Often, great businesses start from a-ha moments that end up benefiting many. Having worked in the restaurant industry for years, Cory Warfield saw the need for a scheduling app that could help shift workers. Now, he is the Chief Visionary Officer of ShedWool, which has helped revolutionize the way businesses connect their employees to each other and their work schedules. In this episode, he joins host Ben Baker to share with us his story of making that move to create an app and a business. He talks about his company’s culture and the importance of having people with a leadership mentality. What is more, Cory takes us into Coryconnects, where he helps elevate people and have more targeted customers and connections.
It is a gorgeous day and another wonderful week. I want to thank everybody for being part of this show. It is amazing to me week-after-week, month-after-month, year-after-year that the wonderful comments that I get from people, the generosity, the shares, everything that I get from people because it's all about my guests. It's never about me. It's about my guests because I want to tell their story. I want to help everybody in my audience get better. That's what it's all about. It's about elevating. It's about sitting there and going, “I never thought about that but I can do that too.” That's what this show and the conversation should be about. It's not about us, it's about how we can help others. With that, I've got an amazing guest. Cory Warfield has a company called ShedWool.
I've got a partner of mine that I love to death here in Chicago. We do things together. He's a channel partner with ShedWool. We have shared stages together. I said I wasn't going to use too many names but I'll call Dr. Mario Stanchia out my name. He always calls it SherWood also, so there's something there. We're going to take that. We're going to run with it and it gives me an amazing opportunity to simply say hi. I don't want to cut you off and steal the show but my name is Cory Warfield. I started the company in 2016 called ShedWool and that's a play on the word schedule. It's about a third of the English-speaking world pronounces the word ShedWool. It's spelled funny that I have a scheduling company called ShedWool and for the purposes of this show, we can call it anything other than late for supper.
People call me all sorts of things and I keep telling people the same thing. As long as you feed me, I'm good with it. Cory, welcome to the show. I haven't done that in a long time bugger somebody's name or their company name up. Thank you for being generous but let's get into this. You have an incredible story. A lot of people will say, “I came from nothing.” Years ago, you came from absolutely nothing and you were able to sit there and say, “I'm not going to sit there and grab my knees. I'm not going to sit there and rock back and forth. I'm going to find a way to move forward.” I'm going to let you tell the story of where did you come from, where you are now, and then we'll go from there because it's a great story. People need to know this.
Thank you. I'll back up a little bit even before that. I assume what you're talking about is when I was living on the streets for about a year. Prior to that, I grew up in Evanston in a great family and an AP student in high school. I went to college on a full academic scholarship. College was not for me but at nineteen when I dropped out, I came back to Chicago. I was a computer software tester back in 1997. I’m working on the first Atlas and GPS software in the world with Rand McNally. I left there to become a meteorologist which is the science of weights and measures for pharmaceutical research. We made a number of pharmaceuticals but our big product then and I believe they still are the manufacturers of NutraSweet. They came up with the formulation of the artificial sweetener.
I was making $20 an hour at that time. At nineteen, I was a college dropout. In the '90s, it was a fair amount of money. A year or two after that when I had lost my mind, I didn't want to be alive anymore and gone through some family stuff, some psychological problems. I did find myself on the streets for about a year. Everyone has their own reality. For me, it was interesting. I was sometimes living in and out of motels. I have beautiful girlfriends that I met, we live in their garages and things like that. I was young at that time, I was twenty years old. People my age didn't have their own places and I was no longer in the Chicago land areas. I didn't know anybody.
I wasn't welcome. At that time, we would eat out at garbage can sometimes. I had friends that were also on the street so they knew what to do. They knew you can go to the grocery stores and the food that they had to throw at the end of the day was in bags that were tied up. I wasn't wrestling food at a raccoon's hands or anything like that. For about a year, no job, no place to live, no mailing address. This is back in the late ‘90s, no cell phone, the internet was still new. Believe it or not, what I was trying to do for a living back then was trying to be a rap star. I would go to these open mics up and down the West Coast and I would perform.
Sometimes, I would make a little bit of money and then two days later, I'd be broke for the rest of the week and begged for money to eat. Ultimately, after about a year, I had a girl and she wanted to take me on a homeless vacation. She was also somewhat homeless but she had a brother that was in Colorado and she also had a court date. She found some people that were driving that way that had two seats in their car so she and I hitchhiked to Colorado to a little mountain town from the West Coast. She brought me out there. It was beautiful. I was in this tiny, wealthy town. I felt a sense of belonging. I found a guy that was living in a garage and he was renting the garage for $100 a month from a lady that owned the house. The garage door didn't work, she didn't own the car, and the thing was falling down. Obviously, there's no running water in a garage.
He said, “You can stay with me for a month. If you want to stay longer than that, you can split the rent with me.” For anybody reading would understand that $50 a month is a doable rent but not without a job. I went out and found a job and I started washing dishes at a pizza place there in this small town. For whatever reason, I was the only guy in town that couldn't afford a skiboard or ski. I was available seven days a week, I didn't need to sleep in, and I wasn't up on the hill. I didn't have running water or a bathroom in the garage. I chose to be where there’s warm and running water.
I show up every day early for my shift and stay late. I was the best worker they'd ever had evidently. I got promoted. I started as a busboy. I had a guy that was a local named Peter Yarrow who famously was Peter from Peter, Paul, and Mary. He liked me as a busboy and he requested that they promote me to waiter. They let me wait on Peter when he was in and then I was a busboy other than that for about a month. It’s such a good job. I was early, staying late, and never complained. I started to work my way up. Within about a year, I was now the headwaiter and the training waiter at the nicest restaurant in town, making six figures, making $1,000 a day cash sometimes. I got certified as a sommelier and became a director of a restaurant concept. I got into management and spent nearly the next sixteen years or so working in restaurants.
In that capacity, some of that time I spend as an executive, a consultant to a manager. A lot of the time, I spent time on the floor either as a bartender or a waiter. I developed great people's skills and I was able to make a good living for quite some time. Then I ended up spending all of the savings that I was able to amass in starting my software company. In 2016, I tried to start a wine website. Two years prior, I make my first startup. It was a swing and a mess but it was also a learning experience. One of the things that in retrospect I learned is you can't be a part-time entrepreneur. You’ve got to be all-in and take it from there. Fast forward, the year is 2020, I have 24 people working at ShedWool.In entrepreneurship, we talk about pivoting and being nimble. Click To Tweet
We've been growing that company. We continue to grow head count, revenue, investment, valuation, and all that. I started as the chief visionary officer there. I was the chairman of the board. I've got a startup built around this weird cult following. I ended up calling the people where it's the following itself has become an entity in life unto itself but that's something that we're monetizing. We call that #Coryconnects, which is the hashtag my network gave to me on LinkedIn. I've taken my six-figure following and my millions of views there and try to help people around the world. At this point, I've helped a couple of hundred people get either promoted or dream jobs. We've helped some people get off the streets to some dangerous situations around the world. It helps a lot of people upscale and polish up there. Since I wasn't able to get all my directors, operators, insurance, key man insurance, and all that because how do I know I have to roll with security. That's my security detail.
You've told an incredible story but let's go back. The amazing thing about people in the restaurant industry, I've worked in the restaurant industry, fine dining, and some incredible things, is that those people who have initiative, work hard, that are people-people, and people that are sitting there going, “How can I help others succeed?” People within the industry take notice and they promote you. Customers tend to ask you for a name. What brought you to that point where you sat there and said, “I'm going to go from being a busboy who waits and what's next?” What were the thought processes that were going through your head that sat there and said, “I can be more, I can do more, I can learn more, I can take myself to the next level?” For that full-year where you were living on the streets, that can take a lot of toll out of you. That could take a lot of your ego and self-confidence out of you. How did you get to that point where you sat there and said, “It's time to rebuild and it's time to move forward. It's time to sit there and say, ‘what's next,’ then go out and figure out how to do it?”
I always had the drive. Even on the streets, I was always convinced I was either going to be the world's biggest drug dealer, the world's biggest rapper or something like that. I was never complacent. I was never okay with having nothing. In entrepreneurship, we talk about pivoting and being nimble. Back then, I was trying to find either the easy way or the way that magically worked as someone that was a college dropout that grew up listening to rap music. I was disillusioned. It seemed like I'd seen this work in the movies. At a certain point, it's humbling to wash dishes but that's what got me out of my situation almost inadvertently.
It was not a deliberate strategy at all. I didn't have the foresight to try to pick myself up off the ground in the way that I would do that as an entry-level job. You've got a roof over your head for a low amount of money but I got fortunate to be in a ski town away from anywhere where there are people living in 20,000 square foot homes that sold all the drugs in town. There was no room for me to escalate in that world. You had to be humble. There are people like Oprah Winfrey and Tom Cruise that lived in this town. It’s just a couple thousands. It's all eyes were on you. I was the new guy.
I was told in certain terms, “Don't screw this up.” That's a town that people famously are never heard from again if you don't get accepted into that ecosystem. I knew that it was an opportunity. Frankly, I was fortunate at that time. I had some locals that took to my personality. I'm a recording artist and a performer and I always have been. They let me start to perform with the artists when they came through town. A lot of the artists that come through that town are quite famous like Bob Dylan and James Brown and all that. It was a great opportunity. My life would have never been the same had I not been taken there. I'm a big proponent of everything happens for a reason. I was on the streets prior to that for a reason. Similarly, I was brought to that little mountain town for a reason.
I'm a big believer too. Adversity is only adversity if we don't learn from it. Each and every single one of us has the ability to either sit there and go, “My life is terrible. Everybody is doing something against me. It's somebody else's fault.” We can sit there and say, “This is the situation. This is where I want to go. What am I missing to get to where I need to go? Let's build the relationships, let's see what I need to learn, let's figure it out to be able to move forward.” What I want to talk about is let's talk about ShedWool. Let's talk about how did you figure that out. After 15 and 16 years in the restaurant industry, what was the pain point that you were seeing? What was the frustration that you were seeing that led you to that a-ha moment? That's how businesses are built. Businesses are built because people sit there and go, “There's a problem. How can I fix it?” What was the major problem that you were seeing out there that nobody else was figuring out?
I'm going to take it one step deeper to get to that question. The first thing is I finally reached a point in my 30s where I couldn't wait tables anymore. I had regulars like Steve Harvey, Kevin Hart, Michael Jordan. I had Keith Richards from the Rolling Stones when he was in town, Vince Vaughn who is an actor I grew up respecting, anytime the Bears, any of the local teams had come in, I was their waiter. I had Vice President Joe Biden, former President Bill Clinton. These became people that I'd wait on somewhat regularly. Although they were all nice to me, at least all the ones I mentioned, I didn't mention those that weren't, they all made it incredibly apparent that I was a servant in the castle. I wasn't one of them. They didn't respect me as a human being.
It wasn't intentionally, they all have hearts of gold. It's difficult at a certain station in life to respect the people that you perceive as making low wages being your servant. I started to tune into that. My great aunt married the Crown King of England. He became the Duke of Windsor just to marry her. My grandfather amassed a fortune. He was a guy that came up with the idea of the end caps for grocery stores. I didn't grow up wealthy on the one hit but I always had seen and been tangential to the fact that people can succeed and you can make it on your own. To feel like a servant, even though with a nice car, a nice place to live, a nice-looking wife and all of that, however, that bug was planted a couple of years before I finally waited in my last table.
Understanding that putting on a $300 to $400 outfit, taking a $50 Uber, walking out with $1,000 in cash, and you're still the servant in the castle, it wasn't just humbling, it started to grind at me. Through that lens, I didn't want to be a servant anymore. I was starting to actively try to figure out. I knew I didn't want to go back to college in my late 30s. I didn't feel like I needed to do an MBA. I felt as though I had some competencies but what I had more than anything is I had at that point on and off working about 70 to 80 hours a week in two jobs, full-time to provide for elements and people in my life.
I had the work ethic and the passion so that brings us to the problem that I then saw because I knew that I needed to solve a problem. Scheduling in the restaurant industry is a big problem. The shifts are on call. You don't know until the day if you're going to work or not. They tell you the last minute they don't need you. You can't plan your life around that. A lot of my friends who had children couldn't plan childcare around that. Most childcare traditionally ends at 6:00 PM. The scheduling is, “No one's using data to help drive some of these scheduling decisions.” That's when I decided to come out with what we consider to be a smart shift scheduling platform. ShedWool uses machine learning, artificial intelligence and algorithmic rules-based scheduling to help companies stay compliant and help them with their EBITDA and to return a dismal labor percentage points.
Through that lens, I started to put together the team. I learned some SEO, digital marketing, graphics design, and I learned that I'm not smart enough to code. I'm back on Coursera. I feel like I'll learn a couple of these hybrid languages. Nowadays, I know enough to be dangerous. I'm ready to see if now is the time that I can learn to program. In 2016, it was glaringly obvious that I knew a lot more about wine than I knew about computer architecture or computer sciences. I put together a team, I learned to delegate, and I read some great books. I didn't take no for an answer that the 98% of people in my life that said, “There's no way you can start an app or a business. You know nothing about apps and business.”
I'm grateful I didn't give any credence to anything any of them had to say. I've been fortunate to be blessed with nothing that dumb luck along my journey. Not everything I've done has been lucky. I've learned a lot of hard lessons but everything I've needed to happen has happened. Whenever we need a certain talent or amount of money, or we needed to close a deal, they end up happening in our benefit. When they don't, we learn from them. It's been a journey for years now with ShedWool.
I love the comments and people say, “You don't know what you don't know.” It's amazing how we do things and we're successful despite because there are lots of things that people say, “You can't do it.” They're thinking, “He can't do it because he doesn't know this or this.” They don't articulate it. They just say, “He can't do it.” A lot of our success comes from the fact that we don't know what we don't know but a lot of unsuccessful entrepreneurs try to do everything. You were smart enough to realize, “I have talents. I have things I'm not talented at. I'm going to build a team.” Does that come directly from the team mentality of the restaurant industry? My memories of the restaurant industry are you can't survive alone. If you're a great waiter, you can't survive without a great busboy. You can't deal with a mentor. Somebody at the front making sure the tables are set and cleared. The kitchen, the wine room, everything, it's bringing that whole team together and realizing that everybody has their skill. Was that a real asset for you? How did you take that and move that into building your own business? How did you take that thought process and move it forward?
I've never connected those dots in that capacity but you're right. When I was at the Prime Steakhouse, I helped open and worked until I wait in my last table. It was everything from the food runner and the expediter. Even though I was integral with the wine program, I had a wine runner that was bringing me the $1,000 bottles of vintage Bordeaux to tables in certain sections so that I could be present to take the next order for the $150 Kobe steak. It's not only the right people doing the right things but you trusting the process. I didn't need to worry if my bottle is enough to pop, it’s going to come to the POS station of table 200 while I was overtaking this order for lobster and mashed potatoes. I'd take the order because I knew when I was done and turned around, the bottle of wine was there.
With entrepreneurship as well, I'm not going to look over the shoulders of my tech team. Frankly, I wouldn't know what I was looking at. My PM in my team, we give specs, and we assume that in this state, this product to be released for testing or whatever it might be. I do think my team and a lot of the people might at this point, do notice and make mention of the fact that I do seem to trust the process. That must come from waiting tables and having that team firing on all cylinders.
Trust is huge. You're no longer the CEO, you're the Chief Visionary Officer but as you were building the company, sitting there going, “This is our vision. This is what we're trying to do. This is the goal that we have in mind.” Bring the right people on board and say, “You have the talent to do this. This is what I needed to get done. You figure out how to get it done on time and right.” That's the problem is too many companies out there that hire micromanagers, it frustrates people, and it leads to process being broken down. How do you make sure that your people know this is the vision, this is what we're expecting, this is what we're trying to do and letting them go out, have their individual genius and let them bring that genius to the table?
I say this jokingly and knowing that I have a team that listens to everything I record. I will say that I'm kidding when I say that I accomplished that by yelling. Sometimes, it's a matter of articulating and then re-articulating. I'm an empath. I do try and look in anything and everything I do say or portray. It’s how it's going to be received. Culture comes from the top down. If I say something, it's my opportunity and my obligation to make sure that people understand it. Through that lens, it's always knowing the right questions to ask. You trust people to a degree but you make sure that you're setting them up for success. My team hears me say often and to every single person as an individual that I'm there to set them up for success.
If I do that and they don't succeed, it's on me but they will be gone. I'll take that as a learning experience. I don't like to fire people. I don't like any of that. When I say set them up to succeed, it's almost selfishly so that I don't have to be going and do anything difficult. I'm big on saying that, “Together we rise.” That's the mentality I bring to my team as well. The only way we're going to succeed is if we all do deliver upon what's expected of us, go above and beyond, do it for all the right reasons, and give each other that opportunity and freedom to fail because those failures add up to our successes.
That's one of the biggest things. People on my team, 90% but close to 100% are not afraid to fail. I admit it, “Let's figure out how we can learn from those.” I celebrate failures personally and I hope they do the same. To your point, everybody processes things a bit differently. What I can't do is tell everyone this because I can smile when I lose so they need to do the same. I found that being an executive is more like being a babysitter than anything else as well. It's understanding how different people respond to different situations and meeting them where they're at.
Being a leader is a challenging thing because it's about inspiration, communication, and allowing people to do things their own way. How do you go ahead and teach people how to be leaders themselves? The way to how to grow a company is for great leaders to create the next generation of leaders and allow them to create the next generation of leaders. How do you go and make sure that the people that work for you have a leadership mentality and that they are set up to not only succeed on their own but to help other people succeed in the company?Culture comes from the top down. If a leader says something, it's their opportunity and obligation to make sure that people understand it. Click To Tweet
With ShedWool, I cheated. My CTO has got six exits and he’s one of the guys that help create the smartphone. He’s got 120 patents. I brought in a guy to support him as our product manager that was a CTO of Princeton Review and they went public. My CEO was the Director of Technology for McDonald’s US for many years. My Director of Marcomm built a multimillion-dollar marketing company in the event space. I got lucky and I brought in global leaders in their spaces that represented the skillsets and the reputations that I needed. I don't say that lightly. I'm not being cavalier. I know not everybody can go out and get global leaders. I don't know that I could do it again if I tried and it's not something anybody should aspire to.
I got fortunate and some of that is years into the venture. I figured out who the right people might be and figured out ways. Some of it is using LinkedIn even to get on their radars, to earn their respect, and things of that nature. What I would say more generally is the way that I would anticipate, especially with some of my new ventures, is setting people up for leaders to come in, lead by might examples. Incidents and one-offs where they can see me come in. I say something that needs to get done and I do it and then leave them with the opportunity to rinse, wash, and repeat. I don't want to have to come in and do something twice. If so, I didn't teach it right the first time.
What I'll then do is I'll make sure that I have people in the process that I can then entrust. For me, it's all about empowerment and entrusting. That third time, it won't be me. If I've got people that didn't understand and I've got people that do that can teach them. To me, that scalable. I could be off teaching a new skill to a new subset of employees, prospects, running a demo, writing a book, learning how to surf, or whatever it is I'm doing that week.
If you need a great surf teacher, I got one in Australia. He's an Australian champion. If you ever need that connection, Scotty that's you, I’m happy to make those connections for you.
What's Scotty’s last name?
I know Scott.
He’s an amazing guy and surfer. He was a great guest on this show.
He and I have spent some time chatting and I like him a lot. I've got family in Hawaii that lives with and spends some time with Jack Johnson, the musician, but he's also the editor-in-chief of Surf Style Magazine. He spent about nine months on Sir Richard Branson's yacht with him and took some epic pictures of Richard Branson surfing. Those guys have always told me they'd give me a lesson but getting down to Australia and spending some time with Scotty might be even better because he'll take the time to make sure I understand it. I won't be having to try to keep up.
I played my first round in golf up in Door County, Wisconsin. I played eighteen holes with a former PGA guy. When he's talking about some of the guys on Natori, they call him by the first name. He's talking about Phil, Jack, and Tiger did this and we're on the course. He was much better than me but I learned so much watching him and I had the best time ever. Now, I feel like that's going to be me with surfing. The next thing you know, I'm going to be surfing, golfing, ex-CEO, and loving every minute of it.
It doesn’t sound terrible. Anytime you want to pick up the sticks, give me a call. I’m always happy to play. Let's switch gears a little bit. Before I let you go, I want to talk a little bit about #Coryconnects. I want to find out a little bit more about what was the thought process that brought that together and what are you trying to achieve with that? As you said, it's elevating. It's raising the water for everybody. I want to hear it more from you and decided to say, where do you want to take that? What's your vision for that expanding?
I'll bring some news here on your show then. For me, I'll give most of it away. It's not about a dollar amount but we'll be a multibillion-dollar company. Effectively, what I've done since I started to be active on LinkedIn is learn on a scientific level how to grow on LinkedIn. I A/B test the algorithm. I find out the little things. Sometimes, it's a space at the beginning of a second line. If you post on mobile, make a post to a little bit better. It used to be a certain amount of hashtags in a certain order or placement and all those little things. Every time I figured something out, I do content around it and teach people freely.
People come to me and want me to help them revamp their profile. They want me to help teach them how to use content. When I was bootstrapping ShedWool, people came to me in such numbers wanting me to teach them that I started doing some paid coaching and masterminding. I was able to hire some people and pay some people to help with ShedWool with the money I was making off of my LinkedIn coaching. It's been this somewhat natural progression. I say this lovingly to my ShedWool team but I had an opportunity at the beginning of COVID where some competent college students have been offered paid internships. When COVID happened in this company, he said no. The budget was gone. The opportunity was gone. They didn't have the time, the resources to crash.
They weren't going to pay college kids money to come in and learn. A guy came to me and he said, “Cory, I know you love to help people, you've got a company. I've got some interns that would be amazing. I don't expect you to pay them. They know Margaret expects to be paid for an internship but now, they've got nothing but time. They could learn a lot from you. We know you've got a heart. These other companies are saying no, we're hoping that you'll say yes and that you'll bring these kids under your wing.” I said, “I'm very happy to do that.” I made the introduction to my executive team. God bless them. They said the same thing all these other companies said that we don't have the time.
It was disheartening. They said no to free labor. Three of these kids are programmers, full-stack developers. One of them has done some projects for the government, for the biggest tech company in the world, and paid quite a bit. I couldn't understand where the disconnect was but what I wasn't going to do is say that I wasn't going to help them. The ShedWool wasn't going to help them. I brought them in any way. I said, “It's not going to be for ShedWool and I don't want to put you all through a situation where you're going to have my executive team. I want you to fill out all this paperwork and give you this hard time and give you all these lines from the sand. We're not going to do that. I will bring you under my wing and I will let you help grow my personal brand. You will be able to not only put that in your portfolio. I will help you out as though I'm your coach and you won't pay me anything. I will teach you in a true apprenticeship fashion but what we've got here is an opportunity to make some money. We'll do an even profit share in anything we can bring in. You make what I make, we're going to become a family and I’m going to empower you.”
I talked to a buddy of mine in Pittsburgh that needs to have a video game company. They've won the game of the year at PAX which is the big video game conference. They've got the exclusive license to remake cartridges for Nintendo and Sega and all these things. They're doing the video game right now for Mike Tyson and for Popeye. My buddy is the CEO of this company. I told him that I was bringing on some smart tech interns to help with my personal brand. He said, “Cory, you should have a video game.” “I don't disagree with you.” He said, “You come up with an idea and we'll get started on it.” I went back to my team and then we had what I think is going to end up being a world-changing idea. It's in development right now. We're putting together a chat box and I stood corrected. I thought it was chatbot and it's not. It's a chatbox. Our chatbox looks like me, it acts like me, it winks and it talks.
This will blow your mind. What this does in real-time is what Grammarly does for grammar but it does it for social media. When you're using LinkedIn as a user, it will do everything that I've ever taught anybody in real-time using automation completely for free. As you're writing a post that'll say, “Don't do #BusinessGoals. It's got no followers. It's going to confuse the algorithm.” Do, “#Business #Goals put it at the end of the post, it's going to reach ten times the amount of feed or you hit post and it says no, we recommend you wait two hours because twenty other people in your geographic location hit post and this is going to get lost in the feed.” You can bypass any of these things like in Grammarly, you can misspell something, you just say ignore it, it's going to ignore it.
You can do that in this bot as well but it's giving you real-time suggestions. You can use this bot as a recruiter, job seeker, or an influencer. It gives you different tips and tricks. If you're a job seeker, it's going to say, “Here's a template of a post you should post. Insert your skills so you want to work with here. By the way, these are three recruiters online in your industry that are on the platform right now, actively engaging with posts, tagged them.” It's amazing because what it's going to do is it's going to give millions of people opportunities to grow, get more followers, more engagement, get more targeted, but also to get jobs to upskill.
To have more targeted customers and connections. It's going to be, give your stuff in the eyes of people that care about it.
In the right format so that it can be index, it gets that visibility, people can 10x their views, 10x their followers, 10x their efficacy, they can use that as a salesperson to get more targeted leads, get them qualified, start at the conversation. We have partners that automate that conversation. Where are we going where that becomes important? It's free. We have ways to monetize that. We believe that Microsoft and LinkedIn will buy that as a standalone product because it keeps people spending more time on the platform and generates the right data. The Coryconnects video game that we’re building, it takes that into a virtual world. You play the game as a job seeker, recruiter, or an influencer.Failures add up to our successes. Click To Tweet
In the game, you're walking around on what we're calling Coryland. It's like Disneyland. There are different worlds. You've got resumes. That's how it is but in the game, you do things like go on and build up your profile, your resume and CV, and then we help optimize it for ATS or for first impression. You go on and use it as a job seeker, your avatar will go, “You find the recruiter and you interview with this. After using some data points, here's how you could have done better. You were asked these three questions. You should have said this based on your history. Why didn't you mention this? They were looking for this. You didn't say it.”
You get all these bullet points on how to interview back that the recruiter avatar gets the same thing, “This person had two years of experience. You had five years minimum requirement. You wasted your time. They only have a Bachelor's, you required the Master’s.” When you ask them if they have any other questions and they said no, you could oppress by saying this. Everyone walks away a little smarter but here's where the magic happens. That could have been two real people. After every bit of data is analyzed and given back to them, they will be asked if that was a real person on the other end, “Would you want to facilitate a real second interview?” We're now gamifying recruiting. We're sitting at that intersection.
It could be a real person if it said, “Would you be interested?” All of a sudden, you'll connect with that actual person.
If it was a real people in a double opt-in. It takes all the friction out. It's fun. We're getting some IP around a lot of that. We've got companies looking to put some big money into the game right now in game placement. The job seeker is going to interview many times a day, you'll need more energy. The Starbucks is one, they have to go find a latte, does rock star wanting to have to find an energy drink? We're talking to a functional beverage company about being the energy up in the game. The same thing for recruiters, who's going to be the end-game recruiting house? If you're in one land and you need to get to another, you might have credits where you need to take a Lyft or Uber or VA gets in. We've got many fun ways to monetize this thing. My team are brilliant. I hired a team of nine to help with that initiative. We've got an extension that's a sales arm and extension that's our PR arm. We're having a lot of fun.
I could sit here and talk to you all day but I want to ask you one last question before you go. Here's something that's going to tell the tale. When you leave a meeting and you drive away, what's the one thing you want people to think about you when you're not in the room?
The pun is intended and you'll know why it's a pun but the answer is going to be weird and here's why. What people say about me when I leave a room right now, I know what they say and it's what I already want them to say. It wasn't calculated but it's now something that I'm okay with and I'm okay with moving forward. When I leave that party, that board room, whatever it is, people are saying, “He is weird.” I'm perfectly fine with that because what they mean by, “He is weird,” is he's got so much energy. I'm not used to seeing that. He's ambitious. Ben, I'll tell you, I talk to engineers at some of the international agencies.
I've got an idea using physics and 3D printing to get to the bottom of the ocean. If that works, we can use it to get to the moon. That's the type of thing I'm involved with. I believe I've identified a way to make small, sustainable batteries that'll always have a charge that are ecologically friendly. I studied things like ways to turn plastic in the ocean into edible food and to break it down. If people don't think I'm weird, then they either weren't listening or I wasn't allowed to talk. I don't need people to think I'm a genius. I've been told that many times. I love the quote, “Ridicule is the tribute paid to the genius.” I'm okay with that. I've got my share of haters in Chicago, the US, around the world, on LinkedIn. I have nothing but love for my haters. I don't need everybody to like me. I'm not there to impress. I'm not there to play hate. I am a good listener as well. I don't need to be the only one talking. When people meet me and I leave, if they're not alone thinking that I was weird, they're actively saying it and I'm perfectly fine with that.
Cory, I love this conversation. I love your passion. I love your insight. You think big, you take it lucky to sit there and say, “What if?” and not to say, “Why not?” It's a beautiful thing. I love people that are looking towards the future, sitting there and going, “What could be because we don't have all the answers? We haven't asked all the questions.” I love people that are thinking big. Thank you for being on the show and thanks for your passion.
You're welcome. I want to say one last thing as it pertains to you and anyone reading. I have personally read your book, Ben, and it's amazing. I want to thank you for your book. It touches a big part of my life and some things that I've chosen to not pursue as much, however the way you articulate it, the book is fun. I've shared it with some people through the #Coryconnects Channel. The feedback has been great. Not for nothing, but I'm a fan, not only your show but your book in a view of you and yours as well. Thanks for having me. It's been a pleasure and honor.
Powerful Personal Brands was a great book to write. I love that it touched you. I appreciate that.
A 20-year restaurant-industry veteran turned entrepreneur, I have been blown away by my reception on LinkedIn that has resulted in a 6-figure following/engagement & millions of views around the globe.
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