Full Transcript: Silicon Valley-Based Entrepreneur Clarence Wooten On GHOGH Podcast
They discuss Bitcoin’s long-term prospects and how blockchain has opened up new capital-raising opportunities for entrepreneurs. Clarence also talks about his new venture, STEAMRole, meritocracy, and common mistakes founders make.
Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 15: Clarence Wooten Jamarlin talks with Silicon Valley-based entrepreneur Clarence Wooten, who sold his first tech business for $23M. They discuss Bitcoin’s long-term prospects and how blockchain has opened up new capital-raising opportunities for entrepreneurs.
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This is a full transcript of the conversation which has been lightly edited for clarity.
Jamarlin Martin: You’re listening to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin. We have a go hard or go home approach as we talk to the leading tech leaders, politicians and influencers. Let’s GHOGH! Today we have the CEO and founder of RoleCoin and STEAMRole, Clarence Wooten, welcome to the show Clarence.
Clarence Wooten: It’s great to be here Jamarlin, and thanks for having me.
Jamarlin Martin: Let’s dive right in. You’re an OG here in Silicon Valley. Share your story with us.
Clarence Wooten: Yeah. It’s interesting you say I’m an OG here in Silicon Valley because my tech career started long before I even arrived in Silicon Valley. I had Silicon Valley connections, I tapped into Silicon Valley law firms, but I started off doing it from Maryland, from the east coast. So when I came to Silicon Valley in 2011, I was surprised to see that there were not a lot of brothers who were entrepreneurs who were doing it at a high level here in Silicon Valley. I got introduced to tech at an early age through video games. I’m going to take you way back. I was an only child. I didn’t grow up with a lot of money, but each Christmas I could get one big gift and when I was a kid I got a Atari computer, not even a computer. I got an Atari game system and started playing games and fell in love with playing video games, but I couldn’t afford the cartridges. They were too expensive. My parents couldn’t afford to keep buying me cartridges. So someone told me that if I got a Commodore computer I could copy games. So I guess I am an OG because half these people haven’t even heard of Commodore these days. And that kind of blew my mind. Then someone said if you get a modem you could download games, which blew my mind even further. So as a young teenager I got caught up in computers. And so that’s really what first exposed me to tech and in some ways exposed me to entrepreneurship. Fast forwarding, after finishing college in the mid nineties, I immediately, um, there was this new thing called the.com explosion that was taking place and I started a multimedia company in college called Metamorphosis Interactive Studios, and we were doing CD-rom-based edutainment software. Then the bottom fell out of the CD-rom market, and this thing called the web started taking off and I started noticing that anything that had a dotcom name on it was able to raise a lot of funding. So we kind of pivoted our business and we started building websites.
Jamarlin Martin: How much equity did you own in that venture?
Clarence Wooten: Well, Metamorphosis Studios it was just me and an old business partner of mine, a guy named Andre Ford. So we were 50/50 partners. We were a service business. So it wasn’t really that sophisticated. I wasn’t really sophisticated as it as it related to capitalizing a business or any of that. I became more sophisticated over time because I became a student of Silicon Valley. Right? I read this book called ‘Burn Rate’ and it talked about this law firm in Silicon Valley called Wilson Sonsini. And this is in 1996, 97 I’m reading this book. And I also watched the guys at Yahoo go from Phd students to having received $3,000,000 in funding from Sequoia. And that was eyeopening to me. So at that particular point I wanted to get out of the service business and start a true dotcom. But I recognized I would have to learn how to leverage other people’s money and other people’s time in order to truly grow a true tech startup. And that’s when I became a student in Silicon Valley. After that came the creation of imagecafe.com. Image Cafe was kind of the world’s first superstore of prefabricated websites to go, kind of like what Wix and Squarespace is today. We were acquired in November of 1999 by Network Solutions, which back then had a monopoly on domain names. They were pretty much what GoDaddy is today. And so that really solidified my path as an entrepreneur. And I was fortunate because we all know in 2000 the bubble burst and many of those dotcoms went out of business. So I kinda hit that market right? And kinda changed my life because I didn’t grow up with any money, so that gave me sort of resources to continue in this space and I’ve been kind of a serial…
Jamarlin Martin: What was the size of the exit? How many employees and how much?
Clarence Wooten: Yeah. So, you know, we had raised about $750,000. I literally tell people I went from Silicon Valley to Silicon Alley raising money because at the time I was doing that startup, I was based in Columbia, Maryland. So, far away from Silicon Valley. But it was the dawn of the dotcom era. But I took advantage of Silicon Valley resources, I had relationships out here. I kind of laughed because back then it was a young attorney at Wilson Sonsini named Mike Arrington, who was my attorney. Mike later went on and founded Tech Crunch many years later. But six years prior, he was my attorney at Image Cafe. So the exit, we were acquired for $23,000,000, which doesn’t sound like a big exit today since we’re in a age of unicorn companies and billion dollar exits. But for an African American kid from Baltimore who didn’t grow up with money, whose parents didn’t really have a lot of money, uh, it was game changing, you know, particularly from my neighborhood. No one expected me to really do anything, but to turn around and do that really put me on the map.
Jamarlin Martin: Walk us through, you’re showing your company, you have a buyer, walk the audience through the process, the negotiation and how that played out.
Clarence Wooten: Yeah. Well first off, I really wasn’t selling the company, because if you sell a company, you’re not going to get a premium. If you’re acquired, you’ll get a premium. So it’s the difference between putting a for sale sign out in your yard or having somebody to knock on your door and say, we want your house, get out. Right? So we weren’t really selling the company, I was in the middle of raising a series A, and as part of that series A, we recognized that we needed distribution and Network Solutions had distribution. They were selling millions of domain names each month, and a domain name was like the building permit and a website was the building. So we knew that if we could get in their shopping cart purchase flow, that we could help them maybe double their market cap if they could sell two websites which were a higher ticket item then domain names for every 10 domain names they sold. And by the time we really articulated that vision and strategy to them because we wanted them to participate in as a strategic investor in our series A, their new CEO started writing on a wall and was like, we need to own these guys. And so back then everything was about speed to market. So when they originally reached out to want to sort of acquire the company, I said no, because I had spent several months trying to get Draper, a firm in New York and Network Solutions all to co-invest, and then it became clear that maybe I should take some of this off the table, you know, I had a young daughter at the time, and I looked in her eyes and I’m like, because I had visions of being a billion dollar company, I thought we’d be selling too soon, but I’m glad I took the money off the table because we all know what happened six months after Image Cafe was acquired by Network Solutions, the bubble bursts and financial downturn hits. And so people thought the web had died until web 2.0, which was sort of the next big movement.
Jamarlin Martin: So your current company, STEAMRole, and RoleCoin, you’re leveraging blockchain, you have your own cryptocurrency. Can you talk a little bit about that in terms of how you’re applying blockchain technology?
Clarence Wooten: Yeah. So first before I talk about RoleCoinole I’ll talk a little bit about STEAMRole, because for us the ICO is the icing, not the cake. The cake is our company and so STEAMRole, we’re a mission-driven company, and we spell it STEAM R O L E, Steam as in science, technology, engineering, art design and math and role as in role model because we bring those two things together, and our mission is to help the workforce of the future discover whom they can become and how to get there. And we do that with our STEAMRole mobile app. We want to make it so that busy STEAM professionals like engineers at Google or designers at Nike or people at Space X can really showcase who they are and how they got to where they are and our APP, which is analogous to kind of Tinder meets Snapchat for discovering your dream career. So we make it easy for these role models to sort of record little story clip videos about how they grew up, who inspired them, etc. So that any Steamer, we call our users Steamers, students and aspiring young professionals primarily ages 13 to 30, but primarily I would say college students who are trying to figure out how to get to that next level. They can, it, they can receive inspiration and guidance from a huge network of people who look like them, who are killing it, and STEAM professions and actually learn their skills and earn while they learn. So we introduced RoleCoin as a cryptocurrency, to kind of gamify the experience. So if you’re a role model and just sharing your story via the story clip videos you are minting RoleCoin. If you’re a student and you’re following the roadmaps or role models, you are earning RoleCoin while you learn. That was part of why we developed RoleCoin. The other piece to that is we realized we could build an economy around the company to tie all the actors in the ecosystem kinda together and to increase the probability of success of STEAMRole, quite frankly.
Jamarlin Martin: A lot of cryptos had been crushed. Bitcoin, Ether, a lot of people have been burned trying to get in on the hot thing. Do you see Bitcoin and Ether recovering in the next two years?
Clarence Wooten: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. I mean, I tell anybody who gets into the crypto space that this is the long game, not a short game. It’s a reason why despite all the negative press around crypto that you still hear news that Wall Street is getting into the game. It’s the reason Goldman Sachs is buying a crypto exchange. Blockchain technology is here to stay. It’s distributed, it’s global and it can’t be controlled by any one nation state. It will be volatile because there’s lots of FUD being spread about it. Some of it is very accurate, and there needs to be some level of regulation because they are a lot of bad actors. But ultimately the long term potential for this technology is unmistakable and is not going anywhere. I tell people all the time, it’s going to be volatile, but it’s volatility on a hockey stick curve.
Jamarlin Martin: Share your thoughts on how decentralization in block chain could actually help solve some of the problems of inequality. And let’s just use a black entrepreneurs for an example in terms of raising capital.
Clarence Wooten: Oh yeah. Um, that’s one of the things that really excited me about the whole ICO space in general. When I look at Silicon Valley, I’ve been here for quite a while. It’s almost a self-fulfilling prophecy. Prophecy. If you are an entrepreneur and you’re trying to get scale capital and all the entrepreneurs that are getting scale capital from VCs look certain way, then of course if you find a thousand of those guys, you’re going to get a Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates out of that. A couple of them. African Americans have not been successful by an large at raising scale capital, meaning enough capital to really sustain the business and allow a business model to take hold and begin to explode. And the ICO game has the potential of changing that. If you can tap into crowdfunding and incentivize and entire community to get them rallied around your business and investing in your token and that gets you to scale capital you need, I think you’ll begin to see more black-led unicorn companies. So yeah, that’s super exciting.
Jamarlin Martin: Can you talk a little bit about the opportunities to tokenize equity where I don’t have to come to Sand Hill Road, I don’t have to come to the top VCs, but there’s ample liquidity out there to fund my startup? And just in terms of how you see the applications of blockchain, tokenization playing out.
Clarence Wooten: Well, when I think about where we are, we’re going through a major shift. I think the first shift was the internet, right? So that’s going back about 30 years. The next shift was mobile, and I think this is the third shift which is decentralization, which is blockchain. And I think in the shift assets becoming digital and distributed, right? And liquidity is becoming digital and distributed. So the notion of equity in itself probably begins to change. So for example, I’ve been an angel investor as well for a long time and the level of diligence I have to do on an angel investment that’s going to be illiquid because I’m going to own equity in this startup is significantly higher than a level of diligence I need to do on an angel investment that’s going to be liquid within four months. So instead of being locked up for four years, like a typical angel investment that I would make on a place like Angel List or in a young entrepreneur startup, and, and in a tokenized world, in a world of ICOs, I might be locked up for four months, so I can get in and get out much quicker, which changes the whole element of diligence in general. So it changes the game quite a bit. I love the fact that I can acquire almost a proxy for equity, I don’t even need equity, right? Because at the end of the day, the point of owning equity is to be able to generate a return if I can invest, buy in or buy out of somebody’s business in a highly liquid fashion that gives me everything I need. So to me, that excites me to no end and to be able to offer investors an opportunity to buy into what I’m building without technically giving them any equity through a token, like RoleCoin is also interesting. Now I do think it’s a very tight line between what is the utility and what is the security. So you kind of got balance that I think a lot of the old models that put assets into one or two of those buckets will have to change because in some ways tokens are a hybrid. They’re a bit of utility and they also have a bit of a security until we really get our clear rules around that. Everyone’s trying to sort of protect themselves, but we believe that what we’re doing is a utility token, but we’re gonna treat it in this country like it’s a security.
Jamarlin Martin: Thanks everybody for listening to GHOGH. You can check me on out @JamarlinMartin on Twitter and also come check us out at Moguldom.com. That’s M O G U L D O M dot com. Be sure to subscribe to our daily newsletter. You can get the latest information on crypto, tech, economic empowerment and politics. Let’s get back to the podcast. What do you have to say to your establishment venture capitalist who says, look, the east Indians out here are being funded. There’s some Asians being funded, this is a meritocracy. Black people are just not coming with what we’re looking for in terms of A-plus game. You guys are not getting high enough grades to be part of the elite team and stop crying about racism. What do you say to them?
Clarence Wooten: Well first of all, I think it’s hogwash to a certain extent because you know, talent is equally distributed across race, gender, and geography. Right? So let me repeat that. Talent is equally distributed across race, gender, and geography, inspiration and guidance and opportunity or not, right? So understanding that notion, you have to ask yourself, why aren’t quote-unquote blacks really killing it? Because we kill it in everything else we do, we kill it in sports, we kill it in any industry that we’ve been exposed to and we’ve been prepared for, and we and we do it and we do it at a very, very high level in those industries. So why is that not happening in Silicon Valley? Which really goes back to the reason we created STEAMRole, right? Because of the fact that information is widely available. Right now we’re in an age where you can pretty much learn anything if you have access to the internet. But inspiration and guidance isn’t. So for example, if I’m a kid and I grew up in Palo Alto, I, I know that, you know, if I get a job early enough at a company like Facebook or Google while it’s young, I become a multimillionaire and do really, really well. Or even if I don’t get a job early enough, those careers pay a lot of money and I can afford to live here. If I live in a place like rural Alabama or inner city Baltimore, like where I’m from, I don’t have role models like that. So my role models become athletes and entertainers and as a result, that’s where I put my talent and some of that talent you have to be born with, so what we’re doing with steam roll is by empowering busy STEAM professionals to showcase who they are and how they got to where they are. We’re trying to scale mentorship and scale inspiration and guidance so that anyone from anywhere can see an example of someone who looks like them who is killing it in STEAM and follow that roadmap.
Jamarlin Martin: But my question is, for the white venture capitalist, when he or she says, ‘Hey, Indians come out here, they’re getting funded. You guys are not getting funded at the same rate. Don’t tell us that we’re racist. You guys are just not bringing game. There’s dark Indians there, it’s not a color thing. It’s not a race thing’. What do you have to say about that?
Clarence Wooten: Indians didn’t start out getting funded when they came here. Right? They weren’t getting funded period. So they had to pull together themselves and fund. But I look at Indians and most ethnic minorities completely different than I have to look at African Americans because when they come to this country to came to this country together and they work together in unity, we came to this country in a different way. We didn’t come in an organized fashion with structure, where we can support each other financially. We came here on the bottom of ships and so we don’t have some of the same advantages that they have, so they were able to pull together and fund some of themselves early on until enough of them sort of became super successful and became shining examples that, hey, you can bet on an Indian or an Asian and still build a unicorn company when that hasn’t been seen in the African American community because we haven’t been able to fund ourselves enough to get the scale, but blockchain and crypto will enable us to do that. And once one of us or more gets to that unicorn level, then we will change the perception.
Jamarlin Martin: I don’t buy that. So Ben Horowitz on Twitter, he mentioned a point of view that once you have a few or one black unicorn, the white investors are going to start opening up their wallet. They’re gonna change. I just don’t buy that.
Clarence Wooten: Why do we even need to wait for that? Right? So whether you buy or I buy it, who wants to wait for that? Right now let’s raise capital at scale leveraging what’s in front of us, leveraging blockchain technology, right? And let’s, do you know what needs to be done. I mean, I think venture capital needs to change the demographics of venture capital needs to be changed. He looked at the #metoo movement, that’s creating more women at high level positions. I mean the diversity discussion and Silicon Valley has really become about women, more so than about all diversity. It’s about women, right? Because I guess that’s more palatable. And I champion that, I’m the father of two daughters, but diversity means diversity. It doesn’t just mean women, it doesn’t just mean black people. It means diverse and venture capital is not very diverse. And I think as venture capital becomes more diverse, you’ll start seeing the equal distribution of unicorns and successful entrepreneurs because they’ll be funded. People tend to fund who looks like them, who they’re comfortable with or who fits a particular template for what’s been successful in the past.
Jamarlin Martin: To that point, I’ve heard east Indian entrepreneurs, not black entrepreneurs, east Indian entrepreneurs say that we need to hire a white executive or the investor tells them, hire a white CEO, then I’ll fund you. Have you heard some of that stuff?
Clarence Wooten: Yeah. I think we’ve heard the same story from similar people. That was yesteryear, that’s not happening today.
Jamarlin Martin: Okay. Got It.
Clarence Wooten: No, that was yesteryear. Now you got the Vinod Khoslas in Silicon Valley. You have the CEO of Google, right? So the perception of the Indian entrepreneur has changed drastically over the last decade and a half.
Jamarlin Martin: But it still applies to the black entrepreneur in terms of black entrepreneurs filling or being pressured. The young entrepreneurs in Miami, for example, tech entrepreneurs, they’re like, hey, should I bring some white executives to the team so I can get a fair look in terms of the credibility of my startup?
Clarence Wooten: Absolutely. That’s true. It’s happening today.
Jamarlin Martin: Do you recommend that?
Clarence Wooten: And do I recommend it? Bottom line is my view of raising capital is the Malcolm X view, by any means necessary. So whatever you need to do to make your business a success. If you’re an entrepreneur, it sucks, the rules of the game might be different. Whatever you need to do, you need to do it to be successful. And then when you get to the top you can start thinking about how you can change it, right? But if we sit around and get upset because the deck is stacked against us, we’re wasting too much mental energy on things other than being successful. So we recognize that the deck is stacked, so we just have to be twice as good to get half as far. As long as you know that you, you’re willing to put the work in.
Jamarlin Martin: You’ve been in the game for a while. Right now based on the current fundraising environment, where are you seeing young entrepreneurs make the biggest mistakes in terms of getting off the ground, based on your experience and the temperature out here in Silicon Valley?
Clarence Wooten: Yeah. Young entrepreneurs make the biggest mistakes across everybody. I think mistakes are actually good. The key is fail fast and fail cheap, and learn from those mistakes.
Jamarlin Martin: Is there a pattern of mistakes that you’ve seen where, hey, I wish I had the opportunity to mentor this sister or this brother where they just don’t get it in terms of how the game works, where the market is, where the liquidity is, how to play the narrative?
Clarence Wooten: I think the belief that they can raise a significant amount of capital based on a business plan alone, or not a business plan, just the business model alone and a slide deck. That’s a problem. Particularly if you’re in the software game, you cannot raise capital just based on a vision, unless you’re a repeat entrepreneur, have had a tremendous amount of success and your name and people recognize that you’re going to be able to ultimately execute, right? So here in Silicon Valley it is really important for you to understand that anybody who’s going to invest in you based on an idea alone, they’re not investing in your business, they’re investing in you personally. So you need to target your pitch towards investors that know you personally when you’re at that stage. Now, once you get beyond that stage and you actually have a product, now you know you can begin to raise capital because you’ve eliminated some execution risk in people’s minds and you can begin to raise capital from investors that don’t necessarily know you, but can now see your vision because you’ve already executed some. So typically I see a lot of young entrepreneurs come here without a product and they try to go after investors to back just their idea when no one’s going to back your idea at that stage because it’s really, they’re betting on you. So you’ve got to find a way, whether your people have money or not, to find people who can get excited about you personally, and find them as your earliest investors. Don’t waste time on other investors until you actually have the product.
Jamarlin Martin: So you’ve been out here a while. I’m sure as a black man you face challenges before the diversity stuff was popular. You were in the game before diversity conversations became really popular. First can you share some of the challenges you’ve had as a black man here in Silicon Valley? And then, I see people leave Silicon Valley, like I’m not feeling the culture, I’m not finding the support I need, but you’re right here in the belly of the beast and you’re still doing it. You’re working on another startup. You’re staying right here in Silicon Valley. Can you talk about your approach?
Clarence Wooten: Despite its negatives, there’s a lot of positives about being in Silicon Valley. I mean the reason that ultimately came to Silicon Valley after having been in the tech game for years is because I came to the conclusion that the tech industry is a lot like the entertainment industry, right? You can be an actor and live anywhere, but you’re not going to become Denzel or Will Smith unless you move to Hollywood. So I didn’t want to be a big fish in a small pond like Maryland. I wanted to come to where the deals are getting done. So Silicon Valley is not just about raising capital, it’s an ecosystem of companies and people here and it’s a culture of entrepreneurship and if you really thrive off of that culture, then you will want to be in the belly of the beast now. So for me, I get excited by that, but I do understand how a lot of people come out here, and don’t stick around because they just don’t feel a warm and welcoming environment. The same thing happens to minorities when we end up in big tech companies and we find out we’re the only woman or the only black engineers on the team. It’s lonely, right? So, I think part of my upbringing helps me with this. I’m from Inner City Baltimore…
Jamarlin Martin: To a certain extent, are you just harder than a lot of the other people? Like essentially, Hey, I’m from, I’m from Baltimore. I’ve seen a lot of things and I’m gonna run into some shit, but it’s not really going to slow me down too much.
Clarence Wooten: Well what I was going to say is that, I went to eight different public schools growing up in and around Baltimore. Every couple of years my parents got separated and we moved to the suburbs and so I would go from an inner city community that was all black to a primarily Jewish suburb or one that was predominantly Russian. And so I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was developing social skills and becoming comfortable around all people.
Jamarlin Martin: I have a similar experience. I’ve probably gone to eight schools and grew up around all different types of people. Yeah, go ahead.
Clarence Wooten: And so that’s helped me in Silicon Valley because I don’t mind walking down the street and not very often seeing other black male entrepreneurs in downtown Palo Alto. I mean, I’d love to see more of us. That’s part of the reason why we’re doing STEAMRole, but that’s not going to dissuade me. I’m going to be friends with whoever’s here and I’m going to feel comfortable around anybody, and that’s a function of probably how I grew up and my personality. So I think that’s been helpful. But at the end of the day, I believe you can win without being in Silicon Valley, but I do think Silicon Valley accelerates your chances at winning, not just from a capital raising perspective, but from a business development perspective. My Rolodex is enormous in tech, and that wouldn’t have happened had I not planted some roots here in Silicon Valley.
Jamarlin Martin: You mentioned, you may run into less than 10 black people on a regular basis in Silicon Valley. That can’t be…
Clarence Wooten: In Palo Alto. I consider Palo Alto to be the Beverly Hills of Silicon Valley. Right? But if I go to Oakland, that’s still part of Silicon Valley, it’s bay area. I see lots of black people and lots of black entrepreneurs. And don’t get me wrong, I actually came to Palo Alto because I wanted to be, like you said, in the belly of the beast. And I was also looking for a good school system for my kids, right?
Jamarlin Martin: Yeah. When you think about inequality though, if you’re saying like, ‘Hey, I’m in the streets, in Palo Alto, in Silicon Valley, and I’m not really seeing black people out here’. And the wealth is concentrated now in Palo Alto, but there’s no black people here. So the math seems like it’s super, super simple there.
Clarence Wooten: Well, I can talk a lot about Palo Alto. I think Palo Alto today is even different than what it was before I moved out here. When I came out to Palo Alto in the late nineties trying to figure out if I needed to relocate to Silicon Valley or if I could do it in Maryland as an entrepreneur, it had a different feel. Now Palo Alto is famous, and people from all over the globe, if you talk to white people here in Palo Alto, they think it’s very diverse, but I tell them Palo Alto is not diverse at all. It’s very international. Right? And it’s a big difference because there’s no social economic diversity in Palo Alto, unless you go to the other side of east Palo Alto. But that’s the problem. It would be great if more of us, because we have plenty of successful African Americans. I’m from the east coast, there’s lots of success with brothers and sisters doing it at a very high level in DC and New York and Atlanta, but they choose to live there versus here because probably, one, it is stupid expensive here, but until there’s a critical mass and then you’re going to have the one and dones who come out for a while and then eventually want to see your people. Right?
Jamarlin Martin: So Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress, as you know. Are you a fan of Zuckerberg?
Clarence Wooten: As an entrepreneur?
Jamarlin Martin: As an entrepreneur. You’re a fan of him?
Clarence Wooten: As an entrepreneur, I don’t think you can do anything to the scale of Facebook without being dogged and smart and leveraging other people’s resources and other people’s money. And I think Mark Zuckerberg…
Jamarlin Martin: He’s done a tremendous job as an entrepreneur executing…
Clarence Wooten: No question about that.
Jamarlin Martin: What about as a leader? Now we’re talking about character, ethics and stuff like that.
Clarence Wooten: I can’t speak to his character because I don’t know him.
Jamarlin Martin: Sounds like you’re playing it safe. Do you have a business relationship with Facebook?
Clarence Wooten: I have no business relationship with Facebook, period. Am I playing it safe? No. I think when you’re an entrepreneur it’s easy for people to attack you. There’s lots of trollers out there. So I try not to pass judgement until I’ve walked in a particular person’s shoes or I’ve met them personally and spent time with them personally. So I’m not, I can’t really talk about Zuckerberg’s character. I can talk about the fact that, I mean, you look at this scandal, right? I mean, you look at our election, you look at, it wasn’t even a data breach. It was basically loose policies around data. I don’t think Mark foresaw any of that coming in terms of what happened. But the fact is it happened, and somebody needs to be culpable and responsible for it. So now he’s under the fire, as he should be. He built his business on loose data practices because it benefited Facebook. But now it’s backfiring because people haved used that data in negative ways, right? So Facebook isn’t all growth and connecting everybody in a positive way. It’s connecting people in a negative way.
Jamarlin Martin: Okay. So the stock is trading over $160. If you had to bet in terms of where is Facebook five years from now, would you be long or short?
Clarence Wooten: Well, it’s interesting. I look at Facebook and I see major challenges on Facebook, but I also look at Instagram and I see a huge market on Instagram. Right? So I think Facebook is clearly…
Jamarlin Martin: What if the regulations restrict them on Instagram too? Essentially, at least in my experience marketing on the platforms is that they have gained efficiencies in terms of weaving together one platform, where you could market on Instagram and Facebook. A lot of people think they’re separate, but my experience is marketers are often going to both platforms using similar targeting structures.
Clarence Wooten: Yeah. I think every major tech company is going to be under an enormous amount of heat around data privacy and we’re already seeing it in Europe with these new laws that are coming out May 1, in terms of data protection laws. I think all of them will, so I think growth and leveraging people’s data and ways that sort of hypercharged growth those days might be starting to come to an end, and it’s not just going to affect Facebook, it’s going to affect a lot of them, but Facebook is definitely gonna be made the poster child given what happened with Brexit and what happened in the U.S. election.
Jamarlin Martin: So long or short, five-year time horizon?
Clarence Wooten: Neutral.
Jamarlin Martin: Neutral. Okay. We want to thank Clarence Wooten. Can you tell the audience where they can check you out on Twitter and then also STEAMRole?
Clarence Wooten: Yeah, you can follow me on Twitter at @clarencewooten, and definitely check us out at STEAMRole at steamrole.org. There you can learn about RoleCoin as well. Thanks for having me Jamarlin. I appreciate it. It’s always great to chat, and welcome to Palo Alto.
Jamarlin Martin: Thanks everybody for listening to GHOGH. You can check me out @jamarlinmartin on Twitter and also come check us out at Moguldom.com. That’s M O G U L D O M dot com. Be sure to subscribe to our daily newsletter. You can get the latest information on crypto, tech, economic empowerment and politics. Let’s GHOGH!
This podcast has been edited for clarity.