Reporting from the 1 Billion Follower Summit in Dubai
Following the 1 Billion Follower Summit in Dubai
Follow the adventures of Greg Jarboe and Matt Bailey as they take on Dubai and attend the 1 Billion Follower Summit! After attending and speaking at conferences for the past 15 years, we finally get the chance to sit back and watch one of the most amazing conferences we’ve ever seen!
However, this was not a business-as-usual conference. Greg explains that while most conferences are about getting “butts-in-seats,” this approach was very different, starting with the application process to attend the conference! One of the best part was seeing our past students now leading and speaking on panels and leading the conversations!
1 Billion Follower Summit, Dubai
Maitha Mohammed on Instagram
Max of Arabia: Instagram, YouTube
[00:00:00] Greg: I did that back of the envelope calculation.
And I literally came up with, oh, 75 million dollars my best guess is a year from now that was the economic lift of the two day event, you and I just attended. People who are in this business will be earning $75 million more a year from now than they were today. So, whoa, that’s one of the reasons why this was a whole different
[00:00:36] Voice over Intro: Welcome to Endless Coffee Cup, a regular discussion of marketing, news, culture and media for our complex digital lifestyle. Join Matt Bailey as he engages in conversation to find insights beyond the latest headlines and deeper understanding for those involved in marketing. Grab a cup of coffee. Have a sit. And thanks for joining
[00:00:57] Matt: Hello and welcome to another edition of the Endless Coffee Cup podcast, and as always, I’m your host Matt Bailey. And I feel like I should say by now your co-host Greg Jarbo, who’s joining me for another episode here. Greg, how are you doing today?
[00:01:12] Greg: Wait, I’ve been elevated to co-host.
[00:01:14] Matt: I’m gonna just start calling you co-host, you have been on the show more than anybody else.
[00:01:18] Greg: Oh, all right.
[00:01:20] Matt: I think that earns you co-host privilege.
[00:01:22] Greg: Cool. does this come with any perks? Are there any like points that I can, exchange for valuable gifts?
[00:01:31] Matt: Double the salary you’ve been getting.
[00:01:33] Greg: Whoa, okay.
[00:01:36] Matt: yeah, you ask and you shall receive.
[00:01:38] Greg: How about my own coffee cup?
[00:01:41] Matt: I will send you a coffee cup, Greg. Yes, it will be the Site Logic coffee mug. It won’t be, I don’t have endless coffee cup coffee mugs, but I do have the Site Logic mugs that I send to all my students, and so, I’ll send you a care package.
[00:01:56] Greg: That’s good.
[00:01:59] Matt: Dear listener, I don’t think I’ve brought this up in other podcasts, but , other than the fact I’ve been commuting back and forth to Dubai for the past few months and Greg joined me on one of the trips because we attended the 1 Billion Follower Summit, and I’ve gotta tell you that Greg was probably the most fun I’ve had at a conference.
[00:02:20] Greg: it was mind bending. I have never been to a conference like this before and I’ve been to a lot of conferences. In fact, you and I spent what maybe five conferences a year over the course of a decade. So we think we know conferences. This one was different.
[00:02:40] Matt: It was, from the start it was, to me, it summarizes Dubai as well. They pull out all the stops. It’s, we are going to give you a show. Nothing is done on a shoestring budget, that much I’ve learned. And from the very beginning, especially when we found out one of our previous students was going to be the MC.
[00:03:05] Greg: Yeah, Nouf
[00:03:05] Matt: She did amazing.
[00:03:07] Greg: And she asked the hardest questions in class, and now I can see that she was, going for extra credit. .
[00:03:18] Matt: She has certainly distinguished herself. She’s also, so the 1 Billion Follower Summit was put on by New Media Academy. Also in conjunction with Nas, Nas Daily, Nas Academy. So new Media Academy, Greg and I are both instructors there, we teach digital marketing, digital communication.
They’ve got a social media professional course. We’re launching a digital marketing professional course and a lot of short courses as well, and they also run, the other side of New Media Academy is developing content creators. And Nouf has been through both our course, the social media professional, and she has gone through the content creator course.
What’s interesting about that is they start with 100 people. They take applications, I think they receive a few hundred, maybe a thousand applications. They decide on 100 and they work with them for a month or two, and at the end of that, it goes down to 20, and then they work with them for another month or two, and then it goes down to 5.
But I think they said this past group, they stayed with 20 because they couldn’t decide who to cut. It was such a strong group. And then they will work with these people for the next two years sponsoring them and working with them as content creators. So many of them were on panels because of what they have experienced and the growth and what an exciting event.
Greg, what were some of the stats of the attendees? Because I know that was one of the things that really impressed you was where people came from to attend this conference.
[00:04:47] Greg: Yeah, , for starters, I’m used to conferences where, you get a lot of people who turn up and that’s how you measure success, and yeah, this conference had 3000 attendees, but that’s not what blew me away. What blew me away was when I learned that, oh, by the way, there had been 16,000 applications to attend and only the best 3000 were allowed to come.
It was like, again, pardon me. The only other kind of phenomena where I’ve witnessed anything even similar is at Rutgers University, where we may get a lot of potential students who fill out applications, but the admission department only, excepts a portion of them to go on to take, let’s say their online master’s degree. Think of an event where pardon me, not everyone who wanted to come was allowed in.
[00:05:47] Matt: That’s amazing. Why wouldn’t you let that? But there was a plan.
[00:05:52] Greg: And the 16,000 applications came from 162 different countries.
[00:06:00] Matt: That’s astonishing.
[00:06:03] Greg: I was expecting Okay, heavy preponderance of people from the UAE, cause it’s in the UAE or maybe the Middle East, and North Africa. Guess what? There were people from all over the world.
[00:06:20] Matt: Yeah, it was astonishing, and what was interesting is, everyone spoke English.
[00:06:28] Greg: Well, not everyone.
[00:06:30] Matt: The vast majority were speaking English.
[00:06:33] Greg: 80%, of the sessions were in English, but I actually sat in on some of the sessions that were in Arabic. And I don’t speak Arabic, but I wanted to see, particularly some of our students, they were presenting on Arabic only panels and they were holding their own and back and forth.
I couldn’t tell you what they were saying, but they weren’t backing down. They were taking their point of view and they were sharing it with a big audience. And, I remember some of them when they started, what, two and a half years ago, boy have they blossomed.
[00:07:08] Matt: Oh, I think I know who you’re talking about, you’re talking about Maitha.
[00:07:12] Greg: MythJourney.
[00:07:13] Matt: Mythjourney on Instagram. Maitha Mohamed two years ago, she was in one of our first courses and she wasn’t even turning on her camera. She was so camera shy.
[00:07:26] Greg: And she was an animator, she did cartooning, and I thought, okay, that’s nice. I guess there’s a future for that in social video. But what she has blossomed into is a blogger, a vlogger, a social media activist, a force to be reckoned with.
[00:07:46] Matt: Yeah, and she did phenomenal. It was a Arabic only panel, but I was watching it, and she stood in there with all of them, and what was great is New Media Academy brought you in to help coach, a lot of the panelists are students in there, and giving them, not just towing the line, but say what you think, say what you’ve learned you really helped give them some confidence on those panels.
[00:08:10] Greg: Let’s put it this way, I may have added 2%, but boy, they were bringing 98% from their own life experience.
[00:08:18] Matt: Absolutely, from the very beginning, so it was held at the Atlantis in Dubai, which if you know anything about the Atlantis Resorts, you know automatically what you’re getting into, but then it was in the conference area, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. And I did not know until I got there that we were over 3000 attendees.
I walked into the hall and there’s full on lights, sound, smoke going on throughout the stage. I could not, wow, it was amazing. And then we had the opening keynote where they talked about, here’s our goal, it’s to create Arabic content is to develop creators, it’s to contribute to the quality of online content and that I thought was key.
[00:09:03] Greg: And it was to create a hub for content creators. Now, think about this, one of the things that you and I just witnessed is the birth of the new Hollywood. This was not the United artists who were founded in, 1919 by Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin. This was not, the beginning of that era.
This was the beginning of a new one, but, years from now, people throughout the region, in fact again, people from around the globe are gonna look at Dubai as to this is when it became one of the central hubs. If you’re part of the creator economy, boy is this gonna grow.
[00:09:48] Matt: And they, pitched I think the nomad visa, if you’re a digital nomad, you can get a visa to live in Dubai. and a couple other visa opportunities, but they offered in the keynote two attendees that this is a place to live work. It’s one of the most desirable places to live.
It’s seven hours from Europe. So it’s not a crazy amount of distance, but you think about how central it is to Africa, to China, to Europe, it is and then it’s just got the reputation of being Dubai. That’s all you have to say to people.
[00:10:23] Greg: And one of the workshops that you and I both sat in on was the one that Max Stanton did. Now he’s from the United States but he’s moved to Dubai. he found that setting up shop there was better for his content creation career, and again, one of the things that he mentioned at in his workshop was how to earn what was called the golden visa.
So yeah, they have a number of programs, some of which are for short term if you want to come in and do a project, okay, fine. Some of them are, I wanna move here permanently. And so again, it was the goals and objectives went far beyond the typical event where we hope that some percentage of the attendees will come back again next year, that’s always the mission. This mission was much bigger.
[00:11:17] Matt: I half joked with the organizers that we should have had a visa desk in the back for people to go back and start filling out their visa applications because that was part of the underlying message. As you said, this is a great place to live and work. And if you’re a content creator, what better place to be?
There is so much happening and so much opportunity and I think Max’s I so enjoyed his breakout session because he showed examples of his work and what it’s enabled him to do, what was so impressive is he has learned Emirati Arabic, which now I’m completely jealous.
I have got to do this, I’ve gotta learn a few words, but when he answered a few questions just in flawless Arabic and, those that spoke Arabic in the room were just laughing because they couldn’t believe how well he spoken. But that was a special treat to learn from his experience, why he made the decision, why he’s there.
And I don’t know if you follow, but he went to Quatar for World Cup Games as well, and he’s been doing pictures and some video of that as well.
[00:12:16] Greg: What I loved was the documentary that he’d put together during covid to find out how well people in the UAE particularly the expats were getting healthcare. And instead of dealing with rumors or, third party stories, he went in and documented it himself and said, wow, okay, these people are getting the same treatment anyone else does, and it’s good.
[00:12:43] Matt: And it was door to door. It wasn’t taking them somewhere, there were doctors, there were healthcare people going to the apartments, to the residences. These were laborers, these were, people that are typically forgotten about, and he showed that no, the government’s taken care of them, it was impressive on many levels.
[00:13:04] Greg: Now, you and I are jumping on what makes this event extraordinary. Let me also then circle back to what, I’m gonna say 80% of the content was about,
[00:13:16] Matt: Yes.
[00:13:16] Greg: It was educational
[00:13:18] Matt: Yeah.
[00:13:19] Greg: And I actually found a, common denominator in the education. There were lots and lots of sessions on, lots and lots of topics, but it turned out there were three, that all used the same phrase. One was in, in the opening session Maya Maxwell and her Mother Mama Waffa was how my mom got me 1 million extra followers, there was a workshop later that day on how I gained 1 million followers in one year, and there was a workshop the following day on your first million followers, and it became like okay, seems like they’ve drawn a line in the sand here.
Why would the million? And it turns out as it became clear over the two day series of educational sessions, the 1 million follower threshold is the difference between making content creation, a side hustle, and a full-time career.
[00:14:16] Matt: Ah, yeah.
[00:14:16] Greg: You can begin earning enough money a month, enough money a year if you are at the million followers level.
And so it seemed like everybody who was, teaching you something was helping you to not just improve what you were doing, but to actually turn it into a lifelong career, and that then was really what I’m gonna say 80% of the content was focused on.
[00:14:44] Matt: Absolutely, from the beginning, Nas kicked it off after the keynote. And one thing he said, and I think it was a bit overlooked, was creating your own community. Now it’s interesting cause Nas just released a new community product, so it was a little bit self-serving in a way, but I can’t argue with the advice that yes, you are a content creator, you are pushing content onto platforms, but there is an extreme value in having something of your own and having roots.
Because, we’ve talked about numerous times, look what’s happened just in the past few weeks with a couple of different platforms.
[00:15:24] Greg: Are we talking about Twitter?
[00:15:25] Matt: Briefly, yeah, we were talking about Twitter. With Twitter and even Facebook. Facebook is losing, people are pulling out of Meta now. It’s interesting cause Instagram’s doing well, but Facebook worldwide even is starting to decline and investors are really questioning what Zuckerberg’s doing.
[00:15:43] Greg: And it wasn’t just Nas who had this message, the inspirational keynote speaker, Trevor Noah, if you boil down his advice to the audience. It was, yeah, I’m leaving Comedy Central to go become an independent content creator just like you, and the message that I got to share with you is, create your audience that is not specific to a platform.
There are plenty of people who subscribe to Comedy Central platforms where his content appears, but he’s building his own community, his own following that is independent of any one platform.
[00:16:27] Matt: Yeah, and that’s key. I think especially, that’s the way you’re going to survive, especially if platforms are going to come and go or be subject to the whims of those who run them. Ultimately they are third party platforms run by billionaires, that came out a couple of times.
[00:16:46] Greg: Yeah or even TikTok where right now today you’ve got congress contemplating do we ban it in the United States or not? So it is a warning shot to anyone who sees this as a career is understand that the upside, the is your talent, your creativity, your ability to engage an audience, and the downside is you need to be able to pack up and move to a new platform on short notice.
[00:17:16] Matt: And what are you gonna do? That’s everything that you’ve created. Everything that you’ve uploaded, is that portable? It’s not portable, you’ve gotta be able to have access to that or do something with it. That was a great message there. Now what was interesting is following him was Matt Pat, and I love that they brought Matt Pat in and Matt Pat was probably one of the only US based content creators, but unfortunately, Matt, Pat, got really nerdy.
Which, that’s his shtick. He got really nerdy talking about revenue and unfortunately, I’m looking around the room and he lost the audience because I think it started out it was high energy. It was raw, we’re content creators and I’m looking around going, this is the best information that’s been presented yet, how to make more money. It’s where to find the revenue streams, but people just drifted off and conversations started
[00:18:09] Greg: He was sandwiched between Nas whose title was, why creators will Conquer the world, okay, that’s big, and the people who came after him were Maya and Mama Wafa, and I’ll tell you what, between Nas and May, the validation that you can do this, your mother will even approve instead of asking you, have you gotten a good job yet?
That seemed to be as an important, a message as the how-to stuff, and so yes, Matthew Patrick, , I agree with you. I think he did lose the audience. I asked for a copy of his slides afterwards cause it was loaded with great data.
But I’m sort of a nerd like he but there seemed to be as much inspiration or cheerleading going on as there was, oh by the way, , here are the five things that you need to know to be successful.
[00:19:08] Matt: Yeah, absolutely. and I think you said the important word there, validation that I’m a content creator, I’m going to this conference, and what they received was, yeah, Mama Wafa. she stole the show. . Oh my goodness, did she completely, upstage her daughter, and part of it was, is here is an older adult who has become a content creator and has seen success.
That means, me being young, , I think that was a lot of it is once that validation was there, again, it was part of the motivation, it was part of the show. It was part of the whole purpose of the event that was really, like you said, that came out, but I think Matt Pat, he was on later in the program with a debate with Agon Heir from what was it? Project Nightfall, so it was a lot of fun because they had a debate.
[00:20:04] Greg: Over quality versus quantity of videos.
[00:20:07] Matt: Quality and quantity of videos, that was a lot of fun.
[00:20:10] Greg: and I thought both of them made their case very strongly, and what was fun was to watch the audience actually get to vote on quality versus quantity and quality won.
[00:20:23] Matt: Matt Pat pulled out some data, I think it was probably about five minutes in, and Agon starts cornering him about, hey, I create 20 videos and one went viral, and you never know which one it’s gonna be, and matt pulled out some data on performance and how a bad performance can affect your next three videos, in terms of impressions and viewability.
I was amazed, he just had, I think he just had some facts in his back pocket, he was ready to pull out for that.
[00:20:54] Greg: Yes, but here again, I rarely see the debate format used at most conferences. So panel discussions, yeah, you see those all the time. Key note speakers, yeah, you see those all the time, but an old-fashioned British parliamentary debate style where, there’s a pro and a con and, each gets to argue their case for a limited amount of time.
And then you go to the audience to vote up or down on the proposition. I thought that was an incredibly successful format that you don’t normally see.
[00:21:28] Matt: No, and it was a lot of fun. It got the crowd involved, it was a good question, and I think that was part of it. It’s something that people struggle with and it was funny, they played it up in some ways, they agreed more than they disagreed, and someone’s gotta play the bad guy, I think that was part of it.
[00:21:46] Greg: Maybe they were playing it up, but yeah, let’s put this way. When you have to debate a proposition, pulling out the yeah, they’re a little bit both, right? is always a big yawn.
[00:21:56] Matt: yeah, it was a good show, but right after that Hassan Suleiman, the Mr. Beast of the Middle East. Oh my goodness, what a title that was.
[00:22:04] Greg: Abufa, I use his case study on some of the courses that I teach because he’s known as a gamer, but a year ago he decided that he was gonna help raise money for refugees set the outrageous goal of raising 10 million by locking himself in a glass booth in downtown Dubai and doing a live cast until he raised the 10 mil.
Well, he raised 11.5 mil, and guess what? For a cause that seemingly has nothing to do with gaming, he turned his community into a very powerful fundraising tool for a good cause.
[00:22:48] Matt: absolutely. Yeah, he’s really, already, I think I’ve got here like where he’s at, yeah, you’ve got the digital version. I’ve got the paper version, 36 million followers, I would love to check and see where he is at today because he is probably one of the fastest growing out there right now as well.
But he was super special guy very humble very easy to talk to. We met him at dinner later that night, and you just never know. This guy, is probably one of the most popular out there in the region, and almost now he’s stretching you into worldwide notoriety, but you’d just never know it.
[00:23:24] Greg: Yep, I asked him what he was gonna do for a follow up and he said, oh, we’re still working on that. So again, talk about being humble, he understands this is hard stuff.
[00:23:37] Matt: Yeah, and then later that night, was Trevor Noah being interviewed by Nas? That was a good, oh my, it was packed, packed to see that interview and it was fun.
[00:23:49] Greg: It was another different format. It was a fireside chat and not a debate but a really interesting conversation between, think about it, a kid from Palestine and a kid from South Africa.
[00:24:05] Matt: Right.
[00:24:06] Greg: Who had both grown up and had become incredibly successful and were now, being showcased in front of thousands of, people who wanna be like them, they were the role models that were being rolled out, and again, I was expecting, oh, it’s Trevor Noah, he’s gonna make some jokes, right? Not a single joke.
[00:24:31] Matt: No, he was dead serious.
[00:24:36] Greg: Yeah, it was provocative. There were times where he would take the question by Nas and say, no, actually that’s not the case, here’s what’s actually happening.
It was, wow, I haven’t seen that kind of interview done for a long, long time on let’s say public television.
[00:24:55] Matt: What was a full Hour? It went over a full hour, then with some Q&A but yeah, I saw a side of Trevor Noah I’ve never seen, and it was, wow. I really got to see some of the depth. And what’s really interesting to me is especially over there, how many of our students, how many people, they love Trevor Noah, and a lot of it is because he shows that someone from South Africa can come and make it in American TV and become worldwide recognized.
And so there is something special there that they see in Trevor Noah that not just, he’s a great entertainer, but where he came from, his background and everyone was so excited to see him and it was such a great, people just walked out of there just amazed. I think he made a lot of fans very happy.
[00:25:47] Greg: he did not disappoint at all. He was the highlight and he was supposed to be, but sometimes you go, oh well, that was the name that was supposed to attract everyone’s attention. This was the slot leader sharing his thoughts, it was remarkable.
[00:26:05] Matt: Absolutely. I hope you got rest after that first night, it was a long day. It was a lot going on.
[00:26:13] Greg: Let’s see, what did I do? I forget because we did go to that dinner, but you’re right, I then headed back to my hotel room and collapsed, so, yeah, I was trying to pace myself, but boy, day two.
[00:26:28] Matt: Dinner was at the Museum of the future, do you remember the spaceship ride we took to dinner?
[00:26:33] Greg: I did, and let’s just pause for a second and say Museum of the Future. There’s a concept all in itself and yeah, you and I went up to an orbiting space station, looking down on how they were gonna be collecting energy from the sun in, I forget what it was, 50 years and, how perfectly normal that would be. It was like, seriously, you normally have to go to, what is it, Disney World to Tomorrow Land before you see that kind of stuff, that was amazing.
[00:27:08] Matt: It was so educational as to, here’s the plans, here’s the vision of what we think we can do, and to present it in a, like a children’s museum format was so effective. I just thought that was a lot of fun, just to get a sense of and what’s interesting is UAE is taking a lead in space. They’re leading a space commission. They are actively involved
[00:27:34] Greg: They’ve, already put a satellite around Mars, yeah.
[00:27:37] Matt: Yeah, they’ve got, a space station. There’s so much that they are involved with, and so that future, I just thought that was just so highly educational of, because I don’t know what’s going on with the, space technology.
I don’t keep up with that and I don’t think your average person does, but to see, here’s the vision of what scientists think is possible, and this is what we’re reaching for, that I thought was just that was incredible,
[00:28:03] Promo Break: Hey everyone, this is Matt. And thanks for listening. Just a quick break in the middle of the podcast here to let you know there’s a couple ways that you can connect with us. The first is learn.site logic.com. That’s the learning site where you can see courses on analytics, courses on digital marketing across paid search seo, multiple disciplines. And then also you can connect with us on Slack. Go to Slack if you’re there and look for us at endless coffee cup.slack.com. Connect with us. I’d love to hear from you, hear what ails you in the realm of digital marketing. Are there courses you need information that you’d like to hear, or maybe some past guests that you’d like to hear more from? Thanks again for being a listener of the Endless Coffee Cup, and I look forward to hearing from you
[00:29:04] Matt: and then to go to dinner after that was great.
[00:29:07] Greg: Yeah, the dinner was wonderful.
[00:29:09] Matt: Dinner was incredible. But yeah, like you said, then day two I think everyone was dragging a little bit, but it didn’t, stop the momentum. People were still Nuf and Matt welcoming everyone on day two. They got everyone just pumped up and ready to go, it was interesting with the choice of speakers.
[00:29:26] Greg: Did you notice the questions they were asking the audience?
[00:29:30] Matt: I’m trying to think now.
[00:29:32] Greg: They were asking questions to see if the audience had actually learned key lessons from the day before.
[00:29:38] Matt: Yes, they had a contest, that’s right, yeah.
[00:29:41] Greg: They were giving out prizes, you could win, a weekend stay at the Atlantis
[00:29:46] Matt: At the Atlantis, not a bad price.
[00:29:48] Greg: Not a bad prize, but oh, by the way, which of the following were a key message from day one. And so I was watching 80% of the audience was getting the right answer, so they were listening, they were learning.
[00:30:02] Matt: Absolutely, that was a great way to start things up. Now it was interesting, they had a couple of speakers, like you said, about 80% of it. A couple things fell flat, like someone talking about supplements, and brain activity.
[00:30:16] Greg: Six tips to build an extraordinary brain that doesn’t burn out from social media. Now, interesting topic, but if the answer is take supplements, then it’s okay, thank you very much.
[00:30:28] Matt: Yeah, that’s not what people were there for, they were looking for tactical tips.
[00:30:33] Greg: And then they got that, and well almost got that. One of the other sessions, I think Misfired was the one from Meta about the Metaverse, and the presenter was wearing the latest Oculus, and it didn’t work. The audience couldn’t see what she was supposed to see, and she couldn’t see what she was supposed to see.
[00:31:01] Matt: And what we did see, I still tell people like the graphics were better in the WII 15 years ago than what we’re seeing in the Metaverse.
[00:31:11] Greg: No, I tell people second Life was better than the metaverses today.
[00:31:17] Matt: The message was poor because it’s, here’s what’s coming, we don’t know what it is, but it’s gonna be amazing, trust us. The trust us was, you and I both had to stop from laughing when she said we we’re built on trust.
[00:31:33] Greg: Okay. Yes, of course you are, nevermind.
[00:31:36] Matt: But yeah, that was what was interesting. So like prior to Meta was Jordan Matter, who I thought he, it went down and then he brought the crowd right back up and showing how he has pivoted his content from photography to dance, photography to now telling the story of his daughter growing up.
And we kind of talked about that, I was kinda like, he’s pivoting way too much. His message was Stay in your lane.
[00:32:01] Greg: But your lane was pretty wide, yeah.
[00:32:03] Matt: A really wide lane, but I couldn’t argue, he’s made it work.
[00:32:07] Greg: His lane looks more like the wandering path, but, okay fine. As long as you’re having a good time, then zig and if you’re not having a good time, then zag, it’s kinda like, okay, got it.
[00:32:20] Matt: but the energy, he had probably the best slides. I was loving his slide presentation, and, there’s the photographer in him, there’s the artist. He had probably the best slides of the whole conference. But then to go from that into Meta and probably a very nice lady.
But it was the company line, it was a rehearsed speech. It wasn’t a talk, it was a rehearsed speech and nothing new.
[00:32:49] Greg: It may have been new to the audience, maybe just you and I are jaundice, cause we’ve heard it all before, but it also didn’t deliver on even the promise. It’s like, then show me this stuff, well, I’m sorry, the demo’s not working.
[00:33:05] Matt: What I thought was a big loss on their part is Instagram is one of the hottest apps in the UAE, and there was not a word about Instagram. What are their plans for, what do they want to do with it? A lot of content creators at that whole conference are invested in Instagram and nothing for them. And so if I was investing in Instagram and someone from Meta comes and all they talk about is VR, I gotta wonder where the future is.
[00:33:39] Greg: Yeah, I agree with you, but I’ll tell you what, there were other speakers there, one from YouTube and another one from TikTok. Who did something very strategic. Instead of just getting up and giving a speech, here’s why you should be using my channel. They partnered up with oh, by the way, here’s one of the content creators on my channel who is making money.
[00:34:07] Matt: So number one, I think those are both brilliant strategies out of both of them. Why should we talk when we have people here who are making money? Overwhelmingly I think YouTube, even though people were using many, many different platforms, the one you heard where people are, have the followers and the revenue, it was YouTube consistently.
[00:34:25] Greg: And this is the thing that I think content creators need to think about long and hard. The business model for becoming a, influencer is I gotta find sponsorship dollars and there are sponsorship dollars to be found. Okay, that’s fine, that’s a model, but the trick is then how do sponsors find me or how do I find the sponsors?
Got it. What YouTube offers is, oh, by the way, there’s another way you can monetize, and that’s with advertising. And oh, by the way, you don’t have to go find the advertisers. You just have to create content that is getting views and engagement. And if you’re getting views and engagement, the advertising is gonna be directed your way.
You don’t have to like, sign up for them on a contract basis. And so it is a alternative monetization strategy. And oh, by the way, it doesn’t preclude you from doing a sponsorship deal. So, I think again, this is one of those things where when you get over the fact that all my friends are on Instagram, it’s like, okay, fine.
And then why is Instagram scared to death of TikTok? what is going on? why are they looking over their shoulder if they’re doing so well? why are they up at night? Sweating bullets.
[00:35:47] Matt: Yeah, that was an interesting thing, and what was interesting is for the second day, there was a, another debate scheduled.
[00:35:55] Greg: Well, they changed the topic.
[00:35:57] Matt: I was there, I wanted to hear that because it was…
[00:36:00] Greg: Is TikTok bad for you?
[00:36:03] Matt: Yes.
[00:36:04] Greg: And I thought, okay, this is gonna be fun. And all of a sudden, the people who were supposed to debate it said, we don’t wanna debate that topic. We’re gonna debate long form versus short form. Now that’s a, good topic, but that’s not what was advertised.
[00:36:20] Matt: As soon as I heard that, I’m like, ah, I’m gonna go see what’s going on over here. No, I wanted to hear that and that’s a thing. I think there was a lot of people it still went okay, but there was a lot of people, I think, alittle discouraged about that, but one of the topics that I thought was very interesting, especially for this conference, was should creators get managers?
And they had a number of management companies up there, including New Media Academy because they manage a number of content creators, that was fascinating. Now what was interesting is it was all management companies, so we didn’t get any alternative viewpoints.
[00:37:00] Greg: The alternative viewpoint was actually from the New Media Academy, everyone else was talking about why they should get paid 10%. And New Media Academy basically said that’s not our model, we’re looking to create content that will have an impact on the Arabic speaking world.
And it’s like, oh, okay. It’s like the difference between in the United States public broadcasting and commercial tv. it was like, okay, interesting. That is a a different approach.
[00:37:32] Matt: Yeah, I thought that was very effective. And yeah, that was the alternate viewpoint, but I was looking more for do we even need a manager? But that’s one of the things I think in the content creation world, I don’t think a lot of your content creators are aware how many of the big names, how many of the household recognized names, actually have a management company.
And I’m trying to think, there was a number of them, even my daughter was even telling me about some of this, and I made her research it. There was a number of ’em where the management company actually owned the content. and a lot of this was when Vine came into, a lot of the Vine people.
When Vine shut down, they came to YouTube. And there was a management company that was scooping a lot of them up. And because of the nature of the contract, the management company actually owned the content. The creators themselves were not owning it, and, but yet they were being funded, a company was taking a portion of the revenue.
And I don’t think there’s a lot of, knowledge about that business system, but it’s similar to, similar to music, getting a manager similar to, film industry actors getting managers. It’s happening here in this digital content creation world, and that’s something that I think content creators are gonna have to A, watch out for, educate themselves about and understand how some of these contracts are structured.
[00:38:55] Greg: Yep, and, what I think a lot of us do is we get caught up in the content they’re creating, wow, that’s creative, and forget that, oh, by the way, this is a small business. And if the small business wants to grow into a medium sized business then yeah, guess what? There’s a business side to things that need to get taken care of. And again, if you use Nas Daily as the role model, he currently has over 110 full-time employees.
[00:39:26] Matt: Yeah.
[00:39:27] Greg: And this is a guy who only started creating video, what was it? Six years ago? So, yeah there’s a business side and you need to manage that as successfully as the creative side if you’re gonna go on to that kind of thing.
[00:39:44] Matt: Absolutely, I think that’s going to become a larger point maybe at some conferences, but that’s definitely gonna have to be something addressed within the community to understand that and what can happen.
[00:39:55] Greg: The other missing element to the two days was it would’ve been nice to have heard from more brands.
[00:40:04] Matt: Yeah.
[00:40:04] Greg: On, by the way, here’s what I’m looking for in the kind of influencers that I partner with, or here are the challenges in my category that may be different from other categories.
[00:40:16] Matt: Here’s why you don’t buy followers.
[00:40:19] Greg: Yeah. all those, that’s a conversation for maybe next year, but it also needs to be part of the discussion.
[00:40:28] Matt: Yeah, I think that was, maybe the brands at this point weren’t interested to see, they get invited to many things and but I think once the buzz around this and you’ve got plenty of video, plenty of social media about it now it better be on someone’s radar because if you wanna do business in the Middle East if you wanna do business in EMEA,, you better be involved in this summit because this is where you’re, wouldn’t be difficult for, a brand to go there and look for someone who’s gonna be the right creator to reach this group of people or to reach a certain area. This would be like prime recruitment, ground.
[00:41:09] Greg: Yeah.
[00:41:10] Matt: I’m gonna interrupt myself. One of the things that I absolutely enjoyed so I saw Matt Pat in the lobby and went up to talk with him. What was interesting is his wife leaves him in the lobby and she left because I think she knew what was gonna happen, that as I’m talking to him, this line forms behind me.
And I said, sorry, I didn’t mean to, there’s a whole line forming here. He is like, oh no, this is what I wanna do, and he spent the next two, two and a half hours. He just dropped his backpack and just talked to people one right after the other, as long as they wanted to talk, he was talking getting pictures, everything like that.
I thought that was just, he didn’t have to do that, but he’s got a reputation as a nice guy, and he did everything to keep that going. I had a great talk with him because my kids grew up watching his content. I grew up watching bugs Bunny, I grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons.
That’s what I remember. They remember Matt Pat because he was one of a group of creators that they constantly watched on Saturdays, that was their watch time.
[00:42:15] Greg: And that’s the other thing that I guess you and I have been missing ever since, covid shut down face-to-face events, is the networking that takes place as you acknowledge even for this podcast, sometimes the best conversations aren’t, the ones in the meeting room, they’re the ones in the hallway afterwards.
And there was a whole lot of that kind of conversation going on in the hallways.
[00:42:43] Matt: absolutely, and so I have to say, they, so you had Trevor Noah closing out the first day, closing out the second day. I will say this before this, the workshops were amazing, however, they were limited to a hundred people each,
[00:42:57] Greg: Oh, there were lines into them and pardon me, the most of the people had to get turned away.
[00:43:04] Matt: Yeah, Jordan’s session on how to create thumbnails, there were 300 people trying to get in there. , it was crazy how much they had an ask Ahmed Live, ahmed El Jandor, he does with New Media Academy, he does a lot of humorous stuff. One of the biggest creators in the region, just and ask him anything.
There was so many great breakouts. I hope next year they make it maybe a facility that can handle everyone who wants to see that because, man, I missed getting into a few of those. I wanted to see what was going on.
[00:43:36] Greg: Yeah. I agree, but that’s always a hard thing, you and I have been at enough conferences over the years to know that it’s not always easy to predict that everyone’s gonna swamp this session, and this other session over here in the same time slot is gonna be talking to an audience of 12, but there were no audiences of 12.
all workshops were packed and people were turned away.
[00:44:04] Matt: Absolutely, and that was part of the 1 billion number. And so when you added up all the followers of speakers, was it just speakers or
[00:44:14] Greg: Just speakers. I went back and did the math just cause I’m that kind of guy and, the speakers alone had over 1.1 billion followers.
[00:44:28] Matt: Wow.
[00:44:29] Greg: So, yeah, they were honest. They told you what to expect and they delivered on that.
[00:44:36] Matt: Yeah
[00:44:36] Greg: That does not, Any of the followers of the attendees.
[00:44:42] Matt: Right.
[00:44:43] Greg: And I looked at the attendees and tried to take, oh, whatever you want to call it, a sort of a scientific wild ass guess, and I tend to think that we had a mix, some of them were nano influencers, some of them were micro influencers, some of them were, mid-tier influencers, et cetera.
But here’s the punchline to what was going on. What would be really, really interesting is to find out how many followers the 3000 attendees had before they came to the summit.
[00:45:21] Matt: Yeah.
[00:45:22] Greg: And then to go back, let’s say a year from now and find out how many followers this same cohort, those 3000 people have a year after the summit, because I think if you did the math, you would find that it is significantly more and more importantly people who were doing this part-time found a way to do it full-time. And that to me is actually the right way to measure the success of this very different kind of event is you would do I guess what I’m gonna call an economic lift study.
What was the baseline? What was the delta? Take what you get a year from now, subtract the baseline because you can’t take credit for what people had accomplished before they got there. and once you’ve measured the Delta, figure out how you would monetize it. And I did that back of the envelope calculation.
And I literally came up with, oh, 75 million dollars my best guess is a year from now that was the economic lift of the two day event, you and I just attended. People who are in this business will be earning $75 million more a year from now than they were today. So, whoa, that’s one of the reasons why this was a whole different category.
[00:46:49] Matt: And like you said, it’s 75 million in the lives of those who tended, it wasn’t so much the company that put it on, it’s the benefit and what amazes me. You’ve got that, you’ve and I have been to conferences where as an individual, you’re one of many, you were just, you’re an attendee.
This was so different, and the way they ended it was like a seal the deal, here’s how much we love you. Which makes so much sense with, what you just calculated, that we’ve given you the ability to increase your value. We’ve given you this, and now we’re gonna celebrate it. And the end of the second day was just absolutely insane.
[00:47:37] Greg: You’re talking about the party in the Arabian Desert then, right?
[00:47:40] Matt: Well, even before then, they brought on a YouTuber ALA Warte. He makes music with a McFaren style
[00:47:51] Greg: acapella.
[00:47:54] Matt: And people, they were screaming, the lights, the smoke, everything, people were screaming, and then after that little mini concert, yes, they bust everyone, 3000 people to the desert. In the middle of the desert and Greg, it was literally in the middle of the desert.
[00:48:11] Greg: It may have been the middle of the desert, but it was the Al Sahara Desert Resort. So put this way, it was not like we were under a palm tree. There were palm trees, but the facility was, knock your eyes out, the food was amazing and authentic.
[00:48:33] Matt: Authentic grill like a Sahara Grill. It was, and that’s kind of a tradition that in the evenings especially in the UAE, Friday nights they go out to the desert and they have barbecue. And so they did a barbecue for everyone that attended.
[00:48:51] Greg: And I got to ride my first camel.
[00:48:54] Matt: Yes, and that was the other part of it. So they fed everybody, but number one, you’re in a place where it was just absolutely beautiful. Plenty of places to explore and see. They had camels, fireworks, they set things on fire, they had fire jugglers.
[00:49:13] Greg: Women who were floating in mid-air playing the violin and a piano.
[00:49:19] Matt: Yeah, and somehow dancing in, like 15, 20 feet in the air. They had traditional, a bedoin knife throwers that was going on.
[00:49:30] Greg: and they had Falcons. I got to hold a Falcon.
[00:49:34] Matt: Yeah, it was just one thing after another and we were joke, like this was an Instagram party. It was, you go five feet and you take a picture and a video and basically what it was is, was nonstop content for anyone who was there.
[00:49:51] Greg: which is an appropriate way to end a summit that is aimed at taking your game to the next level.
[00:50:00] Matt: Oh, also the DJ and the dancing, which we stood on the side watched that.
[00:50:07] Greg: We’re older, so we weren’t the target demographic, but yeah, gen Z was into it.
[00:50:14] Matt: Oh absolutely, and then they even had some musical things going on. But what a way to end that. And like I said, it was a big hug to the attendees that this is how much we love you. You are great and what a sendoff my goodness.
[00:50:29] Greg: Oh, okay. And what do we do for Encore?
[00:50:37] Matt: 10 billion. The word is next year it has to be 10 billion because we already reached 1 billion. And in true Dubai style, we gotta go big.
[00:50:50] Greg: Okay, that’s gonna mean they’re gonna need a bigger facility.
[00:50:56] Matt: bigger facility. I’m hoping it goes to Expo City
[00:51:00] Greg: That our visit to Expo City was eyeopening too. I maybe we shouldn’t blow by that. That was I thought it had ended last summer and the fact that they had kept the exhibits going and that they were now building new ones and expanding it was pretty eye-opening.
[00:51:16] Matt: Yeah, so there’s already a conference center out there, and then you’ve got Expo City on top of everything.
[00:51:22] Greg: Didn’t you watch one of the World Cup matches out there?
[00:51:26] Matt: Yes. They set up big TVs and there was probably like four or five places at Expo City that you could go and have a completely different experience at each one, it was absolutely unreal. what a fun place to be and the fact that they’re keeping it going, and our good friend Moab he is running the social media for Expo City.
It’s literally a city.
[00:51:48] Greg: That used to be a desert that, of course we just build cities when we decide to build cities.
[00:51:59] Matt: So, and we might know it here as the World’s Fair, but it hosted Expo, which is I guess, the World’s Fair, but they built a city for this expo that went for six months. They had people from all over the world, 24 million visitors both online and in person, over 24 million in both.
And they’ve, they are continuing to utilize the facility, the city and it’s gonna go far into the future. It’s now gonna be an innovation hub. It’s gonna be a conference center, it’s gonna be, they were selling apartments to live in Expo City, so amazing.
[00:52:34] Greg: And, you and I went through the Tara exhibit and then were asked to fill out a questionnaire afterwards. I have never filled out a more comprehensive questionnaire. I don’t know how long it took you, but it took me like, what, 20 minutes?
[00:52:48] Matt: I went to the gift shop while you were doing that. I filled mine out fast, but yes, it was in depth.
[00:52:58] Greg: Whoa. so they are learning what their audience wants and measuring not just the number of people who walk through the exhibit, but what their experience was afterwards.
[00:53:10] Matt: Yeah, so it will be very, very interesting to see how they’re gonna top this, and it’s funny because they are ready to go. It was the CEO of, New Media Academy said it’s gonna have to be 10 billion. we can’t do 1 billion again, so I am, looking forward to it.
I don’t know, we might do a 5 billion, I don’t know if we can go right to 10, but you’re bringing in some big names if you’re gonna go for 10 billion, and that will be incredible. And maybe if you bring in some sponsors like, some brands you might beef up that number.
[00:53:41] Greg: That is possible. Let’s put this way. They did get Meta, they did get YouTube, they did get TikTok, they got Snapchat, so let’s put this way. In some respects, they’ve got those, platforms already involved. But you’re right, the next step is to get the Proctor and Gambles of the world to perticipate.
[00:54:01] Matt: And I think the, platforms will be even more involved next year. They told us one platform in particular was very helpful, very involved, very and yet some of the other platforms realized too late that they weren’t involved enough. And so I think that’s going to make the that could make for a, better agenda, more involvement from the platforms. I didn’t see any of the platforms with a booth or anything.
[00:54:26] Greg: no, all four of them had booths. They were outside, which again, the space was such that if you were indoors, you had air conditioning.
[00:54:37] Matt: Yes,
[00:54:37] Greg: If you stepped outdoors, it was hot.
[00:54:40] Matt: it was like 88 degrees, I think, and it was in direct sunlight for most of the day.
[00:54:45] Greg: Yeah, so, again, a new location might, provide a boost space that was a little more habitable.
[00:54:53] Matt: Absolutely. Greg, I gotta tell you, it was a lot of fun attending a conference again with you. It’s been years. and to be able to attend it, not as a speaker, not as a presenter, not as a sponsor, for me, it was awesome to see our students on the panels, that was the biggest treat.
[00:55:10] Greg: That is for every instructor or teacher or anyone who’s in the education process to see the people who, you met them early in their journey and now they are, up there on stage with people listening to them and taking notes and like, how did you get where you got yeah, that is cool.
[00:55:34] Matt: Absolutely Greg, thanks for joining me on the podcast and thanks for helping me with the review here of the Billion Follower Summit. I’m looking forward to being there next year with you,
[00:55:44] Greg: Okay, I’m looking forward to being there too. What else do I say? I, may need to get permission from my wife, she want to know all about how many people were wearing masks because she’s a nurse and, healthcare is an issue, and, I had to report honestly that there weren’t not a lot of people wearing their, masks.
There wasn’t a whole bunch of social distancing going on. This was the first face-to-face conference that I’ve been at in at least three years.
[00:56:16] Matt: Well, they actually dropped the mask requirement, I think about two months ago, two to three months ago. So it had been going almost three years.
[00:56:27] Greg: They didn’t solicit my wife’s input, so I heard about it when I got home.
[00:56:34] Matt: Hopefully, a year from now things will be a little different and if not, Greg, we’ll make accommodation
[00:56:40] Greg: All right, I’ll be able to beam in Holographically by then.
[00:56:45] Matt: That might work.
[00:56:46] Greg: Maybe somewhere In the metaverse, you’ll find my avatar.
[00:56:51] Matt: Oh, maybe you could do a better metaverse introduction than what Meta did, but you won’t have Legs.
[00:57:01] Greg: On Zoom you don’t see your legs anyway.
[00:57:05] Matt: That’s right. On Zoom, nobody can see you’re dressed. Greg, it’s been an absolute blast talking with you, that was a lot of fun, what a great trip. And man, thank you again for making time to be on the podcast.
[00:57:19] Greg: Okay, Matt, no problem.
[00:57:21] Matt: All right, dear listener, thanks again for joining us and man, I’ll bet your coffee cup is empty and from a great conversation here, look up the 1 Billion Follower Summit.
You will have no problem finding some of the video on it on Instagram, YouTube, and some other sources there. I highly recommend if you get the chance and you’ve never been to Dubai, this would be a great, great business expense, quote unquote, to go to this, especially to see what they do next year.
[00:57:46] Greg: Let me just finish on that because this is why it is a necessary business expense, not just a, fun trip to make. If you look at any of the data from, let’s say, US News and World Report, the four fastest growing economies in the world in 2023 are gonna be the UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, all in that part of the world.
And number one is UAE, so if you’re looking for any kind of business development for your company, your organization, your brand, and you do not have a play in the Middle East, help you and good luck next year.
[00:58:28] Matt: Absolutely, and it’s fast growing as an innovation hub, they are putting so much money into coding camps, they are developing the next generation of innovators, business developers tech companies. They are on the move, so keep an eye out.
You’ve been listening to the Endless Coffee Cup. If you enjoyed this episode, share it with somebody else. And of course, please take just a moment and rate or review us at your favorite podcast service. If you need more information, contact me at Site Logic Marketing dot. Thanks again for being such a great listener.
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