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August 9, 2022

Ymmij on The Startup Talk Podcast

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Show Notes

Jimmy Zachariah co-founder of Ymmij Joins the Startup Coach on this episode of The Startup Talk Podcast to discuss how to get to your true self, leaving a legacy, is the unexamined life worth living, and how Ymmij helps you build paint a true picture of yourself authentically in a private space.

Ymmij is currently raising capital with equity crowdfunding platform Equivesto, You can become part owner by investing in Ymmij here. email them at hello @ymmij.me

Automated Transcript of Ymmij on The Startup Talk Podcast

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

people, Ymmij, startup, user, years, thinking, activities, beneficiaries, documenting, ultimately, points, sports, build, guess, life, happen, toronto, bit, benefit, accounting

SPEAKERS

Announcer, Craig Major, Jimmy Zachariah

Announcer 

Direct from the sixth world renowned Canada’s largest city, with Canada’s biggest thinkers, visionaries and hustlers. This is startup talk featuring the founders, funders, innovators, and community leaders who’ve led Canada’s startup ecosystem right here in Toronto. You’ll hear the challenges, the failures, the successes, Toronto StartUp podcast gives you the full story direct from the entrepreneurs and influencers who’ve made a difference. Now, the host of startup talk, the founder of TorontoStarts this startup coach.

Craig Major 

Welcome back to startup talk. I’m your host, the startup coach, founder of Toronto Star. It’s one of the largest startup communities in Canada. And with me today is Jimmy Zachariah, co founder of Ymmij. Welcome, Jimmy.

Jimmy Zachariah 

Thanks Craig for having me.

Craig Major 

It’s great to have you tell us about Ymmij.

Jimmy Zachariah 

Oh, yeah, Ymmij’s, a private digital platform for users to ultimately paint a real true picture of themselves authentically. In a private space. Think of the functionality of a Facebook and Instagram, or on Twitter, or any journaling app you might use and take out all the social, take out the likes, take up the pressure, take out the comments and just kind of put in what’s true will be you know, kind of using activity based pushes, to kind of get you into that and try to poke at you a little bit to kind of pry out of you a little more of your true self, the end goal being that you leave something behind that is like, an authentic view of the person. You are or we’re.

Craig Major 

So we’re gonna get into how you do that. And a few ish questions I have about that in a bit. But I like to start with who the entrepreneur was growing up, what were you like, were you a handful for your parents were you studious indie music, sports socializing.

Jimmy Zachariah 

I was not a handful, I think I was pretty good. I have different personalities for different places. And I’ve always been like that. And I’ve you know, as I’ve gotten older, that’s balanced out a bit I’ve learned I’ve, I’m more myself at more places than I used to be. But as a kid, I was a little crazy at home, but in public, very calm and well behaved. I did well in school, I wouldn’t say I was studious. I never really had a whole lot of interest or respect for for school, I was just kind of good at it. Naturally, I didn’t find it too hard. And but I also didn’t have a drive to like, I need to like get 90s in this course, I was very much like minimal. I just did what I needed to do to get to my next phase. So if it was high school, it was just good enough to get into university and university it was like just get enough to get a degree didn’t really have a plan. As far as, as far as careers go heavily into sports. That is where you know, 90% of my free time is spent either. You know again, as I’m older, it’s shifted more to coaching than playing. We still have our Wednesday night basketball runs. Well, we haven’t over the last two years because of COVID. But that should be back on in September. But I coached my son probably the last four years in basketball and assisted in baseball and coached my daughter in basketball as well. I’m currently an assistant coach for her. But yeah, man sports is sports is like a big, big, big part of my life very into music, although as again, hit older kind of lose touch. With new music. I don’t really, if I’m not in the car, I’m not listening. And generally in the car now I’m just listening to my old music. So new music has to get sent to me or something for me to connect with it. But yeah, other than otherwise, yeah, grew up born and raised in the GTA and went to U of T kind of just stayed around here the whole time.

Craig Major 

If you’re into sports, you should check out javelin, our local startup, which is for finding pickup sport groups where you can just play pickup game and find other people who play and find or even join leagues and that kind of stuff. So just like to give local startups

Jimmy Zachariah 

Oh, very cool. I 100% see value in that because even you know, we were playing softball through through certain organizations like from, you know, I kind of stopped but even my friends are still doing it, but from the time I was 25 to like 40 Like it was like, you know, we’re still playing like I’m 45 now and people my age are still out there playing so there’s definitely a desire and a need for opportunities to play and and then there’s a whole social benefit to it as well. So it’s great.

Craig Major 

So what point did you know you want to be an entrepreneur and run your own business?

Jimmy Zachariah 

It kind of came to me like, I think deep down inside, I always had the spirit, but never really had anything to build or to sell. And my nature is very, you know, I feel that a lot of your strengths can be your weaknesses. And one of my strengths is that I’m very laid back and calm in general. But it turns into a weakness when you’re looking at your, you know, career path and things like that. So I would kind of just accept what I had, and like, slow moving like, Okay, this job’s boring, but I stayed here for five years. Anyway, the entrepreneurship side, kind of the opportunity kind of came to me or the the opportunity to think about it came to me, probably in the last 10 years, when I started working in the startup world, my background is in finance and accounting. That’s kind of what I did. Well, from high school, Co Op, when I was filling out my choice for what to do. I knew I wanted to do Co Op, because it got me out of school, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do. And I literally was sitting in accounting class when I was filling out the form. And my teacher is like, you do accounting, you’re doing great. I’m like, okay, accounting it is. This is like pre internet, you know, pre, I guess I almost like knowledge. I didn’t know No, but we didn’t really know what was out there. So that was one of those standards. through high school. After Co Op, I continued where I was working. So I was working about 15 hours a week during school full time in the summers, that went through university. So I was just kind of doing accounting that was like, what I’m going to do, I’m going to use this experience. And that’s going to be my career. I didn’t like, actually enjoy a minute of it other than, you know, the people and stuff. But the actual work was, for me, just boring and whatever. But I thought that’s what work was I didn’t really, I was like, that’s what people do. You go to work, you’re lucky if you have a good paycheck, and people treat you well. And, you know, I’m sitting at a desk all day, like, what can I complain about? Right, but that path, I mean, there’s a lot of in between, but 15 years into that I ended up at a company called digit flare, which was, I guess, broadly put a tech shop, a dev shop in Toronto, as their director of finance. That was my first time kind of in that space in the startup world. And that’s when things start opening up because then you start to see people building stuff. And like, I’m not I’m not a tech guy at all, like, I don’t know how any of you know how they’re doing this. I I used to tell them, it’s like kind of magic to me. Like, it’s just like, Oh, cool. Wow. Like we’re like, but, you know, if I can’t even fathom how it’s done, right. So digital flair gets acquired, I go into another startup in the cannabis space. Same idea, though, like people building. That was a little more emphasis on the fundraising. And then after that to another company that wasn’t exactly a startup, but very startup II in that sense that they had got acquired hadn’t really been profitable. So a lot of a lot of what they were doing, you know, had that startup feel. And in all during all these years, I’ve probably, you know, reported to five or six CEOs, or business owners. So during all this time I’m around them, I’m kind of like, seeing them in their roles, and seeing how different they all are, like, if not one of them. Did it the same way. So yeah, so I mean, but long story short, like the the last 10 years gave me access to the idea, like the thought that you can actually build things, and probably more importantly the people so my co founders were colleagues of mine at digit flare and they are, you know, the only reason I can even trust anyone like to hire to build things because they know what they’re talking about. And just in general, I’ve got a lot of resources people wise that I can reach out to to help so really, you know, the the thought process kind of was a long, stretched out one as as my answer shows.

Craig Major 

opportunity cost is infinite. You want to start your own business. Why Ymmij versus any other opportunity?

Jimmy Zachariah 

Yeah, I guess kinda like I said before, like I never really had anything to sell or an idea that I wanted to go with which is kind of just why I never really built anything or tried this ultimately, you know, kind of starts with selfish reasons. It’s something I want the whole you know, the basic spirit of Ymmij comes from when my son was about three months old the first time I’m getting on a plane without him the thought crossed my mind that if something were to happen to me, he’s never going to know me. There’s like literally nothing documenting anything about me or what I think or, or anything, it’ll just be a matter of people’s thoughts of me and memories. Ultimately, that’s the spirit like i i worry, I think about these things what I leave behind What impact I have, I’m very opinionated, but also very careful where I speak and who I’m speaking to. So, there’s a lot I won’t say just because right and social media is like, completely the opposite, is like a whole is like an area like that I don’t live in because it’s very unnatural and kind of toxic. And it for me, I mean, a lot of people are very comfortable there. And for me, it’s not a place but, but I do want my great grandkids, kids to know where I stood on certain issues that were happening at this time, I do want them to know what music I liked, or, you know, essentially what made me tick. Because ultimately, I think we all like we really all have value more than I think we talk about, you know, it’s very, like every, like, we do wills, and we do life insurance, when we’re thinking of, you know, not being here forever. But like, to me, the only thing that matters is this, like, you know, or, you know, something like this, that will actually last forever and have an impact on future generations. So the why this is because it’s like the thing I care about the most probably that I can actually build something around, I’m just not into a lot of the trends. By nature, I’m not interested, whether it’s, you know, crypto or NF T’s and stuff I, that’s more like, you know, when the technology is ready, give it to me, and I’ll use it. But right now, it’s all experimental, and not really doesn’t really strike me as something I’d want to spend time on. This is, you know, has the potential to not only like, you know, it’s also that intersect between profit, and I guess social welfare, like I, you know, in its best form Ymmij will make people happier, whether it be like because, you know, your parents left you something like this behind that, you know, you’ll always be able to look at it and, you know, know, maybe even know, people you didn’t get to know, like, I didn’t know, my grandparents well, like, you know, they were alive when I was alive, but they weren’t Indian didn’t speak English. And I didn’t speak their language. So we didn’t really know each other like I, you know, so I wish I did, right. And this is kind of where it what it all comes down to is just like to say like, when you’re talking about, like, living in tiny it can, it can get kind of sad and morbid. But what we like to say we are is we’re not about death, we are about life. And, and I think we can kind of by doing this, I think people will just be happier, whether it’s the user making inputs, kind of learning about themselves, you know, you see 10 years of your stuff, and you kind of see your growth, or lack of or see, oh, maybe I need to fix this or whatever it may be that user will will benefit. And then the the person who gets passed down will benefit just by learning about the people that were around them. Because we all get stuff from, you know, our family naturally, that we you know, we don’t even know, and maybe knowing these things will will help us from a business standpoint, the markets Unlimited, it’s literally it’s something everybody we hope can get into again, like we really believe that we’d be better off if we did, right. You know, if we spent a little more time on ourselves, like, then the version of ourselves we want people to see, then you know, like, sorry, back to the business side of it, it’s just a matter. Like, there’s no reason really, if we build a good product, that this will be something that has a billion users in five years, like and everyone will be better off for it, whether it’s the users, whether it’s like, you know, from the social side, or whether it’s from an investor side like everybody could win in this situation. And that’s really what draws me to it the most just that everybody wins scenario.

Craig Major 

You touched on it there The unexamined life you’re trying to change that to the examined life, right is the unexamined life worth living. If you just go out and don’t reflect on the things you do and how you do and grow as a person, you know, is that really living let’s get back to Ymmij and say we’ve hinted at it and you know how it can benefit people in society and relatives that wouldn’t even know you and pass on a bit of yourself But what exactly does Ymmij do and how do you accomplish these things?

Jimmy Zachariah 

It has the simple functionality of social media like the you know, you’ll be able to post pictures you’ll be able to write like you would in a journal you’ll be able to you know to do all these things you know, it has its own little private Twitter that we call right now quick thoughts where you could just drop something in quickly like something just happened and you just want to document it or you just something pissed you off and you just want to vent it has those I guess proactive things that you go in and you do that the the side that we think is going to, I guess make it I mean I guess sticky is the word we like to use is is kind of what we’re calling the activity, engine or activities being pushed to the user. So think of it this way as like daily getting a push notification on your phone with something as simple as a question maybe about a current event, you know, I like to use like, Donald Trump is like, probably the most current very extreme, divisive person or issue. So like, it could be the day after the election, Donald Trump wins, or Donald Trump loses. It could be like, Oh, what did you think about that? Do I want to share that on social? No, because I don’t like I just like, I don’t need to get into politics with you don’t

Craig Major 

want to be in a flame war with that? Yeah.

Jimmy Zachariah 

Oh, yeah, it sounds it looks like fun. But I don’t get into that. But at the same time, I really want you know, and he’s a good example, because, you know, he might, you’ll be in the history books, and I would want my, you know, grandkids and great grandkids kind of know, like, where I stood in issue like that. So it might be something as simple as a question, it could be like an animated scroll bar, where you just kind of like, you know, scroll to your interest level. And then you can insert a comment, just, the idea is light, fun and easy, that, you know, will allow you to, you know, if you get a push from Ymmij, this is only going to take me like 10 seconds. And I might even be interested to see like, what it is. And if you do that once a day, and nothing else for 30 years, you know, it’s up to us to deliver those activities in such a way that it’s gonna poke and prod and kind of ultimately, like, make an the user on the other side, be like, I kind of know how he is, or what he might do in a certain situation, because now I kind of know, like, his, what pisses him off, or what his political beliefs are, or what he talks about most Oh, he’s like, you know, all he talks about his basketball like, so I know that my it’s like, it could be soft stuff, it could be serious stuff, but it’s the, it’s those that we’re gonna like, kind of try to pull out have you on top of that just to gamify it a little more, there’s going to be a point system that will, you know, you accumulate points for activity. In the short term, those points would be used towards basically Ymmij swag, discounted stuff like that, in the long run, if it works, like the idea would be to engage with small businesses like, like, let’s say, just for now, in the GTA, that maybe it’s a clothing line, they just want to get their stuff out, we happen to have 30,000 users in the GTA, they may want to put their product on, we use the points to get discounts on their product. So kinda they get the marketing, we get the product, the user gets the product, we have the discounts on the product. So you know, there’s that interaction. Also, with points we intend on having charitable campaigns, like, so it might be a quarterly cause, and we’re like, you know, for every 100 points, we’ll give X amount of dollars to this, or X amount of time to this and people can you know, in that time, the more you’re active, you’re kind of just, we’re really into this, everyone wins concept. And if we, you know, if we do this, right, you know, the more active people are, the more charitable we can be as well. And that’s like, that’s pretty important to us. So we think, with all of those things, ultimately, it’s people being active in us being able to help them make it easy, because I know that I’m probably the average like person that kind of, I see the value in journaling, like 100%. But I never get around to journaling. And I need something to push me. Something that has tells me to do it, or that I know will be easy to do. Yeah, so that’s the pretty much like, the how.

Craig Major 

So this leads me naturally to who is Ymmij four, it would seem that the users of Ymmij aren’t necessarily the same people receiving the benefit. spouses, children, other relatives. So, you know, what’s the motivation for me to use it? Is it to make my life better? Is it to pass a legacy of who I was to other people? Is it all those things?

Jimmy Zachariah 

Yeah, it’s all of those things. Ultimately. I mean, the the initial goal and intention is the passing on portion. That’s just that’s where the idea came from. That’s my personal thing that I wanted. I needed to make sure that my kids at a very specific level, I needed to make sure my kids no matter what, like how long I’m here. They know who I was. That was like the driving force. Like to just build something that allows me to leave more than my money, right? That was very important, as we developed and started talking and started like, you know, seeing how we were going to do it and started building me of VP, and then it was a lot more talk around the benefit to the user making inputs, then you’re looking at, then you’re thinking more like, what if I live 50 more years, and I am doing this, then you kind of get, you know, the benefit of reflecting back on yourself. It doesn’t have to be 50 years, it can be one year, and you’re just kind of looking back. And you know, you figure like, in this other fun stuff we can do without, you know how, like with Google Photos, like, Hey, this is two years ago, this is what we can do the same thing with that, so So to the user that’s making the inputs, they get that benefit to like, just about kind of, maybe it’s just laughing at themselves, or maybe it’s like reflecting on a downtime they had and kind of comparing it to where they are now. Or maybe they’re in the downtime and like, they can see, like, you know, maybe where, where, you know, things kind of went off a little bit or, you know, there’s a lot there just by documenting it. And I think most of us just don’t put it down social is the one place where some people do, which I don’t even believe it’s a large percentage, I think, I would assume 90% of social media users are are consuming as opposed to contributing. So I think, you know, that means 90 presented people, and minus whoever does journaling normally, aren’t really putting anything down. I think, again, like I think it’s one of those things, it can only help, I really believe that.

Craig Major 

So self discovery usually isn’t easy. And as humans, we lie to ourselves all the time, I’m gonna do this New Year’s resolutions, you know, whatever. Like, there’s 1000 Different things we tell you to art every day. How do you get to someone’s real itself?

Jimmy Zachariah 

From our perspective, it’s the poking and prodding and asking, like, and making it easy, to be honest, right? So trusting the platform, that what you say is, is going to be kept there, there’s that. And then there’s like what we asked, so we will spend like, a huge amount of time on what we put out there. Because all of it will will accumulate into a picture of the person, right, so we’ll be looking at it from all angles could be just from fun stuff, like just your interest in movies and music and such, but could be political, it could get more personal, like, whatever it is, that’s kind of, you know, up to us to like, be able to get it. But I think it’s really in terms of the activities we build and what we ask and then hopefully in turn, the more people are engaging with those activities, maybe then slowly they start logging in more to do it on their own. Like there’s a whole component of being able to story tell right, and I can backdate a story till to whenever just put it down. And then it’ll show up on your timeline. At the time it happened, right. So my timeline doesn’t have to start today. It can start 1977 When I was born, I could be I was born today, whatever. Right? Yeah. But that’s how I like but really is that like, that’s how we get there is just by getting people to to be active. Like literally, like if you spend if you answer three, if you participate in 300 activities a year, for 10 years, it’s going to show as long as you’re honest with yourself when you’re making the entries. And that’s where the trust factor comes in as well.

Craig Major 

I do this for let’s say five years, and then I go back and look at it. Well, if I don’t like what I see, do, and I don’t want to share it with anybody,

Jimmy Zachariah 

then you don’t like I mean, it’s, it’s totally up to you like the idea is like so when you create an account, you’ll assign a few beneficiaries. That’s it. And then later, like, you’ll there will be a share ability. Like if you want to share it earlier. You can, if you want to share it never, I guess you would just kind of get rid of the beneficiaries or delete your account. Like that’s up to you. So the hope is though, like, not that, you know, if you don’t like what you see, like the hope would be that now you have it documented, like what you don’t like to see. And you know, hopefully you can use that to adjust and kind of be more what what you’d like to see. So yeah, like, I mean, functionally, yeah, technically, they can, you know, doesn’t have to go out to anybody. You can even just keep using it. Make sure like make it not shareable ever. if you so choose. Well, we will never share it unless there’s a beneficiary. Like if if you’re taught like if you’re not here anymore, and you left no beneficiaries, then it would be like a whole separate thing. Kind of more like what Facebook might do if that happens like it’s not a form of like, there wouldn’t be a process and probably a way but we haven’t gone down that the bit

Craig Major 

what problem are you really solving here? Is it leaving a time capsule of myself or something else? Is it rough? Selecting on, you know what we’re doing.

Jimmy Zachariah 

I would say if I had to pick one thing, I think there’s layers, but I think the one big problem in my eyes is that we kind of society as a whole, I think, pay way too much attention and give too much credit to our material things, you know, wills and life insurance, that’s what you plan for, when you’re no longer gonna be here. 100%, like, important, I’ve got that set up. But like, to me, it’s a huge gap in what we need to leave behind. Like, there is no easy way or routine, I guess might be the best word routine way to just to leave what will last behind that’s like, kind of what I think is the biggest problem is that we’re just not like, we’re not valuing our lives in the fence, like to be like, okay, when I leave, all I’m leaving behind is X amount of dollars, that house and the life insurance companies can get to get into pay some money, and then I’m gone. And that’s it. Like, I don’t think it needs to be that way. Like I think it is, I think we’ve just kind of accepted that to be in with Ymmij, like the best form of Ymmijs, we shift that whole thing. And we just add the third piece, it’s just like, to me, it’s like just that missing piece. And honestly, like everyone would have been better off if if that piece was filled 100 years ago or whatever, right? So I think we’re just kind of that’s, that’s the number one problem, I think. And then the secondary ones is just like, that whole piece of authenticity. You know, we’re all social has way too much control or emphasis. It’s like an illusion that, you know, social media actually represents real life. It represents a part of life, I think, a fun part of life. And I think there’s nothing wrong with that I just, you know, feel like we’re here to provide some balance to that.

Craig Major 

I think there’s a interesting perspective you provide, like, I take a step back and say we are in unprecedented times, nevermind, Donald Trump. And you know, the controversy around like you said earlier, great talking point to ask privately. How do you feel about this? How do you feel about that? Because then publicly, you may choose something different. But now we went through all this COVID stuff. And now we’re going through inflation and the war in Ukraine, and the market is doing things that people haven’t seen in 30 years. And like we are in all these things, it’s all these things, all these changes. And that may never come again for or at least not for generations, like who has seen something like COVID, the lock downs, the stuff we’ve been through, and getting that kind of live or not live, but that visceral feedback from the people who lived it, rather than mainstream media telling you all 1000s of people died. And this is what it was. But how did the mass law affect you? How did the vaccination affect you? How what was your work? Like? What was this like? What was what was it like when the truckers protested in Ottawa for you what was like, there’s so many things that everyone has a different feeling. I talked to a friend of mine, I’m so you know, I mentioned support, people’s right to protest, but at the same time, and they happen to live in Windsor, and they were fed up because they were blocking out, they had to live with it every day and go through it. And yeah, I think everybody has a different perspective. And versus just the one, you know, history book that tells you this is what happened. Wow. Yeah, really?

Jimmy Zachariah 

Oh, absolutely. And this is like, we’re, we are often I think, misled, right? I don’t know, if Elon Musk said this, or it was in regards to Twitter, about how Twitter is, you know, supposedly the voice of the people. But like, to me, that’s BS, like it’s not, it’s the voice of a certain type of person, that will go on social media and feel like they need to say stuff. To me, that’s like, can’t be more than 5% of people. So when we’re relying on social media to kind of mold the, our view of what the world is thinking, we’re all kind of given this skewed view that isn’t I don’t think is real most of the time, like, it’s it, you know, so I tend to try to follow my circles as much as I can and kind of see how they’re reacting. I know, even that’s not necessarily the most accurate thing, but it’s definitely better than, you know, looking at what’s trending, because there I just I believe there’s a type that’s and this is not good or bad, not a good or bad type. It is a type though, that, you know, feels like you know, Twitter is a great place to, to have conversation. I just don’t know personally, anybody that that uses it for that. So I can only go by what I see. And I’m like, This is not you know, exactly what the people were thinking at the time. And the history books will definitely get skewed as time goes by and if you have kind of raises the question A little bit too with Ymmij and we haven’t, you know, come to that conclusion yet is like, do we, you know, what are the share abilities after so my I pass my family gets my Ymmij profile, maybe we have the ability to tell them just let it out like, and you know, and a lot of people just let it out, then you start to get real historical reference like to what’s happening and what people are thinking. And you can kind of get different opinions and different different thoughts from people that were actually being honest about what they were feeling in a in a given time.

Craig Major 

Again, I think we all have had different experiences over the last years, like three or four years with all this different stuff. And society has never been more, you know, divided. But now that we can actually come together again, I think that’s starting to disappear. I think, you know, the us versus them. If you don’t agree with me, then I can’t talk to you. If you agree that your evil person, yeah, whatever it happens to be, hopefully, that’s going away as we can actually start getting in the same room together. Yeah, how

Jimmy Zachariah 

people behave differently when you’re talking to a real person. And maybe listen a little more and start to hate a little less, it’s hard to hate the person sitting right across from you, unless they’re really doing something bad. But on social, you know, tone and all this stuff. You know, there’s a Key and Peele sketch that is like, I’m not gonna get too deep into it, but where they’re texting each other. And, you know, one guy gets so offended, because tone of the text is coming out the wrong way. And all the guy means is like, cool, whatever. But the guy, you know, it’s that though, like social media brings that like lack of real human connection. And now you’re just reading words. And this is part of the reason I’m so uncomfortable posting on social is because I personally like to see the people I’m talking to, to kind of see the reaction. See, like, where the interest is like, so even as talking now is easy. But the thought that someone else is watching is hard. That makes sense.

Craig Major 

Yeah, it makes total sense. It was really hard for me to do this. I was teaching classes to 2030 people, and I can’t see any of them. It’s a whole different ballgame. Yeah, yeah. But you know, I think you hit the nail on the head on social but so did Elon, he said that Twitter is a warzone, don’t show up and expect not to get hurt. The people that shoot at you, like goes on? Yeah. So I agree with you. It’s not the fact or what the what what’s really happening in the world. It’s just a bunch of people making noise, but it is a town square, I think it’s valuable. As a product, we’ll see where it ends up. Yeah. What does your business model look like?

Jimmy Zachariah 

So we’re taking the a freemium approach. So essentially, Ymmij will be free to anybody. But we will offer a subscription package like a premium version that you know, will be ad free, probably a little bit more of an accelerated point system. And a little bit more in terms of ability to create stories with artwork and that sort of stuff, it’ll evolve. But the idea is for 10 million free users 500,000 will pay. And that’s where, you know, most of the majority of the revenue will come from that. And then the other part will be mostly from advertising. And then a little bit from product and that sort of stuff, relationships with whether it be vendors, like kind of using the platform, or possibly insurance companies or companies that want to treat it as a benefit, right. So you may Life Insurance Company. The idea is if we you know, this is later though, like we’re not this is not like something we’re worried about now, but down the road partnerships with, let’s say, a life insurance company, for example, might decide it’s beneficial to attract a few more policyholders by saying well, you can have the paid version of like a subscription to Ymmij with our, with, if you go with our policy, that that type of thing, which could could go somewhere just in bulk, like like, huge volumes at one time. But that’s not the short term, the short term is we just, you know, build this out, get as many people using it as we can through you know, every marketing avenue we can, depending on budget and such, but ultimately, we That’s That’s it, like, it’s, it’s pretty simple. That’s

Craig Major 

I think there’s a good advertising model in there, once people start asking questions, and you know, you can do a lot of local stuff and if not, you know, based on 1000 different things. Yeah, vegan vegetarian. Yeah, political leaning. I just name it.

Jimmy Zachariah 

Yeah, like so are like, you know, we’ve got a like a very, you know, I mean, the promise, so to speak is like, you know, we’re not gonna Don’t be selling your data or anything like that. That’s kind of core to like we’re just trying to be, but that doesn’t mean like, we we won’t internally be using the data to make the experience better. Which in turn, yeah, when

Craig Major 

you’re doing questions and you find out, you know, Beyond Meat, and whatever the other thing and you ask them questions about it, is this a good idea or bad idea? And you know, that I’m into this stuff, why would you not, you know, potentially advertise? Because you’re cuz I’m using the freemium model, which means I’m gonna get advertising anyway, why would it not direct advertising? That I have something that’s better? Yeah. Don’t send me the Burger King. Steak ad said, yeah,

Jimmy Zachariah 

yeah, exactly. Like so that that type of like, you know, we do have a lot of access or ability to learn. I mean, we are learning about people, that’s, that’s the whole thing, you know, except we, we aren’t going to, you know, sell it to some other company to use the data to do blah, blah, blah. But like you said, like, if it’s going to make your experience better, you know, we’ll use that like, so we could use a survey as a way to see where the marketing goes or see, like what people that use the product are into?

Craig Major 

And then makes sense that way. Yeah, internally that you’ve given them better experience. For example, if I’m in Toronto, you might want to give me Toronto base stuff. Right, versus, you know, la based stuff. Oh, yeah,

Jimmy Zachariah 

exactly. And that’s something I don’t think I mentioned it with, with the activities and pushes, you know, ultimately, I in the short term, it’s going to be probably GTA focus. And we’ll build from there, because we just don’t have the resources to follow local news, like everywhere, but the idea is even pushing news stories to you, so that you can just be like, I care, I don’t care if I care, you can say something about it. So that’s kind of another part of it, where you know, your location will, will guide that as well.

Craig Major 

Everyone talks about hustle, what are you doing to get traction and build your audience?

Jimmy Zachariah 

Well, so we’re kind of in this in between phase where, you know, we built as far as we could, with the resources we had, the model that we have right now is usable, but we’re not actually pushing it out. Because it’s not at the state we want to be to start pushing it out. It’s in this stage where like, you can use it, but I need to make sure I tell you what’s coming first, so that you understand, you know, it’s that first impression thing, and the first impression isn’t ready. So I want to be able to like talk about it. So we aren’t really like pushing for traction on the actual platform just yet. Right now the shift is more, the focus is more on fundraising for the next two to three months. And for that we are you know, we working with Aqua Vesto, who’ve had on here, and with their help, we’re going to have the crowd fund open in the next week or two. And that will be the push there like the hustle will be around kind of getting people aware of what we’re trying to be why they should invest, and how they can invest. And then the whole learning about eco Vesto learning about Canadian crowdfunding because it’s you know, it’s not, it’s not as common here as it is in the US. But I definitely like believe in it, like I this is my first go around. But it may be just my personal preference, but it’s a great way to, to raise from the people as opposed to relying on a few angels and VCs early like to pay for everything, this way, you kind of get a little validation on, if someone’s willing to put money into it, then that’s probably more validation than someone just willing to use the product. So, so there’s a lot, a lot of that. So really, the push is there. And otherwise, it’s just getting out there and talking like it’s been such a relief. To be able to meet people like the first two years, basically, we’ve been locked away trying to like build and it’s very demotivating and very hard to build relationships, I would not have met you last year, you know, because you you’re able to, you know, Toronto start events is, you know, huge to me, especially having been not around this before like so. So that, you know, alone kind of changes change the trajectory. So, so really, it’s all about the people right now just educating and trying to find, you know, the people that get what we’re doing and want to be part of it.

Craig Major 

Your equity crowdfunding campaign with echo Vasto will probably be live when this goes out. So those of you listening on the podcast, click the link in your chapter, chapter link, or check the show notes for a link to the crowdfunding campaign to find out more about how you can invest and be a part owner and Ymmij. I like to share both successes and failures. So there’s a chance that others won’t make the same mistake. Can you tell us a time where you screwed up? I made the wrong pivot or startup decision.

Jimmy Zachariah 

There’s there’s a lot I’ll just start with, I guess, the first one, which was like kind of the first decision we made. Myself and my co founders And that mistake was thinking we can all continue our full time jobs, build the MVP by ourselves. And well, that’s it. That’s what we that’s what we thought. And we lost about two years of not doing much like we did, like we did a little bit, but not not a lot. So I think that was the first mistake is basically trying to do things without spending money. You know, if anyone’s thinking of that, I would say make sure you can build on your own and make sure you have time. We kind of I think all underestimated, like how much time we had and how difficult it was gonna be to meet up and have meetings. And then time just, you know, there was nothing pushing us, right. So then time just like, flies by and we’re like, What the hell, like, where did the time go? So then eventually, we kind of regrouped. And I decided, like, hey, we have to spend money. Now let’s just get someone to build. And we’ll we’ll go from there. COVID kind of helped push us along, because I had a COVID layoff. And that made me like, Okay, well, I’m not going to look for another job, because now I can focus, right. So really, that’s probably the first move, and it was a mistake. And then from there, there’s there’s a lot like a lot of learning goes along with it. You know, like I mentioned earlier about, like strengths being weaknesses. And I guess advantages also can be like, so I’m fortunate to have a really great network of resources, and like that can help with so many things, which leads to a lot of advice. But early on, I was just kind of taking a lot of advice, then over time, you realize a lot of the advice conflicts and there are two people two different people have two completely different theories. And then because I’m very much by nature, someone who kind of respects experience and tries to be fully aware of what I don’t know, where I haven’t been in like, so I’ll be like, okay, they’ve done this, I’ll do that. But then a month later, someone else has done it, did it completely different in disagrees with that. So then it’s just, you know, more a matter of picking out what advice makes sense for you. There’s, there’s a million ways to do this. And I think you just have to like do it within your your comfort zone. And, you know, pick pick with a what advice to take, because everyone has a different way.

Craig Major 

Absolutely. That’s a great point. Because every investor will tell you something different. I think as a founder, you’ve got to get as much advice and mentorship as possible. And take that away and reflect on it and who you are and where you’re going and make the decision. You come in and saying I don’t know what to do in this situation, then you talk to 10 different people and get 10 different answers on where to go. But at least then you have you may even go the 11th way now that you’ve talked to 10 people and they’ve given you Okay, now I’ve got my own idea. But it’s having those conversations and getting that advice. If you just take it as as Bible, odds are, you’re going to fail in some way. Because everyone’s going to have a different opinion. And there’s a lot of bad advice. And nobody knows your startup like you.

Jimmy Zachariah 

Yeah, yeah. And that’s a big learning, like, but again, it all like I still am. So like, there’s so much I don’t know, and, and but it’s been great, like because I collision last week, just being around all these people with so much to say, and so much advice to give you wade through it, but it’s so valuable to have it right like and you know, and I consider myself to be fortunate to have it along with like, my experience is great like for, for certain things. And the fact that I’ve worked with so many CEOs and business owners and kind of had a glimpse of what they were doing. And but the one thing that sticks is they were all very different. Not even okay, like they’re so different. Like every app, the way they manage the business, the way they manage people, the way they approach problems, there’s very little in common between any of them. And that kind of gave me a little more confidence. Because again, like you don’t have to be a certain way. Because 10 years ago, I might have said like, I’m not cut out for it. Because I’m this, this, this and this. And I’m very happy with myself, but like, I’ve also realistic, I’m like, Okay, I don’t think that’ll be for me. But having gone through all this and kind of being like, no, there is no there is no necessarily type for this to work. I think you need to I mean, leadership is a whole other thing, right? Not everyone that succeeds is a is necessarily a good leader, right? There’s a lot of really smart, smart, smart people that aren’t great leaders. And I think it’s important that but in a leader, I think it’s important. They know what they don’t know and are good at finding the people that know. And the ones that work with you to write like, like there has to be a synergy between the way that Do things in what’s going to kind of work with the way you work? And yeah, there’s a lot but

Craig Major 

yeah, know your strengths and weaknesses and find co founders and stuff that complement that. It’s funny, I’ve always don’t want people working with me that are just going to be yes, people. You know, are the people were on Toronto Star, it’s Megan and Andrea and Rick, and Joseph, they know, you know, I don’t care if I’m wrong, tell me I’m wrong. Like, I want to have that debate. You know, eventually, a lot of times, I will make the final decision. But most of the time, they’re right, I’m just running down my thing at a narrow point of view because of this, and I make a decision, and you want people around you that are going to challenge you that are going to grow that see different perspectives that will, you know, show you what, tell you when you’re wrong, and bring you up and cover your strengths. Yeah, it’s really important to have those people and not be afraid to hire people who are smarter than you.

Jimmy Zachariah 

Yeah, I hope. I hope the whole team is smarter than me, once we build that out. Like that’s, I mean, I think we need that. I think it has to be.

Craig Major 

Do you have any tips for founders?

Jimmy Zachariah 

I mean, it kind of related to what we were just talking about, like, just take advice, definitely don’t think you know, everything. Because I’ve seen that, like I’ve worked with all ages, like I, you know, and there is definitely I’ve seen, you know, some kind of inexperienced entrepreneurs that just don’t seem to understand like that piece that it’s like, like, you’re really smart. But there’s a whole there’s layers and layers and layers that you haven’t seen yet. So, you know, maybe lean on, you know, lean on the veterans a little bit. Now, like me, being a veteran now. It’s like, I see the value more, but like, I’ve worked like I’ve, I’ve worked for people, I when I was 40, I reported to a 26 year old CEO, and like a 21 year old. I’m not sure what his role was, but like title was, but that was who I worked with more closely. And I would like the 21 year old was like more like, I don’t know, everything. The guy was like, brilliant, like really, really smart, really, really good at what he was doing. But it was also open, like, kind of understood, like, he wanted advice, wanted to listen. And I think that’s probably the best advice I would give. I’m kind of thinking young entrepreneur, young founder innings may be inexperienced. And I guess to someone like me, who’s kind of in that, like, I think I’m a bit unusual in the sense that like, I’m starting this for the first time, this late in the game, but I mean, the advice isn’t that different. Like it’s probably maybe it’s even worse, I don’t know, like, where it’s like, You’re so old and experienced you think you really know everything. But I but I think taking advice and listening, I think listening is the most important thing. You know, we’re only doing the crowdfund because it was introduced to me, like I never like, you know, it’s not it wasn’t even on my radar. The idea was introduced to me, then I started to learn about it, then it was like, Oh, this is like actually really cool. And it was introduced to me by someone who had done it before and knew about it and, like understood it. So, you know, you gotta You gotta listen. Don’t act like you know, everything. I think that’s and, and okay, maybe and above all, above and beyond all that is try if you can’t, like this is like, you know, I’m probably in the category of like, I probably shouldn’t be doing this. If I’m being practical, like, like, I felt like I’m like, I have tons of money and can afford to like take a big risk and not work for a couple of years. And like all this kind of stuff. So I fall in, like, in a bit of an irresponsible place. Right? But no regrets, right? Like I the last thing you want to do is not try. And I think that’s probably the number one thing I would say like if you want to do something, you got to just try it and see what happens. And then worst thing that happens is you fail, but at least you never have to worry about it again like that. Oh my god, like what if I did? Like, that’s my biggest fear honestly, with this was like, I don’t ever want to be like that, like I should have done this.

Craig Major 

Yeah, just jump in. And you know, I don’t know too many entrepreneurs who you think that they’ve taken the safe route or the easy route. So it’s, you know, the common logic is go get a job, work for a big company, get a pension and retire, not hey, go start your own thing. You know, have other people rely on you for their income.

Jimmy Zachariah 

Exactly. Well, yeah, I went 25 years of just working. And mind you the last 10 were pretty good. Like once I got into the startup scene, things started to change because then you’re like, wearing multiple hats. The value you can bring is a lot more tangible that you can you’re making decisions that actually like impact the company as opposed to my you know, older days and like the like one particular big corporation, where it’s like, I can tell them tomorrow, I’m not ever coming again. And they’d be totally fine because they would just move one of their chests feeds into my feet. Like they wouldn’t it wouldn’t matter, right? And, and we’re all wired differently. And I think that’s a like something everybody founder or not. Does anyone like starting a career whatever would benefit from his kind of paying attention to how they’re wired. No one told me this. So I was just like, oh, you finish school, you go to work. Nobody likes their job. You keep going. Right. And I think if you understand a little more about how you’re wired, and you focus on that, like, it’ll, you know, I learned through experience that like, like, let’s say, at the big corporation I worked at, you could tell like, there was certain types of people that were driven by this, they loved it. Like, they love the idea of working and kind of climbing the ladder and achieving, you know, success that way. And then you had other people that were just like, why am I here? It’s kind of boring. No, like, Oh, it’s a horrible place to work. It’s just kind of boring. Like, like, I’m not, I don’t feel like I’m doing anything. So that’s kind of where I stood. But again, just thought, that’s the way it is, and kind of kept going for a long time, and just got luckily put into a startup.

Craig Major 

Yeah, I tell you, my corporate life wasn’t for me over drinks on Wednesday. Yeah. So what’s next for you and Ymmij,

Jimmy Zachariah 

the the next big thing is the crowd fund, that’s where all our attention is shifting to, this is kind of the big point where we’re like, Well, there’s two things It gives us, right, it gives us the money, we need to, to go to the next, build the next phase, which should take us to a real launch. And it also gives us validation, you know, a successful Crowd Fund says, the people, there’s enough people that are interested in this, to justify, you know, continuing from that we build. And then hopefully, like, by next spring, we would be having a launch of, of Ymmij, you know, in a greater state, we probably will start releasing the MVP a little sooner, just letting it out. But the real marketing push, and maybe event and everything will happen, hopefully, by next spring. And then we go from there. Like it’s, it’s, that’s where we kind of see how quickly we can grow this thing. How much cooler we can make, make the product, make the activities make, like the overall interaction and, you know, hopefully, one more raise from there and never raise again, that’s I’m a little old school when it comes to that, like I’m not, if you ever see Ymmij, have a solid celebratory post about a $500 million raise, just reference this and call me out. Because I don’t, I don’t, I don’t, I don’t personally like it’s just not like my goals. I want to I want us to raise as a means to an end. And that end is a successful business that stands on its own and helps everybody.

Craig Major 

Again, I’ll make sure the links to your eco Vesto crowdfunding campaign are in the show notes. And in the chapter links anybody’s interested. If people are interested in finding out more about Ymmij, maybe sign up for your beta program, follow you to find out future stuff, where do they go?

Jimmy Zachariah 

Send an email to hello@Ymmij.me Why am Mia thought me and it’ll probably come straight to me. And so I will respond, I’m happy to really speak to anybody who wants to learn more. I like talking about it. I like hearing what what people have to say and, and kind of get an idea of their experience and how they think they might use it. Whatever it may be, I’ve become much more social in my older, older age. So I actually like I’m happy to connect with anyone that that wants to talk about it. Especially like if you’re considering participating in the crowd fund, by all means, like I understand, like, you probably want to get as close of a feel to this thing as you you can. And myself, my co founders like we’re more than happy to talk.

Craig Major 

Fabulous, thank you for taking the time to be part of startup talk.

Jimmy Zachariah 

Thanks, Craig. totally appreciate it. It’s awesome stuff that you guys are doing. Really like for people in my shoes, like, like I said, COVID kind of shut everything down and and the value of what you guys are doing kind of gets magnified, so much more having not been able to, you know, partake in these things. So thank you.

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