16 Mar March 16, 2020 – Paid to Surf Jeff Bermant, Success Mindsets Ryan Gottfredson and SMB Legislation Jayne Jones
We have figured out how users can get paid for their data versus
the big companies just taking it.
Jeff Bermant started his career in real estate, founding one of the largest development companies in California area. He developed close to three-quarters of a billion dollars in real estate with institutional partners, including UBS and Rockwood Capital. Success in real estate development brought Jeff opportunities to invest in software development. His initial investment is Cocoon. Cocoon allows you to privatize your online data. If you’re willing to share your surfing data, Cocoon will pay you! It allows you to monetize the data that you’re giving away right now. Jeff loves to find ways to solve complex problems and with real-world solutions.
Dr. Ryan Gottfredson – Assistant Professor of Leadership at CSU-Fullerton and Author of Success Mindsets: Your Keys to Unlocking Greater Success in Your Life, Work, & Leadership– Read interview highlights here
When we have a fixed mindset, we don’t believe we can change our
talents, abilities and intelligence. When we have a growth mindset,
we do believe we can change our talents, abilities and intelligence.
Dr. Ryan Gottfredson is a mental success coach, author, trainer, and researcher. He helps improve organizations, leaders, teams, and employees by improving their mindsets and mindfulness. Ryan is currently a leadership and management professor at California State University-Fullerton (CSUF). He is also a former Gallup, Inc. consultant where he helped dozens of organizations improve the employee engagement. As a respected authority and researcher on topics related to leadership, management, and organizational behavior, he has published over 15 articles across a variety of journals including: Journal of Management, Journal of Organizational Behavior, Business Horizons, Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies, and Journal of Leadership Studies. His research has been cited over 1,600 times since 2014. Within Success Mindsets, Ryan takes readers on a self-awakening journey to identify and unlock the four success mindsets necessary to enhance success across their life, work, and leadership.
Jayne Jones – Small Business Expert and Author of Drop the Puck: Hockey Every Day, Every Way (Official Adventures)
Make sure you get involved in the regulatory process because
every single piece of legislation affects somebody somehow.
Jayne Jones is a lawyer, former political science professor and former U.S. Senate aide. She has written her fifth book in the “Drop the Puck” series. She and her husband also founded a non-profit organization leading chaperoned adventures and trips for travelers with disabilities. She has appeared on the NHL Network and local TV. More than 15 NHL superstars have endorsed the book series. Jayne runs a small business and she has 15-plus years of writing small business legislation, working as a policy advisor to U.S. Senator Norm Coleman, Speaker of the Minnesota House Steve Sviggum.
The idea that your mental success is something that you can work on and improve is interesting because I think for so many of us, what we bring to the table is the thinking that how we see the world is the best way to see the world. What I’m finding in my research is that almost all of us have the ability to improve our lenses, and if we can improve the lenses in which we see the world, what happens is that we think better, we learn better, and we behave better. So, if we can awaken to the lenses that we see the world with and then improve those, then we can alter our success across our life, our work, and our leadership.
Our mindset is basically the mental lenses in which we’re used to view the world, but they actually aren’t physical lenses, of course. So, what exactly are they? Well, they are neural connections within our prefrontal cortex. What happens is when we encounter a situation, all of our senses send all sorts of stimuli into our brain, but our brain can’t process all of that effectively. So, it relies upon mindsets or certain neural connections to filter in specific information, and then interpret that in unique ways. Generally, we have a negative mindset neural connection and we have a positive mindset neural connection. The one that we rely upon is the one that has been activated more recently, or the one that is stronger; the one that we typically use. Let’s just say, when we want to help our children have more of a grateful mindset, what we’ve actually got to do is help them engage in activities to activate and strengthen their positive mindset neural connections. As we do that on a consistent basis over time, then we’re literally rewiring the brain to have them rely upon the more positive mindset neural connections when they’re filtering all of this information that’s coming in.
There’s a subject in this matter of success mindset that we call the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. When we have a fixed mindset, we don’t believe that we can change our talents, abilities, and intelligence. On the other hand, when we have a growth mindset, we do believe we can change our talents, abilities, and intelligence. If we have this fixed mindset where we don’t believe that we can improve, then when we’re facing a challenge, we become rather fearful of this. Because if we don’t believe that we can improve and we fail, generally we internalize it as though we are failures. So, when we have a fixed mindset and we’re presented with a challenge, our primary focus is on ensuring that we look good, which means that we run from these challenges and run from these failures. But if we believe that we can learn and grow and we have this growth mindset, then we see these same challenges and failures as not things to run from but as things to approach, because we’re going to learn and grow the most in the situations that are challenging for us.
Let me give you some steps for this process of rewiring your brain. Action item number one is, we’ve got to become aware of our current mindsets, and we’ve got to become aware of the mindsets that are more ideal to have. One of the things that I’ve developed in addition to my book, and my book comes with this, is I’ve developed a personal mindset assessment that allows people to determine the quality of their mindsets relative to about 10,000 other people who have taken it. It’s a 20-question assessment and only takes about five minutes. If you were to take it, it would give you results on the quality of where your stand on this continuum from fixed mindset to growth mindset; so, it would help you identify where you currently are. It would also help you better understand what it means to have a growth mindset. My book and this assessment, both give you suggestions on things that you can do to activate and strengthen your more positive mindset neural connections.
The thing that we need to understand is how do we develop the mindsets that we have. One of them is essentially our past life experience, which is what has life informed us is the best way to see this current situation. But then also, our current climate and the current culture that we’re operating in shaped our mindset. Let me give you four different desires and I want you to think whether or not these are positive or negative. So here are the desires: a desire to look good, a desire to beat you right, a desire to avoid problems, and a desire to get ahead. The thing about these desires is that they are very justifiable. If we kind of just flip these around, who wants to look bad, be wrong, have problems, and get passed up? Nobody. So, these desires are very justifiable, but although these don’t seem bad, they can have negative ramifications. Here’s why that is, is because these desires are self-focused.
If we’re a parent, a leader, a manager, and we see the world through the self-focus lenses, we’re always going to make decisions that are best for us, but generally have negative implications for those around us. What we don’t recognize is there’s just more positive paradigms to operate from. So instead of wanting to look good, we could seek to learn and grow. Instead of wanting to be right, we could seek define truth and think optimally. Instead of wanting to avoid problems, we should seek to reach goals. And instead of wanting to get ahead, we should seek to lift others. Those more positive desires that I identified are fueled by the positive mindset that I focus on. If we can make this shift from self-protection mode over to what I call organization advanced mode, we’re going to become more of our ideal self, and have more of the ideal influence that we want to have on those around us.
When bad thoughts come into our mind or bad actions happen, this is where self-awareness is so important. Self-awareness is just our capability to stand back from ourselves, recognize the emotions that we are feeling, and assess the degree to which those are positive or negative. So first of all, we’ve got to learn the language of these different mindsets. There are these different sets that I’ll just list off: fixed and growth, close and open, prevention and promotion, and inward and outward. Once we have labels for these mindsets and understand what they are, in any given moment, we could step outside of ourselves and ask, am I looking at this through a fixed mindset or a growth mindset? In terms of an inward mindset, that’s when we see others as objects because we view ourselves as being more important than others. When we have an outward mindset, we see others as people but they matter just as much as ourselves. So, in any given moment, I could ask myself, am I seeing them as an object or am I seeing them as a person? Just in asking that question, that helps us to get to shift which neural connections we’ll rely upon as we’re filtering our information.
You’ll find in my book that there’s actually quite a bit of family examples, so I’ll touch on that. In addition to the book, and also this mindset assessment which folks can get for free on my website, I’ve also developed an app or a tool that’s called The Digital Mindset Coach, which is essentially this tool where on a regular basis, about every other day, you’re keened [Unclear] to engage in small interventions or exercises designed to exercise your more positive mindset neural connection. What we’re finding is, if people engage in this over the course of three or four months, we’re finding significant benefits in terms of mindset shift, benefits in terms of learning and retention around these concepts dealing with mindset, increased self-awareness and metacognition, which is your ability to introspect about yourself, greater intentionality in terms of the quality of their mindsets, how they’re going about living their day, and their influence on others.
I mainly work with business leaders. I’ll come into an organization, I’ll have business leaders take my mindset assessment in advance, and then we’ll aggregate those individual results up to the collective level to get a very quick read on the pulse of the organization’s culture, and the prevailing mindset that exists as the collective. It really leads to some really eye-opening conversations. What I see in the in the faces of the leaders that I’m working with, is a greater sense of self-awareness. They are awakening to themselves at a level that they’ve never experienced before. Because our mindset largely operates non-consciously. We’re not aware of how they are dictating and driving how we think, learn, and behave. But as we become aware of this, we awaken more to who we are, and we become empowered to become more of who we want to be.
Hopefully, people that engage with both; the book, the mindset assessment, and even The Digital Mindset Coach, will have that same experience. You can get the app by going to “ryangottfredson.com/digital-mindset-coach”.
Highlights from Jeff’s Interview
I decided to leave real estate because I actually like exploring, I love the idea of helping people. I served on the board of the local hospital. For one of the smaller hospitals, we raised $11 million; of course, I contributed. I kind of got bored with real estate; I knew what to do, I knew how to do it, so I wanted to try something else. I just don’t want to stand in front of City Council. Besides, every TV show that I turned on, the developers were the most hated guys in the world.
The first thing I noticed, which a lot of people were [Unclear] before our time, I noticed that there was no privacy. You’re being followed around, your sites are being divulged, you’re getting emails from strangers you’ve never heard of; all types of terrible things. My first reaction is always like this: as I built office buildings, I always tried to solve problems. This was kind of an engaging project problem, which was, how do we get people more privacy on the web? That was the first question I had. We turned out to build a secure browsing product called Cocoon, and that went on for five or six years. Interestingly enough, investors and the VCs didn’t have a lot of interest in it, so it was self-promoted by me. I was interested in it. Then I fell on maybe even a better idea of helping people, and it was really exciting to me.
The IP address is cloaked. There are some browsers, and we still have our browser out, they will cloak your IP address, we do a really great job of it, and will hide it. There are two different products now that we offer. But the problem was, and it always is in a business; how do you make money? You could be Uber and pretend for a while that you’re losing money but eventually, you’ll make it, and the VCs might believe that. The problem with the browser was that a browser kind of has its reputation to be free. So now we go out and say, how are we going to make a profit? You can’t really do advertising because you’re hiding somebody’s IP address, and all the advertisers say, we don’t care who this person is particularly, we don’t need a name and address, but we need their IP address. That’s a clue that they can build on. When you hide somebody’s IP address, there’s really no market where to make money, and if you’re a browser, it’s very hard to charge for it. It kind of leads you to a dead end business-wise. So, you’ve got to start thinking of other models that maybe are similar, but will make a profit. After all, if you want to help people, you got to stay alive; you just can’t do it for charity. Because you’ve got the servers, you have developers, you’ve got to keep the equipment updated, you’ve got to keep your software updated. So, it becomes a real problem.
Cocoon MyData Rewards™ is something I’m really proud of. I don’t want to take all the credit because I think my son mentioned something to me about data, and since I built browsers and knew how to build browsers, I started putting two and two together. What I realized after taking a piece of paper and doing some math was that we could build a browser, and from there, we can build other things, where the user can get control of their browsing and they actually can monetize it; meaning they can make money off it. What’s happening out in the world which a lot of people don’t recognize is, all that data you’re feeding to Google, Firefox; whoever other browser using, they’re taking it and turning it into profits for themselves. Firefox is a nonprofit, but still, they’re using that money to run their company instead of giving something back to the user. When I discovered that I could actually do the math, I figured out that I can pay you and take a small profit, and you the user can be the winner instead of being some giant company that’s just taking a 100% of the profit.
I wouldn’t say it’s easy because it’s complicated, but the easiest way I can tell it is, the user comes on, he signs up, and all we need is an email address. We don’t ask for names and address. Remember, I come from the privacy world, so the less I know about you, the happier I am, because I respect your privacy. But if we’re going to make money together, I got to have one piece of information, and that’s going to be an IP address. The rest of it, we don’t want to know about. So, we take an email address, you can actually make one up and go to it. Then what we ask you to do is to sign up with, at this point, your PayPal account, so that we can pay you. We’re also coming out with the app, which is really exciting, and we’re also going to be able to do geolocation data. What happens is you come online, you start surfing the web, and approximately between a third and a quarter of your data is what advertisers are very interested in. They don’t know who you are, it’s anonymous. They do have an IP address. They probably are building profiles but most of these profiles are anonymous. I’ve found that most advertisers don’t care about you personally, they’re looking at your profile. What happens is, we then filter things that we don’t think are appropriate, and even if it is, it’s just anonymous. So, medical information or banking information, hate speech, adult sites, that all gets filtered out. Then we send it to our broker who’s in Chicago, and the broker then sells it to the advertiser. The advertiser then pays the broker, they take your small fee, and send the rest back to us. We take a small fee, and the rest goes to the user. So, all of a sudden, every month the user is getting money in their pocket. What do they do differently? Nothing. They’re using our browser, and they’re making money; and we’re talking dollars here, not pennies.
A lot of companies that are trying to do this, although I don’t know anybody who’s doing exactly what we’re doing, most of them though, they make you take a survey, they make you give your name, they have all types of things because they’re selling that data. We’re just selling your surfing data, so we don’t ask for anything. They pay in Bitcoin; we just pay cash. You sign up your PayPal account, you start surfing, and it depends on how much you surf. We’ll be talking about geo location data, which is next, because we have a whole menu of things that we can build out. What’s wonderful about this is, as we’re building the advertisers and the hedge funds to buy this data, you’re getting paid more and more money because we just take a flat fee of 20% and the user gets an 80%. So, you can see the majority going to the user, which I’m thrilled about. I had a user last month make $100 in a month. I’m not saying everybody will do that, but we have a number of people who made $100 in a month, just selling their data. But these guys were close to spending all their day and night surfing away. Here’s the great part about it, this will grow. So, we just started this business of startup and we’ve now realized the way to do this is to start amassing people who want to sell their data. The more power we have, the firmer we can be with advertiser’s hedge funds of how much we’re going to get paid, and we pass all that on, with the exception of our fee, to the user. I think this is one of the first times, we’re not telling you that you have to buy something from us, you don’t have to do anything, we’re just on the same side as you. We’re like your broker for you saying, sorry, you can buy this for this much, and I want to sell the seven different advertisers. It’s the same data, but there’s seven different companies, and all of a sudden you start amassing more and more money.
We’re already out. We’ve been on desktop for almost a year now; testing it and in beta. We’ve done quite well with it. A lot of our users are doing well, and they love it. You can go to our website, and you’ll see testimonials that are all true. I’ve got one woman who said that this is extra milk money for her kids, and it’s $20 or $30 a month. So, it just depends on how much you surf. We’ve rolled it out as desktop Mac. The great announcement coming up is in approximately three weeks, we’ll have this for Android; the mobile. Here’s a really cool part. You’re on your mobile phone and you want to look something up, make our browser your dominant browser, and you’ll get paid for that data or at least a portion of the data; you’ll get paid by looking it up on your phone. Let’s say you’re going to shop for a washing machine, you might look up seven or eight different companies. Well, all that’s valuable information to the advertisers. Once again, they don’t know who you are, but they’re taking that information, they’re slicing and dicing it, and they’re going to pay you for it. Unlike Google and unlike Firefox, who don’t pay you for it, we think you’re valuable, you should be paid for your data, and you should have control. So, you literally could say, I don’t want to sell this data anymore, you can turn it off, and we’re fine with that. We think it’s finally the time that the user should be in control and not some giant company who’s just taking it. They’re telling you the story that we’re giving you something free which is our browser, but that costs pennies to do this, it’s just nothing. We’re starting with the Android phone, and I would say within 60 days, we’ll have iOS out for Apple.
We think not only can we sell the data over and over again for you over time, we also think there are other pathways you can make money, and we’re interested in helping you make money. So, the next thing we’re offering on your phone is geolocation data. This is all optional, you don’t have to do anything. If you want to make money off of your moving around, that’s valuable information, and now we’re going to pay you for that. So, there’s now there’s two ways of paying you; one is your surfing data, and one is sticking Cocoon MyData Rewards™ in your pocket and walking around, hooking it up to a PayPal account and getting paid for that. Now you’re literally doing nothing. You’re not even searching the web; you’re just walking around like you normally would do.
Our goal is to help people make money. Google doesn’t even like this. I can tell you they’ve already said no to our advertising because we kind of break their model. We’re happy to do this. I’ve just gotten tired. All my life I’ve tried to help people. In my office buildings, we have the longest lasting tenants because they like working with us. So that’s always been my motto, is to put the people first and figure out how you can help them, helping them make some money or whatever it is, and then you get paid for your efforts, versus the other way around. I’m not saying Google’s wrong, but I know for a fact, they don’t need to take all that money off the table.
I don’t want to be called a political thing, but maybe I should be called more of a socialist and a capitalist. In this case, it’s more important for me to think of and seeing some people have a few extra bucks. I’ve been asked to come to Africa, and as soon as we can set the model up, we will. Just think of those people who need a few bucks. I was in a cab maybe six months ago, and the cabbie was from somewhere in Africa. We were talking about Cocoon, and he said, “Can you please come to Mozambique?” I was like, “Why? You’re only going to make $3 or $4 a month.” He said, “Well, that pays for my phone bill. That might save my wife’s life because my phone bill is paid for.” I hadn’t even thought about that, but I realized, we can really help a lot of people in the world. The fun part is, we’re both being paid and we’re both on the same side. The more we figure out how to make you make money, the more we’ll be enhanced in our pocket. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Here’s the mass rollout plan. We’re starting a campaign. Anybody can come and sign up; you have to be over 13 years old, that’s the only rule. We’ll roll out on sites like TikTok, we’ll roll out on influencers who are influencing the 13 to 24-year old’s because we think they’ll spread the word about Cocoon faster than anybody else. I was at a high school last year and we were talking about this, and I can’t tell you how many kids pulled out their phones to get Cocoon on their phone so they could start making money. To me, this should go viral. A perfect example is BIGtoken. They make you do surveys; they do pay you for your data, and they signed up 16 million people in one year. So, to me, it’s getting the word out in the marketplace, telling people you don’t have to give your data away for free, we’ll work with you and we’ll do everything we possibly can. The more people we have, the more power we have to drive better deals for them.
In the 60s there was talking about “Power to the people”, this is truly an opportunity. It’s kind of like if you had a big voting machine and you voted one product over another, there’s some real power in that because there are a lot of people who are behind you or you’re voicing some political decision. This is similarly voicing your position. As I said, we’ll need to make money because we want to stay alive and make money, but we’re all about you guys. This is why I love it so much. It’s not a us versus them, it’s really us together with more people power. The more people power we have, the more we can drive great deals for our customers. You don’t pay for anything: we’re not asking for fees, there’s no gimmicks to this, we’re not going to surprise you with something. We’re all about helping you. We’ve heard for years that the user is not making money on the web and they’re just giving their data away for free, and I just think that’s wrong. Hopefully, it’s going to be a great story with a little bit of help from people who sign up and tell their friends. We also do have a referral fee. So, if you want to tell your friend, we will pay you a referral fee because we think that’s important. The more we get people to sign up and use it, the more power we have, and the more we can push our deals for you guys.
It’s available on desktop for both Windows and Mac. You would go to “trycocoon.com” and you will sign up that way. In about three weeks, we will have Android. If you sign up now and you don’t download Cocoon because you’re not using desktop, we’ll be sending out to you a message saying, Android is now available. As soon as we can get iOS up and running, we’ll be messaging you about iOS. So, stay tuned, we’re going the fastest we can.