George: Hey, Eyal, welcome to the podcast is so great to have you on.
Eyal: Thank you very, very much for having me.
George: So I guess you know, first of all, we got to ask how are you and the rest of the you RM team during this you know, this crazy COVID-19 pandemic that sort of swept the world of its fate?
Eyal: Well, let me just proceed by saying that if I talk about good things I no way want to take away from anybody's misery and suffering right now because I know that a lot of people are having a very, very hard time but we aren't it. If anything, we're working harder. I think that we're already set up for this. Because we never had a central office. We exist on the internet and our products and services are something that people stuck at home can really, really exploit for for the purposes of making this quarantine period, not so bad. So we've actually been doing fine. I think that there's a sentiment among the entire staff that we all feel super fortunate that we, we have jobs, none of us needed. any assistance from the government. Everything just continued. And so as a result, the team is basically on fire. I've never seen the team this motivated, synced and just working like a machine basically. It's pretty awesome.
George: Yeah, that's so fantastic to hear. And you guys have been so ahead of the curve with the whole remote team thing. You know, it's really paid off dividends. Did you? Did you see the overall benefit? Just it made complete sense from day one for you guys.
Eyal: Yeah, it made sense from day one. I always kind of thought in the back of my mind that I kind of wanted an office but like when I would ever play it out. It just seemed like I wanted an office to, for ego reasons, like real companies have offices, we should have one. Because in reality, there's no reason for why we should have one of our staff lives all over the world. The fact is that we travel in order to make a lot of content, not these days, but still, we travel in order to make a lot of content and it just doesn't make sense. It's an expense that's completely unnecessary. Not just that. We have been expecting a black swan, basically for two and a half years, myself and Finn mcentee who runs it with me. He we both have been you call us paranoid but we've had this conversation many times there the economy has been too good for too long. A black swan is coming obviously by by virtue of it being a black swan, you don't know how it's going to come. You don't know what it's going to be. But here it is. So about a year and a half ago, we started to completely retool everything to protect basically wartime preparations. We completely redid the site from the ground up, we completely gutted our staff, no offence to anybody. I love them all as people but we let we let the weaker players go the players who maybe weren't just weren't contributing to the culture of the company. And we invested in some really, really good people promoted people who were doing great And reworked our operations from the ground up. And it is the best decision we've ever made. Because when this went down, Corona went down, you know, for people listening far into the future, this is may 13 2020, I believe.
Eyal: For me at least. So, by the time Corona happened, we were more than ready to deal with it. So, I don't know, man, I think that, uh, I think that we somehow have benefit from you call a paranoia, maybe of being able to look forward to the future and think what's going to go wrong, and then take the steps to combat it. And also, I feel like along with that, we have avoided pitfalls that a lot of companies choose to take on for optics Or ego gratification, like an office, for instance. Like I said, I had this feeling that I wanted one, because real companies have an office, but uh, who made that rule?
George: Didn't make practical sense.
Eyal: No. And again, who who made that rule like, our company is something that well, when I think back to the only class at Berkeley, the music college I went to that meant anything was this music business class, we had a very legit professor. And the first thing he said on the first day was those of you who actually make it into the music industry. We'll be working in positions that don't even exist right now. Guaranteed, and that's kind of how I feel about what we're doing. So what rule does it say that we need any of those things that a normal company would need, like our industry that didn't even exist a few years ago?
George: Yeah, and I think that's what's been so great to see over the years, the evolution of the company and to see where you guys have gone. I think it's probably good for everyone to know, listening in a little bit of context around, you know, your journey because it's been so fascinating. I was a fan of your band. I was a fan of your productions as a pro audio engineer, and, you know, your transition into online education. You know, can you talk about that, that journey and that and also the opportunity that you saw, sort of taking your career in that sort of digital space?
Eyal: So you want me to talk about how am I guitar? How my career evolved from guitar to production to this?
George: Yeah, yeah.
Eyal: Okay. So, as you said, I started as a guitar player. The thing is, I always wanted to do something bigger guitar just happened to be the medium at that point. But my goals were always like, Way beyond what I could do on guitar, like I wanted to be good at it. But in reality, I wanted my band to be on a major label. I wanted it to be a huge band. When I was working in the studio, I wanted to, I wanted to work with huge bands. When I started to really, really question that, I started to realise that that's not what I want, what I want to do is make a huge impact. And that that wasn't going to be possible through guitar in my band, and it wasn't going to be possible through production. However, I had spent about 20 years building up this expertise at both production and guitar. And it was kind of like, an identity crisis moment because I really wanted out because I felt like it was no offence to anybody whose passion is that because I think if you we should each do what it is that we're called to do. But there's this voice in my head that just felt like I was being a narcissist or something by doing by making music and a narcissist and that it's a waste of what my brain is designed to do. Not a waste of like your Matt Bellamy from Muse or something. Anyways, so wasn't sure what to do was started to think about maybe I need to go to school learn something new political science or something like that I spoke to my great uncle who died recently but uh he was like the Godfather in the family as in like the movie The Godfather, he wasn't in the mob, but uh, he kind of had that role. And he also lived inside of a mountain with wow guards and Dobermans,
George: like portraying a very interesting fellow here.
Eyal: Oh yeah, his very, very interesting and I got to meet with him, which was tough to do, I was like, What do you think I should do? And he's like, well, if you were to restart right now, you would be going to the back of the line at the age of like 34 so why don't you find a way to use your expertise? It doesn't have to be the way you've been using it. Just use your expertise. Do what you know like you've been in this world since you were 12 like don't just what are you going to do suddenly find something new
George: you know it's leverage this opportunity. Yes, history.
Eyal: Yeah, exactly what but it seemed crazy because you know, people tell you you can't make money at music. There's no money on metal way. Yeah. They you just get filled with all these lies basically, especially in the metal world, which is where I'm from. Anyways, right around that time. My best friend who I mentioned earlier, Finn mcentee he had gone to Seattle to start working for a company called creative live, which became a very big online education platform. And he got the idea of petitioning them to start an audio channel like that photography, that basket weaving, business development, like everything but audio. And I helped him pitch the CEO. And they agreed, but uh, I was the only producer that Finn knew. And he asked me to do a class for him. Now the thing is, I had helped him because he was my friend, but I thought it was so lame to go do this in like 2013 I thought it was so lame to go talk on video about like how to do production stuff. The inner elitist in me just wanted to die. But I said yes, because he's my friend. And I I didn't want him to get off to a bad start. And then the class was so much more fulfilling than anything I had ever done before. And it had, it had so much of a forward momentum was so surprising. Like, I felt like I was right in my element doing that, that we ended up doing eight more creative lives. I did more than any other people on the audio channel. And I also outsold them and I'm not saying that as a braggy thing. But, uh, I was outselling producers that were a lot more famous than me. That's, That, to me was a data point that I could do something with this. Like if if these dudes that have Grammys are coming on and are selling like a quarter of what I'm selling. I'm just some I'm just some guy that's basically like an assistant that was in a death metal band. And I'm, I'm trouncing them maybe there's something here. So, kept on doing that one day I asked creative life I will ask Finn, why don't you hire me and we can run the audio channel together and he basically laughed me out of the room. say there's no way, I'm not even going to bring it up to the bosses like, it's just not gonna happen. I think it must be said that I haven't had a real job since I was 19. I don't have a college degree. I am a horrible employee. And he and he knew that. So my next thought immediately was like, well look creative lives cool. But there's a lot of stuff in their culture, a lot of aspects that are not compatible with music. The music and audio culture is a very specific thing. You need people from that world to talk to people in that world. And if you don't do it that way, something is going to be off in the product market fit because the authenticity is gonna be skewed and it's only going to be able to get so far authenticity. is king. That's what I thought was gonna grow was going to prevent the creative live channel from growing. Also, their format was limited. You could only go six hours. There were union people there the lawyers had to check everything you said, like, I couldn't go nuts with, with my vision for it. And so then eventually was like, I'm gonna start my own thing. Finn won't come with me obviously because he had a great job. So I had to figure out how to make that happen. But the vision was always to create an audio school online that does it right that uses the experience from seriously credible people who do the best work in the world that everybody listens to, to actually teach the next generation of audio professionals how to do it for real with marketable skills as opposed to what you get in the big schools. Which is just skills that were marketable 20 or 30 years ago plus a $80,000. Bill. So I wanted to make it affordable and credible. I just didn't really know how. But I knew that I was going to do it. At that point, had been about two years of creative live. I had started doing these in person boot camps under the unstoppable recording machine title where I would go to a studio in a city, and then a bunch of people would come and they pay like about $1,000 a head, and I would give them like, four days of training. And I did one in like Portland and one in Detroit and two in Orlando and one in Cleveland. And it's just like, this is working to like the crew, the creative life stuff is working. This is working. I would be really stupid to not just drop everything and try to do something with this. Now. That's a big decision because I was making six figures off of production, which is actually really hard to do. And I had to throw that all away and people thought I was nuts. But, but I felt like there's no way to actually even formulate this vision completely without quitting everything and going straight for this. Because I didn't even totally know what this is. had to figure that out. So about 2015 I quit production. And I spent about $20,000 on marketing courses. Because remember, I have no background in business or any of that stuff. So I learned digital marketing, I learned how to run a business and and I completely threw away my income overnight went from awesome to literally $500 a month. Night. But I knew that that information was going to save me. In parallel to that, started to realise that a lot of people in my world were, let's just say, not too pleased that I was going into this direction, because there used to be and with some old schoolers, there still is there's this veil of secrecy or production. So they're cool with the big schools, because the big schools don't teach you shit. But the stuff I was putting out was actually legitimate, which got me a tonne of hate at the very, very beginning, which indicated to me that I was on the right path, but I was I was thinking I need a partner. And he's got to be cool with being hated. First of all, like I need to find somebody that that has a good business mind, but who's not going to be swayed by the overwhelming negativity that you can get and that person is Joey Sturgis. He, he does not give people will say whatever they want about him and he still does what he wants. And so to me that was even though we didn't know each other that was the person I wanted to approach because the start the amount of hate like it brought it dissolved my current partnership, those people don't talk to me to this day. And a lot of people that were my friends stopped talking to me once I started doing this stuff. And I needed to make sure that whoever I worked with if that started to happen to them that they wouldn't bail near them and be strong enough to not be swayed. I knew Joey was that person. So I contacted him one day. Let me just say side know Joe Sturgis is a very famous producer. I think he has like 5 million records sales, you name. Yeah, yeah. He does find
George: The Michael Bay of metalcore.
Eyal: Yeah, I'd say that's accurate, like, love him or hate him. He basically defined a genre.
George: Platinum records. Yeah. You know, top tier.
Eyal: Yeah. And with that goes to the credibility aspect. I think that part of what makes this work, like I said at the beginning is that it's the real stuff from the real people. So wasn't gonna just going to find some guy that doesn't care about getting hated need to find somebody that's credible, who's got a business mind? And who will persevere regardless, so I hit up, Joey. And I told him, Look, I'm starting a school. It's going to be huge. It's going to be this and this and that. Do you want in? And he said, Yeah, that's it. So easy. Easy. Yeah. The thing then was, we had a plan for where it could go but not really the means to start it because we didn't want to ask for any investments to this. We've never taken any outside money. We don't even have credit cards. So we like this is hundred percent done on cash flow, which I'm very, very proud of. But we didn't want to want to ask even for a loan. How do we start this? Well, the first thing we need to do is start to establish ourselves as thought leaders. Even though I had already been doing that for a few years, I needed to do it outside of creative live. So we started this podcast. And the podcast was named after Joey because Joey was the most famous one out of us. However, the plan was always to change it from the job name to the company name eventually, we just used his name as a basically, initial power boost. But we did this podcast called the URL podcast when we did something that people don't normally do on podcasts, which is we charged for it. People who I knew told me that we were nuts. Nobody charges for podcasts. And I said, You're nuts. Because you're trying to tell me that you understand my vision. I haven't even told you the vision. The whole idea for charging for the podcast wasn't to grow it huge. It was to find people who would be willing to pay month after month after month for our information. That's all we were trying to find with it. Because we were planning on launching a subscription product later.
George: So if all we had was, yeah, getting a feel to see if the market will respond.
Eyal: Yeah, exactly. And if they respond to a podcast, pay for a podcast, well, it stand reasons to follow that. They'll pay for an actual service down the line. So we did the podcast for about nine months. brought on all kinds of great producers, again, credible people. We built up our community community is one of the pillars of what makes us so strong. We started building that up. And about nine months later it was you had enough momentum little by little by little. And we're not talking huge increments like growing by like 100 people a month. Like not big buy tech terms, but it was enough to where it was enough to give us what we needed as far as being ready to launch the next step. And so nine months later, we launched the actual company and with our flagship product, now the mix, and from there, it exploded basically hasn't slowed down. That's five years ago.
George: That's so incredible to hear. And yeah, as I said, I've been watching from the bench, this all unfold. And I think what's so interesting that you have sort of followed the wave of online education may be even ahead of the curve, I would say because I see more on my Facebook feed. I see more and more people asking me to buy courses. Like I'm not saying that you're going down that approach, but the whole wave of online education has come through people learning from home. And you know, there's there's people talking about, you know, the typical university education is gonna, you know, not be as of a influence in the future. So, you know, online education, it you've really taken the wave of that so nicely, but within that saturation, how do you approach differentiating URL from the rest of the herd out there in your in your space? Okay,
Eyal: let me say a couple things. First of all, I do think that online education is mostly the future of education. I think that especially with this COVID stuff going on and all the shutdowns, what will happen is that the non important degree type schools might never recover. Hope Fully, it's kind of my mission to see them out the door.
George: A vendetta?
Eyal: No, it's not a vendetta, it's just I, I'm sick of seeing people paying $60,000 to get a degree in a field that you don't need a degree in.
George: Well, in another life, I went to audio school to that type of traditional audio school before I was a digital marketer or anything and, you know, comparing that to what I got out of nail the mix because I was in month one with you guys. I was one of those audio nerds at that time. You know, it was just on another level, I was like peeking behind this curtain without all these layers upon layers of fluff. And it had this depth and ease to it. It just seemed to know what I needed.
Eyal: Yeah, because we do know that that's, that's and that's the authenticity because this by people who do it for real. So to answer your question about how to differentiate Well, first of all, We're fortunate that we started before just about everybody. There's only like two or three people who were making audio courses back when I started creative live, there's like Graham Cochran and he's not really a competitor of ours. Brian hood made one course maybe in 2015 pensado. His place had the YouTube channel, but it wasn't really happening. So it wasn't, wasn't hard to differentiate then. And so what I'll say is this. I had a feeling that once we started growing, that a bunch of people were going to start copying us and my strategy at the beginning of our success, like let me let me put it more clearly. When we started doing now the mix. For those who don't know an lm mix is a monthly programme, where a mixer comes on and shows how Mix a song that people love. And we give them the tracks for the song so they can mix it themselves. At the very beginning, it was just myself and my partner's doing it, maybe for the first six months, but then we started getting outside producers with a with their bands, and they started getting bigger and bigger and bigger. And then there was an inflection point, but in my mind, there were two options. It was okay, so either we get an outside producer, and then we rotate back to my three partners, and then another outside producer. And so it's like a quarterly thing with these outside producers or we step on the gas and only get outside producers and go bigger and bigger and bigger as fast as possible. And I elected for option B. so that by the time anybody realised what was happening, our lead was so vast, that would be dumb to even compete, like total domination in that space and So that this, so to me, it's never really been about standing out in a sea of copycats. It's more about total domination. Which, if you're going to go into a market, like if you want to start making courses, I would challenge everybody to try to find something that you have not seen out there, like I was telling you about earlier with riff hard. Our guitar site like the there are a million guitar sites out there. And yes, we could probably make a guitar site that covers the same things and still do okay with it. But riff art is doing well, because it's, it's different than any of the other guitar sites. It covers a certain topic or range of topics on guitar that are super important, but that nobody else covers and that to me is the way you do it. Don't try to compete with the sea of charlatans and YouTube wannabes or even people who are good at this, find something that is important that nobody else is doing and try to dominate that. That's a lot more challenging than just making some course that 15 other people have made. But that's, that's, that's how I do it. And my future sites, same thing niching down to something that people really care about, that nobody else is covering that you can cover with ultimate credibility and authenticity. That's that's the way
George: Yeah, that's so interesting. So I guess sort of riffing on that. What what what advice would you give someone to someone trying to start a course you know, in those initial steps because I think what's interesting about your approaches you if you sort of taken these steps one by one, taking the podcasts, sort of validating certain things. You know, is that the sort of thing you would recommend to somebody if they were to say, Hey, what's my first step to start an online course, tomorrow?
Eyal: Get really, really good at the thing that it is you want to teach first. Get known for that thing first. That's my suggestion. I, as much as I dislike the traditional schools, for like art and audio and music. I'll never speak badly for medical school, for instance. But as much as I dislike those, I dislike even more when people put out courses about something they're not qualified to teach. Because it it's much more affordable for people. And so it promotes the spread of bad information. I wish that people who didn't know what they were talking about would stop putting out courses. I mean, everyone's got the right to but I I think if you really want it to work long term, and it's not just some temporary cash grab, not just some temporary cash grab, you've got to get good and known at what it is that you're actually doing to that's part of the if I have to say that there's a formula to what we do now, and what we're going to be doing with our future sites, that credibility aspect is front and centre. So if you want to do online education become credible first, like, if you again, the reason I'm saying it's not just some cash grab, because there's a lot of people who think that they can just cash in on some people who don't know better. And I don't want to help those people out at all. So I know that this isn't the sexiest advice because it means well, you might need to take five or 10 years to become known but look, all my partners had over A decade and a half in the game of my partners in Rif hard. My partners in DRM, all of us are veterans. There's a reason for why people listen to us if we were 25 or something and had never produced a real record or had never gone on a real tour or anything like that, why would people listen to us? So in the name of the game these days is obviously to get eyes on you and and be top of mind. How are you a Top of Mind if you're not credible?
George: Yeah, and again, going back to authenticity, you know, knowing your audience speaking to them. You know, I think a lot of cowboys out there in the in the online education world, but I guess circling back more to you RM and if we talk about sort of the digital ecosystem that works around it, because as you said, you guys all work remotely. It's a very sort of 2020 company. You know what it is? Can we talk a little bit about the discovery? The discovery channels or pieces of content that somebody would bump into to discover? You RM? You know what, I guess what I'm trying to ask is, you know, what is the customer journey going from somebody who's never heard of you RM to somebody who subscribes?
Eyal: Well, it depends on their level, right? Because the customer journey for somebody who is a complete beginner, for instance, is going to be different than if they're already, you know, a veteran and they just want to up their game, or if they're intermediate and just starting to get good and like really want to double down triple down. So it kinda depends on where they're at. And we have different different funnels for each one of those but I was say that the primary driver, our Facebook ads, Facebook ads and YouTube like the that works really, really well. On top of that we have the podcast but I don't think the podcast drives acquisition very much, if anything, it helps people who are already into what we're doing, staying engaged and keeps us in the conversation. But in reality, I think it's word of mouth. Friends telling friends like someone Someone had really great results their friend wants to learn how to produce, they suggest it or our Facebook ad comes on where somebody's favourite producer or band or featured our intro prices, stupid. It's $1. So, one thing that we have always always done is trying to make the amount of value we give you for the money overwhelming to wear, even if you're buying one of our premium courses for like, a few hundred dollars or a summit ticket for 1000 or more dollars, or just now the mix for $20. Regardless, we always try to multiply the amount of value that we're giving people to where, no matter what you're spending with us. It's far less than what it's actually worth. So someone sees a Facebook someone into recording who's trying to get better, sees a Facebook ad with their favourite band on it and one of their favourite producers and it's $1 Well, they're in a crack. Yeah, they're in and then from that point on. I don't know if you've seen the website recently, but it's, uh, yeah, it's completely redone. So from that point on, they have a lot of content that they can start consuming. Right away, and we try to bring them into our community immediately. Our community, I think is the best community in audio on the web. And we make a point of making feel people feel welcome and appreciated and ready to ready to learn and a part of things immediately, we value it very, very strongly. So when people join you, RM they're joining basically a global family. And they're joining something that has like, for instance, physical chapters all over the world that meet in person. There's like 80 of them now. So the customer experience becomes that suddenly they're in a world of people who are into what they're into, are cool about it, and that it needs to be noted that that is unique on the internet. Most audio forums or audio groups are a bunch of people being really terrible to Other, you know, shaming people for asking basic questions, arguing, we don't allow any of that stuff. So the suddenly they're in a positive place where they can actually ask questions. Don't be afraid to make friends in real life. Another thing that's big on that big about that is that, you know, if you live in a small town, you probably don't know any other metal producers. Maybe there's one it they're hard to find. And these aren't the most social people. But this isn't something they can talk about what their wives are, or friends or whatever. Yeah, it's very niche and, and so we provide basically a family for them where they can, where they can really indulge this, this lifestyle and passion. So it's so much more than the courses and the thing that we always used to say about creative live how we would Do it betters that their courses and the moment you hit stop, ours just begin. So the actual content we deliver that's like, that's just the beginning. And you know this because you've been in the community. Yeah. So for us, however you get in, whether it's from a Facebook ad or you heard it on a podcast or whatever. What matters is that the moment that people get in, regardless of their level, they could be a multi Platinum producer, they could be a total beginner. They feel like they're a part of something that they wish had always existed from that point on, then it's, you know, the actual content and helping them get better with it. We try to help people get results fast, not unrealistic results, but there's a lot of stuff that if you just were to follow the right method, you could you could, you could make some serious progress really fast. Fast, like you said, you went to real audio school and you didn't improve nearly as fast or as much as just using our stuff. So we try. We try to get people that result fast as basically. So that immediately it's not just a great community, but they're getting better at that thing that has been giving them so much trouble. I know that that's not exactly a customer journey answer, but that that's how I think about it. Because everything else are just tactics right? And tactics change depending on the situation. I try to think about it more big picture as in, what am I trying to? What do I want people to feel when they join and what results do I want to get them and there's variables and the tactics change, but those two things are are always at the at the top of my mind is the most important things to go for. If you notice we change tactics all the time.
George: Yeah, I think what's so interesting about what you said is the community, you know, it's really a positive fostering kind of place and makes you want to return there. And that really is a such an important component of your whole online education ecosystem. And what are some of those important considerations that come to the top of your mind when you're building those Facebook groups? You know, moderation or you know, you have to I guess you have to have quite a vision for what you're trying to accomplish with it, essentially.
Eyal: Yeah, so that is a rabbit hole for sure. Yeah. That that is a complete and utter rabbit hole. I do believe that even though most audio engineers are introverts, that I have reason to believe that they're still human. You know, that just just a hunch. And humans are social creatures, and even introverts need people to bond with. So, one. So I try to provide that, first of all, and what that means is not just posting something that is going to get a bunch of people saying Haha, or posting an emoji. The way people bond is by having conversations with each other. It's not even so much about having conversations with me or one of the authorities in there. But it's a it's about getting them to talk with each other. So a lot of people confuse community with audience. It's a lot easier to build an audience in a community so an audience means you're talking to the people. They're talking to you Right, you're on stage, they're listening to you speak. That's cool. But that's not what a community is a community is where they speak to each other. And yeah, you might be the authority, but you could leave, and they'll keep on talking. So that everything that we do is kind of aimed in the direction of getting them to form relationships with each other. Because then actually, the community becomes more important than the content, which has been our saving grace at times where our content hasn't been loved. I mean, when you make as much content as us, it's some it's gonna be better than others, right? Some months. I know the mix. Everybody hates the band, or something like it happens, but they don't leave and they don't leave because it's a real community. If it was just an audience. You know, think about what happens to a band that puts out a shitty record. their audience leaves Most of their audience, that's not a problem for us because we have a real community. So we focus on making it an actual community versus an audience. And that's something that I think that people need to really, really understand. And in order to actually do that, you have to understand the psychology of the people who are in there. You have to understand what kinds of things they care about. What kinds of things get them talking, what kinds of things get them talking to each other? What kinds of things they could find anyplace else, they go online, and, and focus on the right, the right things. And it's going to be if you do that analysis is going to be different in each community. Right. That's what I was telling you earlier that I think that an audio community should be run by audio people, when it's run by just corporate types, or someone who doesn't know anything about it. How are they going to actually build a community like it's not going to work. So And again, back to what I was saying earlier about if you really want to do this, get really good at what it is you're doing first and become credible. You're gonna have a much easier time building a community if you have that authority. That thought leader authority. Let me also say that with the community, I ran it for the first three years. I don't run it anymore. I have a staff now. But that staff I trained exactly to run it the way that I was running it. So I also encourage people to not delegate these kinds of things. Because while you might think that posting on Facebook isn't the best use of your time, building a community is something that only the leader can do at the beginning. Second, or third or fifth at this point. It's also about prioritising I think A lot of people don't prioritise their communities. You know, they have them. But it's kind of an afterthought. They don't post in them very much. They don't curate the content. They don't moderate very well. To us, it's a priority. So before I had a staff, I'd be in there seven hours a day. And what was I doing, I was looking for posts that were mean, axing them. I was trying to come up with engaging content, I was responding to people, I was trying to help them and trying to connect people with each other. At some point in time, someone is going to need to do that work. That really, really cares until they can then train people under them to take over. It's a lot of work, but it is crucial. The thing is, once you have community two, you have a built in built in, I would say not even warm audience, hot audience for your courses. So Are when we put out a premium non subscription course, the majority of the sales come from within the community, and they fucking kill. They do great way better than when our ads to outsiders. So there's a there's many, many reasons for why you want to do this like it insulates the subscription from from, you know, taking a hit especially now to like during COVID-19 our subscriptions have actually gone up. And then it also allows you to do one off courses to a built in audience who wants them. So, yeah, I consider your community to be one of the most important things however, again, back to tactics. That's always changing. And that's the least important part. Like there's a million tactics and they all kind of work. Depending on the scenario and there's a tonne of blogs and courses you can take on tactics on how to run a Facebook group. What really really matters is the thought behind it and the people behind it. You can do all the right tactics. And I'm sure you find this digital marketing, you can create the most elaborate funnel with the best lead magnets and tripwires and all that stuff and everything's great. The copy is totally perfect, it's perfectly targeted and nobody cares. Nobody cares because you don't have product market fit, or you're not an authority figure. However, you get those things going product market fit and a credible authority. And then you can do any number of different marketing tactics, and they'll all pretty much work. It's the same with the community. All the tactics work. It's just context dependent. And if you don't have a strong community, a strong culture and real rules and respected authorities, none of those tactics are going to work. They just So they're pointless to kind of pointless to even discuss.
George: Yeah, I think it's I think that's interesting approach to having you know, the broader level things in order and then you're just pivoting to where you see opportunities in the tactics. And I think you brought up something interesting there with, you know, the different courses that you have within the the CRM sort of ecosystem. And you've got the month to month subscription, and then you have the static courses that are sort of the one off Can you talk a little about that, that sort of grow you know, growing from a subscription and going deeper into the the sort of this this brand or this this online education? thing that you're building? Can you talk a little bit about the the thought process behind having these different types of courses?
Eyal: Yes. Okay, so a $19 subscription not going to be able to give you enough to really, really, completely learn the art of production and mixing. It's just not there's, you can't unless if you have like 100,000 subscribers or something at 20, then maybe you might have the resources. But, uh, that would be one third of all people in production. So, you know, we don't have 100,000 subscribers. So, first of all, from a purely practical financial standpoint, we need to do more than just that in order to be able to do what we do. However, the subscription side of it is the core. And we worked really, really hard to make that the core and the subscription side of it, I think, I mean, within the subscription, there's like six different things. products you get. And they all cover different things. So the idea on 10 available to sell Yes, you said when they jump in they there's ours. Yeah. So but it's all strategically set up in a way to where if all you were to do we're get our subscriptions, you could really, really move across a move forward. So for instance, there's portfolio tracks. portfolio is a big issue for upcoming mixers, because how are they going to get clients when they don't have a portfolio? How are they going to get a portfolio when they don't have clients? Right? So we give them tracks that they can actually use so that all this time they spend on our information can actually lead to something in the real world. We have something called mixed lab where people sometimes don't have the time to spend on our, you know, our more full length offerings like now Which can be eight or 10 hours long or even, or fast tracks, which can be three hours long. Sometimes they only have 15 minutes. But they or they have like one specific thing that they need to figure out. So we have that covered. And we have now the mix. And now the mix is not like a tutorial. But I've always thought that the best way to learn this is to have a great mentor to get to watch somebody Great. Now, that's not going to be possible for most people. It's just not. And it's even less possible now than it was before. Because the old school studio system of like big studios, that industry is dead. Everything's moved to the home with some exceptions. It's even big time producers are working under their homes, it severely limits the ability to get people mentored. So with nail the mix, they're getting the chance to at least observe how somebody incredible is doing it. Now there's a limitation to nail the mix which is that You're just watching one person's perspective on one song at one point in time, you're not getting the theory of everything they're doing, you're just what it's like a, it's like a case study on one song. So we had to fill in those gaps as well, hence our Fast Track library. Those are deep dives on each of those topics. So I know non audio people, you may not know what I'm talking about, but like, there's something called compression in audio that is very, very important in mixing. But a lot of people don't understand what it does. It's kind of an amorphous thing. There's, like 19 different ways to use it.
George: And so understand when you're starting out,
Eyal: It's tough to understand even tough to understand once you're good at it. Most definitely, yeah. So and you're not good. And another mix, they're not going to show you the ins and outs of compression. They're going to show you one specific instance of how compression worked on one element right on somebody's vocal. But that's not the that's not the theory on it. That's not teaching you how to hear exactly what it does. So we have a fast track that does that. So you just multiply that times every single topic that comes up in mixing. So that way when they want to know the mix, if there's something that they need more info on, they they can they can get it and we have something called mix rescue. One of the complaints about know the mix is that the tracks are unrealistic in that when they get those tracks to work with. They're like from the best bands, best producers in the world. In real life, our audience are working with local bands who are not that good. So their skills are having that they need to do a lot more fixing of bad stuff and they need to learn how to make less than ideal situations work out. When you get into the mix tracks, you're basically getting handed an ideal situation or close to ideal scenario. So you may not develop Have some of those problem solving skills. So we put mixed rescue in there, which is where we take subscribers tracks that are less than perfect and help them fix it. And then we give those tracks out to everybody. So that, you know, if they want to look at some realistic tracks and still get our perspective on them, they can do that. And finally, there's one on ones because no matter how much you watch, no matter how many tutorials you ingest, you're going to need some personalised help. All of that is covered in the subscription, or the two tiers of the subscription, which is a lot of stuff, but it's a it's pretty comprehensive. Like it covers a whole lot of ground. Now, there are some topics though, that just require even more. They're topics that you can't cover in four hours or topics that take like 30 hours to cover in full detail, like drum production, for instance, or guitar production, like that's those are to actually teach those in full detail. Yeah, it's it's an insane amount of intricacy required. It would make no financial sense, if we wouldn't be able to do those if they were under the subscription. Because the level of investment required to make them is just, it's too much too much time. Like it takes us like six months to make one of these. So even if we're just paying people their normal salary for those six months, years, we're still investing in that time, and that money where they could have been working on something else. So and our courses have to be the best, like we'll never accept anything less than that. So the only way to do it is to sell them at a premium Price. That's the reason we do it because otherwise, it just wouldn't be possible. Those premium courses are not like a core of our business. They're like sprinkles on top of the ice cream or whatever. But I guess you could say that they're like, further up the value, step further up the value ladder than the subscription. Lastly, we have the summit, which is our in person event, which is our most expensive product. And there's a lot of great information. It's like a conference where you have like eight hours or 10 hours of classes, and then eight hours and 10 hours of networking. But it's the place where our most motivated students can meet the other most motivated students from all over the world, as well as a bunch of our instructors and people from the industry. So a lot of people who actually go there, come out with careers afterwards. It's nuts. It's it really is like the most motivated people. So they have a chance to, they have a chance to mingle with higher ups in the industry, who they wouldn't normally be able to talk to, and in a way where they'll actually be able to talk to them, which is really super valuable. So that's kind of the that's kind of the journey from like a podcast or Facebook ad, all the way to that you RM summit. There's a lot in there.
George: But I think what's, what is the thing to take home about that is, you know, you haven't just sort of, you know, you've got these principles of, you know, a value ladder, but, you know, you understand what the audience actually requires, and you've built everything around that. So You can't sort of retrofit it the other way. You have to understand the intent. You have to understand Yes, people getting out of this. And then you're you're you're, you're creating those extra more in depth courses that get into the real nitty gritty for those people that want that extra mile and take it that extra step further. It's interesting because you RM like it couldn't have existed really, in another time. You know, if this was 2005, you know, RM probably couldn't exist. Can you talk a little bit about like the, you know, in a way your online education, your production company, and I really wanted to ask you about, like, the amount of content you guys are generating in any given month. You know, what, what, what you guys are doing video content, you're doing blogs, but, you know, how, what is that? And how, what does that comprised of?
Eyal: What do you mean by what is it comprised of?
George: You know, you're doing blue you doing? Like, what? What? Like, what type of content? What type of content?
Eyal: Okay, so I'm doing minimum of four podcasts a month, but lately it's been like 12. Well, and these are like, three hours long. We, we have like a, our requirements for the subscription. Right? So, every month, we'll put out three to five mix labs. We'll do one now the mix session, sometimes to actually one fast track. One mix rescue, three to five YouTube videos. Actually, it's more than that. It's more like 15 YouTube videos. And then, you know, five to five to 15. Yeah, well, and then there's all these activities that we do inside the community as well, which count as content. So stuff where, for instance, we get people collaborating with each other To create songs and teams, and then they submit those and then we do live streams and and cover and create them basically, we have several of those types of competitions going so there's like four different monthly competitions going, ranging from people getting the best tone to people making the best mixes of a cover to people doing the nail the mix mix poll, as well as these days because of COVID-19 been doing live streams of our premium courses in the group like for about an hour a day. Just as a way to help make this a better experience for everybody during this time period. That's a lot of content Not to mention that in the background. We're working on premium courses.
George: So a lot of stuff.
Eyal: Yeah, that is Oh yeah, marketing and Mark Adding stuff to and marketing stuff. Yeah, like marketing assets like commercials and stuff.
George: All your Facebook ads Instagram. So those are your primary drivers of Facebook, Instagram.
Eyal: Yeah, I'd say so. Organic does real well for us too, though. A big portion is organic. I think that word of mouth plays a big, big role in this. And then Facebook ads. They just do great.
George: You mentioned your colleague, Finn McKenty a number of times and he is he's a guy on YouTube that has kind of exploded over the past couple of years and his channel he just keeps getting better and better. And he started the second channel with digital marketing has been really fantastic to see him grow. So you know, he's a fantastic person to have on the team and his his perception with organic content. And his approach to even meems is it's like it's a science Look, he I just love the way he thinks about things.
Eyal: The man is brilliant. Everyone should check out his channel, the punk rock MBA. I wanted to start you RM with him, just so everybody knows but he, like I said he was working at creative live. He had a good job. But my goal was to get your end big enough to where we could make him an offer and take him away from creative life. And as soon as we could, I did and it was one of the best decisions I've ever made because having that kind of brain as my right hand man is is a superpower. The guy is a marketing genius and he has a legit corporate marketing background. Like he did marketing for Hollister. He did stuff for Procter and Gamble, like it's he's not just some dude from the music industry. He He's a legit marketer which really, really helps me because You know, since I don't have an actual background in the real world, it helps that one of my main partners does. I think that that's part of why we're doing real well, actually, but uh, yeah, he's, he's just just got a sixth sense for this stuff.
George: Yeah. And I think that's one of the themes of this podcast is kind of shaping up for me is knowing your audience authenticity. You know, we have all these amazing tools and you talked about tactics. And I'm for one, I'm even being affected in this podcast, you kind of like, hey, tactics, don't worry about that. I sometimes it's a digital marketing, kind of nerd out on these, oh, he did this. He did this bit adjustment or something. And it's like, well, it's not about that. It's about what are you saying and get the broader level things right. You know, we've been talking about community a lot as well. You know, knowing the individual knowing the person is just any really critical part of any business to be successful and in particular, In education.
Eyal: And let me just point one thing out about Finn. You're saying that his stuff is blowing up? Well, he kind of fits the exact description of what I was saying earlier about the credibility side of things. He's not just somebody who, well, first of all, his main channel isn't about marketing, but he does marketing on his second channel, but he's not just some dude talking about marketing on the internet, like, he has actually done it in real life for multi billion dollar companies. So it's that authority and that credibility thing, it just makes a difference. makes such a massive, massive difference. And yeah, dude, tactics are sexy. That's what it is. And a lot of people, myself included, I think it's just human nature. We want to take the path of least resistance and so if we think that we can just do this one thing, change the copy to this one thing or you This one new method of delivering an ad that that'll change everything. It's delusional. And yeah, it's true, you might get a positive result at some point. But it's not but it's only going to be because you locked into, like, you made a good guess that time and it worked out. But uh, you're not it's not repeatable if all you're worrying about is tactics. So, and again, all the tactics work, that's the thing. They're all great. It's kind of like with weight loss or something, or something like that. If you want to lose weight, just pick a diet, just eat it. Manik paleo, they all work. What matters is if you actually stick to it, like the diet itself, isn't what matters. And I know that a bunch of people will argue about that, but they're wrong. The only thing that matters is you sticking to it. And it's the same sort of thing. The the tactics themselves are just they're great. But they're not what matters at all.
George: I think that's a real key takeaway from this one for me. So, you know, talking more about the online education sphere, you know, you've seen it grow, you've seen even from 2013 with creative live, you know, they were very much ahead of the curve. And I remember your first course on that. I remember just being like, wow, this is incredible. I've been hanging out for this for ages. Now, people have kind of all these niches have formed. You know, we've I've seen a million digital marketing courses, you know, this, this space is changing and evolving. And I guess what I'm asking here is where do you see online education going? Over the next decade, you know, where do you think we're going to be in 2030?
Eyal: Yeah, hopefully still alive. I do believe that online education is the future. Like I said, said earlier, there's a certain type of school that will never go away like the ones that require you to be there. Like medical school, for instance. It's not going anywhere. But there are many fields where people are now learning that they can just get as much done remotely as they could in person. And that's going to severely wreck the profit model for so many universities. I think it's going to put a bunch under or make them completely restructure the way they go about things. I think that we are at the very real beginning of online education taking over. I'm so happy that it started when I did. I do still believe that we're at the very, very beginning. I think that a Some leaders are going to emerge. And it'll be like any other any other field where, you know, you've got your your big boys, and then you've got everyone else. I think a lot of people are going to be trying to do it because it looks easy. And there's going to be a lot of people who don't develop careers with it. But I think that the the public is going to gravitate towards it, because it just makes so much more sense. There's just no reason to go to a physical building and pay all that extra money for something that you can learn just as well on your own. So I definitely think that the future is that there's going to be far less physical schools and a whole lot more education is going to be remote, which I think is a beautiful thing.
George: But in saying that what is interesting about you guys, is you still record And the value of that face to face, of course interaction with the summit. So you have that, you know, obviously you're not there day to day. But you know having those one on one is it its annual correct?
Eyal: Yeah, exactly this year. Yeah. Well, well, no, I was crazy. Is that some in November or September last year? I got a little, a little intuition to not have one this year. I'm really really glad. Really not. It's not because of COVID-19. Just something told me we shouldn't do one and
George: Something in the back of the head.
Eyal: Yeah, I don't know. I think maybe I thought that black swan we kept talking about was or something just something just didn't seem right.
George: Go with your gut. And basically, I had no reason to cancel the one this year. Like the last summit did better than the other ones. Like by all measures This 2020 would have done great. Just something said, don't do it. And so with that, but
George: Sorry, I cut you off. Do you think that COVID is accelerating this, this change? Because I know I've picked up a couple online courses and whatnot.
Eyal: Yeah. COVID is accelerating what was already happening. So in person interaction is never going to go away. We need that as people. And I'll never tell people not to do that. But the connections you make it audio school aren't going to be the ones that get you an audio career, right. I think that pointless interactions might start to might not be as important as they were before, but I don't think that I'm saying a lot. I don't think that brick and mortar schools becoming less important is going to take away from the importance of meeting people face to face. I don't think that I don't think one relies on the other.
George: Yeah, I think that's a that's a great approach. And as you said, We need that face to face interaction and yeah, makes a lot of sense. So I guess, just sort of heading into the back half of the podcast. You know, what, what is next for for you? URM you know, where are you guys heading? within your space? Um, you said you had a new venture riff hard, which is getting into guitar, guitar sort of education. Are you looking to sort of, sort of move this across multiple industries? Are you going to stay in music or Wait, Wait, where's the scope of this in your mind?
Eyal: There's no limits. But first, I'm going to raise the bar in of music. So starting with recording, now it's moving on to guitar and it'll be moving on to others as well. I want to leave music better than I found it, basically, even if it's just in my own little world that I can affect and at least my own little neck of the woods is going to be is going to be better than I found it. And that to me sums up the future. I will say that, um, I would like a lot of what you URM does to become part of the standard curriculum in recording schools, I think it should. But I also think it might interfere with our profit models because people will get too good too fast and not have to be there as long so so it kind of I kind of not sure that we're compatible with a brand Other schools but I would like you RM to become synonymous with getting great at audio across music, even though we are in the rock and metal genre. And I don't plan on leaving that. So basically, we are the future of audio education in my opinion. And we're just going to move towards making that as true as possible and helping the rest of the world see it. And from there, like I said, I would like to raise the bar in all of music. Little by little, that that's probably gonna take 10 years. So
George: Listen, you've been a long term game plan guy. I've seen it for a long time. So I believe and I look forward to seeing where it goes. To finish off the podcast. You know, we talked a little bit earlier about, you know, starting your own course and your advice, you know, get good at what you're at, but come on. authority. And you know, really, this is this is sounds, you know, going off to a little bit of a tangent, I was listening to this app that I've got called calm. And it's got a new feature with LeBron James talking about, you know, all this sort of motivational stuff. But he said something really interesting about, you know, people asked him about, you know, how do you how do you do all these crazy things, and he says, I've just been through that many more experiences than other people. So
Eyal: What did he mean by that?
George: You know, like, I've been in those high pressure situations in a final way I need to get the final shot, you know, going through the motions like the fear of the unknown, you know, walking through the valley of death is often the the way that you understand these things. So, you know, going to some if someone to say to you, Hey, I'm really great in this niche, I have this expertise, you know, They've ticked that box, what would you say is the first step you would give them to start their journey to move into this type of space? online education?
Eyal: Well, just because they're good, do they know that people like listening to what they have to say? So that would be the first step after that would be to figure out what medium people like to get information from you in and build a following in that. So, to me, the course part of it is way down the line. So again, let me just reiterate, I had my music and production career for a decade and a half. And I started writing blogs for like metal sucks in 2008 or nine. And then, you know, did other things like, Did creative live we did the podcast first. I had a Tumblr account that was super super active, answering people Questions like, before ever launching a course, I was already known for what I do and for helping people out. So if basically people are saying, Okay, I'm an expert, I want to make a course, they're kind of skipping a very important step in the middle, which is becoming a thought leader or known. So then the question, again, is, what medium is it that you can make stuff in consistently, where people will actually be receptive to you? And once you figure that out, we'll figure out what that is, whether it's podcasts or YouTube or whatever, blogs, whatever it is, maybe it's books, I don't know. Everyone has to figure that out for themselves, but start doing that and build up that, that authority. And at that point, you do that for a little while. Then you'll know when it's time to make a course. It's, it's not for me to say when someone should do it, but I think that they'll know. I do think that if they skip that step, they might be very disappointed by how their course does. Because who's gonna care? Oh, it's not enough to be an expert or an authority people have to know that too. Right. So yeah, put in some years getting known
George: That personal brand and and people having that trust factor is so important.
Eyal: Oh, yeah, it's so everything. As someone who's already an expert, wanting to launch a course, yeah, becoming a thought leader in between, yeah, skipping the step.
George: Okay. Okay. Is the other any tips then from there, you know, becoming a full lead? I think you said you you had multiple publications. You, you were sort of getting out there with blog content with your own content. Is that is that what you recommend for for that sort of middle phase of this process?
Eyal: Well, I think that, you know, when people start thinking about this, they think I want to have a YouTube channel and I want to have a podcast and I should learn Instagram and how does Twitter work and get Facebook going and now tik tok or whatever, and I think that it's kind of nonsense. You need to figure out what it is that you're cool doing. Some people hate being on video. Some people hate talking. Some people are great. Writing, some people suck at writing. Some people are really good at posting pictures and making thoughtful captions. So whatever it is, you need to figure that out for yourself. You need to go really hard to figure out exactly how you want people to know you. Think about it really hard. What? You know, if you're writing your own obituary, what would it say? And when you figure that out, put that into the world. And I really do believe that if you do that, really go for it. That you will know when it's time to start working on things like courses, the audience will demand it of you. You'll know. If you don't do that, then I don't know. You might have a successful course but odds are you won't because there's a million other people making courses who aren't known also. So I really, really like you said before I play the long game. I think the long game is where it's at. None of this is quick. If you want it to be real, it's not going to be quick. The one of the most important things with a with becoming a thought leader is consistency, right? And if you decide I'm going to do YouTube and Twitter and Instagram and all this and a podcast, but you really kind of hate doing some of those things. You're not going to be consistent enough to see it through. So for instance, I love podcasting. So I do it a lot. I'm not big on making YouTube videos. I don't do YouTube, maybe one day, but I've been able to double down on podcasting because I love podcasting. I'm about to release my second podcast, the Rif hard podcast and I have every reason to believe that it will get just as known as the DRM podcast because I love podcasting. And people, and I know that people respond to it. When I do, people need to find that for themselves. And for real. Once you do that, you do that long enough. And you're credible. The opportunities if you're looking for them to do something with a financial reward or with like a, something business oriented, will present itself. A very, very, that might sound a little woowoo. But that's always how it's worked for me. And if you know that it is a course that you want to do, well then when you structure the way that you want your personal brand to appear, make sure that there's an educational element to it. So that all the time that you're doing your podcasts or YouTube channel or your thoughtful captions on posts, there is an element of that education that you eventually want to be selling. So that you get known for that and then It's totally congruent to your brand when you finally make a course. So, if you look at my social media, for instance, you look at my Instagram, you'll notice, there's a few things that go up there. There's stuff to do with guitar. I have a guitar site about to put a guitar podcast, right? People should know that I had a legitimate guitar career kind of matters. So guitar recording is another one of the things of recording stuff up. I have a recording education company. It makes sense. And the other thing is sometimes entrepreneurship, because that's what I am. I don't really post anything else. Everything is kind of in those three pillars, because that's what I want out there in the world. So you have to decide exactly what it is that you want other people to portray you as and then go for it. Go for it really, really hard. And don't be discouraged if it takes a few years to build into something And then I guarantee you that you will know when the time is right to capitalise and that might not be the answer a lot of people want to hear, because I'm sure they want to know, they want someone to tell them Okay, at this point in time, that's when you make the course. The growth hack. Yeah, but there are but that shit does. That's, that's bullshit. Because it's different for everybody. We're all starting from different points. We've all got different qualities. It, it just doesn't work that way. The stuff I'm saying, I think is not the sexiest, but it's the truth. And I think that if people were to take this approach, it might take longer, but the success that they do have will be much more real than say, if they were to jump the gun, do something before they're ready and then maybe get lucky. However, I just need to say this. I do not believe in procrastinating. I don't want people to think that I'm suggesting that they wait till something's perfect. before acting. I think that that's the dumbest thing ever.
George: There's actionable steps you've already outlined. There's phase one or phase two or phase three.
Eyal: Yes, caress, I believe in 10% planning 90% execution. So when you're in that brand building phase, you're going hard. You're going just as hard as you would, as if you were making a course you're going just as hard as you did. When you were becoming an expert. It's just a particular phase of the game and and you don't don't just don't confuse that with waiting till all conditions are perfect to launch your masterpiece which syncs so many people to totally two totally different things.
George: Listen, I think that's that's just fabulous advice and a great way for us to finish off. Al it's been an absolute pleasure picking your brains is I've been following you for a long time have wanted to do this and hear something your perspective and it really makes sense. Your approach your thoughts and more of the broader level picture. Why are we doing this? I think that's really such a key takeaway to take from this. Thank you so much for your time and all the best with you are moving forward.
Eyal: Thank you very much for having me. It's been a pleasure.