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May 4, 2020 76 mins

You probably know Joseph Gordon-Levitt as an actor from films like Looper, Snowden, and 500 Days of Summer. But he’s also an entrepreneur. In 2005, Joe and his brother started HitRECORD -- it was a simple website where he could post things he was making. In 2010 he opened it up. He and his friend Jared Geller turned HitRecord into an online platform where people from all over the world could come together to collaborate. Since then, they’ve pivoted from a production company to a tech company, with a vision to help us move away from aimlessly scrolling, towards creating together.

We’re in a moment filled with anxiety and fear. It’s hard to find any kind of silver lining. But if we had to, it might be this: moments of pain and uncertainty have historically led to incredible art and creativity. So what will be the legacy of the technology built in this age? In this episode of First Contact, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and co-founder Jared Geller talk to Laurie about finding creativity in difficult times.


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Speaker 1 (00:00):
First Contact with Lori Siegel is a production of Dot
Dot Dot Media and I Heart Radio. If you could
write a note to yourself from the future, after you've
lived through this pandemic, what would you say to yourself? Okay,

let's see, how about dear Joe. Right, we're starting with
dear dear Joe. You had to slow down, and that
was scary, but it was all okay. You got plenty
done a little bit slower, and as things ramp back
up and you feel the pressure to speedback up again,

you can remember the things were going fine a little
bit slower. You might recognize that. Boys, that's Joseph Gordon Levitt.
He's an actor famous for his roles in television and film,

and his message to himself slow down a simple concept,
but it's great advice. This is a moment filled with
anxiety and fear. Now, I'm not really the kind of
person that wants to find a silver lining in all
this or tie the bow. I think there's just too
much loss. But I will say this, as a storyteller,

I've witnessed a common theme. Moments of pain and uncertainty
have historically led to incredible art and creativity. This brings
me back to Joseph Gordon Levitt. Now you know him
as an actor from great films like Looper, Snowden, Five
Days of Summer, But I know Joe as a tech
entrepreneur who became obsessed with this idea of helping us

create and collaborate online more than a decade ago. He's
an actor, a producer, a writer, a director, but at
the core his passion has been creating something from nothing,
channeling frustration and feeling into art and doing it with
other people. In two thousand and five, Joe and his
brother started hit Record. It was a simple website where

he could post things he was making in he opened
it up. He and his friend Jared Geller turned hit
Record into an online production platform where people from all
over the world could come together to collaborate. They made art, music, books,
and movies, and anyone could participate and make money. They've
since paid out more than three million dollars to creators.

And then in Joe and Jared started doing the Silicon
Valley Circuit. They met investors. Eventually they raised money and
pivoted from a production company to a tech company with
this vision to help us move away from aimlessly scrolling
towards creating together, and that's when I met them. Now

full disclosure, I've heard them talk about the mission of
Hit Record for four years now and I can't help
but think this moment where we're all physically isolated and
braving connection, is a great opportunity to channel our anxiety
and fear into the art of creation in a way
to feel a little bit less alone in the process.
I'm Laurie Siegel and this is first contact. We were

joking as we started this. We've all kind of um
seen each other in different cities from I think I've
met you guys in Lisbon, right, and then we've been
in Toronto and in San Francisco, all because of Hit
Record and in this company that you guys have created,
which I want to get into because man, do you
guys have a moment right now which I think is fascinating.

But I want to start with the idea behind the
show in this podcast, which is it's it starts with
our first contact, and our first contact was in at
web Summit, and Joe, I think back to my first
contact with you, and I remember a very specific moment

with you because I was interviewing you on stage in
Lisbon at Web Summit, which for our listeners, UM, it's
just like you go out and there's just this auditorium.
I don't know how to describe it. It's like a
huge it was like Madison Square Garden. It's an arena.
I was. I was giving a talk. We did an
interview on stage with I think ten thousand people in

the audience, and you're like a big Hollywood movie star, like,
these are things that probably should make you nervous, and
I'm I was on television for so many years. I
this shouldn't make me nervous. And I remember this moment
of like peeking out, like as they were about to
introduce us and looking out at the arena, and I

just remember being like, first of all, this is how
Beyonce must feel. Um. And and then I was just like,
oh my god, I'm so nervous. But that was my
my first contact with you was being like, oh my god,
I'm actually normally this is like something that's comes so
easy for me, just going out and interviewing people, um,
and interviewing generally tech founders for me. But I just

remember being like, WHOA, Like there's so many people out there, um,
and I was interviewing you because this was you coming
out and talking about Hit Record, which is your passion
project turned into tech company, and that was like this
extraordinary moment. But that was our first contact. I remember.
It humbles you to be on a stage with an
audience that big, makes you shut up quicker rather than

pontificating elaborately, You're like, you know, I'm gonna I'm gonna
leave it at that. When when the audience is that big,
you like get concise, which is probably a good good
thing for me that that time at the Web Summit
in Portugal, it was actually an interesting time for our
company because it was really when an inflection point for
us when we started really thinking about ourselves more as

a tech come through than we had ever previously done.
So it actually like like it was it was a
real moment for us. I think, yeah, and you or
we're a real conduit for for us wading into the
world of technology because my background is, you know, in
show business and Jared's is as well, and we've been
operating Hit Record for years as a production company and

making all kinds of art and collaboratively with the world
with a website, but really not leaning into what it
means to actually have a platform and understand how to
optimize it, etcetera. We didn't know what a KPI was
or anything like that. And a lot of it started
with you. I met you, then you introduced me to

I did that show of yours where I met Ev Williams,
and Ev introduced me to lots of different people, and
it was it was a lot through that connection that
we started meeting people who were able to kind of
give us an education over the last number of years
about the difference between a production company and a media
technology company. And you know, now are company is forty people,

and half of them are in product and tech. And
I know what the differences between user experience and user interface,
and I know what the differences between front end and
back end and DevOps. And you know, I've learned all
these things. I know what okay are is like. It's
actually been really challenging and illuminating and and I have
found it really funnily enough, really creative. It's creative in

a different way than art is creative, but really satisfying
in a lot of the same ways. That's interesting you
guys talk about that being a pivotal moment because I
feel like, um, as someone who I have spent my
career interviewing tech founders, and I remember thinking this was
for you guys, a moment for you guys to transition
to like what a tech company actually was, right, And

and Hit Record came at such a fascinating time for
the Internet because I remember when I met you and
Jared Um, I interviewed you and we were all in Lisbon,
and the next day Donald Trump was elected President of
the United States. Who And it was such a fascinating
moment for tech because we were seeing this pendulum swing

around the narrative and technology people were more extreme than
ever online. Um, there were filter bubbles, we were seeing
these platforms weaponized, and and you're talking to someone who
was like I had covered tech for so many years,
and I was such an optimist about technology, but folks
didn't feel better online and and so you were kind

of coming there, um and saying, hey, we have a
problem and the way that we interact online is broken.
It felt like there was an opening for a company
like Hit Record, right, especially in the internet landscape. What
was it? What's the opening for Hit Record? For me?
The big difference between what happens on Hit Record and

what happens a lot of other places online is that
we're all about collaboration. And people use the word collaborate
on a lot online. But today's dominant platforms for art
and creativity, and they're not built for a collaboration. They're
built for consumption, and they're built for ultimately feeding adds

to the users. That's how they make money. And on
hit Record, you don't show up and and see a
feed of content to consume. When you open the app
on on your phone, for example, the first thing you
see is a feed of projects for you to get
involved with. Is an opportunity to collaborate with other people,
other people saying like hey I made a beat, I

want someone to play base on top of it, Or
hey I wrote a story, I want someone to illustrate it.
And when you're collaborating with other people online, not just
sharing something you've made, not just saying hey, world, look
what I may but you're like, hey, what can we
make together, you begin to relate to people in a
very different way than what you often see online. The

snark sort of goes away. When you've got a common purpose,
you're more vulnerable you're you're trying to do something together,
and so you're gonna relate to each other. You're gonna
have an empathy that you wouldn't have if you're just
scrolling through a bunch of quote unquote content to consume, Like, okay,
entertain me, what will entertain me? This doesn't entertain me.

That doesn't entertain me. I can say something snarky about
this or that it's all kind of dehumanizing, and it's
all very addictive, and it's very effective at serving ads
and making money. But I don't ever come away from,
you know, spending a session on traditional social media and
feel like I accomplished something. And and that's that's ultimately

what we're trying to build on Hit Record and what
we've been doing for years. And so you mentioned, you know,
in ten we had accomplished kind of everything we had
set out to accomplish as a production company. When Jared
and I first started Hit Record in we made a
list of things we wanted to do and we said, well,

could we could we make a short film in this open,
collaborative way with Pete bum making things together online and
disparate geographic locations. Could could people come together and make
something that was a finished short film there was good
enough to play it at Sundance say, and we did that,
and like, could we publish a book, could we put
out a record? Could one day we make a TV show?

And eventually we did make a TV show it it
won an Emmy, and we were really happy with everything
we've done, but we realized that the limit to what
we were doing as a production company was how many
people we could really include in that creative process. Because
when we were always the ones leading these collaborative projects,

lots of people would come and contribute to our projects.
They were making a TV show and say, hey, world,
come contribute to our TV show. But we couldn't use
all of those contributions in the TV show. So a
good percentage of the people that were contributing, we're feeling like, oh,
I didn't make it. I didn't make it in and
that was not our intention at all. That's kind of

contrary to the how I feel the spirit of our
community is. And so we set about thinking, like, how
could we do it so it's not exclusive like that,
where anybody can come and find collaborators and have this
experience of being creative together with other people, and we realized, okay,
well then it can't always be us leading the projects.

We have to we have to take what we've learned
leading all these projects and let other people lead their
own projects. And then we realized, well, if we're going
to do that, we need much better software. Because our
website at that time was just you know, it was
the work of a like literally, it just two or
three engineers. We didn't have any I didn't know what

a product higher was. I didn't know what head of
product meant like, I didn't know any of that. We
didn't know any of that. We never really tried to
know any of that. We would just come up with
what we thought a website would be, and we would
hire a few engineers and they would build it, and
you know, it worked well enough. But once we realized, okay,
we want other people to be able to come and

use these tools to lead their own projects, we realize, okay,
we have to learn what it means to actually become
more of a media tech company. And that's when we
started going to places like web Summit and meeting people
like you, Lori and and all the different people that
you introduced us to and starting to learn what it
would take to build not just a production company, but

a decentralized platform where people could come and and collaborate
with each other. And that's what we've been doing. And
I think it makes sense if you think about it.
Like Joe said, we're from the background of like show business,
of making movies or theater. I think and you you
placed the emphasis on the finished piece of quote content
or the art that you're all making together. And so

we optimized for, Okay, let's just make the really the
best end product. And what we realized in the process
of evolving into it into a tech platform and we
we spoke to our community and hey, do you want
to make more you know, music videos, or do you
want to make more TV shows? Or do you want
to do more branded campaigns like all the things that

we've been doing. And the answer was actually surprising to
us and so obvious, and our community said, we don't
care what we make. We just want to be able
to make things together. And that's when we realized, oh,
the emphasis should be on the experience of being creative,
not necessarily the emphasis placed on the finished content. So

when we talk about product and we talk about user experience,
and use your interface and all of those things, which
is tech. You know, that's the language of tech. That's
what informed it. We'll go to the future in this
moment now because I think it's important. But I love
how this company was born. I think it's so important
for people to understand, Joe. What I actually love is
that Hit Record kind of came out of this idea

of rejection. And it is very hard for folks to
to realize that you, as an actor were like having
some trouble getting work and we're rejected. But you were
a child actor, had lots of success and took a
break to to go to college, but when you were
trying to get back into acting, you couldn't get a role.
And I would love for you to tell the story
that this company kind of came out of frustration, like

and just wanting a platform and wanting to say something,
which I think is kind of the root of creativity.
Talked to us a little bit about how how that
was like the beginning of Hip Record. Sure, well before
it was a company, before it was a community or
a website or anything, Hit Record was just something I

was saying to myself, making a metaphor out of the
you know, the red circle record button in the moment
you just described. I had been an actor when I
was a kid. I had quit to go to college,
and then I uh, I wanted to get back into
acting and couldn't get a role. And it can be
just so frustrating when you have the impulse to be

creative and you don't feel like you have permission to
do it. And that was when I decided, Okay, I
have to take responsibility for my own creative outlet. I
can't wait around for someone to cast me in a
movie or a show or something. And I started teaching
myself to edit video, and I started making little short

films and songs and stories and things like that. And
hit record was just this symbol for me, like I'm
going to be the one to do it. I'm gonna
push the button. And it's sort of a play on
hit record because in the past, media was a thing
like a hit record was what you wanted was to be,

you know, selling lots of records. And I think the
way that media is going, and this is a while ago,
in my idealism, thought that the way that media was
going was it's becoming less of an object to consume
and more of an action something to do to hit record,
and and I started making things, and my brother helped

me set up a little website. This isn't you know,
the mid two thousand's, just before it was so common
to post things on YouTube and Facebook, etcetera. So we
set up our own website and we called it hit
record dot org. And at first it wasn't about collaboration
at all. It was just a place for me to

put up things that I was making. But what happened
was my brother was like, hey, do you want to
put up like a message board on this website? And
I was like, oh, I don't know. A message board.
Then other people could post their own things on my space,
like leaving aside my space. I didn't mean for that
for that pun to happen. But it was a debate though.

It was I remember you were really debating it whether
or not to include this message board exactly, yeah, because
I thought maybe this should just be my thing. And
my brother was like, well, why don't we just put
it up and then if people are nasty then we
can take it down. And I was like, oh, yeah, okay, fine, cool,
let's just see and we put up this message board,

and not only were people really cool to each other,
what we noticed was they weren't just talking about the
little songs and stories and videos and things that I
was making. They wanted to make things together together with me,
together with each other. And that felt fascinating and legitimately

knew like, oh, well, you know, being able to post
a video and say, okay, here's my video, that's not
that different from television or movies or whatever. There's an artist,
they make something and an audience can watch it. It's
still kind of one way, even though more people can
do it, it's still pretty similar. But people using the
Internet to make things together that they wouldn't have been

able to make by themselves, that's that's really different than
any other time in history. And we thought that was
really cool, and so we leaned into that. And again,
this is really before. This wasn't a company at all.
This is just a total hobby thing that my brother
and I were doing purely for fun because we were
like young and had the time to do it. And

the community kind of grew and evolved, and it was
after a little while that Jared said like, hey, could
this be something more ambitious? Could you make bigger, larger
scale works of art using this kind of communal, collaborative
creative process. And that's when when we started hit record
together as a company. So, okay, I find painting the scene.

So was there a project back in the day when
when you and your brother are looking at it, you
were like, oh my god, like this is actually something
right like that, You're like whoa. And then when you
and Jared were talking about it, like where were you guys,
was he like at your house? And no, no, no,
like this is actually something cool, like this is not
just like your pet website. I remember the first time

that Jared called me, and because we had had plenty
of conversations about the pet website version, because Jared and
I were good friends, had been friends for years, and
so we would just talk about it. But the first
time he called me and proposed the idea of working
on it together in a more ambitious and professional capacity.
I was in l a and you were in New York.

You know, speaking of you know, working remotely. You know,
this company has in its bones from its very inception,
it's it has remote working. And you know, eventually you
know we would meet up. I'd be in New York
and we would we would talk, and then of course
there's that that storied lunch that we had at b

n h Deli in the East Village where we made
that list. Jared, you tell the ben h Deli story, Well,
that was that was I think A little while later,
we definitely did list out all of the different um
goals that we would have for an organization that where
people would be collaborating on different creative projects together. We thought, okay, okay,

but this has to be a business. It's not gonna
be a not for profit. It has to be able
to sustain itself and grow on its own. And we
made a list. We thought we could do make make books,
we could put on on live shows, we can make
music together, and then one day maybe we could make
a TV show. And I'm remembering this now. From the
very beginning, we said we will not sell ads. We

can't we can't create uh, because at the time, every
every like startup was like, all right, we'll just sell ads. Well, well,
we'll just generate a lot of traffic and sell ads.
And from the very beginning I remember us thinking like, no,
we have to have a business model that doesn't rely
on views, and ads, and I think that that that
actually ended up working out pretty well for us. I

was going to say, but like, hold on a sect,
because this is back in what like two in two
thousand and nine, because because we we launched Hit Record
as a company at Sundance and so a lot of
the planning and all that stuff was happening in two
thousand nine, So this is long before the conversation that
we were having in Silicon Valley about the attention economy

and how it's broken and how we optimized for clicks
and it doesn't make you feel better? So what were
you guys? Why we're too like like non tech people
at the time talking about art and creativity online and
saying but this is going to be a different business
model and we're going to do it like this, Like
what do you think you guys? Why did you care

so much? I mean, and I mean this in the
nicest way, Like what what was it about you guys
in this deli that just carred so much at the time?
Have you ever been to be like it's it's so good?
It's uh yeah, it's really it's like, is it the
kind of deli that you're just like passionate about anything
you're talking about. It's like the mats of ball soup

is like so good, that's very romantic. It's tiny, tiny,
tiny in the East Village, and it's very easy to
get passionate and swept away. Very fair. If only all
of the tech founders did their company business plans there,
then we would maybe not be in the same position
we're in at that time. Though it's an interesting question

you're asking. We weren't coming at it from the point
of view of knowing about the attention economy or thinking
through a business model, or how does this scale or
what impact does it have. At that time, we were
still very much rooted in in the perspective of pretty
much just artists, and I think coming coming from that perspective,

if we thought about what kind of collaborative art are
we going to make with this thing we're building. We
knew that if we were compelled to have to sell ads,
that would really influence the art that we were going
to make. And we knew that we would have to
kind of dip down to the lowest common denominator if

what we were trying to optimize for with sheer eyeballs,
we would have to go to the short attention spam,
we would have to go to sensationalism. We would have
to you know, go to you know, your basic base stuff,
and that just didn't sound interesting at all. We didn't
want to spend our time doing that. We wanted to
make art that we found it inspiring and beautiful and

fun to make, and so we knew that there there's
a way to find that balance. And that's you know
what I think both of us had spent our careers
as artists doing was finding that balance between artistically dignified
and inspiring and commercially viable, and so we wanted to

keep striking that same balance as artists with this company,
with this production company. But we knew of again just
doing online ads in the way the Internet was, we
wouldn't be able to do that, and so we had
to operate more as a production company. And I think
we both had and have, I inc without sounding to
Hippie Dippy, a really good grasp of the creative process

and respecting the creative process. I think one of the
reasons why the community feels so positive is we've always
tried to allow for the creative process to be protected.
And I know like I said, that could sound hippy dippy,
but I think it's really it's really important, especially at
the very beginning for us. Okay, we've got to take

a quick break to hear from our sponsors. More with
my guest after the break, and tell me a little

bit about your background, Like let's go to this love
story of the deli, right, Like, how did you guys
actually meet? Initially? It sounds like you guys have known
each other for a very long time, because Joe, you're
talking about Jared being like, oh no, this is something larger,
even when you're building the website back in the day,
when you were building it with your brothers, Like, how
did you guys know each other? We met the summer

of two thousand one, is that that's right? Right? I
just finished my first year of college. I was going
to college in New York, and I wanted to stay
in this city over the summer. And I got a
part in an off Broadway play called Uncle Bob and
like a two seat theater and soho in operation and uh,

Jared was a stage manager on that show. It's the
assistant stage manager. Right. I knew he was going to
say that that's our bit I say stage manager, and
then he corrects me and says, that's great. Uh, and um,
that's where we met and we we made friends and

we actually I needed a place to stay in his
his roommate was out of town for a couple of months,
so we ended up being roommates. And we were, you know, kids,
We were just kids, uh, in in the summer in
New York City, you know, doing a play and talking
about art and thinking about like theater, and you know,

Jared kind of came more from the background of theater
and I hadn't really done much traditional theater before, so
I was in a show and off Broadway and talking
about old traditions of art and creativity and new ideas
of where things are going. Both of us were kind
of interested in technology, and back then, you know, the

Internet was a thing that everyone was familiar with, but
it was still quite new. Like I think that that
first year in college that was the you know, that
was the year of Napster, and like Google just showed up.
I think for the first time, you definitely didn't have
like a camera on you at all times. There wasn't
a device where you had a way to capture everyday

life and that summer we would just run around the city.
Joe had always had a video camera on him, which
was rare, I mean, which is normal now now everyone
has a video camera on their phone now. And he
would do things like he would hit the record button.
It would ever moment and then on the same tape
with like fast forward record rewind, so then you would

end up with this like a couple of hours of
just like this collage of random moments, and he would
edit in the camera and that was before you had
like final cut. Anyway, my point is is that there
was just like this moment of just like running around
just being creative, doing weird things and making weird art.

And yeah, that's how I think. I think we sort
of set up almost like a language of like this
creative process that we that we sort of became familiar
with each other. Yeah, and it also sounds like you
became protective over that process to a degree. I remember,
I don't know why I just thought of this, but
I remember we were living in this apartment for like

a couple of months, and if we were playing music, Joe,
you wouldn't you would like hate to like cut off
a song like you wouldn't want to like stop on this,
Like you would either want to fade it out or
let the song finish before we could leave the apartment.
Why what does that say about the creative process? Well,

someone took the trouble to make a song and they
you know, thought about how they were going to end it,
and here we were listening to it, and I don't know,
I just felt, I guess abrupt or disrespectful or no
good to like just stop it in the middle. This
is you know, it was also probably stoned to be honest,
that was also probably I think it's actually because, like

another another, you really placed the emphasis on the artist
and the artist's intent. So like he shunned compilation CDs
like now you could pick an choose what you want
to listen to in Spotify whatever, but like would never
would never endorse the purchase of a of a compilation
our greatest hit CD And yeah, exactly you'd want like, Okay,

this is the artist um intended to release this music
in this format and that's how the audience should experience it. Yeah,
we definitely lost that battle that did not go our way.
There is something so fascinating when you go on hit Record,
And I do kind of want to explain to folks,
like what Hit Record is like when you go on

the site, when you experience it, Um, it is really
just interesting. I went down a rabbit hole last night
and was like looking at poems and like feeling all
sorts of things. Can you explain, like what exactly that
looks like? Now? Like, what did Hit Record in the
time that I saw you guys in s and it

was a production company and you're selling things like it
did become a platform? Like it did? You guys went
to Silicon Valley, You raised money, You have forty employees,
you raised over six million dollars, like you totally became
a tech entrepreneur and not just like, um, I say
this in a nice way, like not just like a
celebrity who comes in and says they're gonna have a company,

like you actually went to the meetings. And I can
say this because I cover technology and I and I
know a lot of the venture capitalists and whatnot like you,
Actually you and Jared went and got heavily involved and
you know, created a tech company. You know, what does
the platform look like? Explain it to our listeners. Sure, well,

I was saying a second ago that the platforms really
emphasizing collaboration, and that's very different than other media tech platforms.
If you look at Instagram or TikTok or YouTube, etcetera,
those platforms are really consumption platforms, and yes you can
post on them, but a creator on those platforms is
all sort of being funneled into the larger business model

of consumption of bite sized fragments of content with ads,
because that's how those companies make their money. You mentioned
the attention economy. It's all about attention. Everything is sort
of optimized for keeping the attention and serving the ads
and on hit record. Everything is optimized to try to

get people to participate and to collaborate, and and not
just post something of their own and be incentivized through likes, followers, etcetera,
but to collaborate to participate in projects. So what does
it specifically look like. I might have mentioned a second ago.
When you open up our app, the first place you

land is a project's feed, So you're not just looking
at content to consume, You're looking at projects that people
have started. Probably like you mentioned you were seeing poems, Laurie,
I'm I imagine what you saw was people who had
written poems who were looking for others to illustrate those poems,
or you might have seen like someone who started a

project and they were like, Hey, here's this really cool illustration.
What kind of writing could be inspired by this illustration.
It's it's all about people building off of one another
and uh and ultimately collaborating with one another. And what
we found over the years of doing this, first as
a production company and now is a an increasingly decentralized platform,

is that when people are collaborating, when people are making
things together and they have a common purpose, they relate
to each other in a really different way than when
they're just consuming stuff. And that, to me is the
fundamental difference that defines our community, and it cascades in
any number of ways. And when you and those those

feelings you mentioned, like the feelings, I think those feelings
come from from that basic premise. People are more open
with their feelings. People are more ready to be vulnerable
with each other because their partners they're they're collaborating, they're
trying to do something together, They're they're not just kind
of competing for likes. And so this is the the
kind of North star that that drives all of our

decisions as we form our product roadmap and we decide
what features were going to build next. We also just
you know, in terms of Hollywood versus Silicon Valley, we
knew that we we didn't know, you know, we didn't
know how to find a head of product or how
to lead a product and tech company. And so when
we did go to raise venture capital, we went to

Silicon Valley one to raise capital, but to to have
you know, a partner or partners who are in that
world who could help guide how we would lead this company.
Because we know how to make shows, and we know
how to make TV shows and things like that, but
we didn't necessarily know how to lead a product and
tech company, Like how did you do that? You know?

I'm just like I I think it's so fascinating when
we like hear these stories and even you, Joe, like
you're a big Hollywood actor, and I'm sure people are
really nice to all the a lot of times like
and and all that stuff, right, but like even I
don't think people understand this, Like even when you go
into a room in Silicon Valley, like people are still
going to ask you really hard questions and you still

both of you guys might not know the playbook, right,
Like can you explain? You talk about like we didn't
know how to do this, but now you guys have
a platform and you've raised money and you're doing this stuff,
so like it's easy when we read about it. It's
easy when we talk about it, even four years later
after I met you and and you've gone and raised
this money and done this, Like what what are the

things you've kind of learned from this process of kind
of going Hollywood even though you're still in Hollywood, but
like Hollywood Silicon Valley. Well, one of the big things
I think we had to learn, which gets to what
I was talking about, is sort of the difference between
you might say art and science, or you might say, um,
evidence back to decision making versus intuition back decision making.

And in Hollywood there isn't much science. You don't go
in and pitch a movie with you know, any kind
of study or polls or any of that stuff. I mean,
I guess maybe like you might go into like a
marketing campaign in Hollywood with with those kinds of numbers,

but when you're going into pitch a movie, you don't,
and I don't think a lot of the leadership in
Hollywood really thinks in those terms, and maybe they shouldn't.
I don't think it's necessarily bad to go with your intuition.
Intuition can be powerful, but if you're going to build
a more decentralized platform, if you're building a software product,

you have to have more science to your thinking. You
have to have numbers to back up what you're saying.
And I actually feel like I've really benefited, just as
a human being, from adding onto my thinking this sort
of scientific method, Like I have to be able if
I'm going to say something, If I say this is true,

I have to be able to say and here is
my evidence for why it's true. You don't say that
when you're pitching a movie. You don't say, here's my
evidence for why the ending of this story is going
to be great. You just tell him the ending, and
you perform it right, and you've written it right, and
if they feel it, they feel it. And that's that.
In rooms and Silicon Valley, it can't just be based

on feeling. That said, there's not no feeling to it.
There's still an art. And this is actually funny to
learn as well. Was because I went into the whole
experience in Silicon Valley thinking, Okay, I just have to
leave my artists self at the door. This is just
gonna be about math and science and evidence and and
that's it. And once I started getting into rooms, I realized, like, oh,

you know, there actually is there's this is like halfway,
like pitching a movie halfway. It's like it's half and
half science. And what sense was it like pitching a movie?
Did you and Jared have a bit we talk about
your college bit? Did you guys? Absolutely? Yeah, of course
you tell the whole story if you're pitching. Uh. When
we by the time we were like really pitching, we

had a whole story. It was like the show as
a show, we put on a show. We did the math.
I think we pitched it like sixty times. It wasn't
you know, well you pitched sixty times something like that,
but not not all, not not not six TVCs. But
because like when you when you go, you have to
do it again for the same V season in their

partners totally And people don't People don't realize how many
times I actually think that's interesting. People don't realize how
many times, Like you don't just get like funny, how
many times you have to tell your story and how
much you do have to perform it and how much
that is a part of it too, and believing it.
I mean, well, and from what I understand, doing it
sixty times is actually a low number for raising a
series A. I know, I actually think it's many many more.

I mean I think like people would say they pitched
thousands of times, you know, they did know how to
put on a show as well as we did. They're
not all that performance. Yeah, So it's it's that balance.
And I find that not not just pitching for fundraising,
but day to day um in in the operations of
the company, whether it's you know, we were just in

in all hands and in a department heads meeting earlier
this morning, and all the decisions we make, there's always
a balance of art and science and we are we're
really striving to become more and more of a of
a data driven company. And you know, we've got new
people on our team who have that as a background.

It's very you know that really helps. You know, our
our new head of Products and Technology are gone Drho
tune In, who comes from pix Art and Discovery UH
and Vivo, etcetera. Like he knows about this is this
is how you track KPI s and he even he
knows it so well that he actually has intuition about
it because he's seen it so many times and that's

valuable experience. But but it's always a balance of saying, like, Okay,
what evidence can we point to that this is the
right decision to make. What numbers can we look at?
And at the same time, let's do just a human
animal check, you know, like check our intuition to make
sure that this feels right. I think you really have

to have a balance of both. Um, maybe saying that
with with you know, too much authority because I'm still
just still just relatively new it at doing the tech
side of it. But but yeah, I think that's one
of the biggest changes for for us as we have
evolved from more of a production company into more of

a platform, is incorporating data into our decision making without
letting it rob us of our intuition. And from a
practical standpoint, you said, like, how do you actually do
how do you go about ray and VC and Silicon
Valley like this gush the web summit. People are really
gonna love the fact that we're endorsing them so hard.

But we met this guy, Succhiat Dash. He's a CEO
of dub Smash. And we have the benefit of having
like some really awesome and supportive advisors and people around
us who give us really great advice. And I remember
we sat down at a coffee shop with Suchet and
he said, Okay, when do you when are you thinking

about making this evolution into a tech company? He basically wrote,
I swear on the back of a napkin, like what
the process would be. Okay, here's when you start soft pitching.
It's like take coffee meetings, don't make it seem like
you're actually pitching, and then you're going for your your
partner meetings, and then this, that and the other. Oh
and and you know, make lists of potential vcs who

might be aligned with you, and you know, ask the
task for introductions from, have a timeline, get introductions through
other founders vcs love not necessarily VC two VC, but
founder to VC who can vouch for you. And the
fun thing was was that we had met Alex Groovich
of Javelin Socially, Joe had met him socially, and he said, Hey,

we're about to go and pitch Silicon Valley VCS. Would
you have breakfast with us and just take a look
at our pitch just to give us notes. And we
seriously we're not pitching him, and so it really and
then we sat, we had breakfast, we went through our
pitch deck really just for feedback, and over the course
of that breakfast, he was like, wait a minute, I

think this might be something that we would want to
invest in, because on the board of Masterclass and Thumbtack
and um Neantech and all sorts of really wonderful companies.
And the funny thing is is that Alex became, you know,
the lead investor in our company, and now we speak
to Alex almost every day. And it was almost exactly
how the napkin went, you know, is how it his

part actually turned out. It's funny they sometimes say, you know,
if you ever want to get investment, just ask for advice. Actually,
don't ask for for investment, want to talk about the
actual platform and creativity during this time, because I think
for me personally, UM, I don't know how I put this, like,
we're all living very different versions of this, But as

a journalist, I think I've struggled, like we're all living
the same story, right Like I I've always considered myself
like a pretty empathetic human and that I can no
matter what person and like what they're going through, I
can interview them and feel empathetic towards them. But I'm
generally not in the same situation right as everyone on
the planet and not same situation. But you know, we're

all facing this global pandemic, right Like, I think everyone
is dealing with their own version of fear and anxiety
and and worry to a degree. So I think that
for me, as someone who I like to say I'm creative,
I think about my own creative process and the way
that I deal with fear and anxiety is I create,
I tell stories, and that's my therapy. So that's why

I was excited to talk to you guys, and not
not just be as I've known you guys for many years,
and it's pretty cool to see hit record, you know,
come into fruition and become this thing that I saw
you announced on stage and our Beyonce like momentum show.
But but also you know this moment to a degree, unfortunately,
for better for worse. It feels like a super Bowl

for you guys, you know, because I think there's so
much fear and there's so much anxiety, and I think
a lot of people do feel a need to create
or collaborate in some way, and there is that outlet.
So I'd be curious to know what projects are you
guys seeing on the platform that are coming out of
this anxiety and this pain, Like, what kind of creativity

are you seeing? Yeah, that's a that's a great question.
It's really true. We've been doing creativity and collaboration remotely
as it were, all these years, and it's been a
bitter sweet thing to see this tragic, dark moment in

history descend upon everybody and see our community kind of
rise to the occasion and watch as it fulfills a
need that a lot of people are having right now.
When I started quarantining, you know, I was in the
middle of production. Actually, I was shooting a show and

the production got put on pause, like all film and
TV production, and I came to a resolution like, Okay,
I have to stay doing something or else I'm gonna um, yeah,
I'm gonna start, you know, getting getting negative and I said,

I'm gonna I'm just gonna do something creative every day
and always do it with other people. And Hit Record
was like built for that. That's that's what it does.
And so I've been just doing that every day and
so many different people are are really resonating within and
coming to it. And we are seeing a real search

in people coming to Hit Record and engaging in in
this communal collaborative process. And and I think a lot
of it is to do with the pandemic, although it's
actually not just that. It's it's all this work that
we've been doing for the last couple of years building
a better product. We just you know, we had just

shipped new mobile apps that are just you know, now
getting user friendly, and all of this work that we've
been doing. It's it's sort of a bizarre storm of
events that that now a lot of people are stuck
at home and looking for something to do besides just
chat about the headlines online and doing something creative and

doing it together with other people. It really does Phil
that knee and uh, and so you asked about like
different projects that we're seeing, you know, we're definitely seeing
a lot of stuff surrounding this current moment. One of
the first things, more ambitious things I did make make
sort of a short film out of you mentioned poetry,

someone else's poem that was just sort of about taking
stock as you slow down and being grateful, and lots
of people contributed various cinematography and voice acting, and it
came together into this beautiful montage short film. We made
a music video about a song that um this songwriter
wrote and she was kind of being optimistic, which is

nice to have a moment of optimism, a little, you know,
darkly tinged optimism. We're we're right now. We're in the
middle of making a short documentary project that's about how
different people with different economic realities are impacted differently by
this pandemic. And that was sparked by a woman who

lives in Oklahoma, who's a single mother supporting her kids,
and she can't work from home, and she had just
learned that they were confirmed cases of COVID nineteen in
her workplace, and she was understandably really scared and and
freaked out about it, and she just wrote this piece
about how she it was so frustrating to hear over

and over again, stay home you have to stay home.
And she's, like she said in her writing, I would
love to stay home if I could. I can't. If
I stay home, then I can't support my kids. And
that really hit me hard because I had, honestly just
really hadn't even considered that. And so she and I
are now leading this documentary project together, and we're getting

contributions from people, you know, throughout the spectrum, people talking
on camera or writing their experience, or if they don't
feel comfortable getting on cameras, talking into the microphone about
whether or not they are staying home. And you get
people talking about their life and quarantine, and you get
people talking about you know, hey, I'm I'm an assistant
manager at a grocery store. I can't stay home, and

here's the trials and tribulations of my day. And it's
been really fascinating seeing all the different perspectives come into
this collaborative project about who gets to stay home and
how how how grateful those of us who are staying home.
You know that that that's actually a luxury that we
ought to be grateful for. So we're we're putting that

together into some kind of short documentary and we just
announced that, um, this is all going to come together
into a show that YouTube Originals is going to present,
and they really liked what we were doing, which is
great to get support from them, And they've got this
initiative with YouTube Originals where they're doing a bunch of

these shows all around, you know, kind of how people
are coping with this pandemic. Various artists are doing their
art and ours is all about collaboration about you know,
it's not really about me and my art so much
as it's about me trying to help all sorts of
creative people, whether they're skilled artists or not so skilled,

just learning, but people with creative impulse who want to
connect and collaborate with each other, not just to share
something that made on their own, but make things together.
And so we're we're making a show about that right
now for YouTube Originals, and uh, anybody can come be
a part of it. Come to hit record right now
and and and jump in and help us make this show.
We're gonna episodes are gonna start coming out in May,

but we're making the show right now. So it's it's
been been really rewarding to see this thing that we've
been working on for so long come into this moment
and and and honestly help and and help to it
to a degree. I mean it's not helping, you know,
it's it's not a nurse on the front lines. But
I do think that that nowadays, the kind of sincere

connection you can get through creative collaboration is is something
a lot of people are looking for. And um, yeah,
that's that's what's going on in the community right now.
How's it helping you me? I mean, like I said,
I was in the middle of shooting a show, you know,
so I was in the middle of my my bliss,

Like that's where I grew up doing. That's what I
love to do, is is just making something all day.
And if if I didn't have hit record when that
show stopped, if I just came home and I was like, uh, okay,
now what am I going to do? It's not easy
to just self start and say like, well, I'll do

something else, not the show, but I'll make whatever. I'll right,
I'll start writing a new thing or all make my
album or whatever. Like I find it hard, you know,
to to do that all by yourself. But on his record,
every day I just look around and see what other
people are doing. And I've started some of my own projects,
but mostly I just like I find other people's projects

and that inspires me and I can just I can
get to that flow state of creativity so much easier
because I'm doing it kind of in collaboration with someone else.
They provided that spark. Okay, we've got to take a
quick break to hear from our sponsors. More with my

guest after the break, Jared, how are you coping? I
know you are a Broadway producer too. I was a

big fan of Oklahoma. Oh God, like what I would
give him just to like hear that like booming from
like everywhere else. And you know, you know a lot
of your livelihood is is just the theater and the

arts and people gathering. And so I ask you personally, like,
how are you coping with the uncertainty of art in
this form? In the form that you love or that
I know that you love and that I've actually seen
come together? Like, how are you coping with the uncertainty
of that? Taking a pause, Well, I mean, I think
Joe and I both share a passion for like live performance, um,

and I think I think one of the reasons is
because this separation between audience and artists. You're in the
same room, you're breathing the same air, and so it
is actually feeling like a collaboration in a sense because
the audience is participating, especially like in that production of Oklahoma,
the audience is an active participant because the lights are

on your seeing how people are reacting, and so, you know,
I think the thing that that is great for me,
one of the things that I'm passionate about is to
try to figure out how to support creativity in any
kind of way. And I think what's exciting for us
is by embracing the product and tech side, figuring out

the different ways that people could get involved from a
creative standpoint, creating collaborative tools. We're seeing that more people
are participating, not only because of this moment in time,
but as Joe said, it's easier for people to participate.
Like our our mobile app, it's way way more easy
to use right now. More people are doing voiceover projects

or writing projects and things like that because we've just hopefully,
hopefully we've helped to demystify the creative process so more
people can participate, and so figuring that out, you know,
having a really awesome team that hit record and being
able to figure out how to provide an occasion and

opportunity to have more people experience and participate in the
creative process is something that's that's that's keeping me going.
I think, you know something, I worry a little bit
out at this current moment. As we were having this
conversation about tech and the negative impact of Facebook and
Instagram and what it was doing to our mental health,
and people were trying to figure out a way to

regulate screen time, and then this happened, and it's like
we just swallowed the red pill, like we just went
all in and like I mean, I'm literally you're staring
into my work for our listeners were on zoom, Like
you're literally like staring into my living room right now.
Like there's just like no off button, it feels like
right now, and we have an excuse because this is

the only way we get human connection right now, um,
and we are so relying on it. Never in our generation,
our parents generation, we have to self isolate like this,
And so now there's not as much of a negative
conversation around Facebook or TikTok or Instagram, and it feels
like the pendulum swing that had gone all the way
one way when we met in is beginning to go

all the way in the other direction. And I do
think that's that's dangerous because when we come out of this,
and hopefully we will come out of this, I wonder like,
will they let us go? And also I think we're
going to be facing a mental health crisis. I think
that people, you know, isolation and how we feel about ourselves, like,
these are things that are going to be very much

to the surface because of this momentum. And so I'd
be curious Joe or Jared, Like you've spoken a lot
about how these traditional tech platforms TikTok, Instagram, Facebook don't
necessarily because of their business models, make us feel better.
How are you feeling about this moment where I think
we're on these platforms even more? You know, do you

think that they're gonna get it right? They're gonna also
do good while while are at it? Like, is this
an opportunity for tech to redeem itself? Well, first of all,
I would say that while I think it's important to
criticize the downsides of some of these dominant platforms, that's
not an absolute thing. And lots of good does happen

on Facebook and YouTube and Twitter, and so it's it's
not a black or white thing. But I think you're
raising a really great point, Laurie. I'm I'm happy you're
saying it. We are all spending more and more time
online because so many of us are not going out
into you know, I r l um. Not everybody, of course,

a lot of people are still going out into the world,
but for those of us that are staying home, we're
probably spending more and more time online. And I think
this could perhaps serve as a good preview for our future,
because this is the direction we're headed as the human race.
We're going to become more and more and more integrated

with technology. It's going to become a bigger and bigger
and bigger part of our lives. That's I think inevitable.
And the question is how is that technology going to
be oriented? Who is it going to be serving? To
what end? And I'm not alone or unique or in
evative in saying there's there's lots of people who know

a lot more than I do that are saying that
if we let the framework of our lives be defined
by this attention economy, by the notion of sort of
path of least resistance towards just more and more engagement,
and you know, third parties behind the curtains, sort of
manipulating your will. That's no way to build a society.

And I would stop there because my expertise doesn't go
into how it how it impacts our democracy, our economy,
et cetera. But where I would keep going is to
talk about how that framework impacts our creativity, because creativity
is something I think I can't speak to with some
amount of authority. It's what I've been doing my whole life.

And I really do think that you talk to a
lot of people, talk to or just observe a lot
of people. And and now right now, this moment where
people are more people are at home, creativity is flourishing,
can flourish. But I feel it in myself that the

more time I'm at home and the more time I
spend online, it really can spin you out. Like I've
been making these videos every day about what I'm doing creatively,
and we post them on hit Record, and it's and
I feel great, But we also do post them on Instagram,
and and it's great to post them on Instagram. It
reaches a much larger audience on Instagram, of course, because
the whole world's on Instagram. But so I've been spending

more time on Instagram because I've been posting these videos,
and I have the same experience every time I go on.
I look at those numbers, I feel inadequate. I compare
myself to other people, and I don't think I'm the
only one doing this. These platforms are built for that,

and I'm really quite concerned that the whole generation of
people are growing up, generation of creative people, you know,
generation of people who have that creative impulse to be
artists are growing up where this is the framework of
creativity is if you want to make a movie, if
you want to tell the story, if you want to
express yourself, well, how many likes is it going to get?

Think about what you're writing, is it gonna is it
gonna get retweeted? Like? If that's embedded into your creative process,
I don't think that's positive. And I'm doing my best
to really limit my time that I exposed myself to
that kind of sort of framework, and we're building an

alternative to it. I'm not saying that it's ever going
to go away. But I I really do think that
it's one of the more important tasks of our generation
is to figure out how is our digital life going
to work? How are we going to organize ourselves as
a society online? And uh, I don't think this attention
economy and ad model should be the drive force. I

really don't think so. And again I'm not alone in
saying that. Read Jarren Lanier read Tristan Harris read you
know plenty of other people and so yeah, so if it,
like I said, if it feels gratifying to be able
to have a haven away from from that kind of
popularity contest, and our community really focuses less on how

many likes, how much attention, how many ads can we serve,
and focuses more on what do we what do we
make together? I want to end in a more kind
of personal way. Jared. You know, there are just good
days and there are bad days with all of this,
and you were saying that there have been, uh, you know,
there have been symbols of hope throughout this, and something
for you was the Navy ship arriving in the New

York City to help and that was something that was
personal to you. Can you explain why that was personal
to you. Oh, yeah, sure. Um, my dad was in
the Navy. He's one of the only folks that was
in Vietnam and also Operation Desert Storm and back in
nteen I believe, and he was attached to the U.
S and S Comfort. I think it's the USNS Comfort.

And so my dad was when I was I want
to say nine or ten, was taken away to go
and be a part of Desert Storm and and and
he unfortunately passed away almost I think like a year
and a half later. But I think when he was
away on on active duty for Desert Storm, while he

was participating in a war, he was helping people. He
was a nurse. And from ever as long as I
can remember, I remember the Comfort, the ship that he
was attached to. And a couple of weeks ago I
saw in the news that the Comfort was I didn't
know that. I don't know really very much about about
Navy operations, but that the Comfort, which is a medical

ship basically a huge floating hospital, was docked in Manhattan
to help and it was almost as my dad was
coming back. You know, it really got me thinking about him.
My mom sent me a text message with a photo
of his hat that said the US and has comfort
on it, and the fact that she she sent that

to me. I don't know it. Um. I don't have
a ton of memories of my dad, but I do
remember him as being somebody who was universally loved by
just everybody loved him and he was always there to help.
And so to see this ship sort of come back
in my life and to make that connection between the

comfort coming into help New York and then also having
that memory really helped me made me feel really good,
having a really good memory of of who my dad
was even today, because he would have been so proud
to have been associated with something that is providing help
and comfort to New York. He would be just beaming.

So if out really good to see what the news.
What do you guys think when you look back at
hit Record, Like, what do you want the contribution for
hit record to be during this period? I mean, Jerry
was just mentioning the word comfort. I find art and
creativity really comforting. And there's a lot of important things

that a lot of people are providing now. You know,
people in the medical industry, people in the food industry,
all the essential workers, And I certainly won't claim that
art and creativity is the same as that, but I
know for me it's it's really helped me keep my

head on straight. And I'm seeing that a lot in
our community, that people are finding a moment of comfort,
finding a moment of peace and focus and positivity and
productivity and humanity in being creative together with other people.

And that's the whole point of hit record, And and
it's sort of just so happens to be acutely needed
right now in this in this moment of pandemic and quarantine.
I think it's really cool that there's a place to
document an archive all of the experiences that people are having.

You know, they're they're recording their experiences, and they're doing
it as a creative conversation. So we have all of
these different perspectives and stories of people's experiences. And what
a wonderful way to share that. Yeah, Joe, When I
started out in two thousand nine interviewing entrepreneurs, and I

would always do this thing where I would try to
um figure out why they were obsessed with what they
were obsessed with, Because to be a good entrepreneur, I
have found you have to have two things. One is
you have to be obsessed with something and the other
one is you have to be resilient. I think, like
for me, just having interviewed a lot of entrepreneurs are
in my career, it's never just being the smartest person
in the room to spite what everyone thinks. Like I

think it's a thing. You have to be obsessed and
you have to be resilient because a lot of people,
no matter who you are, going to say no to
you all the time. Those are just like the two
patterns I've seen. So when I met you, uh four
years ago now, I think I was trying to figure
you out as an entrepreneur, not as an actor. And
I looked, and this is before you raise six million
of funding and before you had um forty employees. And

there's a theme to the work you do. There's a
constant battle I think to help people who are feeling
isolation or loneliness. And and I would also say, um,
and this maybe even came out and some of the
themes of like you're the quarantine documentary you're doing right, um,
A desire to look at like all the different layers

in life, like a looking like at different textures and nuance.
You know, you could have taken Hollywood money. You didn't.
You got Silicon Valley money. It would have been easy
to make this company, Um, make this just a hobby,
but you didn't. You know, you wouldn't build this. So
I think as every entrepreneur that has an obsession, if
I could define it, you could be like Laura, you're

totally wrong, which I totally could be. You are drawn
towards helping people feel less alone through the creative process.
Why is that? Why is that? Uh well, it's it's
probably just what I feel, you know, to go back
to the beginning or the why why does anybody who's

creating anything do that? Feeling less alone? It's kind of it.
That's why you express yourself. You put yourself out there.
You hope that there's something you get back. You hope
it's it's not just a one way thing where you're
you know, shouting into a void, but you hope that

there's something that comes back, and that then what comes
back results in something. And that's what I love about
all the things that I get to do, and I
probably have loved it ever since before I can remember,
you know, doing little acting or stories or songs or
stuff with my mom was a tiny kid, my son's age,

and that kind of continues to be it, I think,
and and I I love getting to do what I do,
and in the conventional means, you know, making movies, acting
and stuff, getting to write or direct sometimes I really
love doing that. But there's something that I've gotten out
of hit record for all these years now that's just different.

It's it's it's different than making something and you know,
showing it to an audience. It's it's that two way thing.
It's a it's a feedback that's unlike what I get
in more conventional acting or filmmaking. And it's evolved this
point of now, you know, we're really leaning into the

technology right now. I think, you know, eventually I'm gonna
keep doing this and the technology will, you know, find
its place and will be focused on how that technology
can enable further creativity. And it's really kind of what
I've always just loved, and I don't I don't know
if it's funny you talk about being obsessed. You could

say obsessed, you could say love. It's sort of the
same thing. It's compelled beyond any reason. And maybe this
gets back to the art and the science that was
talking about a minute ago. At a certain point, I
don't think you can really quantify or give give a
scientific reason why if you know, for what I love,
why do you love being a journalist? I imagine there's

probably a similar a similar answer in there. You couldn't
necessarily boil down why if you had to. It's something
you're compelled to do. And yeah, so I don't mean
to give you a non answer, but I but I think, um,
you asked such a deep question there, like there isn't
always like a finite answer to that. It's just something

I really love. Well, I look forward to seeing what
you guys were going to do with hit Record, And
my last question to both of you as a hit
record prompt, this is like revealing something very dorky about
myself and the process. But someone put like a prompt
on hit record where it was like write a note
to your younger self. Right, So part of hit Record

is that you can answer other prompts that users kind
of put in and and Joe. Sometimes you answer them, Jared,
sometimes I guess you answer them. So I want to
end this one on a prompt something I've always done
when I go through very hard or weird periods in
my life. And this was not for hit record. Um,
this is just in general, as I write myself a
note from my future self. I know. So this was

like I was very inspired when I saw that they
were doing this before, and I was like, what you know,
so I would love to end on a and what
would you tell? You know? And we have to write
a note? But you know, um, it's you twenty years
from now, we're looking back at this period. What do
you what do you write in a letter to yourself? Years? Okay?
That twenty years, two years whenever? No, no, no, no, no, no,

I don't this is your problem. I was just I
was just it feels like that just wasn't as collaborative
of a creative process as I envisioned. I'm sorry, I'm sorry.
That's okay. Write a letter to your current self from
your future self that got through this global pandemic. You're

going to participate as well. Right, what do I have?
It is? It is hard, It doesn't have to be whatever.
What would you tell yourself? Do you want me to
start to rip the band aid? Sure? Then I know
how long to do it? I know I feel like
I'm definitely going to screw it up. I would say, Um,
dear Lorie, God, this is like the other side of

the questions, and now I know what it feels like. Um,
Dear Lori, Um, you had no idea how resilient you were,
and this was the reset that put it all into focus. Um.
You had so much love in your life and you
had no idea how much you could do, and you

could have all the things you really wanted, and this
really made you believe that love your older, much wiser
self who got it together. M hm. Also, you learned
how to make scrambled eggs, and I cannot believe you
didn't know how to do that before. I would say,
Dear Jared, this moment in time really did give an

opportunity for the world to focus on what was most important,
not in just our personal lives, but globally, really place
an emphasis on you know, income, inequality, climate change, the
health and human services, and hit the reset button and
really provided an opportunity for us to examine those issues

and provide better resources to our fellow human beings. Okay, Joe,
you're up. Okay, let's see how about Dear Joe right,
we're starting with dear dear Joe. You had to slow down,
and that was scary, but it was all okay. You

got plenty done a little bit slower, and as things
ramp back up and you feel the pressure to speedback
up again, you can remember the things were going fine,
a little bit slower and maybe slow as smooth as

they say in the military, you know, nod to the
U S and its comfort. They say slow as smooth
and smooth as fat asked. So maybe just a little
bit slower overall is not a bad way to keep
going even after the world speeds up again. How about that?

I like this idea of ending this episode where we
started with the luxury of perspective one day. I think
we're going to have it right now. It's a bit hard.
So as we end this season of First Contact, I
haven't asked write yourself a note from your future self.
I promise in a couple of years you're gonna look
back on it and be grateful you did. We're winding

down the season of First Contact, but don't worry. Even
social distancing is not going to keep us apart for long.
After all, if you've stayed with me this season. You've
heard about hacking your dreams. You listened as I developed
a relationship of sorts with a chat thought. You heard
some of the most powerful people talk about what it
means to be human, looking at issues like anxiety and

fear through the lens of technology. ZECH has always been
my lens into the human condition and what an extraordinary
time to be covering it. I hope you'll stay in
touch with me. We're building out a media company called
dot dot dot where we're developing docuseries, this podcast books
you name it, and keep an eye out on your
podcast app. You never know you might find a surprise

episode or two between seasons. Also, sign up for our
newsletter at dot dot dot media dot com backslash newsletter
and visit our site for extras. We're launching the newsletter
this summer and it'll be your best source to stay
in the loop about any upcoming episodes, virtual town halls,
and other future projects. I'll be working on. Email us
your thoughts on the season, or you can see me

your note to yourself anything at first contact podcast at
gmail dot com, and you can contact me directly. My
number is seven five zero three four one zero. I
think the theme here is stay in touch and follow
along on our social media. I'm at Lorie Siegel on
Twitter and Instagram, and the show is at First Contact

Podcast on Instagram, on Twitter, We're at First Contact Pod.
First Contact is a production of Dot dot Dot Media,
Executive produced by Laurie Siegel and Derek Dodge. This episode
was produced and edited by Sabine Jansen and Jack Reagan.
The original theme music is by Xander Singh. Okay, that's
a rapp I'm thinking about you guys as we navigate

this messy period. Stay healthy, stay human, and stay in touch.
I'm Laurie Siegel and this is First Contact. First Contact
with Lorie Siegel is a production of Dot dot Dot

Media and I Heart Radio.
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