Connor Curlewis is a film director and writer, he works as a video producer for American companies Bright Trip and Debutify. Connor also directs brand and music videos in Auckland. He has a bachelors degree in Creative Technologies from AUT and has travelled to 35 countries to try and understand humanities tests and treasures.
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[00:00:00] Connor Curlewis: Great word of wisdom is if you don't like something, change it, but recognize that, uh, a lot of things are out of your control. So try and change those things that are in your control. I guess one thing I learned just last week, if you're down in a slump and you're like, you know, a bit depressed, you can do this exercise where you just look at your breakfast in the morning. Oh yeah. I cooked that breakfast and I made myself a drink, coffee or tea, you kind of look at it and you're like, wow, is that really me? It kind of feels like a dream now. That was six hours ago. If you take that perspective to your depressed period, and you think, you know, in five years time, I'm going to look back at this and I'm going to laugh, try and hold that perspective if you're feeling down because everything passes really. And, um, you should try and change it and be happy about it. I mean, obviously that's a bit idealistic sometimes. It's really tough.
[00:00:49] Joseph: You're listening to Ecomonics, a Debutify podcast. Your resource for one of the kinds of insights into the world of e-commerce and business in the modern age. This is Joseph. I'll be presenting a wealth of industry knowledge from interviews with successful business people and our own state-of-the-art research. Your time is valuable. So let's go.
My guest today, film maker and media presenter for Debutify, Connor Curlewis and I joined the company at a relatively the same time and frankly, my working relationship with him has been a highlight of my time here. Although this particular episode is not replete with actionable e-commerce knowledge, it is an in-depth examination of how one world can shape so many lives in so many ways. And it does so without abandoning our core commonality that each and every human being has encountered someone who wants to knock them out cold.
Connor Curlewis. I've been looking forward to this day for, for some time.
Now it is good to have you here on Ecomonics. How you doing today, man? How you feeling?
[00:01:52] Connor Curlewis: Yeah, it feel real good. Uh, it was a beautiful day here. Um, yeah, it's been a while and we've been talking about this for at least a year, if not nine monts.
[00:02:02] Joseph: I don't know. Yeah. I don't know about nine months. I don't think either of us have been here for quite that, quite that long, but this has definitely been a long time coming.
So, uh, to, to our audiences, our respective audiences, uh, uh, Connor is, also an employee of Debutify and he does the YouTube side. And so we thought let's do a little bit of cross-pollination. We want the YouTube people to know what we're up to in Ecomonics and we want the Ecomonics people to know what we're up to on the YouTube.
So that's the objective of today. So it's an in-house conversation going to have ourselves some fun, get to know each other a little bit better. And I also want to be super transparent with my audience as I did zero preparation for this, because I wanted to see how, you know, how I, how I fair and improvising a conversation on a podcast, uh, and extra transparency.
I'm also not tracking time for this. So that is as transparent as I can be under the circumstances. Connor, why don't you tell us what you do? Um, in a more extensive way than I had described?
[00:03:03] Connor Curlewis: What do I do? Hmm, good question. I am very lucky. I, um, basically I'm an employee of Debutify and I make YouTube videos mainly.
That's kind of the bread and butter, uh, one YouTube video a week, but, uh, recently it's kind of bumping up. We do ads. We do webinars. Uh, I do in-house the tutorial videos. Yeah. It's really quite extensive and fun, but it's mainly I write something and then I record it and my faces in the recording.
[00:03:35] Joseph: I think you and I both probably, um, uh, share, share a similar experience in that with companies that are on the forefront or on the frontier and are rapidly expanding is the roles that we sign up are not the exclusive roles that we ended up doing. So I, myself, you know, I just signed up to it to, to host a podcast. And, uh, next, next thing I know I'm, you know, running the multimedia department, uh, which means gaining of pretty vast amount of experience in a lot of places, I wouldn't expect it to gain experience.
So I mean, managing a team, didn't see that coming, providing feedback on other people's material, didn't see that coming, VSLs I had no idea what the hell those are, even though I had seen them for years prior to prior to this. So learning what they are learning, how to do them, same with webinars. And I, and I think this speaks broadly to really one of the beautiful things about a frontier industry, such as e-commerce is that there are so much new ground to gain and to explore that most people will end up playing multiple roles, especially for people like us, where we have, I guess, the luxury or the privilege to be front end, be front-facing and do performative work.
And then also be able to do backend work as well. So did you see that coming to when you, when you or did you not see it coming when you signed up or like what'd, you thought you were getting into versus what you're doing?
[00:04:58] Connor Curlewis: Yeah. Yeah. Well, my, my, one of my bosses, my old, um, uh, he was an owner at a bar. I used to work hours, the manager that he, he sat me down once and he said, I know you want to be a film director, but you're not gonna, you're not gonna make the movie that you want, you know?
And he looked at the bar that he was in and it was this beautiful seafood bar. And we made cocktails and we lived, we lived in Takapuna on the beach and he was like, I, I just wanted to run up. And I just kept that goal going for 30 years and I do run a bar. This is not the bar. I thought I was going to run.
I didn't know it would be here and what we're doing now. And, uh, that's kind of what's going on at Debutify. I, I wanted to make videos. My, since I was like 11 years old, when I moved to New Zealand, um, I started making videos and, uh, I guess that's kind of the thing. If you keep your goal broad enough, you can, you can keep making progress.
I definitely didn't know what a VSL was. Definitely want to stay clear of them, but they're actually pretty fun at the end of the day.
[00:06:07] Joseph: Yeah. And there's a lot about your, your background, you know, you and I we've, uh, we we've talked many a time and, uh, So, so I, so I've been able to pick up on, uh, on some of your, if your background, but we haven't really had a chance to, uh, to really dig into it.
So you said you moved to New Zealand when you were age 11. Uh, I had, I did, I did peg you for a native new Zealander. Um, is, are you a native new Zealander or are you a native of a different country?
[00:06:34] Connor Curlewis: Yes. So yeah, in 2006, uh, I'm born in Plymouth, in England and, uh, my dad's on the Royal Navy. And so from yeah, zero to 11, we moved all the time and actually I've kept that up for the next 15 years that, yeah, my dad went to the second Gulf war and the Bosnian conflict and, uh, that was in the early two thousands.
And yeah, my parents just said, this is kind of ridiculous. Like a dad could get killed and already just moving around so much that it's such a like displacement for the, for the project of owning for the project of just like being in a family. So we originally were going to move to Argentina for just one year.
And then, um, mom and dad were like, you know, why not New Zealand? And, um, it happened very quickly. Like in about two months we switched from Argentina, we're doing Spanish lessons and then we just got on a plane. My parents had never been here and, uh, we just moved when I was 11 yet. And my mom still wants to go home to the UK.
It's a, it's an I I've been back a few times. Um, I used, I just lived in the UK for two years by myself, and yet it's weird having a whole extended family and friends who live on the other side of the world. Like I, my girlfriend, Jill, she says I have three lives because I have friends and in Massachusetts and like a community in Massachusetts.
And I have my friends and family in New Zealand. And then I have my friends and family in Edinburgh and London. So it's a bit chaotic, but that's kind of the thing.
[00:08:21] Joseph: No one in my family, as far as I know, are in the military or have even so much as picked up a weapon. Um, of course I come from an Italian family, so.
Well, I mean, in an Italian family, mostly is just can turn into a weapon, but, but that aside, I guess I can't help, but wonder what I guess, mindsets or, or lessons or insights or perspectives were instilled in you? Um, having somebody in, uh, in, in the military now, is it fair to say military or do you prefer to go specifically into Navy?
Because I understand that there are, I mean, both, both, both my, uh, my participant in conflict, but one's, you know, Naval and one's not.
[00:09:02] Connor Curlewis: Yeah, yeah, no, my dad says military, so yeah. Uh, and yeah, definitely. It's a really good question. The, the installation happened early. Uh, my dad made me go to sea cadets from nine to 18, so it was kind of being groomed for, um, leadership.
Um, it was weird actually in seek it out. They always said, uh, we're not, we're not making you ready for the Navy. That's not what this is. And I always thought it was, cause it was just fully a mini, younger version of the Navy. You did, yeah, firearms training. We did, um, tramping training where you'd go and like do survival in the, in the bush.
Uh, we'd run complete drills of platoons. And I, I, uh, I was the, when I left, there was a chief petty officer. So it was like the highest rank you can get to in the kind of the co-ops. Um, and yeah, I was there for nine years, so it makes sense. And yeah, it was only like a year ago that I met someone in government and he said the whole idea of the cadet Corps, um, is actually to create the leadership of New Zealand.
And it's the same in the UK because I was in the cadets. And yeah, it definitely instilled a lot of lessons. I think the main, the main thing I've retained is discipline. Like I love my cold showers in the morning. Um, I like to just like do the things that I know are like, short-term painful, but long-term really rewarding.
Communication skills were really kind of like we, we did teacher training for once. So basically from nine to 15, you're just like a grunt and you just have to kind of do stuff. But then when you do 15 to 18, you do like a leadership, uh, courses and they try and they try and teach you how to be a teacher.
And so, um, you have to, you have to do lessons like every Wednesday I would teach a lesson like a whole hour. Yeah. You definitely learn how to kind of articulate. And then if you have any issues with all the cadets, they try and teach you how to resolve that. Like, there's a lot of kind of egos where people are like, I'm the, I'm the higher rank here and I'm older than you and I'm bigger than you.
And I'm, I'm stronger than you. I'm a skinny, young guy. And like, there's a lot of big guys at cadets and you had to just sort of take them aside and say, if we've got a problem, uh, let's just resolve this quietly, like as a really bad thing you can do in the military. And that's disciplined somebody in public, like it's so bad for the morale.
And if you, if you can take a guy who's older than you stronger than you, and like a higher rank than you, and just be like, Hey dude, I don't like what you did there. And it's scary. But I think if you do it a hundred times, you eventually learn how to just talk to people.
[00:11:46] Joseph: Yeah. You know, I, I'm not a history buff, but every now and then I pick up snippets of it if it happens to be on TV or, uh, I guess more recently, uh, passes into my YouTube algorithm.
And I remember that, um, I believe this would be the civil war, which, uh, George Washington was in command of. And I'm, I, I don't remember if he was the north of the south. North? Okay. Yeah. Thank you for that. And, uh, and his army was facing some serious morale issues. There were designers and he felt compelled to, um, hang some of the desserts or some of the ones that were caught in front of the army.
And that didn't do good for morale, but they decided that they had to, because they also wanted to instill in people you've can not leave the, the army. Well, they showed his, he had a, I think it was a, uh, a French, uh, uh, general or commander started teaching them about discipline and started teaching them to really think like soldiers and to, uh, you know, even just like improve their posture at the very least.
And he trained up a bunch of these people. They all went out, they tried to a bunch of people and it started turning the, the, the conflict in their favor. And what you're, what you're telling me, reminded me of the difference between, you know, publicly reprimanding people in front of everybody, um, to set, to send a message.
Try to get everybody to fall in line at the same time versus privately dealing with that. And it's actually kind of a surprise if I'm being honest. I, from, you know, I guess the stereotypical depiction of the military and the TV, I guess I would always assume that if somebody were to be reprimanded, one would actually go out of their way to put them in front of everybody else to make an example out of them.
Uh, even if they had an opportunity to do so in private.
[00:13:30] Connor Curlewis: Yeah. Sometimes you do have to do it in public, but it's usually just for like a minor thing and, and that person who's doing the reprimanding would probably be an outlier in the system. The system is definitely telling you to just do it. One-on-one because you kind of just get the opportunity to hear their point of view.
If you're just yelling at someone across a field or across a hall, and there's like a hundred people around them and all going to be able to like shout back and be like, well, you see what I was trying to do there was.
[00:14:02] Joseph: Yeah. If somebody wants to shout at me in public, they're more than welcome to be on the opposite side of a field start shouting at me, at least that's funny.
So getting back to, you know, more, more, more company stuff, not that I don't want to go. Uh, I go into it more, but you know how it has, what I think is interesting about you and I is. The, and we did, and we discussed this, I guess, in how we were conveying ourselves. Um, as the front of people of the company is my persona is the guy who's basically like locked in his room pretty much all the time.
And like my, my, I look out my window and it's just other windows. And, uh, and, and, and, and you're in, you're the opposite. You are, you know, you're a traveler by nature. Um, even seeing in your background, it's just, well, it's pretty bright right now, but usually when I can see it, it's trees and foliage. You know, you had mentioned that you had moved around quite a bit.
Um, that is, I think what probably the most distinctive difference between our perspectives, because I didn't have that. And I don't know if it's a, it's a, if it's a luxury. Or if it's not a luxury, it's just a different experience. So, I mean, I went to the same elementary school for, for eight years.
Uh, hated it for a 7.5 of those years. And then I, you know, went to high school, uh, for four years. Um, hated that for about 2.5, so slight improvement. Uh, and then I went to college, um, hated that for only 0.5 of those two years. So it was actually pretty good, uh, in terms of how much of it I hated, um, how she very, very much appreciate my college program and have numerous good things to say about, about them.
But all the while my worldview is always expanding, not unlike the, a rock being dropped into water and seeing the ripple go outwards. At first, my worldview is just going to school and then like, for me, adventure is going to the mall because it's no, it's this big place and there's there's stuff to do.
And then, you know, high school, my worldview expanded. Um, I started to be more comfortable even like going downtown and college. Again, it expands because they have to go even further out. Uh, and then, well then, you know, then we're locked down and now I'm stuck in the room for the last year, but my worldview has been very methodical and slow, but I anticipate that it will continue to grow, especially in the next five to 10 years, depending on how things go here and travel has to become more of a, uh, important components to, uh, to my growth and development.
So if, if everything is going, according to the pattern, my worldview will continue to expand. So I'm going to ask you the, I'm going to ask you, uh, you know, your, your perspective in an opposite of sense that I just want to make sure what I said is make sense first. Yeah, yeah, totally. Okay. You're getting the nod.
So, but with you. You know, you've, you've gone to a number of different places and that travel, um, uh, really the, the persona of the traveler, uh, as it continues to manifest, uh, in the time that we've been working together, which has been almost a year, you have had like 12 different backgrounds, all the different places that you've been.
So would you say that you're, you're, you're used to traveling that it's, it's a, it's a second nature to you. Um, and is the idea of really being in one place for a long period of time, to you is that foreign in the same way traveling is a foreign idea to me?
[00:17:31] Connor Curlewis: Yeah. That could be a good way of describing the dichotomy.
Yeah. It's um, yeah, this is my 17th house. So it's a bit different. I think what you said earlier about the, like the, the luxury or the, or the kind of like con of it is definitely a lot of both, like my best friend, Michael he's lived in Lavery place for 24 years and his house. I've been going to his house for 16 years.
So I'm like, this is a kind of like stable, comfortable. You get that from a long-term place. From moving so much, I've definitely benefited because I find it easier to make friends. So yeah, many primary schools, um, and yeah, lots of different areas and yeah. Lots of different countries. Yeah. I think making friends is a lot easier.
It's, it's a hard thing to pin down. If it's good or bad, there's definitely like a chaos that it brings. But at the same time, there's like a stripping away of the superfluous, because like you said, it's easy for me to travel. And the reason it's easy for me to travel is because I don't own many things.
Like I just have the stuff in my bag. And I'm good to go. Like I just, yeah, it just recently went to Massachusetts with just a small, you know, 30 liter backpack and people look at me and they go, that's crazy, you know? But yeah, it's the same thing. I went to the UK for two years with just the same backpack.
And you actually just like, don't need that much, you know. People end up giving you stuff. That's what you'll find. If you show up somewhere with a small bag, just middle-aged people go, oh, you need a raincoat dude. You need like my old pair of jeans. And here you go and you end up just being like, Jesus, I got all this stuff, but yeah.
[00:19:21] Joseph: Anybody ever offer you a firearm?
[00:19:25] Connor Curlewis: I've been given like a letter opener, it looks like a firearm. Yeah, no firearms are scary.
[00:19:31] Joseph: Yeah. And, uh, and, and for good reason too. Uh, I, I completely agree on that. I guess another way to add some, some perspective to it is from, from my view, it's enviable to, um, to, to imagine all of these different places to get to visit.
Cause I know like you got to visit Kenya for instance. And what I think it does is it does make me consider whether or not I've accumulated, uh, the same density of experience. Being in a more routine place where a lot more tends to fall into the muscle memory. And there's more than a lot more of life has lived on autopilot.
Um, and again, this is tying back to our position here is, you know, the beauty of what we do is that because it's constantly on the frontier, but there's always new things to learn. And so there is very little of this position that's on autopilot and for good reason. And so that's what I would envy of, of a, of a traveler.
Um, but if possible, are there things that you've envied about people who do have more of a structured lifestyle where they like me, they just pretty much are in one place for a good long time. I've only been in this apartment for one year. Uh, and then I spent, uh, with the exception of one other year that I lived downtown, which to me, it was like my semi third year of college.
I've been in with my parents, the entire time.
[00:20:55] Connor Curlewis: Yeah. Yeah. That's a good question.
[00:20:56] Joseph: I don't think most people envy that.
[00:20:58] Connor Curlewis: But yeah, yeah. Yeah. I don't want to live with my parents. Yeah. From coming back from the numerous trips, I find that like, uh, there's three of my close friends who haven't really done traveling, sorry to call you out.
But Brynn, Matt and Harry have all said this to me. They've said, you know, I just want to do what you've done. And then I have other close friends, like Kane and Kane, Michael and Connor. Who've gone traveling with me and nobody who I know closely has done the extent of what I've done, but there's definitely people, obviously who've done far, far more than me.
And the difference. Yeah. With like Kane, Matt, and with Matt, Harry and Brynne, you have a, a real solid base. Like those three guys are like on their way in terms of like a Orthodox solid lifestyle. Like they all probably going to be able to buy a house soon. They've got a good community of people around them, but yeah, the density of experience is I'd say more valuable. Because like Kenya, for example, I met people there who I stay in touch with now who have just wildly different perspectives.
Like it is a, it is a third world country and it's probably the powerhouse of Sub-Saharan Africa. Like it's not even as bad as other places in terms of like the poverty levels. But the, the really interesting thing about like those people is that they have absolutely nothing. Like friend of mine, Vincent he's living in a room with his brother and his dad that is like, probably the size of three of my desks. Like it's just this small space here. Like the three of them can lie down together at night and that is the room. And then when they wake up, they kind of move the beds to the side and they have a little like fire in the corner and yeah, I mean, they're living in a slum that has now been bulldozed by the government, like their house when I lived with them has been moaned down by diggers.
That is like just wildly different to all of my friends here. Like, you know, Matt, Brendan, Harry of like doing really well biomed, software engineer and, um, chartered accountant that, that sort of density of experience, the way that I draw upon it is like in it's completely like on equivocal. Like it just sort of comes up in me like wells up.
Sometimes I'll just be doing something I'll bank myself a coffee and I'll be like, damn, you're lucky. Like those, those things that just people, people are like trying to get, like just the meal, the next meal. And that definitely stays with you. You're like I have a savings account and I'm going to be able to buy a plane ticket soon and you know, it's a, it's a different world.
[00:23:52] Joseph: Reminds me of a conversation I had with, um, with a background actor back when I was doing. Gosh darn do I miss doing that. So, so, so, so much fun you spend most of the time, just sitting around, waiting to be called on set and people sit around the table and you make friends there's thing. I met my girlfriend of almost three years.
There were just, just absolute, uh, would love to get back to it at some point. Um, but anyways, he was telling me a story about the first thing he went to Japan and he was in for a massive culture shock. And it wasn't the, you know, the, the, the, the, the Kawaii desu. It wasn't the anime. It wasn't the things that you see in vending machines. I'm sure all of that was contributor. For him, it was the way everything was so clockwork that, um, was a major culture shock. The way traffic was all so well automated and organized, and everything seemed to be moving like a well-oiled machine, um, because the Japanese have such a, uh, an incredible work ethic. And, and I should say they have an equally, um, admirable, uh, artistic and creative ethic as well.
And, and I, myself not having seen that, not even through, through a video, I kind of got the feeling from him, but it just wasn't the same as a, of course, if him actually actually being there and seeing it for himself. So would you say that your, your, your time in Kenya was probably your most significant culture shock given that, you know, people lived in a tiny homes that were being bulldozed or was, um, the, the, is there like a more significant experience that sticks out to you
[00:25:24] Connor Curlewis: Two answers. The culture shock happens back home. Like, it was probably the same with your friend on back in the background, acting like you go there and you're just completely in rapture with like the novelty. And then when you come home, you're like, whoa, buddy, you guys do it. You're doing it all wrong. Like the main beautiful thing about Kenya was that those people who had nothing were the kindest people, like, I would just walk down the street and people would say, Hey, do you want to have some lunch in my house? I want to know about you. Like, what are you doing in Kenya? I would, I would like play football with my students and people would come join in the game. And then they'd say, Hey, what are you up to right now?
You want to, Hey, go play basketball, come meet my parents. And it was just like, that is never going to happen here on the street in New Zealand. If I go to the basketball courts, now I'm likely to talk to somebody, but like, I'm more likely to meet somebody who's got their headphones on and who just wants to practice hoops.
Yeah. The second answer, I think in South Africa, I had a bit of culture shock because it was a lot of crime and that was like pretty visceral and a lot of like preventative kind of fulfilling, uh, infrastructure that kind of creates crime. Like. just an unbelievable amount of fences and security guards and like militarized, um, just patrols and you just trying to going places.
And you're like, this whole area is kind of screaming that I am in the wrong place. You know, you're kind of like just a pedestrian. It feels like you've entered it. You're on the outskirts of a prison, but you're in a prison and it's, there's electric fences everywhere and there's people with guns. And that was a bit different to Kenya.
Kenya is very open, very much. Like you could just walk into anybody's house and they'd be happy to have you, but yet South Africa it's like the complete opposite.
[00:27:24] Joseph: Would you say South Africa was probably the most, you felt in danger. Cause I think for a lot of people I'm one of the main, um, uh, limiting factors is the, is not the excitement of the unknown, but it's the fear of the unknown.
Um, because, uh, somebody could take a trip and happy on a complete guided tour the entire time, you know, the safety. Uh, the bus and a bunch of other tourists and have a scripted, you know, almost like a cut scene of a, of an experience. Um, and just, and just be a passer-by versus really like, get, you know, walking around and, um, well, uh, making yourself more and more vulnerable, but to also have a more, uh, well, I imagine authentic experience.
[00:28:04] Connor Curlewis: Yeah. You definitely kind of create a shield to that vulnerability. Like as soon as I landed in Cape town, people are grabbing me by the hand saying like, this is the taxi you want to get. And you just immediately just put up a wall. You're like, uh, no, uh, I straightaway, I just went to the bathroom and to try and like what I have to like send to myself, where am I going to go from here?
I can't just walk into that. Like mob of people that are trying to get my attention, there was some pretty close calls in Kenya, but I felt very safe. Most of the time there was some like wildlife issues, but like actually the, the, the experience that came to mind when you said most, most like fear was actually, uh, bike packing provided in New Zealand. So basically I was cycling from my house at the top of the country and it took me a whole month and I was going to come back and go the same way I can, the same way I left, which was on the motorway, which is like real, not fun. And I met another bike packer in a hostel, in a campsite.
And she was like, you know, there's actually a fishermen who takes people across the Poteau Harbor and you don't have to cycle on a motorway. You can just get a lift with him. And so I went kind of going that way towards the fishermen and it was real vague. I didn't like get in touch with the guy at all.
And I managed to get his phone number and he said, yeah, if you come down to the end of the peninsula and wait for me at 2:00 PM on Monday, I can just pick you up. But the peninsula was like a full logging truck. Chaos center. Like you're not, there's nothing there at all. There's like four residents who live on this huge peninsula.
And so what I was told to do was to like cycle at night to get there. But what ended up happening is I cycled like a little bit down the road before it got into the kind of crazy logging truck territory. And I pulled into a pub and I had like, uh, a pint and a pie and the pub fully empty. Like it was like a movie scene, like real eerie, just like one lady Manning the bar.
And she was like, yeah, I'll get you a pie. What can I get you? And these two guys walked in and they were just like bronze skeletons, like all old guys, but like real like, you know, fit. And they sort of, they just kind of came over to me like, oh, what are you doing in town? Like, and I got chatting to them and they said, Uh, you don't want to go all the way down to Poteau.
It's kind of, it's crazy. And I was like, oh, but I'm going to go anyway. And they're like, well, before you go, she'd come to our house and have some, have some joints and have some food. I was like, okay, sounds great. And, um, they didn't really expect me to go. I, uh, I left them at the pub and it was like a 45 minute bike ride to the next town to meet them and, uh, yeah, cycled around the corner.
And I pulled into the house and walked through the door and they both like burst out laughing and, um, yeah, I spend the night with them, but I did just get really paranoid. And, uh, I just sent all my mates in the group chat, like my location. And I was like, if I don't message you guys tomorrow, I haven't eaten.
Um, but that was actually just, uh, just like worked out in my head. They were actually just really lovely. And, um, yeah, I got to the fishermen and, uh, skipped a lot of.
[00:31:20] Joseph: But what I find amazing about this story by the way, is I'm trying to identify what was the source of danger. You can time it, you know, you've just got to visit the lady in the pub.
Is it the brown skeletons? Was it the peninsulas of the boating? Is this the person that you met at the hostel? And, and it's almost funny it just to, to have that preconceived notion of where your story is going. And so I'm actually like filtering what you're telling me through that lens of like, okay, well, at what point is Connor in danger and, well, it was, it was more of like, man, there's a lot of uncertainty here and. Yeah, it's dark and I'm on a bike.
[00:31:50] Connor Curlewis: Yeah. It's more like fun. Just fear, uncertainty and despair. But it's like what I said earlier, like you kind of just you're vulnerable and then you have a shield and you kind of like fluctuate between like, oh, Hey, you're actually a real nice person. I could get to know you sure I'll go to your house. And then you suddenly, you're like, like when they told me it's a bit rough around here, you should pull your bike inside the house.
And they like put my bike in the kitchen and they locked the door. That's freaky. My, like my horse has been decapitated and I'm like stuck inside the house, but yeah, it was no means to be, uh, to be afraid of really.
[00:32:28] Joseph: And the other thing too about traveling that sticks out to me is for me, one of the limiting factors has always been, um, you know, how much money it, it, it, it costs to travel and to have a meaningful experience, but, but, and knowing you and all the times that you've, you've traveled even in the last year, um, it, I guess, how do you, how do you budget it?
And this is, this is a far more practical, pragmatic question. True. True. How do you, how does someone who you've been, you've been bartender bar manager for a number of years? Not exactly the most lucrative position. Um, especially when we compare and contrast to the other guests that they ran the program to for our, for a couple of the unfair comparison.
Um, but yeah, like how do you, how do you budget it? How do you, uh, sort out the, uh, the, the means to. Go wherever it is, you feel like going.
[00:33:17] Connor Curlewis: It's like you never stopped traveling. I think like once, like in, in my younger years, like as soon as I was, uh, out of high school, I went for it like 17, um, went to Europe for four months.
And what you, well, I guess this kind of helps the whole context when I was a year of when I was 18, uh, I had this beautiful girlfriend, Kelly first girlfriend, and I was so in love with it, but I was saving up for this trip the whole time we're in the relationship. And I saved up like 9,000 New Zealand dollars.
I was working at a butchery as a cleanup boy for 18 months, $70 a week. And I went on the trip and I'd like never bought her a single gift in that whole. So when I was in Europe, I was like, I'm going to get her like all the best stuff, the best stuff being like the most superficial things like jewelry.
So I bought her like earrings from where her grandma was born in Scotland, bought her like a, uh, a handmade ring in Venice, yada, yada, yada very quickly ran out of money. And, um, my, my credit card didn't work in Europe. So for, uh, 24 days before I went back to London, I didn't have, um, many meals and I lost 16 kgs.
I just had bread for like nearly a month and yeah, really lost a lot of weight. And it was kind of like all my friends look, like I said, I looked like a zombie. And, um, what I learned from that trip was you should just always hold the same approach to money, even when you've got the money. So even now here I'm just frugal.
So when I go on a trip, nothing really changes. Cause I'm always just like buying food from the supermarket, cooking it myself. Um, I don't really drink much. Um, so you save a lot of money by like not paying people to cook for you and yeah, the bike packing trips, that's exceptionally cheap. Cause you're just like cycling around.
It's really, you just, you just pay for the food and then you eat it and then you just camp somewhere. And yet if you're in like Europe or north America, or then you have to spend money on transport. But yeah, I always just all for the bus, you know, or the cheapest.
[00:35:33] Joseph: Yeah. And I, and I think it, like I was saying earlier is that it, it, it speaks to a more authentic experience.
I think the more grounded you are, the more, you know, you're learning what it's like to live in that, in that place shop where they're shopping. Yeah. Well, I don't, I don't know about camping outside. I assume that the locals there tend to have shelter, but for the most part, um, but let's just say people go, they stay at an Airbnb instead of a hotel, you know, they get more of the experience of the, of a hospitality and, and speaking as somebody who, you know, I, I don't know, cold showers, but I give myself a pass because I live in Canada.
So it's cold, always true. You know, it's, uh, we do, we do chase after, uh, comforts. I know I chase after comfort side quite a bit. It's hard. It's hard not to, I didn't have a military level of discipline instilled in me. So it goes to show how much of our, uh, of our limiting factors are in our own minds. And that it, it's not easy to get over them.
I guess there's some, uh, uh, constellation in that if I know I'm doing something, that's making me uncomfortable, that means I'm actually on the right path and I'm going in the right direction. That's why I like, I'm getting to the point where I look forward to travel. You know, it's gonna, it's gonna, it's gonna, it's gonna happen.
Um, and, and at least for my, for my sake, I feel like it's, it's gonna happen around the time that meant to happen based off my life's trajectory. So, uh, yeah, it's a good, good, good, a good insights on that one.
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Come back to the company, given that, you know, you've, you've seen what people. I have to deal with them when they're living with very, very little and there's wild animals, you know, nearby as, as you say, in Kenya, who are those people living in extreme, uh, unsafe conditions like in South Africa where there's a fences. And I was also also say south America. And, um, there might've been a lot of fences there too, or even just America, American south, a lot of fences there too. A lot of people in a lot of uncertain living conditions coming into the, this company. And, you know, we, we, we talked about we're helping customers and we want to solve their problems.
How did you reconcile your perspective of the kinds of problems that you see people in other parts of the world facing where they don't even have the luxury of the internet to order stuff from Amazon, let alone having the internet and just not having Amazon versus the kind of problems that usually people are facing in the developed world, such as you know, here in Canada and New Zealand and in the states.
Thank you. I worked hard on that.
[00:38:26] Connor Curlewis: Sweet. I mean, I haven't even been able to reconcile that in myself because I often find myself complaining about something and then I'll catch myself, like, dude, like think of teacher John he's like got a lot more going from, uh, or Vincent in Kibera slums. Yeah. One thing I would, I would say that does reconcile.
It it's like donating money. So like, just trying to, like, you don't really have to think about what you're doing because you're kind of like, well, some of this, some of what I'm doing is just going to help people like, so that kind of helps you to work harder because you're like, this is all kind of like coming and going.
So yeah, the, um, uh, what's it called? The effective altruism movement, like donating 10% of your wealth. The most effective charities in the world, but yeah, I think I can't blame people who are like, this is a problem I have, you should, you should fix it. Even though it's like a semantic Shopify issue, it's people are living, we could get onto the free will thing.
Like you're just living a linear life. And you're just like, given these choices and given these problems and you have to make solutions and you can't get mad at people because they're, their problems are smaller than other people. So I think anyone that needs help and if you're in a position to lend data or guidance or your time, then, then yeah, you should.
So, yeah, and the company is good for that. I love teaching and I love like helping people out.
[00:40:01] Joseph: And, you know, in, in the L I'll throw myself into the crucible as well in regards to, um, you know, reconciling my own issues. Uh, for me above all else, what matters the most is am I creating meaningful connections with other human beings?
And I, in this last year, I I've expanded my Rolodex of contacts and connections tenfold more than I've ever experienced anything in my life, um, between the people within the company, as well as the, the, uh, the Rolodex of guests. Um, you know, earlier this week, we, we had a Marc Chapon, uh, back on, it was the first time we had somebody back and this is this huge smile on my face that he wanted to come back and do another episode.
And the idea that the, uh, the work that I had done had, uh, had a meaningful impact on somebody whose time was very valuable to get, to come back and want to do more. So when I do this with this program, I, I I'm, I'm still focused on doing my job, but I also think about, you know, what is my role? And this is, you know, my, uh, my, my thing on like, you know, the freewill versus the fate, uh, aspect of it is just like, you know, trying to figure out what is my, my greatest purpose, um, and, uh, and be able to stick to that path because having trust that, you know, this path laid out for me is the one that I should be on and it's where I can do the most good.
And so, you know, that's the, that's the beauty, that's the thing that I really enjoy about what I'm doing here is just being able to look at the human beings in the face for a couple of hours a week and solve some small problems, solve some big problems once in a while, debate God, you know, it's all good.
[00:41:37] Connor Curlewis: Yeah. Great. Yeah. What do you find has been a good problem that you've solved or, uh, what's one of the most meaningful connections if you've made there?
[00:41:48] Joseph: That's a good one. So the, I mean, actually incidentally, um, the, the first one was figuring out what was the fundamental objective? And so when we say solving problems, that in of itself was the solution that I was looking for and that I needed a right away to be like, you know, what is, what is, what is the truth that unites everything that we're doing here altogether.
And that is people have problems. We provide solutions and we're compensated for our time. And if somebody can figure out the, um, the formula for solving problems on a large scale, they get compensated pretty well for it. And then they met, most of them seem to use that money to go do other things. And again, using Marc as an example, and now he's working on like, Ooh, actually, I don't know.
Well, he's working on something close to his passion, but I can't say anything else about that. But the idea is, you know, he, he, he, he made it, he he's earning a great living, um, and then some off of e-commerce and it's actually helping him focus on, you know, what are the problems that he really wants to solve, uh, beyond e-commerce.
And, uh, and, and it's great to, to be able to hear that story and, you know, inspire others to do as well. So it's kind of a cop out answer. So how let's try to think of it, like another one that I can give you as well. One of them would have actually been, uh, affiliate marketing, um, which is a rather. Um, but now term and the high-minded conversation that we're having, but if we break down the essence of it, it's encouraging people to talk about what they want to talk about and rewarding people for having a passion, rather than reprimanding them for having a passion.
If somebody is enthusiastic about jewelry or at products or video games, whatever it is, they can think of in the whole wide world as a passionate about it, we want to encourage people to write about it. And, you know, you put a Lincoln, it goes to somebody else's selling a product and you get a commission for it.
It is it's win-win. And I, and I, the thing that I've taken the most comfort in over the last year is feeling like I'm being part of a solution rather than being part of a problem is feeling like when somebody asks me down the street. So what do you do the easiest way to summarize it? Because I've given up on telling people that I'm a podcaster is, um, I help people set up online businesses so that they can, they can generate their own revenue and most people seem to appreciate that. And, and the, and that means a lot to me is knowing that I'm contributing to a large-scale scale solution rather than a large-scale problem. Um, and then I'll give you one more. So, uh, funnily enough, again, it was the previous guest Marc who had brought up this concept of the e-comm puzzle.
And now each person's view of the puzzle is probably a little bit different pieces might be of a different size. So like me, for instance, a feeling it's something I'm very enthusiastic about. SEO is more of like, I need to learn it it's important, but it's just not going to be my strong suit, no matter how hard I try.
So my puzzle will be very different. And I think that there is a, a limitation to what e-commerce will mean when somebody hears that word, they might think it's exclusively Shopify stores. And my, my argument is, you know, any transaction that happens online. Which to be tactically be e-commerce. So if I order an Uber online, a car is delivered to me in the real world in the same way that I've, I order a product online, a product is shipped to me in the real world.
So there's this intersection between reality and online. And so what am I, my goals within e-commerce is to help make e-commerce become commerce because, um, the internet is the equalizer that everybody can use to elevate themselves to the level that they feel they deserve to be at. And, uh, at some point I would like to see the E taken out of e-commerce and just, it comes to full fruition.
And we're actually in the true blending of the, uh, online, very via all the variations of online interactions with how they will make our, um, human lives, uh, as good as they can be.
[00:45:51] Connor Curlewis: Yeah, I think that'll be great. As long as the products are fulfilling.
[00:45:54] Joseph: Yep. And being fulfilled.
Okay. So actually, I guess I want to get back to, um, from, from the beginning is, you know, your, uh, your, your aspirations as a fellow director, because there was another, um, uh, divergence between our, uh, how we approach our goals is, you know, your, your advice that was given to you that you abide by is, you know, don't focus on exactly what it's going to be, focus more on the pursuit and abroad.
And I didn't get advice in one way or another. The way I had come to it on my own is to actually focus very specifically on what is the exact thing that I want to do. And the reason why I wanted to go that route was because it helped condition. My decision making to think, is this helping my goal? Or is it not helping my goal?
And if it doesn't clearly help my go, how will this feed into a broader strategy to get to that point? So the way I, I view it as try to get to the top of Mount Olympus, because even if a person doesn't make it to the top, even if they end up on a village, a set up somewhere in the midpoint, that's still pretty darn good.
But I felt like once I had figured out exactly what it is I want to do, it's given my life a lot of clarity and a lot of focus in making, even if I make a tiny minuscule step to get towards that, it's part of a life's mission. So the pressure is both on and off at the same time. I feel it, but I also don't feel it.
[00:47:21] Connor Curlewis: Yeah. Yeah. Well, it's good that you've come to that by yourself, because if you, if you're being too hard on yourself, it's just going to be a complete mess and you got it yet. You've got to remind yourself that you're doing good things.
[00:47:33] Joseph: So with, um, uh, with you and film is, uh, not to, uh, you know, make it contradict your, your, your motivations, but, um, do you have a vision for some of the content that you wanted to make down the line?
[00:47:47] Connor Curlewis: Yeah, I'd probably be like instilling curiosity somehow. Like I'm conveying the stories of my life in its essence. Like not in an autobiographical sense, but more in like a, these are the lessons I've learned from being like, I am making a, I do a bit of other work and I have this like term that I use is like radical openness where like these situations where I'm like, you could put the shields up and your uh, this just looks away at this. What am I doing? No, thanks. I'm going to keep going down the road. That's like the bike packing thing, but yeah, we'll flag that if you just completely be radically open and you just see what people have to say, and like you recognize that another person is another person and they've got all a reservoir of knowledge, um, that's that might not be like academic or, um, within line with what you're interested in, but it's different.
So like, just that difference to me. I think I thrive off novelty. I think I'd love to make a film about, um, how that's useful for people. Because I think like today we have a lot of shields. Like it's hard to even connect with you because I'm in New Zealand and like my girlfriend lives in Massachusetts and it's a, it's a constant battle.
Even my friends who live in Sunnynook down the road, I got annoyed at them cause they, they want to have a video call. Let's just hang out, like come to my house, I'll come and heels. And, um, the technology is really great and it's easy to use. And I think, yeah, if I could just make a film that kind of instills a community, curiosity and openness, that would be great.
And I guess that's kind of full circle because I'm not too bothered about what it will be. I know that I'll have fun making the films. And, um, I also recognize that it's going to be a long time before I make that like lots of film writers were 30 plus when they started, I did a lot of reading of, um, Werner Herzog when I was younger and he says, you have to have your own story. If you want to be a storyteller, you can't just read what people have said. You've got to go out and really live. He says, work in a insane asylum, be a bouncer at a nightclub. And for me, the radical openness comes from bike packing because when you're cycling across the country, It eventually the sun goes down during the day and you've cycled all day and it's like, oh, this is brilliant.
I've seen so many beautiful sites. I had that great conversation at lunchtime and the sun comes down and you've got your tent on your back. And you're like, I have to stop somewhere. And that choice comes in at like dusk. And you think, oh, this village looks okay. Or this complete remote hillside looks okay.
And you just keep going. You're like, no, there might be something better. That might be something better. And eventually it actually becomes dark and you're like, I have to stop. Yeah. That radical openness comes where you just have that decision power. And you're like, this looks okay. Or, or I'll just keep it.
[00:50:50] Joseph: I I, cause I think for me, the, uh, the radical openness was probably instilled when I was in the comedy community for about three years. Um, so for those of you wondering yes, once in a while, I did. Okay. On stage and you know, I was, uh, I, I would hear so many perspectives and Mo not only to be able to accommodate, did they not have a filter?
Many of them had an anti filter where they would go out of the way to say things that are inappropriate. And I was just, I mean, I would just laugh at the delivery, but I would laugh at the, the abrasiveness of it all. And it was a, it was an intense three years, but it instilled in me this willingness to listen to basically anybody.
Like if I'm, if I'm sitting in the, uh, in the food court, in the atrium, which is, I don't know if you're familiar with the Eaton center, it's like the flagship mall of Toronto, the atrium is as benign tumor that has cropped up that all the stories that can make it into the in-center, they just go to the atrium instead.
So, um, I was in another room eating, uh, eating my dinner and, uh, and an almost person who's out of his mind comes and sits, sits across from me. And so it's going off about, uh, it's been a while, but I'm pretty sure it was like communist China or something like that. And I think most people in that situation would probably have like, you know, either ignored it or try to shut it down.
Um, but seemingly disregarding my own safety at the time. I just sat and listened to him. It came from, I guess I I'm comfortable hearing whatever opinions this person may have, because I know. They, they they're, they're not going to scare me. They're not gonna affect me. It's this is a hazy is the world.
And I'm just going to absorb whatever I can. I like this idea of like, you know, venom can be very dangerous, but the antidote to the venom is also from the venom itself. One of the most dangerous jobs in the world is to extract the, the, the, the serum so that they can turn it into the antidote. So that's another thing that always resonated with me too, is like, your antidote always comes from the venom.
So you do have to face that venom in some way.
[00:52:50] Connor Curlewis: And that reminds me of a story. Um, this kind of answers your question. Uh, what's the most dangerous you've ever felt.
[00:52:58] Joseph: That'd be cool.
[00:53:01] Connor Curlewis: Yeah. Yeah. This is, this is, well, there's another, there's a couple there. I once went swimming with alligators and hippos.
That's a long story, but, um, I didn't feel dangerous at the time, so it didn't, it didn't pop into my mind, but yeah, the, the, the venom is a really good anecdote now. There was this one time I was 16 and I was working in my first job to clean up boy at the butchery. And this guy came in, uh, into the store and he was like wearing a fight club.
T-shirt big red fight club t-shirt and I was like.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. He's ruining the whole thing. Didn't listen. And I was like, oh man, it's been a while. It's nearly 10 years ago. But I said something like, oh, nice shirt. Yeah. I just said like nice shirt. And he said, oh yeah, yeah.
Um, you want to play the movie? And I was like, oh, now I'd probably kick your ass. And like, I'm like this lanky 16 year old, this is like a 50 year old man. Like well-built stocky guy. And he, he, he kinda like Grantville grunted. And like, I ended up having to like go into the, into the buchery in the back and do something else.
And like 15 minutes later, we'd close the store. And I was going outside to get the A-frames like that, like, hold up all the specials and the offers and I'm putting stuff away. Nice. Soon as I go outside of the shop, he's right there waiting for me with his shopping on the floor. And, uh, all of, I won't use his language because it's pretty rude, but he was like, I'm going to teach you a lesson and I'm going to beat your head in.
And it was like, I am alone at the butchery because my manager is gone and I'm like, whoa, what? Like just fully just shock. And I like I'm training, uh, Kung Fu at the time. And I'm like, I put my hands out like this, like a wing Chun, God. And I kept like putting them off. And I said, no, you're not, you're not going to beat my head.
And you're going to go home. And I didn't, I didn't like do it. Wasn't a physical conflict. Like I've been in a few fights, but this was the one time where I felt really scared because it was. Building. And I just had to be like, no, you're not. You're you're crazy. Go away. And there's been other times where it had, I haven't had that luxury to talk to somebody I've just been punched in the face.
But this time it was very scary because I was like, what is about to happen? What's what am I doing? And yeah, he, um, he didn't leave and I told him to go away and I went inside and I went and hid inside the, um, fridge where we kept all the pigs and cows and sheep. And I just closed that door and I waited for five or six minutes.
And Chris, the manager came back and I told him what happened. And, uh, he was actually just really keen to have a flight. He was like, oh, we'll go find him. We'll go get him. And I was like, no way, I'm going home. I'm cycling out of here. I go to my bike and I just biked home. But yeah, that venom things really.
[00:56:10] Joseph: Yeah. I mean, some of the, some of that comes from, you know, being raised on the internet and, you know, being exposed to the opinions that to the internet are known for. There's a lot of in them there, but so at the end of notes, uh, so I think we, how long have we done? Yeah, we pretty much, uh, done, done, done the, our pat himself on the back for my goal, which was to improvise the whole thing.
So good one Joseph. Um, so let's, uh, let's wrap this bad boy up. Um, let us know. Well, I mean, the usual question is I'd love to hear your take on this, but I always ask our guests, if you have any words of wisdom or just like a Chinese proverb, we read the, like something along those lines, you're welcome to share it.
And then it's let the audience know how to find you, which shouldn't be too far off from where our audience typically finds me.
[00:56:58] Connor Curlewis: True. Great word of wisdom is if you don't like something but, but recognize that, uh, a lot of things are out of your control. So try and change those things that are in your control.
I guess one thing I learned just last week is, uh, if you're down in a slump and you're like, you know, a bit depressed try, and you can do this exercise where you just look at your breakfast in the morning, you're like, oh yeah, I cooked that breakfast. And I made myself a drink, coffee or tea. You kind of look at it.
And you're like, wow. Was that really me? Kind of feels like a dream. Now that was six hours ago. And if you take that perspective to your depressed period, and you think, you know, in five years time, I'm going to look back at this and I'm going to laugh. Like it's just not even going to be, I'm not even going to be able to identify with it because it's going to be such a distant, blurry.
Yeah, try and hold that perspective if you're feeling down because everything passes really. And, um, you should try and change it and be a bit happier. But I mean, obviously that's a bit idealistic sometimes. It's really tough. So good luck. I guess.
[00:58:03] Joseph: Yeah. But, but, but, um, so, you know, that's, uh, again, going back to getting into the top of Mount Olympus, it's the most, it's, it's, it's the most lofty ambition I can come up with, um, to, to suit the analogy and the, the, the, the attempt is where all the value comes from not the destination.
[00:58:22] Connor Curlewis: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, yeah. And yeah. If you want to find us, you probably just scroll down, click the Debutify link.
[00:58:28] Joseph: Yep. Yeah. Just head on over to Debutify on YouTube where, uh, Connor's videos are are up. Um, unless you're already on the YouTube. Cause we are very likely posting this video on both channels.
So to everybody who is a subscriber and a viewer of the beautifying, if you enjoyed this conversation, Ecomonics is released twice a week and we bring on people no only who are say experts on drop shipping, but pretty much anybody in the e-commerce base is fair game. So, you know, we've had affiliate marketers, we've had SEO experts. We've had a couple of developers. We've had teachers, especially people that specialize and say you to me or teachable or our online learning platforms. We, um, we've had some truly remarkable people. Um, there's, uh, there's any episode that I'd love for people to check out just to. Here, what it's like for me to like, be physically shaking for the most of, uh, of the episode was, um, uh, Greg Halpern.
Um, this was, uh, somebody I never in a million years with, uh, I would have the privilege to spend an hour with. And we actually chatted for like an entire hour before we turned the recording on. And I was never so excited before in my life to, to meet somebody. So, um, there are some truly extraordinary people that are in this space because they are trying to make their own way.
That's the thing that everybody's got in common is everybody is trying to do things on their own. This is a, a community and an industry built up independence. And I, and I said it before that the true movers and shakers of the world, I think are in this space. Um, not to denigrate many other amazing people doing amazing things, but what's going on over here is truly something fantastic.
And I am honored to be able to, uh, do my part. So with that Connor, it's been great talking with you. Uh, uh, Lord knows we'll have another conversation pretty soon and, um, yeah, to, to our audience, um, and on both sides on the dignified YouTube, and also to my, my people on economics y'all should get to know each other.
Uh, it is, uh, a wonderful, extraordinary thing to be able to do what I do for, for all of you. So, uh, thank you and take care. We will check in soon. And I mean, we, especially this time, because you'll be hearing from Connor pretty soon too.
[01:00:45] Connor Curlewis: You can hear from me right now. Thanks for having us and, uh, yeah. Have a great day.
[01:00:50] Joseph: Ahead of schedule.
I like it. Take care.
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