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Building a Scammer Free Professional Network with Ken Rutkowski

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We all have limited resources when it comes to time, money, and energy so in a world where people can create fake personas online, how can you be a part of a community that weeds out imposters? 

Today’s guest is Ken Rutkowski. Ken is a business talk radio personality, innovative strategist, international speaker, and the founder of Metal International. Ken has done government consultation for thirteen different countries and collaborations with Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Surf Air, Motorola, AT&T, and numerous others. He’s been featured on Good Morning America, Oprah, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, The Chicago Tribune, Miami-Herald, Forbes and many other networks and publications around the world.

Show Notes:

  • [1:00] – Welcome to the show, Ken! Ken shares his background and why he was led to his career in radio.
  • [2:01] – Ken is one of the early developers of podcasts.
  • [3:17] – When he moved to Los Angeles, he realized that many people he met were imposters.
  • [4:48] – Ken shares that his image has been used to catfish women online.
  • [5:59] – Most people are on Facebook and some sort of photo platform like Instagram. Ken explains why he has a LinkedIn.
  • [6:43] – It’s advised to search an image to find the history of it and Ken shares a useful AI tool.
  • [8:01] – Chris predominantly uses video to chat with people and explains why.
  • [10:03] – Go beyond the conversation of business.
  • [11:31] – Ken demonstrates the pyramid of friendship and how you can determine a stable relationship.
  • [13:05] – When talking to others online, Ken looks for specific types of people.
  • [15:08] – How can you tell the difference between a $30,000 millionaire from a legitimate millionaire?
  • [16:10] – Remove time-sensitivity.
  • [18:12] – The pyramid of friends and relationships is important to keep in mind when determining the legitimacy of someone’s online persona.
  • [20:23] – There are specific types of relationships that determine your circle of trust.
  • [21:14] – Because many people spend so much time on Facebook, people are spending time in the “friend and acquaintance zones.”
  • [23:28] – To keep up with your circle of trust in a digital world, Ken recommends WhatsApp groups.
  • [25:01] – In virtual events, Ken has two banned topics: religion and politics.
  • [26:43] – Genuine community protects you.
  • [29:11] – Everyone should create their own social circle and then fire those who are complicating things.
  • [30:41] – Ken describes a trust token program he is working on.
  • [32:14] – Ken and Chris have a mutual friend and he demonstrates how he used social engineering to vet the legitimacy of Chris’s relationship with him.
  • [34:01] – Ken’s online community began as an in-person community. He curates who his members are.
  • [36:49] – What are the rules of Ken’s community?
  • [38:40] – It is not just your money that is vulnerable to scammers, but your time and energy.

Thanks for joining us on Easy Prey. Be sure to subscribe to our podcast on iTunes and leave a nice review. 

Transcript:

Can you tell me and my audience a little bit about your background, who you are, and what you do?

All right. If I go all the way back when I was raised in Chicago, I initially wanted the priesthood. I was going to become a Jesuit priest and then I realized some of the things I was going to give up, which I did not want to do. Later on, what I did is I became a coder. In my early days, I was able to launch some basic code. But in the process, I realized that I really enjoyed radio. I had no formal radio background, but while being in Chicago, I got to listen to some incredible radio shows.

Out of nowhere, I decided, “What the heck, let me try to get a radio show.” And I was really fortunate. I started my radio career in the mid-90s. I ended up building up a radio show called Business Rockstars to be number nine in the United States, with about 3.5 million listeners every single day. Plus, in the mid-90s, I created what would be considered the first podcasting environment. So I learned how to do digital downloads to devices.

This is before the pod. I’m kind of considered the creator of the podcast. I’m not the pod father, but I created what today is the podcast. Then I was able to be part of broadcast.com when it was called AudioNet. So I was one of the initial teams over at AudioNet. We sold our souls to Yahoo. Then I helped create a company called GrandCentral, which became Google Voice.

That will lead up to what I do today. I ended up selling all my companies in San Francisco, and San Francisco was going through that whole crash situation around 1999. I realized I had to get out of San Francisco. AOL bought Time Warner. I knew the world was upside down, so I had to get out of there, and I moved to Los Angeles.

That’s where my life, I think, really started. My second phase was when I came to LA. I know you’re a Southern California guy. LA is the fake-it-until-you-make-it environment. It’s where I met what I would call a lot of $30,000 millionaires, people that pretended to have everything. You realize that they were impostors. They were fakes.

It took about a year to two years before I was siphoned of my relationships and of my money in some ways from a lot of people that were those impostors. I realized that I had to create a real community of accountable people.  That’s where my life is today—all-around community and accountability.

That’s great. It’s funny that you talk about $30,000 millionaires. That’s so much the lifestyle of people out here. If they go a week without a paycheck, they’re getting evicted, they’re losing their cars. They put on this big show as opposed to having that safety net.

Yeah. That’s it. No one knows what someone’s real value is until it’s on the other side like, “Oh my God, I’m broke, I need help.” They are running around trying to find a way to survive. It’s the people that are under the radar that really set the pace for things because they’re not in need of a last-minute opportunity. They’re in need for life opportunities.

We can talk about that, but building a community around accountability is so important, especially today because it’s so easy to be a fraudster or be a fake person living in the digital world. How do you decipher between real and fake?

Let’s talk about that and then we can talk more about communities. How do you decipher between the real and the fake online personalities?

This is an interesting story. My image is used to catfish women. I get a call maybe once to twice a week from a woman that’s been catfished by me because they’ve scraped my person, my kids’ pictures, they found a picture of my passport, and they literally make it look like they are me. I’ve gotten crazy ones.

As a matter of fact, one recent was a woman called me up. She goes, “Hi, my name is Sophia Stuart. I wrote The Matrix and Terminator, and I have been following you for a long time.” Thinking it was me. She was catfished. I know what it’s like to see my persona being used. So how do you check if somebody is real? First, how many social platforms are you on, Chris?

At least a half a dozen.

Your primary social platform is which one?

I wouldn’t ever call anything primary, but I probably am most active on something like Twitter.

Twitter is interesting because you might have some stay on Twitter. You may have been there probably for a decade. You’re like me—2007, I got on. Most people are on Facebook and then some type of photo platform like Instagram. They will live within those worlds and you can see where those contradictions are.

The first thing I do right away is I want to have a LinkedIn profile, even though LinkedIn is a bit scammy. Also, because anyone could have a LinkedIn profile. But LinkedIn sets the bar because LinkedIn is searched by Google right away. If you type in your name, everyone out there, LinkedIn is generally what will come up first. You can see how long that LinkedIn profile has been there.

The first thing I do is I go off and look at that LinkedIn photo and I go do a Google search of that image to see if it’s been anywhere else. The big indicator is that image. There are a lot of new AI tools out there to allow you to create fake images. Have you seen some of these?

Yes, they’re out there.

They’re out there. If you’ve never seen that image other than that one profile picture, that’s a skeptical position right away. But I try to see if there’s some history around that image. I do this with everybody I meet right away. Then I use a tool called Crystal Knows. It does a personality check of that person. It’s amazing. It’s an incredible AI tool. Then it tells me how real is this person, but I need a point like LinkedIn, not Facebook, not Instagram. That’s the first thing I do.

Second, what I do is, I always use FaceTime. I want to see that person. I want to see if they match what that image is on their profile picture. I don’t understand why people don’t use these incredible video tools. Do you use them?

I predominantly communicate with people over video nowadays.

Because?

For one, it’s COVID, so I’ve never seen people face to face, but I like to be able to see people face to face. I like to see how they’re going to respond. If I say something and they’re grimacing, I know I said something wrong. You don’t get that connection via email. And I know they’re real.

You know they’re real, that’s it. The other problem is background. That’s a real background, right?

That is a real background.

Yeah, mine isn’t. That’s Komodo right behind me. Backgrounds could fake you out also. So I like when people say, “Hey, let’s just turn off your background. Let’s see what’s going on.” I have a green screen behind me. It’s nothing exciting, but I want to have that more personal relationship. You and I, before we hit record, we talked for a half hour. We hung out. Have you found it to be difficult to create a virtual relationship, or are you finding it finally to be a little easier?

I have been a stay-at-home, work-from-home for probably five years before the pandemic. To me, everybody else just got on board with what I was doing.

You know what has happened also is we’ve gone from a webinar environment to where you have the main speaker and people that are voyeuristic to a participatory type environment where we have that Zoom environment, and everyone’s window should be open, everyone could talk, and you can see faces. I love that transition has changed. I’m very, very fascinated to see what this mixed world is going to look like next year, a year after where it’s virtual and in real life at the same time.

I don’t know what that’s going to look like. I’m running an event in Dubai where 100,000 people are coming together. There’s no virtual whatsoever, which I miss. I’m not sure how you are. Let’s go back to this idea of how you detect and really understand if someone is real or a fraudster.

Let’s go back to the idea of doing your virtual checking that we just mentioned. Crystal Knows is something that I like a lot. We are doing FaceTime, we’re doing WhatsApp, or we’re doing some type of video call. Everyone, please do this. It’s really important.

Go beyond the conversation of business. I always can tell someone on their ability to connect by how long they’ve had friends.  Think about your oldest friends. I’m not saying age-wise, but the ones you’ve had for 10, 15, 20, 30 years—that shows stability. When someone you meet is saying, “Yeah, I want you to talk to a good friend of mine.” And they’ve only been a good friend for six months. That’s their length of friendship. That’s a red flag.

I can direct you to somebody that I’ve known. I probably see him once every other week that I’ve known for probably 35, almost 40 years now.

We’ll talk about friendship because this is important also. When you look at that, where would you put that individual in your pyramid being best friend on top, acquaintance on the bottom, where would they lie within that?

Probably somewhere in the middle.

That’s important because I’m assuming at the very top, you have best friends, then you have great friends—I’ll explain those—then you have good friends, then you have friends, and then you have acquaintances. I want you to think about that pyramid. When you meet people that are on the top of the pyramid with best and great friends that are 10, 20, 50 years, I know guys that have 50-year friendships with people. That shows a lot of stability.

When you always ask people, “Tell me a little more about your social circle, how you’ve been hanging out with them,” or whatever, and you find out they’re only a couple of months old—red flag, everyone. But the ones that have been there a long time, it’s so important. It goes beyond your Facebook, your LinkedIn, and your Twitter of validity. It’s your real world verification. Like you just said, you have friends that have gone on that long. That’s amazing.

I have a question about LinkedIn. Do you also look at the company that the person works for? For me, I’m in this business where, for whatever the reason, I probably get multiple requests a day from people who claim to be web developers and app developers. It’s a last name company. I google the company and it doesn’t exist. They don’t have a web page. “Hey, I’m an SEO expert at Rutkowski SEO.” I google Rutkowski SEO and it doesn’t exist. I’m like, “Nope, you’re not.”

That’s a red flag, right? Here’s my thought: I probably become picky on who I want in my social circle. The first thing I do after I look at their image and say, “I want to meet this person,” I go look for videos on them. I go look for YouTube videos. I want people in my social circle that have presented in some ways. They’ve been in front of an audience. That’s what I look for. I’m looking for a certain type of person.

Then when I find it, that gives me a little more confidence that this person is legit real. You said, because I get spammed like you do probably every single day. I’m not looking for someone like that. So I probably have set my bar pretty high on who I want in my social circle. But because I’ve learned that not setting a bar allows anything to come in, that’s probably where the red flags come from.

Setting a bar is really high because I don’t have a lot of time to hang out with everybody, neither do you. So it’s got to be the right people. Here, how about this. When was the last time you were going to watch something on TV or on Netflix where you actually researched a little like, “Oh, you know what, maybe the next James Bond, I’m going to look at some reviews.” Not James Bond, we’re going to go see it no matter what.

You research things we’re going to do where it might take an hour to two hours out of our time because we’re making sure the ROI is real. We should be doing the same thing with people we’re connecting with.

That’s a really good point because my wife and I do that. A new TV show is going to launch. We don’t just go, “Hey, we heard about this new show, let’s just watch it.” No, we dig at who’s acting in it? What’s the premise?

That’s only two hours of your life. That’s it. Why don’t we do that for people we’re just meeting? Because they’re going to suck up more than two hours of our life. Why don’t we research in the way we do for a movie or TV show? We don’t and we should. I apologize for sounding so shallow, but we have to look at an ROI, a return of our investment, or time on relationships because there is one. It could be emotionally satisfying, financially satisfying, time-sensitive. Whatever it is, you have to look at it more than you do a Netflix movie.

Yeah, that’s a good point. How do you tell the $30,000 millionaire from a real millionaire?

OK, here we go. This is a lot of fun too because the $30,000 millionaires are generally the ones that have the right suit, they have the right watch, maybe it was a Rolex that was given to them. The car might be rented. I look at a lot of these YouTubers that they show, “Hey, look at the Lamborghini I have or the house I have.” Which everything is rented or borrowed. It’s generally not real.

The opportunity is going to be lost.

So to make sure you know you’re not dealing with somebody that is an impostor, you literally say, “Hey, I don’t have time right now; I’d love to get together. Let’s do it this much further in the future.” Remove time-sensitivity. I also like to put them in a situation where it’s not just me meeting them. I might have them meet three or four of my other friends because they’re looking at them from different angles.

Chris Voss, who wrote the book, Never Split the Difference, says, “When you’re in a negotiation, it’s always nice to have someone else that’s watching the negotiation from a different angle to see how the body actions are or the movement of the other person because you’re not seeing what’s happening behind the scenes.” When you bring another person into your group, everybody analyzes them. You probably have great friends of yours that will tell you, “Chris, that guy is not a good guy; you shouldn’t be hanging out with them,” right?

Yup, absolutely.

That pyramid, let’s go back to that pyramid. Best friends at top, which generally, most people might have one or two. You can include a family member up there. Then a great friend, generally your best and great. Those are the ones that you hang out with most. You want to spend time with them. Your best friends, two or three. Your great friends, maybe about 10. Your good friends, the ones where you know their wives’ names, you know their kids, you know what’s going on that’s important, that’s maybe about 50?

Your friends are the ones where you might go, “Damn, what’s their last name?” You know their first name, that’s about 100 that’s sitting there. It’s good to see them. You might see them if there wasn’t a situation where we’re not hanging or we’re in lockdown, you might see them once or twice a year, you probably see him at conferences or events. They’re the ones that you would like to know better, but you just don’t have time because your really good friends take up a lot of your time with your great friends.

Now, friends and good friends, they go up and down. You might demote or give one a raise. Then the acquaintances are the ones you might call dude. “Hey, dude, what’s going on?” Because you don’t know their name, you know their face. You got that pyramid, right?

Yup.

This pyramid is really, really important because your best friends are the ones that need a kidney, I’m there. I’m not lending you money, I’m giving you money. Your best friends are the ones that when you have that really bad joke, you know it’s horrible, it’s a dad joke you’ve been working on, you’re going to go tell your best friends and then you’re going to say you’re stupid. The one I just heard the other day is, “What makes me throw up? A dartboard on my ceiling.”

Exactly. You just did exactly what a best friend—a great friend is the one that is in that queue to become a best friend. They’re the ones that have every qualification, everything that you love about them. The problem is you don’t have enough room in your best friend category yet because either they didn’t move—I hate to say—die, or something has happened. Because remember, there will be a transition of where your best friends and great friends are. Does this make sense?

Yes, perfectly.

There’s a reason why this is really, really important because your friendships will determine your trust factor in the world. That’s a barometer of what’s going on. Let’s go through this. Again, we have best, great, and good. I want you to think about you, Chris. Where do you spend most of your time? You spend most of your time in the best friend, great friend category, don’t you?

Yeah, absolutely.

How often do you promote people into those categories?

Those very seldom change.

It’s rare. The irony is if you go back to high school, you probably don’t have many of your high school in either one of those categories.

Correct.

Is that fascinating? They may have even stayed in the acquaintance friend space. You probably even lost, in most cases, conversation with them.

Yeah. In most cases, I probably couldn’t even tell you their names anymore.

That’s right.

Let alone am I even connected with them on Facebook.

This is where you create your circle of trust that is within your best, great, and possibly good. Your circle of trust is these people that you have seen over the years or they have every single characteristic of what you bond and connect with. To be protected in the space we’re in today, you really need to say the top of my pyramid is where I spend 90% of my time. By the way, your spouse can be in that category.

I hope so.

That’s true. Your kids. If you have kids that are in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, they could be in that category too because you would definitely give your kidney to your kid. Hopefully, it’s a good relationship. For most people, for some reason, Facebook has really created a problem.

They spend time in the friend and acquaintance zone. That’s where distrust lives. Massive distrust lives in the friend acquaintance zone. Unfortunately, they will take advantage of that opportunity. If you want to remove scammers from your life, live at the top of your relationship pyramid. Are we going in the right direction you want to go? Is this OK?

This is good. This is great.

How do you make sure you now are making a living at the top of your pyramid? Because, theoretically, you want to live and work with all the people you love to hang out with. That’s it.

Yeah, that’s a great place to live.

If it’s done right, you should be able to do everything on top of the pyramid. You should be able to travel with them, you go through life and death situations with them because they’re the ones that you trust. What I figured out to do is create an epicenter of opportunity by becoming an individual of dominant influence within that space. Any one of us can do that. Because if we’re living at the top of the pyramid, the scam artists and the fakes probably will never ever get through that mesh that you’ve created on the top.

How do you do it? You have to create a like-minded environment for them to have constant dialogue and communication. We can do this, by the way. Here’s one way of doing it. I think you’re fairly old. You’re almost 50, aren’t you?

Where did that become fairly old?

Dude, I’m older than you. It’s all good. Chris, I’m right there. What we used to do is, our parents probably had chainmail groups where they would send mail, literally mail handwritten and it’s like, whoa. Remember that?

Yeah.

Or during holidays, one of your relatives probably sent you an update email or mail letter. Joey’s in school, Susie just got married. Those are those annual mails. What I’ve done is I’ve created either WhatsApp groups or Telegram groups where it’s these like-minded top of the pyramid friends where we have these deep conversations. We have rules around these groups. The first rule is if you’re in it, you have to respond and engage. You have to. It can’t be passive.

Each one of my groups is about 10 people. If I have a problem, a celebration, or information, if I post something, I have to see an engagement amongst everybody in that group within that day. It’s a given rule. The reason why is that the top of the pyramid means we have to be active.

If you ever noticed the bottom of the pyramid, they’re very passive. If you’re on Facebook, they might like a post of yours from a year ago. They’re the ones that have the happy birthday subroutine inside LinkedIn or happy anniversary in LinkedIn because they really don’t care, but they want to be seen.

The top of the pyramid first is some type of virtual group. The second thing is events. As you know, Chris, I have this thing called METAL, which stands for media, entertainment, technology, artists, leaders, and it is a regularly scheduled event we do once a week at a minimum. I have several hundred people to come together and I create points of conversation.

What I’ve learned is the thing that divides us all today are two conversations. One is either religion or the second is politics. I banned those from that group. Can’t talk about it. Think about what falls in those silos. Vaccinations fall in those silos of politics and religion for some reason. If you then can’t talk about that, you can’t talk about being vaxxed.

You can’t talk about who you’re going to vote for. You can talk about policy, but you can’t talk about politics. What happens now, my groups don’t fight. I have the most liberal and the most conservative people in the group and they love each other because they don’t know their political position. It’s incredible.

That’s awesome. Those are definitely the two most challenging topics in any community. Even within a community, those are even challenging topics.

It’s polarizing.

Yeah.

Bill Maher recently said, “When did we go from talking about everything to only talking about that?” It’s a shame, it really is. The reason why that top of the pyramid is so important and people don’t realize how friendship is probably the essence to longevity is because your friends will always have your back. The key is to make it a heart-centered group.

For example, there’s this thing called Blue Zones where people live to be over 100 years old. They’re in Ikaria, Greece, and Okinawa, Japan. There are zones, and they looked at similarities amongst all the zones. What they found was, one of the most important things to live past 100 was community. If you don’t have a community environment, you don’t live longer than most. The reason why is that the community protects you from things that will harm your life. In today’s world, the scam artists are there to harm your life.

They will take everything they can.

Here’s a great example. First thing is, in our community now, we have our own email addresses. Meaning, we know that if I get an email from my community, I know it’s from my guys. It’s a link I can click on, I feel comfortable with. I know that this is something that’s been vetted between all of them so we work together.

I think that that’s what protects me. It’s like the Knights of the Round Table. We have that castle on the hill, and all the great and good friends live in it to protect one another. I know it sounds so basic, but I think we’ve moved away from the idea of what a friend is because of Facebook, because everyone’s become a friend, and they’ve never been real. You don’t spend a lot of time on social media like that, correct?

Yeah. I am definitely not a social media person. I’d rather grab a drink with someone in person, hang out in the backyard, grab a meal with someone.

You realize you’re different, but you realize you are not the norm.

Yeah, it’s definitely not the norm.

To infiltrate Chris actually is hard because you’re not susceptible to what everybody else is, and that’s that Facebook connection, that Tinder connection. I’m in Bali right now. It’s unbelievable that Tinder is a social network here. People use Tinder, not just to hook up, but to buy and sell stuff. Tinder is a different type of environment in Asia. It is a platform for connecting, but then to exchange things.

You have to do those video chats, you have to get on to WhatsApp to actually meet one another. They’ve done a very good system here to go beyond the platform to meet. You’ve created a safe environment and that is, “Hey, if you want to know me, you have to meet me, you have to hang out.” The world’s not like that, Chris.

Unfortunately, that is very true.

All I want to say is this, and this is probably the most important thing. I do a lot of things, everyone. I create constant content. I make sure I elevate people to where they can be the best version of themselves. But the only way I can do that is inside my social circle that I’ve created, and that group is called METAL. Everybody should create their own social circle where they bring people in and then they fire them fast if there’s a problem with them.

You remove them because they could become a cancer to your social circle. Old school, but it works today, probably more important now than it did even in the old-school world because there are too many things in our lives that complicate and they destroy who we are because they’re virtual and we don’t know these real people.

Yeah. That’s the thing that I see. I think we have to be careful about FaceTime and stuff. Not that we shouldn’t FaceTime people, but I’ve seen a lot of the scammers are getting smarter about that. You’re on METAL, I can go out and find a dozen video clips of you talking somewhere. I can play that video back and then stop and start it, stop it, start it and say, “The airport’s Wi-Fi is really bad; let me just turn off my video.”

Yeah, that’s interesting. You’re right. Wow. We now have to have a secret code. There’s something I’m working on right now. Maybe by the time this comes out, it will be legit. I’ve been putting a lot of time into it. We’re creating a trust token. This is not a token that has actual monetary value.

Remember Clout from a long time ago? It would be Clout meets LinkedIn meets Yelp for an individual. What are each other’s trust scores predicated on the longevity of your relationships on what you can substantiate you’ve actually done in your professional life, but also your personal life? I have friends of mine who have been married five times. They’re on the trust side of relationships. They would score very low, but they might be corporate raiders and they’ve done incredibly well on the business side. They have different trust measurements.

We’re creating a token that will go with the person like a credit score. Unfortunately, you got it for life. But I can see if somebody is real based upon a trust score because it doesn’t exist right now.

The trust is, like you talked about, an overview of all these different aspects that you’re looking at. You’re looking at their social media. Are they willing to chat with you? How long have you known them? Do you know the same people? I know John, but did John say that he knows you?

What did we do the minute we started? You mentioned a mutual friend, Stephan. We use that as our first point of reference, probably of that. We know somebody, but we actually know him. What I did is, “Oh, do you talk to him?” “Yes.” OK, great. So now I know you have a personal relationship with him.

Its good to verify new connections.

Do you do business with them? Which you do. We use different points. Social engineering is what we’re doing. We’re using social engineering to validate that there’s a true connection. You gave me enough information to where I don’t need to call Stephan to see if you’re full of BS because it’s real.

We would probably talk about his kid, his wife, and his wife’s podcast, or something to see what the extent is. You know Stephan, but I do this with everybody. I like the Netflix movie. I’m doing my research before I engage even further.

I like that. I have a question. You’ve built the METAL community? I know you do a lot of it on Zoom. Do you have a corresponding Facebook group? Are you worried about those communities that live on somebody else’s platform?

Let’s dive in. Initially, METAL was created as an in-person environment. We would literally come together every single Saturday at a theater in Los Angeles. It’d be 200-400 guys. I would find a great speaker that would come and talk to the guys. This is a men’s group, by the way.

I apologize if I offend anybody. I make better husbands, better brothers, better dads, and better business partners. I’m all around heart-centered men—that’s my focus. I want to make better men. What we found is when guys get together, whoever the loudest barker is, the loudest alpha, everybody listens.

We would all come together, very important. When COVID hit, of course, we couldn’t do that, but I maintain the same environment. Great speakers, no politics, no religion, around big ideas, and brought the community together to work on projects together. We have thousands of members from around the world. We went off of Facebook and LinkedIn. We went to our own private network that we physically pay for.

Remember, everybody, a professional is expensive and an amateur is a fortune. We went to a professional platform that we pay for. Because if I go to a free platform, it’s going to cost a fortune because there’s going to be ads, there’s going to be misdirects, there’s going to be all kinds of things that are going to take my community away from my community. So we went to our own private network, which we developed ourselves. That makes us feel safer, if that makes sense.

I don’t want to be on Facebook because I’m not looking for a Facebook-type person. I’m looking for somebody that wants to look beyond that Facebook world. Like I said, I really curate who my members are because I want them to live at the top of the triangle of my life.

Yeah. You’re not looking to draw your audience from the bottom of the pyramid.

No, and everybody that comes into METAL is a reference or a referral because like-minded people will find other like-minded people. That’s super important, but they have to be heart-centered. I don’t want someone that says, “Hey, I’m a financial planner,” and think they’re going to get inside my community, and all they’re going to do is they’re going to be a pariah and take things.

By the way, everyone comes in as an apprentice. So you come into the community and it takes you about a year to really move around. I’m in one group right now out of Northern San Francisco. It takes me literally 15 years as an apprentice in this community to graduate to the next level. Fifteen years. It’s crazy too. Part of the apprentice is—and it sounds crazy—I have to literally pee on a tree with one of the elders. That’s where the conversation starts. It’s so strange, but that’s another conversation in itself.

That is a very interesting conversation that we can have off-air.

I peed on a tree with Dick Cheney. Crazy, and we don’t talk about politics, which is even crazier.

I wouldn’t want to.

I’m just telling you, it’s weird. OK. Top of the triangle, everyone. If this is the whole premise, how do we make sure we’re in a safe environment or life? I want to make sure that we are all there protecting one another as a community. By the way, in my community, I have basically the rules that I call the three C’s and there’s one P.

The first C is this: Once you’re in the community, contacts are open source. We share contacts. You and I, before we hit record, I go, “Hey, you’ve got to meet these people real quick, Chris, and I’m going to do an introduction to you. We share contacts. Number two is we make sure we give credit where credit is due.

If Chris has done something incredible, I don’t say, “Oh, yeah, I was working with this guy and we did this.” I go, “No, Chris did something amazing,” and you get credit. We want to make sure everyone gets credit. The last C is cash. We pay for things.

You don’t walk into somebody’s restaurant and think it’s going to be for free. In the community, we pay. The first C is contacts, then credit, and cash, and the last is P, and that’s for protect. We protect one another. We have this creed amongst the community that we always say we are doing CCCP because we need to know what the guidelines are all the time.

By the way, think about your great friends and your best friends. When they walk in your house, they know what your rules are. You might take your shoes off, don’t sit on the couch. You have rules. Why shouldn’t communities have rules? They should.

Yeah, and the rules should be enforced. I’ve definitely joined a number of online communities where it says, “Here are the rules that you have to abide by.” The first six posts in the community are not abiding by the rules, and I’m like, “OK, no one has control. No one’s monitoring this thing.”

I have gatekeepers. The irony is, this community of men is actually run by a woman. The reason why is because she’s the one that keeps us in check. She’s the one that says, “You’re acting wrong.” Because even though guys might like that, sensitive guys in the group may not like that. I really gotta make sure there’s a proper balance.

Let’s go back to this idea of where people are getting ripped off. The last thing is not just scams, but time. I want you to think about life as a pyramid. I like pyramids a lot. The top of the pyramid is energy, the side of the pyramid is money or resources, and the other side of the pyramid is time. We have energy, money, and time.

When you’re young, you have two sides of the pyramid and that is energy and time—you don’t have money. When you’re middle age, you have money and energy, but no time. When you’re old, you have money and time, but no energy. The goal is to get all three points, which means I want my community to recognize that all three points are insanely valuable to me.

Our goal as a community is to make sure none of those are ripped off. My energy is not ripped off or taken away, my time isn’t, nor is my money. As a community, we watch outgoing. That person’s time sucks . You may have heard that term before. Stay away from the time-suck. “Oh, that guy is definitely going to take away your energy.” “Oh, watch out. They’re scammers, they’ll take your money.”

That pyramid within my community, that triangle is what’s always watched amongst all of us. Make sure that in your community, because none of you guys, no one listening wants any one of those three things stolen from them. Again, I built an epicenter of opportunity in my community to watch out for that.

Awesome. I think that’s probably a really good place to land for our discussion. If people want to find out more about you and about METAL, where can they find out about it?

Metal.international. I’d love for you guys to check it out. We actually do co-ed events also. This is open. We’re building our women’s side. We use the guys as a beta test so we could perfect the women’s side. Please check it out—metal.international. Chris, thanks a lot for this time.

That is awesome. Thank you very much.

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