Software, Politics, and Cancel Culture | An Interview with Chris Pearson
In this episode of the Calvin Correli Audio Experience, I talk with Chris Pearson, a software engineer, designer, copywriter, and speaker about his career in programming and how he was affected by the cancel culture and virtue signaling born from these politically charged times.
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Calvin Correli (00:00:26):
All right. So, hello, everyone. I'm here with Chris Pearson. Dude, I've known of you for 12 years now back in 2008. I started to get into online courses and information marketing and all that kind of stuff. I was teaching people how to set up WordPress, and the theme that they had to get was Thesis, right? I was teaching everybody to do that. So, I brought you a bunch of customers back in the day.
Chris Pearson (00:00:55):
Sweet! Thank you.
Calvin Correli (00:00:57):
Yeah, and then I got out of the WordPress universe. So, didn't stay connected with you, if you will for years, but then you popped up in my Twitter feed recently and I started like, "All right. Seems like we have a kindred spirit there, someone who's a little mischievous, rebellious, and irreverent, and likes to just call shit out for what it is. So, really excited to talk to you here and get to know you a little better.
Chris Pearson (00:01:26):
Calvin Correli (00:01:27):
Yeah. Please, what is your story? What's your background? What do people need to know about you?
Chris Pearson (00:01:35):
Gosh, I guess the most pertinent thing about my background is that I am now 39 years old and I have never had a real job. I realized very early on that I was pretty much unemployable, and I like to-
Calvin Correli (00:01:53):
That was one of the things that Dan Kennedy always talked about, too, right? The unemployables. Have you followed Dan Kennedy?
Chris Pearson (00:02:00):
No. I'm familiar with who that is, and I know that there's some conversation out there about being unemployable, but for me, that was definitely a real thing very early on. So, I had to jump around between things I like that I could use to generate income because it wasn't like anyone was going to be paying like, "Here you go. $56,000 salary for you to exist." I didn't have that come in my way. So, I think that having to forge my own path and be responsible for all that stuff, anything that comes to me, I have to create.
Chris Pearson (00:02:32):
I think that has hardened me in a lot of ways, but also led me to become a total realist when it comes to everything, but also to have this mindset of extreme responsibility. So, I'm not in the excuse-making business.
Calvin Correli (00:02:52):
Right. Talk to me about that, the extreme responsibility.
Chris Pearson (00:02:55):
Well, extreme responsibility means it's on you, even if it's stuff that's unfair, even if it's stuff that you don't feel like you just have to deal with, stuff within your purview. If you want to make things better, and obstacles are in the way, even if you didn't put them there, tough luck. You got to deal. You got to overcome those things.
Calvin Correli (00:03:13):
Rioting, for example. Looting is a good way to do that, right?
Chris Pearson (00:03:17):
Yeah. You probably won't find me out there abiding or looting. I don't enjoy the downside of risk of a lot of activities, and really don't have the time, frankly, to go engage with stuff like that because like I said, I got to make it happen. I got to make it happen every day. It's always on me. So, it's always a lingering carrot out there that helps me make decisions that are possibly a little more constructive.
Calvin Correli (00:03:41):
Right. So, what is the thing that you got to make happen? Is it survival? Do you have a bigger why, a bigger purpose driving you?
Chris Pearson (00:03:48):
Well, honestly, and there's a great segue with the conversation earlier, having always been an entrepreneur, I guess, sort of, and a creative type, I bounced around between a lot of different disciplines, and I get to engage in something new, and I get fully immersed in it, and I have manic behaviors relative to things that I'm interested in. So, I will, for two weeks, I'll go do this thing fully immersed, and then somebody will see me on the other side. I'll swim underwater for two weeks and pop out of the water with all these new skills that I've built or whatever it is, this new knowledge.
Chris Pearson (00:04:30):
That doesn't work when you are working for a company, something like that. You can't just take a two-week reprieve and say, "Hey, I have compulsive skills. I'll see you all later." I have done that for so long. Now, that's just how I operate. So, I get these manic bursts.
Calvin Correli (00:04:47):
Were you diagnosed with ADHD by any chance?
Chris Pearson (00:04:49):
That has led me become a total polymath. Do what?
Calvin Correli (00:04:53):
Were you diagnosed with ADHD by any chance?
Chris Pearson (00:04:56):
No, not officially, not officially. I just don't listen to things that don't interest me. I don't think it's any sort of disease or anything like that. I just don't care. I care about what I care and that's about it.
Calvin Correli (00:05:05):
It isn't a diagnosis. Yeah. It's just what you say like these manics. I mean, I have never been diagnosed with anything, but I can relate. I was talking to Dan Martel the other day. Do you know who that is?
Chris Pearson (00:05:14):
I'm familiar with him.
Calvin Correli (00:05:16):
Yeah. So, he was diagnosed with ADHD and actually on Ritalin for years and years, but, yeah. So, I can relate to that manic. You're just super deep focused getting into some topic, right?
Chris Pearson (00:05:31):
Calvin Correli (00:05:32):
Learn the stuff. Yeah. All right. Keep going.
Chris Pearson (00:05:35):
The reason why we're here, though, because I popped up on your Twitter, of course, and I think it's worth mentioning. I'm completely addicted to Twitter, specifically, not social media. Most of it I find absolutely unimportant and boring, and vacuous, repetitive. It's just not a unique thing. It's not bringing me enough insights that are worth listening to, Facebook, Instagram, these types of platforms, but Twitter absolutely does it for me.
Chris Pearson (00:06:04):
Being able to write just a little bit is really a good challenge for creativity on a daily basis. Trying to convey humor and personality through text is not easy. I also use it as a tool to sharpen my writing skills, which has turned out to be super important, super important. That's a skill that I have to use in my own business. I'm doing all my own copywriting. Being able to sharpen the blade, so to speak, all the time is not only addictive, but it also is productive, at least in some sense that I'm constantly building and constantly getting better and challenging myself to find the right words to connect.
Calvin Correli (00:06:47):
Right. Yeah. Twitter is a cool platform. It's really an interesting universe. I was very early on Twitter, but then once the masses joined, I lost interest a little bit. So, when it came out, I was still living in Copenhagen in Denmark. The only people that were on Twitter were people in the tech world, which is where I was, right?
Chris Pearson (00:07:12):
Calvin Correli (00:07:12):
So, it was a great way for me to feel connected with the tech world, basically. Essentially, follow everyone on Twitter and just feel like you're connected, and then pretty quickly, it lost that. Then I stayed out of it. It wasn't until a couple of years ago when I started to get really interested in what was going on in politics that I was actually talking to Dave Rubin. Do you know who that is? Rubin Report?
Chris Pearson (00:07:34):
Calvin Correli (00:07:35):
Yeah. So, he was like, "Dude, you should do more Twitter. You should be more active there."
Calvin Correli (00:07:39):
I was like, "I never thought of that."
Calvin Correli (00:07:42):
Then I realized there's that whole conversation that's happening on Twitter, all these different voices, and a lot of fun, a lot of angry people, a lot of offended people, but also a lot of people who have a sense of humor and can be cheeky about everything that's going on.
Chris Pearson (00:08:02):
Yeah. It's actually a real challenge to be able to say what you want to say and make the points you want to make. In my case, I want to be incisive. I once threw the pot. I want to go to the skin of the right people, occasionally, not all the time. It's not like I'm out for warfare all the time, but it's very tough to do those kinds of things and not get banned, frankly. You got to get creative.
Calvin Correli (00:08:27):
Have you been banned?
Chris Pearson (00:08:29):
I come to love that. It feels like the terrorists are winning when you feel like you have to sin to yourself or tip toe around to find the right words, but at the same time, it could still be a fun exercise, especially if you're addicted to it like I am. You have to find a way and just deal with the fact that, eh, it's not 100%. It's not unfiltered, but it sort of is if you know what you're looking for. I'm saying everything I want to say on the platform pretty much.
Calvin Correli (00:08:53):
That was good. Have you been banned?
Chris Pearson (00:08:56):
Calvin Correli (00:08:57):
It hasn't happened. All right. There you go.
Chris Pearson (00:08:58):
I'm very careful. I am very careful. Occasionally, I'll flip that reply button, I'm like, "Don't reply to this person. Don't do it."
Calvin Correli (00:09:05):
Right. Have you read the Twitter's terms and policies?
Chris Pearson (00:09:11):
Oh, no. Hopefully, I'll make it through my life and never read any terms or any legalities at all.
Calvin Correli (00:09:17):
That's good. That's good. Yeah, I have not either, and I have not been banned, but also I don't think I'm as out there as you are. Have you had that fear of speaking out about these things because there seems to be backlash?
Chris Pearson (00:09:33):
My career arc has been that I got canceled before canceling was a thing.
Calvin Correli (00:09:38):
Nice. Oh, wow! How do you do that?
Chris Pearson (00:09:40):
So, I'm just used to it. I really don't care. I embrace it. I've cost myself millions and millions of dollars because I couldn't keep my mouth shut. That's why I'm okay with that. I accept all of that. I've gotten to be me the whole time, and I think that's been better than whatever extra money I could have earned by being a good soldier. I stay in here today. I feel like I'm a lot stronger for the journey. So, was it worth it? Yeah, probably so. Probably so.
Calvin Correli (00:10:11):
I think that's just an important point. We have to be ourselves, right? We have to be true and honest. So, what happened when you got canceled?
Chris Pearson (00:10:21):
So, what happened when I got canceled was that I had the number one premium WordPress theme in the world at the time. It was Thesis, which you mentioned. This is in the summer of 2010. I had a public interview on Mixergy with Matt Mullenweg, the founder of WordPress.
Calvin Correli (00:10:42):
Wait. You were hosting the interview? You were the one interviewing Matt?
Chris Pearson (00:10:46):
No, no, no. Andrew Warner of Mixergy was hosting the interview, and he had us on this round table thing.
Calvin Correli (00:10:51):
Chris Pearson (00:10:55):
The object or the topic of interest was that I didn't have the right software license with Thesis. I didn't have a GPL license associated with it. The truth is I didn't have any license associated with it because I didn't know what I was doing. You start selling and you just go. If you have something that's moving, you don't really think about the details of your product. You think about moving your product.
Chris Pearson (00:11:17):
Licensing to me is super goofy. It doesn't have anything to do with the way a product works. Nobody cares, right? One out of 100 people cares about terms like that. Always got some neurotic freak who wants to look at stuff like that and who cares, but the reality is, so this is a great example of a topic that comes up again and again, I talk about this on Twitter. This is just a thing. I see a pattern. I see it repeated over and over.
Chris Pearson (00:11:41):
We sacrifice the 99% of sane people who don't give a shit about licensing for the 1% of idiots who do. This is becoming a huge flare up issue. Basically, I was told that I need to change my licensing, and I don't do what other people tell me to do. So, I'm like, "F off. I'm not going to do what you say," but it turned out that they were able to, they being anyone sympathetic for WordPress, was able to rally people against me and really just absolutely destroyed me.
Chris Pearson (00:12:10):
My business partner up and left me during the middle of this because it was negative PR. He didn't need to deal with that. He just wants to make money. I get it. He planted a fake interview to smooth out his exit and to make it look like it was okay, the later moves that he made. He became the CEO, I guess, of my immediate competitor in the market space, and then WordPress people like Matt Mullenweg specifically worked behind the scenes to try and convert people away from the Thesis platform.
Chris Pearson (00:12:39):
They introduced some community rules and guidelines, and also some new initiatives called WordCamps, which are like little conferences, and they had rules about who could participate in WordCamps. You had to have the right licensing. You had to have said the right things publicly. You have to support their line of thinking.
Chris Pearson (00:12:56):
All this happened. That was the snowball that got started down the hill with me. So, I was basically canceled from pop to the WordPress culture during this episode in 2010, and had to go through that. Like I said, it cost me millions of dollars. I was selling when this occurred. The year that that occurred, I sold $2.4 million worth of software. The years that followed, the graphs went way down and no one would work with me. I've had people tell me candidly behind the scenes, "Hey, we love your stuff, but we couldn't make it work with the company because you're toxic," that kind of thing. So, I've lived with that reality now for a decade.
Calvin Correli (00:13:32):
Are you still feeling that?
Chris Pearson (00:13:35):
I mean, I have tough line as you could possibly be, but what are you saying?
Calvin Correli (00:13:38):
Are you still feeling the consequences of that? Are you still toxic?
Chris Pearson (00:13:40):
I still deal with it. I still deal with it in some extent. I know that plenty of people who have audiences who are paying attention to WordPress. Now, these have dwindled massively. The interest in WordPress is nothing like it used to be. It's a defacto thing now, but nobody's paying attention to the inner workings of it. Nobody really cares anymore, but there's still ... I'm persona non grata. No one will promote me, that kind of thing, people within the space. They're only willing to engage me in DMs and stuff like that behind the scenes because they're weak and they're not willing to jeopardize their incomes or whatever relationships they have.
Chris Pearson (00:14:16):
I get that. That's a rational decision for these people, but the fact is, eh, look at it. It's just weak. It's like, "I walked in the fire. I'm not interested to hear other people's opinions."
Calvin Correli (00:14:27):
So, let's dive in to that because that's something that's on my mind. I've been more vote call lately and it started in 2018 when I was doing ... In 2018, I did a daily livestream on whatever was politics. At that time, I thought I was a democrat if anything. Then I started to actually learn stuff, and I realized, "Fuck! These people are idiots. They don't know what the hell they're talking about, and none of it makes any sense," right? So, I drifted to the right, if you will.
Calvin Correli (00:15:04):
At that time, I did it on a YouTube channel that I didn't really promote anywhere. I had never talked about it on Facebook because I have a bigger following. Just set up a completely new YouTube account and basically didn't tell anyone about it, right? It was really helpful for me to figure out what I was thinking in public, but definitely scared about bringing it into a broader audience and my customer is going to find out about this stuff because there's that anger and that you can't ... That canceling of people that think differently is like, "Yeah, you're going to be toxic now. We are not even going to talk to you." It's crazy.
Chris Pearson (00:15:50):
Yeah, yeah. I have 19-
Calvin Correli (00:15:57):
The danger zone-
Chris Pearson (00:15:57):
Okay. Go ahead.
Calvin Correli (00:15:57):
No. I was just going to say the people that are DM-ing you, we need people that have fucking courage, to have balls to speak up and talk, say what they mean and not feel that they have to fall in line for fear of being lynched by other people that don't believe in the lynching, right?
Chris Pearson (00:16:11):
Right. Well, I've been aware of this, like I said, for a decade, and I've been able to see this. I remember predicting in about late 2012. I was like, "Well, the market is not ready for my new stuff yet, but they will be by about 2018." That was a generous prediction, it turns out. It's more like now or second half of 2019, now, things have started to bend back in my direction a little bit. I've arrested some attention away from these place that were formerly like, "Eh, we're not going to listen to you. We're not going to look at you."
Chris Pearson (00:16:46):
I feel that arc changing in a big way societally, not just relative to my stuff. I see people changing. Quarantine really started this, and I really started to notice this with the beginning of lockdowns and all that stuff, but people's mindsets are starting to shift. The way they are thinking is a little different. Quarantine has changed the way people think.
Chris Pearson (00:17:04):
Business owners have had to get creative, the good ones, and people have ... It's a big triggering event that caused you to rethink some assumptions that you have made before. So, you revisit these foundational areas again, and we'd say, "Oh, I missed this. I'm going to look here now. There are little treasures for me to find in these areas."
Chris Pearson (00:17:22):
I see this happening now sort of like dominoes falling over. As we go up into 2020, there's mindset shifts and I'll be standing here ready to receive the attention that is coming my direction because I've been prepping for this for a decade. That's what I feel happening in large way. Like I said, it's not happening just for me, happening for some of my friends. Jack Murphy who runs jackmurphylive.com and The Liminal Order, he's got people. He's running a business model that's basically an online fraternity of men. When he told me he was going to do this, I'm like, "That's not going to work, dude," but watching this arc bend, it is working, and he understood where that was heading from his own perspective, and he was absolutely right with the gamble that he took, and that's just one example to make.
Calvin Correli (00:18:10):
Right, right. How long have you known Jack?
Chris Pearson (00:18:10):
A couple of years.
Calvin Correli (00:18:13):
Are you a member of the order?
Chris Pearson (00:18:16):
I'm in the order. He gave me a free pass because I helped him with his website and sent him on Focus and all that stuff.
Calvin Correli (00:18:22):
Very nice. Yeah. How do you guys connect?
Chris Pearson (00:18:25):
Calvin Correli (00:18:26):
Twitter? Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, I'm still pretty fairly new to this world and this universe, but, yeah. Clearly, there's like ... I was speaking with Zuby the other day. Do you know Zuby?
Chris Pearson (00:18:36):
Calvin Correli (00:18:36):
I mean, he's obviously seen a massive growth, right? People are ready. There are people that are ready to think for themselves, and there's a lot of people, obviously, that aren't. Actually, we saw yesterday on this stupid Black Out Tuesday. Everybody is posting their black squares and all that nonsense.
Chris Pearson (00:18:56):
Oh, my God!
Calvin Correli (00:18:58):
Everybody wants to virtue signal, right? It's so pervasive. I don't know. It makes people feel good for a moment even though it actually hurts the people they were trying to help.
Chris Pearson (00:19:08):
Right. So, my whole ... I guess I was not completely apolitical, but I was very, very, as casual as you could be, don't really care at all, but I started reading Thomas Sowell. He's an economist.
Calvin Correli (00:19:25):
When is this? When did you start reading that?
Chris Pearson (00:19:29):
I think my first Thomas Sowell book was probably 2010, late 2010, but I read all of his books between 2010-2013.
Calvin Correli (00:19:38):
Nice. For me, it wasn't until '17-'18. So, I'm late in this game.
Chris Pearson (00:19:42):
So, yeah. I read all of his books and really got me thinking exactly what I just mentioned about rethinking some foundational assumptions that we have on things, and revisiting some topics that are like race, foreign aid, how we deal with other countries, immigration, all these types of issues, revisiting these and seeing them through a lens of pure supply and demand, and basic economic mechanisms and understanding how people vote with their wallets, understanding this concept of revealed preferences like, "Don't worry about what people say. Intent is crap. Look where the flows of money that will paint a picture." The flows of money create patterns. They paint pictures of what society wants and what is real.
Chris Pearson (00:20:33):
That really changed my thinking on the whole thing. It made me, when I was equipped with these new glasses, I could look around through this new lens, I started to see that all is phoniness, and all of these layers of stuff, it's just not real, but that we project out there and we make it real, but it creates all this chaos and this madness, and it's really like a race to the bottom in terms of stupidity.
Chris Pearson (00:20:54):
Like you said, we have this Black Out Freaking Tuesday yesterday with Instagram. Such a perfect example. When everybody is saying the same thing, none of it means anything. It literally doesn't mean anything. Here's what's worst about this. These types of things, these societal events where everyone has to participate, it's like taking communion at church. It is a reaffirmation of one's faith in this canon that many believe to be a bedrock thing in our society now. It's like, "Wait a minute."
Calvin Correli (00:21:25):
How many understand it, right? How many even now what it means?
Chris Pearson (00:21:29):
Wait. No. There's no understanding, but they understand the mechanism that's in play and the mechanism is this. You will be ostracized if you do not have the right beliefs. That is the core thing.
Calvin Correli (00:21:37):
Chris Pearson (00:21:38):
You can have a conversation with somebody about this because they're going to feel like they're being attacked, but the whole thing is the action you were taking is just to sit here and say, "Hey, I'm righteous. When the mob comes out, make sure the mob doesn't come for me because I have said all the right things, and my heart is in the right place."
Chris Pearson (00:21:54):
The great irony of this is that these same people are the ones who get junked on massively and they're like, "Why did this happen to me?" I posted this on Twitter a couple of days ago. This woman, her newspaper, I guess in the South Carolina or North. It was in Raleigh, North Carolina. She runs a press of newspaper. Her building got ransacked, okay?
Chris Pearson (00:22:14):
She was crying on Twitter, "We are a progressive newspaper. Why is this happening?" It's my meme of the week right now because it's like, "You fucking idiots. You absolute idiots. You clowns." It doesn't matter how much you pledge fealty to the blue church when everyone's getting jammed up and emotional. None of that crap matters. What matters is getting another head on a pike. Your head is a convenient one because you're thinking that shit because you are a progressive newspaper.
Calvin Correli (00:22:44):
Did you see the other video of these guys in their apartment doing the thumbs up?
Chris Pearson (00:22:50):
Oh, absolutely. I junked on them, too. They deserved it. "We're on your side." "What are you like 23-year-old bros?"
Calvin Correli (00:22:57):
Right. You're not saying anything about this. No. So, you mentioned race is one of the things. That just seems to be a hot button, third rail issue. Let's just dive in there. What have you learned?
Chris Pearson (00:23:10):
Well, I mean, to me, it's so obvious and embarrassing, the dialog that occurs in this country around race, even the Black Out Tuesday. If I was a Black person, I'd be like, "Goddamn it!" looking at all this stuff. I would be so frustrated with this watching a bunch of idiot White people pledge fealty to the blue church in a disingenuous way. I'd see right through it. It's so phony. They don't care. They probably never even met a Black person. I grew up in a city that was-
Calvin Correli (00:23:39):
They just want a little bit of attention. They want a little bit of attention, right? They want to have that good feeling that you get when you're like, "Oh, I'm such a virtuous good person," and show that, and I guess not be ostracized.
Chris Pearson (00:23:49):
They just know what their White friends how they feel, though. They're signaling to their White friends.
Calvin Correli (00:23:52):
Chris Pearson (00:23:53):
I grew up in a city that's one-quarter Black. It wasn't a thing. We played sports. We were in schools. It's just a thing, but now ... So, to me, it's not something you think about, but then watching people say this, I'm like, "You've never been around a Black person your life, have you? Because you wouldn't act like a fucking idiot if you had."
Chris Pearson (00:24:11):
It's just so unbelievable to me to see this and to see how transparent it all is. I'm getting agitated about this. This is the stuff I shit post about because it's just so obvious. Goddamn it! So, like I said, if I was a Black person watching this, I would be so frustrated to see this and to not just get perpetuated, to grow, to watch people morph all into this mind virus and perpetuating this crap. It really is just unbelievable to me that this is the direction things have gone. All of that would be not racist. We're just getting more and more racist. It's so stupid. It's so stupid.
Calvin Correli (00:24:45):
Exactly. Yeah, yeah. More and more focus on race. Do we have evidence that there's any racist motive behind the killing of George Floyd?
Chris Pearson (00:24:54):
I do not know enough about the details to say. I know that ... Here's what I do know. I know that police in every municipality, they know who the criminals are. It's not like it's a population-wide thing. Police know who the criminals are. George Floyd had priors, so they knew him. The law enforcement [crosstalk 00:25:14]
Calvin Correli (00:25:14):
Chris Pearson (00:25:16):
... knew who he was and knew what some of the risks were. I know that that is true at least.
Calvin Correli (00:25:21):
Well, apparently, Jared and George Floyd knew each other for 10 years. They're bouncers at the same bar for 10 years.
Chris Pearson (00:25:27):
George Floyd and who else?
Calvin Correli (00:25:28):
The cop that killed him.
Chris Pearson (00:25:31):
So, he really knew him.
Calvin Correli (00:25:31):
They worked side-by-side for 10 years.
Chris Pearson (00:25:34):
So, yeah, that really confirms that he knew who he was. My friend Derek who lives in New York brought up a good point yesterday. We had a little chat about this. He said that, "Would that confrontation ..." You got to ask yourself this. It's just worth asking, but do you think that confrontation would have gone the same way had the cameraman not been there agitating the situation? What if there were no cameras on them? He had to take time to address the camera person, the officer. That increased the amount of time the knee was on the neck. I'm just saying, dude. These events would unfold the exact same way if this was not a publicized sort of thing and there wasn't this antagonism on the scene. Does it work out the same way?
Chris Pearson (00:26:12):
I don't know the answer to that. I'm not saying this excuses anything. It doesn't. All I'm saying is let's think. Instead of taking things at face value and saying this or that, let's not react emotionally. Let's figure out what the hell is going on here.
Calvin Correli (00:26:24):
Chris Pearson (00:26:25):
All of that aside, none of that excuses police files, which I do find really gross. That imagery is not good. Officers killing people who are in custody I think is just insane. It's like, "Dude already had handcuffs on. What do we got to do here?"
Calvin Correli (00:26:39):
Yeah. Absolutely. [crosstalk 00:26:40]
Chris Pearson (00:26:40):
I've heard horror stories from officers about people who are shackled up doing some crazy things, but still. It's gross.
Calvin Correli (00:26:48):
I mean, following both left and right Twitter, I have seen no one that in any way, shape or form condoned what happened, right? Everybody was in agreement after that, at least several.
Chris Pearson (00:26:59):
Well, so here's the thing with Black Out Tuesday. Do we really need to sit here and say ... Everyone thinks that the optics of that were shit. Everyone thinks that situation is bad. Do we really have to sit here and say, "Oh, I think that was bad"? Why do we have to repeat obvious things? You know when you repeat something that is widely assumed to be true for everybody, it gets into the cultish type practices commonly associated with religion, stuff that's been a national dialog 40, 50, 60 years as being icky. First, it was originally Christians. We didn't like the ritual on all this stuff, didn't want to project it onto society, "Ew! Don't bring that in here. I don't want to have to see this Christian imagery or whatever it is." That was sort of the thing.
Chris Pearson (00:27:38):
Well, now, it's all the secular imagery, "I don't want to see that shit." Freedom from that religion, the secularized state religions. It's gross. It's gross.
Calvin Correli (00:27:47):
All right. So, China. Have you been following up on that? What would you say?
Chris Pearson (00:27:56):
I'm not a China expert at all, but, really, the whole quarantine thing, COVID thing has probably taught me more about China than I ever knew before. I just think ... Let's just trace the arc. I like the history of this whole thing. Why on earth would America ever have moved businesses to China in the first place? We already had the manufacturing here, millions of dollars, lots of time and effort was set up to build factories in the US that ran for 1900 to 1960.
Chris Pearson (00:28:29):
It would have taken a tremendous amount of money at the time to move your operations abroad anywhere, anywhere. It would have been economically probably so steep a curve there that you wouldn't do it. It would not be viable. So, there had to be external factors that caused you as businesses to move abroad. Turns out there were. There were quite a few.
Chris Pearson (00:28:51):
The most important one ... So, another deterrent of moving your factory is you've got workers who are Americans who you take care of your workers. If you're a good CEO, you feel responsible for these people. So, you don't want to just up and reap their livelihood away and move it to China. That's not really a palatable thing, but if you have enough external pressure, you would make this decision, employees be damned, and it all started with 1968 Berkeley and all this environmental movement. Then corporations started getting fingered in media as being bad actors because they were causing pollution from these factories, that type of thing.
Chris Pearson (00:29:27):
Eventually, that PR snowball got big enough that companies, the discussions in the board and all that stuff, they're like, "Eh, we've got to end this. We can't sustain this ongoing PR hit and these attacks," because you spend all your time on these attacks defending yourself. It's lame. You want to be productive. Defending yourself against the tacks is no way to run a business. It's absolutely exhausting. You end up spending a ton on legal stuff. You're not performing your business anymore. Now, you're a PR agency. It's bullshit. So, you got to solve these problems, these negative PR issues.
Chris Pearson (00:30:00):
Smart businesses that wants to keep making money has to solve them. So, they moved their factories to China. When would you undertake these huge steep curve? Only if there was enough pressure. That was enough pressure to do it. So, all we did was shift the pollution. We didn't get rid of it. Actually, it probably polluted more because they built factories quickly with less regulation and whatever standards that we would have at play here.
Chris Pearson (00:30:25):
So, then all of the stuff moves to China. Well, now, 40 something years on, you can't move them back. Now, that growth curve is really fucking steep. So, you got to move stuff back to America and increase cost. Well, maybe some of these companies might, but I would argue you still need the same external pressure agent to cause that to come back. Maybe they didn't have to do it. I don't know.
Calvin Correli (00:30:49):
On top of everything that you've pointed out, which I hadn't thought of is the obvious fact that they were just way cheaper, right? Slave labor and government would subsidize it to entice companies to move over. Now, we're at a point where the whole country and everything that we do runs on computers and technology, and we don't know how to make them, right? The only place in the world that makes computers are China, as far as I know, right?
Chris Pearson (00:31:16):
Well, I think it's a big ... I mean, I think Japan has some semiconductor companies and things like that as well, but my understanding is that it's a supply chain thing. So, China's down in Southern Africa in Zimbabwe area, South Africa, and around there, and that's where all the rare earth element mines are, somewhere in Africa, but it's mostly done by Chinese. Chinese moved into Southern Africa. They'll say, "Hey, we'll do your infrastructure, all the stuff. We'll build this out for you guys, but you give us free rein to do our thing."
Chris Pearson (00:31:45):
So, China has gone in and totally pillaged Africa, but they own those supply chains for the rare earth metals that are needed to make these semiconductors and stuff like that. So, I think that web of entanglement is so much greater than just, "Oh, they make it in China. We don't know how to make them." It's like I don't know if we could actually piece together that supply chain or not without some sort of conflict or something like that.
Calvin Correli (00:32:09):
Yeah. It's usually the company like Apple. I've always been a fan of Steve Jobs and Apple and all that kind of thing, right? After Steve died, Apple's gone really woke with telling them that they help.
Chris Pearson (00:32:24):
I mean, it's so predictable.
Calvin Correli (00:32:25):
He loves himself some China, right?
Chris Pearson (00:32:27):
Oh, absolutely. They can't do it any other way. So, I have an ongoing meme with my tweets that is anything that is really predominantly leftist in our society, I could create a computer algorithm in about five minutes that would guess all of the actions, all the thoughts, all the projections, all this stuff with 100% accuracy. It's the easiest, most basic fucking program you could ever write. It's all so freaking obvious, and all follows the same established patterns.
Chris Pearson (00:32:58):
That tells me that these are not interesting people. These are not interesting pathways. There's no progress to be made here. This is a five-minute no shit job. It applies to everything. It applies to China, just across the board, these basic patterns.
Chris Pearson (00:33:13):
I don't even remember what my purpose of bringing that up was. Just this whole NPC landscape that we find ourselves in, it applies to freaking every issue. It's unbelievable. Oh, Apple. Apple is an NPC. I could predict every position Apple would take on anything, and what their stupid PR releases would be, what they would say, the causes they would support, all of it, where they would manufacture their products, all of it.
Calvin Correli (00:33:40):
Right. I'll tell you it wasn't that. It wasn't like that when Steve Jobs was still alive, right? It was an interesting company back then. They would think differently. Right now, they're not thinking differently at all.
Chris Pearson (00:33:49):
Steve Jobs is a hard ass.
Calvin Correli (00:33:51):
Yeah. Exactly. He wouldn't take no shit.
Chris Pearson (00:33:53):
We never argue with these people who are notoriously unlikable. I'm like, "That's my guy. That's my guy." If he's notoriously unlikable or an asshole, that just means you didn't like being held to that standard because you're weak. That's really what it means. The whole Michael Jordan thing, he thought he was going to come off looking like an asshole. I thought he looked great. I thought the whole thing was unbelievable.
Chris Pearson (00:34:12):
Some people have been critical and saying he's not friends with his old teammates. That's not the way the man is wired. The man wants to freaking win and is an absolute assassin when it comes to that, and I respect that because he's giving you exactly what he is. There's no veiled stuff. He's not signaling so think this certain way about him.
Chris Pearson (00:34:33):
He'd say, "Here it is. Take it or leave it. Let's go." That's the type of character Steve Jobs was from at least my understanding. That's how Michael Jordan was. That's how these hard asses were, but look what they did. They moved ground. They get things done. It comes with a territory. It is what it is. I'm sympathetic to the Steve Jobs types and I hate to watch what's going on with Apple. I hate that I give them so much money. It really is a bummer. It really is a bummer. If it weren't for the damn blue chat bubbles, I probably wouldn't stick with them.
Calvin Correli (00:35:07):
It's a good marketing thing, isn't it? It's really worked well.
Chris Pearson (00:35:11):
Incredibly sticky feature. Incredibly sticky.
Calvin Correli (00:35:13):
Yeah. Oh, not another green one. Damn it!
Chris Pearson (00:35:17):
Every group text.
Calvin Correli (00:35:19):
Yeah. Oh, it's so good. So, putting the focus on you a little bit, in your life, in your journey as a human, what's been some of the challenging moments? What have been some of your darkness of the soul or dark moments in your life?
Chris Pearson (00:35:37):
Oh, just receiving tidal waves of negativity pointed at me. I knew a long time ago that people didn't fully get what I was doing. So, I call this the scoreboard. You know what the scoreboard says, what it actually says. The scoreboard to me says, "I know I'm innovative. I know I'm creating great things. I know I make products that are massively more efficient than what is out there." I know what the scoreboard says. Scoreboard says, "This is great. Other stuff is not."
Chris Pearson (00:36:10):
When you receive a lot of incoming signals that challenge that, weak people crumble. They might say, "Eh, okay. I'll follow the herd. I'll do this. I'll make these changes. I will not walk through the fire. I will try to make my path a little bit easier, a little smoother."
Chris Pearson (00:36:25):
A recurring thing for me has been that I have to stay true to what I know is going on. I know I'm not a catchy. I know people aren't going to get it. It might take years for people to get it. I may not even be able to explain myself, and I'm not going to spend my time explaining myself in hopes that people will get it. It's exhausting. You can't be innovative if you're explaining yourself the whole damn time.
Calvin Correli (00:36:49):
Where does that come from, the desire to walk through the fire?
Chris Pearson (00:36:53):
You know what? It's a meme. I joke about this with my girlfriend all the time. It's like I like to play the game on the hardest setting, the hardest difficulty setting. I don't know why that is. I don't really enjoy that necessarily. I like easy stuff, easy wins to come my direction. It just seems to be that that's not the way things work out.
Chris Pearson (00:37:11):
I think once you operate on a frequency where you're absolutely true to yourself, you're constantly having to recalibrate everything, and reaffirm what your mission is. If you're constantly doing that and society is in another place, there's going to be some tension all the time. You have to either be comfortable with that tension or you need to get out. At this point, I don't feel like I know any other way to live.
Calvin Correli (00:37:37):
Do you thrive on the tension?
Chris Pearson (00:37:39):
Calvin Correli (00:37:40):
Yeah, yeah. How would you describe your relationship with your dad?
Chris Pearson (00:37:47):
Calvin Correli (00:37:48):
How would you describe your relationship to your dad?
Chris Pearson (00:37:51):
Oh, interesting question. Nonexistent at this point, which is too damn bad. We haven't talked since 2005, which is a real disaster. It's a real disaster.
Calvin Correli (00:38:04):
Chris Pearson (00:38:05):
Well, I ran his business right out of college, so I wasn't really employed. I was running his business and could make the moves I wanted to move or make the moves I wanted to make. It was a phone card and prepaid cellular business. I worked my butt off for that. It was great. I loved that time. I loved doing that business. It was such a great experience for me. I was able to see America.
Chris Pearson (00:38:28):
So, I had a thing go viral in April about ... It was a story about a 15-year-old stripper in Kentucky and what that could tell you about China. That story comes from that time in my life when I was working for his business. We grew that business incredibly fast. I busted my ass for that. I made incredible strides in that business. It was awesome.
Chris Pearson (00:38:48):
As part of that growth, we were being asked by large cellular providers to go provide service all over the Midwest because there were lots of people doing it, and then they were like, "Eh, these guys are the best. Let's have them expand the network."
Chris Pearson (00:39:01):
It was a raw deal. It was going to stress our business, which is a cashflow basis business to the point, and some markets where the profit margins had been eroded. It was not going to be a good deal for us. That created tension between me and my dad. Eventually, he just wanted to hear yeses to move the business along because he wanted to appease these entities that were approaching us that were showing faith in us, but what they were doing was actually just going to pimp us out and run us ragged so they could expand their network. It was a bad deal.
Chris Pearson (00:39:34):
Did I want to appease them and be the top dog? Sure, but not at my own expense, right? That's sort of a situation we got in to. We had a lot of disagreements. It escalated. I quit. That was pretty much it. Then some stuff that unfolded over the next couple of years I guess made him very, I don't know, salty is the word, but he felt betrayed, I guess, through that whole process.
Chris Pearson (00:40:03):
He is a very stubborn man. I have those qualities in me as well, but as part of his stubbornness, I guess we're not speaking. So, we're estranged at the moment, but it's interesting. I don't really feel ... I still carry with me our relationship, the things we went through, and he's still my father. So, I don't really see things through this lens of estrangement. I'm hopeful that we will rekindle at some point. It's a shame that I feel like certain life events are going to have to take place before that all happens, but it's just the reality of the situation.
Calvin Correli (00:40:42):
I'm sorry, man.
Chris Pearson (00:40:43):
That probably means my no excuses mentality also. It's not all perfect, but you got to keep going. No lying to yourself, no disillusionment, no self-imposed illusion. I think my relationship with my dad actually makes me constantly rethink my own positions because when we dilute ourselves, we rob ourselves in the future. He robbed himself in the future. He robbed himself of his relationship with me, with his grandkid because he didn't have the foresight and hasn't been able to get out from under his own delusion.
Chris Pearson (00:41:28):
So, I'm very conscious of that because I don't want to be causing myself anything more than I've already lost by participating in this. So, I do think that that is probably a big animating factor for me and why I'm a real talker and a real thinker on Twitter, for example. That's a big ingredient in that soup.
Calvin Correli (00:41:49):
Yeah. I wonder, do you put yourself in your dad's shoes? You don't have to do this. You don't have to go there, but that's where my mind goes. I'm curious. What do you think he most would want to hear from you?
Chris Pearson (00:42:01):
Oh, gosh! I don't know. I mean, I really don't know. I don't know if he wanted me a culpa. He's not going to get one. I don't know. It doesn't seem like that would be the thing. I really don't know. It really is perplexing. I think he's just stubborn. I think he's just stubborn. He's decided that this is the way it is and he's not going to hear shit. I've reached out. I've tried. I've seen my stepmom, his wife. I saw her last year, saw his mom, my grandma last year. It's not for lack of trying. I really don't know.
Chris Pearson (00:42:46):
I've tried to project some of the right actions so he ... I feel like actions speak louder than words. So, to show that, "Hey, I'm doing what I can here," but that's not been enough. I don't think in those terms. I'm not trying to please him. When he's ready, he'll be ready, I assume.
Calvin Correli (00:43:04):
Yeah. Let me share a little bit about my relationship with my dad. No, not trying to compare, but just I think, I mean, for men, our relationship with our dads is pretty damn important to who we are. For me, we always had a difficult relationship, never felt seen or loved by my dad. At some point, I decided to cut off contact with him for only six months, and then I felt like I had enough. During that time, he really wanted. He was hurting from it. He was in pain over it and he really wanted to reconnect. So, we did.
Calvin Correli (00:43:46):
Then it wasn't until some two and a half years ago I was with someone, a mentor of mine. He had me go through this exercise to see how my dad was emotionally wounded and realizing that that was the exact same way that I was emotionally wounded. He's like, "Check off the list, every single thing." He made me call up my dad in that moment and he was like, "Just lie to him." That was the instruction. "Just lie to him and tell him what he most wants to hear."
Calvin Correli (00:44:25):
So, I called him up and I said, "Dad, I just want you to know that you're the best father I could have ever wished for."
Calvin Correli (00:44:36):
At first, he was like, "Well, that's very nice of you, but I don't believe a word you're saying. Are you in therapy?"
Chris Pearson (00:44:43):
"Are you in twelve-step?"
Calvin Correli (00:44:43):
What? What's that?
Chris Pearson (00:44:48):
"Are you in the twelve-step program?"
Calvin Correli (00:44:49):
Right. Exactly. Right. So, I was prepared for that. So, I was like, "No. Here's why." Then I gave him reasons. I gave him reasons. The incredible thing that happened that I had not predicted, but it was that the moment that when I first said it, it felt like a lie, and the moment that I said it and he had received it, it didn't feel like a lie anymore.
Chris Pearson (00:45:12):
Calvin Correli (00:45:14):
It felt like the truth. Since then, there hasn't been that resistance. There hasn't been that disconnect. So, that was, yeah, so powerful for me.
Chris Pearson (00:45:28):
Okay. That is interesting. I've heard some stories before. You speak it and you make it real, that kind of thing. That is very interesting. That's definitely a new angle. I certainly wouldn't intuitively come up with that because I don't like to project any falsehoods at all. I like to be as authentic as possible all the time. That is definitely some food for thought right there.
Calvin Correli (00:45:50):
Yeah. I mean, it's like if your girlfriend or your wife is asking you, "Will you love me forever?" and then you'd go like, "Well, I can't technically know that," right? In that moment, that's probably not the answer she's looking for, right?
Chris Pearson (00:46:03):
Yup. She's going to have to deal with the true answer for me. Sorry.
Calvin Correli (00:46:10):
Yeah. All right, man. This is so interesting. I'm so glad that I got to connect with you. Where do you want to direct people?
Chris Pearson (00:46:22):
Well, I mean, I make software that website template software. So, if you want to run a fast website that's easy to manage, you can go to my business website. It's diythemes.com. I sell a product called Focus, which is 100% of my focus right now. So, if you're interested in a fast website and easy to manage, beautiful typography, works on every device, no hassles for you, that's the thing to get.
Chris Pearson (00:46:49):
Really, what I'm doing with websites again, I'm still out in front of the curve and the market hasn't really caught up to the many, many, many ways that I'm trying to simplify this whole picture for people. Tech stuff, websites, et cetera, it's all so damn complicated. It looks so innocuous. It looks so cheap and easy. It looks like it's just a freaking webpage, what's the big deal.
Chris Pearson (00:47:14):
The reality is there are 80 billion ways these things can go wrong, and there's very, very few tenets, principles of true success things that actually matter. It comes down to very simple stuff. Lessons you learn from Twitter can be concise, brevity, have punchy copy, get right to the point, make it easy for people to read, to consume, to serve visitors, which is actually the goal of any website.
Chris Pearson (00:47:43):
What really happens is it becomes a self-grandizing thing where you want to satisfy your ego with your own website. You build your website to serve you and the irony is your website actually has to exist to serve customers or an audience.
Chris Pearson (00:47:57):
There's a big disconnect there. People just do not get that. The market hasn't even caught up to that basic reality of the situation yet. That's where I'm operating. Those are the efficiencies that I'm bringing to bear, the basic stuff, beautiful typography, easy to read, load super fast with your device because you're reading the shit in line at Chipotle. You're not on a super fast connection at the house. You're not on a big screen.
Chris Pearson (00:48:20):
All these things, the way everything is done, it's exactly turned upside down and we just need to turn the damn thing over, get our bearings, and then proceed accordingly. So, that's how I do software. There's issues beyond that as far as software development and principles like that. I'm working on a new project that I've really just gotten into recently to try and bring some efficiencies to bear there. All of software is a huge damn mess. You can't even imagine.
Chris Pearson (00:48:48):
The stuff that kids are out there learning right now in college, the first two introductory courses for computer science, the principles that those kids are out there learning are not applied almost anywhere in software. The basic fundamental mechanisms of computer science are not applied to software that we know and use. No matter what it is, salesforce, these big softwares, these things we think about as being so big and grand and worth all this money, even those, those are even worse.
Chris Pearson (00:49:19):
So, in a way software is built is shit. I'm on a campaign to try and fix some of this stuff. When I see big problems, I feel like it's my responsibility to help tackle them because quite frankly, few people have this perspective and can do this. So, when you see that, it's like, "What do you? Do you sit by and, yeah, it's too much work. There's nothing really in it for me financially. What do I do? Do you do that and you just accept that or do you solve the problem?" I can't let stuff go. I have to solve problems.
Calvin Correli (00:49:50):
Yeah. I mean, it's fascinating, too, because it feels like software is getting worse and worse, and at the same time, more and more pervasive, right? Software is everywhere and it's terrible.
Chris Pearson (00:50:01):
Software is eating the world. It's the quote. It's the truth. The thing is the growth of modern software is growth on top of stuff that's already wrong. So, its inefficiencies being layered on top of other inefficiencies, which is a great metaphor for government, but that's the state of software, the absolute state of software, and the cost of refactoring, much like the cost of moving factories back from China, those are refactoring costs, those costs are too high. We have not had that sweet meteor of death external pressure moment, but these days of reckoning are coming. I'm going to look like a prophet somebody, but this stuff is so obvious and basic. It's not really-
Calvin Correli (00:50:42):
Right. I don't think it's an accident. You and I are both software engineers, right? That gives you a certain outlook on things. It's just the code runs or it doesn't. It's fast or it's not, right?
Chris Pearson (00:50:56):
There's not a lot of opinions to be thrown about on this thing. It's like, "Well, we could test it."
Calvin Correli (00:51:01):
Chris Pearson (00:51:02):
We could see. Is this actually object-oriented code? No. Okay. Probably could be better.
Calvin Correli (00:51:06):
Right. Yeah. All right. Thanks, man. That is so fascinating. Do you have a final thought that you want to leave people with?
Chris Pearson (00:51:15):
I mean, not really. I'd say just check out my Twitter account and see all the different things I talk about. I'll get you thinking one way or another. That's really what I want people to do is how to think, and that's my next initiative is literally teaching people how to think, how to think for themselves, of course, but there are ways to think that are productive and constructive, and there are ways to think that are corrosive, and the ways of thinking that are corrosive seem to be winning. Unless you are vigilant, you will fall into these little traps that society is setting.
Chris Pearson (00:51:47):
So, I teach people to be vigilant thinkers. That's what I'm doing with my Twitter account, a low-key longterm initiative, but just see what the conversation is. Follow my stuff. See what it is.
Calvin Correli (00:52:00):
Nice. I like that. Thank you, man. Thank you so much. I want to be part of that teaching people how to think.
Chris Pearson (00:52:06):
It is common. It's common.
Calvin Correli (00:52:08):
All right. Keep me posted, man. All right. Thanks again. It's a wrap. Who else should I be talking to?
Chris Pearson (00:52:19):
I mean, I think Jack's story is super interesting because he got canceled. He was a big wig in the DC public school system, which is almost entirely Black. So, he spent years helping Black kids, basically, and he still got canceled and called a racist. So, his story is one of great clarity, what he sees. He sees very clearly. It's super poignant because like I said, he was deeply embedded in the racial stuff, which is so hot right now. So, his story and also his new digital entrepreneurship angle, so he's really on the polls. So, he'd be a fun interview, for sure.
Chris Pearson (00:52:59):
People like him, people like me, I think we are interesting right now because we're not doing this basic stuff like location-independent coaching and jet setting the world. It's still boring and played out. Any of those signals are so lame now. They're like marketer types. It's like, "Step aside. You guys are not interesting anymore. You've had nothing interesting to say for years. You're all about the bottom line and just getting more sales," which is a cannibalistic, non-empathetic activity to me. It's just not interesting.
Chris Pearson (00:53:29):
That's been the digital conversation for years. I see it moving into more substantive directions. Those are the conversations that I think need to be had and need to be broadcast more widely and amplified. I think it's happening. It's not something, it's organic decentralized thing, but it is happening. We're talking right here. I think this is part of that. Jack's stuff blowing up right now I think is part of that, but we are moving to more interesting territory, for sure.
Calvin Correli (00:53:57):
Yeah. Would you be comfortable making an introduction to Jack?
Chris Pearson (00:54:00):
Calvin Correli (00:54:02):
Love it. Thank you.
Chris Pearson (00:54:03):
He's trying to get on Fox News right now. He might just preparing you there. He might have bigger fish to fry.
Calvin Correli (00:54:10):
For sure. What is he doing to try to get on Fox?
Chris Pearson (00:54:13):
I think it would be a very, very good conversation.
Calvin Correli (00:54:15):
Yeah. All right. I appreciate that. Thank you. What is he doing to try to get on Fox? Maybe I can help out.
Chris Pearson (00:54:21):
Well, he has had a bunch of posts that were viral posts for quarantine. He's lifting weights on the bar out in his front yard, and he's had this Karen neighbor called the cops on him four times or something. [crosstalk 00:54:36]
Calvin Correli (00:54:43):
I'll connect him with my friend Chris who does me NPR and has good connections over on Fox and maybe he can help broker there.
Chris Pearson (00:54:53):
Calvin Correli (00:54:53):
Happy to do that. What do you need help with right now?
Chris Pearson (00:54:56):
What do I need help with?
Calvin Correli (00:54:58):
Chris Pearson (00:55:01):
Probably just attention and qualified customers. It was so easy. It was so easy 10 years ago. I mean, I was selling an average ... Exactly 10 years ago this month, I was selling an average of $5,200 worth of software a day, which that's huge. It's absolutely huge. That's printing money for a little software shop.
Chris Pearson (00:55:25):
Then it was much easier because people were making decisions about their first website, so there wasn't existing technical debt. There was nothing to compare to. It was like, "Just use this." So, it's a very simple transaction, that whole thing. I need eyeballs who are ready and understand this new landscape and understand, "Okay. I need to take this restrained view of what I need to do I need to operate between the guardrails, so to speak, because that's what's going to be easy for me and actually viable, and something I can maintain over time."
Chris Pearson (00:55:55):
So, I really need those qualified type of leads and to hit those types of people, which Twitter is a crappy platform for doing that. Advertising works for that, but I'm trying to build an extremely conscious business. What I mean by that? I want really good leads. I want leads who understand exactly what the mission is. I don't want to just make sales. I need to make sales to people who fully understand what they are doing, and that is proving to be, and without doing obvious things that I could do to capture their attention upfront because it actually sets up the relationship in a way that is counterproductive in the long run. It will cannibalize my business and will put me in places and ways I need to operate that I don't like and, therefore, I will lose interest.
Chris Pearson (00:56:42):
So, I mean, this is a really tight rope thing for me to be building this thing in the way that I want to build it. I've already done the build it, make sure you get as many eyeballs as possible. That led me to some places I didn't like. So, now, I'm trying to build it and say this is what I will tolerate, and I need audience who are aligned with this, and that's all I will accept. That, obviously, cuts off the amount of money you can make, but at the same time-
Calvin Correli (00:57:08):
What are you doing to attract that audience?
Chris Pearson (00:57:13):
I've got a multi-pronged approach. Some of it is through Twitter. A lot of it is through email copy, things like that, the copy of my website. I make all these videos. I do all this in-depth stuff. I'm trying to teach people very specific things. So, all of my sticky content has these recurring themes. So, I know that if any of these ideas stuck with you, your eyes are turned in the direction I want them to be turned, and you will at least be able to see some of the things I've said out before you.
Chris Pearson (00:57:43):
So, it's a big coordinated effort. It feels like it's a very precise large hard to do thing to really get this great alignment and achieve congruency across all facets of the business. That is a harder thing to do to just build a business and pay for ads and get eyeballs. It's playing the game at a harder level.
Calvin Correli (00:58:10):
What's the next thing in that process that you or are you stuck with it? Where do you need help?
Chris Pearson (00:58:19):
Well, I mean, I guess I'm not totally sure. I think I've got a lot of people who could promote me effectively. I could reopen my affiliate program, for example, and that would incentivize others to send me more traffic that I could then attempt to qualify. There's some pros and cons with that, which I don't want to go into now, but I've got some video on this topic as well. I guess the answer is I don't really even know how I want to build my business. I just know what I want and that is extreme alignment.
Calvin Correli (00:58:57):
Yeah. So, something that I'm doing now is I'm focusing very hard on building my personal brand, right? I've built the software company, but I haven't from that build a little bit of a personal brand, but now, I'm actually really investing in it. So, I built my own ... I hired someone that used to work on team Gary for Gary Vaynerchuk, and a handful of people are on me now and it's like building out team Calvin to really invest in building personal brand.
Calvin Correli (00:59:24):
One of the things we did, we did an exercise on Monday defining the character diamond for Calvin, the personal brand, which was super helpful for me. So, getting some clarity around, yeah, I'm going to piss some people off and people are going to be offended, but this is my role, and this is what I'm committed to. I'm happy to share that with you. That can be of inspiration.
Chris Pearson (00:59:45):
Calvin Correli (00:59:48):
Chris Pearson (00:59:49):
I said, yeah, probably so.
Calvin Correli (00:59:51):
Yeah. I'm happy to talk all this through with you and support you in any way. I think for you what your thinking across the spectrum is pretty consistent, right? It's like think for yourself, don't be stupid when it comes to websites or when it comes to politics.
Chris Pearson (01:00:13):
[crosstalk 01:00:13] at least I think I am.
Calvin Correli (01:00:15):
Yeah. So, I think there's a lot to be said for going to personal brand route. I mean, really thinking of that as that's your main thing, that's your main focus, and then people are going to buy the product off of that.
Chris Pearson (01:00:28):
That's I guess the defacto route I've taken by increasing my video presence, trying to get my effect out there so people get a sense of what this is. That's why I spend a lot of time on Twitter. Although I think Twitter is a shitty place to do all this stuff. Once you get up huge, then it's valuable, but it's like it is not ... If you're Mike Cernovich, for example, he could go sell something tomorrow and he will sell ton of stuff, get a ton of attention. He can move a lot of ground with his account, but until you're pretty damn big, 50,000 followers at least, really more like 300,000, you can't move a lot and living in a place like New York, for example, you would need 300,000 followers to be able to monetize your Twitter account enough to actually just be able to live there sustainably and not even super comfortably. I'm not talking rich. We're just talking about making it.
Chris Pearson (01:01:21):
You'd be rich if you move to South Dakota tomorrow, but you're in fucking South Dakota. So, you know what I mean? Just making it work through Twitter being your only channel or building up YouTube, all that stuff is very ... There's a tipping point with your audience. It's pretty damn big. It is a high bar to really be able to monetize that stuff.
Chris Pearson (01:01:42):
I've held on to my personal brand forever, and I think it's a big part of what I do, but it is a challenge to project yourself so that people know who you are. It's harder than it seems. It seems like, "Oh, you're just doing videos. It's so easy." It's like, "Eh, it's a lot more complicated than that."
Calvin Correli (01:01:58):
Yeah. All right. Let me share that with you later. Cool. I got to run because I got a meeting with my team Calvin coming up in just a few minutes.
Chris Pearson (01:02:12):
How many people are on the team?
Calvin Correli (01:02:15):
We are four right now. We're adding two, three people this week.
Chris Pearson (01:02:23):
Are you floating all that personally, pay for all that personally or are you doing it through the software business?
Calvin Correli (01:02:28):
Yeah, the software company, yeah. They're all tied together.
Chris Pearson (01:02:32):
What software do you sell?
Calvin Correli (01:02:34):
It's called Simplero, so basically an all-in-one platform for online course is what is that for, memberships, information marketing.
Chris Pearson (01:02:44):
I see. [crosstalk 01:02:44] installing web server or is it centralized, SaaS?
Calvin Correli (01:02:48):
SaaS hosted, yeah.
Chris Pearson (01:02:49):
Calvin Correli (01:02:49):
It's like if you put Infusionsoft and Kajabi together, just to give you an idea. So, yeah. I'm actually doing three new businesses and a project. Notable Nation is my longterm strategic political project, which is about maturing the American public so that the ones who are more mature, we can actually solve some problems. Right now, we're just kids and we are not solving anything.
Chris Pearson (01:03:20):
Nope. You're right. Yeah. Politically, the argument is like a four-year-old to four-year-old argument.
Calvin Correli (01:03:27):
Exactly. Totally. Exactly. I work out in a supplement business, and there's a specific reason. There's a story behind that, too-
Chris Pearson (01:03:36):
Calvin Correli (01:03:37):
... and a coaching business.
Chris Pearson (01:03:38):
You've made a lot of plates.
Calvin Correli (01:03:39):
Yeah, a lot of plates right now.
Chris Pearson (01:03:41):
That's a lot of plates.
Calvin Correli (01:03:41):
Yeah. So, my calendar has more schedule than it used to be, but it will be good.
Chris Pearson (01:03:47):
Interesting. Quick question. So, your audience for your Simplero platform, who are they? Where are they? How do you reach them? Advertising? Facebook? Instagram? What are you doing?
Calvin Correli (01:03:58):
We've started advertising. So, for many years, I got into information marketing online courses back in 2008, and then quickly realized that these were all assholes. They're all douche bags just looking to pedal shit and not caring about service or product or customers or anything like that.
Calvin Correli (01:04:14):
So, I quit that industry and just focused on building the best product that I'm going to build and offering the customer service I knew how to do. So, I basically didn't do anything other than that for almost a decade, and then last year decided to get back in the game and actually do marketing, but not be a douche, right?
Calvin Correli (01:04:31):
So, this year, what we found success with is the challenge. So, we're doing a course launch challenge, and we're actually now splitting it up into two. So, we're doing a five-day super cheap mindset challenge like business success on mindset. I'd throw in a lot of my thinking, my irreverent thinking in there, and then that leads into the course launch challenge. So, that's our thing right now.
Calvin Correli (01:04:58):
Facebook ads is the primary way that we're doing it, and then monetizing. Basically, pay free ad spend through on the front end, and then driving adoption of the product through the challenge and then what we sell off Simplero, that's the profit, right? It's the gravy.
Chris Pearson (01:05:20):
Right. Right. Interesting.
Calvin Correli (01:05:22):
Chris Pearson (01:05:22):
Calvin Correli (01:05:22):
It's working pretty well.
Chris Pearson (01:05:23):
Yup. Piecing together those types of aspects of the business, what I have not done well, the primary reason is because I do everything. So, it's the greatest challenge.
Calvin Correli (01:05:37):
So, I'm at a point ... We're now 33-34 people or something. I think at the start of the year, we were maybe 15-20, but we've just added a ton of people. Part of it is COVID, part of it is that we started this challenge, and it's really working. Part of it is just opportunities that there's a lot of good talent out there right now that is willing to work for cheap. So, we're like, "If I can hire a marketer for 40 grand a year, and that guy makes me a lot of money, I think that's a pretty good investment."
Chris Pearson (01:06:13):
That is a good deal. There's no doubt about it. No doubt about it.
Calvin Correli (01:06:13):
Chris Pearson (01:06:13):
Calvin Correli (01:06:14):
Chris Pearson (01:06:17):
Just real quick. How big did the business have to get before you could start hiring in or did you have enough to support a team like that?
Calvin Correli (01:06:33):
I started a lot with hiring, but I think it was well over a million before I started.
Chris Pearson (01:06:40):
Wow. Cool. That makes sense. That makes it way more palatable. It's so tough when you're ramping up if you're bootstrapped to when do you take on the first piece because it can be such a strain until you get out from your own shadow, and then it's fine like what is rolling is rolling.
Calvin Correli (01:06:56):
Well, I will say if I had to do it over, I would have invested in hiring earlier and especially the process of the learning how to hire well, find the right people, vet them, get them into the organization well. We've invested a ton in that this year. We've gotten really good at it. That is something that's really worth it.
Chris Pearson (01:07:14):
That's what I hear from a lot of entrepreneurs, that right there. Hiring is becoming the absolute number one mechanism for this C level team essentially for growth.
Calvin Correli (01:07:26):
Absolutely. Yeah. I found a really, really good COO that he started January. Just super lucky to find that guy. Without him, I wouldn't be able to do that, but he's just really good at taking care of the management piece, which I hate and I'm terrible at.
Chris Pearson (01:07:41):
That's cool. That is very cool.
Calvin Correli (01:07:42):
All right, man.
Chris Pearson (01:07:43):
All right. Thanks for having me. I'll see on Twitter, all right? I'll turn you to Jack. We'll see how it goes.
Calvin Correli (01:07:48):
Thank you. Appreciate it, man.
Chris Pearson (01:07:49):
All right. See you, dude.
Calvin Correli (01:07:49):
Thank you so much. Bye.
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