Episode 53

Why it is so hard for businesses to overcome cultural gaps?

In this week’s episode of the Future Tribe Podcast, we chat with the Founder and CEO of Crediverso, Carlos Hernandez. Crediverso is an informational software suite that is aimed at helping Hispanic and Latino Americans become more financially literate. As Crediverso is a young company that is growing rapidly, Carlos shares a great deal of information about how the initial stages of business/product development work,  as well as how he sought out funding from venture capitalists. Later on in the show, Germaine and Carlos discuss the cultural gaps companies need to cross when entering into new markets and why even large companies fail at doing so. Finally, both our host and our guest discuss the importance of staffing your company with the right people and the benefits of having colleagues to vet your ideas.

What we talk about
  • Business/Product development and how to seek out venture capital
  • Overcoming cultural gaps
  • The importance of staffing your company with the right people
Links from this episode
Transcript

Disclaimer: This transcript was generated automatically and as such, may contain various spelling and syntax errors

[00:00:00.750] – Germaine

Hello, Future Tribe. Welcome to another episode of the podcast on this week’s episode. I’ve got Carlos from Crediverso. How are you today Carlos?

[00:00:11.370] – Carlos

I’m doing fantastic. Thanks for asking. Really excited to talk to you.

[00:00:14.520] – Germaine

Yeah. I mean, let’s get the ball rolling. What is Crediverso to start off with?

[00:00:20.520] – Carlos

Absolutely, so we are an online financial products marketplace designed for U.S. Hispanics, a huge population here in the States. 60 million, 60 million people, which is about 20 percent of our population. Yeah. it’s a big portion of the population. And the amazing thing is that they are very much underserved by existing financial institutions and financial intermediary platforms like the companies that give you personal finance information resources.

[00:00:46.500] – Carlos

First of all, many, much of it is not available in Spanish. They don’t advertise in Hispanic neighborhoods and the content is not designed or presented in a way that is accessible to the typical Hispanic consumer.

[00:00:56.880] – Carlos

So what we tried to do is provide easy to access bilingual tools that help consumers understand complex financial decisions like how to pick the right credit card or how to apply for a mortgage. We also offer a ton of educational resources, like a Step-By-Step Guide on how to get a free credit report or in a particular economic circumstances, we find ourselves in right now how to make sure you get your stimulus check or a government loan and things like that.

[00:01:21.000] – Germaine

So is there such a need? I mean, so 20 percent of the population, you said, is Hispanic. Is that is there a need then that they get that information in Spanish or in the in that in a different language or what ways? Why is that need sort of there? I guess what I’m trying to identify are there then if they are 20 percent of the population are that then other groups as well in the US where they would be better served if they where delivered that information in their own native language?

[00:01:54.720] – Carlos

Absolutely, and you know, we’re starting with Hispanics as the consumer base that we know best. But you’re you’re absolutely right. The one of the great things about being in the United States and about what I love about living in Los Angeles is that you can stand on a street corner in L.A. and see street signs and storefronts in six different languages English, Spanish, Mandarin, Korean, Tagalog, all sorts of languages. And so what we’re starting with, with the Hispanic audience in the United States, ideally, I think there is a need for for a service like ours, for many different communities.

[00:02:26.550] – Carlos

And the way that I approach how that need plays out for the Hispanic population is you can look at the media landscape, for example, and in the US, you know, it certainly is different where you are imagine. But in the U.S., we have something like, I don’t know, 400, 500 channels that are offered in English and we have two that are offered in Spanish. And so the need is just absolutely not met in many of these different verticals.

[00:02:53.820] – Carlos

Finance is a really important one for many, many different reasons.

[00:02:59.280] – Carlos

Access to small business loans, access to student loans, and anything as simple as getting a credit check or getting a credit card. And so while that’s not the entirety of the 60 million person population speaks only Spanish, we go beyond just a you know, we’re not just a translation service. There really is a cultural relevance component to this in terms of the way it’s presented. You can take a credit card, for example, and a typical general market site might focus on, OK, what’s a what’s the best credit card if you want to build up some travel points to go to Europe next summer.

[00:03:33.950]

And that’s great. You know, it’s play folks are taking those kind of trips, maybe if maybe not right now, but hopefully soon in the future. Yeah. With our specific demographic that we’re offering the service towards, many of them maybe have, you know, never been on a plane more interested in things like what is a good credit card if I don’t have a Social Security number?

[00:03:52.290]

What does a good credit card if I just say so, you can sort of you’re looking positive. It’s the language is sort of the easiest way to identify who your market is. But then that has implications that sort of spread much further into the community, into how they live their life. And even, you know, as you’ve touched on sort of what then normal is versus, you know, what the average Americans and normal is as well. So you’re really just I mean, money at the end of the day is a very lifestyle thing.

[00:04:21.570] – Germaine

So that’s what you’re trying to do, is sort of talk about that from a lifestyle style sort of perspective. We didn’t talk about what your role is and you know what you do at Crediverso.

[00:04:34.530] – Carlos

Yeah thanks for asking. So I founded Crediverso about at this point just over nine months ago. So we are a very young company, but we are growing very quickly. I think we are getting close to 20 people or so on the team across all the different capacities. We just brought on a summer internship team of about seven people, all MBA students, all fantastic everywhere, from engineers to finance backgrounds. So we’re growing very quickly. We’re expanding into different product verticals.

[00:05:00.930] – Carlos

But, yeah, you know, I started this company in late October of last year. And really the idea behind it was that I just started noticing that, hey, why am I not seeing advertisements in Spanish with Hispanic imagery or things that are relevant to the Spanish community on TV, on social media, on Instagram, Facebook? Why is that not there? And after a little bit of research, I realized, hey, it looks like the typical financial institution spends less than two and a half percent of their marketing budget on marketing toward Hispanics.

[00:05:33.630] – Carlos

And as I mentioned a minute ago, 20 percent of the population is comprised of that group. So there’s a big mismatch there, which, you know, it’s bittersweet because on one hand, it means that there is a for a long time there has been a population that has been very much underserved. On the other hand, it provides a business opportunity. And so that’s we’re kind of approaching from bothof those.

[00:05:49.680] – Germaine

Yeah. Right. Very interesting. So you started this about nine, 10 months ago. How old are you now, if you don’t mind me asking? 31. So you were probably 30, 31 when you started as well. What drove you to stop this, apart from seeing this market?

[00:06:09.820] – Germaine

You know, I’m sure there are a lot of things in life that people come across that, you know, oh, this is a good business opportunity here, but it takes a bit more than a good business opportunity to jump into a business. What what what were the other factors that sort of came into it, you know? Well, you sort of leave me another job or you’re finishing up at another business that you started. How did that sort of happen?

[00:06:32.410] – Germaine

Perfectly.

[00:06:33.820] – Carlos

Yeah. Thanks for asking, Germaine. And really, the way that kind of played out is that I not too long ago graduated from grad school and I did a joint degree program at Harvard in Law and Business. I graduated with my JD and my MBA. And that, you know, I was lucky enough to get to have that great education and learn across a variety of subjects from law all the way to finance how to start a business, how to incorporate a business, all those things that really it’s kind of an essential skill set for a founder.

[00:07:08.020] – Carlos

So I figured, OK, you know, now I’m young, I’m not married, no kids. Now is probably the best time, if there is one, to take this big risk because it is a big risk. You know, many colleagues went on to very secure jobs in investment banking or consulting or private equity. And that’s a that’s a very hard wrap because of the hours that they make you work in the lifestyle, but you don’t have that same job insecurity.

[00:07:34.090] – Carlos

You know, you don’t know whether your company will still be around in a year. So I figured if there’s any time in my life I’m going to take a big risk, it’s right now where I don’t have people depending on me. And I think it’s a social mission that I really care about. And that makes all the swallow.

[00:07:51.940] – Germaine

And how do you make the financial side of things sort of work? Like not not in terms of the actual product service, but at the business side of things that is coming out of school? I would imagine, you know, 20 people cost money to obviously to to pay their wages, things like that. How is that sort of how have you managed to navigate that sort of things?

[00:08:13.730] – Carlos

And while that is a a tough path to choose for a wide variety of reasons, most of which you have missed out one side, it puts you in a position where you have a an actual product that you can look at, walk through, get a really good understanding for the business and the revenue model before you begin asking for venture dollars. And you have a little bit more leverage that way and just better economics in terms of the terms that you get from venture capital partners.

[00:08:40.300] – Carlos

Now, to answer your question, that makes for a tougher stretch from inception to funding. Right. And I was lucky enough to have had a few jobs before, before and during grad school. And I was able to put away some money. I knew that I ultimately wanted to start something on my own. So between putting away that money during grad school, investing it where I could. The fact that up until a couple of months ago, we were in a long bull market.

[00:09:05.470] – Carlos

All those things kind of helped to put me in the position to be able to fund this thing internally for a little while until we got the MBP up or running, which we have now. And now we are aggressively in the ABC funding strategy phase of our resistance.

[00:09:20.140] – Germaine

Wow. So your your very intentionally now looking for outside money to come in and and use that. Does that funding to I guess, take the business into the next stage.

[00:09:32.510] – Carlos

That’s right. And I’m really excited about it because it means that, you know, where we have been very intentional about approaching some of these cost and some of these big expenditure items previously. Now, we are kind of starting to get to the point where we can think about, OK, what does this thing look like when we really juice it up with some financing?

[00:09:51.100] – Carlos

And that is everything from bringing more engineers in-house to accelerate our growth of the product development side to really taking a heavy crack at paid ads. And we have a few strategies within that. But additional money never hurts.

[00:10:07.300] – Germaine

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it’s it’s an interesting thing that I think I think about all the time, because, you know, when you when you get additional money, you’d be looking to give a give away portion of the business. Is that is that correct? In this instance, in terms of what you look at.

[00:10:24.210] – Carlos

Unfortunately, I think they generally will make money.I mean, if if anybody wants to give me free money, that’s even better.

[00:10:30.670] – Germaine

But but you’re looking at, you know, giving away shares of the business versus like debt or venture debt and those sorts of options.

[00:10:38.450] – Carlos

We’re considering both. We have a team comprised of a few very smart people. Some lawyers with experience on the VC side, some folks with finance backgrounds like my own. And that’s one of the major decision points. We’re trying to make it through this process. And we look at the the really the real decision points of the fundraising strategy. It’s. What do we want to spend the money on? How much will it costs? What is the best way to pursue that money?

[00:11:05.030] – Carlos

And based off of all those factors? Who are we targeting from an investment missing standpoint? Is it. Are we looking at a seat or are we looking at a series A.. Are we looking at traditional venture or are we looking at angel or family office or strategic partners? These are all decisions that we’re actively making right now. And it makes for a pretty interesting process. But the the end goal, again, is, you know, if we can, like I said, juice this company up with the resources that it needs to really have a a wide reach.

[00:11:34.310] – Carlos

I’m really excited about the potential impact it can have. I think if we can be the difference between somebody getting a small business loan and being able to open up a business or getting a student loan to be able to go to college. That is really what this company is all about. And the existing financial resources, personal finance resources that are out there in the U.S. right now are, I think, lacking in many of those areas for our demographic.

[00:11:58.070] – Germaine

Yeah. Yeah. So there’s a strong sort of social mission here. But then looking at, you know, asking people for money, did you want to get to a stage where the way I like to think about it is that you want to come up with a very clear or good formula of what it takes for your company to grow things like, you know, how much money do you have to spend to acquire a customer, a customer acquisition costs?

[00:12:23.060] – Germaine

Did you do you spend a lot of time doing that before you started this process? Or are you still sort of are you trying to define that as much as possible before you start to look for money? Is that is that a very intentional thing that you’re doing here?

[00:12:38.420] – Carlos

Absolutely, and I can tell you two seconds in that this is a process that you are very familiar with. The the benefit I have is that my sister is a principal at a venture capital firm, and so I kind of have a secret weapon in her.

[00:12:55.250] – Carlos

That was intentional about those approaches on my own. She is able to really guide me in that sense. And so, you know, again, in terms of that strategizing up front, when we approach the process, like you said, you know, we are we are really selling a product here. Not I’m not talking about the Crediverso the website to the consumers, but I’m talking about the best opportunity to venture capital investors. Whenever you’re selling something, you need to understand exactly the perspective somebody has who is a potential buyer and relevance there is what are these KPI is that a typical D.C. investor will look at? You mentioned customer acquisition costs. Our revenue model, that is perhaps one of the most relevant metrics that an investor will look at. But there are other ones as well. Burn rates. What our major milestone for spending are in the next few months and the next year. These are all very relevant pieces that need to be able to be answered before we can have serious conversations within the VC community.

[00:13:55.800] – Carlos

And we’ve, I think, done a pretty good job so far of trying to come to those answers. But, you know, it’s a it’s a start up. Things change. We’re rolling out new products as we speak. So what our what our burn rate looks like, what our revenue structure looks like, it’s different for every product. So it’s been a fun process to answer that question.

[00:14:14.120] – Germaine

Yeah. I mean, it’s an interesting sort of time for us to talk with you because you’re sort of nine months in. I would call that a very young business. But then you’re getting to you’re starting to look for funding. And, you know, you’re in a position where I would say, again, businesses would find themselves more at, you know, twenty four months rather than nine, 10 months. I mean, granted, this is this is not a short crisis.

[00:14:35.450] – Germaine

It’s not like, you know, you’re going to wake up tomorrow and you’re going to have a deal. And by next week, you’re going to have all the funding through. But just look at it. It’s interesting to have a conversation with someone who is going through this going through this journey and looking at it.

[00:14:50.930] – Carlos

Correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re really looking at this as an opportunity to get money to make an end sort of social goal, a reality vs., you know, setting a bit of the company to keep the company alive. Besides, your your your you look at the social side of things and what that what that power, the power that you have in that that sort of sentence. Is that fair to say?

[00:15:18.740] – Carlos

Well, you know, I think the good thing about the position we’re in right now and the way we’ve built out the different teams is that our burn rate is actually very, very low. So we are under no immediate time pressure in terms of how much we need to raise. But in terms of the end goal of why we’re trying to do this, I think I think there are two major goals. I mean, there is absolutely that social mission enough potential for generational change that I think we have within this community.

[00:15:44.600] – Carlos

I think it’s very much needed. And we with through the power of the Internet and the opportunity that has been created through other firms, a large financial institutions not being able to access or not simply carrying enough to. This market, there is a big opportunity there to have a social mission. The flip side of that coin is that this is a space that is phenomenally. It makes phenomenal sense from a business case because there are all these different products.

[00:16:13.590]

I mean, credit cards, personal loans, student loans, credit checks, these are in many cases, especially through doing it in unmamable or on an Internet platform, very high margin products.

[00:16:27.290] – Carlos

I think the beauty of the model that we’ve we’re pursuing is we will never charge a penny to the consumer, to this being a consumer in the US. Our revenue model is entirely tied to the financial institutions with whom we partner

[00:16:39.920] – Germaine

On the back end, essentially. So once once something goes through, you get like a reimbursement, a commission, whatever terminology you want to use for sending that person to that institution.

[00:16:51.110] – Carlos

Exactly. And, you know, the specifics there are somewhat different depending on the product vertical we’re talking about. But that’s the gist of it. And again, that those commissions are provided by the financial partner and not by the consumer.

[00:17:08.090] – Germaine

So how are you finding your clients? Is it all your customers? Is it a lot of word of mouth at this stage or are you doing you mentioned sort of, you know, increasing spending in advertising, but is that something that you’ve pursued? How have you sort of started to find these costs, clients and customers? And could you give us an idea of how many customers you would say you have? Just just a just a general ballpark?

[00:17:35.090] – Carlos

Sure. So the the approach we’re taking. I would say is two pronged. First is on the organic side. And this is really important because, you know, I mentioned the beginning of the conversation that the our competitors that I’ve described them are both the financial institutions where direct providers of financial products loans, credit card issuers, etc., and the financial intermediary platform. So those are things like least in states lending, tree credit, karma, nerd wallet, and not one of those platforms is available in Spanish.

[00:18:09.110] – Carlos

So what that means on the organic customer acquisition side is that when we write an article about five things you should do if you a credit card payment, and that’s in Spanish. We are the only place you can get that information. So as you can imagine, that does phenomenal things for your SEO

[00:18:25.260] – Germaine

Because you can rank almost number one straight off the bat.

[00:18:28.160] – Carlos

Exactly. And so every week, you know, the the competitive landscape is different for every one of these products.

[00:18:33.020] – Carlos

But in many of them, we are the only place, for example, where you can compare credit cards in Spanish in the country where they allow a credit check in Spanish in the country.

[00:18:42.440] – Germaine

So I have been sorry to cut you off, but haven’t been competitive, so to speak, in the past. I mean, to me, I’m looking at it and I guess this is the hallmark of any business that has identified a really good opportunity, is that, you know, once once you sort of hear about the idea, you sort of go, why hasn’t someone done this before? But has someone done this before?

[00:19:03.460] – Germaine

Okay, so that is a question that I spend a lot of time thinking about. And I know the answers to whether they’ve done it before. And the question is why? What happened? Right. And yeah, why did they go bust or did they did did they get bought out?What happened?

[00:19:18.590] – Carlos

So there hasn’t been anybody in our particular space to try to do what we’re doing in terms of a platform that goes across multiple financial product verticals, comparison, customer attrition, et cetera, in Spanish targeting this platform. But the let me give you an analogy that I think will kind of encompass what has happened in the space.

[00:19:38.660] – Carlos

So when a what I call a general market company, so somebody who targets the general market as a whole and doesn’t specify niches with regards to specific demographics, when a general market company wants to go from targeting the general market as a whole to one specific demographic. The way that they have done it in almost every instance is take the existing infrastructure for that they use to build out there, in many cases, very successful general market platform and try to apply that to a new specific demographic.

[00:20:09.410] – Carlos

So, for example, you can get a a bank that is headquartered in the middle of the country, has a in a state where their population of Hispanics is almost zero percent. And they say, hey, you know, they’re looking at the same numbers. We are we got 60 million people here. We’re not addressing them. We’re not available Spanish. Let’s do this. Let’s go after this market. And they say, OK, hey, Karen, from Accounting, you want to you want to take this on?

[00:20:35.210] – Carlos

She said, I’ve never really tried Mexican food, but yes, sure, I’ll try it on and they try it. It doesn’t work. No surprise. And it goes bust. And the most recent example of this is a company called Mundo Fox, OK, which Fox tried to develop a competitive television station in Spanish called the Fox. It started, I think, in 2014 and by 2016, if I’m not. And it was bust and how I think the approach of trying to transplant in a general market infrastructure into a new market, much like if you were to try to go into a different country, does not work.

[00:21:11.710] – Carlos

Whereas if you build ground up with people who are familiar that markets move with the audience and know how to speak the language in more ways than one. I think that’s the appropriate way to target that market.

[00:21:23.740] – Germaine

So so what you’ve been able to do is essentially it’s almost the benefit of not having a product that already sort of does a similar thing, is that you can build it up and you can customize it so that the customer is really in love with it in all in all aspects of it. And it sort of is really fit for purpose. This is just getting something and then trying to make it all, trying to make it work, which is, as you’ve mentioned, the competitors have tried to do in the past.

[00:21:50.830] – Carlos

That’s the goal. And, you know, it’s funny, for example, this is all stuff that I love seeing the examples. But again, it’s bittersweet because it just means that this is an unaddressed market. And so there are there lists that come out every year of who the top advertising spenders are within the Hispanic population in the US. And on that list, there is only one financial institution, OK, that does lending credit card, et cetera.

[00:22:17.920] – Carlos

And that’s Wells Fargo, great company that a lot of great things. But if you go. So presumably because they’re the only one that’s in the top 50 by spend the best rate. They should be. If you go to Wells Fargo, dot com slash Espanol, that’s the Spanish landing page. The text is, I think, all in English. The photos are of imagery that I would not exactly describe as relevant for this demographic. And there are there is a pun in English.

[00:22:48.460] – Carlos

So if you don’t speak the language, not only are you going to not understand what the what the words themselves mean, but you’re definitely not going to understand what the plan words means.

[00:22:56.250] – Germaine

Yeah. So this is really interesting for you. And really interesting exercising in nation down and then almost localizing it, isn’t it. Like you’re in the US. But you want to localize it to the Hispanics. Now, that does sort of bring up an interesting thing, though. Is it fair to say that I mean, the Hispanics come from everywhere. But is the majority of the majority of the Spanish population in the US from a certain country or descendants of a certain sort of group of people?

[00:23:30.420] – Carlos

Well, that’s another really important nuance, and I’m glad you raised it, because it’s a huge population in the country. And to just say Spanish speakers is almost like looking at the world and saying English speakers and assuming they’re all from the US right, it doesnt work?

[00:23:46.860] – Carlos

Phenomenally different cultures, just they share a language. And so what you’ve brought up is a very important nuance in the sense that I think something like sixty five percent or so, maybe 70 percent come from Mexico. That’s a big chunk. And the remainder is kind of spread across Latin America, the Caribbean. We’ve been of some Spaniards in the US. So very different countries, very different cultures. If you share the commonality of the language. But the one thing that I’ve seen, for example, is that the the way that.

[00:24:23.210] – Carlos

Immigration has played out over the past 50 years, 100 years or so in the country. Is that the Cuban population, for example? When that immigration process started and this is a bit didak at the risk of being a bit didactic, because that was a they were political immigrants, political based immigrants for the most part. And speaking in broad terms here, when they came to the country and prominently was to Florida, the people who were able to come were of high education levels, generally wealthy, high socio economic status.

[00:24:54.950] – Carlos

And so that created a community in Florida that was very different from some other cultures that were maybe not political immigrants, but rather economic immigrants. And so when you leave a country in Mexico, as has been a perfect example of this, in many instances when you leave a country because there is no economic opportunity for you there, then you are not someone who typically has it. By definition, it means that you don’t have economic opportunities. So when you get to this country, you’re not arriving here with a medical degree behind you or a law degree behind you.

[00:25:29.460] – Carlos

You are arriving here to look for whatever work you can, often with your pockets. And, you know, I have relatives that were in that situation. And so it’s one with which I’m really familiar. But the way that plays out is that when you look to what you asked, how how companies have traditionally approached this, when you look to how a company in whatever part of the country approaches it, say, OK, hey, let’s we want to get into the Hispanic market, let’s go hire a Hispanic owned marketing firm.

[00:25:58.610] – Carlos

Great. Where are they? Other Miami, OK. There. That is a firm that is very well suited for targeting their specific demographic of Florida and the immigrants that have arrived in Florida and that communities develop there. But that may not be the one that captures the largest percentage of the population in the country. You may end up coming up with a message that is perfect for one portion of that pie, but missing the larger portion of that pie.

[00:26:25.460] – Germaine

And so what’s your heritage?What’s your background?

[00:26:29.270] – Germaine

So I grew up in a Mexican-American family in Los Angeles. My mother was born in Mexico, moved the United States. You go to college. My father was born in a Mexican neighborhood in Los Angeles. East L.A.. Okay. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:26:45.830] – Germaine

So you’ve got sort of that mad Mexican heritage. Is that fair to say? Yeah.

[00:26:49.640] – Carlos

Absolutely. I actually have a little Irish in me. You should see the baby pictures of me where I had orange hair. Yeah.

[00:26:58.940] – Germaine

I guess what the reason I’m asking this is because, you know, you’ve just talked about how how hard it can be and how important it is that you have, you know, quite, quite firsthand knowledge and firsthand experience. When you’re when you’re targeting your demographic. But how do you then make sure that you do that? Because I can imagine that. Do you literally just sit down and look at all marketing collateral, look at the website and make sure that it sort of matches you going off to.

[00:27:30.500] – Germaine

Do you have different people you you invite into this mix? Do you talk to a marketing agency, get them involved? How have you managed to do that? Because I mean, you’ve got the distinct benefit here of actually having heritage, all the background and the upbringing that could that is related to you on each. But I could imagine that if you didn’t have any of that, this would be near impossible. But how do you make it happen?

[00:27:55.890] – Carlos

Well, listen, it is it is very, very hard, even for me of having the benefit of growing up in a neighborhood that is very Hispanic.

[00:28:03.170] – Carlos

And, you know, I think I just had tacos for lunch. So that’s even. Having had that exposure to the culture, it is still a very hard thing to do to build a product that somebody wants to use and they feel is right for them. We’ve had the benefit of having a woman on the team who was the founder of multicultural marketing. So has a phenomenal background in this space.

[00:28:26.720] – Carlos

But really, I think the first step as we’ve approached develop the product development and every one of these verticals, whether it was our credit card comparison platform, whether it’s the credit checks or loan proxima, working on the first step in every instance is understanding the consumer, understanding the pain points, understanding what they like and don’t like about the existing offerings if they even know about the existing offering. I mentioned that there is very little marketing for these products in those neighborhoods.

[00:28:55.280] – Carlos

So sitting down and actually having surveys, interviews, questionnaires, talking to people, getting their stories, that is the most important thing we can do. And then building from that standpoint, that actually has been a much harder process now, given the epidemic area of not being able to have accused you of your actions. But we’re making it work and we’re still I mean, with people out there doing surveys today. OK.

[00:29:17.130] – Germaine

Yeah. Yeah. So it’s it’s very hit the ground running. And, you know, I talked to the PayPal. The demographic and just putting the work that it’s going to take to understand what they’re often what they want.

[00:29:28.300] – Carlos

But I’ll give you an example as to why this is so hard. So I know you speak a bunch of languages. I don’t know if Spanish is one of them, but in Spanish. You can refer to someone using either the informal tu toOK, which is you or the formal usted, which is generally easier for parents.

[00:29:49.820] – Carlos

Things like that. If I’m talking to one of my buddies, I say to if I’m talking to a professor, I say, use that. Now, which one of those do we use when we’re writing these articles? Right. That’s. You think that’s a simple question, but is it. Are the people reading this? Are they younger? Are they younger than me? Are they my age? Are they older or are they first generation parents or are they second generation children?

[00:30:12.650] – Carlos

Those are all. That’s a very nuanced question. And to my point earlier about what happens when you put Karen from accounting on this project, who’s never been to California, you know, that to tu or usted thing that I have trouble figuring out the answer to that question.

[00:30:28.330] – Germaine

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Let let alone someone who hasn’t even had had a Hispanic food and and any sort of Hispanic contact before, so. So to speak.

[00:30:41.630] – Germaine

What are some like we’ve talked about, you know, the the things that you’ve been able to do. What are some things that you’ve some mistakes that you’ve made, some things that you’ve sort of gone, oh we could have been, you know, a month or two ahead if if we’d avoided this mistake? Anything come to mind?

[00:31:01.880] – Carlos

Honestly, the it’s it’s not a question of what comes to mind. It’s a question of which item from the list to tell you.

[00:31:11.330] – Germaine

Oh, that’s fantastic. Because normally people just sort of say, oh, you know, I can’t really think of any yet. It just took a long time, but I can’t think of any mistakes. But what are some big ones that do you think the the audience can really learn from and understand from?

[00:31:28.280] – Carlos

Yeah, absolutely. So I think probably the the most interesting one is that I mentioned that we have a lot of different product verticals, that we’re the ones that I think are the most interesting, both from the business case and from the potential to have like real dollar impact. Putting dollars in back in people’s pockets are some that we’re working on right now that are going to be launched over the next hopefully few weeks. But it is a well, if I if I give you a deadline, then my product team is going to yell at me.

[00:32:06.440] – Carlos

But and I said, OK, in order for us to get there, we need involvement from these partner financial institutions. We need buy and we need to be able to show them that we are legitimate, we are active, that they are competitors. If they’re not already on board with us, they will be on to capture those facts. And I said, OK, to get there, that’s going to be hard. We need to build up some groundwork first.

[00:32:27.050] – Carlos

And what you can see on our Web site right now, while they are I certainly think they’re viable business lines on their own. I think they are in many ways, steps we took in order to position ourselves to be able to chase down that that that really big fish. Now, I mentioned that I wasn’t an engineer by background, and that’s where this gets important. And that’s where it’s relevant to the process that I understood to be very much a business development process in order to access the information and the software that we need to create those products that I was mentioning.

[00:33:01.040] – Carlos

I thought that was gonna be really hard, really time intensive, very much a business development thing based on relationships and demonstrating value. It’s really easy. It’s just a software thing. You know, they they ended up joining the team later and they said, well, why have you been waiting to do this? Oh, this reason is that, you know, you can just go here and you’ll get it.

[00:33:21.010] – Carlos

You know, in terms of distilling that into an actionable mistake and how to fix it, I think trying to put people around you that round out your skill set and know things that you don’t know and more importantly, that can identify you. I’m always trying to figure out what questions can I ask that I don’t even know to ask yet. And so having those around the console for that is really, really important. And because this was a very lean team at the start and we were self funding, I tried to solve for a lot of that on my own.

[00:33:52.520] – Carlos

At the risk of not getting questions answered in the first place, that could have saved me a lot of time and resources.

[00:33:58.710] – Germaine

Well, and to an extent, what you what you sort of, I think, take away from that as well, is that it’s okay to ask questions and it’s okay to sort of put it out there, because, you know, there are instances where you just know that this is the answer. This is it. Like there’s no there’s no alternative. But then just as just as much, there are instances where you sort of go. I’m not sure all other.

[00:34:23.520] – Germaine

I don’t know what I don’t know and I’m not sure that over there, but over here I see a lot of that, that this Facebook groups that I’ve basically like this one quote, Ask Canberra, for example. That is literally designed and meant to for people to come in and ask questions. And what I’ve found is that people ask questions. And then I sort of look at the question. I go like, that’s not even a question like that.

[00:34:48.690] – Germaine

It’s obvious, you know, you all like, what’s your favorite Chinese restaurants in Canberra? Now I’m just going like everyone knows what the best ones are yet. Then I click through the comments and I go home. And I didn’t know that, you know, that that that that places like right around the corner. I didn’t know that they even existed. And, you know, that’s just me. I guess my example of when, you know, you ask those questions, you get answers, even though you think that you know the answer.

[00:35:15.610] – Germaine

And I mean, your example was a similar thing. Yes. You didn’t have the team in place at that time. And if you had the team, one would hope that you’d have sort of got that answer much quicker. But it’s just saying that, you know, you had to ask that question. And there’s so many online forums and opportunities nowadays where you can just put it out there. Sort of over the years, I’ve used, you know, those sorts of platforms just to ask all sorts of questions that help me understand, you know, how much someone willing to pay per hour for X, Y service .

[00:35:47.620] – Germaine

Is there a demand for this? And why why is there a demand? Why is there no demand? And so on and so forth. So there’s a lot lot of sort of I think your your example was very product led or product based, but that that sort of can apply for all sorts of facets of someone’s business and someone’s journey. So, yeah, that’s awesome. What do you guys sort of plan to do moving forward? What’s what’s sort of the next step?

[00:36:19.300] – Germaine

Are you. Is this a game or is this a play where you need to get as many providers on board? Is this a play? Because it’s sort of a almost chicken or the egg situation as well, isn’t it? Do you get you know, you get complete coverage of all Hispanics, but then not have complete coverage of all financial products or the opposite or both together? What’s what’s the plan there?

[00:36:45.120] – Carlos

No, you just highlighted something that has been very much an idea that it has not kept me up at night, but one that I that I struggle with trying to solve for. And that’s the I think it’s the reason why people don’t pursue this type of business often is because it’s a two sided marketplace. And building a two sided marketplace is very hard. You have to align the supply and align the demand at the same time. And it like you said, it is a chicken and the egg problem.

[00:37:12.420] – Carlos

So, you know, for with regards to our specific two sided marketplace, on the one hand, we have all these consumers that they will only want to be on our platform if they can see relevant offers for loans, for credit card, for credit checks, etc.. On the other hands, on the supply side, these financial institutions, they’re not going to want to put their products on their platform unless they’re strapped. Right. Unless they’re consumers, unless there is demand.

[00:37:38.210] – Carlos

So how do you how do you get both there at the same time when either one wants to be there or the other one is there? Yeah. And that’s that’s an interesting challenge. The way that we’ve approached it is basically we. Built out the supply. I don’t want to say artificially, because it is Real’s. It is real supply. It is just not in the ultimate iteration that we want it to be in from a technological standpoint or from a monetized standpoint.

[00:38:07.220] – Carlos

So we brought in a bunch of personal finance experts, and I am certainly not a personal finance expert yet working on becoming one. We brought in people who write for Forbes, write for CNBC, write for every major financial editorial you can think of. And we said, hey, help us build out this platform with content that is relevant, interesting and showcases the right products for this demographic that, by the way, on its own was a very difficult process because as you can imagine, finding somebody who has a knowledge of the specific demographic of financial products.

[00:38:39.680] – Carlos

Yes, you can find them. They’re probably gonna be in Mexico. And those from the same ones that we want to showcase in the US. So it was very much, you know, finding the right people and refining it in the way that is relevant. And so we stocked our platform with all this content about what are the best credit cards? What are the best was. And while we didn’t have that done in a technologically sophisticated way that we are bringing it to now, and in many cases, those products weren’t monetized yet, that at least create supply such that the demand can now have something to look at and have something to demand for.

[00:39:15.620] – Carlos

So that’s how it is now. OK, now we’re in the position where we have that demand and we can go back and pluck out something that isn’t exactly what we want. Pop it back in with something that is monetized, that is technologically sophisticated, et cetera. And that’s how we kind of approach that chicken or the egg problem.

[00:39:29.790] – Germaine

Yeah. So it’s sort of being frozen with almost indecision of, you know what, I go with chicken or the egg. You just picked one and just just ran with it and then you just knew that it might not be perfect. You might not be the exact demographic, it might not be generating the exact results, but that you can then leverage. It’s almost like, you know, the first step, right. You sort of get that step going and then you know that because you’ve got that first step, you can then go to the next step, but you can’t sort of jump over that step.

[00:39:59.690] – Germaine

And I guess the takeaway here is just to pick one, maybe pick ones out of the market and just try and try and go after them. And at the end of the day, you can’t get the exact same exact market that you want, because to do that, you need that sort of supply demand two sided marketplace, but try and get at least a general gist of it. And in this case, it’s people who are interested in money, who have a Hispanic background or who speaks Spanish.

[00:40:26.990] – Germaine

And then you can go from there. And yes, it’s still making all the money. But next step is to sort of go to the bank and say, hey, guys, we’ve got X amount of traffic on our Web site. They need solutions. We’re looking to monetize. Let’s start working together. Is that is that basically what you did?

[00:40:44.700] – Carlos

That’s that’s absolutely it and I wish I’d had you around early on to help me work through these.

[00:40:52.300] – Germaine

So you could have done this many, many times. The you know, what you were mentioning a moment ago? I think it really, really struck home to me because all the other jobs I’ve had and, you know, like I mentioned, I worked at law firms that worked on the banking side. I have been surrounded by these fantastic, intelligent people who are good at what they do. And they’re hard working and they challenge you. And they they provide a sounding board for complex questions that you’re trying to figure out.

[00:41:19.650] – Carlos

So you’re just like you are right now. And when you take that leap to go into a startup, I mean, if you don’t have a co-founders, I did not. And you don’t have a team right from the outset as I did. We do. And how to spot. But you all of sudden don’t have anybody to ask questions, do you? Tell yourself. And it’s a very different process.

[00:41:40.720] – Carlos

So, you know, I was lucky enough to have, like a mentor, my sister. My parents have been involved with Hispanic community for a long, long time. They were great sounding boards and a riot of other, I’d call them advisory board role type people. But still, that’s a that’s very different from having somebody sitting right next to you saying, hey, what you think about this? Okay, great. Move on. Yes.

[00:42:03.110] – Germaine

Yes on a day to day basis who is there to you know, the way I see it, a cofounder is fantastic because at the very least, it’s just another another level of sanity check. You know, either they agree with you. And that’s awesome. Or they disagree. And then you’ve got to you’ve got to sort of work it out and prove it out. And that’s what I try and do as much as possible is sort of.

[00:42:23.850] – Germaine

And, you know, the being sort of the same as the leader, the CEO, the founder. I think some people get the wrong idea within a team that whatever they say, whatever that’s found or the leader says is how it has to happen, where it’s much more beneficial for somebody in that position as a leader or founder or manager to put an idea out there and actually get actual feedback. Because I’m sure, as you found out with your team, it’s not just about shutting.

[00:42:51.450] – Germaine

The bad ideas, but also getting energy and buying on the right ones and the right ideas and then, you know, getting that excitement and passion so that you can push that across to other individuals, that you’re not the only guy who’s that, you know, all excited. And then you got 19 team members are going far out. We’re just doing this because he wanted us to. You want it to be much more sort of passion driven. Now, do you guys all work in an office or remotely? How did how’s that happening?

[00:43:19.870] – Carlos

So typically, the office is located in Santa Monica. Great place to be. Really easy to recruit. We can say, hey, you know, Santa Monica, you want to come down we take our breaks at the beach. That is no longer a reality with the pandemic era. So we have been entirely remote. But even, you know, prior to when that started, we have rolls across the team that don’t need to be in person.

[00:43:46.090] – Carlos

So we have team members who produced all this. We’re look at in New York. So we’re located in Los Angeles. I traditionally spend half my time in L.A. and have in New York, and most of that could be done prior remotely. It has now all been done prior. I would love to get people back into the office just because of what I was talking about with that communal feel and bouncing the other ideas that you didn’t expect. We’ll see when that’s a reality and whether people are excited or interested to be back in the office. But for the moment.

[00:44:17.320] – Germaine

Yeah. But I mean, especially when it’s sort of, you know, there’s a social mission as well. I personally believe that there’s a there’s a benefit to having people there. And, you know, it’s just that energy to bounce ideas off, to build out the community, build out the team sort of internally so that, you know, I mean, you get to I’m a huge fan of sort of working in an office and we’ve now transitioned back to coming into the office.

[00:44:43.180] – Germaine

Things are not as bad of years there. They’re over them for better or worse. And, you know, Canberra, really, at the end of the day, I think we had about a hundred cases of coronavirus, which is insane compared to what what the numbers you guys are getting and seeing over there. So we’ve transitioned back, and you know, I just think there’s a huge value. I personally don’t think that remote work is where the workforce is going to, at least not the workforce that’s driven with a mission, you know.

[00:45:19.130] – Germaine

Yeah. The people who just go to work and, you know, money, they don’t care where they work out of. But I think that, you know, we we at Futuretheory, thats my business, we do marketing websites, all that stuff. We have a social mission. We want to help as many people as possible, help as many business ideas as possible. And that’s just much easier to infuse when you’re there in person.

[00:45:45.650] – Germaine

And that’s the same thing for you guys. It’s much easier to push that across, saying, listen, we’re not just a financial services provider or financial comparison site. We’re way we are the number one place for Hispanics and we’re everything Hispanic and that needs to sort of guard and permeate through the whole chain.

[00:46:04.150] – Carlos

Yeah, you’re absolutely right. And, you know, the you asked a moment ago about one of the major mistakes I made. And I have another one for you, if you’ll humor me. I keep mentioned that I wasn’t from an engineering background. And so for our first product, I guess the credit card comparison, which was the first thing we did, it was a very basic and we’re say we’re actively working on bringing the technological sophistication of that up.

[00:46:27.670] – Carlos

I basically was the product manager on that. I don’t have a background in product management. And so the amount of learnings that have come with going through that process on my own and then having people who have really strong engineering precommitment backgrounds coming on board telling me what I did wrong. It’s interesting. So one of the pieces that’s to what you’re saying about being a person and having, you know, the those ideas get developed. One of the things that I thought was really fascinating is that we have switched from a model where I said here’s to the engineers, to the engineering team.

[00:47:00.790] – Carlos

Here’s what I want to do. Here’s what it should look like. Here’s what I want it to do. Go build it. Let me know when it’s done and we’ll run through it, too. Now, we’ve switched to an agile software development, our product development platform. So that’s much easier to do in person. But in the same vein, I think the way that that ideology was presented to me is that you can on the if you look at the way I did it and say the product is not credit card comparison, but it is getting a car built the way I did it and I said, OK, I want this car here.

[00:47:29.290] – Carlos

It’s going to look like go build it. And if the engineers start by building a wheel, then they build an axle, then they build the undercarriage and they put the body on it. Then they paint it and send it to me. And when I get it, you know, I’m not happy because it took a long time. It might not be the type of car I wanted. Maybe I wanted convertible. They gave me a truck, etc.

[00:47:46.150] – Carlos

the agile method that we’re switching to. And this is just kind of one of those learnings from having been a around. Team members now. The process is much more OK. You want a car? Let’s start by building you a scooter. OK. You build that better. I like the scooter. You know, like I want to go a little faster. I kind of need it for this. For this. OK, then we turn it into a bike.

[00:48:03.920] – Carlos

That’s the next phase. I have a bike. I try the bike out. There’s that customer feedback there. Then they turn it into a motorcycle. All right. And we’re now it is taking a lot less time. And maybe I want that motorcycle more than I ever wanted that car. And that won’t solve our problem. I save time. I save resources. I save frustration. And there’s feedback baked in at every point. So that’s wanted to learn.

[00:48:22.180] – Carlos

And I think that, again, just having had the benefit of being in person with people versus working in a silo and maybe this room, maybe that’s just as a sole founder. That’s one of the things I think you learn for people.

[00:48:34.740] – Germaine

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, that’s a really good tip as well, because I think sometimes people find and people think that they need this end goal. That is, you know, let’s call it the Rolls Royce, when in reality they just needed a scooter. But they think they’ve been led to believe that without the Rolls-Royce that it’s despite succeed, the idea won’t be accepted and won’t be respected. When in reality, as it as you put it, you can go through that journey and actually find out that I didn’t need a car all along.

[00:49:04.820] – Germaine

In fact, you know, the the negatives around a car are much worse. And therefore, you know, even if the car’s a better product overall, just I don’t need all those things that take away from and I might as well just have the core of what it is. And, you know, the same goes for even sort of coming up with a minimum viable product and just proving out. This is what you need. No. Yes.

[00:49:27.390] – Germaine

Okay. What what elements can we change and then going from there? This is because I guarantee you this this service, this this software foundations and frameworks and bases that you can buy that build that comparison websites like guaranteed, you can just buy it, pop it in, translate everything to Spanish and you could go. But that wouldn’t serve what you’re trying to do. And what what what end products you’re trying to arrive at.

[00:49:56.410] – Carlos

Yeah, no, you’re absolutely right and so that’s the learning curve. It’s all part of the fun.

[00:50:03.380] – Germaine

Hey, where can we find out more about you guys and you?

[00:50:06.650] – Carlos

Thanks for asking. So our Web site is Crediverso dot com, thats c r e d i v e r s o dot com. We’re also on social Instagram at Crediverso and Facebook dot com saturated. So if you don’t know why you would. But if you for some reason want to talk to me, my. It’s linked in dot com slash CP Hernandez.

[00:50:27.050] – Germaine

Awesome. So we’ll link all that in the description as well so that people can find you. Now, do you know about the top 12?

[00:50:34.790] – Carlos

I know about the top twelve

[00:50:42.330] – Germaine

Well, let’s get the get the ball rolling with top three books or podcasts that you recommend.

[00:50:46.500] – Carlos

All right, I’ll give you I’ll give you my three favorite books that I think your listenership might might like to read. One is The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham. It’s an absolute classic. The reason I like it because it talks about value investing, how you never want to pay something that is more than something is worth. And it sounds like a simple idea.

[00:51:04.980] – Carlos

But when you start talking about stocks and companies and other investments, it is very easy to get caught up in speculation rather than investing based on the value of something. So I think that is just a fundamental read for anybody who’s interested in finance, history and personal finance and how to manage investments. A second is what I would call investing book that I really like is called The Most Important Thing By Howard Marks. And these are kind of macroeconomic letters that he writes out to his investment community.

[00:51:35.460] – Carlos

So he’s the chairman and I think co-founder of Oaktree Capital, which is based here in Los Angels. They’re private equity, the distressed debt investing, amongst many other things. And he sends out these letters that are phenomenal in terms of how they cover the macro economic landscape, the predictions he makes. And while they can be very, you know, professorial and theoretical, I think they’re really fascinating. Read. So those are two. The third book that I found has really shaped my world view, maybe not from an investing standpoint, but just in terms of, you know, being a student of history of the US.

[00:52:12.960] – Carlos

I really like a book called A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn. And this presents a different viewpoints of American history. And so it tries to tell the story of, for example, the discovery of America from the viewpoint of the Native Americans of the Constitution, from the standpoint of the civil war as seen by the New York Irish up the Mexican war as seen by deserving soldiers. And so that’s it’s a totally different viewpoint than what is often taught in history, class and middle school and seen on TV, so I thought that was really interesting.

[00:52:47.880] – Germaine

Yeah, that’s awesome. I think. I think this is been or the, you know, no offense to anyone, any of the guests prior, but this has been a very interesting start to the top three because I’ve never heard of these any of these books before. So and usually, you know, there’s at least one that I sort of got. Yeah. Heard of it. But love, love the diversity so far. Next one, top three software tools that you can’t live without.

[00:53:12.120] – Carlos

OK, well, I don’t know if this will be as exciting.

[00:53:16.270] – Germaine

That’s OK. That’s all right.

[00:53:17.940] – Carlos

I’ll give you the boring version of the fun version. So that’s the boring version. Excel, PowerPoint and Google Hangouts, OK. These are tools that I think every startup country needs Excel. You know, I had the benefit of having done investment banking and they really grind into those those hard skills. It is a very approachable software package the end of the day, it is not rocket science. Like everybody likes to make it out to be.

[00:53:41.010] – Carlos

I think people like to think that what they do is really hard. They tell people that it actually is really easy to learn. The trick is learn how to do everything on your keyboard without using a mouse. You’ll save tons of time down the road. But for, you know, it is a financial modelling tool. I think what our platform does in the first personal space finance space is all about giving people tools to understand finances. Excel is one of those tools.

[00:54:04.050] – Carlos

And when you’re looking at things like valuing businesses, valuing stocks as we are pitching venture capital firms, excel is something that’s absolutely necessary. PowerPoint is the next step of that. And that’s taking the learnings that you generate through financial modelling excel and putting them in a narrative that is interesting, that is compelling, that tells the story of your business or whatever it is you’re trying to describe. And, you know, it doesn’t need to be PowerPoint, but just something that can create that presentation that tells your story.

[00:54:36.390] – Carlos

I think storytelling is such an important skill. It is a soft skill. It is not one that is that is taught as a technical thing in high school or college. But it is so, so important being able to tell your story. Then the last piece know we are in the pandemic era and Google Hangouts is a I think it is a totally free service and it has been, phenomenal for our team been able to connect. I mean, as the team grows, I think the other day I was I sent out an invite to something like 50 people and I thought, well, what’s the limit on Google Hangout?

[00:55:04.830] – Carlos

So am I to hit that. I know, no pun intended. Google it.

[00:55:09.360] – Carlos

And it’s people you can get on Google.

[00:55:12.630] – Germaine

Yeah wow. Which is enough for most people. You would say that basically enough for everyone.

[00:55:18.470] – Carlos

So so that’s the that’s also where the fun answer software can’t live without Mario Kart and Super Smash Brothers.

[00:55:26.670] – Germaine

I mean I guess that it’s software technically so.

[00:55:29.970] – Germaine

So you get up, you get a point for the top three mantras you try to live by.

[00:55:36.570] – Carlos

That. Let me I’ll start with one. And, you know, not to double down on the video game comment, but I think I’ll give you a Star Wars quote here. Yoda says, Do or do not? There is no try. And I think that is such a powerful message to live by, because it is so easy to say, oh, you know, one day I want to start a company, one day I want to volunteer.

[00:56:05.190] – Carlos

One day I want to do X, Y, Z, whatever it is, just do it, you know, get out there and do it. Don’t don’t worry about trying. Don’t worry about failing. Do it or don’t do it.

[00:56:14.790] – Carlos

And stop talking about it. And that’s why I like that one.

[00:56:18.840] – Carlos

A second quote that I find phenomenal is by one of my personal hero, Bruce Lee. He says, To hell with circumstances. I create opportunities. And, you know, this is something that I think rings really true for the community that our product is intended to serve. Not everybody starts with the same circumstances and not everybody has access to the same resources, tools, education, financial backgrounds, etc. But being able to put your head down, work, do what you can with what you have and create an opportunity out of it for yourself or for others.

[00:56:55.290] – Carlos

I think it’s such an important message. The third one is by someone who actually I’d be interested in to know if his message is reached. Just really he’s a hero kind of among the Hispanic community here in California, it looks like migrant farm workers names Cesar Chavez. And he said, if you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and be with him. The people who give you their food give you their hearts. And as somebody who has been known to enjoy a heavy meal here or there, I’ve always preached that the best way to get cultural understanding amongst people who may have nothing in common is through food.

[00:57:34.380] – Carlos

You give me a good plate from some culture that I’ve never tried before. I eat it. We talk. That’s the best way to get understanding.

[00:57:40.020] – Germaine

Yeah. Yeah. Awesome. That is that is again, does a lot of diversity in this top twelve, which is good because, you know, that’s what your product is all about as well.

[00:57:50.430] – Germaine

I think certainly the last one. Yes.

[00:57:53.530] – Carlos

I think just amongst our internship team, we have someone from South Korea or someone from Chile, someone from Colombia, someone from Mexico, someone from Taiwan, someone from San Diego. There a lot of different accents being spoken in our intern program.

[00:58:06.930] – Germaine

Oh, that’s awesome. I mean, growing up my friendship group, we called ourselves the U.N. because we had Serbian, Italian, Ozon, British myself. We had a Lebanese guy. It is it to me, it’s just awesome. And it’s just, you know, something that should be embraced and. Yeah. Onto the last one, top three people you follow or study and why.

[00:58:30.890] – Carlos

Okay. So I’ll, um, I’ll start with the quote that I gave from, you know, Bruce Lee. So he is someone that I’ve always considered a personal hero. And the reason is that, you know, we all have these platforms that we work hard on developing. And whether that is something simple, like, you know, our social media presence makes our friend group something in between. Like a company or something major, like a national following in international following, like we had through what he did with martial arts.

[00:58:57.840] – Carlos

I think the important thing is whatever you can do to get yourself a platform and then do something good with it. That’s that’s why I think Bruce Lee was really interesting, his platform of martial arts. And he did a contribute a lot to that from an academic perspective, an athletic perspective, everything. But what here where he really had a lasting impact was on, I think, the cultural understanding that took place between Americans and Chinese Americans in the West or at the time he was alive in the 60s.

[00:59:24.120] – Carlos

There was a lot of racial tension between within the Chinese community and the American community. It was an immigrant community that had previously been pretty closed off, mostly to ethnic enclaves.

[00:59:37.380] – Carlos

And there was a lot of racial tension. And by using that platform that appealed to the general markets, he was able to create a lot of understanding amongst that, that those cultures there. I think you did a lot for Chinese American community over that time period. He was active.

[00:59:54.060] – Germaine

Yeah. I mean, he I love Bruce Lee even growing up, sort of even as a kid. So, yeah, that’s some I, I couldn’t agree more. Anyone else that come to mind.

[01:00:02.070] – Carlos

Yeah.I’ll, I’ll cheat a little bit here and mention my parents. So their names are Roland and Marguerita and I don’t think I could even begin to describe a list of heroes of mine without having them just be flat smack dab in the middle of it. The you know, my mom moved here from Mexico to go to college and she has done so much. She became a lawyer. She has had a successful career business. She was a couple years ago appointed as an ambassador to the UN and I’m so proud of what she does. And on top of all that, she’s been a fantastic mother. And so she’s always made time both for her career, for her family, for absolutely everything. So she’s someone I very much look up to my dad. You know, same thing. He was born in East Los Angeles. Son of a cop went to. Got himself a great education and ended up devoting much of his career again to his community. So he worked for a long time as the chairman and CEO of Telemundo, which is one of the major Spanish TV stations in the US.

[01:01:10.930] – Germaine

Yeah, I’ve heard of them.

[01:01:13.900] – Carlos

So being able to be active in your community, you contribute to the community, but also challenge yourself from an intellectual and business perspective. A professional perspective is something I very much look up to and aspire to. And so having my parents as role models, even just within the house, is something that I’m very myself very lucky and constantly grateful for.

[01:01:36.760] – Germaine

Yeah, that’s awesome. I think there are a lot of people I mean, growing up as well in Australia. It’s it’s easy to forget the suffering that people’s parents and grandparents have had to go through with that the life changing, life altering things that they’ve had to do, like moving whole country, you know, just in search of opportunity usually or in search of something different. I mean, my parents did the same thing we did. I was born in Australia.

[01:02:05.650] – Germaine

We moved to Australia in sort of this pursuit of something bigger, something better, something more. So, yes, I can totally relate to that. I think that basically wraps everything up. Any sort of parting words.

[01:02:20.350] – Carlos

I think no, I think that we do all 12 there. You. That’s such great. Yeah.

[01:02:25.090] – Germaine

Yeah. That was all 12 and you just breezed right through it. That was so good.

[01:02:29.810] – Carlos

Well, this has been a phenomenal opportunity to get to talk to you. It so it’s not often that I get to have an hour long conversation with someone on the other side of the world, let alone someone who knows this space so well, ask such questions, provide such great feedback. So, you know, I hope that when this pandemic era is over, we get the chance to meet person someday. Grab a drink and that’ll be fantastic.

[01:02:52.300] – Germaine

I’ve been meaning to. I’ve never been to the US. So that’s some definitely on the cards over the next fewyears.

[01:02:59.560] – Germaine

Yeah. I’m gonna I’m gonna let you know when I’m when I’m gonna be around and we’ll we’ll grab a drink.

[01:03:04.210] – Carlos

Well I’ll tell you, our offices are in Santamonica so I’ll meet you there.

[01:03:09.700] – Germaine

Awesome. Thanks so much for your time. Call us. Everyone listening, as always, we’ll have links in the description and you can go out there and say hi to Carlos, find everything that they do, the Web site and all that on there as well. So thanks again for your time. This has been a really nice conversation.

[01:03:27.600] – Carlos

Absolutely, thank you.