Roadmap. It’s the term developers use for the document that helps determine what new features will go into a piece of software.
But it’s also the perfect metaphor for the kind of tool that Earl Knight wants to build to help his customers navigate social media. This former professional basketball player has worked all over the world, and learned that what we post online can have an even more meaningful impact in our local communities than on the global stage. And he’s assembled a team to help businesses learn how to harness that knowledge to get more people through their doors.
It’s the story of GoBABL on The Build.
From 2820 Radio in Philadelphia, it's The Build. Conversations with entrepreneurs and innovators about their dreams, their triumphs, and their challenges. Joe Taylor Jr.: Roadmap. It's the term developers use for the document that helps determine what new features will go into a piece of software, but it's also the perfect metaphor for the kind of tool that Earl Knight wants to build to help his customers navigate social media. This former professional basketball player has worked all over the world and learned that what we post online can have an even more meaningful impact in our local communities than on the global stage. He's assembled a team to help businesses learn how to harness that knowledge to get more people through their doors. Joe Taylor Jr.: It's the story of GoBabl. Coming up next, on The Build. Announcer: The build is made possible with support from 2820 Press. Providing business consulting and content strategy services to customer-obsessed companies nationwide. More information at 2820press.com. Joe Taylor Jr.: I'm Joe Taylor Jr. Welcome to The Build. Joined in the studio today by the team from GoBabl here in Philadelphia. I'll let each of you introduce yourselves to the audience. Earl Knight: Hey everybody. I'm Earl Knight, the founder and CEO of GoBabl. E.M. Ricchini: My name is E.M. Ricchini. I am formally the CMO, but I was telling Joe earlier that it's a startup, so we all do a little bit of everything. Earl Knight: Certainly. E.M. Ricchini: Earl often refers to himself as the janitor. Earl Knight: Yes. Yes, I am definitely the guy with the mop and bucket. Joe Taylor Jr.: Chief cook and bottle washer. Earl Knight: Oh, my gosh. For sure. Joe Taylor Jr.: I think that's the thing. Tell me a little bit, Earl, about what attracted you to launching a startup in the first place. Earl Knight: Oh man! You're going to get me to going deep here now. To be honest with you, I didn't want to be working for anybody else. That was number one. But I also â€¦ When I was young, I really called myself an inventor. I would watch Frankenstein and want to shock little frogs with electricity, and I would design watches. Nobody knows this, but I claim to have designed the first iWatch. Joe Taylor Jr.: Okay. Ahead of the curb. Earl Knight: Ahead of the curb, yeah, at seven years old. I sent my designs to Panasonic, and ever since then I just love technology. I just love putting my mind in things and challenges that most people aren't thinking that way. It just led me working â€¦ I worked corporate. I led a couple of teams doing some marketing direction, and I just said, â€œYou know what? It's time for me to make my way into the startup land.â€ Joe Taylor Jr.: Great, and E.M. you recruited from more traditional path in broadcast media. Tell us a little bit about your journey into GoBabl. E.M. Ricchini: I am actually an art school dropout turned broadcast person. Earl had actually contacted me about GoBabl while I was still working in the news because it's a tool for journalists, can be. I loved it. I was looking for a change, didn't want to work for the man. Just something about not being beholden to that kind of thing was really exciting to me, and I really think that working with Earl is inspiring because he is such an out-of-the-box thinker and it's refreshing. It's a challenge, but it's a good challenge. Joe Taylor Jr.: Great. Let's talk about the product, because this is a service that you've put together to help monitor social. Obviously, for journalists, that's important, but you're also reaching out to brands. Tell us a little bit about what GoBabl does and how you think you're solving challenges for your audience. Earl Knight: Wow! Really cool. I get a part in my 30-second pitch, right? GoBabl is a social media monitoring tool that really helps brands mitigate risk. When I say that, I basically mean we do market research for brands, journalists, hotels and leisure. We basically listen to what people want and tell our clients exactly what they want. We use location as a common denominator, and we use social media to really be that data source for market research. It's been really cool because what we're doing is so next generation thinking. Earl Knight: People are asking us, â€œIs there a way we can build smart cities, where there's an understanding of what's going on everywhere, and we want to put a Starbucks on the corner because more people on that corner talk about coffee or talk about tea or talk about whatever it is, and they're over the age of this.â€ We can gather all of that data and it's so much rich data, it really allows companies to work agile and to know exactly what to do, when to do it, because the people are saying it. Joe Taylor Jr.: How do you actually go through and mine these fire-hoses of data to get something meaningful? How do you eliminate the noise and the chatter that comes through all of these social media pipelines? E.M. Ricchini: We're among the first generation of people that are fluent in social media, so we can understand how it's used and what people's behaviors are going to be just based on the fact that we use it all day and we can barely ever remember a time without it. Earl Knight: Yeah, we speak the social media language. That's so key because we are young. We're doing this now, and a lot of our competitors are older, are reading a text Instagram post or something on Facebook. They may be reading it out of context. E.M. Ricchini: They're like, â€œWhat is that? I might have to look that up on Urban Dictionary.â€ Earl Knight: Right, exactly, but to answer your question, what we do is we take all of these APIs and we understand that, okay, there's a location tag or meta-data within all of the posts, within all of these records. Then what we do is we aggregate that content based on what's said in the context of the post, what's in the text. Because we have an algorithm that actually understands the context of what's being said, it allows us to do really in-depth market research. When you're going to say, â€œI'm going to go shoot at the court,â€ it doesn't mean you're going to go shoot at a gun or shoot at the driving range. Earl Knight: We understand that you're talking about going to shoot a basketball because of what you said previously and because of what is in your interest in your profile. We're one of the only tools to have this type of algorithm and that's what makes us so different. Joe Taylor Jr.: Tell me a little bit about some of the recommendations that you might make to a client based on what the algorithm teaches you about behavior among an audience, group or a particular neighborhood. E.M. Ricchini: I feel like sometimes the most valuable information that we can give clients is what they weren't looking for, and that we might not have even been looking for, but it's patterns that you start to see. Keywords that start popping up that you would never expect but you see it and it's like, â€œOh, that makes sense.â€ Earl Knight: Yeah, absolutely. E.M. hit it right on the nose. We always tell our clients is we want to find out what we don't know and through social media, that's the best way, because they don't know if one of our clients â€¦ They want to know when people are talking about getting cold. One of the reasons why is because they want to know when they should be turning on digital marketing or some type of PPC or oil. E.M. Ricchini: Because there's only so much information you can get from the weather models, because it's not when is it actually going to get cold, but when are people perceiving this change to happen? Good for us that we live in an over-share culture because it's not â€¦ You don't have to look very far to find that information. Joe Taylor Jr.: I think it dovetails with something that I'm sure you've experienced in the transition from broadcast to digital. It used to be that if â€¦ Let's use that example of I am an energy company and I'm probably working on a traditional broadcast marketing pipeline and thinking in March about buying spots for October and November, December, but it sounds like because if I'm a marketer there, I could shift that ad spend to digital and get a much more precise target and say, â€œDon't spend in October, spend on November 15th,â€ or better yet, wait until our system tells you, â€œGo. Hit the trigger. We've now hit the moment where you're going to get the peak response.â€â€ Earl Knight: That's exactly right, and I'm so glad you keyed in on that. What the most important thing is for a marketer is not wasting money. You have to spend $200,000 to make $1 million. You understand that you're going to make $1 million. What if you could cut that $200,000 in half and still make $1 million? Then, what you've done is you've mitigated risk. You've cut that X in half, and you're still going to get Y, and you saved money, and that's the number one thing with marketers. Not wasting valuable time, energy and money. That's what we do. What is also really cool is we wrap it all up into a really simple platform, and we're building every day. Earl Knight: We've just added some new power tools, I'd like to call them, in our analytics suite. We're developing new stuff just so that our clients can just jump in, see exactly the models that they're looking for. They can make real life decisions based on what we find. Joe Taylor Jr.: I think we're in Philadelphia right now, the home of John Wanamaker, who famously said, â€œI know half of my ads are working. I just don't know which half. E.M. Ricchini: We always use the analogy it's like throwing spaghetti at the wall. Joe Taylor Jr.: Yeah, and I think you're speaking to something that has been a toleration for folks in the advertising and the marketing world for a long time. We have gradually moved away from folks with the golden gut instinct, my background in music and entertainment, and it used to be that you would have an A&R person that would pick who is going to get signed to the label. Now that job is a robot that scans Spotify, because you could have someone that's maybe right 50% of the time, or you can have an algorithm that's right 89% of the time, where are you going to place your bet on? It doesn't mean that there's not necessarily a job for a person, it means the job is different, right? E.M. Ricchini: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Joe Taylor Jr.: What do you hear from clients that are using the tool? What changes about how they prepare their campaigns, or how they get their message out? Earl Knight: What we've notices is that they move faster. E.M. Ricchini: Much faster. Earl Knight: Much faster using us. Not only that, but they make confirmations. They set up hypothesis, and then they make confirmations using our tool and just say, â€œOkay.â€ I don't necessarily want to talk about this, but actually why not? We predicted Brexit, and that was a really split â€¦ It was a very fast like, â€œOkay, we know that if Great Britain leaves E.U., then we're going to see a down-spiral on the NASDAQâ€ Of course that happened when Great Britain left the E.U., but who knew if they actually were going to leave? Joe Taylor Jr.: I think you bring out a challenge that's been persistent in market research for centuries. There is a huge gap between what people say they're going to do and what they actually do. If you all are actually measuring real-time data, now the bias is figuring out if there is, in your sample, somebody that's over-sharing a particular feeling, a particular point of view, and the Brexit thing I think is an interesting example because all of the traditional pundits were really going on that gut instinct and saying, â€œNo, they're not really going to do that. Joe Taylor Jr.: They know what the consequences are,â€ but it sounds like looking at the social media and hearing that drumbeat of, â€œYeah, we're going to exit. This is a thing that's going to happen,â€ and when it actually did, it sounds like you all were one of a handful of people who were not necessarily surprised by that outcome. E.M. Ricchini: If you looked at the sentiment about Brexit worldwide, it was largely negative. The rest of the world didn't think it was a good idea, but when you zeroed in on â€¦ Earl Knight: It was the outskirts of Britain. E.M. Ricchini: â€¦ Britain, especially in London. Earl Knight: Yeah. Joe Taylor Jr.: The rest of the world didn't get a say necessarily. E.M. Ricchini: Yeah. Earl Knight: Exactly. E.M. Ricchini: You think that it would be like, â€œThe rest of the world think it's going to happen this way. [Crosstalk 00:11:42].â€ Joe Taylor Jr.: American business owners were approaching that topic from the point of view of, â€œI don't want to do all this paperwork.â€ E.M. Ricchini: Yeah. Earl Knight: I think that's exactly right. Joe Taylor Jr.: â€œDo this guys.â€ Earl Knight: Everybody was like, â€œNo, no, they're not leaving. That's too much. It's going to be too â€¦ â€ but in reality, the people in London â€¦ Actually, it wasn't even the people in London. It was the young people in London that didn't want to do it, but it was the older people outside of London. In the suburbs, we had a positive sentiment behind Brexit. They wanted to leave. Joe Taylor Jr.: They had a different association with what that meant, but I think that brings up something else. â€œI am in my mid-40 right now, I am officially too old for Snapchat. I'm not allowed on the platform I think,â€ but the feeling always has been that social media is something for very young people. How do you adjust for any kind of bias in terms of, first of all, is that a myth? Are there many more people in older age brackets than we think, or do you actually massage the algorithm to even it out so you get a better sense of what's going on in different age groups? E.M. Ricchini: I think you have to have different expectations with each platform. Instagram is mostly young folks and Twitter is actually a pretty decent sample of everybody. You're not going to find like a 100-year-old person on Twitter, but you get a lot of different voices. Earl Knight: What E.M. Is saying is we did a campaign for one of our clients, literally. We saw that it was like 250 and over people on Twitter talking about some of the weirdest hashtags, but it was like â€¦ E.M. Ricchini: Especially that it's an election year, a lot of â€¦ Earl Knight: Older people [crosstalk 00:13:17]. E.M. Ricchini: My parents are wild on Twitter. Earl Knight: They're hopping on â€¦ They want to know. They want to see, hear about it constantly. They see it on their TV. Every single brand has their hashtag or their Twitter handle or Instagram handle, and now, older people are getting cellphones and they're having their kids teach them, or they're going to classes. I've actually seen on Craigslist, it's like services of people going to help learn social media and how to use hashtags. Joe Taylor Jr.: I believe that Free Library is actually getting into that and doing more of that, because it's in their interest. They feel like it's engaging citizenship, right? Earl Knight: That's right. E.M. Ricchini: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Joe Taylor Jr.: I think that brings us to the idea that social media as a multi-directional platform, are we not just sharing what we had for breakfast, but are we participating more fully as citizens if we are being open and transparent about what we're thinking about, what we're worried about, what our fears are. Coming back to the idea of Brexit, I think that opened up a lot of conversation in social media about the American campaign, because you had folks on one side of the spectrum saying, â€œIf Brexit could happen, if the leave campaign could actually pull this off, what does that mean for the Republican campaign? Joe Taylor Jr.: What do the Democrats have to do differently than what they might have had to do if they had a more traditional candidate to go against?â€ I think you start to see the extrapolations, what we learn from that and the microcosm expands out. What are you planning to do to track, as we recording this at the end of the summer, what are you looking forward to in terms of tracking sentiment for various candidates or parties across the board? Earl Knight: I just want to tell you we do have some serious plans. I can't tell you too much simply because there are some people that we're working with, but think about it like this. If everybody is talking about Hillary, or if everybody is talking about Donald Trump, we can absolutely track the sentiment in every single one of these states, find out exactly whether it's a negative or positive. Not everybody is going to be on Twitter. Not everybody is going to be on Instagram or Facebook and talking about these things. It just may not be the case, but we can do direct correlations with how the country feels and with how the polls are doing. Earl Knight: We could make cross-references and find out exactly who would be more likely to win. Joe Taylor Jr.: Yeah, that feels like a good thing because I spent the summer of 1992 doing political polling research. It was hard enough for us to get people to answer the phone then. One of the things I think that's expressed on both sides of the political spectrum is how reliable are polls when you're relying on people that actually have the time and are daring enough to actually answer a phone that's marked unlisted when it clicks on my caller ID? E.M. Ricchini: Especially in a few months before an election. I think that's the beauty of social media, is because you're not going to them. It's like they're coming to you almost. There's no bias there. You're just getting tons of wild opinions but you're getting people's honest opinions. In this case, I don't think it would be who is more liked, I think it would be who is less unliked. Earl Knight: To be honest with you, Bernie Sanders actually has probably the most positive sentiment, but there's so much â€¦ There's so little chatter about him as opposed to a Donald Trump. You have to throw that into the equation. What's amazing is that Donald Trump, he stays on the tip of people's tongues. With social media, he's dragged it out of everybody. Whether it's a positive sentiment or a negative sentiment, so you know one way or the other, somebody is going to go. We're seeing that, and we're seeing that through social media. He's put together a wild social media campaign, and I don't want to talk too political here but â€¦ Joe Taylor Jr.: I think it's an interesting use case for the technology that you're building out â€¦ Earl Knight: Absolutely. Joe Taylor Jr.: â€¦ because it's absolutely the kind of thing where nothing more than politics do you get set into a certain belief. I think more than ever before, we observe that our society has become somewhat polarized. Even on social media, if you have someone very much on the left end of the spectrum, probably a lot of the people they communicate with on social are also in that similar spectrum. Likewise, on the other side of the coin. Everybody talks about, especially on Facebook, their one weird uncle or their one weird cousin, but I hear that from both sides. E.M. Ricchini: Exactly. Joe Taylor Jr.: I'll hear that from the Republican family that cannot believe that little cousin Katie is going out on the road for Bernie. â€œHow did we raise this person?â€ Then on the other end of the spectrum, I hear from like â€¦ â€œOh, my uncle is going to vote for Trump. I cannot believe that,â€ and everybody is aghast because it's the first time since we've had social media that you have such a jarring thing, that someone in your circle may have such a different opinion than you do. We're now looking at how we've constructed these networks. I often see that that's the big distinction between Facebook and Twitter. Joe Taylor Jr.: Facebook has evolved into something that feels much more obligatory. You're on Facebook, and so is all the people that you grew up with you, and so are all your family members. Twitter tends to be more the people that you've chosen to listen to, or who you want to interact with. What I find compelling is that you've built a platform that's actually taking into account the quacks of each of those platforms. Now in terms of thinking far into the future, how do you plan to accommodate new platforms as they emerge? If something really blew up â€¦ Twitter just celebrated its 10th anniversary. Facebook's been around for about a decade, but I remember things like Orchid. Joe Taylor Jr.: I remember things that came and went. What's going to happen to Tumblr now that it's owned by Verizon? We don't know. There's things that are going to come, things that are going to go. How do you actually keep on top of all the changes in that part of this industry? E.M. Ricchini: It's an interesting challenge because, especially on the analytics side, I feel like everything is going so visual. Emojis, Snapchat, they have Instagram stories now and it's a challenge because how are you going to analyze that? It's obviously much easier to look at some text than to try to figure out what someone's saying in a video. Like Earl said, we're agile and we're tying to figure out ways to accommodate it, especially since it seems like we're going back towards hieroglyphics and all that [crosstalk 00:19:28]. Earl Knight: It's an interesting question, but we have looked into the future, if you will, and we found some technology that can analyze video and visuals. What's really cool is that Philly has some really amazing startup, and I'll just say, [currently 00:19:43], they analyze visual. We could essentially use their API or ask them, or whatever the case is, and go from there. Right now there's so many things to analyze, so many things. We won't be at a loss for tools. Or a video becomes the wave of the future, or audio becomes the wave of the future, which it most likely will. It looks like it's turning that way. Earl Knight: If that does become the case, we have those tools in place, and luckily, we've built an open source API. I think that's what's so cool about us, and compared to our competitors, our competitors, they're building blocks that you basically just, boom, put in â€¦ It's so hard to integrate. Joe Taylor Jr.: Let's talk about that. What it sounds like you're talking about is the challenge of enterprise sales, which is we have a secret recipe inside a black box and let our black box into your workflow, magic things happen. Earl Knight: Right. Joe Taylor Jr.: What I'm hearing is you've built something that's very open and transparent, kind of in the spirit of social media, but what you're really proposing is for clients to plug their information flows into your systems and the magic that happens is this much more targeted intelligence Earl Knight: That's right. Joe Taylor Jr.: â€¦ that's not matched by when I hear social media monitoring, I think of companies like ListenLogic and I think of folks that are more often in the brand management and crisis management space. Like I work for, for instance a hotel chain, and I want to find out if bedbugs have popped up. That's a very specific use case for that kind of listening tool, but it sounds like what you're building is much more predictive and much more â€¦ Casting a wider net than just looking for any time someone's mentioning a brand. Earl Knight: That's exactly right, because at the end of the day, we don't know what we don't know. GoBabl wants to be there when those things that we want to know are coming up. We have worked with hotels, and we have worked with brands, and now it looks like we're even hopping into health space as well, but the reason why is because we're building an open source application. We can put in predictive models. We have data analysts and data scientists on board. This is what they love to do. It's a passion for them. We build out these models. As soon as something comes up with anything in social media, we can drill down and really find out who is most likely to buy [Slinkeys 00:22:02] in Philadelphia. Earl Knight: If we're to say like, â€œWe can figure that out,â€ but based on strength of text and we see exactly what they said in the past or what they said in their profile, we can come up with a general model that basically says, â€œOkay, these people are more likely to purchase Slinkeys in Philadelphia.â€ I know that's like really weird. I don't like that Slinkeys part. Joe Taylor Jr.: Again, you can get very specific. Instead of just looking for the brand name, you could be searching profiles for â€¦ Lets' talk a little bit about what it takes to build something like this. How many people do you have right now at GoBabl? Earl Knight: Right now we've got seven, but not fully seven. We've got three that are contracted. We've got four that are really home-based, and we've got two more that are like part-time. We have a bit of a team. Joe Taylor Jr.: It seems extraordinary that you've built this level of detail into a tool with just seven bodies on board. Earl Knight: You know what though? I'll tell you this. It has not been easy, and not only that, but you've got to think your way through everything, and because I'm such out-of-the-box thinker, and it's not just off on me because it really is my team. They hone me. I'm like a [inaudible 00:23:11]. Trying to do everything, I'm messy. I'm like trying to clean every part of the room at the same time, and you can't do that, right? What my team does and what they've done in the past, and what my family does with me, is they hone me in. They reel me in. E.M., she's so good at that. Earl Knight: She's so calm and so poised, and I'm so like, â€œHa ha ha, hey, I'm coming in late. I'll be here,â€ and I'm just like all over the place, but she's like, â€œOkay Earl.â€ Or just yesterday, it was a simple thing. It was like, â€œEarl, let's just focus on this one part,â€ because with me, I'm a big vision thinker. I'm thinking of every single part to encompass, every part of the engine. It's not just the engine, but how the seats feel when the engine revs up. Certain people are just like, â€œHey Earl, let's just worry about this one piston.â€ E.M. Ricchini: I think it helps too that we all come from such different backgrounds and it really allows us to critically think through things with every perspective being looked at. Just troubleshooting, we always come up with really interesting ways to fix things just because when you have such a difference in opinions, when you get to common ground, it's like, â€œOh, that was really easy.â€ Earl Knight: That's right. It's the truth though. You know what I mean? Joe Taylor Jr.: I think that's the advantage of being able to form a team, because I know as well, my team will usually pull me back to the center and save me from making goofy decisions that if I were a solo, I would be way off under the cliff. Let me ask you this, what's the thing that surprised you most about going to the company? What's the thing that has challenged you the most as you've built this? Earl Knight: You know what? So many things. I'd say probably managing personalities is probably â€¦ but I don't know if that's the most difficult. Finding money has also been difficult, Philadelphia. Joe Taylor Jr.: We're not known as an investment hotbed. E.M. Ricchini: No. Earl Knight: That's very true, and actually â€¦ E.M. Ricchini: All that time â€¦ Joe Taylor Jr.: No, I say that and I've got â€¦ E.M. Ricchini: â€¦ we could be spending on investment, it's spent on coily spring toys. Joe Taylor Jr.: Yeah, there we go. I say that but there's been for instance on a couple of the startup, [Liten-boards 00:25:08] and [List-serves 00:25:09] and [Town 00:25:10], a pretty robust conversation, because on one hand, you want to be very rara about the place that you live. On the other hand, in objective terms, if you just do the math, Philadelphia does not get anywhere near as much Angel or Seed Round investment as New York or Boston or Silicon Valley for sure. Earl Knight: That's right, no. Joe Taylor Jr.: You have to be much more judicious about who you pitch and what you ask for compared to Silicon Valley, you can be in line at the ice-cream shop and just walk out with a Seed Round. E.M. Ricchini: It's like that show. Earl Knight: Yeah, typically. Joe Taylor Jr.: Literally. E.M. Ricchini: I was expecting it to be a little more like that. Joe Taylor Jr.: Yeah. Earl Knight: Typically, startups in Philadelphia that are funded don't even do that well. It's a shame to say it but it's the truth. I think I know the topic that you're talking about. It's on PSL, and it's like one of the topic is, is Philadelphia a dead zone for entrepreneurs? Joe Taylor Jr.: Half of the reaction was, â€œGosh! How dare you.â€ It was like, â€œWait, no guys. This is math.â€ Earl Knight: This is math. I'm also one of those entrepreneurs that are here in this city and I can somewhat tell you it's not a dead zone. Most of our business is international. We have a really good SEO guy, Dr. [Jakumbo 00:26:22] and he's positioned us the right way on Google. We get a lot of our attention through the internet. Joe Taylor Jr.: You've also got a very startup friendly tier â€¦ Now I noticed for instance that you've got a very $10.99 a month just to get started on the platform. Earl Knight: That's right, but that's a little bit â€¦ Joe Taylor Jr.: Not to turn this into a commercial or anything. Earl Knight: No, no. To just get started on the platform, and I can talk about pricing, I don't mind it. We're like, â€œHey, let's give everybody a free trial. We're open sourcing. Let's give everybody a free trial of seven days,â€ but then after that, let's just give them $10.99 for just this raw version of what's up there. It's only $10.99, but on the back and for our enterprise users, it blooms a little bit. Joe Taylor Jr.: Yeah, but I think we've seen a very similar model work well for companies like [Whoots-wit 00:27:09] â€¦ Earl Knight: That's right. Joe Taylor Jr.: â€¦ for companies like â€¦ [Buffer 00:27:11] has something similar. Even within the social media space, there's the, â€œ$10, I can put on my company AMAX card to get it in the door, and then I can go to my boss and say, â€œLook, it's a great tool that I'm using.â€ Earl Knight: That's right. Joe Taylor Jr.: â€œWe should buy their enterprise level support.â€ Earl Knight: That's happened with us so many times. We've had the likes of [Live-and-Asian 00:27:32] reach out to us, Dallas Mavericks, so on and so forth. It's just amazing to see that we have like two or three of their highest level directors; event directors or social media directors or just even Dallas Mavericks staff. Some of the highest people on there, and how they found us was Google. They just Googled â€œlocation-based social mediaâ€ and GoBabl popped. Joe Taylor Jr.: Again, the neat thing is that I often look at points of friction when I'm working with clients and where the points of friction â€¦ If somebody sees the â€œclick here to talk to the enterprise sales repâ€ button, that's usually no. No one ever voluntarily wants that, unless they've been told, â€œGo get me this thing.â€ If you give people that way in, it's much more easily get traction inside an organization that can spread. I think the other thing that I think Philadelphia teaches you as an entrepreneur is that it forces you to learn how to boot strap. Joe Taylor Jr.: It forces you to learn how to make revenue, which is something that when I talk to folks in Silicon Valley, they're often like, â€œRevenue? What's that?â€ We hear a lot lately, and this might be something we could investigate on the platform, this fear coming from out west, that the gravy train of this big Seed Rounds and Series A Rounds is coming to a close where VCs are actually starting to ask the question, â€œHow are you making money upfront?â€ Earl Knight: That's right. Joe Taylor Jr.: You're not waiting until Series D to turn a profit and more. Earl Knight: In Silicon Valley, there's so much resource behind these startups. Walk out your front door out of Stanford and you say, â€œI'm going to start a startup for microphone,â€ for people who just want microphones, and maybe the day after you get a check in the mail for $2.5 million. E.M. Ricchini: Microphones a great idea. Earl Knight: Yeah, great idea. Joe Taylor Jr.: It's from basically the security guard in the lot that heard you say that because everybody seems to have it on look up. Earl Knight: Everybody seems to have those resources, but not only that, it's the traction mindset. As soon as a startup launches, they have a million users on their platform. You say, â€œHow is that? Are they paying for them?â€ No, what they're doing is they already know the guys at Whoots-wit. Somebody's on the board of that other company and they somehow transition those users over â€¦ It's just like it's a community. Joe Taylor Jr.: You just â€¦ A button appears in your dashboard and says, â€œClick this to add to your toolkit.â€ E.M. Ricchini: Yep. Earl Knight: That's right. All of this is just a community of people that are saying, â€œOkay, let the startup launch up.â€ We don't have that in Philadelphia because everybody is so concerned about NDAs. Everybody is so concerned about getting the best talent, but not â€¦ We can't even keep the best talent. I talked about this in PSL letter I just sent out this morning. It was all about the fact that we don't keep talent. We have the best talent. We teach the best talent. We have some of the best professors and some of the best higher education. Upenn, Drexel, LaSalle, Temple, Villanova, St. Joe's, [inaudible 00:30:21]. Earl Knight: I went to Bloomsburg University, go [huskies 00:30:24] and were too â€¦ I was outside the city but I got a great education. I'm doing amazing things. I feel like I'm a thought leader, but I'm here in the city, and to be honest with you, I feel like I'm almost being pushed out. E.M. Ricchini: Everyone tries to say â€¦ Not that there's anything wrong with this, but people keep saying, â€œPhilly, it's the next big tech market,â€ but it's actually really discouraging to hear that and then to be experiencing a completely different thing. Earl Knight: Right. Joe Taylor Jr.: I think that's the disconnect that is there, and I've heard it framed a couple of different ways. Why would we want to be the next anything, and why can't we build something that's here now? The analogy that I'm familiar with coming up in music and entertainment is very similar. I joke a lot that the conversations I hear among startups right now, exactly, word for word, mirrors what I heard from bands in Philly and in Ivies, which is crazy because just replace venture capital with record label. Joe Taylor Jr.: Why doesn't nobody from Philly get signed, and everybody is going to the same gigs and the same circles, but then the person that actually hops on the M-track and plays out in New York two nights a week, gets signed immediately? It's that thing, the best thing about Philly is the fact that people really do have each other's backs, but I think one of the vulnerabilities in Philly is that it can become so insular, that it's very, very hard to feel like you're inside that circle. Earl Knight: That's right. Joe Taylor Jr.: Then if you do get inside, there's nothing in there. E.M. Ricchini: I feel like things are definitely changing, and like the pope last year was a big thing. We were on an international stage, and then the DNC being here. Then even big festivals like Made in America, people come to Philly to see that, and I feel like we're â€¦ I don't know if we're actively trying to change our reputation because I think everyone from Philly secretly likes being that Philly person that [fares 00:32:16] better, it's like Santa. Joe Taylor Jr.: That's really strong. E.M. Ricchini: There's this whole â€¦ I feel like we're on the cusp of something great, but we have to decide. It's our job as the entrepreneurs basically if we want to stay in Philly or not. Earl Knight: If we want to stay in Philly. Eagle ride or die, you know what I mean? Joe Taylor Jr.: Yeah. E.M. Ricchini: You can be an Eagle fan [crosstalk 00:32:36]. Earl Knight: See, this is the thing, is that when you are an entrepreneur, the number one thing is take care of your company. That's number one, and you have to make really huge sacrifices, and you have to be ready to make those big decisions and be ready for the consequences regardless â€¦ We've had opportunities to leave this city, and we were like, â€œOkay, let's not do it. Let's not do it yet or let's not do it at all.â€ I think we can build here, and I think that's what we're going to do. E.M. Ricchini: It's a very affordable city to live in. Earl Knight: It is. Joe Taylor Jr.: There's a lot of advantages. E.M. Ricchini: [Crosstalk 00:33:10] a startup budget. Yeah, plus you're so close to New York, so close to D.C. You're kind of in the middle of it all and it's a great place. I honestly don't know why this boom and tech hasn't happened sooner. Earl Knight: Like 2020 Press. I love this. I love what you do Joe, because you're shedding light on companies that need it. I'd like to say we're going to be one of the hottest startups within the next two to three years coming out of Philadelphia and we're going to give back to Philadelphia. We're going to start more hackathons. We're going to shed light on 2020 Press. We're going to put this podcast on our website and we're going to draw in a community of people of open-minded thinkers who aren't thinking business essentially, but thinking innovation and thinking world of tomorrow ask? Joe Taylor Jr.: I think there's something to the idea that you can be innovative and you can be scrappy, and there's something that happens in Philly when you combine those two. It's one thing to think of a great idea when you've got a big check from a VC firm behind you. It's another one when you're thinking about, â€œI've got my seven people, and I've got runway and I've got a product. How do I change the world?â€ Earl Knight: That's right, which really I wake up with that mindset. I was up at 3:30 I think I sent texts to these guys, at 3:30 last night and I was like, â€œHey, so sorry about this late text,â€ but just up thinking. Philly will draw that out of you. I don't want to go anywhere else because it's like, â€œLet's grind it out. We're the [broadstreet 00:34:37] bullies.â€ You know what I mean? We're in the home of Rocky. E.M. Ricchini: If everyoneâ€™s talking about it being the next tech destination, then why don't we actually do it? Joe Taylor Jr.: Yeah, absolutely. Earl Knight: Right, and GoBabl could be at the helm of that. Joe Taylor Jr.: Keep our eyes on you. Earl Knight: Yeah, there you go. Joe Taylor Jr.: All right. GoBabl team, thanks so much for stopping by The Build. Earl Knight: Thank you so much you guys. E.M. Ricchini: Thank you. Joe Taylor Jr.: The Build is a production of 2820 Radio in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Our producer is Lori Taylor. Our associate producer is Katie Cohen Zahniser. Our talent coordinators are Katrina Smith and Gizem Yali, and our post-production team is led by Evan Wilder at Flowly Audio in Detroit. My name is Joe Taylor, Jr. Thanks for listening to The Build. Announcer: Thanks for listening to this episode of The Build. We hope youâ€™ll share this series with your friends, and provide us with feedback on the iTunes store.