Erik Bergman, Founder, Catena Media
Erik Bergman’s entrepreneurial journey started with trading hockey cards on the playground.
When Bergman realized that owning coveted sports memorabilia made him feel valued and won him friends, he became obsessed. As he got older, his focus eventually shifted from trading cards to making cash.
After a brief stint as a professional gambler, Bergman co-founded a website consultancy firm called Catena Media in 2012. The affiliate-based marketing company focused on the online gambling industry and eventually IPOd at €160 million.
Despite achieving the wealth Bergman had relentlessly chased since his youth, he was still unhappy. So he set out to learn the true path to fulfillment and eventually found deeper meaning in his life through charity work with his latest project, Great.com.
Check out this interview to learn more about Bergman’s journey to finding happiness and the most important lessons he learned along the way.
- How trading hockey cards instilled a sense of entrepreneurship in Bergman from a young age
- Bergman’s brief stint as a professional poker player
- Why Bergman and his best friend Emil Thidell launched a gambling-focused website consultancy agency
- From making side-hustle money to officially launching Catena Media
- How strategic website acquisitions helped Catena Media skyrocket
- The long and difficult road to IPO
- Why Bergman found himself in a dark place, despite his newfound wealth
- How Bergman became involved in charity work and discovered his “splash of color”
- The inspiration behind Great.com
Full Transcript of Podcast with Erik Bergman
Nathan: The first question that I ask everyone that comes on is how did you get your job?
Eric: Well, I actually never had a job. I started business. I’d have to school. I had one job moving boxes once when I was 16 still only job I ever had. I got that because my brother did it.Nathan: Always an entrepreneur at heart from yet young age.
Eric: I’ll tell you about the biggest deal of my life. We have been going on in our negotiations for a couple of days and I thought that things were going to- exclude that happened yesterday and he just backed out. I had to put up a new offer, put it on the table. After long negotiations, he finally said, “Suggest to my terms.” I felt the excitement coming up within me and I pushed over the payment and he gave me the goods and I just looked at it. In my hands was the first picture I’ve ever had of Wayne Gretzky, the world’s best hockey player. I’m eight years old and this was the deal of my lifetime. I’m starting here because I think that this is where my entrepreneurial journey took his first steps. Because I really struggled to make friends when I was a kid.
I was a very lonely child and spend most of my childhood alone, but somehow on the school yard, the currency for friendship was hockey pictures. If I had hockey pictures, I had a belonging in a sense. Whenever I had something to trade with I was welcome. I spent all my time and all of my attention very early on, in my school years on getting hockey picture or sort of whatever the latest fad was. I think that where I learned the most from school was not in the classroom, but was actually trading or buying or dealing with whatever the latest fad was. I think that’s how my entrepreneurial journey started. I can imagine that’s how it starts for lots of us, but we don’t really realise that that’s where it started.
Nathan: I see. What was your first company? Was it a Katina media?
Eric: No. The first things that I started doing was right off after schools. I was 19 or so and I started doing lots of different things. The first real company was a small debt agency where our original idea was to build websites for small customers, like hairdressers, printer shops, shoe shops, and we just failed. It’s really shitty business idea to get smaller clients and build pro web properties for them because they don’t have any money to pay for things. Anyone who wants to do business don’t aim for small clients only it’s not going to work. That was our first business and it did not go well.
Nathan: What happened next?
Eric: Well, we can jump ahead a bit as well. I’ll tell you another story if you like.
Nathan: Yes, please love the stories, man.
Eric: Love this tourist. Let’s jump ahead to my 28th birthday. There is this this picture taken and the typical birthday picture of a happy guy blowing out candles. This looks absolutely nothing like that. Instead, it’s a picture of me and I’m pale white in my face and I’m screaming and I look like some angry person in a Disney movie or something. In my hand I’m holding a rope tied to a big bell and I’ve just rang this bell and that means that we opened the stock exchange on my 20th birthday, took the company Katina media to the stock exchange. When I look at this picture, I see that that was the end of a very intense business journey and I was very happy and still very relieved and very confused in the same moments here.
Because this was the moment I had been building up to Katina media is this online marketing company that was the first success that we did. Sits in a company doing marketing mainly for gambling and financial companies. It started in 2012 this was 2016 so only four years later. There was this roller coaster of a business journey where I thought once again that this currency of friendship that was on the school yard and that was money. I focused so much on business and that’s how it got there.
Nathan: How did you get started with Katina media?
Eric: Well, it started from this business failure of a web agency and it’s combined with me being. I started playing poker early on when I was 16 and at 17 I started playing professionally and I kept doing that. That’s why I never really got a job. I was playing poker instead. When we had this business that we’re building websites for companies and that didn’t work out, we took that to the gambling industry side. Because I knew a lot of people within poker and Bingo was just starting up.
The first websites that we built were about online Bingo and how you could find Bingo sites to play, what kind of bonuses offers and stuff like that. This was in 2009 I think. I was 21 and this was just a hobby, just a side project, something we were playing around with. The first year we only made a total of a thousand euros in one year. Second year we made maybe €10,000 and something similar like €30,000 third year. Then in 2012 we took this and said like, let’s give this all our attention. We took on investors and that’s when Katina media was founded. It came from those hobby experiments within Bingo marketing actually.
Nathan: Interesting. You were doing marketing services, you had an agency in 2009?
Eric: Yes, but what we got good at SEO basically how to rank in Google. Everything that we did was affiliate based marketing, so commission-based marketing to search engines.
Nathan: How did you survive in 2009 when you only made €1000?
Eric: Well, I was still playing poker, so I had money that I made from from poker and I put poker aside in 2010 and then we made maybe a thousand years per month. We just kept our bills very small. Me and Amyl my co founder we live together in a small apartment and we even turned off the water heater between the showers so we should save on the electricity bill. We kept expenses as small as we possibly could. That’s how we got wrong.
Nathan: What was the decision for you guys to go all in and raise money for your agency? Because that’s like agencies are fairly high net margin businesses.
Eric: This time we didn’t do any agency related business at all. We were only doing affiliate, so we had put away the clients because we couldn’t make that work. We were only building websites for ourselves and only doing commission-based marketing. We did this, we started with Bingo, but at this time we did it for mortgages, hotels, fashion. We even had some website about Viagra. We did commission-based marketing for basically everything we could come up with.
Nathan: Sorry if I’m asking a silly question. When it hit 2012 you were still doing the commission-based marketing stuff plus services as well?
Eric: We didn’t really have anything other than the marketing stuff. Commission-Based marketing was pretty much everything we did. We felt that, now we’re making decent money now this works, but we still felt it was a hobby and we wanted to grow into something. We had no idea how to hire employees. I was 24, me and Amyl, my co-Foundr were actually born on the same day in the same hospital by parents who knew each other.
Eric: We’ve been friends for a while. We were both completely lost and how to hire people, how to do things. We took on investors more because we wanted mentors that we needed their money actually.
Nathan: Then what happened next? How much did you raise? Was it difficult to find investors? Were the investors in the Nordic area? Where your base or?
Eric: We actually didn’t really look for funding at all. These investors found us. My girlfriend was actually working as a nanny for a guy named Andre and he had just sold his business. He had a big gambling company and he sold it for 60 million euros or something like that. He was just starting this small investment company together with his other co-founders and he wanted to invest in our company. They actually found us more than anything else. It was just by coincidence because my girlfriend was working as a nanny in his family, so we didn’t really look they were more those people wanting to do business with us simply because my girlfriend had told him about what I was doing and he was curious.
Nathan: How much did you raise? Are you able to share?
Eric: Yes, we actually didn’t raise any money. We sold half of the company and we valued it at €700,000 at the moment. We sold 50% of it for about €350,000. We took that money outside the company. We were actually very cash flow positive at the time. We made maybe €40,000 a month, something like that in profits. We sold very cheaply on the IPO. Then four years later, the valuation of the company was about a 1.6 billion Swedish kroner. That’s roughly $200 million. It was a good journey.
Nathan: You guys increased enterprise value quite fast. How did you do that?
Eric: Well, firstly we were very good at SEO, so how to rank in Google and we had built large systems for it. That worked really well back then. What we did differently from all our competitors was that we didn’t take any money out of the business, which most of our competitors did. We started hiring a lot of people, but we were also very good at acquiring competitors and we did that on an earn out basis. We got really good at buying companies today. We became almost like a private equity company doing this. We took all the money that we made and we started buying competitors with it and these kinds of websites back then in 2012, 13, 14 you could buy websites for maybe two times yearly profit or something. It was very cheap because it was high risk. We did that and we managed to even make them more profitable because we had good tools to rank them in Google. I think in three years time we acquired 20 different companies or something like that, which was a very big part of the growth, but pretty much everything was self-funded.
Nathan: Wow. That’s crazy in what we’re talking, that’s basically a four year period, you acquired 20 different companies and usually in an earn out capacity the founder or founders had to stay there for a period of time.
Nathan: Wow. Talk to me about that. How does that work? Yeah. Why acquisitions?
Eric: The reason for acquisitions was that there was very cheap at the moment. We were basically buying websites that were working in the casino space. We were focused on online casino and that was ranking in Google and the market price was one to two times profits. We believe that that was way too cheap that we probably paid five times or six, seven times, which is the market price now. The first ones we acquired, we actually more or less got for free ironically because it wasn’t Norwegian enterprise. The Norwegian government has changed laws and regulations about how to deal with gambling and marketing for gambling. That Norwegian company just wanted to get rid of their assets. We took them on for free. Then we will keep running this, we’ll take the legal risk because we were not based in Norway and we knew that we weren’t breaking any European union rules and they got an earn out based on, we were just running it and then that project turned out really well. We kind of felt we can do more of this. The first one happened more or less by accident and then we just kept on going.
Nathan: These were sites that I guess were ranking for key terms that you were trying to rank for clients?
Eric: For ourselves. We owned the assets and then we had advertising assets. You could think of our sites like hotels.com for example, that’s an affiliate. It’s a similar business model. Hotels.com would buy other websites about hotels and they want to rank them, but they are not actually owning the hotels.
Nathan: When you say marketing services or commission-based marketing, I thought you were saying that you were making a commission off other people’s websites, but it was more driving traffic from affiliate marketing. Right?
Eric: Yes. Only affiliate marketing. I did that to clarify that. Thank you.
Nathan: All right. Awesome. That makes sense. Basically you were buying web websites that were ranking for key terms that you guys were going after and building up a portfolio of websites because from an SEO standpoint, you can get that website to talk to the other website and then that gives it a good ranking and all that kind of thing. Right?
Eric: Yes, exactly. That’s what we did. We built a big portfolio of assets that could strengthen each other.
Nathan: When you acquired these assets that didn’t really have many people or team. It was easy to acquire that many, it wasn’t like these big companies with internal processes and systems. You just take the site, put it under your hosting, change of the domain or keep the domain, et cetera. Right? You’re basically taking site, not the resources.
Eric: Yes. Out of these 20 acquisitions we did I think that 18 of them we only took over the assets and then two of them ere exceptions.
Nathan: By the time you guys were gearing for IPO, why was that? Why did you choose path versus sell to private equity or sell to a competitor, et cetera.
Eric: We actually started looking for a buyer early on. It was a pretty much an unsellable business at that time because there were no big companies doing what we were doing. Even if we were a company at the time, maybe we had annual revenues of about €10 million or so and we were pretty much the biggest ones in the industry. There weren’t any competitors that could acquire us really. There was one, maybe two. We didn’t come to a conclusion agreement with them and no other private equity companies bought anything in this space. It Was affiliate casino. People didn’t understand it. No one did really quite. We spoke to a lot of people about a potential acquisition but no one really wanted to. Then one of our only bigger competitors actually went for an IPO and it went really well.
We’re like, “Hey, we could do that.” We geared towards that and we did the IPO in 11 months I think which was a very hectic period. I wouldn’t recommend anyone to do that because it was just painful. It became our best way out. Financially that turned out to be the by far best decision because we had an offer on the table that we considered a year before the idea which was 28 million euros. Then just a year later we took it to the stock exchange on 160 or whatever it becomes in euros.
Nathan: I’m curious when you said it was painful to get ready for IPO in 11 months, why was that exactly?
Eric: The company was very young to start with and we had come to where we were by working too much. It was the less glamorous part of startup life, which isn’t really spoken about, which is sleepless night or the stress or me having a whiskey bottle next to the bed because I couldn’t get all my thoughts out of my head. I had to drink before I fell asleep. That was my journey for a few years and that was business as usual. Then putting an IPO process on top of that, which is so much paperwork, so many meetings with investors. Many things that me as a, was 27 year old had absolutely no idea how to deal with. I had a great team. We had a great team in the company so many talented people, but no one who had done an IPO before, no one who knew what that was.
No one who had that experience, which means that everyone pushed themselves far harder than was reasonable. I think it wasn’t really for any youth. We could have done it in 18 months instead of 11 and it wouldn’t really have changed anything. I think it’s rarely there is a position where that urgency is so important, but I made up the idea that it was so important. Everyone else seemed to made up the idea that it’s so important that we do this as quickly as possible, but I don’t think that it’s ever important to be that quick in anything.
Nathan: That makes sense. When you listed the company, you guys were at 10 million annual revenue and you’ve got a 20 X multiple?
Eric: I think we valued at 12 X the next year or something like that early on how they talk to it. We were growing very quickly since we had a pace and we had a 55 or even 60% profit margin. We were very cash flow positive, which led to high valuation and the valuation has gotten down quite significantly since then. We had a skyrocketing rally for two years and now that company I’m not involved with anymore has been falling behind a lot in the last year.
Nathan: It was a 55% net margin.
Nathan: Well not gross. That’s pretty impressive. Talk to me lessons around leadership. I know you had some cool stuff you want to share for .
Eric: I did this video on Instagram the other day with the 13 leadership tips and I’ve never gotten that many replies or answers to anything. I’ll go through a few here and we’ll see if we keep going. I can just start with the fire first ones. First one in this is to be a role model that the team is not going to do what you say they should do. The team’s going to do what you’re doing. You need to always keep this in mind when you’re doing anything. Second one is to do the dirty work first. That whenever you’re starting a business or whatever you’re doing, you are not too good to do anything. Get your hands dirty and well be a role model in this world, show that you’re willing to do those things because then you have a good understanding of what everyone else is doing.
You know what to recruit for and you can kind of do all of these things. The third tip is to show appreciation and do this all the time. Whenever someone’s done something good, tell them and even better than just tell them, tell them in front of other people, say very specifically like, “Nathan, I really liked when you reached out to me for this podcast. I think that you did a great job in the interview. Thank you so much for this.” Make sure that people hear you when they say that. That’s the best way of showing appreciation in my experience. The fourth tip is to give away the credit. Whenever you can, even if something was your idea give the credit to someone else, like say “Wow, thanks to him this happened.” Because credit is free to give away and it’s often much higher valued than money.
Whenever it’s someone else’s, that actually could take the credit, give it away. Fifth one here is to care about what’s right and not who’s right. I heard Simon Sanuk said this the first time and to me it just makes so much sense that just leave the ego by the door. Don’t think too much about what are the who’s right. Definitely not, if you’re the one struggling for it, always aim for finding out what’s right, because that means so much more. That’s yeah five quick ones and I can do a longer video for something and post on Instagram or whatever.
Nathan: Man, keep going. We’d love to hear the rest brother.
Eric: Keep going then. Number six. I’ll go through it. Tip number six here, ask, don’t demand that whenever we’re telling, “Hey Nathan, go do this.” Then that immediately will raise a barrier in you feeling like, “I don’t want to do that.” If I instead say, “Hey, can you please do this for me? What do you think about this thing?” If you turn everything into a question instead of a demand, it will make it so much more fun to help you with whatever it is that you needed. That’s number six. Number seven is listen and make everyone feel heard that whenever someone has an idea, even if it’s a really shitty idea, listen to it because that means that you’re showing with your body and everything that you’re doing that. I’m valuing your input and value in your thoughts and people feel that even if you’re not doing their idea, you’ve at least considered it and given them appreciation plus your time.
Which ties into tip number eight here, which is leaders talk last. This also comes from Simon Sanuk he’s a brilliant man. He said that a very common way of starting a meeting is here is the problem. This is what I think. What do you think? If you’re coming in as a leader saying that you’re already given every one, what do you think is the right solution? Everyone will be very stuck on your solution. If you’re instead of say, “Hey, this is the problem, what do you think we should do about it?” Then you get the benefit of listening to everyone else who would probably say a lot of smart things. You have not already narrowed down what they say. Hopefully someone else will come up with the same idea that you had and you can then show them appreciation and give them all the credit for their brilliant idea.
Even if you have the same one. They will probably work a lot harder for it because they feel it was their idea. They’re committed to it. Wouldn’t you care more about an idea that you had than something that your boss told you? Probably. By talking last, then you can just summarise what everyone else said or you can even ask someone else to summarise and you take the best parts of it and you get to just direct the dialogue with questions. Only ask to understand, only ask for people to keep elaborating on what they mean. Never say this is my path or at least don’t say it until you’re the last one speaking. The nine one and this was understand what others want and find a ways to give it to them. Which means that the key to someone’s actions is to understand what do they want.
For me, why do Nathan want to do this podcast? That’s my angle in this. If I would want to go on the podcast or anything, it’s like what’s important for it, man. Inspiring conversations is important. Tips for leaderships is important. Can I provide that? Then I can get a chance to be on this podcast. Whenever you’re talking to someone in the team, Karl, here he is looking to be challenged. Now I know that because I asked him what is it that is looking for? How can I bring tasks to him that he feels that he gets challenged from? We’re actually meeting his needs instead of just giving him something. I could communicate from a perspective that I know what it is that he wants. Number 10 here is to be honest, and this is probably the hardest one and the most painful one, and something that I really try to live by and everything I do in my life and in my leadership, is to take the painful conversations when they show up, sit down and honestly speak.
This is how I’m feeling right now about your performance or about my own performance or how the business is going, or I think that in the long-term you always win if you’re going with honesty, even if it’s painful.bI heard this quote sometime Dona Hoe says, “The quality of your business or life for that matter is in direct correlation to your willingness to have uncomfortable conversations.” I think that just makes a lot of sense. Now those ten. You want me to keep going or you want to say something for something else.
Nathan: No man, let’s read it out. I’m loving this.
Eric: I’ll keep going then. Tip number 11 here is to show emotions. For me this means that if someone has a stone face, they have the same face when they’re happy or they’re sad and whatever. It’s very hard to trust that person because it’s very hard to know what they’re actually feeling inside.If someone is emotional and when they’re happy, you can really see they’re happy. When they’re angry, you can really see they’re angry. Then it’s a lot easier to trust them because you know they’re not having a hidden agenda. They’re not trying to hide something. As a leader, if you’re showing joy, but also show sadness, when you’re feeling sad, you build a much stronger bond to the team the connection to them. Number 12 here is don’t be too proud, but instead say, thank you, I’m sorry and help me as often as you can. Because when you say thank you, you’re showing appreciation, you’re doing these things. When you say, I’m sorry, you’re actually owning up to whatever mistake that you did and you building trust that way. When you say, help me, well, you’re getting help, hopefully.
B, you’re also letting people know that you need help and you giving them the opportunity of being valued and you show that I’m vulnerable now I need you to help me with this. You’re building a very strong bond with this words to your team or to people in your life in general. The 13th tip in this is to never stop learning. I think that’s the key in all of the other ones. If you could just never stop learning, you will find these things out on your own. Don’t for one second thing that I’m fully learned, and I know everything. This is just key. Talk to people, listen to podcasts, find videos on YouTube, read the books, and that will just take you a long way.
Nathan: Incredible man. There you have it. 13 key leadership tips to become a killer CEO.
Eric: I think for that matter, just have a good life. I think that this applies as a CEO, but it applies in every relationship and if you’re a football coach or just a boyfriend. I think that all of these things make sense.
Nathan: That was really insightful man. Thank you for sharing.
Eric: I’m happy you like it.
Nathan: Talk to me about what’s going on now. You basically had a liquidity event with Katina media and were you the CEO of a listed company for long or what happened next?
Eric: We actually hired an external CEO when we started going for this talk exchange. Because I felt I was too burnt out. I couldn’t really deal with this. A big part for me with doing that was that I wanted out, I couldn’t keep up the pace. I wasn’t feeling well. I was completely white in my face and I had a bottle of whiskey by the bed. I think that’s summarises how I was feeling. We took the company to the stock exchange. I sold shares that day for about 13 million euros, give or take. I made a lot of money in my home and I just stayed home for maybe six, nine, 12 months, something like that, depending on how you look at it. Then I just resigned and recovered. I didn’t really do anything for for two years.
I went into quite dark place in my life I would say. I had been chasing this money all of my life since that school boy realised that hockey pictures can bring me friends. I kind of felt that if I only get hockey pictures that time I would be happy. Then that turned into if I only get money ,I would be happy. Then I reached all of these financial goals and dreams of my life. For a while I was super happy and mean it wasn’t very emotional exploded explosion in my body that day, obviously and it didn’t last that long. I mean, how long can any emotion last for me? Maybe less than a week. And then it was like, okay, what’s missing now I have all of this money. I can do whatever I want to do.
I can go wherever I want to and I have this financial freedom for the rest of my life. There was still something missing that I couldn’t really figured out. I was quite depressed. I ended up breaking up with my girlfriend. We had been going through a rough patch for many years actually, but I’ve just focused on business instead of on her. That’s probably the reason why it didn’t work out very well. We have been together for seven years. Now I was like, who am I without her? Once again, I have all of this money that’s what I’m in chasing all my life and still something is missing and I couldn’t really figure it out. I started to involve myself in a lot of different charities. A friend of mine said, “Hey, do you want to help out this charity project in Africa?”
They’re all building a school, so I helped them. I donated i think was $15,000 and went down and visited that. I remember coming into this school yard and on the right side there were three grey buildings with these steel bars for the windows and they just looked like prisons. On the left side there was this splash of colours. It was a house that was green, yellow, and red, and was this new school building that they had built. It was initiated by a Swedish man named Toshtan and it just felt right to see this. What really changed for me was later that afternoon. In the evening I sat and spoke to Toshtan. He told me about this project and he said that during the day the other teachers can borrow this classroom whenever they want because the Swedish school had their own education after school, but it was on one condition and it was that in here you never beat the kids.
This was like seven year old children. For me to just hear that, I didn’t know what to say. For me it was so obvious that you never hit kids but in these other prison-like school buildings that wasn’t obvious. In there, the kids got hit. In this splash of colours, the kids were safe and the kids could have fun and they wanted to be there. When he told me that and this sunk in, I felt like, something just ticked in. It’s like this is what I’m going to do. I want to help the world to be a splash of colours and see what can I do to get there. When I came home from this trip, I started involving myself in a lot of different charities and I started dreaming again of what can I build.
My solution after many tries with different charity organisations, both that I want to build a new company, but this time I want to focus on making as much money as possible but then to give it all away.That’s what I’m doing right now. I started a company called greats.com, which will be very similar to Katina. It’s actually going to be casino related marketing, but all profits is going to charity and we’re focusing completely on the environment. I’ve been doing this for about a year now and starting to take off. It’s just a very exciting project.That’s where all my attention goes.
Nathan: Wow. That’s a crazy story, man. Thank you so much for sharing. I sometimes do hear from people amongst my travels, not always guests, but people that have had sizeable life changing exits that they lose a sense of their identity. I’d love like just to openly talk about that.
Eric: I can totally relate to that. I think that goes with reaching pretty much any big goal regardless what it is. Because for 28 years I was chasing money and I was building that up. How would it feel to have this amount of money obviously nothing that you can experience can equate to 28 years of expectations. No great emotion lasts for very long. I think that for me, making all that money, I’m super happy for having all of that money today. At the same time it felt like, is this it? Is it something, what am I missing? What didn’t I figure out? I’ve been chasing this my entire life because it should give me infinite happiness and it didn’t. I can imagine that similar happens to other founders and other people who just get some hold of money that are expectations on how much joy it will bring us, doesn’t match reality. I think that makes sense.Then we get disappointed instead.
Nathan: Did you buy a whole tonne of expensive possessions?
Eric: No actually, when I was playing poker, that was when I was 18. I made a lot of money when my friends didn’t and I wasted all that money on crap. Then I stopped winning, playing poker and I realised that fuck, I spent all my money on champagne car, fancy TV and expensive clothes and now I need to move back to my parents’ house. Since then I’ve been a bit cautious, but something that’s changed more in me was I had a dinner with a friend and he had just come home from India. He had been visiting an organisation this is a deep and pretty dark story, but I’ll tell it anyway if that’s okay. He had just come home from India and having this minority station working with child sex slavery and trafficking.
He told me these horrific stories about six year olds being locked up and I’ll just leave it at that because it just gets too dark otherwise. We sat there talking over dinner. It was at my place and he told me these stories and I felt inside that I got angry at him for sharing this because I really didn’t want to know. I Couldn’t deal with those pictures in my head. When he left, I felt that I had two choices right now. One is to dedicate my entire life into helping these children because they are living through hell on earth, if not worse or look the other way. I’ll pretend I never heard any of these things and I’ll just go on with my life and that were the only two options that I had. I couldn’t really think about it and not deal with it.
I’m ashamed to say that I went with the second road, I closed my eyes and I didn’t think more about this. I couldn’t deal with it. I don’t know, maybe six months later or something like that, I stumbled upon a news article about this organisation. In this article they said that to rescue one child because that’s what they were doing, they rescuing kidnapped children that costs $1,000. That number just stuck with me. $1,000 is one child in slavery. Ever since then, I’ve been of stuck on that number and felt that I can’t really spend a lot of money on something expensive because even if I have more or less infinite funds every time I do it’s like but those could help the child and that’s just more important. I haven’t really bought anything crazy expensive, stupid.
Well, I bought the domain name, great.com for $900,000. That’s an investment. Other than that, I still drive the same car that I used to. I still live in the same apartment that I used to I still have the same watch that I used to. It all goes down to that. To me, money is now valued towards lives rather than my bank account. It became a long answer to that question. I don’t tell this because I want to guilt people who buy things and spend money on extravagant stuff. It’s just where I’m emotionally at and how I’m relating to money.
Nathan: I totally understand. Thank you for being so open and honest and transparent with where you’re at, Eric. It’s really refreshing.
Eric: I’m happy to hear. It’s tricky.
Nathan: I’m really enjoying a conversation, man, but we have to work towards wrapping up. I’m curious what’s next with great.com and where’s the best place people can find out more about yourself and your work?
Eric: For me right now, a lot of focus is actually on podcasting and social media relating to great.com. Because what we did with Katina was that we were really good at search engines and how to scale that in a way using mass websites and stuff like that. Now I’m trying to come up with another way of doing it, but juicing PR and media and getting attention into charity and these kinds of things. I’m doing a podcast called becoming great, have about great on the project that is also about personal development and leaderships and how to send better emails. That’s one great way of keeping track of it. I’m actually applying your strategy to Instagram at the moment. The the Unicorn Strategy. I picked it up from you a couple of months ago. The Unicorn Strategy for you listening is basically go through various Instagram accounts with similar content as yourself and find the unicorns, which is the posts that I’ve gotten by far the most likes because they have already proven to be social spreading.
What I’m doing now is that I’m doing this on similar accounts and I find posts that really work on Foundr, for example. It took a lot of inspiration for you guys and then I take my own spin on it. Maybe I write my own long caption about what does this quote mean for me? Or how does this tie into things? I’m doing all of this because I want to inspire through Instagram, but also because I want to use Instagram as a platform for recruitment for grades. I want to use it as a way of getting links and publicity for the things we’re doing, which will help out with SEO. I’d love to get more people talking about charity and what can be done with charity, which is not being talked about a lot. It ties in all to this, me adapting to social media and taking things from there.
Nathan: Wow. Really cool. We’ll look. Thanks. so much for the shout out Eric. Not often our guests pay that much attention to our work.
Eric: Because you’re doing great Job. Thank you. I’m very happy for you for that. That approach actually made me enjoy Instagram a lot more than I did before because I’m constantly looking for good content and it makes it a lot easier to produce content. Because this is actually really good. I can write something about this that really resonates with me. I think it’s great advice. Thank you.
Nathan: All right. You’re welcome. Awesome. Well look we work towards wrapping up last question, where’s the best place people can find out more about yourself and your work? Just great.com?
Eric: Yes, go to great. That’s calm.
Nathan: Awesome. Well thank you so much for your time, Eric. It was an absolute pleasure, man. Thanks for being so open out on us. I really enjoyed our conversation.
Eric: Thank you. It was a pleasure being here Nathan. I’m happy to come back someday.