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Chris MaddenChris Madden is the Co-founder of Matchnode and Sea Bums. Matchnode is a boutique growth marketing firm that works with clients, including the Chicago Bulls, Chicago Blackhawks, LendingTree, Indiana University, and New Balance. Sea Bums is a digital platform community centered around protecting our oceans. Sea Bums’ 10K Generative NFT project donates 20% of sales and 3% of secondary market sales to ocean charities.

As a career entrepreneur, he’s either founded, co-founded, or held leadership positions in companies, including Celebratelt.TV, Playhem, Chicago International Movies and Music Festival (CIMMfest), DPCM LLC, and Creaverde Group. Chris earned his BA in English and Spanish from Georgetown University and his MBA in entrepreneurship and marketing from the University of Illinois Chicago.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Chris Madden introduces Sea Bums and Matchnode and how he is shaping digital experiences and positively impacting ocean health
  • Chris discusses how his digital advertising agency was able to open up to a broader digital landscape
  • How an NFT (non-fungible token) project is helping to improve our oceans
  • Can the metaverse translate status or identity within virtual experiences?
  • Chris explains purchasing space in the metaverse and using NFTs
  • How the metaverse is encouraging people to clean our oceans and waterways
  • Chris talks about translating digital content and integrating paid social ads to drive returns

In this episode…

Years ago, brands were aimed at a more traditional advertising route. Now, it is slanted towards the digital space. How can brands stay relevant in a world that is shifting to digital outputs? Is it possible for an organization to comfortably transition to the expansive online space?

That’s where Chris Madden enters the room. He has experience and patience in guiding brands that are unsure of the digital realm. He helps companies grow by increasing communication, ROI, and funneling traffic to create sales. Through his social marketing advertising and online community, Chris saw an opportunity to make positive changes using the metaverse and NFTs (non-fungible tokens). Now, he’s here to share how to drive revenue for your business in the digital space while creating meaning and purpose.

In this episode of the Rising Entrepreneurs Podcast, join Dr. Jeremy Weisz as he sits down with the Co-founder of Matchnode and Sea Bums, Chris Madden, to discuss the digital experience of the metaverse and digital marketing. Chris talks about digital advertising, the software and technical learning used to create his digital community, and marketing inclusive experiences to generate revenue.

Resources mentioned in this episode

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Episode Transcript

Intro  0:02  

Welcome to the Rising Entrepreneurs Podcast where we feature top founders and entrepreneurs and their journey. Now, let’s get started with the show.

Jeremy Weisz  0:12  

Dr. Jeremy Weisz here, founder of, where I talk with inspiration entrepreneurs and leaders, and today is no different. I have Chris Madden have Matchnode and Sea Bums. And Chris, I’m gonna formally introduce you in a second. But I always like to give, you know, other episodes people should check out of the podcast. So Andy Crestodina, which is a mutual friend orbit medio studios, you know, we’ve known each other Chris, but Andy was like, have you had Chris? No, I actually I haven’t. And so he actually re introduced us, whatever you want to say. You can check out that, you know, there was an episode with Jason swank as well. He has two episodes, one where he talks about how he’s buying up agencies and what how he values agencies and what they’re doing to buy up agencies. It’s really a great topic and check that out and many more on inspired This episode is brought to you by Rise25 Rise25 we help businesses give to and connect to their dream 100 relationships. And how do we do that we help you run your podcast. You know, Chris, for me, the number one thing in my life is relationships. And I’m always looking at ways to give to my best relationships. I have found no better way to do that than to profile the people and the companies I most admire over the past decade on my podcast. So if you have thought about podcasting, you should. If you have questions go to You can email us anything you know, John and I both been doing it for over a decade support at and learn more. Chris Madden Co-founder and Matchnode, which is a digital ad agency that includes the Chicago Bulls lending tree, new balance, and many, many more, as clients you can check them out at Also Chris started Sea Bums, which is an NFT project focused on massively improving ocean health, which has donated over $140,000 to ocean charities in within a six month timeframe at Chris, I feel like I’ve seen Sea Bums and NFTs everywhere. So maybe you’re just following me everywhere because you’re so good at ads. But anyways, thanks for joining me.

Chris Madden  2:19  

Thank you so much, Jeremy for having me. I’m very excited to chat with you. And yes, there’s a reason why you’ve been seeing Sea Bums. Just in your introduction. I own an advertising agency and an NFT project. You put those things together. I’m glad you’ve seen them.

Jeremy Weisz  2:33  

Um, so tell me a little bit more about what Matchnode does, and then we’ll get to Sea Bums

Chris Madden  2:38  

will do. So Matchnode is a digital advertising agency. I like to say here in Chicago, although we gave up our Chicago address and HQ. In the pandemic’s. Now we’re remote agency of nine employees, like you said, we work with b2c brands, like the Chicago Bulls, a couple other sports teams, Lending Tree, we have some other financial services clients. We work with restaurants, all b2c, it’s work that’s very strategic. And we are paid social first. So we started as an agency around essentially Facebook ads and grew that over time. We also do a lot of Google ads, we do a lot of other paid social platforms like Pinterest and Tik Tok, things like that. And yeah, we really enjoy we’re very data driven and very high touch. So we’re a small agency that ends up looking like an extension of our clients teams, and really enjoy the work that we do. And it’s a lot of fun. So Sea Bums. Sea Bums is an NFT project, like you said, with a mission of massively impacting ocean health. So started Sea Bums. We dropped the collection in December with a with a co creator Nate Azar. Nate is the artists behind Sea Bums. And I’ve been in crypto as an investor and close watcher on the space for like six years. And I’ve been wanting really badly to dive deeper into crypto professionally. And as we’ll maybe we’ll touch on in this conversation, the things that are happening with Matchnode as a digital ad agency, with certain clients that we have, the platforms that we work on was becoming clearer and clearer to us the way in which these digital experiences and services are moving. And so that ft project where we got to learn a lot more about how all this is happening. Like to learn by doing so we are pretty deep in the learning process really enjoying it. It is a wild ride and empty space is very, very exciting, but also challenging for lots of reasons. So it’s been it’s been great. And it has been a straight uphill curve as far as the learning curve learning curve goes.

Jeremy Weisz  4:49  

There’s for many people when people hear crypto or NFT it almost feels like a black box. We’re not sure what it is. I want you to talk a little bit about you know, one of the reasons Since you did a heavy shift into this, which has to do with I know what the platform’s and the things that were going on with Matchnode, and then, you know, we’ll talk about, what is it like why, how did you dive into it, what you’re doing. So what caused you to kind of look deeper into the NFT space?

Chris Madden  5:17  

Well, you know, we really enjoy working on Facebook as an ad platform. And now meta, but Facebook changed its name to meta for a reason, say a lot of the changes that we were already tracking, we bought Bitcoin as an agency in 2016, we were only a couple years in because we saw a future in which digital interactions and digital networks are going to be owned by creators and owned by people rather than owned by centralized systems. So I think we’re now at a point where meta Instagram, all the different parts of meta and all these centralized platforms understand that they themselves are admitting it. And they’re coming later than a lot. So. So that so that was like a strategic digital landscape reason that has to do with my advertising agency and my view on those different large players in the industries, as far as what none of t is and why we decided to do it. And if t is the first chance to really own provably any digital object course, in the past, might own you might have an image or some some piece of sensitive information, like a big statement, anybody can copy back, get their hands on it, you can copy things infinitely. What NFT is allow for is some digital verification of ownership. And so I can make an NFT, you can decide that you want to buy it from me, you can keep it forever, and you can do all sorts of different things with it. NFT’s I think to in the broader landscape are a little bit pigeon holed for what they can be with a like a really broad Apple was closer to like a website or a web page and a reality of the things that it can do. It can display images, it can carry metadata. But what really matters is that I think it’s the it’s the piece of the crypto industry that has most brought normal people into it, because it’s relatable, you see this on this thing. Those things are easier to understand and maybe some previous crypto movements that were really truly financial in nature, like decentralized finance, you gotta get pretty excited about lending and loans and bonds and things like that to really get this whereas this is a fun accessible way to dive into crypto to dive into NFT’s a very friendly community that’s really helpful and really been eye opening to me. And then I think going back three or four years ago, when NFT’s were frankly first invented, I started watching it with crypto kitties, which first came out on the Ethereum network. And what a little bit of I think an easy criticism is like it’s can be shallow and short term. And so I saw those years ago that adding a charitable component to an NFT project was was really necessary. And just looking at a lot of e-commerce and DTC web two brands that have broken out, like that charitable piece of those businesses and adding meaning and purpose to that wasn’t was a pretty obvious thing, in my opinion. And I think it’s really helped us as far as attracting a values based community, all the people in our community. You know, some people are surfers, and some people live near the ocean. And some people are marine biologists and it’s like, global. So we’re really excited about what has happened so far. Yeah, that donation number we are super proud of. And we’re just at the beginning, there’s so much to do, and I can go on and on.

Jeremy Weisz  8:39  

Yeah, I mean, if you’re watching, if you’re listening the audio, you can check out the video as well on the postman’s Inspired Insider, and I’m pulling up the Sea Bums website and you can kind of see what it looks like visually and you see all this, these cool images when you decide to first get started with this. Where did you start like walk me through the journey a little bit of Sea Bums?

Chris Madden  9:03  

Sure. So I had been kicking around similar ideas around cleaning up the world like literally paying people to go out and clean up a place around them as a side project before the pandemic started. And like I said, I’ve been pretty deep into crypto and NFT’s just watching it and listening to podcasts and things like that. There seem to always in my head, there was a missing piece of how to really get started and the missing piece was a friend of mine Nate who is the CO creator and the artists we’ll see if you keep scrolling down the website for those of our listeners who are also watching. So they started the project was literally one of those quick moments where as soon as I thought of Nate, I was like Haha, that’s it. I can’t believe I didn’t think of that sooner. So Nate and I are friends. We have a close mutual friend that introduced us and his Nate has a design agency. He introduced us to lending tree this was many years ago lending tree became our biggest client. So again, in the Matchnode world this all felt very But it was very it made a lot of sense. Nate has passed us business. We passed him business. We’re like, let’s do this. He also wanted as an artist wanted to get into web three to learn more. And so when I had that moment of clarity, that little light bulb, I texted him. And I said, Do you want to do an MVC project with me? And 10 minutes later? He said, Yes. And it was October of last year. I remember that because it was the Bulls first preseason game was the next night and I said, You got to go on the Bulls game and talk about it. So he said, Yes, we did. We sat down. And it was that quickly, we charity was always going to be a part of it, I think, in my initial tax that throughout a couple of components and charity was a piece first, first conversation, we agree that the ocean should be the focus. So then they started over the next week or two started sending me images of different fish sorts of characters that he’s drawn. And fast forward a month, and we’ve locked in on this base character that you’re looking at. And the way these NFT projects work is that they’re algorithmically generated. So there are 10,000 pieces in our collection. They’re all completely unique. They’re all different from one another. And basically, you can see just right here, simply, there’s like a background, that’s different colors. There’s different types of fish. And there are different like headgear, for example. Now there’s, I think there’s something like 14 traits, I’m just naming three. But for those three traits, they may have put in 20, or 25, or 50, different possibilities. And so we run a piece of software that algorithmically lines these things up and creates 10,000, there could have been maybe, I don’t know, a million or 10 million based on all the different possible traits. And so we run through those 10,000 unique traits. There’s a whole lot of technical learning that we had to do on how to actually do this. And so you can see the button there to metazine Bomb if someone connects their wallet, clicks, mint pays the ease to mint, it, that Sea Bum is automatically passed into their wallet, the next Sea Bum in the line. And so we don’t know what that next Sea Bum is, and neither do they. So there’s this fun moment of where you’re almost like opening the one that you’ve gotten. So

Jeremy Weisz  12:06  

that’s like opening a digital pack of baseball cards. Exactly. It’s definitely like except for it’s a unique, it’s guaranteed unique. Yeah, like if each pack of cards had a card that was unique, and only you would get it,

Chris Madden  12:21  

there were 10,000 Total cards, every every one of the 10,000 is unique. You open up the pack and like, Oh, this is the one that I got.

Jeremy Weisz  12:28  

Yes. Got it. And so they get it. And then what?

Chris Madden  12:31  

And then another part of the community and you know, there’s there’s an invent one that is a huge question the NFC space and different projects answer that question differently. brass tacks, when you get down to it, then what is you own this piece of art, you can do anything with it. So we do pass the commercial ownership rights of the piece of art to that so people can do anything they want, they can change it, they can. And people have done a lot of different cool mods, we’ve got some cool artists in our community that will put their favorite sports team as the background, or you’ll make one for Valentine’s Day or make one for Earth Day or people can use it to make their own merchandise and sell that merchandise. People can start a business they can do anything they want to they own it. So that’s the first thing is that really like what you’re getting is this piece of art, your ability to own it, your ability to transfer it to others, whatever you want to do. And also note that 20% of the money that you paid, went to charity. And then there are a lot more things that we’re working on. And as you scroll down, there is a Metaverse component of it. There’s another project that we bought into that basically allows us to build a Metaverse with a play to earn capabilities on top of Minecraft so we hired an agency that’s helping us build that and build a Minecraft world that you can go in and see right now that’s all Sea Bums based and next piece of development finishes, we’re gonna be able to have like Sea Bums game. So if you own a Sea Bum, you go into our Minecraft world, you play this game, you’ll get rewards like money. It’s called the world’s token that this NFT project is launching. And so that token then we get part of that to charity. So these games are about cleaning up the ocean and things that fish would do to clean up trash. That’s a virtual world is a very important real world piece of this, which is about cleaning up the ocean. So aside from the charitable piece that we’re we’re donating money at the Mint. There’s also we’re doing especially with the weather getting nicer we’re recording this in May I live in Chicago,

Jeremy Weisz  14:32  

and isn’t that quite nice yet, but yeah.

Chris Madden  14:36  

Doing a lot of beach cleanups. So anybody who does a beach cleanup. In past months, we’ve been changing the incentives, but we’re giving people incentives to get outside and clean things up. So in the past, if you went outside and you cleaned up for an hour or two and those parameters, kind of details on what we’re looking for, but basically if you do before and after pictures, you do that three times we send people Sea Bum there is a specific kind of NFT that we’re now giving out. And every time you do a clean up in a month, you get entered into a raffle to now wouldn’t see them. So we’ve been adjusting what that looks like. But it’s all these virtual and real worlds community building possibilities that our unlocks that all again lead back to this mission of improving ocean health.

Jeremy Weisz  15:24  

So people could win a one of these and Sea Bums NFTs for participating in the cleanup as well. Absolutely. That’s cool. I love that. You know, you mentioned the metaverse, there’s a lot of things. People may buy it because they want something cool. They want to change it. Maybe they want to make merch out of it. But they can also use it in it’s also being used in the metaverse. And so just explain a little bit of the metaverse you know, when I when I and I don’t know if I’m thinking of it properly, but I’m thinking of it like a virtual reality. You know, I have an Oculus quest to, you know, I put it on in a game, a virtual reality game. And you can interact with different games. So I don’t know if I’m thinking of it properly. What is the metaverse? And how would how does that relate to the NFT?

Chris Madden  16:09  

Good question. Like just this discussion around? What’s the definition of a Metaverse is a useful one just because it opens up the discussion of I don’t think there’s a perfect definition. But there’s like extremes, you know. So I think of a Metaverse is a persistent digital experience. So that can be lots of different things. You could I’ve heard, I’ve heard people argue that we already live in the metaverse and lots of ways where like our banking environment is essentially Metaverse where a lot of people don’t even go into a branch. We’ve got images on our phone and in our screens, that our experience of having wealth and having money with this relationship with this bank. That’s pretty nice. You know, then you mentioned Oculus quest VR, I would definitely say that games and virtual reality are the closest thing that we have so far. And it’s the it’s the jumping off point for which people can go a little bit deeper. Imagine like, well, what if everything was again, what if you’re always in this in this world? And I don’t see it quite like those are the two extremes. And the reality is there’s just like all this gray in the middle as the hardware and the software and the experiences all are working to get built for like the various very earliest point of what that can be. But I do like the way Mark Zuckerberg discusses discusses that in which he says, there’s this real world, clearly, that has nothing to do with computers. It’s humans interacting in real time. There’s this fully virtual world, which might be a video game or Oculus quest, like you mentioned. But the real world is a blend of these two things. And the metaverse is another angle on that. And so the way that NFT’s have to do with the metaverse is because if you can imagine yourself having a virtual experience that is important to you, which I think is part of the metaverse really taking place in this but a cultural mentality right now is that people can start to imagine and understand that there’s this virtual world where there’s things that are really valuable to me. And NFT’s are the obvious first step there were like there are NFT’s that are worth hundreds of 1000s not millions of dollars and why. And I think for people who, who aren’t as deep into the space as maybe someone like I am, you can wonder well how that could ever make sense. And it’s just, it makes sense to me, because I already understand that the virtual world is important to people. And you know, we all can look at our lives and see examples of that. So as the virtual world becomes more important, or more important, there’s things that have value, now we can trade them. And there are symbols of identity for sure. And NFT literally, a profile picture is part of the original intent. And in Twitter and Instagram are changing their profile picture capabilities to signal that you truly own that NFT like those things are about identity and status. So there’s a lot in that, and how identity and status translates online and into these virtual experiences and how that is different or tied to or not your real world identity. I think people are running experiments on that to understand what different communities of people want to do and what are the limits and where’s the innovation?

Jeremy Weisz  19:17  

So many questions, Chris, based on that, but you know, what I want to ask so, but someone can use it, like we mentioned for for merch for their own use for whatever they want profile they can they can, you know, change it, but you can say they can also use it in different games. Like if they’re playing different games, online or virtually, in you know, whatever game like you mentioned Minecraft they can use it in those games and and you say like, you reward those people for using it. I guess that I imagine that’s the case because then they’re spreading the word on, you know, Sea Bums and other people’s like, Oh, where’d you get that? And then Is that why you have that reward in there? It’s like oh, they then they go back to Oh, like, oh, I want to get one of those.

Chris Madden  20:02  

Well, there’s so like, that would be one way to do it. That would be basically Sea Bums saying we’re going to pay these people for being in this virtual world, because we think that money is going to come back to us somehow. I can see people trying that that’s not what we’re doing. There is another project called the NFT worlds, which is built all these blockchain NFT web three capabilities on top of Minecraft, and, and basically, we bought an NFT that represents a piece of land that has these capabilities in Minecraft. And then we hired a firm to build out a world where there’s an old town that looks like Seaside, and there’s water everywhere, because we’re Sea Bums and there’s a building a game to pull trash out of the ocean. The point is that the funds for that come from this token that NFT world’s the larger project, like overlay project builds. And so I and the people who own Sea Bums can make worlds this token that we are not generates a third party generating that token. So I think that’s a really key question and key differences, like who’s generating that economic value that’s been passed on. And in this case, it’s not us just creating value and giving it to our holders. It’s, it’s coming from this third party that we’re participating in, that has built this layer on top of Minecraft.

Jeremy Weisz  21:22  

This is fascinating. Because when we’re looking at the page, and people are watching the video, are these Sea Bums and EFTs people have already purchased? Yeah. Oh, yeah.

Chris Madden  21:34  

Yeah. So all of these are real and owned by someone and a couple of them I know very well. And they have stories and things like that. So you can see the one kind of in the bottom row that has a rainbow fish. So there’s a rainbow fish with a rainbow background and a unicorn head. Yeah, that one right there. So I own that one. Someone else moved it. I liked it so much, I just like had to buy it. Because the traits of the rainbow background and the Rainbow Fish is extremely rare. Like when I bought that one, it was the only one in the whole collection that had the rate the double rainbow we call it. And I think there’s since been like two other double rainbows minted. So the one right next to it, that has like the wooden on the other side that it’s like a looks like a wooden carving with a yellow background. That is a one of one meaning that one was not generated with the algorithm we described, we took four very specific Sea Bums that the artist drew and put them into the collection that looked nothing like any of the other ones. So those would be among the most sought after. So yeah, those Sea Bums you’re looking at are all real ones that people have purchased that are out in the world. And again, as I look at them, I can name a handful of like I know who owns that one. I know who owns that one. And they do have stories, which is cool. In fact, that one that one I was telling you about. Somebody mentioned it was a long time ago, somebody admitted it. People who knew and we’re watching very closely, we’re like, oh my gosh, that’s a one on one. That’s incredible. It looks amazing. And wow, how exciting. A person went and put an offer buy it right away from the person who bought it. And they accepted, they sold it, they sold it for a very low amount, like the equivalent of was point oh, six eath. And the mid price is point four. So on the order of like $180 at the time. And people were like amazed because this huge, huge score. I felt badly for the person who sold it, but we never found out who they are. And so hopefully they don’t know. But yeah, that’s another interesting piece is the community and who buys them and who sells them and why. Yeah, there’s stories behind so many of these already that I already again, just looking at them. I know.

Jeremy Weisz  23:39  

Also, how do they confirm the owner? How does it work as far as just verifying the digital token of that? NFT?

Chris Madden  23:48  

Yeah, I mean, I think that’s a good question that until I got as deep into this as I did, it’s hard to discuss, and hard to understand theoretically. And then as soon as you take that step of deciding to get into it yourself with, you know, maybe $100 and an hour of time, you start to realize like, Oh, I get it, because basically, you don’t sign into our website here, you connect your wallet to MIT. And that while it is something that’s on your machine already, because you own it, you might have Dr. Jeremy Weisz dot eath that you bought. It’s like owning And that’s in your wallet. And then you might say I want to buy one I’ve never bought an NF T before I want to try it and then so you buy one of these NF T’s you meant it. It shows up in your wallet.

Jeremy Weisz  24:36  

Yeah. So if I’m like Chris, I want the rainbow and rainbow. Right? And I’m gonna send you this and then there is like basically a digital stamp in your wallet that with that purchase, essentially. Yeah,

Chris Madden  24:48  

yeah, there’s definitely transaction information and is so because I own that double rainbow you you’d have to buy it from me. And so I would have to agree with you on what the price is the Then we could do this on a platform generally, because generally it’s like we don’t know each other. And that’s the point of crypto we can, we can transact without knowing one another and trusted. And so I could put this up for sale on open sea, or you could put a direct offer on it on open sea. In either case, we say yes, that’s the price. I click yes, it immediately leaves my wallet and goes into your wallet. And like we can all see that like it was in my wallet. One minute I refresh, it’s gone opposite for you. There’s a it’s called an ether scan, which is like the receipt. So if you and I were because we know each other, if we’re doing a direct transaction, I generally don’t recommend this, but we know each other, I would trust you, you would trust me, we get bigger not US Open. See, you could just send me and then I can just send you that NF T. And in both cases, we can send each other the ether scan link which has a receipt and a wedge, say from Chris’s wallet to Jeremy’s wallet, this thing was sent. This is the time that it was sent. This is how much gas we paid, etc. So yeah, that’s what’s really cool about it is it is all completely tracked. And there’s this idea about crypto that it’s maybe not sketchy or shady or you can like it’s good for criminals. It’s like really bad for criminals generally, because everything you do is tracked and publicly visible, at least on a theory.

Jeremy Weisz  26:20  

How did you decide on the pricing? As you could see, I don’t know if you’ve changed it. You know, as it gets popular? Do you change this pricing? Right now? You could see it says meant to Sea Bum 4.0 for a theory etherium?

Chris Madden  26:32  

Yeah. So really good question. And so the way we set it up is that we cannot change the price. The point 04 eath is the price and we set that price basically by looking at the market. This was in December, looking at the market of other projects. We always saw this project with the charitable, charitable element with like friendly art. We always saw this as a project for people to come in to NFT’s from the outside potentially for the first time. So we want to make the price lower than most certainly you’ll see project selling for point one are much more for a lot of different

Jeremy Weisz  27:07  

reasons what is equivalent today about what is point O for a etheorem.

Chris Madden  27:14  

Project the price of the value of one eath was $4,500. So point oh four was $180. Now is there is a going along at $2,000 has been worrying, there’s been a lot of tumult in the market. eath is at $2,000. That’s $80. So it adds a layer of complexity to our business for sure. We’re spending money on ads, we’re doing other things marketing wise, we’re paying different people generally, a lot of people want to be paid neath and we’re referring that but there’s reason of course for us to spend US Dollars business and and that has been a challenge to be like, we just got a bunch of eath and like when do we sell it in order to turn it into cash in order to pay our bills? It’s It’s like as if we need more complexity and entrepreneurship.

Jeremy Weisz  28:04  

Right. Talk about the physical component. You know, I’m looking through here I don’t know if there is a physical one I see this cool gold. Sea Bum here and in this relates I saw from the Chicago Bulls, right? Um, I remember seeing I don’t know Michael Jordan came out with something with those like a bowl that had like six rings on its horns. What are the Chicago Bulls doing? Or anyone else in this space with with NFTs?

Chris Madden  28:32  

Yeah, I’m excited to answer that question. If you scroll up to the top and go to the links click to click on beach cleanups, and I’ll describe some of our I are in real life stuff as I answer the Bulls question. And thank you. Yeah, thanks for asking. The Bulls are one of the clients of our agency, Matt. So Matt Stone, my digital advertising agency, works with the Bulls to help them sell tickets, which is super fun. And we really enjoyed working with them. And the first NFT I ever owned, was summer of 2021. And the Bulls put out their first NFT project so I was all in on this, my client and our friend who works at the Bulls den Moriarity who was putting this all together and it was like a different part of my brain where I was like obsessed with NF Ts and crypto. And then the mash no digital advertising part of my brain. I wouldn’t say they’re totally separate, but I didn’t put him together too much. See, Dan, my client work on NF t’s on behalf of the Bulls. This was their first drop and did last year. And now subsequently, the more very recently that they’re doing another one. It was just continued to show me that this was something that like professionally, I needed to move towards a one horse. So with the Bulls, if you have all six, which no one really does, and you get the super special ones you can be like you get like a contract for a day and you get to sit on the bench and so like they invite you into, you know the experience of the team. And again, I don’t know that anybody actually has all said So that was in that way, but there are different perks for if you have one or two depending on which ones you have, you might get tickets to a game. Here aside from the metaverse piece I was describing before, we’ve really focused on getting people out and helping to clean up beaches and waterways. So of course, not everybody lives near a beach or can get to one. But most people live near some body of water that ultimately empties to some other body of water that ultimately empties to the ocean. So anyone that wants to go out and do a cleanup, it’s usually about a two hour play. There you go. I have I have those I had to kind of find what do you have? I find that the six what I don’t have as the scroll down. I didn’t get the I didn’t get the Seattle one. So I didn’t get that one right there. I for the six. I didn’t get the Seattle one. I didn’t get the first one.

Jeremy Weisz  30:49  

So if you get all of them, you get some kind of cool special experience.

Chris Madden  30:54  

Yep. And if and this see there you go right there like Bull for a day would be the legendary you scroll down in those words. So yeah, that’s cool. So basically, we as project owners, get to decide you mentioned the Sea Bums NFT. That was gold and circling. That is not something that you, you could get directly from our website, we dropped that people meeting, we automatically gave it to every wallet that had three Sea Bums in it at a time that we were going to do that. So

Jeremy Weisz  31:26  

this is a physical thing right here. Now that’s not a physical thing that was not Oh, they get the digital version of that. They get that

Chris Madden  31:33  

digital version of got it and we kicked around like should we do we get some ocean plastic that’s been recycled and pulled out of the ocean and use it to build a 3d model where we could give this as a prize to 20 people, all sorts of ideas like that. There is in real life merch, we are making beach cleanup flags, I believe there’s no beach cleanup flag in Mexico beach cleanup flag in Costa Rica in Southern California. We just did a cleanup in Chicago with some of my co founder and other people in the community a couple of weeks ago. So there’s shout

Jeremy Weisz  32:04  

out to you know, TerraCycle I had Tom Szaky of TerraCycle on the podcast, and that would be cool to partner with TerraCycle. To produce they they I don’t know if you’re familiar with TerraCycle. But oh, yeah, like if you see some packages, like chip bags have been made out of recycled materials, but they have, they create basically, as a company these products out of all the stuff that they cleaned up like you have here. You know, this, this cigarette butts like they have I forgot collected X number of millions of cigarette butts through their their clean up. So they actually have stuff in Walmart and Target from the recycled material, like not just recycle, but the cleanup stuff they’ve done. So

Chris Madden  32:53  

would love to connect your partner that we’re looking for. So you’re on it. So those those in real life pieces are in development STILL TO COME important. And you know, there’s a whole lot to do on all on all sides. But that sounds like a great possibility.

Jeremy Weisz  33:11  

So, you know, this is fascinating. Chris, talk about the Chicago Bulls for a second, you know, of what you do with them.

Chris Madden  33:18  

Yeah. So on the advertising agency side, we started very small, my co founder Brian and I just working with, you know, whatever clients we get and building the business that way, we had no outside funding. And we really started with our own blood, sweat and tears working with early clients and slowly building it up. So we’ve been in business for coming up on nine years now. And it was maybe four years ago that Bulls filled out a form on our website. And Jeremy huge admission that you and I met before, Andy connected us and we met we met through Entrepreneurs Organization. And I was in an entrepreneur’s organization meeting, and got this email and I was sitting next to my business partner. And I remember saying like, Okay, we just got to lead off our website. of any company in the world, we think I’d be most excited to work with you. I think the Bulls are his second, second guests. So if they filled out a form on the site, but we’ve done the work to be prepped to win the business, we’re working with the Chicago Cubs ownership and helping them launch Gallagher way, which was their entertainment district. And I think that helps. But what we do with them is we help them sell tickets. So we have a certain budget that they want us to spend each season to have a certain return, let’s say $4 in the door for every dollar spent or $3 or $5, or some numbers like that based on their season and what they’re expecting, and then it’s our job to go and get that return. And so it is a creative. So their team, they have an in house team that of course every game is creating digital content. And we meet with them early in the season to decide how are we going to translate that digital content, integrate paid social ads that drive returns. And so there’s a big creative piece to it, there’s a technical piece to it, because understanding that return, when the tickets are sold through a third party, which is Ticketmaster, a lot of moving parts between the ad platforms, changing details, Ticketmaster, changing details. And we’re continually going and looking at finding wins to track better to convert better. And so we just really love working with them. They’re great people that have referred other business to us, we now work with the United senator, their arena, as a client, we work with the Blackhawks as a client, they helped us get. And so now we have three or four different sports teams as clients and always it’s like, here’s our budget. Here’s our particular setup, we’re trying to sell tickets. And so the Bulls are a big global brand. They were thankfully better this year, but they’ve been not great in past season. So we take those things into account, we’ve worked with some NHL teams, a couple of them didn’t have great results on the ice of the season. They’re not 500, they have a playoff. So that can be very different. And we’re marketing, you know, family night at the arena or different promotions they might be doing. There’s like pro sports and like lots of different theme nights. And so those those things become some of the things that we promote to try to bring people out. You know, if it’s not just about having the best team in the league that season.

Jeremy Weisz  36:16  

Yeah, I mean, because when we talk about these big brands, like the Chicago Bulls and New Balance, you know, these are established companies that have over time transition to digital. So I want to hear about traditional marketing, versus the and how that transition to digital works. And I also want to give a shout out to Paul Ratner of the Golden State Warriors, I’m gonna have to send this episode to him, Chris, because I want to know what the Golden State Warriors are doing with the NFT space and and other stuff like that. So I’ll have to get their their take on it. But I’m transitioning from traditional, or having a mix of traditional and digital.

Chris Madden  36:57  

Yeah, good question. I had no Steph Curry owns at least one NFT exam in the same project that he is in, but as his dad Moriarty. So I like definitely got some some tips on NBA players buying into projects. It’s a basketball game. But so yeah, you said and we are not the agency. We have some e-commerce business, of course, but we’re not the agency that’s working with digital native brands to sell mattresses, we are established brands like polls, and like new balance that are shifting to digital that know that the world has changed quite a lot since their businesses started even lending tree Lending Tree I think of as a digital native brand. But lending tree started as like a lot of people with a lot of phones call centers in North Carolina. And then they went out and opened an office in the bay area to build up the tech week. So. So with established brands, it’s essentially like one of the things that we think about is that they have a pie chart in their slide deck somewhere with the ad budget. And they you know, 10 years ago, it was more slanted towards traditional. And now it’s more slanted towards digital. And we’re the people that help them make that transition. So it means that there may be people that are really important to the organization internally that don’t understand it or aren’t as comfortable and like what does that mean for the work that we do and how it might have to go over again, very different from this is the digitally native founder. And they want all the cutting edge tactics. Metrics discussion is just the language we use, the way that we approach the problems, the way that we sell to them the way that we understand where their team might be coming from changes. So as I mentioned, we also work with the United Center that says been selling luxury suites for 20 years. And this year was the first time they ever tried to sell them digitally without phone calling there. And so one of the people on the team was the person who’s been leading this for 15 or 20 years. And he’s great and was very excited and open to learning, but admitted that this was very new to them, and that they had not tried this before. And so it just it just as takes more of a position where we have to help people. The good thing is that because the numbers are so clear, they’re surprised at how clever they are compared to traditional. So they might be comfortable with a billboard or a TV ad because that’s what they’ve been doing. But when we come to them and run a 90 day test or something, we can say okay, okay, this is how much money was spent, this money came in. These are all the different tests that we ran, here’s what that creative looks like what happened, we learned that we need to change this word so that when we change that word, here’s what the outcome was. This is very convincing to people like unless you like have some sort of preconceived bias where you’re just like not going to get go and go along with it like numbers speak to lots of different types of people. And so that’s kind of some of the approaches that we take to bring maybe people who are used to more traditional approaches into the digital approach, making it feel like something that they can have success with that they can understand clearly like why so when

Jeremy Weisz  39:57  

Chris are there any tips you can Give, as far as you know, we are used to from the premium sales standpoint, you know, rubbing elbows and doing more of the traditional stuff. What has worked on the digital side for that? Because actually, you know, I mentioned Paul Ratner and I, that’s one of the things I believe, I don’t know if he still is in charge of but he was of their Premium Suite. VIPs. Right. So what are some things they could look at doing? Or you mentioned some some verbiage, what, what stuff are you doing that’s working?

Chris Madden  40:31  

Yeah, well every situation is different first. So like I mentioned, the success that the teams having in the sport that they play is a huge impact that the team is I remember, I saw someone who did some of this work for the Golden State Warriors, Warriors are really good again, now that whereas we’re a topical world, he’s talking about how he’s selling tickets with warriors via ads. And everyone’s like, That’s how easy they sell out every game. So what that team might need is really different from a team that’s struggling, in a small market might be needing. But on the luxury suite example, the Bulls are the United Center hired us, as I mentioned, to run the same ads for them to sell luxury suites, the answer is the most luxury suites in the NBA, potentially in the country. And so there’s a lot of inventory there, there’s not sold, generally, I sold over the phone, it’s a high dollar amount out of corporate purchasers. So what the what we did, and what we did in collabs, deep collaboration with the United Center team is start the build out a page that works to sell this thing digitally. And so questions are, for instance, how many people can come? And what’s the total cost? So instead of saying, this is gonna cost $2,000, or something, it’s like, well, you know, the suite with 10, people like $200, per head, all inclusive, you get food, you get parking, you get a ticket, you get a hat, you know, all of a sudden, that seems really different than like, Oh, this is $2,000, what am I like, no versus you and tell your friends at $200 a head for a big night out, of course, not inexpensive, but it’s just very different positioning. So as we started to go down that path. As always, in digital and in advertising, the first thing that we start with putting the market ends up not looking at all like the thing that will happen the market six weeks later, because we learned so quickly. So one of the big takeaways that they were excited about, and we were excited about is that the title of this product is executive suites become an executive suites forever. We and they I don’t even know who came up with the idea initially on their team or ours, but I think it was on their team started. We ran into us calling them all inclusive suites. So everything’s the same, but on the one hand, six executive suite, the other hand is all inclusive. It seems intuitive now, but all inclusive just did so much better. And it just gave us like a big signpost of this is this is the direction we’re headed in. And this is the messaging that people want digitally. And all inclusive experience is something that people make sense makes sense that people and they’re used to shopping for all inclusive necessarily includes me, but I’m part of what’s included in this and then it’s for me, whereas executive or XClusive but executive in particular, a lot of people are like that’s not me. So that was a big breakthrough. This was one example. There’s so many other things that different teams use different back end platforms when their ticket master, and I think all Feefo that they use to run the back end and running tests against those things and how our work is being tracked. There’s a lot of technical pieces in the background too. So that’s, that’s one, create an example where all inclusive, really be executive. And then there’s a lot a bunch of technical examples that are little breakthroughs in the background that can really make a difference.

Jeremy Weisz  43:44  

Chris, last question, because I know we’re at time now but match I want to encourage people to check out If you’re watching the video, here, you’ll see I’ve been pulling up some of the images. Here you go, there you go to see to check out what what they’re doing with the NFT project. Last question, Chris is just a few resources that you recommend people in NFT or crypto I’m sure you’ve done some learning throughout the journey. If there’s any one or any other NFT projects people should check out from from like, the basketball, NBA or whatever it is, what are some resources you recommend in the space?

Chris Madden  44:24  

Thank you one podcast I really like it’s a theory based and so they touch on a lot of NF T’s but they’re talking more broadly in this space is called bakeless. The bank was podcast. The bank was podcast has a spin off called overpriced JPEGs and overpriced JPEGs is the NFT focus and so that’s a podcast I’ve really taken tonight I really enjoy listening to because they have some really intelligent takes. The basketball project is called hon Kong’s called the rumble column lean League and so Steph Curry has some of the merge where’s it is turning into a

Jeremy Weisz  45:00  

game Kong like kayo ng. Yeah, like

Chris Madden  45:03  

Donkey Kong, kind of so we all own different NFT’s that are ultimately going to become players in this video game that is a basketball. But I would also point people to like if you’re looking for more philosophical, deeper first principles, thinking around crypto like why and why does all this matter? Tim Ferriss has a couple of podcasts that I really appreciate about crypto that are some of my favorites, with a guest named involved Robert Conte, and Avielle Southern Nevada and Tim Ferriss podcast about crypto and one with Nick Sabo, which is like really deep on the purpose of money and the idea of money historically, and why these changes are happening now and why they matter and why they can reorient the world for good, which is really why I’m in crypto. So I really believe systems that huge possibility to help our societies be better structured with better incentives. And then the other Tim Ferriss podcast, we’ll begin with navall and Vitalik Buterin. Vitalik is the founder, one of the creators of etherium. And I really admire him I admire the way he thinks. Right, so Tim Ferriss with navall Raava Khan and metallic booter and is amazing. So So there’s a bunch of podcasts right there. Hopefully that wasn’t too bad.

Jeremy Weisz  46:17  

No, that’s great. And I watched one with the pomp on the pop podcast with Jim Cramer which I thought was was great also.

Chris Madden  46:25  

Yeah, I like to pump out for sure. I’ve listened to many of those. I appreciate pomp and his energy and his talents for sure. He’s a great I think evangelizer for the space. He’s so hardcore Bitcoin. I love Bitcoin Bitcoins. What started it all. And I’m happy that Bitcoin exists, it was necessary. I own some of it. I believe in it long term. I’m skeptical of people who are overly certain about, you know, which, which one’s going to be the winner of this or that Now that said, I have my own biases and beliefs, but I wish pomp was a little more open to things beyond Bitcoin.

Jeremy Weisz  46:58  

Chris, I wanted the first one. Thank you. This was fantastic. Everyone, check out more episodes and, and Chris, thanks again.

Chris Madden  47:04  

Thank you so much, truly appreciate it. Jerry. Jeremy, thanks for having me.

Outro  47:08  

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