Mini-cast 130: An EO Vision for Clubhouse


Bret Keisling discusses Clubhouse, an exciting social media app where up to 5000 can participate in audio conversations, and how Clubhouse can bring together employee owners, advocates, and service providers in ways we haven’t seen before.


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Mini-cast 130 Transcript

Bret Keisling: 00:09 Welcome to the ESOP, Mini-cast. Thank you so much for listening. My name is Bret Keisling and as it says on my business cards, I'm a passionate advocate for employee ownership. Today. I want to talk to you about the social media app Clubhouse. Clubhouse is an audio only app that essentially recreates the experience of a conference call or a Zoom meeting, without the video, where you can have 5,000 participants at a single time.


Bret Keisling: 00:38 Wait a second... Conference calls? Zoom meetings? That doesn't sound exciting? Trust me. It's amazing.


Bret Keisling: 00:45 There are thousands of clubs on Clubhouse covering any kind of interest you can imagine. I've been visiting rooms about acting just because I like the people who are presenting in the rooms. I used to do stand-up comedy a few years ago, so I've been going to comedy rooms. There are all kinds of whatever your interests are. And there are a lot of rooms that may not appeal to me, but you may like them.


Bret Keisling: 01:11 It's just like all aspects of social media. You want to get into BitCloud? You can find rooms. You want to get into conspiracy theories? You can find rooms. You can find any topic. Meanwhile, I've sat in rooms where a host on the History Channel is talking history. It really is amazing.


Bret Keisling: 01:28 I'm going to give you an example of one of the rooms that I've spent a lot of time in, and it will also help illustrate how Clubhouse works. And then I'm going to talk about what I see for employee ownership.


Bret Keisling: 01:38 The rooms are part of what are called clubs, and anybody can start a club. I met my friend, Lara Parrish on Clubhouse. She's a life coach and she's just an amazing person. She has a club that is called Blueprint4Joy, and that's with the numeral "4" - Blueprint4Joy. And by the way, you can find her on all aspects of social media, under Blueprint4Joy. She's most active on Instagram, but she's in other places.

Bret Keisling: 02:08 So at any rate, Lara has a club called Blueprint4Joy. Within that club, she runs a number of different rooms every week. There are scheduled rooms. They are what Clubhouse calls events. And people can kind of put on their schedule that these rooms are going to take place.


Bret Keisling: 02:26 Lara also has the ability, as the founder of the club and the admin of the club, to schedule rooms not in advance, but just say, hey, my club is going to have a room now and whoever's around can join in.


Bret Keisling: 02:40 So, she has a number of clubs. The one thing that caught my attention and how I got to meet Lara -- and she's just amazing -- is a club that runs at 1:00 AM Eastern time zone called "Life Hacks for Night Owls." And by the way, it's 1:00 AM on the East Coast. There are people around the world in Lara's rooms and certainly across all the time zones of the United States. In fact, Lara herself is based in Alaska. So it's 1:00 AM for me, four hours earlier for her.


Bret Keisling: 03:08 In the "Life Hacks for Night Owls" -- and I just want to show how the room operates -- Lara runs a format for her room every night at 1:00 AM. Lara will have people share if there's anything that has them jammed up, that Lara needs to reframe or that they need to reframe and Lara can help. What's the reframing do? If you think about it, it makes sense. We all have things that keep us awake at night. What Lara does is have you express them, reframe them in a positive way, possibly a funny way so that it goes away and you can sleep.


Bret Keisling: 03:41 Another thing people do, self-explanatory but you share your "gratitudes of the day." What is it that you're grateful for that day? Again, it positions you to get rest. Then Lara has her participants share their word for the next day. And it's to be mindful about how do you want to frame your next day? What word will define it? And then there's a a devotional and it's not necessarily religious or non-sectarian or that sort of thing, but it's food for thought that Lara will share and then discuss with the group.


Bret Keisling: 04:10 So the way the rooms work Lara's and every other room on Clubhouse is the moderator or host will open a room and the stage is set at the top of a screen where anybody who's speaking in that room is going to be seen. And then beneath that there are all of the participants in the room.


Bret Keisling: 04:32 There are two sections, the participants who are followed by speakers, and then oftentimes the vast majority of people in the room are just in the audience. But if you're in the audience, here's what's really cool. You can click your button that says "raise your hand" and the moderator can bring you to the head of the room, where you can speak and interact.

Bret Keisling: 04:53 I see a lot of potential for employee ownership. I've set up two clubs. One club is called "Employee Ownership." And by the way, for anybody who says, oh, Bret took that name. There's so many different variations. There should be many, many clubs on Clubhouse about employee ownership and you'll find the right name for yours.



Bret Keisling: 05:13 I also set up a club called "The EO Podcast." So as would make sense, just in terms of how I plan to use Clubhouse, I'll have rooms or events specific to the podcast in The EO Podcast club. We might have a guest come in to talk about the latest content. I love the idea that a guest, and if you'll look in the last year, we've had some amazing guests, can come in, talk about whatever it was we discussed on the podcast, but then open it up for give and take with the audience. I think that's going to be cool.


Bret Keisling: 05:44 Meanwhile, at the Employee Ownership club, I hope that's a clearinghouse where anybody feels comfortable opening up rooms for employee ownership. So for example, I spent seven years as an ESOP trustee. It was a small boutique firm. We didn't have the resources where we could have managed a club. Trust me, it takes a lot of work. I mentioned Lara Parrish. She spends a ton of time each day on Clubhouse. So as trustees, we wouldn't have had enough time to administer a club.


Bret Keisling: 06:15 We could set up a room under the Employee Ownership Club called "Internal versus External Trustees" and try and catch the attention of employee owners or advocates, practitioners, et cetera. With scheduled rooms, there's pinging, notifications, et cetera, et cetera. So it will help people find the rooms.


Bret Keisling: 06:34 Recently we held what I think is the very first organized room for employee ownership on Clubhouse. The room was created by Brian Khorsand, of Khorsand ESOP Advisory and he was kind enough to invite me as a co-host. We were joined by Damien Vira of Principal Financial Group, [and] Todd Klimas who is the president and an employee owner at Wilson Electric Services Corp. We were also joined by a business analyst who focuses on retirement benefits at a large consulting company and a woman who was a prospective business owner, who just saw the topic employee ownership and wanted to come in and hear what it was about.


Bret Keisling: 07:17 So I want to just tell you how the hour we spent together worked. We opened with the woman who was the prospective business owner saying that she really loved the idea of employee ownership, but she hadn't formed her business yet and she had done some research on YouTube and it seemed that ESOPs, at least ,were more suited for established companies. And of course, she's right. So I suggested that an ESOP may not be the right path for her, because of the barriers related to being a startup, but there may be some opportunities as a co-op or collective. And I offered to put her in touch with, she's in California, with some folks out there who might help her look at that. But here's the cool thing -- she stayed for the hour and listen to the conversation.


Bret Keisling: 08:01 Todd Klimas shared about Wilson Electric's transition to employee ownership, what it means to the culture, what it means to the business model. And there was give and take about that.


Bret Keisling: 08:12 The business analyst asked a question that led to a great discussion about what is employee ownership? What do we mean by employee owners? If you're a regular listener, you know, I collect EO A-ha Moments and two or three of the folks were kind enough to share their A-ha Moments. The room only lasted an hour. It was give and take. It was so cool. There was only six of us, but you know what, when I first started doing this podcast in September, 2017, we only had about 18 listens the first week and I'm pretty sure, like 15 of them were my mother. Now we get eight- to nine- hundred listens a week. So I'm okay building Clubhouse up like we did the podcast.


Bret Keisling: 08:54 So now if you take the issues that I just mentioned, that we covered just a few of us in an hour in a room, all of those issues could be their own rooms.


Bret Keisling: 09:04 What would you host a room about? What's important to you in employee ownership? Are you an employee owner with questions? Are you an employee owner CEO who wants to spread it? Are you an advocate? Whatever your topic is, you can set up a room. And if it's EO related, I hope you do it in the Employee Ownership club.


Bret Keisling: 09:24 Folks, it is invitation only. It is currently iPhone only. It'll be for Android before we know it. I really hope that you will check out Clubhouse. I am sincere when I tell you this -- and I'm not selling anything on Clubhouse -- I see it as an opportunity for us to come together and grow our community in an exciting and meaningful way.


Bret Keisling: 09:45 I hope you'll check out Clubhouse. You're welcome to DM me on Twitter. EO underscore Bret [@EO_Bret], the same as my Clubhouse handle. You're welcome to DM me and if I have any invitations, I'll get one to you. But I hope, really hope that you'll give Clubhouse a test drive. I'm pretty sure you'll see all of the opportunities that I do.


Bret Keisling: 10:08 I've ended the podcast in Mini-cast for the last year, by acknowledging that our country is going through an awful lot together with the pandemic and my fervent belief that that is how we will get through it, together. The light is at the end of the tunnel. Thank you so much for listening. This is Bret Keisling; be well.


Bitsy McCann: 10:32 We'd love to hear from you! To contact us, find us on Facebook at KEISOP, LLC and on Twitter @ESOPPodcast. To reach Bret, with one "T", email Bret@KEISOP.com, on LinkedIn at Bret Keisling, and most actively on Twitter at @EO_Bret. Again, that's one "T". This podcast has been produced by The KEISOP Group, technical assistance provided by Third Circle, Inc. and BitsyPlus Design. Original music composed by Max Keisling, archival podcast material edited and produced by Brian Keisling, and I'm Bitsy McCann.


Standard Disclaimer: The views expressed herein are my own and don't represent those of my own firms or the organizations to which I belong. Nothing in the podcast should be construed as guidance or advice of any kind in any field and the fact that I mentioned an organizational website or an advocate or a company on a podcast does not reflect an endorsement, but if you've heard your name or your group's name mentioned on this podcast, I'd love to have you come on and talk about it yourself.


A note on the transcript: This transcript was produced by Temi, an automated transcription service. While it has been reviewed by The ESOP Podcast, we can not guarantee the accuracy of the transcription. Please refer to the original audio when citing sources.