Zach has the pleasure to hang out with Rod, co-founder of The Black Guy Who Tips, to talk about his journey as a Black creative and TBGWT’s recent deal with Spotify. They also chat a bit about the election and its implications. Check out the links in the show notes to listen to The Black Guy Who Tips – if you don’t already!
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We all know the interview process can be fraught and full of bias. We’ve teamed up with SurveyMonkey to learn more about your experiences interviewing so we can make the entire process for BIPOC candidates. Share your thoughts: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HLV9V5W And watch this space for the results!
Click here to visit TBGWT’s website.
You can click here to jump right into checking out their content, now exclusively on Spotify!
Zach: What’s up, y’all? This is Zach with Living Corporate. Now look, every episode is someone’s first episode, so for those who don’t know, Living Corporate is a digital media network. We create digital media that centers and amplifies Black and brown people at work. The content you’re listening to today is part of our flagship show, and we air these every single Tuesday, right? And we typically bring some type of guest, right? So it’s, like, an elected official, an influencer, a creative, an author, some type of maybe professor, celebrity, right? You know, maybe somebody in a VC, but a wide array of people, right? Like, we’ve had God-is Rivera. We’ve had on Nikole Hannah-Jones, right? I’m not gonna rattle through them. This is, like, what, Episode 301? Shout out to us. Over 300 episodes. But, you know, we do this. We do this on a weekly basis. We have Living Corporate, the flagship show, on Tuesdays, and then we also have Living Corporate See It to Be It–so it’s the same podcast but it’s a different series, and that airs every Saturday, and then we also have another podcast that we just started last week called The Leadership Range, and so if you’re listening this on Tuesday, The Leadership Range airs on Mondays, right? So make sure you just check us out. And, like, let’s just say you like, “Man, that just sounds like a lot of content,” right? And I’m not going to get into all the web shows we have and the blogs. I’ma just tell you to go to living-corporate.com. Now, look, as I said, every single week we have an incredible guest, right? Genuinely friends of the show, and before we get into that, and before we progress with the program, as it were, I want to address the elephant and the donkey in the room. Now, look, that was a bar, but just–let’s just keep up. Today is Election Day. If you’re listening to this on Tuesday, today is Election Day, and I need you to understand that if you’re listening to this and you are–you count yourself as an ally or as aspirational accomplice, whatever word you want to use to say that you care about Black and brown people or that you see Black and brown people as humans, then please recognize that for many of us, this is a very, very, very anxiety-filled day. And, you know, even if we weren’t in a pandemic and we were all going to work, this would be anxiety-filled, but the reality is is that so many people today are going to be hiding behind their computer screens on their Zoom calls, on their Google Meets, on their Microsoft Teams and whatever other things–Slack, right, and they’re going to be talking to you as if, you know, it’s a regular day, but behind the chit chat and the banter there’s going to be anxiety. I can speak for myself and say that I am anxious. I am scared. And I’m concerned. I’m concerned about what this election means. I’ve been looking at the news. I’m looking at social media. I see people being intimidated and attacked by police and white supremacists for simply seeking to vote, and it’s important to recognize that these fears are real and that the stakes are high. And so my hope is that if you count yourself among the majority, and you also count yourselves among a position of leadership in your workplace–or not, it doesn’t actually matter, that you would be sensitive to and aware of the very real fears and anxieties that your Black and brown coworkers are holding today. Now, with that being said, today’s episode is pretty cool. We actually have Rod from The Black Guy Who Tips. Rod was actually one of the first guests that we had on for Living Corporate two years ago, so–I’m gonna go back and look, but, I mean, it was under Episode 20. Like, we did not have that many episodes under our belt, and he gave us a chance. So I want to shout out Rod. I want to shout out Karen. I want to shout out The Black Guy Who Tips, just the platform. Inspirational, quite frankly, in blazing the way as it pertains to Black creatives and independent Black-owned media. They’ve really built something incredible, and their platform and their journey is a testament to consistency and quality and intention. And so I’m just honored to have him on. You know, we talk about a few things. We talk about, you know, his journey with The Black Guy Who Tips. We talk about how he’s built it over time and some of the challenges that come with being a Black creative and the disrespect that you get, you receive from folks who just don’t take you seriously. They don’t respect your craft and your time enough, and I can–I can empathize with that. You know, y’all see the glory, but y’all don’t know the story behind the scenes of folks that we’ve wanted to have on and we couldn’t or the things that people say about us or say to me about Living Corporate and the challenges that come with creating a space so explicitly focused on centering and amplifying Black and brown people in the workplace. It isn’t all roses, and I’m really thankful that I was able to have such an authentic, unstripped discussion with someone who really gets it and, frankly, whose advice helped to build Living Corporate into what it is today and what we hope to continue to become. But look, before we get into the conversation with Rod, we’re going to make sure that we TAP In with Tristan for his latest career tip.
Tristan: What’s going on, Living Corporate? It’s Tristan, and I want to thank you for tapping back in with me as I provide some tips and advice for professionals. This week let’s discuss 2 major roadblocks that can hinder your career. When I talk to clients about their job search strategy or advancing in their careers, two of the major roadblocks we encounter are the fear of putting yourself out there and the fear of rejection. These are two hurdles that can slow down your career if you don’t work to get over them. Now, I know many of us have been conditioned not to talk about ourselves and our accomplishments because it may come off as boastful or bragging. This mentality shows itself time and time again, but tell me… who do you know that has advanced in their career by being meek and never speaking on their accomplishments? That answer is probably no one, and if it wasn’t, please send that person my way because I’d love to know the secret. In a world that covets meritocracy and competition, the only person you’re doing a disservice with that mentality is yourself. When people find it difficult to speak about themselves, they have trouble writing their resumes, optimizing their LinkedIns, and strategically networking, which means they often have trouble landing the roles they want. If they do, it’s even harder to advance. No one is going to be a better advocate for you than yourself. It’s no one else’s responsibility but yours to keep track of your accomplishments, the results you drive, or the value you bring and highlighting them at the appropriate time. Similarly, many of the clients I work with have a fear of rejection that often stops them from putting their full effort into something, whether that be their job search, strategically building their network, or even sharing their thoughts on projects at work. While I understand their fear because most of us don’t like to be rejected, this fear causes you to fade into the background and is the exact reason you aren’t landing that interview or why you haven’t gotten that promotion. To be seen, we have to put ourselves out there. We have to be willing to share our opposing thoughts or put maximum effort into each position we apply to, knowing that rejection is just a part of the process. Our job is not to get everyone to like us; our job is to make ourselves seen and unforgettable so we can align with the right people and organizations. Remember, failure and rejection are a part of the process, and fear of them will only hold you back. We have to get out of our comfort zones because the consequences for us holding on to these fears are far too great. Thank you for tapping in with me this week. I look forward to talking to you next week. This tip was brought to you by Tristan of Layfield Resume Consulting. Check us out on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook @LayfieldResume or connect with me, Tristan Layfield, on LinkedIn.
Zach: What’s up, Rod?
Rod: Hey, what’s going on, man? Thank you for having me.
Zach: Man, thank you for being on. Man, listen, you know, first of all, let me just talk to you, man. You know, a lot of people on your Twitter, they kind of–well, not on your Twitter, but on the Twitter–they project a lot about blue-check Black folks, you know, and they kind of try to put you in this little box. Let me tell you something, you got to be one of the most humble dudes that I’ve met, man. Like, you really make the time for the people, and it’s really appreciated.
Rod: I appreciate that, man. You know, like, I was looking at the time this morning and I was like, “Oh, yeah, that’s right. 9:00am. I forgot that I said that,” but I got up, I got my coffee, you know? I’m ready. I’m here. You know what I’m saying? I’m just trying to be thankful, man, to be honest. Like, when I was working a dead end corporate America job, you know, I was definitely not happy, and now I get to wake up every day and go try to make my happiness. So definitely appreciative and, you know, the blue check thing is just weird to me because I don’t even–I legit don’t understand what there is they even be upset about, so…
Zach: Man, I’m right there with you. It’s interesting, like, you made a tweet a little while ago–this was a couple months ago, but it was interesting because when you said it it was, like, very just–the timing was so eerie because something similar happened to me. You basically said something like, “Look, I realize that I gotta get used to the fact that some folks are gonna just gonna blow us off or not want to be on the show or whatever the case is because, like, we’re independent Black creatives, but I’m just gonna keep on pushing.” You remember that?
Rod: Yeah, man. Look, what people see and what goes on behind the scenes is totally different, and honestly, if it wasn’t for my corporate America background and training and coming up that way, I think I probably would have–I mean, we see it all the time. Creatives, like, have a kind of meltdown on social media, and spray up everybody’s business and now you got to recover from that. Like, I’ve never had one of those, but, I mean, it doesn’t mean that I haven’t had those situations where you just, like, you know, a guest blows you off or someone says they’re gonna be there and then they’re not or they just stop responding to emails and stuff. And then it’s just weird because when you’re affiliated or backed by some, like, major brand, a lot of times people will then be like, “Oh, no, I want to be on that show,” when it’s like, “Well, the show is the same,” you know? The show was the same before that.
Zach: No, so 100%, and we’re gonna get to that in a second ’cause–going back to the first thing you said, I definitely can relate to the quote-unquote professional corporate background has definitely kicked in in terms of me not spraying stuff up, right? Like, just kind of, like, calling folks out and naming names and stuff like that, ’cause you’re right, there is a perception. I’ll say for me, like, I definitely project that y’all can kind of get whoever y’all want, right? Because in the Black creative space, particularly in podcasting, I mean, anyone who’s in this space knows about The Black Guy Who Tips, and I would imagine I’m not the only person who probably projects a certain level of “Man, y’all can get whoever,” you know what I mean? Or, if not y’all can get whoever, you can figure out a way to eventually get who it is y’ll are trying to get to. But you’re right, like, there’s a bunch of folks–and same for me, brands and individuals that have, you know, kind of hoed me or whatever that people in the public, quote-unquote, will never know about, because… they’re just not gonna know about it, you know?
Rod: Yeah, me, like, the only person that knows is Karen, really, and we’ll sometimes go through memory lane and be like, “Yo, remember when this person big timed us?” or “Remember when this person wouldn’t show up even though they promised to be on the show, like, three or four times?” or, you know, the people that don’t really respect what you do so they kind of just show up whenever they feel like it, you know? Which is something I try to never do, you know what I mean? Like, “You know what, I can be 30 minutes late. You need to figure it out.” Like, I just never try to do that stuff, but that’s such a terrible feeling for, you know, a Black creative already. Like, you’re already dealing with imposter syndrome and stuff, and then you got like this on top of it, which is people being like, “Yeah, you really aren’t a big deal, and if this was NPR I would have showed up on time. If this was This American Life I would have been here on time.”
Zach: You would’ve been early. I think it’s interesting because–and also, like, look, this is gonna be a conversation about Black creatives and, like, me just kicking it with Rod, okay? So I’m not about to have some super whatever conversation. Like I said, we have different conversations every single week. We’re talking about centering and amplifying Black and brown voices at work. This is about Black creativity. This is just, like, a quick, like, ad hoc disclaimer. So it’s interesting. The other way, Rod, I think it shows up is how folks–now I know that The Black Guy Who Tips, like, y’all’s content, for how I engage it, is y’all leverage the Crowdcast and, you know, the content is live, and you have the premium content, and so you know when stuff is gonna air. With Living Corporate, we’re a little bit more traditional in certain ways in that we’ll record it and then we’ll drop it when we drop it, right? What’s interesting is–I think it shows up for us–is folks kind of get entitled or, like, get nasty if you don’t immediately publish their episode, and it’s like, “Look, man. Like, this is a media company.” Like, you know, when you record content, folks sit on content all the time. Like, you look at, like, Desus and Mero, they’ll have content that they record on their show, and that stuff will come up, and it’ll be, like, whatever day. Like, when they were on VICE, they would record the content and then they’d publish that content. Same thing with Showtime. But on top of that, they have other content that they record and they sit on, and that’s not, like, a wild concept, and yet we’ll communicate to people and be like, “Hey, look, we have a whole schedule. We have all these different types of folks that come on our thing. We got this. We got that. We have–we’re not, like, a current events show, but, like, we want to make sure that we’re being reflective of the world, like, the space that we’re in, blah, blah, blah. And I don’t think those same guests, if TED was like, “Hey, look, we recorded this thing,” I don’t think that they’re over here emailing TED, like, cussing at them, demanding them to release the episode, like, on this date. Like, I just don’t think that’s the case. In fact, I know it’s not because when you record with these other platforms they’ll tell you, “Hey, we’re gonna release this when we release it, and we will let you know.” And, like, to be clear, I try not to sit on anything too long, but it’s just–I bring that up just to say, like, there’s something about how folks–the things that people don’t know about how they engage and treat Black creatives, irrespective of what they may see on the outside and things are looking like they’re going great. And they are, right, but it doesn’t change the fact that there are some pain points, you know?
Rod: Yeah, I think it’s interesting, because, you know, having done what we do for so long and doing so many guest appearances and interviews and stuff, you really don’t know, and I know we did a piece for VICE once that never aired. Like, they were in our house. They filmed us. We talked to everybody, and, like, you know, the thing we’ve always been is polite and gracious, so when it didn’t air, you know–because, you know, you have to consider this is a moving part with probably dozens of people working on stuff every day, and some pieces are more urgent than others. Some things you put a lot of work into, and it’s not like Karen and I put more work into it than the people who work for VICE, so, you know, clearly they were bummed that they did all this and their piece didn’t get aired, you know? And who knows, maybe one day a long time from now it does get aired, you never know, but I remember that didn’t go up, and, you know, I just wrote them an email, thanked them. You know, they were kind of, like, bummed that it didn’t go up and whatnot. They were, like, fans of the show and stuff, and I was like, “Man, it’s no problem. You ever think of anything else we’re always around, and we just appreciate y’all even thinking of us and taking the time,” and literally maybe a few months later they were like, “Yo, we want to do something on Game of Thrones. Can we come back to your house?” And we were like, “Sure,” you know? “Let’s do it again.” Once again we’re in the house like, “Maybe this airs, maybe this doesn’t air,” you know? So we go through the whole thing. We do the interviews again where they film us doing the podcast. We do all this stuff, and that was the thing that really helped us. We got a lot of listeners because it did air. A lot of people were celebrating for the show, celebrating for Black people watching Game of Thrones, and so behind the scenes, you know, this is our second time really doing anything with them, and the first one didn’t go down. So you could never tell that from anything we ever said. You could never tell that from the show that ended up airing. So I think you need that part too, is what I’m saying. Like, there’s some benefits to kind of handling things more professionally and whatnot than just, you know, if I would have been on Twitter melting down, like, “They didn’t even air my piece!” Or if I would have been emailing them like, “When y’all gonna show it?!” Like, I could see them being like, “Well, we’re not coming back out there.” And then the other part that I would add too that you brought up is, yeah, there’s a specific element of–people do that when they really don’t respect what you do as opposed–like, so they might not do that to VICE, right, they’d understand, but they might do that to The Black Guy Who Tips if I did an interview with you and said, “Okay, I’m gonna air this soon, but I need to do some things.” If they hit me back like, “Where’s my episode?” Like, clearly that’s like, “Oh, you wouldn’t have done this if this was CNN, but you don’t think of us that way.”
Zach: 100%, and you’re right, but there’s something also to be said about just, like, even keeping things in context. Like, you just brought up something that’s really–like, “I’m pretty sure they were bummed it wasn’t able to get aired too.” Like, “They came out to do this work.” It’s not like they just volunteered. Like, that cost money. It cost money for them to travel. They had to probably eat for the day and then spend time with y’all, get everything set up, record. They had to edit the content. They had to, like, probably have some type of meeting where they reviewed it. They probably emailed back and–like, there’s a bunch of stuff that has to happen. I think folks, like, really underestimate just the work, again, with the folks that they don’t respect, because the folks that they do respect, the platforms they do respect, it’s “Oh, well, that’s CNN. Well, you know, they’ve got plenty of stuff going on.” It’s like, “Okay, right, and I get that Living Corporate is not TED Talk and The Black Guy Who Tips is not CBSViacom, but it’s an enterprise nonetheless, and there’s a lot of moving parts behind the scenes to get things going. So, like, perspective is everything. Speaking of which, The Black Guy Who Tips has had a huge announcement very recently about the Spotify exclusive deal. Like, what is it that you can kind of share about that?
Rod: Basically we’ll be on Spotify exclusively starting October 26. It’s a deal where they’re investing in us, where, you know, they like what we do. They’re trying to bring us to a bigger audience, a bigger platform, push us and give us some tools that we haven’t had before, you know, and I think by that same token bring our listeners to the Spotify experience as well. So, you know, we’re definitely looking forward to working with them and seeing where it goes.
Zach: Yeah, man, that’s really cool. I was talking to you off-mic, off-live about growth, you know, and something that you really impressed upon me when we first met and we were talking about just, like, creating podcasts, creating media, is about being consistent, and, like, one thing that I’ve just really taken to heart, like, I’ve been so just inspired by is, you know, The Black Guy Who Tips puts out so much content. Like, when I talk to people about Living Corporate I’ll be like, “Yeah, we dropping, like, three episodes a week,” and people will be like, “Three episodes a week?!” Looking crazy like it’s just nuts, and I’m like, “Man, that’s not–” ‘Cause I follow y’all on Crowdcast, and I feel like I’m getting notifications all the time. I’m so excited. Now, the thing about it is I got this baby, so I can’t–like, I can’t engage. Every time I join I feel like it’s a family reunion, like, “Man, I just really miss this space,” but I love the content. Like, I’m trying to figure out, man, like, what does it look like to get up and create that much content? Like, it’s just incredible to me. As a consumer I’m inspired by it.
Rod: You know, what’s interesting, right, is when I was working for someone else, I woke up every day at seven or six, and I worked eight, nine hours a day, and I came home at five or four, whatever, and then I would go play basketball, and then I would do all this other stuff, and never once did I feel like “Man, what’s it like to work five days a week and go put in eight, nine hours for somebody else,” right? But this is a lane where we get to make our own thing. We get to put as much time into it as we want to, especially if you want it to be your job. Unfortunately, there’s no way to do this that isn’t going to be, like, “Treat it like a job,” you know what I mean? And so it was like, “What would happen if we invested essentially two hours a day,” not even 10 or so, you know, two hours a day, five days a week at least, into ourselves, and I think having that background makes it not feel as much work as I think other people would think. And then essentially the other thing I always say when people talk about, you know, advice for podcasting, I always say make sure you’re still having fun. Well, we’re still having fun 11 years in, so it doesn’t feel like work. It feels like talking to my wife and our friends a couple hours and just talking about what happened during the day and making jokes and stuff like that. So as long as it still has that vibe, I feel like for me it’ll never feel like we’re doing a lot, you know? But I totally understand from the consumer standpoint, in a world where most of them think of podcasting as a thing you tune into once a week for about 30 minutes, I would say we just don’t accept that. I’ve always looked at it as everything that people listen to or watch or consume is essentially your competition. So instead of me looking at it like, “We need to make a podcast like someone else’s podcast that already exists,” I was like, “What if we make a podcast and base it, like, our competition is The Steve Harvey Morning Show? Or what if our competition in our head is Howard Stern?” Like, people tune into that three, four hours a day, and with a bunch of commercials, and pay for it, literally will pay for in some places, and no one ever goes, “Wow, I can’t believe they do five days a week.” Like, they go “No, I’m glad they do five days a week, because guess who else does five days a week? Most people who listen to podcasts do five days a week.” [So] they wish people would take their mind away, and 30 minutes ain’t gonna get it for everybody.
Zach: No, that’s facts. To your point, like, man, again, context, man, and, like, reflection–and I’m not calling you, Rod. I think some of that also does come from, like, maturity, though, right, and lived experience. Like, you thinking through your own time and what you used to do for other people, why can’t you do it for yourself? I think there’s something also to be said about these rules, right? Like, as seasoned or established as podcasting is, and people say everybody’s doing podcasts–yo, podcasting is still very, very new. You know what I mean? Like, there aren’t really a bunch of, like, rules and lanes. Like, you see these brands trying to come on and create their own spaces and build networks and things of that nature. That’ll continue, but, like, when you think about, like–you know, I see it, because I follow Podcasts in Color. I follow other spaces. Of course, you know, you and I follow each other. So, like, I try to stay in tune with, like, just this ecosystem, and there’s a vocal group out there who will say, “Oh, well, no, you know, podcasts should only be this long. You should only air, you know, this many times a week,” or, you know, “If it’s this kind of content it should look like this or it should be framed like that,” and it’s like, “Eh…”
Rod: Yeah. I always say, like, nobody knows what they’re talking about. You know? Like, it’s just true. Like, even if you had every statistic and every number, you still don’t know because there’s always somebody proving that they can do it even when you’re saying you can’t. So, you know, I never understood why people want to get into this game, which is essentially a blank slate, and then immediately try to follow a bunch of rules. Like, then go do radio. Go try to do TV. Go do something where there’s already established rules and mediums and all these litmus tests you have to pass. This is a thing where essentially anyone’s vision can be their own, and what they do with it is totally up to them. And nobody knows what will find an audience. I guarantee you if you talk to every podcaster there’s some podcasts that they, like, see as being popular, and they’re like, “I don’t even understand that,” you know? Especially as Black people, I really hate when we do that, ’cause I remember specifically we went to this podcast conference in Seattle, and there were so many different types of podcasts, and there were people–Welcome to Night Vale, they had people dressing up in cosplay coming to listen to them do a podcast. There was a guy who makes a podcast, I think it’s called Sleep With Me. Very cool dude, you know? Kind of weird. His fans showed up in pajamas, like, onesies and stuff, and they listened to his podcast to fall asleep to it. So if you would have told me 10 years ago, “Yeah, so there’s gonna be a podcast that gets super famous because people want to fall asleep to it,” I would think that’s the opposite of why I do a podcast. Like, I hope nobody’s falling asleep to my show. I hope everyone’s staying wide awake and they love it. You don’t know, you know? And then also, as a creator, you don’t know what people will do with your product, because there are people who say, “Rod and Karen, I listen to y’all to fall asleep, you know? Like, y’all are comforting and, you know, it makes me feel not alone, and when I wake up in the morning I pick up where I left off,” you know? So there’s so much to podcasting. To interact with rigid rules and whatnot is weird to me, and then also there’s this element of it’s because people are looking to commodify what they do from from day one and kind of turn it into a podcast that they’re gonna, like, sell to, like, whiteness, or sell to, like, you know, “This is what white people do. Let’s do that, and then maybe white people will give us some money.” It’s like–I mean, I would say don’t start like that if you can help it because rules and things are gonna apply to you. You’re gonna figure out best practices, but stepping in the room like that a lot of times limits your creativity and what you can do with it.
Zach: Well, it also goes right back to what you said at the top of it is, like, you know, have fun. Now, I don’t think–for me, anyway. Look, this is my life. I’m not gonna speak for you, Rod. Catering to whiteness is not fun to me. Okay? So I’m not trying to create content or use this–you know, we all have limited time, right? Especially if, you know, this is not your full time job, using the time I have away from my friends and family and other things to create something to be commodified for whiteness, and I also think to work from a position of commodification, like, for that to be your premise is in itself limiting to your point. And then on top of that, like, I question how long are you going to be able to go at it because, you know, unless you’re, like, a big name, like, you know, you got Michelle Obama, she just kicked off the podcast on Spotify and the thing blew up, right? Of course. You know, unless you have, like, some huge following, your podcast is likely not gonna just blow up in a day, right? It’s gonna take time. I mean, one thing you told me, like, listening back to the initial conversation was like, “It’s gonna take time. You’re gonna build. Like, the initial numbers and downloads will not be what you think it should be. You have to kind of collaborate and really be creative and think about, like, a lot of different angles for it to grow,” and so that’s just building anything, certainly podcasting, and if the underlying pressure is “I gotta sell this,” then it’s easy to get burnt out because folks start and stop podcasts all the time already. So what does it look like if you’re putting the additional pressure of you’re trying to commodify something to sell, you’re trying to get merch out there, you’re trying to do this, you’re trying to do that. It’s like…
Rod: And a lot of times just people don’t know what they’re talking about. You know, that was a thing I had to realize, because my friends and some of our fans used to feel a certain way about people that were like, “I don’t like this in the podcast, I don’t want that in the podcast, and I can’t stand when–” And it’s like, “You know what, man, that’s their opinion.” Maybe they have a different life than other people. I think it’s kind of silly to put it out there as a blanket statement as if no one can be into that. Like, you’re talking for yourself, you know? But if I’m a person with a two-hour commute every day back and forth to work, I might feel differently about a podcast than you do, you know what I mean? And that’s the thing, Everyone’s always kind of making this idea of trying to catch every consumer and the thing is you can’t, and you won’t. The only people that really have that type of ability are people that have huge backings, you know? And honestly, the victor gets to make the rules kinda. Like, they get to say what works. Like, and no one ever says this about, like–say one of these podcasts is super famous and they have, like, three, four-hour episodes every week or whatever. No one ever goes, “Well, you can’t make it like that,” because they already made it. You know what I mean?
Zach: Correct. No, 100%. So Joe Budden. So people were trying to use, like, Joe Budden as the blueprint of how to or how to not do something. That’s–like, first of all, like, dog, Joe Budden at one point had–he said he had half a billion downloads in a year, Rod. Half a billion! So, like, again, you cannot use him as a platform for what you want to do with your, like, what, maybe 600 or 700 downloads a day?
Rod: Yeah, people are playing with totally different numbers and games than other folks, man. And also you’re not famous, you know? Like, a lot of comedians have podcasts and they start off, you know, “I want to be like Mark Marin. I’m gonna do this.” It’s like, you know, “That takes time.” You know, even Mark Marin wasn’t Mark Marin, one of the greatest podcasters in the game, when he started. So, you know, it’s gonna take time, you gotta–you know, you don’t necessarily hit the ground running. And also, you have to remember – everything that’s successful has filled a lane to a certain extent, so coming behind them and trying to imitate what they do isn’t necessarily gonna garner you the same fan base because a lot of times those people are already going, “I’m getting fed with this type of meal here, so show me something different.”
Zach: There’s something to be said also about, like, being famous, and like, you know, trying to figure out–you also tweeted about, like, The Social Dilemma. So I think I got, like, maybe 20 minutes in and I was like, “Bro, just… I can’t.” Like, I think it was, like, eight o’clock at night too. I have not been a night owl lately, so I’m, like, not getting some sleep. I’ve been having some crazy dreams. But there’s something to be said about, like, just the idea of celebrity and how it’s, like, influencing reactions and things on social media and, like, the types of attention it gets. I saw that you tweeted–you’ve been talking lately about, you know, just the election, various folks’ position, and I’d love to hear just kind of more of your perspective on, like, backlash that you’ve seen celebrities get or just, like, opinions that seem to kind of catch on like wildfire that are counterproductive, for lack of a better word.
Rod: I just feel like everyone feels like a frayed knot right now, you know? A lot of people are very–you know, they’re struggling right now. You know, with social media, we’re on it way more than we’re used to being, and then we can’t go outside, we can’t do a lot of stuff that we used to do. And I think familiarity starts breeding contempt, right? You start looking at those Twitter accounts, you start looking at people who has a checkmark and who doesn’t and stuff like–weird stuff like that and kind of, you know, waiting for the day they can kind of, like, turn on them or call them out, and I think that’s a real impulse a lot of people have. So, you know, for example, Ava DuVernay was tweeting some stuff about like, “Look, we need to vote. If you’re a non-white person and you’re choosing to sit this election out, like, we may end up deserving the fascism that we’re going to get for ignoring this call to vote,” and people, you know, took issue with her saying that, you know, ’cause Twitter is the home of “No one ever deserves anything bad to happen to them no matter what.” So even though to me that’s never been an offensive thing because–I think just growing up in the South, Black people talk like that, especially older Black people, and it’s not in any way offensive because they’re right. Like, down here we literally have had people killed trying to vote, and our ancestors that are still alive to this day will tell you about the battles they had to vote, and it’s a constant fight. You normally see a lot of the backlash to these comments coming from outside the South or from people that are transplants, who haven’t had that experience, you know? So then later, you know, Donald Trump gets sick with coronavirus, and she wishes him well by saying she would like him to get better, “But still, we’re gonna vote you out, and you’re corrupt, and you’re a criminal,” blah, blah, blah, and yeah, man, the backlash on her was essentially as if she had never done anything. She hates Black people and loves white supremacy and stuff. And, you know, when I see moments like that, I just think, “Oh, we’re kind of in, like, a moment of just panic and anger and emotions that overtake things,” because I don’t necessarily think that there would be no people that would object to that. I just thought it was so over the top. Some of the objections were turning into, like, you know, just very messed up stuff. Like, techniques that you typically see from alt-right trolls, you would see people that–
Zach: Yeah, from us.
Rod: Yeah, and I’m like, “That’s never good.” So I just think that that type of environment is what we’re in right now, and, you know, there’s a lot of stress on people right now, you know, to constantly either say the right thing or not say anything or, you know, even though silence is complicitness, you know, according to the people, like, there’s always just this, like, hoop to jump through every day, and if you choose not to jump through it or you trip over that hurdle or that hoop, people end up, like, coming for you, and I just think that that’s not productive. But, you know, at the same time, if you tell people that on social media, they turn on you because, you know, it’s like you’re the crazy person for going, “Hey, man, this doesn’t really seem productive,” or “This seems kind of short-sighted,” and it’s like, “No, now you’re the enemy!” It’s like, “What? What is happening right now? All I’m saying is everybody can chill.”
Zach: I think the other piece is, like, there’s also a way to, like, disagree agreeably. Like, everything doesn’t have to be like this. So look, you and Karen do this well, right? Like, you know, there’s this presumption–because you had an interview… this was some time ago, but I’ma reference it anyway. Anyway, you had an interview years ago, people were talking to you about like, “Oh, y’all must agree about everything,” talking about The Black Guy Who Tips, and you were like, “Actually, we disagree. And sometimes we disagree, like, on air, and, like, that’s okay.” And like, again, yes, there’s an added dynamic of y’all being married, but, like, there is a practice of understanding how to–look, you can say something, I may not agree, I can ask a follow up question, and we can just have a conversation. It doesn’t have to be, like, this, like, harsh, like, binary of either you agree with me and the way that I’m saying this that you’re having to interpret through text–’cause we’re not talking and we’re not talking face to face–or we are enemies, right? And it’s like, I just don’t–So here’s as an example. So, like, I come from the South as well, and I agree, Black folks do talk like that. There’s a generational context there, too. I understand what Ava was saying. I didn’t really feel the way she was saying it, but I also don’t believe she was saying, “Yes, oppressed people deserve to be oppressed,” right? I don’t believe that’s what the intention was. Now, as some a couple people in the comments, again, out of, like, the hundreds, there’s always a couple people who have, like, a measured, like, “Hey, I kind of feel this was problematic, and this is why.” Look, that’s great, but that needs to happen because that’s part of life. Like, you should have those dialogues. That’s cool. But then, like, to your point, when you say things like–I don’t know. People were saying some crazy stuff. I’m not laughing at it. It was just bananas, some of the stuff they were saying.
Rod: I mean, it was funny though, ’cause it was so over the top. Like, it was like–imagine this, she says the same thing but on a podcast with a person who disagrees. Right? They’re not gonna just be like, you know, “You corporatist, classist, da-da-da,” and start yelling at her. They’re gonna be like, “Ava, are you saying this?” And she would probably go, “No, I’m not saying that this,” right? And then other people never consider that she’s on the same internet machine you are. So guess what she’s probably seeing? She’s seeing the extremists who are saying stuff like, “I don’t care if he gets four more years. I ain’t voting ’cause I’m too woke for y’all, and y’all–” And so her reply is to that extreme side, and then it becomes an extreme reply, and then everyone, because we know her and stuff, like, people jump on her, and of course Twitter’s kind of opposite world where, you know, a person can go on there and say how even in the face of this they’re not gonna vote, and they’ll catch some flack, but there’s also a lot of support for that, where in real life, right, in regular offline life in the Black community there’s not a lot of support.
Zach: Yeah, there’s not. And that’s the thing too is, like, yo, Twitter, like, social media is great in that it does capture a lot of, like, real opinions. Social media is also, like, problematic in that, like, it can amplify positions that are not real. Like, you’re not going to do that, and if we’re in a crowded room of 1,000 people and you said that, there would not be 500 of us who would agree with you. Like, that’s just not true, right? Now, then, the second thing in this, like, crowded space, because we’re all together, you know, we haven’t been able to go outside, the confluence of events you described earlier, is that–we’re not picking on Ava, it’s just top of mind ’cause it’s recent. So Ava is–like, she makes the statement, and she gets a bunch of crazy responses, and she responds a little spicy to a few of ’em, and then it’s “Ugh, look at Ava. What’s wrong with her?”
Rod: It’s so weird, man. like, people–if you step out of the matrix and look at the thing and go, “This isn’t even that important,” and the castigating of her is very one-sided, then I can say that on this podcast. I won’t catch any flack. I can say this in my life. I won’t catch any flack. I can, you know, go to another social media site and say it, and I won’t catch as much flack, but if you say that on Twitter right now, you’re gonna catch a lot of flack.
Zach: You could get canceled though. So you let me ask this, Rod. How old are you, man?
Zach: Okay, by the time you’re 50, Rod, get some tweets off, man.
Rod: Yeah. Oh, I mean, I just don’t care that much. You know what I mean? Like, we have this podcast that is a perfect outlet that makes us money that people want to listen to, and we get paid for these opinions, and we say it to an audience of people that for the most part have this level of buy in where they go, “Oh, yeah, I want you guys to do well, and I trust that you’re coming from a good place.” Twitter’s not like that. It’s a lot of headache for free. And, you know, when you watch The Social Dilemma and you realize how much of stuff is dominated by algorithms and controversy and stuff like that, you realize what a waste of time it is to try to communicate very complex ideas to a roomful of people that may or may not feel like listening to your ideas. So, you know, I just don’t worry about it that much to try to get every point in there, and it honestly saved me a lot of headache because I think before that I would feel that need often, and I didn’t realize it, but I was having, like, major anxiety based off of that, and once I kind of cut that back, I stopped having so much anxiety, you know, because we’re still figuring out what that stuff does to our brain, being on social media all the time. So for me personally, it’s never really worth it. Like, whenever I was like, “Man, it’s kind of weird to turn on Eva so harshly and, like, so permanently,” and people were coming at me, I was like, “You know what? I can mute this conversation. I can log off. I’m gonna go do some other stuff.” Like, it’s just not worth the headache of what it can become to me.
Zach: No, I’m right there with you. And I did see your mentions. I was like, “He didn’t say anything crazy. Like, he just said…” The funniest thing about your Twitter account to me, your social media, is, like, you’ll come out with like a very mild statement, like “I don’t feel like–” It’s like you’re walking by and you go, “That seems kind of over the top,” and then someone goes, “Huh?! You? Rod? I know you not talking, ol’ blue-check. You know what? Eff this!” And they just start going crazy. “Oh, you uppity Negroes here,” and da-da-da. I’m like, “Wait, when did [?] come up?”
Rod: Well, what’s funny is I have so many filters on Twitter I rarely see that. Like, very often on my side there’s a lot of times I feel like, “Oh, I’m probably not getting any engagement on this tweet,” and I just move on, and then what happens is, like, I’ll look at the tweet laterr because, you know, it’ll come up eventually, maybe if somebody I follow speaks on it or something, and I’ll click on it and look at the original tweet and I’m like, “Oh, man, hundreds of people had something to say. Okay. Well, you know–” ‘Cause like I said, for my mental health, I have to kind of stay away from it ’cause I do find that there are some people that are really weird and obsessive and–I don’t know, and then, like, the bigger you get as far as, like, having a platform, different people project things onto you, you know, like, “You should have this opinion. You should do this thing. You should speak on this. You should not speak on that.” And, I don’t know, that’s not healthy for anybody, so, you know–and keep in mind it’s someone who’s not invested in you at all, so you’re driving yourself crazy for somebody that literally would throw you in the trash can and never look back and–
Zach: They don’t care about you.
Rod: Not at all, man, and I think that’s a big factor, at least for my mental health, is, you know, I have that thing where I do want people to like me, but not everybody’s gonna like you, and it’s something I had to accept. And a lot of times not because of anything you’ve done, not because of any significant reasons, just some people feel like they walk in and they need to dislike certain people, and it could be as simple as Twitter verified you because Bernie so Black went viral 5, 10 years ago, and now somebody’s like, “What you do to get a check?” So you just never know why people are coming at you.
Zach: You know, I want to make sure before we get out of here, we got to talk about the fact that the sitting president has a deadly disease, and it seems like everybody around him is getting this rona. I’m not trying to minimize it. Rod, is there any days that you wake up and be like, “Dog, is this real?” Like, does this seem all surreal to you or have you, like, accepted this as reality? Or are you still kind of in just, like, this season of just, like, what is going on?
Rod: Oh, no, I been accepted this is real. I mean, that’s one of the things on our show that we’ve done from day one. I’ve always called that man President Trump because he is the president, and not out of some respect for the title but out of respect for reality. People think–like, one thing that has become so apparent to me as I was spending so much time on social media that I was starting to see this disconnect from reality, right? Like, social media is a place where Joe Biden is the least popular Democratic candidate among all of them, and real life is a place where he beat every other candidate. So, like, that’s a stark disconnection, you know? And so that woke me up in a lot of ways to be like, “Well, this is not truly real,” and so calling him, you know, snarky names and stuff isn’t going to change the fact this is a man who is making policy for our country, and the results and the consequences of the election are real. And it’s a dire circumstance from my side of the table, and so I’ve never felt this need to be like, “Yeah, I’m not gonna acknowledge this as reality.” So it is very real to me, and there’s no amount of sideshow and absurdity that can take away from it because I understand at the end of the day what put us in this situation is that there’s, you know, a lot of Americans who support him and think that the things he’s doing is okay and want these things. And when you accept that reality, it becomes a lot less absurd, you know what I mean? When you’re like, “Wait.” Your next door neighbor, they might think this is okay, and if not your next door neighbor the person across the street, and if not them then up the block. So when you look at it that way it’s a lot less of a sideshow and a circus and a lot more like, “Wait a minute, this is a real existential threat.”
Zach: Yeah. And, you know, it’s interesting. I would say I’m, like, in the middle of the middle class, right? I’m not–I’m certainly not upper middle class. I’m, like, probably right above lower middle class, right? And it’s interesting because I work in corporate America and, you know, you work around a lot of–you know, in majority white spaces people do treat it like a sideshow. It’s like, “No, this actually impacts people. This actually, like, has impacted millions of people, this presidency, the fact that we have a White House that is not releasing information,” you know? Trump out here walking around with no mask on, lying. And so I hear your point about respecting reality. I think for me it’s like–my perspective, Rod, has just been like… it just all seems so absurd, right? Like, everything that’s happening is just like, “God, dog, this is crazy,” which is another thing ’cause I know folks–you know, yes, there is a lot of folks who I think are woke to a point where they’re, like, quote-unquote woke, like, hating on voting, and I’m like, “Bro, like, do you see–look outside.” Like, and I recognize we’re not gonna vote ourselves into, like, a new Wakanda. Like, but that was never the argument. No one ever has been arguing that we’re going to vote ourselves into “Everybody gets a billion dollars in reparations, Ta-Nehisi Coates is Secretary of State.” Like, no one’s talking about that. We’re only talking about literally look outside. Open the door and look around. First of all, you’ll see nobody out there, and then if you go on the news you will see the president of the United States coughing, not wearing a mask. It should scare you. It should scare you. Not only that, but you have over 200,000 people have died. Folks are trying to debate whether going back to work or catching a deadly disease, and if they don’t die, then infecting their loved ones. Kids are getting it. People are losing their jobs. Some absurd percentage of women are the ones who are catching the brunt of this. Like, come on. Like, y’all telling me you still not gonna vote?
Rod: Right, and see, that’s what happened with Ava DuVernay, right? She saw those people and then she reacted with that tweet, and then people jumped on her as if she just came out of nowhere, right? And so that’s why I say about this whole social media thing, I try to back away because I don’t want to spend so much time reacting to those people that I end up becoming, you know, the person that’s making it seem like we’re not gonna vote or Black people deserve this or whatever, which I don’t think she was saying but, you know, people are gonna be very unkind in that space. But yeah, the main thing is I just don’t want to be divorced from reality, because–I said this I think last week on our show, which is this feels like a war on reality. “Yeah, I’m gonna gaslight you with so many lies and so many untruths that you’re gonna start doubting what is true. You’re gonna doubt facts. You’re gonna doubt the science. When scientists talk to you and tell you how to avoid a deadly pandemic, a disease, you’re gonna go, “But is that true? Because I saw them saying blank,” you know? And I think that these are the moments where it’s so important. This is why The Social Dilemma is such an important documentary, so you can see, like, this is the path that you chart for yourself on here, and you can end up in these circles where, you know, you’re at some Unite the Right rally, and you just started off going, you know, like, “I agree with a couple conservative ideas,” and, you know, now you’re following the Hodge twins or whatever. So I feel like that’s where people need to, like, kind of concentrate their energy on, like, before you even spend that energy, start looking at where it’s gonna take you, and I think that’ll help a lot. So, you know, that’s where I’m coming from with it, and like I said, I do find it to be absurd and silly, which is why we talk about it on the show, you know, and make jokes about some of the stuff but, you know, at the end of the day, it ain’t no joke, some of these things that they’re doing to American people.
Zach: Man, Rob, this has been an incredible conversation. I appreciate you. I’m just really thankful, man. Like, I told you this privately. I want to give you your flowers in front of everybody. You know, you took the time–you hopped on Living Corporate two years ago, before–again, we just gotten started. Westwood One was not in the picture. Some of the things that we’re doing now were not even being thought of, but you gave me some very practical advice, and it was very simple, but, you know, you talked about being consistent, like, being thoughtful, having fun, and I just hope that, you know, for those in the Black creative space who heard this conversation that they were encouraged by it. And y’all, we do this every single week. We’re having conversations with dope people. And look, make sure you check out The Black Guy Who–wait, who am I to tell y’all to check out The Black Guy Who Tips?. But I’ma say it anyway. If for some reason you’ve heard of Living Corporate but you haven’t heard of The Black Guy Who Tips, make sure you check The Black Guy Who Tips. Everything’s in the show notes. Become a premium listener. Check them out on Spotify where they’re streaming exclusively. What else? You know, check out their website. Give, donate. I have a recurring donation on there. They actually shout you out and give you some love on there if you do it, and they play super dope music in the background like this Kurt Franklin song “Smile,” and it’s great. It’s very funny. Shout out to Karen. Karen is really the star of The Black Guy Who Tips, quite frankly. Rod has more time, which is why he gives his graciousness–
Rod: Look, if you invite her on, she will come, so, you know, don’t be a stranger. Like, Karen would always love to be a guest. Just email me at the same place, because I’m her secretary, so I’ll coordinate her busy schedule and figure it out. And yo, thank you for having me on as well, and congratulations on your deal with Westwood One, man. That’s dope, and it’s always cool to see–because the thing is, man, people ask for podcasting advice a lot, and I’ve never tried to be stingy with it or whatever. I don’t feel like there’s a scarcity of resources. I hope everyone gets into it, right? But there’s so many people you give them this advice and it’s just in one ear out the other, or, you know, their eyes glaze over and you’re just like, “Oh, this person is–they don’t care. Like, two weeks from now they’re gonna quit this show.” So to see you consistently put out work and put out episodes over the years, that’s been a thing of beauty man, and I’m glad that it’s paying off for you.
Zach: This has been the warmest outro that we’ve ever had. ‘Til next time, y’all. This has been Zach. You’ve been listening to Rod, half of the illustrious, powerful, well known and soon to be ever expanding–ever expanding, not soon to be, podcast platform network, The Black Guy Who Tips.
Rod: Yes. Check us out on Spotify. Okay? If you’re listening to this, Spotify is where you’re gonna find us.
Zach: Spotify. Spotify, Spotify, Spotify.
Rod: Yeah, Spotify, Spotify, Spotify.
Zach: Yo, again, I want to make sure that I thank Rod from The Black Guy Who Tips, and again, I want to shout out Karen, who is the co-host of The Black Guy Who Tips and frankly the star of the show, and we’re gonna make sure we bring her on, because we’ve had Rod on twice but we haven’t had Karen on once, right? And that’s on me. Right? I think I might be a little nervous because I really think Karen is, like, the star star. I’m joking. These are light jokes, y’all. But really, I do need to make sure that I give time and effort to reach out to Karen and make sure that she has space or rather that she’s willing to share space with us, ’cause she is incredible. So again, I want to shout out The Black Guy Who Tips. And again, before I get out of here, we released this on the morning of Election Day. Irrespective of the outcome of the election, there are legitimate fears and concerns that your marginalized employees have over what the next–at least the next year looks like. It’s hard to ignore or be unaware of the fact that there are white supremacist groups mobilizing and, frankly, with the support and coordination of local police to harass and threaten and intimidate Black and brown people, and we don’t know what the next several weeks will look like, irrespective of the outcome of the election, and there are several implications to that as it pertains to workplace experiences and wellness. and my hope is that if you’re listening to this that you’re keeping those things front of mind and not just thinking about them with thoughts and prayers but working with your organizations to identify policies and practices that can be implemented to best protect the people that you have the pleasure to employ. Before we get out of here, you know, there’s several ways you can support Living Corporate. The first way is by telling folks about us, right? It’s easy just to tell a person. Like, take this little link. You’re listening to this right now. Just shoot it to a couple of people. Just send it over, you know what I’m saying? I’m looking at the numbers. I see there’s a lot of people listening, so that means if you’re listening to this you probably have the capability to stop, press the little Share icon, whatever, and forward it to your family member, your friend, right? This would be a great episode actually to forward to someone who you may not agree with politically. Forward it to your supervisor or your manager or someone who is really looking to figure out what they could be doing in this moment. This is a great episode to share. So that’s the first thing. The second thing you can do is go to Apple Podcasts and just give us five stars. In fact, give us six stars. Now, some of y’all like, “Whoa, what’s six stars?” Six stars is five stars and a review. Right? So help us out doing that. You can catch us everywhere that podcasts are aired. Check us out at living-corporate.com. ‘Til next time, this has been Zach. Peace.