00:00:00 Joe Barhoum
I had the pleasure to sit down with my good friend Joe Graves, the founder of Workshed, an the founder of Hiva, a social purpose company, that we started together. Last year. We helped a lot of small businesses in the Northwest raise money during difficult times when they were partially open, or sometimes not open at all, and Joe’s mission in life is to help people be more mindful about where they spend and invest their money as well. Save their money.
00:00:22 Joe Barhoum
It’s a really interesting conversation.
00:00:23 Joe Barhoum
Definitely gets deep and philosophical at times.
00:00:25 Joe Barhoum
There’s some laughter and joy.
00:00:26 Joe Barhoum
It’s not all you know, heavy in the brain, but it’s good stuff.
00:00:29 Joe Barhoum
So I really do think you’ll enjoy the episode.
00:00:31 Joe Barhoum
Take the time to watch.
00:00:33 Joe Barhoum
And if you haven’t already, go out to Amazon and pick up my book.
00:00:36 Joe Barhoum
The great sellers playbook.
00:00:37 Joe Barhoum
It does help me continue to do this, and I know that there are quite a few of you out there who enjoy it.
00:00:41 Joe Barhoum
So thank you for all of your comments.
00:00:43 Joe Barhoum
Thank you for the likes and thank you for.
00:00:44 Joe Barhoum
Listening and watching cheers.
00:00:46 Joe Barhoum
00:00:47 Joe Barhoum
After two years, maybe a little more here we are, I finally got you on the grinding Gravy podcast.
00:00:53 Joe Barhoum
I think you were scheduled.
00:00:54 Joe Barhoum
Like a year and a half ago or something, right?
00:00:56 Joe Barhoum
And then it just fell through.
00:00:58 Joe Graves
That’s right, well, I think.
00:00:59 Joe Graves
Yeah, it was supposed to be over at the front of the building.
00:01:03 Joe Barhoum
00:01:04 Joe Graves
Yeah, there’s going to be an in person one.
00:01:05 Joe Graves
00:01:06 Joe Barhoum
Yeah, that would have been a lot better honestly.
00:01:08 Joe Graves
00:01:09 Joe Graves
Maybe I mean you’re a big time, so it took us like months out.
00:01:13 Joe Graves
You had all these guests scheduled your.
00:01:16 Joe Barhoum
We were knocking those out.
00:01:17 Joe Barhoum
There’s a lot of fun.
00:01:18 Joe Graves
Yeah, it’s been a long time.
00:01:19 Joe Graves
00:01:20 Joe Barhoum
Yeah, this is fun too.
00:01:22 Joe Barhoum
I I enjoy this.
00:01:23 Joe Barhoum
You know people who are watching this may not know that you and I actually go back a while now and we actually we worked on a project together.
00:01:31 Joe Barhoum
We’re still working on it right, but it had a big peak during the spring and the.
00:01:35 Joe Barhoum
Summer and then kind of, you know, settled down as we retool our products.
00:01:39 Joe Barhoum
But you know, I thought just for the viewing audience.
00:01:41 Joe Barhoum
I would just kind of let them in on this.
00:01:43 Joe Barhoum
I don’t normally undress during a podcast, but I am wearing one of our products.
00:01:49 Joe Barhoum
So it’s a good opportunity for me to have a comfy podcast instead of being buttoned up.
00:01:53 Joe Graves
That’s where you should.
00:01:54 Joe Graves
I wonder what I meant.
00:01:55 Joe Graves
You should have let me in on the Oh yeah, I got.
00:01:57 Joe Graves
My jujitsu one.
00:01:58 Joe Barhoum
Alright, alright that’s not on the website.
00:02:01 Joe Graves
Now it’s not.
00:02:02 Joe Barhoum
No, but there’s a connection here, so hyvaa right which is a social purpose company you founded.
00:02:08 Joe Barhoum
It’s it is.
00:02:09 Joe Barhoum
Designed to help organisations raise money, but for good causes, right?
00:02:15 Joe Barhoum
Socially infused socially purpose infused.
00:02:19 Joe Barhoum
Revenue generation tell us about it.
00:02:21 Joe Graves
Yeah, well, the idea is to just obviously, as you well know, to tie economics with causes, right?
00:02:27 Joe Graves
So while we didn’t set out last year to be T shirt consultants, T shirts were a very interesting way to connect communities and causes.
00:02:36 Joe Graves
And everybody likes T shirts.
00:02:37 Joe Graves
So it was kind of an easy entrance into getting things off the ground.
00:02:41 Joe Graves
Obviously, the mission’s a lot bigger than just T shirts, but.
00:02:45 Joe Graves
Really aligning economic decisions with things that we care about and should care about was really kind of a.
00:02:52 Joe Graves
If we want to get into the meta, what what?
00:02:55 Joe Graves
That was all.
00:02:55 Joe Barhoum
About, well, the connection between Hiva and specifically the shirt you were wearing is that sort of where the Genesis of the T shirts began, not necessarily the company itself, right?
00:03:06 Joe Graves
That’s right, yeah, actually yeah, I guess.
00:03:08 Joe Graves
So it was last March at at the gym I train at in campus.
00:03:14 Joe Graves
The city that I grew up in.
00:03:16 Joe Graves
My professor wanting to do something for at that time it’s kind of crazy.
00:03:20 Joe Graves
It’s been almost a year now, but you know, Covid lockdown had just hit an it.
00:03:26 Joe Graves
Streets were vacant, right in in a town that’s normally vibrant and he just wanted to do something that would help the other merchants that weren’t able to stay in.
00:03:36 Joe Graves
That’s not go out of business, but at that you know there was a lot of uncertainty at that time, and I had some ideas about getting shirts printed.
00:03:44 Joe Graves
So we just let’s do it, and that’s where we got started and there was a lot of let’s do it and figure it out on the.
00:03:50 Joe Graves
Yeah, on the way, but that’s where that’s where we got going.
00:03:54 Joe Barhoum
Yeah, definitely a lot of that. And then we moved from campus to Happy Valley, which is why I’m wearing the happy Valley together. Shirt was pretty cool. We were on the news rather I’m coin or K2.
00:03:58 Joe Graves
Which is true?
00:04:02 Joe Graves
00:04:05 Joe Graves
K2 yeah, that’s right. Or five interesting, yeah.
00:04:06 Joe Barhoum
Yeah, every day here is.
00:04:08 Joe Barhoum
Yeah, that was pretty fun.
00:04:09 Joe Barhoum
We got to shoot a little segment with our masks on and then you know fist bump or elbow bump or something where the protocol
00:04:14 Joe Barhoum
Was at the time, yeah?
00:04:15 Joe Barhoum
Yeah yeah, then then, when the lights were off.
00:04:19 Joe Barhoum
00:04:19 Joe Graves
Yeah yeah, yeah I.
00:04:21 Joe Barhoum
Think nobody has to know.
00:04:23 Joe Graves
What happens off camera stays off camera.
00:04:26 Joe Barhoum
Like I’m being bombarded by.
00:04:27 Joe Barhoum
One of my kids in the middle of a recording that’s always fun.
00:04:31 Joe Barhoum
But anyhow, so so, aside from the shirts, though, tell us about yourself because you’re you know, no offense Joe, but you’re not right out of college.
00:04:40 Joe Barhoum
You done some other things.
00:04:42 Joe Barhoum
What have you done?
00:04:43 Joe Graves
Yeah, well, a little bit of everything, but I think you know if you look at my career or whatever you want to call that, I’ve always.
00:04:49 Joe Graves
I guess I’ve tried to not separate career and personal life and not necessarily fuse them.
00:04:54 Joe Graves
But this is just an aspect of my life.
00:04:57 Joe Graves
My my economic life my.
00:04:59 Joe Graves
Civic life you know?
00:05:01 Joe Graves
I spent 12 years as an investment advisor, so that sort of gave me a perspective on the economy and our communities and people, and in a bunch of different dynamics that you maybe wouldn’t expect from the research side, it exposed me to ideas and concepts.
00:05:17 Joe Graves
Like I said at the sort of macroeconomic level, and then at the really practical level, what happens with?
00:05:23 Joe Graves
Our investments how do they help or hinder our communities?
00:05:27 Joe Graves
And then I left that went to work with my dad who owned a trucking company.
00:05:31 Joe Graves
So I got to see a whole different aspect of of Commerce.
00:05:37 Joe Graves
Actually, that’s that’s in reverse. I left my dad’s trucking company didn’t get into investing. That’s funny, but anyway.
00:05:43 Joe Barhoum
That’s a small detail.
They got it.
00:05:45 Joe Graves
Yeah, I guess that’s a.
00:05:46 Joe Graves
A you know a part of being Gray at this point is you invert your storyline, but at any rate.
00:05:53 Joe Graves
So I in trucking went into investing, started my own firm after I was at a low income or the regional national firms and then from there ultimately left investing.
00:06:03 Joe Graves
Just getting the feeling that increasingly so we made it through 2008.
00:06:09 Joe Graves
Protected clients money.
00:06:10 Joe Graves
That type of thing, but just feeling like kind of part of the problem as a systemic problem where if you think about investing in mutual funds in the stock market, it’s really just kind of an abstraction of businesses like Boeing doesn’t care if you own them right?
00:06:24 Joe Graves
They don’t get any benefit if you own the stock or don’t own the stock and yet all around us, you know our small businesses that are largely.
00:06:32 Joe Graves
You know the heart of our economic health?
00:06:34 Joe Graves
They create the jobs.
00:06:35 Joe Graves
They make life better in communities.
00:06:38 Joe Graves
You know, maybe they have trouble getting financing.
00:06:40 Joe Graves
Maybe they have trouble scaling.
00:06:41 Joe Graves
Maybe they have troubled operations.
00:06:43 Joe Graves
It just wasn’t healthy, and so you know you have this globalism movement that’s been happening for the last 20 years, and as I just looked around it was like this system is.
00:06:52 Joe Graves
I’m not gonna say it’s flawed, but it’s the system we’re operating under and we can use capitalism.
00:06:57 Joe Graves
If you want to call it that.
00:06:59 Joe Graves
For a variety of outcomes and right now, we just seem to be optimizing for.
00:07:03 Joe Graves
00:07:03 Joe Graves
Short term economic ones as opposed to more holistic hey, how can we use the system we have for health and Wellness for as many people in species as possible?
00:07:13 Joe Graves
You just get different.
00:07:14 Joe Graves
You know decision making frameworks when you do that.
00:07:16 Joe Graves
And so I left that and kind of spent the last.
00:07:19 Joe Graves
Six or seven years on a variety of projects trying to learn one aspect or another about what can we do?
00:07:25 Joe Graves
How can we leverage technology?
00:07:26 Joe Graves
How can we make better decisions around our communities and using?
00:07:31 Joe Graves
Ultimately, I my decision or my my.
00:07:34 Joe Graves
Conclusion was that we all make thousands of economic decisions a year.
00:07:38 Joe Graves
It might be.
00:07:39 Joe Graves
Where do I get gas?
00:07:41 Joe Graves
Where do I get this sandwich?
00:07:42 Joe Graves
00:07:42 Joe Graves
Where do I invest?
00:07:43 Joe Graves
My money would be kind of like the end game, but many many, many, many decisions that lead to either improving our economies and our our communities or or taking away from and lots of good people make decisions that are really.
00:07:57 Joe Graves
I’m gonna say exploitive, but it.
00:07:59 Joe Graves
Maybe that’s a little extreme for you know some of these decisions, but at a minimum they are detrimental.
00:08:04 Joe Graves
To our to our communities when you aggregate them over thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of decisions, so that’s really what I’m focused on now.
00:08:12 Joe Graves
And you know, the T shirts were an expression of that.
00:08:15 Joe Graves
Maybe you know a very benign one.
00:08:18 Joe Graves
But the goal is to really shape and and reshape how people you know, make these decisions.
00:08:24 Joe Graves
You know, daily basis to optimize for health and Wellness.
00:08:28 Joe Barhoum
Well, nothing that you’re saying is political, but ultimately I think a lot of when issues like this take center stage.
00:08:37 Joe Barhoum
They tend to become politicized sure, and follow me on.
00:08:41 Joe Barhoum
This is my.
00:08:41 Joe Barhoum
Hopefully I don’t trip over my own feet, but well, I think I think there are people who want to do good things, but but perhaps.
00:08:48 Joe Barhoum
The mindshare is in the battle for mindshare, ends up being highly polarized, right?
00:08:53 Joe Barhoum
It’s like, well, if you want to have health care for everybody, then you’re on this side of the aisle.
00:08:58 Joe Barhoum
And so you must also believe these things.
00:09:01 Joe Barhoum
And then it’s really hard to have to find middle ground, have conversation actually make change.
00:09:05 Joe Barhoum
One of the things I love about your mindset and the things that you actually have done, and you’ve given me an opportunity.
00:09:10 Joe Barhoum
The same things is, you’re actually just doing stuff, right?
00:09:14 Joe Barhoum
It’s not really about we’re going to create this like special interest Group, and we’re going to raise all kinds of money.
00:09:19 Joe Barhoum
And then we’re gonna go talk to this person in politics.
00:09:21 Joe Barhoum
And then this elected official, we’re going to make all these things happen.
00:09:24 Joe Barhoum
And hopefully within 20 years.
00:09:26 Joe Barhoum
Damn, you’re actually giving small businesses you’re helping put money back in their pockets during a time when they were struggling and there’s a lot of them are still are struggling and you’re giving you.
00:09:36 Joe Barhoum
Also have your ear to the ground in terms of technology so you know which way the winds are blowing and the best.
00:09:41 Joe Barhoum
I would imagine the best of your ability, right?
00:09:42 Joe Barhoum
You’re trying to make some assumptions about what people can do with technology to make.
00:09:46 Joe Barhoum
To have their everyday change choices have actual impact and then for them to know what’s happening with that impact, like what they’re doing with that with those transactions in.
00:09:56 Joe Barhoum
00:09:57 Joe Graves
Yeah, well I think.
00:09:58 Joe Graves
Whether you’re talking about investing or economic decisions, or really anything we do as humans, there’s some patterns that we adhere to, right?
00:10:07 Joe Graves
So so one we kind of default to easy, so that’s where the politicization comes in is we can make our brains make easy choices by just sort of associating.
00:10:18 Joe Graves
But just what I’ve experienced is that doesn’t often lead to the best outcome in any given situation, as opposed to using design thinking or something and say OK, this is the way the situation is.
00:10:28 Joe Graves
So capitalism, for example we’ve got.
00:10:30 Joe Graves
00:10:31 Joe Graves
Metaphorically, the haves and the have nots but is that?
00:10:35 Joe Graves
Is that a like predetermined outcome as a result of the system or is it just the way the system begin to be used and then as a consequence of that we’ve sort of ended up in this spot an I largely try to stay apolitical, you know, I grew up sort of super conservative and we were.
00:10:50 Joe Graves
I was joking my wife about this.
00:10:53 Joe Graves
And I’ve gone not.
00:10:55 Joe Graves
I would say liberal necessarily, but like like just there’s certain things that I’m more OK with as a sort of matter.
00:11:02 Joe Graves
Freedom, like personal choice.
00:11:05 Joe Graves
Personally, I may not agree with it, right?
00:11:06 Joe Graves
But to the extent that I’m going to tell other people what to do, I I sort of I stop trying to do that and so.
00:11:13 Joe Graves
Back to your point of, you know we get in these highly politicized discussions.
00:11:17 Joe Graves
I find that a lot of times you know doing something as you said, is when you get feedback, right?
00:11:23 Joe Graves
Like, OK, I’m doing something I actually know I’m actually hearing back from real people as to whether or not this works, and you can kind of make better decisions.
00:11:31 Joe Graves
But you know the phrase the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
00:11:36 Joe Graves
That’s, I mean that happens a lot.
00:11:38 Joe Graves
Where hey, we think.
00:11:40 Joe Graves
This is going to happen or or we think that we’re going to accomplish this thing.
00:11:44 Joe Graves
It’s a long road, right like?
00:11:45 Joe Graves
And if you don’t get in there and do stuff and actually try to create the change, you miss out on a lot of the feedback mechanisms of.
00:11:53 Joe Graves
OK, that’s not working.
00:11:54 Joe Graves
This is we could do other things.
00:11:55 Joe Graves
There’s way smarter people than me that have great ideas.
00:11:58 Joe Graves
We just need to figure out so.
00:12:00 Joe Graves
Using design thinking and starting sort of with like how might we accomplish this end goal without like some sort of supposition about what?
00:12:07 Joe Graves
You need to do to get it first.
00:12:09 Joe Graves
I think that’s how you maybe miss some negativity or sidestep it if you can.
00:12:15 Joe Graves
’cause if you start with the answer and sort of force the question into the answer.
00:12:19 Joe Graves
You’re you’re immediately limited on what you might have come up with, especially when you start talking about collaborating with really smart and cool people.
00:12:26 Joe Graves
That’s what’s been amazing about our journey with some of the stuff you just meet, like super brilliant people that have.
00:12:32 Joe Graves
Amazing ideas and amazing thoughts and then you can kind of have these jam sessions about.
00:12:36 Joe Graves
How can we so it’s just what are you solving for?
00:12:38 Joe Graves
I guess at the end of the day and if you’re solving to have a great place to live, a great place to work so you don’t gotta drive in traffic for an hour.
00:12:46 Joe Graves
What would that have to look like for that to be true, right?
00:12:48 Joe Graves
And so then you work up from there.
00:12:51 Joe Barhoum
Well, I remember when we first met.
00:12:53 Joe Barhoum
We were you and I are both from a career perspective in totally different places, right?
00:12:57 Joe Barhoum
I mean I had launched my consulting practice, but I was doing different things.
00:13:00 Joe Barhoum
So I’m doing now and we had this opportunity to work together.
00:13:03 Joe Barhoum
And it you know it, it didn’t work out in that regard, right?
00:13:06 Joe Barhoum
But now, we’re yeah, we’ve been doing other things together.
00:13:08 Joe Barhoum
We’re doing other things apart and we’re always trying to help each other out, even on things that aren’t in alignment with hiver or any any other projects we work on together.
00:13:16 Joe Barhoum
Like each worldwide and but the cool people part is something that I want to talk to you about for a moment here.
00:13:23 Joe Barhoum
Because one of the things that you’ve done for me, in addition to all this stuff I’ve mentioned so far, is introduction to some really cool people, right? So Alex Boyd’s name that comes up very often.
00:13:33 Joe Barhoum
Then on my podcast, because Alex is, I mean for a number of reasons, but among them, Alex not behaving right.
00:13:39 Joe Graves
00:13:40 Joe Barhoum
He’s he’s Alex and so Alex.
00:13:43 Joe Barhoum
You introduced him to me because you had considered doing business with him in your previous role at different company.
00:13:51 Joe Barhoum
And then you know then you and I start talking about doing that stuff together.
00:13:54 Joe Barhoum
So once you started kind of notice that Alex and I do different things like let’s talk to Alex and then Alex and I start doing stuff and then you know, kind of all went from there and I there was a moment, I mean several moments in the last couple of years since we’ve never been like, OK, Alex is 1, but there are so many people I’ve met.
00:14:11 Joe Barhoum
That who are in a similar position to us, just high level independent and as a result it’s like man, like there’s that’s that’s my kid over there who just ran in my bathroom and used it in the middle of the recording.
00:14:22 Joe Barhoum
So and asking me funny look, you gotta wash your hands.
00:14:26 Joe Barhoum
Right, but she’s.
00:14:28 Joe Barhoum
Not gonna be so nice, but anyway there’s so many cool people out there that think once it is not for everybody, right?
00:14:35 Joe Barhoum
But when you’re independent and you have to know what your own killers they say, but you also are free to just kind of do whatever makes you happy at that.
00:14:42 Joe Barhoum
Also pays the bills right?
00:14:44 Joe Barhoum
But there are some people who have a lower like you know, our standard of living has gone down since I wanted it, but.
00:14:49 Joe Barhoum
00:14:50 Joe Barhoum
So so yeah, I mean, there’s just so many people that that we’ve gotten to work with together, and people you’ve introduced me to, and ET cetera, so I’m curious about the people part, because when I think about Haiba, I and I think about how like there’s things we’ve done that will never do again.
00:15:07 Joe Barhoum
There’s things were done with like that was awesome and pretty.
00:15:09 Joe Barhoum
Early on, one thing that we identified and we were going city to city spinning up these programs is how we have to have a navigate like we have to have a person, someone who gets it, we’re doing who has access.
00:15:20 Joe Barhoum
The people are trying to do business with not gonna do business trying to help him out and is willing to actually do it right.
00:15:26 Joe Barhoum
These three qualifications and.
00:15:28 Joe Barhoum
When we had them, we had success and we didn’t have them.
00:15:32 Joe Barhoum
We struggled so so much of I think people creating businesses and trying to accomplish things or solve problems or whatever.
00:15:39 Joe Barhoum
I think sometimes it’s over engineered like sometimes in the absence of the best technology in the world or the best process in the world.
00:15:45 Joe Barhoum
Or or, you know, product market fit all these different things.
00:15:49 Joe Barhoum
People make up for it.
00:15:52 Joe Barhoum
Yeah, so So what do you think of that?
00:15:55 Joe Graves
Well yeah, people and I think that goes back to doing stuff right, like oftentimes I do some coaching for small businesses or local businesses or whatever size they are and sort of the bias is to like, make something perfect and to use your assumptions to figure out the problem and try to build something.
00:16:14 Joe Graves
Whether it’s a website or a.
00:16:16 Joe Graves
Mobile app or some sort of experience?
00:16:19 Joe Graves
As opposed to like immediately or as soon as possible, talking to people about the thing you think is going to be the thing so we could spend a bunch of time with the shirts, devising all these mechanisms.
00:16:30 Joe Graves
And in the beginning it was a bunch of things that you could never scale, right.
00:16:33 Joe Graves
It was like door to door phone call personal relationships just to get going and as a result of that.
00:16:40 Joe Graves
We learned some things about OK.
00:16:41 Joe Graves
How can we maybe automate or how can we do some things?
00:16:43 Joe Graves
But at the core of that are people that care about something that are.
00:16:48 Joe Graves
Like figuring it out right?
00:16:50 Joe Graves
So if you have somebody that cares about the outcome that’s aligned with what you’re working with, it seems like it works really well because they may not know everything that you know you don’t know everything that they know, but you’re pulling.
00:16:59 Joe Graves
In the same.
00:16:59 Joe Graves
Direction what I found is when you don’t have that alignment with directionality, right?
00:17:04 Joe Graves
Like their goal is over here and your goal is over there, you’re not pulling in the same direction they might be.
00:17:10 Joe Graves
Perfectly legitimate an and self justified you know endeavors, but it’s not.
00:17:15 Joe Graves
You’re not creating that collaboration, you’re out creating that forced multiplication because the people aren’t aligned with.
00:17:21 Joe Graves
A common outcome.
00:17:22 Joe Barhoum
Right and we might be talking about.
00:17:23 Joe Graves
So for us.
00:17:24 Joe Barhoum
Sorry to interrupt you, but it’s not really about personalities incompatibility.
00:17:29 Joe Barhoum
It’s it’s really just about knowing the goal and having conviction for it.
00:17:33 Joe Graves
Yeah, and caring about it, that’s right.
00:17:34 Joe Graves
Like what do you care about is that align with what we care about.
00:17:36 Joe Graves
Again passing no judgment on what that particular thing is.
00:17:41 Joe Graves
I think that’s.
00:17:42 Joe Graves
That’s the most important thing, because if people care about stuff you’ll learn, you’ll adapt you’ll create, you’ll do whatever right to get it done if you if you don’t care or don’t care at a level that’s necessary to do those things, then it’s you know it’s hard to get things.
00:17:54 Joe Graves
You know, it’s hard to.
00:17:56 Joe Graves
It’s done so.
00:17:58 Joe Barhoum
About what’s next and that you’re able to talk about.
00:18:03 Joe Graves
Yeah well, so the goal, that sort of meta obviously. Moving beyond T-shirt consulting is to really affect the trillion dollars for good by 2050. That’s a massive number that’s not assets under management or T shirt sales. That’s saying, how can we in some way influence?
00:18:20 Joe Graves
People’s decision making. So yeah, maybe we’ll sell a million shirts raising funds for important causes working right now on a community based real estate fund, so that instead of people that don’t live and care about our neighborhoods and our communities, owning the property and sort of short term optimizing for whatever cap rate they can get, or or.
00:18:42 Joe Graves
Uh, you know rental income.
00:18:44 Joe Graves
They can get or or convert a piece of land into some other use.
00:18:47 Joe Graves
That’s you know more valuable.
00:18:48 Joe Graves
At this time we started to look at elongated timeframes like what’s best for the Community 30 years from now.
00:18:54 Joe Graves
That does include a financial component, and I think that’s where maybe a lot of people talk about.
00:19:00 Joe Graves
You know impact, investing or those types of things.
00:19:05 Joe Graves
Sometimes that gets lost in translation like sustainability is super important, but it needs to be sustainable financially of course.
00:19:12 Joe Graves
Environmentally, but then also socially like what is the consequences of this decision investment?
00:19:17 Joe Graves
Whatever The thing is that you’re doing.
00:19:19 Joe Graves
I kind of view those three.
00:19:21 Joe Graves
Vectors, and you measure them right?
00:19:22 Joe Graves
Like OK, it has to work economically.
00:19:24 Joe Graves
Otherwise we don’t have something that’s viable.
00:19:27 Joe Graves
It can’t ruin the environment because then what’s the point, right?
00:19:30 Joe Graves
We’ve we’ve made some money, but now we’ve had this.
00:19:32 Joe Graves
Yeah, you know negative outcome. We can’t live there anymore because we ruined it and then and then socially like great we have all the money and nobody else has anything. So those things really need to be balanced and considered and then not just over the next three months. Three years. You know if you start looking at 3200 year timelines, especially when it comes to real estate, you start probably making.
00:19:53 Joe Graves
You know different decisions as a community, so I just started thinking like.
00:19:57 Joe Graves
How wonderful would it be if the people that live in the Community own the properties and the the.
00:20:04 Joe Graves
Real estate around them as opposed to having all their money in Goldman Sachs or Vanguard or wherever it is they happen to have it.
00:20:11 Joe Graves
We have more influence over what happens.
00:20:13 Joe Graves
I suspect people would care more about you, know the neighborhoods in the streets and all that, and then having maybe a larger voice with the city to be able to push things in certain directions so that we’re actually.
00:20:25 Joe Graves
You know, like I said, optimizing for health and happiness as opposed to to just short term financial gains.
00:20:31 Joe Barhoum
Very good now how about this Canvas app?
00:20:33 Joe Barhoum
Talk to us about that.
00:20:35 Joe Graves
Yeah yeah, who would have thought so?
00:20:39 Joe Graves
We built an app for the City of Camas where the shirts started and that was really just born out of like an idea.
00:20:46 Joe Graves
I had probably six or seven years ago where I thought there’s no like local.
00:20:50 Joe Graves
Directory that’s sort of curated by local people.
00:20:55 Joe Graves
Of course you’ve got Google and you’ve got Yelp, and you’ve got all these sort of tech companies that built these platforms where you can, you know, complain about the service or give him five stars or whatever, but.
00:21:05 Joe Graves
It’s always lagging, and it’s never 100% accurate ’cause there’s nobody there, that’s yeah, you can suggest updates and there’s things that you can do, but ultimately people making decisions about what is or isn’t in that app, or what you do or don’t see. So coming around to like why this ended up happening is as we started it, kind of as an idea.
00:21:25 Joe Graves
I found my kids working on it were going around getting addresses and taking pictures of businesses.
00:21:31 Joe Graves
I started to see with Google that man they’re not showing me results even on a map like where we had gone and taken a picture of a business.
00:21:39 Joe Graves
But unless you type that exact address in, it wasn’t showing all the you know, no matter how far you zoomed in, it was curating it.
00:21:47 Joe Graves
And I’m like, well, that’s disconcerning, right?
00:21:49 Joe Graves
Like so now, Google Maps is even like sort of algorithmically showing me, or more importantly, filtering something there so that discover ability aspect of.
00:21:59 Joe Graves
Looking for businesses now.
00:22:00 Joe Graves
Been filtered by something that I didn’t have a say in.
00:22:04 Joe Graves
So that was that was a concern and so that was a little well.
00:22:07 Joe Graves
You know, little question Mark or something that ended up in the back of my head and then you know the stuff with Facebook and an YouTube filtering and D platforming people for a variety of reasons, I don’t really.
00:22:19 Joe Graves
I mean it doesn’t matter to me like what they were saying, but the fact that you have business that could be censored right for something you say so if your entire.
00:22:28 Joe Graves
Audiences through a social media network and they do.
00:22:31 Joe Graves
Side that something you said or did is now not OK.
00:22:34 Joe Graves
You you lost that ability to have happen an and at the same time I had an issue with Amazon SES where they thought I was.
00:22:41 Joe Graves
You know, sending out spam emails ’cause I I moved email services and I just had like this.
00:22:46 Joe Graves
Those things happening all at once.
00:22:47 Joe Graves
I was like this is a real risk right?
00:22:49 Joe Graves
Like the fact that?
00:22:51 Joe Graves
Some global tech company could impact.
00:22:54 Joe Graves
Fact whether you go.
00:22:56 Joe Graves
To Starbucks or the local coffee shop just based on what they want to show, is a is a problem, right?
00:23:01 Joe Graves
So then I was some side projects we had worked on on some other apps.
00:23:06 Joe Graves
Just, you know, building some things and kind of experiment I’m I’m super curious about stuff so I’ll just try things.
00:23:11 Joe Graves
And so I was aware of some platforms and.
00:23:14 Joe Graves
So that’s why we decided we start building it like I think December 6 was when it’s.
00:23:20 Joe Graves
Red we officially launch, you know, two weeks ago or something like that and really, the whole purpose of the app is to connect visitors and residents with local businesses.
00:23:29 Joe Graves
No filtering, right?
00:23:30 Joe Graves
If you want to look for a place to eat, you go to eat and drink category.
00:23:33 Joe Graves
You’re going to see every single business that we’re aware of, right?
00:23:36 Joe Graves
Or the state of Washington is aware of and the same thing for all the other categories and.
00:23:41 Joe Graves
And you know it’s been interesting, early testers of it have said, like, oh, I forgot about that place or oh, I’ve learned about some places I didn’t know about.
00:23:50 Joe Graves
I mean happy values by the same way where?
00:23:53 Joe Graves
Depending on your traffic patterns, if you don’t go a certain way, you have no idea what is down there from.
00:23:59 Joe Graves
From a business perspective or a housing perspective, either in canvas is a little bit like that, depending on where you live, you know your path of the freeway is here.
00:24:09 Joe Graves
You’ll miss companies and so that’s that’s what we did is.
00:24:13 Joe Graves
How can we connect those people?
00:24:14 Joe Graves
Well, with local businesses without, you know, global financial tech companies intervening in that connection.
00:24:22 Joe Barhoum
So with the listings, is it just alphabetical or is it promoted?
00:24:26 Joe Barhoum
How’s that work?
00:24:27 Joe Graves
Yeah, so we got a variety of ways that so we buy category primarily and then we bias towards shopping.
00:24:34 Joe Graves
At least from the layout and the UX.
00:24:38 Joe Graves
Shopping and eating because that’s the most I think discoverable, right?
00:24:42 Joe Graves
Like you don’t often go downtown.
00:24:44 Joe Graves
You’re walking around like you know I need some insurance.
00:24:46 Joe Graves
I I better get a home loan that’s so but those two things you might be down like man I’m hungry we went to the movie theater let’s look for a place to eat.
00:24:55 Joe Graves
So by categories we have tiers of.
00:24:58 Joe Graves
So we’re not going to filter anybody.
00:25:00 Joe Graves
Any business can be in there.
00:25:01 Joe Graves
They’re they’re all free listings.
00:25:03 Joe Graves
We do have some premium options to help the economics of maintaining the app be sustainable.
00:25:08 Joe Graves
And then with that comes some.
00:25:10 Joe Graves
Added benefits where you can put offers on your page, for example, or you can you know, create videos and things like that and put them on your profile so that they might be more appealing and then you know we do things like daily deals and special offers where allow the merchants in the businesses to put an offer in front of whoever logs into the app that day.
00:25:30 Joe Graves
Again, trying to like you start to think about how can we promote this discover ability?
00:25:35 Joe Graves
An remind people that these businesses are here just taking the knowledge we have about running some campaigns of our own and like sharing that so that we can get it in front of in front of people.
00:25:45 Joe Barhoum
Are you going to offer reviews?
00:25:47 Joe Graves
Well, no reviews, so that was a very conscious decision.
00:25:52 Joe Graves
What we’re biasing towards is look if you have a good or a bad interaction with the business, call them and tell them you know.
00:25:59 Joe Graves
I’ve seen Yelp.
00:26:00 Joe Graves
I’ve seen Google reviews and they can be great, but there’s also this sort of toxic environment where you can say whatever you want.
00:26:07 Joe Graves
You know even the validity of some of them.
00:26:09 Joe Graves
00:26:10 Joe Graves
I mean, I’m sure you’ve heard of people like behind reviews or or you know, kind of stuffing the ballot box with reviews that are not real reviews.
00:26:18 Joe Barhoum
Not that anybody ever stopped the ballot box.
00:26:18 Joe Graves
And our point is.
00:26:20 Joe Graves
Maybe bad and out yeah yeah.
00:26:21 Joe Barhoum
We don’t get taken.
00:26:24 Joe Graves
At any rate, you know some of them are questionable.
00:26:27 Joe Graves
They can be great when you hear from somebody.
00:26:28 Joe Graves
It’s a great review, but I think if you’re having experience and you’re trying to make a business owner, I mean you’ve had bad experiences that companies you’ve maybe.
00:26:36 Joe Graves
Maybe we’ve underperformed at some point, right?
00:26:38 Joe Graves
Like having the ability to call somebody and say, hey, I was at your restaurant last night.
00:26:42 Joe Graves
You know you weren’t there.
00:26:43 Joe Graves
This is what upset me.
00:26:45 Joe Graves
I think that’s far more productive from a community perspective than just some.
00:26:49 Joe Graves
You know, anonymous review blasting them because the.
00:26:52 Joe Graves
You know the hamburger was cold or whatever, so no reviews.
00:26:55 Joe Graves
Specifically, you can like you can save places that you want to go.
00:26:59 Joe Barhoum
00:27:00 Joe Graves
No places you’ve been an.
00:27:01 Joe Graves
Then we built some some gamification tools into it.
00:27:04 Joe Graves
I hate that word, but basically when you do things that are beneficial to the community, we’ve got badges.
00:27:10 Joe Graves
We’ve got rewards and things that we can.
00:27:12 Joe Graves
We can look back and say thanks and then.
00:27:14 Joe Graves
Ultimately, our hope is that as we.
00:27:17 Joe Graves
Grow will come up with some ideas that are actually really, you know, real rewards that aren’t just psychological for shopping in our community.
00:27:25 Joe Barhoum
So other than liking a location, what else can you do that benefits the community that has this gamified effect?
00:27:33 Joe Graves
Well shop, I mean ultimately the primary desired outcome is that you spend money.
00:27:38 Joe Graves
In the community living right.
00:27:39 Joe Graves
So if you’re a resident and, for example, you’re thinking about getting coffee, you’ve got Starbucks as an option, of course.
00:27:46 Joe Graves
But maybe you’ve got out here.
00:27:48 Joe Graves
Hidden River Roasters or cafe piccolo.
00:27:50 Joe Graves
There’s a bunch of other places that are locally owned, so we’re trying to have people spend money on campus, but then also spend money at locally owned businesses over.
00:28:01 Joe Graves
You know, national champions.
00:28:03 Joe Barhoum
So is there a payment capability through the app?
00:28:07 Joe Barhoum
And that’s how you know.
00:28:07 Joe Graves
Not no, no, not yet like where we’re trying to stay out of the the payment possibilities.
00:28:12 Joe Graves
Right now we are working on connecting some past technology.
00:28:15 Joe Graves
We were working on that would allow you to easily track where you spend your money, right?
00:28:21 Joe Graves
Use to authenticate and then it will just say oh great, you spent.
00:28:25 Joe Graves
$750 in canvas. And that’s where I was talking about with the rewards. Well then we can like say, OK, maybe you get discounts, maybe earn discounts at local businesses that have opted into being able to be a part of that pool or I. I mean, it’s hard to say where it sort of evolves too. It’s very organic. And really we’re just looking for will try something with the intention of it to to do that to get more business in town.
00:28:47 Joe Graves
Uh, and then whatever we think of tomorrow in two weeks from now, we’ll just keep trying to to roll that out so that people enjoy it and they use it.
00:28:54 Joe Barhoum
So is the app in beta at the moment.
00:28:56 Joe Graves
Well, no, we’re open in life to the public right now.
00:29:00 Joe Graves
We did build it as a progressive web app, you know, which means you don’t have to go to the App Store, in part because we were moving so fast that we didn’t want the delay of sort of submitting to the app stores.
00:29:09 Joe Graves
But in hindsight, you know they take a pretty significant percentage of anything that processes through the the app.
00:29:17 Joe Graves
Which obviously paying 20 or 30% to Google an Apple for the for the privilege of being on a platform is not option one. Then we’re not. We’re not really accessing any of the phones native functions really either.
00:29:28 Joe Graves
Unless you want to use the map function, but that’s pretty benign, so we don’t need to have all those permissions and things like that.
00:29:31 Joe Graves
00:29:34 Joe Graves
It really is designed to be super lightweight.
00:29:37 Joe Graves
We don’t want to track you or not, you know, running around trying to sell you ads or things like that, or passing and selling your data so it was a good fit with the exception of most people think I’m going to go to the App Store so.
00:29:48 Joe Graves
There’s been a little bit of an education piece, but I mean go to the website.
00:29:51 Joe Graves
You download it, you’re done.
00:29:53 Joe Barhoum
Very good, very good.
00:29:54 Joe Barhoum
So how many people have downloaded it so far?
00:29:58 Joe Graves
I think we’re nearing 400, maybe, and we haven’t really done any marketing at all. We haven’t tried to build it like again, we. We started with 20 or 30 people that were beta testing. It got good feedback, made some changes. This is kind of the next layer of the onion. Kind of getting more people on it. We’ve got some good feedback already.
00:30:00 Joe Graves
00:30:17 Joe Graves
We’re continually making changes every day and then.
00:30:20 Joe Graves
Can you know will start promoting it today?
00:30:23 Joe Graves
I just funny you should ask him.
Well, I asked.
00:30:25 Joe Graves
We went full analog full analog and made some some tent cards here.
00:30:30 Joe Graves
You know so that the merchants will have these in their stores.
00:30:31 Joe Barhoum
00:30:35 Joe Graves
So as people come in they can sign up for the app and know that the merchant has offers or page deals that they can see so.
00:30:43 Joe Graves
Starting to do stuff like that will probably make some yard signs, and you know eventually I’ve tried to stay away from using the major platforms for marketing.
00:30:51 Joe Graves
We don’t have social profiles for the app on anything.
00:30:55 Joe Graves
This is really trying to keep it out of there.
00:30:59 Joe Graves
Greedy little hands you know and keep it as a community effort, so we’ll see.
00:31:01 Joe Barhoum
00:31:05 Joe Barhoum
00:31:05 Joe Barhoum
OK, so you got a lot going on and I’m curious what’s next.
00:31:12 Joe Graves
I think the next thing obviously we’re getting the app going.
00:31:14 Joe Graves
We gotta keep keep doing that.
00:31:17 Joe Graves
You know, as part of this project is really made me think about apps.
00:31:22 Joe Graves
Six months ago you asked me about mobile apps.
00:31:24 Joe Graves
You know businesses having their own apps.
00:31:27 Joe Graves
00:31:28 Joe Graves
Probably not super thrilled about doing that, it just didn’t seem like it was really relevant.
00:31:34 Joe Graves
But again, with this idea of, you know, having Facebook or Instagram or YouTube or Google in between you and your customer provided there’s a use case.
00:31:44 Joe Graves
I mean, I’ve gone out and invested in platforms to be able to build them now.
00:31:49 Joe Graves
Just because I think it’s becoming increasingly important for you to be able to maintain that direct relationship and then.
00:31:56 Joe Graves
Offer value so I think what we’ll do.
00:31:58 Joe Graves
Some of that as an aside and then the main project outside of that kind of technology.
00:32:02 Joe Graves
Sort of day-to-day is getting the the real estate fund up so that we can get it work again.
00:32:07 Joe Graves
It will follow the same template, right?
00:32:09 Joe Graves
Well, do it here in Clark County and then we figure out what all the you know major hurdles are.
00:32:14 Joe Graves
Will roll that out to some other community, find people as you already mentioned in.
00:32:18 Joe Graves
Other cities, other states to basically just repeat the blueprint, have that ownership.
00:32:24 Joe Graves
Be local to them and and then you know 50 years from now.
00:32:28 Joe Graves
Who knows, maybe we’ll be looking back and have made some dent in our communities and it would be cool to have a community and not have to go to some big City to get good places to eat.
00:32:38 Joe Graves
Or decent places to shop.
00:32:40 Joe Graves
And maybe even you know, good jobs that aren’t just service level jobs where you’re working for some giant Corporation.
00:32:48 Joe Barhoum
Exactly, so we’re working on an app, but we can’t talk about it yet.
00:32:52 Joe Graves
Yes, that’s true.
00:32:52 Joe Barhoum
Yeah, you help me with something.
00:32:53 Joe Barhoum
Yeah, I’m very excited about what you help me with, so maybe I want to come back in six months and talk about that.
00:32:58 Joe Barhoum
00:32:58 Joe Barhoum
Just depends on.
00:33:00 Joe Barhoum
You know when we get launched, but.
00:33:02 Joe Graves
Off to interview you.
00:33:03 Joe Graves
At that point I’ll be guest hosting and then we’ll bring you on grinding gravy.
00:33:06 Joe Barhoum
Or call gradient graph.
00:33:08 Joe Graves
There we go.
00:33:09 Joe Graves
Yeah, that’s that Oh yeah, yeah.
00:33:10 Joe Barhoum
Yeah, special episode.
00:33:11 Joe Barhoum
It’s like the backwards episode of Seinfeld.
00:33:14 Joe Barhoum
Well, I think.
00:33:15 Joe Barhoum
You know, thanks for coming on.
00:33:16 Joe Barhoum
How can people reach out to you if you’re interested in learning more about all these various things you’re doing?
00:33:21 Joe Graves
Yeah, George, work sheds probably the the place to find me.
00:33:25 Joe Graves
Don’t go to website ’cause it’s purposefully devoid of information.
00:33:30 Joe Graves
But Joe work should be a great place to connect on LinkedIn.
00:33:33 Joe Graves
I’m pretty much connect with anybody there.
00:33:35 Joe Barhoum
Awesome, and you’re posting regularly too.
00:33:38 Joe Graves
Semi regularly not, not as much as our front.
00:33:40 Joe Graves
Alex would have me posts and Alex.
00:33:43 Joe Graves
I’m sorry but I’m trying to do a better job of, you know getting semi regular post so.
00:33:45 Joe Barhoum
00:33:51 Joe Barhoum
Alright, right on well thanks Joe.
00:33:53 Joe Barhoum
Appreciate you coming on Bout time we finally did.
00:33:55 Joe Barhoum
It we’ll do it again soon.
00:33:57 Joe Graves
Alright man, thank you.