Brutally honest Gen Z insights

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Today’s guest landed clients like Ebay, NFL and Pepsico all within a year of launching. He basically replaced the old school focus group model and turned into something more relevant and more scalable.

I want to find out how he did it. Jay Richards is the founder of Imagen Insights, a marketing agency based in London.

Jay Richards

Jay Richards

Imagen Insights

Jay Richards is the founder of Imagen Insights, a marketing agency based in London.


Full Interview Transcript

Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy, where I interview entrepreneurs for an audience of ambitious entrepreneurs who are really building things. And if you want to meet someone, who’s building something after listening to this interview, or while listening to this, these interviews, you’re about to meet them because about a year ago, boy, 2021, April 19.

I got an email from today’s guest, Jay Richards, and the subject was Mixergy podcast helped us bring on clients like E-bay NFL and PepsiCo in our first year. And since then he and I have just been talking and talking and I’ve watched his business grow through through the months. And I, uh, finally arranged to have him on here to do an interview because I’m fascinated by what he’s building.

Jay Richards is the founder of Imagen Insights. They provide insights from gen Z. Within 72 hours, we’re going to find out how he built it, how big the business got. Thanks to two sponsors. The first, if you’re paying people, contractors, employees, whatever, go to And the second, when you’re ready to hire developers, inexpensively who are phenomenal, go to

First, Jay. Good to have you here,

Jay: Thank you for having me, my friends, I’ve been a big fan of the podcast for a long time, so yeah, glad to be here. But.

Andrew: I’m excited to have you on after so long. Hey, uh, give me an example of how imagine insights is being used. You told me that Amazon prime was a customer of yours. What are they doing?

Jay: Yeah. So in a nutshell, what we do is we enable brands like Amazon prime video to crowdsource qualitative or quantitative insight from our community of gen Z, 18,000 gen Z in 111 countries. And we do all within 72 hours. So, um, for private video, we enable them to date insight from our community once a month, every month.

So across six major markets in the Europe, um, and we, our community would review their social media concept. They’ll review the Instagram and their ticks of content. And then they will provide quantitative responses on the content that they love, why they love it, how it can be improved the content, they don’t like why they don’t like it, how it can be approved.

And then also costing the type of influences prime position working for next month and all that kind of good stuff. So it’s basically the good insights that you need to.

Andrew: Uh, kind of like, you know what, I remember Mark Burnett, the creator of apprentice and a bunch of other, um, reality TV shows. He said before he pitches a TV show to a network or even starts creating it, he’ll take the kinds of people he wants to watch it. At a dinner party and sit down with them and say, here’s what I’m thinking.

And just watch their faces, see their responses. You obviously can’t do that across gen Z in multiple countries. They use, imagine for

Jay: Yeah, exactly. Right. So we just enabled them to do good old school focus groups during the pandemic were absolutely decimated. So we came in at the perfect time. So we enabled them to do focus groups at scale to 5,100 people. Just super, super quick.

Andrew: And it’s just to see, is this lame? Is this hitting the mark? Does this make sense? Who else are you following? Who should we be talking to in the future? Who should we be referring to? That

Jay: Yeah, it’s just to stay, stay ahead. And the thing?

is it can work in anything from like a new campaign is that we want to launch a movie in. So we work with red bull PepsiCo. Okay. So we’re trying to watch a new movie in Germany and we want to use this influencer and they’ll go to our community like. What should you create?

How should we do this? So there’s really just outsourcing gen Z consultancy for these people using technology. So it’s great.

Andrew: You know what? Imagine if I used it here for Mixergy to get a sense of who does gen Z admire as entrepreneurs? Why do they admire them? What are they excited about as a success from a successful entrepreneur? Do they care about the money? Do they care about the lifestyle? Do they care about whatever?

Right. And then you get all that insight. So why would I do it there instead of say, go to Reddit or go and build my own little community of people who are maybe following me already and say, if you’re under what, 30 years old, just hit reply. I’ve got some questions to

Jay: Yeah. So the first thing is because the people that will follow you or follow most influencers will be a similar demographic. So an influencer or a brand will try and do this, but you’re engaging with your fans and your fans are only going to tell you great things. The great thing about us, and one of our on our strap line is a brutally honest Jensey insight.

So you’re coming to us not to get stuff that we’ll be like, Hey, you’re great. We love you doing you’re doing great work. You know what this is shit, and you need to improve the different things. Um, so brands come to us because they’re really trying to go. Okay. Tell us things that we don’t know. And one of my things, I always say, when I do any kind of speaking engagement is we’re helping brands to find out the shit about gen Z. you.

can’t Google. Cause most of the stuff around density, you can Google. So we’re helping them to get those, those nitty gritty things that really actually going to add value to your business Right. away.

Andrew: Right. And you know what, in my people would obviously be listening to me because they like my current stuff, the things that I’m doing, they wouldn’t tell me about what’s out there. Give me revenue. I know you told our producer Ari, you don’t want to give full revenue and I’m fine. You’ve given me revenue indications in private.

Do you feel comfortable saying whether you’re over a

Jay: Yeah. So we’re over a million which is a great thing. Good. Um, and yeah, we’re going to be probably texting over the next few years, which is phenomenal. Um, so yeah, it’s been good. It’s been good and complete transparency when we first started, I think we did like a hundred K year one. So it was like, it’s just been like exponential growth for us.

Andrew: It was bootstrapped in the beginning, Google sheets, that kind of thing today. It’s much more, uh, it’s much more developed in that, but your community it’s one-on-one via email that you send them, you

Jay: No, no, no, no. So this is,

Andrew: what, where

Jay: this is all done by our platform. So we built our own technology. It’s all housed on that. Um, all of our community and that we have like a community chat side of things where they’re just constantly talking. I was just in there a minute ago, speaking to some of our French community.

And so they’re constantly talking about random things. I’m going to go, they were talking about dark chocolate and milk chocolate. So it’s just like constant conversation. And then we have another side of things where we will upload the. They would get notifications through the phone, they’ll get emails, they get a message in the community chat, and then they engage the priests directly through the platform.

So for brands is a great way for them to see everything all at once sealed the call responses, responses, and get what they want.

Andrew: Oh, so they get to even see the people talk about the questions they’ve been asked and all the whole thing. It’s like listening in a, got it. And then the community members, if they’re giving say Amazon feedback, or let’s say a typical company, what are they

Jay: Yeah, so they, it varies. So basically the way it works is you join the community, get paid a flat fee, and then once you provide a 10 insights, the amount you get paid jumps up there having to get 20, 30, 40. So we just gave him a five the process. And so we’ve got some people that are handing like three or four times as much as people that are just joining.

Um, but it’s kind of like crack to them. They love It.

Cause it’s just like, yo, once I get into this, it’s a great way to have a side hustle without the risk, because I just get to get, get to get paid.

Andrew: How much could somebody make

Jay: Um, so one of our community members made 500 pounds. It was like $750. Um, so she made 500 pound is three months?

Um, which is really, really cool considering she has like a part-time job and she’s studying whatever. So it’s just extra money for her. Um, but yeah, it’s just enabling more people to engage with these brands, which is great. And also they get paid for every referral they make. So they make a referral to the community when a person completes a brief.

Andrew: Oh, I like the whole community model. I think a lot of other companies that I’ve interviewed we’ll do a per survey model or they’ll spend money getting their survey or that they’ll either rent the survey. Um, fillers, I forget what they’re called or they’ll build their own. And then, uh, and then pay them

Jay: Yeah. So historically it’s kind of like, there’s like this separation between like, so most market research companies will have they equal a panel and it’s super like, there’s no engagement. It’s kinda just like, Hey, we’ll pay you 15 pens to fill something in. And with us, we went down the community angle and it’s just, yeah, it does makes it so much better.

Andrew: Right, right. It’s it’s panelists that you either pay someone else for, or you build your own, and then you still have to pay the panelists no matter what. Oh, this, uh, this approach makes a lot of sense. Imagine this working in other industries, any like maybe somebody could create this for marketers.

Actually, I invested in a company that pep Leia is putting together that does panel discussions, panel feedback. For marketers by like CMOs or something. It’s pretty impressive operation. But imagine if he had a community model, the way that you did, I like your, your approach here. Um, do you have any plans on expanding beyond gen Z?

Am I, am I telling him to go steal your business when you want to go take that business?

Jay: Um, yeah, no. So the plan is to do in all the bicycles, all the demographic verticals. So the next ones we’re going after is boomers. Somebody was trying to compete with me and do this. Let’s go cause we’re not competition. So that’d be great. Um, so boomers is next. Um, cause they have a massive amount of money and nobody’s really engaging with them.

And then gen X, the millennials and the generation alpha, which is the next.

Andrew: I didn’t know, that’s what they were called. This whole thing started because of a talk you gave a Facebook. Why did Facebook invite you over to

Jay: Yeah. So short story. I was, um, I’m a salesman by trade as people could probably guess. Cause I love to talk Um, so I was a salesman by trade and I started a startup incubator, super small, just taking my, my own personal money, 500 pound here, a thousand pounds and just investing into young people’s businesses.

I am massive network of like loads of young people. They’re just like, yo, Jay’s the guy too. If you want to get money.

Andrew: Wait, wait, so you just give them $500. You get paperwork with them or is it just 500

Jay: was just like, yo, I think you’re sick. I think this idea is great. Here’s 500 pounds. Let’s get off the ground. Um,

Andrew: And this because you’re your insurance salesman with a little bit of extra money on the side. Got it. 500 pounds. Any of these things pay off. Did you make your money back? No.

Jay: Um, not really, but the thing is a short story. When I was 15, I was in secondary school. I was kind of good at being bad while in secondary school. And my, uh, my secondary school business teacher helped me to start my first business and like really just gave me a little bit of cash to get off the ground.

I started a t-shirt business and that’s what got me into the, into the business cycles. Like pay it, pay it forward. Um, and master a whole network of young people under 25 to Jay’s the guy to go to, if you want to get money to start something. And then Facebook was actually Facebook. It was a company that they were working with.

And then when I pay, come and speak at this event and Facebook. Um, black entrepreneurs. I was like, cool. Let’s do it. Went in there. Did my whole spiel about like how important it was investing in the young generation. I brought, my only caveat was I want to bring 20 kids with me. So I brought 20 black kids from east London and I said, bring a backpack and just get as much food as humanly possible in your backpack.

So I just put these kids to Facebook so that their backpacks and then yeah, the rest of the story, um, uh, Jordan.

Andrew: Uh, yes. So you met I’m so fricking fascinated. I love the idea of just saying, let me find high school kids who need some money to start a business, give it to them, forget about the upside in it, but just watch them grow, stick with them and also get insights into who they are, what businesses they’re creating.

Even if it doesn’t pay off. If you’re establishing relationships with kids who are going through. How much would you even have to put into this 5,000, $10,000? And then you get to go speak at different schools as a way of communicating to them. And wow, dude, I’d love your fricking ideas. Also wait, the t-shirt idea.

Let’s not bypass that you are selling t-shirts

Jay: Yeah, bro. Crazy, man.

Andrew: from what Ari told

Jay: it was crazy. So basically short story. My business studies teacher, Mr. Ray OJI legend. He basically helped me to get my business, my teachers off the ground ship or profit and loss, all that kind of stuff. Um, and then I started selling these teachers, these t-shirts and I basically would get my friends who were in the same year group as me.

I was like, take a half day on a Friday, go to other schools. And start selling these t-shirts. So they started shorting these t-shirts across London. Um, and then the teachers started buying the teachers as I turn it off the class. So

Andrew: What was it about the

Jay: it was terrible horrendous, but it was just like somebody in the school was doing something at the time.

It wasn’t like, there was no I’ve hosted a big cartel. Like, like there was no like big top I can send it to you afterwards, but it was like terrible designs, but people were just like, yo Jason and t-shirts we’ll buy them?

new one at 15 pounds.

Andrew: Oh, okay. Right on. So then someone in the audience at Facebook hears you and she works for.

Jay: The NFL. So her name was Sarah. She was ahead of retail there. And she’s like, obviously I’ve got mad energy. She’s just like, oh, I hear you’ve got access to all these young people. I was like, yeah, I do. And she was like, Aw, um, I’d love for your young people to help us to get a marketing campaign. And I was like, I need to tell you, I need to understand what you, the big beginner fellows come to me to ask this question.

So took her out for dinner, found out that basically her problem was she. Qualitative insight from gen Z at scale. So went home that evening contacted my quote, unquote community was like 150 kids from schools and I was just like, yo, the NFL want to pay us money to do this. Are you keen? They were like, yeah, loads people replied.

They’re like, we pay us as I am down. Um, went home that evening, start to build like a rudimentary, like version of it started on that Google sheets and Google forms. And then the other, the rest is history.

Andrew: Wow. And so you understood from her that the problem that she had was what, like, why would she go out of her way to have you create an agency so she could pay for, for their work? How did she describe the

Jay: So the main problem for her was. CWO qualitative insight from gen Z at scale. So for us, we’re doing small focus groups. We’re not getting enough diversity in the room or that kind of stuff. So she’s kind of like, we just need to extend what gen Z think of our marketing. And back then I was like, it was super ghetto.

So it was like, I ended up having 700 people responding to a brief, I was trying to figure out how to pay all these people was like an absolute nightmare. And my first team that I ever had to pull guys by all of them out, just trying to get all this stuff done. But, yeah, so she really, that was her problem?

that it turned out every brand had the exact same problems since they will just have to get insight from this community specifically quote. And the reason why I keep banging on about quo is because quantum has been done at scale for years, but getting great qualitative insight at scale just hasn’t been done properly. So we just kind of, kind of came in and.

Andrew: And one of the things that, uh, you told Ari in the producer call was that gen Z. Is more likely than any other generation to have ad blockers up, that they have all these different barriers towards reaching them. So you can’t buy a bunch of ads, have them click give you insight. I still would’ve thought that the panel approach would have worked with them.

Jay: So the problem with the panel approach is, is that it’s, you’re trying to. You’re trying to target people that are spend a lot of their time in dark social. So they spend a lot of time at WhatsApps has been a lot of time in Snapchat, DMS, Instagram, DMS. So you can’t really get the data you want. And if the date, and when you’re looking at gen Z, a lot of that public facing profiles and social media is just like one photo.

It’s not enough data for you to go off. So panels normally will scan all of these platforms, find the right people and connect with them and you can’t do that. They’ve no, they’re not giving you enough data to go on. So yeah, the community aspect just worked. So.

Andrew: The other issue that you told you that you had was that they were creating two different accounts. So they would have a public account that was BS and then a private account that was BS to the public, but really insightful for their friends. And so they can’t, they can’t disambiguate the fin, the Friendster or the, what is it?

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Jay: Absolutely. Well, and the thing is, is like kind of, as entrepreneurs know, you come into this kind of just fumbling that Yeah.

We could do this agreeing to everything and then trying to figure out as you’re doing it. And so yes, it went from NFL work went really, really well. So now they’re a long-term client of ours working with them over the next three years.

Then it went Jim shark, eBay PepsiCo, Amazon prime video sky red bull. And.

Andrew: How, how did you get more customers? I understand the panelists. They’re kind of in your world. We’ll talk about how you expanded them, but how did you get more

Jay: I’m a dog with a bone and you man, like, um, I love people and I love asking questions and I think LinkedIn is like my, if anyone goes to my LinkedIn profile, I’m on that thing, like crazy. So it’s just like constant engagement with people and just asking people what they’re up to, whether it’s. Um, and a lot of our clients just came through.

LinkedIn would probably say 95% of our business over the last two years has come through LinkedIn and then killing it for a client and getting them to refer us to somebody else within the space.

Andrew: You sent me your LinkedIn and you sent me sample posts. So when you say you’re on LinkedIn, it’s you posting like here’s one from 10 months ago that you sent me. Nike is launching its own sneaker reselling business announcing today. Nike refurbished will take gently worn or slightly imperfect sneakers and refurbish them before selling them in store for reduced price.

And then a. Then you just show the sneaker. You sh you talk a little bit about it and that’s your post. And let’s see, it’s got 63 people to like it nine to comment. That’s the type of post that you are doing, but that’s not getting new customers. What else were you doing or, or did that, did that

Jay: Yeah.

So the crazy thing is, is that one thing I’ve realized is like, what I do is add value. As long as I add value, become a trusted voice in the space. Um, and most people from a gen Z perspective are doing stuff around influencer. So the fact that we were doing insights was slightly unique. So when I was posting this stuff on social, so I, Amazon prime video is perfect.

I posted, I posted something about diversity or something. The head of social media for a mayor, or reached out to me and was like, Hey, like I saw your posts on LinkedIn. It says my name’s Jay riches. And the next way it says gen Z. So super short. But the moment you see me comment on anything, you see me do anything.

That’s the first thing you see. So he deemed to be like, what’s this gen Z insights with the 72 hours thing. And that I was on prime videos. I’ll think it’s crap.

Andrew: Yeah. Oh, so they’re just seeing your post randomly. They see that you’ve got insights. The fact that they’re so eager for gen Z insights means that they’re going to respond to you and you look trusted. Okay. So you’re not, are you, well, I keep assuming things, let me ask you, are you also doing searches on LinkedIn, reaching out to people with messages, seeing if they’ll get on a

Jay: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So a lot of my stuff is so, um, I have an email list where basically I find every single person within a brand that.

I want to contact. I use hunter, the IO to get all of their email addresses. And then once a month, every month they just get an email from me adding value. I’m like, yo, this is what’s going on.

The gen Z space at the moment. I have a wonderful month and I’ll see you next month. And I just.

Andrew: But you can do that. You can take everyone who liked your commented and automatically get their email

Jay: it wasn’t even like to comment it. These are just like, I’m looking at PepsiCo and I’m getting every single person that works in PepsiCo in every single department. And I’m getting the email, putting it on a spreadsheet and then, and then emailing them once a month, just adding value. So I’ve got like 6,000 people

Andrew: Isn’t that spam though. Like you’re just adding them to an email list that they didn’t ask to get to. I saw your eyes light

Jay: So, um, so a lot of people then. Technically. Yes. But, um, what we find is that people actually, people are getting so much value at the end of every email. If you don’t want it to be on this email, just reply and say unsubscribe. So you get a percentage of people do do that, but most people actually get so much value from it.

They’re happy just to let the emails keep coming in because I’m going to email them once a

Andrew: Or maybe it’s just too much of a hassle to unsubscribe or their word. If you hit on subscribed and you indicate, I like you, I like it a lot. It feels a little bit shady, but it’s working for you. So you, they get on your email list. Who would you put them on the email list? They will then respond back and say, you know, Jay, maybe we should be talking.

Our customers are, are a little bit hard for us to

Jay: So yes. So short story, a lot of folks as I’ve added value to them, 6, 7, 8 months in a row, they’re like, like Disney did it. Netflix did it, PepsiCo did it. They were like, Hey, you emotive quite a lot. We love what you’re emailing the team. Love what you’re emailing. Is there any chance we could just like catch up sometime?

Andrew: And when you, when you do that, how many people do you have on your list? And what’s an example of like a hot email that you send out that your specialty.

Jay: I currently have, uh, just around 6,000 and something that did really, really well recently was, uh, an email about cancel culture. So like 75. So what I do is I, I, I send the message into our community chat and I’m like, what do you guys think of? Cancel culture? And then I let them just go crazy in their community.

Andrew: Oh, got it. Yeah. So something that’s in the news or something, that’s a hot topic. You send it to your panel. You don’t have to pay for it because you’ve already paid for them to be in the panel. Right. And now you get all this insight and say, here’s what gen Z is saying about this thing.

Jay: exactly. So I’ll just drop a message into our community, chat on our platform and I’d be like, guys, what do you think of cancel culture? I’ll get them to do like a quantitative boat. Everybody will vote. What do you guys think? And I get loads of quantitative responses. Put into this email. This is what gen Z think of.

Cancel culture shipped out with a nice learning from Sam park and from Sean stealing their copy when we’re writing copy, shoot out. So That’s the list. If people, if people don’t find it valuable, they just get lost people like Jay, leave me alone. Stop sending me emails. I’m not cool, but I also have loads of people like, Hey, this is adding value.

Thank you so much.

Andrew: What’s the connection. Sam Parr and Sean Perry from, uh, uh, the hustle podcast. What’s what did you learn from them about doing

Jay: Um, so they, the way they line up, they do all of their copy. So they, they have, uh, this thing called, like this, this, the hook. So the first line where it’s being like, um, yeah, engaging them with it. And then there’s the curiosity gap. And then, and then land that you would like the promise and just learning those like simple three things has just like, absolutely changed our business.

I love learning like at 12 months ago,

Andrew: All right. Tell me about that loan that you applied for and kind of received.

Jay: it’s the west thing, man. So basically, um, I had a business account, um, that was named on the, was under one business. And, um, my bank cup of linked to this business and that business, that business with HMRC was going to close. Like every few years they just closed all the businesses that are trading and they were closing.

I didn’t realize the bank account was linked to that business. So I applied for a loan. This is when I applied for a four and a half thousand pound loan, which seems like nothing. But at the time it was like,

Andrew: Fort Wayne, 4,500 pounds. We’re talking less than 10,000 us dollars. What what’d you need the money for?

Jay: At the time it was actually to build like a very, very poor MVP so I could test something out. So it was literally like for like the basics, but at the time, for and off.

Andrew: And when you say build something also it’s the MVP was, can you create your own product? Get off of Google sheets and that kind of thing.

Jay: yeah, exactly. right? Yeah.

Andrew: Okay. All right. Sorry. So then you applied for this loan. Did you get the

Jay: Yes, I got the loan?

They transferred the money into the account. And then a week later HMRC closed the business, which then closed the bank account. Um, I’ve, I’ve never been so limited in my entire life and I can get the money I contacted, I contacted my bank, I contacted HMRC and they were just like, basically, you shouldn’t have let them be a business close.

And because you’ve let the business grows, you’ve lost the money. And at the time I was like, I’m able to talk to my wife about it and just stressing.

Andrew: Had your wife stay married to you after

Jay: I don’t know. She just, you know what I mean? Like, I’m a funny guy, generally. This is.

Andrew: giving away $500 here and there to kids who never paid back. You then have a situation where the bank closes one of your businesses, just as you’re getting the loan that you need in order to pay your people. All right. But here’s why I think you’re amazing. This happens. You still need the money.

You go into salesman mode because Jay Richard is like a natural sales person. And what do you do?

Jay: start sending that crazy, bro. Like every,

Andrew: Do.

Jay: everybody. So basically,

Andrew: What do you mean? Tell me, like, when you have to go and sell it now, you can’t do content marketing way for somebody to see the bio hit the reply, ask you for Bob about when you have to go into proactive, gotta make it work.

Tell me what you.

Jay: So any, so at the time it was, um, there was a company called Victus, so they were not going to, there were a startup. Um, so basically I just went to anybody who was anybody and I just, I just sold them. I sold them on the gym. So the more we could do. And I said, Hey, if you can pay me now, I know we’re not delivering the work yet, but if you can pay me now, we will deliver the.

Um, a later stage and I managed to get people to pay at a time. So Microsoft.

Andrew: Sorry, I hit the mic by accident. So did you also get new business or was it just getting people to

Jay: So it was these all like new business people. So I landed them, but it was, Hey, I need you to pay earlier. So I need you to pay before I do the work. And actually now all of our clients pay before we do the work, um, because we have a subscription model and I see papers. That’s a number of briefs of the year, but at the time there wasn’t a subscription model because there was no real, there wasn’t anything that you haven’t gotten to pay at a time.

And it was, it was a miracle, but we go through.

Andrew: All right. I’ll tell you. And everyone was listening to me. If you need to hire developers, I urge you to go, not just to, but to First of all, you’re going to love it because they’ve got such a fricking personality. If you’re a copywriter, if you love good salesman. Their copy is so good.

And it’s just so subtly good. slash Mixergy. And you’re going to see that you can get a 24 hour miraculous match guarantee. That means that they will find you developers that you will feel are so freaking amazing. It will be like a miracle instead of paying 45 $80, sorry, because instead of paying $60, $95 an hour, 45 $80 an hour, meaning they have not dirt cheap, uh, prices because they don’t have dirt, cheap developers, but it’s going to be less expensive than you would find otherwise, because.

They’re sourcing them from places where, um, salaries are lower. Eastern Europe is very good for finding developers at a good price. The problem is how are you going to find them? Well, the lemon IO team is a great way to go find them. Let them find your developers for you. If you like them, you can hire them.

If you’re not happy with them, just go on about your business. They guarantee their work go to D to see exactly what I mean. And if you use that URL, the one that I keep saying over and over, I say it because I get credit and yes, I will get credit. But more importantly for you, you’re going to get a discount on, uh, the initial, um, engagement with them.

Go to G even if you’re not ready to hire from them, just go look at them. So you understand your options. Refer them to your friends. And then frankly, whenever you’re ready to hire just Adam in the mix, say, you know what? Yeah, we’re going to do the usual thing. Yes. We’re going to do the thing that we’ve already been doing, but let’s also talk to and see what they could do for us.

If you’re not happy, you don’t have to sign up. You don’t have to pay. If you’re happy, you’re going to be blown away. And you’re going to be one of the people who’s on their site, giving them. Great reviews, Jay, I want to talk to you about the, the, the thing that you developed internally.

We keep talking about the experience. What does it look like for a panelist? What do they see? Is it like slack? Is it

Jay: Yeah, so they log onto a dashboard and on the dashboard, they’ll have all of the different clients that we have briefs live right now. So they will come on there, they’ll see those. And then there’s the chat side of things where they can just jump into that and just communicate with the rest of the community.

And just talk about wherever the, wherever the heck they’re talking about on that day. And we have moderators. So in that pretty much, 24 hours a day, Trying to get conversations started if it starts to load, but really it’s super simple. Cause when we were building it, it was kind of like we asked them, we have all these gen Zs who are like.

what do you want us to build?

Lastly, we just want it to be easy to engage with. So we just made it super, super simple. So it’s literally just The briefs so you can get paid and then the, uh, the chat functions so they can engage with other community members. And then after they complete a brief, they get like a short paragraph that they’re allowed to put on their CVS or whatever, just so they can show like a new employer or whatever.

This is the what for, I did for prime video. Um, and it’s got, make sure it’s got nothing. That’s like, like an Eagle or whatever. I can’t think of the phrase right now, but nothing.

Andrew: brief essentially is the kinds of questions that any panelists would be asked even by your competitors. Right? It’s the questions that the brand is trying to find out and it’s one-on-one the person has to fill out their own brief actually. And then it goes back to your client. At the end of it, they get something they could put on LinkedIn that says that they provided insight to this major brand, which I could see is helpful.

Maybe even in some cases it’s helpful as the money. And then finally you bring them back into the chat where after they do the brief, they could talk to other people who did the brief too. And it’s only for people who did the brief. Like they can’t jump in before they fill out the brief, if they not participant.

Right. So nothing

Jay: So you have the, so there’s, there’s one side of the chapters constantly flowing. It’s always talking and then we have certain silos or was it you complete a brief Amazon prime video and then they get added into a certain part of the chat where they can talk afterwards off the complete.

Andrew: And then how much did it cost you to get this

Jay: Um, I’m a son of immigrants, man, so I can do anything. So, um, I, we build it for 70,000 pounds. Um, which is, yeah. I remember meeting with investors. They’re like, you easily need this. And I was like, cool. Um, so yeah, we put it, we raised 35,000, 30,000 problems, like the beginning of 2020. Use that to build a platform and then yeah.

And the thing is what they called our MVP was really had everything we needed for the community. So.

Andrew: You told Ari about the challenge of raising money for you? What was

Jay: Um, so like the simple stuff, I just don’t know any rich white guys. Um, so when it came to raising investment was kind of just like it wasn’t my space. I’m a salesman. Um, I have obviously started startups. I started businesses growing up, um, at university. Um, by just didn’t know any people like that.

So it?

was pretty much doing introductions or randomly meeting people in cafes that would happen. I was honest to God. I was sat in a cafe. I was on the tech crunch website and the guy next to me was like, oh, you’re into tech. He’s like, we should catch up and grab a coffee sometime cool coffee. Like he knew an investor and they were our first investors in.

Andrew: What type of investors you

Jay: Um, so to them, uh, check the, uh, the VCs, but they didn’t, I didn’t invest my, these digits invested personally. They then linked us in with two other, uh, lovely investors who invested in our first round. And once we did that, then, um, I had a, a good friend of mine. He’s a Grammy dominance. Um, he had a friend off the black lives matter.

Black lives matter about people from, uh, from, uh, for, for me personally, the entire race for me was wonderful because a lot of well-meaning white people came out when I like, Hey, I really suddenly flattened. I want to invest in black businesses. And I was like, wonderful. That’d be take your money. Um, and, uh, those were well-meaning gentleman.

He’s a lovely guy and he became our investor and our next round to keep them pulling on next investor. Because as you know, investors are investors.

Andrew: Huh. And then you mentioned that you’re a, um, that you’re an immigrant where’d you grow up and

Jay: So no. So my parents are immigrants, so I was born in born and raised in London. But, um, my mom is to make my dad is Australian Aboriginal and German. Um, so yeah, they came to the country, so I’ve just seen them graft. So when people took what working hard, I’m like, yeah, you should see that’s real.

Andrew: What do you mean? What did

Jay: So I’m number five out of six kids.

So massive family, um, and, and two parents. So it was constantly noise. It was like warfare in my house, but, um, it was amazing. So my parents like my mom worked multiple jobs, started her own careers business. My dad worked for the NHS and if anybody knows what it’s like working for them, this is a scam and What it can be.

And, um,

Andrew: What do you mean? I would’ve thought that it’s a bureaucracy. This is the national health

Jay: Yes. And national health service They, you work unbelievable hours for not very great pay. Um, and you kind of want to end, you can’t leave because it’s like, it’s just, it’s just, this is a very interesting institution I won’t go into, but, um, my dad worked for the NSS for 35 years. Um, and my mum was just, uh, work is a careers, guidance process starts her own business and just I’ve constantly seen them.

Yeah, it’s just, it was, it was an interesting.

Andrew: Your brother started a business, and then you decided, you know what, I’m not going to go all in and be an entrepreneur. Why not? I mean, I’ve would think that if your, if your mom’s entrepreneurial, if your dad’s like a hustler who’s working hard and your brother goes into it, that you would

Jay: Yeah. I’ve, I’ve watched like family members, not just my brother-in-law’s family members, like start things and fail that catastrophe. Um, So I think watching that I was okay, let me go get a full-time job. Let me get some stuff under my belt. Let me do a few years and sales. Um, and I knew one day I would, I didn’t know what it would be.

I tried so many things. Like I tried to sell somebody’s house for them. Like just met this old dude. He was, I want to sell my house. I was like, I’ll send a few. I was like, if I can get 90,000 pounds for it, I’ll give you 18. So I just handed out flyers around like rubbish like that. And so I’ve watched a lot of family.

Fail with their businesses and not because they met wrong timing or whatever it may be. Um, so I just had to keep trying, but I wanted to keep trying from a place of security. Um, so I don’t have the benefit of just saying, oh, I failed. Let me just go ask for money. Let me just try it and try new things.

Then you get a mortgage while I’ve got a full-time job, all that kind of stuff did all of that. And then once I found the right,

business, then.

Andrew: What’s an example of a failure that you saw that was

Jay: Um, I had family members that try to start drop shipping businesses, um, and, um, put lots of money into drop shipping businesses, like a lot of money, um, for, for them. And they sunk it into it and then it failed in those six months and it was like, Yeah.

it was like, can’t get mortgages. Can’t do this. Can’t do that.

And Yeah.

Andrew: Yeah. I don’t think we talk enough about those problems with entrepreneurship. I think for me, it, it added fuel. Like everything had to succeed or else I could fail as bad as I’ve heard, but I think we, we send people into this entrepreneurship. Full-time all in without letting them know here’s the danger.

This is. Really bad. Um, and, and it’s fine. It could, it could be a driving force the way it was for me. Or it could be something that you use to get you to mitigate your downside, which is what happened for you, but we should at least be aware of it. Um, all right, so let’s draw some insights now. So if somebody sees what you’re doing here right now, what, what can they do with it in the future?

Do you see other areas that your model could be applied?

Jay: I think for us it’s different demographic, but schools, like, as I said, I going after the different generations, definitely. I think. There’s definitely a need for this, with regards to the gods to understand. So w entrepreneurs would be a great one. So the idea of like, Hey, I’m going to actual entrepreneurs, people that have started things and crowdsourcing insight from them at scale.

I think there’s, there’s hundreds of millions of entrepreneurs around the world at different, various, very different levels. And I think. If you could gain insights from them and you can mitigate a whole bunch of risks. So imagine if you went to a, I don’t know, a hundred entrepreneurs and ask them about that.

E-commerce drop shipping businesses, they built and get the nitty-gritty qual insight. You can then just miss those pinholes and then go off those potholes. Sorry. And then go off to those. Go off the big wins.

Andrew: Wait, are you saying, get in your, are you saying before doing something instead of winging it or gut feeling it just look for insights. And even if that doesn’t mean coming into, imagine that it means going somewhere, but get those insights first and that will help shape what you do. Okay. That’s a good point.

Um, by the way, we didn’t talk about where you get gen Z, uh, panelists. We talked about how difficult it was for the NFL and others to do it. What do you do to bring people in beyond the referral

Jay: Both. Firstly, we pay 10 times as much as our competitors. Like if you pay people well, that they’re going to come in. But then what we, um, what we realized was when we looked at our data, every time a community member completed a brief, they would invite two to five people into the community. So we realized the more briefs you get, people completing, the more referrals they’re going to make.

So then we can commence the referral process. But it was really just once we saw that data, I was like, all right, cool. Let’s just, let’s just get people, even if personally, as a business, say, if we were having a quiet month, I read this, just do briefs ourselves about the business, about what we want to build or whatever, whatever, and just get people completing because then they were referring people in.

Andrew: Ah, got it. Okay. And then if you need to go outside of your current group and you need to bring in more people, you’re buying

Jay: No, not at all. So, um, we have, uh, community members team entirely. Sorry that they go on like Reddit network. Any kind of platform, you can imagine where people are talking about. Nice, interesting things. They just go on.

then engage in conversation that like, Hey, you guys, you’re talking about world war Z.

You’re talking about like world of Warcraft. Would you want to get paid to provide you insights to these brands and people? And so it’s just engaging them in those odd spaces.

Andrew: Individuals or his comments on the

Jay: Yeah. So they’ll go on. They’ll they’ll, they’ll see the comments and they’ll just be engaging in the conversation. Just super, just like nonchalant, not trying to make a big deal out of it. And then people are just yet they see it and it’s like, Yeah.

this is cool. Let’s engage. And then what happens is when you get somebody like that, that really loves it.

They then go and preach back into those channels because like, yo, I’ve got paid. It’s not a scam. There’s one thing we’ve had to really go over as people think. The people that come in, like, if you Google imagine insights, like what the next things come up, scan the question mark. So we’ve had to really make sure that we’ve

Andrew: would have actually assumed it too. Before I did these interviews, I totally assumed it was all a scam. Fill out these forms, get money, by the way. I did. I didn’t Google. Uh, right now to look for scams, but I did look at your site and I saw that you link to a non-disclosure form on the bottom of your homepage.

It’s like, who needs a non-disclosure form so handy that they have to put it on their homepage?

Jay: It’s really actually for, um, for the community, just so they can have easy access to the NDA so they can read over it. They will sign the NDA on the platform. So they sign an NDA directly onto the platform. But, um, we have on the website just so it’s easy for everybody and it’s super transparent. Like I’m not hiding anything is really, really transparent.

Andrew: Got it so that if they ever have any questions about what’s the NDA that they have to sign, what’s the form. They go to the homepage, they always see it there. All right. Finally, Jay, let’s close it out with this. Where do you see this business going? Like ideally, how big do you think it could get? Where do you, what do you think it could

Jay: Yeah. Great, good question. I think for me in this magical, I think we should get the business to 10 million in revenue and then just starting all the vegetables.

It was doing all the same and having that older one group, all the demographics on the one group using the exact same technology, because that’s their methodology, putting it across, um, and really getting out there I think. Yeah. And then sell this bad boy and go and chill with you. Awesome.

Andrew: You look like a really chill guy. Like if in every photo that I’ve seen of you actually, you know what it is. I think you’re really good at picking the right photos to use, to represent yourself. I couldn’t tell whether you were black or white. I couldn’t tell whether you’re going to be super conservative or hangout guy.

I could almost like super impose on you, whatever I felt like seeing at the moment, you know what I mean? Um,

Jay: I didn’t try to do that.

Andrew: I think your social media game is really good. Like even the fact that you’ve got that big, um, top image on your LinkedIn that says brutally honest Jensey insights. I think when you and I talked, you said our tagline is brutally honest.

I go, I totally get it. Like, you’re really good at ignoring these little moments that will capture a big message in a short amount of time in a photo, in a screenshot, in a tagline, in a, in a, in a post, in an email, frankly, to me. Uh, all right. I’m glad that we, you and I got to meet, uh, and now that I’m in Austin, when you come to south by Southwest, I’ll get to see you in person.

How great is that? That’s one of the benefits of being

Jay: speaking. Yeah, I’m looking forward to it. So we’ll catch up.

Andrew: are you going to do? Like a drinks or something? You organizing some friends you should put

Jay: Oh, dude, I’m down. Like I’m trying to, I’m just networking like crazy for, I guess I’m definitely going to make just one more, one more thing before we finish. I just want to send note, um, people like will need us to progress. It’s easy to get things mixed up. So the two things from a sales perspective, I think communicate to people is, is LinkedIn and then the email stuff.

And, but on the email stuff, it’s not like spammy, GDPR, noncompliant stuff. Just to me, just to verify in case anybody tries to vilify me in company.

Andrew: Oh, believe me. I feel like a email now has gotten so much more open. I get email all the time because I do this podcast from, and it’s such a douchebag emails. I it’s the worst. Like how, how does this even, all right, Jay, thank you so much for doing this. I know your email is not that. Um, I just want to say that it it’s, it’s much more open than it used to be.

Email is, and I’m, I’m shocked by that. It’s imagined insights. Imagine spelled I M a G E N. I don’t know why I’m spelling it. It’s in the title or it’s in the it’s in the post. What I should be saying is thank you to my sponsors. If you need to pay people, contractors, employees go handle it. Domestic international, go handle it properly.

By going to to let use it for free. If you use that URL, And when you’re hiring developers, if your friends are hiring developers, you really need to check out And frankly, don’t take my word for it. Go on Twitter and say, Hey, anyone use lemon data. Wait until you see the responses that you get. Thank you for sponsoring Jay. Thanks for being on here. Bye. Right. Keep the thing up. Uh, after we hang up.

Who should we feature on Mixergy? Let us know who you think would make a great interviewee.