BluShark Digital 0:00
Welcome to The SEO Insider with your host, Seth Price, founder of BluShark, taking you inside the world of legal marketing and all things digital.
Seth Price 0:10
Welcome, everyone. We are thrilled to be here with Peter Shankman, Peter Shankman, longtime friend. He’s the futurist in residence for both BluShark Digital and Price Benowitz, and a renowned international famous keynote speaker. Welcome, Peter.
Peter Shankman 0:24
Thank you. Great to be here, Seth!
Seth Price 0:26
Well, look, I always get energized when you’re around. And the reason I wanted to speak to you is we’re sitting here in the middle of this AI boom. Which reminds me of the time when we met back in the late 90s, when the internet was in its infancy, and you knew was going places, you didn’t know where and how. And in a lot of ways, it was really fascinating. Because after the.com bubble burst, let’s say April 2000, January 2001, everything was sort of reset Amazon crashed, Google was sort of in its infancy. Once all that happened. Like we saw, Oh, this is technology that’s going to be leveraged by eventually big players, the seven petfoods didn’t make it. So what I want to talk to you about today, is how you’ve, you know, you look at a lot of stuff. And I’m going to throw this out there as the opening and then we’re going to turn it to you, because people want to hear you, not me. But you know, when we look at the shiny objects of recent years, and we saw a virtual cities, and we see cyber currency, Bitcoin, and we now see AI, how do you, you’re always ahead of the curve, you’re 10 years ahead on each of these things. But how should us lay mortals allocate time and resources to maximize sort of return? Given the not all of these are going to be economic booms for everyone?
Peter Shankman 1:40
Well, I mean, I think there’s a– several questions in there, right? The first question is, how do you know what’s going to be big? How do you know what’s gonna blow up? How do you know what’s gonna be important. And I think that is a lot of trial and error. But there are ways to make that, less error and more beneficial to you. A lot of it is legwork. To give you an example, both my parents were public school teachers for 30 years, and then NYU professors for 20. And they know, just tens of thousands of kids, right, who they have seen go from junior high all the way up through their PhDs and my parents have been around for them always. So what I do is I always ask them every, three or four months or six months or so, to give me the names of 10 of their students ranging from youngers sometimes it’s the it’s the kids of kids they taught all the way up to like, you know, kids in their 30s, adults now in their 30s or 40s. And I reached out to all of them, I was like, hey, I’m, Mr. Ben Shankman’s, son, they were your teachers. Can I invite you to lunch, to a lunch I’m throwing one day, Saturday, next month for, you know, two hours? And they’re like, sure, I’m like, I just want to listen to you talk. And I invite, you know, maybe 20 kids, adults, maybe maybe 15, 10 or 15 will show up. And I take over a pizza place, a pizza place, couple of blocks away called Claudio’s. I take over Claudio’s for like two hours. And they all show up. And I sit them down, and I’m like, “Hi, my name Peter. Here’s menus. Order, whatever you’d like. Talk to each other, talk to me, whatever you want to do, do whatever you want to do. I just want to watch.” And while some might think that some setup to some really weird kinky stuff, it’s actually not. What I’m doing is I am watching them, I’m watching them on their phones, I’m watching what they say to each other. I’m learning from people who are not of my generation. There is a reason that Peter Shankman is my screen name on every single app that exists. There’s a reason that I was able to get it be- long before anyone else knew about it. I have Peter Shankman, on BeReal, on Facebook, on Twitter, which I don’t use anymore. On Threads, Instagram, whatever, because I would hear about it months before it hit the mainstream. So the first piece of advice I’d give to you is understand who’s going to know about this who within your industry, or who would the world is going to know about the latest stuff, befriend those people and listen to them when they talk.
Seth Price 4:10
So essentially focus group people that are not now middle aged people like us.
Peter Shankman 4:14
Exactly. And you know, it’s really interesting, because I got into, I knew someone who told me about something called Litecoin, back in 2015. And I simply, and he has been in it since 2012. So I simply mimicked every buy he made. And when he started selling, I started selling, right so you find these smart people who know what they’re talking about, and you just watch them and you do what they do. Until you’re smart enough to start making it– you have to know what you don’t know. That’s the rule, you have to understand what you don’t know first.
Seth Price 4:43
You know looking at in retrospect, if you follow one of the people that you were, sort of came up with like a Gary Vee really into NFTs, really pushing them hard. And that does not seem to be a good narrative. They, you know those did not-
Peter Shankman 5:01
You picked a really interesting, interesting subject, he’s too far down the rabbit hole, he can’t get out. Right now he has a lot of money invested in web three and can’t just sort of walk away from it. He pulled a Zuckerburg in that regard, he put a ton of money into NFT’s at restaurants, physical properties, all that kind of stuff. I put some money in NFT’s, but not enough where I’d have to stick around if it went bad. You know, I bought some virtual Spider Men. I think I showed them to you, those those
Seth Price 5:30
The things you liked. Not-
Peter Shankman 5:31
Exactly, I focus on things that I enjoy, that I could get out of. And by the way that virtual spider man sold for 20 times what I bought it for. So in that regard, I did well, I think the key is though, again, you can’t be distracted by the shiny. If you’re focusing only on the shiny, you’re going to lose, right? There’s not going to be that one magical shiny thing that just happens to outsell everything else by a factor of 100. You need to make sure that what you’re looking at is not only cool, but useful. Bitcoin is, was cool. Where is the use case? Is there a use case in in ledger ideas? Is there a is there a use case in the value behind bitcoin? Yes. In terms of the blockchain, there are tremendous use cases for that. But that doesn’t translate into a coin or a non fungible token, understand where the basics are. I’ve always, I always believe I had I had a college professor who told me this once and I’ve always believed, to be brilliant at the basics. Right focus on the basics I the companies I invest in are companies that do basic things for cool companies, right? I invest in companies that do HR, I invest in companies that do you know, Tech Support for HR, things like that, that aren’t sexy, but that are always gonna be needed.
Seth Price 6:42
So with that, you know, are there things like when do you get out? Is the NFT one of those things? Is, are the cyber cities going to come back at some point will our grandkids have headsets on and walking around? Like we, like are these things ahead of their time? Because there were certain stuff during the.com boom, I was with US law. It was just ahead of its time, every- Yeah.
Peter Shankman 7:06
So, no, I just want to answer that. I have, I have a meta headset, VR head- Oculus, I’m probably going to get the Apple, whatever they’re calling it, the headset because it looks really cool. And it’s a great way to ignore people on planes. But the bigger issue for me is I swear by something called the 80% hairdresser rule. What’s the 80% hairdresser rule? When my hairdresser starts talking about how she’s getting into a certain thing? I take 80% out of it.
Seth Price 7:38
Interesting you say that, but I’ll counter that which is the reason that I knew Facebook was going huge, was when my mother in law got on.
Peter Shankman 7:45
No, totally, completely agree, but a complete different concept. All right, these little things Bitcoin, is not Facebook. Bitcoin was something that if you got in early enough, was awesome. There was no way in hell Bitcoin was going to rule the world. We all knew that from the very beginning. We just wanted to see how far it would go. Right? When I was when I was being told that, that, you know, I think that the end all be all for me was when was when Musk started saying that we could buy Tesla’s with Bitcoin and three days later said, well, we’re not going to do that. Right? You know, then you have people starting to corner the market, then you have people starting to, to make these prognostications that can hurt. The key is, if something is new, and very few people understand what it is, play with it. Have fun with it, you never know. Right? But you know, if you’re gonna throw your life savings into something, the basics are always the way to go.
Seth Price 8:35
Let me let me take you back then, to, do you see this that you’re getting this new Apple version of Oculus. Do you think that this is just ahead of its time that there’ll be a time when we really love this or?
Peter Shankman 8:47
No. There’ll be a time when it’s beneficial for us, there’ll be a time when it’s more useful for us to just in playing Beat Saber, which don’t get me wrong, I love Beat Saber, but it’s gonna, it’s gonna come a time where there’s something more exciting than just Beat Saber. It’s going to be useful because it won’t be a giant thing that you put over your head. It’ll be built into your glasses. It’ll be built into your contact lenses. And when someone calls you, you tap on the side of your head, take the call as you’re walking down the street. No one knows any different. That’s where I’m excited about, because technology is great, when it humanizes. Okay, when you’re walking around, walking down the street with a giant orb on your head, you’re not humanized. But when I can talk to my daughter from 6000 miles away and see her face and tuck her into bed, from my hotel room video wise, that to me is humanization. So as technology, the reason your grandmother got onto Facebook was because they gave her a reason to, and it wasn’t just for talking to you. The reason was, not only was it talking to you, it was because if she went on and refinanced her mortgage, something she clicked on Facebook, she could save a quarter point, all of a sudden that makes sense.
Seth Price 9:53
I would challenge one more, which was the social connectivity.
Peter Shankman 9:56
Connectivity, but then she stayed because oh wow, these ads, they’re useful. So it’s that combination of everything.
Seth Price 10:04
Talk to me about what we’re in right now. So the AI revolution, which to me, is the first one of the things we’re talking about that I’m kind of excited about, it doesn’t feel like a bubble. It’s, it’s the future, whether we like it or not. And that when you start thinking about it gets very, very scary.
Peter Shankman 10:20
Well, there are 18,000 apps that have dropped for AI since January, that is a way too big number. It’s very much reminiscent of the.com world where like you said pet food had 47 different sites, each one backed by $50 million, the majority that 90% of them are gonna disappear. But the premise behind AI and what it can do for us is actually very beneficial. I here’s, the thing about AI, though, unlike Facebook, unlike Bitcoin, where if you just have money, you can own it, AI doesn’t help you unless you already have some level of intelligence. All right, you are not, AI is not going to radically change your world. If you don’t A: know what to do with it. And B: already have a basic comprehension of how to do business.
Seth Price 10:56
It seems it makes things better, cheaper and faster, it doesn’t-
Peter Shankman 10:59
It makes it better if you’re good at it already. Okay, if you’re not a good writer, AI is not going to save your business. If you’re a good writer AI can make you a great writer. And the reason-
Seth Price 11:11
I would challenge that if you are a non existent writer, that, you know, if you’re look, look at the people that are attempting to make a buck on this planet, not with English as their first language from third world countries, all of a sudden, it’s not is, it going to be confused for the New York Times? No. But you’ll be able to communicate in a way potentially.
Peter Shankman 11:32
I agree except so you and I are looking at this from a different level. Right? I’m looking along the lines of I would never be able to send an email written by AI to my audience of 100,000 people because they know how I am they know how I write, it would just seem weird. But can, if I’ve stuck on something to write about this week? Can I go into AI and say, hey, here are my parameters? Can you suggest a topic write something for me, then I go in and edit it into my voice? Absolutely. Trying to make things is going to make good things better. It’ll make nonexistent things, okay, let’s say that.
Seth Price 12:05
So you know, every day, it’s a scary number, somewhere between 4 and 500 People wake up every day and are paid a salary based on stuff that is out of my pyramid, which scares the hell out of me. But that said, there are a lot of pieces of that communication that I see. And again, your world, which is you get to think about this, you’re the smartest guy in the room, because you have one amazing assistant and have not, all these people you have to deal with. But the stuff that I am looking at, historically, we have been so bad at things like employee manuals, things like that policies and procedures that are partially formalities, but partially important parts as you grow businesses. And what I’m loving about AI is for stuff that you don’t care if it’s plagiarized or not. Yeah, it can do, and I say that with love that, you know, if there are things that for you, the reason that you make a living is you say things that other people haven’t thought of, you’re ahead of the curve. You’re our futurist, right. And so the idea that there are many things in life that aren’t in need of that, in fact, you don’t want that you want to crowdsource the best things and amalgamate them. And that is where, and it’s as you sort of say, it can’t be like, you don’t have a business and all of a sudden, you need like amazing employee manuals. But as you start to build and grow, the idea that you have a starting point, as you said, a draft or ideas for what you want to write about, to me. And it, what I’m struggling with right now, in talking about allocation of time is, there are incredible things that can be done. How many are cool, you know, if we’re back in ’97, you know, and how many of those are the things that will make you a huge dollar figure going forward?
Peter Shankman 13:54
100% I mean, I am a huge fan of a website called beautiful, or an AI two called beautiful.ai. And beautiful creates PowerPoints. I hate PowerPoints with the fury of 1000 suns, but sometimes they’re required, and so beautiful.ai, I dump all my information in, beautiful makes them pretty, right so, and then I have to go in an edit them.
Seth Price 14:14
Right, or good enough that you’re happy.
Peter Shankman 14:16
Well, I have to go in and edit them. They’re never gonna be good enough for me to be happy if I just left.
Seth Price 14:20
No, no, no, no. But meaning-
Peter Shankman 14:21
For someone who’s ADHD like me. It’s beautiful. Because the reason I haven’t done the PowerPoint yet, is that I don’t want to get started. AI will start it for me.
Seth Price 14:29
Right, it gives you a draft.
Peter Shankman 14:30
And once it’s started, I can go finish it.
Seth Price 14:31
Right, and as a business owner with these several hundred people, what scares the hell out of me, and I this is what I’m quoted about all the time right now, is you saw the, the obviously the landmark legal case where somebody just submit, obviously took a first year law student and they wrote a brief and you submit it, you know, you shouldn’t be doing that. But the question is, and this is the quote unquote, ethics piece is, if you could trust all of your people, since you have one and she’s wonderful, you can trust her. But we went into a client meeting for an amazing lawyer. And he was practically yelling at me on the phone saying why can’t you do content as cheaply as my team? And we ran through the tests. And as you may or may not know, the tests right now are not perfect, they give you a pretty good idea of what’s AI. Google clearly knows. They are several steps ahead of the software out there. But we’re sitting there we’re like, dude we don’t want to you know, tell you, but it looks pretty certain your people just jammin AI, it’s crap content? He said oh, no, it’s definitely AI. And I’m like, okay, then we have to go, 2hy does it making a difference? I mean, Google spent the last four years we can geek out on SEO for a minute, on what is high quality content. And to me, even though they’re saying that they’re not running an algorithm to penalize Chat GPT content, although I’m pretty sure that they are at some level and some anecdotal evidence is there. But what I’m seeing is that is that if you look at just straight money, they’re not ChatGPT, when Bard comes out, they may allow more of it, but they are not, and this is the piece if I can bring back to SEO for a moment, which is, you know, if I could get the futurist to tell me, how much of an impact will this AI revolution have on Google search? Are we, are we in a new paradigm? Or is this just a another place where data will be done, and you’re gonna have a another type of search results added into the mix?
Peter Shankman 16:21
I’m of the belief that there’ll be another type of search results, computer driven, versus human. And the reason I say that is I look at my alma mater, Boston University, most schools, most colleges and universities have have outlawed AI, right, you cannot create a paper using AI, Boston University, and I give them a lot of credit for this. They said, Look, we’re not going to win that war, people will always find ways to do it. So we’re going to allow AI, however, you have to cite it, just like you would cite any other research you’re doing. And so what that does, is it allows them to use it, but they can’t write a whole paper based on it. Right, so they’ve solved one of those problems, I think Google will do
Seth Price 16:59
Solve I think is a strong term, it’s an evolution.
Peter Shankman 17:01
Placated for the time being, but Google will do a very, very similar thing, in that here are results written by human beings, here are results written by AI, and there’s gonna be a point where AI is fine, right? If I’m just trying to buy two tickets to something to the, to the, to the opera in Dubai for this coming Sunday. Right, which I’ve been, which I was trying to do last week, I had to go through five different sites to find the actual Opera site where I wasn’t paying, you know, Ticketmaster fees, or this fee or whatever. I have no problem. If a computer tells me here’s the one without the fees. Right. I know what the opera is, I know what I’m [Inaudible].
Seth Price 17:34
Isn’t part of the reason that Google exploded and has done so well is when you did the non Google search results, It was crap.
Peter Shankman 17:43
Seth Price 17:43
Whereas Google fig-
Peter Shankman 17:45
But here’s the thing, those AI results might not be great, right? Except the ones that are the best in AI will be at the top just like Google is. And so we’re Google is saying is, look, we’re not going to, they’re not going to spend trillions of dollars trying to fight AI versus real, they’ll just understand the difference. Here’s AI, here’s real, I think they’ll, we’ll see three categories, right? Traditional, real, AI, and that, that, to me is fine. Because just like you see the top two search results, now are advertisements. We’ll get used to that.
Seth Price 18:14
Peter Shankman 18:15
We got used to- remember when Google didn’t have ads? Remember, when Google’s top first two results were not ads? “Oh my god, how, I’m gonna get confused,” we figure it out.
Seth Price 18:22
Then it was three, than it was four, that it was paid, you know, organic, you know, ninth, tenth spot sometimes, it’s crazy. So you know, God forbid they put AI before it, maybe be like 14th. So talk to me as we wrap up since we do have Peter and we have a very short attention span, I’ve only had one real divergent from the conversation we I consider that a victory.
Peter Shankman 18:43
That’s a win!
Seth Price 18:44
That’s a big, that’s a big deal. I’ve never I think, the over usually about seven if Vegas had odds on it. But to conclude while I still have you what so, these are the things, we talked about some of the shiny objects, we’re talking about AI. What else is out there that you’re tinkering around with that, like, hey, this is pretty cool. I don’t know where it’s going. But I’m starting to play with it.
Peter Shankman 19:02
So I look at what my daughter does a lot for inspiration. She’s 10 years old, and she loves Roblox. Right? I started investigating Roblox. I’m not saying go to Robloc. But the premise behind robots is that anyone can create a game if it becomes popular, you get 30% of whatever the kids spend on it. Right? And they buy their Robucks and not a goddamn day goes by or my daughter doesn’t ask me for Robucks. So there’s something to be said there for not recreating the wheel. The same way that eBay stopped you from having to build a store. Right so the question becomes look for the things that are already there. What can you add on to them? Right what can you build onto them? There, I know people, I know a guy who used to work in finance used to be at um, I want to say Morgan Stanley, Oppenheimer, one of the big ones, who said you know what, screw this. I want to be outside more and he launched an Amazon last mile delivery service under Amazon. Guy has like 30 guys working for him now as 25 trucks, making a fortune. Right? He sits at home, he directs. He does logistics all the time. So you know, there’s gonna be a lot of stuff that’s being made from the things that are already starting to exist in 15 years when, when self driving cars actually become a real thing, I don’t think it’s gonna be Tesla. But when self driving cars become universal and become as good as Johnny Cab from, from Total Recall, you know, then we’re going to have to look at, we have to reevaluate insurance industries, we have to reevaluate, we have to reevaluate organ donation, we’re gonna get your organs from if you’re not having crashes anymore, right? So those kinds of things, 3D printed organs, there’s a lot of things that we can look down the road to see. So I think keep your ears up, keep your eyes open in terms of that. It’s not the basics. If you told me, you know, 20 years ago I’d be, I’d be sitting in my apartment, and when I wasn’t business traveling, I’d be doing webinars on technology that doesn’t exist yet, thought you were crazy. I’ll end it with this. There is always room for improvement. And here’s what I mean by that. Being ADHD. You know this story, I have two sides to my closet, one says office/travel, and it’s T shirts and jeans. The other says speaking/ TV, and it’s button down shirts, jackets and jeans, right? The problem I have is that when I leave the house to give a speech, I know button down shirt, jacket and jeans. But when I’m sitting at home, my first instinct is to go into T shirt and jeans. Until oh, crap, I have a zoom interview with Seth and I’m wearing a T shirt this horrible. Someone reached out to me after reading my book and said, hey, I’m starting a company with a product. I think, I’m selling one product in five different designs, I think you might love it. I said what is it? She sent it to me. This is a T shirt. Is this not the greatest thing you’ve ever seen? This is literally a T-shirt. That looks like you had no idea.
Seth Price 21:41
Has the T shirt been on CNN?
Peter Shankman 21:43
It will be. It’s been on MSNBC. I wore it last week, and no one noticed. This is brilliant. This is how we have to be thinking for the next 10 years.
Seth Price 21:52
That’s awesome. Well, Peter, thank you so much. I can’t wait to see you in person hopefully sooner than later.
Peter Shankman 21:58
Very soon. Always a pleasure, Seth.
BluShark Digital 22:00
Thank you for tuning in to The SEO insider with Seth Price. Be sure to check back next week for fresh insights into building your brand’s online presence. Episodes are available to stream directly on BluShark Digital’s website.