Josh: Yeah. And I like to hear this kind of distinction. There's like the bootstrappers and these people who go for VC funding. Obviously you've gone from the VC funding. What is the pros and cons versus trying to go it yourself.

[01:13:26] Swish: So there's definitely a few, I mean, obviously bootstrapping ownership wise, you'll be left with a bigger piece of the pie, um, than you would when you give up obviously parts of your company and every single round. Um, bootstrapping also, especially if you're talking about like a company that scales using the VC model, bootstrapping might allow you to control your company as well, in a sense of like decision-making, ownership over like who you hire, what sort of vision you chase, where you don't really have other like board of directors and people that might be able to have a vote or saying your company.

[01:13:58] And I think bootstrapping is also great because. You don't really have investors, right? So you don't really need to like be in that company if you lose like love for it. You know, it's obviously a little bit challenging with investors because like, if you like, get out of love with your company, or you don't really want to do this anymore, you might be screwing people along the way when you leave, right.

[01:14:18] So you are a little bit under the hook, if you will, and kind of put under pressure to make sure that you continue to work on this project, because you are at really the mercy of your investor, you want to give a good return to them, so that hopefully if you do something down the road, you can work with them again.

[01:14:33] So that's like maybe the pros for bootstrapping, but obviously there's a bunch of pros for VC. You know, you're, you, you bring on money that you can scale quicker with whether it's hiring faster, building out a product quicker, being able to get into a wider market quicker.

[01:14:47] Um, there's obviously the benefit of bringing on experts, hopefully. Um, so if you tooth your VC properly, they might have operational expertise in your area that you can leverage for introductions, for advice literally on how to run the company, grow it and hire well, et cetera.

[01:15:02] And I think there maybe lastly, its credibility as well, right? Depending on what VC you bring on, um, your company might get a lot more press. That's just the way the world works. I wish it didn't, but you know, tech crunch normally reports on the fundraising rounds, they don't report on, you know, big partnerships that bootstrap companies had. Um, that's just the way the world. Right?

[01:15:22] And then obviously credibility also with, in terms of like customers, right? If they see that you're a venture backed company and they see like, oh, Andreessen, Horowitz, or Sequoia funded, you, they might actually give you the time of day to go and talk to their team and see if they're potentially the partnership or potentially even a way to like come on to the company, if you're a potential hire or even be a, be a customer.

[01:15:42] So I think credibility is also another thing that might come down the VC path.

[01:15:47] Josh: totally. Yeah, man. That's awesome. I love the, I love your 2 cents on that and I know we're coming around for time now and you've been super generous with your time. I really appreciate it, man. Um, so I do have some final questions for you before we get going.

[01:15:59] So the biggest thing I want to know too, so like, we've been talking about like you giving advice to other people, giving advice to me and subsequently, people listening. What advice would you give yourself your 16 year old self right now, if you were, if you had him on the other side of this call?

[01:16:12] Swish: I mean, stay patient and, uh, and don't sweat the small stuff, you know, I think it was like 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 or years where like, I just overstressed over complicated a lot of things, because I was like very worried about my future. And, you know, I think it's understandable because like, especially when I was 20, I was considering dropping out and it was an insanely difficult decision because I come from an Asian family where every single member of my family either graduated law school or has a master's degree. And so for me, not to even complete my bachelor's degree was like a, whoa, what the hell happened?

[01:16:42] Um, Realizing that like in the end, I mean, the problems that we had this year, two to three years from now, we laugh at them, you know, like they're not really big problems. So I just wish that, like, that was something I definitely told my 16 year old self is like, don't stress.

[01:16:58] Like if anything, high school was so much easier than what I'm doing now, college was so much easier than what I'm doing now. Um, thankfully I love what I do now, which definitely makes it easier. But at the same time, like, you know, I just feel like as you grow older and older and older, more responsibility get tapped onto you, you kind of maybe think back and maybe think that, oh, like I probably shouldn't have stressed that much about my life in, in those earlier in those earlier years.

[01:17:24] Josh: Totally. And then you almost like, I always find whenever I give myself this kind of advice, you're almost like your older self telling yourself right now.

[01:17:32] Tell him myself, literally right now, like whatever I'm feeling right now, it may seem stressful, but I gonna look back on it five, 10 years from now. Is it even gonna matter? Even if it does not a big thing.

[01:17:42] Swish: If I do this podcast at 32, I hope I don't get that same advice. Cause I just gave that advice to my 16 year old self, and I'm pretty sure that like my 32 year old self is going to give my 24 year old self the same advice as well, right. So I I'm very much trying to live by the advice I just gave to my 16 year old self.

[01:17:59] Josh: That's awesome, man. And, um, okay. So if you had $1 billion to advertise, $1 billion advertising budget to spread a message to the world, what would that be?

[01:18:11] Swish: Climate change is real. And I would, uh, hopefully accompanied with a lot of, you know, very true facts about how the world is getting warmer, climates are being destroyed. Um, and we are, we are, we're killing people in many countries as well with, uh, dramatic weather changes that are happening that it's not a coincidence.

[01:18:29] It doesn't just happen because the world is built like this it's manmade in many ways. So that would be my billion dollar campaign. It's explaining to people that, especially in the south, climate change,

[01:18:40] Josh: Damn, that's heavy, man, but it's so true. Um, I actually just read when your articles Nature 2.0, uh, I'll link in the description for anyone who wants to get into it, but I actually did want to ask you about this, um, for ask my final, final question.

[01:18:53] Um, you did talk about, um, climate change and you also talked about the sort of, uh, alternative meat companies, and obviously, I mean, one of the things I, I'm personally a vegetarian, pescatarian technically, but, one of the reasons that made me stop eating meat was the, uh, climate component to it. Was that something that, do you still eat meat or is that something that you now think about?

[01:19:15] Swish: Yeah. I mean, I've cut back dramatically. Um, you're a really great person. I don't know if I have the will to quit chicken just yet, because if I quit chicken, I actually don't know if where my source of protein would come from. Um,

[01:19:28] Josh: I'll give you another episode. I just recorded an episode last week with this really amazing vegan chef, Doug McNish and he talked about a lot of different, protein alternatives. One that I didn't even think about was hemp seeds. He's like you put that in smoothie and gets more than you don't even need protein powder. Hemp seeds, you're good to go. There's so many alternative things.

[01:19:47] Swish: I'd love to listen to that a hundred percent. So, I mean, other than that, though, I don't eat beef. I don't eat lamb. I don't eat pork. I don't need any of that type of stuff, duck or whatever.

[01:19:55] Um, but I was really interested in that article because there's obviously so many other alternatives now, right? Like Nuggs for example, like their chicken nuggets legitimately tastes like chicken. So, you know, obviously they aren't right now in stores in Canada, you have to order online, but I can't wait till they come up to the Sobey's and the Loblaws here in Canada, because I'll be, I'll be getting that forever.

[01:20:15] Josh: Oh, dude, check out. Good Rebel Vegan. It's a small, it's a small shop here on Queens. I live in vegan dale, so I have so many options around me. You can order, I think they'll even deliver it, but they have beyond meat, chicken nuggets. And it's exactly like nugs, man. You'll love it. It is so good.

[01:20:30] Swish: Good. Good rebels?

[01:20:32] Josh: Good Rebel Vegan.

[01:20:34] Swish: Got it.

[01:20:35] Josh: Yeah, man. So that's awesome. I'm glad that there's people like you, like actually thinking about that. And I think as more as more of these alternative meats come more available and there's other things we have more education about it.

[01:20:44] It's kind of like the electric vehicle thing, right? When it's cheaper to just have a Tesla or another electric vehicle than paying for gas, it's going sense for everyone to switch over. And I think it's a matter of time where it will make sense.

[01:20:54] Swish: absolutely.

[01:20:56] Josh: Because you just want that burger. You don't really care if it's from a cow or not.

[01:20:59] Swish: literally.

[01:21:01] Josh: All right, man. Um, last question. I love to end this off on every podcast. Um, what's something that you're really excited about coming up?

[01:21:08] Swish: Surf. Um, you know, I I'm just so amped, like, I think this is going to be cool, you know, just to see if people actually believe in the thesis that I've been talking about, right. Sharing data is totally fine. If I get something in return, I want to prove that hypothesis out now on a much bigger level.

[01:21:24] And so putting surf in action, Google Chrome, Safari, firefox and Opera are going to be the first browsers that you can get the extension on. We're hoping that within six to eight months after launch, we'll be able to get a mobile application spun up, as well.

[01:21:37] Um, and ya, get points for free. Get points for doing something you already do on a everyday basis. That's what we're trying to appeal to consumers with, and so pretty excited to be able to get that out in, in mid-September.

[01:21:48] Josh: Awesome. And where can people find out a little bit more about you, connect with you, and where can they learn more about Trufan?

[01:21:54] Swish: Uh, so LinkedIn, um, Swish Goswami on LinkedIn. Um, if you just search up S W I S H hopefully the only switch in your network and then Trufan, trufan.io.

[01:22:05] Josh: Awesome, man. Okay. Well, this was such a pleasure, man. I really appreciate you taking the time to chat with me. Melding of the minds.

[01:22:12] Swish: Absolutely. It was super fun. Thank you so much for having me and, uh, and very excited to hopefully do this again at eight years.

[01:22:18] Josh: Yeah. Or hopefully before that, and maybe we'll do another tech house or something. I'm sure we'll do another podcast. Maybe an in-person event will be really cool. Some kind of entrepreneurship, meetups and Toronto. I'm super thankful. You're in Toronto still. So that's awesome, man. Okay. Well, dude, this was great. We'll definitely do this again.

[01:22:33] And good luck on the launch of, of surf man. This is going to be really cool. I'm going to sign up for it right away. I know I'm going to try it out on my Brave Browser, so I get crypto and regular rewards. And I'm excited to see how this goes, man. Man, I'm really excited about it.

[01:22:48] Swish: Thanks so much, Josh. Appreciate it.

[01:22:49] Josh: Cool. Take care man.

Thanks for coming this far! if you're reading this, it is no accident. The universe brought you to this corner of the internet for a reason, and you're on the right track. I already know that you're an amazing person and I can't wait to connect with you!

— Josh

Episode Transcript

Josh Gonsalves
Mind Meld Podcast Host

Hi, I'm Josh Gonsalves, the host and producer of Mind Meld. I'm also a Canadian Academy Award-nominated director and Co-founder of Contraverse, an immersive media company. I'm a multi-media experience designer living and working in Toronto, operating at the intersection of design and exponential technologies to develop solutions that change the world for the better.

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