Here’s an understatement: There’s a lot going on in the world right now. In this episode, we allow ourselves to take it all in and come out on the other end surprisingly full of hope. So, how do we navigate challenging times as community leaders? How do we discuss important topics without dividing our communities? Well, we have tips aplenty!
Our guest today is Tim “Mr. Future of Work” Salau. Tim is the co-founder and Creative Chairman of Guide, a SaaS learning and talent development platform. He is also an international keynote speaker shaping the discussion on the future of work, leadership, and innovation. Total overachiever.
We start the interview with some fantastic examples of brands doing community the right way. Tim and Jillian go into a deep dive on the support community style and debate whether there's value in every brand having an intense social media presence. Tim is a pragmatic optimist whose audience members are digital nomads, so we get some excellent advice for community leaders on how to think globally and act locally.
Despite tackling a few heavy topics today, this chat was a blast. You won’t be able to see Tim’s smile, but you’ll definitely be able to hear it. Enjoy!
Tim's life purpose, his why, is to strengthen the bonds people share through compassionate action.
Tim “Mr. Future of Work” Salau, is the Enterprise Captain, Co-Founder, and Creative Chairman of Guide, the global lifestyle brand that owns Big Black Tea, a direct-to-consumer (D2C) tea brand and their keystone product, Guide, a Software as a Service (SaaS) Learning & Talent development platform application.
He's an artist, author, venture investor, builder capitalist, accomplished international keynote speaker, tech leader, and the only Nigerian-African American activist and global authority leading and shaping the discussion on the Future of Work, leadership, and innovation.
In 2017, he founded The Guide Group, a global movement of 300,000+ business leaders and professionals focused on helping every member lead a fulfilling career.
Through his life’s work and global platform, he’s directly impacting a magnitude of 150M+ people.
In This Episode
- How to avoid comparing your beginning to someone else's middle
- What can we learn from brands that do community well?
- The value of the support style community
- Does every brand need an intense social media presence?
- Being a CEO and providing safe spaces for your workers and customers
- Navigating challenging times as community leaders
- How to discuss important issues within your community without getting political
- Pragmatic optimism and having an impact on a local level
- Learn more about Guide
The CX 048: À la Carte Community with Tim Salau
Disclaimer: Hey there! Just a quick heads up. In this episode, Tim and I are talking about very real events going on in the world and kind of hit a bit of a doomsday spiral. We all do the doomscroll sometimes. If you’re not in a place mentally where you want to be exposed to that right now, I totally get it. Skip the episode, come back next week. Take care of yourself! And if you’re down to talk about everything going on in the world, enjoy!
Tim Salau: If you expect your brand to be Amazon 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years from now, then you're doing it wrong. People think they need to emulate that level of success. “My community eventually one day, or today, it needs to be just as big as Amazon's community.” What people don't realize is your brand, if you're doing it right, should feel, look, taste, it shouldn't connect to the Amazon brand.
Jillian Benbow: Well, hello and welcome to this episode of The Community Experience Podcast. I am your hostess, Jillian Benbow. And this week I am talking to a delightful, delightful human. I guarantee you will smile at some point during this call because Tim has the most infectious laugh in a good way, good infection. He's just so kind and complimentary. I feel like he and I were just like, "Oh, no. You're the best." "No, thank you." But the laugh, man. He's got a great laugh, which is always a great thing. So, who is Tim? Who is "Mr. Future of Work?" We start talking and we just jump right off and we talk about some really great things. But because we do that, we skip the whole, "Who are you?"
I'm going to fill you in on that here. Tim Salau is "Mr. Future of Work" and is the executive chairman, CEO and co-founder of Guide, the experience group and collective that owns Big Black Tea, a direct to consumer tea brand, and Guide, a SasS learning and talent development brand. He does all the things. He's an author, venture investor, accomplished international keynote speaker.
Fun fact, he's the only Nigerian African American activist and global authority leading and shaping the discussion of the future of work, leadership and innovation. He does all the things, including the Guide Group, which is the world's largest global Future of Work community with over 300,000 members worldwide. The community includes business leaders, professionals, and students who are passionate about leading in the future of work and achieving career fulfillment. Yeah, so he's one of those guys, AKA, a total overachiever, just really doing it all.
And we talk about all sorts of things to do with brand communities, but also just grassroots communities. And just a lot of what I like to call à la carte, inspiration, looking at communities or organizations and seeing what they have that works, and seeing how that can play out in your community. We live kind of product test a brand that he has been looking into and look at how they connect with their users. We are all over the place in the best way. Without further ado, I will just let you listen so you can enjoy that laugh and see you on the other side.
Jillian Benbow: Welcome to this episode of The Community Experience podcast. AndI am here with Tim Salau, who we have been just laughing. We finally just had to hit record because we're just two peas in a pod having a blast. So Tim, welcome to the show.
Tim Salau: Thank you so much, Jillian. It's an honor speaking with you. Literally you're making my morning. So I really appreciate you.
Jillian Benbow: Oh, well, thank you so much. So, I didn't realize this until... And this is part of why we hadn't hit record yet, but Tim knows our producer, David. And David actually mentioned yesterday, because he knew we were recording today, and he's like, "Tim has the best smile," and I didn't know what that meant. And so actually, getting on the call this morning, I'm like, "I see it. Yep." So likewise. I'm not a morning person and my morning's going fantastic thanks to you. And that smile.
Tim Salau: Aw, thank you Jillian. I really appreciate that. People are often like, "Dude, do you really smile?" Because as a CEO you kind of have to be like operation and very focused, but I like to bring some joy to my day and hopefully have others feel the joy as well. So I'm really grateful that you said that. Thank you. Makes my day.
Jillian Benbow: I've talked about this on the show before, but from a state of humanity and just where we are, it can feel so overwhelming sometimes just all the things happening. And just the simple act of trying to improve someone's day with a smile, it matters. Little things add up.
Tim Salau: [inaudible] it's the little things you could just help, tell them they're doing a good job, they deserve a promotion. Oh my god, Jillian, I think that we should just dive in through that. I think that speaks to a lot of what I think about when it comes to community. People think it's the big things. Like let's invest in a nonprofit. Or let's partner with this big brand to show our community that we're doing something big. A lot of big brands always want to do the biggest thing. But what you realize is that people don't care as long as they feel like you're being an authentic brand. And you actually are making an effort locally. Locally, globally, however you do it, but do you actually understand the sentiment of what's going on. And most brands and operators that I talk to, they have no idea what's going on. And even for right now, it's crazy.
Jillian Benbow: Oh yeah. Well and I think that's why, because when I think of a brand community in particular, I don't have the best feelings about it. Because a lot of times it's like, "Well, why do they have a community? It's just an advertising ploy." And you probably have some good examples of brand communities that are the opposite, that do it really well. But I think a lot of people get caught up in, "Oh, I should create a community for my brand." And then they're like, "What to do now?" And we see the big players do it just really inauthentically. It's, I think, a money grab.
Tim Salau: Yeah. And this is speaking to those who are small business owners and they're building their community. There's the big brands such as, let's say for example a high tech company like Amazon. And I'm using that because tech is something I've been in for so long now. Their community has existed for so long. They are in multiple channels. They have such a huge ecosystem. They have a lot of capital. They have a lot of brand recognition. It is foolish for you to think that on day one, when you start a business, that your presence as a brand is going to be as strong as Amazon's community. That's ludicrous because brands don't evolve, and their communities don't evolve, the way like let's say a local school community evolves. It really does take some time and you need life to happen.
Jillian Benbow: It's true. Well, and you think like Bezos back in the day, it was a bookstore online. It was not what it is now. One of the most fun things to do is to use the Wayback Machine to go look at early Amazon and see how crappy it is, like the UX. But it's like that saying, don't compare your beginning to someone else's middle, or in Amazon's case, advanced middle.
Tim Salau: Okay. Yeah. And I love your point about Bezos, Jillian. You were mentioning that they were a bookstore before. It takes time to build what it is now. But I think one of the things people don't also realize is that it not only takes time, but it takes a lot of effort. I think one of the things I respect, he's not a perfect person, about Mr. Bezos is that he just put in the work. And he did what he had to do. He understood the power of brand and community and people and culture and all of that. And that's what he's supposed to do as an executive of a company.
But where I kind of often am saddened is when a lot of people think they need to emulate that level of success if you get what I'm saying. Like, my community eventually one day, or today, it needs to be just as big as Amazon's community. And what people don't realize is Amazon is an e-commerce brand. It's exceeded by evolving in that nature. But your brand, if you're doing it right, should feel, look, taste, it shouldn't connect to the Amazon brand. You can use some of Amazon's cultural principles and be inspired by Mr. Bezos, but if you expect your brand to be Amazon 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years, then you're doing it wrong on day one. Because you're not actually connecting with the people you need to speak with. So you just got to think like that when you are a community leader, would love to get your further thoughts on it, Jillian.
Jillian Benbow: Yeah, I agree. I mean, I have a lot of hot takes on, and opinions, about Amazon. So I'll just hold those to myself. Other than I just have to say, if anybody listening is going to be the future Jeff Bezos, and you spend all your money on a rocket to exit the planet I'm going to be upset that you got any tips from this.
No, but I agree with what you're saying and community is not an overnight success. It's a slow burn. So, I like the idea of look at the big players and what do they do that you admire? What do they do well, and does that make sense? Is there a way to do a version of that in your community? But, the things that don't serve you like underpaying your employees and things like that, maybe we don't do that. Pick and choose, it's à la carte. À la cart inspiration.
Tim Salau: No, I love that, Jillian. Let me ask you a question community leader to community leader, because we're all community leaders to a degree. What are some brands right now that are tickling your fancy? That are inspiring you in culture in terms of how they're doing community?
Jillian Benbow: That is such a juicy question. So lately I've been like low key stalking Morning Brew. They do a lot of newsletters and digests and things, but they have a learning community. And they have a piece of that, actually Kyle... I always say his last name wrong. I think it's Hagge. Kyle, if you're listening and I said it wrong, I'm sorry. He's their head community manager there for their learning communities. And he was on the show a few weeks ago. And since then I've been looking at everything they do because it's such a big brand. You'd almost not realize they have this whole learning community side. And it's done so seamlessly. And the branding translates from their newsletter and content piece of their business to their learning community side of their business. It's cool, how they do it all. And I love that it's a reference to coffee. First and foremost.
Tim Salau: Morning Brew, yeah, yeah, yeah, no, no. It's they've been doing it for so long now. And I believe they recently sold to a larger publication and they're going strong and integrated with them. So I'm always buying products just to learn and test what's in the market. A brand I would love to mention, that's doing community, okay, it's a tech company called GlocalMe. And now, I researched this brand and I don't think they're the biggest brand in the world. But essentially the product that they provide is just portable wifi and they're based out of China. But I think I had a support issue with them recently and I was actually really surprised by how fast they responded in email. Now, email, it's a support channel that you don't expect a lot because people are busy. But they responded really fast to me and then I was able to kind of like troubleshoot based off some of the steps they gave. But, I love them because I don't think... It's interesting, I don't think they have a deep connection with their community based on what I'm seeing on Twitter. And I don't even think they have an Instagram, but I actually think that's okay. I'm not really interested in having a conversation with them. I just want to make sure that my wifi hotspot works effectively. And if I have an issue, you help me out. Like that's all I care about.
And I think that's interesting because often people think that community is about always being on and always looking for a way to connect. But what about the brands that want to be distant from their communities? They don't want to always be in their face. And they want them to experience the product versus always having to... How do I say this? Create a conversation with them. And I don't know, when you think about branding, like, oh wow, there's like a spectrum. And it's a community and brand communities, you start to realize not every community is the same.
Jillian Benbow: Yeah. Oh, absolutely. Well, and that's what's interesting about brand communities I think, because like the model that seems the most successful is the support community style. So like Apple is such a good example of a well done support community. Because, I was having a problem with my Magic Mouse. I can go to their support forums and someone will have asked the question, the tech question that I have a question about. And so I can probably get an answer without ever actually engaging in the community in any way. I didn't have to post anything, I just searched for the issue I was having. Someone had already had it and other people had already answered it.
And they have it set up so that you can kind of be like a... And I'm probably getting the terminology wrong, but you can kind of be like an expert as just a community member, as a tech enthusiast. And so, Apple's created this space for Apple enthusiasts to participate and kind of be connected to Apple without being staff. Which, that's a whole other conversation, but it works very well. Their model I think is a good example of it working. And then if you can't figure it out in the support forums, then you can contact them and get that direct support. Or you can head to the Apple store, if you live near one, if you are so lucky to live near one. But, I think that's such a great example.
Tim Salau: Everything you're saying is so much facts. I've studied their support model and it's really powerful. Apple does so many things right, because they just think. They just think about it. They're like, "Well, let's just do the obvious here." And even down to how support would be, they can start online or how they adapted during the pandemic. They really, oh my god, they did so much to adapt through the pandemic. I was like, "Wow, y'all are really being quick on your feet here." So, I love that Jillian, thank you so much for sharing.
Jillian Benbow: You're so sweet. But I mean to your point, I think for a product brand, do you have to have an Instagram? No.
Tim Salau: It's interesting because I feel like there's this... Because I'm always kind of engaging communities based on what is the feeling that the brand is giving online. Let's start there. If it's very curated, corporate and they're trying to give you this natural feel, but whereas us at our company, we are authentic, natural. Let's be very in the season, in the moment type of a feel. And then we'll curate some stuff. But you can get kind of get that feel is what I often tell our team we want to invoke. These are the things I often do as a community leader and as a brand person to see, how do I get inspired? What can I do differently? Are we doing things right? Are we way off? Because you feel a brand as soon as you go to their Instagram or their Twitter.
Jillian Benbow: Yeah. So I think this is a good moment. Because we just went in and we didn't even talk about what you do and the Guide Group. So let's talk about your community as a community builder. What's going on with the Guide Group?
Tim Salau: Oh, the Guide Group has been around for a long time now. It's been 3.3 years that we've been in business, Jillian, which is something I'm grateful for. I want to be honest with you, Jillian. I never thought I would see myself being a CEO. And now I'm a chairman, which is really weird. That's literally all I do, I sit on my chair. And I help our team. I sit on my chair and I help if they need me and I don't help if they don't. I just try to get out of their way, seriously. They're pretty brilliant people.
But, I've been really surprised to see our growth over the last three years, honestly, for a few reasons. Because, we're still growing. And for us, I think when I think about our community I think we're doing what we can, but we're not doing enough to be honest with you. I think, especially for the last two years, if you think about it, Jillian, we're coming from a pandemic. To now, a recession, eventually potentially a depression. And then there's a war. Imagine what's going on right now. But with that said, my focus on how do we connect during a time of war? And I'm figuring that right now, figuring that out right now. So, even if it's not that we have Ukrainian customers, or Russian customers, this is actually affecting people mentally, psychologically. And if it's affecting people mentally, where else do we think it's going to affect people? In terms of how they spend and how much time they're spending online or with their families. So for me, people often think for me as a leader, all I'm thinking about is sales. I mean, if we make money, we make money. If you want to buy our products, then buy our products. That's not my end all, be all.
What I really care more about is that are we even going to have a humanity to sell to at this point. No, like seriously, if this continues to affect people mentally, affect people's wallets and more importantly, their livelihoods if you think about that. And for me, it's been really tough because I've been doing a lot of research on future products and innovations and just thinking about our team. And I'm just realizing, this war isn't going to end. People think it's going to end tomorrow. No, it's not. So as a CEO, it's really tough. I wouldn't give this job to anybody. Because I can't even explain the things that I have to think about now, because you have to look at a lot of different perspectives and it's not just mine that matters anymore at this point.
Jillian Benbow: Yeah. I think it's a burden to carry in many ways and be a CEO leading a company, or even leading a community. I empathize, because as someone who's kind of the face of a community, you kind of feel like, "All right, everything's..." Like toxic positivity in a way. Let's talk about lead magnets." And it's just like, "Oh, it's all meaningless actually. Will we be alive in a year? I don't know." Yeah. And it's hard. Welcome to the doomsday episode.
Tim Salau: Like doomsday theory, Armageddon, or being a real pragmatic optimist. Because optimism, people think optimism is always being happy all the time. No, it's not always being happy all the time. I think with your community, you always have to give a level of optimism, abundance, inspire them. Especially at a grassroots level if you have a small community. If you have a big community, it doesn't even matter because everyone knows your brand and what you offer. But it's actually really just about being there, being present. We're not looking to force conversations around a war right now through our socials, because we all know we're in a war. If anything, what we're looking to do is protect our community, make them feel safe. The more we tell you you're in a war, the more you're frightened. So, if you're actually any brand right now, this is not the time to get billboards on, "Let's win this war." Don't make these moves. And these are what a lot of brands do, they're really reactive. Like, "Oh, we're going to crush COVID-19. We're going to beat it to the brim." Like they do really aggressive tactics to be like, "Okay, we're present." Or let's start putting our marketing around a perspective war, "We're going to help Ukraine. We're going to save them. We're going to donate. We're going to do all of these things for relief." Okay, cool. You're supposed to do that, but every second you're putting that in your customer's face, think about how they feel. Every day you want to remind them that they're in a war. That's uncomfortable for me.
Jillian Benbow: It's like, thanks.
Tim Salau: Thanks, I know.
Jillian Benbow: Is there anything in particular with your community that y'all are doing? To kind of like hold space for people, to just kind of have that place for people to connect?
Tim Salau: So what we've done, honestly, and I really did this out of fear. I did this out of fear because I've been paranoid lately. I'm not even going to lie to you. And we've actually shared safe zones with them on where they can work out from. And, people think that paranoia is a thing that shows that someone's mentally unstable. No, it shows that they're mentally aware of what's going on right now in our universe and in our countries.
And people are spending money and they're walking as if right now everything is perfect. Look, live your life. Even in a war, in a storm. But what I'm realizing is that no one actually cares that a dictator is literally hurting innocent children and people. And no matter where you live, you should care. So, we share safe zones with our community because we don't know where they live. I don't know where everyone lives that we serve. So look, these are places where you all can work out from, you all can meet people from. And they're the least likely to be attacked by a domestic terrorist or even a foreign terrorist. In times of war you have to be a secure brand. You can't be a brand that's all about, "Buy, buy. Buy from us." You have to approach things from how can we make you feel safe and you will live through this thing without always reminding you that you're in a war.
Jillian Benbow: So, what does that mean, a safe place to work? Is it digital? Is it an actual geographic location that is literally-
Tim Salau: Oh, actual geographic locations. We told them work out of libraries, we're encouraging them work out of libraries. Work out of coffee shops and tea shops because they're publicly and privately owned. If you're traveling, airports, they have federal oversight and local oversight. And they're really actually really safe due to the amount of security you have in airports now. In addition to that, we've been recommending very just obvious things. And for me, I've lived quite a bit of a life. I've seen a lot.
But that actually helps because we serve digital nomads. We serve remote workers. We serve people who are creatives. And creatives, they're always creating somewhere. So, what I'm hoping is that maybe we're reaching them because we care, because we're telling and we're recommending this. But the fact that a brand would even try that, is what we want. Just notice that we are trying, that we're not perfect at all. Because I haven't seen Amazon doing that.
Jillian Benbow: Well, Amazon doesn't let their workers leave the warehouses. So they're like, "Well, just come to the warehouse. It's perfectly safe. You can sleep here. You can fulfill orders in your sleep."
Well, I think this is interesting because, you're right. When you first were talking about this, it took me a minute to kind of see where it comes from. But it makes sense because your members, like you said, are digital nomads. And so of course, you don't always have reliable internet. This is also explaining why you like that Glocal, or whatever it's called. So yeah, you need to find places to go work. But it can be scary. Because you're like, "Well, where do I go?" So, having that conversation and kind of leaning into the concept, like, "Yeah, we live in a batshit world right now, but you still got to pay your rent or whatever. So, here's some curated tips from us to help you do that." It makes a lot of sense for the community you're serving.
Tim Salau: And Jillian, that's exactly it right there. I mean, my goodness, and that's the thing that I'm like, "How is this not obvious for other brands right now?" I don't even care if we are making sales right now. Nowadays, I'm going to be honest with you as a CEO and chairman, Jillian. I'm not even looking at, yeah, revenue right now. What does that mean to me? That doesn't mean anything to me right now. Because we're literally at a point right now... And it is truly heartbreaking that I have to say this. Where there might not even be a humanity left for us to serve and help at the rate we're going. And, the fact that I'm saying this in 2022, it hurts my heart because that just shows if I'm saying this, and I'm not smarter than anyone else. Look, we all have access to the same insight, the same information, the same internet. What is someone else that is not me feeling? That is not in the best situation, that doesn't own a company, that doesn't have friends. I think right now, as a society and also as even in America, we need to have some really tough conversations right now. And not everything is bad. That's not what I'm saying. It's not like we're in 1913. Thank goodness. But, what are we-
Jillian Benbow: Sometimes it kind of feels like it, but yeah.
Tim Salau: Yeah, sometimes it does. But what are we really doing right now in America? I don't know. I don't know Jillian. And this is a digression, but it really goes back to grassroots community building. And, you just have to be at the heart of what is going on. Of what is going on with your peoples right now. Your community is your peoples. And if you're not at the heart of what's going on with them, they're going to leave. They're not going to connect with you anymore. Seriously.
Jillian Benbow: That's one place that I think grassroots and smaller communities have the advantage over say, the Amazons and the Nikes and big brands, is that we can poke the man with the stick. We can poke the bear and be a little cheeky and stand up for things. And kind of say like, "Hey, you know what? This is a very real thing that we all are dealing with. And so here's some support resources relevant to our community," like you're doing with yours. And we can say those kind of things. And we don't have to talk to six different corporate legal teams to get approval for the message. We can just be real.
And then that can hopefully inspire other people to, like you said, start modeling that behavior. Start having those conversations maybe in other communities they're a part of. Whether it's their local community, their family, their school, whatever it is. Because it kind of is we kind of just have to accept like, "Hey, we're in a hard spot societally," humanity, like you said. And as communities how do we talk about it in a way that makes sense in our specific niche communities that we run. It's like the trickle effect... Or, not trickle effect. What's it called? The butterfly?
Anyways, whatever it's called, maybe little changes here can kind of yeah, help people feel comfortable having those conversations or are allowing themselves to think that way. I mean, I know every time I walk into any public space, I'm looking where are the exits. I mean, frankly, I live in a like simulated shooter scenario. I'm thinking about it so much and I live in a pretty small place. But Columbine happened when I was in high school in Colorado. It's personal and, sadly, we all have the experiences. I mean, we're recording this, I think very recently, last week was the Buffalo grocery store-
Tim Salau: A grocery store.
Jillian Benbow: ... massacre. Yeah. And that is so tragic. I mean, so tragic on so many levels, but just the fact that someone can be so angry and take it out on a group of people that minding their... yeah, it's so hard. And then you look at the history of that grocery store in particular. It was a community rallied to get it. It's just the whole, all of it. And I think my point that I'm trying to get to is I think we're all getting kind of numb to the daily violence in this country. And it's okay for us to take a step back and say, "No, it's not okay. We can't accept this. This wasn't some lone gunman with a mental health issue. This is terrorism." And there is a movement that's behind this in many ways. And we have to come together and say like, "We're all brothers and sisters. Let's come together and find a common ground. And let's move forward because it's so bad."
And it's so easy to not engage when these things happen. It's easy to just be like, "Oh, that's awful," and then la da da and go back to our merry way. And I think some people, it's a mental health boundary where they're like, "I can't take on any more tragedy," but we also can't just let it keep going. And it is an interesting conversation to have as community builders and how do we address these things without it turning into like a political debate. Because that's the worst thing ever in digital communities. It's like, "No, please stop." But also, how do we have productive conversations in our spaces, especially the communities we lead. To then maybe, and whatever I was calling butterfly effect, trickle effect, the thing I just made up, but I think we know what I'm trying to say. How do we help foster that change from these grassroots corners of the world? You know?
Tim Salau: Yeah. No, it's a hundred percent truth, Jillian. I think that I read the same news, I've been keeping tracks with that, to the depths of the evil of it. And how the individual, the person that did it, went to the length of documenting every single intentional thing that he did. And now his defenders are trying to plead a mental health argument. Which is just pure tomfoolery, to be honest with you.
That in itself, it just encapsulates how I feel. If I feel like this, and my life is okay. My life isn't perfect, it's okay. I can just imagine how others feel. We got to do better, in my opinion, as grassroots community leaders. At this time we have to stand out in a way where, our brand communities are our brand communities, but now it's like we individually as leaders have to find ways to do better. And I'm actually going through that process right now, just being more connected with my own local community. I can't save the world. I'm no ones savior. I think this savior complex that a lot of males have in the tech industry, but also in other businesses and industries, it's disgusting. Because no one person on this earth is a savior. At all. So that's my perspective, but I really love your points, Jillian.
Jillian Benbow: Aw. Well, yeah, I think it's overwhelming. And I think we, as you and I can declare it here, because everyone's listening of course, you know, most popular show. But as everyone listening is a community builder in some sense. And so, Tim and myself and all of you, this is a moment in time where it's like, "Yeah, we may all feel helpless in the bigger picture, but we can make an impact in our corners of the world. And in our communities we lead, in our local communities."
And as community builders, I challenge all of us to think about how do we have these conversations. How do we support our communities in an honest way that is helpful. And, to your example of talking about safe places to work, how can we all do that in our own communities. I think it's a good conversation for us to continue to have and continue to work towards. And maybe that'll give us some sense of stability. Or at least that we're helping in the way we can right now. And that's what we all need to be doing anyways. Right?
Tim Salau: Yeah. A hundred percent. A hundred percent Jillian. Those words have brought calm to my heart. So shout out [inaudible] who are listening. Send Jillian a thank you note for everything that she's doing for the community.
Jillian Benbow: Or, just pay it forward.
Tim Salau: I love it.
Jillian Benbow: Okay. Well, we took a turn. We're going to take a sharp pivot and get into our rapid fire. So if you're not familiar, this is something completely different. I'm going to ask you a series of questions rapid fire, I'll ask, whatever comes to your head first is the answer. And then we'll go to the next one. There are no wrong answers. And although I want to ask follow up questions, because I'm curious by nature, I will not. So I'm not trying to be rude, I'm just trying to actually stick to rapid fire. It's a hard concept for me. All right. So first question, Tim, when you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Tim Salau: A doctor. I wanted to be a cardiologist. That's really who I wanted to be. I wanted to be a cardiologist in high school, but then I realized I don't want to work on hearts. And blood is a little too much. Yeah, seriously.
Jillian Benbow: That is a key part of heart surgery.
Tim Salau: Yeah.
Jillian Benbow: Or heart doctors.
Tim Salau: Oh my god, it's just too much. It gets too messy. [inaudible]
Jillian Benbow: Like literally.
Tim Salau: Literally. And you have to this realize this as you're like, "Oh my god." It's crazy. I still can't believe it. I was like, "Why did I think that's what I was going to become when I got older?"
Jillian Benbow: I love it. All right. Tim, how do you define community?
Tim Salau: This is so powerful. Community is a mindset. And I think I can further that and say it's built upon a belief system. So community is a mindset.
Jillian Benbow: All right. What is something on your so-called bucket list that you have done in your life?
Tim Salau: Ooh, that I have done in my life. Oh my gosh. That's a good one. Oh my god, let me tell you something, Jillian. I visited Oman, what, two years ago? Life changing. Oman is one of the most beautiful places on planet earth. Oman. If you ever get a chance, Jillian, you would love it. It will be a miraculous experience. So Oman.
Jillian, let me tell you something. I'm actually thinking about leaving America. I'm not going to lie to you, at this point, why not? I'm actually thinking about leaving. I haven't told anybody. I've told you, so it might be happening.
Jillian Benbow: You heard it here first. Breaking news.
Tim Salau: It's crazy. I'm very scared.
Jillian Benbow: I think we're all thinking about it. Yeah.
Tim Salau: I'm ready.
Jillian Benbow: Well, maybe that'll be the answer to this next question. What is something on your bucket list that you haven't done?
Tim Salau: Leave America. I love America with my heart. I don't want to leave it, but if things go, I mean... America doesn't need me. Okay? Something on my bucket list that I haven't done. I haven't gone parachuting, Jillian. And I feel as if I should go parachuting, that's something I should do.
Jillian Benbow: Like skydiving?
Tim Salau: Yeah. Skydiving, parachute. I haven't done that. Like, why not? That's such a natural thing to do.
Jillian Benbow: Is it? Jumping out of a perfectly good airplane?
Tim Salau: Oh, so parachuting is like being in the balloon and just like yeah... And staying there.
Jillian Benbow: Oh.
Tim Salau: Yeah. Floating.
Jillian Benbow: So like a hot air balloon?
Tim Salau: Yeah. Hot air balloon, yeah.
Jillian Benbow: Oh.
Tim Salau: Yeah. Yeah. Skydiving, yeah. So you would equate them to the same thing, but they're different. It's funny. It's funny. So I haven't done that. Skydiving is a different thrill. I haven't done that either, but I don't know I want that type of thrill, to be honest with you. I'd rather parachute and just glide in the sky. If I see a hawk... Yeah.
Jillian Benbow: Oh my gosh.
Tim Salau: It's so interesting. You should do it Jillian, you should parachute. You should parachute.
Jillian Benbow: Yeah. I like having my feet on the ground. I'm not a [inaudible] -
Tim Salau: I know. It's a different thrill. It's a different thrill.
Jillian Benbow: I'm sure.
Tim Salau: People [inaudible] I'm a land animal. Okay? I'm not trying to be in the sky. Unless I'm in a plane, which I have to be. But it's interesting because a lot of people don't understand, a lot of people have phobias that have to do with heights. But more importantly the sky, because we're not meant to fly.
Jillian Benbow: I'm not supposed to be here.
Tim Salau: That's not natural to us. But I'm always interested in how people who tell me they skydived before, how it felt for them. Because they took that risk and they had a support maybe. But they were like, "It's the best thing that I've ever done and I would do it again." I'm just like, "Oh wow. You all are really crazy." You all are crazy. In a good way. In a good way, right? Not in bad way. You all are thrill seekers.
Jillian Benbow: Yeah. Risk takers. Not me, I'm boring. So, I may know the answer to this, but if you could live anywhere else in the world, where would you live?
Tim Salau: Oh my goodness. Oman is on the list. But you know what? Someone said Hawaii to me recently. They told me that they would just love to go to Hawaii. And I know why people always say Hawaii. Hawaii is like a paradise destination. And low key, right now we need paradise. You know, obviously it's a tourist destination. But there's this feeling you get in Hawaii that you wouldn't probably get in Oman. So Hawaii, I think I would live in Hawaii for a while. I've never done that before, so why not? For me, honestly, Jillian, at this point, I've done all I can in America. I've done everything I can. And I travel so often, Jillian, it's crazy how often I travel. But it's not like crazy CEO travel. It's almost like three to four times a season. Sometimes I have busy months with I'm speaking or whatnot. But, you deserve to live in this life is what I've found. And we tell that to our community every single day. You all deserve to live. Okay, so do whatever sets your heart on fire.
Jillian Benbow: Do it. Although technically Hawaii is in America.
Tim Salau: This is true.
Jillian Benbow: Do they want to be? That's up for debate.
Tim Salau: Preach. Preach. I love that you say that. Oh my god. Because that's a huge distinction. Because people go to Hawaii, but Hawaii's America. But when people say I'm going Hawaii, they don't say it like they're going to America. They say it like they're going to escape America if you've ever noticed that, right? And then you realize, but Hawaii is a part of America, but is it really? Or do we just claim ownership of it, right?
Jillian Benbow: Yeah. That's a whole other episode. I go to Hawaii a decent amount and I love it. And I totally understand. And I kind of feel like have some guilt going there because I'm like, "I'm a part of the problem." Because the local culture is just being, so whitewashed for a lack of a better term. And it's like everywhere in America where it's the housing, locals can't afford to live in their ancestral homes. And it's a mess. But, damn if it isn't one of just the most beautiful, restorative places. There's a reason people flock there from all over. And to everyone living or visiting Hawaii, I mean no disrespect.
Final question, Tim. How do you want to be remembered?
Tim Salau: Oh my gosh. People often think of legacy as something that happens once you pass away, but it's really what you're doing today and in the now. I don't want to be remembered, Jillian. That's the thing, because I'm just doing my job. It's funny, right, man, there's so many egotistical CEOs that I've met in my few years of doing this at this point. It's just like, you're a CEO. Okay, cool. I don't want to be remembered. And that's the reality, there's no reason that people should... The thing that I'm doing is I'm purely just doing what I'm supposed to be doing on planet earth. I built a product. I have a community. I'm watching their back. If they watch my back, that's fine. If they don't, it's fine either. But I just want to be.
And there's this comfort in realizing that I'm not a megalomaniac. There's no reason for that at this point in life. And so for me, I don't want to be remembered. And that's why I was so interested earlier in what I was sharing with you, the brands that try not to always be in their community space. There's something interesting about that because people buy your products, but do you always need to be in their face reminding them of obviously the reality they already live in? No. You just got to be there when they truly need you. And let them know that you're being present and of service. So, for me personally, I don't want to be remembered. And if anything, all I need is a thank you. Or I want somebody to pay it forward. Like, thank you. That's it. Pay it forward. That's it.
Jillian Benbow: I love it. Well, that's the perfect place to end. Tim, thank you so much for being on the show. Where can people find out more about you and your brand? Where do they go on the internets?
Tim Salau: Yes. So if you want to follow me or connect with me, I am at mrfow.com. M-R-F-O-W, mrfow.com. That is my personal website. Love to speak with you and reach out to you at any capacity. If you want to learn more about our company, Guide, check out guideapp.co. Guideapp.co. We've been growing for so much this last three years and three months. And, we barely scratched the surface, we're just doing our best in a changing world and society. But we really mean what we do at the end of the day. And we're looking to go bigger this year in terms of service and finding every single opportunity to connect with our community in real life, but enhance that virtually moving forward. And we're just grateful to be in business at this point, because we're surviving, but still looking to thrive is our focus.
Jillian Benbow: I love that.
Tim Salau: Connect with us at guideapp.co. Yeah.
Jillian Benbow: Perfect. All right. Well, thanks so much for being on today's episode of The Community Experience.
Tim Salau: Jillian, thank you for having me. You are a wonderful host and I wish every host was as amazing as you, seriously.
Jillian Benbow: Now I just know you're full of it.
Tim Salau: Thank you.
Jillian Benbow: All right. I hope you smiled and laughed as much as we did in that episode. Despite a lot of heavy topics, we had a grand old time and I hope you were along for that grand old time as well. Tim, man, he is just the best. So talked about a lot of things, as you know. And I think the thing that really kind of kept circling for me with everything, everything we talked about, is just as a community looking for the productive conversations. Despite maybe what's happening. Protecting your community, but also just having that laser focus on what is it your community needs and wants and how am I serving that.
So whether it's the à la carte, "Oh, I really like the way..." We talked about Amazon a lot, but, "I really like the way Amazon does this, or really like the way Apple does that, or GlocalMe does this, but it doesn't really work for my community in that way." So I'm going to find a version of that. I'm going to use that as inspiration and make it work for my community. I love an à la carte option. I don't know about you.
I also think we definitely talk about the doomsday of today and will we all be here in a few years or is this the end. And I joke because that's what I do. That's my coping mechanism. But I love Tim's outlook on there are terrible things happening in the world, what can I do that's specific to my community. That is helping or is creating a protected space without having to maybe say, "Let's talk about what happened in the Russian invasion of Ukraine today." Instead, why don't we talk about local or if it's a global, digital, just different resources that can help when you're feeling overwhelmed with the world.
Things like that, how do we have productive conversations that serve our community directly? And not just relying on toxic positivity, but also not being a complete doomsdayer, everything is meaningless. Finding the middle somewhere in there that's actually valuable. How can we actually help people that are in our communities in a productive way? I think that's huge.
I also just want to highlight the invitation invoked, given, distributed. I don't even know. But the invitation for all of us to figure out what positive impact can we make in our corner of the world. And how can we support our own communities in very authentic ways that don't feel performative, buy my product kind of things.
And yeah, it's like, how do we show up and show that we care about something without it feeling gross. And Tim mentioned many times not actually even caring per se about profits, that not being the priority, the people being their priority. And that's sadly not a common way that companies look at business because there is, there's overhead. There's financial things that's too high risk for a lot of people to even think that way. But imagine a world where we did, right? So instead of worrying about selling a bunch of rainbow shirts to get the profit margins up, maybe it's like, "What can we do? What actions can we take?" What's more authentic to show that a company supports LGBTQ+ rights. Or is involved in pride month, maybe it's, "Hey, we all took a paid volunteer day to go to a local Pride march," right? That feels very authentic.
The fact that on a grassroots level, we can all make really meaningful change. And we can find common ground and we can work together as people, regardless of a lot of belief systems. And we can just focus on being people. And I think as community builders, let's set that example because we have a lot more sway than I think we realize. And so, if we are treating each other well and really working towards this, maybe butterfly effect, trickle down effect. I called it many things, but maybe y'all, maybe we're going to save the world and it started here.
So, yes. What are you going to do today to solve the world's problems? Save the world, do it all. Just kidding. What are you going to do today to help protect your community? To make sure the values of your community are front and center and that your community is hopefully taking that outside of the community space that you know them in and putting it somewhere else. Let's sprinkle this everywhere.
Okay. On that fantastic episode. Thanks for listening. If you haven't already please like, subscribe, follow all the things that podcasts need to survive. I appreciate it. And hit me up on the Twittersphere, @jillianbenbow on Twitter. At @teamspi on Twitter. Let's talk about it. How does this work in your community? Do you have any insights? Let's figure it out together. And on that, let's end it. Thanks for being here. I'll see you next Tuesday.
The best place to find Tim and all of the things he is doing is his website, timsalau.com. That's Tim, S-A-L-A-U.com.
Your lead host for The Community Experience is me, Jillian Benbow. Our executive producer is Matt Gartland. Our senior producer is David Grabowski. And our editor is Paul Grigoras. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. Theme music by David Grabowski. See you next Tuesday.