Episode 88 – Sex, Lies, and Ponzinomics (feat. Adam Singer)

Sex, Lies, and Ponzinomics: Marketing in Cryptocurrency (Feat. Adam Singer) Crypto Critics' Corner

Today Bennett and Cas are joined by marketing executive and substack writer Adam Singer to discuss all the issues and problems clearly visible and at the forefront of cryptocurrency companies. Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamSinger or read his Substack. This episode was recorded on Tuesday, July 12th, and produced by Asher Hirsch.

In this episode Bennett Tomlin and Cas Piancey are joined by Adam Singer to discuss how to responsibly market and what that looks like in crypto.

This episode was recorded on July 10th, 2022.

Other episodes mentioned in this episode:

Other resources mentioned in this episode:

Where to find Adam Singer:

Where to find Crypto Critics’ Corner:

This episode was produced and edited by Asher Hirsh.

Subscribe to get each episode delivered to your inbox:

We also have a Discord Server you can join here.

English Transcript:

00:00:05:05 - 00:00:12:08
Cas Piancey
Welcome back, everyone. I am Cas Piancey. and I'm joined, as usual by my partner in crime, Mr. Bennett Tomlin. How are you today?

00:00:12:12 - 00:00:13:22
Bennett Tomlin
I'm doing well, Cas. How are you?

00:00:14:01 - 00:00:26:01
Cas Piancey
I am doing good. We are joined by a very special guest and long time friend of the show, Substack, blogger at Hot Takes and marketing executive on sabbatical, Mr. Adam Singer. How are you doing today?

00:00:26:08 - 00:00:45:19
Adam Singer
I am most excellent to finally meet both of you virtually. Obviously this would be more fun over beers, but you guys are legends. I was listening to your podcast when I think it was, you know, you just had a few hundred followers for like the Twitter account. And I don't know if you still have the logo with like the BoJack with the bleeding.

00:00:45:22 - 00:00:53:27
Adam Singer
I don't know if that's all there, but I remember that. And yeah. So. So you guys have been consistently awesome and I, I think the world of you so.

00:00:54:00 - 00:01:00:28
Cas Piancey
Well, we appreciate it. And, and it's great to have someone who's in marketing with a conscience on the show today.

00:01:01:01 - 00:01:04:19
Adam Singer
Like, there's five of us. There's like five of us.

00:01:05:04 - 00:01:35:11
Cas Piancey
Bennett and I have previously tried to kind of delve into some of the aspects that we see issues with in regard to marketing and cryptocurrency, also kind of this weird meshing that a lot of the venture capitalists seem to want to do between news and marketing. We talked about that with Coinbase Media, but you actually wanted to join us, so I'd love to get you to start us off on like what has pushed you to the edge of wanting to discuss skepticism in marketing?

00:01:35:20 - 00:01:59:14
Adam Singer
Sure. So, I mean, that is a broader question than just crypto. I'll answer more broadly first, just because it's more fun and maybe get context to everyone else. And then we can talk more crypto specifics since your audience is thirsty for that. So the marketing sector is really has always been seen as sort of the clowns of the business world.

00:01:59:14 - 00:02:27:01
Adam Singer
There's no nice way to say it. And so it's always been if there's a downturn, marketing is cut first. If ever there are big decisions to be made at, you know, large S&P 500 companies, frequently, you know, CMO doesn't even get called in to the room, CFO and CEO unilaterally make the decision. You can go from CEO or CTO to CEO, but it's almost unheard of to go from CMO to CEO.

00:02:27:02 - 00:03:02:01
Adam Singer
Right. So we're sort of relegated to this box. And the reason being is marketing historically was a practice that was completely faith based. Right. So you were basically, you know, taking whatever TV ratings were giving you or Nielsen numbers and saying, oh, we reach this many million people. We did our job to get the brand out there. They weren't accountable from actually running an ad or running a campaign and saying with definitive numbers, here's the return on investment, the ROI of this campaign.

00:03:02:06 - 00:03:29:08
Adam Singer
And to make a case with data, hey, what we're doing is working. We should do more of this and less of the things that aren't. Now, to be fair, a lot of companies have modernized. They are using analytics. Now you see really sophisticated companies like actually a good example of this is not tech is the casino industry. They know price elasticity of every table game on that casino floor by hour of day.

00:03:29:14 - 00:03:50:15
Adam Singer
So they know exactly what they can charge you at a given hour and actually fill the table. They apply the same by team to marketing, so they factor in not just their historic data, not just our competitive data. They factor in like S&P and macro econ data to be able to figure out what the appropriate prices for that hotel room.

00:03:50:20 - 00:04:10:06
Adam Singer
So those are the really sophisticated marketers. And by the way, Vegas casinos are very profitable businesses. And also from a marketing perspective, it is a wonderful, you know, high customer service from when you walk in to when you get to your room, to, you know, when you go to the pool, it's all great experience. And experience is marketing, right?

00:04:10:06 - 00:04:51:00
Adam Singer
The whole reason you go is that story and all of the aspects that go into, you know, your whole trip is marketing. Okay, let's talk about the bad. So of course there's big CPG, that's obvious. But actually within the tech industry and I'm not going to call anyone out specifically because I don't have to. You get a lot of marketers who are very old guard and come from, you know, a big consumer company world and are brought in because basically a lot of these tech companies, the recruiting teams are very good at engineering and they everything else in business is exactly the same, like sales marketing.

00:04:51:00 - 00:05:14:12
Adam Singer
HR. They know the same amount about all of this. And so you end up in situations with large tech companies that one side of the business, the inside is using data, the marketing side doesn't even know how to open an analytics tool. Right. So you can see how this would frustrate me as someone who worked on Google Analytics for, you know, seven years, I built multiple online courses as part of being at Google.

00:05:14:12 - 00:05:39:10
Adam Singer
I, you know, wanted to show marketers the value of being data driven. Obviously, if you search ads, you can measure the results of if people are clicking through and buying. But surprisingly, a lot of tech firms, it is still HPPO's highest paid person's opinion, making the decisions. And so that's why as well, you see average CMO tenure is two years in corporate America.

00:05:39:15 - 00:06:07:19
Adam Singer
And the reason is that's long enough to try a bunch of stuff, you know, maybe when some bullshit, you know, advertising awards and then leave without too much damage being done and being able to go on to the next thing. So it's this big musical chairs and from the top down, the actual tactical work on so many teams I saw as a consultant and in-house where the marketing team their entire week literally consists of meetings where they sit and they debate.

00:06:08:03 - 00:06:32:06
Adam Singer
Not so much like Pantone colors, like in Fight Club, but like things that matter even less like the wording of a tweet, like the amount of time that big companies spend on a tweet that like a fraction of a rounding error of their followers will see would completely blow your mind. And so, like, these are things that obviously are due to late stage cycle.

00:06:32:22 - 00:06:51:05
Adam Singer
You know, companies haven't done layoffs in a while. You know, everyone has been feasting on just, you know, up until the right returns and the Fed printing a ton of money and VCs going nuts. And so, you know, it's it's it needs to the craft is a joke for the most part.

00:06:51:11 - 00:07:17:12
Cas Piancey
You bring up a really interesting point to me because you're talking about this concept that all these marketers are, I assume, paying a ton of close attention to the wording of a tweet in the hopes that if it's worded appropriately, it'll go viral. If I don't know, let's say you are a cryptocurrency lending company, and the wording of your statement about FDIC insurance is totally off base and made up.

00:07:17:21 - 00:07:22:03
Cas Piancey
Like it doesn't seem like marketers are necessarily concerned with stuff like that at all.

00:07:22:04 - 00:07:48:12
Adam Singer
Yeah, that's even scarier if you have marketers who aren't following compliance in the TradFi space. I was at a company called LexMarkets It's for about a year and this will shock you. So there was more compliance for me to do something like run a video ad. Then there was a two when I was at a health care company running ads about, you know, people making decisions for breast cancer tests.

00:07:48:18 - 00:08:12:08
Adam Singer
Right? Like there's more barriers in TradFi than there is in pharma and health care in America. That blew my mind because the the life science team and they're a great company, their lawyers actually trusted me as a marketer. I think it was part of the company culture that they made really, really, really thoughtful hires. The founders are like off the chart, brilliant geneticists.

00:08:12:17 - 00:08:39:17
Adam Singer
And so there was a lot of trust there. And on the trade fight space, you know, I was I was being, you know, not by my team, but by FINRA, which is the org that governs all of these TradFi organizations that are on like the Nasdaq. And it's frustrating because at no point was my marketing was very, very, very, you know, straightforward, not overpromising.

00:08:39:29 - 00:09:03:10
Adam Singer
You know, it was as as one would hope a fiduciary company would do. Look, we were selling shares of commercial real estate asset stabilized properties. They don't go up and down and, you know, take 20% swings. You sit and collect a check if you own a position. And it's really boring stuff. And basically the thumb we were under was insane.

00:09:03:10 - 00:09:30:15
Adam Singer
While at the same time, as you were mentioning for crypto marketers, I was watching crypto firms make insane promises about 20% APY, about dogecoin to the moon. I mean the ads were just it was I showed my compliance guy what we were up against and I'm like, so traffic is going to lose to all of these defi companies and crypto companies because they're saying insane things to kids that we could never say and they're making it look real.

00:09:30:22 - 00:09:53:21
Adam Singer
And so it was very frustrating for me because and I sent things to FINRA and I'm like, you, you guys are you don't have the CC goes after like deep fucking value and like these random people. Yeah. Like instead of like big hedge funds, it seems like FINRA was just like standing in the way of a stupid things because they have nothing else to do and you pay them big fees versus actually do like the important work.

00:09:53:26 - 00:10:12:07
Adam Singer
Like they were changing words that didn't matter. And you know, even with my lawyer hat on like that actually doesn't change anything. Guys, you just want to piss on it. So thankfully, I'm not under the thumb of FINRA anymore and I can say whatever I want, but it's a it's like because I think they're so gun shy due to whatever happened in the last financial crisis.

00:10:12:07 - 00:10:35:18
Adam Singer
There's so much PTSD there. They're like afraid to step on their own toes. But at the same time, it's like, you know, there comes a point where regulatory like being so far in the in the weeds of all of the companies under your governing bodies do that, you're actually hampering their ability to do the right things and contrast that with crypto where there is no regulation.

00:10:35:24 - 00:10:54:11
Adam Singer
So at least from a marketing and comms perspective, they may have overindexed on compliance for people just trying to sell Vanguard Index funds. And that's dangerous because now you have people who are making crazy promises and you can't even have the adults like make a decent sales pitch. So so it's interesting.

00:10:54:11 - 00:11:18:02
Bennett Tomlin
Yeah. So when you're thinking about like marketing and trying to create accurate, honest and responsible marketing, how do you think of like the division of responsibilities there? How much is like the marketer's responsibility to make sure the things they're creating for these clients, for these companies, whatever accurate. How much is it the company's job themselves to make sure the marketing they're releasing is accurate?

00:11:18:10 - 00:11:29:06
Bennett Tomlin
And like how do you see regulators like you mentioned FINRA, but also for a lot of advertising, the FTC or other things like that, fitting into the picture of responsible marketing.

00:11:29:19 - 00:11:54:23
Adam Singer
So just like in every other regulatory area, the FTC is asleep at the wheel. Consider them as toothless as the SEC, and we all know how little they do for the actual bad actors. The company is accountable for marketing. The buck stops with, you know, it should stop at a real company with the CMO. They should be empowered enough to ship campaigns.

00:11:54:28 - 00:12:22:15
Adam Singer
But obviously, if you know some promises made in the market that wasn't delivered on by the product or the company, like that's a problem, right? And so when you're talking about like trust in advertising, the reason a lot of people don't trust advertisers is because a lot of advertisers make bad promises. You look at something as simple as the QSR, the quick serve restaurant industry, where in their ad they serve a it looks like a beautiful burger, beautiful whopper from Burger King.

00:12:22:22 - 00:12:34:02
Adam Singer
And you go in and it is depressing as hell. And, you know, you don't see those fresh vegetables. And, you know, they they don't dress the food. They literally dress it for for ad shoots.

00:12:34:08 - 00:12:53:15
Cas Piancey
And so have you seen have you seen falling down? I know I have. Yeah. God, there's such a wonderful I just for anyone who's listening, I recommend at least that scene of falling down. He goes to a burger joint and he wants the breakfast burger or whatever, and they're like, Oh, sorry, it's a minute past 11 and he loses his shit completely.

00:12:53:22 - 00:13:14:06
Cas Piancey
And then he just wants a burger and they give him a burger and he's like, Do you see what's wrong with this picture? And he like, he totally loses his loses his shit. But yeah, it's, it's just very reminiscent. It's all coming back to me. And floods of like this is not new. And in some sense, right? Like this is this is an ongoing issue that's been it's been going on for decades and decades.

00:13:14:06 - 00:13:48:18
Adam Singer
The good news here, the good news here is let's put regulatory aside for a minute and let's say any company can go hog wild and say whatever they want, make whatever crazy promises they want, which a lot do already. So if you play that story out for long enough, thanks to the Internet and transparency and social media and online reviews and our ability to share directly with each other, your false promises come back to you nearly instantaneously and that is actually a cool thing because you see brands like Chewy is a great example.

00:13:48:18 - 00:14:20:10
Adam Singer
They're the new generation, Pets.com. They did everything, you know, suck coms at wrong right at the right time. They go so far above and beyond, not just with product and delivery and service, but I saw a story where someone had said that Chewy, they'd sent that person their recurring dog food order and their dog died, sadly, and they sent a note to them, Hey, I don't need this, you know, need this box of dog food because my dog passed away.

00:14:20:18 - 00:14:47:29
Adam Singer
They're like, Please keep the dog food. And like the whole Chewy team sent a note to them, like saying, you know, we're so sorry in this time of need, right? Like the above and beyond level of customer service, they're they're over delivering on the product. They're over delivering on that brand promise. Actually, Amazon love or hate them now in their early days to win, customers like Jeff Bezos really sweated every customer experience how to be awesome.

00:14:47:29 - 00:15:11:01
Adam Singer
You could email Jeff and he would find out what happened to your order and he would. Obviously he's crazy, but he would like yell at people to make it right. So I'm not saying you have to yell at people, there's better ways to do that. But as part of like the brand promise, like since we live in a increasingly commodified world, infinite choice, we want to buy from people and from companies that deliver a good promise.

00:15:11:09 - 00:15:32:12
Adam Singer
I actually think that the Internet is empowering consumers in such a way that companies haven't even started to understand this. You see, with like I've emailed companies or GM companies online and gotten a response like a week or two later and by that point I had purchased from a competitor. So like they're not paying attention to a lot of this.

00:15:32:12 - 00:16:04:16
Adam Singer
And I think there's a whole bunch of startups building that are tools for marketers to be able to and customer service teams to be able to service users. But at the same time, you know, I was ranting about my peers a little bit. I think that we need fresh blood in there's a generation of marketer who has literally never opened Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok Analytics tool, and they're the ones that are making the decisions of ad budgets and making the decisions of hires.

00:16:05:12 - 00:16:30:02
Adam Singer
And so there needs to be a regime change there, and I think it will slowly happen and I think we'll see a lot more disruption of companies like really getting disrupted by a lot of cool upstarts. DTC brands are an example where, you know, the small brand goes on Shark Tank and they have like $10 million in sales for some CPG product that, you know, a dinosaur company never even thinks about.

00:16:30:02 - 00:16:50:11
Adam Singer
Right. And who are you going to buy from? Like this cool, quirky startup of, you know, this family that super passionate or like the faceless, you know, dinosaur company that is still spending, you know, money to run ads on Fox News that no one sees. Right. So I do think a balancing function will happen. Another good, quick story.

00:16:50:18 - 00:17:13:24
Adam Singer
In 2008, I had a large QSR client, one of the largest quick service restaurants in America. And their food is actually good, by the way. And I was sitting there with their CMO and their digital agency, and I wasn't even their digital agency, I was just their PR consultant. And we were doing the annual planning, and this was right when Facebook had launched brand pages.

00:17:14:02 - 00:17:32:21
Adam Singer
So I had mentioned I wasn't doing digital. So this is not strategic, very tactical. I was I said to their CMO, Hey, you guys should build a brand page on Facebook. And the CMO looked at me and he's like, Why would my company I'll just say it. It was International Dairy Queen. It's they're so good at social now.

00:17:33:11 - 00:17:59:20
Adam Singer
But he said, why would Dairy Queen want to be on Facebook? And I'm like, well, there's already I've done researchers already around 5000 user created groups with between like 500 up to like 200,000 people that were organic fans of Dairy Queen. And he's like, but if we create a page, they could say negative things about us. I'm like, They're already saying that good things about you, and now you actually can, you know, harness that.

00:17:59:25 - 00:18:24:16
Adam Singer
You can you can use it to improve. You can, you know, make those relationships right and keep those customers. I was still denied. And the funniest part of all is their digital agency. And we can tie this back into crypto in just a second. Their digital agency, which was doing absurd things and they were they were charging like 10,000 a month just to manage their website seriously, to do nothing like you don't need.

00:18:24:26 - 00:18:50:15
Adam Singer
Anyway, they had said social media is a bad idea because you know, it's too much work and you know, we don't believe in doing things like that. You should just be running TV ads and you should just be running these. They were building absurdly expensive microsites. They went so far as to charge them. I think it was almost seven figures to build an advert game where you play in this video game that's in like a Dairy Queen world.

00:18:50:15 - 00:19:12:02
Adam Singer
No one, no one fucking played it and they weren't accountable for anything and they just got a huge paycheck from that brand. So anyway, long story short, I made Dairy Queen's official page, I had all the graphics and I was on their PR team, made it look official. I built I think I was the first one to build a million member QSR Facebook Page 2006 or seven.

00:19:12:02 - 00:19:30:09
Adam Singer
I forget the year I wrote a blog post on it. Some are redacting their name, but their digital shop didn't want to do the hard work of social media management. This was before social media management was a codified practice, but they actually were smart enough to know they didn't want to, you know, moderate a Facebook page and do that.

00:19:30:14 - 00:20:13:06
Adam Singer
They would rather build for their high game. So let's tide this back to crypto and something I sent you guys about. So a few weeks ago there was something called Cannes. It's a big advertising event in France, so in the middle of an insane recession, stocks plunging everyone in chaos. All of the senior marketers in corporate America went to France to give each other awards eat expensive food, run up an insane tab on their corporate card, and then watch a keynote where and I wish I were making this up of anyone you could you could have chosen, you know, Robert Green, Malcolm Gladwell, the keynote was Gary Vee and Paris Hilton on stage.

00:20:13:15 - 00:20:49:15
Adam Singer
And so what did they say? This is it. It got so much better. Gary Vee goes. TV ads are dead. No one's watching TV ads. You need to be running nft's of your brand right now. Like, not even with the strategy. He's just yelling at them with NFTs a few my friends were there and they were laughing. And anyway, this is hopefully just very high level of the complete insanity and clown tree in the marketing sector, whereas all the adults in the room in the marketing sector were, you know, shoring up their their customer lists.

00:20:49:15 - 00:20:58:27
Adam Singer
We're doing all the right things. They're not off back patting each other because I think the optics of going to, you know, a big party event like I would have backed out if my company was there anyway.

00:20:59:12 - 00:21:20:27
Cas Piancey
So sorry. This is really interesting to me because I like I'm reflecting on most of what you're saying and almost all of it seems to relate to a good customer experience in the end is what you're striving to do. Even as a marketer like you don't want to over promise you. It's almost like you want to kind of under-promise and overdeliver, which is the classic phrase.

00:21:20:27 - 00:21:51:04
Cas Piancey
But it seems like the main driving force is that you want and need customers to walk away feeling like they had a satisfying experience with the company. And just from what I've seen, generally in cryptocurrency, and I'm sure there's exceptions to every rule, but I know that like I've seen people struggle when it comes to Coinbase, to a lot of cryptocurrency exchanges and a lot of these, let's say, centralized coins, that there is no customer support at all.

00:21:51:09 - 00:22:15:06
Adam Singer
Top down their management thinks marketing is a joke. And in fact, a lot of Silicon Valley companies hold this idea in their head because, you know, they look online marketing, if you think about it, is an engineering problem. You know, you are you are using levers to share messages and creative in return to bring customers to your site or app to complete actions.

00:22:15:10 - 00:22:39:23
Adam Singer
So in just looking at it that way, it is an engineering problem. So they think, you know, they can do it or automated away. The problem is unlike, you know, queries to a database where it's, you know, automated things being pulled for a financial transaction, at the end of the day, the content in the creative needs to be created by a human and the essence of marketing.

00:22:39:26 - 00:23:08:00
Adam Singer
You mentioned before, you know, you were talking we were talking about like crypto companies tweeting. The problem is social media is not marketing. Social media is a tool. Online ads are a tool. So take a step back and you said it. Marketing is customer experience. Marketing is, you know, the brand promise marketing is in essence the story that you're telling to the world and your cultural presence.

00:23:08:04 - 00:23:25:16
Adam Singer
So if I mentioned Disney to you, they have a very clear brand. You don't even have to hear words in your head or see the logo. If I say Disney, you have a clear picture in your head. It could be a lot of different things, but it doesn't matter. They've done good enough work that you're aware of their brand and it elicits an emotional response.

00:23:25:24 - 00:23:48:26
Adam Singer
And so similarly with Coke, right, Coke isn't doing direct response, but you know, they're selling fucking soda water that they tell a great story behind. And it's a part of American culture and it's a social experience. And and the point is, is all of these things, all these brands like social doesn't change them. It's another distribution channel for them to do great work.

00:23:49:00 - 00:24:18:17
Adam Singer
So you were talking to a crypto company, posting stupid meme threads on Twitter is not marketing. It's fine to do, but you're basically just spinning your wheels. You're having a conversation with however many people. It's way less than your follower count. That is not a real number. It's the Potemkin Village bullshit number versus if you were, you know, building a new institution, you would think through, you know, what that brand is in in the eye of the world.

00:24:18:20 - 00:24:34:24
Adam Singer
And so Coinbase is interesting because they are actually investing in marketing. They ran a Super Bowl ad. What cracked me up about that, I actually thought the Super Bowl ad concept was a small stroke of brilliance, like their ad firm or their in-house marketers knocked it out of the park. That's a memorable ad if we're still talking about it.

00:24:35:03 - 00:24:56:22
Adam Singer
Here's where they screwed up is their marketing team didn't fully brief their SRE team of the impact of running an ad during the Super Bowl with the QR code. And so the site went down immediately, which basically is an ongoing joke that their site goes down during highly volatile periods of Bitcoin and also during a Super Bowl ad.

00:24:56:22 - 00:25:22:17
Adam Singer
So you're basically like reinforcing a brand presence that you're unreliable so they undermine their own ad despite the creative team doing great work. And, you know, I think a lot of engineers in Silicon Valley don't respect marketers. I think sometimes the marketers don't know enough about engineering to have gone down to the SRE team and said, you guys better be prepared for this and given them a real number of, you know, concurrent hits to the site they would expect.

00:25:22:17 - 00:25:43:18
Adam Singer
And, you know, at Google when I was there, we would plan for such things well in advance. And of course, the scale of, you know, Sonics use Coinbase, Google, all these companies have smart enough stories to figure out how to handle that problem. So I guess the point being is marketing and engineering and Silicon Valley needs to work together.

00:25:43:18 - 00:26:04:14
Adam Singer
They have to respect each other and they have to understand the value of both of these crafts. And if you don't think marketing works, I think there are countless companies as a consultant that I went into and tried to help catch up to competitors, and they were first with their product and they said help were being lapped by a competitor.

00:26:04:18 - 00:26:28:28
Adam Singer
We were the originator and they didn't think they needed marketing and they would come to my agency and pay us exorbitant amounts of money to just run a crap ton of ads and creative to try and catch them up. And so I would make I make comments like, well, when you noticed they were bidding on your brand name in search or when you noticed they were running, you know, they were running TV ads or they were, you know, running YouTube.

00:26:28:28 - 00:26:49:08
Adam Singer
Pre-Rolls Why did you decide to do nothing like you thought it was okay or you thought it wouldn't work? Like Google is not $1,000,000,000,000 company because ads don't work. Guys. And so it is such an interesting sector because you don't see like the finance team and the CEO team fighting. If they do, there's probably some fraud issues there.

00:26:49:13 - 00:26:54:16
Adam Singer
But it's really an interesting, sometimes depressing, sometimes cool place to be.

00:26:54:23 - 00:27:16:00
Bennett Tomlin
So one thing you noted there that again, I want to go back to as you talked about how like in the Coinbase example, it was good work on their marketing creative side, but the lack of communication to the rest of the team left this problem. And so seeming out from that a little bit, I kind of want to go back to crypto marketing and like often these firms are going to external agencies and not internal marketers.

00:27:16:00 - 00:27:42:15
Bennett Tomlin
When they finally do start to do their marketing efforts. And crypto products are not necessarily easy to understand without like a lot of domain expertise. And so like what is the responsibility of a marketing firm that has a crypto firm approach them in like how much due diligence is expected of a marketer in terms of like verifying the things the company are telling them are remotely true and like what does that kind of look like in a case like this?

00:27:42:25 - 00:27:56:13
Adam Singer
Yeah, that's an awesome question. So in terms of it sounds to me like you're saying a lot of crypto operations are forgoing an in-house marketing team and basically having an agency be their marketing, their marketing.

00:27:56:25 - 00:28:03:02
Bennett Tomlin
Especially for smaller ones. I mean, once they get past a certain scale, like Coinbase scale, that'll of course have internal teams, but smaller ones often don't.

00:28:03:04 - 00:28:25:09
Adam Singer
That is very typical. There are many agencies, good and bad, that function as an outsource marketing team because if you're a young startup, crypto or anything else, you might not have headcount for a design or an analyst, a, you know, a copywriter, someone to build email campaigns and marketing automation, right? So of course, if you're young, it's attractive.

00:28:25:09 - 00:28:47:18
Adam Singer
You get all of that in one package from a shop. The question is interesting because I if I were running an agency, I would conduct extreme due diligence and probably have my lawyers and, you know, maybe my finance friends take a look at what was going on, because it could it could all easily come back to you like we see what's going on with it.

00:28:47:18 - 00:29:17:22
Adam Singer
Was it McKinsey that was basically consulting for Purdue Pharma and pushing, you know, opiates on American, causing that crisis? So that is coming back to that brand and that is pure mercenary work. And so you can do your mercenary work and make a lot of money today. And I think it's an inevitability that that will catch up with you in some way, shape or form, large or small, likely consummate to the level of damage that that company caused in the world.

00:29:17:22 - 00:29:43:09
Adam Singer
And you can run from it, but not forever. And so, you know, you have to ask yourself, what am I willing to risk as an agency if you're a great marketing shop or you're great, any kind of consulting shop you choose your clients. Your clients don't get to choose you. You have a enough of a bench of work and you don't want your associates and your team members to work with either assholes or fraudulent companies.

00:29:43:17 - 00:30:04:26
Adam Singer
And so they tend to what tends to happen here is and this is across industries, the, the sort of mercenary type shops and they're large ones and small ones end up with the mercenary type clients because they won't be taken by the people who've spent 20 years to build a brand as an agency and don't want that brand and that liability on them.

00:30:04:27 - 00:30:27:10
Adam Singer
Actually, I have a question for you guys. So so I'm a marketer who's worked in, you know, tech life sciences, consumer fintech and I've actually gotten a fair number of offers because I've taken the last few months off work to join various, you know, crypto and blockchain companies and I've done diligence on a few, I've had discussions with them.

00:30:27:10 - 00:30:52:17
Adam Singer
I actually make it a professional point not to say no, to at least talk to someone and hear what they're up to and keep an open mind. But one sticking point that I've had is basically the it seems like there's probably and this is the same thing as the agency, like there may be some sort of career or reputation risk to join a sector where there is perceived fraud, whatever, large and small.

00:30:52:27 - 00:31:14:14
Adam Singer
And I think a problem with that is if you become tied to that, people who are maybe in a little bit more of a rush might look and the optics might be them. Well, that whole sector is bullshit. We can't hire this person. So, like, do you think it's a liability for someone in, you know, a different part of corporate America or the world to join one of these firms?

00:31:14:14 - 00:31:25:03
Adam Singer
Do you think like and what should they do to make sure that they're conducting the right diligence and how do you like? Yeah, I feel like that's probably a good question that a lot of people would be curious about.

00:31:25:11 - 00:31:54:23
Cas Piancey
Well, I want to start off by saying we previously had Robert Green on to talk about his experience with a cryptocurrency company, one that did a famous kind of scam called Blockchain Terminal. Now, Robert went into that as a essentially a consultant, a marketing consultant, and was a third party. So he wasn't working directly. He was working and getting paid by them, but he wasn't in-house like he was not directly under them.

00:31:54:23 - 00:32:18:23
Cas Piancey
It was his own company. When they ran off with the money, he had to pay all of his employees out of his own pocket, and he had to he had to deal with the repercussions of them leaving him holding the bags. But he did deal with it. And ultimately, I don't think that reflects poorly on him. It just means he like you're saying, it's I mean, and it's hard to do due diligence in this industry.

00:32:18:23 - 00:32:47:14
Cas Piancey
To be fair, I think the risk presents some level of reward. I mean, clearly, some of these companies have done quite well. I think if you were an early shareholder at Coinbase or something, you're probably a millionaire now. So I mean, there's obviously there's obviously double use that can happen here. There's wins that can happen here. And I don't think it necessarily has to be a reputational risk if you're willing to know that if if you need to accept some level of responsibility, you're willing to do that.

00:32:47:27 - 00:32:49:21
Cas Piancey
Bennett I'm interested in what you have to say.

00:32:50:05 - 00:33:15:18
Bennett Tomlin
I mean, I think that it's pretty clear there's still a certain reputational risk associated with crypto, right? Like that's a contributing factor to why certain more traditional firms have avoided crypto more wholesale, right? Like we talk about Tether and their ever forthcoming audit a bit tongue in cheek a lot of the time. But I think there probably is a bit of truth in that the big four are probably somewhat reticent to audit cryptocurrency companies.

00:33:15:20 - 00:33:38:12
Bennett Tomlin
Oh yeah. That doesn't mean I think they wouldn't do it in the right circumstances and at the right cost. But I think there probably is a bit of resistance to it, and I think that there probably are cases of people who ended up working for especially some of the more outright scammy companies, and ended up in positions where that harmed them personally, especially if they allowed themselves to more get compromised by it.

00:33:38:12 - 00:33:57:18
Bennett Tomlin
Right. Like if you end up in one of the filings is the person who was signing off on the illegitimate things, then that's going to have more harm than if you were just a coder at an exchange trying to work on the matching engine right. And like even we saw like on Hacker News when Coinbase decided to do a bunch of layoffs to people they promised not to layoff.

00:33:58:13 - 00:34:17:24
Bennett Tomlin
There were still a bunch of other firms like on Hacker News and stuff, who were trying to poach their engineers because the engineers were still in high demand, regardless of that. So I think, like, especially for people with in-demand skills, there might be a bit of risk. But like Cas says that risk is often compensated in terms of either higher pay or at least a chance of a higher payoff.

00:34:18:06 - 00:34:26:05
Bennett Tomlin
And I think that many people are largely able to mitigate the risk by maintaining their own moral and ethical standards. Well, their in the role.

00:34:26:14 - 00:34:50:10
Adam Singer
It's fair answer. I, I still don't quite know. Where were I net out, I'm not opposed to it, especially because particular company I'm talking to now actually have like adults in the room that are backing them. They're not, you know, fly by night. So we'll see what happens. I, I guess the other problem for me is like, you guys know, I'm not like super I'm not I'm not a believer, right?

00:34:50:20 - 00:35:21:19
Adam Singer
I'm just I'm not a believer of a lot of it. I, you know, I can understand the digital gold narrative of Bitcoin. I actually think the most impressive part of Bitcoin to me as a marketer is the marketing. Like, it's actually that's a real brand that they marketed. You can love or hate it, but the fact that that is a global brand that doesn't have like a marketing team marketed is actually like that's like that should be a textbook case study of organizing without organizations and how actual brand in the world arises from it.

00:35:21:19 - 00:35:24:03
Adam Singer
So from that perspective, it's actually very cool.

00:35:24:14 - 00:35:39:24
Cas Piancey
I have a I have a quick question relating to precisely the company you brought up before talking about mercenary mercenary marketing. You mentioned McKinsey and, you know, shout out, I have a good friend out there who works for them, you know?

00:35:39:25 - 00:35:41:21
Adam Singer
Yeah, they're huge. They're not all that obviously.

00:35:41:27 - 00:36:01:26
Cas Piancey
Right. But here's the deal is I just want to in your suggestion, it was like, well, I think if you're going be a mercenary company like this, ultimately those decisions are going to come back to haunt you and it will probably cost you ultimately, if it's a bunch of bad decisions over and over again, cost you everything you would, I guess in a sense hope.

00:36:02:13 - 00:36:29:11
Cas Piancey
But I'm looking I'm just looking through the controversy section for Wikipedia on Mackenzie, we have Enron, the 2008 financial crisis, valiant role in the opioid epidemic. Rikers Island Jail. Complex, complex fine for insider trading by investment affiliate. Accusations of conflicts of interest in U.S. bankruptcies, controversial clients and association with authoritarian regimes.

00:36:30:12 - 00:36:31:11
Bennett Tomlin
What a list.

00:36:31:14 - 00:36:32:25
Adam Singer
It's a long, long list.

00:36:32:28 - 00:36:40:24
Cas Piancey
They've existed for almost 100 years now. They have 38,000 employees and a revenue of $15 billion last year.

00:36:40:24 - 00:37:07:05
Adam Singer
And they're the they're the ones who took an ungodly amount of money to try to make CNN. Plus, the thing. Right. So so we see how good they are when they're actually given a marketing challenge to build something and not just do reputation management damage. Look, here. Here's the thing about that. So I've worked with a number of Tier one companies and our management teams that Mackenzie was joke.

00:37:07:05 - 00:37:40:29
Adam Singer
So like there are enough people that are aware of those types of, you know, mercenary type companies and they just won't work with that. There's won't. So I'm not going to name examples of some things I've heard. But when you read through the list of Wikipedia and you know the things that have been done, I think that the people at the highest level who are self aware and thoughtful of who they do business with are going to factor that in when they make when they make these decisions.

00:37:40:29 - 00:38:06:18
Adam Singer
And I think ultimately in time, Mackenzie will not have the cachet that it does. I'm not really impressed by people at Mackenzie or Accenture and like I've had to work with, I've worked with the center people all at Google because they're given to me and I'm like this like, wow. So the people at these big consulting firms are the people that aren't quite good enough to get hired at the shit hot boutique consulting firm that charges like five x on that.

00:38:06:23 - 00:38:26:20
Adam Singer
And they're not good enough to go in-house and have equity at like a Google or Facebook. So who are you left with? You're left with, you know, the mid to it consultants who check boxes and sit in meetings and make stupid diagrams. So yeah, it's like I know they're, they're like seem like a big company and consultancy, but really it's like, you know, like who the fuck cares?

00:38:27:10 - 00:38:52:04
Bennett Tomlin
So talking about midway through check boxes, I kind of want to go back to Gary Vee in his speech. At Cannes is about the NFTs because. We've seen several large Fortune 500, Fortune 100 and Fortune 50, even companies launch various poorly thought through, poorly implemented and poorly marketed NFT projects, car manufacturers trying to sell car NFTs and getting no bids on them.

00:38:52:10 - 00:39:14:04
Bennett Tomlin
I think that there was a Corvette one that did like a special one of one that included the car and they still couldn't sell the NFT. And like there've been a bunch of other brands that have bought into new experiments like that. And so I kind of want to know what your thoughts are and how a company like that ends up doing a project like that and why so many of them have failed, despite having such prominent names behind them.

00:39:14:12 - 00:39:42:22
Adam Singer
Sure. So a friend of mine, Seth Godin, wrote a book called Meatball Sundae. And so Meatballs by Themselves Are Delicious and an ice cream sundae is also delicious. But you don't put those things together. That's gross. It doesn't work. So what's happening is these companies aren't doing the existing blocking and tackling work. They should be with existing tools, tactics, channels, users.

00:39:42:22 - 00:40:08:24
Adam Singer
They frequently have awful websites that are out of date. They don't respond to people on social. They don't have a good return policy. All of these. But what is easier than fixing broken processes that are at least in place and kind of work it is to go and do the new shiny thing that your agency is selling at whatever price tag because they have basically infinite budget for marketing already.

00:40:09:05 - 00:40:31:26
Adam Singer
And the agency will put together, you know, a nice, compelling package of what they're going to do, whether it's an NFT or last cycle, it was something like an ad for game or a microsite or something, you know, some projects, some like some or event. Back in the day we used to do like events for PR that were, that were like trying to create spectacle for press.

00:40:32:07 - 00:41:01:00
Adam Singer
Anyway, at the end of the day, that NFT or that thing with the high price tag will be packaged up and it will be turned into an award submission for Cannes or Gary was or all these other award events because they're big brands and they know how to, you know, write compelling copy. It will it will be you know well put together award it will seem important they'll likely fudge actual are away from it like in my old marketing blog where I was much feistier.

00:41:01:00 - 00:41:30:01
Adam Singer
You guys would have loved me. I used to take apart case studies that were clearly bullshit. Anyway, then I got into a big company. I had to stop that. So but they will. Then they'll win awards. That CMO will put it on his or her resume, and they will use that as their next jumping point. So they don't these people don't leave their company with I increased, you know, revenue by, you know, 45% or I increase, you know, our share price, 250%.

00:41:30:10 - 00:41:49:29
Adam Singer
They leave with I want I won this prestigious, you know, New York Agency award or whatever. And that's what they index on. This is the old guard versus the new guard of marketing. And so that's that's basically what happens in a nutshell. We also have agencies like seeing dollar signs in their eyes to sell things that are new.

00:41:50:03 - 00:42:11:08
Adam Singer
And here's actually what bothers me, because here's the grift, guys, and you've heard this before. Stop me when you've heard this. They go in to the client, the agency goes in even with clients who don't necessarily even want to do something. And they say, hey, guys, it's a new thing. It's an experiment. Why don't we allocate just a few percent to try it?

00:42:11:21 - 00:42:16:00
Bennett Tomlin
You might win an award saying best novel campaign using new technology.

00:42:16:26 - 00:42:44:04
Adam Singer
Why not put 2% of your net worth into dogecoin? It's just 2%, guys. So basically the problem isn't experimentation. As a marketer, you need to be doing a lot of that, especially in a increasingly long tail media landscape with all new ways people are connecting. But your competence as a marketer and a finance professional as a fucking finance professional, even more is to you.

00:42:44:05 - 00:43:10:06
Adam Singer
You have to also be part skeptic and you have to know where the bets make sense and where it's you know, you're not paid as a manager to say yes to everything. You're paid to make a few good decisions a day. There's a great video by Jeff Bezos where he talks about why he focuses on sleep. And he's like, a lot of my peers CEOs like get like three or 4 hours of sleep.

00:43:10:08 - 00:43:38:21
Adam Singer
He's like, they're fucking morons. They're spinning your wheels. The only thing you do at the management level, you're paid to make a few good decisions and then let them play out. And so he prioritize sleep makes better decisions. And so for our decision making is not a bias to say yes to every single thing you get asked. And I think it is a function of overextended periods of bull markets where remember, finance people don't just get FOMO, marketers do too.

00:43:38:21 - 00:44:06:09
Adam Singer
Or, you know, maybe, you know, business ops teams do too. And new software that people are using, whatever it is you have to be provoking, critical enough to understand where it makes sense to invest. And I'm actually not saying don't try an NFT, but I think the optics for your brand to like where like Pepsi is responding you know cope with not going to make it or you know we all going to make it on Twitter it's just like the optics are wrong.

00:44:06:09 - 00:44:26:19
Adam Singer
Like you're a 100 year old brand. You don't need to do this. You're so far above that level of what should be like like your baseline of what you want to communicate. So if you want to experiment with NFT use or new technology, what good marketing teams have are a skunkworks team and they play around in a sandbox in their own tools and they figure out, well, what does this mean?

00:44:26:23 - 00:44:46:04
Adam Singer
And that's a great approach. I was listening to a podcast, the Cartoon Avatar podcast, which I love. They had the Capital One founder on to talk about crypto, and he basically said that he's like, So I'm like super bullish on the sector, but I didn't know what I didn't know. And now that I played around, I actually understand.

00:44:46:10 - 00:45:10:17
Adam Singer
He's like, I don't think there's use cases, but like I felt like an asshole before. I like really didn't understand it. And so, you know, for marketers it's not saying yes to the some flashy agency trying to charge me $1,000,000 for a project because I have FOMO and want to win an award. It's your job to understand the technology landscape, to understand trends, or to, you know, run experiments quietly, and then for your actual marketing work.

00:45:10:17 - 00:45:28:20
Adam Singer
Like it kills me that, like you said, there's all these top brands issuing NFTs and if you look at the feedback from people underneath are like, We don't want this guys, you know, we want you to fix x, y or Z problem and they don't listen to them. They are. It's it's a disconnect. It's the meatball sundae. They're putting shit together.

00:45:28:20 - 00:45:47:25
Adam Singer
That doesn't make sense. I think in America, in corporate America, we have like a triage problem of businesses understanding what to do when Twitter's a great example, they have a huge spam problem, have for years and they're screwing around with random circles and features. It's like I just fix the spelling bar problem. Like that's a triage from a user experience perspective.

00:45:47:25 - 00:46:02:06
Adam Singer
Those people don't use the products they don't know. But I think like that thoughtfulness when you're deciding what you're going to do, whether it's an NFT or whether it's, you know, fix your existing customer service, it's like these shouldn't be hard decisions.

00:46:02:17 - 00:46:22:24
Bennett Tomlin
This is going to be a bit of a digression, but what it's reminding me of is kind of a thing Cas and I have talked about before and we've talked about journalism in media brands, is that often you'll see the older and more established brands, the ones that already got into trust, start trying to find ways to cash in on that and exploit their brand, exploit their trust.

00:46:22:24 - 00:46:26:21
Bennett Tomlin
And I think Forbes is like the clearest example of this, right? They are terrible.

00:46:26:21 - 00:46:32:00
Adam Singer
Their exact article stuck in and people saying, I've been in Forbes. I'm like anyone could be in for.

00:46:32:00 - 00:46:51:18
Bennett Tomlin
Yeah, exactly. And so they like sacrifice their entire brand in order to like cash in on that. And that's often contrasted against earlier stage ones, newer ones that are still building up that kind of trust and that legitimacy, which need to focus on more of the things you're talking about, making sure that like things work the way they're supposed to, that the flywheel keeps going as you build.

00:46:51:28 - 00:47:14:09
Bennett Tomlin
And like what's been interesting for me to tie it back in here is that many of the brands that you've seen do these poorly thought through NFT projects to me often feel like more of like those established brands which are disconnected from feedback, disconnected from their users, and are not necessarily getting the feedback to say This isn't what we want, this isn't the problem we're experiencing.

00:47:14:09 - 00:47:17:03
Bennett Tomlin
And so because of that end up launching these kind of things.

00:47:17:12 - 00:47:42:23
Adam Singer
Yeah, totally taking off my like branding hat and everything, putting on my CEO hat there. Forbes 30 under 30 list is the most brilliant thing they've ever done from a from a search marketing perspective. So first of all, those first 30 people, guess what happens when they publish it? All 30 of those people blog link back put on their corporate website that I was and this list they went to Forbes Forbes is like, wait, this is smart.

00:47:42:28 - 00:48:09:17
Adam Singer
Let's do like 600 under 30 and do it for every sector. And so basically they've created the most brilliant organic link building campaign in the world, and it always works. And it's like I am actually, I think it's silly. We all think it's silly. They're like clearly pandering for links and attention, but it's brilliant because the mid twits that play the status games that every all of us speaking right now are never going to do that.

00:48:09:17 - 00:48:28:13
Adam Singer
It's not what we do. There's like two types of humans you either place out the answer to and so it just it cracks me up. The other thing about the Forbes contributed pieces thing. So I used to care about this because I'm a marketer and I don't like when people like, like over oversell or over aggrandize with bullshit.

00:48:28:18 - 00:48:49:25
Adam Singer
But it dawned on me one day it's idiots fooling idiots. If you're not smart enough to know that Forbes allows just anyone to run a byline or Business Insider, I don't know if they still do that, then those people were probably not going to be like fun to work with or do business with. I'm not saying it's right to scam them that way.

00:48:49:25 - 00:49:21:04
Adam Singer
I'm just saying like they're in their own little circle and like, you're sort of self-selecting out of getting to work with certain people or on certain projects at at a different level and I think that, I think where we evolved to be really attuned to, to reputation. Reputation might be the most important thing we have. That's why wrote a post this week on the fact that the idiot growth hackers who are doing you know these long threads on 40 mental models they copied from Wikipedia.

00:49:21:04 - 00:49:47:13
Adam Singer
I'm like, dude, you don't look good. You look like a web spammer. Like no one smart is going to follow you. You're probably just going to get blocked. You're going to attract a whole bunch other people who are also in this pyramid scheme of online engagement to try to sell ebooks or whatever the outcome is. It's just like the more I spend worrying about this, like I'm more worried about the things you guys usually talk about with the systemic risk in crypto and stablecoins.

00:49:47:18 - 00:50:07:24
Adam Singer
Like, I think those are meatier issues, whereas my marketing issues are like they're further down on like the, the, the, the poll of importance really. I'm a marketer. It's not, it's existential. We're telling people to buy it. We're not holding people's net worth. Right. So it is funny though because it's funny who at Fools? It just cracks me up.

00:50:08:02 - 00:50:27:18
Cas Piancey
You're touching on a topic that we've discussed before, but I think it's important because again, this is like a battle within that. I'm like, I want to believe that all of these people will have repercussions for doing incredibly stupid things. But then I remember that like we live in this attention economy and.

00:50:27:21 - 00:50:56:18
Adam Singer
It's not repercussions for that sort of fakery. I think it is dings on your reputation in optics personally in such a way that actually you never even understand the opportunities that you lost. Like you don't even you don't even know what you've missed because no one's ever going to tell you unless someone who's your friend says he was looking out for you and says, Hey, the optics of this aren't great.

00:50:56:27 - 00:51:24:07
Adam Singer
So again, the status game thing, like when you when you engage in that, like we all know people that it's obvious to me as a marketer where they have like 300,000 followers on like Twitter, Instagram and no engagement. So it's clear they are bots. It's good they bought followers or souls. You could see that. But the optics for me of seeing that person with 300 K followers and no engagement are worse than that person had 500 followers, no engagement, I think way more of them.

00:51:24:12 - 00:51:46:28
Adam Singer
So they're accomplishing the opposite. And I understand, you know, there maybe certain people that will be fooled by that. But again, I think it's like you're so relegating all these people to a sort of level of competence and ultimately a level of responsibility. Right. Like like Google. DeepMind isn't going to hire these people to work on. They're not right for Lockheed Martin.

00:51:46:28 - 00:51:52:05
Adam Singer
Probably is no better than to bring in someone. So it's like, yeah, I understand that.

00:51:52:05 - 00:52:20:16
Cas Piancey
But I guess what I'm saying is, from what I've seen in this industry is that there's people who are doing and I'm talking outside the scope of fake bots or whatever, fake engagement. I'm talking people who are straight up giving financial advice and then dumping on their followers stuff like that, or like hypothetically, like saying they're raising money for their grandma, but then using that money to like buy NFT fees or something like that, hypothetically, but like, let's just say that these things happen.

00:52:20:20 - 00:52:44:19
Cas Piancey
You would expect these people to vanish after they do these horrible things. And instead what I'm seeing is that they stick around and they're able to find some audience that's like devoted to them, which is crazy to me. Like, I'm, it's still like it's otherworldly that they're still able to make a living, whether or not it's it may not be like the hundreds of millions of dollars they could be making if they were actually good.

00:52:45:09 - 00:52:49:05
Cas Piancey
But they're still making a living doing that. And and I guess that's my issue.

00:52:49:23 - 00:53:13:24
Adam Singer
With scaled the Jordan Belfort experience. Right. And one other comment I was talking about, this was another friend of mine who is like one of my one of my smartest friends he's he program the AlphaGo like Google. I saw it is like way smarter than I will ever be. And we're having a discussion about crypto because he's like curious about it.

00:53:14:05 - 00:53:40:17
Adam Singer
And I was curious his thoughts and he basically he made the point that the optimistic take of a lot of this is you have taken the cohort of people who would have been bad actors in the productive parts of the world, in the economy. And you put them in this sort of isolated, sectioned off, you know, Carnival Circus.

00:53:40:28 - 00:54:04:14
Adam Singer
And so because they're there, they have been quarantined. They're obviously scammers everywhere. But we sort of built this honeypot for grifters. And so his take was actually don't regulate it. Let the people who want a grift go to the honeypot and keep them out and he does understand finance or, you know, all the nuance that you do. He's not, like purely philosophical, like he has no like financial regulatory background.

00:54:04:20 - 00:54:19:00
Adam Singer
But he was like he was like, that's like my sort of thinking and system sake that, you know, would it make regular financial markets like better? Would it and I don't know that that's the answer, too, because there's still plenty of bullshit and grifting and regular crowdfunding. So but it was an interesting perspective.

00:54:19:06 - 00:54:42:02
Cas Piancey
I, it reminds me of, of George Carlin and he had a bit where he would talk about all the worst predators and like worst criminals who are definitely going to be repeat offenders. You don't kill them. You don't you don't do some like crazy appeals thing. You use section off the four square states and you put each different kind in each one of these states.

00:54:42:02 - 00:54:49:28
Cas Piancey
And that's how you take care of the problem. And then for entertainment purposes, open them up to each other and allow them to just battle it out.

00:54:51:13 - 00:54:56:14
Adam Singer
Is The Hunger Games style. I would watch, but yes.

00:54:56:14 - 00:55:02:28
Cas Piancey
Okay. So, Bennett, any last questions here before we wrap it up?

00:55:03:11 - 00:55:13:18
Bennett Tomlin
I think to just bring it back together, what takeaway do you think a crypto marketer listening to this episode should leave with that will allow them to do more responsible marketing?

00:55:13:27 - 00:55:35:19
Adam Singer
Yeah, it's it's a hard question. I mean, I feel like a lot of those people are being pressured aggressively for users, capital, whatever else. I can't imagine some companies that that's a fun job. It's probably seems like 24 seven stress given the amount of marketing legwork that is required and a lot of them work. We know they work really hard.

00:55:35:19 - 00:55:55:20
Adam Singer
Like I'm not talking about the spammers who are programing NFT bots, but like even if they're shipping ads that overpromise and like creating videos that are crazy or doing, you know, the Crypto.com Arena sponsorship, which is insane, like they are doing work. Like no one can say that those people aren't working. Like one would hope they could do more productive things.

00:55:55:20 - 00:56:17:22
Adam Singer
But I would just say from a personal reputation standpoint, make sure that, you know, nothing you do could end up coming back to bite you. I mean, if you are wherever you work next, it's, you know, the story you tell, they'll likely understand. But like I would personally not want to be in a situation where I was marketing like Tara or Celsius.

00:56:18:17 - 00:56:36:27
Adam Singer
I don't know how you get away from that ever. It's like, yeah, it's, it's almost like working at Theranos. I mean, even if you didn't know, maybe you kind of a little bit did. I mean, there will always be those question marks in the air, and I'm not saying you can't work past it, but like it would suck in every new business dealing for the rest of your life.

00:56:37:00 - 00:56:55:28
Adam Singer
You have to explain this one thing and it would just drive you nuts. After a while. It's like it's not worth it. So I would I would be cautious there. And, you know, I also think that it's a great job market if you're a talented digital marketer, which all of these crypto marketers are, there is no shortage of companies that need talent.

00:56:56:08 - 00:57:16:28
Adam Singer
So if you love cryptos and you want to me more with, you know, crypto Twitter great. So but if you wanted to try something else and you know, even for this point in the cycle and go back when things are and again and it's more fun, you know, I don't think you'd have a problem getting more work, especially if, you know, the crypto marketers are acquiring good skills.

00:57:16:28 - 00:57:35:25
Adam Singer
A lot of them are better at community management and, you know, social, for example, than a lot of the traditional marketers who just all try to copy Wendy's. Right. So they can they can meme. They actually, you know, know how to know how to write. A lot of them are nice people. I'm friends with, you know, Brad and Neeraj, he's in comms, not marketing.

00:57:36:00 - 00:57:57:27
Adam Singer
But there's good people in the sector believe in what they're doing, too. What else? I want to ask you guys a couple of questions. If we could, because we've been friends on Twitter for so long, better than us. How did you go? I don't I'm not sure I've heard this. How did you 2/1 connect? What was like the impetus for for for you guys starting this show and you kept doing it for so long?

00:57:57:27 - 00:58:08:20
Adam Singer
I love to hear the stories of of the genesis. And the reason is you've been successful and done it for so long. It's like like what about the origin story was was right to to create this.

00:58:08:28 - 00:58:29:29
Cas Piancey
All of it was happenstance. I would say I would say and mistake. So that tells you how competent we are. But yeah, I'll I'll start us off in terms of we met because we both were essentially skeptical of bitfinex and tether around the same time. And then someone who I assume our audience is familiar with and who you were familiar with.

00:58:29:29 - 00:59:00:27
Cas Piancey
Adam at Bitfinex @bitfinexed For anyone out there who doesn't follow them, he kind of had to go away for a little bit. There were some threats, some lawsuit threats, some doxing threats. So he or she, I guess I'll say briefly took off. And Bennett and I both decided that was our time, that we needed to kind of step up and start talking more about this because it felt like there was no one to talk about the elephant in the room anymore.

00:59:00:27 - 00:59:10:27
Cas Piancey
And everyone else was just kind of like, Well, see you later, Bitfinex. And we were like, No, no, no, no, we need to talk about this more. But then, yeah, eventually blossoming into this is a whole other story.

00:59:10:27 - 00:59:32:14
Bennett Tomlin
Yeah. Which basically happened because the New York attorney general finally ended up settling with bitfinex and tether over a variety of their misrepresentations and casts. And I read the settlement and thought, this is a shocking document showing incredible corporate malfeasance and crypto Twitter. Read the press release and said, Look at this bitfinex and tether are cleared and cast away.

00:59:33:00 - 00:59:38:12
Adam Singer
Any anything will be spun positive by literally people spin any it's a mix.

00:59:40:02 - 01:00:02:08
Bennett Tomlin
Yeah so and we had both written about this and written a ton of articles and bitfinex and tether, but we recognized that there was people who would prefer to hear the story of Bitfinex and tether over audio. So we decided to record two or three episodes on tether since we knew the story pretty well. And then we kept doing episodes and now we're here.

01:00:03:06 - 01:00:25:15
Adam Singer
I love it. I think you two have been a consistently strong and interesting and thoughtful voice in the sector that's sorely needed. You know, so much of the trade media, just cheerleaders and that's not it's not trade media, it's pumping. And so if you want to have a real industry, I actually think if you're the most bullish person on crypto, you should be really happy.

01:00:25:15 - 01:00:49:14
Adam Singer
There are thoughtful people like yourself. I think Chris Dixon or whoever that guy said they need better critics. I'm like, What are you talking about? Your critics are very bright people. I've read media my entire life. I've, you know, been inquisitive about these are smart humans putting together cogent arguments with data and with, you know, actually looking at the facts and poring documents.

01:00:49:14 - 01:01:04:15
Adam Singer
And it's like it just it blows my mind. But you want critics. You can't have something where there is no counterbalance. So I'm such a fan. I want to come back on the show some time and ask you more questions. I know we're at the end of the hour, though, so.

01:01:04:19 - 01:01:19:27
Cas Piancey
No. Yeah, we would we would love to. We would love to do that. And have you have you back on and go more over that. It's, you know, people who are doing interviews generally don't jump into being interviewed. But I would be I would be down at them any time.

01:01:19:27 - 01:01:35:21
Adam Singer
So. Awesome. Yeah. But you're you're such a sport. I think that you like you embracing all the memes about years ago. I'm like, I immediately want to be friends with him. He has a sense of humor. He doesn't take stupid shit too seriously. I mean, it's been fun being friends of the online.

01:01:36:00 - 01:01:43:19
Bennett Tomlin
Thanks Adam, same!

One response to “Episode 88 – Sex, Lies, and Ponzinomics (feat. Adam Singer)”

Leave a Reply to Episode 89 – Regulators Investigate Coinbase and Kraken – Crypto Critics' Corner Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: