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#5 Generation Z & The Future of Marketing (Show Notes)
JOEY: I’m really excited about introducing my next guest. His name is Jeff Boodie, someone I’ve met a couple times in Denver and L.A. He’s been an experienced Generation Z guru, and we’ll be discussing the future of marketing to this generation. We also get into Jeff’s background which started with Oprah, DreamWorks, and also a company called Intern Sushi. He has worked his way up the chain and now he’s started his own company called JobSnap, focused on the Generation Z. Thanks for joining us and hope you guys enjoy this episode.
I want to thank everyone back to Talk Experiential podcast. I’m with a buddy of mine. We met actually several times now, had a few calls the last few months, based out of L.A. Jeff Boodie, thanks for coming on.
JEFF: Thank you for having me. How’s it going? What’s the latest?
JOEY: It’s going great. I heard it’s raining in L.A.?
JEFF: Yeah, it’s raining in L.A., people are running for the hills. It’s the worst here in L.A. when it rains. People don’t know how to drive in general but as soon as the water hits the ground, it’s not safe to be out. So, I try to avoid it. So, I am not out and about right now.
JOEY: Stay inside for sure. Thanks again for coming on. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about your background and what you’re currently doing?
JEFF: Of course. I’m living in L.A., I’m from New York, originally. My background is kind of bizarre, actually, if we go from when I graduated and started working. I’ve always — since working — been passionate about helping people. My first job out of college, I was working for Oprah Winfrey, working in her business department with her general manager, Nancy Denholtz, who has now retired. I’m so happy for her, she retired early, which is nice. But, I helped right out of college. I managed hundreds of millions of dollars, working with Oprah and that was a huge learning curve, to learn how to work with people, especially at a top level. Oprah’s one of the best business people, if you can get a chance, to learn from her. My goal is that some of that can rub off on me, as a small guy now. I was there for three years and then from New York I moved to L.A., where I started working at DreamWorks Animation and recruiting. And I was a technical recruiter and that experience was phenomenal because I really had a chance to understand the brand of DreamWorks, how they market to some of the top talent around the world. They compete with Pixar, of course, which is Disney. And so, it was really interesting to be on the inside of one of the most competitive companies in the world, when it comes to tech and animation. And there I got to learn just exactly how to woo people, even at the top. Again, sometimes when you’re not in an establishment that is seen as untouchable, when you’re in it you realize that there are flaws and they still have to work just as hard to keep and recruit top to the best. It was really good to just see through that lens what it takes, even being at the top as a recruiter and as someone working with some of the leading developers.
I left that position to start a company called Intern Sushi and I was recruited from the CEO. I was kind of her right-hand man. I was head of company — helped manage all the businesses that came onto that platform. It’s called Intern Sushi. We pivoted to Career Sushi. Basically a marketplace for millennials, helping them find internships in over 15 industries from art, web tech, history, marketing — I’m trying to think — entertainment, sports — We were in just every industry you could think of. And from that, I started my own company. So, about a year and a half, two years ago, I wanted to figure out how to help people find first time jobs, not just internships, and that’s when JobSnap was born. So, I feel like I’ve talked way too much.
JOEY: Oh, you’re great. You’re great. No, this is good.
JEFF: I feel like it’s just silence. I’m like, “All right, way too much.”
JOEY: No, we’re still here, I’m in.
JEFF: Okay, great. Just making sure I didn’t lose you or you guys didn’t fall asleep over there. But no, seriously, I started my own company after learning from the last start up. Just what it really took to get a company off the ground — You know as well, Joey, just the whole — There’s just so many moving pieces to a business, it’s not just the idea. That experience led to this, so I kind of just kept growing, I guess, from a corporate job to a semi-corporate, to a startup, and now my own startup.
JOEY: That’s fascinating. It looks like you had an amazing career path and you probably learned so much from all these different companies. How did you get in with Oprah?
JEFF: Yeah, that’s a good question. How did I get in with Oprah? That’s really good. I actually — And this is how life works. When I was a junior in college, I interned. So, go back to internships and how things fast forward. I was an intern and again, I always want to do things I’m passionate about. So, when I interned, I went to school in Virginia, went up to New York to get this internship, and with the internship I was working with, at the time, the president of Hearst Newspapers. Hearst Corporation is a huge company, they own everything. They’re the third largest media company in the world. H-E-A-R-S-T. Sometimes people think I’m saying, “Hertz,” but no, Hearst like Hearst Corporation. The Hearst family. They own everything from — They have a share at ESPN, I think Marie Claire, Esquire Magazine, Good Housekeeping, Bravo TV — the list goes on. I can’t remember the whole portfolio. But I was working on the newspaper side as an intern, and ended up becoming friends with the president, which for me at the time, I didn’t realize how big of a deal that was, because I’m very — I like to think of myself as someone who just connects with people first, not titles. I’ve always been that way. If you’re a human, then I want to get to know your stories.
So, I had become friends with him and when I finished my internship, he had given me some advice on what to do next, going into my last year. And when I graduated, they had offered me a chance to work for Hearst Corporation and one of their partners. Long story short, George Irish, who I’ll never forget — him and I stay in touch — he sent the recommendation letter to Oprah’s business manager and that was probably the best thing that I could have ever gotten because people say they’re going to do things for you and you never know. So, it was awesome to have that recommendation letter get into the hands of someone who is — Nancy was looking for three to five years’ experience and I had zero. I was right out of college. So, as a testimony to hard work, proving that you can do something, even if the requirements say otherwise, and with the help of people who believe in you, I think that’s kind of my life. So, yeah, I got the job. I know Oprah is — So many people even though that was more than seven, eight, nine — Oh my God, almost 10 years ago. She was at the top of her game and so that job wasn’t an easy spot to get. But I’m blessed that I was chosen just as much as I chose it.
JOEY: Oh, that’s exciting. And I’m sure it wasn’t an easy job, either. I’m sure it was —
JEFF: No, it was not. Let’s just say I learned — For me, because you’ve gotten to know me, I’m a very bubbly — I’m the life of the party kind of guy. I love people. It took me — That job forced me to learn to say, “No,” and that job really forced me outside of my personality where I’m like, “Yeah, friends with everyone.” It really taught me to be firm and stern with just keeping to the budget and numbers. And because of my position, I had to say, “No,” to the publisher. I had to say, “No,” to people who had been there way longer than I had because of my position. My title was — I was younger but I was still in a position where I had to tell people, “No,” when it came to them asking for money.
JEFF: Because we handled all the budgets. So, it wasn’t the fun department to be in because I internally have to say, “No,” a lot and approve things and not approve things. So, I really learned to be tough because my personality is not the personality that’s a stickler, I guess, where it’s like, “Ugh.” I’ve never been that guy. I’m always free spirited. And working in that role really taught me to reign in and learn to say, “No,” and it’s okay. And people will be upset with you and you’ve just got to manage that. So that was awesome.
JOEY: It sounds like that’s one of the most powerful things you could learn, too. I’m just learning that, the word, “No,” on a lot of fronts, from business to personal life. It’s a very powerful thing to have and it’s neat that you’ve learned that way on early.
JEFF: Yeah, what would you say some of your challenges were before with, “No?”
JOEY: You know, I think for me growing my company, growing Air Fresh Marketing, it was pretty much — I would take on everything, because I was looking at the revenue and I thought this would be good for what we do and learning back, no it’s not. If a partner doesn’t really fit — I’m actually just about to let go of one of my biggest clients, just because of that. And that’s a whole other topic too but, I’m just learning that I can be more efficient with that word and then put more time and focus on a little bit better projects, a little bit better clients that actually, one, respect you, and want to work with you long term. But yeah, it’s definitely a powerful thing to learn as an entrepreneur.
JEFF: Yeah, that’s cool.
JOEY: Yeah. So, your career just sounds awesome. It sounds sexy. You live in New York, L.A. now you’ve started this company, JobSnap. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about what that is and what you’re trying to accomplish with that.
JEFF: Totally, yeah JobSnap. We’re a social impact ed-tech startup, focused on inner-city youth, ages 16-22, looking for their first or second time job. We’re also considered the first marketplace to solely focus on Generation Z, which are basically post millennial, mobile mavericks who don’t know a world without a cellphone, which is kind of phenomenal to me. It really is like —
JOEY: Wait, you’re saying that group doesn’t know?
JEFF: That group doesn’t know, yes.
JEFF: Cell phones and phones have been around for 16 years, which is kind of crazy. The smartphone has been around for — what is it, 10 years this year? Apple will be 10. It turns 10. The iPhone turns 10. So, you think man, this group as teenagers, they don’t know a world without a cell phone, which is phenomenal. A smartphone is even more so. These high school kids don’t know a world without a smartphone, where you could look back at us and say the cell phone — the smartphone — I can remember a beeper in elementary. My dad had a beeper when I was a lot younger. These kids wouldn’t know what a beeper is and that just shows you a generation shift, even though they’re not that much younger. It’s every 10 to 15 years things shift. Technology has been moving faster. Yeah, you’re right. Were you kind of shocked at that?
JOEY: No, I guess — I thought you said they don’t know phones, like smartphones. I thought that’s what you meant, but they do.
JEFF: They don’t know a world without —
JOEY: Yeah, without it. Right.
JEFF: Exactly. So, that means that’s all they — They came into the world — That’s what separates Gen Z from Millennials, particularly — I mean, a lot of other things, but when it comes to technology it’s that we were born the dot com — during the household computer, where the computer was in most households came in ’96, and this Gen Z, the computer has been around, laptops have been around — They don’t remember it ever coming into the house. It was always there. That’s a huge difference, when you could remember when you got your first computer because they didn’t exist before, for you to have them in your house — each household, versus a school. So, yeah, it’s just that technology shift of people who can access things. There are things like VR sets, and I look forward to that generation, where right now only certain people have them. And I think eventually everyone will have them, and it’s that kind of shift, where the people who do have them are like, “Oh my God. How much is it? Two thousand dollars.” It’s like, “What? Who’s paying for that?” Not every household has one in America. But eventually, the shift will happen where we won’t even remember — well some people won’t remember, like the next generation will be like, “Oh yeah, we’ve always had VR,” and you’re like, “No, that’s not the case.”
JOEY: That’s right.
JEFF: That’s not the case but people forget easily.
JOEY: Especially with these smartphones, people think they have been around forever.
JEFF: Forever, and it hasn’t been that long. I get so pissed when people are like, “Oh my God.” I’m like, “Guys, this is only the iPhone 7. Seventh generation. Think about that.” It’s not that long but people can’t live without it. It’s so crazy.
JOEY: It’s crazy. The offline world is crazy. So, what made you focus — You wanted to focus on the Gen Z or did it just — this company came about that you saw a market that needed something different dealing with jobs and from some of your experiences?
JEFF: Yeah, it was a combination, you’re exactly right. It was a combination of my experiences, of how I grew up, and realizing that no one was talking about this group yet. So, you’re a marketer, so from a marketing perspective — I’ll start there — I realized that, “Wait a minute,” two years ago, even three years ago when I was at my last startup, we were focused on millennials and I got to see that they were people coming on our platform — we were a web-based platform — that’s how, if you think about this, five years ago — Not that long ago, five years ago, Web is still great but Web is a super expensive — It’s still expensive but way more expensive. Way more expensive. There’s many more plugins right now in the last four years to make things easier.
But five years ago — Because of contracts, I can’t share how much money was spent, but a lot of money was spent on this Web Platform and we realized that basically people were coming onto our website through their phone and when we sold the intellectual property, we all split up, I realized — It took me a few months to kind of sit back and say, “What do I want to focus on?” You’re at a startup for three years for us and you’re grinding, you work every day, there’s no break, and I took — I had a couple months to sit back and say, “What is it that I want to focus on?” and I realized that there were users coming onto their phones that we weren’t capturing and these were younger users because we were an internship platform. When people think interns, they generally think college, but there are high school students who take internships.
So, that’s when I started to kind of put my head around, “Wait a minute, these kids are on their phones more than ever before,” and as a millennial, I felt old, because I was like, “Whoa.” Our website wasn’t mobile ready and that’s like [00:18:12] now because now, in the last couple years, people are all like, “Oh my God, your website has to be mobile friendly.” But that was literally four years ago, that was such a debate of building your website so that it’s web-based. That’s when web-based started coming around, and it’s like, “What does that mean?” Well, people are going on their phones now to do shorthand things and the website is clunky and you’re like, “What? Ugh.” It’s frustrating and it’s just more money to figure out how to get it right on the phone ad so that it’s user friendly on the phone because it’s a smaller screen. And so yeah, not to long wind your question too much —
JOEY: No, you’re fine.
JEFF: — it was a combination of seeing that data. And I grew up in the South Bronx so I’m from — inner city kid, mom and dad working. Mom’s a social worker, dad is an engineer. Both great jobs but they didn’t own anything to where they could hire me. So, with the combination of seeing where kids were going and knowing that, for me, as an inner-city kid from New York, I realized that when I had to find my first job at 16-17, my parents weren’t in a position to hire me because they had great jobs but they were working for someone else. And I realized that that first job is really hard if you don’t have connection.
And where we are with technology with video, and where companies were willing to go, in terms of being open to video, thanks to LinkedIn with pictures, I knew that companies were ready to figure out a way to track younger candidates. I just had that gut, I guess, that gut inkling that companies would be ready for something different to track younger users. So yeah, it was a combination of just knowing that there are still inner-city kids who — That first job, I think you forget.
Another thing we forget as we get older is like, “Oh, how did I get the first job? What was that like?” Most times it’s not fun if you don’t have connections and you want to earn money and everyone’s saying you have to have experience and you’re like, “Wait, how do I have experience?” That was a question I’ll never forget, being like, “Wait, how do I have experience when I’ve never had a job? Great, what am I going to do?”
JOEY: Sell yourself.
JEFF: That’s a reality for everyone entering the workforce for the first time. How do we, as a system, realize that we have to do better with that question? So, I try to focus on companies that recognize that and are open to realizing that not everyone has to start somewhere. So anyway, that’s why I’m passionate about inner-city particularly. Anyone can use our platform but I’m really focused on inner-city kids.
JOEY: That’s great and I think this is great and this is why I brought you on the podcast because I know that with your experience — Gen Z is the new thing and I bet you it’s the first term I’ve heard in a while. I don’t follow the different terms, I just know Millennials are just taking over the world and I know brands are literally changing because of it. I don’t know if you’ve seen Verizon. They’ve literally changed their entire focus on Millennials, one hundred percent marketing on that and they’re spending millions on it and they’re realizing that’s where the market is. Tell me a little bit more about Gen Z. I know you saw the market of it and you kind of came from it but what type of people are these? What are their thought processes? How can a brand even market to this new Generation Z?
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JEFF: Yeah, that’s a good question. I have a lot of hope for the next generation. I think I’ve been — for the last two years — just every month — A couple times a month I speak at high schools all across — It’s been all across the country, really. L.A. mostly but I’m always flying when I’m asked to speak somewhere, particularly high schools. I used to think — People used to say about millennials, “Oh, they’re a lost generation. They’re selfish. They’re all these things,” but I feel like with Gen Z, this group — I’ve just been blown away by some of the etiquette of — Let’s say, just this week, one day I spoke at a high school, East L.A. Literally about half the class ended up writing me a thank you email saying, “Thank you so much for speaking. We appreciate your time. We know it’s valuable.” I was like, “Wait, I have friends who don’t even do this to me [00:23:42]. Wait, what? I didn’t [00:23:46] of my friends. These kids who are in school, trying to bust their butts as juniors and seniors, they’re preparing for college, they’re writing me these paragraph emails about how meaningful the time — the 30 minutes — was. I’m like, “Wait, what?” and this is happening consistently. It’s how I actually found my last interns. They had reached out to me saying they wanted to help, and I’m like, “What?” and these are all types of schools so it’s not just the academies or the top. I’m going to every single type of school, all over the city.
So I think, thus far, the last couple years in doing this, I have much respect for this new group who is passionate about being independent. They’re also being called the generation founders, where a lot of these kids just want to start a company because technology has given them that opportunity with YouTube and other platforms and Instagram. You know that joke, “Everyone’s an Instagram model.” People have these platforms now where you can make a brand for yourself and make money, that didn’t exist before. But yeah, I’m seeing that — To answer your question more specifically, I think when it comes to marketing, I ask this question every time I’m at a high school. I’ll ask, “What are your three top apps? What apps are you using?” and I do this every single time for the last couple years and I always want to get a — I do it because I want to be an expert in this field and I want to know when things shift and when things change because, for me, even with my smartphone and I’m young-ish, as a Millennial, I still think that I’m not — These kids are 10 years younger than me so I’m thinking, They must be doing something that I’m not, right? We can’t all be on the same app, outside the big ones.” So yeah, I ask these three questions and ones that always pop up, outside of Snapchat, Instagram — Facebook was not in there, which was also very curious to me. And Facebook is not the top three anymore for the 16, 17, and 18 roads, which is probably why they wanted to buy Snapchat. They’re seeing numbers. I’m doing little grassroots field work asking students, asking these younger audience where they’re going, to get their consumption, and they’re going on Snapchat and Instagram. The third one is usually Kik, K-I-K. Another one is called iFunny, I-F-U-N-N-Y. Another one is called — What’s the other one? Yik Yak. I don’t know if you’ve heard of any of these, Joey.
JOEY: Yeah, I have. Not the iFunny, but I’ve heard the other ones, for sure.
JEFF: Okay. And so I had not heard of Yik Yak or I had not been on it, one. I had heard of it but I had never had a reason to go. At least I had never felt like — It was a college app, at least that’s what I — after doing my research, it’s created to college students. So, that was the moment for me when I realized, “Oh yeah, wow. I’m not part of this generation. One, I’m not in college anymore, and two, all these kids are in high school going on Yik Yak to get their news.” And then, the iFunny one, because iFunny is such a — It’s one of those apps that it’s all about emoji. It’s an emoji type app where you send faces and it’s expressions. And I thought, “Oh my God, this is,” — That app has come up dozens of times when I ask for top three, across the whole city and a few other places. When it comes to marketing, I think marketing to this group is going to be in app. I see it becoming an in-app marketing play, which I think is why Snapchat just opened up their API to marketers — to sponsors — because I think they’re seeing that for the amount of time this generation is spending in the phone — I wish I could have a — I forget what it’s called — a hotspot where you see where these kids are actually spending time on the — where they’re touching around the phone. I haven’t done that [00:28:38] to see how long, where they’re spending, how they’re swiping within the hotspots of Snapchat, but I guarantee you, wherever they’re swiping, Snapchat is setting it up so that marketers can have advertisements to this group.
I think that it’s going to be apps that you’ve never heard of — that we’ve just never heard of, but I’ll be hearing of them, that will benefit from advertising to this group, because they’ll capture their attention. It won’t be traditional TV and that kind of thing. It’ll be apps that cater to this younger group, like iFunny, where you’re like, “I’ve never heard of it,” but let me tell you, they have 50 million people between the ages of 14 and 22. And guess what, if that’s who you’re targeting, that’s where you should put an ad. [00:29:37] about Snapchat, because Snapchat is great but you’re probably going to spend a lot of money and you can still hit your same audience on an app that you’ve never heard of, but have plenty of users and caters to your same audience. So I think — I’ve started to think about this. How can you connect with these kids? They’re in certain apps and I think marketing in those apps — micro-marketing. I don’t know if that’s a word.
JOEY: Now it is.
JEFF: [00:30:10] copyright that. [00:30:15] micro-marketing.
JOEY: That’s a good term because it’s the 15 second — I’ve been calling it the 15 second edible content. But for a marketing standpoint, these guys have very — I appreciate that these apps are awesome. I’ve actually been downloading a couple of them, using Snapchat a little bit, but just trying to think of how these people think and why is this really cool? Well, it’s really easy, for one. But, for a marketing person, you have to be in this if you want to market these folks. But then again, it’s the thought process, “What are they thinking?” Going back to Facebook, Facebook is one of the biggest companies in the world, and it’s pretty fascinating that this generation, that’s not the number one. I’m sure they’re on it but they’ve obviously catered to a different market and that’s why they wanted them. I know they’re trying to do — I don’t know if you’re on the Facebook messenger app — They have filters and things like that. But no, that’s fascinating with the micro-marketing side.
JEFF: Yeah, I know. Yeah, I was just going to say something that — when you were talking about Facebook. When I mentioned Facebook, because I’m always — Again, I ask a lot of questions because I just need to know why Facebook isn’t one of the top three, and most recently — because it’s top of mine, right now — talking about Facebook and their innovation of live video, I asked these students — about 25 kids — I was like, “Why don’t you like Facebook? What do you guys think about Facebook Live?” and they were like, “Oh my God,” I wish I had this recorded, they were like, “Facebook Live, that’s for old people. That’s for adults.”
JEFF: I’m not kidding. I was sitting there and I’m thinking, “Oh my God, I’m 30. Why — am I old?” I was like, “Oh my God, I’m old. I am old. This is crazy.” I was like, “Wow, I am officially old.” Coming — These 16 and 17 year olds. I was just like — They were like, “No, why would we want to just do anything live?” They were literally — This is their response.
“It’s old. That’s for our parents. That’s not something we would ever use,” and I was just like, “Oh.” And I actually haven’t thought about it too much, it just happened this week, asking that question because Facebook Live just is most recent. But, I just thought, “Man, this is interesting. I wonder what Facebook has on their data with who’s uploading these videos — who’s doing Live.” Who’s actually doing the Live? Is it people who are 25 and up doing the live video? I don’t know, I just thought that was fascinating. So, Facebook has got to figure it out. I’m sure they will.
JOEY: That’s so funny to me. I’ve literally just learned something on this podcast because I was even talking about it today. I’m like, “Facebook Live is the next big thing,” and we were talking about — A few of us guys — You met a few of them at that L.A. event, a couple weeks ago. But we were just talking about what are the different platforms to really push a product or promote a movement or something like that, and I was like, “Facebook Live.” That just blows my mind because they put it on the top tier of Facebook, so if you’re doing Facebook Live, you’re going to show up on everybody’s page, just because it’s so brand new and they want to market it. And that might change. So that’s why I thought it was going to be something. But, that’s interesting, too, that you’re saying that they don’t care about the Live part. Kind of what you’re talking about with this gen founders generation. I think that’s a term because now it’s these vloggers. I know there’s a bunch of YouTube people. I forgot the guy’s name, I know you’ve seen him, but he’s kind of a young muscular guy that just does weird stuff but has millions of followers and I’m sure that’s where their thought process is too. It’s like, “Well, I want to be just like him, so how do I do that?”
JEFF: Yep, it’s all about the followers, the ‘likes.’ And even for me, if I can be honest, I try to prevent myself from getting caught up in the psychology of ‘likes’ and who’s following you and that kind of stuff, but sometimes you can’t help it when you get alerts of who’s liking your stuff, where you’re like, “Oh, this person.” I don’t know, that psychology — Luckily, I feel like I’m older than when Facebook started doing that stuff, to where I wasn’t in high school when Facebook was around, I was in college. My psychology, I would hope, is a little different, being three years in. I think it was — When was that? Junior year of college? Sophomore? Anyway. When Facebook was born — I think it was sophomore year. But either way, I don’t have the same psychology as these kids who live on ‘likes’ and can become brand experts if they get enough followers. It’s kind of crazy.
JOEY: That’s a whole interesting topic, too, just the ‘likes’ thing with kids, which is interesting because a lot of these apps that we just talked about don’t really have a ‘like’ button. Snapchat doesn’t. Instagram does. I don’t know about the other ones.
JEFF: That’s true. That’s very true, yeah. I’m trying to think, did Instagram always have a like button? It’s gone through so many iterations now that I don’t even remember what the original thing was. I’d be curious to see what the original was. Was it a like or was it a check? I don’t remember what it was. Now that Facebook bought it, it kind of became — It aligned with Facebook so much that I think I forget what it had — what was the user interface. But, it was liking something though, I think. Liking pictures. I just don’t know how — I forget what it looked like.
JOEY: I don’t even know — I don’t even remember when — I don’t think Facebook had the ‘like’ button off the bat, did it?
JEFF: No, it didn’t. It didn’t have Facebook. Facebook was called Face Chat, I think. And you only — And this is why I used to be so mad. I don’t know — You had to be in school. This is my own privilege, I guess. I shouldn’t say this out loud but I will. Maybe I’ll get some people who listen who’ll agree. You had to be in college in order to join Facebook and so when Facebook opened it up to everyone, I was upset because I thought it was the cool thing, kind of like how these kids thing certain things are cool now. I thought Facebook was cool because it was only college students. You had to have a college email address at the time. That’s how Facebook had it set up and only your friends and other schools could see your posts. So, it was super private. Only your friends could see it or anyone you accepted. There was no public, it was only private. I remember that clearly. And then all of a sudden, maybe a couple years later — it was probably two years later — they opened it up to everyone. And I was like, “Man.” I was like, “Now it’s not cool anymore. Now anyone –,” Because it started as — And that’s just my own — And that’s a selfish reason of being like, “Oh this is cool because it’s college only,” and so all my college friends could see the crazy stuff we did, kind of like how Snapchat started off with college only and then all of a sudden the world can see all types of pics that people send anonymously, for better or worse. But yeah, I think Facebook started off that way and it lost its cool factor for a moment by opening it up, but that’s just me personally. My personal —
JOEY: I’m with you. I remember it was 2004, I was in — We had a house near college and I really — I’m like, “What’s this Facebook?” or whatever it was called back then. I was so excited to see it because like you said, it was cool. And I’m like, “Dang, I have to figure out –,” I didn’t even use my college email address but you had to have one. So I’m like, “Damn it.” So, I have to set it up through this. I’m like, “Do I really want to give them my college ID?” and then I think when I left school, I think the account — Or maybe they let us have it. I don’t know how college works with —
JEFF: I forget how we did it, yeah. I don’t even remember how we got our — I just don’t. It kind of transitioned. They did it — At least to me, it seemed so smooth, that I don’t even remember that it was a big upset on losing my name or anything like that. No. But yeah, I love how you remember that as well. It certainly a generation thing because these kids today, they don’t remember that. They’re like, “Oh, what?” It’s just open now, which is fine.
JOEY: Yeah, exactly.
JEFF: [00:39:56] for humanity, hopefully.
JOEY: Right. When you’re under the — We were probably under the million mark that they hit, of users.
JEFF: Oh, definitely.
JOEY: We were the — And it’s fascinating, too, when you think about it. That’s a whole other topic, too. But that’s a brilliant way of beginning too, testing out the waters. A bunch of smart college students think it’s cool — But yeah, that’s interesting. Another question I had was, with Gen Z, you’ve been in this a while, you’re learning a lot — Their learning and their whole thought process — Because you know, back in the day, you and I, when we had to take a test, we had to go to the library and read a book, and I don’t know, we used those slides. I remember those little micro slides to research something. Now, everything is on their phone. It’s almost like you don’t have to learn a lot of the things that we learned in the past. Even cursive, I don’t even know if that’s even a thing anymore. How do you feel that the — I know things are changing but how do you feel that their changing mindset with everything in their palm of their hand? How has that changed over the years and how are they learning these days?
JEFF: Yeah, I would say — This is again, another example, because it’s fresh. Monday, in this classroom — and back in the day, we had — Oh my God, we had four computers, lucky if you had six in a classroom in high school in the back. And you go in there to do your research. Go online. Good old Internet Explorer. And you do whatever you’ve got to do. You search. The computer was there but the library was — There wasn’t as much info on the Web, even having the computer in school, you had to go to the library and make copies of things — make copies of books. And in this classroom on Monday — and this is a school in East L.A. — all these kids have Apple laptops and half the class has Android phones. I always do a survey, “Who has Android, who has iPhone,” just to get a sense on the percentage, because that’s also valuable, versus what you hear on TV. I like to hear on the ground, who actually was using what phone. And 99 percent of these kids have a smartphone.
This room it was an equal split of half have Android, half had iPhones. But, they all had laptops in front of them and I thought that was fascinating because they were taking notes on their laptops and that was like, “Wait, what?” Until the teacher asked them as soon as I started speaking about certain things, they were like, “All right, put your laptops away.” But instantly I thought, “Wait you guys are allowed to have your computers open while the teacher is talking?” Think about that. That to me, I’m still shocked that this is this generation. The computers are open, the teacher is talking, and they’re taking notes. Forget about cursive writing, that’s a luxury, to take a class on cursive. Why take it now? I agree that it should be because writing is important but people are writing a lot less. They’re typing and texting.
JOEY: I remember the day — no cell phones out.
JEFF: Oh yeah, that’s what I told them.
JOEY: Laptop wasn’t even a thing.
JEFF: It was funny. Literally, the teacher and I were having a laugh on Monday because I was like — The teacher was our age and I was like — She was like, “You guys, he’s right. We couldn’t even have our cell phones out. We had flip phones.” The cell phone was like — you were hiding it, hoping. And you had to borrow one if you didn’t have one or trying to make a phone call. There was no — Everyone in the classroom did not have a cellphone. It was a luxury and now everyone has a cellphone. I’ve been doing it long enough that I’m not shocked but I still look back and I’m just like, “Wow.” And the teachers, they don’t — The system has learned to work with it and not against it, and I think that’s amazing. They’re working with technology now, not looking at it as the enemy, which they used to.
JOEY: Exactly. That’s a good way of thinking, too. They’re probably doing it smart. It’s like, “Well, let’s utilize this for good and not –,” It’s almost like scolding someone back in the day for doing something wrong, well you want to do it even more. I don’t know if you remember the T1-85 –I think that’s what it’s called — Those calculators. Those powerful calculators. They were powerful back then, they’re a piece of junk right now.
JEFF: I remember Texas, oh yeah.
JOEY: Yeah, I remember having notes in them. They’re like, “That’s the only thing you can have,” so I’ve got to figure out how to get notes in them for tests.
JEFF: Oh yeah, I remember that. Oh my God, yes. You’re like, “How do I put everything in this so that I can make sure that I have my formulas that I’m going to forget because how else am I supposed to remember all this?” Nope, I got it. That’s funny. That’s so funny. Oh yeah, I don’t even think they use those calculators anymore. No, certain schools do. That’s not true. They still use them. Let me not put that on the record, someone will come after me. Someone will listen to this from somewhere in Texas and email me a nasty email, so I will refrain. Yes they use the TI 80-everything. They still use that. Take that off the record.
JOEY: We’ll block that off.
JEFF: Thank you. Totally blocked, please? All right, back to normal.
JOEY: No, so yeah, that’s interesting that they’re starting to use more technology. Did they go into more of what they use? You don’t even need to know —
JEFF: They have email. So, the students have a personal — So, school has an email now. Every student has an email address. Now, this sounds so, “Well, why not?” but to me, that’s — I mean, this is Beverley Hills High School, this is Culver City High, this is this school that I went and spoke at on Monday, East L.A. They all have school email addresses, which is fascinating to me that they’re communicating within their own email within the school, kind of like college, but now in high school.
JEFF: And so that — Isn’t that crazy? I don’t know if you knew that. High schools now have email that they communicate with teachers, with parents, the principal has access to this email address so that if they need to email the student instead of calling, like they used to do back in the day. No one is calling your house, they’re emailing or texting. So, I thought that was fascinating that you have a personal email address just for the school. Everyone has one.
JEFF: That’s the world we’re living in now, with Gen Z. They have access to things that the school system wasn’t thinking about for us. Even though emails were around. I had my AOL email in high school but the school was not giving us an email to communicate for messages. I don’t know how we communicated. I guess they told us and then we got a paper home. They called the house.
JOEY: Yeah, call the house, talk to someone, can’t get ahold of someone, sending notes home —
JEFF: Send notes home, yep. That was it. They didn’t email your parents, no. [00:48:35] because my parents have become email savvy in the last decade but they weren’t always email savvy.
JOEY: I just remember elementary school. Everything was offline but we had computers but what the hell did we do on these things?
JEFF: Yeah, typing. I forget that program. It was like “How to Type.” Just learning how to just know — Just typing lessons where you’re like, “Where’s the ‘T’?” trying not to look down. I just remember that phase in middle school like, “All right, how do I write without looking down and be fast, typing?” [00:49:18] instructions. And then there was Oregon Trail.
JOEY: Oregon Trail, that’s exactly what I was thinking. All these kids were playing this game that’s not even a really good game but we were all playing it because that’s what we did.
JEFF: Yep. Joey got smallpox, sorry Joey.
JEFF: He’s like — Oh man, I remember like, “Da, da.” It’s like, “Someone got a flat. One of the wheels fell off.” Like, “Oh great.” Yeah, “Someone came down with the flu.” It wasn’t the flu, I forget what it was, but yeah. Funny. That game, man, you learn a lot.
JOEY: Right? Oh man. Well, we’ve talked a lot. This is awesome. Gen Z is the new thing and I think the big things that I got out of it was it’s that micro-marketing, it’s taking these kids that pretty much have knowledge in their pocket and almost turning them into their own — realizing they can do their own thing. And what you’ve talked about the gen founders, that’s been kind of fascinating listening about. Just with those apps that they’re doing and probably not — Are they wanting to be — I guess this can be my last question too. I don’t want to cut it too far but, from what you got a sense, was it that they didn’t want to go work for the corporation? It was really like they wanted to do their own thing in life?
JEFF: It’s a mixed bag, to be honest. With this group that I had — spoke on Monday — Again, that’s another question I always ask, “What’s your dream?” I tend to ask that question. I want to get a sense of what is this group wanting to dream? What’s the biggest thing? A lot of times you hear the questions that you’ve heard forever which is like, success. I remember two girls said they wanted to be firefighters, two guys wanted to be gamers, a few girls wanted to be business — they wanted to run their own business but they don’t know what they want to do yet. But I would say the room was split with about half the people wanted to run their own business, and the other half wanted to do some traditional slash corporate work. So, all isn’t lost in corporate America and traditional roles like firefighting, policing — I think you’ll get that mixed. At least I’ve seen a mixed bag thus far. It’s not as high as people think, but in terms of everyone wants to start their own company, I feel like it’s a split. But, it’s more I think — I think the research is saying that it’s more than Millennials and more than Gen X, but not 99 percent of everyone, because then that would be — We’d really be in trouble as a country. Our economy would have to shift. Forget about the blue collar. We’d really have to shift because technology would just take over and need nurses and doctors. I need other professions. We can’t all be just trying to start a company. We need people who are willing to help pick up the trash. It’s all part of the community. It would suck if everyone wanted to do one thing.
JOEY: Yeah. No, for sure. And plus, with technology these days, we have to make a shift too, just with what jobs [00:52:53]. I was just at CES a couple weeks ago and jobs are going away because technology — They’re so far advanced, now it’s just waiting on actually producing — Any factory job, there shouldn’t be a person in there. What can they do? It’s interesting talking to you about these Gen Z and what the next steps are in the world.
JEFF: Yeah, agreed.
JOEY: Very cool. Well, thanks again, man. I really appreciate you jumping on, taking the time here, I know it’s raining and —
JEFF: No, thanks for having me. I appreciate it. No, this was a pleasure. I appreciate you thinking of me and wanting me to be on. My pleasure.
JOEY: Absolutely. Thanks.
Listen to the episode here.