Intro: 00:00 From ABC News Radio, KMET 1490 in Southern California, this is BizNinja Entrepreneur Radio, with your host, Tyler Jorgenson.
Tyler: 00:14 Hey, welcome out to BizNinja Entrepreneur Radio. I am Tyler Jorgensen, and today we get David Tobin, the founder and CEO, and the mastermind behind Audiojack. Now, this was something that when I first heard about it, I was pretty intrigued. It’s a pretty fascinating thing in the world today where there are so many different things calling at our senses. Audiojack is really just about focusing on sound. So welcome out David, and tell us a little bit about Audiojack and you.
David: 00:45 Thanks. I appreciate it. Yeah. So, Audiojack is an audio-based movie. I’m actually talking to guys from production, and so I have all these wires in my ears right now. It’s an audio-based movie. There are no words, there’s no video, and there’s no music. It’s hundreds of sounds that are edited together to tell a story for your imagination. So you might hear the wind in trees, then you hear feet. They stop and a door opens.
David: 01:09 Your imagination memory kick on and you start to create a narrative based on what you’re hearing. And, we never tell you the real story, so there’s never a wrong answer. That way, if you think you’re running through the forest, you’re being chased by a teddy bear, and lasers are coming out of their eyes. That’s great. That’s your story. I may have a different interpretation from it, and that’s the whole core of this. It’s that our imaginations can unite us, because there is no language, gender, or race barrier with what we do.
Tyler: 01:32 That’s fascinating. So, when I first saw it, I was like, “Oh cool. It’s an audio story.” So I was thinking almost like a book on tape, but it’s really…, one…, one level beyond that. Where it’s just sounds, no words and so it has to it, you know, it’s an exercise in imagination. What was the intent? Like, why did you decide, “Man, this is something we need to have in the marketplace.” Why did…, what was your inspiration for this?
David: 01:55 Sure, there’s, there’s kind of two points behind it. I think one of them is that we need to find a way to engage a global audience in a unique way to create a conversation. The imagination is a tool that we all have. Not everyone uses it as much. And we can talk about the studies we’ve done into that space, and how using your imagination actually reduces your stress and anxiety, but we’re in this “always on” generation. You always have your phone, you always have a device, and you’re always getting information this way and not that way. And humanity changed when we started doing that, and our stress levels went up and all these things, so there had to be a way for us to engage the imagination in a unique and meaningful way.
David: 02:34 I think that’s…, yeah, that’s really kind of the core of that element.
Tyler: 02:37 Yeah. So, how did this become your call then? Right? Like…., so, I agree like that sounds like a really important thing that we’re getting a kind of a bottleneck of information where we have all this stuff coming in, but we’re not assimilating it, processing it, digesting it. It’s just sitting in here. So, how did you feel the call to be the one to go and create this?
David: 02:56 It kind of came from this background that I have, and…, so I would kind of punch people in here. There’s never a safe space. So, it’s one of those things that like, I’ve been involved in music, I’ve been involved in art, I’ve been involved in all these things my whole life. And, this was a combination of it all. I’ve been volunteering in the education space. I’ve been trying to contribute in some way to the rest of the world. And I do a lot of neat things. And like, right now we’re in the middle making a TV show. We do a lot of stuff, but Audiojack was a tool that could be used in education. It could be used in health. And it is. And, it’s like, “Okay, if I’m going to be on this planet and I’m going to be using my energy for something, I want it to be something that’s going to help other people and benefit them.
David: 03:35 And when we brought it into the education space, the results were off the charts. And from there, it started to grow and we started working in health with senior care, memory loss, the blind community started using it. We work with like, the federal program for the blind. We work with all these organizations, and even regular people use it. You know, you don’t have to have an affliction or be a kid, you know, you just have to be up for being engaged. And, that’s the thing. And that’s something I always wanted to do. I wanted to create something that could help everyone, on their own terms.
Tyler: 04:04 So, when did you first launch…, when did you launch the first iteration of this, and what were some challenges that you had that you had to overcome that you didn’t expect?
David: 04:12 So I came up with this quite a bit ago. I would say like, I would say like, eight years ago maybe, or so. It became an app and a product four years ago. So, it’s had a bit of a journey, and the big thing was, I created this thing and I played it for my friends, they were blown away, I’m like, “Okay, great. How do we monetize it? How do I monetize this?” And so I went through tons of iterations. From CDs, from a site where you can download MP3s, to a streaming site, to an app. To all these different ways, to figure out what’s the healthiest way to monetize something like this. And, that was a really big challenge to do that. And also for people to take it seriously, because they’re like, “This is cool, but why would I use it?”
David: 04:51 And then so, I went through tons of research, and that was part of the time leading up to it. From working with educators around the world. Like I was in Israel working with sighted or blind people. I’ve got programs in China, Germany, India. They all use the same thing, and that was the core. This couldn’t be a novelty. It had to have substance. And so, you know, asking…, I’m on like, “Hey, I want you to do this thing with your class or do this at home with your kids, or do this to relax.” They’re like, “You want me do what?” I’m like, “Just try it.” And then afterward they’re like, holy [Bleep]. Sorry, I don’t know if I can swear, but like they were blown away. Like the results and the emails, and stuff I get from people, they’re just engaged. Like, I didn’t think I was going to enjoy this, but I listened to this thing and I feel like I’m ready to crash out, or I feel less stressed. When I was listening to lasers and bombs, and things going on, and that led into more research and more development. But getting there was incredibly painful and brutal.
Tyler: 05:41 So you talked about, um, the results that you get and every I’ve gotten by using this and then just on this time you were saying that reduce stress and increased creativity. Like when you say that the results have been amazing, you know, I’m a marketer and so everything I do is about results, right? Like that’s, we sell things, we explain what is the future based cause, what is the, what kind of results can they get, not what are the features and benefits, right? But what is the big result of future? And so what are the benefits from using this, that are tangible, that would make someone want to pay. Because I think we’re in a stage of the marketplace where there’s a lot of meditation apps and a lot of things, which I think is great at just the awareness is higher of this, but how is what you guys do unique?
David: 06:23 Well, what it is, and the reason why this was done, I kind of build this as it’s, it’s meditation for the rest of us, if you will. You know, it’s kind of this element of like, you know, you can do these other meditation apps, which worked great and they’re very focused on this. But what we’re doing is we’re asking to use your imagination. We want you to think, so let your mind go to it to let your mind wander, to be in that space. And that’s the healthy point behind this because there’s a story behind every one of them. You’re engaged in books, but it’s yours. It’s what you want it to be. And that’s where the real benefits are. Like you can do an Audiojack, people are doing Audiojack breaks, they take an Audiojack break for five minutes, and you feel instantly refreshed. And the science behind that is that, you know, your, there’s a whole bunch of things going on in the brain. I can go into more detail on that and why it works. But the core of it, is you’re using your imagination engaging in a way that you used to do all the time but haven’t because you’ve got a screen in front of your face for 16 hours a day and that’s not healthy.
Tyler: 07:21 Sure. So what would you say, let’s say I get better, you know, the average, you know, rest of us, uh, meditation, right? Why do we need, what’s the number one like, benefit from having increased imagination? I mean, I think I did about this idea, but what would someone maybe even hasn’t thought about the need for imagination?
David: 07:41 Sure. I know it’s funny. It’s like you don’t say you’re going to go to the gym and work out your imagination. Like no one does that, you know, it’s like whatever. But the thing is, when you use your imagination, it helps create empathy. It helps create logic. It helps create understanding. We’re the only, you know, species that really uses it as a tool. Of course, you have to imagine that…, you have to imagine like, what’s this person going through? What’s this person dealing with it? How do I solve that problem? And the only way to do that is to work that tool more and more.
David: 08:09 So at the core of it, it gets you creatively thinking and engaged in ways without letting it feel like work. You know, there’s six categories to choose from. There’s action, adventure, there’s historical ones where you feel like you’re in the gold rush in the Boston Tea Party, all these other things. And so it’s just ability to engage the imagination. And when you do that, I mean our whole campaign is, “Take back your imagination.” Because when you’re watching a video game, or you’re doing a thing, or whatever you’re doing in that respect, you know, you’re processing what someone else is telling you. You’re not creating. I used to play with sticks as my guns when I was a kid, and things like that. I had to imagine what that was. You know, an imagination goes in the problem solving as well. Like, it makes you more creative. It makes you think of things you didn’t normally think of, because you’re constantly being told something. You’re not working that muscle to have original thought.
Tyler: 08:58 So by improving, by exercising our imagination and then, and therefore improving it, we can improve empathy, which improves in interpersonal relationships. We can improve problem solving ability, which can help in our job and our life everywhere. And so these little, uh, uh, Audiojack breaks can improve really all factors like in segment sectors of our life is what I’m hearing. Is that right?
David: 09:22 Yeah, I think so. I think it really does. I mean, you get the social emotional learning element from this. Like, a great example is, excuse me, I tour around and visit classrooms and programs that use it, all sorts of things and hear from people all the time. And I was in a classroom watching a blended classroom where they had some blind students in a public school with the regular students and they did an Audiojack and all the kids wanted to talk to the blind kids and find out what they created and what they came up with because they all heard the same thing, but they’re all engaged with it.
David: 09:49 Previously to that, they’re kind of relegated to the side and like, oh, they’re blind. I’m not going to deal with them, but now they’re engaged in brought into the conversation also since there’s no gender or race barrier and you have people communicating across boundaries and levels to connect. I think that’s where things get really interesting is that, you know, you can play this for people. I was just a south by southwest and did a whole thing where we had people listening to it. And I brought in people from different parts of the world, they connect and they’d come out and have conversations. And it was to see that because if I, my whole joke is if I break a glass, it doesn’t go “libreak in France.” It makes us same sound anywhere you go around the world.
Tyler: 10:26 Yeah, that’s funny, libreak. But I think what’s interesting is, you know, when people go see a movie, they’ll come out and talk about it. But really they’re, they’re interpreting their take on what they all saw together, uh, and the words that somebody else crafted and created. But this allows for deeper communication because it’s almost like, well, what did, what did you create in your mind? And wow, I heard that noise, but this is what I pictured. And it was something totally different. And what a cool way to, you know, encourage conversation and connectivity.
David: 10:56 Sure. And actually with that, uh, we’ve worked with brands and organizations to create Audiojacks for them to engage their audience in a way to create conversation because of that exact element of what you just said.
Tyler: 11:08 That’s really cool. So what, give me some, uh, so you know, it took you four years from idea before you launched the app. You are, you went through a bunch of different ideas or concepts of launch. Um, now that you’ve launched the app, uh, and you’ve been running for four years, it’s available in App Store, and Android app on Google play as Audio Jack. What have been some of the big surprises for you as an entrepreneur through this part of the process?
David: 11:33 I mean, it’s always fun. I mean like the surprise, like actual surprises when you check your downloads in the morning and sometimes you have a huge spike because all over sudden, someone you don’t know did a story on our broad to a program and it’s like, Whoa, this is awesome. I created a product that can be, I don’t have to constantly market it all the time. There’s other people out there that can residually get it. But the big surprise of this, honestly with having this app, is just people like, I’ll tell someone about it and they’ll be like, oh, I’ve heard of that. I’ll think. No, I’m not talking about the thing you plug in, audio jack, its all one word, they’re like, no, no, no. And they’ll show me they have it on their phone. I’m like, what? Like I don’t know. But then it makes sense like, okay, we are a thing now. This is Audiojack is very real. But I’m still in that mindset of like, I’m constantly like thrilled and I’ll talk to anyone. But yeah, people, I’ve been at parties before and sort of like, oh yeah, he’s just to fall asleep too because it lets me kind of drift off. And I’m like, oh, what’s it called? Like it’s called Audiojack. I’m looking, I’m like, no, no it’s not. They’re like, yeah dude, they pull it out.
David: 12:32 And I’m like, that’s me, that’s, I created that. And they’re like, sure dude. And I’m like, no, like really be like, hold on, look at me like, holy cow. And so it’s kind of funny that now it’s turned into this thing. I’m hearing about it in conversations. I mean people are saying, yeah, we use it to fall asleep to, I use it for game night, I use it for this, I use it to take a break at work, and it’s like, Holy Shit, this really works. Like, like this product. It’s not just a novelty. It’s actually having a real impact on the people and the…, it means a lot to myself and to the creators. I’ve trained people to make Audiojack now. We have a great team. It’s incredibly tough to make an Audiojack because it has worked in all these verticals. It has to work on an international level.
David: 13:09 It has to work with the different groups that use it and to hear people using it for different things, it’s just like, just makes me feel really good and it makes my team feel great that, you know, their hard work is effective.
Tyler: 13:21 Very cool. How has your experience as a television producer helped you become, you know, how has that played into a, becoming a business producer and an app producer?
David: 13:31 Sure. I think when you’re dealing with production, we, right now we’ve got a crew of 150 people making one product and things are changing all the time. You have to really learn how to deal with personalities. You have to learn how to deal with changing products all the time. And pivot is like the epitome of it all because things happen one way or another depending on the show. And you still have to make the product.
David: 13:52 You have to figure out a way to make it and be creative and make it impactful. And so running a company, you have to think about all those elements. You know, you really have to be conscious of, okay, you know, if this doesn’t work, okay, let’s regroup and figure it out. And managing the different personalities, especially all of the people I deal with around the world, you know, I’ve really gotten a chance to work with a lot of people in the TV space on a global level. And now having this allows me to connect to them even more and deal with the business partners because I might deal with someone and they may be kind of standoffish at the bat, but then I realized that’s just their personality. That’s where they come from and it’s given me a lot of patience, which I think a lot of my friends will be like, yes, it finally has.
David: 14:32 Um, and also learn not to get upset. Like, you know, the whole, you know, spilled milk, you know, once it’s filled, it’s filled. If I yell at that glass, it doesn’t put it back together. It’s the same thing. So it’s really gotten me a chance to do that and also give me a lot ideas working with all these people because I’m exposed to new people all the time. When you’re producing a show, you’re constantly working with a new group of people, like I’m with a team of like 150, 200 people right now. And on the next show it’ll be a whole new batch. Maybe some of the same people, but you’re constantly meeting people. I’ve met thousands and thousands of people over the years of doing this. So as a business owner, I think it’s important to get out of your bubble as much as possible. You know, you got to expose yourself to other things because it helps your product and it helps you grow and realize that you have to keep evolving with.
Tyler: 15:18 So would you say, is Audiojack for you more of a tech play, an app play? Like, from a business perspective, what was the heart and soul of what you’ve built? Was it more of a production and the creativity side? And, I’m asking that so I can ask some follow up questions.
David: 15:36 Sure. I think it’s, I mean, 100%. It’s the content. Like we’re, we’re, yes, we’re a tech company because we have a product that works in that space, but the core of it…
Tyler: 15:45 Really, it was a, it was a content that you had to produce, and the app is just simply the delivery mechanism.
David: 15:52 Exactly.
Tyler: 15:52 Okay. So, for people out there that are content creators, uh, and are looking to find ways to get their, their product to the market, what would be some advice that you would give them?
David: 16:01 I would say you have to figure out who your audience is, and figure out why, actually now why. How you’re solving a problem. Like, what problem are you solving? And, how you make that delivery system as easy as possible. When I was working with the first step of this in education, it was okay. Teachers have, their days are packed, they have their regular life, they have their school life, they have all these things. I need to be able to create something that didn’t take a lot to learn and how to operate that they could just drop in and get better results and make their day easier. And once I can solve those two problems, then I could take the next step. So it’s really about understanding what your market is, and how they need to be more efficient with it. Cause if I gave him something that had a ton of instructions, really foreign to use, there’s no way we get adapted.
Tyler: 16:52 Yeah. Big Time. I think you hit something that’s really important for a lot of business owners, which is that it’s about what, what problem does their product solve, or how does it help the end user? And who determines who that is. A lot of times we use the term customer Avatar, client Avatar, and/or target client and a, it would be really easy to say, well, Audiojack, the target client is every person that has working hearing, but that’s not really an accurate, even though every one of those people could use Audiojack. So, who’s your client?
David: 17:24 Unfortunately that’s the answer. I know we only got a little bit of time left, but I’m like, I’m like, yeah, dude. That’s the answer. It’s, it’s one of those things. It’s like it is anyone that can hear because that’s your. Yeah, yeah, exactly. It was education first and that’s where it’s focused. From there, people in the education space. One guy was like, hey, my mom works in senior care, memory loss. When I first created this, I had all these verticals lined, but I had to create a business on each vertical, so you start with one or the move to the next and the next. Once he brought it into that senior care space, I already had a plan for it. Then it allowed us to get that and then we created another division to handle that.
David: 18:01 Then when it got to the other area, we created a division for that, but you have to figure out where you’re going to be able to monetize and successfully grow first, and then you can leap to the next one once that’s done. It’s, it’s all about what my dad told me years ago, build your bedrock. Get down to the mud and the dirt. Build a foundation and get that bedrock stable, because if you want to grow, you’re going to have to have a solid base and then keep refining your base as you go. And then keep growing. But it’s really about finding that one market.
Tyler: 18:27 Yeah, absolutely. I love that. So as you build your bedrock and as you’re, as you’re growing, what is the next big market or big goal for you and Audiojack?
David: 18:36 The next big thing for us is really kind of, now we’re at this great place of just letting people use it for their own purpose and having fun with it. And it becoming an everyday thing. People are saying, I’m getting Audiojacked, it’s now an adverb. You know, it’s, it’s a verb, but you know, getting jacked with audio, and these things, but it’s in a healthy connotation. Yeah. The next thing we’re doing is we’re working with spatialized audio in the augmented reality elements to kind of let you walk around inside of these in real life, and do some other neat stuff. And that’s the next thing. But it all comes down to, you know, just downloading the app, listening to the content and letting your imagination go.
Tyler: 19:10 That’s really cool. Awesome. For me, like all of this business and all that kind of stuff is about creating the lifestyle that you want. So, how has your business allowed you to achieve personal goals at a greater level?
David: 19:23 Oh Man. I mean, I get to do what I love. I get to create, I get to help people. I get to work in the education space. I get to do all these things and it’s, you know, I’m able to on my lunch break right now, hop on with you here and be able to talk about this stuff and share with other people are doing. I mean, I’m able to keep a healthy diet and a relationship with myself and row that and make other ones, but starting it, it was not like that. It was crazy work, horrible schedules, blah, blah, blah. But now I’ve gotten to do things on my own terms. And, do it that way, which has been incredibly beneficial and also allowed me to create better content because I’m finally out of that space, and now I can have a normal routine where I wake up, go to the gym in the morning, have breakfast, start the day, come back, go to bed at a decent hour, and then, well sometimes, and then just deal with whatever comes next. So that’s been the biggest thing. The most important thing is that I’m, I’m working in the education and health spaces in a creative, fun way. And that’s the most important thing to me.
Tyler: 20:20 Cool. Number one piece of advice for someone who is just getting started in their business.
David: 20:26 Don’t give up. Like, seriously.
Tyler: 20:29 Cool. And uh, and what is one major item on your personal bucket list that you’re going to accomplish in the next 12 months?
David: 20:36 I’m going to probably. I mean I personal bucket list. I mean honestly, I want to take a vacation.
Tyler: 20:44 Yeah, where do you want to go?
David: 20:46 Anywhere there’s a good bed and a nice view. I just want to check…
Tyler: 20:50 Your bucket list is to just go and get Audiojacked somewhere.
David: 20:53 Yes. Exactly.
Tyler: 20:56 Awesome, man. I hope that happens for you and I really appreciate you carving out some time today. Yeah, it’s been great. Yeah. Everyone, I highly encourage you. Go to Audiojack.com. Check out Audiojack on whatever your app store is for you, now it’s your turn to go out and do something.
David: 21:11 Awesome. Thanks a lot guys.
Outro: 21:33 Thank you for listening to BizNinja Entrepreneur Radio with Tyler Jorgenson. Please make sure to subscribe so you’re first to hear new interviews and episodes. If you found this podcast to be valuable, please share it with a friend. Don’t forget to visit our online talk show at BizNinja.com to claim your reward for listening to this show.