Q&A with Brian Christie of Brainsy
Brainsy offers Software as a Service (SaaS) to power the world’s first, white-label social media rewards service that gets people paid for their contributions and engagement. Payment can be made in the fiat currency, blockchain-based crypto-currency, or loyalty point of choice for each Brainsy client. Brainsy offers these services to associations, professional societies, franchisors, membership organizations, corporations and crypto or token sponsors and can also operate standalone newly branded communities.
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What is the BIG IDEA behind Brainsy?
According to various studies, the average person will spend nearly two hours (120+ minutes) creating or consuming content on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp, etc.) each day -- and this translates into more than five years spent over a lifetime. But they receive no financial compensation for these efforts. As the social media tech giants become more pervasive with a reach nearing 2.8 billion global users, concerns about privacy, disinformation, harassment, abuse and online addiction are growing. And while the technology of these Silicon Valley led social media giants can scale infinitely, the business model does not as they try to moderate content, filter out “fake news” and fake users, and increase their relevance across varied demographics. Today’s social media giants have mostly digitized an archaic newspaper business model by replacing original content with user generated content but the financial benefits accrue only to these modern day “publishers” and their shareholders. Brainsy believes the winning business model of the future will follow a cooperative rewards model whereby everyone that creates value -- by aggregating a community, engaging as a participant, sharing knowledge, creating or curating content, or contributing personal data -- can get paid. The method by which participants get paid, whether it’s in a fiat currency, a blockchain-based crypto-currency, or loyalty points, depends on the preference of each individual community aggregator and Brainsy is the first company that can accommodate all methods.
What is the Target Audience/Target Customers?
Using a B2B SaaS enterprise sales model, the initial Brainsy target market is any client that can pay a monthly license fee and that has aggregated (or that plans to aggregate) an audience or membership for which they’d like to provide a privately branded social media experience. Our go-to-market strategy is more narrowly focused on US trade and professional associations or professional societies of which there are approximately 90,000 in the US (~5,000 in our sweet spot), master franchisors (of which there are 1,400), media companies (TV, radio) of which there are 17,000, and online User’s Groups of which there are an indeterminable number (Oracle corporation alone claims to have 420 affiliated Users Group communities with 225,000 members worldwide). Anytime we see a void in the marketplace where no enterprise-type client currently exists, Brainsy itself can operate a stand-alone domain-specific network under a novel brand and as a next-generation online “Who’s Who” guide. Longer term, we plan to extend the flexibility of our platform such that new clients can self-enroll and self-provision. In the same way that Apple’s App store unleashed an explosion of creativity and entrepreneurism that grew from 800 apps at launch in July 2008 to over 2 million apps and 180 billion downloads today, we expect to unleash an explosion of custom-branded social media micro-sites by enabling any audience aggregator and their partners and participants to reap direct benefits and rewards for their collective efforts. There are dozens of beta “powered by Brainsy” sites operating today but in 10 years, we could have tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands licensed B2B clients.
What pain does Brainsy solve?
There are two sides to the big picture problem that Brainsy is solving. First, on the demand side: Futurist John Naisbitt is credited with coining the phrase “We are drowning in information but starved for knowledge.” The Internet has been a wonderful tool for accessing information but the amount of available content has exploded. Look at the exponential growth in Internet traffic as a benchmark. In 1997, the year that Amazon went public, global Internet traffic was 100 GB per hour. In 2019 it is expected to reach 51,794 GB per second. That's right, per SECOND. Although search engine companies, like Google, continue to get more powerful, they are losing ground to companies bringing “content marketing” into the mainstream and thus making it increasingly difficult to cut through content clutter. If you’ve ever found yourself exasperated, search fatigued, or thought “I wish I could just talk to someone directly” then you’ve experienced the pain that Brainsy is working to solve. No matter how sophisticated big data and the search engines get, more intimate one-on-one or small group forums remain the best way to share and transfer knowledge (shaped by human judgment). Brainsy powered networks reduce transaction barriers and make personalized, one-on-one knowledge exchange more accessible to everyone. Second, on the supply side: As a provider of knowledge and expertise, people must often choose between giving it away for free or providing it as part of large contractual relationships between corporate entities. As an example, sales in the Management Consulting industry reached $241.4 billion in 2018 but they are delivered by business entities to other business entities (usually large corporate buyers) under formally structured transactions. By enabling knowledge suppliers in all forms to receive payments or rewards for small and micro-transactions, incentives are created that will unleash a flood of useful and contextually relevant information to participants of a Brainsy powered platform. To summarize, Brainsy is creating both the technical infrastructure and business model innovation to connect the right people to each other for beneficial forms of knowledge exchange.
Brian Christie of Brainsy
Brian Christie is a serial start-up executive having been involved as a founder or executive at four prior start-ups (2 successful exits, 1 pending sale, and 1 “learning experience”). Took over the reins to launch the company as “Brainsy” in 2015 and is leading all product development, fundraising, and sales efforts. Made several “pivots” to the original technology and business model to finally discover a product-market fit that will scale without limits. He and his family have made a significant financial investment into Brainsy along with other notable Angels and funds including TomorrowVentures, a seed investment fund co-founded by former Google Chairman, Eric Schmidt.