Cake
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    • I don't know. I think my suggestion in the book is quite brilliant, if I do say so myself. Instagram should absolutely be the middleman and broker deals between brands and Influencers. Last year, there were over 400 new agencies created to broker deals. Most of them are total frauds, started by fraudulent influencers. Brands don't know who to trust. I've worked with brands who have recommended the most ludicrous fake Influencers to join me at events. They just trust these agencies and don't have time to do the research themselves.

      That said, Instagram may be just as bad as the agencies unless they go through and clean out the gunk. There are a lot of bad actors in the system now with fake numbers. No brand should trust any Influencer until they do their own deep dive. We have credit background checks, criminal background checks, etc... but there are no Influencer background checks because all the data remains a mystery behind the Instagram wall. 

    • Oh, just have fun. I'd love it to be like Cake. Just have a conversation about what's going on and how this space is changing every week. 

    • Tough question. I deal with this with my 10 and 13 year old girls. I suppose that I advise to follow my lead! I tell the girls they are beautiful and awesome every day. I show them that beauty has very little to do with what you look like and it's on the inside. I try to get them to go on walks... play a lot of board games... basically anything I can do to get them from looking at screens all day. I don't want to keep them off social media or Youtube or whatever all day. That's unrealistic. I just try to keep them somewhat balanced. 

    • 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?