Cake
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    • You touch on many different kinds of selfies in the book: whether it’s dangerous selfies or ridiculous selfies, “look at my amazing life” selfies or “selfie zones,” friendsies or groupies - it seems like the key takeaway you have for readers is to be present in the moment, and that the most meaningful experiences are those where you’re present to enjoy them and not pursuing the “perfect shot” at the cost of your safety or wellbeing. With the Instagram Aesthetic changing, do you think we’ll see more of the non-selfie posting on social media, and more people exploring different aesthetics? 

    • No. I don't think that article is accurate. It's one of many articles that is a bit click-baity. Research shows that putting your face in a photo garners 30% more likes. Now, personally, I don't do that. But other people are encouraged to do this because of the public scoreboard of likes, comments, and followers. Also, it's basic human behavior to respond more favorably to human faces than other things like trees or cars. 

    • On page 236, the shot you used of people lining up to take a selfie at the top of the mountain reminded me of this recent NYTimes article about the “Everest traffic jam” --

      Or the environmental degradation seen as a result of people wanting to take selfies in the California Poppy superbloom of this past spring. 

      Do you think that there’s a responsibility to change people’s approach to photography to save landmarks and cities from too much impact?

    • The core problem is the ego. This takes a lot of self-work to release this rather deleterious feature of the human psyche. The ego says that it is more important to show a photo of myself in poppies than to protect the poppies. I think if everyone on earth did an Ayahuasca ceremony (or DMT) then they would see how everything is connected and how silly the ego is. 

    • This book brought up some really interesting ideas like Yuval Noah Harari’s train technology metaphor, or the “Beats” system of measuring time. Were there ideas you wanted to touch on in the book but had to save for future forays? 

    • Oh man. I wanted to go off on so many anthropological tangents, but I didn't. I have a book list at https://kit.com/TreyRatcliff/books that I recommend. Besides Yuval's books, I also recommend Matt Ridley's and so many more. I don't think I'll write another book. It takes so much time. I'm busy taking photos and stuff! :) 

    • You discuss Google+, and your own personal vision for a social network. Do you feel there are any social networks that mesh well with your vision currently? Or is this something that still needs to be seen?

    • No. I don't like any of the social networks. But I still use them all. It's kind of like... I don't really like the government, but I still pay taxes. 

    • Among other notables, you’re friends with Tom from Myspace, which leads to a fun discussion you mention in the book of driving around in New Zealand, talking about the meaning of fame, and how mindfulness helps you determine what’s truly of value. Besides recommending some great meditation apps in your book, what are some other mindfulness resources you would encourage others to check out? 

    • I recommend the Waking Up app from Sam Harris. Anyone can do this. It doesn't matter if your mind is full of crazy monkeys. This one is good for it. Everyone knows you should exercise your body. You should also exercise your mind by trying these things. I promise it will bring more peace and meaning into your being. What is better than that? 

    • Item 9 in your list of “11 Ways to have Real Influence” seemed to really speak to what Cake is all about: “Create conversations that are interesting for your community.”  How did you narrow down your list to these 11 principles? 

    • I think this is because I've been so inspired by conversations amongst intelligent people. When you see a bunch of dumb people having a conversation, it's quite irritating. This idea is not too different than Jordan Peterson's idea of surrounding yourself with friends that want the best for you. If you surround yourself with people with dumb ideas and conversation, it is not good for you.

    • Your philosophy on life includes “When I experience order (or beauty), I have a moment of conscious presence...and that’s what I try to capture in and with my photographs.” Do you feel validated by scientific research that’s coming out stating that awe is good for you? 

    • Awe is rare and very important. To experience awe, you have to get out of your comfort zone and have an element of fearlessness. I've experienced awe so many times and it's really changed me. Some of these are beautiful moments that come in surprising ways while I am being present and mindful. Others are on spiritual missions with psilosibin or other mind-expanding substances. These experiences stay with you and open your mind, making you even more vulnerable and full of love. 

    • On page 92, you discuss etailers and retailers selling Instagram influencer prop kits. Have you seen other examples of this elsewhere? 

    • Yeah, there are a few places online that sell these "Instant Influencer" kits. It's kind of crazy. It reminds me of all the desperate moms out there on Facebook selling essential oils or other nonsense.

    • You discuss agencies and rates in the book, and how oftentimes agencies will act as an intermediary between brands and influencers to neither’s benefit. With the latest announcement as of one day ago that “advertisers can pay to promote their“branded content” from influencers on your feed” how do you think that may change?

    • I'm not sure because the way big corporations work are mysterious. They are designed by committee, and this is why you never see a statue of a committee. I used to be in several large corporations, and I know the muddled manner in which big decisions are made.

      I think it's a little strange that brands can work directly with Instagram and are able to cut out the creator. For example, if I make a post today and mention @BMW, then they can theoretically pay Instagram a bunch of $$ - none of which goes to me.

    • In the book, you encourage anyone seeking to work with influencers to do the detective work and due diligence with tools like SocialBlade and others to ensure that they’re legitimate. You mention on page 139, “Whenever you engage with a potential new Influencer, it’s essential to do a deep dive in the ‘investigation’ phase. This will not be something you can take on in about 15 minutes. Plan on spending 4-8 hours really digging and getting into the weeds.” Is that 4-8 hours per influencer? 

    • Yes. This is a "new" job in the world: Social Media Investigator. Brands and agencies would be smart to have a team of people to engage in this activity. Socialblade is one of many tactics I recommend in the book. Another one looks at the location of all the followers. If 80% of the followers are in India, Bangladesh, or South America, is this the perfect Influencer for Sephora?

    • You’ve gotten to spend time with business leaders like Mark Zuckerberg and Sergey Brin, which you touch on in the book. What are some interesting lessons you’ve taken away from those experiences?

    • Well, I can tell the truth, if you want me to. I'm just being honest, and this is possibly my own interpretation. I was raised by my mom and sister, so it made me extra-empathetic. This means I'm pretty good at figuring people out.

      Let's start with Mark. I've only spent a few hours with him. In fact, at a Hackathon, I took a photo of him that he used as a profile photo for a while. I liked him. He's a nice person. However, like many brilliant people, he's a kinda high on that Asperger's scale. We're all somewhere on that spectrum, so that's okay. However, the more you slide on that scale, the less empathetic you are. It's hard for people that are way far along the scale to empathise with people that are on different parts of the curve. I believe this is why Facebook and Instagram are making decisions that are deleterious to the psyches of normal people and why we see an increase of anxiety in over a billion people. Facebook and Instagram could do so much more to increase happiness and meaning in people's lives. 

      Sergey Brin, on another (not the other) hand, is one of the kindest and most loving people I've ever met. He wants to help humanity. He definitely thinks about the big picture. I believe in Google because I believe in him. No, this is not a paid post for Google. :)

    • Great answers, Trey. So great to have you here!

      Your book is about being positive and the design you propose for a new social network has a recommendation engine that shares positive content. What if the AI is right, though, and selling positive is like selling fruit and vegetables: everyone says yes, the world needs more of that, but what they actually order is pizza and beer? Maybe the movie makers are right, we need conflict and villains to grab our attention so more positive networks like Google+ end up losing to Facebook and Twitter?

    • Yeah, I worry about this too. There seems to be a Pareto distribution of 20% positive stuff online compared to 80% of the worst aspects of the human condition being exacerbated by social networks. However, over time, as people learn more, they do choose to "eat" better, especially when there are tasty and healthy options served up right in front of their faces. The movie makers ARE right in that we want a good story. A good story doesn't have to have evil nonsense to be compelling.