Cake
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    • 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.

    • I maybe should have called it "How to Stay Zen on Social Media" but I went with the more incendiary title instead. I wanted this to be an "opening" to get all the unconscious people on Social Media to understand more about consciousness and mindfulness. I didn't know about any of this stuff until about 7 years ago when I started reading Eckardt Tolle. I was already going through it, as a photographer, but I didn't know that mindfulness was a "thing." After I read those books, I was able to put an intellectual scaffolding around what I was already going through. I hope unconscious people pick up this book based solely on its title and they see there is another path for living life.

    • I went with the more incendiary title instead.

      I don't want to be a jerk, but is there some irony in the guy who is so positive and zen, who wants the recommendation engines to turn up positive stories, to have to resort to a more incendiary title to get more attention?

    • Hehe yeah! I'm pretty good at getting attention when I want it, so the title of a book is very important. Sometimes, the only "marketing" you have is the title of the book itself. It's meant to draw people in and make them curious. I particularly like the subtitle: "Influencer Fraud, Selfies, Anxiety, Ego, and Mass Delusional Behavior." Now, this is an absolute hand-grenade of a thing to say, and the world needs to understand what is really happening inside this rather insidious social network. If I can help move the needle on consciousness and awareness just a little bit, then that is a good thing. If I have to use a tricky title to make it happen, so be it! :)

    • Your book doesn't make a lot of mention of interest-based networks like Reddit and Pinterest. There is a school of thought that they are driven more by curiosity and networks where you follow people as on Instagram are driven more by vanity in the end. What do you think?

    • I totally agree that Instagram tends to feed vanity and the less attractive aspects of human nature. I try to use it to spread love and positivity... this seems to be a laudable goal. Personally, I do actually spend most of my time now inside some of the interest groups inside of Reddit. Sometimes I find "topics" just as interesting as people. Reddit seems to be full of fairly clever people that help give me a new or broadened perspective on various matters. 

    • I think there is moral absolutism and YouTube (and others) should definitely moderate everything. There is a ranking of "Good Ideas" and "Bad Ideas."  Examples of a Bad Ideas are Neo-Nazism and Anti-Vaxxers. Examples of a Good Ideas are gardening and science projects. There are thousands of these sorts of ideas, and they can be ranked by intelligent and cultured people. Yes, they are going to offend and upset people, but people are already upset! The Silicon Valley culture tries to offend as few people as possible, but this is not realistic. If they really want to help people, they should do everything they can to share good ideas while they eschew the bad ones.