Monday Jun 26, 2023

I Never Meta Storyverse I Didn’t l Like

Kurt, Stephen, and Josef contemplate the meaning of the metaverse and where it fits within the physical, digital, and storytelling universe.


Folktellers Universe







I never met a verse.
I didn't like what,
what is a meta verse?
What is a story verse?
What is a story?
I'm Joseph Bastian.
And Kurt David is here also as well.
And our,
our friend from Nottingham Stephen Sadler is in the house.
He is in the house.
this is the first time doing this.
We're all kind of staring at each other like who's gonna say what?
But I kind of wanted to start with,
you know,
this is the Folk Tellers podcast and,
you know,
we started this whole folk tellers crazy thing.
Oh my God,
I've been at it a decade.
Steve's been at it a little bit less.
Kurt's been at it a bit less than that.
He's like,
still like,
what am I doing here?
I kind of wanted to like bring this,
like launch this with uh so from the first book,
that kind of launched the folk to set the tone.
So and this,
this will be,
this will like launch us into deep conversation.
So the whole universe opens up with this little rhyme and the rhyme is there's a story in the story like a wheel within the wheel spiraling forever through the world we see and feel there's a tail within the fable,
like a gear within the gear marking time forever until the secret is revealed.
Why is this important?
Why is storytelling?
Because we're all here for the same reason?
It's stories,
telling stories and living stories and having storytellers with us.
Why is that important,
What do you think?
Why are,
why are stories important to you?
they bring the past into the future.
We allow you to basically reflect on things that have happened.
Uh It allowed you to be able to join time and space,
in your own mind.
some of the stories that I end up writing,
but you actually helped me write Joseph.
they have been very,
they've helped me heal in many ways and,
I think that's why when you actually reflect on something and you write it down and,
and it becomes,
that's really when,
when things actually change in your life.
there's a reason why and we won't get biblical,
but you've got the word of God when you speak it and the word comes out and it gets written,
it becomes true and that's the power in,
in storytelling,
I do believe.
I totally agree.
And so that's how this,
this whole thing got started for me.
It was,
it was over a decade.
And uh what was the connection?
What was it?
That was the,
the aha moment for you,
you know,
so this idea of stories within the story,
like what if you created a metaverse,
a story verse that was all about stories and the power of stories.
you know,
what I did was,
um I had always been interested in folklore and mythology and back during the great recession of 2007,
uh I got laid off and so like everyone else,
I was in the coffee shops,
uh filling out resumes and padding my linkedin profile.
And uh but I also had time to write and I came across this old Detroit legend of the Rouge,
which is French for Red Dwarf.
And I was like,
And what is,
this is,
this is real,
this is a real legend,
didn't I tell you this?
I got the hat,
I got the That's right.
you're looking at me like,
like you didn't know what the hell I was.
Um Yeah,
so it's this 300 year old legend that the French brought over when they founded Detroit,
I was born and raised here.
Never heard of it.
So I started to do some research and yeah,
so this red Dwarf appears as a harbinger of doom just before bad events.
And I was like,
this is like a lost legend.
And then I was like,
I got some time since I'm not working.
Why don't,
what if we like,
what if all the trouble we,
what if we resurrect this,
this legend and um bring it to the modern world?
um I wrote the first book.
It did really well.
It ended up 2nd,
a graphic novel and then we danced around with uh doing a feature film.
you know,
it was,
it was a local regional success.
But what it taught me was,
there's got to be these other sort of hidden legends and those tales around the world that are either they either lost to history or they're so embedded in a specific region that people outside the region don't know about it.
And sure enough that was,
I mean,
like you said,
it's 300 years old but people don't know about it,
didn't hear about it.
I mean,
I come from the world of sports and to answer my own question about stories and storytelling to me in the sports world,
stories have motivated stories have inspired stories have connected people together,
And that's why it's so important to me because that's an important aspect of sports.
But to your point,
Joe is that,
you know,
the the people that talk about these legends,
this folk tale uh that is happening that people have lost,
They have,
they've lost it,
whether it be biblical or something legendary from 300 years ago in Detroit,
that uh is kind of not told anymore.
So I called it crypto folk,
which was what on earth is a crypto crypto that was before anyone was talking about crypto.
So crypto means hidden.
It's Greek for hidden.
So this money is crypto.
Money is hidden.
Money is no kidding.
All right.
Learn something new every day.
So I coined it crypto folk and I started doing all this research and,
and so this kind of started this whole folk tellers.
This idea of what if there were these people who existed across time,
who were the keepers of the stories.
And their,
their job was to tell the stories that people needed to hear,
to fulfill their destinies.
And they began interacting with these other creatures and things from myth and legend that had been lost.
So that was sort of the universe uh that I could continue to create.
And so to this day,
But the foundational it's,
I'm so,
I mean,
it's a,
it is a me,
it's a metaverse because it's about,
it's a story about stories.
And for me what,
um you know,
I kind of had this vision,
like what if and Steve and I have talked about this at length.
you know,
you think of the,
the verse or the universe like the Marvel Universe,
like everybody knows what that is.
And I always,
my argument is the Marvel Universe is only a universe in the rearview mirror because the way that came to be was,
you know,
in the sixties when they started Stan Lee and,
and uh Jack Kirby started doing these superheroes and they started crossing the storylines and over time,
the story lines crossed enough,
that's like someone looked back and Disney is the one that's,
you know,
pull it all together,
pull it all together and looked back and said this is actually you have a whole universe because these superheroes all exist within the same,
basically within the same universe.
So there's a lot of now,
there's a lot you can do.
you basically have built a platform.
I was like,
what if you did that instead of the rearview mirror?
What if you did on purpose?
So the storytelling around not just writing books,
but you know,
my whole thinking was people interact and engage with stories in different ways.
Some people like to read books,
some people wanna watch a movie,
some people want to play a video game.
Um So what if you designed a universe,
a trans media universe where you were telling the stories across media,
multimedia type of?
So like you had a basic story,
but you the way you interacted with the media would change the way you interacted with the story.
and I heard you say a couple of times to this word metaverse,
And you know,
what is that?
I guess what is,
how do,
how would you guys define that?
Because to me that can mean a lot of different things.
I mean,
you talk about universe,
you talk about that being the rearview mirror,
But this metaphors help me understand that.
if you're using the noun version means between or after,
I mean,
there's some other words that explain it as well.
But if you just use those two,
it's kind of like the glue that bonds things together.
So if you're looking at metaverse,
it's a,
you know,
it's a 3d world which is in parallel to our world.
Um that obviously they've used gaming engines to be able to do that.
But where he's using it in relative to what he's doing is obviously you don't need to have technology to,
for it to be a metaverse.
Uh It could be several different things because it's often referred to in technology,
Metaverse is in that format is correct.
which comes from video gaming and there was a technology many years ago called Second Life.
I don't even know if it's still around anymore,
but that was like one of the most original uh meta verses where you could,
you know,
literally go in there and create your own avatar and wander around and talk to people and that type of thing.
And I used to play around with that,
you know,
probably 2005,
2004 before all of this all started and it all ran on,
you know,
the same gaming engines that they're using today.
um but,
but yeah,
that was really my experience in,
in the Metaverse.
But when I met Joseph in 2017 or 16,
that opened my eyes up to a lot of other things relative to storytelling.
And once you layer storytelling on top of the metaverse,
then the whole thing changes because when you're dealing with second life back in the day,
there's no story there.
You're wandering around aimlessly like a lot of people do in life,
you know?
But in this particular case,
there's a story to it.
There's a purpose which I believe that's going back to.
What is the,
what the,
what's the meaning of,
of storytelling?
It's to be able to show purpose in our lives.
What is the purpose of why,
why we get up every day?
Why are we here?
I mean,
there's so many different questions that,
that pop up.
if you would have asked me when I was a kid,
if I would have got into storytelling,
I'd have laughed at you because I was,
I was dyslexic.
I mean,
I couldn't,
I couldn't read,
I mean,
I used to get stuck out in the hallway because,
I couldn't,
I couldn't read,
probably hated stories.
I hated reading.
I hated books.
until the Phantom toll booth until I got,
that's a story.
That's a great story.
That's a story in the story.
But so OK.
So here's a good story how Steve and I met,
I was gonna ask that because that came up earlier about,
when you two first met,
let's talk about that.
Let's hear that story.
That's a,
that's a good story.
uh I'll tell,
I'll tell it first half and he can tell your version and then Steve,
you have to tell your version.
that's the thing about stories is a different version from every perspective we did meet at a bar.
So you just spoiled the whole punch line right there,
I think.
let's just say I was wearing something.
I'm glad if you met at a bar,
I am glad that you were wearing something.
That's a good point.
This is definitely an alternate metaverse that I don't want to go to.
So actually it was much more so a man walks into a bar.
Is that how it starts?
So it was an investor meeting.
So this the whole thing I described about building this folk tellers universe.
So we were bringing in investors and we hadn't even put the first book out,
but a lot of,
a lot of the groundwork had been laid.
And so uh so we're bringing investors in and I knew everyone in the room except Steve.
So there was this guy who came in and he's just sitting there with his arms crossed like this.
He's just staring.
and we had all the book covers done in advance because the books were written.
we just,
I purposely didn't want to publish anything until a big chunk of the work was already done.
So I,
I'd always already been years into it.
And so Steve's sitting there,
you know,
you've never seen him before?
Him sitting there with his arms,
closed his arm and he's just staring at the screen and just,
just like like poker face like no,
Was it like an angry look or just,
you know,
I like,
I like this guy is either gonna walk out or he's gonna punch me.
That was kind of my feeling it like he,
it's all perception.
It's all he looked.
when you hear his side,
you might,
you might get a little bit more uh a bit of a better understanding.
So anyway,
so he's,
he's sitting there,
his arm cross didn't say a word like no questions.
I like there are any questions people ask their questions.
He still hasn't said anything.
And then I'm like,
how many people were in a room at that time?
Was it like a small,
there was only like eight.
So it wasn't like there was 80 people and he's one guy and I knew everyone else.
And so,
you know,
the people were asking questions,
whatever and he's still today.
And then at the end I said,
no more questions and he's like,
I got a question.
I was like,
what's up?
I'm like,
where is this gonna go?
He's like,
why don't you take this to Hollywood right now?
And I was like,
what he goes,
I said,
we haven't even put book one out.
You know,
we're looking for seed money here and he's like,
he goes,
he goes,
I see what you've got here.
I think you should take the arms uncrossed by that point then at least,
um no,
I think they were still folded,
but he was much more animated.
So then he like the caps.
He goes,
we can talk about this later and he gives me his card and it's like this black card with no information on it.
It was,
it was just a black card and then you flip it over,
it just had his name.
And I was like,
what do I do it?
I just said it said Steve Sadler,
that was it.
And I was like,
he goes,
you'll find,
you'll be able to find me.
And that was it.
Like I didn't want,
I didn't want to confuse you.
This is too much information at first.
It's like,
this is like the,
the man of technology or did they have like a chip in it or something or something that he was gonna find you?
So this is the reason why I made cards like that because I would always go when I was working in Hollywood,
I was always say that I'm very good at doing digital and they'd say really?
here's my card.
If you want to find me,
you will be able to find me.
So that was like the carrot or the,
the intrigue.
So if they went to linkedin or wherever,
I mean,
my name,
what if they found the wrong Steven Sandler?
I always came up first and,
and that,
that was the,
that was what I help,
you know,
Disney and other companies do for many,
many years.
I've been in a lot of very high level meetings in Hollywood.
Um I won't get into the details of them but all the way to the very top at Warner Brothers at Disney at,
uh I think you need to get to the.
And so when I came back that day,
I was flying back from Los Angeles and a friend of mine,
uh Terry bean who we all know,
uh called me up and invited me um over to the office to see this presentation and,
and I was tired and I,
I'm like,
I'm not going to that.
He goes,
he goes,
I really think that you might enjoy this presentation.
I said,
and I think the presentation was like seven or eight at night.
It was late,
it was in the evening.
So anyways,
I came right off the plane.
I drove right there.
And so that was probably why I looked like I was pissed off,
but I wasn't really pissed off.
I was very,
very tired,
but I was also intrigued in what I was watching.
And the reason being is because the artwork and the way that was being presented to me was,
was very,
had big impact.
For what,
for what reason was it?
Because it looked intriguing because all the work that I had done,
like I worked,
we worked on basically 50 movies doing the marketing for Disney.
We worked on to for uh DreamWorks and Awesomeness TV,
which were combined and we worked on uh the Limitless movie for uh relativity.
So we did digital marketing for all of those things.
So I,
so I had seen a lot of,
I've seen a lot of things,
but I wasn't into production.
I was just seeing it,
you know,
from the marketing side,
what trailers were being made and,
and all that and all that stuff.
I mean,
and we did,
we did a lot of work during that.
So I got really exposed to things and one of my business partners at the time,
which people have,
have obviously heard of.
Um and he's still a partner to this day on the one technology and that's a Met Zappa.
Um He opened up the doors to,
to many different things that I'd never seen ever in mind.
That's Zappa's son.
And he's a,
he's a really good guy.
so when I was looking at what Joseph was doing through all of this lens,
of experience that I'd had over,
seven or eight years of doing that stuff.
I thought this is kind of like meeting Walt Disney at the very beginning,
the creation,
the beginning of the creation,
like going in and seeing the mouse move right back,
that's the feeling that I was,
that I was getting and it wasn't so much and I hadn't read his books.
You had,
you had,
I hadn't,
they weren't out yet,
they weren't out yet.
I was,
I was,
I was just looking at the way I was looking at the universe and to me coming from the tax side um and building a lot of platforms and having patents on building platforms,
which I did for many years.
This looked like a platform and when you can build a platform,
obviously that it's scalable and they,
so from a business perspective,
you're not just writing a book,
you're actually,
it's not really,
it's not a one off,
it's not a one off.
It's something that once you look at Disney,
I mean,
it starts as a mouse and it's a platform really and it just builds into the,
the mega Goliath company that it is today,
Um But um but that's what I saw with this.
You saw the potential of it.
I gotta,
I gotta ask you though because you,
you alluded to it a couple of times.
It's Disney that,
you know,
you've had it very up to that point before even meeting Joseph at that with,
with their blank card with their name on it.
You were doing some amazing work,
I mean,
what was the connection of that?
What uh what's the,
how do you,
how do you even get involved with that?
Because there's gotta be a story behind that.
Then we want to get back into our story though about how we all met.
So I don't know when the first patent is that we wrote,
I guess it be uh early nine,
probably 1993 94.
Um We wrote a patent on e-learning and one of the claims in that patent and we're talking like preface Pre Twitter,
one of the claims in the patent,
the number one claim is the posting and sharing of knowledge content.
What as I said,
Prepa pre Twitter,
what is knowledge like?
I mean,
that content is you get a patent on that?
I mean,
that's what we did and we,
we built a whole platform on top of it,
which was used by a lot of the O EMS uh for training.
And a matter of fact,
I'm pretty sure I met Joseph many years ago at a learning conference.
I think we sat on the same panel because he came from the,
the education space and I was making technology for the education arms crossed at that time too.
When you guys met,
I don't know,
I was,
I wasn't as interested as his arms being crossed as I was with the folk tellers though.
but what happened is um along comes um social media but no one knew what to call it.
And we were actually calling these pieces of content ignitable and the ignitable once the term social media came up,
I'm like,
that's social media.
we're doing this and we went and presented at a conference in Silicon Valley  right after that youtube,
everything like that was Zuckerberg in the audience.
I have no idea there was hundreds of people at this conference,
but we presented ignite cast and everything that it did.
Um and took over from.
And I'm not saying that,
you know,
you invented the internet,
I invented social media,
but I certainly have a pattern that's on,
on the posting and sharing of knowledge content.
That's a fact you can look that up in Google.
and if it's on Google,
it's gotta be real.
So that got you tied in with Disney and all these others.
So what happened is um once the social media thing happened,
we actually built a system called screen tweet on top of the ignite cast technology and it was specific for sending um videos and images to Twitter and because Twitter didn't handle videos and images at the very beginning,
it didn't do any of that stuff.
And so there was others that popped up like Twitpic and some other things,
Um But ours was screen tweet and we ran it out of here.
We had it,
it went very,
it dropped to uh I think 25,000 on the Alexa rating.
Alexa rating is like where,
you know,
Google's number one.
So 25,000 is pretty good for uh a system that actually just sends images to Twitter and that's all it did.
Um And there was uh a lot of,
you know,
crazy things going on in Iran at the time,
people were posting stuff like that and it was getting large amounts of traffic.
I'm like,
holy crap.
I mean,
social media is amazing.
I mean,
it just literally blew my mind and,
but there was no way to monetize it and the amount of cost that we're putting into these servers was absolutely ridiculous,
you know,
without really a plan of business,
it's like this is cool.
We were making money on e learning,
And all of a sudden we're not making any money but we're getting so much traffic and,
but how do you turn it?
Those two?
And the crazy thing is no one knows we're doing this out of Lake Orient Michigan.
We're not in Silicon Valley.
we're here.
And so anyways,
I met a fellow by the name of Rick Rania and actually Terry brought Rick in and,
Rick started looking,
he's like,
I wonder if we can actually,
you know,
do other things with this,
you know,
like in Hollywood and we'd actually morphed the system over from screen tweet to a system called buzz tweet and buzz tweet allowed you to be able to send messages out and create landing pages.
And it was a very automated mark digital marketing system.
And that's what we took to uh to Hollywood.
And the very first company that we went to was Relativity Media and Limitless was the first movie that we used the technology on and it uh it drove them right up the ranks and who was rig.
So Rick,
so Rick ran,
that's another story in the story and we go on here.
It was the quick,
so a quick r is Brass Ring productions.
Uh Before,
so before Ticketmaster,
um he was,
he was in the Midwest.
it was the,
the broker was the main main concert promoter.
I mean,
any ticket stub that you had during that period was,
was Brass Ring productions.
I mean,
I keep all my little Laurie does.
She and my wife,
she keeps all of the,
the ticket stubs and stuff like that and they brass ring right on it.
I mean,
Rick was,
an icon back then and no one really knew who he was.
He actually,
he has a book in his office,
the History of Rick Karan or whatever,
or the biography of Rick Rania,
you open it up and it's all blank pages.
And I said someday Rick someone's gonna help you out.
He's mentioned in a number of,
because he was an agent early on in the late sixties for Alice in,
I think it was C MC five.
Like back in the granny ballroom days,
he thought that was a connection that you had met him.
So II I met him,
he came into the office and,
and um,
he helped us raise some,
initial seed money and,
we turned it into buzz into buzz into Buzz Tweet and as I said,
that launched it into Hollywood doing many,
many movies.
I mean,
the first time that I ever went to Hollywood was with Rick Kevin Stein was actually the godparent of the Zappa kids.
And he introduced me to Kevin and Kevin is actually working with us right now on a project.
Kevin is a great person.
he worked,
um for uh Viacom for a lot of years.
I think he worked for Rolling Stone Magazine MTV VP MTV.
And he,
and he introduced me to a Met and I'm gonna say this really easy.
I don't wanna you know,
take over the podcast here.
But too late when,
when I met a mat,
we became friends very quickly.
What was the connection?
What was it that?
no kidding.
He's dyslexic as well.
And we were in a meeting with Disney I,
which is the,
the book company that was putting out his book and we were helping him market his book in the meeting.
He happened to mention that he was,
and I looked over,
I said yes,
so am I and all of a sudden,
we were connected and the two people that were in the room from Disney,
it was like we forgot they were even there.
So it,
it's amazing how your weakness is becoming a connection.
Like that is incredible.
Richard Branson,
Virgin Airlines.
I mean,
have you connected with them yet or not yet?
All right.
But he's dyslexic as well.
Is he left handed?
I haven't asked him next time I see him.
I have a personal question.
for Joe,
for who,
what hand you are?
I like to go to the story that was told to me many years ago by a basketball player that played basketball in Michigan State for a guy by the name of Gus Kak.
Gus Canak was a Greek coach in the big 10,
which is unusual for one,
but he also had his extremely,
uh Rich Greek accent and this player that played for him said one time they were talking in the locker room before a game about this player that they were going to play and the,
the coach in his Greek accent,
the way he would say it is,
this guy can go left.
This guy can go right.
He's amphibious.
So since hearing that story,
I'm amphibious is what I like to say.
I prefer,
But I can go left or right with shooting or anything of that sort.
But so I like to be ambidextrous,
I guess is the correct term for that.
But uh you know,
back to where we all met,
We were kind of going down that rabbit hole and,
and then the story kind of go going from there.
I mean,
I mean the the meeting between you two but,
but Stephen at the unbelievable connections you had as a result of the technology and the marketing and,
and how that,
you know,
spawned into what all of us are into now as far as just getting things out there and stories out there after that initial meeting of you two,
how did it continue?
I mean,
you like the idea,
you're like,
go to Hollywood with this.
there's another sideline story that that kind of went along with that.
I had a physical issue that started in around 2040 amphibious.
Is that No,
it it's called secondary addisons.
So my Pituitary Gland had stopped working and,
but I didn't know that.
So around so in 2014,
when I'm flying back and forth to Los Angeles,
I started writing a story that was in my mind.
Um and I'm not a writer,
I mean,
I wrote a book in 2011,
which is a self help book,
but I'm not a novelist,
but this story would not leave me alone.
And so,
um on the plane,
I basically rode it.
And then after I found out that I had this disorder and now when I go back and read that book,
it's like I didn't even read it.
What do you mean you mean didn't write it?
It felt like you didn't write it or it feel it,
it feels like I didn't even write it like it wasn't even you.
For what reason?
I don't know.
I i it's,
it's like the story came,
was given to me was inspired,
and so the other thing I wouldn't have understood what Joseph was doing unless I had written a book before like a novel,
And it was that connection of everything that,
you know,
the we'll call it the outside metaverse or of a better term at this point.
It was small metaverse,
the big metaverse crypto metaverse crypto metaverse is that,
I don't know if that's something we could throw in there now,
but the U metaverse,
but it's those,
those things,
they join all of those things together in your mind.
And then so if you wouldn't have written that,
which you felt like you didn't write anyway and attended this,
there wouldn't be that connection.
I wouldn't have been able to read it.
You didn't quite understand it to that depth and everything.
I mean,
I understood marketing.
I understand.
I know,
I understand that,
you know,
a platform,
a platform like better marketing is,
is better storytelling,
We all know that now a lot of people,
it is storytelling,
They want marketing to tell storytelling,
The narrative,
correct story.
So I think this is a good,
this is,
I think this goes back to this,
this is a good uh time to like go to how we met you k because here if you fast forward,
I'm already thinking about if you know,
but if you,
if you fast forward to now,
so Steve and I,
you know,
we've been working together for five years.
One of the things I've learned of the many things and working with Steve um in the past five years is so we've helped each other tell our stories because,
you know,
it's almost like you,
until you can tell your stories,
you can't help other people tell theirs.
And now,
you know,
that's what I mean.
And to me,
I look back like hindsight's 2020 is the whole concept of folk tellers was folk tellers are people who help others tell their stories or share the stories that they need to hear to fulfill their destinies.
I mean,
I wrote that over a decade ago and now here we are like helping other people tell their stories.
I mean,
you know,
that's why I'm here.
You guys have helped me tremendously tell the story and,
and continue to do.
So I know one of the things that,
you know,
our story is not as sexy as you do with a card that just has a name on it.
I'm sorry,
I can't do any better than that.
that's pretty amazing.
we met Steve first,
you and I met through Terry Bean through social media,
right through the metaverse and basically just,
you know,
you know,
you gotta meet each other.
This is somebody that's interesting.
He's doing some cool stuff.
you know,
Kurt's trying to do some cool stuff.
You're doing some cool stuff.
Let's talk.
And so we start communicating and just,
what was it for you?
that was the first,
there might be something here.
What was it for you?
I'm curious.
I mean,
we started talking back and forth on the phone at first and,
you just,
I mean,
your morals and values just seem to line up with like,
minded thinking.
that was the number one thing and it,
you know,
everyone likes to be around people that think and,
you know,
in the same way that they do,
you know.
Not that,
that's that well,
but we,
in that case,
we did have a lot of thinking but there was also very different,
when it comes to technology and things like that,
I mean,
it's just,
I'm 6 ft nine inches tall and that much gets above my head.
That's like way above my head,
I mean,
the stuff you're talking about and the stuff you do,
there's no question.
you know,
we had enough differences.
you know,
we like sports,
you know,
I like sports so we connected right away and,
and just,
you know,
hit it right off in my opinion and put it in simple terms.
And then we got introduced with Joseph,
As far as talking about some ideas.
that's one of the doors that you guys opened for me was this change like a champion thought,
Because up to that point,
everything I was doing revolved around the topic of change and transition.
But I was working with former professional athletes,
you know,
had a book,
had a couple books,
got another book coming out and it was all about the topic of change and transition.
But I had all these silos,
All these different ways of me expressing what it is and what I'm doing.
So I had the,
the TV version,
I had the book version.
I have the speaking version.
and so what you guys helped me do was put it all together into one brand that the red thread was all the way through it.
And how did we do that?
I think one of the first things because one of the first thing I asked you is like,
you know,
you know,
why change,
Why is that your,
is it important?
Why is that the flag that you're flying?
for me,
it all starts with my own transition and change,
You know,
I played basketball and got paid for a little bit to pay,
play professionally and,
and uh then I had the idea later years later to come up with this book of sitting down with other former pro athletes and interviewing them about life after pro sports.
And more importantly how they recreated their success,
I mean,
just to throw out stats,
I mean,
100% of professional athletes ultimately lose their job,
undeniable fact,
25% of NFL players are broke within the first year,
78% of NFL players within two years are broke,
60% of NBA players are bankrupt within five years and 80% divorce rate.
So that's the reality for these athletes.
So one of my goals was to sit down with these athletes and interview them and talk about how they recreated their success afterwards.
After such a uh a pinnacle of their career world Series championship Super Bowl championship,
they go through this horrific transition,
95% pay cut divorces,
but found success again.
So that's,
that's the part that really interest me because I thought,
if one athlete could hear a story from one of these other athletes and it helps them find success again after pro sports,
that was my motivation And ironically,
it turned into so much more,
The book turned into a TV show,
the show,
you know,
did very well in winning an Emmy.
Uh we continue to try to scale it to a bigger level and it's just,
it's something that I'm very excited about.
And then I started speaking on the topic because I saw a commonality of success of these athletes and also with businesses that were going through a transition.
I mean,
this is like the story of the fallen hero,
and so I think,
I think listeners will find that fascinating because for what reason,
why do you think because it's the hero,
it's part of the hero's journey and it's the hero that,
that's fallen and then do they get back up again or,
or don't they?
And I can tell you,
I spent uh three years working with the NFL.
we built a school in my corporate work.
We built a school for at risk youth with the United Way with the NFL,
studying in Washington DC with the Washington Redskins.
And I got to work with,
one of the retired Redskins who won a couple of Super Bowls,
super great guy.
We became friends.
But what I learned was,
it's a whole different world,
not just the world of celebrity,
you know,
my wife said this,
she said like if from the time you were 10 years old,
someone was telling you how great and wonderful and special you are the best and then you're 13 and you're getting more of it and then you're 16 and you've got,
you know,
people showing up at your door offering you scholarships and,
eventually at some point,
you're gonna believe your own press,
you're gonna believe.
I really am special.
I really am different.
The rules really don't apply to me.
And so,
you know,
I kind of,
I saw,
I saw it and I'll tell you what I was a super sports fan.
I played sports growing up.
I was like,
you know,
loved going to the Tigers games and the Red Wings and the Lions.
you know,
I was,
I was all in and that three year experience that I had when I saw the other side of it,
um I felt like part of my childhood,
I was just gonna ask,
how did it change you?
What did it do to change you?
because I saw,
how someone who,
sees themselves as above,
treats other people who are perceived as below and not like they're looking down on you.
It's just like,
I am up here and you're down there and,
I'm part of the 1/10 of 1% for one.
And so you're here for me and it's all about me and you're here for me and it's,
it's the me show and to,
to have that,
like to be working with someone on a regular basis where that's the way they think.
And I mean,
it never in my career because like,
you know,
normally you're,
you're in a working environment and everyone's supposed to be doing what they're gonna do and you have your,
you know,
your conflicts or whatever,
but there's some sort of resolution but with this,
it was like,
it was just,
this is it,
this is,
it's gonna be and,
you know,
multiple conversations with this individual,
you realize what you're doing here and they would look at me like,
you know,
who are you?
do you know who I am?
And to really,
to look in someone's eyes and to see that they really don't and I felt bad for him to real,
they really,
did not see it.
It wasn't just,
it wasn't just like pure ego.
It was like they had been conditioned over time that,
you just nailed it.
I mean,
since 10 years old,
eight years old,
they start setting themselves apart.
and rarely,
every once in a while you get somebody,
you hear the story about Jordan and even Buddha Edwards who we've interviewed with the TV show.
I mean,
they were 1/9 grade cut from their ninth grade basketball teams and those guys end up winning multiple championships,
but usually early on they start identifying,
They start realizing,
you know,
we had an Olympic gold medalist on,
she said at eight years old in Russia,
which is where she came from in Ukraine.
She literally,
they knew at eight years old she was going to be an Olympian,
They just saw her,
they were gonna groom her the rest of the way for being an Olympic athlete and so early on your ID,
That's your ID.
And it's ironic because that's the detriment that most when you talk about athletes struggle with the most because if that's their identity,
when that's over,
which it will be over,
it will be over 100% of professional athletes are done.
Even if you get to that highest level,
their identity is all of a sudden gone.
But like you mentioned,
it's that hero's journey of,
you're the hero,
you're the guy,
you're the woman and all of a sudden that's no longer there.
The biggest thing that I hear is,
you know,
the phone stops ringing.
It gets quiet.
You're used to being,
I mean,
one of the jokes of one of the former Detroit Red Wings,
he's like,
why when I'm making all this money,
do I get free dinners?
I get free suits.
I get free cars.
I get free this.
But also I stopped making all this money and I gotta pay for everything.
It's like,
why is this backwards like this?
But what's interesting is,
you know,
if I can lead into a story,
one of the things there was a guy that I interviewed that he's from Ottawa Canada.
He played hockey.
He grew up,
he literally had braces on his legs growing up,
He had some type of physical challenge and uh had braces on early on,
worked through that found out that,
you know,
his parents found out he had a DH D so he was just constant motion constantly.
He said we got to do something and he got him into hockey.
He started playing hockey and he started having success with it.
And to the point where when he was 18 years old,
he got drafted number two in the NHL draft,
not number one,
he wasn't the first choice.
It was his second choice.
He went from Ottawa Canada to L A with the L A Kings and Doug Smith is his name.
Doug talked about how it was like a free fall.
Like literally,
he's going from Ottawa Canada.
All of a sudden L A he said I got,
I'm 19 years old,
I got money in my pocket,
driving a Porsche living in a condo on the beach.
He said it was just unbelievable.
at 28 years old,
during a professional hockey game,
he went head first into the boards and snapped his neck in a heartbeat.
He went from being a professional athlete,
took the nothing from the neck on down.
He says,
he said,
you know,
over the months,
he says I was so despondent,
I couldn't even take my own life because I had nothing from the neck on down.
his wife got in his face and said,
you know,
I can't imagine what you're experiencing,
but I uh you know,
I love you.
You have two beautiful daughters that love you.
He said,
Doug said that was a seminal moment of changing his attitude in the way he thought.
And they took the next eight years after that to do research on spinal cord injuries and found out his spinal cord was still intact.
And the reason why I'm telling you this story is because how it finishes.
They found out that his spinal cord was still intact and through much therapy over the course of that eight years,
he's not walking again.
He's a motivational speaker and author in Canada.
But his biggest sound bite that I've heard from him was actually on our show when he talks about being a pro athlete,
he says when I was a professional athlete,
my goal was to be the best in the world,
That was my goal.
I wanna be the best in the world.
He said after my accident,
he says my whole attitude changed.
He says now my goal is to be the best for the world.
And so that's that hero's journey.
You talk about,
you go from being the number two draft pick in the,
in the,
in the draft and you know,
all this life that he was living and then all of a sudden it's all taken away.
But then he found a way to say,
you know what I need to be the best for the world and no longer the best in the world.
But that's that journey.
You talk about the story and the narrative changes,
doesn't it?
I was thinking about what's that line about?
Some are born into greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them changes like that too.
So uh you know,
what's the um I was thinking,
you remind me of two things like what Mike Tyson said is like um everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face,
And like Steve,
you were talking about your punch in the face,
you know,
with Addison's and then that story and yeah,
I mean,
um you know,
you have your idea of what your life is but something happens and the narrative changes and then it's all how you,
how you manage that change and that's kind of what you're like,
what you speak about and what you're like,
kind of your mission is what your story,
I think about what Steve said about purpose.
I mean,
if you go back to storytelling,
the power of real storytelling is,
is helping you find your way and find your purpose through that change,
through that transition through whatever it is that we're experiencing there or that journey.
And so,
but the metaverse,
How does that all fit in with this?
What's the metaverse part of this?
So this is how it makes sense to me.
And because I,
since I write for kids,
I think like a kid and I was talking to you act like a kid.
Is that what you saying?
I think we all do.
We all of us,
you don't want to lose that and then you,
and you just become old.
But um so,
you know,
Steve and I will go talk to schools with um the other folk tellers and,
you know,
we have a whole literacy program and try to get kids excited about reading and storytelling.
And um you know,
one of the things we tell them and this is kind of the simplified thing of metaphors,
So this idea,
like we tell the kids at the end,
we're like,
think of your life as a story and every day that you wake up,
ask yourself,
what story am I gonna tell today?
Because you own your story.
It's your story to tell.
The catch is if you choose not to tell your story,
someone will tell your story for you and you're probably not gonna like it.
And the other hook is you need to be respectful and you need to be able to listen.
It's not all about telling,
it's about listening.
So you need to be respectful of other people's stories because the metaverse is everyone's story interlocking and intermingling and coming into one into the whole narrative,
which is humanity.
There's the human narrative as human beings.
That's the thing that we all that we all share.
So I like to simplify things.
I'm a simple mind.
I try to keep it as simple as possible.
This metaverse that we've been talking about and describing in a practical sense is,
is that social media?
Is it,
is it the the buzz tweet?
I mean it,
it can be.
And what do you mean by that?
the metaphors can be many different things.
But the one thing with the sitting here listening to you guys,
the one thing that the metaphors does not have that a movie has is the end.
What do you mean?
that's a good way to describe it.
And none of our stories in real life except for death,
of course,
is the end.
But is it we don't know that.
We think not,
you know,
but definitely the end of a chapter,
But on the hero's journey,
you have this rise and then you have the fall and,
you know,
and you have the end,
you know,
and the hero's journey and as you've seen in many cases isn't good.
Uh We're doing this production right now called The Hero's Journey of the series.
And we,
when I took a step back and looked at,
you know,
these musicians and what had happened to them,
the hero's journey wasn't good in the end.
But I think the reason being is because they don't have people like you,
Kurt that can come in and help them mitigate,
you know,
that the transition.
Um So it's really what you are is you're,
you help recovering people off the hero's journey.
I mean,
that's really what you do because they,
as soon as that hero's journey is done a lot,
you know,
they're either depressed or suicidal.
I mean,
we're seeing that in the military right now,
but you know what,
we write stories based on the hero's journey on Joseph Campbell's process of what,
that's how we write it.
And then,
and then all of a sudden we're watching the movie and the,
the credits come up and it's the end.
the thing is we don't live in a movie.
So the next day I can write my story I can get up and,
and if you've got someone to motivate you,
you can do your another hero's journey and another hero's journey.
So that's,
that's a great point because when I'm hearing that,
what I'm thinking about is we have these Hollywood stories,
so to speak,
and you see the Hollywood stories and the girls and the princes and the princesses and you know the prince and the princesses and in all this.
but in real life,
it's an ongoing thing,
There isn't always the happy ending or there might be an end of a chapter that isn't happy,
But again,
you can have control of writing the next chapter aspect of it,
of that journey.
And so to me,
the metaverse and it,
it can be a lot of things,
but to me it's like sort of the human condition that's always,
it's gonna go on and on and on and yeah,
and there's the stories within that are our lives,
you know,
and how our lives all interact because we're all kind of bringing something to the table.
You know what,
what I'm hearing and what I'm learning,
um is that this metaverse is something that it's not an ending.
It's something that continues.
In other words,
our stories continue,
Our own personal stories continue,
our own group stories continue,
um you know,
different than a Hollywood movie where the credit show and there's an ending there's a hard ending.
It's like,
this is continuous and it's real and whether it be something unsocial or something in,
you know,
the trans media world where there's multi different aspects of it.
Uh To me,
probably the biggest thing is understanding that it,
it is a continuous that it's not a hard stop or hard end that it's a,
a story that can continue even after we're gone,
Because that's part of the legacy is that story can continue after I'm gone.
Right after this last breath of this body expires.
My story might continue somehow,
Hopefully not in the locker room with a bunch of guys talking about a lot of bad things that I did.
But uh you know about good things and good memories in my family and things is that well,
because your story continues with the people whose lives,
you've touched your family and friends and anyone that you know that you've uh hurt or helped along the way and,
and say what you want about Facebook and social media.
Um But when you look at those stories,
everyone has a story and the feed is their story,
And things pop up from three or four years ago or whatever.
I mean,
those are all stories,
those are all things that happened.
I mean,
and um it's really no different than when people used to journal,
but now you're journaling yourself by sharing all of your moments right?
And the metaverse in this perspective is li is literally where you're binding these stories together.
And that's what social media does.
It really,
you know,
our technology does,
it binds these stories together,
which is I think why they chose the word meta because it's between or after or whatever.
I think that's,
that's why they did so.
and that's a great way to wrap up because in our next episode,
we're gonna talk about technology and science friction and what,
what all this,
how it impacts the,
the metaverse and even more so science friction there is the rub you rub me the wrong way.


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