The Index Podcast
Dec. 20, 2023

LunarCrush: Future of AI and Social Media with Co-Founder and CEO, Joe Vezzani

LunarCrush: Future of AI and Social Media with Co-Founder and CEO, Joe Vezzani

Ever wondered how the exciting worlds of crypto, social media, and AI intersect? This week on The Index, host Alex Kehaya, welcomes Joe Vezzani, Co-founder and CEO of Lunar Crush, a social intelligence platform that's reshaping how we understand and interact with data on the internet. Learn how LunarCrush empowers the digital economy's creators and influencers, providing tools to enhance their content and expand their reach.

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LunarCrush is a cutting-edge social intelligence company at the forefront of data analytics in the digital world. Specializing in cryptocurrency and blockchain markets, LunarCrush provides comprehensive insights, real-time analytics, and social engagement metrics. Harness the power of data-driven decision-making with LunarCrush, where knowledge meets innovation.


Host - Alex Kehaya

Producer - Shawn Nova

 

 

Transcript

Alex Kehaya:

Welcome to the Index Podcast hosted by Alex Kahaya. Plug in as we explore new frontiers with Web3 and the decentralized future. Hey everyone, and welcome to the Index, where we talk with the leading entrepreneurs building the future of the internet. I'm your host, Alex Kahaya, and today I'm excited to welcome Crush. This social intelligence platform Vezzani, CEO of Lunar Crush provides analytics tools to empower companies to master their social influence. We're going to dive deep into how online social media conversations drive Web3 adoption, their impact on crypto markets, and the future of AI, and we're also going to discuss some topics on blockchain influencers and creators across the social media landscape. Joe, thanks for being here.

Joe Vezzani:

Alex, what's up, man? It's good to see you. It's a black hoodie hat type of Friday morning just getting worked on just building.

Alex Kehaya:

I know, yeah, been focused and grinding all morning. Thanks so much for being on the show. Just disclaimer I say this all the time I'm an investor in Lunar Crush through Kano, my advisory firm. Love what you guys have been building over the years and super impressed at the level of execution that's come out of your team. But just wanted to start with why I do this show. We haven't actually talked about that. My why for the show is people are worth knowing and I specifically want to know the people building the future of the internet. I think telling their stories and why they're here. Why are you doing? What you're doing is really important to help move the space forward. It's important to me and I'm just generally really curious about it, and I wanted to have you on the show because I feel like the platform you've built is at this intersection of social media, crypto, ai. Like you, cover a lot of different things and I wanted to start the show out with discussing your why, but also talking about what, the broader reason why we're here, and we're building something that's called the index network, which is a group of the top 150 people building the future of the internet, and would love to have you be a part of that group and basically everybody who comes on the show can join that group if they want to, and the purpose of the group is to help each other. So it's like business opportunities asking for advice. You get stuck on the problem, like you've got this group of entrepreneurs and builders and investors in there who can help you and then just like creating surround sound effect for all the things that we're doing, the why that we're here. So the top, like 150 people, can all work together to have this like shared message and push the space forward together. So that's my why, why I'm here. I wanted to share that with you because we haven't talked in a while and I wanted you to know that's the direction we're going. But also want to hear why are you here? Not on the show, but like why are you here building Lunar Crush? What's driving you every day to show up and do what I know is an incredibly hard thing is building a startup in this space.

Joe Vezzani:

Well, I'm flattered to be invited to the index group. That's awesome, and I didn't know you're building that, so that's cool. I'm excited to learn a little bit more because I do love that mission. This will kind of lead to my journey, but, you know, over the years I am constantly looking for groups of other founders or CEOs. You know who are trying to get started and whether it be in Web 3 and crypto or other startups or e-commerce, you know some of my best friends. Now I've met through even some of the accelerator programs that I've been through and like Techstars, and I have a great buddy who you know he started up an app on Shopify and you know we it's turned into this massive thing for him and he's, you know, even way ahead of where I'm at with Lunar Crush, but an e-commerce thing, and we just sat next to each other at this like Techstars accelerator, and he was working on a completely different company at the time. I was working on a completely different company at the time but over the years, being able to lean on each other for advice and lean on each other for you know, especially if you're a CEO of a startup, like you know you're you're kind of hearing what everyone else is going through, and then there's never really an outlet for you to go lean on anyone else outside of there, and so I love that. I love that idea. Even in this world that's a lot more remote. It's tough, you know, especially in Web 3, I feel like the majority of the startup founders, you know, whether they're Series A and under, are probably remote. In some way they get their teams together. But that's even another. You know, you're even a little bit more of a recluse and more secluded from people, and I think that's why we do go to a lot of conferences and there's a lot of Web 3 conferences, but it's not that everyday ebb and flow. So I think that that bringing people together is amazing. So, yeah, excited to hear more about that. And yeah, my journey you know it started coming out of school in 2008,. You know it was the financial crisis that was happening.

Alex Kehaya:

I remember well, I was 09.

Joe Vezzani:

Wanted to go work on Wall Street. You know, growing up my father was a mortgage banker. You know, I was working at his office when I was 15 years old creating, you know, excel spreadsheets. He was taking and figuring out rate pricing for mortgages back then and I was, like you know, kind of like a whiz on Excel and so I could still kind of figure those things out at a very early age and remember it was kind of crazy when I was working. There was when some of the stuff had started around, some of the loans, like the CESA loans and everything else, and I was like this doesn't even make sense to me, like you just have to say how much you have and say how much you make and you can get these loans. I remember thinking that, like 15, it was crazy but learned a lot, and so it was always hey, I'm going to go to Wall Street. That was just like what I thought, you know, started to get something lined up with like the Lehman of the world, the bear of the world, and then suddenly those companies just don't exist. So for me it was, you know, going back to Chicago. You know I wanted to do proprietary trading, prop trading. I had a lot of friends whose parents worked at like the Chicago Board of Trade. You know it was always about finance. I came as a finance major, took a lot of economics classes and so for me it was like that was the direction. And then, you know, there's just nothing at that time and I ended up working at like an advertising agency which I didn't even know what they did. It was just kind of like take the job right and I was in like the almost like the proverbial like mail room I was working in like the general ledger, like finance department of like an advertising agency but very quickly kind of found some awesome cool things. Like the first week I was there they landed like the Miller Coors client and they had like the Backstreet Boys like in the office. Like I was like what is going on here? There's like kegs rolling in. I was like what is an advertising agency and I'm kind of figuring out. So like it was a great way to kind of start my career of being a chameleon and kind of branching out to new things and you know, meeting the people there and really working my way in, but always had this, this chip on my shoulder about kind of this traditional finance industry that was out there and, you know, never really lost that idea that these people just absolutely screwed over so many people. And you're even seeing it now with some of the stuff coming out with a national association of realtors. You know there's a $2 billion lawsuit that they have to pay where they were conspiring against homeowners and everything, and I'm like we can probably go down a rabbit hole of it's like what's worse, like the national association of realtors that's going to pay $5 billion, or FTX that like I think 90% of the funds are going to come back. People might think like, okay, sbf is going to go to jail forever. Who from the national association of realtors is going to jail forever? So, anyway, I always kind of thought about finance, even throughout my career, working at advertising agencies and working in sales and doing a bunch of stuff, even though I was in finance and then found Bitcoin in 2015. I was working with my other co-founder, john Farjo. He came up to me one day. We were in the UX group and he was like hey, do you have any Bitcoin? And this was like December 2014 or January 2015. And then I think I got Coinbase at the time and then started to pick up some Bitcoin. I think I bought my first Bitcoin at $180. I think I probably sold it for like $150 or something after that. I definitely took a loss on the first trades I ever made and was kind of like, ah, I don't know about this, but we kept talking about it, kept talking about it. And when we first heard about Ethereum, it really kind of expanded our minds. Bitcoin at the time, which is still even today, outside of what has happened with Ordinals this year, has been in this one trick pony a little bit, as far as this is a digital gold. Yes, it's way better money than fiat money. It's way better and it has a bunch of disruptive properties. But it was kind of this one thing. When Ethereum came out, it was kind of like, okay, the tokenization of everything and this is going to disrupt everything. And so for us at the time, it was like we got to build something. We don't know what it's going to be, but we're going to build something and we're going to participate in this industry. When we looked at the landscape, we looked at our skill sets, we were out there on Twitter looking for different projects and we wanted to invest in all of these things that were coming out At the time. It was like Vertcoin and Bitcoin private and all these other crazy coins. We had no idea what was going on with them. It was like you search on Twitter, you see about 1% of the content that's on there. So we said, hey, what if we? We were kind of the first people out there saying without a community, there is no crypto, there's no earnings reports, there's no 10Ks, there's no way to delineate value for these things. How do we kind of take all that data, boil it down, maybe figure out who's influential, and so we can educate ourselves on making better decisions for investing? And then it really turned into like man, this is a company, let's go build something. And then brought in other co-founder, Dan Williams. He's our CTO and Dan can build anything. And we said, dan, can you go build this, you know? And he's like, yeah, here it is like a day later, right? And so we're like, holy shit, we're already aggregating all of this data across social networks. Here's all these tickers. Like the first thing. I remember John and I being in like a coffee shop. It was all manual, like figuring out all the tickers for everything, all the keywords and putting that all into a system. There's a lot of manual work, you know, you know, I think in your heart of hearts, like if you're an entrepreneur and like if you're going to take those risks. And for me it was never a question to go and do this. And so it was just, you know, me kind of trying to convince John to leave a super stable job. At that time he had already left and is working for an AI company and making a shit ton of money. And it was like the same thing with Dan. I was like we got to do this, you got to get out of the cubicle. Like, even if you're going to make a half million dollars a year, a million dollars a year, it's not your thing. And then it was pretty quick for everyone to say let's go build Lunar Crush. And then we were on our way.

Alex Kehaya:

So if you had to boil it down like Lunar Crush is wide, to like a sentence or two, what would that be, lunar?

Joe Vezzani:

Crush. Our mission is to create transparency of data on the internet. Right now, that looks like helping people, helping creators and citizen journalists grow their followings and be better creators, and so for us, it's just this overall mission of creating transparency. Right now, it's for social media and for search.

Alex Kehaya:

Let's dive a little deeper into that. Like how does that work for a creator or an influencer? Or like a citizen journalist. Like, how would you could even use me? I haven't used it yet for this show, for example. How would I use it?

Joe Vezzani:

I do want to caveat, because we've talked a lot about crypto and then suddenly I'm talking about creators. Like we still have all of the tools for crypto and for stocks and for NFTs where you can go and basically just type in any of those assets and now you can type in any keyword. You can type in NBA, and you're going to be able to see basically all of the top content from X, from YouTube, from TikTok, from Reddit Interesting. You're going to be able to see, yeah, you're going to be able to see also all the top creators. So if you're a creator and you're coming to Lunar Crush you know our new front door is, you know, basically you can type in your handle and you can see kind of like a snapshot of your account and like where you rank in the entire universe of creators that we have on there, how many interactions your posts are getting, how well your posts are doing, which topics that you're influential over. So if you're a new creator and you're like hey, I want to work in the Solana ecosystem and I want to be influential over Solana, right, like, who else is influential in that ecosystem? What are they posting about? How are they growing? Who do you interact with. You know, maybe, who do you unfollow, right? So there's a lot of things that come with being influential in these spaces and the creator economy is the economy. It's like they're driving all of this. You know, if you're a brand like, you're basically just looking for creators to drive your brand. So there's just a lot of influence and power that comes there, and so we're trying to build tools for that subset of users specifically to drive value.

Alex Kehaya:

For brands. So, yeah, I'm a brand and I want to see who do I need to talk to to promote my brand and I can use it to target them and see exactly the kind of content they're re-posting. I can even, like, post similar stuff to target their audience and then I can kind of reach out to them through your platform. Or is it just like at least I identify the target and now I can go get after?

Joe Vezzani:

them. Yeah, right now you can identify and then very soon, here you're going to be able to actually get like prompts, so you're going to be able to say I want to be, you know, influential or Solana, here's the style that I want to talk in and here's, you know, so, for us we have every Solana post. Yeah, so that's AI. Yeah, so this is exactly dude.

Alex Kehaya:

This is like exactly my next question because, like the content I produce just using my own, I think, through my own lived experience, right as a user, and I produce these kind of content because I enjoy it. We do these interviews and they're really fun. But then I also want to start producing other kinds of content, like I don't know thought leadership type posts and it's like okay. So what do I do? What's going to resonate with the people I want, who I want to bring to this show, I want them to watch your episodes. So how do I do that? And so you have like this prompt engine that can create those threads, even recommend content for video and stuff, probably. Like I mean, how far does this go?

Joe Vezzani:

It's going to go the whole way. There's a lot of text that we're focused on, there's so much data that we have on all of these topics that it's distilling all that down and then, like you're right, creating prompts to start right. We just want to kind of lead you in the right direction because we also don't think that, at least yet, I mean, it's getting better every single day. But you know, if you use chat, you'd be tiered. Now, if you've used grok which I think you know if you're premium, you got last night on X. It's good, but it's not you. Yet we want to give you the prompt, but it's one of the best thought starters that you can have. Like, if you're sitting there trying to kind of write a blog or come through and figure something out, you know you don't want open AI or chat GBT writing the full blog post for you. You just want to be like, okay, here's what's out there and here's what's interesting, and so for us we're just really targeting the training data towards social and then the output is you, and so, like we're going to go the full way where it's, you know you're going to be able to type in anything, get any topic, any recommendation and then the last step of it is, like you said, I'm a brand. I want to connect with a creator. Right now there's a lot of inefficiency between those two things like for creators, they can't make the money that they want to make on these platforms and these audiences that they built are incredible. Even X, I know they're they're trying to get there, but you might get 10 bucks or 20 bucks or something like that, you know. So that's why a lot of these creators they have like an agent or they've got like their own little business and they've got a couple people working from there scrambling to figure this out, and then a brand you're like man. There's a lot of slippage. Right, there's a lot of inefficiency. When I hire a creator, it feels more like an awareness campaign in marketing versus a performance campaign. So awareness would be like a billboard. Performance would be like a Facebook ad where I can track the user down and figure out the lifetime value of that person and everything else. We want social media spend, which currently feels like an awareness play, to feel more like a performance play, because we know, hey, alex wants to get more people on the index podcast. He's only going to target people on X that have said the word podcast or are influential over podcasts. Right, so then you could basically just Drop your link in. I want to amplify this, this tweet or this post on X, and I only want people to be able to post it that are influential on podcasts. That goes out to our network of creators that are influential over podcast and bam, they only get paid for the interactions that they drive.

Alex Kehaya:

Amazing and they can drive that from my content, like I could pay them basically via your platform to help me distribute my content. That's exactly right. This is the goal of Holy Grail. You're talking to an early adopter right here, like I. I'm the exact creator that you're talking about. So I have a team of people who helped me produce the show my producer, sean, who's great. She's awesome at what she does, and then David, who helps me with some of the clip editing and distribution of those clips and like some of the other associated content you have to create with that, like what goes in the body of the Post or if it's a thread, like that content. Because you have only so many hours in the day and you're supposed to, you have to produce like full stack content. It's video, it's audio, it's text, it's text. It's like many blogs. All this stuff is like that is a lot, it's very time intensive, it's costly and I have been dreaming of a set of a tools that I can just like, literally, I would love to give you the corpus of my podcast, all of the transcriptions from Riverside, and be like create a bunch of things that I can repost. I had Frank Mong from helium on my show the other day and he made some amazing like golden nugget pieces of advice and like storytelling from his experience working with Amir and their team to build. Maybe he's at Nova Labs, but like with the community building. You know helium, I remember that one, so I'll pull it out. But I have like 60 plus hours of content and I could just create new inspiring nuggets from that For me and distribute it automatically. Like I want to post all my channels, my actual channels, but then even have being able to leverage the network that way via Lunar crush would be exponentially better. You're not just distributing through your channels but also those creators channels and then they have valuable content. You know they can choose to post it right. Like that you're not going to force it on them, but like If they want to post it they'll get paid and if they think it's valuable content for their, their community, they'll engage their community with it.

Joe Vezzani:

Yeah, we're focused on, like, the amplification of the content that you have, like in a much more efficient way, but the like, the whole goal when we went through this was you know how can we? You know, if Alex spends you know 10 hours a day posting on X, right, how can we shorten that to five and get the same output? It's really interesting because then your pricing model depends on you know how impactful it is for that person, right? Like if I could save Elon Musk even one hour a day, how impactful is that? Right? He'll probably just go play Doom for that extra hour. But like what if he spent it on something else, it could be worth a million dollars a month.

Alex Kehaya:

He needs to relax, man, he needs to relax so he can think of how to send people to Mars and stuff. You know, I love it, I love it, I love the best ideas come.

Joe Vezzani:

That's the goal, though, is to say hey, how can I save you this time? To start and make it so it's easy for you.

Alex Kehaya:

Why also take it back to like my core mission, like people worth knowing, and I want to tell the stories of the people building the future internet. Why are they here? Well, the only way I can succeed in my mission is through distribution of high quality content. So how do I do that? How can I get leverage that allows me to do that faster and farther? And that's what you built. That's the value. It's faster and farther, through a network of people that I can distribute my content to automatically. I will spend money on that, for sure.

Joe Vezzani:

Just talking a little bit about finding the right people. Even what's your take on we're coming out of this just kind of crazy bear market and there's still people that are here that have kind of survived through it. But we've also had to deal with a lot of the crooks that have been out there or even seen something like a hex with a Richard Hart, just like leaving these stores with these bags and everything the hardest part for me being in Web 3 and being in crypto and putting my blood, sweat and tears into this and working as hard as I possibly can to build an awesome company, even though we have a team of 13,. It's like a team that works their asses off and providing like benefits for everyone and like fundraising and going through all this process. And then you've got some people in the space and I know it's going to be everywhere, but it just does seem like we have a little bit more of it where it's like there is more scam, there is a little bit more fraud. That's on the direct outset. Like obviously we could say, hey, there's probably a thousand people that are trying to scam people with credit cards right now and all this and that's there. But it does seem that sometimes in our space some of these people do get catapulted to the front page of it and it's like, hey, this token that was launched and this idea that was launched. Literally we look at it someone like you or I that's been a builder, or like that's just absolute vaporware, that's going nowhere, that is literally a rug pull in action. And then we get sometimes I feel like lumped into that and it's like no, look at the corpus of work that we've put in, like what we've done, but I feel like the investor base out there might be associated. I don't know.

Alex Kehaya:

I wanted to hear your opinion that feeling is why I was like, why I'm putting so much energy into the index network, into the network, because I know the good people, I know who they are, I know why they're here and I know it's important to the future of the internet and it's going to be really impactful for billions of people. And I also know that what you're saying is true. There's been a lot of funds lost, a lot of people hurt in our space, and part of that is it's just how early we are in building this new future. It's always going to attract bad people. Part of that is the technology is just not. There's stuff missing that prevents these kinds of things from happening. For example, I was talking to a company that's building a security product that will just tell you if you're trying to sign a transaction that you shouldn't sign. They have technology that uses AI and they have a huge data set. They can analyze all the data and say they integrate with a wallet right, you can just say whether or not you should sign that transaction. I think there are far more good people than there are bad people building, and I think the internet is full of good and bad people doing good and bad things, and I think that there's nothing different there. It's just that this space is so hot and new and it draws a lot of attention, and I also think that there's a concerted effort on some people's part to focus on the bad and not the good. Conversely, I think there are a lot of people, for example, in government, who are working to create regulations that prevent these kinds of things, that are like smart common sense regulations that are going to help keep innovation going with. You know they're not going to hurt the industry per se, especially in the US, and a lot of that effort is just not talked about or seen by the public, but I know that it's happening. I know some of the people that are doing it involved in it. You just got to keep going. You just got to keep focused on your why and tell that story, and the more we tell that story, the more the light side of what we're doing is going to get out there and to think like what you're doing is super important. Many, many creators are struggling and this is their livelihood and they have things of value to tell the world, and you're building tools that are going to help them. I really believe in that and I think that these technologies AI, crypto, other technologies that are part of, like, the future of the internet are going to help those creators, the creator commies, actually, I think, the one that benefits most from these tools. I do think that there's a downside to it too, from the elimination of jobs and things like that. That can happen, but you know, I'm an optimist, so yeah, I appreciate that. I don't know if that answers your question, but I have felt what you feel. You know, I hear it.

Joe Vezzani:

It's a feeling that you've had and that you keep pushing through, because I do know a lot of people that threw in the towel and they, you know, they're working at engineering and AI company now, or they went to start, you know, a startup in a fintech, a straight fintech startup, and they said, hey, we're not going to touch web three at all. There's been so much that has happened, even in the last year of building, that they've now missed it and they have a huge gap in their knowledge of what's out there and what's possible.

Alex Kehaya:

The only way to grow and get better is through pain. This is the number one thing, like whether it's fitness or health, or your mental health, or, as an entrepreneur, building your business, I really do believe that pain and pressure is what makes you grow. That's speaking from experience. I look at some of the companies that are building right now that, for example, in the exchange space, like Cube Exchange I'm also an investor in that. One Cube is building amazing technology that will prohibit any exchange that were to use that technology. What happened with FTX is impossible to happen because it uses the best of the values of Web 3, which is things like self-custody and decentralization, and the best of Tratify traditional finance, where you get an amazing user interface with ridiculous high frequency trading speeds on trades and things like that. I think this is where the innovation happens. The more the bad guys come at us and try and do bad things, the more we innovate, the more the good people try to make the right thing possible. I think, at the end of the day, it's going to be a net positive. I think we also always have to remember you brought up the real estate thing like yeah, there's a huge light shined on it. That's because they want you to quit. There are people who want you to get disillusioned, and you just can't give up. Another great quote, another great sound bite here you can't lose if you don't give up. You just can't lose. It's part of the thing about being a builder and an entrepreneur. You just got to keep going.

Joe Vezzani:

Yeah, I don't think that they've realized the resiliency of what makes a true entrepreneur. You're just getting shit on the whole time. It doesn't matter, Are you getting shit on more or less? It's like you're trying to achieve a potential outcome, but you've chosen to go under the knife and under the microscope here and try and build something. You already jumped off a ledge. We started the inter-crushing. I remember fundraising the first time and this was like even just we did a tech stars program here in Los Angeles in 2019, and we'd go talk to investors and they're like I thought Bitcoin was dead, it was a bear market. We're like, yeah, billionaires are shooting satellites into space to keep the network up. Yeah, it's all going away for sure. Then you realize, as an entrepreneur, that it's the same thing as like do you block people on Twitter, on X Sometimes? Yeah, I do, for sure, Some people that don't block people. I'm like why do you want to deal with that? These people have no idea.

Alex Kehaya:

It has to be pretty egregious. I want AI to do all my Twitter. I don't want to live there. Who wants to live there? I want to do this. This is what I like. All the other content I just want AI to automate, honestly, because I like this part. This is the human connection. It's the people that matter to me. The distribution of the content about those people is important too. It's the thing that I won't do that actively. I need to do it to get the message out there, but I've been searching honestly for automation to handle it for me in my voice.

Joe Vezzani:

What point is it? Just a bunch of AI is just like talking to each other and there's no point.

Alex Kehaya:

Yeah, that's possible, but I actually think that's not going to happen. I think there are consumers of content and there are creators.

Joe Vezzani:

The majority of the people are consumers, for sure.

Alex Kehaya:

I want to touch on something you said earlier, though it was when we were talking the very beginning of the show and I was talking about MyY and the index network. The isolation of being an entrepreneur and that feeling of not being connected is definitely one of the reasons why I'm doing this. It's another reason why I do the show, too, because I stay connected with people that I care about. In this space. I get introduced to new people that I never would have talked to. You'll meet somebody like you should talk to Alex. You guys would have a great conversation and then we end up having a show about it. For me, the index network is just as much about that as about helping each other stay strong in this space, building together and doing something positive and connected and being able to do. I even thought about putting together a wellness retreat. I went to my first breathwork class with sound bath therapy here. My friend in Santa Barbara does that. It was a life-changing experience for me. I came out of it like a changed person. That was for my own mental health and something we don't really talk about publicly, but I'll tell you. I was at Breakpoint for the Solana Conference in Amsterdam and I was talking to a couple of my friends who were pretty accomplished entrepreneurs in our space and they were all really interested in it. This is the kind of thing that can come out of that group, where it's the kind of value that you can get from those connections. It's the more real conversations.

Joe Vezzani:

I would join. You should do it.

Alex Kehaya:

Yeah, maybe I will. If you're listening and you're interested, DM me.

Joe Vezzani:

Those things are super important. Especially, I have a young family and I know you do too and it's like there's a lot People always think oh, you're a startup founder and we're at a series A level. I'm not Elon Musk and I have every meal delivered. I don't know if that guy eats, but I still have to do dishes and I'm doing all of these things.

Alex Kehaya:

Yeah, you're still a parent and a dad and a husband and you need to show up. You need to show up.

Joe Vezzani:

Then you could go down the rabbit hole of your family and be like, if your parents are still around and how are they dealing? And then are your parents divorced, and then you've got sisters and brothers, and then you've got in-laws and all of those things going on. Then you have your friends that you want to deal with and you want to still maintain those relationships. You can just keep going. If you're an entrepreneur, a lot of times also, it seems like a lot of us are actually more introverted. You're an introvert. If you need to recover by yourself and you need that alone time. Good luck on the alone time. Then it's like all of those things and then building the business and knowing that if you're fundraising, that there's a date out there, there's a zero out there at some point there's a lot of pressure for someone.

Alex Kehaya:

Yeah, I just went through this. I don't know if you saw this, but we're winding down Olaplex and that was my start up. That spun out of my work in the slurry ecosystem. I spent two and a half years on that company. It was really hard and we fought tooth and nail to find a way forward and we were not able to. Without getting into all those details, as an entrepreneur, you carry that with you every day in and out of the house. It's a super challenging thing to do. It's why a lot of entrepreneurs burn out. It's why a lot of relationships don't make it with entrepreneurs. I know a lot of older entrepreneurs who've been divorced multiple times. Thankfully, my wife and I are in a good spot, but it's extremely hard on all aspects of your life. Yeah, I think anything you can do to try to maintain that balance. Honestly, my only sanity the way I stayed sane the last three years is I work out every day. It's on my schedule. It doesn't matter what fire is burning unless someone's dying. That I know and care about that. I'm not missing that workout.

Joe Vezzani:

Yeah, that's huge. It's funny because humans it's very easy to break promises to ourselves. It's a lot harder to break a promise to someone else. If I was like, hey, alex, let's go work out tomorrow at 5 am Even if you were up till 2 am you'd be like shit, I got to get up. If you were like, hey, I'm going to wake up at 5 am and work out, you stayed up till 2 am and no one knew that you had to work out. It's way easier to not work out.

Alex Kehaya:

Yeah, I've been doing CrossFit for the last year and a half almost two years Actually. I just had to leave my gym because I moved towns. To replace that, I started doing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I wrestled for a decade, from 9 to 19. I've been wanting to do this for a long time. I finally feel like I'm in the physical condition from CrossFit. To roll Long story short, those people know me. I went to the noon class every day in my hometown. They know me. It wasn't that I made them the promise, but I knew they were going to be there. I'm like they're going to be there. I'm going to show up. I don't care how bad I feel, I'm going to show up. I'm going to get it in. I'm going to put in the work. My Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class is at 6 am in the morning. It's like 25 minutes away from here. I have to get up and drive down there. I'm up at 4.30 twice a week. I get my coffee and get my routine in and whatever. Then I go down there at 5.30 for class. I'm disciplined about it for the exact reason you're talking about because of the community. Also, for me, that community is the one community that I have outside of work. You know, outside of work in my family it's like the one thing that I have. We're like we don't even talk shop. You know, we're just in there for the thing that we're in there to do and we're having fun doing that thing and for me that is like a really rejuvenating hour of my day.

Joe Vezzani:

It's important and it's like, whatever that thing is for you, it's like if you know if you're playing baseball or softball or whatever else that you're doing, there's these moments where you know if you're sitting in the batter's box and there's a ball coming directly at you, it's not physically possible to think about anything else in that moment except for that ball coming at you right. Or if someone's trying to choke you, like that, if they don't let go, you die. You're not thinking yourself like shit, the hex number for that color on that button was off right. You're not thinking about any of that. You're thinking just about it's a release, that's there, and you know. Think about what we actually aren't talking about right now with all this stuff, with what I just said. Like the table stakes of doing this and building things are like you know we just got off of a call about. Like what's the logic behind? You know when someone clicks this button right, like did the spacing of this thing needs to change? Or like what's the timeline of getting that thing delivered? And you know how are we going to get it delivered and what's the growth plan behind that and what's the copy that goes by. Those are just like. It's funny that that's like the table stakes of everything. That like a lot of times, like we're over here talking about working out and like maybe taking cold plunges right, but it's like all this other stuff that happens in the background. That is just. You know, you have to be good at those things. And if you're not good at those things enough yet, it's like it is okay to go work for a company for a little bit and maybe work in product management, right, or work in UX or like read a couple of books. It's like entrepreneurship and being an entrepreneur doesn't mean like you're going to be Zock and you're going to, like you know, quit out of Harvard and suddenly this thing's going to happen, like those are one in you know billions that happen. It's like then there's this whole ecosystem of everything else. That's like amazing and the people that are building are awesome and like tons of VCs are funding. So I think it's like if you're out there trying to start a business or thinking about starting a business, we're saying a lot of things about how it is hard, but like the reward side of it is also huge of just building a team and focusing on a goal and having it like a small, even a small team is like amazing, right? It's like.

Alex Kehaya:

You have to want to grow. If you want to grow, go for it, because you're going to grow, you're going to be forced to grow because you're going to run and you're going to bump up against the hey, I don't have that skill or I don't know how to do this, or I've got a really the biggest problem I've ever faced professionally in my life and I got to fix it. And those situations are the only way you grow. You know, if you want to grow, you want to grow fast. That's this, is it. You're not always going to win, but you're definitely going to grow.

Joe Vezzani:

A lot of second time entrepreneurs is like that's where you hit it. Or third time, and, like you said, there's just if you keep trying, that you never actually giving up. And I think a lot of times people tie their personal identity too much with that one business and they think, oh, if that business failed, I failed. It's like, well, no, you just took a risk that no one else, most people on this planet, are not willing to take Right, and you went for it Right and, like most people, will live their entire lives and not be able to go do even one thing like that Right, and so I think it took me a while to realize that and I like I want to go back to do the sports thing that we were talking about that you said, because I relate to that a lot which is like with CrossFit.

Alex Kehaya:

I would definitely find myself drifting sometimes where I'm like have that thing in the back of my head and I can't focus and if I don't like there's no way I'm going to power clean like a massive amount of weight. You know, when you're doing that you're going to mess it up and I would notice I would have bad days. You know, wrestling was such an important part of my childhood and growing up. The first time I walked into the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu dojo and like put my feet on the mat, it was kind of cathartic. I was really like kind of almost overwhelmed by it. And every day since that I've showed up to that. When my feet touched that mat. There's nothing else. There's literally nothing else that I'm thinking about, except the people in that room and the growth I'm trying to get as a human from that sport. And you know, for me that is the thing that allows me to do the other hard things, to grow in the ways that I want to grow as a professional, you know, like if I'm not doing that taking care of the health and my mental health, my physical health I can't even have the headspace to take on the pain and the challenges that come with building a business, especially something that's venture-scaled type company. I really appreciate this conversation. It's gone very deep, which I like, and I appreciate how open you've been about this. The last question that I always ask everybody once we get to the top of the show is kind of what if I not asked you that you wanted to talk about? You know that we didn't discuss. It could be more personal stuff, or it could be stuff about Lunar Crush, like anything. What if I not talked about that we should have?

Joe Vezzani:

We're working in social media at Lunar Crush, right, and you were saying you're like I don't even want to be on X anymore because it's so much. We live in this world now and, depending on the family that you're at, if you're single or you're not or you're with your friends. I do this a lot now where if I'm with a group of people, I just pick my head up and I just once in a while it gets a little quiet and I just kind of look at people checking their phones. You know, I just kind of look around and I'm very cognizant of if I grab my phone, you know, and like, if I'm not grabbing it, like how am I contributing to the people that I'm with when I'm out with other people, to where I'm kind of trying to create an environment or an atmosphere of people having fun and being very present? I do wish that more people thought that way, you know, because when you think about it, tiktok or Instagram or even X those algorithms are like you are outmatched and outgunned completely right, like if you were gonna take it back and you know you could say like oh, maybe you used to do like a puzzle over the holidays with family when you were little. It's like just being like straight up, intellectually honest, like is a puzzle more fun or more engaging than a feed of video that's serving you the funniest, most interesting, most personalized thing to you? Like no, it's just not. It's just not.

Alex Kehaya:

They know when I'm crying, laughing, watching something it's happening to me, dude, I've been doing scrolling through stuff on Instagram and literally like a couple of nights ago, I saw something that just I was dying laughing.

Joe Vezzani:

It was the funniest thing I've seen and some of it's amazing right, and it's like I do like those things because it's like, hey, there's creators like that we're trying to support, that are doing a great job, that should be rewarded for that. And like mainstream media is just amalgamation of just shit at this point right, just narratives being fed down your throat, and so I wanna empower those people, but I do think that it should always come with a little pause, because it's stronger than you are and I think we need to all be aware of that a little bit and just try and utilize social media in a positive way and like mindfully browse social media and interact with people and be real to people and have good conversations, as you can, and like this is one way to do that as well with like a podcast. Like when we ran Lunar Crush, we did Lunar Crush Live. You were on it. We did 125 episodes, we sunset. That it was a lot of time and effort and we're building this company alongside of that and we're like okay, we got a lot of things going on, but I do miss these connections and meeting people. It kind of coming goes with what I was saying of like let's all be very mindful on social media, let's think about the next generation and how they're interacting as well, and just kind of pick your head up and like it's okay to leave your house without your phone, right, like I'm really looking forward to the day where I can just walk out with just my Apple Watch and not have to worry about like my phone at all. You know, I think that those days are coming and I think they'll be a little bit more interesting. But I want to get back to being more present and I feel like a lot of founders, like what you're saying get out of your house, go do something, go find another, you know, like exciting, hopefully physical thing for you to sweat and get some things out, cause like that's what centers you and that's what empowers you. Like you don't feel worse in the days you go to Jiu-Jitsu. You probably never leave that. You never leave Jiu-Jitsu and go shit. I wish I didn't do that.

Alex Kehaya:

Yeah, 100%, yeah, 100%. Well, thanks so much for coming on and I think that's a great way to end the show. Appreciate you and we'll be in such a All right Want to get any time. Appreciate it. Thanks, alex. Oh, last thing, last thing. What can people do to like contribute or participate or be like a part of Lunar Crush? Where do they go? What do you want them doing? Let's go to the little CTA out there.

Joe Vezzani:

Yeah, so we just launched something called Lunar Crush Discover, where you can basically search all of social media. Search yourself, connect your social media accounts and start to get some feedback. It's a metrics about how you're performing, but if you are trading cryptocurrencies or trading stocks, you're going to get this awesome feed that's specific to each of those tickers that you put in there who's influential with the craters. So that is $5 a month. You sign up for the year it's $4 a month and then we have that wait list for the product that I was talking about. So if you are a creator out there and you want to get paid, or you are a brand that's looking for creators, go and join that wait list at Lunar Crushcom. Forward, slash, earn and you'll be put into a group. We've already got it's like 50 to 75 million impressions a month of people that have joined that, and so that's growing really quick, and so if you're out there, join it up, sign me up.

Alex Kehaya:

All right, thanks so much.

Joe Vezzani:

All right, Alex, thanks buddy.

Alex Kehaya:

You just heard the index podcast with your host, Alex Kahaya. If you enjoyed this episode, please give the show a five star rating and subscribe on Apple, Spotify, Google or your favorite streaming platform. New episodes available every other Wednesday. Thanks for tuning in.