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118: Return on Investment AND Return on Impact!

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Buck: Welcome back to the show everyone. Today my guest on Wealth Formula Podcast is a good friend of mine and he’s been a social entrepreneur his whole life. His name is Gordy Bal. Gordy spent over the last decade building and advertising technologies that have transacted over a trillion clicks online. Just imagine that, right? After launching multiple successful digital marketing companies, Gordy turned its focus on to what he calls Conscious Capital and in 2015, he founded an organization called Concious Thought Revolution, which redeploys capital and invests in invests in disruptive technologies, entrepreneurs, and media to accelerate the evolution of human consciousness welcome to Wealth Formula podcast Gordy.

Gordy: Thanks, thanks thanks for having me. It’s good to be here…

Buck: Yes so this is, you know it’s great to have you because you know we’re we’re Hey you know we always kind of have to shake it up once in awhile because we get so. Deep in the trenches with real estate and you know, following the numbers and all that. Well first thing I thought to be a good idea because you’re such an interesting guy and I really enjoyed you know our our friendship because of you know we’re different in some ways and were were also very similar and in some ways too. Talk a little bit more about where you started I mean you’re not I mean you’re like you know in your thirties right now so you haven’t you know been doing stuff forever. But how did you get started as an entrepreneur and you know kind of where did you evolve to?

Gordy: Sure yeah yeah yeah I’m happy to share that. so for me like, growing up as a child of immigrants, you to have a lot of means. And so I watched my parents what their butts off to just pay for groceries. And so at an early age I thought that down that this money game was really that game to go after and so. Even in elementary school and high school I was figuring out ways on how to capture value by providing value and so was discovering ways in which people would attribute value to their belongings and nobody value their belongings equally so I came up with this sort of way of creating a common trading economies where everybody ends up with something different and everybody ends up happy including myself.

Buck: Yeah.

Gordy: And so being a kid of the internet in grade twelve is when I launched an online affiliate program where I started seeing that not only can I earn a lot of money but holy smokes that this world is like, you know, people are doing things because one of the things I was promoting was online casinos at the time and I would get a large portion of the amount someone would lose and to me when I saw those numbers, it didn’t compute. Like how can someone lose so much of their hard earned money to an online casino.

Buck: Yeah.

Gordy: That’s when I started getting into you know this whole world of generating income.

Buck: Yeah interesting so so where did it go from there I mean you obviously, you know, you started a number of things before you started to, you know, it started to become more than just about the money. How did you kind of evolve and and you know…

Gordy: Yeah good question. I started seeing how I was earning a lot more money than my own friends at seventeen eighteen nineteen twenty.And it wasn’t leading to any fulfillment. So what I thought was going to make me happy individual actually made me more depressed. I was like okay, I have more money than all my friends yet I’m feeling this emptiness and so actually you know there’s a point where I fell into a sort of depression. My first year of university. And it was actually them what after 9/11 what sparked me to wake up and ask some really tough questions like, what’s going on? What is this? What is money? What’s behind these structures of government politics, education, finance, tax, healthcare? And so started deconstructing all these systems. And when I started doing so, what became apparent is that, you know, we the way we’re organized as a civilization and species is that a select few are benefiting at the cost of everybody else and the planet, and that’s when it started just not making sense. Like how are we living where we’re continuing to consolidate power and wealth to you know a select few at the top and also destroying the planet and that’s when I started you know asking some other tough questions like who am I and what’s my purpose and you know going down a spiritual inquiry and that’s what’s led to this whole mission oriented work that I am you know driven by now, which is you know really these symptoms that I started discovering of our world were symptoms of a root cause where I believe our collective state of consciousness is what’s leading to all these problems that we face of inequality and hunger and poverty and war and you name it you name any problem that we see and, you know, I see a lot of investors and philanthropist tackling these problems at the surface. But what I’m discovering more and more is that unless we really get to the root cause and sort of wake ourselves up to the reality, we may not necessarily get to where we need to get to, and which is just the next iteration of our species will wrap.

Buck: Well, so let’s talk a little bit because what you’re describing is, I think where this idea of conscious capital comes out of. And it’s something that you know you emphasize a lot. Conscious capital obviously has the word “capital” in there so we’re not is different from saying, okay I’m just gonna go out and spend my time, you know, volunteering for doctors without borders or you know just just doing things that really have no financial necessary benefit to to people. What it what is conscious capital? What it what exactly is that.

Gordy: Yeah good question. So I want to make a distinction that I look at capital is not just money, but also our thoughts. And so where and how we spend our money and our thoughts, there’s a massive opportunity to bring a state of consciousness to it. And this is why I think you and I always keep going on cryptocurrency ias well it is now there’s going to be a new layer of transparency and visibility that shows how our money moves where it moves and the impact that it makes. And so this is where we can actually you know not only say I’m making a positive impact, but show it through the following where and how the movement of money and the movement of our thoughts. Where we’re putting our mental bandwidth. So to me conscious capital is really capital both mental and financial that is deployed for the sake of raising human consciousness.

Buck: Right and to the extent that there is also, I mean typically when you when you’ve got capital raised, you’ve got a bunch of investors who want to make money. And I think that what I’ve kind of gathered from learning about kind of the way you operate is listen it’s not one or the other. You can absolutely go and, you know, make a difference. It’s a question of how do you want to deploy a capital? You could just, you know, you can, if you’re if you are a believer that that for example that, you know that global warming and environmental change is happening because of carbon and because oil and gas well, even if the oil and gas is a good investment is that still the best use of your capital? Maybe you’ll get an equally good return or almost as good doing something that has a benefit. Now I’m I’m not saying what people should do, but I think the idea is to try to put some meaning behind your investments at the end of the day is is that fair?

Gordy: Absolutely so what we always talk about and look at is the double ROI. The first ROI is the traditional return on investment, which is necessary because we need a regenerative economy where we can continue to generate capital and then redeploy it. The other ROI is ripple of impact. What kind of impact is the investment that we’re making having on ourselves, the collective consciousness and the planet itself. And that’s a hard thing to measure. How do you measure that? The U.N. has come up with seventeen goals that they want to look at as a way to measure positive impact, which is awesome. And for me this is where you know Conscious Thought Revolution was born is, I believe we need to measure our consciousness, which is like the most impossible thing to measure because what is consciousness?

Buck:

I know, that’s what I was going to say. When you say measure consciousness, define consciousness. When I watch your videos in your site it makes you know there’s something that’s a little bit more, you know it’s something, it’s it’s not so woo-woo. There’s a there’s a real sort of definition that you’re using when you’re saying consciousness that I think that you can verbalize a little bit to make clear.

Gordy: (laughs) So this is one of those conversations that you and I could probably sit for six hours. These radicals.

Buck: You’re saying like, you know, to the extent that consciousness, you’re really just saying like, awareness almost, right? I mean it’s just another way of saying you know deepening your awareness is that kind what…

Gordy: Yeah. Let me give you our working definition. But before I do that I wanna make it clear that consciousness is an emergent phenomena that is a byproduct of the universe. It’s similar as to gravity, right ? It’s a hard thing to languagize. So that’s the preamble of it. But in our in our sort of everyday life that practical pragmatic way that we use it as a definition as the measurable one is consciousness is really your, what your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well being. And so how can we measure that? Well let’s just look at our digital footprint. So mental: what are our thoughts? Are we thinking I thoughts? Are we  feeling our thoughts? Where we spending most of our time with our thoughts? How are they impacting us? Emotional well being: what kind of feelings are we sitting in? Are was sitting in depression or sadness or happiness? Do we understand that we have the power to change our emotions? And physical: that’s an obvious one. What we eat and how are we feeling? How are we using our body? And spiritual: that’s another sort, of what is spiritual mean? And how we define spiritual is really your relationship to yourself, to others, and to the natural world around you. So we’ve kind of distilled it like that and we can start measuring and accessing data points to see just how, where, you know our holistic well-being is. And that’s how we’re working with that definition consciousness for now.

Buck:  Right. So you know, I think there’s probably some people who are listing and saying listen I’ve just, you know, I’m really just interested in investing and making money, and why should I care about this and, like I get that. But I think what, you know, part of what Gordy’s discovered is that in the life of an entrepreneur in particular when you’re making a certain amount of money, you got to have a little bit more meaning than that. I mean, a mission. And in particular the types of things that you’re talking about. If you need a motivation if you need some reason to think in this, in this light, you don’t really need to go farther than thinking about the lives that your children will have when they’re adults. Right? I mean that’s that’s probably, that might be a good metric to use that it gives people enough visceral sensitivity to the issues. That’s required to kind of say why would I care? You know?

Gordy:

Absolutely. I mean look I have a six year old a four year old and a two year old. And they’re growing up in a world where exponential technology is growing so fast that anything that they’re learning about today will probably be obsolete in the next ten, fifteen years. For example my kids will probably never drive a car. Cars will be autonomous.

Buck: Right.

Gordy: So we’re we’re coming to a world that’s absolutely crazy and will, and in good ways and bad ways you can take either angle that you want. But the fact is it’s at any rate of progress we are moving in a place where we are, we almost can’t even imagine what the world will look like. So with artificial intelligence and machine learning being a mainstay and a way of life, is that much more crucial to help our kids live in a world where they feel connected more to what purpose and a meaning, and actually have something that pulls them forward. And really that is that that, you know, that being connected to a state of awareness, or consciousness or holistic happiness, whatever you wanna call it. Otherwise they do have this potential of being a rat in a rat race that really is like just spinning in circles because we get caught up in this money game really what is it what is money anyway?

Buck: Let’s talk a little bit more because one of the things that you and I, you know, you’re really one of one of the first guys who really got me into cryptocurrency. And I’ve been sort of geeking out on it and it’s it’s like my, one of my two favorite hobbies now watching football and and following cryptocurrency like I’m constantly reading and constantly looking. But you know, you’re one of the guys who really got me interested in the first place. But with what is it about this whole digital, distributed ledger technology, cryptocurrency that really got you, because you’re very deeply involved with this, I know. I would say that you’re, you know, more of that in insider in this world. What gets you so excited about it? I mean obviously it’s not just a currency. There’s something else there.

Gordy: Well, it’s massive disruption. it’s massive destruction to a system that has existed for far too long that doesn’t work for everybody. So you know I am fortunate that, yeah we’re both fortunate that you know we’re kids of the internet.

Buck: Right.

Gordy: So we watched the evolution of the internet. So think back to when we first got our email address. It was like, holy smokes! This is, we’re gonna be able to have such a massive free flow of information that, you know, we can know almost everything instantaneously. Wellwe are at the cusp of the same thing for money. Or currency. And that’s first and foremost what excites me is that it’s a it’s a massive evolution in technology that gives us the opportunity to create more equality amongst all humans. The second thing is, it’s creating massive multi-generational wealth. So much wealth is being created that it’s insane! And it’s awesome! New money is being generated. And I think the third thing which resonates a lot with my ethos and values is this layer of transparency. It’s ability to have sovereignty, and this way of conducting trade or commerce in a way that removes middle men which is which is, you know, they’ve serve their purpose in a lot of ways but we’re we’re moving to a way where they they’re not necessary anymore. And really it’s like they’re not adding or creating value so now it’s much more peer-to-peer, which is how we start, which is ironically how we started as a civilization. When we would trade or you know whatever resources. It’s like we’re going back, but yeah it’s it’s crazy that’s what excites me.

Buck: Yeah. So give me give me, and I know we probably have some of the same interests. But a couple of of your favorite distribute ledger projects.

Gordy: So there is the, I wanna plug. It’s funny I it’s hard not to plug, because I’ve  invested in so many. One to keep an eye out for is Good Money. Okay. So Good Money is I think going to be a really exciting project.

Buck: What is Good Money all about? I know you mentioned it to me before…

Gordy: Yeah I mentioned it before. So Good Money is really there, they’re tackling being a replacement for fiat currency and a way to, a new way to bank. And so I’d say look into that. Another one that I’m really excited about is WAX, Worldwide Asset Exchange. They’re doing some really cool stuff as well. And of course like I mean, I would say if you’re not in cryptocurrency yet, read Satoshi’s white paper. Go back to that and look at where it was born. It was born right after the 2008 meltdown. And really that white paper describes and shares this revolution. And I want to also state that even though there’s a lot of hot opportunities and really good plays, it is still very nascent industry is very nascent. And it’s also very volatile. And so I would advise don’t get too attached to specific opportunities as exciting as they. But really relate to the movement itself. And look for, and if you want to look for opportunities, look for the ones that are serving community. And the ones that have both a built-in community and are there to serve a community are the ones that will be the mainstays and have, you know, both the ROI that we all love, return on investment, but it will have a massive ripple of impact as well.

Buck: Then that’s right one of things I think is really interesting about these projects is the more grassroots they are, the more like, you know, people-driven they are, the the more valuable the project is in it’s almost sort of bottom-up. And that’s really unique for enterprise I think. But that’s great. And as you know I am also a big fan of WAX and you’re the guy who first told me about wax and I think that’s an amazing project. I think we’re gonna have Malcolm Cassell on pretty soon too. He’s the president of WAX,  Worldwide Asset Exchange. Tell me if, you know, outside of cryptocurrency, you’ve got, you know, you’ve got the Conscious Thought Revolution, you’ve got this company now and, you know, knowing kind of what your ethos are, what are some, first of all what is the, you know, you can you can talk about the mission I think it’s probably fairly similar to what you’ve said already. But what are some of the concrete projects that that you’re looking at getting involved with?

Gordy: Well so firstly so we have two aspects to CTR.com. One is CTR about capital which is the fund. And the other one is CTR.ai, which I’ll talk about in a minute. CTR capital, what we’re doing is, one we’re investing in external companies that are measurably raising consciousness, and we’re also incubating CTR companies. So an example of an external company is we’ve invested in this wearable technology it’s called Aura. It’s a ring that you wear that measures your sleep cycles, your heart rate variability and it and it gives you based your diagnostics first via an app. So not only are you able to, you know, wear something that’s that’s cool, if that matters, but more importantly you’re getting a feedback to you see how your life is so you can make changes. So that’s an example of that external investment that we made that we’re really excited about. And an internal sort of incubated company is what we refer to as Conscious Partners. Conscious Partners is an organization that I think you’re really excited about as well. Its mission is to use marketing as a force for good. So I spent over a decade building marketing and advertising technologies that have allowed products and services to really reach scale. Well sometimes those products and services don’t necessarily add a lot of value. They’re just there to you know, capture value. So Conscious Partners is all about working with entrepreneurs and technologies that actually have a product or service that’s there to improve the well-being of humanity and the planet. And so we are leveraging our super powers in the marketing space to bring scale to these kinds of offers. So these are the kinds of examples of organizations that we either invest in or incubate. Another really exciting one that we have in the crypto space is we’ve developed a predictive technology that can predict the price of Bitcoin, Ethereum and Altcoins with an hourly signal. And so we’re able to trade based on that signal and really the play there is that’s the way that we build more conscious capital. Conscious capital where we build, raise and manage capital for the purpose of redeploying as conscious capital. So those are some of the projects that we’re involved in, you know so there’s one that’s money-related, do good for the world-related, and technology-related. So we kind of have this umbrella of really cool stuff.

Buck: And I know at some point you’re thinking about involving and more investors, you know, going out for more capital. So is your vision that when you invest you’re investing in something that, you know, has that component that, you know, makes money and then invest into a particular project and is it that that kind of holistic investment? Or would it be more assets specific? What what what are you kind of thinking about in terms…

Gordy: Right so that’s one of the things that is going to be an important evolution for our organization because our fund right now is an internal fund, but we’re also getting a lot of people that are saying, hey we want to invest with you guys because one, you know how to make money, but two, where you’re deploying it is actually really interesting and how it makes a difference and how you’re measuring it. So I’m working with this notion of how do we curate investors that are truly passionate about beyond just making a massive return? So that’s going to be an interesting exploration over the next few months. And in terms of the kinds of investments we make, what we’re starting to look at is, how can we access data from these specific investments that we can then utilize as part of CTR.ai that can add to that what we refer to as the “consciousness quotient”? So let’s say for example let’s say, you develop a new business and products around Wealth Formula, and let’s say it’s an application and people download it. They pay, I don’t know, nine dollars a month for it and what it does is it analyzes their higher up consumerism and then provides them powerful insights on where they can spend better to improve their well being on the planet. So let’s say we invest in that. Well one, it would be a great investment because we can probably help you scale back from the marketing side to get massive distribution so that is a good product for investors to because they make a great ROI. What also makes it a powerful investment is there’s a lot of rich data that we have access to that helps us understand human consumption and the consumer behavior where we can start to actually look at macro trends of where are people spending their money, how is that impacting their behavior, what kind of content are they consuming based on that and we can start providing insights to those consumers like hey did you know that last month you spent a thousand dollars at eight organizations that, you know, employees children overseas or something. If you have that kind of awareness, you know, the hypothesis, you’re gonna think twice about that. So that’s an example of how we’re applying it and the problems we want to tackle.

Buck: Yeah. When do you think that’s gonna kind of you know, when you think it’s gonna start? I know you’re already starting out and I’ve been involved with that a little bit but when you think this is gonna really start to get moving in terms of you know raising capital…

Gordy: Yeah, good question. So what we’re doing is working on a hybrid model that I don’t know if it’s done, been done before. So we’re looking at the next ninety to hundred twenty days up to the beginning of the year. What we want to do, so the vision is this, what we want one we want to curate like-minded investors who really care about the double ROI. And then what we wanna do is every year, the council of investors would get together and collectively decide what percentage of the profit of the funds would be donated to non-profit initiatives around the planet where they’re conducting experiments. We would solicit teams that are around the planet working on their own projects to raise consciousness with their community somewhere, or as you know a tech play or some kind of education experiment. So that’s the way that we want to you know create it as a whole for profit and also fund nonprofit initiatives, which is a unique sort of approach and we’re getting advisement on how to structure that. I mean there are you know full transparency to some massive tax advantages, structural advantages by creating it that way. So we’re really trying to understand the landscape and play within it in a way that we can make massive impact.

Buck: Yeah and I think that’s what, you know, and I think that’s what I like about, you know, that it’s one of the things I want to emphasize that I really like about the way you’re doing this is that, you know I think when it comes to changing the world, I think you know a lot of especially when they’re, you know, young and don’t really need any money and and they just think that  it’s just about going out there and protesting things and, you know, maybe volunteering and stuff. But it only goes so far and what we do know is that what really makes a big difference in the world, like it or not, is capital. Is money. And so being able to harness that to investors not only for the purpose of good but, you know what, it’s good and you’re going to also make money. And there’s probably going to be some tax advantages there makes it a lot easier to swallow. If you have an opportunity to either invest in something that has social good to it and good for humanity, good for our children or not, you’re probably…and you might even make more money doing it that way, then you’re probably think ahead and pick that choice right? So I’m I think, I mean I think that’s a that’s a great message Gordy. Your web sites that you talked about we want to learn more and CTR.com, CTR.ai. What other resources would you recommend if people are interested in sort of this type of thinking when it comes to investing in and stuff?

Gordy: Right.So I want to share this piece of information that is absolutely crucial to know for your audience and anybody else that looking at the future. Over the next twenty five years, there is the largest wealth transfer in history. Over fifty trillion dollars is changing hands, and that’s just through deaths. And where that money is moving is towards millennials and women. Because a lot of this wealth was held by older men who, you know, because time causes death and so that money is moving and when you start looking at the value system of where the money is moving, there’s a different set of values for millennials and and the sort of incumbents of this this new wealth and so that’s why it’s also really important to understand those values because that shows you it paints a picture of the trends that are are coming up and and the value sets are around…I mean look at millennials, they don’t care about owning shit. They don’t want to own cars or homes or anything. So we need to keep these things in mind and that, and I think that’s a really important thing to start digging and looking at and understanding. And so you can look at this movement of impact investing which I think does a good job of covering some of this but again I kind of have this notion where I share what, you know, when I go into this talk is impact investing only covers half the problem because is really what does impacted really mean? Negative impact? Positive impact? Neutral impact? Impact impact? So i like to call it “conscious impact”. And because your money, when it’s sitting in your pocket, it has zero charge, zero value, other than what they say that the number on it. The minute it has a charge is how you choose to spend, it where you choose to spend it. And that is where conscious investing is. Are we spending it on an organization that is degrading humanity or are we spending on an organization that is measurably improving the wellbeing? And the same thing again with thoughts. You know we we constantly have thoughts even right now as you and I are talking your brain is already getting ready for the next question and computing what I’m saying and your listeners are probably saying like what the heck is. This thing is always going, right? So the thoughts are always there, just like the money is always in our pockets, but where we decide to deploy these thoughts, is when we see them, that ripple effect. And so that’s why I think it’s absolutely important crucial to reframe impact investing too conscious investing.

Buck: Good stuff, Gordy. So check it, check out Gordy Bal’s stuff on Conscious Thought Revolution, CTR.com CTR.ai. Gordy, thanks for being on Wealth Formula podcast.

Gordy: Absolutely my pleasure Buck. Thanks for having me.

Buck: We’ll be right back.