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This week, Travis and Stewart finish up their Web Summit series of podcasts with a bona fide Hollywood star, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. We talk with Joe (as Stewart now calls him) about the creative, collaborative community he founded with his brother at HitRECord, and how he has not only managed to grow it to over half a million members but why everyone on the platform interacts in such a respectful way.

In the news, we talk about the difference between U.S. and EU chatbots and what AI is going to do to marketers, and we sneak in a little retail therapy, augmented reality-style. Or is that mixed reality?


By listening to this episode of the VB Engage podcast, you will hear:


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  • Welcome to VB Engage episode 37! [00:10]
  • YUUUGE episode today — we’re interviewing President Donald Trump! (Just kidding.) [00:30]
  • In fact, we are interviewing Hollywood movie star and cofounder of HitRECord, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. [01:00]
  • HitRECord has a unique community. [01:45]
  • But first, the news: The European Bots Landscape was released last week. [02:25]
  • The EU Bot landscape differs from the U.S. bot landscape. [03:00]
  • U.S. chatbots are centered around personal assistants. [03:30]
  • Europe has more privacy laws than the U.S. [04:10]
  • Travis thinks all the EU chatbots seem to have an accent. [04:45]
  • Three questions marketers should ask before investing in AI. [05:35]
  • Aman Naimat wrote that article and was the cofounder of Spiderbook, acquired by DemandBase. [06:15]
  • Last week, we discussed Amplero and its use of AI & machine learning in marketing. [06:45]
  • The week before, we saw another launch, with FollowAnalytics launching its AI-powered mobile optimization suite [07:15]
  • With all of this AI and machine learning emerging within marketing, the industry is going to change, especially in high-waste areas. [08:05]
  • This change can impact SMBs significantly, as well. [08:45]
  • Only 0.3% of qualified leads wind up becoming customers, 250:1. [09:00]
  • Also in the news, Nike ID has found a way to use AR to market its shoes [09:50]
  • You can visualize Nike ID shoes in real time in the store. [10:10]
  • When mixed reality/augmented glasses take off, this will be commonplace. [10:45]
  • Travis butchers the pronunciation of Avenue des Champs-Élysées. Of course, Stewart calls him on it. [12:10]
  • This is all about reaching the right community and selling where they are. [13:00]
  • Facebook is by far the best user acquisition channel. But where does your particular niche live online? [13:40]
  • Next up, we talk with Joseph Gordon-Levitt about how he built that amazing community at HitRECord. [15:30]
  • HitRECord has over 500,000 community members. [16:05]
  • JGL started HitRECord with his brother, originally as a hobby. [17:00]
  • When you’re an actor, you don’t get to express yourself unless someone gives you a part. [17:15]
  • Gradually, a community grew. Some people wanted to make things together. [18:05]
  • The collaborative process of people making things evolved into a production company. [18:00]
  • HitRECord won an Emmy in 2014. AN EMMY!!!! [18:25]
  • How did he grow the community? And why has organic growth made all the difference? [19:10]
  • You can go on HitRECord, and there are creative challenges. Small or large challenges are available. [20:15]
  • A project is a series of challenges. The production company looks for the projects with the most potential. [21:30]
  • HitRECord has now paid out over $2,000,000 to creative collaborators. [21:45]
  • If someone does some work that contributes to a project that makes money, they deserve some of that money! [22:00]
  • The HitRECord community is incredibly positive, with very few detractors or rude commenters. Just like YouTube, right? #sarcasm [23:05]
  • When people treat each other with mutual respect, it only leads to good things. [23:50]
  • HitRECord isn’t monetizing the community members; it is monetizing the content that the community makes together. [24:10]
  • If you think that you’re the customer on Facebook, you’re wrong; you are the product. HitRECord has an entirely different business model. [24:55]
  • Take that creative urge and translate it into something more productive. [25:25]
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt totally calls Travis “dude.” [26:00]
  • And now JGL is doing his best Dick Van Dyke cockney impersonation of Stewart’s accent. [26:15]
  • HitRECord TV is available currently on Netflix. [26:25]

Next week on VB Engage 038, we interview one of the founders of GrowthX and the GrowthX Academy, which is doing great things in helping startups grow by training people in the dark arts of Growth Hacking, UX, and Business Development.

StephaneKasrielIf you missed last week’s episode, we chatted with Stephane Kasriel, the CEO of Upwork, which connects more than 12 million freelancers with over 5 million customers. We find out how it manages such a diverse and expansive community, and what has changed since mobile became dominant.

Thanks for tuning in and allowing VB Engage to be the highlight of your day. It’s a shame we aren’t daily, huh? See you next week!


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